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"In the Dark" is the third episode of the first season of Angel and the third episode in the series. Written by Douglas Petrie and directed by Bruce Seth Green, it was originally broadcast on October 19, 1999, on The WB network.


SETH GREEN AND JAMES MARSTERS FROM "BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" GUEST-STAR — Angel receives an unexpected visit from Oz who delivers a gift from Buffy, a mystical relic that renders the owner unkillable — not by stakes, not fire, not even sunlight. But Oz is followed by Angel's arch nemesis, Spike, who is determined to fight Angel to the death for this awesome power.[1]


A young woman, Rachel, runs down a dark alley, looking frantically over her shoulder for signs of pursuit, but no one is there. Puzzled, she stops and hides, then stands, looking back the way she came. Suddenly, a man, Lenny, grabs her from behind, threatens her, and slaps her to the ground. Telling her he can't take it anymore, Rachel's strung-out boyfriend, Lenny, points a gun at her head and starts to pull the trigger. Appearing out of nowhere, Angel grabs Lenny's gun hand, knocking his arm up and sending the shot high. Angel effortlessly disarms Lenny, then knocks him unconscious with one brutal punch. Standing on the rooftop of a neighboring building, Spike watches Rachel thank Angel in the alley below and improvises a cheesy narration for their gestures.

Listening to a Los Angeles radio station, Oz parks his van in front of Angel's building. Inside, Cordelia gleefully prints up an invoice for Rachel, their first paying customer. When Oz opens the door and walks in, Cordelia is thrilled to see her old Sunnydale friend. After Angel and Oz's laconic greetings, Oz holds a ring out to Angel. He recognizes it as the Gem of Amara. Doyle explains that the ring is a priceless talisman that "renders the wearer one hundred percent unkillable if he's a vampire." With the ring, Angel could go out in the daylight, among other things. Oz tells Angel that Buffy wanted him to have it. He also says that she's doing good, "just being Buffy." As the others leave to go to a pub, Angel stays behind to hide the ring under a loose brick in one of the sewer tunnels.

The next morning at the Angel Investigations offices, a tearful Rachel calls during Angel's tai chi practice to say that Lenny has been released on a technicality. Angel promises to be right over. Before he can get into his car, Spike springs an ambush in the parking garage, and the two vampires exchange a flurry of words and blows. Angel defeats Spike before Cordelia and Doyle rush in to back their friend up. Spike recognizes and greets a flustered Cordelia, then threatens Angel one last time before taking off. Worried about his friends, Angel tells Cordelia she must stay with Doyle in case Spike decides to make her a target. Angel meets Rachel at her apartment, where he listens to her story and encourages her to leave Lenny permanently.

On a tip from one of Doyle's unsavory contacts, Angel chases and corners Spike in a dead end blocked by a chain link fence. With his hands locked behind his head, Spike turns and surrenders himself. Suddenly, a white-shirted figure whirling a long chain overhead appears from around the corner. In an instant, Angel finds himself on the ground. With the end of the heavy chain tightly wound around his neck, he is completely at the mercy of Spike's smiling henchman.

Cordelia and Doyle worry that Angel hasn't checked in. Meanwhile, he is suspended by long, manacled chains from the ceiling of a large warehouse. Spike introduces him to his captor, Marcus, a master torturer with a taste for children. With classical music playing, the reserved vampire prepares his instruments while Spike recites highlights from Marcus' gruesome curriculum vitae. To begin, Marcus inspects Angel, inside and out, then asks what he wants. When Angel is defiant, Marcus steps over to the brazier and returns with a red-hot poker, which he abruptly rams through Angel's bared abdomen. Time passes as Marcus works into a rhythm of hurting Angel, then asking what he wants, then inflicting more pain.

Breaking off a stake, Spike threatens to dust Angel right on the spot if he doesn't talk, until Marcus points out that Angel knows Spike won't kill him before learning the ring's location; therefore, he knows that Spike is bluffing. Spike proceeds to toss the stake to the floor. Angel takes advantage of the reprieve to tell Spike he's an idiot for believing that Marcus, a vampire, has no interest in obtaining the Gem of Amara for himself. Spike answers by dismissing Marcus as a threat, deeming him too single-mindedly obsessed with the art of torture to care about anything else. As the music stops, Spike begins to taunt Angel about his own obsession with Buffy, recounting news of her recent rebound disaster, which causes Angel to look pained. Marcus begins the record again, and Spike, rolling his eyes, leaves "to get some air." Marcus plunges another hot poker into his captive. Listening to Angel's strangled screams, Spike smiles and says, "Now that's music." Marcus shoots holes in the building's ceiling so that Angel, agonized by any movement, must stretch and hold himself at the limit of his chains to avoid the beams of sunlight.

