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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).


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...


...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,


like so.

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


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...


...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.


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.


Not least his unforgettable rooftop monologue,


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...


...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,


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

The villains are either confounded...



...and made to look stupid,


or disposed of for good.


Good riddance.

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


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.


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?



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.


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?
Double Dutchess: Angel alleydouble_dutchess on August 11th, 2016 05:49 pm (UTC)
Possibly! But I wasn't really thinking about any meaningful theological differences, but rather of the "pleasure is bad" attitude that I associate with Calvinists and not at all with Catholics.
Shapinglight: In the Darkshapinglight on August 11th, 2016 08:50 pm (UTC)
There is that, but I'm not sure that's quite where Angel is coming from. It's not so much that pleasure of itself is bad, just that he feels he's a sinner and doesn't deserve it.
Double Dutchess: Angel alleydouble_dutchess on August 11th, 2016 11:51 pm (UTC)
That's true. He doesn't actually mind other people having fun, just himself.