Angel 5×11: Damage

[Review by Jeremy Grayson]

[Writer: Steven S. DeKnight and Drew Goddard | Director: Jefferson Kibbee | Aired: 01/28/2004]

The plot of “Damage” exemplifies a bold move on the part of the Angel writers. When the potential of all the Slayers in the world was unlocked in “Chosen”, the act was displayed in a purely positive light – “Every girl who can stand up, will stand up.” Here, though, the idea of young women receiving newfound power is looked at from a rather different perspective. Dana, a mentally disturbed young woman confined to a hospital, is certainly not a person you’d want gaining enhanced strength and fighting abilities. But gain them she does, and the results are anything but pretty.

The plot “Damage” serves us is intriguing on its own, but that’s not the area where the episode excels. No, its primary attribute is the way it handles the character of Spike.

Not too long ago, I wrote a review of “Just Rewards” [5×02]. There, I talked about my disapproval of the way this series handled its introduction of Spike. I mentioned how it didn’t provide enough follow-up to Spike’s character arc on Buffy, and that it failed to give him enough personal depth, aiming for snark rather than serious study. As you may know, I wasn’t a great fan of the episode, but I am a pretty big fan of Spike. So it’s with some satisfaction that I now review an episode which picks up the pieces remaining from the finale of Buffy and gives Spike some much-welcome development.

I want to point out here that, although the fifth season of Angel could have worked just fine without Spike, I’m glad he was a part of it. While I miss Cordelia, I think Spike works well as her acerbic replacement, just as he did after she left Buffy. As the season moves forward, Spike is integrated into the Fang Gang very smoothly. This episode represents a key moment in that development.

At this point in the season, Spike is beginning to see himself as something of a soulful hero. After being approached by Lindsey (or “Doyle”) in “Soul Purpose” [5×10], he has taken it upon himself to begin fighting evil in Los Angeles, as some sort of “dark avenger”. Hey, doesn’t this sound a bit similar to Angel’s story in “City of” [1×01]? Clearly, there’s a connection to be made. Yet Spike refuses to acknowledge that his actions mirror any of Angel’s.

And the truth is, many of them don’t – Spike jumps at the chance to fight with this episode’s menace, the mentally unstable Slayer Dana, but Angel refuses to kill her. In “Destiny” [5×08], we saw Spike and Angel fight out their differences, and although that fight reached some sense of a conclusion, the two do not by any means accept each other. Spike, reflecting his constantly modern sensibilities, sees no reason to dwell on the past. This is evident in his response to Angel, who chides him for not attempting to atone for his past evils: “You should let it go, mate. It’s starting to make you look old.”

Spike is and always has been a fighter, but he’s not the kind to let emotions fuel his cause. He’s in it for the thrill, the adrenaline rush it gives him. It was this same thrill-seeking passion which fueled all those murders back in his pre-soul days. When Spike enters a fight with an ugly horned demon, he does so for the fun it causes. Angel, on the other hand, kills demons to make up for his past days of killing humans. The motives of the two vampires are quite contradictory, even if their methods are basically similar. So the question we’re left with is, which one of them is right?

It’s a question regarding not just Angel and Spike, but their respective souls as well. Angel sees himself and Angelus as a single being. For years, Angelus murdered innocents, for that was the only thing which brought him pleasure. It was only after he was cursed with a soul that he was able to realize what “pain” and “sorrow” meant. Burdened with those emotions, Angel used them to the fullest, and was haunted by the memories of those he killed for decades. Eventually, he found an outlet to channel these emotions — fighting evil.

Meanwhile, Spike sees his soulless and soulful selves as two separate individuals, and the wicked deeds of the former are not the burden of the latter. Now, is this a line of reasoning we can let him apply to himself? As we saw in “Fool for Love”, Spike chose to lose his soul and become a vampire. Perhaps he was unaware of the death and destruction such a choice would cause, but the consequences were brought about from his own willing decision. How can he now ignore his past evils so callously? Well, though he did choose to lose his soul, let’s not forget that he also chose to have it returned to him. This action now gives him a sense of genuine heroism – he looks down upon Angel, who had his soul and, as Spike sees it, desire for good forced upon him.

The difference between the two is a point fine-tuned but not forced into the argument they have while at the Wolfram & Hart offices. Angel brings up Spike’s past murders, to which the blond vampire straightforwardly replies, “I didn’t have a soul back then, did I?” Here, Spike uses his former lack of a soul as a sort of “fail-safe”, stating that anything he did back in those days was simply not his own fault. Angel sarcastically counters, “Right, because having one now is making such a difference.” With this line, Angel betrays his contempt of Spike, and of Spike’s soul. Angel disliked Spike when the latter vampire was evil, and he now dislikes the soulful Spike even more. Angel knows that soulless Spike did not have a choice when it came to committing evil – as stated earlier, he was a killer once himself. But soulful Spike has a choice, and chooses the path of seeming destruction.

Straddling the line between their argument comes Dana, the Slayer with murder on her mind. Dana fits right in to the conflict – she is, by all purposes, a human being, but she has been granted supernatural powers and is now quite visibly dangerous. Spike looks at the girl and sees a threat that needs to be taken out, while Angel looks at the same girl and sees an unfortunate young woman in need of help. Here, the motives of the two vampires are challenged, and their methods are against each other. More emphasis is put on Spike’s conflict, and the episode benefits from it.

Cleverly, “Damage” gives Spike a reason for atonement when he finally confronts Dana. He and she have never met before, and he resents her accusation that he is the man who tortured her and murdered her family. But just look at the number of murders he did commit in the past. Has he any right to feel that he’s been framed? Dana’s warped sense of judgment puts Spike’s past in perspective, and makes him pause and think and look back at the trail of destruction behind him. It’s a point that was hinted at during the final scene of “Just Rewards” [5×02] and brought to the surface here: Spike’s past will not simply evaporate into the air. He must own up to it and atone for all the damage he once caused. Just like Angel does.

In addition to this development, the episode finally brings up Buffy, and confronts Spike with the question of why he has not yet tried to contact her. Although he attempts to brush off this issue by stating that he doesn’t know how to break it to her, there’s more to it than that. Spike’s relationship with Buffy was anything but rosy, and he now exists in a world where she believes him to be dead. Spike now has to decide for himself whether it would be better – for him and for her – to keep it that way.

“Damage” exemplifies its turning point in Spike’s development quite well, and future episodes show him and Angel gaining a stronger (though far from perfect) alliance. For that alone, it deserves commendation. The episode, however, is not without flaws.

A problem that largely plagues the first half of the episode is the overabundance of exposition. Angel relates his concerns to his friends over what they should do with Eve in a scene that feels too much like a recap of the previous week’s events. The hospital’s doctor and an on-call nurse relate Dana’s backstory is to Angel in great detail, making her feel less like a character and more like a plot point. Andrew shows up and tells over the story of the Slayer line in a rather thin attempt on the writers’ part to get non-Buffy viewers up to speed. There’s lots of talk and little development – and that’s not an ideal combination.

Then there’s Andrew himself. Now, I liked the character in the last two seasons of Buffy, and it’s nice to see him again after the events of that series. (Again, the writers tickle us with the notion that the continuity of Buffy extends beyond its own show.) However, the episode would be far more effective had a different Buffy character been used, such as Willow, Xander, or Dawn. I’m not merely saying that because I prefer those characters over Andrew. It simply feels like the writers chose to use Andrew, and not a more prominent character from the series, in order to avoid dealing with a heavier form of drama. Had Willow or Xander showed up, there would most certainly be conflict between them and Spike over whether or not Buffy should be informed that he is still alive. Obviously, one of Buffy’s close friends would not keep such a secret from her, both out of loyalty for her and distrust for Spike. Andrew, however, is not a “close” friend of Buffy’s (and he seems to have a loving admiration and respect for Spike), so he’s able to comply when the vampire tells him to keep his mouth shut.

What irritates me more is the fact that Andrew could have had a truly great role in this episode. In Buffy’s “Storyteller”, Andrew acknowledged his past sins and decided he was willing to atone for them. From that perspective, his story is interestingly similar to Spike’s. Although Spike’s past is far darker than Andrew’s, it would have been nice for “Damage” to feature some sort of correlation between the two. Unfortunately, no comparison is made, and Andrew is treated as little more than the comic-relief nerd we’ve previously known him as. He actually offers more insight during his brief appearance in “The Girl in Question” [5×20] than he does here.

These, I confess, are mainly issues involving the episode’s missed potential – they’re not flaws in the episode itself. What is an episodic flaw, though, is the revelation that Andrew is now training to be a Watcher. Okay… Am I the only one who finds this to be a little preposterous? As we’ve seen on Buffy, and continue to see in this episode, Andrew is pretty shallow and self-glorifying. He doesn’t seem like a guy capable of training an army of young Slayers. Perhaps, as the writers seem to want us to believe, he’s grown to a more respectable position in the ranks of the Scoobies in the time since “Chosen”, but that’s not something that’s well-clarified in this episode. If anything, his “promotion” shines the rest of the Scoobies in a somewhat unflattering light.

