Season 4 Episode 6

Spin the Bottle

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Nov 10, 2002 on The WB
out of 10
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420 votes

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Episode Summary

When Lorne performs a spell on Cordelia to restore her memory, it inadvertently causes the gang to revert back to their high school personas and leaves them with no memories of each other. Eventually, Wesley theorizes that the only way to reverse the spell may be to kill a vampire, just as Angel realizes that he is one.moreless

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  • Pure genius!


    The Good;

    All of it, easily one of the best episodes of season 4, obviously with a debt to Buffy's Tabula Rusa but with a delicious spin of it's own. Unlike 'The Shroud of Rahmon' the framing device of Lorne with an invisible audience is terrific, he even breaks the 4th wall. If there is a favourite moment I think it would be CC declaring Fred as 'all neck' and Fred giving the 'mother of all shrugs'.

    The Bad;

    Only thing I can find wrong is that the commentary is not as good as you'd hoped despite having Joss and Alexis. Again though wouldn't Liam notice his lack of heartbeat etc?

    Best line:

    Gunn; "What happened to you man?"

    Wes; "I had my throat cut and my friends abandoned me"

    Apocalypses: 5

    Angel Cliches

    In disguise; 8

    DB get's his shirt off; 12

    Cheap Angel; 5

    Fang Gang in bondage: poor Lorne gets taped

    Cordy: 5

    Angel: 12

    Wes: 6

    Gunn; 4

    Lorne; 5

    Fred; 2

    Fang gang knocked out: poor Lorne againx2 plus Gunn

    Cordy: 12

    Angel: 15

    Wes: 5

    Doyle; 1

    Gunn; 2

    Lorne; 6

    Groo; 1

    Kills: Gunn says he's been killing vamps since he was 12 . He threatens to cut Lorne's head off although we actually know that wouldn't kill him. Another vamp for Connor who is starting to catch his old man up.

    Cordy: 6 vamps, 3 demons

    Angel; 41 vamps, 57 and 1/2 demons, 8 humans

    Doyle; 1 vamp

    Wes; 12 demons+3 vamps, 2 humans

    Kate; 3 vamps

    Faith; 16 vamps, 6 demons, 3 humans.

    Gunn; 11 vamps+ 12 demons.

    Groo; 1 demon

    Fred; 3 vamp+ 1 demon

    Connor; 9 vamps and 2 demon

    Fang Gang go evil:

    Cordy: 2

    Angel: 2

    Gunn; 1

    Wes; 1

    Alternate Fang Gang: teenage everyone

    Cordy: 4

    Angel: 10

    Fred; 2

    Wes; 1

    Gunn; 1

    Characters killed:


    Recurring characters killed;


    Total number of Angel Investigations:

    Angel, Gunn, Fred, Lorne

    Angel Investigations shot:

    Angel: 11

    Wes; 1

    Packing heat;

    Wes; 6

    Doyle; 1

    Angel; 3

    Gunn; 1

    Notches on Fang Gang bedpost:

    Cordy: 4 ?+Wilson/Hacksaw Beast+Phantom Dennis+Groo

    Angel: 5; Buffy, Darla and The Transcending Furies

    Wes; 3; Virginia, the bleached blonde and Lilah

    Gunn; 1 Fred

    Fred; 1 Gunn

    Groo; 1Cordy

    Kinky dinky:

    Wes' projecting stake and Fred's fear of aliens probing her helpless naked body. Liam is all for the sinful desires. Connor get's felt up by a hooker and CC promises to sleep with him if he kills Angel. CC is delighted with her bountiful adult breasts, Fred disappointed she seems not to have much. CC says 'Hello salty goodness' when she sees Liam which is exactly what she said about Angel when they first meet. CC in her towel. She thinks that danger makes her hot, she said the same about Xander and her in 'Dopplegangland'. CC thinks Angel is deviant because he didn't try anything with her.

