At the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s third season, Buffy’s vampire-with-a-soul boyfriend, Angel, left for L.A. — and his own spin-off show. Luckily, for the Buffy-Angel shippers among us, that wasn’t the last time the duo shared a screen. Over Buffy‘s next four seasons and Angel‘s five, Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy) would occassionally pop up on the spin-off and David Boreanaz (Angel) would head back to the show that sired his. Plus, a bunch of other characters from both shows would stop over too. Ahead, a ranking of those crossover episodes.
18. "The Girl in Question"
In Angel’s fifth season Spike (James Marsters) and Angel take a trip to Italy to try to catch up with Buffy, who’s living there. Sadly, Gellar ended up being unavailable to film the episode, so the vamps never actually catch up to their mutual former flame. Buffy cast member Tom Lenk does pop up as Andrew, so it’s still a crossover, if a frustrating one.
17. "Blind Date"
This one ranks low because it’s a pretty loose crossover, but during the penultimate episode of Angel‘s first season, Cordelia (a Buffy expat herself played by Charisma Carpenter) makes a phone call to Willow (Alyson Hannigan) when she’s trying to break into Wolfram & Hart’s encrypted files.
16. "City Of"/"Freshman"
In the Angel series premiere, the lovesick vamp is missing his slayer ex-boo and makes a phone call to her, but — proving bloodsuckers are just like us — hangs up when Buffy picks up. Back in Sunnydale, in Buffy‘s season 4 premiere, Buffy answers the phone and, puzzled by the silence, hangs up too. We all sobbed. Later, at the Bronze, Buffy also thinks she sees Angel, but it turns out to be another (way less attractive/brooding) dude.
15. "Fool for Love"
In the seventh episode of Buffy‘s fifth season, Buffy asks Spike to recount his killings of previous slayers. During his explanatory flashbacks, the vampire shares details of meeting Drusilla (Juliet Landau) and also Angel and Darla (Julie Benz) — meaning we got a nice little Boreanaz guest spot.
14. "The Trial”/ “Reunion"/"Redefinition"
Drusilla makes her debut on Angel in three back-to-back episodes when she’s summoned by Wolfram & Hart to sire a now-human Darla back to vampire status. She then heads back to Sunnydale to pop up in Buffy episode “Crush.”
When Buffy season 1-3 character Harmony (Mercedes McNab) first appears on the spin-off series, Cordelia has no idea she’d been turned into a vampire during their action-packed Sunnydale High School graduation, in fact she gets her wires crossed and assumes she’s gay. Hey, we can’t blame Cordy for wanting some mindless girl time considering her dark day job. Willow (Alyson Hannigan) also crops up in this episode, when Cordelia calls her to ask why she didn’t inform her that Harmony was a lesbian.
In Angel‘s fifth season, Angel and Spike try to help a recently-activated slayer who has been pushed to the breaking point by an abusive past. Meanwhile, off-screen — since Buffy has ended by this point — Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) sends his “best man” Andrew to retrieve the new slayer so he and the Scooby Gang can give her the care she needs. Much to Angel’s dismay, it’s implied that Buffy and co. no longer trust him due to his recent association with demonic law firm Wolfram & Hart.
11. "There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb"
In the season 2 finale of Angel, the Angel Investigations team arrives back to the hotel to find a grief-stricken Willow sitting waiting for them with some bad news: Buffy is dead. Though we don’t see her communicate the news on screen, Buffy fans — having just watched the slayer leap to her death on the parent show — knew the devastating blow Angel was about to receive.
10. "Carpe Noctem"/ "Flooded"
A few episodes of Angel later, the titular vamp is brooding in the garden, when Cordelia comes running out to tell him Buffy is alive again. Angel heads off to meet her immediately as Buffy leaves Sunnydale in season 6 episode “Flooded” to make her way to him too. Heartbreakingly, we never see the reunion as it all takes place off screen.
9. "Salvage”/ “Release”/"Orpheus"
In a string of episodes from Angel‘s fourth season, vampire slayer Faith (Eliza Dushku) — who first appeared on Buffy‘s third season — is convinced by Wesley (Alexis Denisof) to break out of prison to help them contain Angelus so they can en-soul him once again. In a minor crossover, after hearing there’s a slayer in town, Angel calls Buffy’s house confirming she’s still in Sunnydale. Later, Willow is brought in to perform the spell to curse Angel once again — and enjoy a mini reunion with Cordelia and Wesley while she’s at it.
The season 5 premiere of Angel welcomes Buffy regular Spike into the fold when he’s resurrected after literally going out in a blaze of glory in the Buffy series finale. And so ensues a season of squabbling between the two vamps with souls who fell for the same slayer. TV gold.
7. "In The Dark"
This episode gets points for having a double crossover and because it involves Buffy fan favorite Oz (Seth Green). In season one of Angel, Willow’s boyfriend-of-the-time shows up at Angel’s office with a magical ring that makes the vampire wearing it invulnerable to sunlight and other weaknesses. Spike then appears on his heels, seeking the ring for himself. It all ends with Angel destroying the ring rather than figuring out how he looks with a tan. Sigh.
When Angel Investigations employee Doyle (Glenn Quinn) has a prothetic vision of Buffy in trouble, Angel heads to Sunnydale to surreptitiously aid his ex. He manages to do so unseen and Buffy would never even have known he’d been there (apart from a feeling she kept having that he was close) until Xander (Nicholas Brendon) lets it slip that her former boo was in town. Doh!
Having woken up from a coma and wreaked a whole bunch of havoc in Sunnydale, rogue slayer Faith (Eliza Dushku) heads to L.A. where Wolfram & Hart employ her to take out Angel. She, of course, doesn’t succeed — though she does torture poor Wesley for a while — and eventually breaks down in Angel’s arms, remorseful for her past actions.
4. "Sanctuary" / "The Yoko Factor"
After Faith’s destructive rampage in Sunnydale, Buffy comes to Los Angeles to even the score, only to discover her ex comforting the other slayer. Let’s just say she is not pleased and she and Angel get into a fight that culminates in Angel telling Buffy to stay out of his life…but then feels bad about his harsh words and heads to Sunnydale to make things right — after beating the crap out of Buff’s new boyfriend Riley (Marc Blucas) first.
After the death of Buffy’s mother, Angel comes to Sunnydale to comfort her. They hangout at the graveyard — a regular date spot for these two — and share a kiss. It’s a short crossover, but a meaningful one.
2. "End of Days"/"Chosen"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer couldn’t end without one last appearance from the Buff’s first (and true!!) love Angel. So, in the penultimate episode and the series finale of the original vampire series, her high school boyfriend shows up to offer his assistance in the fight to end all fights and… she sends him away! It’s fine, she just wants him to prepare the second wave in case her efforts fail, and we at least end with the idea of a possible romance for them in the future.
1. "I Will Remember You"
Ugh, it’s hard to write about this one without welling up, but let’s give it a go. In possibly the best episode of Angel, nay, televison ever, Buffy shows up in L.A. pissed that her ex had been in Sunnydale and not let her know. The couple are then attacked by a demon and when its blood intermingles with Angel’s he becomes human! Can you believe it? Now they can be together in ways they never could be before! Lots of sex and ice cream ensue before Angel realizes that ultimately having his life will cost Buffy hers. Unable to live with that truth, Angel visits the Powers That Be and asks them to fold the day, so none of it ever happened. Of course, he has just enough time to inform Buffy of all of this and the two kiss goodbye as Buffy desperately promises to always remember the time they had. She doesn’t and leaves, while Angel is stuck knowing what could’ve been forever more. Sob.