|Season 4, Episode 14|
|Air date||March 12, 2003|
|Written by|| Sarah Fain|
Steven S. DeKnight
|Directed by||James A. Contner|
|J. August Richards||Gunn|
|Alexis Denisof|| Wesley |
|Eliza Dushku|| Faith |
|Darren Laverty||Lackey Vamp #1|
|Sam Stefanski||Lackey Vamp #2|
|Catalina Larranaga||Vamp Waitress|
|Peter Renaday||Master's Voice|
|Becka Linder||Drugged Girl #1|
|Chris Huse||Drugged Vampire #2|
|Ian Anthony Dale||Drugged Vampire #3|
|Andrew McGinnis||Mullett Head Vamp|
"Release" is the fourteenth episode of the fourth season of Angel and the eightieth episode overall. Written by Sarah Fain, Elizabeth Craft and Steven S. DeKnight and directed by James A. Contner it was originally broadcast on March 12, 2003 on the WB network.
As a battered and bloodied Faith recovers at Wesley's apartment after her showdown with the Beast, they wonder why Angelus would suddenly kill the Beast and allow the sun to return to Los Angeles. At a demon bar, Angelus is spoken to by a deep disembodied voice, which turns out to originate from Cordelia, projecting from the hotel, who stole Angel's soul and is keeping it close to her. Cordelia confirms that she manipulated the gang into removing the soul then stole it to ensure it couldn't be returned. Angelus refuses to submit to the Beast master and demands a face-to-face meeting. Angelus then surprises Fred at the hotel, claiming he is immune to the protection spell. He demands information on the Beast's master, however she realises he is bluffing and tries to fight back, but he steals her research materials. Fred tries to shoot him with a tranquillizer dart but accidentally hits Lorne instead. Connor attempts to stop Angelus, but is repelled by the demon protection spell.
Angelus is contacted again by Cordelia telepathically, and this time she threatens to restore his soul if he refuses to help. Fred's mood worsens as she feels inadequate to fight Angelus. Fred and Gunn kiss, but part, unsure about their feelings. Meanwhile Cordelia convinces Connor to keep her sudden pregnancy a secret from everyone else. Faith and Wesley try to track Angelus at the demon bar. There they encounter human junkies, who get high on the vampire bites. Faith smacks one around, but Wesley finally gets the needed info by stabbing the woman. They are able to track Angelus to a deserted museum where Faith has another showdown with him. The fight does not go well for Faith - in the final scene she is bitten by Angelus.
- When Fred nearly shoots Connor with the tranquilizer gun, he remarks, "[I] thought you were more of a tazer girl." This is a reference to the episode "Deep Down", wherein she used a tazer to render him unconscious (and later to torture him), after she and Gunn found out what he had done to Angel.
- When Wesley and Faith are looking for Angelus, they discover that people are getting high from vampire bites, similar to Riley Finn's experience.
- The description of Angelus talking to himself is similar to the method of the First, yet no one suggested the First could be behind the apocalyptic events. This suggests Buffy and the Scoobies had not attempted to contact Angel about their battle with the First. One would think after learning that Los Angeles was blacked out that some effort would be made to contact Angel on the assumption it was an act on behalf of the First. It was not as if Buffy had not considered bringing Angel into her war against the First, since she asked him to open a second front later. There also doesn't seem to be much sharing of notes later when Willow arrived.
- Faith and Wesley's view on ethics were inverted since the last time they met. While Wesley attempted her to convince her to do the very things she was trying to atone for, she tried desperately to cling to her newly-adopted, purist notions and ethical beliefs—the same beliefs that Wesley himself possessed as a Watcher.
- When provoking Faith, Wesley makes reference to her torturing him in "Five by Five", and the Watchers Council's attempt to kill/capture her in "Sanctuary".
- a vampire, dusted by Wesley
Behind the Scenes
- After 44 appearances as a guest star, Andy Hallett was finally added to the opening credits. For the first time in the series, there are now more main characters that are exclusive to Angel than there are characters that originated in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which will last until "Underneath" with Harmony's promotion to the main cast).
- This is one of the longest cold opening, at 5:27. This record is later beaten by "The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco" with a length of 6 minutes and 18 seconds. This record is even later beat by "Harm's Way" with a length of 6 minutes and 49 seconds.
- German: Alte Feinde (Old Enemies)
|Demon - "Look, I'm telling ya, I don't know nothing. On my mother's tumor." [notices a demon sneaking up behind Wesley and Faith, intending to attack them] "And even if I did, I'd never yak to a couple of flesh-bags that are about to get their internal organs sucked out of their ..."|
|Wesley - [shoots his shotgun behind him, without even looking, nailing his would-be attacker in the face] "Strom demon. Face should grow back." [cocks the shotgun] "Eventually."|
|Faith - "Think yours will?"|
|Demon - "Oh, that Angelus. Yeah, in here all the time running his mouth. 'Look at me, I'm so evil.' Real jackass. Never liked him. I'm on your side."|
|Angelus - "Uh-oh! Vampire with a gun!"|