In keeping with the machine gun fire, I present you with bullet points galore.....
* The intro with Harm explaining why people weren't there was a nice way of recapping without going back to the 'previously on...' bit.
* Spike with a briefcase! To carry his beer!
* "Why am I always reconnaissance?"
* It's too late, but it really hit me with this episode that David should be doing more comedy (his look off of 'Angel's Avengers' was priceless) and James more drama on the show. I'm tired of Angel's brooding and Spike's stupid one liners. That's one reason I'm glad the show is ending. Yet.....
* The possibilities with Wes and Illyria, the introduction of Marcus Hamilton, and this apocalypse supposedly being THE APOCALYPSE have me curious as to what season six would have been about. At the same time, I think they missed the boat by wasting time at the with so-so stand alone eps when they could have introduced much of this sooner and focused more on what now seems to be an intriguing story arc.
* I'm wondering when the decision was to change the opening credits. Was it before or after they cancellation was announced? It seems odd that they bumped Mercedes to starring status. And they changed the focus from Fred to Illyria for AA.
* So, while it was great to see Lorne make an actual contribution to the ep...."the girl I loved was gonna die". Heh? I'm sorry, but are we supposed to believe every guy on the show was in love with her? I never had anything against Fred, but she ain't that interesting either.
* Was it just me or did Alexis look especially hot in this ep? I only wish the Wes/Illyria scenes interested me. Too much exposition and no connection to the other story.
* A dimension with nothing but shrimp! Hee Hee.
* Shirtless Lindsey! Shirtless Spike! No Shirtless Angel!!!
* So, Hell is an upper middle class suburban community....with Lindsey.....can I be in Hell too? Please.
* It was nice seeing Angel and Spike walking in sunlight
* Maybe I'm being overly sensitive, but seeing that kid trying to mow down everyone with a machine gun was too disturbing. (yeah, I know he wasn't a real kid, still...)
* Best Line: "Damn. He is well dressed". :)
* Whip me with your words if you must, but Lindsey and Eve on the couch....awwwwwww.
* I really don't have much to say about Gunn other than I felt horrible that he had to be left behind. The question now is how long is he stuck there atoning for his sins? And if Illyria can jump dimensions will she be the one to rescue him?
And now for some more in depth thoughts and speculation....
Fred: "This is only the first layer. Don't you want to see how deep I go?"
Actually, I don't think we have to go that deep to figure this out. Fred is still in there, somewhere, and I don't think it's just wishful thinking on Wes' part (are dreams ever not prophetic in the Whedonverse?). I'm not sure that means Fred as we knew her will ever be back - especially with only five more episodes left - but I don't think a hybrid is of Fred/Illyria is out of the question.
OK, Lindsey *really* doesn't like Angel and his actions were motivated by hatred and revenge. But, it seems that he was equally motivated by taking down the Senior Partners and all that they stood for. Hmmm, seems someone speculated that Lindsey may not be evil. That maybe he was fighting the good fight in his own slightly psychotic way. Oh, that would be me! :)
I shall admit I didn't ponder the possibility that the Partners didn't want Lindsey and Angel to talk, hence them putting him in the 'penalty box'. And if it was Lindsey's idea to bring Spike into the mix, why is Marcus welcoming Spike to the team? Is he just playing mind games with him? Or are the Partners able to manipulate everyone, or at least their actions, to their advantage?
Can I say that one of the things I have loved about this season is watching people Angel loathes telling him off, making him see the truth - first Spike and now Lindsey. The latter is especially appropriate considering he warned him three years ago not to play the Senior Partners game and Angel did just that.
The groundwork that has been laid all season - Angel being sucked into and distracted by corporate bureaucracy to the point of forgoing the role of hero - has come to a head. Angel's intent may have been to change the system from within. But, in concentrating all his efforts into doing so, he's lost sight of his true intent, and has become just another victim of the world's apathy. How chilling as it when Lorne began by saying (in reference to Gunn's absence) "We never leave a.....I guess that's what we do now." Yep, heros just don't do that.
Maybe Angel shouldn't have blown off Holland Manners 'Hell on Earth' speech so swiftly. Lindsey makes the point that the apocalypse has "been here all along, underneath". If Hell is on Earth, it's something that we, humans, have created from within, drawing on our worst attributes - the darkness and evil that lies just 'underneath' the surface. Vampires and demons are easy to spot. Their nature revealing itself on their visage. You don't have that luxury with humans. And while Angel and Co. have largely been fighting his kind, protecting us from them, we may find out we are the Big Bads.