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Angel: Soul Purpose

Lindsey: "Hey, Spike. Get any interesting mail lately?"

Despite the fact that it had delusions of "Restless," I really loved this episode. There was a lot going on in it, and it was fascinating. Spike is now helping the helpless, actively pursuing the Shanshu prophecy, taking on Angel's destiny, while Angel speaks longingly of fighting evil as he gets more and more lost in moral shades of gray.

I'm not sure what I loved more: Spike and Lindsey essentially recreating the Angel pilot as Angel and Doyle, right down to the double staking and basement apartment, or the fascinating Angel Spike Buffy threesome scene in bed. Okay, so it wasn't really Buffy. Maybe Joss Whedon put that in there as payback because Sarah Michelle Gellar said she wouldn't do a guest shot on Angel this season.

In any event, Buffy's lines were both from the BtVS third season episode, "The Prom," the episode where, coincidentally enough, Angel finally broke up with Buffy. Here, dream Angel said that Spike was taking Buffy to the prom now, a transparent metaphor for sex – especially since Spike and Buffy were having sex at the time. One of Buffy's "The Prom" lines was "I kill my goldfish." In the dissection scene, the goldfish was Angel's soul, wasn't it?

In the dream scene at the beginning, Spike got the Shanshu reward and Angel burned up, just as Spike did in Sunnydale. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but if the Elizabeth Taylor amulet was originally intended for Angel, was Angel supposed to die a hero in Sunnydale instead of Spike? Did Spike come back from his brief attempt at Europe because he wanted to be a real live boy before he returns to Buffy and sweeps her off her feet?

Lindsey was his usual diabolical self. It's so wonderful to have him back, delectable tats and all. But I was confused about what was real and what wasn't. He acted like he didn't know anything about the cup of torment – and he actually told Spike to save Angel. Why? I thought he was faking it. Was it actually a vision? Was it to get rid of Eve? Is Eve now busted, and about to get creamed by the Senior Partners? I'm sure Lindsey must have a plan that doesn't include Eve; Lindsey doesn't tend to play well with others. But what is it? Revenge on Angel doesn't seem important enough. Lindsey and Angel had a pact of sorts when Lindsey left, after all.

Spike had some fabulous lines in this episode: "Hey, you are barking up the wrong vampire." And that whole speech to the first victim he rescued: "I mean, honestly. What kind of retard wears heels like that in a dark alley? Take two steps, break your bloody ankle... Well, get a cab, you moron. And on the way, if a stranger offers you candy, don't get in the van. Stupid cow." Two of Spike's lines to Lindsey had me in stitches. "Enough with the cryptic, butch." and "Look, I appreciate what you've done, making me corporeal and all, but I draw the line at being your kept boy." I could practically hear the slashbunnies running for their keyboards.

Every member of the cast had some fun stuff here. Lorne, who is usually so mellow and friendly and arguably Angel's closest friend, looked decidedly not like himself in two scenes ("Sing out, Louise!"). Wesley and Gunn got to be Crockett and Tubbs as well as, respectively, vice president in charge and the big cat. Fred's dissection scene was my favorite, though. During Angel's autopsy, Fred pulled out a supermarket liver and kidney, a heart the size of a dried up walnut, a long string of pearls, raisins, a license plate from 1978/1979 with the number HUZ 332 (couldn't see the state), and a goldfish bowl containing Angel's soul that the bear has to flush. The license plate and Fred's line, "Came up the Gulf stream, huh?" was from Jaws. Is that some kind of corporate shark metaphor? Poor Angel.



This was David Boreanaz's directing debut. Good job, Angel Face. Speaking of which, David must like his own face, because I noticed that he gave himself a lot of extreme closeups. Like nosehair eyeball closeups.

Bits and pieces:

— Lindsey made a couple of interesting references that made it sound like he knew all about Spike and Buffy. He even put an emphasis on the word "Spartan," which was a word that Faith learned in BtVS season three. (Okay, so we still actually haven't heard the word "Lindsey" yet, but until someone tells me differently, it's Lindsey.)

— In the Buffy bed scene, Spike said Angel was "yammering," something Angel says to Spike all the time. More allusion to the fact that their roles are reversing.

— All of Angel's friends in the dream sequences made comments about Angel's shirt. Angel's subconscious was trying pretty hard to tell him about the hell critter.

— So what's with the runes that keep the Senior Partners from seeing Lindsey? There was the piece of clay tablet with runes on it that Eve handed to Wesley. Harmony said she was supposed to tell Angel immediately about anything involving the Senior Partners, and if something came in with runes on it. And not to read runes herself because it could cause a fire. Is Angel expecting something specific concerning the runes? Does he actually know something about what Lindsey is up to?

