Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical
hermionesviolin

"The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco," Angel 5.06

[original U.S. airdate 5 November 2003; written and directed by Jeffrey Bell]

The WB’s site spells the Aztec name Tezcatcatl, and naomichana tells us what that name means.

People had been calling the mail guy a Mexican wrestler from his first appearance. Not sure if that was ‘cause they were spoiled or if the were just more culturally astute than i.

TBQ notices (shouting out to jennyo?) that "he's also the guy who delivers the mail, and gee whiz isn't that where Spike came from?"

This makes a nice segue, so i’ll do all my Spike talk here in one go.

stakebait has interesting thoughts on Spike calling shotgun.

I totally squeed when Spike pointed out the poetry of what the demon was doing, because Spike is always about the poetry, and it is always about the blood.

Angel: "Dear Buffy." I'm still trying to decide the best way to send my regards.
Spike: Why don't you rip out her lungs? That might make an impression.
Angel: Lacks...poetry.
Spike: It doesn't have to. What rhymes with "lungs"?
-"Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" (2.16)

Xander: Why blood? Why Dawn's blood? I mean, why couldn't it be like a, a lymph ritual?
Spike: 'Cause it's always got to be blood.
Xander: We're not actually discussing dinner right now.
Spike: Blood is life, lackbrain. Why do you think we eat it? It's what keeps you going. Makes you warm. Makes you hard. Makes you other than dead. Course it's her blood.
-"The Gift" (5.22)

"I just stood there and let the fire come."
So true but still so poignant. (And it may not be an active thing like choosing to give up corporeality to save Fred’s life, but it takes incredible strength to stay and suffer, especially when the woman you love is pleading with you to leave. Maybe i’m particularly struck because i don’t do pain well at all; i could never be a martyr.)

People in various episode commentaries have pulled out the quotations from when the Shanshu prophecy was mentioned originally, pointing to the difficulty Wesley had in translating it and the fact that for the people writing the prophecy, life and death were seen as just part of the same cycle. What i was struck by when i watched the episode, though, was that Wesley said something about a major player in the apocalypse and then “shall live again.” I thought, “Spike has the Shanshu.” If the prophecy actually says “shall live again” then it totally fits Spike. Yeah, Wesley doesn’t want to even consider the possibility, is committed to it being Angel’s, but that’s okay.

Okay, done with the Spikeness.

I was totally seeing parallels to Hush with the removal of hearts and the legend of the long-ago defeat. The whole thing about a sun god reminded me of the Beast [last season Angel]. If i recall, all the sun gods were killed. Is a contract still on if one of the parties dies?

Maybe it’s just because fandom is so much about The Fab Five, but when they were first talking about how the 5 brothers defeated the demon i thought we were gonna see an Angel team bonding thing.
Wesley: I understand you’re feeling rejected, but this Aztec warrior--it wants the hearts for sustenance. It wants it for the meat, not the metaphor.
Wesley: Yes, but at quite a price. They were all killed, all but one.

superplin points out the parallel to Angel being the sole survivor of the whole Connor arc in the sense that he is the only one who remembers all of it. I got some of the sledgehammery parallels (and yes i definitely thought the episode was far too heavy-handed overall) but not quite everything other people picked up.

Female oracle: You alone will carry the memory of this day. Can you carry that burden?
-“I Will Remember You” (1.08)

Numero Cinco: (heavy sigh) Nobody remembers the good stuff.

Angel: Maybe you expect too much from people
Numero Cinco: Is it too much to expect them to remember their past? To honor those that fought and died?

I like the juxtaposition of the Day of the Dead symbolism with the fact that NO ONE is able to remember Angel's most important dead family member
-http://www.livejournal.com/users/loligo/123461.html

Gunn: Curse, hex, any shady or supernatural deal, Wolfram & Hart has a record of it.

superplin says
Oh, Angel, you’re about to learn the first rule of public relations: there is no such thing as a secret. Everything comes out in the end, and usually in the most unpleasant way possible. There’s always a record, and someone always finds it.
but with his blunt object “The father will kill the son” to Wesley, does he not perhaps want them to find out?

