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04 August 2016 @ 03:07 pm
In the Dark (which could just as well be called Spike Is Quite Horrid Part 2)  
First, he's utterly mean to his girlfriend. Then, he hires a paedophile vampire with a serious torture habit to help him get the Gem of Amarra back from Angel (who has been given it by Buffy, via Oz).

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I don't know, Spike. It's like you don't want people to like you, or something.



Mind you, the vampire torturer that Spike hires...

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...really isn't all that. The worst he can come up with is playing some rather irritating Mozart on repeat (and can I just say here that I was with Spike in assuming that, if it's irritating, it must be Brahms. Brahms! Yuck!)

Well, okay, Marcus (for that is his name), does stick a few red-hot pokers through Angel,

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like so.

He also makes a big play of fiddling around with some very shiny sharp looking objects.

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Like so.

However, when you consider that this is Angel he's dealing with, formerly Mr Torture? I Used To Love It Angelus, the Scourge of Europe, you can't help thinking that when, at the end of the episode, Angel admits to Doyle...

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...he was on the verge of telling Marcus everything, it was because Angel was bored out of his skull rather than that Marcus was such a great torturer.

Not that I'm saying I wanted to see something worse than what we did see, you understand. Just that, watching this episode again for the first time in years, post-Game of Thrones/Ultra-violent Modern TV Show Of Your Choice, it does all seem a bit amateurish.

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On the other hand, it's possible the torture scene is little more than an excuse to rip Angel's shirt off. Which is okay, I guess. I should stop complaining.

And Almost-Shirtless Angel isn't the only good thing in the episode. Spike (as so often) has lots of witty lines.

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Not least his unforgettable rooftop monologue,

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and during his fight scene with Angel in the garage, where he gives Angel some helpful career advice (and no, this scene isn't slashy at all. Why on earth would you think that?)

Mind you, he blots his already very blotchy copybook yet again in this scene...

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...when he calls Doyle a racially charged epithet, which I won't repeat. Guess he really is evil, huh?

Anyway, in the end, the day is saved,

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and just for once Angel gets to really appreciate it (the day, that is, not just foiling evil).

The villains are either confounded...

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...and made to look stupid,

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or disposed of for good.

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Good riddance.

Mind you, at least Marcus got to enjoy a day at the beach first...

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Which is more than you can say for Spike. And no, I'm not going to say 'poor Spike', because I don't feel sorry for him at all. In fact, it's nice to know he's going to get his comeuppance soon, even if it takes a rather odd form.

So all's well that ends well, I suppose, if you consider Angel being incredibly annoying as the same as ending well.

I don't know, Angel.

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What is wrong with you? Buffy sends you this great gift that could have helped you enormously - not to mention made it far more possible for you to have a proper relationship with her- and what do you do with it?

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You destroy it, of course, justifying your actions with some specious argument about people who go out in the daytime already having lots of people to help them.

Oh come on, Angel. You aren't fooling anyone here.

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We all know you just love being miserable.

Okay, I'm possibly being a little unfair here. I think there's also an element of AtS as a series not having worn as well as BtVS. Post-Twilight, (the movies, that is, not the Buffy comics thing), Angel's whole character just seems rather dated. Or it certainly does at this point in the show, which admittedly was still finding its feet.

On the other hand, Angel does have that whole Catholic guilt/hairshirt wearing thing going on, so his behaviour here is completely in-character, and only selfish if he hasn't firmly and truly in his heart of hearts broken with Buffy for good. Hmm.

Elsewhere in the episode, Cordelia and Doyle have a few rather clunky banter-exchanging scenes (Glenn Quinn was a very handsome man, but I don't think there's any chemistry between them), and Cordelia and Spike have all the best lines.

Best lines:

Spike's rooftop monologue beats everything else hands down. But I quite like this little exchange.