Which brings me to my final issue: Why does no one on Buffy’s team trust Angel anymore? True, he’s now headlining the offices of Wolfram & Hart now, but they’ve known him for years before that event transpired. It seems callous of them to take Dana away from his control based on this reason alone. Buffy and Angel have established a trust with each other, even though they are no longer romantically involved. It’s pretty cold of her to brush him off without even giving him a chance to tell his side of the story!

I know Buffy took a much more “no-nonsense” approach to her slaying duties and to fighting the good fight over the course of Season 7. In “Lies My Parents Told Me”, she made it very clear to Robin Wood that she did not want him, or anyone, tampering with her plans to defeat the First Evil. But now Buffy is off in Europe, and there’s no Big Bad for her to defeat at the moment. Remember that only a few months back, in “Chosen”, she and Angel had a talk with one another in which she displayed confidence in him, confidence that he could act as a second front should she fail at stopping the First’s plans. Imagine her now in Europe, hearing the news that her former boyfriend has decided to start running an evil law firm. What would her reaction be?

Buffy shares a personal connection with Angel. She loved him like she loved no other man, before or since. (Sorry, Giles – I mean in the romantic way.) Yet we’re meant to believe that her reaction to such news is as one-sided as “Don’t trust him. Just get the Slayer. Use force if you have to”. We’re talking about the girl who gave Spike countless chances to redeem himself, despite many opportunities she could have taken to drive a stake through his heart. The girl who reaccepted Willow as a friend after she attempted to destroy the world. The woman who – well, you get the picture.

Andrew’s reason for the Scoobies’ distrust of Angel is stated simply: “You work for Wolfram & Hart now.” The line clearly hurts Angel, who expected – like myself – that Buffy would have a bit more trust in him. While I’m glad the writers are willing to point out that Angel is clearly straddling a line between good and evil at this point, this scene is hurt by the fact that it simply reiterates a point that Angel’s friends have themselves voiced when Angel first took the job in “Home” [4×22] – Wolfram & Hart is an evil place, no matter what sort of people are running their operations.

These issues aside, I can’t bring myself to fault “Damage” very much. As stated, it shines a glowing lamp of insight on Spike’s character, and affirms his position as a member of Angel’s team. Throw in some great fight scenes and an impending, gloomy backdrop, and you’ve got a pretty solid addition to the show’s canon. While certainly not without flaws, “Damage” is a worthy addition to Angel’s fifth season, and its importance to the show should not be overlooked.

 


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Nice continuity touch: Spike asking Angel if he’s at the mental ward due to his encounter with the nightmare-inducing parasite from “Soul Purpose” [5×10].
+ Another nice continuity touch: Andrew still has trouble speaking Spanish.
+ The hospital nurse asking Angel if he could help her get a job at Wolfram & Hart.
+ Andrew hamming it up during his exposition scene. At least he makes it fun.
+ The horrific moment when Spike raises his hands, only to discover he no longer has them.
+ Eve is talked about and established as a threat, but never appears on screen. Too bad other episodes didn’t make use of this concept.

– While it has little connection to the story itself, I can’t help but be bothered by the fact that this whole episode probably never would have happened had a mixed-up nurse gotten Dana’s medication right. I believe the proper term for this is “idiot plot”.
– All those Vampire Slayers appearing behind Andrew. I don’t know who any of them are, yet they all managed to irritate me.


[Score]

86/100

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54 thoughts on “Angel 5×11: Damage”

  1. [Note: StakeAndCheese posted this comment on December 5, 2012.]

    No love for my favorite line in the episode? Spike: Hope for the little ponce yet. Though the tingling in my forearms tells me she’s too far gone to help. She’s…one of us now. She’s a monster.Angel: She’s an innocent victim.Spike: So were we… once upon a time.Angel: Once upon a time.That line alone bumps the emotion up to “High” for me, making the episode an A- at least.

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  2. [Note: Alexei posted this comment on December 6, 2012.]

    I agree with Stake. That line is one of the best in AtS, and it in fact has relevance with the on going story of season 5. I feel like you are maybe streching on some of the plot points here (we all know that plot isn’t the best in Whedonverse). I always felt like Andrew overstated Buffys commands (its just a feeling i get while watching the ep), and its not like those slayers know anything about who Angel is and what has he done. As you said, that point is to make us see that Angel is walking a fine line, going closer and closer to evil. And it does a good job in doing that. But i do agree with your points on exposition in the first part of the episode. This episode, along with Lineage and NFA are my favorites in S5.

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  3. [Note: seagull posted this comment on December 6, 2012.]

    I agree about those last few lines of the episode between Angel and Spike – in a season where they mostly antagonise each other, it’s a nice, quiet little scene of self-reflection that says a lot.

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  4. [Note: Dave posted this comment on December 6, 2012.]

    I’m not sure why, but I get a similar feeling watching that last scene that I got when watching the last scene between Buffy&Spike in “Beneath You” BtVS 7×02.

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  5. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on December 6, 2012.]

    I think that makes sense: 7.02 was the one where Buffy found out that Spike had gotten his soul back and was seeing him really vulnerable after he was first hit with everything he had done. Over the course of that season and the first half of this one, he had managed to get to the point where he could still function by not focusing on the past and distracting himself with more righteous violence against monsters like what he used to be.When Angel was visiting him in the hospital, Spike was just reminded of everything again AND was completely incapable of distracting himself with fighting as long as he was bedridden, so he was back in a very similar place, if slightly better adjusted from it not being as fresh as it had been.Although, instead of being with the person he had hurt most recently, this time he was with the first person who taught him violence, so the perspective was slightly different there.

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  6. [Note: Jeremy posted this comment on December 7, 2012.]

    Yes, I like the “once upon a time” lines, too. But the lines which lead into them, where Spike acknowledges his past sins and Angel makes a direct comparison/contrast to them invoke something more tangible and emotional in me. It’s that brief exchange which sums up the themes of the episode, of Spike’s attempts and ultimate failure to dodge his past and the first time Angel sees him as more than a rival, or as a joke.

    But yeah, the hospital scene as a whole is complete gold.

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  7. [Note: Katrina posted this comment on December 11, 2012.]

    Great review, Jeremy. And I agree with Stake and Alexei about that fantastic ending scene. The exchange between Spike and Angel that lead up to ‘once upon a time’ were what gave me chills as well, and the ‘once upon a time’ acted as the punctuation points. Even if I wasn’t a huge Spike fan I would count this episode as one of the best of the series. I laughed when you said that even though you had no idea who any of the Slayers were they still managed to annoy you – because I felt exactly the same way!

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  8. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on December 11, 2012.]

    Sorry to arrive late to the party but really nice review, Jeremy.And let me say that I´m also a fan of the last scene between Spike and Angel.I agree that plots in the whedonverse aren´t very strong but what whedonverse does really well is work a plot in favor of the characters and that happens here.Are you gonna review more episodes?

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  9. [Note: Jeremy posted this comment on December 11, 2012.]

    True about the plot of the episode, buffyholic. That’s why I graded it “High” despite my issues with it. It serves Spike remarkably well.

    The remaining Angel episodes are all currently reserved, so I won’t be reviewing any more. But I may still take part in the season reviews, or something else which pops up.

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  10. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on January 20, 2013.]

    By saying nobody trusts Angel it means that the audience won’t expect a guest star. It is sloppy writing and creates more questions but it was probably seen as the easiest way around it.

    Good:

    -Dana doing the old slayer thing of marking her face.

    -Spike wanting to know what it felt like to bounce off the pavement.

    -Showing that the spell in ‘Chosen’ wasn’t all hugs and puppies.

    -Andrew taking Dana away was still a great scene.

    Bad:

    -Andrew gives too much information about Buffy and the Scoobies’ location. If they didn’t trust Angel they wouldn’t tell him anything.

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  11. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on January 21, 2013.]

    Ah, but Andrew is a notorious liar :)Maybe he was lying about where everybody was (I haven’t read the comics, is that possible?), maybe he was lying about everybody not trusting them (Giles is the only one we can confirm on that).Or maybe he didn’t know how little they trusted Angel and got in trouble with Giles later for telling him so much?

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  12. [Note: Geki posted this comment on April 1, 2013.]

    I really enjoyed Andrew in this episode, but I can’t help but imagine how awesome it would be if Cyclops-Xander showed up instead. He always hated Angel anyway; it would be completely in-character and believable of him to use Buffy’s apparent distrust of Angel to twist the knife at the end of the episode.

    As a side-note: I speak Mandarin, and Dana really mangles the pronunciation of the Chinese slayer’s line ‘tell my mother I’m sorry’. I guess she can be forgiven on account of being batshit crazy, though.

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  13. [Note: Monica posted this comment on June 24, 2013.]

    Really great review, you’re ability to find themes and look below the surface of episodes is really what makes this an amazing website.

