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Angel, né Liam

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/c2f119b4ee8ede31b3be4d5676c7ee1c.jpg
"I got two modes with people, bite and avoid."
Played By: David Boreanaz

"For a hundred years, I offered an ugly death to everyone I met, and I did it with a song in my heart."
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Angel is a vampire, one of the most evil and sadistic on record. Born "Liam" in Oireland during the 18th century, he was sired by Darla circa 1753. Adopting the name "Angelus," he wreaked havoc across Europe for almost 150 years until he angered a Gypsy clan by killing one of their beloved daughters. The Gypsies cursed him by returning his soul, filling him with immense remorse for the countless crimes he had committed.

After a century of living in squalor and feeding off rats, Angel is recruited by the Powers That Be and sent to watch over Buffy Summers, the newly-called Slayer. He serves as a Scoobies' contact in the demon world and Buffy's first Love Interest, but loses his soul in Season 2, becoming a formidable Big Bad with a love of torture (both physical and psychological).

Even re-ensouled, the threat isn't over. Should Angel achieve even a moment of pure happiness, the gypsy curse is automatically lifted; their code of vengeance holds that it's better for him to become evil again than to do anything to ease his suffering. Realizing that he's a danger as long as he's around Buffy, he packs up and leaves Sunnydale for Los Angeles, where he gets his own show, Angel, continuing to fight demons as a form of penance for his crimes.

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He returned to Buffy in the Season 8 comics, and co-stars with Faith in the comic series called Angel and Faith.


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     Tropes related to both Angel and Angelus 

  • Always Someone Better: To Spike, both as a hero and a villain. In "Just Rewards," Wesley and Angel outright state that Spike's reputation for evil and bloodshed is second only to Angelus's.
    • Averted a few episodes later in "Destiny", where Spike becomes determined to prove that it might in fact be him, and not Angel, who is the "champion" featured in the Shanshu Prophecy. This culminates in an all-out brawl between the two over who should get to drink from the Cup of Perpetual Torment, and while both get in a good deal of damage (physically and verbally), Spike definitively wins the fight. Although the Cup proves to be a fake, the result is enough to shake Angel into wondering whether or not he truly is the subject of the Shanshu Prophecy, and he admits to Gunn later on that Spike was stronger and truly wanted to bear the burden more than he did.
    • Subverted in the comics, where in season 10, Buffy makes it clear to Spike that she chooses him over Angel and Willow tells Angel she thinks Spike is more capable than Angel of being in a relationship with Buffy due to his greater capacity for change.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • He was Dragged Off to Hell at the end of Buffy Season 2, and spent the hiatus between that season and season 3 trapped there suffering horrific torture; due to the difference in the flow of time between dimensions, what was only a few months on Earth was, at the very least, a hundred years for him. By the time he manages to escape, he's suffered major Sanity Slippage and is little more than a feral animal, requiring Buffy to rehabilitate him.
    • Spent the hiatus between seasons 3 and 4 of his show locked in a metal coffin and sunk to the bottom of the ocean. He was fully conscious the whole time, and went mad from his bloodlust and isolation. He's suffering from Bad Dreams and hallucinations by the time Wesley fishes him out.
    • Angelus describes his very existence as this in Angel season 4. He reveals he's fully conscious and aware of what's going on while Angel is ensouled, and is essentially forced to spend eternity looking out through Angel's eyes; unable to harm anyone or taste human blood, forced to watch as Angel saves the world and helps the helpless, and listening to Angel's endless brooding and angst.
  • Bad Boss:
    • As Angelus in Buffy Season 2, he constantly needles a wheelchair-bound Spike and outright flaunts his relationship with Spike's lover Drusilla. Spike eventually turns on him out of both revenge and self-preservation.
    • Became this when he became CEO of Wolfram & Hart in Angel Season 5, though in his defense, most of the employees are bad guys in servitude to the Senior Partners, his sworn enemies; by the time of the sixth episode of the season, it's noted that Angel has killed several of the employees, as well as their clients, and that all of the other employees are terrified that Angel's going to off them next. In the episode "Harm's Way," he called a demon employee into his office and promptly chopped his head off with an axe because said employee violated the zero-tolerance policy on killing humans that Angel had instated.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Liam always wanted to get out of Galway and see the world so naturally, he jumped at Darla's offer to see it together. Then he was vampirized but still didn't regret it until the gypsies forced his soul back inside him.
  • Been There, Shaped History: He was in China during the Boxer Rebellion, and apparently knew Elvis and The Rat Pack personally. He also implies at one point that Charles Baudelaire's poem "Le Vampire" may have been written about him.
  • Bi the Way: According to Word of God, has had at least one sexual encounter with Spike.
  • Big Fancy House: A creepy, art deco mansion on the edge of town. Angelus moves into the abandoned residence along with Drusilla and Spike. When he comes back from hell in Season 3, Angel stays there until the end of the season.
  • Cultured Badass: A skilled artist, voracious reader, fluent in multiple languages (including demonic ones), and a ballet enthusiast — even from his days as the evil Angelus.
    "I cried like a baby. And I was evil!"
  • Daddy Issues: As a human, Liam had serious problems with his father, who took a Tough Love approach that led to any relationship they might have had disintegrating. After becoming a vampire, Angelus decides to exceed his father's low expectations of him by becoming the most vicious, brutal, sadistic vampire he can be.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: If you look at Angel's history, he has a taste for for petite blondes - Darla in the Victorian era, Buffy throughout the show's run, and Nina Ash in the show's last season. This is lampshaded when Fred testifies she saw Angel having sex on his desk with Lilah Morgan, a sworn enemy.
    Fred: Brunette. She was a cheap brunette.
    Cordy: (alarmed) You're right. This isn't like him.
  • Expansion Pack Past: Two hundred years leaves gaps to fill in. Angelus grumbles that it was mostly puppy rescues and Manilow concerts.
  • Expy:
  • Flash Step: When he wants to, he can and does move absurdly fast, crossing considerable distances in the blink of an eye. He often uses it for the purposes of intimidation.
  • Foil: For Buffy (see Contrasting Sequel Protagonist), Spike, and himself.
    • Like Spike, Angel is a vampire with a blood-soaked past who gets a soul and becomes a champion. They also share a love for Buffy and a certain childishness (especially around each other), and a desire for a purpose in life. They contrast in their demeanors (Angel's dark-haired brooding melancholy vs. Spike's platinum blond extroversion) and tastes (Angel likes classical literature and Barry Manilow, while Spike prefers poetry and punk rock). Even as evil vampires, they stood out as polar opposites, with Angelus being a sadistic Serial Killer who drew out his victims' deaths for as long as possible and relished the experience afterwards, while Spike was a feckless Blood Knight who just loved to fight and kill for the fun of it. As they themselves put it in "Damage", Angelus couldn't stop looking at his victims, while Spike never looked twice at them.
    • Angel and Angelus, despite technically being the same person, stand out as complete opposites. Angel is endlessly brooding, deprives himself, and dwells on the human condition, while Angelus is a gleeful sadist who indulges every whim and considers the only purpose of humanity to be suffering and death. Angelus also despises some of Angel's habits, such as drinking pig's blood, listening to Barry Manilow (and especially going to his concerts), and saving puppies (Angelus, by contrast, once nailed a puppy to a tree), while Angel regrets and abhors Angelus' shameless cruelty.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: He was just a jobless, drunken, 18th-century Eurotrash lout before Darla sired him. It turns out that he had a huge capacity for depravity which surprises even his maker.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Smokes cigarettes as Angelus, as well as during his Knight Templar phase in Angel Season 2.
  • The Hedonist: Liam was a drunken womanizer before he was sired, and Angel is well aware that these human weaknesses are still part of him. Tasked with protecting Buffy by the Powers That Be, he romances her instead, despite Buffy being only sixteen at the time (seventeen on the day he sleeps with her). Angel's subsequent Celibate Hero status isn't entirely due to a need to repress his evil side.