    Captain Subtext;

    CC thinks Gunn and Wes wrestling is ***-erotic. CC wonders how Wes got the title 'head boy'? Note CC treats Fred EXACTLY as she treated season 1 Willow.

    Know the face, different character; 4

    Parking garages;


    Guantanamo Bay;

    Liam is alarmingly racist (as indeed is Keith Topping in his book) both against Wesley as an Englishman and Gunn as a slave. Ironically he later comments that people are ganging up upon him because he's different and he accuses THEM of being hypocrites. CC comments that she know's who's president and wishes she didn't. Weird, I'd have always thought of her as a right wing girl. Gunn suggests that if something looks wrong it should die which is a lot different as to how he thought in 'That Old Gang of Mine'.

    Buffy characters on Angel; 16

    Wetherby, Collins and Smith. Angel, Cordy, Oz, Spike, Buffy, Wes, Faith, Darla, Dru, The Master, Anne, Willow and Harmony

    Questions and observations;

    Fred is a cannabis smoker. Maybe it doesn't make you dumb after all? Liam thinks the cars outside are demons which is exactly what C17th noblewoman Buffy thought in Halloween. Interestingly Wes refers to the Watcher's academy being in Hampshire which means it may have survived Caleb's attack on the London base and helps Buffy&co in season 8. Interestingly Angel doesn't trust magic, much like Connor. Wes is very Bond as has been commented on before. Gunn's fears that he's just the 'muscle' (the BA Barracus?) of AI once more come to the fore. Interesting to see him as an angry young man just as we saw in 'Double or nothing'. Some funny mocking of Angel's very poor Irish accent. Gunn votes that they don't put Wes in charge, a ref back to 'There's no place like plze grb'. Note that when Gunn goes for a weapon he instinctively selects his hubcap axe even though he's amnesiac. Note also Fred fondles the palms, Illyria later able to mind meld with them.

    Lorne smokes again. Even though he's his teenage goof self Wes is still heroic, pitting himself unhesitatingly against a vamp to save Fred and CC and quite a good leader. Lorne tells Fred 'look into your heart' which is the famous line from 'Miller's Crossing', the greatest gangster film ever. Our first glimpse of The Beast.

    Marks out of 10; 10/10 stunning

  • Spin the Bottle

    Spin the Bottle was not only one of the Best episodes of Angel, It was one of the most Classic of the series. I really enjoyed watching this episode which was very unique with Lorne narrating from a piano bar. I thought this was a very awesome way to portray the story of this episode. This is by far one of my personal favorite episodes of the entire series of Angel. All of the characters reverting back to the age of 17 with different backgrounds was so interesting. I also thought the end of the episode was not only a glimpse of what is to come, but very intriguing and mysterious. I certainly look forward to watching the next episode. This was definitely a must watch episode!!!!!!!moreless
  • Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth, but not its twin. - Barbara Kingsolver

    "Spin the Bottle" is a bit like Angel's version of Buffy's "Tabula Rasa", on the surface. But underneath, it is teeming with so much more.

    In an ill conceived attempt to retrieve Cordelia's memories, the gang use a spell that backfires horribly. Everyone, except Lorne, reverts back to their teenage selves.

    This gives us great insight into the backgrounds of characters about whom we don't know much before they came to the show, such as Fred, Wesley and Gunn. Cordelia is a breathe of fresh air in her old Queen C persona. Angel is once again an innocent man, Liam, who is out of place in LA, far from his home in 18th century Ireland and ignorant of his vampirism. Gunn and Wesley's interaction is perhaps the best of the episode. Their characters differ so much, their bickering is hilarious.

    Of course, this episode is not filler. Wesley deduces that their situation is like the Cruciamentum from Buffy's "Helpless", and that they must find the vampire. Alas, when Lorne wakes up and reveals that Angel is the vampire, Liam acts like he thinks he should and the rest turn on him. Connor shows up to save the day.

    Lorne brings everyone back to normal, but Cordelia's memories do come back, to disastrous consequences.