    I really like the premise of this episode, and the focus on slayer (something not often seen in Angel), and I also think it was executed really well. But one problem I couldn’t get past was Andrew. It’s an absolute biased opinion, but I’ve never found Andrew humorous, and never enjoy his inclusion in any episodes.

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  14. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on June 24, 2013.]

    Thanks! I’ve actually only written a few Angel reviews (this, “Just Rewards”, and “Underneath”). There are a lot of other talented contributors to the show’s last two seasons. (The Freaks and Geeks reviews are all my writing, though.)

    I don’t always find Andrew hilarious, but I enjoyed the depth he was given on Buffy. But as the review indicates, I don’t think he was well-used in this episode, or “The Girl in Question”.

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  15. [Note: NightLady posted this comment on February 5, 2015.]

    Since becoming a Buffy addict, a few months ago, I have been reading your reviews and I’ve until now appreciated the impartiality of your arguments. But I must say that I really felt let down by this one. It’s not about having different opinions because that’s quite normal and predictable, it’s about reading a twisted interpretation of facts and characters. I hope you understand that I mean no offence and I’ll go ahead explaining my point of view.

    While I didn’t like seeing a return of ‘old’ Spike because I surely prefer the Buffy S7 version, I can’t see it as a bad handling of his character. I think the way he acts his very much IC. He comes back after having sacrificed himself to save the world and discovers not only that he is incorporeal but also that he is stuck in the same place with his old rival, who thinks he has the right to decide if Spike should live or die and keeps belittling him. Except Fred, Spike is surrounded by people who either hate/distrust him or don’t care about him at all. Being Spike, of course he would react as he did.

    >

    Why should Spike acknowledge something he doesn’t know? When Doyle approached Angel in 1×1 and Angel took upon himself to begin fighting evil in Los Angeles, as some sort of “dark avenger”, Spike was in Sunnydale. He knew nothing of Angel’s life, as his ignorance about Doyle (the real Doyle) proves. Also, he has always gone out of his way to differentiate himself from Angel, so I really believe that if he had known how Angel’s ‘carrier’ as a hero had started he would have took another path on purpose. But even if he did know, I fail to see why it should be important.

    Contrary to Spike, who at this point of the story is a loner, Angel has the help and the resources to solve the problem without killing Dana and so he does. But if that wasn’t the case or if things hadn’t worked out well, he would have killed her. He has killed before, and he will kill later and without many qualms, so there is no reason to believe that he wouldn’t have killed Dana if it was needed.

    >>>

    I believe that it’s his sacrifice in the Hellmouth, more then getting his soul back, that gives him a sense of heroism. And rightly so, may I add 🙂 The choice to have his soul back only makes him morally superior to Angel.

    >>>

    We are also talking of the girl that would have killed Anya when she willingly went back to her evil ways. So to me (and to Buffy apparently) there is a big difference between Angel willingly working with an evil company and Spike doing evil things because he has no soul (Willow is a different matter in my eyes). And let’s not forget that she had already given Angel countless chances… actually she still is, because she isn’t going to kill him, isn’t she? She is only guarded and thinks that it’s better if a psycho slayer is not under the control of an evil company.

    I honestly see nothing wrong in this line of reasoning.

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  16. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on February 5, 2015.]

    It sounds like you’re under the impression that I (writer of the Buffy reviews) wrote this review. Just to clarify: I did not write this review. Your comments should be directed at Jeremy Grayson, currently reviewing The West Wing here on Critically Touched. The first three seasons of Angel were reviewed by Ryan Bovay while the last two were reviewed by a variety of different contributors (including myself). Be sure to read the “Review by” credits at the top of the review. 🙂

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  17. [Note: NightLady posted this comment on February 6, 2015.]

    oh sorry, I thought all reviews were made by the same person! Ok then, MikeJer, I’m glad to confirm my appreciation of your Buffy reviews 🙂

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  18. [Note: NightLady posted this comment on February 6, 2015.]

    I see some things were left out from my previous comment 😦

    Ok, when you say that Spike is in it for the thrill and for the fun while Angel only fights demons to atone, I have the feeling that you are talking of the old Spike, the unsouled one, dismissing all that has happened in Buffy S7 (when Spike wouldn’t even kill other demons until Buffy provoked him to get his help). As for Angel, there are several situations when he kills (demons AND humans alike) that give me the strong feeling that he isn’t in it for his atonement. Not only for it, at least. Quoting him “He wanted to be somebody” and I believe this is important for Spike as well. So in my opinion what is really different is their methods while their motives are more similar than what you are making them (in other words the opposite of you said XD). They both feel the weight of their past deeds and they both are in search of a place in the world. My question would be instead how much of their actions are due to one or the other motive.

    About Angel seeing himself and Angelus as a single being… I’m curious: where do you get this idea? From what I know it’s pretty much established, by the show, the viewers, the other characters and by Angel himself, that he detaches himself by Angelus. That’s why he uses two different names and the third person when speaking of his other persona.

    And Spike may not go on brooding, talking of redemption and searching for people’s sympathy but I don’t see him not feeling burdened by what he has done without a soul. Buffy S7 is full of scenes where we can see him feeling guilt for his past deeds and it’s only when Buffy goads him to get over it that he does. In Angel s1 he has this ‘I don’t care’ attitude because of the situation and of Angel, but it doesn’t mean that he really doesn’t care. The fact that he is expressing his guilt to Angel for the first time doesn’t mean that he is FEELING that guilt for the first time, and he has proved already (back in Sunnydale) that he owns up to his past and wants to atone (he died because of this). With Dana there is nothing in his words or actions showing that he ‘resents’ her or that he feels ‘framed’. He simply says the truth: it wasn’t him who did those things to her. But he tells her so in the hope that it will stop her, not to lead her to believe that he is a saint – and sure enough he truthfully admits having killed a slayer.
    Yes, he uses the ‘I didn’t have a soul back then’ as a sort of ‘fail-safe’ because he has seen it work for Angel in the past, so maybe he expects it to works for him too. And while this isn’t very mature of him, it’s undeniably true. He DIDN’T have his soul, so he shouldn’t be held accountable for what he did, exactly as Angel hasn’t been held accountable for all the evil he did (like killing Jenny Calendar, for example). Ultimately I feel that the viewers should go behind the words and look at the facts. And the facts are that from the moment Spike got his soul back he never derailed from the right path (Can we say the same about Angel?). Since then Spike has fought at Buffy’s side and has died to save the world, and then after being brought back in LA he has helped Angel several times and saved several people, one of which is Fred when he sacrificed what he believed to be his only chance of safety. So how can you say that souled Spike chose “the path of seeming destruction”? On a side note, in the light of all this, knowing that Angel knows, his contempt and dislike of Spike really says a lot more about Angel than about Spike…

    Some other thoughts:

    Spike chose to lose his soul and become a vampire? I’ve watched fool for love several times but I saw nothing of the sort and this is the first time I hear this theory…. can you quote something that proves it?

    I don’t think they take Dana away from Angel’s control because they don’t trust him, they do it because Dana is their business, not Angel’s. But what makes me wonder about is instead why Angel was so bent on keeping Dana under his control and the fact that Buffy & Co. expected him to try. They didn’t trust him to not interfere and it seems they were right in their distrust.

    About Spike’s past being far darker than Andrew’s… Am I only one to think that a souled human who cold bloodily kills a friend is much worse than a demon that kills because that’s its nature (just like a lion killing a gazelle)?

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  19. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on February 6, 2015.]

    Ok, when you say that Spike is in it for the thrill and for the fun while Angel only fights demons to atone, I have the feeling that you are talking of the old Spike, the unsouled one, dismissing all that has happened in Buffy S7 (when Spike wouldn’t even kill other demons until Buffy provoked him to get his help)

    No, I’m referring to the current, Angel S5 Spike. “Just Rewards” (as I explained in my review of that episode) and the episodes immediately following it very much try to divert our attention from the big developments Spike went through in Buffy S7 in order to set Spike up as a more of an effective foil to Angel. “Damage” is meant to exemplify the rivalry between Spike and Angel, but it capitalizes more on the Spike we’ve seen on S5 of Angel than near the end of Buffy.

    About Angel seeing himself and Angelus as a single being… I’m curious: where do you get this idea? From what I know it’s pretty much established, by the show, the viewers, the other characters and by Angel himself, that he detaches himself by Angelus. That’s why he uses two different names and the third person when speaking of his other persona.

    If I remember correctly from when I wrote this review (it’s been a while), the line of thought we’re meant to infer is that although Angel does everything he can to distance himself from the persona of Angelus, he is still haunted by the notion that the two of them are one and the same, and even in his soulful state, he takes full responsibility for Angelus’ actions.

    Spike chose to lose his soul and become a vampire? I’ve watched fool for love several times but I saw nothing of the sort and this is the first time I hear this theory…. can you quote something that proves it?

    Spike agreed to Drusilla’s offer to give him something “effulgent”. He didn’t read the fine print, but he did offer himself willingly to whatever she had in mind.