    "It's not the demon that needs killing. It's the man."
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In every sense of the word. Buffy runs him through with a replica of his own blessed sword, which in turns sucks him through his own hell portal. Putting a damper on this irony is the knowledge that Angel suffers the fate reserved for Angelus, because he regained his soul moments beforehand and that brief vulnerability may well have been what allowed Buffy's victory.
  • Hunk: By 2004, he was essentially Seeley Booth in Matrix-wear. (Because he is Seeley Booth!) His attractiveness is how he got his nickname: A monster with "the face of an angel".
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: He's done this more quite a bit, as both Angel and Angelus.
    • In "Becoming," he tortures Giles for information on how to resurrect Acathla. It's a mix of both this and Cold-Blooded Torture, since Angelus freely admits that he hopes Giles won't talk because he wants to torture him.
    • In "Forgiving," he kidnaps Linwood Morrow to torture him for information on Sahjhan. All he has to do is take a spindle and threaten Linwood with an Eye Scream, and Linwood caves.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: Angel (good guy) and Angelus (bad guy).
  • Misplaced Retribution: The gypsies didn't really think that through. Angel has to spend all of eternity suffering for the crimes of Angelus? Liam was a womanizing jerk at worst, but Darla murdered him and a demon spent two centuries murdering and marauding with his face.
  • The Nose Knows: Vampiric super-senses, particularly centred around blood. The creepiness of this is frequently pointed out.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Angelus' Irish accent tends to come and go in flashbacks. Furthermore, having lived in America for the past hundred years, Angel speaks with a flawless American accent, though he states that he could speak with an Irish accent again if he wanted to.
  • Omniglot: He's had a lot of time to practice, and after a while places run out of people to murder, so you move to the next one and learn another language there.
  • One Steve Limit: An interesting aversion: "Liam" is the Irish form of "William", meaning he and Spike technically have the same (human) name.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: He's fond of ballet, Barry Manilow, and Spike's poetry.
  • Really 700 Years Old: He'd already had a bicentennial by the second season of Buffy. Then, thanks to the events at the end of that season, he spent several centuries trapped in a hell dimension being tortured. So he's one of the oldest vampires "alive".
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Spike's red. Spike's embrace of punk music, as opposed to quieter, more emotive music (Angel is a closet Fanilow as well as an ex-RatPack groupie) is indicative of his distaste for brooding intellectual types like Angel. Ironically, during his life he was one himself, which possibly explains why.
  • Riches to Rags: Angelus never had trouble maintaining a nice pad, expensive clothes, or box theater seats. ("I just ate the people who had 'em.") Once cursed and jilted by Darla, he spent years as a homeless bum living on rats.
  • Running Gag: His hair, his lousy singing, his "caveman brow", the leather pants he wore when he was evil and his occasional pettiness despite his advanced age.
  • Split Personality: The heroic Angel and the sociopathic Angelus. While Buffy initially just depicted Angelus as Angel with his Restraining Bolt removed, Angel establishes that the two are totally separate personas, and Angelus exists in an And I Must Scream state while Angel is ensouled. They even have a Battle in the Center of the Mind in "Orpheus."
  • Split-Personality Takeover: Whenever Angelus is unleashed.
  • Stalking Is Love: In both his evil and not-evil incarnations. He met and fell in love with Buffy when she was 15. He then stalked her for a year before revealing himself and he's still up it on the fifth season of Angel, despite being burdened with a desk job! (He has "a source" keeping tabs on her in Italy.) Spike thinks it's pathetic.
  • Torture Technician: Angelus more so, but if pushed far enough, Angel can become one as well, likely a holdover from his days without a soul.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: "Mmm, Angel! ♥" Though the Immortal ended up out-performing in this regard, as usual.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: As a human, Liam was held in contempt by his father, who believed that his son would never amount to anything but being a lazy, promiscuous drunk. When he became Angelus, he sat out to prove his father wrong by making a name for himself, namely by becoming the most flamboyantly sadistic vampire ever recorded in human history.

    Tropes related to Angel 

  • Adorkable: In the comic books. The reading glasses. His bumbling attempts to make a love confession to Cordelia also qualify.
    Angel: I was just thinking about things. People. You know, how they relate. Take you and me, for instance. We're very different. Very different. Obviously. [points at Cordy] Human, [points at self] vampire. [points at Cordy] Woman, [points at self] man... pire.
  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Buffy and Cordelia, his two major love interests, are former cheerleaders.
  • Anti-Hero: Default state is Type II, but spends time as Type III on occasion. The presence of Darla can cause a change to Type IV, although that is very temporary.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: Angel's defining moment is the revelation that life has no purpose or meaning, thus making even the tiniest act of kindness an end in itself. He carries this philosophy throughout the rest of the show, and it plays heavily into all of his actions.
    "If nothing we do matters... then all that matters is what we do."
  • Ascended Demon: He's a vampire with a human soul, and The Chosen One of the Powers That Be.
  • The Atoner: Everything he does is to atone for his past crimes as Angelus. He starts out as Buffy's Mysterious Protector, and later becomes an Atonement Detective.
  • Back for the Finale: Delivering a "Hey, You!" Haymaker to Caleb in "End of Days." Unfortunately for Angel, he's back on the Buffy set now, which means Caleb lunges right back up and knocks him flat in "Chosen." Tradition, y'know.
  • Badass Boast: Gives one to Lindsey in Season Five. As he had also regained his self-confidence as a hero and champion, it also counts as a He's Back moment:
    "All those tattoos, all those new tricks you've learned just don't matter. Doesn't matter what you try. Doesn't matter where I am or how badass you think you've become. 'Cause you know what? I'm Angel. I beat the bad guys."
  • Badass in Distress: Frequently. Kendra nearly incinerated him in the cellar of Willie's bar, and he later spent an entire season hiatus in this state. ("Deep Down").
    "So... how was your summer? Mine was fun. Saw some fish. Went mad with hunger. Hallucinated a whole bunch."
  • Badass Longcoat: Often wears a black leather duster.
  • Bad Dreams: With such regularity, one wonders how he catches any winks without valium. Yet another downside to being undead: vampires share a Psychic Link with their kin. When a vampire he sired 100 years ago starts killing people locally, Angel feels it. In Angel Season Two, Angel starts having... erm, 'dreams' about his maker. It is later revealed that Darla is dosing him with occult herbs to drive him into a frenzy.
  • Batman Gambit: Near the end of After the Fall, Angel, realizing that the Senior Partners need him alive for their plans, provokes Gunn into killing him, forcing the Partners to hit the Reset Button so that the Fall of Los Angeles never happened and bringing back everyone who died since then in the process, which is exactly what Angel expected them to do.
  • Beast and Beauty: With Buffy and Cordelia, in that order, because he's a vampire and they're cute human girls.
  • Being Good Sucks: Atonement's a bitch.
  • Berserk Button:
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Even (or especially) when he's not Angelus, it is not smart to piss him off. And God help you should you manage to genuinely enrage him. It particularly comes out whenever someone has put a person he cares about in harm's way.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him:
    • What he does to Buffy at the end of Season 3. Conversations with both the Mayor and Joyce force Angel to confront the fact that, for as much as the two love each other, Buffy would age through some of the most formative years of her life with someone who would remain ageless, potentially robbing her of some crucial experiences (particularly since Angel cannot go out in the daylight and would be unable to ever bear children with her). Buffy is heartbroken but comes to understand his reasoning. Nevertheless, since their break-up comes more from external factors than either falling out of love with the other, it leads to some awkward tension between the two (as shown in "Pangs" and "I Will Remember You") that lasts until the end of Season 4, when they reunite again after Buffy has officially started up a relationship with Riley.