    The format of this episode is unique. Lorne breaks the fourth wall multiple times, even referring to the commercial break at one point. He narrates the episode to a nightclub audience. There are also a couple very cool scenes in which he narrates directly in the middle of the action, such as when he sums up the major points in the Fred/Wes/Gunn happenings.

    One of the best episodes in a season that, while it may not have the best overall arc, had many very good standalones.moreless
  • Trying to get back Cordys memories, Lornes spell backfires making all of the team believe they are teenagers again. Not knowing each other or why they are there, Together they try to figure out what they are doing there at the hotel and why.moreless

    A MUCH WATCH EPISODE!!!!! SO FUNNY!!!! With so many serious things happening in this season so far, it's nice to have an episode where you're able to laugh and relax and still keep with the story line. Sometimes when shows do an episode like this it turns out a bit cheesey. This episode was everything but cheese. The actors did the switch-a-roo like champs! Fred asking about weed and Angel not knowing he's a vamp were great parts. But Wesley realizing he has weapons in his sleeves made me laugh so hard I almost peed (seriously) This is one of my favorite episodes ever. I kept rewinding certian parts just to watch over and over again.moreless
  • "Got any weed?"

    Spin The Bottle is without a doubt the funniest episode of Angel and loses out to first place in the entire 'verse to Doppelgangland for the funniest episode. It's almost a direct copy of Buffy 6.08 "Tabula Rasa" but I find this episode much better. Whereas Tabula Rasa took away all of our character's entire memories, this episode took away their memories from after their seventeenth birthday. Cordelia is the nasty b*tch, Fred is a pothead, Wesley is the huge clumsy geek, Gunn is the aggressive tough guy and Angel is an 1700's Irish peasant. What's so great about this episode is that while it is absolutely hilarious, it's one of the most important episodes of the series. Not many episodes are like this but Spin The Bottle is pivotal because it is the episode where our gang mistakenly re-awake Jasmine inside Cordelia. This one scene is probably the most important this season as the rest of the season is built around this. The flash to The Beast's eyes was suitably creepy and mysterious.

    However the reason this episode is so great is that it's just so funny. We haven't really had a funny episode since "Carpe Noctem" which wasn't great but here 90% of the episode is funny. It was so great to see Cordelia back to Sunnydale Cordelia and I thought that seeing as Cordelia has changed so much, the writers did a great job bringing back the b*tch she once was. She had some excellent lines and Charisma Carpenter looked like she was having great fun portraying the nastier side of Cordy. Same goes with Alexis Denisof who was at his funniest here- Wesley has changed so much too and it was so good to see the clumsy geek he once was. Fred was brilliant too and I really really love Teenage Fred; she's just like an immature, crazier version of Fred and her lines about wanting to "score some weed" make me laugh every time. Angel/Liam was funny too but definitely not the highlight. He had an innocent sense of humour and David Boreanaz was great but he was overshadowed by Cordelia, Wesley and Fred. However, Teenage Gunn was completely irritating and served no purpose but to run his mouth off. I really didn't like him and would have much preferred he was knocked out at the start.

    I love the way Lorne narrated the episode; it was a nice touch and it gave Lorne something to do this episode. We are left wondering whether it post NFA Lorne as he seemed slightly different and his description of bringing Cordelia's memories back made me think he was remembering the Jasmine-caused badness. Connor was just extremely annoying here and I really hate the Cordy/Connor thing. He acts like a spoilt child and was ready to kill his own father just to score with Cordelia. He comes across as self-centred and I honestly have no sympathy for him anymore; he's just a bad character. I was glad Angel/Liam beat him up though.

    Spin The Bottle was an incredible episode that was hilarious and pivotal at the same time. A gem of S4 and the series as a whole.moreless
Kam Heskin

Kam Heskin


Guest Star

Sven Holmberg

Sven Holmberg

Delivery Guy

Guest Star

Andy Hallett

Andy Hallett


Recurring Role

Vladimir Kulich

Vladimir Kulich

The Beast

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (11)

    • When Angel punches Lorne, Gunn moves over to Fred, pushes her out of the way, and Fred runs off to his right. The shot then changes to a closeup of them and Fred is back on Gunn's left and he once again moves over to her and pushes her out of the way to his right.

