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Angel: Tropes A-E
This page covers tropes found in Angel.

Tropes A-E | Tropes F-J | Tropes K-O | Tropes P-Z | YMMV


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    0- 9 
  • 20% More Awesome: When he shows up in season 5, Andrew boasts that he's become "82% more manly" than the last time Spike saw him.
  • 2 + Torture = 5: After valiantly fending off Marcus' torture in "In the Dark", Angel casually admits to Doyle that he was an inch away from spilling everything.
    "I mean, one more hot poker, and I was giving him the ring, Your Mom, everything. — How is your mom?"

    A 
  • Abandoned Warehouse
  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: "Double or Nothing." True to the title, Angel wages his soul and Gunn's against Jenoff in a card game.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Angel's main mode of transport. They look more like medical catacombs.
    • Lampshaded in "Fredless" when Fred states "I could build a condo in these sewers."
    • Up to Eleven in Season Four, when Angel and co. flee into the sewers to escape Jasmine. Not only is there already a cadre of survivors living there, but the interior more resembles Cheyenne Mountain.
  • Abuse Is Okay When It's Female on Male: In the episode Sanctuary Buffy is hunting Faith and intending to kill her, however Angel is protecting her so Buffy punches her ex. After he ignores the first blow Buffy tries to punch him again, but Angel blocks and punches her. Buffy is almost too shocked to speak, but he points out she threw the first punch, and she is stronger than him.
    Not to get all schoolyard or anything.
  • Abusive Parents: This is a Whedon show.
    • Wesley's father used to lock him in a room "under the stairs" as punishment.
    • Lorne's mother hates him, along with the rest of his family.
    • Though Angel's father isn't quite as abusive as his son sees him, he traumatized Angel so much that he turned into the cruelest vampire in history and even now still has a lot of father issues.
      • To be fair though, as Liam, Angel was pretty much a disgrace of a son. He whored around and was drunk all the time, he pretty much deserved all the criticism his father gave him. And considering that his father seemed nearly on the verge of tears as Liam left home, he probably still had some love toward him.
    • While not exactly abusive, Holtz wasn't exactly a sweet, loving daddy to Connor.
      • Er, it was kind of mentioned that they would play a "game" where Holtz would tie him to a tree, then run away and have to be tracked down. Through a hell dimension. As a kid. And that at one time it "only took me five days." Compared to that, excessive criticism seems kind of mild...
    • Averted when we meet Fred's "very normal" parents. The rest of the gang is rather envious.
  • The Ace / The Unseen: The Immortal.
  • Acronym Confusion: Cordelia pointing out the arrival of "ET" (Entertainment Tonight).
    Wesley: (glancing around hopefully) Emma Thompson?
  • Accusation Fic: Angel has a canon example of this trope as one of its later-season episodes. In the Season 5 episode "Damage", Angel and crew get called out by Andrew Wells of all people for the (if you think about it) WTF?!? move of taking over (and possibly being corrupted by) Wolfram & Hart and the resources the evil law firm provides.
    Andrew: (to Angel) "News flash — nobody in our camp trusts you anymore. Nobody. You work for Wolfram & Hart. Don't fool yourself... we're not on the same side."
  • Actually a Doombot: Roger Wyndam-Pryce.
  • Actually Not a Vampire: The Immortal. He's too cool for that.
  • Adaptation Decay: An in-universe example occurs in 'After the Fall'', after a filmmaker decides to base a movie on Angel's recent exploits. The movie features an actual Satan (Hell A had no such thing); Angel is a human being as well as Cowboy Cop; Spike is a woman (and Angel's Love Interest, to boot); Wesley bites the dust early on as Angel's Dead Partner; Betta George is a dog (rather then a Splenden Beast); Lorne is the evil Overlorne; and Gunn has been racelifted and played by LOST's Jose Garcia. Lastly, Illyria is merged with Gwen — and is also a blaxploitation character.
  • Adorkable: The entire team at one point or another.
  • Adult Fear: Losing your child to a kidnapper, watching the woman you love die of an illness in front of you and being powerless to help her, regaining your child (having missed his entire childhood) but having a horrible relationship with him, watching him go insane and finally cutting his throat when he goes on a murder spree, all culminating in Deal with the Devil that will give your child a normal life in which he will have no memory of you. This is a fairly major theme of the series.
  • Aerosol Flamethrower: Faith menaces Wesley with a can of cooking oil and a flame wand in "Five By Five".
  • Affably Evil: Richard Straley, a chipper, suburban-dwelling restauranteur who just happens to be a shapeshifting demon. He convinces Doyle to sign divorce papers allowing Richard to marry Harriet — failing to mention that in doing so, Doyle consents to having his brains devoured in a ritual ceremony.
    • Allen Lloyd, a New Age psychologist hired by Wolfram & Hart to conduct "Sensitivity Training" classes within Kate's precinct.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: The vampire that Angel was forced to Turn to save everyone else aboard a submarine, the only one he ever sired after regaining his soul. He was stripped of enough of his soul to turn him into the vicious, hateful, sadistic, slaughter-happy monster that all vampires are... but left with just enough of a remnant of it to feel horribly guilty for everything he did.
  • The Alcoholic: The term is never overtly used but while all the characters have a reason to drown their sorrows mid-series, Wesley is the one who doesn't stop. The latter half of series 5 has the gang mentioning with increasing frequency just how heavily Wesley is drinking. It's also implied that Wesley's fully aware it's becoming a problem.
  • Alien Blood
  • Alien Catnip: As mentioned on Buffy, Slayer blood and high people. Faith uses this to her advantage when she is higher than a kite fighting Angelus, she lets him feed on her, only for the drugs she doped up on to be so powerful it takes him out.
  • Alien Sky: Pylea has twin suns, both of them purple. Angel is unaffected by sunlight in this dimension. (thankfully, because otherwise he'd burn up twice as fast.)
  • All for Nothing: Angel severing his ties to his friends and embarking on a one-man war against Wolfram & Hart. He actually succeeds, destroying a Senior Partner's (temporary) body and summoning an elevator to take him to the root of their evil. The elevator just deposits him back on Earth.
  • All Just a Dream: Brilliantly done in "Awakening", where the entire episode is inside the mind of Angel, as the spell is being done that will (temporarily) remove his soul, turning him into Angelus. In other words, the reveal at the episode's end drags us out of the dream, straight into a nightmare.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Like clockwork. Angel even lampshades this in Season 5.
    • One of Gunn's lieutenants, "Chain", foolishly allows himself to be tracked back to his hideout by vampires ("War Zone").
  • Alternate Reality Episode: "Birthday"
  • Always Camp: Oliver Simon, the talent agent who foists his business card on Angel in the Pilot. He actually makes a return later in the season.
  • Always Second Best: Angel and Spike with regard to the Immortal. Angel has this feeling regarding Groo and later Spike when they appear to be challenging his role as Champion.
  • Amazon Chaser: Faith is one of the few people who can kick Connor's ass, and he almost seems to like it. Lampshaded by Cordelia that like his father he has a thing for Slayers.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Symbolized by Holland Manners; exemplified by Lindsey and Lilah.
  • Amoral Law Firm: Wolfram & Hart.
  • Anatomy Of The Soul: "The House Always Wins" features a casino which steal people's fates ("futures trading", taken literally). People who would otherwise have had successful lives are rendered mindless drones, endlessly pouring money into slot machines that never pay out.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The law firm Wolfram & Hart is in effect the distilled evil of society, has been since humanity first achieved sentience, and is maneuvering the world toward the apocalypse.
  • Ancient Grome: The toga-clad "Oracles" dress in purple togas, albeit with bronze body paint.
  • And I Must Scream: Matthias Pavayne, paralyzed in a cell and left to stare out a small window into an empty corridor for all eternity.
    • Connor tries to do this to Angel: Locking him in a metal coffin and dropping him to the bottom of the ocean. While it's true that vampires cannot die, prolonged blood deprivation will result in hallucinations and even brain damage.
    • In "Dead End", Angel and Lindsey find the place where Wolfram & Hart keeps "donors" for its employees who need body parts. The "donors" are kept sedated but fully awake. One of them was Lindsey's co-worker when he was starting out. He begged Lindsey to kill him.
  • Angels, Devils and Squid: The Powers that Be are angels, The Senior Partners are Devils, the Old Ones are squid.
  • Another Dimension: Basically used as an excuse to bring aliens into the Buffyverse without worrying about the attendant issues like First Contact or Faster-Than-Light Travel.
