The slashyness was all in the previews. Okay not all of it, but most of it. Given the episode, i actually didn’t mind the lack of slash -- it was about Spike exposition and about Spike/Angel, but in an antagonistic way*, and their issues with each other (with a side order of the issues about the morally grey universe they’re inhabiting and Angel’s difficulties navigating on W&H’s terms) -- i was just expecting The Big Gay Hour and it wasn’t quite that.
*I’ve never been a fan of the “They act like they hate each other, therefore they’re in love.” Maybe it’s because i was one of those kids that got picked on, so while at some point late in high school i came to understand the teasing-as-show-of-affection thing, being mean to someone first makes me think that you actually don’t like them, not that you secretly do like them a lot.
On the cover of the TV Guide for the following week:
ANGEL & SPIKE: TOGETHER AGAIN THIS WEEK!
“Depp and Bloom?” Was that a line from the necromancer? I’ve seen it quoted in various people’s commentaries and am very amused, but i didn’t actually catch it when the ep first aired. [edit: thanks to rhiannon76, now i remember. Lorne tells Wesley that the story of the Slayer's romances would make a great movie, adding "I see Depp and Bloom."]
They cut the “I love you” exchange out of the end of “Chosen” (which i can understand, it was just jarring) as well as “Blondie Bear” (which is kind of odd as they proceeded to sledgehammer Harmony’s Spike issues throughout the episode).
“grandsire”! [For those less obsessed, Spike calls Angel his sire in “School Hard” but flashbacks in later episodes show Dru to have been the one to have sired Spike. Angel sired Dru, and in interviews Joss said that okay technically Angel was his grandsire. Of course this was a retcon to cover his ass; it made sense to have Angel sire Spike but then Spike ended up being a long-term character and it made more sense to have Dru be his sire.]
Okay, so “You were my sire, man. You were my Yoda” in “School Hard” is certainly a powerful line, but i think there’s something interesting happening in Spike’s saying “grandsire” this time. It’s a distancing thing. Many people have talked about how Spike is always trying to get Angel(us)’s approval, arguing that he still is in the episode even if he’s trying to deny that, and i think it’s an example of Spike trying to deny that.
Also, Dru siring Spike works so much better than Angel siring him given the dynamic. Angel(us) has always been all “You’re not good enough” to Spike, whereas if he had sired him, it would have had to have been, “I saw potential in you” or whatever.
Why did Angel want to sleep on it? (Why did Spike run at Angel in that very first scene, btw? They just cut to a commercial and then i forgot about it.)
If Spike is always like this (the snarky, Angel-you-suck-attitude, whatever it was that was kinda rubbing me the wrong way during the episode that i can’t quite articulate) it will get old by, oh, well, 10pm Eastern Time, Wednesday, October 8, 2003, actually.
Maybe it’s just because i’m too gullible, but i actually bought the cross both times and then at the culmination was all “Huh? Wha? Wait, what’s going on? What is everyone trying to do?”
Meredith wondered about that 3-steps-ahead tracking team we saw last episode.
I loved Angel’s "You asked for the soul, moaned in a basement for three weeks and then you were fine!" Really the whole back and forth between them was great, really laying out how they feel about (each other) being souled vampires as well as about being “champions.”
diachrony says "Angel did nothing but wallow in self-pity for a hundred years, and Spike, in spite of being tormented by the First, still shook it off and decided to deal."
Ye gods, the whole being pulled out of rest thing was just like Buffy getting pulled out of heaven. Thing is, the flashback was spliced so that it seemed like he was melting and then he was in W&H. Plus, at the end he says he can feel a chasm beneath him, trying to pull him into Hell. You don’t go to Heaven (or even Limbo) and then show up on Earth and then go to Hell. I say time froze for him and at the moment his body ceased to exist, his essence was put into the amulet and his sensations of being froze. So my question is whether the lines he was given about not getting any rest, saving the world and then being pulled out of peace back into the world, still make sense. Is there a transcript anywhere? Any close rewatchers who can answer this question for me? (So far i have seen, in pscinema’s entry, “Can’t a man die in peace without some high all mighty deciding it’s not his time?” which definitely works.)
“That won’t hurt him. I know what will.”
At that moment i thought, “Gunn, even though everyone knows you have lawyer knowledge, no one’s actually asked your advice on anything yet; this is going to quickly embitter you if it keeps up. ” I think he’s gonna get burnt out and bitter being lawyerman, just like when he was muscleman.
I loved the idea that W&H expected Angel to go all ghosty, but thinking later, what about the rest of his crew? I mean, they had already been given “the keys to the kingdom” when Angel headed out to Sunnydale. Would W&H have quietly slaughtered them in their sleep? Wouldn’t that probably break some sort of contract? Do Angel and team [mad thanks to elaryn for the heads up that on the TWoP boards the team is called the MoGs as in “Angels and Ministers of Grace defend us”] have contracts? They must. W&H is a law firm. That’s an issue that needs to come up later in the season. But certainly they would have read the fine print?
I called the city limits thing (‘cause otherwise Spike would be on the next plane to Europe) and the oh-so-obvious “That was your three o’clock.”
Interesting discussion in TBQ’s journal, particularly on the issue of Spike going to Fred at the end of the episde.
I had a moment of terror as that scene began that Spike was gonna wanna get with Fred.
Spike: So you’re saying I’m hot?
Fred: (beat) Lukewarm.
I totally was okay with him going to her instead of to Wes. She seemed the most sympathetic, and Wes was occult knowledge man but he also responded to the “Who’s Spike?” questions from Fred and Gunn with “William the Bloody” followed by a lengthy description of his evils in a dark voice. Spike knows Wes doesn’t trust him at all.
TBQ pointed out the issue of Spike’s past with the Initiative (having him gung ho about a big scary lab thusly seeming out of character) which hadn’t occurred to me, but after the Africa-soul, insane in the basement, and melting on the Hellmouth... i think Spike’s willing to put his incorporeal self in the hands of some scientists.
Other commenters have pointed out that Spike always feels more comfortable around women (and is good at eliciting sympathy from them) as well as the fact that Fred was the one doing all the scans on his ghostyness. harmonyfb also points out that Spike was betrayed by Giles, a Watcher he’s known for years. Her commentary post includes an interesting take on Angel’s no-flexibility policy on the necromancer. At first i didn’t quite understand why Angel was so hardcore about the use of dead bodies, but as soon as the “putting a demon into a body” thing was introduced, i immediately understood. We don’t want to make evil demons’ access to humans any easier. harmonyfb wonders if this is a knee-jerk self-loathing. I mean, vampires look human until they put on their game face. And Angel has the added conflict of working for an evil company while trying to fight evil (“You run a law firm?” “Only recently.”)
at any point where I can replace "or maybe an alien was controlling the character's brain" with any explanation the fans have to come up with in order to make a scene make sense means the writers were not doing their job.