    • When Liam and Cordelia are in her room, and after Liam almost bites her, he runs into her bathroom to look into the mirror and check if he's a vampire. How did he know where to go? At the early 18th century, bathrooms in private houses were very uncommon and could mostly be found at very large mansions or palaces, and Liam's family didn't seem to have that much money (see episode "The Prodigal" 1x15). And anyway, in 18th century, mirrors weren't usually placed in bathrooms.

    • Cordelia says "Hello salty goodness" when she sees Angel. This is the same phrase she used when she first saw him in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" (1x05).

    • When Gunn punches Wesley, the camera cuts to Angel and Fred and it appears that the two actors are trying not to laugh.

    • While demonstrating her "super power" to Angel (screaming her head off), Cordelia's hair has come loose from its barrette and is hanging down the side of her face. A few moments later Connor saves her, and when she's talking to him afterward, her hair is pulled back again.

    • Wesley seems pretty ready to send Liam and Cordy off by themselves when in their reverted personas they both just found out vampires exist and have no idea how to kill them.

    • When Gunn and Wesley are fighting, Angel has his arms crossed, but when it immediately cuts to a close shot of he and Cordelia, his arms are to his side.

    • Angel/Liam reacts to the "minstrels" on the radio and panics when seeing the cars, but isn't bothered at all by all of the electrical lights.

    • Lorne and Fred speak in "Pylean". Except when the gang was in Pylea the natives didn't speak anything but English, both to the Earth-types and to each other.

    • In the recap at the beginning of the episode, when they redo Cordy asking "Were we in love?" Angel is unhurt. In the previous episode in the original verson of the scene, Angel was cut and bruised.

      Charisma Carpenter actually asked the staff if she could cut her hair, and they said no, because they knew the show would be a "to be continued," but on the first day of shooting, David Boreanaz walked in with his hair cut.

    • When Wesley and Fred are in the kitchen and Wesley's "sharp" stake pops out, he pushes it back in with the palm of his hand, with no pain.

  • QUOTES (37)

    • Angel: You're stronger than the rest. Are you not a vampire yourself, then?
      Connor: You don't remember?
      Angel: I remember waking up here in this madhouse with that fine lot of hypocrites.
      Connor: Hypocrites?
      Angel: I'm supposed to be evil, but they attack me without cause. They gang up on me because I'm different. They're as bad as my father.
      Connor: Fathers. Don't they suck?

    • Cordelia: You have no idea how much this is killing me. I know my ABC's, my history. I know who's President, and that I sort of wish I didn't. I know the name of every shoe store in the Beverly Center, but I don't even recognize the sound of my own name.

    • Angel: I seem to be strong, too, and fast. It's not so bad, this vampire thing.
      Cordelia: Well, I've got a super power of my own, hotshot.
      Angel: What's that now? (Cordelia screams at the top of her lungs) That really is inhuman.

    • Wesley: So who are you?
      Gunn: I'm the guy that's gonna be kickin' a whole mess o' ass somebody don't tell me what's goin' on.
      Cordelia: Whadda they call you for short?

    • (Angel, not remembering he's Connor's father)
      Angel: Say one thing, then..."Be good. Fear God. Do as you're told." And the whole while I know good and well, (my father's) had his share of sinning.
      Connor: Sounds kinda like my father.
      Angel: Is he a self-righteous bastard?
      Connor: You'd be amazed.

