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The fifth and final season of the television series Angel, the spin-off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, premiered on October 1, 2003 on The WB and concluded its 22-episode season and its television run on May 19, 2004. The season aired on Wednesdays at 9:00 pm ET. This was the first and only season of Angel to air following the finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Angel (season 5)
Angel DVD Season (5).jpg
Region 1 Season 5 DVD cover
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes22
Original networkThe WB
Original releaseOctober 1, 2003 (2003-10-01) –
May 19, 2004 (2004-05-19)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 4
List of Angel episodes


Season synopsisEdit

Having been handed the reins to the Los Angeles branch of Wolfram & Hart at the climax of season four, Angel and his allies are now surrounded by a world of wealth, power and corruption that they find begins to weaken them from within. While Angel takes care of the day-to-day running of the company itself, the rest of his team are delegated specific tasks within the firm; Fred heads up the practical science division, Lorne is in charge of the entertainment division, Wesley commands the rather impressive research and development department as well as the virtually infinite library and Gunn becomes the firm's top lawyer after having his brain upgraded with a comprehensive knowledge of the law (human and demonic) at the behest of the Senior Partners themselves. As was the deal that Angel made to save Connor's life, he and Cordelia would not be joining the team in their new headquarters. Meanwhile, Harmony Kendall is hired by Wesley to be Angel's familiar-faced secretary and a new character, Eve, is introduced to act as the team's liaison to the partners. At the end of the first episode Angel opens a package containing the amulet used to destroy the Hellmouth at the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. From the amulet, Spike is resurrected in a non-corporeal state, unsure of why he is back after having given his life to protect the world. Although Angel is bemused and frustrated by the arrival of his centuries old rival, he continues to assert to his ever more unconvinced squad that they will use the massive resources at Wolfram & Hart to help the world. He does his best to root out the most vile employees and clients within the firm while constantly being set upon at all sides by the evil that surrounds them.

As the team settle into their new surroundings they begin to lose contact with one another because of the time consuming demand of their day-to-day work. Meanwhile, Spike befriends Fred in the hope that she will be able to use her genius level intellect to find out how to solidify him and bind him to the mortal plane. She begins to abuse her resources (to the worriment of Angel) after Spike informs her that he is constantly slipping closer to hell. Meanwhile, Lorne has his sleep removed to focus more energy on his work and Wesley is confronted by his critical-mouthed father and attempts to deal with his serious issues surrounding his unhappy childhood. In "Destiny", a package is mailed to Spike which magically re-corporealizes him, inadvertently causing wide-ranging chaos throughout the world. Eve explains that, because of the Shanshu Prophecy which claimed that the vampire with a soul would play a pivotal role in the coming apocalypse, the world has been thrown out of order because there are now two vampires with the requisite credentials to fulfill the prophecy. Hearing tell of a quest that will determine the true champion, Angel and Spike fight for the chance of true atonement. Spike wins after a long, vicious battle, but it turns out that they were tricked into fighting by Eve and her new boyfriend, Angel's long lost antagonist Lindsey McDonald. At this point, Angel begins to question whether his faith in the Shanshu Prophecy that he'd ultimately regain his humanity in return for saving the world.

After Eve and Lindsey's next scheme leaves Angel bed ridden, the gang begin to question Eve's loyalties to the firm and exile her from the building. Meanwhile, Lindsey approaches Spike under the guise of Angel's long dead friend Doyle claiming that he receives visions from The Powers That Be and that Spike has a mission to help the helpless. Spike reluctantly buys into it and ends up saving Angel's life as well as taking on Angel's role as the secret protector of Los Angeles. After Cordelia awakens from her coma she attempts to help Angel get his life back on track and aids him in thwarting Lindsey's plans to take control of Wolfram & Hart for himself. After Lindsey's disguise is foiled, The Senior Partners summon him to a hell dimension in retribution for attempting to take Angel's life. Cordelia reiterates to Angel that she loves him and kisses him, shortly before he receives a phone call reporting that Cordelia died that morning. When Angel turns around, Cordelia is gone.

