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Bit's post on Hopeless ( brought back) & Question: What's a hero? (very vague spoiler for ATS 5.6) -- s'kat, 22:06:40 11/05/03 Wed

Hope no one minds - but I decided to honor Lunasea's request and bring back Bit's post, due to some niggling questions in my own head regarding tonight's episode and recent posts/essays on line. I also think Bit's post oddly enough addresses several of themes at the heart of tonight's episode.

"Date Posted: 19:10:36 10/31/03 Fri
Author: LittleBit [rambling longishly]
Subject: Angel, hopelessness and helplessness...

The following are just some thoughts of mine.

When Angel Investigations is originally by Cordelia (let's be honest here, without her there never would have been a business), their slogan was "We help the hopeless."

From "I Fall To Pieces": Cordy: Angel Investigation. We help the hopeless.

From "Room With a View": Machine in Cordy's voice: "Angel Investigations. We help the hopeless. If that's you leave a message. [Beep]"

At some point between the inception of AI and the current season, this changed. Hopeless became helpless. Despair was replaced with inability to act or react. Now it's neither. Angel Investigations has been consumed by Wolfram & Hart. Hopeless and helpless are now what defines Angel, no longer what he devotes himself to alleviating.

Hopelessness, part of the original slogan, is something that Angel has often felt, if not nearly constantly. I believe it is a large part of what defined Liam. No matter what he did he never seemed to please his father, so that he eventually lost any hope of doing so and thus chose to do that which he knew would not please him. There's a certain control in that choice. If what you do meets with inevitable disapproval then doing that which you know is undesirable behavior to get that reaction becomes better than actually trying for approval and failing. Liam gleefully accepts Darla's offer, seeing naught more than a new adventure, one that would have his father's disapproval, of course.

As Angelus, he sought vengeance first, cold anger and hatred replacing the hopelessness; he embarked on a campaign of evil that made him legendary in demonic circles as well as among those humans who were aware of his activities. He did things not to enrage his father but because he enjoyed them. He had found hope in a new sense of purpose. He made cruelty into an art form. Angelus was not hopeless-this was a concept foreign to him. He had desires and he satisfied them. In one case, his action caused a reaction that cursed him with his soul, which brought back his hopelessness along with overwhelming guilt over his actions. In another instance, he did that which would eventually lead him to the lowest point in his life/unlife, taking the lives of one man's family and turning his young daughter. Angelus was never helpless, either. He was in control. Even when the Fanged Four was together, and Spike was annoying the heck out of him with what Angelus saw as reckless behavior, he was still in control of the group, the leader.

After he was cursed with the soul, the direct result of his murder of a favorite daughter of the Kalderash gypsy clan, he was stricken not only with the guilt of all he had done as Angelus, but with the hopelessness he had known as Liam. He attempted to hide the change, unsuccessfully. He tried to rationalize his situation, seeking out the unsavory to feed upon, telling himself the world was better off without them. Darla suspected something, and tested him, then threw him to the streets as soon as she found out.

Angel spent the next century, give or take a few years, wallowing in his guilt and hopelessness. He occasionally did 'right' things but these things are more ones that fall across his path, as opposed to ones he sought out. Even his attempt to help in the Hyperion Hotel failed. Angel didn't try to help because he cared about the people, he just found himself in the middle of a situation. When they turned on him, he turned his back on them and left them and their paranoia to the mercy of the Thesulac demon.

He stayed mired in this guilt-ridden and hopeless state until Whistler intervened and gave him an opportunity. To his credit, he accepted the opportunity, even if it was originally just for the girl he watched find out what she is. Angel makes contact in Sunnydale, but at first his help is only given in the form of warnings, earning him the appellation "cryptic guy." The first time he actively helped is in "Angel" and, although he may have done things behind the scenes we don't see him again until "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" when he offered to help Giles research the Master and the prophecy, and then is there to save Giles, Xander and Willow when he returned with the book Giles needed. Even then, his assistance against the Master in "Prophecy Girl" is only given when he is forced to help by Xander. Angel, left alone, viewed the prophecy hopelessly, seeing no way around it. Even afterward, when Buffy has "flunked the written" and they have begun a romantic relationship and Angel started to believe that maybe he could do good by helping her, those hopes were dashed when he finally allowed himself to let go of the guilt and hopelessness, just momentarily, and Angelus is freed.

Angelus still felt emotion for Buffy but he was repulsed at the love felt by his human-souled counterpart and sought to destroy Buffy. Not to kill her, but to pull her world to pieces. Spike never understood what Angelus was doing, but Drusilla did. She understood the way he played with the head and the heart to break a person. Buffy, however, was tougher than Angelus realized, and he underestimated the degree to which Spike was attached to Drusilla. Spike gave Buffy her chance and she was able to do what she had to do...send Angelus to Acathla's hell dimension.

Only it isn't Angelus who was sent. It was a newly re-souled Angel, who didn't even have time to know what had happened to him. Sent for a hundred years of torture, and returned for reason he didn't know. He was able to find Buffy through his emotional pain and pull himself back from the primitive level of pure survival to which he had regressed. But this time his hopelessness didn't leave him. He allowed himself to be comforted by Buffy's presence, but he knew they could never be together the way he (and she) wanted. To allow himself to love her, to be with her, would ultimately bring a daily regret that he could never feel the contentment with her lest Angelus be released. He doubted his own existence in this world and was ready to let himself go with the sunrise because he had no hope that he had a purpose, that he could continue to keep the restraints on Angelus and his hunger. Even Buffy was unable to give him hope, but he was given a 'sign' that he had some reason for being here. He left Buffy because of his hopelessness, because he does not believe they can have a future together, that they could live with the limitations imposed on both of them. He may have hoped for better for her, but never for himself. The curse of the Kalderash clan continues and their vengeance remains active.

When he got to Los Angeles, he met Doyle who forced him to look beyond look at strangers as people, people whose welfare can involve him. He's forced to interact not just act or react. Cordelia joined him and pulled him farther into the flow of humanity. He began to believe that atonement may be possible, that even though he can never make up for the lives he ended or destroyed, he could begin to live among the living, to care, to help. He is even given the hope that his deeds may one day allow him to become human. That if he acts as a Champion he may receive his due reward. When things began to go badly for him, when Darla returned and was unable to live with her humanity (literally and figuratively) and he was unable to help her even though he won her a life, Angel was devastated. He lost hope again when Darla was turned by Drusilla. He rejected his friends and allowed that hopelessness to begin to consume him until it culminated in a form of pure despair.

However, he found though that he couldn't reject everything he had learned and reluctantly helped others, while he held himself aloof from them. Eventually, though, he was handed a chance by Kate, someone with whom he had a connection, albeit an emotionally strained one. He saved her from her attempt at suicide and discovered that he had a new purpose, one where the faint strains of hope he had felt at the beginnings of Season 2 were no longer necessary to continuing his path. He no longer sought his 'redemption', to be a 'Champion', to get the 'great reward', but only to do what he could, day by day, to make life better. He rejoined his friends, no longer their leader, but as one of the "gang."

In time, Darla returned and Angel was given a hope he had never even dared think about. He had a son. He had a chance to love again, to care. He had someone for whom he, and only he, is responsible. And his life as Angelus came back again to destroy this. Holtz kidnapped his son, and circumstances force Angel to not only lose his son, but to actually stand aside and allow Holtz take his son to Quortoth, the worst of the hell dimensions. His despair caused him to try whatever means he could to get to Quortoth, but it wasn't possible. He had been betrayed by Wes whom he had come to trust. Then the impossible happens. Connor returned, grown to a young man, taught to despise and hate Angel. Angel reached out to him, wanted to show him that he loved him then and still does. Connor began to show a softening in his attitude toward his father, a change ostensibly encouraged by Holtz. And then Holtz arranged his own death in such a way as to make a relationship between Angel and his son impossible. Connor believed Angel murdered Holtz, the man he looked to as his father, and that he did so in his vampire state. Connor didn't try to kill Angel this time. He wanted Angel to live in eternal nothingness, without hope of rescue, with the knowledge that his son hated him enough to do that to him.

When Angel was finally rescued, he in his turn rejects Connor, ordering him to get out. He then watched over Connor from the rooftops. But when Cordelia returned without her memories, Angel found himself placed in opposition to his son as Cordelia consistently declined to believe what Angel told her about her life there and turned to Connor. When Cordelia recovered her memories, she still remained with Connor, keeping a distance between the father and the son. Angel's desire to be closer to his son was a odds with the feelings he had for Cordelia and with his feelings about Connor rejecting him, disbelieving in him, sending him to what could have been an eternal watery hell. But before any of this can be addressed the Beast is unleashed and L.A. faced the rain of fire and reign of terror. Angel saw Cordelia and Connor together. Anger and jealousy kept him from repairing relationships with either of them.

