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

"Orpheus" is the fifteenth episode of the fourth season of Angel television show, and the eighty-first episode in the series. Written by Mere Smith and directed by Terrence O'Hara, it 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]


After drinking from Faith, Angelus pulls away in shock as she 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 updates Cordelia on Faith and Angelus' conditions. Suddenly, Cordelia brutally shoves Connor into a wall in response to his constant talk about Faith. He's shocked and she tries to cover her behavior by blaming it on the hormones of pregnancy.

Downstairs, Connor shouts at Fred and Wesley about the need for killing Angelus, when 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 again and Connor reluctantly takes her upstairs. As Willow talks about the difficulties associated with ensouling Angelus, Cordelia secretly reaches for a large knife under her pillow 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 and if it is the soul will be released into the ether (after which it can be resummoned), and Willow knows a spell that will let them strike the jar despite not knowing where it is. Willow rushes out of the room in time to unknowingly avoid the knife thrown at her, which hits the door instead.

In their shared coma, Angelus and Faith witness the 1920s version of Angel rescue a small puppy from an oncoming car. Angelus is infuriated at being subjected to the memory again, and 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 Angelus complains to Faith about watching Angel's self-induced misery. A man barges into the diner and asks for money, but shoots the cashier when he doesn't react quickly enough. The shooter runs away, and Angel struggles with his desire to feed on the cashier, which wins out. The bite marks on dream-Faith's neck begins to bleed and she realizes Angel could have saved the cashier. Angelus watches on as Angel suffers with the guilt of feeding, enjoying Faith's pain as well.

Before Willow can begin her spell to break the jar holding Angel's soul, the Beast Master's deep voice screams a warning to stop. Willow's magic overpowers the Master's, and Willow begins her spell as Cordelia works counter-magic from the bedroom. When Connor breaks Cordelia's concentration by trying to enter the bedroom, Willow's projectile is able to magically shatter the jar. Using the Orb of Thesulah, Willow and Fred begin the ritual that will give Angel back his soul. Dream-Faith finds herself in a dirty alley with Angelus again, watching a filthy past-Angel feed on a rat. Angelus tells Faith that, following what happened in the diner, Angel chose to cut himself off completely from humanity and live in the gutter. In a twist, past-Angel turns and addresses the twosome. Angelus and Angel face-off and begin to exchange blows, as Angel convinces Faith that life is worth living and she has to wake up. Faith disappears.

When Connor finally breaks into her barricaded bedroom, Cordy smashes a lamp over his head, then pretends not to have known it was him. Cordy deceives Connor into thinking Willow's magic is evil and threatens their unborn child. She tells him he has to kill Angelus to protect their family. Willow completes the restoration spell, pulling Angelus and Angel into one body, while Faith wakes up and rushes downstairs to the basement in time to stop Connor from staking Angel. She begins to beat up Connor until Angel wakes up and stops the fight. Later, 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 and shocks the gang with the serious trouble they still have to deal with.


  • Willow's appearance is a reaction to a phone call she received in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Lies My Parents Told Me."
  • Angel is shown putting on a Barry Manilow record in the coffee shop in 1975. The events that occur in this scene lead to Angel's downward spiral to living on the streets for the next 21 years, culminating in him being contacted by Whistler in 1996.
  • Willow restores Angel's soul, and takes Faith back to Sunnydale to fight the First Evil ("Dirty Girls").
  • "Cordelia" reveals her pregnancy to Angel Investigations.
  • 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.
  • Like Angel, Faith switches from a more "passive" redemption to an "active" redemption. Rather than remaining in jail, out of society, she chooses to help fight "the good fight" and make the world better.
  • This is the second time that Willow restores Angel's soul, after "Becoming, Part Two."
  • By recasting the first spell she ever learned, Willow was able to regain confidence in her ability to use and control magic, an issue she had been struggling with.



Organizations and titles





Rituals and spells

Death count

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

Behind the scenes


  • 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]
  • In the DVD commentaries for this episode, 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]
  • Also in the commentaries, Bell reveals that he 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 that due to Alexis Denisof's bad back, the show-motion shot of Wesley carrying Faith was a difficult one.[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]

Deleted scenes


  • 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]
  • With this episode, the "cross-over embargo" between The WB and UPN is lifted, allowing characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to cross-over to Angel, and vice-versa. The last cross-over was seen in "There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb," again with Willow coming to see Angel Investigations, but to inform them on Buffy Summers' death in "The Gift." This also marks the final appearance of Willow and Faith on Angel.

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.
  • 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"


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. "Episode." 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; DVD commentaries for the episode "Orpheus." [DVD]. 20th Century Studios, September 7, 2004.