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Angel
Season 1, Episode 22
Angel hanshu
Air date May 23, 2000
Written by David Greenwalt
Directed by David Greenwalt
Episode Guide
previous
"Blind Date"
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"Judgment"
Cast
Starring
David Boreanaz Angel
Charisma Carpenter Cordelia
Alexis Denisof Wesley
Special Guest Starring
Julie Benz Darla
Guest Starring
Elisabeth Röhm Kate
Christian Kane Lindsey
Stephanie Romanov Lilah
Sam Anderson Holland
Todd Stashwick Vocah
Carey Cannon Female Oracle
Randall Slavin Male Oracle
David Herman David
J. August Richards Gunn
Co Starring
Louise Claps Homeless Woman
Daren Rice Uniform #1
Jon Ecklund Uniform #2
Lia Johnson Vendor
Robyn Cohen Nurse
Susan Savage Doctor
John Eddins Monk #1
Gerard O'Donnell Monk #2
Brahman Turner Young Tough Guy
Uncredited
Grant Langston Guitar Player

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

Wesley tries to decipher the mystical Scrolls of Aberjian that Angel stole from the vault of Wolfram & Hart. The crooked lawyers need the scroll for the rites of Raising, which purportedly brings forth a great evil into the world from the vortex of hell. A demon named Vocah arrives to preside over the Raising. Vocah begins by stealing the scroll back, cursing Cordelia with relentless visions of pain and death, killing the Oracles of the Powers That Be, and fire-bombing Angel's apartment and office, nearly killing Wesley. Angel finds the rites in progress, kills Vocah, and reclaims the Scroll of Aberjian, severing Lindsey's right hand with the Vocah Scythe. But in the end, the evil lawyers get away before Angel has a chance to identify what they raised.

Synopsis

Wesley continues to try to decipher the text of The Prophecies of Aberjian (part of which is the Shanshu Prophecy) which Angel recently retrieved from Wolfram & Hart's vaults. Wesley is able to translate a crucial word, 'Shanshu' as 'Death', which means that Angel is destined to die and both Cordelia and Wesley are worried when Angel appears to take the news casually. Meanwhile, the gang learn that despite his recent moral crisis Lindsey has returned to Wolfram & Hart and accepted a promotion.

Outside the Wolfram & Hart offices Lindsay, Lilah and Holland call forth a warrior of the underworld named Vocah to perform 'the Raising'. Vocah is unimpressed to learn that the scroll he needs (which is none other than the one containing the Prophecies of Aberjian) is not only gone but in the hands of the very person the Raising is intended to destroy. In the office, as the gang plays unwilling hosts to David Nabbit who wants to hunt demons, Cordelia has a vision that sends Angel on his way to help a homeless woman fighting a slime demon. Kate arrives on the scene after Angel has defeated it, and tells Angel she is determined to rid the city of vampires, in revenge for her father's murder.

Wesley and Cordelia discuss how Angel is cut off from life, and decide he needs a hobby. Angel enters to have Cordelia offer to get him something to care about, like a puppy. Angel, obviously, isn't interested as Wesley leaves to pick up some books to help further decipher the scroll which he decides should be locked away but before he leaves he suggests that Angel consults the Oracles, an idea which Angel doesn't support. However, unknown to the gang, the Oracles are paid a visit by Vocah, having managed to cross their threshold despite being a creature of darkness. They order him to leave, as he summons a scythe behind him.

At an open market, Cordelia decides to buy some art supplies for Angel to give him a hobby and speaks with a friendly vendor who gives her what she needs. As Cordy starts to leave, Vocah walks part and brushes his hand against hers. Although Cordelia feels it, she doesn't think anything of it and heads home when she is suddenly subject to a painful vision. When it passes, she starts to call Angel when she is hit with several visions, one after the other, never-ending but just as painful as ever. Cordelia collapses screaming as the vendor shouts for someone to call 911. In the basement, Angel locks away the scroll in his weapons cabinet however doesn't realize that Vocah is also there. Although Angel seems to sense that something is wrong, he doesn't get a chance to check it out as the phone rings. Angel answers, and the hospital tells him about what is happening to Cordelia. Angel quickly leaves, allowing Vocah to emerge and take the scroll... but as he does, he leaves something else behind that has an ominous hum.

At the hospital, Angel enters to hear Cordelia's screams from a nearby room. Rushing to see her, he finds his friend screaming as doctors explain that Cordelia cannot be sedated and despite a CAT scan they can find nothing medically wrong with her. Angel is horrified to see Cordelia in such agony, but is also clueless about what is happening to her.

Back at the office, Wesley returns and heads to the weapons cabinet to get the scroll but instead finds something else that causes him to back away. Angel pulls up outside the building in his car, and is about to enter when the entire building explodes. Entering the basement as it collapses, Angel finds an injured Wesley and pulls him to safety. Outside, an ambulance takes Wesley and Angel prepares to follow when Kate stops him. With his friends injured, Angel isn't in the mood for Kate's hostile attitude and refuses to remain for questioning and tells her that if she wants to be his enemy, he's happy to oblige.

At the hospital, Wesley is stable but unconsious and after making sure he's ok Angel goes to see Cordelia who is no longer screaming but is clearly still suffering terribly from the vision. Angel promises her that he'll help her somehow, when he notices the symbol on the back of her hand. Sketching it, he decides to go and visit the Oracles and ask for their help. However, when he enters he finds both have been murdered by Vocah. A ghost of the female oracle appears and tells Angel that Vocah is the one who both killed them and inflicted Cordelia with the never-ending visions. The words to the spell that can save Cordelia are on the scroll, however Vocah has it. When asked where he is, the Oracle tells Angel that Vocah was summoned for the 'Raising' and is hiding behind 'Man's Law'. Angel realizes that Vocah is at Wolfram & Hart and takes Vocah's scythe which was left behind and leaves on a mission to kill Vocah. However, despite his determination, Angel is unwilling to leave his friends unprotected and asks Gunn to guard them at the hospital.