To defeat the Beast Angel agreed to relinquish his soul under controls and Angelus is released. Angelus did indeed defeat the Beast but Connor was further distanced from him by both Cordelia and by seeing the vampire he was raised to hate. Once Angel's soul was returned they were faced with several challenges which, once again, prevented any relationship repair with Connor, especially since Cordelia did her best to keep Connor off-balance and away from Angel. Skip destroyed whatever little belief Angel still had in the Powers.

The 'birth' of Jasmine put all conflicts aside for everyone. Everyone loved everybody else. Angel and Connor were happy together as father and son. They even, erm, 'sang.' Jasmine gave Angel hope, happiness, the possibility of true redemption with the removal of the evil within him. But when he learned what she truly was, he was appalled and opposed her. This action put him once again in direct opposition with Connor who had known Jasmine's true nature all along. She gave Connor something that he wanted to believe in. However, Angel destroyed that. Connor in turn destroyed Jasmine, his last hope for inner peace. In doing so, he reached the depths of total hopelessness.

Finally, when it mattered the most to him, Angel truly could not help the hopeless. He became helpless in the face of Connor accelerating self-destruction. Then Angel found himself in a quandary. Wolfram & Hart offered control of the Los Angeles division, a chance for all of them to use those considerable resources to further their own agenda of fighting evil. Angel rejected this initial offer. It held no appeal for him. The counter-offer however was less easy to ignore, for it held out the one thing Angel truly needed: real hope. He was shown Connor, ready to end his life and the lives of other strangers. Connor had broken when his final small hope for 'family' was torn from him by his own hand. Connor appeared truly beyond Angel's reach now. Connor no longer believed in the strength of love. He no longer believed anyone could love him. So Angel made a deal with Wolfram & Hart in which he accepts their proposal for all of the gang ("Executive decision") in exchange for not only putting Connor out of his misery but giving him a normal life with a good family. And only Angel carries the knowledge of the deal.

What made him make that choice? Angel felt helpless to do anything for Connor. He lost his hope when he lost Connor. Angel knew what it meant to believe no one could ever truly love him. And, in giving Connor hope for love and the future, Angel once again takes away his own. Angel begins his time at Wolfram & Hart without hope. He doesn't believe there's redemption. He doesn't believe there's atonement. He believes hell awaits him when the time comes. He continues to fight 'the good fight' because he doesn't see anything else to do. Angel finds himself helpless within a trap of his own making. He doesn't know what he is accomplishing at Wolfram & Hart, but he has no choice but to continue. When Angel had his epiphany he realized that he wanted to help because people shouldn't suffer the way they did. Now he just doesn't know what else to do.

It will be an interesting to accompany Angel on the next leg of his journey; to see how he regains his hope and sense of empowerment. And how the choices he has made put roadblocks and detours in his path.

Comments? Other views?"


No comments so much as open-ended questions that are niggling at me enough to fulfill Lunasea's request to bring back the post. PArticularly after tonight's episode.

1. How is a hero or champion defined in our society?
2. How has it been defined historically?
3. Could Cordelia's actions in Birthday - Inside/Out be considered those of a hero? OR anti-hero? What about Jasmines? Was Cordelia's action in THAW heroic or anti-heroic? What about Connor's actions?
4. Were Buffy's actions in Season 7 as General Buffy those of a hero? Were Giles' actions when he killed Ben, a hero's?
Were Buffy's actions in Selfless heroic? Were Xander's? Were
5. Spike in tonight's ATS episode, indicates that he does not consider his actions in Chosen heroic or champion - is he right? Why? Or Why not? Were his actions any less heroic than Buffy's, Willow's Xander's, Andrew's?
6. Fred doesn't appear to see herself as a champion - is she one?
7. Is it important to be connected to humanity - to be a champion? Or a hero? (Note Cordelia felt cut off from humanity in Birthday - Inside/Out, so did Connor, now Angel and Spike feel disconnected, Spike literally, Angel, metaphorically...)

I don't know what I think, myself right now,...just curious to see what others think.


[> Original title of above: 'Angel, hopelessness and helplessness...' by LittleBit -- s'kat (raiding the archives), 22:08:10 11/05/03 Wed

[> Heroes, hopes and self (Spoilers Angel 5.6) -- sdev, 02:22:17 11/06/03 Thu

One of my favorite hero depictions was shown in the movie Hero (Accidental Hero in the UK) with Dustin Hoffman (Stephen Frears, 1992). Hoffman plays a sleazy petty thief, absentee father, who happens to be on the site of a plane crash and rescues victims from the water at the risk of his own life. No one sees who did the deed and credit and reward money are grabbed by a heroic prototype, ex-war veteran Andy Garcia. The media and public are quick to latch on to Garcia as a hero, he fits the MO, unlike the seedy Mr. Hoffman.

Going on memory since it's been a while since I saw the movie, Hoffman's character did not see himself as a hero. As the plot develops he comes to realize the meaning of what he did and what it says about him as a person. As his self-esteem develops he grows into the hero role until he feels worthy of upstaging Andy Garcia and claiming his actions as his own.

I see some of that in Angel, and Spike seemed to express that view of himself in 5.6 as well. They are both working against a tide of horrific acts that make them feel less than heroic and more like indebted. Humility and self-questioning have their purpose, but when it reaches the place that, Numero Cinquo, Angel's double of the night, is in it becomes counter-productive. One must have hope and a certain amount of self-respect to play the hero role. If you don't believe you can make a difference, why would you try to buck the odds.

Belief in oneself is essential to being a hero. Aristotle called it megalopsychos greatness of soul.

that man who, being worthy of great things, deems himself to be so (Nicomachean Ethics)

Angel was instrumental in Numero Cinquo's recovery of a worthy heart and Fred tried to bolster Spike's self-image by reminding him that he saved her life. What I liked about Angel's role tonight is that although the phrase "help the helpless" was used, his role was really about restoring hope to a disillusioned ex-hero. Restoring hope is so much larger than giving help. By restoring hope you give someone back their life in its spiritual not just physical sense. You enable them to help themselves the next time. Here's hoping some of this lesson was not lost on Angel.

On another front, Wesley seems on the verge of some major memory recovery, as does Gunn. I assume that is what all those pointed puzzled looks were about. Angel barely managed to cover. Gunn's Johnny Cochrane reference to Angel's puzzled look showed that he got more than Gilbert and Sullivan in the rhetoric department. Gunn keeps pointing out the good he is doing. Does that, in the perverted world that is ME, mean he will be the first to do bad? Fred seems ever ready again to challenge Angel. She is the one who was outraged and believed Spike that Angel had "attacked" Number Five. Is it because she senses something wrong with him? Will she be the first to detect the cracks in the memory wipe?

Also, a skirmish for the fate of the illusive Shanshu seems to be brewing between Spike and Angel. Spike brought it up to Wesley who in turn brought it up to Angel. Neither vampire is acting like a total disbeliever. Spike does not do sneaky well. He is transparent as well as incorporeal. His barbs in this episode ranged from on target to plaintive. But his intuitive guess, go for the heart, showed his strength as Angel's numero cinquo on the no longer gang of four.

I thought this episode was the best this season to date. It hit all the right notes between humor, campy, and serious issues. Excellent division of screen time between characters. Great plot flow. I loved the funny cemetery fight scene complete with outstanding acrobatics and dialogue.

Angel: We're trying to kill it not pin it. (seconds later they pin it chest exposed)
Angel: Okay. Pinning works.


Numero Cinquo (dying moments): Coffee

Angel: Coffee? You want coffee? (perfectly delivered line!)

Numero Cinquo: Stupido! The taslisman it's in...

Great work from Jeff Bell.

[> Hey Bit [waves] (spoilers 5.06) -- Lunasea, 10:47:51 11/06/03 Thu

Glad to see this was brought back. When you posted this, I felt in my gut that you were heading in an important direction. Glad to see the show agrees with you. Joss said something about a hero that applies to being hopeless. "The thing about a hero," Whedon says, "is even when it doesn't look like there's a light at the end of the tunnel, he's going to keep digging, he's going to keep trying to do right and make up for what's gone before, just because that's who he is."

