Season 1 Episode 22

To Shanshu in L.A.

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM May 23, 2000 on The WB

Episode Fan Reviews (15)

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  • Terrific season ender


    The Good;

    My all time favourite moment in Angel is when he walks up to Lindsey clutching his stump, the music swells and Angel looks on him with ***all sympathy. Such a powerful scene, you realise how much Angel loves Cordy in that moment and would fight his way to hell on her behalf. CCs acting as stricken Cordy is also great and love the doughnut scene. And THAT ending!

    The Bad;

    Gunn's prescence seems a bit shoe-horned in, they're obviously thinking about making him a regular. Same for David Nabbit. Kate seems to want to make Angel hang around to make a statement which is weird as she's prepared to let him just walk away the rest of the time.

    Best line:

    "Don't believe everything your foretold, Lindsey" (why doesn't he just kick him in the head whilst he's at it?)

    Jeez, how did they get away with that?

    Severed hands. Voca's mask. Angel is also quite brutal with Kate. Lilah mentions a past WR&H employee who was made to eat his own liver as pennance for failing the senior partners.

    Apocalypses: 4

    Angel Cliches

    Damsel in distress; 15,

    Inverting the Hollywood cliche;

    In disguise; 4

    DB get's his shirt off; 7

    Cordy's tattoo;3

    Cheap Angel;


    Fang Gang in bondage:

    Cordy: 5

    Angel: 8

    Wes: 2

    Fang gang knocked out: Wes by the explosion

    Cordy: 9

    Angel: 10

    Wes: 5

    Doyle; 1


    Cordy: 3 vamps, 1 demons

    Angel; 2 demons so 16 vamps, 12 and 1/2 demons, 3 humans

    Doyle; 1 vamp

    Wes; 1/2 a demon

    Kate; 3 vamps

    Faith; 16 vamps, 6 demons, 3 humans.

    Fang Gang go evil:

    Cordy: 2

    Angel: 2

    Alternate Fang Gang:

    Cordy: 2

    Angel: 6

    Characters killed:


    Recurring characters killed; bye-bye the Oracles which is a shame as I liked them, I didn't think they COULD be killed


    Total number of Angel Investigations:

    3, Angel and Cordy and Wes

    Angel Investigations shot:

    Angel: 8,

    Packing heat;

    Wes; 2

    Doyle; 1

    Angel; 1

    Notches on Fang Gang bedpost:

    Cordy: 2 ?+Wilson/Hacksaw Beast

    Angel: 1;Buffy

    Kinky dinky:

    Naked Darla in a box, bet you can't order that on Amazon!

    Know the face, different character; 2

    Parking garages;


    Buffy characters on Angel; 11

    Wetherby, Collins and Smith. Angel, Cordy, Oz, Spike, Buffy, Wes, Faith, Darla

    Questions and observations;

    Wes once again makes a biblical reference which Watcher's are wont to do. The promise of great things to come, Darla in the box. Interestingly you can bring a vamp back from the dead as they attempted to do in 'When she was bad', a technique often used in fanfic for bringing back Angel and souled-Spike if they've been killed in a story. Cordy refers to 'The old me' indicating personal growth. Of course we assume the 'Vamp with a soul' is Angel but it could just as easily be season 5 Spike?

    Marks out of 10; 9/10, very good ep with my all time favourite Angel scene.

  • 'You never want to be on time for a ritual. The chanting, the blood rites, they go on forever.'

    The last episode of the first Angel season, and it was amazing, filled with drama, horror and action.

    The episode begins with Wes working on the shanshu prophecy, he has the scroll and finds out that it means that Angel is going to die, but Angel doesn’t seem to care much. They get a visit from geeky David Nabbitt while the W&H lawyers summon some big demon named Vocah who is there to put out Angel.

    The storyline around Kate sort of ends in this episode, she and Angel stop getting along because she keeps blaming him for what happened to her father and after his building blows up she doesn’t want to let him leave but he does anyway and tells her that she should try him if she wants to be enemies.

