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"Through the Looking Glass" is the twenty-first episode of the second season of Angel and the forty-third episode in the series. Written and directed by Tim Minear, it was originally broadcast on May 15, 2001, on The WB network.


Angel, Gunn, Wesley and the Host are sentenced to death in a demon dimension after trying to rescue a lost Cordelia, but are even more shocked to find themselves brought before Her Royal Highness... Cordelia. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Her Majesty, Cordy's reign will be a short one.[1]


Angel, Wesley, and Gunn are shocked to see Cordelia has been crowned princess of Pylea. She demands their heads be cut off, but quickly clarifies she is joking. After she dismisses the guards, Cordelia recounts how, because she was "cursed with the sight," she was declared princess. Lorne confirms his people have a prophecy that a messiah cursed with the sight will restore their monarchy, which has been empty for several millennia. While Wesley, Cordelia, Lorne, and Gunn discuss how to leave Pylea, Angel discovers that he can see himself in mirrors, lamenting over the way his hair looks.

Lorne takes Angel to his family's house, where they chase Lorne away, considering him to be a traitor. However, his cousin Landok identifies Angel as a hero who saved his life. The people celebrate Angel, who is made the special guest of their upcoming village feast. He then tells stories of his adventures to the villagers while Lorne is ignored. Landok offers Angel the honor of "swinging the Crebbil in the Bach-nal," and Angel agrees to take part. Soon he discovers that means beheading a human so the people of Pylea can feast on her. Fred is brought forth, but Angel refuses to kill her. With no music in their world, the villagers are in intense pain when Lorne starts to sing, enabling Angel to flee on horseback with Fred.

While perusing the castle library, Wesley discovers the Cursed One will have to perform a ritual called "com-shuck" with a "Groosalugg." He considers asking the priests to translate the book, but he realizes it is part of a three-volume book marked with a different animal on the cover of each volume. The three animals are wolf, ram, and hart, meaning that the books are likely connected to Wolfram & Hart. Wesley concludes that they cannot trust the priests.

Silas, one of the priests, arrives to inform Cordelia that the Groosalugg has been summoned and that the com-shuck is a mating ritual. Wesley, Gunn, and Cordelia try to escape through a sewer tunnel, but Cordelia is caught by the priests and dragged back to her throne. Heavily guarded, Cordelia worries about mating with the demon, until Silas introduces the Groosalugg — an attractive and muscular young male with human appearance.

Fred leads Angel to a cave, where she has been hiding for a long time. Fred talks nervously as she scribbles on the walls. Angel finds her driver's license and realizes she is the girl from Cordy's vision, and that her scribbles are advanced physics, as she had been a graduate student in the field back in Los Angeles. She doesn't believe him when he tells her about her life in L.A. and how she arrived in Pylea; she believes she was beheaded in the plaza or has gone insane. Angel assures her that is not true and he can save her.

On their way to the castle, Angel and Fred are attacked by guards. During battle, Angel shifts into vampire mode. Instead of his regular vampire visage, he transforms into a mindless demon — a green beast with spikes and ridges on his face. He uses his fangs to rip into the guard's body. Still in beast mode, Angel sniffs Fred with interest before running away.

Wesley and Gunn search the woods for Angel, until they are attacked by a green demon wearing Angel's clothes. The demon attacks Gunn, and during the struggle, Wesley notices Angel's tattoo. Wesley calls out to Angel, but he does not recognize them. Nearby, Fred coats her hand in blood and lures Angel away from his friends. Wesley helps Gunn with his wounds and explains that, as they're in an alternate dimension, the balance that Angel has on Earth has been disrupted. This means he has unintentionally revealed his pure, unaltered inner demon.

Back in Fred's cave, Angel sees his demonic reflection in water and switches back to human form. The ordeal leaves him terrified and shaking on the ground.

In the forest, Gunn and Wesley are surrounded and tied up by rebel humans who want to send a message to the castle — they believe that Wesley and Gunn are spy-cows. Wesley tries to convince the rebels that they know the princess and suggest they use them to contact her. The rebels agree, but their idea involves decapitating the men and putting a note in the mouths of their severed heads.

Fred comforts Angel as he deals with the aftermath of being controlled by the demon inside of him. He concludes that his friends saw what he really was and now he can never go back to them.

As a half-demon, the Groosalugg tells Cordelia that his human characteristics make him unappealing to his people. He engaged in combat with demons in an attempt to take his own life, but he defeated them and gained great honor as a warrior, earning the name Groosalugg for his bravery and strength. Lorne is brought before Cordelia for judgment, but she is distracted with the Groosalugg. She almost sentences him to death, but she quickly pardons him and kicks him out so she can be alone with her future mate.