    • Not to mention all those demons with their own unique societies living among us without being noticed.
  • Anyone Can Die: One of the best examples of the trope among TV shows. Doyle, Cordelia, Fred, Wesley bite the dust during the course of the series, as do a number of smaller characters.
  • Apology Gift: After Angel spends half a season alienating his friends, he eventually comes back, tail between his legs. However, Cordelia doesn't forgive him until later, when she discovers that Angel had bought her a bunch of nice clothes.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: Though with a more frequent use of firearms by both heroes and villains than was the case in Sunnydale.
  • Arc Welding: The entire series up until Season 4 was preparatory to Jasmine's birth.
  • Armed with Canon
    Angel: [to Spike] I spent a hundred years trying to cope with infinite remorse! You sat sniveling in a basement for three weeks, AND THEN YOU WERE FINE!! What's fair about that?!
    • In "Blood Money", an attendee at the charity ball asks one of the television celebrities why her TV character had suddenly turned gay and whether it was a ratings stunt. This is a reference to Willow Rosenberg, who came out in the previous year's season of Buffy.
    • Several digs at Angelus' leather pants, which David Boreanaz notoriously wore on Buffy.
    • As soon as Buffy jumped to another network, the Buffy/Angel romance got the treatment.
    Cordelia: Let me break it down for you, Fred. [Chewing the Scenery] Oh, Angel! I know that I am a Slayer, and you are a vampire, and it would be impossible for us to be together, but—
    Wesley: But! [The Glasses Come Off] My gypsy curse sometimes prevent me from seeing the truth. Oh, Buffy...
    Cordelia: Yes, Angel?
    Wesley: [Milking the Giant Cow] I love you so much I almost forgot to brood!
    Cordelia: And just because I sent you to hell that one time doesn't mean we can't just...be friends!
    Wesley: [Clint Squint] Or possibly more?
    Cordelia: Gasp! No! We mustn't!
    Wesley: Kiss me!
    Cordelia: Bite me!
    Angel: [Walk In Chime In] How about you both bite me?
    • The sanitarium doctor warns that someone should stop Spike, because if he goes after Dana, he'll wind up dead. Angel mutters, "He'll just end up coming back."
    • The IDW writers behind After the Fall weren't thrilled at the people responsible for Dark Horse's Buffy comic for their revelation that Angel is Twilight. So much so, they've created promo pictures for their new Spike series wherein Spike burns a Twilight mask with a caption reading, "He definitely isn't Twilight."
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Marcus deliberately and repeatedly asks Angel, "What do you want?" while torturing him with sunlight and hot pokers. Because he is a Living Lie Detector, Marcus is unfazed by Angel's false answers. (The real answer, of course, turns out to be: Forgiveness.)
  • Army of Lawyers: Wolfram & Hart. Two hundred highly intelligent law-school graduates working full time to drive Angel to despair.
  • Arrow Catch: Angel swatting down Faith's attempt to shoot him In the Back. Even she is impressed.
  • Artifact of Death: Many, but Illyria's sarcophagus counts.
  • Artifact of Doom: Also numerous.
  • Ascended Demon: What Angel wants to achieve.
  • Ascended Extra: Lorne and Harmony.
  • As Long as There Is Evil: The "Senior Partners."
  • Assimilation Plot: Jasmine's ultimate goal.
  • The Atoner: Angel and Doyle.
    • Faith becomes this following her Heel-Face Turn.
    • Gunn in Season 5 after he unwittingly causes Fred's death.
  • Attack Hello: Spike makes his presence known to Angel via a wooden plank to the face. Lampshaded in that Spike confesses he had intended to remain in the shadows, spinning an elaborate web of plans, but got bored.
  • Auction of Evil: Cordy's visions (or more specifically, her eyeballs) are put up for auction in "Parting Gifts".
  • Avenging the Villain: James in "Heartthrob".
  • Ax-Crazy: Angelus and (pre-rehabilitation) Faith.
    • Connor starts out this way. Granted he was kidnapped by Holtz and raised in an alternate, Hell-like dimension and taught what a monster Angel was. Indeed he was raised by Holtz for the sole purpose of being his final revenge against Angel. Then Holtz stages his own death to look like Angel had murdered him and manipulated by Justine into dumping Angel into the ocean for three months.

    B 
  • Back from the Dead: First season finale, Darla, fourth season finale, Lilah, fifth season premiere, Spike, kinda-sorta in the comics, thought to be Fred, instead it's just Illyria reverted to Fred's personality at random as well as Gunn, from his previous unliving state.
  • Backhanded Compliment:
    Cordelia: (to Doyle) You're a lot Smarter Than You Look. ..Of course, you look like a retard.
  • Badass Boast: Angel tries out some diplomacy on Doyle's debt-collecting demon friend.
    "It's a good offer. You should take it. On the other hand you're making me want to fight some more. You get lucky, you might last ten minutes. Really lucky, and you're unconscious for the last five."
  • Badass Normal: Wesley, Gunn, Fred and Cordelia. Although they all have some sort of power by the end of the show - Wesley with his magical knowledge, Gunn with his lawyer implant, Fred being an Eldritch Abomination and Cordy having a mental connection to the Powers That Be - the human cast consistently proves throughout the series that superpowers are no match for flamethrowers, high-powered crossbows, shotguns and double pistols.
    • Also, Daniel Holtz, who almost manages to destroy Team Angel by using time travel, bombs, crossbow bolts, stakes, knives, vampires, swords, demons, members of the team and Angel's own son, just because Angel pissed him off over two hundred years ago.
      • If by "pissed him off" one means "slaughtered his entire family, leaving only his youngest daughter (turned into a vampire) to greet him when he arrived home", then yes, he was very pissed off!
  • Bad Bad Acting: Cordelia's screechingly awful performance in A Doll's House.
    Angel: And I thought I knew eternity.
  • Bad Boss: Anyone currently holding the top position at Wolfram & Hart.
  • Bald of Awesome: Gunn.
  • Bald of Evil: On the vampire team, we have Marcus ("In the Dark"). Batting for Wolfram & Hart, it's Nathan Reed.
  • Band of Brothels: Madame Dorion's, a demon brothel in Bel-Air.
  • Bar Brawl: Cordelia inadvertently sparks one by handing out business cards in a club, causing one drunkard to mistake her for an escort service.
    • Angel and Darla first met under these circumstances. The tavern girls were apparently used to this sort of thing when he was around.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Jhiera and Gwen Raiden.
  • Bargain with Heaven
  • Bastard Boyfriend: Lenny, the drug addict terrorizing Angel's client in "In the Dark".
  • Batman Cold Open
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Angel siring Sam Lawson, an engineer, after a stab wound prevents him from finishing his repairs to the sub's engine. Once a vampire, he completes his repairs. This is the only time Angel ever sired someone after gaining a soul. (He even refused to re-sire Darla, who was going to die anyway).
    • Angel is engaged in his usual one-man rodeo show while investigating a case of Demonic Possession in "Damage". Suddenly he gets on the phone to Wesley and demands backup from the Wolfram & Hart tactical squad. Turns out the 'possessed' woman is actually a vampire Slayer who's gone insane.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: Angel and Wesley battling a newly-hatched demon in a strip of apartments. We see yellow blood splattering the windows, followed by Wesley getting thrown out the window and then charging back inside.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind / Mirror Match: Angel vs. Angelus in "Orpheus". Technically it's a tag-team bout, since Faith is in Angel's brain, too.
  • Battle in the Rain: Angel vs. Faith.
    • The final shot of the series.
  • Bearer of Bad News: Wesley finds himself put in the agonizing position of reporting Fred's death to her parents, who were blissfully unaware of it. Wes is stymied, however, by Illyria shape-shifting in order to resemble her dead host.
  • The Beautiful Elite
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: As soon as most characters see Jasmine's hideous true face, they instantly turn on her, even though they are still somewhat in her thrall.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: (Refreshingly) Averted with Faith as she claws her way from the bottom of the barrel. Over the course of three years, we see her strung out, imprisoned, beaten to a pulp, and quasi-suicidal. Fun times.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: As Rebecca's drug takes effect on Angel, he realizes she's trying to make him turn into Angelus so he'll turn around and sire her. Furious, Angel grabs a blood pack from his fridge and sprays it into her mouth to give her "a taste" of what she's in for. Naturally, once Angelus is in control, Rebecca flees in terror from the murderous nutcase she just let loose.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: When the team suspects a little boy of being possessed by an Ethros demon, Wesley mentions Lizzie Borden, the famous Massachusetts woman accused of butchering her parents with an axe. She, too, was possessed by an Ethros. Angel notes ominously that the demon possessing Borden was only an adolescent.