    Meanwhile Wes and Cordy discuss Angel and that he doesn’t want many things in life, Cordy is determent to do something about it and when Angel comes back she tries to convince him to want stuff. she even goes to buy some paint and other stuff for Angel but then Vocah walks right behind her and touches her hand which leads her to pain with visions, they keep coming and she can’t close them so she falls on the ground and gets taken to the hospital.

    Vocah tries to make Angel miserable by doing that, he kills Oracles whom are Angel’s link and then leaves a bomb at Angel’s apartment that explodes when Wesley finds it, leaving Angel truly alone, his office exploded and hi co-workers both in the hospital, Angel asks Gunn to take after them while he goes to the oracles to ask about a mark he finds on Cordy. But he finds them dead, only the female can still talk and she tells him that he has to kill Vocah and to cure Cordy they have to do a chanting spell.

    Meanwhile the lawyers gather around for a big ritual, they are going to sacrifice five vampires to bring back something that they have stuffed in a box. Then Angel jumps in and fights Vocah while Lindsey finishes the ritual which brings back something back to live and gets taken by the lawyers except Lindsey who gets unconscious when the something gets brought back.

    When Angel beats Vocah and kills his wormy face with his own sword, he goes to Lindsey who has the scroll an wants to burn it because the scroll has Cordy’s cure and without Cordy Angel is nothing. But Angel isn’t dumb and hacks off Lindsey’s hand making the scroll fall on the ground and Angel picking it up. Then Wesley brings back Cordy in the hospital.

    The episode was extremely well done, Wesley reads the scroll once again but he made a mistake, Angel is not going to die but instead become human. I really wish that Angel would have ever become one, but the episode was still amazing by all means. Good drama, good acting and a great script. A great way to close the first season. At the end of he episode they reveal that the thing that was brought back in the box was Darla, Angelus’ sire who was killed by Angel years ago.

  • Overall, this episode is a strong season finale, linking the original mission statement for Angel to the more epic plot concerns of the second season.

    With the first season ending, the finale needed to serve two purposes. First and foremost, it needed to complete the process of setting the stage for the second season, which would delve into the more epic aspects of Angel’s psychological and philosophical universe. Also very important was the need to tie the second season into the concepts introduced at the beginning of the series. This duty fell to Mr. Greenwalt, though most agree that Joss was heavily involved in the process of working the thematic connections.

    The writers do make another attempt at making David Nabbitt a worthwhile character, but this time around, it’s more from a conceptual perspective. Nabbitt points out how Angel’s mission is something worthy of remembrance, whereas his own accomplishments are pure materialism with ephemeral spiritual value. The message is simple: Angel cannot let himself forget why he fights. This is something Angel would struggle with throughout the course of the series.

    Angel is given two very different “rewards” for his service in the apocalypse. In this case, this early in the series, his role is largely noted as being on the side of the white hats. His apparent reward is death. Oddly, Wesley doesn’t hit upon one of the more obvious interpretations of the prophesy. Many images or references to death in ancient prophetic works and their modern extrapolations are meant to be interpreted as a sign of fundamental change, not literal death. Of course, that is also a possibility, since death is a rather fundamental change, but it’s not necessarily what the use of the term or concept mandates.

    The fact that Darla’s raising is tied directly to the Scroll of Aberjian suggests two possibilities, in light of the revelations at the end of the fourth season. One interpretation is that the prophecies are genuine, and that Jasmine, as a rogue Power, twisted the intention of the prophecies to her own purpose. However, since Darla’s resurrection was key to Jasmine’s plan, there’s every reason to wonder if the prophecies were adjusted to serve that purpose. Given that the prophecies were still referenced in the fifth season as being in force, it would be simple enough to assume that Jasmine could have simply added to what already existed, in terms of the destiny for the “vampire with a soul”.

    The fact that Wesley interprets “shanshu” as meaning “death” provides a way to connect his reaction to the prophecy to the initial mission statement of the series. Angel doesn’t react to the news that he is fated to die, in Wesley’s estimation, because Angel has once again become cut off from humanity and the world. As usual, this defines one of the central conflicts of the series: Angel needs to become connected to the world to find redemption, but in doing so, he gives his enemies a means of attacking him indirectly.

