Season 1, Episode 3
Air date October 19, 1999
Written by Douglas Petrie
Directed by Bruce Seth Green
Episode Guide
Lonely Hearts
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The Harsh Light of Day
I Fall to Pieces
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Fear, Itself
David Boreanaz Angel
Charisma Carpenter Cordelia
Glenn Quinn Doyle
Guest Starring
Seth Green Oz
James Marsters Spike
Kevin West Marcus
Malia Mathis Rachel
Co Starring
Michael Yavnieli Lenny
Ric Sarabia Vendor
Tom Rosales Manny the Pig
Gil Combs Bouncer
Buck McDancer Dealer
Jenni Blong Young Woman

"In The Dark" is third episode of the first season of Angel and the third episode overall. It was originally broadcast on October 19, 1999. It is also the continuation of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "The Harsh Light of Day".

Spike follows Oz to L.A. to retrieve the Gem of Amarra, which makes a vampire invincible. Oz gives it to Angel, who hides it in the sewers. In the meantime, Spike hires a vampire skilled in torture and abducts Angel. After failing to extract the information, he barters with Cordelia Chase and Doyle. Cordelia, Doyle and Oz manage to rescue Angel, but not before the torture vampire gets his hands on the ring. In the end, Angel defeats the torture vampire and retrieves the ring. After an afternoon in the sun and watching the sunset, he decides that wearing the ring would distance him from the suffering of the innocent he has sworn to protect, so Angel crushes the jewel.


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 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 an L.A. 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. "The Gem of Amarra", he says quietly. Doyle explains that the ring is a priceless talisman which "renders the wearer one hundred percent unkillable, if he's a vampire." Oz tells Angel, "Buffy wanted you to have it." Oz said that Buffy was doing good, "just being Buffy", acutely leaving out her disasterous affair with Parker. Angel appears disappointed that she sent Oz instead of herself, as he misses her and probably wants to see her. While the others leave to go to (as Doyle puts it) a pub, Angel stays behind to hide the ring under a loose brick in one of the sewer tunnels.

The next morning at the office, a tearful Rachel phones 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 with empathy to her story, then tries to encourage her to leave Lenny permanently. Slowly, Rachel responds to Angel's compassion, unaware of the many parallels between her circumstances and his.

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. Hands locked behind his head, Spike doesn't even attempt to leap the fence, but turns and surrenders with a strange air of smugness. Suddenly, a white-shirted figure whirling a long chain overhead appears from around the corner. Angel finds himself, abruptly, on his back on the ground, with the end of the heavy chain tightly wound around his neck, completely at the mercy of Spike's smiling henchman.

Marcus angel spike

Marcus inspects both Angel's body and spirit

Cordelia and Doyle worry that Angel hasn't checked in. Little do they know, their friend 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 (eating and torturing) children. Accompanied by the strains of Mozart's Symphony #41 (which Spike mistakes for Brahms), the eerily 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 do you want, Angel?" When Angel is defiant, Marcus steps over to the brazier and returns with a red-hot poker which, abruptly, he rams through Angel's bared abdomen. Time passes as Marcus works into a rhythm of hurting Angel, then asking what he wants, then hurting him again, but it is Spike who cracks first. Breaking off a stake, he threatens to dust Angel then and there if he doesn't talk, until Marcus calmly points out that, knowing Spike won't kill him before learning the ring's location, Angel therefore also knows that Spike is bluffing. Disgusted, Spike tosses 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 Amarra for himself. Unperturbed, Spike dismisses Marcus as a threat, deeming him too single-mindedly obsessed with the art of torture to care about anything else. In the sudden silence of the symphony coming to an end, Spike then taunts Angel about his own obsession with "Slutty" the Vampire Slayer, recounting news of her recent rebound disaster, which causes Angel to look pained.. Marcus begins the Mozart record again and Spike, rolling his eyes, leaves "to get some air." Marcus, who had covertly reacted to Angel's earlier insinuation, 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 pencil-thin beams of sunlight.

