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"I've Got You Under My Skin" is the fourteenth episode of the first season of Angel and the fourteenth episode in the series. Written by Jeannine Renshaw and directed by R.D. Price, it was originally broadcast on February 15, 2000, on The WB network.


THE EXORCIST — Cordelia's visions of a boy in trouble lead Angel and Wesley into battle with their first exorcism, but everything is not as it seems with the child who is possessed by a 10,000-year-old demon.[1]


While Wesley shows off the newest addition in his collection of arcane weaponry to Angel, Cordelia's dubious-smelling brownies finish baking. Watching Cordy and Wes bicker, Angel tries to make peace and inadvertently calls Wesley "Doyle."

Elsewhere, children squabble over toys until their mother tells them it is bedtime. The kids protest until their father admonishes them. After the parents tuck their children in, the father bids the mother to padlock their daughter's door. Behind them, another door, labeled "Ryan," is already padlocked for the night.

In the Angel Investigations offices that evening, Cordelia insists that Angel talk with her about the friend they both miss. Just as Angel begins to express the guilt he carries over the manner of Doyle's death, Cordelia is wracked by a vision.

Angel and Wesley stake out the envisioned house in the suburbs, but all seems quiet. The Angel Investigations pair is about to leave, when Wesley spots a young boy walking across the yard in his pajamas. Down the street, a car revs its engine and speeds toward them. Angel leaps from his car, grabs the boy, and rolls onto the grass with him just as the vehicle rushes by. Noticing the bloody scrape on Angel's shoulder, the boy, who seems unconcerned about the incident, asks Angel if he's going to cry. Angel jokingly pretends to consider it, finally deciding that he doesn't think he will.

At that moment, the boy's father emerges from the house and begins to roughly berate the child. The boy's mother also rushes up and effusively thanks Angel for saving their son, Ryan. Despite her husband's reluctance, she invites Angel inside with an offer to tend his wound. He accepts. While her husband, Seth, puts Ryan back to bed, Paige tends to the scrape on Angel's arm. Shocked to notice that it seems to be healing with miraculous rapidity, Paige is distracted when Angel returns to the subject of her family. Paige seems too anxious to be truly forthcoming, and stops talking altogether when Seth returns to the living room. Learning that the Andersons have recently moved to the area, Angel begins to probe more deeply for information, such as how their son got out of his room, as well as where he was likely to be going, and why. Seth sits opposite their guest and pointedly reminds him that he hasn't told them his name. Angel introduces himself as "Angel Jones." Paige delightedly reveals that she collects angels. To Angel's discomfort, she is instantly convinced that he has been sent to help them, especially since he refuses all offer of payment or recompense. However, when Paige insists on inviting him to supper the following night to thank him, which Seth openly disapproves. Angel uses her enthusiasm to his advantage and asks her: "What can I bring?"

While Angel is inside, Wesley pokes around outside and finds glowing goo called Plakticine, similar to ectoplasm, oozing from the foundation all around the house. Comparing notes back in the car, Angel and Wesley conclude that someone in the family is possessed by a demon and, though he doesn't express it until later, Angel strongly suspects the father. The Andersons' daughter, Stephanie, watches expressionlessly from her window as they drive away.

Back at the office, Angel and Wes bring Cordelia up to speed. Further research, including a background check on the Anderson family, determines that they are dealing with a powerful, fully developed, mass-murdering Ethros demon. Despite Angel's suspicions about the father, the only way to be sure which family member is possessed is to have each ingest Psylis eucalipsis powder, which will force the demon to manifest. They mix the powder with Cordelia's brownies, a plateful of which Angel brings as a hostess gift when he arrives at the Andersons for dinner. After a mildly uncomfortable meal, Paige brings out the brownies for dessert and Seth tells the protesting kids that this will replace their hot cocoa treat tonight.

As the Andersons each take a bite, Angel watches Seth so closely that it isn't until Stephanie screams that he sees the demon horrifically manifesting in Ryan. The boy spasms and partially transforms, and his frantic mother accuses Angel of poisoning her son. Unexpectedly, Seth comes to Angel's support, urging Paige to admit that something has been truly wrong with the boy since long before Angel's advent. Eventually, although his face remains disfigured, Ryan grows somnolent, and Paige and Seth agree to try an exorcism. Taking an opportunity to speak aside to Angel, Seth expresses his gratitude for this chance at hope and healing for his son and his family.