    The writers also bring Kate back into the picture, if only in a limited role, to complete the loop that began with Angel’s first encounter with her in the second episode. Kate is completely hostile towards Angel, very suspicious, but her presence doesn’t serve much of a purpose, other than to remind the audience that she’s still a player and someone who has every reason to question Angel’s claims.

    The theme of “isolating Angel” continues with Voca’s plan. First, he eliminates the Oracles, and then he strikes Cordy with an affliction that effectively eliminates her as a source of visions for Angel to use. Then Voca takes the Scroll of Aberjian and takes measures to destroy Angel’s support system (which is one of the more shocking moments of the first season). It’s all designed to place Angel in the worst position possible, to either kill or tempt.

    Unlike Nabbitt, who serves an indirect and minor purpose in this episode, Gunn is once again a resource that Angel finds important to have. More than that, Gunn gets to see first-hand how important Wesley and Cordy are to Angel, which helps Gunn see another example of how Angel is not the typical vampire.

    The ritual used to raise Darla is interesting because hidden within the Latin is the core principle of the episode and the prophecy for Angel: life and death are simply aspects of the same thing. One could argue that Angel is stuck between life and death, and thus to die in some future moment, he must first be restored to life. As a metaphor, however, it works even better. Is it life and death in literal terms, or the restoration of Angel’s humanity within his soul, the final defeat of the demon within?

    It’s also interesting that Lindsey doesn’t bother to think things through. Yes, the prophecies might say that Angel’s connections to the Powers would be severed, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be restored immediately thereafter. That’s the problem with prophecies, as evidenced in the first season finale for “Buffy”. Prophecy says you die? Never says you can’t come back to life!

    In this case, Angel does lose those connections, but they are quickly restored. In fact, Cordy comes out of it with a renewed sense of purpose (possibly Jasmine-induced). She’s willing to go through the pain and discomfort of the visions, if it means that they can help the helpless a little while longer. In a sense, this is the mid-point for Cordy’s character: the moment that the old Cordy transforms completely into the new Cordy.

    One more comment on the “shanshu” concept. Wesley reads it to say, as noted above, that in order for Angel to die, he must first be restored to life (assuming, as usual, that he is the vampire mentioned in the prophecy). But how does that directly lead to the assumption that Angel will be restored as a human being? That seems to be something the writers wanted to establish, as a nice way to point to a possible ending for the series, but it’s a massive assumption, given their line of work!

    This also sets the stage for Angel’s fall in the second season. The problem with hope is that it may never die, but it can be broken, and Angel becomes a bit too confident in his eventual victory. Hope can be twisted, and that’s why Darla is the perfect weapon to use against Angel. Darla is something that he can try, against all odds, to redeem, ala Faith, which gives him hope, which gives Wolfram and Hart a weapon.

    It’s in the process of setting up Angel for failure, at least in partial measure, that the episode succeeds as a season finale. Angel’s original mission is brought into a wider context, hinted at here and there in earlier episodes, and a reward is dangled in front of him. How does he react to that knowledge, and how does he try to be worthy of it? And in essence, that is a very human question, because there’s the general belief in a reward at the end of great lifelong adversity. That’s exactly the kind of question that Joss likes to pose in his work.
  • end of season 1

    after 21 episodes the first season of angel ends and with a BANG! possibly the best episode of the first season. stunning!

    a demon named vocah is brought to this world by wolfran and heart to destroy angel and he is going through ange;s friends. he unleashed all visions on cordy leaving her in pain and crazy and tries to blow up wesley and blows up the office. the demon also killed the oracles and is after angel now.

    angel eventually beats vocah and then cuts off lindesys hand to get the scroll and brings back cordy to normal. angel also learsns that the shanshu prophecy might make him human after the upcoming battles. sadly that never happened!

    the episode was still fantastic! especially the end when darla is brought back in a box.
  • end of season 1

    after 21 episodes the first season of angel ends and with a BANG! possibly the best episode of the first season. stunning!

