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"Release" is the fourteenth episode of the fourth season of Angel and the eightieth episode overall. It was written by Sarah Fain, Elizabeth Craft, and Steven S. DeKnight and directed by James A. Contner. It was originally broadcast on March 12, 2003, on The WB network.


Angelus continues his search for The Beast's mysterious master, never suspecting that it could be someone close to him. Meanwhile, Faith and Angelus do battle while Cordelia convinces Connor to keep their baby a secret.[1]


As a battered and bloodied Faith recovers at Wesley's apartment after her showdown with the Beast, they try to determine why Angelus would suddenly kill the Beast and allow the sun to return to Los Angeles.

At a demon bar, Angelus is spoken to by a deep, disembodied voice, which turns out to be Cordelia, projecting from the Hyperion Hotel. She has stolen Angel's soul and is keeping it close to her. Cordelia confirms that she manipulated the gang into removing the soul, then stole it to ensure it couldn't be returned. Angelus refuses to submit to the Beast's master and demands a face-to-face meeting.

Angelus surprises Fred at the Hyperion Hotel, claiming he is immune to the Sanctorium spell. He demands information on the Beast's master; she realizes he is bluffing and tries to fight back, but he steals her research materials. Fred tries to shoot him with a tranquilizer dart, but accidentally hits Lorne instead. Connor attempts to stop Angelus, but is repelled by the demon protection spell.

Angelus is contacted again by Cordelia telepathically. This time, she threatens to restore his soul if he refuses to help.

Fred's mood worsens as she feels inadequate to fight Angelus. Fred and Gunn kiss but pull away, unsure of their feelings.

Meanwhile, Cordelia convinces Connor to keep her sudden pregnancy a secret from everyone else. She tells him the only thing he should worry about is keeping her and the baby safe.

Faith and Wesley try to track Angelus at a demon bar. There, they encounter human junkies who get high on the vampire bites. Faith smacks a drugged woman around to get information, but she claims to know nothing. Wesley then stabs the woman in the arm, prompting her to admit that she saw Angelus earlier speaking to a voice that only he could hear.

Faith and Wesley eventually track Angelus to a deserted museum. The Slayer has another showdown with Angelus, who gets the upper hand and bites her neck.


  • When Fred nearly shoots Connor with the tranquilizer gun, he remarks, "[I] thought you were more of a taser girl." This is a reference to the episode "Deep Down," wherein she used a taser to render him unconscious (and later to torture him), after she and Gunn found out that he had imprisoned Angel at the bottom of the sea.
  • When Wesley and Faith are looking for Angelus, they discover that people are getting high from vampire bites, similar to Riley's experience revealed in "Into the Woods."
  • The description of Angelus talking to himself is similar to the method of the First Evil ("Never Leave Me").
  • When provoking Faith, Wesley makes reference to her torturing him in "Five by Five" and the Watchers Council's attempt to kill/capture her in "Sanctuary."
  • Faith becomes the latest member of the Scooby Gang to be bitten by a vampire, following Buffy in "Prophecy Girl," Angel in "Becoming, Part One," Willow in "The Harsh Light of Day," Spike in "Fool for Love," and Andrew in "Never Leave Me." Cordelia will be bitten in "You're Welcome."



Organizations and titles[]





Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • One vampire, dusted by Wesley.

Behind the scenes[]


  • After 44 appearances as a guest star, Andy Hallett was finally added to the opening credits. For the first time in the series, there are now more main characters that are exclusive to Angel than there are characters that originated in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which will last until "Underneath" with Harmony's promotion to the main cast).
  • This is one of the longest cold openings, at 5:27. This record is later beaten by "The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco" with a length of 6 minutes and 18 seconds. The longest is "Harm's Way," with a length of 6 minutes and 49 seconds.


  • "Release" had an audience of 2.4 million households upon its original airing.[2]

Pop culture references[]

  • Angelus refers to the Angel Investigations team as The Brady Bunch, the title of the family sitcom that aired from 1969 to 1974.
  • Gunn compares Angelus' actions to the gothic vampire soap opera Dark Shadows (1966–1971), which had a revival in 1991.
  • Fred refers to Faith as the fictional superhero Supergirl.
  • After Fred calls herself a "little mouse," Gunn refers to her as the cartoon mouse "Minnie."
  • Gunn refers to Angelus as "Moriarty," a criminal mastermind and enemy of detective Sherlock Holmes.
  • Faith calls Angelus "GQ," referring to the men's fashion magazine.


International titles[]

  • Czech: "Oproštění" (Release)
  • Finnish: "Release"
  • French: "Libération" (Release)
  • German: "Alte Feinde" (Old Enemies)
  • Hungarian: "Kibocsátás" (Release)
  • Italian: "Liberazione" (Release)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Libertação" (Release)
  • Russian: "Освобождение" (Release)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Liberado" (Released)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Liberación" (Release)
  • Turkish: "Serbest Bırakmak" (Release)


Promotional stills[]

Behind the scenes[]


Demon: "Look, I'm telling ya, I don't know nothing. On my mother's tumor. And even if I did, I'd never yak to a couple of flesh-bags that are about to get their internal organs sucked out of their—"
Wesley: "Strom demon. Face should grow back. Eventually."
Faith: "Think yours will?"
Demon: "Oh, that Angelus. Yeah, in here all the time running his mouth. 'Look at me, I'm so evil.' Real jackass. Never liked him. I'm on your side."
Angelus: "Uh-oh! Vampire with a gun!"


  1. "angel: Release." TheWB.com. Archived from the original on October 9, 2004.
  2. "Nielsen Ratings for Angel's Fourth Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008.