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"To Shanshu in L.A." is the season finale of the first season of Angel and the twenty-second episode in the series. Written and directed by David Greenwalt, it was originally broadcast on May 23, 2000, on The WB network.


While Angel and friends work to decipher the scroll taken from Wolfram & Hart, the crooked law firm begins the process of "Raising," which purportedly brings forth a great evil into the world.[1]


Wesley continues to try to decipher the text of the Scroll of Aberjian, part of which is the Shanshu Prophecy. Wesley is able to translate a crucial word, "shanshu," as "death," which means that Angel is destined to die, and both Cordelia and Wesley are worried when Angel appears to take the news casually. Meanwhile, the Angel Investigations team learn that, despite his recent moral crisis, Lindsey has returned to Wolfram & Hart and accepted a promotion.

Outside the Wolfram & Hart offices, Lindsey, Lilah, and Holland call forth a warrior of the underworld named Vocah to perform the "Raising." Vocah is unimpressed to learn that the scroll he needs is not only gone but in the hands of the one the Raising is intending to destroy.

In the Angel Investigations offices, as the team plays unwilling hosts to David Nabbit, who wants to hunt demons, Cordelia has visions that sends Angel on his way to help a homeless woman fighting a slime demon. Kate arrives on the scene after Angel has defeated it, and she tells Angel she is determined to rid the city of vampires in revenge for her father's murder.

Wesley and Cordelia discuss how Angel is cut off from life, and they decide he needs a hobby. Angel enters the office, and Cordelia offers to get him something to care about, like a puppy. Angel isn't interested, and Wesley moves to pick up some books to help further decipher the scroll. Wesley decides it should be locked away and, before he leaves, he suggests that Angel consults the Oracles, an idea Angel doesn't support.

Meanwhile, the Oracles are paid a visit by Vocah, having managed to cross their threshold despite being a creature of darkness. They order him to leave, as he summons a scythe behind him.

At an open market, Cordelia decides to buy some art supplies for Angel to give him a hobby, and she speaks with a friendly vendor who gives her what she needs. As Cordy starts to leave, Vocah walks past and brushes his hand against hers. Although Cordelia feels it, she doesn't think anything of it. When she starts to head home, she is suddenly subject to painful visions. It passes, and she starts to call Angel, but she is then hit with several visions, panful and never-ending. Cordelia collapses, screaming, as the vendor shouts for someone to call 911.

In his basement apartment, Angel locks away the scroll in his weapons cabinet, not realizing that Vocah is also there. Although Angel seems to sense that something is wrong, he doesn't get a chance to check it out as the phone rings. Angel answers, and the hospital tells him about Cordelia. Angel quickly leaves, allowing Vocah to emerge and take the scroll, but, as he does, he leaves something else behind that has an ominous hum.

At the St. Matthew's Hospital, Angel hears Cordelia's screams from a nearby room. Rushing to see her, he finds his friend screaming as doctors explain that Cordelia cannot be sedated and, despite a CAT scan, they can find nothing medically wrong with her. Angel is clueless about what is happening to her.

Back at the office, Wesley returns and heads to the weapons cabinet to get the scroll, but he finds something else that causes him to back away. Angel pulls up outside the building and is about to enter, when the entire building explodes. Entering the burning basement, Angel finds an injured Wesley and pulls him to safety. Outside, an ambulance takes Wesley, and Angel prepares to follow, but Kate stops him. Angel refuses to remain for questioning and tells her that, if she wants to be his enemy, he's happy to oblige.

In the hospital, Wesley is stable but unconscious and, after making sure he's okay, Angel goes to see Cordelia. She is no longer screaming, but she is still suffering from the visions. As Angel promises to help her, he notices a symbol on the back of her hand. Sketching it, he decides to visit the Oracles and ask for their help. However, when he enters, he finds both have been murdered. A ghost of the female Oracle appears and tells Angel that Vocah is the one who killed them and is also responsible for inflicting Cordelia with never-ending visions. The words to the spell that can save Cordelia are on the scroll, which is in Vocah's hands. When asked where he is, the Oracle tells Angel that Vocah was summoned for the "Raising" and is hiding behind "man's law." Angel realizes that Vocah is at Wolfram & Hart and, taking his scythe that was left behind, leaves on a mission to kill him. However, Angel is unwilling to leave his friends unprotected, and he asks Gunn to guard them at the hospital.

A large box with five vampires chained to it sits in the middle of a crypt. Vocah walks in along with two monks, chanting. Meanwhile, Holland, Lindsey, and Lilah are on their way to the crypt, followed by a large truck. Lilah reminds Lindsey of the man who disappointed the Senior Partners, and as a result, they made him eat his liver, meaning that this job is putting Lindsey's life on the line. Angel watches the lawyers from afar, planning to follow them.

In the crypt, Vocah starts the ritual as the lawyers arrive. Halfway through, he suddenly pauses, sensing something, and produces another scythe, just before Angel bursts through the windows. As the two engage in a fight, Lindsey, unwilling to see his project fail, continues the spell required. When it finishes, the five vampires surrounding the box suddenly turn to dust; the dust swirls around the box like a whirlwind before entering and completing the raising. The resulting blast renders Lindsey unconscious, and Holland orders the movers to get the box out as the lawyers quickly leave.

Angel manages to get the better of Vocah and pulls his mask off, revealing a maggot filled hole instead of a nose. Angel plunges the scythe into the hole, killing Vocah. After this, he confronts the now-conscious Lindsey, who still has the scroll, about his decision to remain at Wolfram & Hart. Lindsey tells him he made a choice to be powerful; the scroll has foretold that all of Angel's connections to the Powers That Be will be severed. Lindsey starts to burn the scroll in a fire. However, Angel throws his scythe, saving the scroll and taking Lindsey's hand off in the process. Angel tells Lindsey, holding the remainder of his arm in agony, not to believe everything he's foretold.