Spike slowly gets back to his feet: “Cordelia. You look smashing. Did you lose weight?”
Cordy: “Yes, there's this great gym at - hey!”

This is pretty good too:

Angel: “Might as well go home, Spike. The gem of Amarra stays with me.”
Spike: “Why? Because you're a vampire detective now? What’s next? Vampire cowboy? Vampire fireman? Oh, vampire ballerina!”

Thoughts, anyone?
 
 
 
Trepkostrepkos on August 4th, 2016 10:09 pm (UTC)
Those exchanges you've picked out are pretty special! (I got the feeling he was actually sincere in complimenting Cordelia ...) I was VERY annoyed with Angel for destroying the Gem. (So annoyed, I made more of them!) I enjoyed Oz's arrival - shame we didn't see a bit more of him. Spike's Lone Wolf speech ...! Spike gets all the speeches!
cookie dough: kedathenewbuzwuzz on August 5th, 2016 05:03 am (UTC)
Wait, you made Gems of Amarra how? Where?
(no subject) - shapinglight on August 7th, 2016 02:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - trepkos on August 7th, 2016 04:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shapinglight on August 7th, 2016 04:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - trepkos on August 7th, 2016 05:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shapinglight on August 10th, 2016 02:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Bogwitch: BTVS - Buffy (Angel's Was This Big)bogwitch on August 4th, 2016 11:38 pm (UTC)
I am so behind! I am still in Season 3 (don't think Q and I got much past Amends - I need to get onto that). I did see bits of this one with the sound off when I was capping it though.

And there's torture, yet again. I find it very disturbing that US fantasy shows always seem to turn to torture (I'm not sure if it extends beyond the genre as I only watch fantasy shows), yet in this case, poking Angel with pokers has it's own pleasures. This shows never (Game of Thrones aside) seem to go for anywhere really, really painful do they?
Shapinglight: In the Darkshapinglight on August 7th, 2016 02:48 pm (UTC)
I find it very disturbing that US fantasy shows always seem to turn to torture (I'm not sure if it extends beyond the genre as I only watch fantasy shows)

It does extend beyond it, unfortunately, and not just in TV shows. In movies too. It just seems that almost anything violent is fine, whereas sex? Can't be having any of that.

I can understand why you and Quin got stuck at Amends. There are some nice things in it, but it's a really terrible episode in general.
slaymesoftlyslaymesoftly on August 4th, 2016 11:48 pm (UTC)
Hmmm - good choices, and yes, Spike and Cordelia get all the good lines. I loved Doyle, though. Sorry to see him go. Spike was a very bad boy. He deserved some comeuppance.
Shapinglight: In the Dark Spikeshapinglight on August 7th, 2016 02:51 pm (UTC)
He really did.

I'm not so keen on Doyle myself, have to admit. I think Wesley made a much better foil for Angel. Still, who knows? If Glenn Quinn hadn't had so many problems, and had stayed, maybe the character would have grown on me.
Dannachasingdemons on August 5th, 2016 04:38 am (UTC)
...when he calls Doyle a racially charged epithet, which I won't repeat.

To be fair, he also uses many gay slurs regarding Angel and calls Buffy a slut. If this had been filmed today, I'm pretty sure it would have been cleaned up.

and no, this scene isn't slashy at all. Why on earth would you think that?

It's a scene that launched 1,000 fics!

I think James is having a ball. He just got rehired, and he has had two episodes on BtVS and Angel in which he gets to really ham it up. A common theme that runs through Season 4 is that Spike has inspired ideas about how to carry out his evil agenda, and then he gets shot down by Angel, Buffy, the Initiative, Adam. But he never stays down. It's one of the things I love about Spike. And James plays it with just the right balance of evil, pitiful, and funny.
Shapinglight: In the Darkshapinglight on August 7th, 2016 03:00 pm (UTC)
he also uses many gay slurs regarding Angel

This is true. Even the 'vampire ballerina' gibe is one of those.