It is later revealed that the Powers That Be allowed Cordelia to pass one last vision over to Angel, giving him the necessary knowledge to bring down the true evil controlling Los Angeles. After the events of "Smile Time" (wherein Angel was transformed into a puppet and began a relationship with the werewolf Nina Ash), Fred and Wesley share a passionate kiss which ignites their nascent relationship. However, tragedy befalls when Fred is infected with the spirit of an ancient demon named Illyria. Eventually the parasite consumes Fred's body and she dies in Wesley's arms. Once Illyria is brought forth she attempts to raise her temple and summon an army to take back the Earth from the human pestilence. She fails in her endeavor, however, and finds herself lost in the modern world. She approaches Wesley and asks him to be her guide, to which he agrees because she physically resembles Fred.

Henceforth, Wesley spends his time researching every last scrap of information on Illyria and develops an attachment to her. Meanwhile, the rest of the gang are equally devastated by the loss of the one thing they all truly agreed on: their love for Fred. Spike and Illyria engage in a multitude of sparring sessions together, originally as way of testing Illyria's abilities. Lorne becomes frustrated by the corruption that surrounds him and eventually leaves it for good. Gunn feels tremendous guilt over his part to play in Fred's death, having signed the warrant to allow Illyria's sarcophagus past customs in order to receive a new brain upgrade, while Angel responds to Fred's death with a plan to oppose the Wolf, the Ram and the Hart.

In "Underneath" Angel goes on a mission to rescue Lindsey from hell in order to learn everything he knows about the Senior Partners. Gunn stays in Lindsey's place as punishment for playing a part in Fred's death. Later, Angel comes into contact with Connor for the first time since he signed the deal to take over the firm and learns that the magician Cyvus Vail requires Connor to kill the demon Sahjhan, the one responsible for writing the phony prophecy that, to all intents and purposes, led to Angel's decision to take over the LA branch of Wolfram and Hart. Although Connor succeeds in killing the demon it is not without a price: he has his original memories returned to him after Wesley uses Vail's magic to attempt to re-write the past and bring back Fred. Connor, however, understands what Angel did for him and decides to continue living the fabricated life. After Illyria single-handedly rescues Gunn from the Senior Partner's Hell dimension she claims that Angel Investigations owes her a great debt. As her powers continue to spiral out of control, Wesley fashions a device that will draw the negative energy away from her and into its own pocket universe. This leaves Illyria far weaker than she was before, as well as emotionally distraught over having losing so much of her power.

Gunn goes back to his roots, shedding the Lawyer persona and truly questioning where his loyalties lie while Angel and Spike take a trip to Rome after they hear that Buffy is in danger. Although it turns out that she is in fact happy the two come to reconcile their feelings both for her and for each other. Meanwhile, since Eve's betrayal to the partners, Angel was assigned a new liaison to the firm – Marcus Hamilton.

As the group continually notice a change in Angel's personality, they stage a violent intervention and learn that Angel intends to take down Wolfram & Hart at its very core – The Circle of the Black Thorn. As Angel attempts to gain entry to the exclusive group that claims to operate at the center of the world's woe (doing so by officially signing away his chance to become human again through the Shanshu prophecy), the rest of the team spend one last perfect day doing what they wish to do; Lorne sings at a karaoke bar reminiscent of the days when he ran Caritas, Gunn meets up with his old friend Anne and helps her move furniture to a new homeless shelter, Spike performs his poetry at a rowdy club to much cheer and applause, Angel spends his time with Connor who is applying for an internship, and Wesley spends his day dressing Illyria's wounds from a fight with Marcus Hamilton.