    • During the chase through an art gallery in "She", Angel shake off his pursuit by briefly pausing to lecture on a painting of the French poet Baudelaire, suggesting that Baudelaire's poem "The Vampire" was based on an encounter with a real vampire (possibly Angel himself, as he tells his audience that Baudelaire was actually "a little taller and a lot drunker" than he appears here).
    • Roger Burkle correctly guesses that Spiro T. Agnew was a demon, to Angel's surprise. "I thought only I knew that."
    • In "The House Always Wins", Angel corrects Fred and Gunn's misconception that the members of Blue Man Group are demons (only two of them are).
  • Being Good Sucks
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Angel and Buffy.
    • Doyle laments that he and his ex-wife were too young to break things off amicably, instead fighting each other non-stop until one of them broke; in doing so, he inadvertantly forecasts what will happen to Angel and Buffy later on.
  • The Berserker: Faith in "Five By Five".
  • Best Served Cold: Once Holtz learns Angel has a soul and Darla killed herself to save her unborn child, his roaring red-hot desire for revenge cools down to... icy.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Every single member of Team Angel, though Wesley stops being nice somewhere between season 3 and 4. Jasmine also qualifies (kind of.)
  • Big Bad: Series-wide: Wolfram & Hart.
    • Two evil soulless creatures locked in a death match...lawyer versus vampire!
    • Seasons Three and Four both have Well Intentioned Extremists as Big Bads — Holtz and Jasmine, respectively.
    • Holtz is something of a subversion as well. Angelus was his Big Bad first, and Holtz is arguably a Big Good whose most evil act (committing suicide in such a way as to make Connor think his father, Angel, is responsible) is morally correct from Holtz's view: Angel must suffer for the crimes he committed as Angelus, chief among them killing Holtz's wife and turning his daughter into a vampire, thus forcing Holtz to kill her. An apt metaphor for Holtz would be to think of him as a living embodiment of Angelus' past victims.
      • Holtz probably tips over into villain territory because of his willingness to treat Angel's human allies, who played no part in his former life, as collateral damage: He sets Gunn and Fred up to be attacked by vampires and the plan to kidnap Connor involves Wesley having his throat slit. He's also something of a Bad Boss towards his underlings, especially Justine.
    • Season Five has the Senior Partners, operating on Earth through their Dragons, the Circle of the Black Thorn.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Doors just seem to piss Angel off. Double doors doubly so.
  • Big Labyrinthine Building: The Hyperion. They have a south wing.
    • Wolfram & Hart has sub levels that even Lilah doesn't know about.
    • Building of Adventure: Becomes this once Angel and the gang move in.
  • Big "NO!": We'll miss you, Doyle.
  • Birthday Episode: Cordelia's birthday in Season 3. Like Buffy, she had problems with the supernatural during it.
  • Birth-Death Juxtaposition: Darla's death and Connor's birth.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Lorne's heart is in his ass, as he will be quick to tell you. Chopping off his head has no effect, so God only knows where his brain's located.
    • In his head. But he's from the Deathwok clan — he can have someone put him back together.
    • Some demons, such as the Haxil, procreate by implanting human women with their seed. When one such fate befalls Cordelia, she and Wesley head for the prenatal clinic, where a doctor extracts some amniotic fluid. The syringe containing the fluid cracks, disintegrates, and then eats a hole through the subflooring.
    • The females of the Oden-Tal species have ridges along their spines that glow red when they are sexually aroused. (see "Horny Devils").
      • Their male counterparts, the Vigories have a ko of their own, but it doesn't do anything. On the other hand, they're reported to be herbivores who eat half their body weight a day.
    • Gunn and Wesley are trapped in a sewer, preparing to launch an attack an unseen goliath. Wesley notes that this species is known for breathing fire. Gunn peeks around a corner and reports that its back is turned — right before flames erupt in his direction.
    I thought you said it breathes fire!!"
    • A group of Nahdrah demons plot to remove Fred's head and place it on the shoulder of their dying Prince. They want her for her mind.
    • Not to mention the demons that require large amounts of salt, need to be buried separately once dead, emerge every other full moon...
      • Lampshaded at one point by Wesley and Gunn: Wesley gives a long exposition about the demon they will be facing, noting how it emerges every other full moon to mate and feed (at the same time) and communicates through facial ticks. Gunn, bored, asks how they kill it. "Oh, standard slice and dice."
  • Black and Grey Morality: Kinda the whole point.
  • Blackmail: The client in "War Zone" is a D&D fanatic who went a little to deep into character - specifically, the 'demon seductresses' part - and ended up being photographed at a demon brothel.
  • Blessed with Suck: Vampires in general, especially if they can feel remorse. Sam Lawson is unable gain any pleasure from his violence, a fact which he attributes to Angel having a soul when he sired him. Unfortunately for Lawson, he didn't absorb enough of Angel's soul to suppress his dark impulses. He's kind of irritated.
    • The visions from the PTB are shown to be excruciatingly painful to half-demons and humans alike. Doyle refers to them as "great, splittin' migraines that come with pictures", while Cordelia compares it to having molten lava poured onto your brain.
    Cordelia: If that was my gift, I'd return it.
  • Blindfolded Vision: Hilariously parodied. The Blindfolded Psychic Ninja in Quickening looks awesome... and gets swarmed and chump killed by vamps.
  • Blocking Stops All Damage: Played with when a blade is found that can actually kill the Beast. In the battle the Beast blocks every attack and seems to take no actual damage despite the Beast saying that it stings. The Beast blocks the sword and breaks it eventually. Angel kills him by getting a piece around his guard and into his head. Then the whole thing was revealed to be a dream of Angel's, making its use dubious.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: Penn ("Somnabulist").
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: Faith showering after a run-in with Angelus.
  • Blood Knight: Connor might be this, but The Groosalugg definitely is.
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Angel being asked if he knows Dungeons & Dragons. "Sure, I've seen a few."
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: Jasmine and Lindsey's undoing.
  • Bodyguard Crush: In Guise Will Be Guise, Wesley impersonates Angel in order to avoid conflict but finds himself involved with Magnus Bryce and forced to be bodyguard to Bryce's daughter Virginia and, let's just say, the two hit it off.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: "Let's go to work."
  • Bond One-Liner: Inverted in "Sense & Sensitivity", after Angel is cursed with the same touchy-feely emotions that have consumed the police station. Angel continues to espouse his new, positive attitude while pummeling the villain of the week.
    Angel: You know, Anthony, you can be a rainbow. And not a— [punches Tony's lights out] —Painbow.
  • Book Ends: "Hero" starts with Doyle rehearsing a television ad for Angel Investigations. Following his death, the episode finishes with Doyle saying to the camera, "Is that it? Am I done?"
  • Bound and Gagged: Cordelia in "Parting Gifts". The gag has less to do with restraint than making her shut up.
    • The infamous gypsy girl who indirectly caused Angel's curse. We later learn in a flashback that it's really all Darla's fault, as she "looked everywhere" for a suitable present for Angelus. Whoops.
    • The above example is paralleled in the same episode ("Five By Five") by Faith tying up and gagging her old buddy Wesley.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Anybody who lays eyes on Jasmine.
  • Brass Balls: Lindsay calls Angel a vampire "with big brass testes" after he reveals his plan to go after The Circle of the Black Thorn.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The demonic Straley family's dinner conversation in "Bachelor Party".
    Uncle John: Let's see... (examines schedule) First we greet the man of the hour. Then we drink. We bring out the food. Then we drink. Then comes the stripper, darts, and then we have the ritual eating of the first husband's brains, and then charades.
    • An alarmed Cordelia confides to Wesley that his client, Rebecca, has been "real gabby, asking questions about Angel". Wesley asks what sort of questions?
    "Oh, you know, where does Angel hail from, what’s his favorite color, what kind of aftershave he wears, the exact specific details on how someone could make themselves into a vampire."
  • Break the Cutie: Fred. Somewhat inverted in that she comes to the show when she's already thoroughly broken and spends the next three seasons becoming a capable, confident and occasionally badass woman. Then she dies horribly. Worse, her soul is turned to ash in the fires of rebirth to bring forth Illyria. Yup, there's no Afterlife for her. Even for a Whedon show that's harsh.
