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Season 3, Episode 11
Airdate January 14, 2002
Production Number 3ADH11
Written by Mere Smith
Directed by Michael Grossman
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AngelSeason Three

Birthday is the eleventh episode of the third season of Angel, and the fifty-fifth episode overall. Cordelia has an out-of-body experience when her vision knocks her into a coma.

Starring: David Boreanaz (Angel), Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase), Alexis Denisof (Wesley Wyndam-Pryce), J. August Richards (Charles Gunn), Amy Acker (Winifred "Fred" Burkle)

Guest Starring: Andy Hallett (Lorne), Patrick Breen (Assistant), Max Baker (Hotel Desk Clerk), David Denman (Skip)

Co-Starring: Heather Weeks (Tammy), Aimee Garcia (Cynthia)


Plot Overview

It’s Cordelia’ birthday, but she gets an excepted surprise when a vision knocks her out. As the others scramble to figure out what happened, Cordelia is left on the astral plane where she meets a demon guide who tells her the visions are not for her, and offers a chance for the life she was meant to have.


Monster of the Week

  • There is no monster of the week in this episode.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1 Demon Wesley Stabbed Cynthia's Home


Music is listed in order of appearance in the episode:

  • Marti Noxon - "Baby Stay a While"
  • First Come Music Library - "Tears Down My Cheek"

Arc Advancement


  • The Powers That Be: According to Skip, Cordelia was never meant to receive the visions. The Powers attempted to imbue a human with the sight before, but after a year a vision blew out the back of the girl's skull.


  • Cordelia: Cordelia is partially transformed into a demon in order to continue her life as normal, instead of her idealized life as an actress. Before this transformation, she was fated to be killed by the visions due to the severe neurological damage.


  • 3x02 - That Vision Thing: Skip is the same demon that Angel knocked unconscious when he was forced to rescue Billy Blim from his hellish jail cell. It appears that Skip has been reassigned after that mishap.
  • 1x09 - Hero: A clip from the final episode featuring Doyle is shown on the information booth's video screen. In the episode, Doyle sacrificed himself to save the lives of some refugee demons and passed on his gift of the sight to Cordelia in a kiss.
Skip: This is where it happened, big cosmic whoops. Doyle was never meant to give you those visions.
  • 1x01 - City Of: Skip recounts what happened in the first episode when Cordelia met Angel at the Hollywood party.
Skip: You'd been in LA for a few months, things had been kind of lean, and who should you run into?
  • 1x08 - I Will Remember You: The Powers That Be don't like to turn back time, but they have been known to do it occasionally. Angel asked them to turn back time so that he would not become mortal through contact with a regenerative demon.
Cordelia: They can do that? They can turn back time?
Skip: They don't go for that much.
  • 1x10 - Parting Gifts: Wesley mentions that his arm was torn off by a run-in with a Kungai demon. The Kungai was what Wesley was hunting in his first appearance on the series. It appears that without Angel's help, things would have taken a turn for the worst.
Wesley: Ah, Kungai demon a couple of years ago.
Cordelia: Humiliating kiss where he drooled all over my chin? Yeah.


The Show

  • Déjà Vu: What is it with Cordelia and these bleak alternate realities? In BtVS - 3x09 - The Wish she wished that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale and when this was granted, the town was transformed into a horrible version of itself, ruled by vampires, their opponents a mere shadow of their proper selves. In that alternate reality Angel had also been reduced to a helpless failure.

Behind the Scenes

  • Ratings: On its first airing, this episode scored a 3.6/5 in the overnight Nielsen ratings. It was ranked 6th out of the 18 WB shows which aired that week.
  • Filming Location: Cordelia's alternate reality sitcom, Cordy!, was shot on the set of Dharma & Greg.
  • Deleted Scene: On the DVD set for this season, there is a deleted scene from Cordelia's sitcom. The scene was removed both because of time and because the scene made Cordelia's alternate life seem like too much of a joke.

Allusions and References

  • The Matrix: The Matrix is a trilogy of films starring Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne about a dystopic reality where machines harvest humans for energy. These humans exist in a virtual reality world while their energy is siphoned, which is called "The Matrix." Many of the movie's themes deal with whether or not what we perceive to be true is really true at all. The scene which Skip refers to occurs towards the end of the movie, where Neo (Reeves) is dodging bullets shot by an agent of the machines. He is grazed by a shot but before the agent can move in for the kill, Trinity shoots him point blank in the head.
Skip: Actually, this is more a construct of a mall. You know, like in the Matrix.
  • Gladiator: Gladiator is a Ridley Scott movie starring Russell Crowe as a Roman general who is forced to become a gladiator in the Colosseum after being targeted by the new emperor. The movie was both praised for its style and criticized for its abundant historical inaccuracies.
Skip: I respect what you're trying to do. It's noble and heroic, and all that other Russell Crowe 'Gladiator' crap.

Memorable Moments


  • When Cordelia goes to grab the pen, her hand seamlessly passes through, but the strings on her jacket do touch the desk.
  • When possessed by Cordelia, Angel writes down the address on the wall, but it's gone in the next shot as he's blown back.
  • After the demon is slain, the sound of a door opening can be heard off-screen as Cynthia walks in. However, as seen in the preceding shots, the door was open the whole time.
  • It's not clear why the Hyperion Hotel is up and running in the alternate reality since the deviation occurred only a few years ago and the Hyperion shut down in the 50s.
  • Cordelia is made half-demon to deal with the visions, but Doyle was himself half-demon and experienced pain from the visions as well.


  • Angel: Oh, Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa! Dirty people, not touching the baby!
Cordelia: But pig-drinking bloodsuckers are okay? I meant that in a nice way.
  • Lorne: Jumping Judas on a unicycle!
  • Gunn: Come on, you telling me you never hidden anything in your underwear drawer?
Fred: I don't know. I mean, for five years I didn't even have... Can we not talk about my underwear, please?
  • Cordelia: You're furious? I get body-jacked on my birthday and you're the one that's furious?
  • Angel: I had this dream that, uh, that Cordy was here. She was trying to tell me something, something really important.
Cordelia: Yes, and - and . . .
Angel: It's weird.
Cordelia: How are you a champion? In what way are you a champion?
  • Cordelia: You're Death? You've come to take me.
(Skip laughs demonically)
Skip: (normal voice) Kidding. I'm Skip. You're Cordelia Chase, right? Sorry it took me so long, I... (points to Cordelia's body on the bed) This you? Most people go astral, their spiritual shapes tend to be an idealised version of themselves, you know, straighten the nose, lose the grey. Sort of a self-esteem kind of thing. You're pretty confident, aren't you?
  • Angel: Did you get the information?
Lorne: Oh, why, yes, Angel. My horn should grow back in a couple of days. So kind of you to be concerned.
  • Cordelia: The Powers That Be popped me out of my body and sent me to a mall?
Skip: Actually this is more a construct of a mall. You know, like in The Matrix.
Cordelia: You've seen The Matrix?
Skip: Loved that flick. When Trinity's all "Dodge this!" and the agent goes and crumples to the... And I'm not really instilling any awe any more, am I?
  • Skip: We've been over this. I respect what you're trying to do. It's noble and heroic and all that other Russell Crowe Gladiator crap.
Cordelia: You've seen...?
Skip: Didn't love it.
  • Cordelia: So demonise me already.
Skip: It was an honour being your guide, Cordelia Chase.