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"The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco" is the sixth episode of the fifth season of Angel and the ninety-fourth episode in the series. Written and directed by Jeffrey Bell, it was originally broadcast on November 5, 2003, on The WB network.


Angel learns that he must track down a retired Mexican wrestler to help him defeat Tezcatcatl, an ancient Aztec warrior who emerges every 50 years to take the heart of a hero to sustain his own existence. Angel is surprised to find the wrestler is employed at his company, Wolfram & Hart, and that he has a personal score to settle with Tezcatcatl.[1]


On the Mexican Day of the Dead, Angel has a run-in with a masked Wolfram & Hart employee who's connected to an Aztec warrior demon named Tezcatcatl, who preys on the hearts of heroes. This leads Angel to wrestle with some personal issues when he learns about "Los Hermanos Números," a family of five Mexican wrestlers who helped the helpless until one day they were slain by Tezcatcatl, except for the fifth brother. Angel helps the last member, Número Cinco, to discover the hero inside, which he lost when his family was killed.

Meanwhile, Spike researches the Shanshu Prophecy, which he heard Angel saying he doesn't believe is real.


  • Wesley doesn't recognize when Angel mentions the prophecy of "the father will kill the son." Wesley doesn't remember it because of Angel's deal in the episode "Home."
  • Spike says to Angel: "...my old tumble fetching you tasty snacks." He means Harmony, who is Angel's secretary ("Conviction") and with whom Spike had an on-and-off affair from "The Harsh Light of Day" until "Crush."
  • The speech Angel gives to Número Cinco at the wrestling match is a rewording of the one he gave to Kate Lockley in "Epiphany."
  • Spike knows about the Shanshu Prophecy because Angel told him in "Hell Bound."
  • Spike has realized that the Shanshu Prophecy may apply to him as well, not just Angel. The two will deal with this conflict in the episode "Destiny."
  • Número Cinco replies that Angel will be "the one in a mask standing in a cemetery in the middle of the night." In about one year, Angel will hide his identity with a luchador-like mask and plot his mission as "Twilight" in a cemetery (Riley: Commitment Through Distance, Virtue Through Sin).



Organizations and titles[]




Death count[]

  • Carlos and a security guard, hearts extracted by Tezcatcatl;
  • Homeless man, heart extracted by Tezcatcatl (only mentioned).
  • Charitable woman, heart extracted by Tezcatcatl (only mentioned).
  • Fireman, heart extracted by Tezcatcatl (only mentioned).
  • Número Cinco, killed by Tezcatcatl.
  • Tezcatcatl, stabbed by Angel.

Behind the scenes[]


  • The episode was originally titled "Night of the Luchadors."[2]
  • This episode had the longest cold opening in the whole series so far at 6 minutes and 18 seconds. The record was previously held by "Release" and will be beaten by "Harm's Way," with 6 minutes and 49 seconds.
  • When Carlos is attacked at the start of the episode, as he is thrown through the air, he emits the infamous Wilhelm scream. This familiar scream sound effect has been heard in over 140 movies and various TV shows.
  • Writer and director Jeffrey Bell explains that he always wanted to work Mexican wrestling into one of his The X-Files scripts, but it wasn't until he pitched the idea to creator Joss Whedon that he was able to realize his "lifelong dream, to tell a story about Mexican wrestlers."[3]


  • When Número Cinco is given the business card for Wolfram & Hart, the phrase "Attorneys at Law" is incorrectly pluralized as "Attorney's at Law."
  • When Angel is on the phone with Fred, Angel's reflection is briefly visible in a window pane in front of him.

Pop culture references[]

  • Lorne refers to Número Cinco as El Cid, a Castilian knight in medieval Spain.
  • Gunn calling Angel's signature his "Herbie Hancock" is most likely a reference to the Chris Farley movie Tommy Boy (1995), where the titular Tommy character confuses the Declaration of Independence signer John Hancock with the American jazz performer.


International titles[]

  • Czech: "Varovný příběh Numero Cinco" (The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco)
  • Finnish: "Vainajien päivä" (Day of the Dead)
  • French: "Coeur de héros" (Heart of a Hero)
  • German: "Der Tag der Toten" (The Day of the Dead)
  • Hungarian: "Az ötös titka" (The Secret of the Five)
  • Italian: "La triste storia di Numero Cinco" (The Sad Story of Numero Cinco)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "A História do Número Cinco" (The Tale of Numero Cinco)
  • Russian: "Поучительная история о Великолепной Пятёрке" (The Cautionary Tale of the Magnificent Five)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "La cuidadosa aventura del Número Cinco" (The Careful Adventure of the Número Cinco)
  • Spanish (Spain): "El cuento preventivo del Número Cinco" (The Cautionary Tale of the Número Cinco)
  • Turkish: "Numero Cinco'nun İbretlik Hikayesi" (Numero Cinco's Cautionary Tale)


Promotional stills[]

Behind the scenes[]



  1. "angel: The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco." TheWB.com. Archived from the original on October 19, 2004.
  2. "The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco." BBC - Cult - Angel. Retrieved on October 5, 2021.
  3. "Jeff Bell - Cult Times Magazine Interview." Joss Whedon : Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, Avengers, December 17, 2003.