    • Well, the "no afterlife" part is debatable, given that in the series finale, Illyria tells Wesley as he's dying that he'll be with Fred again soon.
    Illyria You'll be dead within minutes. Would you like me to lie to you now?
    Wesley Yes... Thank you, yes.
  • Breather Episode: Most prominent in Seasons 3 & 4, which are heavily arc-focused. These include "Provider" (a series of lighthearted vignettes about side jobs), "Waiting in the Wings" (a trip to the ballet) immediately afterward, "Spin the Bottle" (the return of dysfunctional, Buffy-era Cordelia and Wesley) and "The Girl in Question".
  • Bribe Backfire: Angel attempts to bribe the barkeep in "Expecting", only to find it's the last thing in the world that will gain this guy's confidence.
  • Brick Joke: In Season 5, Illyria mentions the universe of all shrimp that was used as a brick joke throughout Buffy.
    • In season two Angel has a fear of singing, but left with no other options he butchers the power ballad Mandy at a karaoke club so the owner will help him. When Faith drugs Angelus in season four he is forced to watch a flashback of him listening to the song on a jukebox. He can't stand it, while Faith finds it hilarious that he has a jonsing for the song. Then lets slip about attending concerts.
  • Broken Aesop: Lampshaded spectacularly by Cordelia at the end of "Expecting".
  • Broken Bird: Faith.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Good job defeating Jasmine, Angel! Now you have to deal with your insane son, your comatose girlfriend, the elimination of any possibility of world peace and the return of Wolfram & Hart.
    • The season 5 (and series) finale. Their goal was, essentially, inconvenience the Senior Partners, probably at the expense of their lives. Everything went perfectly to plan and they still didn't wind up with a true victory.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Fred played "Gentle Girl" to both Gunn and Wesley. In season 5, Angel's "Gentle Girl" was a werewolf. No, it never worked out happily.
    • Faith becomes this to Angel in the comics. Yep, that Faith.
  • Brought Down to Normal: In "I Will Remember You" Angel becomes human.
  • Buffy Speak: Multiple examples, naturally. Extends even to the actors themselves, like Julie Benz's response to her vampire character being resurrected. ""I was shocked. I just thought once you poof'd, you poof'd! I thought that was it."
    • Most notable is Lorne's flummoxed response to his club blowing up (again).
    Angel: Attacked?! I thought you had double protection sanctorium spells?!
    Lorne: I do! It's a thing with the door— and the stairs and the world and the thing. Never mind!
    Gunn: Apparently you can be outside and shove stuff in.
    Lorne: ..I just said that.
  • Buffy Stays Out Of Los Angeles: After the series of evil things Faith had done (killed someone and tried to frame Buffy for it, tried to rape and murder Xander, kidnapped Willow, worked for the Big Bad, tried to kill Angel, took over Buffy's body) Buffy follows Faith to the...well, City of Angels, where she goes as far to attack her former boyfriend when he stands in the way of her trying to kill Faith. After Faith turns herself in Angel tells Buffy she is not entitled to justice in his city, seeking to reform people rather than kill them.
    • The reverse is also true: Angel lends only meager support in Buffy's final battle, despite evidence of The First Evil operating in Los Angeles. (A Bringer attempting to kill Faith in prison.)
    • Spike debates whether to reunite with Buffy again, but resigns himself to the knowledge that the show wrapped that previous year. —No, wait. Actually, Spike doesn't want to spoil the poignancy of his heroic death on Buffy.
  • Burn Baby Burn: Wesley, in one last sentimental gesture, attempts this on Lilah's employee contract (which binds her to the firm for eternity). A duplicate contract immediately appears in the drawer.
  • Busman's Holiday:
    Angel: (speaking Tibetan) Demon monks. Should've gone to Vegas.
    • Not that the poor guy got any respite in Vegas, either.
  • But I Can't Be Pregnant!!: And it won't be the last time, Cordy dearest.
    • Vampires are infertile — hence Darla's dismay.
  • Butt Monkey: Wesley in later seasons, though played entirely for drama.
  • Byronic Hero: Wesley, in spades.

    C 
  • Calling Card: Before being cursed with a soul, Angelus enjoyed 'signing' each of his victims by slicing a Christian cross on their cheek. Its purpose was twofold: To keep score, and to spite God. Penn, having been sired and mentored by Angelus, adopted this trademark as his own.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Angel (under his human name, "Liam") became a vampire as a result of a noisy confrontation with his father, which resulted in him getting kicked out. As Angelus, he later "triumphed" by killing his family, saving his father for last.
    • Penn has daddy issues of his own, even to the point of considering Angelus his "real" father after being sired. Similar to Angelus, Penn evened the score by slaughtering his entire family. Over the next two centuries, Penn deliberately sought out victims who resembled his family, killing them in order to reenact his past murders (later redirected toward Angel himself).
    • During a lighthearted speech at her father's retirement party, Kate segues into a stormy tirade of raw emotion, reminding him of how he "shut down all emotion" following her mother's death, and has treated her coldly her entire life.
    • Wesley finally vents some bile toward his father, Roger, as the pair engage in some Gunpoint Banter ("Lineage"). Roger blasts Wesley for working for Angel when he knows what he's done. Wesley, in turn, taunts his father, insinuating that Roger always belittled him because he feared that Wesley would outshine him.
  • The Cameo: Blink and you'll miss Zakk Wylde free-styling with Lorne in "The Magic Bullet".
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: Drogyn
    • Which is why he gets very, very angry whenever anybody asks him a question. He is sick of always having to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
  • Canon Immigrant: Betta George was originally created for some non-canon Spike comics before appearing in After the Fall.
  • Can't Stay Normal: In "I Will Remember You", Angel's humanity is restored when his blood mixes with that of a powerful demon. After spending a blissful night together with Buffy, Angel continues to fight demons at her side — and loses, badly. During a conference with the Oracles, Angel learns the full consequences of being human: he can no longer avert the coming apocalypse, in which Buffy will surely die. Faced with little choice, he implores the Oracles to rewind time and negate the past 24 hours' events; Angel will have to earn his humanity the hard way.
    • Angel's son ends up fitting this trope nicely. To make a very long story short, Angel agrees to a devil's bargain with Wolfram & Hart to rewrite Connor's entire life, brainwashing him so he can live happily with a human family. Not long afterward, however, Angel is blackmailed by Cyvus Vail, the sorcerer responsible for Connor's new memories. Vail announces that he needs the old Connor back, since it is only he who can kill Vail's nemesis, Sahjhan. Hoping to preserve Connor's new life, Angel attempts to re-train his son from scratch in the art of fighting — only to be waylaid by Wesley, who restores Connor's memories by shattering Vail's Orlon Window. Wesley, who suspected Angel of involvement in Fred's death, hoped to rewind time by undermining the basis on which Angel joined the firm.
  • Captain Obvious: "Parting Gifts":
    Barney: First off, you should know — right away, before there's any misunderstanding — I'm a demon.
    Angel: (glances at horns, hooked nose, pointy ears, and blotched skin) I appreciate your candor.
    • Later in that same episode, Barney the Empath demon overhears Cordy struggling to decipher a cryptic vision and grunting angrily.
    Barney: You're frustrated.
    Cordelia: (glares) That's one spooky talent you got there.
    • Angel and Wesley nab their suspect, a wounded Kungai demon, only to discover he's dying. Angel points out that it wasn't Wesley's arrow which injured him; his horn's been broken off. Wesley leans over and starts translating the Kungai's dialect.
    Wesley: (looks up) I think he's telling us his horn was taken.
    Angel: We got that!
    • A rare inanimate example of this occurs with Cordy's newly-installed security system ("The Prodigal"). When a demon bursts though the doors of Angel's office, the digitized voice alerts helpfully that the "Door is open".
    • Even the Powers That Be aren't immune to this trope. When Cordelia drives over to a client's home to collect a fee, she is hit with a vision of herself being surrounded by cyclopean demons — at the precise moment when she's surrounded by cyclopean demons.
    Cordelia: [yelling at ceiling] THAT WAS HELPFUL!
  • Car Cushion
  • Cardboard Prison: Pretty much any prison where Wolfram & Hart's clients are involved.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Literally. Every member of Wolfram & Hart seems to have business cards.
  • Car Fu: Doyle tries this on the gates of a mansion in the first episode. It completely fails to work.