    a demon named vocah is brought to this world by wolfran and heart to destroy angel and he is going through ange;s friends. he unleashed all visions on cordy leaving her in pain and crazy and tries to blow up wesley and blows up the office. the demon also killed the oracles and is after angel now.

    angel eventually beats vocah and then cuts off lindesys hand to get the scroll and brings back cordy to normal. angel also learsns that the shanshu prophecy might make him human after the upcoming battles. sadly that never happened!

    the episode was still fantastic! especially the end when darla is brought back in a box.
  • Great episode...

    this is the season 1 finale and I must say they really did a good job with this. Wolfram and hart summon a demon to kill angel and to summon something else. The demon kills the Oravles and it puts something in Cordeilia's head so she sees everyone that needs help all at one time and that puts a big strain on her. Angel's office is blown up and Wesely was inside it. Angel being very ticked gets Gunn to guard Cordeilia and Wesely while he goes to W&H. He beats the demon and he cuts off Linsay's hand. But he still didn't stop what they summoned. They summoned darla. This was an exellent way to end season 1 and season 2 is even better. Later...
  • The prophecy...

    This is a really great episode. One my favorite season one episodes. Wesley tries to decode this prophecy about Angel and mixes up life with death. This really ugly demon hired by Wolfram and Hart gives Cordy endless visions. She ends up in a mental hospital because she won't stop screaming. Then the demon steals the prophecy and puts a bomb in Angel's office. Wesley is in their when the office blows up and Angel saves him. Then he asks Gunn to make sure nothig happens to Cordy and Wesley who were both in the hospital. All the people from Wolfram and Hart are doing a ceremony to bring back this thing. Angel comes in and interrupts. He manages to get the prophecy back but the thing in the box is saved. He chops off Lindsey's hand which serves him right. Then he saves Cordy from the visions. She seemed to change and become more caring aware that the world needed a lot of help. Then in the mysterous box is....Darla.
  • To Live and Die in L.A.

    This was the last episode for season 1, and a great one at that. Wes finds out the translation for the Scrolls of Aberjian which mention the Vamp with a soul. He has a hard time with the word "Shanshu" which he figures out to mean "die." So there we have it, Angel will die. Angel doesn't seem too bothered by this. The gang also learns about Lindseys promotion at the law firm. Guess some leopards wont ever change their spots. I would love to write about every little thing, but if you havent seen it you really need to watch it because it is TRULY a pivotal episode and set-up for season 2. Just look for the surprise guest at the very end. ;)
  • First season finale.

    They did a great job with the first season finale of the series, I really enjoyed this episode. Wolfram & Hart, in an attempt to seperate Angel from The Powers That Be summon a demon named Vocah. He attacks Angel's office, Wesley, and Cordelia. Leaving Cordy in a state of perpetual hell, blowing wide the channel that let's her recieve visions. As it turns out Vocah's purpose isn't simply to seperate Angel from The Powers but to summon something, or more specificly someone from Angel's past. Though Cordy and Wesley are saved Angel doesn't manage to stop Vocah from summoning this evil, nor does he even become aware that they are actually summoning it. However, he does discover something a light at the end of his tunnel of redemption. A prophecy with a big prize.
  • Wolfram and Hart raise a mysterious demon to help them rob Angel of his soul. In the course of events Cordelia's life is put in danger and Angel gains a little perspective on what it means to the a hero, and what it means to be part of the world.

    This episode is an absolute masterpiece. I does not lack for excitement, emotion, or brilliance. When Cordelia is placed in danger, Angel realizes that he has a lot more to lose than he had previously thought. The ending of this episode is absolutely brilliant. It was a perfect way to end Angel Season One. It keeps you guessing, and makes you wonder how the mythology of Angel will evolve in the future. If you haven't seen any episodes after this one...pick up the Season Two DVD set...NOW!!!
  • If The Shanshu Fits...

    To Shanshu in L.A.-Wolfram & Hart summon a demon and charge him with the task of separating Angel from the Powers That Be. While Angel is busy dealing with this threat, Lindsey and his coworkers are working on summoning something else which will make Angel's unlife a lot more interesting.