    Looking back at this review, I can see that some of my points may have come off as a little vague. My half-hearted excuse is that was one of my first reviews for CT, or anywhere, for that matter, and I was trying so hard to cut straight to the analysis-worthy details of the episode that I may have hastily glossed over the main points that breed those details in the first place.

    (On another note – am I imagining things, or is it “Look Back on Jeremy’s Early Writing Weaknesses” Week?)

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  20. [Note: NightLady posted this comment on February 6, 2015.]

    Hi Jeremy, thanks for your answer!

    No, I’m referring to the current, Angel S5 Spike. “Just Rewards” (as I explained in my review of that episode)

    I will read your review of just rewards to try to understand your point 🙂

    If I remember correctly from when I wrote this review (it’s been a while), the line of thought we’re meant to infer is that although Angel does everything he can to distance himself from the persona of Angelus, he is still haunted by the notion that the two of them are one and the same, and even in his soulful state, he takes full responsibility for Angelus’ actions.

    Ok, I get what you are saying but I still fail to see why you think it’s different for Spike. After getting his soul back he has been haunted a lot by his past and just because he has a different way of dealing with his guilt, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t feel responsible. Why else would he stick around fighting the good fight at Angel’s side?

    Spike agreed to Drusilla’s offer to give him something “effulgent”. He didn’t read the fine print, but he did offer himself willingly to whatever she had in mind.

    But that surely doesn’t translate as “Spike chosing to lose his soul and become a vampire”?

    (On another note – am I imagining things, or is it “Look Back on Jeremy’s Early Writing Weaknesses” Week?)

    Uh? Sorry, can you elaborate?

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  21. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on February 6, 2015.]

    Ok, I get what you are saying but I still fail to see why you think it’s different for Spike. After getting his soul back he has been haunted a lot by his past and just because he has a different way of dealing with his guilt, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t feel responsible. Why else would he stick around fighting the good fight at Angel’s side?

    Spike had been fighting evil for years before he got his soul, so there’s motive for him to continue. There was a period of torment he went through in early Buffy S7, but “Chosen” more or less wrapped up the “Spike’s soul” arc.

    On the one hand, I hold it against the Angel writers for not using Spike’s soul for continuing to develop him more personally, but on the other hand, I think “Damages” worked pretty well by showing the differences (which are substantial, any way you cut it) in Angel and Spike’s views of “fighting the good fight”, even if it, like much of S5, lost some of the intense drama of Buffy S7 in the process.

    But that surely doesn’t translate as “Spike chosing to lose his soul and become a vampire”?

    No, it probably doesn’t. Read the second-to-last paragraph of my previous comment (#19). I thought the way Spike was sired as opposed to the way Angel was made for an interesting comparison (and I still do), but I may have jumped the gun a bit in my analysis.

    To elaborate on my view: William was lucid and consciously accepted Drusilla’s proposition, even if he wasn’t aware of the consequences. Compare this to Liam, who was confused and inebriated with little more on his mind than “Ho, pretty girl!” when he met Darla. I just always found this difference interesting.

    Uh? Sorry, can you elaborate?

    In-joke. Just a few days ago, someone else commented on one of my older reviews (“We’ve Got Spirit”, from Freaks and Geeks) and brought something up which suggested one of the points I made in my review wasn’t perfectly clear. That just came to my mind when I read some of your comments. It wasn’t directed at you personally, though.

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  22. [Note: Other Scott posted this comment on February 6, 2015.]

    In-joke. Just a few days ago, someone else commented on one of my older reviews (“We’ve Got Spirit”, from Freaks and Geeks) and brought something up which suggested one of the points I made in my review wasn’t perfectly clear. That just came to my mind when I read some of your comments. It wasn’t directed at you personally, though.

    That commenter was a jerk.

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  23. [Note: NightLady posted this comment on February 6, 2015.]

    On the one hand, I hold it against the Angel writers for not using Spike’s soul for continuing to develop him more personally, but on the other hand, I think “Damages” worked pretty well by showing the differences (which are substantial, any way you cut it) in Angel and Spike’s views of “fighting the good fight”, even if it, like much of S5, lost some of the intense drama of Buffy S7 in the process.

    I have read several complains about Spike’s arch, mostly from his fans, but I’m personally quite satisfied by his role in ATS. There were times when he was made to look a bit stupid, but I think once in a while it has happened to all the buffyverse characters, no one was spared, so it doesn’t bother me much. And I can understand the writers’ choice to not dwell further about Spike’s soul. The main character was Angel not Spike and they had already played the soul card enough with Angel, to repeat it with Spike would have been redundant and boring. Also I really believe that his actions were believable, that they were In Character. But that’s only my personal opinion, of course.

    I thought the way Spike was sired as opposed to the way Angel was made for an interesting comparison (and I still do), but I may have jumped the gun a bit in my analysis.
    To elaborate on my view: William was lucid and consciously accepted Drusilla’s proposition, even if he wasn’t aware of the consequences. Compare this to Liam, who was confused and inebriated with little more on his mind than “Ho, pretty girl!” when he met Darla. I just always found this difference interesting.

    It always strikes me how viewers can draw such different conclusions watching the same scenes! Like you I think that there is an interesting difference between the way the two were sired and this adds to my opinion of both characters…but I came to the opposite conclusion. This is my take: when Drusilla makes her appearance, William’s first thought is that she is a pickpocket. This, together with his mother reactions later when he goes back home after having been turned, makes me think that at that time they know nothing about vampires. They are unaware of their existence. So how can he possible imagine what she is offering him? She just tells him “I see what you want. Something glowing and glistening. Something… effulgent.” And the use of that specific word clearly shocks him. William is upset, he has been rejected and humiliated for all his life, so in no way do I believe he was ‘lucid’, not emotionally at least. He was an easy prey to Drusilla who made him believe that finally someone understood him, wanted him. So he accepts but without knowing what he is accepting, and you can clearly see the confusion and the surprise on his face when she goes in game face.

    On the other hand we have Liam. You say he is confused and inebriated… is it only because he is just coming out of a pub? Because that’s not what I perceive when I watch the scene, he seems enough lucid and self-confident to me. Anyway, I believe Liam knows about the vampires existence, and this gets very clear when he speaks with his father after being sired. So when he meets this beautiful woman who walks alone in the night and offers to show him “Things he has never seen, never even heard of. Things exciting. And frightening” he understands at once what she is and what she is talking about and he accepts. Consciously. Unlike William, we even see Liam drinking the vampire’s blood…
    So in my opinion, the big difference is that Liam became a vampire willingly (and the fact that he later resents the soul he was cursed with further confirms my theory), while William didn’t.

    In-joke. Just a few days ago, someone else commented on one of my older reviews (“We’ve Got Spirit”, from Freaks and Geeks) and brought something up which suggested one of the points I made in my review wasn’t perfectly clear. That just came to my mind when I read some of your comments. It wasn’t directed at you personally, though.

    Ok, all is fine, then 🙂

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  24. [Note: Iguana-on-a-stick posted this comment on February 8, 2015.]

    Meanwhile, Spike sees his soulless and soulful selves as two separate individuals, and the wicked deeds of the former are not the burden of the latter. Now, is this a line of reasoning we can let him apply to himself? As we saw in “Fool for Love”, Spike chose to lose his soul and become a vampire.

    I have to say, Jeremy, that while I think your review of this episode itself is excellent, this is an utterly preposterous reading of the character of Spike.

    Spike “chose to lose his soul?” Really? Nothing Drusilla said could remotely have led him to assume that’s what she was talking about. He did not know vampires existed. All he saw was a pretty lady offering him a chance at love, just when he had been convinced he was utterly unlovable. William was a romantic, not a nihilist choosing to lose his soul to escape his pain. And it was that very romantic nature that made him able to seek it out again later. This is perhaps the single most defining aspect of his character, right from the moment he steps on the screen.

    On the other hand we have Liam. You say he is confused and inebriated… is it only because he is just coming out of a pub? Because that’s not what I perceive when I watch the scene, he seems enough lucid and self-confident to me

    Can’t agree with this either, Nightlady. Liam was very clearly drunk in that scene, he’s staggering when he leaves that pub and his friend passes out right in the street. He almost certainly drank as much, but just is able to hold his liquor better. And alcohol is a great confidence booster.

    Even if the people in Galway had some vague knowledge about “demons” it seems a big stretch to assume Liam understood what Darla was. Even if he hadn’t been drunk. The way I see it, neither Spike nor Angel really understood what they were getting into.

    If there’s a difference between their becoming vampires it’s this: when Liam accepted Darla’s offer, he was just drunk and looking for an escape. William, on the other hand, was in severe emotional turmoil and not thinking clearly for that reason. So I’m rather more sympathetic to his poor decision making than to Liam’s. But mostly it’s as Stake quotes in the first comment here: they’re both innocent victims, and neither was in their right minds or had any clue what was going on.