    • Fred's mother shows great ingenuity in squashing an insect demon with a bus.
    • The hood of Gunn's pickup truck is mounted with five foot-long stakes. During his first encounter with Angel, Gunn tries to mow him down.
    • And Jasmine tries to drop a minivan on Angel.
  • Car Meets House: Oz uses his band's tour van as a battering ram in Spike's lair.
    • Angel 'borrows' Lindsay's pickup to plow through someone's living room ("Epiphany").
  • The Cast Showoff: Christian Kane, who played Lindsey, is in a Country/Southern rock band in real life. In "Dead End," Lindsey sings so well at Caritas that not just Cordelia, but also Gunn and Wesley are impressed.
    • Darla also gets a turn at the mic.
  • Cat Scare: Played straight in "I've Got You Under My Skin", with an actual cat.
    • In "Parting Gifts", Angel trails his quarry into a sauna room. A towel-wearing demon surprises Angel by exiting one of the stalls, asking where he can get the shiatsa massage.
  • Cavemen vs. Astronauts Debate: The Trope Namer.
    Fred: Cavemen win....of course cavemen win...
  • Ceiling Cling: Subverted in "War Zone". Angel, seemingly able to sense that there's a vampire about to pounce, casually steps out of the way, letting the mook fall flat on his face.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: Angel can't work a cellphone to save his life, much to Cordelia's exasperation.
  • Cement Shoes: How Angel disposes of Dr. Ronald Meltzer, after disassembling him.
  • Cerebus Callback: In "A Hole In The World", there is a Running Gag early on about the characters arguing on who would win in a fight — cavemen or astronauts. Towards the end of the episode as Fred lies dying, infected with the spirit of an ancient demon, she whispers "cavemen win, cavemen always win" as a reference to the plot parallel of their modern technologies being unable to stop the ancient demon.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster
  • Chained to a Bed: When Angel starts having dreams of the hunt — dreams that match a string of real-life murders those same nights — he, Wesley and Cordelia test the theory that he might be somehow sleep-killing by chaining him to his bed.
    • Following Angel's short-lived rampage as Angelus ("Eternity"), the episode concludes with Wes and Cordy confining him to the bed again. Perhaps understandably, Cordy hints she's not untieing him anytime soon.
  • Chain Link Fence: Subverted in an early episode ("In the Dark"). Spike, in a rare demonstration of competence, pretends to accidentally run down a blind alley - when really, it's Angel who's just been trapped.
  • The Chain of Harm: Holtz's quest for revenge against Angel has a terrible impact on Connor's health and sanity.
  • Chair Reveal: Puppet Angel.
  • Chekhov's Gag: In "That Old Gang of Mine", Cordelia mentions Fred laughing at something a shrub said. Later in Season Five when she becomes Illyria, one of her powers is talking to plants.
  • Chekhovs Gun Man: The mailman at Wolfram and Hart, who wears a Mexican wrestling mask. He later turns out to be a former member of a team of demon-hunting luchadores.
    • Several demons met casually or otherwise throughout Season 5 are later revealed to be members of an Ancient Conspiracy of Big Bads.
  • Choke Holds: Subverted when someone tries to air choke Angel only to learn, to his dismay, that that doesn't work on vampires.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Angel. Cordelia qualifies from Season Two onward.
  • City of Weirdos
  • Clean Pretty Childbirth: It was a unique birth, since Darla couldn't give birth naturally and dusted herself, but there's no sign of blood or anything on Connor at all when Angel picks him up. Granted, it was raining, but still...
  • Cliffhanger
  • Clipboard of Authority: Angel follows Jhiera into an art gallery, but she makes him and sics museum security after him. As cover, Angel quickly removes his coat and proceeds to lecture on an Édouard Manet painting to a group of people, who stand rapt at his expert dissertation.
  • Close Up On Head: Angel and Wesley debating whether to make a run for the exit....or keep sitting through Cordelia's acting.
    • "War Zone" begins with a Close Up On Feet. The camera pans up to reveal our hero, a black-clad, Badass Longcoat wearing Ang—er, Gunn.
    "You were expecting someone else?"
    • In the same episode, Cordelia wears a glamorous scarf while sunning herself in Angel's convertible. Wesley breaks the mood by reminding Cordy that she's on a stakeout, and the car is parked in a smelly alleyway.
    • Spike, cornered against a wall, menaces his opponent with a Badass Boast....until the shot pans, revealing that he's yelling at a video game.
    Spike: Feel my wrath, gorilla throwin' barrels!
    • Done a whole bunch of times. More examples include Gunn and Wesley intimidating each other in a Serious Business type way (they turned out to be playing Risk), and Angel giving a heartfelt speech to someone off-camera (turns out he was reading from a pre-prepared card, trying to apologize to Merl).
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Spike tortures Angel to learn the location of the Gem of Amarra in "In the Dark". Later that season, Faith ties Wesley to chair and tortures him with an entire kitchen's-worth of implements.
    • Holtz with Angel, repeatedly.
    • Lindsey (and later Gunn) suffer this at the hands of Wolfram & Heart.
  • Combat Clairvoyance: Gunn is seemingly able to sense a vampire attack on his base, despite there being no preemptive noise. ("War Zone")
  • Comically Missing the Point: Harrie Doyle seems more less upset about her fiancée's intention to eat Doyle's brains than about being kept in the dark about it.
    Harrie: You were going to start our life out together with deceit?
    Doyle: (to Angel) Sorta missing the point, isn't she?
    • On the day following Little Tony's arrest, Angel meets with Doyle’s informant, who claims he overhead that "LT" is planning a hit on Det. Lockely.
    Angel (to Doyle) You know what that means?
    Doyle: "LT" stands for Little Tony, yeah?
    • Darla invokes this in a flashback to the late-1800s when she comes across a soul-stricken Angelus ("Five By Five"). When Angelus sorrowfully reflects on the children he's murdered, Darla gets excited and asks if he's brought her some.
    Darla: Do you think I won't share? I can't believe you think I'm that insensitive.
  • Comically Small Bribe: Cordelia attempting to bypass a security guard at the ballet.
    Cordelia: Hey! Do you like bribes?
    Guard: Do I ever!
    Cordelia: Well we really want to go backstage.
    Guard: Yeah, see, this isn't so much a 'bribe' as it is a 'tip', and since I'm not parking your car there's really no way—
    [Angel punches him]
  • Commuting on a Bus: Cordelia pretty much stops regularly appearing from season 3, episode 14 to her final episode in season 5. First she's on vacation with Groo, then she becomes a higher power, then she spends most of a season controlled by Jasmine until she gives "birth" to her, and then remains in a coma until she passes before the end of the series.
  • Condensation Clue: Disembodied and nearly incapable of affecting the physical world, Spike has to resort to this to communicate a message.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Because he was raised in Quor'toth, this happened to Connor to the extent that he was the only person who could look upon Jasmine's true face and still think her beautiful.
  • Contagious Cassandra Truth: In "Shiny Happy People" Fred catches Cassandra Truth literally from Jasmine's blood, and then figuratively when she talks to the only other person so far to see the truth (who had been converted earlier), who explains to her "she [Jasmine] must die" and "you've been called".
  • Continuity Nod: Cordelia's crispy high school diploma.
    • When Buffy and Faith confront each other atop Angel's building, Faith asks, "Whaddya wanna do? You're gonna throw me off the roof? Again?"
    • In a Season One throwaway gag, Wesley prophesies that a demon is due to arise in Reseda. ("To Shanshu In L.A.") In Cordelia's glimpse into her alternate life ("Birthday"), she drives to Reseda and discovers the root cause of the demon's summoning - a teenage girl pouring diet soda on a black magic tome.
  • Convenient Coma: Somewhat subverted, however, in that it's revealed Cordelia never came out of her coma when she died and it was probably her spirit (or something) that helped Angel.
  • Convenient Replacement Character: Wesley shows up in town the episode after Doyle is killed.
  • Cooldown Hug: When Angel refuses to kill Faith, she reacts by flying into what the script literally dubs a "I'm-Gonna-Get-You-Motherfucker-If-It's-The-Last-Thing-I-Do" rage, clawing at the air and screaming. Finally, her body gives out, and she ends up sobbing in Angel's arms as the rain pours.
  • Coolest Club Ever: D'Oblique. Subverted by Doyle, who describes it as "one of those 'terminally-stuck in The Eighties' places".
