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"Somnambulist" is the eleventh episode of the first season of Angel and the eleventh episode in the series. Written by Tim Minear and directed by Winrich Kolbe, it was originally broadcast on January 18, 2000, on The WB network.


SLEEPWALKER — When a serial killer stalks the Los Angeles streets, Wesley recognizes the chillingly familiar religious markings from Angelus' killing spree in the 1700s, and Angel must face the possibility that he is committing the murders in his sleep.[1]


A woman is running though the night, looking behind her in terror. She slides to a stop as someone steps in front of her and grabs her throat. The figure uses a metal finger claw to cut her cheek before biting her and draining her blood. When the figure looks up after dropping his dead victim, it is Angel in his vamp face. He wakes up in his bed, shaken.

Kate is investigating the crime scene. She comes across the woman and tilts her face to the side, revealing a cross has been cut into the woman's face. She announces that this was done by the same guy — this woman is his third victim — and that he's just getting started.

The next morning, Cordelia is practicing business-related lines to an empty chair, when Wesley arrives. He tells Cordelia he's brought the office's mail, but she remarks that the address is wrong — it belongs to the dentist's office next door. Wesley notices the front page of the newspaper with concern, and he leaves when he hears Angel coming up the elevator, claiming that he needs to return the mail to its proper owner.

Angel comes into the office in a bad mood, and Cordelia suggests having Kate help them run a license plate for their runaway case. Distracted, Angel almost walks out the front door during the day, and he announces he'll take the tunnels to get to Kate.

In the precinct, Kate is having her own troubles but agrees to help Angel. He sees pictures of the victim from his dream in one of Kate's active cases. Kate reveals that the tabloids are calling the killer "Pope," but Angel disagrees; this isn't a religious man, this is a man mocking God. Angel leaves and Kate gives a criminal profile to a room of police officers: he sees himself as superhuman, he is a loner, and he likely doesn't remember what he has done.

At the Angel Investigations office, Wesley quickly runs in, asking where Angel is. Cordelia states he isn't here, noting it is rude to bring a stake into a vampire's office. Wesley shows her the newspaper article which depicts the mutilated victim from Angel's dream. He also shows her his extensive research on Angel: the way the victim has been killed is identical to his method in the 1800s. Cordelia is defensive against Wesley's accusation and tells him that Angel is good now and her friend.

Angel arrives and admits that Wesley is right, telling them of the dreams he has been having. Wesley thinks that it is possible that Angel sleepwalks before dawn, the same time the murders take place. They decide that, for the night, Angel will be chained to his bed while Wesley makes sure that Angel doesn't escape.

As Angel sleeps, he dreams of a time in the 1800s when he stalks a frightened woman trying to flee. A figure gets in front of her, cuts a cross into her cheek, then bites her, draining her blood. The next morning, Cordelia comes in and happily explains that Angel couldn't be the killer because there has been another murder. However, Angel insists he is responsible.

In the office, Angel explains that he sired another vampire, Penn, and taught him to kill in the way these victims are being slaughtered. He says he has always had a connection to those he's sired, which explains why he sees the murders through Penn's eyes. They realize that Kate is hunting Penn and getting too close. Angel decides this could be good, as they can use Kate and her resources to track down Penn.

Angel visits Kate and gives her a drawing of Penn. While he is there, he sees crime scene photos from his murders. Angel realizes Penn has been killing people in this same way repeatedly, reliving murdering his family. Angel tells Kate the next victim will be a white male adolescent in a low-rent neighborhood, probably by a liquor store. He steals a police radio to make sure Kate's team is safe, and so Wesley can intervene if necessary.

Penn proves Angel correct by preying on a white male teen, who is asking passersby to buy alcohol because he forgot his ID. Penn lures him in by offering to buy the alcohol he wants. The police interrupt just as Penn starts to drink the teen's blood, and he flees into a nearby warehouse window.

Angel and Wesley arrive, realizing Penn must still be in the building. Angel throws the car in reverse and stops by a drainage pipe, which he climbs into. Alone, Kate creeps into the warehouse, searching for Penn, who comes down the stairs. She orders him not to move, but he continues, and she shoots him three times. Penn falls and Kate approaches, checking for a pulse and not finding one. Penn grabs Kate and throws her across the room.