Heroes are forged in those moments of despair when they can't see a light at the end the tunnel. It is easy to keep going when you have hope. Real heroes like Buffy and Angel keep digging no matter what. As many pep talks at they have received, they are the ones that rally the troops when things look hopeless, whether that is against the Mayor, Adam, Glory, the First, Jasmine or being in the belly of the Beast. They keep digging until they rediscover their hope. Even if they temporarily give up, they come back, typically on their own. As they grow, they give up less and less.

Angel's despair comes because he doesn't give up his faith. If he is going to hell, it is because he isn't worthy, because he can never make up for what he did. Only the evil he has done counts. Buffy goes to heaven. He knows that. It was even brought up again in "Inside Out." There is an Elysian fields for heroes. He's seen it with the Axis of Pythia.

That heaven was tainted by Jasmine. How would you feel if a Supreme Power wanted your soul so you would be evil? She manipulated him so that he would give up that soul and then stole it so he couldn't be resouled. She had plans for him, unsouled and evil. As Angelus he told Drusilla, "Oh, hush, child. The Lord has a plan for all creatures. Even a
Devil child like you." He is working very hard trying not to fulfill the plan of the Senior Partners, a plan he isn't sure about and knows could be anything.

None of the prophecies say what side Angel fights on. That area is gray. No matter what he does as a good guy, he is fighting a losing battle. Evil always comes back, not 50 years later, but the next day, the next minute. Why fight? He's been fighting and it still isn't good enough. He can't even keep his son and Buffy is cookie dough. He saved the world from Jasmine. His "reward" was to run an evil law firm.

It is one thing not to fight for a reward. It's another to keep fighting when you think you aren't making a difference. Is Connor better off now? Has he just damned all his friends? What side will he fight on in the Apocalypse? Nobody remembers Connor and Connor is the one that actually killed Jasmine. Jasmine would have destroyed humanity. Angel gave us back free will, but Connor saved everyone. He is the forgotten hero.

I know all this would get to me. I was curious what ME would devise to help Angel start to sort through these. Numero Cinqo. We have the Fanged Four from Angel's past. Five would be the next one. Angel can relate to him better than he can his own current gang of four (Wesley, Fred, Gunn and Lorne). He needed someone who wasn't quite so other to be a mirror for him. Five lost his brothers and even their memory isn't respected. Darla said to Connor "Don't let my death mean nothing." What has Connor's "death" meant to anyone? The world still sucks.

Angel gets a chance to see how much losing his hope is affecting him and at the end, in a moment that reminded me of "To Shanshu in LA", he tries to find it again. He doesn't have to accept the prophecy as something that WILL happen, just something that MAY happen.

I'm unspoiled, but I would say as Angel is running around putting his finger in the dike, something needs to come along that shows the water can be drained so it isn't a threat. Angel didn't save the girl in "Unleashed." He is just helping her deal with her problem, a problem he was too late to prevent. That something was done on BtVS last season. Willow actually changed the world. If the world can really change then there is hope that anything is possible, even redemption.

just thought of something (spoilers for last night) -- Neil, 07:58:47 11/06/03 Thu

the way Angel casually mentioned the "Father wil kill the Son" Prophecy to Wesley, combined with when he said to the gang in HOME "I'm going to see Connor" (something like that) made me wonder, are we sure Angel knows the gang was mindwiped?

maybe their mindwipe is just the negative reaction to the Connor reset spell?


[> I think it's even better than that. (spoilers from ANGEL 5.6) -- cjl, 08:43:23 11/06/03 Thu

I do think Angel knows the gang was mindwiped. He wanted all evidence that Connor was his son eradicated from the Earthly Plane, and said eradication included wiping the memories of everyone who'd ever encountered the kid.

But, as it is with all contracts with Wolfram and Hart, it's a bad thing if you don't read the fine print. Sure, nobody remembers Connor anymore, and the kid has the possibility of a better life without anyone coming after him for revenge on Angel. But Angel never considered that the alteration of memories might go beyond the simple deletion of Connor. Part of the reason he's feeling so disconnected from his friends is that they're literally not on the same page.

It became clear from last ep that Angel has no idea what Wes and the others do or don't remember about the events of Seasons 3 and 4. My own opinion: when Angel mocks the prophecy of "The Father Will Kill the Son," he thinks he's being clever, reminding Wes of a prophecy that obviously can't be true because he HAS no son. But Wesley DOESN'T EVEN REMEMBER THE PROPHECY, and Angel inadvertently has pointed to a huge hole in reality which was previously unknown to our former Watcher.

[Homework assignment for Wes' R&I team between episodes: the Nyazian scrolls.]

Angel is bound to make further slip-ups, because he doesn't know who remembers what. (Is the revised history even consistent from individual to individual?) Man, Dead Boy is really going to get an ass-whupping when his friends find out.

Heh. (Rubs hands in sadistic glee.)

[> [> Actually, I doubt the ass whooping thing -- Finn Mac Cool, 10:02:02 11/06/03 Thu

They've forgiven him fairly easily for much larger transgressions in the past. I doubt the memory wipe, if it's revealed, will be a major source of contention among the gang.

Also, just wanted to mention, as Lunasea has said before, erasing everyone else's memories of Connor might have been simply a side effect Angel had to cope with in order to change Connor's life. He didn't necessarily want their memories gone, but W&H may have required him to in order to change Connor's memories.

Nobody Remembers the Good Stuff.....spoilers for Angel 5.6 -- Rufus, 08:28:47 11/06/03 Thu

We have seen the masked mail room guy many times and of course last night we got the payoff. Number five is an old guy who plods along at a job that has become like a mill-stone around his neck. Lorne jokingly refers to him as "El Cid". It's when he tosses Angel through an office window that we realize there is more to the old man in a mask.

People are being killed and Angel wants to deal with it. But Angel is feeling....disconnected. He has lost hope and no one knows exactly why. As Angel speaks to Gunn we see just how far apart they are in the enjoyment of their current workplace....

Gunn: As CEO and President of Wolfram and Hart, you just bankrupted a company that dumps raw demon waste into Santa Monica Bay, banished a clan of Pyro Warlocks into a hell dimension, and started a foster care program for kids whose parents have been killed by vampires...not bad for a days work.

Angel: Yeah, great.

Gunn: Look, I know legal weasles and business deals aren't as heroic to you as rescuing honeys from tumescent trolls, but I love what we do.

Angel: Tumescent Trolls?

Gunn: Went a little Johnnie Cochrane on ya. You know for the first time in my life, I can't wait to get to work in the morning. You've always had your special I have mine.

I guess work ain't what it used to be for Angel. Not as much action, til Wesley came with news....

Wesley: Then you'll be interested in this.....3 people found with their hearts cut out in east LA. All within the last couple of hours. The police are on it but my sense is it's more demonic than some murderous nut-job.

Spike: So we're ruling out demonic nut jobs then?

This is about the time #5 chucks Angel through the office window and we finally get a hint about his connection to the current state of affairs. Number 5 attacks Angel, but that's sort of expected in a place where everyone wants your job or you dead. The attack is quickly changed into an attack on Grandpa Moses.

Spike: Hey Fred! Did ya hear? Angel attacked the old mail guy.

Angel: What?

Fred: Not number 5? didn't hurt him?

Angel: No! He attacked me.

Wes: We should find him.

Spike: Absolutely, I wanna buy him a pint, bloody made my day.

Angel and the gang.....actually Spike, Gunn, and Wes, pile into the Angelmobile (yeah, I guess it wasn't retired) and try to find whatever is killing people. They are attacked but that leads them to the fact that they are dealing with an Aztec demon. But Spike isn't interested in Quauhtitlan pictograms....he wants to know about prophecy.

Spike: Who me? Nah? I was just this one of those books on prophecies?

Wes: No, it's a source book each one ties into a discipline within the Wolfram and Hart archives. This one is linked to historical narratives...that's the one dedicated to prophecies.

Spike: So, you could look up that, uh, sans shoes know the prophecy that says that Angel gets to be a real boy again.

Wes: Shan shu prophecy, yes...uh, though it's a bit more complicated than that.

Spike: Complicated?

Wes: It tells of an epic apocalyptic battle and a vampire with a soul who plays a major role in that battle -- and there's the suggestion that the vampire will get to live again.

To get to the point, Wes tells Spike that the vampire with a soul could be any vampire with a soul, but not a ghost.....end of story. Wes gets busy with telling Angel that the demon he is up against is called Tezcatcatl, a demon that shows up every 50 years on "The Day of the Dead". Wes also tells Angel about the five brothers who fought and defeated the demon the last time. So happens that one survived and happens to just have been escourted from the building for tossing the boss. Now we get to the tale, the cautionary tale. Angel goes to number 5's apartment to see how to fight the demon and is faced with what he could become if things don't change fast.