Illyria asks Wesley why he does not spend the day doing what he loves to which Wesley replies that the thing he loves is dead. The team share one last goodbye with each other before they all go off to meet their individual destinies. As Angel secretly takes out the leader of the Circle (Archduke Sebassis) he is confronted by Hamilton and, with the help of Connor, wins the fight. Wesley takes on Cyvus Vail as the two battle it out using powerful magic. Wesley fails to kill him, however, and ends up dying in Illyria's arms; she recreates Fred's form and personality one last time before punching her fist through Vail's head. Gunn is severely wounded in taking down a demonic politician and her army of vampires, while Spike destroys a demonic cult and rescues a messianic baby that the cult was keeping from its mother.

With the circle destroyed, Angel Investigations meet up in the rain soaked alley behind the Hyperion Hotel. But with Wesley dead and Lorne departed, his innocence shattered, Angel, Spike, the wounded Gunn, and Illyria are all that remain of the team. In retribution for their rebellion, The Senior Partners unleash the armies of Hell against them; in response, the team rush into an apocalyptic battle against overwhelming odds.

Cast and charactersEdit


Series creator Joss Whedon served as executive producer, now able to concentrate more on Angel as both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly ended. Whedon wrote and directed two episodes throughout the season ("Conviction" and "A Hole in the World"), co-wrote the story for "Smile Time" and co-wrote (as well as directed a number of scenes of) the series finale, "Not Fade Away". Whedon was originally intended to direct the final episode of the show but his commitments to filming Serenity (the sequel film to Firefly) made it impossible for him to do so. He delegated the task to showrunner Jeffrey Bell who also wrote the episode alongside Whedon. Bell would write and direct only one other episode of the season.

After Buffy ended, David Fury joined the writing staff full-time as co-executive producer, later promoted to executive producer midseason, and wrote or co-wrote four episodes, including writing and directing the 100th episode. Buffy writer Drew Goddard also joined the staff as executive story editor and wrote or co-wrote five episodes. Steven S. DeKnight was promoted to producer, later promoted to supervising producer midseason, and wrote or co-wrote six episodes, two of which he directed. Ben Edlund was promoted to supervising producer and wrote or co-wrote four episodes, including writing and directing "Smile Time". Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain were promoted to executive story editors and wrote three episodes. Brent Fletcher, who was a script coordinator, wrote one episode, which was directed by series star David Boreanaz.

Co-creator David Greenwalt, who had left Angel in an official capacity at the end of season three, came back to direct the antepenultimate episode of the series, "The Girl in Question".[1]