"If you stick a piece of wood in it I still die. Doesn't that count for something?" Angel asks. Well, does it? Is being "willing to die," willing to take risks for others, enough to make someone a hero? Or--and this is I think the argument the episode is making--is the spirit in which a sacrifice is offered just as important? To take an example from the episode, if the reason you're willing to die is that you've given up hope and no longer believe you have anything to live for, is that still heroism, or is it more like giving up?
-http://www.livejournal.com/users/anodyna/19153.html

Love that. scrollgirl then brings up the passage from Corinthians about "If I [insert grandiose thing jere] but have not love, I am nothing."

The following is taken wholesale from an entry by the_royal_anna on the previous episode:
So what happened to the Angel of Epiphany, who put the idea of attaining any kind of reward behind him, and was OK with that?


Angel: In the greater scheme or the big picture, nothing we do matters. There's no grand plan, no big win.
Kate: You seem kind of chipper about that.
Angel: Well, I guess I kinda - worked it out. If there is no great glorious end to all this, if - nothing we do matters, - then all that matters is what we do. 'cause that's all there is. What we do, now, today. - I fought for so long. For redemption, for a reward - finally just to beat the other guy, but... I never got it.
Kate: And now you do?
Angel: Not all of it. All I wanna do is help. I wanna help because - I don't think people should suffer, as they do. Because, if there is no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness - is the greatest thing in the world.


It's Giles in Restless:


Oh, I'm beginning to understand this now. It's all about the journey, isn't it?


But here's a thought. Maybe Angel didn't have it exactly right in Epiphany after all. Because here we have Angel, cursed with a soul, doing what good he can to atone for his past. Being a Champion, saving the world because he can. And because he can it becomes his duty. Call duty destiny and it becomes something worth doing.

And suddenly, along comes Spike. Spike saved the world for the good of the world, of course he did, but Spike's motives for good have always been caught up in his love of one woman.

What Angel doesn't get, is maybe Spike has it right.

Think about this. When Buffy sacrificed herself in the Gift, it wasn't to save the world, it was to save Dawn. If she'd wanted to save the world she could have sacrificed Dawn. After all, the world needed her. The beginning of Season 6 shows us that. She does what she does not just because she's the Slayer, not just because of a higher calling, but because of the love she has for one person in her life.

It's the same with Xander and Willow at the end of Season 6, and Spike at the end of Season 7. They are all unselfish acts – but all of them carried out because of a personal attachment.

That's the point, and I think people miss it. Fighting for the greater good doesn't mean putting aside personal relationships. Not always. Becoming would be the exception. But generally speaking, the message of the Buffyverse is this - we can't all save the world. All we can do is look out for the people closest to us. And sometimes, in doing that, we might just save the world.

Spike, as a ghost in a whole new world, does what he's always done. He forms attachments. The simple fact is, Spike has always known the key to the shanshu prophecy, always known what it is to be human.

SPIKE: I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it.

Lovers' Walk

That's it, isn't it?

What does it mean to be redeemed? To live, to love, to fuck up and to know that that's OK, that you don't have to pay the price for that. It's not about being a hero. It's about making the best of the mess you get yourself into. It's the message of Intervention, I think, that love is intrinsically, inherently redemptive.

I'm quoting ascian3 here, because this is perfect:

Spike loved, and that's his power. He understood in the end that the things he loved in the specific - Manchester United, cigarettes, dog racing, and Buffy - couldn't be separated from the world they exist in.

And Angel? Angel doesn't have anyone. Connor and Cordy are gone. Buffy doesn't need him. And Faith, who has relied on him during her time in prison, is somewhere off doing her own thing, standing on her own two feet.

So Angel is fighting for an abstract idea. A concept of good. It's not enough.

...

LILAH: Again, your choice. Think of what you can do with the resources of Wolfram & Hart at your fingertips, the difference that would make. Nothing in this world is the way it ought to be. It's harsh, and it's cruel, but that's why there's you, Angel. You live as if the world were as it should be. With all this, you can make it that way. People don't need an unyielding champion. They need a man who knows the value of compromise and how to beat the system from inside the belly of the beast.
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