    • When he fires his staff and severs ties with them in Angel Season 2. In "Happy Anniversary," he explains to Lorne that he did that to keep them away from that kind of dark territory and his revenge plot against Wolfram & Hart, as it would do more damage to them than being fired, like getting darker themselves despite their best attempts to prevent Angel from doing such terrible things. Since he didn't believe he'd be coming back, he had no plans to reveal these to them and continued to stay away from them.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: While she's abrasive and snippy, his dynamic with Cordelia still fits this. He's the brooding loner, she's The Heart and encourages him to come out of his emotional shell. He even tells her he was "lost without you" in Season 5.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Is turned human by the Senior Partners in the After the Fall comics in order to hinder him. Using various charms and spells, he's still in the game and kicking ass.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Ah, Angel. Brooding, angsty vampire trying to fight the good fight, within LA and himself. Who'd ever think that he dug Mandy and Barry Manilow, or had a fear of dancing (yet a secret desire to, despite how awful he is at it) or go on about how much he loves Buffy when pretending to be drunk?
  • Buy Them Off: In "Disharmony," after spending most of the episode trying to win back Cordelia's friendship to little avail, he does so easily by buying her a whole new wardrobe. Ironically, this is after Wesley stated Angel couldn't just buy Cordy's friendship back.
  • Byronic Hero: While he has all of the strengths of a vampire, his true power lies in his intimate understanding of evil.
  • Celibate Hero: Played with. He's had intimate moments (kissing or otherwise) with many women on-screen, including Buffy, Darla, Drusilla, Faith, Gwen, Jheira, Eve, Nina, and Cordelia, and it's implied he and Spike once had a night together. However, he can't share those moments with anyone who makes him truly happy (namely, Buffy and Cordelia), lest he release Angelus. So most of the people we see him involved with are those he can share good times or "acceptable happiness" with, but not true happiness.
    Connor: Do you spend all your time making out with other vampires, like in Anne Rice novels?
    Angel: Uh, no. I used to, but...
    Connor: You have a girlfriend at least?
    Angel: Can't afford to.
    Connor: Must be lonely.
    Angel: (defensively) I keep busy!
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: Played with. A common misconception of his Curse Escape Clause is that having any kind of sexual intercourse will cause Angel to lose his soul; in "Guise Will Be Guise," Magnus Bryce refers to him as a eunuch for this reason, and in "Enemies," Faith outright tries to seduce him with the intent of breaking the curse. Of course, Angel does have sex in episodes like "Reprise"note , "Life of the Party"note , and "Power Play"note . As Wesley points out, the escape clause is "perfect happiness," so it's not that he can't have sex period; he just can't have it with the women he regards as his true loves (and the ones he truly wanted to be with): Buffy and Cordelia.
  • The Champion: He appointed himself as Buffy's guardian shortly after she was called as a Slayer.
  • Character Development: Over the course of both Buffy and his own show. Angel starts out as a Mysterious Protector, simply warning Buffy of an upcoming threat and departing. Over the course of both shows, he evolves into a badass Action Hero who actively seeks to atone for his sins.
  • Chick Magnet: Women are very attracted to Angel's various charming points. Over the course of two series, he's earned the affections (or at least interest) of, among others, Buffy, Cordelia, Fred, Darla, Drusilla, Faith, and Nina. Unfortunately, Angel himself has a rather bad track record when it comes to romance.
  • Chronically Crashed Car: The Plymouth got totaled in the pilot, and later wound up in Lorne's basement club (via a wormhole), making it somewhat resemble a Jackrabbit Slim's. (They never do explain how they removed the car.)
  • Closet Geek: Angel & Faith teaches us that Angel is a die-hard fan of Douglas Adams. It helped him through a difficult period in The '80s...
  • Clueless Detective: While he's by no means stupid, a Running Gag is that he's better at fighting demons than he is at genuine detective work. On one occasion, he had to hire another detective agency with a Friend on the Force for help on a case.
  • The Comically Serious: The fact that he's periodically-evil while his companions are all Happy Meals with legs might have something to do with all the jokes at his expense, to keep him grounded.
  • Contrasting Sequel Protagonist: Angel is a spin-off of Buffy, not a sequel, but Angel fits the mold. Unlike the blonde, teenaged, very human Buffy, Angel is an adult (and then some), dark-haired vampire. Buffy's past is slightly shady due to masquerade-related behavior problems, but Angel's is soaked in innocent blood and a century of guilt. Buffy is sociable and mostly cheerful, while Angel is a brooding loner by nature.
  • Cool Car:
    • A black Plymouth convertible, mirroring Spike's muscle car. The only difference is, Angel's roof is detachable... in sunny LA. (He purchased it on the cheap.)
      "Why not a personalized license plate that says "IRONY"?"
    • A whole fleet of luxury cars (with necrotempered windows™) after he becomes Wolfram & Hart's CEO. Also, a helicopter.
  • The Cowl: At one point, he leapt heroically into the wrong car. ("City Of...")
  • Curse Escape Clause: Angel is cursed with a soul until he has a moment of perfect happiness. Buffy unwittingly helps break the curse (though the gypsies believed this was fated it happen), and then needs to find a way to repair it.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Just very, very broody.
  • Deadpan Snarker: At times, though he's usually The Comically Serious. Angelus is a lot snarkier.
  • Death Seeker: He shows such tendencies, though mostly during his time on Buffy. He seems to be trying to get Buffy to kill him in "Angel", tries to get Spike to kill him in "What's My Line, Part 2", and is insistent on sacrificing his life in "The Zeppo". On his own show, when told he was going to die in "To Shanshu in L.A.", he's unfazed by hearing he was apparently going to die in the future.
  • Defends Against Their Own Kind: A vampire who protects humans from other vampires.
  • Defusing the Tyke Bomb: He spends all of season 4 trying to do this for Connor, with some success. However, Connor quickly develops other reasons for them not to get along, and in any case never fully gets over his prejudice against Angel.
    • At least, not until the Season 4 finale when Angel retcons everyone's memories to give Connor a life with a normal, loving family. Even in Season 5, when his original memories are restored, the experience has given him a much greater sense of stability and grounding, so by the end of the series he's patched things up with his real father.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Hits it in Season 2, which leads him to have sex with Darla in an attempt to shed his soul. Angel even outright describes this encounter as "perfect despair" rather than "perfect happiness."
  • Determined Defeatist: Though there is the occasional reprieve, at heart, Angel suspects that he will never stop paying for his crimes. He and Spike share a grumpy exchange about how they're both going to Hell, and thus will never be rid of each other.
  • Deus Angst Machina: Mr. Whedon, don't make him happy. You wouldn't like him when he's happy.
  • Deuteragonist: In the second season of Buffy.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: In the series finale of Angel, his plan is to take out the Circle of the Black Thorn, the Senior Partners' main instruments of evil on Earth, and go out in a blaze of glory.
  • Do with Him as You Will:
    • In season 2's "Reunion," Holland Manners, having had Drusilla re-sire a resurrected Darla, gives them full backing for whatever massacre they intend to carry out and organizes a wine tasting at his house for Wolfram & Hart employees to celebrate his success, only for Drusilla and Darla to crash the party, intending to kill Holland and the W&H employees there as revenge for being used as pawns. Angel shows up, apparently planning to Save the Villain... but instead, Angel also wants them dead and locks them all in the wine cellar with Darla and Drusilla before leaving them to die.
    • In season 3's "Double or Nothing," Jenoff, a paranormal crime boss/casino owner, comes to collect Gunn's soul in accordance with a Deal with the Devil Gunn made years ago. In the climax, Angel chops off Jenoff's head. It quickly becomes apparent that this will only temporarily incapacitate him, so Angel asks who else in the casino owes him, and takes the opportunity to sneak out with his crew as the entire casino descends on Jenoff en masse.
  • Dying as Yourself: His death in the Buffy Season 2 finale. Willow has successfully re-ensouled Angelus... but unfortunately, Acathla has already begun to awaken, and Buffy has no choice but to kill Angel, not Angelus, to save the world.