No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
US viewers
891"Conviction"Joss WhedonJoss WhedonOctober 1, 2003 (2003-10-01)5ADH015.2[2]
Taking over the LA offices of Wolfram & Hart proves to be more challenging than expected, especially when Spike shows up back from the dead, out from the amulet that is supposed to be buried deep within the Hellmouth.
902"Just Rewards"James A. ContnerStory by: David Fury
Teleplay by: David Fury & Ben Edlund
October 8, 2003 (2003-10-08)5ADH025.2[2]
Spike tries to adjust to life as a ghost while the gang deals with a disgruntled client who has power over the dead.
913"Unleashed"Marita GrabiakSarah Fain & Elizabeth CraftOctober 15, 2003 (2003-10-15)5ADH035.0[2]
Angel tries to protect a woman named Nina, who has been recently bitten by a werewolf, from a group of people who want to dine on werewolf flesh.
924"Hell Bound"Steven S. DeKnightSteven S. DeKnightOctober 22, 2003 (2003-10-22)5ADH044.7[2]
Spike struggles to maintain his weak grip on reality as spectral forces threaten to send him to Hell, and Fred races to find a way to give him his body back.
935"Life of the Party"Bill L. NortonBen EdlundOctober 29, 2003 (2003-10-29)5ADH054.7[2]
Lorne works around the clock to throw the ultimate Halloween party at Wolfram & Hart, but problems arise when he has his sleep removed.
946"The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco"Jeffrey BellJeffrey BellNovember 5, 2003 (2003-11-05)5ADH064.0[2]
As he questions his own role as a champion, Angel must track down a retired wrestler hero to help him defeat Tezcatcatl, an Aztec demon.
957"Lineage"Jefferson KibbeeDrew GoddardNovember 12, 2003 (2003-11-12)5ADH074.8[2]
Wolfram & Hart is under attack from cyborg assassins, and Wesley is surprised by the unannounced arrival of his estranged father.
968"Destiny"Skip SchoolnikDavid Fury & Steven S. DeKnightNovember 19, 2003 (2003-11-19)5ADH084.0[2]
Spike is recorporealized, and he and Angel battle it out to drink from the "Cup of Perpetual Torment" to settle the renewed conflict of the Shanshu Prophecy.
979"Harm's Way"Vern GillumElizabeth Craft & Sarah FainJanuary 14, 2004 (2004-01-14)5ADH093.8[2]
Already feeling unappreciated at work, Harmony's life in the office gets worse when it appears she has murdered a key player in demonic peace talks.
9810"Soul Purpose"David BoreanazBrent FletcherJanuary 21, 2004 (2004-01-21)5ADH103.3[2]
Lindsey approaches Spike and claims responsibility for recorporealizing him, and Angel is infected by a parasite that makes him experience nightmares where Spike is the champion and he is ignored.
9911"Damage"Jefferson KibbeeSteven S. DeKnight & Drew GoddardJanuary 28, 2004 (2004-01-28)5ADH114.3[2]
Angel and Spike hunt a psychotic Slayer who has escaped from an institution and believes that Spike is the man who drove her insane.
10012"You're Welcome"David FuryDavid FuryFebruary 4, 2004 (2004-02-04)5ADH123.9[2]
Cordelia awakens from her coma with visions of Angel in trouble, pitting Angel against Lindsey in a final battle.
10113"Why We Fight"Terrence O'HaraDrew Goddard & Steven S. DeKnightFebruary 11, 2004 (2004-02-11)5ADH133.6[2]
A mysterious man takes the gang hostage and confronts Angel about certain events in his past - specifically, his "service" in the Second World War.
10214"Smile Time"Ben EdlundStory by: Joss Whedon & Ben Edlund
Teleplay by: Ben Edlund
February 18, 2004 (2004-02-18)5ADH144.1[2]
Demon puppets from a popular children's show steal the life forces of children by hypnotizing them, and Angel is transformed into a puppet when he tries to investigate.
10315"A Hole in the World"Joss WhedonJoss WhedonFebruary 25, 2004 (2004-02-25)5ADH153.9[2]
The gang desperately seeks a cure for Fred, who is infected by a demon that was imprisoned inside an ancient sarcophagus.
10416"Shells"Steven S. DeKnightSteven S. DeKnightMarch 3, 2004 (2004-03-03)5ADH16N/A
Angel and Spike work to restore Fred as Illyria tries to locate her ancient temple and summon her armies.
10517"Underneath"Skip SchoolnikElizabeth Craft & Sarah FainApril 14, 2004 (2004-04-14)5ADH17N/A
Hoping that Lindsey has information on the Senior Partners' ultimate plans, Angel, Spike and Gunn track him down to the hell dimension where he was banished.
10618"Origin"Terrence O'HaraDrew GoddardApril 21, 2004 (2004-04-21)5ADH18N/A
Connor's new parents seek help from Wolfram & Hart about their son's supernatural abilities, and the past comes back to haunt Wesley when he learns about the deal Angel made to save his son.
10719"Time Bomb"Vern GillumBen EdlundApril 28, 2004 (2004-04-28)5ADH19N/A
Illyria's powers become unstable, causing her to jump through time, and the gang's attempts to stop her result in her killing them all.
10820"The Girl in Question"David GreenwaltSteven S. DeKnight & Drew GoddardMay 5, 2004 (2004-05-05)5ADH20N/A
Angel and Spike travel to Rome with plans to rescue Buffy from their old nemesis The Immortal, while simultaneously trying to prevent a demon war; back in Los Angeles, Fred's parents come looking for their daughter, unaware that she is dead.
10921"Power Play"James A. ContnerDavid FuryMay 12, 2004 (2004-05-12)5ADH21N/A
The gang starts to have doubts about Angel's loyalties after witnessing his disturbing behavior and problematic decisions; while Spike is looking for a demon with Illyria, Drogyn – the Guardian of the Deeper Well – arrives to tell Spike that Angel tried to kill him.
11022"Not Fade Away"Jeffrey BellJeffrey Bell & Joss WhedonMay 19, 2004 (2004-05-19)5ADH22N/A
Angel and the rest of the group spend the day as if it were their last before moving to take out the Circle of the Black Thorn in a potentially suicidal confrontation.