    An explosive and fitting first season finale for Angel and possibly the best finale of the series. First off, Vocah is a great villian with his golden mask and black cape. He is very powerful, especailly killing the Oracles so brutally. Also, the way he went about cutting off Angel's ties to the world was hard to watch. Like how he affected Cordelia and watching her having those painful visions one after another. Charisma doesn't get enough credit for her dramatic performances, which she excels at just as convincingly as the comedy and it's just disturbing watching her have those seizers. Also, the explosion of Angel Investigations was well directed and you just can't help but be scared if Wesley made it or not. Luckily he does of course. I have to say my favorite part would have to be when Angel finally goes off on Kate about how she's been treating him after her father's death. It was long overdo, so true what he said and I wish there was little bit more said to that b!%ch, but hey, Angel had bigger concerns. The climax ends in Angel fashion with a brilliant fight scene between Angel and Vocah, not to mention the maggets underneath the mask...ICK! But the best part was when Angel cut off Lindsey's hand, that's which is shocking but executed so well. The episode ends with Wesley correcting the Shanshu prophecy from the scroll and realizes Angel will be human once his achieved redemption. It's a goal that sets the standard for the rest of the series as it gives Angel more drive to help those in need. But wait, that thing Wolfram and Hart brought back was...Darla! Uhh Ohh, Bring On Season 2!
  • A wonderful first season of Angel comes to an exciting and shocking close.

    I really dig the first season of 'Angel'. Sure, there isn't some "end of the world" arc, which is standard fare for its sister-show 'Buffy' and subsequent seasons of 'Angel' itself. I feel the arc is essentially a 22-episode introduction, a setting of the table for things to come. In this season finale-- Angel, Wesley and Cordelia are pitted against a hooded demon hell-bent on getting the scroll with the Shanshu prophecy back from the gang to perform a resurrection ritual at Wolfram & Hart. Cordelia's visions suddenly take on a relentless frequency leaving her bed-ridden in a hospital, while Wesley is caught in an explosion that destroys Angel Investigations and leaves the scroll in the wrong hands. With both of his friends out of commission, Angel must seek out the demon himself, and regain the scroll to save Cordelia's life.

    What I love about this episode is how unsafe it feels. For the first time, the bad guys really infiltrate the Angel team and leave all of their futures hanging in the balance. The big-bad of the episode is very convincing at how pissed he is that Angel took his scroll. We skip all of the "evil guys sitting around hatching evil scheme" and get right down to the evil-doing. This guy wants something done, and marches around the entire episode creating mayhem all by himself. The climax at Wolfram & Hart is exciting and unpredictable. In true Whedon-esque fashion, just when you think you have a scene figured on where it's headed--it takes a left turn and leaves you with your jaw on the floor. Also, the final shot of the episode is a wonderful teaser for things to come.

    'Angel' had the good fortune of a fantastic first season. Whether it was good times had with the character of Doyle, or the introduction of Wesley after Doyle's untimely death... you care about all of these characters, and by the end of this episode you realize they're not just friends, but family.
  • The Season 1 finale.

    To Shanshu in L.A. is a fantastic end to Season 1 of Angel and an episode that, because Season One didn't have any arc, sets up the Season 2 Darla arc excellently. The episode begins with Wesley working out what the prophecies about Angel say- that he will die. Angel seemingly unperturbed by this, goes about as normal while W&H summon Vocah, a demon, to raise something to fight Angel with.

    The episode is probably the second best of the season- losing out Five by Five- and contains everything Angel is about- humour, drama, fear, sadness. Seeing Cordelia sitting in her bed, silent as she is subjected to never ending visions is incredibly powerful and you were terrifed about what would happen to her. Also, seeing Angel's office building completely blow up with Wesley inside was frightening as well. Vocah was a good nemesis for Angel in this episode- in the space of 40 minutes he's killed the Oracles, rendered Cordelia motionless by subjecting her to multiple visions, stolen the Aubergian scrolls, blown up Angel's home, almost killed Wesley and then basically raised Darla, with some help with Lindsey. Now that's effective time-management.