  • Epiphany Therapy: Having exhausted his resolve fighting Wolfram and Hart, Angel attempts to shed his soul by having sex with Darla, but instead of a moment of perfect happiness, he found perfect despair. An epiphany follows, and Angel realized that his purpose was still to do all the good he could, even if he couldn't do all the good he wanted to.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Doyle confesses that "maybe [he's] a little attracted" to Angel, much to his embarrassment.
  • Everyone Can See It: On Season 3 of his show, everyone in Angel Investigations is aware he loves Cordelia—except Cordelia. "Kyrumption" and "moira", anyone?
  • Everything but the Girl:
  • Exalted Torturer: While certainly not as Angelus, Angel fits the bill otherwise; when push comes to shove, he's perfectly willing to resort to the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique. There's also this gem from "Supersymmetry," when Fred is plotting a fatal revenge on her former physics professor for sending her to Pylea and grabs a whip:
    Fred: How 'bout a flail-whipping? Would that take a nice long time?
    Angel: Hours, if you do it right. Not that you should do it at all. (takes whip from her) Ever.
  • Famed In-Story: By the time of "Supersymmetry," Angel's acts of heroism have made him an urban legend; there are entire forums dedicated to him and his exploits in online chat rooms.
  • The Fog of Ages: By the time of "Not Fade Away", Angel has forgotten what it's like to be human.
  • For Great Justice: He initially thinks that he does what he does in order to redeem himself and avoid going to Hell, but eventually realizes that he helps people simply because doing the right thing is an inherent part of his identity.
    Angel: We live as though the world is as it should be, in order to show it what it can be.
  • Forced to Watch: After putting himself through hell to redeem Darla's soul, Lindsey shows up with Drusilla and an army of thugs, tasers Angel, and makes him watch as Drusilla turns Darla into a vampire again. This pushes Angel into complete He Who Fights Monsters territory for the next few episodes.
  • Freudian Excuse: Wesley, of all people, chastises Angel for hiding behind his gypsy curse so he doesn't have to face having serious relationships with women. Angel acknowledges he is completely right.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Trope Codifier. Spike's actually the Trope Namer.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: "Birthday" depicts an alternate reality in which Cordelia never joined Angel Investigations. Doyle passed his visions on to Angel prior to his Heroic Sacrifice, and Angel retreated into himself in his grief, with the visions only making things worse. Before long, Angel went completely insane from his own loneliness and his visions, to the extent that he would have visions of his victims. The worst of it all is that what Cordelia sees of that version of Angel, a babbling, incoherent mess who starts pounding his head on the wall while talking to her, is, according to that world's Wesley and Gunn, him on a good day.
  • Goal in Life: To protect Buffy as she assumes the Slayer mantle and, later, to fulfill the Shanshu Prophecy and become human. Angel sometimes deviates from this, for various reasons, among them a belief that his mission is being clouded by self-interest. By the fifth season, his faith wavers to the point of dismissing the Prophecy entirely. In the Series Finale, Angel is forced to literally sign away his chances in the human sweepstakes, nullifying the prophecy with a signature in blood. In the comic continuation, the Senior Partners finally give him a glimpse of the Shanshu Prophecy: Himself standing in an apocalyptic wasteland, grinning like a maniac. Now, Angel's goal is to keep improving the world in spite of the Prophecy; with luck, the future can be altered. (Unless the Partners were just dicking with him again.)
  • Good Is Not Soft: He is a nice guy most of the time, but he can switch to ruthless at the drop of a hat and he has a hundred and fifty years of doing extremely horrible things to people for giggles to draw on. It is also not a good idea to go after people he cares about.
  • Grappling-Hook Gun: Uses one twice in Angel season 1, once in "Lonely Hearts" and once in "She." The first time, his attempt caused the wooden beam he latched onto to collapse under his weight.
  • Gypsy Curse: Gypsies are responsible for returning his soul so he would be overwhelmed by 200 years of guilt. It's also the reason he can never be perfectly happy, because he would lose his soul.
  • Has a Type: Angel loves heroes. He spends his time on Buffy in love with the eponymous heroine. Then on his own show he falls for Cordelia following her Character Development into one of the biggest damn heroes of the Buffyverse. Then he gets a girlfriend named Nina who he's very fond of, but who doesn't give him that moment of true happiness.
  • The Hero: In his own spin-off show, where his journey for redemption at times involves him actively taking on the aspect of the Hero.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: After the end of magic. Due in part to the various atrocities he committed as Twilight, he's even more loathed and feared by the magical community than Buffy, the one who caused the end of magic.
  • Hero's Classic Car: Noted for his '67 Plymouth GTX, which Spike dubbed the Angelmobile.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Lampshaded by Angelus, who offers to send Angel "to that big puppy pound in the sky" as revenge for all those puppies he's saved. Played for Laughs when Gunn assures him that he'll get along fine with The Conduit — as long as he likes cats. Whoops.
  • Heroic BSoD: Sometimes caused by remorse over his own actions, other times brought on by a century-long stay in Hell which leaves him a trembling mute. Lampshaded on Angel, when Spike joins the cast.
    "I spent a hundred years trying to come to terms with infinite remorse! You spent three weeks moaning in a basement, AND THEN YOU WERE FINE! What's fair about that?!"
  • Heroism Won't Pay the Bills: Becomes a theme in the first season. Angel is in the business of saving souls. After pointing out the awkward truth that they need to make money, Cordelia starts sending out bills for being saved.
  • Hidden Depths: Despite his usual all-black attire, he has surprisingly good taste in clothing: when buying off Cordelia in Disharmony, she notes, ecstatic, that he 'has a gay man's taste' in clothes.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: On his own show, which displays his more private foibles in a way the original show doesn't. Wang Chung will never recover.
  • Hopeless with Tech: Never really gets the hang of cell phones.
    "They talk about me in the chatty rooms?"
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: In the past, he was the most evil and brutal vampire in recorded history... until his soul was restored by a Gypsy Curse. From there, he began a downward spiral while Walking the Earth, until Whistler finds him on the streets of New York, living in the gutters and feeding on rats. Seeing Buffy and her struggles as the Slayer inspires Angel to claw his way back up and make something of himself again.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: The vampire community still can't believe their most revered hero is now gutting them in the shadows, for money.
  • Hypocrite:
    • He breaks up with Buffy because he wants her to be with a normal guy, but then the minute she is with one (aka Riley), behaves resentfully and practically provokes his fight with Riley by insinuating he "lost his soul again" (translation: "slept with Buffy") and then acts like he's entirely blameless.
    • When Angel visits Sunnydale to protect Buffy, he keeps his a presence a secret from everyone but her, able to see her but she can't see him. This hypocrisy is called out by Giles and later Buffy herself, although Angel justifies it in both cases as "protecting her."
    • Angel tries to kill Wesley and alienates him from the team for being responsible for Connor in Quor'toth and raised by Holtz even though it was a "mistake for the greater good" ... Something Angel continually does himself, which he does eventually acknowledge.
    • He constantly makes decisions that affect others without consulting them first, such as his break-up with Buffy, wiping everyone's memories of Connor, rewinding his one human day with Buffy that only he remembers, and his choice to become Twilight and the Twilight prophecy, which involved Buffy in a deep and intimate way.
    • Angel gets jealous and pissy with Buffy over Spike, even though at this point in the series he had also fallen for Cordelia and even had a kid with Darla he may or may not have told her about...
  • I Am a Monster: Shouted in Romanian while being dragged off into an alley to be beaten. This was in 1898, shortly after Angel was cursed.
  • I Can't Dance: He proved quite adept at slow dancing in Sunnydale. But when invited to a party for hip twentysomethings, he imagines himself flailing about like a spaz.