Having asked Seth to arrange care for Stephanie, Angel takes the rest of the Anderson family to his place, where his team has made preparations. Wesley carries the still-sleeping Ryan and puts him in Angel's bed. Cordelia establishes a magic circle of protection around the bed with a binding powder she pours from a large flask. Stressing that Ryan is not himself anymore, Angel warns Seth and Paige that they risk being killed if they break the barrier or go anywhere near the boy.

Leaving Cordelia in charge, Angel and Wesley try to make contact with the priest reputed to be professionally trained to perform exorcisms. Upon arriving at his parish, an aged nun informs them that Father Fredricks died during his last exorcism attempt. She warns that an Ethros, more powerful than the demon that killed the Father, is even more dangerous than Angel. Wesley points out that he himself, will have to be the one to do the Ethros' exorcism. As Wesley dips holy water from the font, Angel argues that Wesley is physically, emotionally, and spiritually unprepared to conduct Ryan's exorcism. Angel states that he'll do the exorcism himself. However, Wesley makes his own case by tossing a cross at Angel, who reflexively catches it, then, just as reflexively, drops it. Shaking scorched fingers, Angel concedes the point.

Meanwhile, Ryan has seemingly regained consciousness and commences tormenting Paige with guilt at leaving him abandoned and alone in the dark. Just as Paige's resolve breaks and she rushes to her son's side, Angel and Wesley return. The demon telekinetically prevents them from coming to Paige's rescue while he tries to throttle her with Ryan's small hands. After a tense few minutes, Wesley and Angel rush into the bedroom and manage to pull Paige from Ryan's choke hold, but their efforts send the demon deeper, and the boy again lapses into unconsciousness. Angel emphatically repeats his warnings to Paige, and she and Seth sit recovering on the sofa while Wesley prepares himself for the coming ordeal.

Angel checks on Cordelia's progress with further research and learns that once the Ethros is expelled, it will automatically possess the nearest "warm body." The only way to prevent this is by obtaining a rare and singularly constructed Ethros box. Angel gives Cordelia the address of a shop he knows downtown, Rick's Majick 'n Stuff, and she leaves immediately. Angel stays behind to keep an eye on things and help Wesley prepare for the ritual. Rick's, however, does not have an Ethros box carved by "blind Tibetan monks," so Cordy instead buys a Shorshack box made by "mute Chinese nuns." This box is intended for another type of demon, and Rick warns her it might be "tight across the shoulders" for the larger Ethros.

While Cordelia shops, Wesley begins the exorcism. He manages to raise the demon far enough to animate the boy once more, and he intones the opening lines of the Latinate ritual. Enduring the Ethros' taunts about his inadequacies as a youth and as a Watcher, Wesley grows visibly more distracted and vulnerable as the exchange continues. When Angel intervenes, the Ethros twists Wesley's newfound devotion toward the vampire and reveals that he is actually planning to kill Angel, causing Wesley's control to abruptly break. He blasts the demon in Ryan, focusing his wrath through the cross he brandishes. The Ethros suddenly forces Wes to stab himself in the neck with the heavy cross. Angel rushes to Wesley's side, extracts the cross, and, pressing a cloth to the wound, helps him from the room. Cordelia returns and the five adults regroup in the kitchen while Wesley rests. Suddenly, the room begins to tremble and shake, and everyone backs away as the disturbance localizes at the kitchen table. Amidst the other toys being rattled and moved telekinetically, all the marbles spill from their bag and arrange themselves into words on the tabletop: "Save me."

The Ethros, who has made Ryan sit up again, continues to taunt Angel. When the demon seems to channel Doyle, playing on Angel's deep sense of guilt about letting his friend die, Angel resolves to have an end to the proceedings. Wrapping his hand with a length of cloth, Angel grabs the cross, grabs Wesley's small volume of incantations, and strides into the bedroom. Holding the cross pressed to Ryan's chest, Angel ignores the pain of his hand sizzling through the protective layers and begins to chant. Ryan twists and convulses as the Ethros struggles inside him. Angel's voice grows louder as he repeats the ritual phrases until he shouts: "Now get the hell out!"