As he makes his way toward her, Angel breaks in from the higher floor and confronts Penn. While Penn and Angel catch up, Kate radios in for extra help. She watches from afar as Angel changes into his vampire face, promising to kill Penn, and the two fight. Angel orders Kate to flee to safety, but she ignores his request. Penn throws Angel into Kate and escapes, and Angel realizes that this is the first time Kate has seen him as a vampire.

Later, Kate asks Angel what he is, and he says she already knows the answer. He tells Kate that she won't stop him without decapitation, a stake, or direct sunlight. She insists he is wrong, but Angel argues back that she is just in denial as there are some things in this world she just doesn't want to face. He leaves and Kate goes back to the station. She starts researching murder cases that match the Pope's profile, beginning at the first records they kept.

Back at Angel Investigations, Cordelia is telling her speech to Penn, whom she thinks is a potential customer. She soon realizes he is a vampire and that he is pumping her for information. Penn tells her she'll never make it to the exit, but she opens the curtains behind her just as Angel arrives, asking her for a stake. Penn and Angel argue before Cordelia returns and hands Angel the weapon. Wesley walks in and Penn grabs him, shoving him to Angel as a distraction before fleeing.

Kate has taken the time to study on vampires. When Angel goes to her house, she remarks that he has to be invited in, but that she certainly won't do it, because she knows who he was in the past. She blames him for everything Penn is doing and tells Angel she no longer needs his help, as she now knows what to do. She tells him that, the next time she sees Angel, she'll kill him.

Cordy finds reports from murders related to the Pope, and, with Wesley and Angel's help, figures out where Penn is hiding; he is a rather predictable vampire and kills in the same place every time he begins this reenactment. They go to Penn's hiding spot, the current Cloverwood Apartments, and search for him, coming across the newspaper clippings Penn has kept on his wall. They come across information on a school bus and its route, but Angel realizes this is just a distraction and runs to find Kate, who is being assaulted by Penn at the police station.

Penn drags Kate into the sewer and tells her he's not going to kill her, but make her wish he had by making her one of them, because then Angel will kill her. Kate throws holy water into Penn's face and runs away from him, as Penn tells Angel that he is correct: he has spent the past 200 years sticking it to his father, although notes Angel is his real father, as he has improved him in so many ways his mortal father never could. Angel accepts the role as father and tells Penn he's grounded.

The two vampires fight, and Penn gets Angel pinned so that if Kate is going to stake him, she'll have to go through Angel. Kate, however, shoves the spear through Angel's stomach and up into Penn's heart, killing him. Angel says she missed, but Kate says she didn't.

Later, Angel sits in the balcony of his apartment. Cordy tells him she has had a new vision, and Angel tells her he's wondering if the world really does change. Cordy assures him the world does change, and that he has changed. She assures him that the message she got in her vision wasn't for Angelus, it was for Angel, and that the Powers That Be know the difference. Angel asks her what she'd do if the day ever comes that he loses his soul. Cordelia doesn't hesitate in assuring him that she'll kill him dead, and for this he thanks her.


  • Wesley mentions to Cordelia when they joined forces against an empath demon, referring to the events from "Parting Gifts."
  • Under the influence of the demon lord Archaeus, Angel will suffer again with dreams of past killings that repeat in the current days, the first seen in Old Habits, as will Spike in Love Dares You, Part Two.
  • Angel says he got held up in Romania after he last saw Penn, referring to the Kalderash people cursing him with a soul in 1898 ("Becoming, Part One").



Organizations and titles[]




Death count[]

  • Jessica Halpren, blood drained by Penn in Los Angeles.
  • Jinny Markem, blood drained by Penn in Los Angeles (only mentioned).
  • Reggie Sparks, blood drained by Penn in Los Angeles (only mentioned).
  • Penn's older sister, blood drained by Penn in Ireland (in flashbacks).
  • Penn's father, mother, brother, and younger sister, blood drained by Penn in Ireland (in flashbacks).
  • Unidentified woman, blood drained by Penn in Los Angeles (only mentioned).
  • Unidentified man, blood drained by Penn in Los Angeles (only mentioned).
  • Penn, staked by Kate Lockley in Los Angeles.