Crossovers with Buffy the Vampire SlayerEdit

Buffy the Vampire Slayer concluded the previous season, therefore there are no official crossovers between the two series. Despite this, references are made throughout the fifth season of Angel that relate to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Spike is resurrected (after his death in "Chosen") by the magical amulet Angel gave to Buffy at the start of the finale. Spike subsequently becomes a main character of the season. Harmony Kendall (Mercedes McNab) also becomes a main character and joins the star cast for the season. Buffy recurring character Andrew Wells (Tom Lenk) appears in two episodes ("Damage" and "The Girl in Question"), revealed to be a Watcher-in-training. Andrew states in "Damage" that Xander is in Africa, Willow and Kennedy are in Brazil, Buffy and Dawn are in Rome, and everyone else is in England.


On February 14, 2004, The WB Network announced that Angel would not be brought back for a sixth season. The one-paragraph statement indicated the news, which had been reported by a web site the previous day, had been leaked well before the network intended to make its announcement.[3] Joss Whedon posted a message on a popular fan site, The Bronze: Beta, in which he expressed his dismay and surprise, saying he was "heartbroken"[4] and compared it to a "healthy guy falling dead from a heart attack."[5] Fan reaction was to organize letter-writing campaigns, online petitions, blood and food drives, advertisements in trade magazines and via mobile billboards, and attempts to lobby other networks. UPN was a particular target, as it had already picked up Buffy. Outrage for the cancellation focused on Jordan Levin, The WB's Head of Entertainment.

Writer and producer David Fury "guarantees" that if Joss Whedon hadn't requested an early renewal Angel would have been back for a season six:

The only reason that Angel didn't come's a very simple thing. Because our ratings were up, because of our critical attention, Joss specifically asked Jordan Levin, who was the head of The WB at the time, to give us an early pick-up because every year they [would] wait so long to give Angel a pick-up [and] a lot of us [would] turn down jobs hoping that Angel will continue – he [Joss] didn't want that to happen. So, he was feeling very confident and he [Joss] just asked Jordan, "Like, make your decision now whether you're going to pick us up or not," and Jordan, sort of with his hands tied, with his back up against the wall, called him the next day and said, "Okay, we're canceling you." Jordan's no longer there and The WB has since recognized...I believe Garth Ancier at The WB said that it was a big mistake to cancel Angel. There was a power play that happened that just didn't fall out the way they wanted it to. We wanted to get an early pick-up, we didn't. In fact we forced them [The WB] to make a decision, and with his hand forced he [Levin] made the decision to cancel us.

