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Angel: Hell Bound

Spike: "Vampire ghost here, you sod. I bloody well invented 'afraid of the dark'."

Tonight's presentation contains graphic and disturbing violent images like chopped off fingers, and partial nudity in the form of naked Spike. Viewer discretion advised.

What can frighten a vampire ghost? The answer is: helplessness, pain, and dismemberment; we were clearly led to believe that Pavayne was going to dismember Spike. I'll admit this episode creeped me out, especially at the end of the second act, with Spike helpless on the floor and about to get sliced into pieces. It wasn't "Hush," but it was still damned effective.

There was a lot of Fred here – even a bit of naked Fred in the shower. Fred is doing well this season. She's fulfilling her potential as a "fetching mad scientist," and I'm starting to enjoy her developing friendship with Spike. It makes sense that Spike would prefer her. He likes the ladies, as we well know. Fred may realize that Spike is deliberately charming and manipulating her, but I doubt she is unaffected, no matter what she says.

I like Spike with Fred, but I love Spike with Angel. My absolute favorite scene in this episode was their conversation on the couch, with Angel bitching about Spike's "yammering" and Spike referring to Angel's "brooding block of wood mystique." Spike even called Angel Liam. The best exchange, of course, was:

Angel: "I never told anyone about this, but I liked your poems."
Spike: "You liked Barry Manilow."

Angel is more his old self when he's with Spike; I've always loved them together. But what's with Angel the rest of the time? Running Wolfram & Hart is getting to him. Wearing a suit – not black – and coming down on Fred about her budget? And despite the fact that Pavayne more than deserved it, Angel seemed to enjoy being cruel to Pavayne. What Angel did to Pavayne bore a striking resemblance to what Connor did to Angel a year ago, right down to the little window.

After months of fan-wanking it to death, the Shanshu prophecy has finally been mentioned. The L.A. Scoobies are all taking for granted that it's Angel's prophecy, but I'm betting that the possibility of it applying to Spike will be discussed soon. Especially since we have Angel flirting with evil, while Spike has again nobly sacrificed his life for a woman.

No Wheat-a-bix, no sex, no pig's blood. Sigh. I'm disappointed that Spike is still a spook. At least he is now more stable, and can actually touch things. (Like Fred, maybe?) Fred made a valid point: if Spike becomes corporeal, the first thing he'll do is go look for Buffy. The writers are going to have to address this issue before Spike gets his body back. Which I'm assuming will eventually happen, please god.

Bits and pieces:

— The issue of ghosts not going through the floor was addressed; Spike fell through the floor into some sort of basement. And the Spike/Pavayne fight went right through the furniture and walls.

— The bitchy blonde medium was funny, right up until Pavayne killed her.

— Dan thought the sound of someone getting their fingers cut off was exceedingly creepy.

— Fred mispronounced the word "nuclear." She's a scientist. She should know better.

— There was another journey to the kitty-cat-conduit in the White Room.

— We finally saw Wesley in his office, looking vice-presidential as the new head of research and intelligence. But you know, I rather miss the high school library kind of research. The focus on the first few episodes has definitely been on Fred's department. What are they going to do with Wesley? At least Wesley got more screen time than Lorne.

— There was a reference to the beginning of season three, when Fred was covering the walls of her room with formulas and notes.

— Perhaps Spike should have jumped into the circle with Pavayne. But what if they had merged, like in The Fly?

— Spike likes to surprise Gunn in the bathroom? I can't quite picture that. It's easier to imagine him watching Fred in the shower, which Spike actually did in this episode. Speaking of which, how can anyone feel comfy taking a shower at Wolfram & Hart? Hasn't anyone seen Psycho?

— The guy who played Matthias Pavayne, our eighteenth century mass murdering psychopath physician sacrifice, looked a bit familiar. I wonder if we'll see him again.

Quotes:

Spike: "Put your martyr away, Mahatma. Fred told me all about your great, shining prophecy. Pile up all your good deeds and get the big brass ring handed to you like everything else."
Angel: "Except for one small catch. The prophecy's a bunch of bull. They all are. Nothing's written in stone or fated to happen, Spike. You save the world, you end up running an evil law firm."
Spike: "Or playing Casper with one foot in the fryer."

Angel: "I never told anybody about this, but I liked your poems."
Spike: "You like Barry Manilow."

Wesley: "Angel does have a point. Spike has been unintentionally dis-apparating more and more frequently."
Gunn: "Give him twenty minutes. He'll be popping up next to you in the bathroom, making cracks about your... am I the only one he does that to?"

Spike: "Had to be the basement."

Fred: "For this to work, it's going to require a massive surge of dark energy to catalyze the process."
Angel: "How massive?"
Fred: "The equivalent of nuclear evil."

Angel: "Last conduit took the form of that creepy little girl. No telling what the new one's decided to look like."
Gunn: "Actually, it's not that bad, if you like cats."
Angel: "I'm kind of a dog person."
Gunn: "Ixnay on the og-day."
Angel: "Look, we're not here to ruffle anything. We were just wondering if we maybe could borrow a couple of whiskers, or..."

Excellent episode. Three out of four stakes,

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

4 comments:

  1. The guy who played Mathias Pavayne is Simon Templeman. While not famous for his tv roles, he is a legend in certain circles(video game voice acting). Most people remember him from Dragon Age and Legacy of Kain series.

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  2. I'm not really loving Spike's role as the new ghostie of L.A. Don't get me wrong; I love Spike and was absolutely devastated by his death on the finale of Buffy. He's probably the best character the Buffyverse created, in my opinion. However, the circumstances of his death had such a feeling of tragic finality that bringing him back in any form cheapened it a bit for me. Coming back as a manner of ghost takes away from some of the powerful impact of him sacrificing himself to save the world. How cruel can those powers be? It seems even more unfair that, after all he's done, he's still straddling a hell dimension in his spare time. I would think that if there was anything-- ANYTHING-- he could have done to earn redemption, letting his soul burn him into nothing in order to save the world would have been it. Instead, our champion got cheated into playing the incorporeal little mermaid who has to be a good little boy for the next god-knows-how-long before he can get his reward. As Spike would say: what a load of bollocks.

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  3. I am a lifelong Buffy fan, but super late in the Angel game and loving it. I am a bit sad it is almost over...

    Anyway, coming from BtVS as my main reference to the Buffyverse (and watching Angel over a couple of months) my point of view can be rather Buffy-centric. However, try as I might, I can't figure out how Angel would know Spike was insane in the basement, or how Spike would know Angel likes Barry Manilow. Little things like that. Angel only found out Spike had a soul at the beginning of Chosen when he has a brief conversation with Buffy. I don't see her filling him in on such intimate details in 5 minutes. And Spike had very few interactions with Angel over the last century, and I doubt that they exchanged CDs...

    Seems nitpicky, I know, but it is the little things...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Still hating the Fred-Spike pairing, admittedly for no good reason.
    I guess I should also be irritated by Spike still being a ghost, but I thought it was neat that they didn't resolve it this episode. They made a pretty good case as to why he'll be stuck like this with no solution so I'm curious to see how they get him back.

    @Anonymous: That's pretty fair tbh. It was funny to me at the time, but why would Angel even offer a compliment like about his poems in the first place? And yeah it doesn't feel right that they'd know these details about each other.

    That shot of Pavayne yanking Spike's head back when he was behind him and Spike was nude turned me on, wtf. It was so rapey. Stupid sexy Flanders.
    I also liked the way they animated the Hell hole opening up right around that moment too, it looked oddly pretty. Smoke-ily revealing the toothed entrance and all.

    ReplyDelete

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