Season 3, Episode 8
Air date November 12, 2001
Written by Jeffrey Bell
Directed by Skip Schoolnik
Episode Guide
David Boreanaz Angel
Charisma Carpenter Cordelia
Alexis Denisof Wesley
J. August Richards Gunn
Amy Acker Fred
Special Guest Starring
Julie Benz Darla
Guest Starring
John Rubinstein Linwood
Stephanie Romanov Lilah
Daniel Dae Kim Gavin
Jack Conley Sahjhan
Jose Yenque Vampire Leader
Keith Szarabajka Holtz
Co Starring
Matt Casper Cyril
Bronwen Bonner-Davies Caroline
Michael Robert Brandon Psychic
William Ostrander Commander
Kasha Kropinski Sarah
John Durbin Dr. Fetvanovich
Angelo Surmelis Tech Guy
Deirdre O'Brien Psychic
Louis E. Rosas Psychic
Christopher Leps Ninja

"Quickening" is the eighth episode of the third season of Angel and the fifty-second episode overall. Written by Jeffrey Bell and directed by Skip Schoolnik, it was originally broadcast on November 12, 2001 on the WB network.

As Darla's labor contractions become more painful and frequent, Angel and his group must do everything in their power to protect Darla when Linwood Morrow, another evil lawyer at Wolfram & Hart, assigns the competitive Lilah Morgan and Gavin Park to launch a full-scale attack at the hotel to take mother and baby, while a vampire cult also targets Angel and the group thinking that the impending birth will be the Miracle Child. Meanwhile, the vampire hunter-killer Daniel Holtz wakens from a deep-freeze hibernation brought on by a non-corporeal, time-traveling demon, named Sahjhan, who wants him to find and kill both Angel and Darla.


In York, England, 1764, vampire hunter Daniel Holtz rides with a posse to trap Darla and Angelus. But the two vampires have evaded his trap and are instead at his own house, killing his wife and two children. They taunt him with a note in their supposed hiding place: "How do you expect to stop us if you can't even protect your own."

In present day Los Angeles, Angel shares a tender moment with the very pregnant Darla, who tells him that their baby is protected by some kind of powerful forces, because she has tried to get rid of it and can't. Darla goes into labor and the crew take her to the hospital, where they commandeer a labor and delivery room and equipment in order to deliver her baby.

And in an underground lair, the being that brought Daniel Holtz back to life catches him up on the history of the world. They made an agreement 227 years earlier, when the creature visited Holtz in 1773 and told him he would never see Angel or Darla again, but that if he promised to kill them both, he would transport Holtz into the future to do the deed and finally get the vengeance he wants. Holtz agrees.

At Wolfram & Hart, Gavin Park engages in some machinations against Lilah. The exterminators he sent to the Hyperion planted bugs throughout the hotel, and he has footage of Angel (being possessed by the old man from Carpe Noctem) making out with Lilah on a desk. Lilah looks through Gavin's notes and footage and discovers that Darla is pregnant and staying at the hotel. The two lawyers join forces and alert one of the partners, Linwood Morrow, to the pregnancy, and the firm gets to work figuring out what is happening. They gather together psychics and telepaths. Their plan is to grab Darla and the baby and then dissect them to find out what it means.

At the hospital, the Angel Investigations team use an ultrasound machine to view Darla's unborn child. Wesley discovers that the child is human and a boy. A vampire cult that worships "The Miracle Child" interrupts the proceedings. Their leader says their goal is to protect Darla's child. At this point an assassin in Ninja costume leaps from the balcony, apparently intending to kill Darla and the child. The vampires make short work of him.

The vampire cult leader then says he intends to kill all of the humans and feed their blood to Darla to nourish the Miracle Child. This pleases Darla, who is very hungry.

At Wolfram & Hart, Gavin Park briefs a paramilitary team on the firm's plan to capture Darla, whom they believe is at the Hyperion Hotel. The question of how to take the child from Darla's body arises. Lilah introduces Dr. Fetvanovich, from Wolfram & Hart's Balkan office, who is an expert in paranormal obstetrics. He looks forward to dissecting both Darla and her child.