I guarantee that, if we waited as we normally did, by the time May had come around they would have picked up Angel. I can guarantee that.[6]


The fifth season won four Saturn Awards – Best Network Television Series (tied with CSI: Crime Scene Investigation), Best Actor in a Television Series (David Boreanaz), Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series (James Marsters), and Best Supporting Actress in a Television Series (Amy Acker). While Alexis Denisof was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series and Charisma Carpenter was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Television Series. The series, Marsters, and Acker also received nominations again in 2005.[7]

"Smile Time" and "Not Fade Away" were nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.[8]

The Futon Critic named "Lineage" the 32nd best episode of 2003,[9] "Smile Time" the 21st best episode 2004[10] and "Not Fade Away" the 4th best episode of 2004.[11]

The fifth season averaged 3.97 million viewers, slightly higher than season four.[12]

Comic book continuationEdit

After the success of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight comic books, Joss Whedon announced a canonical comic book continuation of Angel would be published. Titled Angel: After the Fall, published by IDW Publishing, written by Brian Lynch (along with the help of Whedon), the book takes place after the events the final episode, with Los Angeles in Hell.[13] The first issue was released on November 21, 2007. Originally released as a 17-issue limited series, the book spawned into an ongoing spin-off series.

DVD releaseEdit

Angel: The Complete Fifth Season was released on DVD in region 1 on February 15, 2005[14] and in region 2 on February 21, 2005.[15] The DVD includes all 22 episodes on 6 discs presented in anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Special features on the DVD include seven commentary tracks—"Conviction" by writer/director Joss Whedon; "Destiny" by writers David Fury and Steven S. DeKnight, director Skip Schoolnik and actress Juliet Landau; "Soul Purpose" by writer Brent Fletcher, actor/director David Boreanaz and actor Christian Kane; "You're Welcome" by writer/director David Fury and actors Christian Kane and Sarah Thompson; "A Hole in the World" by writer/director Joss Whedon and actors Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker; "Underneath" by writers Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain, director Skip Schoolnik and actor Adam Baldwin; and "Not Fade Away" by co-writer/director Jeffrey Bell. Featurettes include, "Angel 100", a look at the 100th episode celebration party; "To Live & Die in L.A.: The Best of Angel", where Joss Whedon discusses the best episodes of the show; "Halos & Horns: Recurring Villainy", interviews with cast members who played villains over the course of the show; "Hey Kids! It's Smile Time", a featurette on the making of "Smile Time"; "Angel: Choreography of a Stunt", detailing the a performance of a stunt and interview with stunt coordinator Mike Massa; "Angel Unbound: The Gag Reels", a series of outtakes from all five seasons; and "Angel: The Final Season", a summary of the season featuring interviews with cast and crew members.[16]


  1. ^ "A Brief History of Mutant Enemy". May 24, 2004. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Nielsen Ratings for Angel's Fifth Season". Archived from the original on April 3, 2004. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  3. ^ "Breaking News: Angel to End After 5 Seasons". February 13, 2004.
  4. ^ "Joss Whedon speaks about Angel's cancelation". The Bronze: Beta. February 14, 2004.
  5. ^ "The X Factor". May 21, 2004.
  6. ^ "MEANWHILE Interviews... Buffy Post Mortem". September 2004.
  7. ^ ""Angel" (1999) - Awards". IMDb. Retrieved August 12, 2010.
  8. ^ ""Angel" (1999) - Awards". IMDb. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
  9. ^ Brian Ford Sullivan (January 13, 2004). "The 50 Best Episodes of 2003 - #40-31". The Futon Critic. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
  10. ^ Brian Ford Sullivan (January 19, 2005). "The 50 Best Episodes of 2004 - #30-21". The Futon Critic. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
  11. ^ Brian Ford Sullivan (January 21, 2005). "The 50 Best Episodes of 2004 - #10-1". The Futon Critic. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
  12. ^ "I. T. R. S. Ranking Report: 01 Thru 210". ABC Medianet. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
  13. ^ "Brian Lynch talks "Angel: After the Fall"". Comic Book Resources. November 6, 2007. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
  14. ^ "Angel - Season Five (1999)". Retrieved August 9, 2010.
  15. ^ "Angel: Complete Season 5". Retrieved August 9, 2010.
  16. ^ "Angel - The Complete 5th Season". Archived from the original on August 11, 2011. Retrieved February 18, 2011.

External linksEdit