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"Spin the Bottle" is the sixth episode of the fourth season of Angel and the seventy-second episode in the series. Written and directed by Joss Whedon, it was originally broadcast on November 10, 2002, on The WB network.


When Lorne performs a spell on Cordelia to restore her memory, it inadvertently causes the gang to revert back to their high school personas and leaves them with no memories of each other. Eventually, they discover that the only way to reverse the spell is to kill a vampire, just as Angel realizes that he is one.[1]


After his rendition of "The Way We Were," Lorne narrates the conversation that Angel and Cordelia had. Cordelia questions whether she and Angel were in love, and Angel is uncertain. Cordelia just wants to remember who she is. Lorne arrives with the answer: a bottle containing a memory restoration spell, which Cordelia is eager to try. Wesley arrives, having been asked by Lorne to help with the spell while testing a weapon on his right arm. He has an awkward meeting with Fred, and she vaguely informs him that her mission was completed. Gunn realizes that Wesley helped Fred try to kill her professor. Gunn confronts Wesley and threatens him to not pursue Fred, but Wesley tries to dismiss the issue, triggering his collapsible sword. Gunn asks what happened to him. Wesley reminds Gunn: "I had my throat cut and all my friends abandoned me."

The gang hold hands in a circle around the bottle as it starts to spin. The spell disorients everyone; Lorn passes out and the others stumble about the lobby. Cordelia suddenly smashes the bottle with her boot. She starts talking about kidnapping and sophomore pranks, as she has mentally regressed to when she was the most popular girl at Sunnydale High School; Wesley believes he is still a student at the Watchers Academy, Gunn is once again a rebellious street kid, Fred is transformed into a younger and insecure pothead, and Angel acts as a frightened Irish teenager from 1753 named Liam.

While Liam wonders what happened to his Irish accent, saying its the devil, the rest of the gang question what brought them together and what they should do to solve the mystery of their current situation. Gunn and Wesley butt heads on plans and when Wesley tries to demonstrate his toughness with a karate demonstration, he unintentionally activates the stake weapon up his sleeve. When Gunn and Fred find Lorne passed out behind the counter, they are shocked to see a demon. Liam restates its the Devil. Meanwhile, Connor saves a young woman from two vampires. The woman offers her body in repayment, but only if he pays $50.

Back at the Hyperion Hotel, Wesley duct tapes Lorne to the seat in the lobby while arguing with Gunn over whether to cut Lorne's head off or torture him for information. When Cordelia asks why they're not freaking out about wooded stakes or the sight of a green man with horns, Wesley and Gunn both reveal that vampires and demons are real and they both have experience with them. Fred examines an unconscious Lorne while Wesley shares his theory that they're being kept in the hotel with a vampire as a test. They all start to wonder why they don't look 17 like they feel, and collectively decide to hunt for the vampire that will supposedly set them free once they kill it.

Cordelia and Liam team up and go one way while the other three head in the other direction. Liam struggles to adjust to this modern world. Cordy tries to comfort him; however, while she turns away, Liam vamps out and much to his own surprise, realizes that he's a vampire and he will be killed if the gang finds out. Liam tries to leave the hotel, but freaks out when he spots the cars on the street and rushes back inside to announcing that there are demons outside.

As the group regathers in the lobby, Wesley introduces a new theory: the vampire may be one of them. He passes a cross around the group, but when it finally reaches Liam, he manages to hide his smoking hand until a distraction develops. Lorne wakes up, his memory unaffected, and identifies Liam as a vampire. Liam punches Lorne and is knocked out again. A fight breaks out between Liam, Wesley, and Gunn, and the girls run in separate directions. Liam catches Cordelia, who screams loudly, drawing a lurking Connor out of the shadows. Liam rants to Connor about fathers as the two fight.

In the lobby, Lorne convinces Fred to release him, and he mixes together a concoction to restore their memories. After treating the others, Lorne puts a touch of the mixture on Cordy's tongue. She pauses for a second before running off. At the stage, Lorne says that, although they didn't know it at the time, when he restored Cordelia's memory it caused something powerful and evil to wake up.

Cordelia reveals to Angel that she remembers everything. He asks her the same question she asked him earlier that evening: Were they in love? She tells him they were and walks off, leaving Angel behind. Lorne then walks off the stage, leaving the empty lounge.


