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Angel: Destiny

Spike: "It's... Mountain Dew."

This episode was absolutely orgasmic. And I'm not talking about the sex scenes, which were both interruptus, anyway.

Last week's episode was about fathers and sons... and so was this one. The origin of the current Angel/Spike dysfunctional relationship has been a mystery until now. William, as a human, had no father. As a vampire, he looked up to Angelus and tried to emulate him. It was Oedipus again, with Drusilla as Mommy.

But it didn't work. William was a lover, not a fighter, while Angelus very much wanted an acolyte, another monster like himself to pal around with. As Spike said during the fight scene, "You never knew the real me. Too busy trying to see your own reflection." This reconciles the division in Spike's vampire personality – the Spike who was a monster with Drusilla, and the Spike who reformed for Buffy. It all makes sense.

That brutal, extended physical and verbal fight scene was epic, with the two of them hurling heavy-duty words as well as blows. Angel must envy Spike on a level that he cannot acknowledge, not just because of Spike's affair with Buffy, but because Spike actually wanted a soul and fought for it. And now, Spike has beaten Angel; he wanted the Shanshu more than Angel did, and Angel knows it. Spike has truly become a hero, while Angel is entangled in the moral ambiguity of running Wolfram & Hart.

A lot of the 1880 flashbacks and present day confrontations reminded me strongly of Louis and Lestat: the twisted parent/child relationship, the gay subtext, even the dead and dying victims strewn about like macabre decorations. The slashbunnies certainly got enough material to keep them going for years with that "two men wanting each other who sublimate by going after the same women all the time" thing. And there's cause. Drusilla and Buffy? Could there be two more different women? Although I honestly don't believe Angel wants Spike sexually, or vice versa. I think that, deep down, they both want each other's respect. They may even want each other's friendship, but they'll never admit it. Frankly, I could watch them do this for the rest of the season and enjoy every minute.

And finally, being spoiler-free just paid off for me in a big way. Having Lindsey McDonald show up at the end, in bed with Eve and covered with very large and interesting tatts, had me yelling "Woohoo!" If Eve has the complexity and good taste to be involved with Lindsey, it adds a lot of dimension to her character. (And I finally understand why they didn't cast Lilah. She and Lindsey despised each other.)

Since Lindsey and Eve were behind the whole cup of torment thing, did they dupe the Senior Partners? Is the thrown-out-of-equilibrium deal even real? At least the Shanshu prophecy is still in play, and I have no idea where they're going with it. That's not a complaint, by the way.

Bits and pieces:

— I got a huge charge out of finally seeing Angel and Spike meet for the first time.

— Alexis Denisof was not in this episode. The timing suggests that he was on his honeymoon when it was filmed.

— It's very Whedonesque to have a huge ghostly build-up resolved in a moment with a box of flash. Did the packages come from Lindsey?

— Another illustration of the difference in their characters: Would Angelus have cared if William had had sex with Darla? Not bloody likely. Did Angelus know that having sex with Drusilla would upset William? Well, yes.


— In an episode that was just full of wonderfulness, there were two terrific throwaway scenes: (1) "Nobody... replaces... the toner!" and (2) Security tackling the guy with axe who was creeping up on Gunn and Eve, while they were talking about ghosts, vampires, and killer cyborgs.

— Spike was corporeal for about a minute, and he was almost immediately on top of Harmony. I doubt that they're going to be a couple again, although he may treat her better now that he has a soul. Or not. ("Don't talk. Let's not spoil the moment.") Anyway, it's still all about Buffy. Spike was corporeal for half an hour, and he was ready to take off for Europe. I wonder how they're going to keep him at Wolfram & Hart.

— Sirk, Wesley's assistant, was also in last season's final episode, "Home." He's an interesting character; I wonder if we'll see him again, now that he's on the run from the Senior Partners.

— After seven episodes without much vamp face, we got it three times. And Harmony and Gunn had Clockwork Orange face, as well.

— Spike took a cup away from Angel at the beginning of the episode, too. And they were throwing that huge cross around during the fight scene. Nice writing there, with the Christian symbolism.

Quotes:

Spike: "Oh God, it's bloody ambrosia. Is this otter?"

Spike: "Try staking your mother when she's coming on to you."
Harmony: "Wow. That explains a lot."

William: "It's like she's still got a bit of a child in her."
Angelus: "Perhaps two or three by now."

Angel: "Let me guess. The lab computers, they're on the fritz."
Fred: "Well, yeah, but that's just the tip of the fritzberg."

Spike: "Thought it'd be a little less goldeny, what with the torment and all."

I loved this episode with a passion. I'm thrilled to pieces that the producers and writers are taking chances and staying true to the characters – both Angel and Spike. This was one of the best Angel episodes they have ever done.

Five out of four stakes,

Billie
---
Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.

3 comments:

  1. In one of the flashbacks, Angel is explaining things to William and William replies "You're wrong. We're forever-- Drusilla and me." It sounded pretty familiar. Didn't Spike say that, or something very similar, during "Lover's Walk" (Buffy season 3)?

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  2. [spoiler-filler]... God Lindsey looked hot

    So I'm assuming the amulet that brought Spike back in-corporeally in the first place was delivered by Lindsey too?

    I liked Lineage a little more, because even though I absolutely loved the beginning flashback for once with the pseudo-bonding/branding thing with the arm in sunlight the rest of the episode until Angel arrived to the cup's location wasn't particularly interesting. Fucking loved that fight though, loved it so much, never thought they could deliver on something like that adequately. And with a clear outcome too!

    Drusilla's actress kept spooking me in the commentary because she didn't talk that much and I don't think we've heard a female voice on the Angel ones so it kept lightly jolting me whenever she chimed in lol. Cool to hear her normal voice though.

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  3. Absolutely incredible where they took Spike and Angel (character wise) in one episode. And it flows perfectly from what we know about each of them and their past. And I can totally see why at that time Spike wanted it more. Partly his love for Buffy coloring all his actions but also I believe he does have a desire to do good in the world. Angel is a grey zone, externally and internally. He doesn't have Big Love as a motivator to get a second chance unlike Spike. He's in a crisis of 'what is the point?'.

    I agree it's one of the best episodes of the show. Although the last episode with the dad killing takes the prize for me as the best one so far.

    ReplyDelete

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