At a crypt, a box is set the middle with five vampires chained to it while Holland, Lindsay and Lilah head there from the offices with Angel following. In the crypt, Vocah starts the ritual as the lawyers arrive but part-way through he suddenly stops and produces another scythe just before Angel bursts through the windows. As the two engage in battle Lindsay, unwilling to see his project fail, continues the spell required. When it finishes, the five vampires surrounding the box suddenly turn to dust which swirls around the box like a whirlwind before entering and completing the raising. Holland orders the movers to get the box out as the lawyers quickly leave.

Angel manages to get the better of Vocah, and pulls his mask off to reveal a maggot filled hole instead of a nose. Angel sarcastically mutters "Nice!" before plunging the scythe into the hole, killing Vocah. After this he confronts the remaining Lindsay, who still has the scroll, about his decision to remain at Wolfram & Hart. Lindsay tells him he made a choice to be powerful and that the scroll has fortold that all of Angel's connections to the Powers That Be will be severed. Lindsay starts to burn the scroll (and the words that can save Cordelia) in a fire, however Angel throws his scythe which saves the scroll by taking off Lindsay's hand. Angel tells Lindsay, who is in agony holding the bloody stump at the end of his arm, not to believe everything he's foretold before taking the scroll and leaving.

At the hospital, Wesley reads the words that can save Cordelia as Angel watches on. There is a flash of light, and Cordelia's visions disappear. She re-emerges from her ordeal, much to Angel's happiness, however she begins to cry having seen so much pain and suffering and wanting to help all the people she saw. Angel promises her they will. Later, at Cordy's apartment (which is the new base of Angel Investigations), Wesley continues his efforts to decipher the scroll as Cordelia brings Angel his blood, showing a new more mature and caring attitude as a result of seeing all the suffering in the world. Suddenly Wes, in his efforts to find out what exactly Wolfram & Hart raised, makes a breakthrough and finds out that he partially mistranslated 'Shanshu' which actually means 'To Live and Die', indicating Angel will die, but only once he's lived... Angel is destined to become human after his trials are over. Despite the fact that it may not happen for a long time, Cordelia is ready to break out some champagne. Angel agrees that this is something they can celebrate.

At Wolfram & Hart, Holland tells Lindsey that the Senior Partners appreciate his sacrifice and that they'll get their revenge on Angel with the help of what's in the box. Lilah cautiously approaches it, whispering inside...

"We're all very pleased you're here... I know it's a bit confusing, but it's going to be better soon. A lot better... Darla."

Inside Angel's sire sits terrified, having been brought back from hell to exact revenge on the one who staked her years earlier...

Continuity

  • This episode sets the stage for the Shanshu plot line that will continue through both the show and the subsequent comic book series. Angel learns of the Shanshu Prophecy, foretelling of a vampire with a soul playing a pivotal role in the Apocalypse, and in doing so, earning the right to live as human again. It is assumed this means Angel but the prophecy never refers to him by name and it is equally possible that it refers to Spike who also acquires a soul in the later seasons. However, the comic book continuation of the series, Angel: After the Fallreveals that it is exclusively Angel whom the prophecy refers to. The Shanshu Prophecy also has an illustration of a firebreathing dragon on it which Angel will acquire at the end of the 5th season.  
  • Darla is resurrected by Wolfram & Hart, which will also play heavily into the entirety of the series.
  • Lindsey loses his hand, which proves pivotal for the gang to identify him by in his return in the fifth season.
  • This is the only season finale not to feature Lorne and Fred.

Body Count

  • a Slime demon, killed by Angel
  • The Oracles, killed by Vocah
  • Five vampires, dusted by Vocah's ritual
  • Vocah, killed by Angel

Appearances

Locations

Behind the Scenes

Production

  • This is the 100th episode of Buffy/Angel overall to be aired.
  • In classic Buffyverse style, Angel's apartment and the Angel Investigations sets are retired by utterly destroying them.
    • Producer David Greenwalt says they decided to blow up the Angel Investigations building at the end of this episode because the sets were uncomfortably cramped when filming.

Pop Culture References

  • The title refers to the 1985 movie "To Live and Die in L.A.", Shanshu being revealed in this episode as meaning "to live and to die".

Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors

  • As Cordelia eats her doughnut, she starts pulling it apart, breaking into the hole. As Wesley is using it as a prop, the hole is (initially) intact. The amount of doughnut eaten also changes between shots, including being eaten through to the hole, then suddenly not.
  • Angel rips the demon's mask off to reveal his maggot eaten face, but when we cut to Angel, the demon's mask is still on his face. Angel reacts as if it's not there though.
  • When Cordelia has just handed Angel a cup of blood to drink, the mike slips into view in the center of the screen.
  • When Angel goes to see Cordelia in the hospital she is thrashing about madly in her bed. The doctor tells Angel they've done a CAT scan, but can't seem to sedate her. There is no way they could have performed a CAT scan on her, the patient has to be completely still in order for there to be readable results.
  • Angel is in his office with the gang says he has a task to perform, next time you see him supposedly in Lindsey's apartment; but clearly in background is the rear wall of Angel's office, the red one with the weapons and ornaments on.

International titles

  • German: Duell mit dem Bösen (Duel with Evil)
  • French: Le Manuscrit (The Manuscript)

Music

Quotes

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

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