Cordelia explains to the Groosalugg that she is not a princess, but he doesn't believe her because he sees that she fulfills the prophecy. This emboldens her and she decides to start writing proclamations and laws for the people of Pylea. Silas tells his fellow priests that the princess has requested paper so she can write proclamations. He is angry at her independent will and enters her chamber with a platter, kicking out the Groosalugg. He tells her she and the Groosalugg are just tools of the covenant and she will do what she is told. Cordelia refuses to accept that. She is shocked into silence as Silas reveals Lorne's severed head displayed on the platter.


  • Cordelia complains that she keeps meeting demons who want to impregnate her with their spawn. This has happened in "Expecting" and in "Epiphany," and she will eventually give birth to a half-demon's child in "Inside Out."
  • When Angel looks into the mirror, he attempts to flatten his hair, the subject of Spike's often mocking (as seen in "In the Dark" and "Intervention"). 
  • Cordelia mentions that her parents were busted for tax fraud and that her trust fund dried up, as revealed in "Choices."
  • When Angel is telling stories to the Pyleans, he refers to the events from "To Shanshu in L.A.", in which Angel cuts off Lindsey's hand to save the Scroll of Aberjian.
  • Landok asks Angel to tell the story of the "sorcerer who could remove his limbs and reassemble at will," a reference to the events of "I Fall to Pieces."
  • Cordelia mentions that her visions are "not getting any easier." They have been taking a noticeable toll on Cordelia's health since "Dead End," which her friends will discover in "Birthday."



Organizations and titles[]





Death count[]

  • A demon guard, killed by Angel in Van-Tal form.

Behind the scenes[]



  • "Through the Looking Glass" had an audience of 3.3 million households upon its original airing.[2]

Pop culture references[]


  • In the scene where Angel turns into the beast for the first time, a stuntman fall to the ground as Angel is jumping to attack the guard on the horse. When he is on the ground attacking the guard, the camera equipment is visible off to the left of the screen.
  • In the scene where Fred and the Angel are fighting the guard, there is a shot where Amy Acker's microphone battery pack is clearly visible beneath her costume.
  • After Angel rips the guard's leg off, the following wide shot shows the guard that Angel is attacking with both legs intact.
  • When Lorne and Angel go to meet Lorne's mother, there's a cardboard box with a red top and a yellow object in the lower left corner of the screen next to the tree. In the reverse angle, the object disappears, but it reappears in the wide angle of Angel and Lorne walking up the hill.


  • Robert J. Kral — "Through the Looking Glass"
  • Robert J. Kral — original score

International titles[]

  • Czech: "Za zrcadlem" (Behind the Looking Glass)
  • Finnish: "Päät pois" (Heads Off)
  • French: "Sa Majesté Cordelia" (Her Majesty Cordelia)
  • German: "Ein Thron für Cordelia" (A Throne for Cordelia)
  • Hungarian: "Tisztánlátás" (Clairvoyance)
  • Italian: "Attraverso lo specchio" (Through the Looking Glass)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Através do Espelho" (Through the Looking Glass)
  • Russian: "По ту сторону зеркала" (On the Other Side of the Looking Glass)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "A través del espejo" (Through the Looking Glass)
  • Spanish (Spain): "A través del espejo" (Through the Looking Glass)
  • Turkish: "Aynanın İçinden" (Through the Looking Glass)


  • The Angel action figure Pylean Princess Cordelia was based on Cordelia's appearance in this episode.


Behind the scenes[]



Narwek: "Shall we gut the cows now that you might dine on their ignoble flesh, O Most High?"
Cordelia: "You're most high if you think that's gonna happen. Besides, shouldn't there be some extended groveling first?"
Angel: "Cordelia."
Cordelia: "Okay. Off with their heads! Kidding!"
Angel: "Okay. This is because of going through the portal, right?"
Cordelia: "No. It always looks like that."
Wesley: "Angel, while we search for the proper incantation it might save time if you go with the Host. Hit the streets, see if you can document any portal activity."
Angel: "I don't get it."
Wesley: "Well, the Host knows this world. We need to ascertain -"
Angel: "No, I mean why didn't anybody tell me about this?"
Cordelia: "You look good."
Angel: "You're not just saying that, are you?"


  1. "angel: Through the Looking Glass." TheWB.com. Archived from the original on January 24, 2004.
  2. "Nielsen Ratings for Angel's Second Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 19, 2008.