Angel: Now I'm dragging you back in.....I need your help. You and your brothers beat this Aztec thing first time around, and I need to know how.

#5: I'm sorry, in case you haven't noticed, I have retired from that life.

Angel: Wearing that mask doesn't exactly hide your past.

#5: It reminds me that only a fool would want to be a champion.

Angel: Fool, is that what you think of your brothers.

#5: (slaps Angel) Never disrespect the memory of my brothers. They were honorable men, Luchadores, Mexican wrestlers, the greatest that ever lived. Together we were known as "Los Hermandos Numeros".

Angel: The Number Brothers? Huh? You guys had no problem getting past the whole irony thing now, did you?

#5: It was a different time, one that no longer exists. (flash back to the brothers together) We were great warriors in the ring, great heroes. Children worshipped us - women loved us - men wanted to be us. In all the years we fought we never lost, never quit, never compromized....we were the best. But not all our battles were in the ring.....
You need to understand we were more than Luchadores, no one else cared about Mexicans, we protected our own. The Five of us were always joined - always connected - and when necessary, we came together as a fist! We fought monsters and gangsters, vampiros. We were heroes, we protected the weak, and we helped the helpless.

Angel: I know a little something about that.

#5: We spent every waking hour together. We fought hard, we played hard. Brothers in the truest sense, never jealous, never bickering. Those were the happiest days of my life.

Angel: Wait a you guys always wore your masks?

#5: What you are failing to see my friend, is that we had to be ever-vigilant, ready for action at a moments notice.....

One of the brothers calls out: The Devil has built a Robot!

#5: Surely you have heard about our great victory over the Devil's Robot?

Angel: Sorry.

#5: Nobody remembers the good stuff.

Angel: But tell me about the Aztec warrior.

#5: What can I say about a demon who killed the people who mattered most to me?

Angel: You can start by saying how you killed it back.

#5: I don't know - I can't remember.

Angel: Can't remember or don't care?

#5: Do not misunderstand me, after my brothers were killed, I tried to carry on. Tried to help people. But after awhile the phone stopped ringing, the people went away. Until one night when a man walked in. He said he could use a young man with my abilities (man presents W&H business card "Holland Manners")

Angel: Wolfram and Hart.

#5: I needed a job, they needed muscle. I knew that Wolfram and Hart was everything my brothers despised. But what did I care? Nothing mattered after I buried them behind San Gregorio. Every year on El dia de dos muertos, I prepare this alter for them, and every year they never come, never visit....because I'm not worthy. But it does not matter anymore, not after this year. I should have died with my brothers.

Angel: But you didn't, you got stuck with the hard part, the carrying on (feel free to think of Connor and Cordy.) No wonder your brothers spirits never come to visit. Listen to yourself. You've quit. Tell me, why'd you stop caring?

#5: It was not hard, I will show you. (they go to a Wrestling arena and watch present day wrestlers) This is how my brothers are remembered. What their good deeds earned. They sacrificed their lives as heroes and it is played out as a farce.

Angel: Maybe you expect too much from people.

#5: Is it too much to expect them to remember their past? (oh dear, the mindwipe, none of Angel's friends can remember their past) To honour those who fought and died? My brothers are dead and Tezcatcatl is back to kill again. Why did we bother? What difference did we make?

Angel: You made a difference in the lives you saved. And you did it because it was the right thing to do. Nobody asks us to out and fight, put our lives on the line. We do it because we can. Cause we know how. We do it whether people remember or not. In spite of the fact that there's no shiny reward at the end of the day........other than the work itself. It think that some part of you still knows, still being a hero. (#5 has left the building and caught a bus)

While Angel is putting people to sleep, Wes and Gunn figure out that the demon is taking the hearts of heroes. Outside the arena, Angel is attacked by the demon who runs him through with a sword and goes for the killing blow....then turns his snotty nose up at a heroic treat. Oh oh.

Wes: I understand you're feeling rejected, but this Aztec wants the hearts for sustenance. It wants it for the meat, not the metaphor.

Angel: What are you saying?

Gunn: As meat goes....your heart's a dried up hunk of gnarly-ass beef jerky.

Angel: Yeah, but stick a piece of wood in it and I still die. Must mean something.

Yes, the state of Angel's heart does make a difference, which Wes points out to him.

Wes: Angel, what Gunn said about your hear.....the dried up bit....I don't think that's the problem.

Angel: But you do see a problem.

Wes: It's the work.

They go on to talk about meaning, and Spike's mention of prophecy....

Wes: I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about you. It's (work) lost meaning for you. Spike says you no longer believe in the Shan shu prophecy.

Angel: Of course not....prophecies are nonsense....You know that. Oh, come one Wes, after all we've seen the past couple of years. "The Father will kill the Son".

Wes: What are you talking about?

Angel seems to have forgotten that he had his friends minds wiped clean of the pesky goings on related to Cordy and Connor. This mindwipe is going to have an effect that may not have been anticipated when Angel made his deal, kinda like the deal number 5 made when he gave up all hope. When it comes to Wes, I fear that Angel is holding a grudge that Wes knows nothing about. Talk about bottling. Wonder when that pressure will cause a blow up? Even without a memory of what he did, Wes only regressed so far. He kind of went back to the Wes pre-rejection from Fred. He can't remember the first rejection and now has to relive it again. But Wes speaks of hope....

Wes: I'm sorry Angel. But nothing matters more.'s the only thing that will sustain you, that will keep you from ending up like number five.

In Fred's lab they figure out how to deal with the demon, but one thing made me pause....

Angel: And you just so happen to know this creatures Achilles heel?

Spike: Well, I wager it's the heart.

Fred: You see that in the science?

Spike: No love, in the poetry. We're dealing with a mythic creature here, a kill-or-be-killed kind of creature. If I was going to kill something that was trying to take my heart, I'd try to bloody well take it's heart first.

I compare the five brothers to the gang, all should be connected, they are heroes after all. All shouldn't be bickering, or jealous....but I somehow think that number five just may have romanticized the past a bit. But, the gang should be together, not getting further apart, but apart is what I see coming. Angel does his hero bit, and sometimes forgets the others taking his back. The consequences of the mindwipe may be slowly coming out. Angel can't be honest with his friends and they are finding him becoming more and more distant. The episode is called "The Cautionary Tale" for a reason. Give up and lose everything. Lose hope and you may find you have more company in hopelessness than you'd think. The only glimmer of hope came in the office at the end. Angel told everyone that number five died a hero. His brothers came to him at that final battle. He got to go home. We leave Angel in Wesley's office....talking to a book.....

"Shan shu Prophecy - English Translation"

We talk so abstractly about poetry, because we are all bad poets.
-Friederich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy


[> Very nice! -- Ponygirl, 08:36:34 11/06/03 Thu

[> I wish I'd read this... -- Anneth, 15:29:55 11/06/03 Thu

before I'd written out my post, above, in response to Gyrus. You said what I wanted to, only better. Nice job.

[> Truth, or a kind lie? -- Gyrus, 15:46:13 11/06/03 Thu

number five died a hero

I wasn't really clear on whether Numero Cinco's death was heroic or suicidal. Since Angel answered "yes" to Gunn's question about whether #5 had "jumped in at the last minute" (when in fact #5 was just laying there bleeding at the last minute), I'm not sure if Angel was telling the truth or a kind lie.

[> [> Re: Truth, or a kind lie? -- Rufus, 18:50:27 11/06/03 Thu

#5 had become a living farce. He was once a hero who did the right thing because that was the thing to do. Without the presence of his brothers, he became lost, unable to care about anything but his own misery (as Angel noted.) Just because what he did was suicidal doesn't mean that #5 died less than a hero. He found his redemption in that cemetary when his brothers surfaced to bring him home, the five again a fist. I loved it.

It's a Wonderful Life (spoilers 5.6 & Wonderful Life) -- Miyu tVP, 11:10:51 11/06/03 Thu

Time to get in the holiday spirit anyway, right?

During Angel's lecture to 5 about being a hero... it quickly became apparent he was talking to himself (first metaphorically and then literally as 5 hopped a bus out of there) about maintaining hope and persevering in the fight... and the situation reminded me of the scene from it'a Wonderful Life where George Bailey (the archetypical hero of the people) has lost all hope and wants to throw himself off the bridge... but is distracted when the man next to him does exactly that. Instinctively, George jumps in to save the guy and later gives him the "what were you thinking" bit - to which the guy, Clarence the AS2, replies "I jumped to save you."

