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


Angel must do everything in his power to protect Darla and their unborn child when Wolfram & Hart launches a full attack to take mother and baby, in addition to a vampire cult who believe the baby is The Miracle Child.[1]


York, 1764 — In England, vampire hunter Daniel Holtz pursues Angelus and Darla, following a trail they left for him. At their supposed hiding place, they left a note that asks, "How do you hope to save others when you cannot save your own?" Meanwhile, Angelus and Darla enter Holtz's home by tricking his daughter into inviting them inside. Angelus and Darla then kill his wife and two children. Holtz returns home to find his family dead and the vampires gone.

In present-day, Sahjhan educates Holtz on global history through footage of past events displayed on several television monitors.

In the Hyperion Hotel, Darla and Angel discuss the last time they were together in his suite and which of them seduced the other. Their conversation is cut short as the Angel Investigations team arrives with information on the prophecy. Darla believes their baby is protected by some kind of powerful force because she has tried and failed to get rid of it. The team begins to discuss possible ways to destroy the baby, but Angel wants his child protected and refuses to let anyone hurt it. Cordelia is reluctant to protect Darla or the baby but is more willing after she gets her delayed revenge by punching Darla in the face. Suddenly, Darla's contractions cause her to cry out in pain. Fearing she has gone into labor, the group takes her to the hospital to deliver her baby.

Lilah is at her desk at Wolfram & Hart, signing a document in blood. A Mailroom worker named Cyril gives her a disk that contains a video of a possessed Angel kissing Lilah on his desk. He tells her that Gavin sent the supposed exterminators to the Hyperion Hotel to install surveillance bugs. Lilah goes to confront Gavin and discovers he has video footage and audio transcripts from the hotel's everyday operations. Lilah notices there's a pregnant woman staying at the hotel and identifies her as Darla. The two lawyers join forces and alert the head of Special Projects, Linwood Murrow, to the pregnancy, and the firm begins investigating. They gather psychics and telepaths and intend to kidnap Darla and the baby and dissect them to find out what it means.

Nine years after the deaths of Holtz's family, Sahjhan visits him. The demon says he would never see Angel or Darla again, but, if he promised to kill them both, he would send Holtz into the future to carry out the deed and finally get his revenge.

At the hospital, the AI team uses an ultrasound machine to view Darla's baby. Wesley discovers the child is human and a boy, which makes Angel happy as he contemplates becoming a father. Suddenly, a vampire cult enters the room, and the leader announces their goal is to protect Darla's "miracle child." Suddenly, an assassin dressed as a ninja leaps from the balcony, aiming for Darla and her child. The vampires quickly overpower him, killing him instantly. The leader announces he intends to kill all of the humans in the room and feed their blood to Darla to nourish the baby, which pleases Darla since she is starving. Angel urges Darla to help them fight, but she declines. However, she changes her mind as the vampire leader reveals the cult's plans to rip her apart and wear her insides. The AI team, along with Darla, fight their way out of the hospital.

As they walk around Los Angeles, Sahjhan tells Holtz about life in the present. Although the world has changed due to technology, people have stayed the same for the most part: they work hard, fight, drink too much, and fall in love. Holtz asks if people still have families, and Sahjhan answers yes. They arrive at a demon gym and watch as Grappler demons fight each other. Sahjhan suggests he hire the demons to help him defeat Angel, but Holtz rejects the idea because they are not humans. Sahjhan tells him that the species does not matter because they are merciless in combat and can be valuable.

At Wolfram & Hart, Gavin 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 remove 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. Accompanied by the guards, the doctor arrives at the hotel and prepares for dissection. He arranges cages for Darla and her baby as they anticipate the vampire's return.

While driving the group across town, Angel catches Darla gazing at her belly. He senses she is developing human-like feelings toward their unborn child, despite her efforts to hide them from him. He suggests they all leave Los Angeles, but the group can't agree on where to go. Wesley suggests they return to the hotel long enough to retrieve the Nyazian Scrolls that contain the prophecy. Angel orders the group to wait for him in the alley while he heads to the hotel on foot and tells them to leave without him if he does not return in five minutes.

