In 1898, Angel has his soul returned as part of a curse:

You don't remember. Everything you've done. For a hundred years. In a moment, you will. The face of everyone you have killed — our daughter's face — they will haunt you and you will know what true suffering is

Source: http://buffy.wikia.com/wiki/Angel

Having his soul returned encourages Angel to be a 'good guy', e.g.

1996: The reclusive and emotionally tortured Angel was sought out by a demon named Whistler, who persuaded him to join the fight against the evil that had corrupted him and to help the newly-activated Slayer, Buffy Summers. Angel traveled to Hemery High School in Los Angeles, where he witnessed Buffy being called as the Slayer and her initial training under her Watcher, Merrick, as well as her emotional suffering over her new duties and her parents' deteriorating marriage. Filled with a new purpose in life, Angel resolved to help the Slayer, with whom he had fallen in love, and moved to Sunnydale, California, where Buffy was predestined to move the following year

Source: http://buffy.wikia.com/wiki/Angel

However, in S3 E10, the First Evil taunts Angel with the faces of past victims, including a businessman, Travis, who was killed in 1998.

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Source: http://buffy.wikia.com/wiki/Travis

My question is, how is Angel able to kill innocents despite having a soul?

N.B. Angel also killed Travis' children, so the defence of 'maybe Travis was evil' doesn't work here.

  • 3
    Having a soul doesn't mean he can't kill - it means he'd be conflicted and feel guilty about it.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jan 17, 2016 at 13:35
  • 1
    @phantom42 - it's not in his character though. It isn't for survival purposes (Whistler tells Angel about blood from the butchers shops), and given that he's turned a new leaf, why would he murder an entire family? I don't have a quote, but Travis describes how Angel laid the children as if they were asleep to increase the torment. Commented Jan 17, 2016 at 13:41
  • 1
    Yes, but there's an important distinction to be made between being physically unable and emotionally difficult.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jan 17, 2016 at 14:03
  • Many kill despite having souls - it's just not an absolute. Angel was transformed because the loss and gain was unnatural. I also recall he tried to stay with the Scourge for a bit after being cursed (killing, also letting others kill). As for survival, blood from sources like butcher shops or hunting animals [rats, I think] might not be reliable, if someone's suspicious or the area's hunted out - and being a predator, his response to hunger or injury might temporarily overrule his mind. I do think Richard's answer, that it was while soulless, seems right - but the other options are there.
    – Megha
    Commented Jan 17, 2016 at 21:09

2 Answers 2


The previous year Angel lost his soul and became Angelus after having had sex with Buffy. For several months he played a cat-and-mouse game with our heroine, taunting her and teaming up with Drusilla and Spike

Based on Travis' modern style suit, the clear implication is that Angelus killed him and his family (along with assorted other victims such as Jenny Calendar) during this period.

All of the victims depicted by the First Evil would appear to be those killed by Angelus, not Angel, something that he attempts to highlight in between bouts of maudlin self-pity and incipient madness:

ANGEL: It wasn't me.

JENNY: It wasn't you?

ANGEL: A demon isn't a man. I was a man once.

JENNY: Oh, yes. And what man you were!

  • That was my impression too: Angelus killed them, not Angel.
    – JK.
    Commented Jan 17, 2016 at 21:36
  • Good answer - I think I got my timelines muddled up. Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 9:20
  • @user1108 - It's not your fault. The wiki states that he died in 1998 but they've not explained how they arrived at this determination.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 12:17

That was during the time he lost his soul. It's shown on Angel(not counting the finale) that he only ever fed on a human once when he had a soul. Angel was in a diner and these guys came in to rob the diner and they shot the owner and Angel fed on the owner after because he was going to die anyways

  • 2
    What was "during the time he lost his soul?" Please write an answer that stands on its own and doesn't refer to other answers.
    – DavidW
    Commented Aug 26, 2023 at 1:26
  • We only see him feeding once. It's pretty apparent that he's killed loads of times, both with and without a soul
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 26, 2023 at 6:29

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