If this had been filmed today, I'm pretty sure it would have been cleaned up.

Yes, probably. Or maybe not? Spike's the villain here, after all. I guess if the show was made now, whether he'd use those words, implying that he's both racist and homophobic, would depend on how much the showrunners wanted the audience to hate him?

Back then, things were a bit different, I think. I'm fairly sure his use of those words wasn't particularly meant to imply that about him. Or were they? What do you think?

It's a scene that launched 1,000 fics!

Heh! I should probably have stuck ;) after my comment to show it was tongue in cheek. I know quite well it's the slashiest scene ever.

I agree that James is wonderful in these two episodes. He comes out particularly well in this one compared to David, who at this stage is still doing most of his emoting by breathing heavily.
(no subject) - chasingdemons on August 7th, 2016 04:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shapinglight on August 7th, 2016 04:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - chasingdemons on August 7th, 2016 06:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shapinglight on August 10th, 2016 02:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
cookie dough: kedathenewbuzwuzz on August 5th, 2016 05:01 am (UTC)
I laughed out loud at the "Angel was bored out of his skull" theory. And, clearly, he doesn't think he should have nice things. *eyeroll at Angel* (I mean, it might screw up the series some if he was nearly invincible, but he doesn't know that.)
Shapinglight: In the Dark Spikeshapinglight on August 7th, 2016 03:04 pm (UTC)
And, clearly, he doesn't think he should have nice things. *eyeroll at Angel*

No, he doesn't. I do understand that, in that he suffers from guilt so badly, but sometimes it just feels like he's wallowing rather than doing something about it.

Mind you, someone further down the thread points out that, if Angel lost his soul, Angelus with the Gem of Amarra would be a truly terrifying prospect.
spikesjojospikesjojo on August 5th, 2016 07:35 am (UTC)
This is the episode where Spike shows he really is good at leading Angel into a trap. Announced his presence with a 2 by 4, told every contact where o send Angel, was outside the door with blood on his mouth (even though the girl wasn't bitten) - he knew Angel. But he was evil - and very Freudian!

Shirtless Angel - and Spike bent over the car.....yup, excellent!
Shapinglight: In the Darkshapinglight on August 7th, 2016 03:05 pm (UTC)
Shirtless Angel - and Spike bent over the car.....yup, excellent!

Yes, this episode really has its compensations. ;)
baudownbaudown on August 5th, 2016 12:03 pm (UTC)
I love that in the slashy, Angel-pins-Spike-down sequence, Spike says that he abandoned his ingenious plan because "all that watching [Angel] and waiting [for Angel]" made his "leg start to cramp." I guess this is the same cramp in his pants that Tara questions, when he tries to use the same "cramp" excuse in Older and Far Away.

Edited at 2016-08-05 12:03 pm (UTC)
Shapinglight: spangelshapinglight on August 7th, 2016 03:06 pm (UTC)
I-it could well be. ;)
gillo: pink handsgillo on August 5th, 2016 07:08 pm (UTC)
Spike's opening monologue is wonderful, even if the accent is patchy. A lot of JM's problems come from not remembering the fact that Brits often put the stress on a different syllable or word from Americans and sometimes it really jars.

Angel is, not for the last time, an utter jerk when it comes to rejecting offers that might make it possible for him to be with Buffy. Almost as if he doesn't think she's his One True Lurve Forever. She sent him the ring, yet it doesn't seem to occur to him that with it he could actually be with her in daylight. OK, so the pesky curse, but still...

Spike is nasty. At this stage he has to be. He's evil, genuinely evil, and, being Spike, thoroughly enjoys it - this is the same guy who offed the Annoying One and threatened Willow with a broken bottle. Yes, he's beautiful, but his role is to fail, and to be humiliated in preparation for all the further humiliations he will endure in S4.

Interesting that he interacts with Doyle, in the light of certain events in AtS S5. And, being Spike, that he talks truth, even without realising it - there is a ballerina episode to come, after all.