  • I Love You, Vampire Son:
    • With Darla; Angel definitely holds some animosity toward her, yet maintains an almost filial devotion.
    • With Connor, who is, ironically, human. (Mostly.)
    • Spike has a cathartic moment when he confronts Angel for fashioning him into the monster he is; Drusilla was his sire but Angelus was his Yoda. On another note, they were never intimate, "Except for that one time..."
  • In a Single Bound: When he wants to get up high, he can jump very, very high.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
    • As of Season 10, he's trying to do this for Buffy, who's now dating Spike... but privately admits to Willow that he's still carrying a torch for her, and part of him is actually hoping that they break up.
    • In Season 3 of his show, he didn't put up a fight for Cordelia against the Groosalug, even paying for their romantic vacation together, because he wanted her to be happy.
  • I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: Angel in the '70s. There's a positive side to not being able to see your reflection sometimes.
  • Immortal Immaturity:
    Angel: You know, I started it. The whole "having a soul". Before it was all the cool new thing.
    Buffy: Oh, my God. Are you twelve?
  • Immortal Life Is Cheap: Spike doesn't bother aiming around Angel to hit a target; Spike just stabs right through him. In all fairness, that was Spike...
    Spike: Heat of battle. Wasn't time.
    Angel: You just like stabbing me.
    Spike: I'm shocked that you'd say that! I much prefer hitting you with blunt instruments.
  • Immortality Hurts: Try spending it at the bottom of the Pacific. Gives you some perspective. Kind of an M. C. Escher perspective.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Angel has been prone to doing this, such as his Knight Templar phase in Season 2 and his actions as Twilight in the Season 8 comics. He even admits as such, which is why he asks Faith to act as his Morality Pet in Angel & Faith.
  • Kind Restraints: Voluntarily chained up or thrown behind bars whenever he feels the bad side coming on, similar to Oz. Although Cordelia seemed to enjoy it a little too much.
  • Knight Templar: Turns against his friends for a few months as he goes on a crusade of punishing the guilty (Wolfram & Hart), rather than helping the helpless.
    "Let them fight 'the good fight'. Someone's gotta fight the war."
  • Knight In Sour Armor: Even if the world sucks and the fight will never end in his favor, someone has to keep it going. He even states at least once that he doesn't really believe that he'll ever be redeemed for his crimes, but keeps trying anyway.
  • Large and in Charge: Angel's a pretty big guy and The Leader of Angel Investigations.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: In Season 1, the revelation that Angel is a vampire was supposed to be a twist back in the day. If you were to tell that to someone with even a tiny amount of knowledge about the series now they would probably laugh at you. This is also the case with his first Face–Heel Turn.
  • Leitmotif: A heroic sounding anthem, later phased out in the third season. Brought back intentionally for a moment in Season 5 when Angel is in desperate need to rediscover his original mission statement of helping the helpless.
  • Lighter and Softer: Angel is very much this as a character: around Buffy, the love of his life, she makes him very jittery and on edge causing him to act off kilter. When she's away from him Angel is still taciturn, at first, but quickly grows more personable and can joke, even at himself.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Even after becoming incredibly wealthy and having access to a limitless wardrobe, he still wears black all the time.
  • Love Interest: He is one for Buffy, starting out as her Mysterious Protector and the moving into a Star-Crossed Lovers thing.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Literally; "perfect happiness" turns him into Angelus.
  • Martyr Without a Cause: If there's no evil around to throw himself in front of protecting innocents, he will either run out and find some more or he will wind up defending lesser evils while tormenting himself for doing so. It's a complex.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Part of the reason he leaves Buffy, the other, of course, being his Curse Escape Clause.
  • Mercy Kill Arrangement: When Angelus is intentionally summoned to get information about the Beast, Angel makes his team promise to kill him if Angelus gets out of his cage. He does cause more trouble than they thought, but they don't have to do it.
  • The Mourning After: After moving to LA, Angel continues to pine after Buffy. Even after trying to move on with Cordelia, he still carries a torch for her and, by the time of Angel season 5, is having her followed by Wolfram & Hart spies, which Spike finds pathetic. In Angel & Faith, Spike vents to Angel that he's always been jealous of Angel for his ability to seemingly move on from Buffy and demands to know how he got over her... only for Angel to reveal that he never has.
    Angel: When I do, I'll let you know.
  • The Movie Buff: A fan of Charlton Heston movies, particularly The Omega Man. What a surprise. He's also seen enough vampire flicks to formulate opinions on which ones are more accurate. (Frank Langella nailed it.)
  • Mundane Solution: In "Double or Nothing," he attempts this with Jenoff, who seeks to collect Gunn's soul in accordance with a Deal with the Devil he made years later. After failing a game for his own soul, he has Cordelia stake Jenoff's hand to the table and lops off his head. It's then subverted, as Jenoff simply grows a new head; Gunn even points out to Angel that if killing Jenoff were that easy, he would have done it himself.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Shirtless often. The man likes his tai chi. He really is something to look at, and he's often chained up and tortured. He's even been bound by a vampire dominatrix more than once.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Thanks to his gypsy curse, Angel is in a perpetual state of horror, shame, and remorse over the century of carnage he wrought as Angelus. It was especially pronounced immediately after the curse was first inflicted; he spent quite some time afterwards lurking in the shadows, muttering about how horrible the things he did were.
  • Mysterious Protector: Cryptic Guy — in the first season he'd turn up, warn Buffy of some danger, then vanish. It takes a while for Angel to evolve into the badass hero he is now.
  • Never My Fault: In the comics, both Xander and Nadira outright accuse him of always having an excuse for why something isn't his fault, from killing Giles at the end of Season 8 to Drusilla killing one of Nadira's fellow Slayers after Angel let her escape:
    Nadira: You kill demons and monsters and elder gods like you're swatting bloody flies, but one vampire keeps getting away from you. One vampire you "sired," isn't that what you leeches call it? One vampire you shagged. One vampire you spent a hundred years slaughtering people with. Now another girl's dead. One more body on the pile. And here you are, full of excuses, reasons why it's not your damn fault.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Creating the Twilight dimension by screwing Buffy, which let thousands of demons invade Earth, which resulted in the destruction of the Seed of Wonder and removed all magic from the world.
  • Not Good with People:
    "I have two modes with people: Bite and avoid."
  • Not So Stoic: He has his moments, such as his Unstoppable Rage moment at the end of "Forgiving," and his angry rant at Buffy at the end of "Sanctuary." He even lampshades it in the latter:
    Angel: For a taciturn, shadowy guy, I've got a big mouth.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Angel is fond of playing this role, often as a Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist. On set, the shorthand for this became "Herb Saunders" (Angel's alias in "Sense & Sensitivity").
  • Offing the Offspring: An ancient scroll prophesied that Angel is doomed to do this. It's half-correct; Angel slays Connor in one timeline, but he survives in another reality.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: He is rarely called Liam. Lilah once called it a "wussy name".
  • Only One Name: Fred had to lie and say "Angel" is Connor's last name, with Angel using the alias "Geraldo Angel." His original surname has also never been revealed.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Usually it's a sign of Angelus returning. It can also be a sign of Tranquil Fury, as Wesley finds out.
  • Open Heart Dentistry: Angel has shown himself able to dig bullets out of his own body when pressed for time.
  • "Open!" Says Me: Angel fights the good fight — against doors.
  • Papa Wolf: Towards Connor. It took an entire episode before anybody was allowed to even approach him. As of Season 4, you would do well to avoid even implying his existence.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech:
    • Often lampooned. Jasmine keeps turning his own ultimatums against him (like you've never eaten people!), and Lindsey confesses he just zones out when the yapping starts.
    • In Season 5, while he's in full flow of preaching to Illyria about the sanctity of all human life, including her flunky Knox despite the fact that Knox was the one who brought Illyria back and killed Fred, Wesley promptly cuts him short by gunning Knox down right then and there. Angel's response:
      Angel: Were you even listening?