  • Cool Gate: Two gates to hell dimensions appear in the series, one to Pylea and the other to Quor'Toth. The former is discussed as very cool by the main cast whe nthey go through, the latter can be described as punching a burning hole through reality like it was paper.
  • Cool Mask: The Vocah wears one, symbolizing his sway over the lower demons. When Angel pries it off, it opens to reveal not a face, but a gaping hole full of maggots.
    • The Comedy and Tragedy demons from "Waiting in the Wings" certainly qualify.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: Kate grills an informant over the whereabouts of Little Tony, who shot a country supervisor execution-style. The informant begs to differ.
    Spivey: I heard it was a suicide.
    Kate: Supervisor Caffrey shot himself?
    Spivey: It happens.
    Lockley: In the back of the head, wrapped himself in plastic, and then locked himself in the trunk of his car?
    Spivey: He'd been depressed.
  • Corporate Samurai: Several, not all of them working for Wolfram & Hart. These include Faith, blind baddie Vanessa Brewer, freelancer Gwen Raiden, and Marcus Hamilton.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive / Vampires Are Rich: Russel Winters ("City Of").
  • Corrupt Politician: Several senators are shown on screen. More are implied.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: As bad and powerful and nearly omnipresent as Wolfram & Hart are, the only reason they are in the running to get their apocalypse is that many things that are more powerful either are sleeping or can't be bothered. The firm gets throttled hard three times by such beings. While W&H isn't particularly sensitive to the damage done to its offices and personnel, think about it from Angel's perspective. Beating Wolfram & Hart is hopeless enough and now something is surprised that "the Wolf, the Ram and the Hart" are this important these days because they really are a bunch of self-promoting yard trash who used to be like vampires. Nice world to try to save.
  • Costume Copycat: The Groosalugg in Season 3. In addition to possessing all of Angel's strengths (and none of his weaknesses), Cordelia starts dressing him up in Angel's old clothes. One spiky haircut later, and they're practically interchangeable.
  • Could Have Avoided The Whole Thing: One conversation about the father-will-kill-the-son prophecy would have saved everyone—viewers included—a whole lot of grief.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: This trope is invoked for ghosts. In season one, a malevolent spirit writes bleeding messages on the walls of Cordelia's apartment. In season five, phantasm-Spike writes a message in the condensation of Fred's shower door.
    • Subverted in "Eternity", when Angel instantly recognizes the bloody lettering as prop blood. How does he do that??
    • In the series finale, when Angel is offered a fountain pen by another executive — who abruptly jams it into Angel's hand. Wolfram & Hart isn't big on ink signatures.
  • Crapsack World: Lindsey talks of Earth being Hell itself, which is how Wolfram & Hart works and thrives.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Angel's spawned quite a number of them, just by virtue of being a vampire; Penn, Drusilla, and Sam Lawson are all vampires whom he has personally sired — and later return to kick his ass.
    • The guy who eclipses them all, however, is Holtz. who wants Angel dead for what he did as Angelus, killing the man's family and forcing him to dust his own daughter.
  • Creator Cameo: That's Joss Whedon in the green make-up doing the Dance of Joy.
    • David Fury, the producer, doing what producers do — slaughtering goats. He also cameoed as an evil Jim Henson parody in "Smile Time."
  • Creepy Souvenir: After returning from a Hell dimension, Connor carries around bits of demons he's killed. When he later fights a drug dealer, he takes an ear to add to his collection.
  • Crisis of Faith: A recurring motif. Angel is reluctant to put any stock in prophecies, including the one about becoming human again. Kate had an enormous crisis of faith upon learning of L.A.'s demonic underbelly, and later being sacked from the force.
    • Season One has Angel and Wolfram & Hart honcho Holland Manners unknowingly competing for the soul of Lindsey. Holland remarks that Lindsey is having a "crisis of faith", and Angel later accuses him of having no faith in the world.
  • Crooked Contractor: Lorne is aggravated by one during the rebuilding of Caritas. "I've got mouths to feed. Plus a family. Some of them got mouths, too."
  • Cross Over: With Buffy. Later Comics do ones with Peter David's Fallen Angel and Frankenstein. The secondary writer of the first run of canon comics included so many Shout Outs and Cross Overs that listing them would require its own page (he thankfully notes them in the notes of the collected volumes).
  • Crusading Widower: Holtz, who takes out 378 vampires in 9 years after Angelus and Darla kill his family before travelling to the 21st century and turning a bunch of grieving vampire-haters into a team of vampire hunters to help him take out Angel.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Pretty much any run-in with The Beast or Hamilton.
    • Team Angel vs Illyria lasts no longer than 20 seconds.
  • Curse Cut Short: Spike announces himself as "the biggest, baddest mothe—" before inadvertantly walking beneath a tiny beam of sunshine, setting his peroxide hair aflame.
    • Wesley channels his inner badassitude whilst being tortured by his one-time prodigy, Faith:
    Wesley: I was your watcher Faith, I know the real you. But even if you kill me there is just one thing I want you to remember.
    Faith: (visibly moved) What's that, love?
    Wesley: You...are a piece of shi—
  • Curse Escape Clause: One moment of pure happiness will break the curse Angel bears. Since that curse is his soul, and his soul is what keeps him acting like a civilized being, he would prefer, most of the time, that this escape clause not be invoked.

    D 
  • Dangerous Workplace: Wolfram & Hart. Not only does the building lock down in an emergency, but any dead personnel left within are reanimated into zombies.
  • Dark Action Girl: Faith starts out like this, gets a Heel-Face Turn, and keeps the wardrobe.
  • Darker and Edgier: Done right.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Angel is probably the best example, but Skip also qualifies. Until his sudden yet inevitable betrayal.
  • Darkness Equals Death: Angelus' first appearance on the show is signaled by the building's electricity getting cut.
    Angelus: Uh oh. Someone forgot to pay the power bill.
  • Date Crêpe: In "I Will Remember You", Angel celebrates his newfound humanity with two American pastimes: sex and ice cream.
  • Date My Avatar: "HotBlonde37159."
  • Dating Catwoman: Wesley and Lilah
    • Also Gunn and Gwen, for a one-nighter.
    • Angel and Eve in the last season, although they were under a magical compulsion at the time.
  • Day In The Life
  • A Day in the Limelight: Harmony in "Harm's Way".
  • Deadly Doctor: Dr. Ronald Meltzer is an ocular surgeon with the power to sever and reattach his body parts, thanks to his mastery of Psychic Surgery. He's also a deranged stalker who's pretty handy with a scalpel.
  • Deadly Hug: Gunn does this to his vamped sister.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gunn and Cordy tend towards this, although since this is a Whedon show there's enough snark to go around.
  • Death by Irony: Darin McNamara gets mobbed by his captive fighters and shackled with one of his own electric bracelets. Trepkos then hurls Darin's body through the boundry zone, disintegrating him.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Lampshaded yet played straight with Spike, and then averted to hell and back with Fred.
  • Death of Personality: Vampires in the Buffyverse are humans who have died and had their soul replaced by a demon. This means that the person themselves is dead, even though the demon in question has all their memories and often believes they are the original.
  • Death Seeker: Sam Lawson's revealed motive in "Why We Fight".
  • Death Trap: The Lex Luthor-ish elevator gas chamber. (Gwen lampshades.)
  • Death World: In "Peace Out", Angel is the only one who can survive the journey to Jasmine's homeworld, as the atmosphere is poisonous to anyone who breathes it. For obvious reasons, Angel doesn't share that handicap.
  • Decapitation Presentation: As Angelus is pondering a variety of creative deaths for Rebecca, he finally settles on doing it old school: Carrying around her head on a stick!
  • Decoy Damsel: "Parting Gifts" and "The Ring" have male variations on this trope. In both instances, Angel is duped by a client into chasing down the wrong culprit.
    • Lampshaded in a later episode ("Five By Five") following Angel's rescue of an eyewitness. "You Marquez? ..Good. I hate saving the wrong guy."
    • Inverted with Rebecca in "Eternity". She truly believes she's being stalked, but it's a publicity stunt staged by her amoral agent.
  • Defiant to the End: In another Call Back to Buffy, a Watcher (Giles:Wesley) ends up tied to a chair and sadistically tortured by a maniac (Angelus:Faith) to the point of almost breaking — only to reply with a pithy insult.
  • Demonic Possession: Several times, but most memorably when a little soulless boy imprisons a demon inside his body.