In the hospital, Wesley reads the words that can save Cordelia as Angel watches on. There is a flash of light, and Cordelia's visions disappear. She re-emerges from her ordeal, much to Angel and Wesley's delight, although she begins to cry, having seen so much pain and suffering. Still weak, she tells Angel that she wants to help all the people she saw. Angel promises her they will.

Later, at Cordy's apartment, the new base of Angel Investigations, Wesley continues his efforts to decipher the scroll, and Cordelia brings Angel his blood. Suddenly, Wesley, in his efforts to find out what exactly Wolfram & Hart raised, finds out that he partially mistranslated "shanshu." The word actually means "to live and die," indicating Angel will die, but only once he's lived: Angel is destined to become human after his trials are over. Despite the fact that it may not happen for a long time, Cordelia is ready to break out some champagne. Angel agrees that this is something they can celebrate.

At Wolfram & Hart, Holland tells Lindsey that the Senior Partners appreciate his sacrifice, and they'll get their revenge on Angel with the help of what's in the box. Lilah cautiously approaches it, whispering inside: "We're all very pleased you're here... I know it's a bit confusing, but it's going to be better soon. A lot better, Darla." Inside, Angel's sire sits, shaking.



Organizations and titles[]





Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • A slime demon, killed by Angel.
  • The Oracles, killed by Vocah.
  • Five vampires, dusted by Vocah's ritual.
  • Vocah, killed by Angel.

Behind the scenes[]


  • This is the 100th episode of the Buffyverse to be aired.
  • The title refers to the 1985 movie To Live and Die in L.A., "shanshu" being revealed in this episode as meaning both to live and to die.
  • David Greenwalt says they decided to blow up the Angel Investigations building in this episode because the sets were too cramped to film in.[2]
  • Todd Stashwick, who portrays Vocah in this episode, returns as the unidentified M'Fashnik in "Flooded."


  • "To Shanshu in L.A." had an audience of 3.2 million households upon its original airing.[3]

Deleted scenes[]

  • Many changes were made to the scene with Cordelia, Wesley, and the doughnut, including cutting this exchange:[4]
    Wesley: "The end... death... What if the root was proto-Anatolian, say from the Hittite... If it's Hittite, the root is really more like... close."
    Cordy: "Clothes? As in Armani the Hittite?"
    Wesley shoots her a look.
    Cordy: "I try to cheer people up and they give me that look!"

Pop culture references[]

  • Cordelia calls Angel Pinocchio, the fictional character whose greatest wish is to be transformed into a real, human boy.


  • As Cordelia eats her doughnut, she starts pulling it apart, breaking into the hole. As Wesley is using it as a prop, the hole is (initially) intact. The amount of doughnut eaten also changes between shots, including being eaten through to the hole, then suddenly not.
  • Angel rips the demon's mask off to reveal his maggot-eaten face, but, when we cut to Angel, the demon's mask is still on his face. Angel reacts as if it's not there, though.
  • When Cordelia has just handed Angel a cup of blood to drink, the boom mic slips into view in the center of the screen.
  • When Angel goes to see Cordelia in the hospital, she is thrashing about madly in her bed. The doctor tells Angel that they've done a CAT scan, but they can't seem to sedate her. There is no way they could have performed a CAT scan on her; the patient has to be completely still in order for there to be readable results.


International titles[]

  • Czech: "Proroctví" (Prophecy)
  • Finnish: "Kovat otteet" (Tough Grips)
  • French: "Le Manuscrit" (The Manuscript)
  • German: "Duell mit dem Bösen" (Duel with Evil)
  • Hungarian: "A kezdet vége" (The End of the Beginning)
  • Italian: "Shanshu a L.A." (Shanshu in L.A.)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Shanshu em Los Angeles" (Shanshu in Los Angeles)
  • Russian: "К Шаншу в Лос-Анджелесе" (To Shanshu in Los Angeles)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Shansu en los Ángeles" (Shanshu in Los Angeles)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Shansu en los Ángeles" (Shanshu in Los Angeles)
  • Turkish: "L.A.'de Shanshu Kehaneti" (Shanshu Prophecy in L.A.)


Behind the scenes[]


Lilah: "Remember when Robert Price let the Senior Partners down and they made him eat his liver? I don't know what made me think of that."
Kate: "Never a dull moment when you're around, is there?"
Angel: "I have to go."
Kate: "Who in the hell do you think you are? You're a major witness at a major crime scene you're not going anywhere.
Angel: You want to try and stop me, Kate?"
Kate: "I'm glad we are not playing friends anymore. I am real sick and tired of your attitude. There's a little thing called the law..."
Angel: "This isn't about the law, this is about a little thing called life. Now I'm sorry about your father. But I didn't kill your father. And I'm sick and tired of you blaming me for everything you can't handle! You want to be enemies? Try me."
Wesley: "Uh, oops. I may have made a tiny mistake. Uh, the word "shanshu" that I said meant you were going to die? Actually, I think it means you're going to live."
Cordelia: "Okay, as tiny mistakes go, that's not one!"


  1. "Angel- Season 1 Episode Guide." Lol's Site. Retrieved on March 31, 2023.
  2. "Angel - Season One Episode Guide - To Shanshu in L.A." BBC - Cult. Retrieved on January 23, 2024.
  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.