At the hospital, Darla says she intends to sit out the coming fight between the AI team and the vampire cult. She changes her mind when the leader of the vampire cult explains that his group intends to rip her apart as well. The AI team, with Darla, fight their way out of the hospital.

At the Hyperion Hotel, the Wolfram & Hart paramilitary team prepares for action, and Dr. Fetvanovich prepares for dissection. He has cages for both Darla and her child.

Angel drives away with the AI team and Darla. He thinks they should leave Los Angeles, but he is not sure where to go. Wesley says they should return to the Hyperion Hotel long enough to retrieve the Nyazian Scrolls.

Also at the hotel is Daniel Holtz, who manages to kill of the entirety of Wolfram & Hart's team. Angel arrives at the hotel to get the scrolls with the prophecy, and barely has he taken in the carnage and dead bodies around him before Holtz appears, ready for battle. The rest of the team waits in the car for Angel to return, but before he does, Darla's water breaks.

Body Count

  • Carolyn Holtz, drained by Angelus and Darla in 1764
  • Sarah Holtz, sired by Darla in 1764
  • Daniel Holtz Jr., neck snapped by Angelus and Darla in 1764
  • unidentified psychic, executed by a Wolfram & Hart agent
  • one Grappler demon, killed by another Grappler demon
  • Telekinetic Ninja assassin, drained by Ul-thar vampires
  • one Ul-thar vampire, dusted by Wesley
  • one Ul-thar vampire, dusted by Angel
  • Wolfram & Hart agents, killed by Holtz
  • Fetvanovich, killed by Holtz


Cordelia chides Gunn for being 'So damned honest'. This demonstrates her character growth since Sunnydale where she was known for her plain speaking and professed "Tact is just not saying true stuff".



  • Los Angeles, CA
  • York, England (1764 and 1773 in flashbacks)

Behind the Scenes

Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors

  • When Sahjhan is ready to take Holtz out of the cave, he throws a cloak at Holtz and tells him to put it on. An incorporeal being shouldn't be able to lift or throw objects.
  • It's unclear how Sahjhan could knock on the door where the demons are training if he's incorporeal. 
  • During the fight between the gang and the vampire cult, Wesley stakes a vampire jumping at him in slow-motion, thought no dusting is seen despite the sound effect being present.

Pop Culture References

  • Gunn makes a reference to the 1984 horror film C.H.U.D.: "Human as in humanoid? As in cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers?".
  • The term 'quickening' refers to the first time an expectant mother feels her child move inside her. It is also a reference to the 'Highlander' series.

International titles

  • German: Auf der Flucht (On the Run)
  • French: Accélération (Quickening)



Cordelia - [punches Darla, who starts to moan] "Oh, come on, tough girl! You're a vampire. A punch in the nose shouldn't hurt that much."
Fred - "Not aaow her nose. She's having contractions!" [Darla screams]
Angel - "Darla, you might wanna join the fight."
Darla - "Sorry, darling. I'm gonna have to be Switzerland and sit this one out. Now, you did say you were just gonna kill the humans, right?"
Vampire - "Yes, just the humans. Then we will nourish you, slice you open, wear your entrails as a belt and consume your eyeballs before we worship the miracle child."
Darla - "Okay. I'm in."
Fred - "Charles, do you have an extra dagger I could borrow?"
Gunn - [pulls out a dagger and hands it to her] "This okay?"
Fred - "Perfect."
Angel - "On my count of three. One, two ..."
Fred - [holds the dagger against Darla's belly] "You freaks make one move and I'll slice the miracle kid into triplets."
Cordelia - "It's always the quiet ones."
Vampire - "Wait!"
Fred - [quietly to Darla] "They don't know the knife can't hurt the baby."
Darla - [smiling] "They do now. Vampires have great hearing."
Gunn - "He said five minutes!"
Cordelia - "It's been six and a half."
Darla - "It's so typical of him."
Fred - "It probably wouldn't hurt to wait another minute, right? I mean, what's the worst thing that could happen in another minute?" [Darla lets out a blood-curdling scream] "Ask a stupid question ..."
Wesley - "Her water's broken. This is for real. There should be a blanket in the trunk."
Cordelia - "What are we gonna do? Deliver the kid right here? Shouldn't we go somewhere?"
Fred - "What's keeping Angel?"