Abandoning his fruitless search of Angel's apartment, Spike is confronted by Cordelia and Doyle, armed and waiting behind the door. Spike tells them that if they want Angel to live, they must find the ring and turn it over before sundown. Angel, meanwhile, endures the abrupt removal of two pokers and makes Marcus believe he's about to break. He lures his tormentor closer by whispering that what he most wants is forgiveness. Marcus draws near enough for Angel to make his move. Holding Spike's discarded stake between his feet, Angel brings his legs up high enough to plunge the jagged wooden point into Marcus' heart. Suddenly reappearing, Spike grabs Angel's feet and disarms him. Marcus punches Angel before Spike moves him out of Angel's reach. Selecting a pair of needle-nose pliers, Spike chips in as Marcus resumes his interrupted torture session.

Having had no more success than Spike, Cordelia and Doyle conduct their own search for the Gem of Amara in Angel's apartment. When Cordelia complains to Doyle that her list of cliched hiding places has inexplicably failed to yield results, it finally occurs to them both to search the sewers. Cordelia is dismayed that the two seemingly have a long search ahead of them with little time. However, Doyle lets Cordy turn into the next tunnel ahead of him, quickly and surreptitiously using his demon senses. He immediately locates the ring under the brick where Angel hid it, claiming it to be pure good luck. Now, all they need is a plan.

Before sundown, they meet with Spike at the appointed spot and demand to see Angel before they reveal where they've stashed the ring. Spike reluctantly agrees and takes them to where he and Marcus are holding the now barely-conscious Angel. When Spike gloatingly admits he has no intention of going through with the trade, Doyle pulls the ring out of his pocket and throws it across the warehouse floor. Just as Spike reaches for it, he is forced to duck and roll when Oz smashes his van through the warehouse wall. From the driver's side window, Oz holds Spike and Marcus at bay with two crossbows until Cordy and Doyle can get Angel into the back of the van. Once they're safely inside, Oz floors it in reverse, and the van peels away. Spike then looks for the ring, only to find it has disappeared—and so has Marcus. Outside, Marcus walks out onto the street and into direct sunlight without burning up. Spike angrily smashes apart Marcus's record player. He declares that, from now on, he's going to work alone. Just then, a small ray of sunlight from the bullet holes in the ceiling sets his hair on fire. After putting the small blaze out, Spike only hopes that Angel and Marcus somehow manage to kill each other.

Doyle and Cordelia are trying to tend to Angel's injuries; however, he wants to track Marcus down and, knowing his predilection for children, believes the vampire won't have gone far. In fact, Marcus makes his way along the boardwalk until he spots a cub scout troop clustered around a vending cart. While Marcus focuses on the children, Oz drives straight down the middle of the boardwalk, using the van's speed and bulk to knock the invincible vampire flying. Cordelia shoots Marcus with a crossbow; however, the ring protects him. Doyle then tries beating him back, but is quickly swatted aside. Angel leaps out of the van, bursting into flames the moment sunlight touches him, and tackles Marcus off the pier. They fall together into the water below. In the shade under the boardwalk, the two vampires fight. Angel impales Marcus on a beam, but the Gem of Amara protects him — until Angel yanks the ring off his finger and Marcus crumbles to dust. Angel slides the ring onto his own hand, then steps out into the sunlight.

That evening, Angel watches the sun set. To Doyle's dismay, Angel has decided not to keep the ring. Angel tries to explain his feeling that the Gem of Amara only appears to be the redemption he seeks. Keeping it would somehow make him forget about the many people forced to live in the darkness, needing a champion to defend them from what seeks to hurt them. Doyle is unconvinced, but he sees that Angel is determined to do what he believes to be right. When the last sliver of sun disappears, Angel removes the Gem of Amara and smashes it flat with a chunk of brick. Doyle then remembers that Rachel called to say "thanks, and that she found a little faith." Angel tells him he's had a pretty good day — except for the bulk of it, where he was nearly tortured to death. Together, they leave the rooftop and head down the stairs.