    • Even Angelus has a turn mocking them.
      Angelus: Oh, don't tell me; the "rousing-stiff-upper-lip speech". Rah-Rah, good over evil, do what must be done, hang in there it's almost Friday!
  • Perverse Puppet: Briefly becomes one in "Smile Time".
  • Power Loss Makes You Strong: The Senior Partners, upon sending L.A. to Hell (After the Fall), simultaneously turn Angel human at the least convenient time possible.
  • The Punishment: Two hundred years of guilt and a prohibition against perfect happiness... man, can those gypsies hold a grudge.
  • Put on a Bus: In Buffy. At the end of "Graduation Day, Part 2," Angel, forced to accept that his relationship with Buffy is doomed, makes the decision to leave Sunnydale for good, becoming the protagonist of his own spin-off show in Los Angeles. However, he returns to Sunnydale at least Once a Season, with the exception of Buffy Season 6.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Just as he casts off the Angelus persona, Buffy runs him through with a sword and he gets pulled into Hell by Acathla. He comes back later.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: By the time Whistler found him, Angel was homeless and scrounging off of rat blood. (To add insult to injury, he has difficulty catching one.)
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Throughout Buffy Season 3. After the events of Angel's Face–Heel Turn in the previous season, his relations with the Scoobies are now heavily strained. It doesn't matter that all his actions during that phase were from the Hyde part of his Jekyll & Hyde personality and he now has his soul back; after all the torment Angel's evil personality put them through, they've lost any and all trust they previously had for him. Even after he proves he's one of the good guys again by saving Willow's life, that doesn't automatically dispel all the distrust; Giles, for example, now keeps a crossbow nearby whenever Angel shows up just in case anything goes wrong.
  • Relationship Upgrade: With Illyria in the Season 11 comics and throughout Buffy Season 12.
  • Rescue Romance: Strikes one up with Buffy, their romance kicking into gear when he intervened to help her against the Three.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: An exhaustive display in Angel season 2, in reaction to Darla being resurrected, tormented and then re-vamped by Wolfram and Hart suits. This culminated with Angel tossing the firm's entire senior staff to the wolves in the form of Drusilla and Darla.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Not only can Angel sniff the air and tell if the soil beneath him has been disturbed, he can glance at a spot of blood and immediately determine who and what it belongs to. This sort of blood hyper-analysis appears to be common to vamps. Spike mentions that you can tell if someone's evil by tasting their blood (it tastes like pennies).
  • Screw Destiny: States something to this effect in the Season 12 comics, when told that nothing can stop the Reckoning.
    Angel: Nothing’s final! Not fate, not prophecies, not what's in history books.
  • Sidekick Graduations Stick: He started off as Buffy's boyfriend on her own show before headlining the spin-off.
  • Sole Survivor: With the deaths of Doyle, Cordelia, and Wesley, Angel is the last (un)living member of the first iteration of Angel Investigations, which operated in the offices that got blown up by Vocah in the Season 1 finale.
  • Spiky Hair: Lampshaded on more than one occasion. Angel seems shocked when he views his reflection for the first time in Pylea, implying that his hairstyle is some sort of tragic accident.
    (examining head) "Why didn't anyone tell me about this?"
  • Stages of Monster Grief: Buffy previously flashed back to Angelus getting re-ensouled; Angel covers everything that happened before and after. It should be noted that this is an inversion of the trope as well, since Angel identifies more with Angelus than with with his original self, Liam - who, by the end of the show, he barely remembers being. It could be said that his grief was more over losing his freedom as a vampire by regaining his humanity than having been a human who was turned into a vampire. With his stages being:
    • Denial: His attempts to continue his life as a vampire despite his re-ensoulment.
    • Defiance: Angel never got to properly experience this stage, since Darla killed all the gypsies who re-ensouled him. He instead took it out on himself during his self-imposed 100 year exile from humanity and vampirekind. Angelus, however, did get to kill Jenny Calendar and an older male relative, both descendants of the gypsies who re-ensouled him.
    • Acceptance: After he met Whistler and Buffy.
    • Betrayal: Either after making love to Buffy and losing his soul, or.... stay tuned...
  • Star-Crossed Lovers:
    • Angel, vampire. Buffy, slayer thereof. Add that to his curse and its consequences if broken, and we have two crazy kids who aren't ever sorting it out.
    • Also with Cordelia. The Powers themselves seem to enjoy interfering (literally, in one case) and stopping them from having a relationship. Their final episode together has them comment on this.
      Cordelia: Do you ever wonder...do you ever think about if we'd met up that night and had a chance to —
      Angel: All the time.
      Cordelia: Guess we missed our moment, huh?
      Angel: Maybe we were meant to. Maybe people like us just don't get to...have that.
      Cordelia: Angel, there are no people like us.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Lampshaded repeatedly.
    Xander: Okay, that's it. I'm putting a collar with a little bell around that guy.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: Photographic Memory, Super Reflexes, ultra-sensitive hearing and sense of smell in the later seasons. When you re-watch the earlier seasons, you can't help but notice countless situations where, in retrospect, they inexplicably fail to help him. Angel mentioned that he can't control his photographic memory; it just "kicks in on instinct".
  • Suicide by Sunlight: Attempted in "Amends", but he gets saved by a Christmas Miracle.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Despite some initial belligerence, Buffy can't help noting this after their first meeting. Though he's often dubbed Tall, Dark and Broody instead.
  • Team Dad: Lampshaded early on, in which Angel addresses a bickering Cordelia and Wesley as "children."
  • The Teetotaler: After a fashion. Word of God states that Angel's abstinence from human blood is a metaphor for this.
  • Thicker Than Water: Like it or not, Darla is the closest thing to family he has. Even his team comes second. In the Season Four finale, Angel agrees to mind wipe his team (and, in fact, the world) in exchange for saving Connor's life. Wesley is rightly steamed when he uncovers this.
  • Think Nothing of It: Much-ridiculed by Spike, who sees it as a cheap act to impress women.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: In Season 3, Wesley's actions lead to baby Connor being sent to a hell dimension with Holtz, albeit because Sahjhan had tricked him with a fake prophecy that claimed Angel would eventually kill Connor. Regardless, Angel is not happy with Wesley and tries to smother him with a pillow at the hospital, only to be stopped by Gunn and some orderlies and dragged away. All the while, Angel is screaming like a lunatic, angrily swearing to Wesley that he will never forgive him for what happened to Connor.
    Angel: You'd think I'd forgive you?! NEVER!!
  • To Hell and Back: Not only did he get paroled from Hell, he was willing to travel back into it and take out the Senior Partners.
  • Token Heroic Orc: Until Spike's Heel–Face Turn, he's the only real heroic vampire in existence; all other vampires are explicitly described as Always Chaotic Evil.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In Angel Season 2. He gets over it in the appropriately titled "Epiphany."
  • Tranquil Fury: Uses it quite a bit. When he drops the "Tranquil" part, run. For. Your. Life.
  • Troubled, but Cute: He's Mr. Fanservice and his default status is angst.
  • Undead Tax Exemption: He has a driver's license, and successfully rents property in L.A. It's been lampshaded more than once; Kate Lockley points out to him that real detectives have licenses and surnames, and Gavin Park realizes at one point that they can shut Angel Investigations down by simply informing the government of Angel's ID issues (of course, soon after he does so, Lilah gives Angel all the documents he needs just to spite him).
  • Unexplained Recovery: It's never officially explained how he managed to escape from Acathla's hell dimension in Buffy season 3; even years later, by the time of Angel season 5, Angel himself doesn't know. While the First Evil claims to have been the one who busted him out, knowing its personality, it may very well have been lying.