  • This episode takes place immediately after the previous episode, "Supersymmetry."
  • When Connor first appeared as a teenager, it was mentioned that he was sixteen years old ("Tomorrow") but, in this episode, Cordelia says he is already 18.
  • When Cordelia, under the spell, first sees Angel, she says: "Hello, salty goodness," the same thing she said upon first seeing him in "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date."
  • This episode marks the first appearance of the being later known as Jasmine, while possessing Cordelia. As it'll be revealed in "Inside Out," Jasmine is released from the safeguard, set in place by the Powers That Be to hold her at bay, which is broken by the spell the group performs.
  • The age the characters regress to is unclear; Fred states "not one of y'all look 17," implying that would be the age they think they are — although she may have simply been "rounding up" — but Cordelia has no recollection of Slayers or vampires nor does she recognize Angel, despite meeting him when she was 16 ("Never Kill a Boy on the First Date") and learning about the supernatural world in her sophomore year ("Angel"/"Prophecy Girl").
  • When Wesley talks about the test Watchers have done to Slayers, he is referring to the Tento di Cruciamentum, a test first seen when Buffy underwent it in "Helpless."
  • Fred speaks to a plant in this episode, as she previously did in "That Old Gang of Mine." Spike mentions that speaking to plants might be one of Illyria's powers in "Origin."
  • Fred confuses a Slayer with the thrash band of the same name. In "Doomed," Forrest also mentioned this connection.
  • Fred asks if anyone else took a personality test recently, with questions "about politics, and your bowel movements, and if you want to be a florist..." This would seem to be the same florist question test that was mentioned in "Doppelgängland."
  • Cordelia says Connor is 18 years old, the first time he is given a concrete age after returning from Quor'toth in "The Price."
  • This episode follows a similar plot to the episodes "Tabula Rasa" (erased memories) and "Band Candy" (reversion to teenage personalities). Like Buffy in "Halloween," Angel mistakes cars for demons. Oddly in "Tabula Rasa," soulless Spike identifies himself with a path of righteousness after discovering he is a vampire, while Angel resorts to being evil, despite having a soul.
  • While Lorne is unconscious, Gunn suggests cutting off his head. "There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb" showed that this would not have actually killed him.
  • Lorne is seen smoking on stage during his narration, he was also seen finishing off a cigarette in "Fredless".



Organizations and titles[]




Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • One vampire, staked by Connor.

Behind the scenes[]


  • Joss Whedon says this episode grew out of his desire to see Wesley return to the "bumbling moron" of the past. "We were reminiscing about the days when he was a complete idiot, and so we thought we wanted to see old-school Wesley but also cool, new-school Wesley," Whedon explains.[2]
  • Whedon gave Lorne's spell the side-effect of making the gang "high" to differentiate this memory spell from a similar one used in the episode "Tabula Rasa," readily admitting the spell itself is "lazy writing," meant only to set the plot in motion.[2]
  • This episode took much longer to film due to the cast finding it difficult to stop laughing. Amy Acker and Andy Hallett ruined dozens of takes by giggling, and Alexis Denisof and David Boreanaz prolonged shooting for an hour and a half when they couldn't stop laughing. To get the scene, Denisof explains that he and Boreanaz resolved not to look at each other; on the episode's audio commentaries, Whedon points out background shots where Boreanaz is still failing to keep a straight face.[2]
  • Whedon notes that while writing this episode, he already knew that Connor and Cordelia were going to have sex, but the story had to move faster than he had originally planned because Carpenter became pregnant.[2]
  • Whedon has commented that the term "moussaka" has never been featured on a TV show before. However, Giles remarks that he has made one in "Amends."[2]


  • "Spin the Bottle" had an audience of 2.4 million households upon its original airing.[3]

Pop culture references[]

  • Gone with the Wind: Cordelia: "We've heard from Scarlett 'Oh, please shut me up.'"
  • Motel Hell: Fred says, "Well... maybe it's Motel Hell?"
  • Jaws: Lorne: "I'm gonna need a bigger drink."


International titles[]

  • Czech: "Roztočte láhev" (Spin the Bottle)
  • Finnish: "Pyöritä pulloa" (Spin the Bottle)
  • French: "La bouteille magique" (The Magic Bottle)
  • German: "Flaschendrehen" (Spin the Bottle)
  • Hungarian: "Palackba zártan" (Bottled Up)
  • Italian: "Gira la bottiglia" (Spin the Bottle)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Girando a Garrafa" (Spinning the Bottle)
  • Russian: "Бутылочка" (Bottle)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "El hechizo de la botella" (The Spell of the Bottle)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Botella" (Bottle)
  • Turkish: "Şişe Çevirmece" (Spin the Bottle)


  • Joss Whedon and Alexis Denisof provided the audio commentaries for this episode.
  • The episode's script was published in the illustrated Scriptbook: Spin the Bottle.


Promotional stills[]

Behind the scenes[]


Gunn: "What happened to you, man?"
Wesley: "I got my throat cut and all my friends abandoned me."


  1. "angel: Spin the Bottle." TheWB.com. Archived from the original on July 1, 2004.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Joss Whedon and Alexis Denisof, Angel Season Four on DVD; audio commentaries for "Spin the Bottle." 20th Century Studios, September 2004.
  3. "Nielsen Ratings for Angel's Fourth Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008.