In the tenth episode of the fifth season of Angel, Spike is recruited for good while Angel struggles with a growing sense of inadequacy. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.
Oh, this is just frustrating. It’s great! I enjoyed this surreal episode, but NOOOOOO. STOP IT. DON’T HURT MY BABIES. They were all so close to discovering the truth, but then they just let Eve walk out of the room??? NO, CHASE AFTER HER, Y’ALL. FOR REAL.
Oh gosh, there’s still so much here to talk about! Let’s split it up by THE TWO VAMPIRES WITH A SOUL. l o l oh my god I ACTUALLY WANT SPIKE AND ANGEL TO GET ALONG FOR ONCE.
This episode purposely takes Spike on a journey that parallels Angel’s own story from “City Of…” EXCEPT EVERYTHING IS BACKWARDS AND MESSED UP. Spike speaks to someone named Doyle who has been given the power to get visions of people in need. Except “Doyle” is actually Lindsay in disguise, and the visions are entirely manufactured by him. (And probably Doyle, too.) Even more horrible is the fact that Spike actually met Doyle once in “In The Dark.” Well, he didn’t know who that was at the time, but Lindsay even dresses like Doyle. Oh my god, Angel is going to tear Lindsay to pieces when he finds out what Lindsay has been doing. So would Cordelia if this show wasn’t keeping her in a totally unmentioned coma offscreen. Will remain bitter until the end of time.
What’s so infuriating about “Soul Purpose” is that Lindsay and Eve’s con is so perfectly suited for Angel and Spike during this specific time in their lives. Spike has no interest in working for a company at all, he doesn’t know what his role in the world is, and he’s certainly not evil anymore. So what does he do? Out of nowhere, a man shows up, claiming to know intimate details of his life, who’s also responsible for sending the amulet to Wolfram & Hart and re-corporealizing Spike. Spike can’t see how this is a manipulation on Lindsay’s part because it’s much more comforting for him to think that he matters more than Angel. While this new mission in life makes Spike feel better about his moral standing, it’s also a way to exploit Spike and Angel’s competitive past. It’s so brilliant, and that’s why I hate it! UGH, SPIKE, YOU ARE TOTALLY FALLING FOR THIS. Granted, watching Spike turn into a stereotypical hero is hilarious. Oh, he’s completely eating up the attention. I know it was only a dream, but it reminds me of his photoshoot scene from “Restless,” you know?
DON’T FALL FOR THIS OH GOD.
On the flip side, Eve’s use of the Selminth parasite creates a disparity in self-esteem, one that is meant to convince the Senior Partners that they’ve chosen the wrong vampire with a soul to back. Honestly, I don’t understand this at all. I don’t see how this could possibly benefit either Eve or Lindsay, so I imagine that this is being kept from me on purpose. So let’s instead deal with the implications of the hallucinations on Angel. It’s no secret that Angel feels uncomfortable with the moral arrangement at Wolfram & Hart. That’s been a common element to most of the episodes of season five. On top of this, the events of “Destiny” have caused him to doubt his role in the Shanshu Prophecy. Is he really the one who the prophecy is meant for? So what Eve and Lindsay do is exploit the doubt that’s already been cast inside his mind. It’s a way to make their plan more foolproof. It’s not good enough to make Spike look like the better vampire; they’ve got to make Angel feel worse.
This is done through a series of increasingly bizarre dreams that all involve Angel’s sense of emptiness and listlessness. Now, I don’t want to ignore how hilariously weird these dreams are. I mean, seriously, there’s a giant brown bear in his dream with Fred. Okay, I don’t think that really has any meaning, and I have desire to analyze that. But this first dream gives Angel the idea that he is not just literally empty, but that he has nothing left to offer the world.
It only gets worse for him. The apocalypse is nothing but a form of entertainment. No one expects Angel to save the day. No! That’s simply not the case when they’ve got Spike around! And in a neat reference to “The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco,” Angel becomes the ignored mail delivery man while Spike’s heroism is celebrated with cake and his humanity. Of course these scenes are ridiculous, but the melodramatic nature of them is pretty damn accurate for the type of person Angel is, you know? I read them as absurd examples of the fears that Angel was dealing with. Inadequacy. Irrelevance. Emptiness. If Lindsay and Eve could fill Angel with enough doubt, he’d do most of their work for him.
Ultimately, that’s what I’m worried about. While the group might be suspicious of Eve now more than ever before, Spike still thinks he is doing good in the world. Which… well, he might be. I don’t know how much Lindsay is orchestrating all of this. But Spike and Angel have now been deliberately pitted against one another because of this prophecy, so that means they’ll have to do something impossible in order to fight back against Lindsay and Eve:
AND THAT’S NOT HAPPENING ANY TIME SOON, AM I RIGHT?
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