  • Uniqueness Decay: His famed status as the singular "Vampire with a Soul" gets hit with this when Spike is re-ensouled at the end of Season 6 of Buffy. It's lampshaded several times afterwards, with Angel whining that he started the whole "having a soul" thing in the Buffy series finale and Spike (upon first showing up in Season 5 of Angel) rubbing it in that Angel didn't share the news of Spike's accomplishment with his team because it made him feel less special. It's to the point where people start questioning if Angel is even the actual subject of the Shanshu Prophecy, since the text described a "Vampire with a Soul" without labeling Angel by name.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: His blossoming feelings toward Cordy - Cordy's relatively wild, Angel is exceptionally tightly wound.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Wolfram & Hart's stated mission of bringing Angel to their side. Sound pretty far-fetched? The road to Hell is paved with good intentions...
  • Vampire Detective: Once he starts up Angel Investigations, he is a vampire taking cases.
  • Vampire Refugee: It's pointed out to him early on that he must do this out of necessity. Even if you're a fighter against evil, you can't afford to isolate yourself from the people you're trying to protect as you'll eventually stop caring and revert back to a monster. Angel thus gathers his Ragtag Bunch of Misfits so he'll have some Fire-Forged Friends keeping him grounded.
  • Vegetarian Vampire: Exclusively drinks pig's blood, which turns off some people. note  As Wolfram and Hart's CEO, he can afford to keep himself in otter blood.
  • Villainous BSoD: Angel's curse was designed to invoked this by returning his soul and crushing him with guilt.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Spike. They constantly bicker and state on more than one occasion that they hate each other, but are shown on other occasions to have some kind of affection for each other. In "School Hard," Spike seems genuinely happy to see Angel (posing as Angelus) and even hugs him. In Season 5 of Angel, the two bicker near-constantly but do end up fighting alongside each other throughout the year to the point where Spike joins Angel's plan for the last stand against Wolfram & Hart in the series finale. It continues in the comics, where the two often get on each other's nerves (especially where Buffy is involved) but also always support each other when it comes time to face evil.
  • Warrior Poet: Angel gives Buffy a copy of Sonnets from the Portuguese for her eighteenth birthday. The moment highlights their Mayfly–December Romance, as Pop-Cultured Badass Buffy has trouble appreciating the gift.
  • We Can Rule Together: The protracted war between Angel Investigations and Wolfram & Hart LLC comes to an apparent close in A4, when the firm suffers huge losses at the hands of Jasmine and her pet Beast. The firm magically rematerialized with a new office building, but with a worker shortage: Impressed by Angel's ingenuity and ideas, they offer him an ever-increasing suitcase of money — essentially corporate head-hunting — until he finally caves and unilaterally merges his agency into the firm (admittedly to save his son). This leads us into S5 where most of Angel's ideas for reform end up in the conference room wastebasket.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Everything he did as Twilight was apparently to prevent anything like the Fall of Los Angeles from ever happening again.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Unlike Buffy, who flatly refuses to kill humans as she believes they're out of the Slayer's jurisdiction except in the most dire of circumstances, Angel is perfectly capable of and willing to take a human life if he feels the need arises. Case in point: he kills Vanessa Brewer, an Ax-Crazy Psycho for Hire with a Disability Superpower who, thanks to Wolfram & Hart, constantly got off totally scot-free before then.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After he gets exposed as Twilight, everybody has this reaction to him, especially after it is revealed he was an Unwitting Pawn to a evil dimension trying to end the world. After he gets possessed by the real Twilight and kills Giles and Buffy is forced to destroy the Seed of Wonder to stop the destruction of the world, the only ones willing to associate with Angel and not try to kill him are Buffy and Faith, and Buffy can't even look at him. Willow, however, has grown past this somewhat, but she still states that she hasn't forgiven him for his actions yet.
  • When He Smiles: He makes everything shiny. Cordelia even lampshades it:
    Cordelia: And you ought to do that more often.
    Angel: Buy you food?
    Cordelia: Smile.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Angel would rather be mortal again.
  • The Worf Effect: If someone's going to get punched across the room by the latest big nasty, it will be the immortal, super-powered vampire.
  • Worf Had the Flu: His loss to Spike in Angel Season 5, despite besting him in all their other fights, could be attributed to his self doubt over working with Wolfram and Hart and thus not fighting as hard as Spike, who wasthe Determinator in trying to prove himself worthy of the Shanshu Prophecy.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Constantly told to do so while constantly reminded that he can't, or rather, shouldn't. He's not an eunuch, but it would have worse results.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: Inverted. You really wouldn't like Angel when he's happy.

    Tropes related to Angelus 

  • And Your Little Dog, Too!:
    • He meant real dogs.
      Buffy: Skip it. I don't have a puppy, so skip it.
    • Giles' profile on Angelus suggests that he will lash out at everything that made him feel human. Buffy tops the list.
  • The Anti-Christ: It's ambiguous whether he's this or the Anti Anti Christ. The Shanshu Prophecy was not explicit on which side Angel would be fighting on during the end times. At the start of Angel, the idea of Angel willingly cooperating with the Senior Partners seems unthinkable. By the end of Season Four, Angel has darkened enough and his circumstances have gotten hazy to the point where he joins them. According to the comics, the jury's still out on whether the Shanshu prophecy spells doom for mankind in general. Wesley's father, Roger Wyndam-Pryce (or at least a close facsimile thereof) warned that Angel is "more dangerous than you realize."
  • Appropriated Appellation: He took his vampire name from his sister, who mistook her resurrected older brother for an angel.
  • Ax-Crazy: Angelus' first thought when told he could kill anyone he wanted was that he wanted to kill everyone in his hometown, and in the Season 2 final of Buffy, he decides to try and suck the entire world into a hell dimension just for the hell of it.
  • Big Bad: For Season 2 of Buffy he is the main villain. He also took over the role for a short while in Angel's fourth season after killing The Beast, until he was re-ensouled again by Willow. He once again becomes the role during his stint as 'Twilight' in Season 8.
  • Blasphemous Boast: Part of Angelus's M.O. at one point was to carve the image of a crucifix into his victims' left cheek so as to spite God.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Angelus prefers toying with his victims psychologically and tormenting them as opposed to actually killing them; throughout Season 2, Spike repeatedly criticizes him for this and constantly urges him to just kill Buffy and be done with it before he does something to really piss her off. Spike proves right when Angelus kills Jenny Calendar, sending Giles on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge that leads to their hideout being burned down and Angelus beaten senseless with a flaming baseball bat.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Angelus' M.O. A perfect example: near the end of Season 2 of Buffy, he captures Giles for information on how to awaken the demon Acathla and destroy the world, and openly admits that he hopes that Giles won't tell him what he needs to know willingly because he doesn't want to be deprived of the opportunity to torture someone.
  • The Corrupter: Spike specifically cites Angelus as his 'Yoda'. While Drusilla turned him, Angelus turned him into, arguably, the second most feared vampire in the West after Angelus himself.
  • The Dreaded: Everyone's scared of Angelus.
  • Enemy Within: He is the vampire-without-a-soul aspect of Angel's personality.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Angelus is completely unable to understand why Angel does what he does or the "human condition," firmly believing that humans only exist to suffer and die. Similarly, in "Innocence," he boasts to Spike and Drusilla that he'll break Buffy overnight. He's wrong; after a brief Heroic BSoD, Buffy manages to pull herself together and stop his plan.
  • Evil Costume Switch: In Buffy season 2, Angelus constantly wears black leather pants
  • Evil Gloating: Angelus' Fatal Flaw is this; he's constantly prone to bragging and excessive talking, often letting his opponents use the opportunity to either escape or fight back. Lampshaded:
    Spike: You bloody well talk them to death before you kill them!
  • Evil Is Hammy: Particularly in his appearances on Angel. Good Lord, man, switch to decaf.