    Meanwhile, Spike sees his soulless and soulful selves as two separate individuals, and the wicked deeds of the former are not the burden of the latter.

    Now, back to the first part of that first bit I quoted. This also seems like a really weird thing to say, Jeremy. Spike is the one who sees his soulless and soulful self as two individuals? Really? Compared to the guy with the differently named persona’s? I’ve posted enough on this forum on my views on how Angel and Angelus are mostly the same person, but there’s no denying that Angel is the one with the weird identity issues going on.

    With Spike, it’s something else entirely. He disclaims -responsibility- for his actions while soulless, but not his identity. It’s the difference between saying “I wasn’t in my right mind when I did that” and “It wasn’t me, it was my evil personality!” The former obviously is far less of a stretch.

    And this keys in to the main point “Damage” is actually making about the characters, namely in how they approach their past crimes. What we see here is that Angel feels he has to atone for the crimes of his soulless self (even if he tries his hardest to see his past self as a different person) and sees himself as being in need of redemption, while Spike feels that his actions while soulless (that he freely admits to) are water under the bridge and the only important thing is to do good deeds in the here and now. No use crying over spilled milk, and all that.

    We have had several seasons’ worth of Angel’s search for redemption, and the dark paths this can drive him down to. (See the Darla arc in s2.) What we learn in this episode is that Spike’s approach, while ostensibly healthier and somewhat more logical, can also lead him astray. In his case, it induces a cavalier attitude and a lack of caring for the past that leads him to make more mistakes, and it lessens his empathy for the people he is helping. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it and all that. So where Angel has learned to brood less, Spike learns he shouldn’t just try to forget about his crimes.

    (Incidentally, their different attitude also matches their religions. Liam, as a catholic, would have believed in the need to do penance to earn forgiveness. William would probably have been an Anglican or Protestant of some sort and therefore believe in a different path to salvation, probably via some external bestowal of grace. It’s never made explicit, but it’s interesting to examine the characters from this angle.)

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  25. [Note: NightLady posted this comment on February 8, 2015.]

    Can’t agree with this either, Nightlady. Liam was very clearly drunk in that scene, he’s staggering when he leaves that pub and his friend passes out right in the street. He almost certainly drank as much, but just is able to hold his liquor better. And alcohol is a great confidence booster.

    Even if the people in Galway had some vague knowledge about “demons” it seems a big stretch to assume Liam understood what Darla was. Even if he hadn’t been drunk. The way I see it, neither Spike nor Angel really understood what they were getting into.

    Hi, Iguana-on-a-stick. I’m sorry but that’s not how I see it. Liam wasn’t drunk. Tipsy, maybe, but not drunk to the point that he wasn’t conscious of what he was getting into. When he follows Darla in the alley he walks very straight and when he talks to her there is nothing in what he says and how he says it implying that he is drunk. He doesn’t slurs, doesn’t falter, doesn’t struggle to find the right words. Actually his choice of words is even elaborate.

    As for the knowledge about vampires, the dialogue between Angelus and his father clearly shows that it’s not vague at all:

    Angel: “You’re no different from the rest of them, – are you, father? Cowering in their houses – boarding up the windows – smearing that foul herb in the doorways. You’d think something evil – and vile – and monstrous – had taken to terrorizing this village –and everyone in it.”
    Liam’s father: “Be gone, unclean thing! A demon can not enter a home where it’s not welcome. He must be invited!”
    Angel: “That’s true. – But I was invited.”

    The reference to what ‘the rest of them’ do leaves no doubt that the people of Liam’s city, and therefore Liam himself, knew a lot about vampires. He should have been stupid to not understand what was Darla and what she was talking about. And then he doesn’t simply accepts a vague offer, he says “yes, show me your world”.

    Later to his father:

    Angel: “You told me I wasn’t a man. You told me I was nothing. – and I believed you. You said I’d never amount to anything. Well, you were wrong. You see, father? – I have made something out of myself after all.”

    He doesn’t say “I have become”, he says “I have made”, implying he made a choice. Of course this is a minor point, but added to all the rest, I don’t understand how you can call it a stretch… in my opinion to make it clearer the writers only had to make Liam say “I know you are a vampire and I want to become one too” 😀

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  26. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on February 8, 2015.]

    I have to say, Jeremy, that while I think your review of this episode itself is excellent, this is an utterly preposterous reading of the character of Spike.

    Spike “chose to lose his soul?” Really? Nothing Drusilla said could remotely have led him to assume that’s what she was talking about. He did not know vampires existed. All he saw was a pretty lady offering him a chance at love, just when he had been convinced he was utterly unlovable. William was a romantic, not a nihilist choosing to lose his soul to escape his pain. And it was that very romantic nature that made him able to seek it out again later. This is perhaps the single most defining aspect of his character, right from the moment he steps on the screen.

    Um, excuse me, Iguana, but did you not read the last few comments here? I just explained to NightLady the meaning behind that very statement in the review, and even commented on the possibility of misinterpreting it.

    When reviewing things nowadays, I will usually try to take things through a careful step-by-step process of description, where I start my analysis with the obvious aspects of the episode, and then transition to the more subtle parts. Back when I wrote this “Damages” review, unfortunately, I think I forced things directly into the subtext.

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  27. [Note: Iguana-on-a-stick posted this comment on February 8, 2015.]

    You mean this bit?

    No, it probably doesn’t. Read the second-to-last paragraph of my previous comment (#19). I thought the way Spike was sired as opposed to the way Angel was made for an interesting comparison (and I still do), but I may have jumped the gun a bit in my analysis.

    I read it, but I felt it necessary to add my voice to the criticism of the original review, since that’s what most people will be reading.

    Plus, as Nightlady and I argue, I still think your version in comment 21 vastly overstates William’s complicity in becoming a vampire and doesn’t take his emotional state into account. As I argue above, I think the Cecily event would have rendered him at least as vulnerable to suggestion as Liam’s drinking did, and there was no way he could have understood “something effulgent” to mean “something supernatural and terrible.” He probably thought she meant sex. Or love. Hell, for all I know he thought she’d introduce him to an amazing community of sensitive poets who would appreciate him for his talents.

    But I did phrase my criticism of the original review rather harshly. And I should’ve added that I realised you no longer would put it quite as strongly as you did in the original review. Sorry for that.

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  28. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on February 8, 2015.]

    That’s all right. To tell the truth, I’m a bit surprised that I didn’t get feedback on that part of my review when it was first posted. (Most of the early comments are instead focused on the fact that I didn’t include the last few lines of the episode in the Quotes section.)

    To take it step-by-step: William was perfectly conscious and aware of his actions when he agreed to Drusilla’s proposition. As you say, he had no idea what this proposition truly entailed. The fact remains, however, that he acquiesced without reservation. This is opposed to Liam, who (as I definitely saw it, NightLady) was not in a fully cognizant mental state when he first laid eyes on Darla.

    Looking at these two different scenarios from a subtler perspective, Spike may certainly not have seen the writing on the wall when Drusilla first approached him, but he has bragging rights over Angel when it comes to the “willingness” aspect of their origin stories. Which was the point I was trying to make in my review when discussing Spike and Angel’s differing perspectives and views of heroism.

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  29. [Note: Iguana-on-a-stick posted this comment on February 8, 2015.]

    Yeah, I’m not sure why I didn’t comment on that bit sooner. I do remember reading it, and liking it… I must have missed that paragraph somehow. Oops.

    Anyway, I still don’t see any real difference between Liam and William’s acceptance of their relative ladies’ offer. I re-watched both scenes prior to writing my first post today, and they are very similar. Liam may be drunk, but his speech isn’t slurred, his earlier clumsiness has faded, he’s flirting pretty damn well before Darla makes her offer. I say he’s just as conscious as William is, and he struggles less once he’s bitten and is shown to enthusiastically drink Darla’s blood. He seems very willing indeed. (But he’s just as ignorant. Or perhaps even slightly less, since as Nightlady points out his father seems to be familiar with basic vampire lore at least.)

    I think the point of these scenes is the similarities, not the differences which are superficial at best. The line Stake quotes really sums it up for me:

    Angel: She’s an innocent victim.
    Spike: So were we… once upon a time.
    Angel: Once upon a time.

    Both innocent victims.

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  30. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on February 8, 2015.]

    Wow. We just looped this conversation around to the very beginning of the comments section. Nice.

    Full disclosure time: When I originally wrote and submitted this review, it didn’t include those two paragraphs about Angel and Spike’s souls. Those were only added after Mike suggested I delve further into the characteristic differences between Angel and Spike. Because I was eager to have the review submitted and then ask Mike if I could review Freaks and Geeks, I just wrote down what I knew from memory, rather than pull out my Buffy DVDs and just rewatch the scenes from “Becoming” and “Fool for Love” again.

    That’s a long way of saying that I’ve decided to take the high road and blame Mike. 🙂

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  31. [Note: Iguana-on-a-stick posted this comment on February 8, 2015.]

    Heh. Good call.