Angel mostly annoys me in the early days of his own show, so it's nice to see a bit of energy infused (Oz!) and a thoroughly unpleasant secondary villain in Marcus. (Joss does like reusing names, doesn't he? William/Liam/Billy, Marcus/Marcus Hamilton). The episode feels more like a necessary follow-on to Harsh Light of Day than an integral part of its own show, but I suppose the crossovers in the early parts of both seasons were mostly about emphasising that no, they are NEVER going to be the pure OTP of Bangel dreams, because they are in two totally different shows now.
Shapinglight: In the Dark Spikeshapinglight on August 7th, 2016 03:18 pm (UTC)
A lot of JM's problems come from not remembering the fact that Brits often put the stress on a different syllable or word from Americans and sometimes it really jars.

Yes, though there's another instance in this episode that I didn't mention because it's not a nice word and I didn't want to repeat it, where his mistake is just plain mispronunciation. But possibly he had no one to ask about it?

She sent him the ring, yet it doesn't seem to occur to him that with it he could actually be with her in daylight. OK, so the pesky curse, but still...

Well, I suppose he's only a jerk if he actually thinks there's a chance of him and Buffy getting back together. I guess I should be kind and say no he doesn't. But really the upcoming Pangs/IWRY crossover rather suggests otherwise. I'll have to decide what I think when I've rewatched IWRY.

Interesting that he interacts with Doyle, in the light of certain events in AtS S5.

Yes, though I don't think he ever learns Doyle's name, or what his function is. If he did, then his falling for Lindsey's deception would seem very stupid of him.

The episode feels more like a necessary follow-on to Harsh Light of Day than an integral part of its own show, but I suppose the crossovers in the early parts of both seasons were mostly about emphasising that no, they are NEVER going to be the pure OTP of Bangel dreams, because they are in two totally different shows now.

Yes, I suspect Joss was desperate to hammer that message home, and increasingly irritated that a big section of the audience just wouldn't accept it.

(Joss does like reusing names, doesn't he? William/Liam/Billy, Marcus/Marcus Hamilton).

Don't forget all the Colins in BtVS season 1.
treadingthedarktreadingthedark on August 6th, 2016 04:32 am (UTC)
I was more annoyed at Buffy for sending possible immortality to a guy with a skechy soul. Imagine Angelus undefeatable! What was she thinking! Can't believe anyone went along with this.
Shapinglight: In the Darkshapinglight on August 7th, 2016 03:21 pm (UTC)
I suspect the idea never even occurred to Buffy. She just wanted Angel to have it because it would help him (and possibly because she thought it might bring him back to her, I don't know - or possibly she never thought that consciously). Really, though, it would have been better if she'd just destroyed it.
Butterflysnogged on August 6th, 2016 01:15 pm (UTC)
The rooftop monologue is absolutely incredible and so funny.
Shapinglight: In the Dark Spikeshapinglight on August 7th, 2016 03:22 pm (UTC)
It's hilarious. And actually not too far from what Angel and his client were talking about. :)
relurkerrelurker on August 7th, 2016 10:52 am (UTC)
: )
Shapinglight: In the Dark Spikeshapinglight on August 7th, 2016 03:22 pm (UTC)
It's a fun episode, isn't it? :)
Double Dutchess: Angel alleydouble_dutchess on August 10th, 2016 05:46 pm (UTC)
I love Spike being gleefully evil in this episode!

For a Catholic, Angel has a very Calvinist attitude.
Shapinglight: In the Darkshapinglight on August 11th, 2016 09:23 am (UTC)
You think so?

A Calvinist might well be very angry if you said so, but possibly their outlooks aren't as far apart as they believe?
(no subject) - double_dutchess on August 11th, 2016 05:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shapinglight on August 11th, 2016 08:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - double_dutchess on August 11th, 2016 11:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)