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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?
 
 
Dannachasingdemons on August 7th, 2016 04:26 pm (UTC)
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?

There have been a lot more terms that have been deemed inappropriate in this day and age than there were in the 90s because more groups of people are speaking up. (And good for that!) So I noticed the slurs on the re-watch more than I noticed during the first go-around.

There's a lot of talk in the US right now about "political correctness", especially in the campaigns. People who like Trump like the fact that he isn't politically correct. Those on the other side are characterized as being muzzled and not being able to say what they think. I fall on the side of WANTING to make an effort to not use words that disrespect or insult - unless that's my intent. I understand the discomfort of having terms used in common language that are actually demeaning and having the general public act like they are unaware.

All of that being said, I LOVE Spike's non-pc language! He's an evil vampire after all and he lives to stir things up. I absolutely do not see Spike as the least bit homophobic or racist nor do I think that was what the show was trying to say. I think Spike would fuck OR kill a person of any ethnicity or gender with equal joy.

But I just wonder if the network would have second thoughts about the words in this day and age, or if they would get complaints. And to that extent, it would be sad to see Spike muzzled. In fact, I wish the censors would have let him go further. Did I just go full-circle? OMG does Spike have something in common with Trump???

Heh! I should probably have stuck ;) after my comment to show it was tongue in cheek.

It was perfectly clear that you were saying this tongue in cheek. :)

Shapinglight: In the Dark Spikeshapinglight on August 7th, 2016 04:53 pm (UTC)
But I just wonder if the network would have second thoughts about the words in this day and age, or if they would get complaints. And to that extent, it would be sad to see Spike muzzled. In fact, I wish the censors would have let him go further. Did I just go full-circle? OMG does Spike have something in common with Trump???

Heh! If you were, you weren't the only person recently, for which see my brief exchange with gillo on The Harsh Light of Day post.

I do think there's one comparison that can be made between the two. In using these words, they both mean to offend - but Spike's a soulless vampire. What's Trump's excuse?

I fall on the side of WANTING to make an effort to not use words that disrespect or insult - unless that's my intent. I understand the discomfort of having terms used in common language that are actually demeaning and having the general public act like they are unaware.

Me too, and me too re: liking Spike's bluntness, and not being afraid to 'tell it like it is.' It's a bit contrary, I know. But I do think a balance can be struck between not being hobbled by so-called PC, and not being deliberately offensive. Often, the people who complain about PC are in fact complaining about being made to feel uncomfortable about using derogatory words about other groups of people they don't like. I don't consider those the same thing. To me, the second of those is simple common decency. ;)

But I just wonder if the network would have second thoughts about the words in this day and age, or if they would get complaints.

You're probably right about both. And I'm pretty sure a lot of the Britslang that Spike, Giles and Wesley use wouldn't be allowed now because many Americans are aware now that those are 'bad words.'
Dannachasingdemons on August 7th, 2016 06:07 pm (UTC)
Often, the people who complain about PC are in fact complaining about being made to feel uncomfortable about using derogatory words about other groups of people they don't like

Exactly!!

see my brief exchange with gillo on The Harsh Light of Day post.

Haha!!! I dare say pre-soul Spike would admire Trump's insane moxie.

Shapinglight: In the Dark Spikeshapinglight on August 10th, 2016 02:07 pm (UTC)
I dare say pre-soul Spike would admire Trump's insane moxie.

Yes, and he'd love the chaos that would inevitably ensue were Trump to become president.