At the hotel, Holtz manages to kill the whole Wolfram & Hart team. When Angel arrives to collect the scrolls, he is taken aback by the carnage and dead bodies scattered throughout the lobby. Holtz appears suddenly and addresses Angel by his former name, Angelus, telling him he has been looking for him.

While the rest of the team waits for Angel to return, Darla's water breaks and she screams in agony. After laying her down in the back seat, the team decides whether they should try to deliver the baby in the alley or find another location. As Wesley and Gunn pull a blanket out of the trunk and drape it over Darla, Fred wonders aloud what could be keeping Angel.


  • Although in "Heartthrob" Angelus heavily implied that he raped Caroline, here he is shown killing her immediately.
  • Cyril tells Lilah the exterminators Gavin sent to the Hyperion Hotel "don't kill bugs, they plant them." The exterminators were seen on "That Old Gang of Mine," a part of Gavin's strategy to thwart Angel through legal, bureaucratic means. He started this endeavor purporting to be a prospective buyer of the hotel, in "Over the Rainbow," continued it by filing a list of 57 alleged real estate violations with the city planning office, in "That Vision-Thing," and told Lilah of aspects of this strategy, in "Carpe Noctem."
  • Gavin has footage of Angel making out with Lilah when he was possessed by Marcus Roscoe in "Carpe Noctem."
  • When Gunn suggests finding a doctor to care for Darla, Cordelia recalls she already tried "that whole shaman-voodoo-witch-doctor thing." Darla was seen seeking a shaman at the end of "Heartthrob" and consulting with one at the end of "That Old Gang of Mine."
  • Linwood threatens to use Lilah as a scapegoat for overseeing Darla's resurrection in "To Shanshu in L.A."



Organizations and titles[]




Death count[]

  • Carolyn Holtz, blood drained by Angelus and Darla (in flashbacks).
  • Sarah Holtz, sired by Darla (in flashbacks).
  • Daniel Holtz Jr., neck snapped by Angelus and Darla (in flashbacks).
  • Unidentified psychic, suffocated by a Wolfram & Hart agent.
  • One Grappler demon, killed by another Grappler demon.
  • Telekinetic assassin, blood drained by Ul-thar vampires.
  • One Ul-thar vampire, staked by Wesley.
  • One Ul-thar vampire, staked by Angel.
  • Wolfram & Hart agents, killed by Holtz.
  • Fetvanovich, killed by Holtz.

Behind the scenes[]


  • "Quickening" had an audience of 3.2 million households upon its original airing.[2]

Pop culture references[]


  • Despite Sahjhan being incorporeal, he throws a cloak at Holtz at one point and later knocks on a door.
  • During the fight between the AI team and the vampire cult, Wesley stakes a vampire jumping at him in slow-motion, though no dusting is seen despite the sound effect being present.


International titles[]

  • Czech: "Zrychlení" (Quickening)
  • Finnish: "Supistuksia" (Contractions)
  • French: "Accélération" (Quickening)
  • German: "Auf der Flucht" (On the Run)
  • Hungarian: "Gyorsulás" (Quickening)
  • Italian: "Accelerazione" (Quickening)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "O Despertar" (The Awakening)
  • Russian: "Оживление" (Revitalization)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Resucitados" ([Plural] Resurrected)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Acelerando" (Quickening)
  • Turkish: "Hızlandırmak" (Quickening)


Promotional stills[]

Behind the scenes[]


Cordelia: "Oh, come on, tough girl! You're a vampire. A punch in the nose shouldn't hurt that much."
Fred: "Not 'ow' her nose. She's having contractions!"
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: "This okay?"
Fred: "Perfect."
Angel: "On my count of three. One, two ..."
Fred: "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: "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 screams) "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?"


  1. "angel: Quickening." TheWB.com. Archived from the original on February 14, 2004.
  2. "Nielsen Ratings for Angel's Third Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 5, 2008.