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Note: This article is about the episode. For the drug, see Orpheus (drug).

"Orpheus" is the fifteenth episode of the fourth season of Angel and the eighty-first episode in the series. Written by Mere Smith and directed by Terrence O'Hara, it was originally broadcast on March 19, 2003, on The WB network.


While in their drug-induced comas, Angelus and Faith experience flashbacks of Angel's good deeds over the centuries; Fred calls in Willow, the only person ever able to restore Angel’s soul and asks her to help them do it again.[1]


As he drinks from Faith, Angelus suddenly stumbles back in shock. Faith flashes back to earlier, when she injected herself with a drug stolen from a vampire junkie at the demon bar. Angelus and Faith both collapse, unconscious. Gunn drags Angelus's body to the Hyperion Hotel, where he and Connor shackle Angelus securely in the basement cage. Wesley brings a barely alive Faith to one of the hotel bedrooms. Knowing Faith injected herself with Orpheus, an enchanted psychedelic drug that poses a serious threat to her life, Lorne yells at Wesley for allowing Faith to purposely get bit by Angelus.

Connor goes upstairs to update Cordelia on Faith and Angelus. Suddenly, Cordelia brutally shoves Connor into a wall in response to him constantly talking about Faith. He is shocked by her reaction, but she tries to blame it on pregnancy hormones.

Downstairs, Connor shouts at Fred and Wesley about the need to kill Angelus. Suddenly, Willow appears at the door, suggesting that she's a better alternative. Fred called Willow for help since she's the only one alive to have successfully restored Angel's soul. Willow wants to see Cordelia, so Connor reluctantly takes her upstairs. Willow talks about the difficulties associated with ensouling Angelus as Cordelia lays in bed. She reaches for a large knife next to her, hidden under the blanket, and tries to get Willow close enough to strike. Willow realizes that while the jar housing the soul is impervious to magic, it can still be broken. If it breaks, the soul will be released into the ether, after which it can be resummoned. Willow knows a spell that will let them strike the jar despite not knowing where it is. An excited Willow rushes out of the room, unaware of the knife Cordelia throws at her, which hits the door instead.

In their shared coma, Angelus and Faith witness the 1920s version of Angel rescue a puppy from an oncoming car. Angelus is infuriated at being subjected to the memory again, while Faith realizes with glee that they're experiencing Angel's good deeds of the past. Next, a hippie Angel walks into a diner and selects "Mandy" on the jukebox. As they look on, Angelus complains to Faith about watching Angel's self-induced misery. Suddenly, a man with a gun barges into the diner and demands the cashier for money. When the flustered cashier doesn't react quickly enough, the assailant shoots him and flees the restaurant. Angel struggles with his desire to drink from the wounded cashier or go find help. Eventually, Angel vamps out and decides to feed. The bite marks on dream-Faith's neck begin to bleed as she realizes Angel could have saved the cashier. An amused Angelus watches as Angel suffers from the guilt of feeding.

Before Willow can begin her spell to break the jar holding Angel's soul, the Beast Master's deep voice yells a warning to stop. Willow's magic eventually overpowers the Master's and she begins her spell. As Cordelia works on counter-magic from her bedroom, Connor breaks Cordelia's concentration by trying to enter the barricaded room. When Cordelia jumps in surprise, it breaks her concentration, allowing Willow's magic to shatter the jar. Using the Orb of Thesulah, Willow and Fred begin the ritual that will restore Angel's soul.

Meanwhile, dream-Faith finds herself in a dirty alley with Angelus, watching a filthy past-Angel feed on a rat. Angelus tells Faith that, following the diner incident, Angel chose to completely cut himself off from humanity and live in the gutter. Suddenly, past-Angel turns and addresses Faith and Angelus. Angelus and Angel begin to fight, while Angel persuades Faith that life is worth living and that she must wake up. Faith disappears.

When Connor finally breaks into her bedroom, Cordelia smashes a lamp over his head, feigning surprise that it was him and not a demon coming to attack her. She deceives Connor into thinking Willow's magic is evil and threatens their unborn child, telling him he has to kill Angelus to protect their family.

Willow completes the restoration spell, pulling Angelus and Angel into one body. Faith wakes up and rushes downstairs to the basement in time to stop Connor from staking Angel. She begins to beat Connor until Angel wakes up and stops the fight.

As they talk out in the courtyard, Faith tells Angel that she is going back to Sunnydale with Willow to aid Buffy and her allies. After they leave, a very pregnant Cordelia comes downstairs, rubbing her belly. She warns them that the worst is yet to come.


  • Cordelia talks about Faith being in a coma: "Like she hasn't pulled that one before." Faith was in a coma in Buffy the Vampire Slayer from the end of "Graduation Day, Part One" until the beginning of "This Year's Girl."
  • Willow's appearance is a reaction to a phone call she received in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Lies My Parents Told Me."
  • Faith and Angelus visit his memory of Angel saving a puppy's life, in the 1920s. Some months later, in "Unleashed," Fred will comment on Angel saving "girls, guys, puppies..."
  • This marks the first occasion where Angel and Angelus have interacted with each other as distinct entities able to hold a conversation that others can witness. During a later time-travelling jaunt with Illyria, Angel will have a brief encounter with a past version of Angelus, in Time and Tide, Part Two.
  • This is the second time that Willow restores Angel's soul, after "Becoming, Part Two."
  • Willow restores Angel's soul, and takes Faith back to Sunnydale to fight the First Evil ("Dirty Girls").
  • When rejecting Fred's advances, Willow says "I'm seeing someone.". She means Kennedy, with whom she's developed a relationship (starting on "The Killer in Me").