    Off-topic-ish but perhaps helpful: I don’t think I could ever have written my reviews if I didn’t have copies of all the episodes on both shows stored on my computer’s hard-drive. Having to swap out my DVDs every time I wanted to look up a scene in a different episode would have been crippling, since by the time I would have found the scene in question I would have forgotten my original line of thought. Worse, sometimes I’m not sure which episode a scene is in and have to browse through three or four to find something. Impossible with DVDs. Perhaps something to consider.

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  32. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on February 8, 2015.]

    Oh, if I can’t remember a specific scene or line, I just look up the transcript. And I usually keep the disc housing whatever episode I review in my computer anyway, in case of emergencies. (It’s not a problem for Buffy or Angel anymore, since I now have both instantly available with Amazon Prime.)

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  33. [Note: NightLady posted this comment on February 9, 2015.]

    (But he’s just as ignorant. Or perhaps even slightly less, since as Nightlady points out his father seems to be familiar with basic vampire lore at least.)

    What’s really meaningful to me is that Angel/Liam is as familiar with vampires. He is the one who refers to what the people of his village do to keep the demons away and because he has just been turned I can only gather that he knew of vampires prior to being turned. And I also gather that the writers wanted the viewers to understand that Liam made a choice and was no innocent victim. Otherwise why show that he knew about vampires at all? Why have Liam look and act so sober in spite of all the liquor he supposedly drank? Why have Darla speak of ‘another, frightening world’?
    And I believe that this, among other things, is why Angel deals with his guilt so differently compared to Spike. But if I’m the only one to make this assumption, that’s fine 🙂

    It’s not a problem for Buffy or Angel anymore, since I now have both instantly available with Amazon Prime.)

    That’s interesting, Jeremy! How does it work?

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  34. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on February 9, 2015.]

    It’s a subscription bonus. If you have an Amazon Prime account, you can easily watch a slew of shows through Prime Instant Video.

    The selection of shows depends on your location, but I believe both the US and the UK have Buffy and Angel.

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  35. [Note: Iguana-on-a-stick posted this comment on February 9, 2015.]

    Thing is, that conversation with his father takes place days or maybe even weeks after Darla turned Liam. (We know this, because sufficient time has passed for the rumours of demons to go around the village and for his father to start taking countermeasures.) Days and weeks he’s spent terrorising the village. Days and weeks Darla has been teaching and mentoring him.

    It is at least equally likely that Darla taught him that stuff.

    Plus, that episode takes place years later (real time) on a spinoff show. If they wanted to depict Liam making a conscious choice to become a vampire, they should either have provided enough context in “Becoming” or spelled it out explicitly in “The Prodigal.” Neither is the case.

    As it is, the only thing we can say for certain is that the people of 18th century Galway had some (imprecise) knowledge of vampire lore. To assume that Liam was able to go from “vague myths about demons” to “the pretty lady propositioning me is -actually- a vampire and wants to turn me into one” in the span of 40 seconds of drunken flirting is a stretch, to say the least.

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  36. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on February 9, 2015.]

    I can confirm that the UK does indeed have both Buffy and Angel (and firefly, Community, Mad Men, BSG, Lost, The Walking Dead etc.) It’s a solid subscription service.

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  37. [Note: NightLady posted this comment on February 9, 2015.]

    I don’t remember nothing on the show stating how long has passed between Liam’s siring and the conversation with his father, so I surely don’t know what you think ‘we know’ 🙂

    Of course, if you consider the single events, scenes and phrases everything is equally likely, but I put all the pieces together and the context the writer provided was more than enough to me: Liam wasn’t drunk to the point of not understanding, the knowledge about vampires wasn’t imprecise and the pretty lady wasn’t making an innocent proposal.

    I don’t personally need the characters to spell things explicitly to come to the conclusion that Liam knew what he was getting into. You may find it stretched but that’s what seems very clear to me… and I could use your line of reasoning and ask you: if the writers wanted to depict Liam as an innocent victim why not have him clearly drunk (staggering, slurring etc)? why don’t have Darla attack him and bite him without the offer of showing him her world? why not spell it explicitly?

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  38. [Note: Iguana-on-a-stick posted this comment on February 9, 2015.]

    What’s really meaningful to me is that Angel/Liam is as familiar with vampires. He is the one who refers to what the people of his village do to keep the demons away and because he has just been turned I can only gather that he knew of vampires prior to being turned.

    This is where I don’t agree with your interpretation.

    ANGELUS: “You’re no different than the rest of them, are you, Father? Cowering in their houses. Boarding up the windows. Smearing that foul herb in the doorways. You’d think something evil and vile and monstrous had taken to terrorizing this village and everyone in it.”

    Angelus isn’t talking about generic anti-vampire measures the villagers take. He is referring to the preparations of the people in his village because he has just SEEN them do this to protect against him. Remember how he told Darla he was going to kill the entire village? That was the flashback scene right before this one. And that’s what he’s been doing. The “vile and monstrous” thing is him. He likely left his own family till last, because that fits his later modus operandi, though we can’t be certain.

    He has been killing people all over the village, and enough time has passed that his father heard that a demon was on the loose and that it was a vampire. That’s why his father is boarding up the windows and stringing up garlic. If Angel had only just risen and came here first, his father would not have known he was in danger. At least a day or two must have passed for this amount of panic, with repeated attacks occurring. Quite possibly longer.

    In this scene, Angel is surprised that his father is just as terrified as the other villagers were. He always thought of his father as this giant, intimidating figure, and now he turns out to be just another weak human.

    As for Liam having been an innocent victim: That’s what the conversation between Spike and Angel in this very episode says. That’s the line everybody’s been quoting. “So were we, once upon a time.” Seems pretty clear to me.

    All that said, it’s still not impossible that Liam knew something about vampires, nor is it impossible he suspected something was up with Darla’s offer. But to state unequivocally that “writers wanted the viewers to understand that Liam made a choice and was no innocent victim” is still stretching things.

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  39. [Note: NightLady posted this comment on February 10, 2015.]

    As for Liam having been an innocent victim: That’s what the conversation between Spike and Angel in this very episode says. That’s the line everybody’s been quoting. “So were we, once upon a time.” Seems pretty clear to me.

    I’ll start from the end, from the line you (and others) have quoted several times. I haven’t commented it before because while it is a nice bonding moment between Spike and Angel it really doesn’t mean a thing in regards of the topic ‘were Liam/Angel and William/Spike innocent victims or not?’. In fact I didn’t use this line to strengthen my argument about William being an innocent victim.

    Firstly a character proclaiming his own innocence doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true, not when the script shows otherwise (as in Angel’s case) or unless the script confirms it (as in Spike’s case). Yes, Spike says: “So were we (innocent victims)… once upon a time.” But Spike wasn’t even born when Liam was sired so he can’t know how Angel was sired. He can talk only about himself, about what happened to him, maybe deducing that it was the same for Angel. As for Angel he simply says “once upon a time”.
    “Once upon a time”… that’s all. I don’t know what’s so clear to you, honestly…

    ANGELUS: “You’re no different than the rest of them, are you, Father? Cowering in their houses. Boarding up the windows. Smearing that foul herb in the doorways. You’d think something evil and vile and monstrous had taken to terrorizing this village and everyone in it.”
    Angelus isn’t talking about generic anti-vampire measures the villagers take. He is referring to the preparations of the people in his village because he has just SEEN them do this to protect against him. Remember how he told Darla he was going to kill the entire village? That was the flashback scene right before this one. And that’s what he’s been doing. The “vile and monstrous” thing is him. He likely left his own family till last, because that fits his later modus operandi, though we can’t be certain.

    What does it matter if the villagers, and Liam’s fathers, were preparing to defend themselves against Angel or against some other vampires? The point is that they KNEW exactly HOW to protect themselves. As you said, they weren’t taking generic anti-vampire measures: ‘the foul herb’, the need to be invited… how would they know about all that? If Darla was the first vampire ever to come to their village and that was their first exposure to vampires, all they were supposed to know is that someone, something, was killing people. That’s all.
    … unless you believe that Angel and Darla spread this knowledge to the villagers while killing them? 😀

    He has been killing people all over the village, and enough time has passed that his father heard that a demon was on the loose and that it was a vampire.

    You realize you are contradicting yourself, yes?
    “His father heard that it was a vampire?” Doesn’t this mean that he ALREADY knew about vampires?

    That’s why his father is boarding up the windows and stringing up garlic. If Angel had only just risen and came here first, his father would not have known he was in danger. At least a day or two must have passed for this amount of panic, with repeated attacks occurring. Quite possibly longer.