  • This episode is a follow-up to Buffy the Vampire Slayer's "The Harsh Light of Day," when Spike's quest for the Gem of Amara begins and Oz volunteers to take the Gem to Angel.
  • This is Spike's first appearance on Angel; he will go on to appear in flashbacks in Angel's second season, then returns as a main character in season 5 as an ensouled champion.
  • This is the first time that Angel and Spike are shown fighting. Although Angel overpowers Spike quite easily, their fight in "Destiny" has Spike winning in a more vicious battle.
  • Spike referring to Angel as "a big fluffy puppy with bad teeth" is similar to Buffy's comment in "The Harsh Light of Day," where she tells Parker that the bite Angel gave her was from an "angry puppy." Vampire Willow also refers to his alternative counterpart as "Puppy" in "The Wish."
  • Angel is shown practicing tai chi, as he had done in "Band Candy" and "Revelations" as part of his rehabilitation after returning from Acathla's dimension.
  • Cordelia tries to give Doyle some idea of what they're up against with Spike, and her catalog of evilness includes the "whole deal with this arm in a box." This is a reference to Spike and Drusilla releasing the demon Judge during events in "Surprise" and "Innocence."
  • Spike recognizes Cordelia the moment he sees her; they were in a few battles together, such as the ones in "School Hard," "Halloween," and "What's My Line? Part Two."
  • It has been at least a week since "Lonely Heart," as Doyle mentions being in Cordelia's apartment "last week."
  • Spike mocks Angel for having a soul, being in love with a Slayer, and for being captured and tortured. Ironically, all of these things will also happen to Spike: in "Out of My Mind," he realizes he has fallen in love with Buffy; in "Intervention," he is captured, "chained to the ceiling," and tortured by Glory; and in "Grave," he gets a soul.
  • Arguably this episode would be the third instance of Angel walking openly during the daytime, if taking into account the events from "Amends," when the sunlight was blocked by snowfall, and "Graduation Day, Part Two," as the Graduation Day battle occurred during an eclipse.



Organizations and titles[]




Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • Marcus, staked by Angel on a wooden pillar.

Behind the scenes[]


  • This marks the first time a Buffy the Vampire Slayer character crosses over into Angel.
  • This is the only episode of Angel in which four Buffy the Vampire Slayer main characters appear: Angel, Cordelia, Oz, and Spike.
  • Responding to the statement that Angel's decision to destroy the ring is reminiscent of Rose throwing the priceless diamond into the ocean at the end of Titanic, producer Tim Minear says the difference is that "she throws it in the water as if that means something about Jack [but] it was the other guy's diamond, and I have no idea why she's throwing it in the water." However, "it makes perfect sense for [Angel] to destroy the ring. Can he be trusted? That is the point of the series," Minear says. "If he has the power to be invincible, what would happen if he spent eternity as Angelus? Angel knows that he can't be trusted — think about Jenny Calendar. In that light, the ending makes perfect sense to me."[2]


  • "In the Dark" had an audience of 3.7 million households upon its original airing.[3]

Deleted scenes[]

  • A scene in which Marcus kills a sunglasses vendor was deleted;[citation needed] though, in his next scene, Marcus still appears wearing sunglasses. Nevertheless, the actor portraying the vendor was still credited.

Pop culture references[]

  • Spike's line "Quickly! To the Angelmobile! Away!" is a parody of Batman and his Batmobile.
  • Cordelia tells Doyle that the only way she'll go on a cruise with him is in an alternate universe where he turns into the actor Matthew McConaughey.
  • While drunk, Doyle apparently quoted Angela's Ashes (1996) and began to weep. The book is a memoir by Irish author Frank McCourt and tells the story of his childhood in Brooklyn and Ireland.
  • Cordelia lists the characters Bamm-Bamm, Betty and Barney Rubble from the cartoon series The Flintstones (1960–1966).
  • Spike calls Angel a "white hat," a reference to classic westerns in which the heroes would often wear white hats while the villains usually wore black hats. The term is also used in the episode "The Wish" when a vampire hunter group is known as the White Hats.
  • Confronting Spike as he wrecks Angel's apartment in search of the Gem of Amara, Cordelia refers to a 1994 incident in which the actor Johnny Depp was arrested in connection with some serious damage to an NYC hotel suite.
  • While torturing Angel, Marcus quotes the play Hamlet (1600), act 2 scene 2: "There is nothing either bad or good, but thinking makes it so."
  • Spike says "Lucy, I'm home!" in reference to the sitcom I Love Lucy (1951–1957).
  • Oz's van has a sticker of the band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
  • A theater marquee displays the 1999 film titles Deep Blue Sea and The Sixth Sense.