  • Dénouement Episode: The fourth-season finale "Home".
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Lee Mercer's assasins rant from "Sanctuary".
    "This is getting ridiculous. The first assassin kills the second assassin - sent to kill the first assassin - who didn't assassinate anyone until we hired the second assassin to assassinate her!"
  • Depower: Twice, with ascended Cordelia and Illyria, who got hit a second time.
    • Angel becomes human for a day in Season One.
  • Depraved Kids' Show Host: Gregor Framkin of "Smile Time". Subverted when he's revealed to be a (literal) puppet.
  • Description Cut: Angel's father chews him out in a flashback to 18th century Ireland, shouting, "You're a layabout and a scoundrel, and you'll never amount to anything more than that!" Flash-forward to Angel kicking demon ass in a subway tunnel 200 years later.
    • On the subject of Angel's celebrity client, Rebecca Lowell, Cordy pines, "I'd give anything to be in her world!" Cut to Lowell getting a painful eyebrow wax.
  • Destination Defenestration: The fate of Russel Winters, Angel's very first Monster of the Week.
    Angel: He went into the light.
  • Destructo-Nookie: Angel and Darla in "Reprise".
  • Detective Patsy: Happens to Angel more often than he'd like.
  • The Determinator: Angel, Gunn, Wesley and definitely Holtz.
  • Deus ex Machina: Literally in the episode "You're Welcome"; Cordelia, before she dies, uses her god powers for the last time to help Angel and the gang.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: A few creatures in this series are ancient and (supposedly) unstoppable demons.
  • Dirty Cop: Untwisted with Trevor Lockley, who thought he was helping his associates smuggle auto parts — not push drugs. As irony would have it, Trevor was feathering his nest precisely so Kate would never find herself in a position where she needed to take bribes.
  • The Disembodied: Spike for the first half of Season 5.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Ryan Anderson sets fire to his little sister's room as revenge for the unequal amount of marshmallows in his hot cocoa. Beat that.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: All three male leads, while discussing Cordelia's swimsuit.
  • Distressed Damsel
  • Divine Intervention: The reason Angel was able to enter Kate's apartment uninvited....maybe.
  • The Doll Episode: "Smile Time'', written and directed by Ben Edlund (best known for creating The Tick)
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Jasmine's on every channel.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: "Take your best shot little girl."
  • Don't Look at Me!: A traumatized Angel says this after glimpsing his "true" vampiric face in Pylea.
  • Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That: Doyle is busy duct-taping Angel's basement to protect against Dr. Meltzer's disassembling body parts. A pair of hands skitter up Doyle's neck — whoops, it's just Cordelia, who picked a fine time to fix Doyle's collar. This makes so little sense that it must be a wink on Joss's part.
    Doyle: Yeah, well, what say we leave it crooked until this thing is resolved?!
  • Door of Doom: Angel creates one to journey to the previous world Jasmine conquered (See "Death World").
  • Double Entendre: Lindsey promises to "get [Faith] off" of her criminal charges. Oh really, now?
    Faith: You don't know how many man have promised me that.
    Lilah: I'm certain you won't be disappointed in our performance.
  • Downer Ending: The Season 3 finale. Angel and Cordelia finally realize they love one another, and Connor has accepted Angel as his father and wants to be part of the family. It goes bad; Cordelia is called to a Ascend To A Higher Plane by Skip. Connor tracks Angel to where he was to meet Cordelia, tazes him, beats him down, locks him in a coffin and sends him to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
    • The Season 5 episode "You're Welcome." Cordelia, awakened from her mystical coma by the Powers-that-Be, returns to the fold, flabbergasted by the team running Wolfram & Hart and the fact that nobody remembers Connor. After foiling Lindsey and Eve's plot, the crew decides to go for a drink. Cordy stays behind to have a heart-to-heart with Angel. She tells him she can't stay, and she's proud of him for getting his fire back. After a kiss "for the road," Angel gets a call, during which Cordelia disappears. The call reveals that Cordelia apparently never awakened from the coma, and had in fact just died.
  • Down LA Drain: Frequently used by Angel.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: "The Magic Bullet":
    Angel: You know bullets can't kill me. *CLICK* Wanna see how they work on you?
  • Dress Hits Floor: Illyria in-between wardrobe changes.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Angel totes a briefcase in order to sneak into Wolfram & Hart. Wesley and Cordelia follow suit in a later episode.
  • Drool Hello: In "Parting Gifts".
  • Drop-In Character: David Nabit.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Cordelia's "friend" Serena, having been impregnated by the same demon as Cordy, has taken to guzzling whiskey by the time Angel darkens her door.
    • Played for laughs in "Redefinition" after the team is disbanded by Angel. (see "Drunken Song" below).
    • Takes a serious turn after Wesley's estrangement from the team, whereupon he really starts to hit the sauce. And then there's the death of Fred, which causes everyone to crawl into a bottle, even Spike and Lorne. Spike's drinking is the most hilariously sad, not least due to his vampire constitution, but also because he's attempting to get drunk on travel-size bottles of Jack Daniels.
  • Drunken Song: Cordelia, Wesley and Gunn's rendition of "We Are the Champions".
  • Dual Wielding: With mixed results. Oz brandishes a pair of crossbows while crashing into Spike's hideout with his van.
    • Wesley also mixes it up with dual pistols, but they only come in handy once. (Though the beautiful headshot performed on Skip is worth a hundred deflected bullets).
    • Faith comes at Angel with dual stakes in "Five By Five".
  • Due to the Dead: On at least two occasions a dead character has to be dismembered by a loved one (Holtz by Connor, and Lilah by Wesley) due to the (incorrect) belief that they were killed by vampires.

    E 
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In the early episodes, the makeup artists experimented with a new 'bumpy eyebrows' look for vampires. They soon went back to the old prosthetic.
    • The pilot has Angel breaking into the LA Public Library to do research, something he never does ever again. Joss originally thought up the idea of Angel going to the library every episode (à la Buffy), and compiled a ton of establishing shots that never got used.
  • Easily Forgiven: Played straight and subverted big time with Wesley. Even after returning to the fold, he is forever cemented as the Manipulative Bastard, careful to never tip his hand to the rest of the group (particularly Angel).
    • Faith famously gets rewarded with pastries after attempting to kill Wes and Angel.
    • Connor abuses and re-uses this trope constantly.
    • Angel is forgiven by the next episode after Wes finds out that he wiped everyone's memories of Connor. Probably because Wes realized that Angel was keeping Connor a secret for him, not from him - Wesley kidnapped Angel's son, accidentally making it easy for Connor to be kidnapped by the man that took Connor to hell with him... My God, What Have I Done?, in spades.
    • Subverted with Gunn in the final season. Despite making an honest (albeit incredibly stupid) mistake, he has to endure living in a hell dimension in order to atone. Granted, his mistake did help kill Fred....
  • Eats Babies: The leather-clad demon "That Old Gang of Mine".
  • Egocentric Team Naming: Angel Investigations, and when he leaves, the group all try to name the group after themselves, but decide to keep the original name.
  • Elemental Plane: There's a universe of shrimp mentioned as a gag.
  • Emo Teen: Connor takes home the gold.
    • Rieff in "Hero" behaves like a petulant teen, despite not being human.
  • The Empath: Lorne.
    • Barney, a (villainous) precursor to Lorne's character, appears in the first season ep "Parting Gifts".
  • Empathic Environment: The Hyperion's courtyard is lined with jasmine, a night-blooming plant. The comparison between jasmine flowers and vampires was previously made on Buffy.
  • Endless Corridor: The ballet company in "Waiting in the Wings".
  • Endless Daytime: After the Fall has LA in hell, with both sun and full moon up at the same time, which makes things interesting for werewolves. And vampires. And, well, it's hell.
  • Enemy Mine: Following repeated failed attempts to kill Angel and Faith, Lindsey comes to the realization that he's not acting like a lawyer; "It's a mistake for us to operate outside of the law." To that end, he approaches Kate Lockley, who just happens to despise Angel marginally more than Wolfram & Hart.
  • Enemy Within: Angelus, but arguably everyone falls victim to this trope. Even Lorne.
  • Enfant Terrible: Ryan Anderson. The Ethros demon who inhabited his boy ascribed his psychpathic personality to a lack of a soul; for whatever reason, Ryan was born an empty shell and nothing will ever change him.
  • The Eponymous Show
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Wolfram & Hart has several minorities working as high-class lawyers (Gavin Park and Gunn are the most prominent examples).