As is often the case it is so much easier for us to diagnose someone else's problem, and furthermore to productively help someone else - than it is to diagnose/solve our own issues.

Angel as George Bailey - unsung hero, humble, expecting no reward, trying to resist the temptations of the high life. Spike as Clarence, Angel 2nd Class, bumbling along, wanting desperately to get his wings, guiding George back to his own sense of self. :)

Also a big episode for memory. Of course there was Angel's mega slip up with Wesley. But also with 5 - we see he is deeply offended and upset that the memory of his brothers has been desacrated. It's a funny image of the mini wrestlers flailing in the ring... but perhaps it shows how Angel's own team has been diminished by his mindplay, caricatures of their true selves.

Also-- in Gunn & Angel's contract discussion, I'm pretty sure he said twice "not bad for a day's *pay*" The usual saying is "not bad for a day's work" but instead we've got pay. This would seem to tie in with the idea of doing good for good's sake, vs. behaving to get a reward or avoid retribution. Is Gunn caught up in the pay? is Angel? -cue ominous music- :)

sorry this is so scatterd.


[> Another take on IaWL -- Masq, 15:38:48 11/06/03 Thu

That ponygirl reminded me of. In "IaWL", George wishes he had never been born, and Clarence gives him that wish and George sees the consquences of it were a lot more than he imagined.

In AtS, we get Angel (allegedly, this hasn't been shown yet, so it may turn out otherwise) dictating the removal of all memory of Connor and the effect his presence had on people's lives--in essence, wishing that Connor had never been born. And he will see the consquences of this.

A note on my parenthetical note. We weren't shown the details of Angel's deal with W&H in "Home", so it is not clear yet that Angel dictated the "no memory" portion of the deal. It makes sense to remove Connor's memory of his old life, but what's the point of demanding that everyone else's memory of Connor be removed? It could still have been a caveat W&H demanded in the deal, or just a metaphysical side-effect of whatever mojo they performed to give Connor a new life.

[> [> There are a couple of reasons... -- Marie, 04:25:42 11/07/03 Fri

...that I can think of why Angel might choose to wipe the Gang's memories.

1. No recriminations to face - however hard it must have been to give Connor up, it would have multiplied the pain tenfold to have to try and explain to them the whys and wherefores of his decision.

2. To save them the pain he was feeling. (Doing the wrong thing for the right reasons?)

3. If he'd left them the memories, there was always a danger that one or more of them might try at some point in the future to contact Connor and tell him all. After all, it was through Wesley's actions that he lost his son to Holtz.


[> [> [> I prefer this explanation (spoilers through 5.6) -- Masq, 11:32:00 11/07/03 Fri

That Wolfram and Hart demanded the memory wipe of all involved except Angel, either because it was a necessary element of the spell that displaced Connor, or because it gave it would put Angel in an emotionally vulnerable position they could exploit.

I prefer this explanation because it doesn't let Angel off the hook. He still accepted the deal. He accepted it as a father desperate to save his son, but he accepted those terms, and now he has to deal with the consquences of it. He is alone, isolated with his memories, through accepting the deal, he has allowed his friend's memory of the recent past to be altered.

And this explanation helps explain why Angel isn't sure what Wesley and the others know and what they don't know. He didn't dictate how the memory wipe would go; he just went along with it.

[> [> [> [> Re: I prefer this explanation (spoilers through 5.6) -- jane, 22:48:33 11/07/03 Fri

This fits with my theory on the memory wipe too. I think Angel didn't realize how much would be lost in everyone's life history when Connor's part was erased,and that W&H counted on his feelings of dislocation and guilt to separate him further from his friends,bringing him closer to his own darkness. His little slip to Wesley is perhaps a subconcious need for them to find out about the wipe.

[> Re: Memory (spoilers 5.6 & speculation) -- dub, 20:52:20 11/06/03 Thu

This ep certainly jogged my memory. Angel quoting, "The father will kill the son," reminded me that the father didn't kill the son, but the son is still alive, and so is the father, so this particular prophecy, even though it was a ruse, could still come to pass.

Under what circumstances would Angel kill Conner? Well, how 'bout if he went all Angelus again? And of course it would just add to the tragedy to make sure that the AI gang had their memories back first. It's kind of chilling, I think, the idea of Angelus at the helm of W&H. There's been a lot of discussion around Angel's inability to experience a moment of true happines, but we know from experience that's not the only way to release Angelus.

Just idle speculation, really. I kinda think we saw enough of Angelus last year to hold us for a while...


[> [> Re: Memory (spoilers 5.6 & speculation) -- aperitis, 20:09:34 11/07/03 Fri

it might also mean angel will kill spike becasue technically he is his "son". but i dont think theyd do that

[> [> Re: Memory (spoilers 5.6 & speculation) -- Alison, 08:02:32 11/08/03 Sat

Actually, Angel did kill Connor. He had to, to put the spell into effect. That fact that Connor is still alive doesn't change the fact that Angel killed and fufilled the prophesy.

[> [> [> Kill / Save -- kisstara, 13:01:02 11/08/03 Sat

Actually, I remember that Wesley was having trouble in translating the father/son prophecy. He couldnt't decide between 'kill the son' or 'save the son.' Angel did both in one act, the act of killing Connor saved Connor. Did Angel know for certain that W&H would come through with their end of the deal and reinvent Connor into a new person? W&H could have had a completely different plan than Angel and Lilah (or whomever) decided on.

Now that Angel is grieving and is in pain for the loss of Connor he may be wondering if the deal was worth it after all.

[> [> [> [> first i'll kill him, then i'll save him? -- anom, 16:06:30 11/09/03 Sun

[> [> [> Am I the only one...? (Spoiler for 'Home;' slight Spoiler for 'Numero Cinco' -- dub, 16:45:58 11/08/03 Sat

Who did not see Angel kill Connor?

I must have missed the subsequent discussion as well, because it's only recently that I've seen references to Angel killing Connor stated as a fact. I think even Masq's review of Home on ATPoBtVS says something like, "appears to kill Connor," rather than definitely.

People seem to be saying that the killing was necessary in order to invoke the memory spell. Why?

My concern is if, as expected, ME decides to revisit the memory wipe scenario, it's not a problem for the gang to regain their memories, seeing as how no one but an unconscious Cordelia would have witnessed this supposed slaying, but if Connor is ever to be reintroduced and regains his memory, his last image from his former life will be that of his father killing him.

Boy howdy, if Angel thought Connor resented him before, just wait'll he gets a load of him under those circumstances!

Also, the Angel's Acolyte summary states, as I had recalled, that Angel stabbed Connor in the leg with a knife he takes from a broken display case in the store--hardly likely to be any kind of magic, or charmed, knife as it was a random choice. This is the same knife he appears to plunge toward Connor before the scene cuts off.

Angel's delivery of the line, "The father will kill the son," in this week's episode seems to support my theory that Connor was never killed. He tosses the line off, as if to indicate that this is another worthless prophecy that didn't come through, the way he's been feeling about the Shanshu prophecy these days.

Now, if I've missed some crucial Joss interview where it is revealed that Angel did indeed have to kill Connor to invoke the memory wipe, well, I'm sure Rufus will tell me about it...


[> [> [> [> Re: Am I the only one...? (Spoiler for 'Home;' slight Spoiler for 'Numero Cinco' -- Masq, 17:17:01 11/08/03 Sat

I think even Masq's review of Home on ATPoBtVS says something like, "appears to kill Connor," rather than definitely.

Granted that I've only seen "Home" once, six months ago, but I've also read the shooting script, and my impression was that Angel had a knife, he approached Connor, brought up the knife, and then they cut away. This leaves open the possibility that he killed him to invoke the spell, or merely had to draw blood to invoke the spell, or merely had to stab him to invoke the spell. Or none of these, although I think it was one of the three, otherwise why bother with the knife.

Since they cut away, I left what happened open and speculative in my analysis.

I think people believe Angel killed Connor as part of the spell for its symbolic value (and symbolic actions are often used in magic spells). Angel "kills" the Connor we knew in order to put his son into a new life. The old Connor is forgotten by everyone, including Connor himself, and is essentially dead.

Reminds me of my favorite Babylon 5 quote (spoilers for ATS 5.6) -- Gyrus, 12:28:55 11/06/03 Thu

"How do you know the chosen ones? No greater love hath a man than he lay down his life for his friend. Not for millions, not for glory, not for fame...for one person. In the dark, where no one will ever know, or see."