    • Lorne: (Waking up) Oh...Oh...Guys, hey, that was quite a whammy. A little trip through the transitive nightfall of diamonds, if you know what I mean, I certainly don't, but—
      Angel: He speaks madness.
      Lorne: Hey, here's a funny sidebar. I'm tied to a chair—again! What the hell's going on?
      Wesley: We were hoping you would enlighten us, spawn of evil.
      Lorne: Oh, dear. I'm starting to suspect my surefire hit spell closed out of town. (whimpers) Did anything go right? Anything? Did Cordy at least get her memory back?
      Wesley: Just tell us where the vampire is, fiend.
      Lorne: What are you talking about? There aren't any vampires here. Well, I mean, except for our boy here.
      Angel: Uh, lying devil man.
      Lorne: Oh, like my spell made you not a vampire anymore. My magic isn't that—
      Angel: Shut your face!
      (punches Lorne, cuts to Lorne narrating)
      Lorne: Ow.

    • Cordelia: Maybe I was gonna tell you to back off, buddy. Maybe you were coming on too strong—harassing me in the workplace. Maybe I had a red-hot restraining order in my mitts. You ever think of that?
      Angel: I was never—in the workplace, I— Well, there was that one time with the—the ballet and the stripping and the roundness, but that was a spell. And-and we were meeting in Malibu on the bluffs at night. That's a pretty romantic restraining order!

    • Angel: (to Cordelia) We'll get you back. No matter what. I promise you, we will get you back.
      Lorne: What's all this "we", pale face?

    • Gunn: What the hell are you talking about?
      Cordelia: It's called kidnapping a minor, hair club for men.

    • Wesley: Where do you hail from, friend?
      Angel: I'm not your friend, you English pig.

    • Angel: (sitting on the stairs, muttering to himself) English pig. English pig?

    • Gunn: Great. So we go vamp hunting. This place looks pretty big. I say two groups.
      Cordelia: (about Angel) Great. I'll go with tall, dark, and slightly less pathetic than you two here.

    • Wesley: All right. I'm going to let you all in on something you may have trouble comprehending. But I assure you that however...
      Gunn: Vampires are real.
      Wesley: I was telling!

    • Wesley: Well, I know this breed is nocturnal and feeds on roots and possibly human effluvia... It's a horned race...
      Gunn: So you know jack?
      Wesley: They're nocturnal?

    • Gunn: The day I take orders from guys like you is the... day I... (scoffs) Not even gonna happen.

    • Lorne: (about Connor) Poor kid. Engine running and stuck in park.

    • (about Wesley and Gunn fighting)
      Cordelia: Are you going to get in there and stop it?
      Angel: It was about time that the English got what's coming to him, I'm rooting for the slave.

    • Fred: I'm ready, I'm okay, it'd be cooler if we could score some weed though.

    • (Gunn and Wesley start fighting over which one of them should be in charge of the situation. Lorne looks up and addresses the audience)
      Lorne: Look, I know I'm supposed to be unconscious during this segment, but can you believe these two mooks?

    • (A radio plays in the next room)
      Angel: Minstrels!
      Cordy: uh (turns off radio)
      Angel: How...? You stopped the tiny men from singing.

    • Fred: Are you sure this is going to work?
      (Lorne says something in Pylean)
      (Fred answers him in Pylean)

      Gunn: What?
      Fred: Its Pylean. He said "My words will work miracles" and I answered "May your words please the gods".
      Lorne: (in the nightclub) She didn't say "may your words please the gods" so much as she said "may you orally please the gods".

    • (When returning to the show after the commercial break)
      Lorne: Well those were some exciting products, am I right? (applauds) Let's all think about buying some of those.

    • Cordelia: Oh, God! Oh, God! My hair! My Hair! (sobbing) The government gave me bad hair!

    • Gunn: What happened to you, man?
      Wesley: I had my throat cut and all my friends abandoned me.

    • Cordelia: (to Fred) Oh! We're both in school. Oh gosh! Let's be best friends, so I can lose all my cool ones.
      Wesley: There's no call to be snippity, miss.
      Cordelia: This is a Clarion call for snippity, Princess Charles.
      Wesley: It's Wesley, thank you. Wyndham-Price. I attend the Watcher's Academy in Southern Hampshire. In fact, I happen to be Head Boy.
      Cordelia: (sarcastically) Gee, I wonder how you earned that nickname.
      Wesley: A lot of effort I don't mind saying.

