Episodes like this intrigue me.
They make me ask questions like "How much did who know and when?"
In the entire course of the episode, no one introduced Doyle to Spike as "Doyle."
Fast forward to S5, when Lindsey is presenting himself to Spike as a connection to the PTB, he calls himself "Doyle" and of course Spike has no reference on the name.
Is it even possible that in the third episode of "Angel," Joss actually had S5 storylines in mind?
Or was Spike never catching Doyle's name just a strange coincidence?
These are questions one asks oneself in a review of a mighty fine episode.
I'd not remembered this one being this good. I enjoyed, as did everyone, Spike's rooftop color commentary on Angel and Rachel. And with everything going on in this episode, it's amazing they had the time they did to follow up with her, to talk about her addiction to the abusive relationship.
"Addiction. Everyone's got one," Spike said to Angel as part of a strangely introspective episode, which raised the very good question: "You're a detective?" I loved that exchange. "What's next? Vampire cowboy? Vampire dentist? Vampire ballerina?"
Which was blocked very badly because Angel saying he liked working with his legs too broadly telegraphed his next move in the fight. But beyond that one crappy lapse, most of the fight scenes were pretty intense. Certainly the torture scene was. And how contextually Angel was played on his way into that trap -- the "slip of the tongue" by one of Doyle's contacts, and then from there.
I know Spike is the only one who knows where they've got Angel. But that needed to be said out loud once. There were too many good opportunities for someone to stake Spike and no one did.
I hate that I got all the way to this paragraph before mentioning Oz, but thus has it shaken out. I loved Oz in this eppy. I think if they'd sent the ring with just about anyone else, Cordy and [whoever else] would have more to say to each other. But that was a good awkward point of illustration saying "Hey -- living some independent lives here on independent shows."
That and Oz got to burst in and save the day. And then Angel, still in daylight, still recovering from soul-searing torture, saves the children from Marcus.
Spike was very well written in this episode. His writing was much better than his makeup, which reminded me of the Insane Clown Posse. But y'know what? Damn' decent performance all the same. His itchiness with Marcus and his break-in at Angel's were some very cool scenes.
No bothersome visions to overanalyze -- Rachel was a walk-in -- and Doyle's suggestion that they're not always going to be paid for the help they provide is an interesting point. But it's cool that they've tracked down enough of a small business loan for Cordy to have a computer on her desk and a printer. Go Cordy -- get that office set up with yo' bad self.
I wish Angel hadn't smashed the ring. There's situations where it would've come in handy. But then, when your main character is entirely invulnerable, that can get boring to write and really boring to watch. All the same, which his rationalization was reasonably good storywise, I'm afraid the fact remains that Angel had a powerful weapon in his arsenal and he destroyed it.
But then, that went in the direction of who he was, who he was going to be. He wasn't going to be Superman. He was going to earn his redemption the hard way. And part of that "forgiveness" he said he wanted, part of that redemption, was living the guilt and pain and experiencing the limitations of vampire existence as well as the benefits. Like I said -- nice bit of introspection.
All in all, for all of my kvetching, I truly enjoyed this episode. Lots going on, good writing, nice ties to Sunnydale and good to see Spike and Oz on the soundstage.
Well done, everyone. :)