Abandoning his fruitless search of Angel's apartment, Spike is confronted by Cordelia and Doyle, armed and waiting behind the door. Unperturbed, 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, truthfully, that what he most wants is forgiveness. Entranced, Marcus draws near enough for Angel to make his move. Holding Spike's discarded stake between his booted feet, Angel brings his legs up high enough to plunge the jagged wooden point into Marcus' heart. Appearing out of nowhere, Spike grabs Angel's feet and disarms him. Enraged, Marcus punches Angel before Spike solicitously moves him out of Angel's reach. Selecting a pair of needle nose pliers, Spike chips in as Marcus resumes his interrupted torture session with a vengeance.

Having no more success than Spike had, Cordelia and Doyle conduct their own search for the Gem of Amarra 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. They have no luck there either, until Doyle, letting Cordelia turn into the next tunnel ahead of him, quickly and surreptitiously uses his demon senses and immediately locates the ring under the brick where Angel hid it. 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 twin 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. To Spike's intense dismay, the ring is no longer where Doyle tossed it. Angel's prediction was accurate—under cover of Angel's rescue, Marcus has pinched the Gem of Amarra for himself. Spike angrily smashes apart Marcus's record player, furious that all his hard work has been for naught. He declares that, from now on, he's going to work alone just as a small ray of sunlight sets his hair on fire.

Knowing Marcus' predilection for children, Angel believes the vampire won't have gone far. In fact, a joyous Marcus makes his way along the boardwalk, clearly bemused by modern day beach wear, 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. Angel leaps out of the van, bursting into flame the moment sunlight touches him, and tackles Marcus off the pier, falling with him to the water below. In the shade under the boardwalk, the two vampires fight. Angel impales Marcus on a beam, but the Gem of Amarra 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 for the first time in more than two hundred years.

That evening, enraptured, Angel watches the sun set in an ordinary, smoggy, southern California sky. To Doyle's extreme dismay, Angel has decided not to keep the ring. Angel tries to explain his feeling that the Gem of Amarra only appears to be the redemption he seeks, and that keeping it would somehow make him forget about the many people who need a champion to defend them from the powers of darkness. Doyle is unconvinced, but sees that Angel is determined to do what he believes to be the right thing. When the last sliver of sun disappears, Angel removes the Gem of Amarra and, deliberately, smashes it flat with a chunk of brick. After recovering in silence for a moment or two, Doyle remembers that Rachel called to say, "thanks, and that she found a little faith." Angel absorbs this and slowly begins to smile. "I don't know about you," he says to Doyle, "but I had a pretty good day." When Doyle doesn't seem to know how to respond, Angel adds, "You know — except for the bulk of it, where I was nearly tortured to death." Angel continues to joke with his friend as they leave the rooftop and head down the stairs together.