- Sebastian, "Comes the Inquisitor"

In most human societies, one central aspect of the concept of heroism is being praised and remembered for one's deeds. Number 5 appears to buy into this notion and, therefore, he believes that his heroic status depends upon the acknowledgement of others. As a result, when the public gives up on him, he gives up on himself.

Angel's "disconnectedness" puts him in a similar situation. He no longer believes that anybody Up There is watching, so what's the point of carrying on? He continues to do the right thing, but it doesn't mean anything to him anymore. Until, of course, he sees the toll that giving up has taken on Numero Cinco's psyche.

So my question is, what lesson does Angel really learn in this ep? Is it that somebody IS watching, and that heroism, even if it goes unacknowledged, will eventually lead to fulfillment? Or is it simply that giving up makes you so miserable that hope is always better, regardless of anyone's opinion or of the ultimate outcome?


[> Re: Reminds me of my favorite Babylon 5 quote (spoilers for ATS 5.6) -- Anneth, 15:23:46 11/06/03 Thu

what lesson does Angel really learn in this ep? Is it that somebody IS watching, and that heroism, even if it goes unacknowledged, will eventually lead to fulfillment?

Wes' knowledge of the devil robot (or was it the Devil's robot?) and the ultimate appearance of the brothers does seem to indicate that yes, someone is watching, even if you don't know it. The unacknowldeged heroism part is tougher - El Numero Cinco (ENC) was apparently an unacknowledged ex-hero, and the indication seemed to be that Angel was the same. I'm probably splitting hairs here, but I saw a two-part process; an understanding that yes, heroism could go unacknowledged, but that doesn't detract from its inherent goodness, and then a return to heroism. At least, that's what ENC demonstrated. The message seems to be that being unacknowledged comes part and parcel with being a hero. Angel's strayed from that understanding, which he's demonstrated in the past; his journey this year seems to be about returning to it.

Perhaps Angel returned to the Shanshu prophecy at the end of the episode because he was heartened by the appearance of the brothers - ENC no longer believed they'd reappear, but he errected a shrine to them anyway, year after lonely year. And, in the final battle, they had reappeared, to defeat the enemy and gather him up. So, yes, maybe someone is watching. Maybe prophecies aren't all bunk.

(Tangentially, I still think it's weird that Angel would decide that prophecies are false when 'the father will kill the son' seemed to come true - Angel did slit Connor's throat, or stab him, or whatever, to effect the wipe.)

[> [> Re: Reminds me of my favorite Babylon 5 quote (spoilers for ATS 5.6) -- Gyrus, 15:41:25 11/06/03 Thu

Wes' knowledge of the devil robot (or was it the Devil's robot?)

In English, they called it "the Devil's robot", but the literal translation of "El Diablo Robotico" would be "The Robotic Devil," so the exact meaning is kind of a toss-up.

Perhaps Angel returned to the Shanshu prophecy at the end of the episode because he was heartened by the appearance of the brothers - ENC no longer believed they'd reappear, but he errected a shrine to them anyway, year after lonely year. And, in the final battle, they had reappeared, to defeat the enemy and gather him up. So, yes, maybe someone is watching. Maybe prophecies aren't all bunk.

Or, at least, maybe hope isn't pointless, however long it may go unfulfilled.

Tangentially, I still think it's weird that Angel would decide that prophecies are false when 'the father will kill the son' seemed to come true - Angel did slit Connor's throat, or stab him, or whatever, to effect the wipe.)

Well, Sahjahn did say that he made the prophecy up and inserted it into the scrolls, so it's not a real prophecy in that sense. Unless Sahjahn is himself a prophet and doesn't know it, that is.

[> [> [> hee - Sahjahn's a prophet and doesn't know et! er, it. erm, never mind. -- anneth, sitting in a corner giggling, 15:44:30 11/06/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> Re: hee - Sahjahn's a prophet and doesn't know et! er, it. erm, never mind. -- DorianQ, 18:27:45 11/06/03 Thu

Speaking of the prophecy "The Father will kill the Son," what happened to the real one, that Conner would kill Sahjahn? Did that happen and I missed it?

[> [> [> [> [> Re: hee - Sahjahn's a prophet and doesn't know et! er, it. erm, never mind. -- RichardX1, 20:08:23 11/06/03 Thu

Speaking of the prophecy "The Father will kill the Son," what happened to the real one, that Conner would kill Sahjahn? Did that happen and I missed it?

I suspect that prophecy was sent by Jasmine to manipulate Sahjahn so that Connor would end up in Quortoth.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: hee - Sahjahn's a prophet and doesn't know et! er, it. erm, never mind. -- El Robotico Diablo, 09:45:09 11/07/03 Fri

or, it could refer to the next most probable person to fit the description of the Son of the Vampire with a Soul...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: hee - Sahjahn's a prophet and doesn't know et! er, it. erm, never mind. -- angel's nibblet, 15:01:55 11/09/03 Sun

"or, it could refer to the next most probable person to fit the description of the Son of the Vampire with a Soul..."

don't you mean 'Son of the Vampire, with a Soul' :-O ? *nods knowingly*

Lucha Libre-tto (warning: sappy personal reminiscences and spoilers for Angel 5.6) -- cjl, 23:33:44 11/05/03 Wed

I know, I know: "cjl hasn't done a review all season, and he picks THIS ep to start?"

It had to be this episode. "The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco" took me back to my childhood.

1. Dyckman Street Projects (Upper Manhattan), 1973

When I was a kid, I was heavily into comic books and science fiction and horror movies. (Big shock there, huh?) First film I think I fully remember seeing on the big screen was "2001: A Space Odyssey." I was nine years old; that does things to a boy's mind. (Second movie I saw was Elvis Presley and Mary Tyler Moore in "Change of Habit"; that also does things to a boy's mind--but not in a good way.) So the idea that there are colorfully dressed individuals who spend their lives encountering/battling all sorts of weird phenomena in the universe was not an idea alien to me.

Besides the big screen entertainment and all the small screen sci-fi/horror movies I saw on Chiller Theater and Creature Features, there was another video influence tucked away in the UHF corner of my TV: Lucha Libre--professional wrestling on Channel 47.

Now, for those of you young 'uns out there who have grown up with Vince MacMahon and the mega-entertainment spectacles of the WWE, there was a time when the whole world of professional wrestling was a bit...smaller. Oh, Vince was there, and you could see the glimmerings of the media monster that was to come, but there was still the influence of the old days of pro wrestling, the greasy charm of the carny rather than the bloodsport of the Roman Coliseum. You had colorful characters like Andre the Giant, Chief Jay Strongbow, Captain Lou Albano, Classy Freddie Blassie, and Haystacks Calhoun. The pro champion of my day wasn't a steroid case like Hulk Hogan; it was Bruno Sammartino, a likeable lunk from the outer boroughs of New York who actually seemed to be athlete rather than an icon.

Was it "real" wrestling? No, of course not. It was just as heavily scripted back then as it is today. But the combination of ballet-like motion in the ring, and the personalities and costumes of the wrestlers held me at rapt attention.

For a while.

2. Bensonhurst (Brooklyn), 1980s

When I went to college, the simplistic good vs. evil spectacle of professional wrestling didn't, couldn't, hold my interest anymore. I needed more sophisticated entertainment, not just in my TV watching, but in all media--music, film, theater, even comic books. Wrestling faded out of my life, and I barely missed it. Then, I discovered two things every growing boy with intellectual pretensions needed to survive in this world: Spanish language superhero movies and irony.

Suddenly, I was back to my childhood days, but with an entirely new perspective on the material. The movies featuring the masked wrestler Santo, for example, were like a moving ethnological archive, with signifiers of Mexican and European culture flying around and colliding spectacularly all over the screen. Santo would be in the ring one moment, pinning an opponent with all the artistry of a Bolshoi Ballet dancer; the next, he'd be racing around the world on secret spy missions, beating up the bad guys a la James Bond; and after that, he'd have a drink with the buxom young woman who'd been waiting outside his dressing room for the entire movie, and she'd willingly submit to his unstoppable virile charm.

And yes, he'd have his iconic silver mask on all the time.

Was Santo a good looking guy? Not that I could see. Couldn't see his face, of course, but his body was stocky, even plump (especially in some of the later movies). You think we had a "Puffy Xander" problem in Seasons 6 & 7 of BtVS? The Xan-man had nothing on Santo.

But it didn't matter. In the world of his movies, Santo was a symbol of honor, power, and unquestioned manliness. He was a signifier of the culture of machismo, and I reveled in the pure cheesiness, secure in my smugness and ironic detachment. (This detachment came in handy when viewing the movies of Ed Wood and our new governor of California...)