    • (Wesley is fiddleing with his arm weapon and accidently fires a small dart which hits Angel in the leg)
      Wesley: Are you okay? Oh! I mean Ha!

    • Angel: Cordelia - Were we in love?
      Cordelia: We were.

    • Wesley: What type of demons, would you say?
      Angel: Shiny.

    • Fred: Got any weed?

    • Fred: I sorta see his point. Not one of ya'll looks exactly seventeen. It's like time's been pushed forward, like we missed a bunch of years.
      Cordy: (looking down) Kind of have filled out even more.
      Fred: (likewise) And... I apparently ain't gonna.

    • Cordy: Okay, we've heard from Scarlett O'please-shut-me-up.

    • Gunn: (introducing himself) Gunn.
      Wesley: (ducking) Where?!?

    • Wesley: The cross obviously doesn't affect me, or our friend, the pugilist.
      Gunn: Oh, your ass better pray I don't look that word up.

    • Lorne: It's always nice to hear the mother tongue, as long as its not from my mother.

    • Gunn: Oh good, symbols on the floor. That always goes well.

    • Lorne: So I'm an idiot. What are you, perfect?

    • Angel: I guess I'l start feeding on your corpses now. Starting with the girls. So hard to choose..
      Cordy: What do you mean hard to choose...I mean eat her (points to Fred) she's the tasty one..look at her, half of her is neck!

  • NOTES (7)

    • Joss Whedon states in the Season 5 DVD featurette "To Live and Die in L.A.: The Best of Angel", that this episode is one of the best episodes of Season 4 and of the series as a whole.

    • The song Lorne is singing at the beginning of this episode, "The Way We Were" by Barbara Streisand, is the same song Harmony sings at the karaoke bar in "Disharmony" (2x17).

    • If you study the scene in which Liam runs in and yells, "Demons!," if you watch Alexis Denisof and David Boreanaz closely, you see they do not meet eyes in this scene. This is because every time they did, they would burst into laughter, so they had to avoid looking at each other.

    • Andy Hallett (Lorne) is credited as "Special Guest Star Andy Hallett."

    • The spell to regain Cordy's memory originally had more explanation, but it was cut due to its length.
      Lorne: Now, we represent the six spheres of consciousness, the six gifts from the Lords of Shah-teyaman, the six walls of the house of truth. We're all one with Cordelia, we bring to this circle only trust and imagination. The bottle in the centre of the circle contains the liquid essence that has passed through the wraith and been gathered here...
      Gunn: We're curing Cordy with a urine sample?
      Cordelia: Okay, not drinking it...
      Lorne: Hush, puppies. All we do is join hands and concentrate. On the bottle, on Cordy, on calling her back to the way she was.

    • This is the only episode of Angel this season that Joss Whedon both wrote and directed. The idea to make it came from a discussion he had with Alexis Denisof and wanting to see nerdy, loser Wesley again.

    • Although he has no lines, and only his eyes are seen, Vladimir Kulich is credited.


    • Lorne: Who's we, paleface?

      Lorne is alluding a classic joke featuring The Lone Ranger and his faithful companion Tonto. The Lone Ranger and Tonto are surrounded by hostile Indians. The Lone Ranger says to Tonto, "Old friend, we're really in trouble this time." Tonto replies, "What do you mean 'we', paleface?"

    • Cordelia: Okay, we've heard from Miss Scarlett O'Please-shut-me-up!

      This alludes to Scarlett O'Hara, the main character from the famous Civil War era book "Gone with the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell.

    • Angel: Minstrels
      A minstrel was a European bard who performed lyric poems while playing simple instruments. Occasionaly they would travel in small groups, each with different instruments. This would be the closest thing in Liam's experience to modern music, with a singer backed up by an instrumental band.