With an invisible rush, the demon is expelled from the boy, but the Shorshack Box, held at the ready by Cordelia and Wesley standing in the bedroom doorway, is unable to contain the demon's energy and shatters. With a roar, the Ethros, still in invisible energy form, flees the basement, leaving everyone staring at each other in stunned shock. Sometime later, after sending the Andersons home, the AI team tries to determine the demon's current whereabouts. Although there is a fair amount of plakticine to be found in the building, Wesley concurs with Angel's guess that the demon is long gone and will need to take corporeal form to recharge itself after expending so much energy to escape.

Leaving Cordelia behind, the two demon hunters soon track the Ethros to primordial basalt sea caves nearby. As they walk deeper into the rocky blackness, Wesley takes a moment to try to assure Angel of his loyalty, no matter the Ethros' earlier taunts. Angel, trying to keep it light, reassures Wes, in turn, that he knows he isn't planning to kill him. Also aware, however, that Wesley is willing to kill him should it become necessary, Angel concludes: "And that's good. Now, come on." Wesley follows Angel into the dark. Shortly, they hear quiet moaning from up ahead and come face to face with the Ethros demon.

The Ethros explains that, in millennia of tormenting innocent souls, he has never before encountered a being that frightened him as much as did Ryan. He reveals that the boy is not pure or innocent, but totally chaotic, amoral, and soulless inside. The boy had been the true box imprisoning Ethros, who didn't even manifest until Angel exposed Ryan to the Psylis eucalipsis powder, and the demon sought escape at any cost, even that of his own existence. Angel realizes that the message, "Save me," was, in fact, the demon's plea, and that the Ethros, on the first night he encountered the Anderson family, was actually the one sleep-walking Ryan into the street to effect his own fatal escape. Angel and Wesley now understand that the Andersons, believing themselves safe at last, are still in mortal danger from the monster undetected in their midst. Swiftly, Angel dispatches the ancient evil.

In the Andersons' suburban home, Paige gives Ryan and Stephanie their accustomed hot cocoa before bed, but Ryan is dissatisfied when he counts two fewer mini-marshmallows in his cup than in his sister's. That night, after everyone is asleep, Ryan steals matches from Seth's nightstand, locks his parents' door shut with a triangle toy block, and takes the phone off the hook. His parents yell and demand they open the door, but he ignores them. Entering Stephanie's room, the boy sloshes gasoline over his sister's toys and furniture, lights a match, and tosses it down. The room ignites and Stephanie wakes up screaming. She calls for her parents asking for help, unaware that they have been trapped inside their own room. As her brother stares at the flames, her parents finally break free and run to her door, only to find themselves cut off from her. After a moment, Angel suddenly crashes through the window and scoops Stephanie into his arms. Despite the open flame, he pauses a split second to see Wesley hustle Ryan and his parents down the hall to safety, then leaps back through the window with his small burden.

A little while later, Angel and Seth stand in the dark, while firemen contain the blaze, and other emergency vehicles stand at the ready around the yard. Behind Seth, Paige and Stephanie huddle together near the front door. Detective Kate Lockley comes over to inform Seth that Social Services is taking custody of Ryan, and that they can see him in the morning, but that there won't be anything to report until after an evaluation of the boy. Angel catches her glance and thanks her for coming. Kate nods, then turns to climb in the squad car that drives Ryan away. Seth says he won't be able to protect Ryan anymore and that they're going to want to know about everything, including Ohio. He says that he was just trying to hold his family together. Angel glances towards his wife and daughter and tells him that he did. Nodding his thanks, Seth turns to embrace his family. Angel makes his way out to the sidewalk, where Cordelia and Wesley stand near his car, waiting for him.


  • Cordelia bases her expectations on the exorcism on watching the movie The Exorcist, which she also mentioned before her previous participation in an exorcism ("I Only Have Eyes for You").



Organizations and titles[]




Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • An Ethros demon, slain by Angel.