3. Today

Has anybody ever seen a cartoon called "Mucha Lucha"? It's a delightful series about a school for young masked wrestlers. The kids always learn heartwarming lessons about teamwork and belief in one's inner strength--the lessons taught by the great luchadors of the past. It's wildly campy and a lot of fun--and seeing it stripped away a top coating of irony from the memories of my childhood wrestling fandom.

Tonight's ANGEL (you knew I'd get to it sometime) sanded away another layer.

Jeffrey Bell is amazing. Dios mio, this could have gone wrong on so many levels. The episode could have been stone-faced serious, and we would have laughed it off the screen. It could have tipped over into high camp, and completely lost any emotional connection to the audience. But Bell not only navigated between the Scylla and Charybdis of camp and straight melodrama, he tied together the legend of the luchadors, East Los Angeles, the pre-Hispanic culture of Mexico and the parallel mythology of the Buffyverse with stunning ease.

The ring sequences were perfect. The smoke-filled luchador HQ from the fifties was so dead on, I almost gasped in wonderment. And Danny Mora gave an inspired performance as the fifth brother, a legend lost in the pages of history, who found his way back as a truly human hero.

There's so much good stuff here about the characterization of each of the Fang Gang--especially Wes and Angel--that I could go on forever. But we can discuss this as we go along in the thread.

For now: 9 out of 10.


[> Best...Title...EVER -- Apophis, 00:15:32 11/06/03 Thu

[> Dashing in to do a happy dance (spoilers for Angel 5.6) -- Ponygirl, 08:14:52 11/06/03 Thu

You were right, cjl, Bell walked the line between camp and drama, and if he was leaning a bit more over to the camp side I still thought everything came off really well. Great characterizations for everyone, funny lines... and like a special gift-wrapped prezzie for Masq - a definite, underlined mention of the memory wipe!

[> [> Masq is almost happy today! -- Masq, 11:56:15 11/06/03 Thu

The memory-wipe mention did induce mental snoopy-dances. The rest of the ep has sort of been wiped from my memory, for the most part. Monster-of-the-week stuff with moral messages dropped like anvils will do that. As does ME trying to do AtS with the funny. Other than one-liners, funny AtS always seems to fall flat for me.

But if ME promises that everyone will remember my boy, I promise to remember this episode. Well, I guess I'll have to, I need to do an analysis of it.

[> [> [> Another implication - -- Darby, 11:51:44 11/07/03 Fri

This is Sara's, actually, but I'll pass it along.

Is the implication here that, with the memory wipe, that all of our heroes' interactions revert to pre-Connor, before Gunn & Fred, before Dark Wesley, before Physics Prof down the hole? Angel remembers, but no one else, the changes along the way? What do the others remember of that time period, or are they just primed to not think about it at all?

And what will Cordy, bless her comatose heart, remember if they ever pull her out of her Lucid Dream?

...And to the general thread, I have to agree that I too marvelled at how Bell pulled this off. The ads had looked just sooooo cheesy! -Plus they gave away the return of the Brothers...

[> [> [> [> I think it's a blend (spoilers through 5.6) -- Masq, 12:40:39 11/07/03 Fri

Is the implication here that, with the memory wipe, that all of our heroes' interactions revert to pre-Connor, before Gunn & Fred, before Dark Wesley, before Physics Prof down the hole?

The characters seem some weird combo of their early season 3 personalities with who they became in the next two years. Wesley, for example, is book-guy drooling awkwardly over Fred while retaining the beard stubble and gun prowess without the attendent darkness. Fred has a lot more self-confidence than her early season 3 (post-Pylea) self, self-confidence she gained between seasons 3 and 4, and yet at the same time you would expect her to be friendlier to Gunn than she is, and to be the one person who would talk about the past (e.g., what recently happened with Jasmine) the most.

Lorne seems well-integrated into the gang, which he wouldn't be if he was completely reverted back to early season 3.

With Gunn, it's hard to tell because he had the least development in seasons 3 and 4, and now he's getting a lot of development, and is as unconcerned with the past as you would expect him to be.

[> [> [> [> [> Agree (spoilers through 5.6) -- sdev, 16:00:36 11/07/03 Fri

Fred has a lot more self-confidence than her early season 3 (post-Pylea) self, self-confidence she gained between seasons 3 and 4, and yet at the same time you would expect her to be friendlier to Gunn than she is

Couldn't the memories be gone without regressing the character development? Memories being gone would certainly affect her feelings for Gunn but might leave her self-confidence intact. If that has happened the characters have been left in a very disoriented place.

[> [> [> [> Re: Another implication - -- Claudia, 12:55:45 11/07/03 Fri

Shouldn't Fred and Gunn have memories of their romance, since Connor really had no effect upon their relationship, other than the period during they had spent with him during the summer of 2002?

[> [> [> [> [> You're right -- CW, 16:04:11 11/07/03 Fri

If the recent past for Gunn, Wes, Fred and Lorne wasn't as we remember it, what was it like for them? Jasmine without Connor doesn't make much sense, so what did happen, in their view of things?

[> [> [> [> [> [> I'd love to see an S3 or S4 flashback through Wes or Fred's eyes.... -- cjl, 16:11:36 11/07/03 Fri

But ME would never do it.

It would be like showing what Buffy S3 would have been like with Dawn in the picture, and they never did that, either.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> That's what the animated series was supposed to be -- Lunasea, 16:29:48 11/08/03 Sat

It is Buffy, in high school in love with Angel and having younger sister Dawn in the picture. I wouldn't say ME wouldn't ever show that. Joss so wants to do that. No one will give him the money to, that's all.

[> [> [> [> [> [> What about Faith? -- KdS, 16:36:24 11/08/03 Sat

I had a horrible thought last night. If the whole Jasmine episode has been erased from everyone's memory, does Faith remember the drug-induced encounter with Angel and Angelus that gave her a reason to live again?

If I really wanted to torture Angel, I'd pass him on some news that Faith was killed in a jail brawl or died in some suicidal piece of fake heroism in the outside world because she thought death was all she deserved. However, that would probably be too painful for the fans as well.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> That would be painful -- CW, 09:05:30 11/09/03 Sun

For some reason this line of thinking reminds me of Spike in Pangs, "You made a bear! Undo it! Undo it!"

[> Ay, ay ay. Pobrecinco,.. er... pobrecito -- CW, 08:46:37 11/06/03 Thu

Quite interesting that Angel followed a Halloween episode with a Dia de los muertos ep. Dia de los muertos is different from place to place in Mexico, but most often the first day is dedicated to remembering deceased children and the second day deceased adults.

Can't say that I agree with cjl about the quality of the ep. First we start off with Lorne who is not known for insulting people, insulting Fred. For what reason? Well, naturally so Fred can look all noble. Sorry, but instead of a Angel-type hero Fred's turning into a Mary Sue solely written so that people can gripe about how she's being treated, but won't gripe about how she's standing up to the cruel, heartless men. From there on we have a fairly lame story of Angel getting his heart back into the fight. Would that by the end of the show there were some personal reason why Angel should feel that way. Instead we have a muddled story of an old guy who mostly misses his brothers, but who kinda misses being a hero. Especially, he's bitter about not being recognized as a hero. Well, he goes ahead and decides to be a hero again anyway. Wake me when it's over.

About the only thing true to 1950's pro wrestling, as opposed to 1960's pro wrestling, was that masks were used mostly to hide identities. Most frequently in those days promoters put a mask on a guy so that a wrestler who'd otherwise be recognized as a stock good-guy or bad-guy could fill out a match in the 'wrong' role. There was a fellow who consistantly fought as the 'Masked Marvel' good-guy, but without his mask and robe he could have fought as anyone. The masked wrestlers never revealed their identities because it meant losing a pay check once in a while. The showy in-the-ring unmasking of masked wrestlers by their opponents became popular in the mid to late 1950's when it was realized the guy could always get a new mask. The outlandish wrestling costumes associated with pro wrestling since the 1960's began with a guy from the 1940's and early 1950's known as Gorgeous George. I think most people are aware of Liberace, the outlandishly dressed pop pianist of the 1950's and 1960. Orginally, Liberace only appeared in fancy, but tasteful and conventional tuxedos. It was when he started petforming in Las Vegas regularly that Liberace pretty much stole Gorgeous George's dress up act. Gorgeous George was one of the supreme wrestling villains of his day. He'd come into ring primping his curly blond hair, wearing the most outlandish robes with matching trunks. And it was a different outfit everytime you saw him. You have to understand that even the most garishly masked wrestlers in those days wore plain dark wrestling trunks. There was no color TV in those days, but I imagine the colors were just as shocking as the design. Like all wrestling villains he broke the 'rules' while the referee back was turned, but George did it with style keeping his illegal choke-hold or whatever with one arm and fussily checking the fingernails on his free hand. Vanity was his gimmick, when he lost a match, it was usually because he was caught unawares while making sure his hair wasn't mussed or something similar.

