I enjoyed this episode much more than I expected to. Granted, the wrestler’s story was only so-so, but the interactions between the core characters more than made up for it. Though, again, I have to mention, why is Lorne even around? The best they could do with him last week was give him a retread of Something Blue and this week he’s back to the glorified cameo.
Gunn in a secondary role intrigued me though - “I love what we do”. He seems to be adapting to his new role at W&H better than anyone and without question. It worries me a tiny bit. Down the road I can see W&H wanting some ‘favor’ in return for the power he was given. He feels as if he has the opportunity to contribute and really make a difference for the first time. Compare that to Angel who, even as head of W&H, feels completely disconnected.
Being connected/disconnected seems to be a major theme not just for the episode but the season. Both Spike an Angel have already expressed feelings of being disconnected in prior episodes. Angel seemingly has everything he could want or need at his fingertips. Yet he longs to feel as if he is part of something. Spike (who is not completely unjustified in his reaction) is more than a little upset over Angel’s mention of feeling disconnected. Try not being able to touch, taste, or smell. Or being in control of your environment. Or being thrown in with a group of strangers and not being allowed to leave. Angel at least has it within his power to make changes instead of moping about it. Yet, it’s Spike who is trying to be part of his surroundings, making the best of the situation.
“Well, you did save my life” - I love the scene between Spike and Fred. It was a wake up call not only to him but the audience as well. Spike and Angel are both looking at the really big picture and which apocalypse that they avert will be their salvation. But, more often, it’s the small gestures and simple kindness that can make one a hero. Maybe Spike just standing their wearing the amulet wasn’t heroic. Making the choice was. As was choosing to sacrifice his chance at ‘reconnecting’ with the world in order to save Fred’s life. Spike never got to see that smile on Buffy’s face as she looked out at what was once Sunnydale and realized what Spike had given her. He was able to see it (and realize it) when Fred acknowledges what he did and what it meant to her.
The Shanshu Prophecy and who’s gonna get it? Frankly, I don’t really care if it's one, both, or neither. Spike definitely fits the criteria no matter how much Wes chooses to believe Angel should be the recipient. I honestly don’t think Spike desires to become human. I do believe, like Angel, he hopes to be rewarded for how far he has come and what he has accomplished. It seems he now sees sees the Shanshu as his hope of obtaining a tangible rewarded. It also doesn’t hurt that he’d royally piss off Angel if he were to be the recipient instead of him. ;)
“It’s not the type of work...you’ve lost hope that the work has meaning”. Angel can tell himself it’s the bureaucracy that has him down; that has isolated and numbed him. It’s Wes who cuts to the heart of the problem though. Wes is more than a little concerned to hear from Spike that Angel no longer believes in the prophecy. I would be to. Is it selfish to want a reward for your actions? Maybe. But, it’s also what can drive and sustain a person. Strip Angel of everything and everyone around him and what does he have left - himself and hope. And he needs to hope in order to care, to be ‘connected’ to those he is trying to help and the humanity he wishes to rejoin again one day.
Now for my ‘Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy’ moment.....”Prophecies are nonsense, you know that. After everything we’ve seen the past couple of years...’The father will kill the son’? ”. This is the moment the mind wipe unravels. ‘The father will kill the son’ mention is what first grabbed my attention. But Angel also has to mention the “last two years” and all that they have seen. I honestly don’t think Angel was being sloppy in doing this. I think he realized after it was too late just how much W&H had eradicated from their memories. He knew that Conner’s existence was gone, but apparently didn’t know how much else they removed in the process.
Wes just won’t let these comments go. He will hit the W&H library and get to the bottom of this. I’m also wondering if Cordelia will be part of any revelation. Assuming they get CC back for a guest role, Cordy was in the coma when the mind wipe took place. It’s possible she still remembers it all.
And on a final note, I know many have complained about Spike not being Spike this season. I really haven’t seen any huge difference. Yes, he is acting differently, but he’s also interacting with a different group of people. Hell, I’d act differently thrown in with a group of strangers and a creature I loathe. Still, he had some of the funniest bits...“Then we’re ruling out demonic nutjobs are we?”, his reaction to No 5 tossing Angel through the window, and commenting that Angel was always “a bit of a drama queen”. :)