Behind the scenes[]


  • This episode shares its title with the 1936 song "I've Got You Under My Skin."
  • Tim Minear says this was "one of the very early scripts that we wrote before Doyle was killed." He struggled with the story until coming up with the idea that Angel should accidentally call Wesley "Doyle," which gave the script a cohesive theme about the pain of losing a family member. At the end of the episode, Seth Anderson loses his son, and, at the beginning, Angel has lost someone like a son; Minear says both are "desperately trying to keep their family together, and through no fault of their own, they can't."[2]
  • Joss Whedon came up with the twist that Ryan was more evil than the demon who possessed him. He also cut the priest who, in the first draft of the script, performed the exorcism. Whedon questioned why Wesley couldn't perform the ritual, and Minear says: "Suddenly it makes perfect sense, because Angel's problem at the beginning of the story is, 'I let Doyle die because he did something that I couldn't do.' Now you have Wesley saying, 'I can perform this exorcism; you can't.'" When Angel later saves Wesley's life, Minear says, "he's sort of atoning for the Doyle thing."[2]
  • Anthony Cistaro, who portrays the Ethros demon, also portrayed Trask in the episode "Hero."


  • "I've Got You Under My Skin" had an audience of 2.9 million households upon its original airing.[3]

Pop culture references[]

  • Wesley mentions Lizzie Borden, the famous Massachusetts woman accused of murdering her parents with an axe; Angel says the Ethros demon possessing her was only an adolescent.
  • Cordelia asks if the demon will manifest by spinning its host's head around. Later, she asks whether Angel wants to protect his bedroom floor, in case there's "any big vomiting." These phrases both refer to the film The Exorcist.
  • When Angel cites Wesley's lack of resistance even to sales suggestion, Wesley protests that his second Thighmaster was a free gift.
  • Paige tries to coax Ryan out of his sulk by invoking Nestlé's bunny advertising mascot.


International titles[]

  • Czech: "Mám tě pod kůží" (I Got You Under My Skin)
  • Finnish: "Pahan pauloissa" (In the Grip of Evil)
  • French: "Exorcisme" (Exorcism)
  • German: "Das Böse an sich" (Evil Itself)
  • Hungarian: "Megszállottan" (Obsessed)
  • Italian: "L'indemoniato" (The Demoniac)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Eu Te Peguei de Jeito" (I Got You Right)
  • Russian: "Ты залез мне под кожу" (You Got Under My Skin)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Estás bajo mi piel" (You Are under My Skin)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Bajo mi piel" (Under My Skin)
  • Turkish: "Senden Başka Hiçbir Şey Düşünemiyorum" (I Can't Think of Anything but You)


Promotional stills[]

Behind the scenes[]


Angel: "The mark of Kekfadlorem. I've heard of it, but I've never seen it."
Wesley: "A knife with that mark is the only thing that will kill a Kek demon. Could be very useful."
Angel: "Especially if Kek demons weren't extinct."
Wesley: "They are? Oh dear. Well, perhaps there is one out there hibernating, eh? Ready to wake at any moment and embark on a grisly rampage."
Angel: "I'll keep my fingers crossed."
Angel: "She's making brownies."
Wesley: "Oh, is that what I smell? I thought I tracked something in."
Cordelia: "What is this stuff anyway? It's kind of pretty."
Wesley: "Uh, it's the bodily excretions of an Ethros demon."
Cordelia: "No one could have said 'demon poo' before I touched it?"
Wesley: "A father doesn't have to be possessed to terrorize his children."
Wesley: "Well, chalk up one exciting failure. You didn't get that boy's soul."
Demon: "Hmpf, what soul? Do you know what the most frightening thing in the world is? Nothing. That's what I found in the boy. No conscience, no fear, no humanity. Just a black void. I couldn't control him. I couldn't get out. I never even manifested until you brought me forth. I just sat there and watched as he destroyed everything around him, not for a belief in evil, not for any reason at all. That boy's mind was the blackest hell I've ever known."
Angel: "The marbles. That was you."
Demon: "When he slept, I could whisper in him. I tried to get him to end his life, even if it meant ending mine."
Angel: "You sleepwalked him in front of the car."
Demon: "I had given up hope. I know you bring death, I do not fear it. The only thing I've ever feared is in that house."


  1. "Angel- Season 1 Episode Guide." Lol's Site. Retrieved on August 23, 2022.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Edward Gross, "ANGEL: Season One, Episode By Episode with Tim Minear - Part 3." TimMinear.net, August 28, 2000.
  3. "Nielsen Ratings for Angel's First Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 18, 2008.