    Kate was incredibly annoying during his episode. She was sucha bitca to Angel and then again tries to stop him going where he wants- like she could. She was much better before his crook father who was also a terrible father died and she went all psycho. It was incredibly satisfying to see Lindsey get his comeuppance- Angel chopping off his hand was ingenious and you felt absolutely not pity towards to him. Lilah was great as always, and Holland was also good.

    The shock twist at the end- woah. We're expecting some incredibly tough demon to be sitting in the box ready to kick Angel lots but instead we get Darla sitting naked and terrified. Bringing Darla back was an excellent idea and so completely welcome- Angel needed an arc big time. To Shanshu in L.A. rounded off S1 nicely. It was extremely entertaining and setted up S2's main arc quickly and well. A great episode.


    Ahh.. Angel Season One. The beginning. Giving Buffy's boyfriend his own show was a great idea, as Angel was at times even better than Buffy (but overall I think Buffy was better). S1 was a great season. It had Angel, Cordy, Wesley, Doyle, Spike, Faith, W&H- it sounds like the perfect season right?

    Well in truth, it's not. It's excellent sure but not as excellent as Angel will become. I can forgive it though- they were trying to find their feet with Angel and it's direction. My main problem with S1 is the fact its basically 22 filler episodes. It had no arc and therefore it's not as interesting. A lot of the episodes were fantasic- Hero, Five by Five, TSIL.A., Rm W/A Vu etc. but there were also some very average ones- Bachelor Party, Expecting, She, The Ring. The no arc problem really dragged the season down and if they had got an arc, they could have made the entire show more amazing as there was some really excellent filler episodes they could have put in instead of some of the weaker fillers we get in later seasons. The character development of the season can't be faulted though. Each character was excellent and each brought something new to the show. Angel and Cordelia's relationship really deepened throughout the season- they considered each other family at the end of it, somewhat strange as in S1-3 of Buffy, they didn't have a lot of contact and Cordelia obviously mistrusted him after the events of Innocent (BtVS 2.14). Doyle was a great character but in all honesty I am glad he was killed off as I prefer Wesley, and without Doyle's death, we wouldn't have had him. The Gunn character, first seen in Episode 20 was a great addition fors Seasons 2-5 and added a new dynamic to the group. Kate was also another interesting recurring character- even though in later episodes she was REALLY annoying, it was good to watch her character's journey through the season.

    The demons were quite weak in my opinion- I would have preferred more vampires. Some of the demons looked completely ridiculous (the one from Expecting comes to mind) and others were distinctly unmemorable. More reliance on vampires would have been better as the vampire oriented episodes such as In the Dark and Somnabulist were much better than demon focused ones such as Bachelor Party and the Ring. Season 1 was a good start to an excellent series. It's fun, dark, sometimes sad, other times scary. But the fact it had no arc and lame demons marred it somewhat. The best of Angel is more defintely to come.

    Rank out of all seasons: #5 of #5
    Score: 8/10
  • An amazing way to end the first season.

    There is no better way to end a season. It was intense until the end, and Angel showed how much he really cared about Wes and Cordy. It also helped that the audience greatly cares about Wes and Cordy, and the look on Wes's face when he sees the bomb and backs up is enough to hook anyone into watching season two.

    Other than Angel's concern for his team, there was great interaction between the characters before everyone ended up in the hospital. Wes and Cordy trying to decide what would make Angel more involved in life was very funny. I'll end my review with my favorite quote of the episode.

    Cordelia: It's just a prophecy. It's not like it came from on high.

    Wesley: That's what a prophecy IS Cordelia.
  • To Shanshu in L.A.

    To Shanshu in L.A. was a perfect and classic closing to the first season of Angel. I think this episode definitely sets the tone for the next season. I really enjoyed watching this episode, as there were many surprises, many trials for Angel to overcome, great action, suspensful drama, all coming together to form a great story. I enjoyed seeing more of Wolfram & Hart's lawyers, a larger than life bad guy, and Angel and his crew all fighting for their respective sides. It was a nice touch to have Gunn watch over the gang in the hospital. I can't wait to watch the next season of Angel!!!!!!!