    1-2 night of repeated attacks would be enough to terrorize the villagers, and knowing Angelus and Darla’s modus operandi they weren’t likely to expose themselves longer. We have seen them scold Spike because of his careless actions. Of course, it was Angel’s beginning as a vampire so I may believe that he wasn’t as careful as he later became. But Darla knew better so I wouldn’t stretch it to say longer time passed between Angel being sired and his visit to his father’s home. And we also have to consider that in a bigger amount of time someone was likely to recognize Angel and word would have spread that Liam was a demon. It was a village after all, not a metropolis. But his father didn’t suspect Liam had become a vampire… or he would have warned Liam’s sister against him.
    Anyway, 2 days or more, it wouldn’t still explain how could the villagers know so much about vampires if they didn’t already have a knowledge of their existence.

    In this scene, Angel is surprised that his father is just as terrified as the other villagers were. He always thought of his father as this giant, intimidating figure, and now he turns out to be just another weak human.

    Angel is scornful, sarcastic. Not surprised. But even so, I fail to see how Angel being surprised that his father is afraid of demons should be relevant to your theory and prove that Liam knew nothing about vampires…

    All that said, it’s still not impossible that Liam knew something about vampires, nor is it impossible he suspected something was up with Darla’s offer. But to state unequivocally that “writers wanted the viewers to understand that Liam made a choice and was no innocent victim” is still stretching things.

    If these were real conversations, made by real people in a real world, I would agree. But these are words thought by the writers – WANTED by the writers – and maybe I put too much faith in them but I believe there (usually) is a reason if they choose to have the characters say what they say and act the way they act. That’s why when considering events from a show (especially Buffy) I have a… let’s say ‘mathematic’ approach. And just as one + one + one = three, so Liam knowing + Liam suspecting + Liam accepting = Liam was no innocent victim. You think it’s stretching? Yes, you said so three times already but that’s only your opinion and not really a valid argument. All the rest has actually made me more persuaded of what was at the beginning just a bit more than a feeling.

    Nice debate, anyway 🙂

    Like

  40. [Note: Iguana-on-a-stick posted this comment on February 11, 2015.]

    I’ve been agreeing all along that the villagers must have had some knowledge of vampire lore and that therefore it’s quite possible Liam knew they existed.

    I just assumed that people in the village knew -of- vampires from folklore and legend, just as we do, without ever having seen one. Otherwise a single newborn vampire like Angel would not have been able to terrorise the entire village. But this is speculation, I’ll admit.

    What I question is Liam’s ability to tell Darla is a vampire in 20 seconds of conversation. If I’m right and vampires indeed are just a legend to these people, then knowing about doors and garlic doesn’t translate to being able to identify one. And he doesn’t seem to be at all afraid of her. Surely being eaten is a more likely outcome than being turned if you follow a vampire down an alley?

    But all this is plot-logic. My bigger issue with Liam knowingly becoming a vampire is that it messes up his overall character-arc. A Liam who knowingly becomes a monster to get revenge on his father… well, he is a monster already. So why would he feel so much remorse on getting his soul back? Why is he so different in his days on the show? Why would he be a -better- person after living as a vampire for 100+ years than when he was a human?

    His story just makes so much more sense to me if he was a foolish, drunken lout who never thought about anything beyond his short-term pleasures out of feelings of inadequacy and daddy-issues who then was turned into a monster without volition, than if he actually chose to become a monster. If he chose it, I think he would have acted more like Darla did when she was turned human. He would have tried much harder to remain evil. He’d probably have succeeded, too.

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  41. [Note: NightLady posted this comment on February 11, 2015.]

    I just assumed that people in the village knew -of- vampires from folklore and legend, just as we do, without ever having seen one. Otherwise a single newborn vampire like Angel would not have been able to terrorise the entire village. But this is speculation, I’ll admit.

    When Buffy is concerned I love speculation so I’m totally fine with it 🙂
    Back to the topic, we don’t know how the villagers knew about vampires, if it was a legend or they had first-hand experiences with them. But we do know that Angel was not the first and not alone, because Darla was there before him and I doubt she had eaten no one before and after her encounter with Liam.

    What I question is Liam’s ability to tell Darla is a vampire in 20 seconds of conversation. If I’m right and vampires indeed are just a legend to these people, then knowing about doors and garlic doesn’t translate to being able to identify one. And he doesn’t seem to be at all afraid of her. Surely being eaten is a more likely outcome than being turned if you follow a vampire down an alley?

    I’m not saying that Liam spotted Darla as a vampire at once. He saw a pretty lady and followed her, but when they talked her words HAD to make him suspect something. Because who talks of showing other worlds and of frightening things?
    And at that point it was clear that Darla had no intention of eating him.

    But all this is plot-logic. My bigger issue with Liam knowingly becoming a vampire is that it messes up his overall character-arc. A Liam who knowingly becomes a monster to get revenge on his father… well, he is a monster already. So why would he feel so much remorse on getting his soul back? Why is he so different in his days on the show? Why would he be a -better- person after living as a vampire for 100+ years than when he was a human?

    I’m not saying Liam choose to become a vampire to get revenge on his father (as in planning to kill him). I think he wanted to prove himself, to be powerful (and this fits with my view of Angel as a character), and that it wasn’t a thought out decision but a spur of the moment foolish one, fuelled by his fascination by Darla and what she was offering him. I believe he didn’t really understand what being a vampire meant, just like those fools that wanted to become vampires in a Buffy episode (I can’t remember the title) and to me the fact that he hadn’t been an innocent victim actually explains better why in his days he feels so much remorse and deals so differently with it from souled Spike. He gave his consent, of course that would make him feel more guilty of his evil deeds.

    His story just makes so much more sense to me if he was a foolish, drunken lout who never thought about anything beyond his short-term pleasures out of feelings of inadequacy and daddy-issues who then was turned into a monster without volition, than if he actually chose to become a monster. If he chose it, I think he would have acted more like Darla did when she was turned human. He would have tried much harder to remain evil. He’d probably have succeeded, too.

    If I remember well, Darla wanted to go back being a demon only when she discovered that she was dying? Anyway Angel did try to remain evil. The first think he did after souled was try to kill a woman, then he went back to the other vampires, hiding the fact that he had a soul, and went on killing humans for 70 years. Murderers, rapists, not ‘innocents’… but still humans.

    Like

  42. [Note: naoss posted this comment on February 22, 2015.]

    After he go his soul back, Angel doesn’t join the three others right after. Then only 2 years pass between him getting his soul back and getting expelled two times by Darla. Not 70 years.

    Like

  43. [Note: NightLady posted this comment on February 23, 2015.]

    You are right, Angel didn’t join the three other vampires right after. He first tried to kill a woman and THEN he went back to the others. Didn’t I write so? And I know that he wasn’t with Darla for 70 years, but ‘only’ for 2 years (or 730 days). All he did in the 68 years left, he did on his own 🙂

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  44. [Note: naoss posted this comment on February 24, 2015.]

    All he did in the 68 years left was brooding, feeding on animals, turning Sam Lawson to save his crew, trying to save people agains’t the Thesulac before being hanged by the mob, feeding on a man he didn’t killing and blaming himself for decades.

    After he left Darla the second time, Angel didn’t feed on humans or killed people. He just didn’t have a pro active role in saving people or tried to connect with people in any significant way.

    He wasn’t a champion, but he wasn’t a bad guy either. Just a “man” that tried to not get involved with anyone and refraining himself from feeding on anyone. All of this is shown on the show, but i suggest you to watch Orpheus, Why we Fight, Becoming (Buffy) and Are you now or have you ever been, for the period between the Boxing Rebellion and Buffy’s first season, to see how the lone soulfull Angel behave.

    Like

  45. [Note: NightLady posted this comment on February 25, 2015.]

    Thank you for the suggestion but it’s not needed. I know the show pretty well and there is no evidence that in those 68 years he was feeding on animals. Actually the contrary. We know that he was feeding on humans in the 2 years he was with Darla, that he had no qualms in killing Sam (and no, it was not to save the crew) and he started feeding on animals ONLY 70 years after beng cursed, when he had that break down for feeding on the dead man. So, like it or not, it’s canon that in all those years he survived feeding on humans.

    About the people you say he was trying to save, you weirdly forgot how it ended:

    Thesulac: “Hey, you know what? There is an entire hotel here just full of tortured souls that could really use your help. – What do you say?”
    Angel: “Take them all.”

    Maybe you are the one who should watch the show? 😉

    Like

  46. [Note: naoss posted this comment on February 25, 2015.]

    You need to at least watch Orpheus.

    The guy that he fed on on the 70s was the only guy he fed on for decades, and he felt guilty for feeding on THIS guy for 2 decades, as said by Angelus.

    Why would he feel guilty for THIS guy, that he didn’t even kill, for decades, if he fed on 9999 guys that year ? He feel guilty for this guy because he didn’t feed on anyone else for over a century. What he does after that is living in the sewers for 20 years to not see ANY humans.

    Even when he reached USA in 1902 he already stopped from feeding on humans, avoiding them as much as he could to not feel tempted. In 1920 it is confirmed again that he didn’t fed on any humans for decades.

    If you don’t want to see the episode, fine, but don’t state the opposite of what is confirmed.

    Like

  47. [Note: Pathbeyondthedark posted this comment on February 25, 2015.]