Organizations and titles[]





Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • Unnamed doughnut shop clerk, shot by a robber (in flashback).

Behind the scenes[]


  • With this episode, the "crossover embargo" between The WB and UPN[citation needed] is lifted, allowing characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to crossover to Angel and vice-versa. The last crossover was seen in "There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb," again with Willow coming to see Angel Investigations.
  • The actor who played the robber in the 70s flashback is Eliza Dushku's brother, Nate Dushku.
  • Alyson Hannigan had to shoot all her scenes in two days because she wasn't only working on the final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the same, but also on American Wedding.[citation needed]
  • Hannigan was excited to work with her then fiancé, Alexis Denisof, whom she met while the two were on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Denisof was also excited. "I feel like it's a play day. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm at work," he said. "My girl is here... really all I want to do is run over and give her a hug."[citation needed]
  • Jeffrey Bell jokes about the visual effects: "For all you video game fans, we apologize for the big, stupid floaty head. We had really great hopes for it, and it just became something you'd see on 'It's a Small World' in Disneyland. Just not quite as scary as we had hoped."[2]
  • Bell reveals the fight scene between Angel and Angelus, which took two days to film, was something that he had "waited to do for four years." According to Terrence O'Hara, the fight scene in the alley was created by "a split screen, a camera lock-off, and we played back to match shot for shot. He was hitting space."[2]
  • O'Hara explains that, in the final shot of Faith and Angel on the terrace, Eliza came to the set with laryngitis in the morning and could not speak. "This scene was supposed to be first up and I begged Kelly Manners to keep it to the end of the day and let her recover, and she did."[2]
  • O'Hara explains the slow-motion shot of Wesley carrying Faith was a difficult one due to Alexis Denisof's bad back.[2]
  • The scenes of Chicago in the 1920s were filmed on Universal Studios' back lot. O'Hara enjoyed the look of the classic cars, although many of the moving cars were actually being pushed by the grips "because they were very noisy."[2]
  • Angelus' rising from a pile of garbage is a direct spoof from the film Nosferatu, when Count Orlok raises from his coffin on the ship.
  • Charisma Carpenter is genuinely pregnant in this episode and has been since Cordelia's return from the "higher plane."[citation needed]


  • Willow's appearance is a reaction to a phone call she received in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Lies My Parents Told Me" — which aired six days behind, on March 25, breaking continuity; however, the original air date of that episode would have been March 18, one day before this one, but was postponed due to the start of the Iraq War.[citation needed]
  • "Orpheus" had an audience of 2.4 million households upon its original airing.[3]

Deleted scenes[]

Pop culture references[]

  • Angelus compares Faith with the ghost of Jacob Marley, the character from the 1843 novella A Christmas Carol who visits visits Scrooge to warn him that he will be visited by three other Spirits who will offer him a chance of redemption.
  • Faith says to Angelus: "Then I'm... whatever. Dust in the Wind. Candle in the Wind. There'll be a general wind theme."
  • Willow mentions "the grumpy side of the force," a reference to the "dark side of the Force" from the Star Wars franchise.
  • The possessed Cordelia refers to Willow as Glinda, the good witch from the fictional Land of Oz.
  • Willow says: "Okay, good. Wagons west. See you guys," referring to the title of the 1952 film Wagons West.


International titles[]

  • Czech: "Orfeus"
  • Finnish: "Orfeus"
  • French: "Orphée"
  • German: "Orpheus"
  • Hungarian: "Orpheus"
  • Italian: "Orpheus"
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Orfeu"
  • Russian: "Орфей"
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Orpheus"
  • Spanish (Spain): "Orfeo"
  • Turkish: "Orfeus"



Episode stills[]

Behind the scenes[]



Wesley: "Did the call of magic draw you here?"
Willow: "Oh, no. More like the call of Fred."
Wesley: "A lot's happened. Not just Angelus. I've been... I've changed. I've seen a darkness in myself. I'm not sure you'd even begin to understand..."
Willow: "I flayed a guy alive and tried to destroy the world."
Wesley: "Oh. So..."
Willow: "Darkness. Been there."
Wesley: "Yeah. Well, I never flayed. I had a woman chained in a closet."
Willow: "Oh, well hey!"
Wesley: "No, it doesn't compare."
Willow: "No, dark. That's dark. You've been to a place."
Wesley: "You seem exactly the same as when I left. No other major changes I'm not up on?"
Willow: "Just little things. So, uh, Fred. What's her story?"
Faith: "'Cause I'm dying, dumbass."
Angelus: "Not soon enough."
Faith: "Way I figure, I got one last job. Baby-sit the psycho 'til they shove a soul up your ..."
Angelus: "Not gonna happen."
Faith: "Then I'm... whatever. Dust in the wind. Candle in the wind. There'll be a general wind theme."
Angelus: "Oh, no. I remember this. I-I remember this place. I gotta get outta here."
Faith: "Why? You freakin' out?"
Angelus: "It's coming, again."
Faith: "What's coming?"
Angelus: "I can't do it again. I won't."
Faith: "Angel, get out of the road!"
Angelus: "Arrrgh! No!"
Faith: "Dude! You just rescued a puppy."
Angelus: "I love this episode!"


  1. "angel: Orpheus." TheWB.com. Archived from the original on October 18, 2004.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Jeffrey Bell and Terrence O'Hara. Angel Season Four on DVD; audio commentaries for the episode "Orpheus." [DVD]. 20th Century Studios, September 2004.
  3. "Nielsen Ratings for Angel's Fourth Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008.