Mark Watches ‘Angel’: S02E18 – Dead End

In the eighteenth episode of the second season of Angel, Lindsay receives a gift from Wolfram & Hart that ultimately forces him to work with Angel. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.

Here’s what I love about Angel: this show is about a billion times more uncomfortable than Buffy in the way that it exploits interesting character dynamics. In fact, a lot of season two of Angel has been about the large cast of characters being taken out of the comfort zone. They’re forced to question their alliances, their moral standing, and their loyalty. In this case, what seems like a gift from Wolfram & Hart turns out to be far from that.

I think it’s a testament to the writers and to Christian Kane’s acting just how much I enjoy the character of Lindsay. I should hate him, and by all means, he’s certainly done enough for me to have all the justification to do so. And the same goes for Lilah! These two characters do horrific things, and yet I can’t help but care about both of them. I want to see them on screen constantly, and it’s because I’m just so fascinated by their stories. I think the end of “Dead End” is pretty much a confirmation that we’ll see much more from Lilah Morgan in this season, so for the moment, I’d like to focus on Lindsey.

There’s that glimpse of a guitar in the cold open of “Dead End” that hit a very specific emotional button of mine. I have been playing guitar for over a decade now, and despite that I’m not very good, it’s still a very cathartic thing for me. It comforts me to be able to pick it up and strum away, so I was instantly heartbroken when Lindsay saw it leaning in his closet, unplayed.

It’s no surprise to me, then, that Lindsay was incredibly unhappy. Ever since the beginning of this season, it’s been a slow decline to this point over the course of the previous seventeen episodes. He’s lost Darla. His job no longer gives him the satisfaction it once did. He’s unable to completely ignore the moral implications of what he’s done anymore. And that last one is important! Lindsay never has a traditional epiphany, much like Angel did in “Epiphany.” (Though, to be fair, Angel’s epiphany was pretty fuckin’ weird, too.) He isn’t ever magically transformed into a “good” person. Instead, we’ve watched as his actions have increasingly made him feel as if he’s drowning in his work. I don’t mean that in the sense that he’s overworked. He’s becoming overwhelmed by the implications of it all. His job has led to him losing his hand, the only woman we’ve ever seen him fall in love with, his safety, any sense of well-being… shit, what does Lindsay even have anymore? A paycheck? What does that matter to him?

I think that’s why he doesn’t resist the transplant. It’s why he thinks it’s a start to things looking up for him. It’s why he’s so incredibly cocky during his meeting with that client. Well, he’s sort of turned into an asshole at work anyway, but finally, something has actually gone his way!

And then we see that his right hand has been writing KILL KILL KILL KILL all over a legal pad and WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?

My mind instantly went to one place: Wolfram & Hart were definitely not giving Lindsay a gift. Was this a punishment of sorts? Was it a test? Were they trying to get him to do some sort of job? What the fuck??? Whatever the answer was, I truly believed that Wolfram & Hart had given Lindsay an “evil hand,” as Lindsay called it, on purpose. That’s important to note because it made the end reveal so much more horrifying to me.

I’ll get to that in a bit. First, though, we need to talk about Lindsay, The Host, and that unbelievable song. I think I liked that scene more than Darla’s performance. I think. It was just so surprising, not only because I didn’t know Christian Kane could sing, but because it was the first time ALL SEASON that Lindsay looked happy! I was struck by his comfort. I know what that feels like! Also, Angel, shut up. He is a million times better at singing than you are, so just accept it.

It’s with this visit to the karaoke bar that we get one hell of an awkward pairing for the rest of the episode. The Host insists that Angel’s team work with Lindsay in order to figure out their case of a man stabbing his own eye out. It’s simply out of the question for Lindsay. Even if Angel can help, he’d rather fail on his own than use the assistance of someone he despises as much as Angel. And so he does his best to find out exactly what he can about his Evil Hand entirely on his own. Don’t Wolfram & Hart have security cameras set up? Every time I see Lilah or Lindsay sneaking about, I feel like they’re going to be obliterated on the spot. It just seems like a terrible idea! Still, Lindsay is able to get enough info about the Fairfield Clinic to direct him to the parole officer of the man whose hand he has. Unfortunately, it takes Lindsay being viciously attacked and Angel breaking in for him to find out the full connection between all of this.

So, despite that Lindsay is about seconds away from spontaneous combustion, he partners with Angel. Oh god, I love that Angel trolls the shit out of him on the way to the place where the body parts are being kept. BLESS HIM. And it’s certainly not lost on me that Angel is the one lecturing Lindsay about happiness and morality. Please keep doing things like this, writers. It is immensely satisfying to watch.

If you’ll remember, I believed that there was some ulterior motive to Lindsay’s new hand. I also believed that once Angel and Lindsay got downstairs, they’d discover what it was. Instead, I realized just how far off the mark I was. This was no an operation for revenge or to test their employees. It simply existed. They took living bodies, kept them alive, and then allowed their parts to be taken WHILE THEY WERE STILL ALIVE to be used for the Fairfield Clinic. There’s no sense to it all. I was seeking some sort of closure, and it was foolish of me to do so. This is Wolfram & Hart we’re speaking of. And I think the sheer horrific absurdity of the situation finally hit Lindsay when he finds out that Bradley Scott wanted Lindsay to kill him, to put him out of his misery. There was no test here, no retribution. Wolfram & Hart ran this depository simply for the sake of it, and the side effects were just that: side-effects.

That’s why he has a breakdown the following day when Nathan Reed reveals that they’re going to promote Lindsay over Lilah. It’s really an impressive, exciting scene to watch. In just a matter of sixty seconds, Lindsay turns the power and control over himself, saving Lilah in the process. My god, it’s such a satisfying thing to watch that I’m saddened by the thought that we might not see Lindsay again. Can we? He is wonderful, and I want to see more. His goodbye to Angel is also brilliantly written, too. This wasn’t meant to be a feel-good adventure like 48 Hours, which might be the best reference The Host has ever made? Yeah, it was. At best, Lindsay might respect Angel, and vice versa. Both are certainly happy to get out of each other’s lives. If this is the last time we see Lindsay, despite that I want more, I’d be satisfied.

Oh, and bless Angel for that goddamn sign. BLESS HIM.

I’ve been ignoring one major plot that I wanted to address separately. This episode confirms a creeping suspicion of mine that Cordelia’s visions were getting more painful. The aftermath of this particular one lasts nearly the WHOLE episode, longer than it has ever happened before. Look, after all the brain stuff on Buffy, this is freaking me the fuck out. No, seriously, what if something’s wrong with Cordelia? Damn it, I REFUSE TO ACCEPT THAT.

Still, there’s a beautiful and quiet moment mixed in with this that relates to the growth I spoke of in “Disharmony.” At one point, she tells the group that the pain she’s experiencing is just “part of the job.” That is something the Cordelia Chase of Buffy fame would never say. And as much as I hate that she is in pain, it’s another sign that she has grown into such an amazing character since moving to Los Angeles.

Ugh, I love you, Cordy.

Mark Links Stuff

– You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook for any updates and live commentary on upcoming reviews I’m writing.
– If you’d like to support what I’m doing, you can click the little Donate button in the right sidebar, buy eBooks on MarkDoesStuff, or purchase physical books on
- Mark Watches Doctor Who: Series 1 is now available for purchase for just $3.99!!!
– The second volume of Mark Tells Stories, “Race,” is now out and available for just $1.00!
– Mark Reads is now on YouTube, and you can watch all my videos right here!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in Angel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.