    The reason he said that was because they all hung him via noose from the ceiling. At that point, he didn’t feel the need to atone for his past sins and instead just refrained from committing anymore. Here, he tries for once to help but is spat on, so it clouded his judgment. There’s also the fact that the demon itself could have been influencing Angel’s decision at that moment, since we know it’s the soul and not necessarily the body that is usually prone to such manipulation at the hands of magic or demonic power.

    And “Orpheus” clearly makes it apparent that Angel hadn’t fed on a human in many years according to Angelus, although season 5 provides an inconsistency to his statement. Still, nothing suggests he fed on humans on more then a couple of occasions, and one more implication of this also occurs in “Orpheus” where Angel scares a woman away purposefully in order to avoid temptation.

    Like

  48. [Note: NightLady posted this comment on March 3, 2015.]

    I see that you ignored all I said about Sam and the Thesulac… I wonder why!

    You need to at least watch Orpheus.

    And you need to understand that keeping implying that I didn’t watch it it’s a stupid argument (or no argument at all) and one that just makes you appear conceited and rude

    The guy that he fed on on the 70s was the only guy he fed on for decades… as said by Angelus.

    The only references to this come from an established liar in his dream, so I’m sorry but it really doesn’t prove anything. Unless you have something else?

    Why would he feel guilty for THIS guy, that he didn’t even kill, for decades, if he fed on 9999 guys that year ? He feel guilty for this guy because he didn’t feed on anyone else for over a century.

    Over a century.. ? Aren’t you twisting things too much?
    Anyway, Angel felt guilty for the victim of the robbery because he was innocent unlike those other humans he had been feeding on (who btw he himself had decided were disposable), and because he was disgusted by his own weakness and lack of control that made him feed on a dead body. Now I’m turning the question to you: you have said yourself that he killed while he was with Darla and was already souled… so why didn’t he feel guilty for the 730 LIVING people (assuming that he eat once a day) he had fed on/killed in those 2 years? Why didn’t he have the break down at the time? Or after killing Sam? Shouldn’t killing and turning a living human have been worse than feeding on someone who was already dead?

    What he does after that is living in the sewers for 20 years to not see ANY humans.

    Except that he wasn’t in the sewers when Whistler met him 😉

    Even when he reached USA in 1902 he already stopped from feeding on humans, avoiding them as much as he could to not feel tempted.

    He definitely wasn’t avoiding humans. In 1952 he was staying in a hotel full of people. In 1967 he attended Elvis Presley’s wedding. In 1970 he went to a concert. In all the flashbacks he is ALWAYS shown to be surrounded by humans and in cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas. Weird choices of places to go to for someone who wanted to ‘avoid’ people…
    Source: http://buffy.wikia.com/wiki/Angel

    In 1920 it is confirmed again that he didn’t fed on any humans for decades.

    Again, have you something else apart from the words of a liar?

    If you don’t want to see the episode, fine, but don’t state the opposite of what is confirmed.

    I’ve already answered at the first part (stupid argument etc) and l’ll repeat myself about the second: your ‘it’s confirmed’ comes from your fan desire of believing the words of someone who has lied over and over again (WITH and without his soul) to make himself look better. Just to make an example, in ‘Angel’ (BTVS S1) souled Angel tells Buffy that he hasn’t fed on humans from the day he was cursed but we KNOW that it’s a lie*. And we know it because we SEE it and it’s coherent with the story and with logic. That’s how it works when something is ‘confirmed’.

    Anyway, I was wrong about the 70 years, they are a lot more. In fact Angel is still killing humans 😉

    *let me know if you need other examples 😉

    Like

  49. [Note: NightLady posted this comment on March 3, 2015.]

    The reason he said that was because they all hung him via noose from the ceiling. At that point, he didn’t feel the need to atone for his past sins and instead just refrained from committing anymore. Here, he tries for once to help but is spat on, so it clouded his judgment. There’s also the fact that the demon itself could have been influencing Angel’s decision at that moment, since we know it’s the soul and not necessarily the body that is usually prone to such manipulation at the hands of magic or demonic power.

    There is nothing suggesting that Angel was influenced by magic. That said, I’m sorry but justifying Angel’s action may work for you but it definitely doesn’t work for me. At this point Angel has been souled for exactly 54 years and even if in modern days he will talk a lot about his century of torment and guilt he doesn’t look at all so tormented in those flashbacks. What I see is someone who’s bored because he can’t do what he would like to do. So a pretty girl asks for his help (and isn’t it always about a pretty girl? Lol), he tries to help her, even if at the beginning he does so just to be left alone, and when he doesn’t get the rewards he was expecting, when he feels betrayed by all those humans (who’s judgment was indeed clouded by the magic) he leaves them to their destiny with no qualms at all. You call it clouded judgment? I call it lack of moral, lack of sentiment, lack of conscience.

    And “Orpheus” clearly makes it apparent that Angel hadn’t fed on a human in many years according to Angelus, although season 5 provides an inconsistency to his statement. Still, nothing suggests he fed on humans on more then a couple of occasions, and one more implication of this also occurs in “Orpheus” where Angel scares a woman away purposefully in order to avoid temptation.

    As I answered to Naoss, Angel’s words (or Angelus’ if you like to think that they are two separate personas) are not reliable and you said yourself that there are inconsistencies to them. As for the woman he scares away, if you read carefully my previous comments you’ll see that I’ve always said that he couldn’t kill people he believed to be “innocents”. Unless of course he felt he was “justified” to do it, as happened with Sam Lawson.
    So he may not have fed (or killed) thousands of innocents in the 72 years before the episode of the robbery but there is ample proof that he killed and that he wasn’t looking for redemption. Now, does it really matter how many humans did he kill?

    Like

  50. [Note: naoss posted this comment on March 3, 2015.]

    I will keep short.

    – What fact in the series contradict what was established in Orpheus. Which episode ? Unless shown otherwise, a stated fact is a stated fact. Beside that, it fit with the character behavior.

    – You mention that Angel killing people in Boxer Rebellion as contradicting Angel statement in Buffy Season 1. You have the facts that support your point on this one, as the episode explicitly show you. Once again, which episode tells you that Angel kept killing people, once he didn’t have to prove himself to Darla, once it became clear that he was no longer able to be with his buddies, once he started to avoid people as much as he could, once he started to save puppies, once it is stated that he didn’t kill for decades ? Which episode ? Which comics ?

    – Not only you disregard canon content for your fanon but you pretend that your fanon is the truth even while it is contradicting what is actually shown and told in the show. That you might doubt some statement is one thing, that you take the opposite and call it a fact is entirelly different. At that point, you can say that Giles is blind from season 4 onward. Of course, he might say otherwise, but you decide what is canon, not the writters & directors who tell you the story.

    Don’t take it the wrong way, when i tell you to rewatch these episodes, it is for better aknowledgement of what it is stated on the very show you want to comment. You were talking about Mulder and scully, i wouldn’t have pointed you to those Angel episodes.

    Like

  51. [Note: naoss posted this comment on March 3, 2015.]

    About Sam Lawson, he sired the guy because he was fatally wounded and needed to be alive to repair/pilot the submarine. If he didn’t do it, the whole crew would have died. He made the call to save a guy already dying, at the cost of the man’s soul, to save other humans. He didn’t fed on the guys, and he didn’t killed. Although, the best course of action would have been to kill him afterward, as Lawson actually did kill people in the following years. Once again, he wasn’t yet helping the helpless of hunting demons/vampires at the time. But even at buffy’s time, he didn’t do much agains’t Spike/Drusilla or Darla until she tried to kill Buffy.

    Not saying Angel is a great guy. But if you want to turn him into a souled murderer for 100 years, you have to give some facts/statemnt to support your theory, especially if it is contradicting the established lore.

    Like

  52. [Note: Rando posted this comment on January 21, 2017.]

    Amidst all these arguments about Spike and Angel (I’m getting horrific flashbacks to the constant fights between the two ‘fanbases’ getting upset at the idea their favorite vam-pyre might be getting belittled in any way), I was hoping someone would note the very tangible connection between the Watcher’s Council of old and this new iteration. Just beneath the surface of the idea that the Slayers (and associated personnel) take care of their own is a distinct sense of control. While there’s an argument that they’re responsible — after all, Buffy did create this mess in the first place — there’s also the implication in Andrew’s words that the Scoobies/new Watchers feel outright proprietary about the Slayers. They take Dana because they feel it’s their prerogative; it seems to muddle up the clear moral lines almost as much as the AI group in Wolfram & Hart insofar as being corrupted. Recreating the Watchers Council raises the same basic questions — is it the nature of organizations to inevitably corrupt those who try to control them? I don’t know about the rest of you, but I got the distinct sense that there’s no more reason to trust Buffy/Giles/etc with Dana than Angel and company. Dana isn’t a person to them. She’s a Slayer, and the insinuation that this makes her theirs to take in is every bit as troubling as anything taking place in this season of ‘Angel’.

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