  • Evil Is Petty: Angelus' primary motivation in Buffy season 2 is just to cause Buffy and her friends as much grief as possible because he's disgusted that Buffy made him feel human ("That's not the kinda thing you just forgive."). It isn't until Acathla enters the picture that he finally finds a concrete goal to work towards, and even that is centered around making people suffer just for the hell of it.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Causes special problems during his tenure as Big Bad, considering his intimate knowledge of all the Scoobies, not to mention standing invitations to most of their homes.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Angelus, "the demon with the angelic face". Not just a soulless killer, but one who takes a sadistic pleasure in the psychological torment of his victims.
  • Fame Through Infamy: A big part of the reason Angelus does what he does. Motivated by his human self's daddy issues, he's determined to prove his father wrong and that he can be something great: in this case, the most sadistic, brutal vampire in history.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He can occasionally be shown with a seemingly friendly and understanding approach (much like as Angel). The fact that most of it isn't really genuine at all, not to mention that later on it could also be using people's memories of Angel to his advantage makes it all the more terrifying.
  • For the Evulz: Everything Angelus does is just for the sheer cruelty of it all. In a way, he's the purest character in all of the Buffyverse - both the Master and the First Evil have acknowledged how purely evil and vicious he is/was. Angel even mentions that he didn't even hate his victims.
  • Gollum Made Me Do It: On Angel, Angelus is shown as a distinct personality, self-image, and memories of his own - though the latter was the result of a spell that affected Angel's memory of Angelus's experiences with the Beast. This is a slight departure from Buffy, in which Angelus was just Angel with his Restraining Bolt removed.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Famous for his Leather Pants of Evil, which he never lived down.
  • Instant Fan Club: His groupies in "Salvage", Karl and Paco.
  • Jerkass: Angelus isn't just a pure evil psychopath, he's a major dick to boot. Special mention goes to his gleeful torment of Buffy immediately after losing his soul and flaunting his sexual relationship with Drusilla in front of Spike (along with his endless stream of wheelchair-related gibes at Spike).
  • Knight of Cerebus: The previous villains certainly weren't harmless, but Buffy became much darker once Angelus was unleashed.
  • Mad Artist: Angelus was very protective of his 'work', considering it art. Drusilla was what you might call an extended performance piece. This was a major contrasting (and contentious) point between Angelus and Spike; Angelus was a Serial Killer who revelled in the "artistry" of his kills, while Spike was just a Blood Knight who loved violence as an end in and of itself.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Angelus was always coiffed in the old days.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Angelus's talent for (often sadistic) mind games and deception are legendary. Though he rarely makes use of it, Angel is still dangerously capable in this regard.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: Any idiot can eat somebody. Angelus likes to make artistic statements with the bodies afterward. He infamously posed Jenny Calendar like a doll in Giles' bed (staging the scene to resemble a romantic interlude), and tricked a man into thinking his slain sons were still "asleep".
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Angelus' endgame in Season 2 of Buffy. After spending most of the season just screwing with Buffy's head, when Acathla shows up, he decides to revive the demon in order to suck the entire world into Hell For the Evulz.
    "My friends, we're about to make history. End."
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: It's hard for Boreanaz to maintain Angelus' Irish accent for more than half a minute.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: Angelus in Season 2 has no real plan beyond "screw with Buffy". It isn't until the last few episodes that Acathla arrives and gives him an actual goal to work towards, and even that falls into his general attitude of "I will be as big a dick as I can."
  • Psychotic Smirk: Angelus always wears one because he's basically Psycho!Angel.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain:
    • His constant jibes at the wheelchair-bound Spike. He's got a million of 'em, ladies and gentlemen.
    • When Angelus appears in Season 4 of Angel, he uses the word "retarded" often.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Angelus mentions his superhearing picking up on Fred and Gunn having sex in an adjacent hotel room, and indulging in A Date with Rosie Palms.
  • Pure Is Not Good: In Buffy season 2, Spike and Drusilla unleash the Judge, a demon sent to destroy everyone that isn't pure evil. It's a pretty demanding requirement — Spike and Drusilla themselves were vulnerable because of their love for each other, and their minion Dalton died because of his love for learning. The only one confirmed to be immune was the newly released Angelus.
    The Judge: This one cannot be burned. He is clean.
    Spike: "Clean"? You mean, he's...
    The Judge: There's no humanity in him.
    Angelus: I couldn't have said it better myself.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Among his many, many other crimes, Angelus also has a number of rapes to his name. During his re-emergence in Season 4 of Angel, he explicitly threatens to rape Cordelia and Fred.
  • Sadist: Angelus is renowned for being incredibly sadistic in his killings.
    Angelus: I mean, the last time I tortured somebody, they didn't even have chainsaws!
  • Self-Made Orphan: "My parents were great. Tasted a lot like chicken."
  • Sensei for Scoundrels: Angelus served as such for Spike. Spike even states that while Drusilla was the one who sired him, Angel was the one who actually made him a monster.
  • Serial Killer: Unlike most vampires, Angelus didn't just kill for food or to raise other vampires, he went above and beyond, elaborately staging death scenes for both entertainment and artistic value.
  • The Sociopath: Angelus fits the criteria: he's brutally sadistic, violent, highly intelligent, manipulative, ruthless, and only cares about making people suffer. In the very episode where he first returns, "Innocence," the Judge, a demon with the power to incinerate any being who has humanity (more specifically human emotions) tried to fry him, only for Angelus to No-Sell it; as stated by Giles, only "true creatures of evil" could survive the Judge's Touch of Death.
  • Straw Nihilist: Angelus, unlike Angel considers humans to only exist so that they can suffer and die. Not that Angelus minds, of course.
  • Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: Near the end of Buffy Season 2, he decides to awaken Acathla and destroy the world, with him in it. Why exactly is unclear.
  • Theme Serial Killer: As Angelus he was fond of making twisted little "valentines" for his victims, and was famous for his Valentine's Day "pranks". In Season 2, he does by setting up a romantic getaway for Giles, supposedly from his love interest Jenny... whose dead body Rupert discovers waiting for him in the upstairs bedroom.
  • Terms of Endangerment: Angelus calls Buffy "lover" and "Buff" numerous times, just to remind her how it happened.
  • Torture for Fun and Information: Why he captures Giles in "Becoming." Angelus brought him in to torture him for information on how to resurrect Acathla, but freely admits he hopes Giles resists because he doesn't want to be deprived of an opportunity to torture someone.
    Angelus: I wanna torture you. I used to love it, and it's been such a long time. I mean, the last time I tortured someone, they didn't even have chainsaws! [...] Acathla. He's an even harder guy to wake up than you are. I mean, I performed the rituals, said all the right phrases, blood on my hand. Got nothing. Big doughnut hole for my troubles. I figure you know the ritual. You're pretty up on these things. You could probably tell me what I'm doing wrong. But honestly, I sorta hope you don't...'Cause I really wanna torture you.
  • Unholy Matrimony: With Darla. Cordelia compares them to an undead Bonnie and Clyde.
  • Villain Cred: Even the Master held Angelus in high regard, intending to appoint him Dragon. The Mayor was keen to have Angelus on his team, as well.
    Nostoyev: Used to be quite the terror back in the day. Haven't heard much of you lately, though.
    Angel: Haven't heard much of you, ever.
  • Weak, but Skilled: As far as credible villains go, Angelus is not on the same scale as the ascended Mayor but he's a Master Vampire who has been in the game for over two hundred years and is powerful enough to stalemate Buffy, an unusually strong Slayer. His greatest asset, however, (aside from a meticulous brand of viciousness that would make The Joker proud) is his inside knowledge of the Scoobies, which he uses to full effect.
  • Where I Was Born and Razed: "I thought I'd take the village."
  • Wicked Cultured: Angelus considers himself an artist, and declares destroying people physically and mentally to be artwork. He also has a liking for ballet, and Angel freely admits in "Waiting in the Wings" that when he first saw the ballet Giselle in 1890, it moved him to tears.
    Angel: I cried like a baby. And I was evil!

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