Behind the scenes[]


  • The script was originally called "The Killer I Created" until a detailed summary appeared online, prompting Tim Minear to alter the title. He explains: "I went on to the Buffy message board... changed the title and said it was about dreams and about horrible things that you do in your sleep, which completely fooled the fans."[2]
  • After writing the first draft, Tim Minear had to rewrite parts of the script to accommodate Wesley's arrival and Doyle's departure; the final scene on the rooftop was originally between Angel and Doyle.[2]
  • Alexis Denisof (Wesley) replaces Glenn Quinn (Doyle) in the opening credit sequence.
  • Despite this episode being broadcast in 2000, the date in the copyright credit reads "1999" as it was produced in that year.


  • "Somnambulist" had an audience of 3.1 million households upon its original airing.[3]

Deleted scenes[]

  • When Cordelia tries to persuade Angel to take a license plate number to Kate, the following line was cut due to length:[4]
    Cordelia: "Just remind her that if it wasn't for you she'd be the curdled gooey leftovers of a proto-Babylonian Burrower demon. Or words to that effect. You'll pretty it up."

Pop culture references[]

  • Cordelia refers to Angelus training Penn by calling him "Psycho-Wan Kenobi" after the Star Wars character Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Cordelia comments that the comedian Gallagher has changed his act more times than Penn has in two centuries of performing.
  • Cordy refers to the film Apt Pupil when she recognizes Penn.
  • Penn mocks Angel with the name of the upbeat singing group Up with People.
  • Wesley says: "You'd be locked up faster than Lady Hamilton's virtue." Lady Hamilton, wife of Sir William Hamilton, was born Emma Hart (1765-1815), a woman of great beauty and charm who rose from humble origins to international fame. Emma attracted the attention of Lord Horatio Nelson, with whom she had a notorious romantic liaison until his death at the Battle of Trafalgar. Although she inherited money from both Hamilton and Nelson, her extravagance led her into debt, and she died in poverty.


International titles[]

  • Czech: "Náměsíčník" (Somnambulist)
  • Finnish: "Unissakävelijä" (Somnambulist)
  • French: "Rêves prémonitoires" (Premonitory Dreams)
  • German: "Schatten der Vergangenheit" (Shadow of the Past)
  • Hungarian: "Rémálom" (Nightmare)
  • Italian: "Il pupillo" (The Pupil)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "O Sonâmbulo" (The Somnambulist)
  • Russian: "Сомнамбулист" (Somnambulist)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Sonámbulo" (Somnambulist)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Sonámbulo" (Somnambulist)
  • Turkish: "Uyurgezer" (Somnambulist)


Behind the scenes[]


Cordelia: "Okay, you get to leave now. You're not gonna come in here and accuse Angel like this."
Wesley: "Cordelia..."
Cordelia: "No! I don't care how many files you have on all the horrible things he did back in the powdered wig days! He is good now. And he's my friend. And nothing you or anyone else can say will make me turn on a friend!"
Angel: "Cordelia. He's right."
Cordelia: "You stake him and I'll cut his head off."
Cordelia: "Great news, sports fans. There's been another killing. Okay, well, maybe not so great news for the, you know, dead person..."
Wesley: "Nothing on the streets about a new vampire in town... Which is maybe because he's here — and has me by the throat."


  1. "EpisodeGuideSeason1." Geocities.ws. Retrieved on January 9, 2023.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Edward Gross, "ANGEL: Season One, Episode By Episode with Tim Minear - Part 3." TimMinear.net 5.0, August 28, 2000. Archived from the original on April 12, 2016.
  3. "Nielsen Ratings for Angel's First Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 18, 2008.
  4. Nancy Holder, Jeff Mariotte, and Maryelizabeth Hart, The Casefiles, Volume 1. Simon Pulse, June 2002.