  • This episode is a follow-up to the third episode of Buffy's fourth season "The Harsh Light of Day". In that episode, Spike got his hands on the Gem of Amarra, a magic ring that makes vampires indestructible. However, Buffy battled him and managed to defeat him, taking the Gem for herself. Knowing that Angel could do some good with the Gem, Oz volunteers to take the Gem to Angel while he plays a gig in L.A. In this episode, Oz arrives at Angel Investigations office and delivers the Gem to Angel while also helping the gang out in the process. Spike also arrives in L.A. so that he can get the Gem back from Angel. Spike and Oz are the only characters to appear in both episodes.
  • This is Spike's first appearance on Angel. Although he is portrayed as the Big Bad for this episode, he returns as a main character in Season Five as an ensouled Champion. Spike would also go on to appear in flashbacks in Angel's second season.
  • This is Oz's first and only appearance on Angel.
  • 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 given to her by an "angry puppy". Interestingly, Vampire Willow also refers to Angel as "Puppy" in "The Wish".
  • Angel practicing Tai chi (with the accompanying score) is poignantly evocative of his long, painful rehabilitation after being returned to Sunnydale in "Faith, Hope & Trick". Bringing him pig's blood in "Band Candy" Buffy for the first time sees Angel, still in significant pain but clearly on the mend, practicing the forms with utter concentration. In "Revelations", they have regular "training" sessions together, during which they are both keenly aware that Angel's physical health has vastly improved. In this episode, Angel is clearly trying to work through his anguish at losing the Slayer, made freshly acute by the arrival of (only) Oz. The expectation that Angel's kata is being interrupted by a phone call from Buffy is reinforced by the initial silence on the line, reminiscent of the silent call he made to her near the end of the series pilot, "City of", which she answered unaware in "The Freshman."
  • 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".
  • In this episode, Spike recognizes Cordelia the moment he sees her, although the two never socialized on screen while in Sunnydale. However, they were in a few battles together, such as the ones in "School Hard," "Halloween," and "What's My Line, Part II." Also, it is likely that Angelus spoke of the Scooby Gang to Spike and Drusilla. They may have met off-screen as well.
  • It has been at least a week since "Lonely Hearts" with Doyle mentioning being in Cordelia's apartment "last week".
  • Doyle mentions on the phone "Spike... like railroad." to "Tri-Pod Lenny." This could be an allusion to how Spike got his name, by torturing his victims with railroad spikes.
  • Spike mocks Angel for having a soul, being in love with a slayer (Buffy) and for being captured and tortured. Ironically all of these things will happen to Spike, in "Out of My Mind" Spike realises he has fallen in love with Buffy, in "Intervention" Spike is captured "chained to the ceiling" and tortured by Glory, and in "Grave" he gets a soul.

Body Count

  • Marcus, impaled by Angel on a wooden pillar and dusted.

Behind the Scenes


  • Responding to the statement that Angel's decision to destroy the ring is reminiscent of Gloria Stuart 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."
  • David Boreanaz actually was in a fair amount of pain during the torture sequences, as he had been in a car accident just before the episode was filmed. The accident did not severely injure him, but he is known to have sued the driver who caused the accident for the problems his injuries caused during his work.

Deleted Scenes

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

Pop Culture References

  • Batmobile: Spike's line, "quickly! To the Angelmobile! Away!" is an homage to Batman, in style as well as content.
  • Matthew McConaughey: 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 handsome actor (of Irish descent)—six years before McConaughey is selected as People magazine's 2005 "Sexiest Man Alive."
  • Angela's Ashes: While drunk, Doyle apparently quoted Angela’s Ashes 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. It was published in 1996 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography.
  • Bam-Bam, Betty and Barney Rubble: These three characters are from the Hanna-Barbara cartoon series The Flintstones, and not, as Cordelia points out, the central characters in Angela's Ashes.
  • Johnny Depp: Confronting Spike as he tosses Angel's apartment in search of the Gem of Amarra, Cordelia refers to a 1994 incident in which the famous actor was arrested in (alleged) connection with some serious damage to an NYC hotel suite.
  • White Hats: When Spike meets a dead end while Angel chases him, Spike calls him a "White Hat". This is 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 referenced in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "The Wish" where the vampires of an alternate Sunnydale refer to Rupert Giles' group of fighters as "white hats."
  • Hamlet: In the third sequence showing Angel's torture, Marcus quotes Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2: "There is nothing either bad or good but thinking makes it so."

Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors

  • 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, you can see that it is a stunt double. He is covered in pyro jelly and the ignition is visible in his hand.



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]

Spike - 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 Angel-mobile, away.
Angel - "Oz!"
Oz - "Angel."
Angel - "Nice surprise."
Oz - "Thanks."
Angel - "Staying long?"
Oz - "Few days."
Doyle - [to Cordelia behind their backs] "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 - [scared, nearly broken] "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." [almost stakes Marcus but is stopped by Spike]
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."
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