  • When Oz turns the van around to head to the pier, the van makes the 180° bootleg turn in the foreground, but then the shot suddenly jumps to showing the van across the street with the camera in the same position.
  • When Angel is running on the pier, it's visible that he is covered in pyro jelly with the ignition in his hand.
  • About 27:50 minutes in, the scene with Marcus and Angel, the positions of Marcus and Angel change. One second, Marcus is behind Angel, and the next, he is in front. Angel never turns around, and the table and Marcus change back and forth. Then, right before he pulls the first poker out, you can see a crew member's hand behind Angel's left shoulder.


  • Extreme music library — "Smoker's revenge"
  • Mozart — "Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551 "Jupiter": Menuetto. Allegretto"
  • Christophe Beck and Robert J. Kral — original score

International titles[]

  • Czech: "V temnotě" (In the Dark)
  • Finnish: "Pimeässä" (In the Dark)
  • French: "La Pierre d'Amara" (The Gem of Amara)
  • German: "Der Ring von Amara" (The Ring of Amara)
  • Hungarian: "Sotetbenzzv" (In the Dark)
  • Italian: "L'anello di Amarra" (The Ring of Amara)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Na Escuridão" (In the Dark)
  • Russian: "Во тьме" (In the Dark)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "En la Oscuridad" (In the Dark)
  • Spanish (Spain): "En la Oscuridad" (In the Dark)
  • Turkish: "Karanlığın İçinde" (In the Dark)



Promotional stills[]



Spike: (as Rachel) "How can I thank you, you mysterious black-clad hunk of a night thing?"
Spike: (as Angel) "No need, little lady, your tears of gratitude are enough for me. You see, I was once a badass vampire, but love and a pesky curse defanged me. And now, I'm just a big, fluffy puppy with bad teeth." (Rachel's about to touch Angel's hair) "No, not the hair. Never the hair."
Spike: (as Rachel) "But there must be some way I can show my appreciation?"
Spike: (as Angel) "No, helping those in need's my job, and workin' up a load of sexual tension and prancing away like a magnificent poof is truly thanks enough."
Spike: (as Rachel) "I understand. I have a nephew who's gay, so..."
Spike: (as Angel) "Say no more. Evil's still afoot. And I'm almost out of that nancy-boy hair-gel I like so much. Quickly, to the Angelmobile, away."
Oz: "So, I heard the rumors, but you guys can fill me in on the real deal here. So you guys are... like detectives?"
Cordelia: "No, I'm an actress!"
Doyle: "And quite a captivating one at that."
Cordelia: "And between my many gigs, I sometimes choose to help Angel."
Doyle: "He's the detective."
Oz: "Does he have a hat and a gun?"
Cordy: "Just fangs."
Oz: "Well, that works."
Angel: "Oz!"
Oz: "Angel."
Angel: "Nice surprise."
Oz: "Thanks."
Angel: "Staying long?"
Oz: "Few days."
Doyle: "They always like this?"
Oz: "No, we're usually laconic."
Marcus: "What do you want, Angel? I think I know, but I'd like to hear it from you. The truth. I'll know if you're lying."
Angel: "I want... forgiveness."
Marcus: "Yes. That's the truth. And you want to earn it. You're not the type who takes the easy way out. Which is why I like you so much. In the end, you won't feel guilt, or remorse, or anything but pure darkness. In the end the ring, the past... none of it will mean anything anymore. You'll be free. I promise."
Angel: "And I promise... to kill you."
Cordelia: "I couldn't get comfortable here if the floor was lined with mink. I mean, how can you live like this?"
Doyle: "Well, I didn't until last week. Then I saw what you did with your place. I just had to call my decorator."
Cordelia: "No way! My apartment is nowhere near this yucky! It smells like bong-water in here."


  1. "Angel- Season 1 Episode Guide." Lol's Site. Retrieved on August 21, 2021.
  2. Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman, Slayers & Vampires. Tor Books, September 2017.
  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.