  • Establishing Series Moment: For anyone who's never seen Buffy, this show looks like a detective story opening with a noir-ish narration. Except it's Angel drunkenly talking to a barfly.
  • Estranged Soap Family: We know Cordelia's parents are alive when she moves to Los Angeles before the series begins. They are never so much as mentioned when their daughter goes missing at the end of season four, or spends almost a year in a coma in season five.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Faith. "Hey, you're pretty. You wanna make out?"
  • Everybody Must Get Stoned: Lorne's failed magic spell in "Spin the Bottle" disorients everyone; Lorn passes out, and the others stumble about the lobby as if very high on mushrooms.
  • Everyone Can See It: Doyle and Cordelia. Even a shit-faced Detective Lockely can sniff them out.
  • Everything Is Online: Both “Demons, Demons, Demons” and Criminal Records.
  • Evil Brit: A limey demon comes calling for Gunn's soul in "Double or Nothing".
    • The Watcher's Council's "Special Operations Team" (read: wet works). They previously appeared in the Season Four Buffy episode "Who Are You", and are still smarting from that little adventure.
  • Evil Counterpart: "Gio" is a fanatical demon hunter who corrupted Gunn's old crew while he was gone. ("That Old Gang of Mine")
    • Rutherford Sirk is an ex-Watcher who defected to Wolfram & Hart long ago. When Wesley castigates him for his lack of ethics, it's clear to see that Sirk is a preview of what Wesley will later turn into. ("Home")
  • Evil Debt Collector: Doyle and Gunn each have their respective ones.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: When we are shown Harmony's morning routine as of S5, her neighborer's dog seems to be this.
  • Evil Inc. / Occult Law Firm: Wolfram & Hart. Big-time.
  • Evil Is Not Well Lit: Wolfram & Hart must save a lot on their electricity bill.
  • Evil Lawyer Joke
  • Evil Makeover: The Burrower in "Lonely Hearts" is shown BodySurfing into the bodies of meek, introverted men and women, then switching into a more stylish outfit to seduce new prey.
  • Evil Mentor: Holtz, to Justine.
    • Holland Manners, to Lindsey.
  • Evil Pays Better: As explained by Linwood, the lawyers of Wolfram & Hart are perfectly happy to sell their souls and labor for the Senior Partners in Hell for all eternity, all in exchange for a few perks they receive during their fleeting time on Earth.
    • Although based on Eve's deal in season 5 one of the possible benefits in the W&H package can be immortality, so ...
  • The Evils of Free Will: Part of Jasmine's schtick. Her solution? Turn everyone into smiling, obedient slaves.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Cyrus Vail from The Circle of the Black Thorn, a frail, elderly, incredibly powerful warlock.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The Beast has a voice to match his girth.
    • Collins, front man for the evil Watcher trio, has a voice like Satan.
    • Holtz. This is actually lampshaded by Wesley when Holtz offers him a deal. ("Could be the low, scary voice that's giving me trouble.") Keith Szarabajka's real-life voice has a high-pitched, nasally sound, one which Tim Minear loves to imitate.
  • Evil Speech Of Evil: Angelus has this problem. Also Penn, which is appropriate seeing as he was schooled by Angelus (Cordelia lampshades).
  • Evil Twin: Well, make that Lorne's giant, hulking subconscious.
  • Evil Virtues: At Wolfram & Hart, the Deal is king — they never break an agreement. Even Wesley concedes as much.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Gunn overhears Angel scheduling an exact time and place to meet with a blackmailer. The following night, Angel gets nailed by a stake fired from one of Gunn's truck-mounted cannons. He is then forced to flee down a street and through a gauntlet of vampire-killing Booby Traps.
  • Exotic Entree: The werewolf-eating gourmet club in "Unleashed".
  • Expansion Pack Past: Angel. The same goes for Darla and Spike.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Illyria reacts this way when Knox announces that he is her high priest.
  • Explaining Your Power to the Enemy: Probably should've just kept your mouth shut, Hamilton.
  • Exposition of Immortality: Angel often mentions things he's done in the past, including gate-crashing a Vegas part Elvis was at and being alive during the Depression.
  • Exposition Victim: In "City Of..." Cordelia notices that the house she's in has no reflective surfaces at all. Out loud, she realises that she's in a vampire's house and challenges the owner — until her Sunnydale instincts catch up with her mouth and she tries to pretend that she was joking.
  • Express Delivery: The Haxil Beast offers fame, money and success to human men who are willing impregnate women (Cordy included) with its spawn. The gestation period lasts only a couple days, and according the Wesley, the surrogate mothers usually don't survive labor since the infants are often freaking huge.
  • Expy: Doyle began life as a Hotter and Sexier riff on Whistler, the porkpie hat-wearing demon who set Angel on his path ("Becoming", Buffy). Indeed, an earlier version of the pilot's script features Whistler instead of Doyle.
    • This might have arisen from a copyright dispute with Marvel, whose own vampire badass is aided by a man called Whistler.
    • Eve for Lilah. So much so, Cordy lampshades it.
    • Brainy, bubbly Fred could pass for Willow. Lampshaded via an exchanged look between Angel and Faith, not to mention Willow taking an immediate shine to Miss Burkle.
    • Wesley for Giles. Wes later morphs into an icy-blooded badass, echoing the dramatic shift away from 'mild-mannered' Giles on Buffy.
    • Interestingly, Wesley's betrayal in Season Three echoes a similar arc with Willow. Both characters had season-long descents that previous year, made bad decisions, were considered the 'brain' of their group, temporarily turned heel, and whose behavior had significant consequences for the rest of the cast.
    • Word of Joss stated that Harmony is "Cordelia: Year One."
    • Groo has a Riley-esque vibe going.
    • Connor is an angrier, Y chromosome Dawn. The latter had reality re-written to provide her with a life; conversely, Connor gains a new life by having his previous one erased from existence.
      • Connor also shares a similarity to Season Six Buffy, with the Came Back Wrong element.
    • Jasmine is a Physical God like Glory — with the twist that she's not here to destroy the world, but to save it.
    • Illyria also has the Physical God aspect of Glory, also the "former demonic ruler" bit.
      • Just as Doc's folksy exterior hid a murderous worshiper of Glory, so does Skip turn out to be working for Jasmine.
    • Dana. Once Faith was tossed in the clink, we obviously needed a new psycho Slayer to run around and stab people.
    • Merl is the demonic equivalent to Willy the Snitch — that is, he exists to be clobbered by the heroes until he sings like a canary.
    • Caritas may well be a bizarro counterpart to The Bronze.
    • The cell in the Hyperion's basement (built to contain Angelus, though the good guys spend equal time getting trapped in it themselves) is a stand-in for Giles' book cage.
    • Speaking of which, Nina Ash has to be caged during her time of the month. Sound familiar?
    • Just for Fun: Angel had a habit of channeling Xander whenever he was flummoxed or dismayed. Examples include, "Lotta goats. Goats, many", "There will be no throwing of flames!", and "I am marveling at the badness of that idea."
    • The comics just introduced ex-Watcher Laura Weathermill, who appears to be one of these for Wesley. She might not be entirely trustworthy, however. (But hey, neither was the genuine article.)
  • Extranormal Institute: Wolfram & Hart under the helm of Angel.
    Connor: This is place is way better than college!
  • Extra-Strength Masquerade: After a while, you get the feeling Angel could go on a live CNN broadcast, drink Anderson Cooper's blood, and ride away on a magical demon horse, and most people still wouldn't realize vampires exist.
  • Extremely Dusty Home: Cordelia complained of this when renovating the Hyperion. "Oh, this isn't mere dust. This is Son of Dust."
  • Eye Awaken: Inverted with Doyle, who is able to dislocate his own neck while in demon form. Angel pretends to snap his neck in order to impress The Scourge. Rieff finds Doyle's body, and is startled when he jolts back to life.
    • A series later, it's inverted again when Cordelia is shown Lorne's severed head. She's understandably shocked when his eyes snap open. It's then played for laughs when Angel, Wesley and Gunn encounter the head and the same thing happens again.
  • Eye Scream: Following the auctioning off of Cordelia's "seer's eyes" to Wolfram & Hart, Barney and his assistant start fighting over who gets to use the giant, handheld "extractor" to scoop them out
    • In "She", Cordelia has a vision of a security guard being immolated, complete with exploding eyeballs.


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