Mark Watches ‘Angel’: S05E13 – Why We Fight

In the thirteenth episode of the fifth season of Angel, a man from Angel’s past shows up at Wolfram & Hart with a deadly ultimatum. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.

You know, this was a neat episode, but I don’t know that I’ll remember much about it in the years to come. It’s hard to follow up “You’re Welcome” with anything, especially in my case. The story was interesting, but aside from providing some small bits of information about Angel and Spike’s past, I don’t know that “Why We Fight” grew the characters or advanced anything in terms of this season’s plot. To be fair, I actually don’t know what that is anymore, do I? Now that Eve and Lindsey are gone, what is season five going to turn into?

“Why We Fight” gives no indication of this at all. But I did pick up on the following:

  • Okay, the “Demon Research Initiative”? Is that the Initiative from season four of Buffy? An American governmental organization who kidnaps demons and vampires to run experiments on them? IT’S TOTALLY THE INITIATIVE, RIGHT???
  • Oh, so that’s how siring works. We actually got to see it! I’m surprised it took this long. But now I’m not exactly sure if the past 240+ episodes of Buffy/Angel that I’ve seen have ever explicitly shown siring, so… was this as special as I thought it was?
  • CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS EXCHANGE? “I’m not getting trapped at the bottom of the sea.” “I’m not getting experimented on by his government!”
  • I know that the Buffyverse had already tackled the idea of government interference, but one of the things I liked about “Why We Fight” is that it put forth the idea that during times of war, national governments sought out supernatural beings to fight on their side. The Captain America reference was fairly obvious, but I wish I could have seen more of this aspect of the story.
  • This episode gives us a portrait of Angel where he is between worlds. He has a soul, but he’s not the Angel of the present. He wants to do good sometimes, but he’s not above pragmatism. Ultimately, while he may have cared about saving the crew aboard the ship, Angel’s siring of Sam Lawson was an act to save himself. Angel cared about self-preservation more than anything, and I think it’s important to see his growth from that moment.

Otherwise…. okay? I’m actually struggling to come up with anything else to say. I knew that Lawson wouldn’t kill Fred, Wesley, or Gunn. It was too cheap of an episode to do it. And Angel and Spike had to get out alive. Plus, Sam was clearly a vampire because he hadn’t aged. So the only mystery left was how it happened. Once you reveal that, what tension is left? Sam Lawson was an interesting character, especially since his story was such a strange twist on the revenge trope. But his character fizzles out at the end. His heart never seemed that into what he was doing at Wolfram & Hart. Was his reason for being there to get Angel to end his life? I don’t think the episode was really all that clear.

That was an okay story, but I’m past halfway done with the LAST season of this show, so I’m gonna really need it to pick up. A break after “You’re Welcome” is fine, but LET’S BRING IT.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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