The Trial (Angel)

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"The Trial"
Angel episode
Episode no.Season 2
Episode 9
Directed byBruce Seth Green
Story byDavid Greenwalt
Teleplay byDoug Petrie
Tim Minear
Production code2ADH09
Original air dateNovember 28, 2000
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"The Shroud of Rahmon"
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Angel (season 2)
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"The Trial" is episode 9 of season 2 in the television show Angel. The episode was written by Doug Petrie and Tim Minear with a story from David Greenwalt and directed by Bruce Seth Green, this episode was originally broadcast on November 28, 2000 on the WB network. In "The Trial", Darla discovers that she is again terminally ill with syphilis, which was killing her before she was made a vampire in 1609. She begs Angel to turn her back into a vampire to halt the disease's progress, but instead he engages in a series of mysterious trials to attempt to win Darla a second chance at life.


After Darla discovers that she is terminally ill with syphilis once again and will die soon, she tries to get vampires to feed off her in order to become a vampire again. Unsuccessful, Darla contacts Angel to help her. Angel, following the guidance of the Caritas Host, enters into a series of three mysterious trials in an attempt to save her life. But the downside is that he could get both of them killed in the process. Meanwhile, Lindsey decides to try and turn Darla back to the dark side.

Expanded overview[edit]

Cordelia and Wesley talk about Angel while Angel is down in the basement, doing his laundry. Gunn has located Darla at the Royal Viking Motel, but Lindsey has gotten to her first. Lindsey and Holland confront Darla with information about her health. Angel and Gunn check out the motel room, but find little information.

In France, 1765, Angelus and Darla run from a vampire hunter and hide in a barn. As the mob closes in, Darla knocks Angelus down and leaves on the only horse. In present time, Darla tries to talk a young male vampire into making her a vampire. Outside, in an alley, Angel stakes the vampire before he can bite Darla. They talk and Darla reveals that she is terminally ill and only has a few months left to live. Angel brings Darla to the hotel and expresses that he doubts the truth of the records Wolfram and Hart showed her.

Angel visits Lindsey and finds that Darla really is dying. Lindsey reveals that Darla is dying from syphilis, the same disease that was killing her when she was first sired by the Master. Angel takes Darla to the demon karaoke bar where she sings beautifully while the Host talks to Angel. He tells Angel of the only way to save Darla, but it may mean Angel's death. Angel dives into an empty pool and into an underground location where he must survive three trials to save Darla's life.

Angel is advised by a valet before being left in a room to fight unarmed against a large demon that has weapons. Angel eventually slices the demon in two, and chains the pieces to opposite sides of the room. From the safety of another room, Darla watches. Angel moves onto another room that consists of crosses covering the walls and floors. After crossing the burning ground, Angel must fish a key out of a bowl filled with holy water. Chained spread-eagle before a wall of wooden stakes, Angel finds that the third trial requires him to die in order for Darla to live.

The valet presents Angel with his options, but Angel is willing to give his life, and that enough to pass the test. The valet gives Angel and Darla bad news though as it is revealed that Darla is already living her second chance at life. Furious, Angel violently attacks the room that surrounds them, truly distraught that after everything he went through, he couldn't save Darla. Upon returning to the surface, Darla is accepting of her fate and Angel is there to support her. Lindsey and several large men break into the room and restrain Angel and Darla. Drusilla makes a shocking return and while Angel watches, she makes Darla a vampire, again.

Production details[edit]

Production designer Stuart Blatt says, "The long hallway we built with the crosses emblazoned on the floor and embedded on the walls was one of my favorite sets we'd ever done."[1]


Actress Julie Benz says she suffers "horrible stage fright" when trying to sing. Executive Producer David Greenwalt convinced her she could do it; she claims it "took a lot of courage for me to go in and do it, 'cause I am not a singer."[2]


Arc significance[edit]

  • Holtz is mentioned for the first time in a flashback shown in this episode. He will later appear in episode one of season three, and become that season's major threat.
  • In the fourth season episode "Shiny Happy People," Jasmine claims that Angel is actually in these trials winning the life of his son, Connor, not Darla's.
  • Darla becomes a vampire again.
  • Angel is invited into Lindsey's apartment. However, Lindsey moves out of his apartment in the next episode, rendering the invitation useless again.
  • Drusilla comes to Los Angeles.

Cultural references[edit]

  • Survivor: Cordelia tells Wes she thinks it's high time Darla got "voted off the island," not realizing that Angel can hear every word.
  • Space Oddity: When Lorne gets a glimpse of Darla's aura, he immediately says, "Ground Control to Major Tom!" This is a line from a David Bowie song.
  • Anne Rice: The 1990s vampire conversing with Darla is familiar with the famous "fictional" chronicles of the undead who tend to find companions who are also lovers.


  • In the first trial, after Angel cuts the demon in half, as he drags the top half across the floor, the bottom portion of the actors torso, clad in bright green, is visible—it was not removed via CGI.


  1. ^ Ritchie, Jeff, Angelic Designs for the Undead: an Exclusive Interview with Stuart Blatt and featuring Andrew Reeder, archived from the original on 2007-11-05, retrieved 2007-10-21
  2. ^ Goldman, Eric (December 14, 2006), IGN Interview: Dexter's Julie Benz,, retrieved 2007-09-22

External links[edit]