— Lindsey has been in bed a lot since his return. Are the runes tiring him out, or is it just all that sex with Eve?

— Poor Angel. Back to the mail truck, like Numero Cinco.

—- It was nice to see Spike finally out of his coat. Love those biceps. By the way, are the makeup artists now covering James Marsters' eyebrow scar instead of emphasizing it? Has it been like this since the season began? And if so, why haven't I noticed?

— I'm assuming the evil warlock Lucien Drake was just filler. That argument about assassinations from the orbital range microwave cannon was interesting, though. Maybe it'll play a part later. They had something like that in my other favorite show, Alias.

— Fred looked sexier than usual throughout the episode, especially in that red and black outfit. Maybe the director wanted a new look for her.

— The screams at the end in the easy chair/meadow fever dream were from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Quotes:

Gunn: "I don't plan on waiting."
Wesley: "Really? What is your plan?"
Gunn: "We open a can of Machiavelli on his ass."
Harmony: "It's Matchabelli, Einstein, and it doesn't come in a can."

Lindsey: "We need a champion."
Spike: "You are barking up the wrong vampire."

Woman: "Thank you! Thank you! That thing was gonna kill me!"
Spike: "Well, what do you expect? Out alone in this neighborhood? I got half a mind to kill you myself, you half-wit."
Woman: "What?"
Spike: "I mean, honestly, what kind of retard wears heels like that in a dark alley? Take two steps, break your bloody ankle."
Woman: "I was just trying to get home."
Spike: "Well, get a cab, you moron. And on the way, if a stranger offers you candy, don't get in the van. Stupid cow."

Gunn: "Been getting reports of a vigilante prowling the streets last night. A vampire, apparently."
Wesley: "Angel never left his penthouse. 'Vigilante reportedly killed two vampires at a gas station, then asked the women he saved if they'd, quote, like to get a bottle of hootch and listen to some Sex Pistols records with him.'"
Fred: "Are we sure Angel's just tired and not, um, crazy?"

Fred: "Any word from Angel?"
Harmony: "Haven't heard a peep."
Fred: "Maybe we should call him, check in?"
Harmony: "Act like we care? Good plan."

The fact that Angel and Spike are both vamps with souls could have been a weak point when they added Spike to the cast. Instead, the writers are playing it up and making it a strength. I am loving it.

Three out of four stakes,

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

2 comments:

  1. I noticed the lack of eyebrow scar, too. I think it has been that way all season, which is a bummer because I miss it.

    Also, that dream critter thing totally looked like a Bad Egg.

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  2. Everyone gathering to watch the apocalypse through the windows like it's a movie showing was something I really enjoyed, for some reason. Maybe just visually. Wesley's cheery congratulations for Spike made me laugh.

    Angel's autopsy was great too obviously, probably the best part of the episode. Sadly Lindsey wasn't, I mean his scenes alone. I still like having him back in the story and eager to see what the fuck he was up to.

    >>"Did Spike come back from his brief attempt at Europe because he wanted to be a real live boy before he returns to Buffy and sweeps her off her feet?"
    That makes more sense to me than a fear of embarrassing himself, I don't know why they couldn't have gone with this reason in the previous ep..

    >>""Enough with the cryptic, butch." and "Look, I appreciate what you've done, making me corporeal and all, but I draw the line at being your kept boy." I could practically hear the slashbunnies running for their keyboards."
    Lmao while I don't partake in that particular form of depravity I admit there's a shot where Lindsey goes to take a beer bottle from the pack that Spike laid on the table that looks as though he gave Spike a peck on the shoulder... or rather pressing his head against his shoulder lol, the way he paused there (right before Lindsey has the bottle snatched from him before he could take a swig from it).

    >>"— In the Buffy bed scene, Spike said Angel was "yammering," something Angel says to Spike all the time. More allusion to the fact that their roles are reversing."
    Speaking of which, Spike saying "Can't be a marathon man with all your yammering" just as easily could have made it sound like listening to Angelwinks's voice would make him bust instead of making him go soft. I'm becoming everything I ever hated :(

    >>"— Poor Angel. Back to the mail truck, like Numero Cinco."
    Short-sleeve shirt with a tie was an effectively pathetic look for him there.

    This commentary was one of the rare instances where it made me enjoy the episode more. It was really nice listening to Boreanaz, Lindsey's actor, and that nameless writer.

    What was that monster dream Gunn turned into?

    Fred: "Any word from Angel?"
    Harmony: "Haven't heard a peep."
    Fred: "Maybe we should call him, check in?"
    Harmony: "Act like we care? Good plan."
    LOL I didn't think you'd include this but it was my favourite bit.

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