[> [> Spoilers for Angel 5.6 in my post abve. -- CW, 08:54:32 11/06/03 Thu

[> [> Thanks for the history lesson, CW -- cjl, 09:10:05 11/06/03 Thu

Gorgeous George was a little before my time, but his trademarks--the outrageous costuming, the illegal choke holds, the sheer love of spectacle--carried over into the 1970s and the early stages of the Vince MacMahon era.

Kind of agree with you about Fred, but considering the degree of difficulty in what Bell was trying to accomplish this episode, I wasn't too upset that Fred came off as a little Sue-ish. In comparison to some of the cannonball flops in previous eps, Bell was attempting a three and a half somersault dive off the board, with one and a half rotations. That there was a tiny aftersplash when he hit the water didn't detract from his nearly flawless execution.

[> [> [> Re: what's up with Fred (and others) (spoilers for last night) -- leslie, 10:49:04 11/06/03 Thu

This was the first episode this season that had both backstory that was more than exposition (ie the direct reference to the memory wipe) and foreshadowing (yup, those dead boys are going to have a confrontation over that Shansu prophecy alright). I think the primary purpose of whole bit about Fred's womanliness connects up with the later scene in which she points out to Spike that he's a champion because he actively saved her, rather than "just standing there" to save the world. I.e., he saved the damsel in distress, which in Spike's book is the definition of championing. But also, since the last thing we saw in the previous episode--which, since that was Halloween and this episode was Dia de los Muertos means that the two episodes take place on consecutive days--was Fred having a drink with Knox, I think the mention of her womanliness probably also is supposed to mark her feeling womanly because she's got a potential boyfriend on the horizon.

Incidentally, in addition to the raising of the memory wipe issue, the other thing I liked about this episode in terms of making things clear is that it finally states why Spike figures things out even though he doesn't think he's very smart: He thinks mythically. And he thinks mythically because that's how poetry works. And he's right. Another way in which this episode looks both backward and, I think, forward--this is the second reference in three episodes to Spike's poetry, both positive references--I have a feeling that Spike's poetic bent is going to become a strength to complement his physical prowess, something that's emerging now precisely because he can't hit things (another aspect of his situation underscored last night).

[> [> [> And are you sure the insult was bad writing? -- alcibiades, 10:51:16 11/06/03 Thu

Well, and are we sure that Lorne insulting Fred was gratuitous? He ended the last episode smiling, with dreams of power on his mind. And the way to pursue his dreams lie not with the others, but with pleasing his clients, getting into their good graces. It is not clear since his dissolution last week, he has really been put together right again. I am not sure this is a Lorne we really know yet.

Moreover, memory wise, in terms of feelings between the gang, we are back in post season 2 or early season 3, before Connor was born, likely before Darla revealed she was pregnant. So quite a bit less bonding occurred amongst the characters. Lorne has many fewer warm feelings to Fred.

And Lorne's people did visualize Fred as a cow, and that was the context in which he first met her. So "sort of like a woman" seems a just summation from his POV -- as opposed to Cordy, who definitely was treated as a woman on Pylea. Made the people respect her.

Jeff Bell's scripts are not gratuitous. You have only to re-watch Slouching Towards Bethlehem now, after season 4 finished, to see how embedded much of the stuff he was dealing with was then. A lot of it raised questions at the time that only become clear retrospectively.

If what Lorne said came across as awkward, to my mind, it was there for a purpose that will become clearer later on, perhaps after the season is over, perhaps before that.

And don't forget that smile we finished on last week as Lorne dreamed of power. That is what is in his mind now. So his nice may mostly be aimed at the people he is going to try to please, his clients. We have mostly seen Lorne's "nice", but there has always been an ambiguousness about him, too, that he has hidden -- it came out though in seasons 3 and 4, though, in his early reactions to Connor, which at the time I found inappropriate or incongruous.

And after all this episode was about masks and true faces. Lorne's mask is his "nice" but there is a lot more conflict going on behind that then we ever glimpsed so fully before.

Makes me wonder, too, if Angel starts seeing his fellows going astray, at what price is he going to realize that the price he paid to squirrel Connor away to his new reality was too high? At the cost of which souls around him? And how many?

[> [> Re: Ay, ay ay. Pobrecinco,.. er... pobrecito -- Corwin of Amber, 09:26:46 11/06/03 Thu

What was "Mary Sueish" about Fred? She didn't really even have a part in this ep. And the thing Lorne said was just your sterotypical hollywood stupid male who needs a woman to tell him how to talk to people.

[> [> [> agree -- sdev, 13:53:05 11/06/03 Thu

[> [> Disagree re the Fred/Lorne exchange (spoilers 5.06) -- Lunasea, 11:14:17 11/06/03 Thu

but it depends if you just view them as independent characters or also as representations of what is going on inside of Angel. Lorne representative of Angel's perceptive abilities accidentally insults Fred representative of Angel's heart. She isn't a "real" woman, just as Angel doesn't see himself as a real hero deep down inside. He's going to hell afterall, the place where heroes don't go. Fred shows that she is strong and a real woman, just like Angel starts to rediscover his hero's heart.

One of the interesting things (and there were so many) about this episode is that Fred is working on shadow Angel/Spike and Wesley is working on Angel. Wesley's concerns were a nice tie back to "To Shanshu in LA." Angel has lost his thrill for the mission, though Gunn retains it. Intellect, symbolized by Wesley, has to show him how important hope is. Then it is up to Angel to find it again. I liked how no one could do this for him. In the end it was Angel alone who requests a copy of the Shanshu Prophecy (though it isn't called that. It is called the Scroll of Aberjian)

Angel's heart is working on a more unconscious level. Angel's intellect is working on a more conscious level. Together, they will help save him from dispair, just like they worked together in "Life of the Party" to save Lorne from the disconnection of his sleep.

I thought it was one of the best episodes this season.

[> [> Re: almost a girl -- skeeve, 12:57:23 11/06/03 Thu

To Lorne, almost a girl is what Fred is.
Calling her that was almost certainly not intended as an insult.
Any girls out there think Lorne is handsome?
To Lorne, Fred is doubtless an ugly shade of not-green.

[> Los Luchadors -- undeadenglishpatient, 10:44:47 11/06/03 Thu

I think there was a FOX superhero show called Los Luchadors. Weren't the villians: The Whelp and Spiderella?

The masked Luchadors were named: Lobo Fuerte, Turbine, Maria Valentine. They fought some cyborg dog - named the Whelp, but that's all I know.

Does anyone have a summary of the episodes in this short lived series?

[> Bored non-wrestling fan (spoilers for Angel 5.6) -- pellenaka, 15:10:47 11/06/03 Thu

Worst. Episode.

And the sweeps have started? It doesn't look like it.

The only reason why I'm still watching this, is because of the fact that they mentioned the prophecy, that Wesley reacted and that this will mean that the mindwipe will be dealt with.

Mexican music. All of the time.

I don't want to hear this guy's life story because I know he will end up dying, even though I'm unspoiled.

Only one storyline still? Come on, you can do better than this, you've got 6 regulars. How about the teamed up and had different cases? Not just one freakin' case!

Anvilicious badness! Ooh, this is just like Angel feels like! How wonderful to have it spelled out to me!

Angel being disconnected? Has he forgotten the epiphany he had in Epiphany or does it need new batteries?

And why did you ever make Lorne a regular if you only plan to have him on for 5 minutes (Besides last week's triumf, of course)?

I miss the previouslies instead of all of this exposition crap. Give me 10 minutes of previouslies if you have to, it's more fun to watch than to hear.

My sister and I sat and talked through the episode because we were so bored and we had no problem following this predictable, pointless story! We even missed Eve and that's saying a lot.

I missed Knox. There would at least have been something to look at if he had been there.

[> [> Aww... (5.6 spoilers) -- Anneth, 16:06:53 11/06/03 Thu

Heh, I had exactly the opposite reaction. I felt this was the best episode of the season; upon rewatching and rechewing, I may stick it up in my list of fav Angel eps ever.

Sadly, I can't tape the episodes this season (long story) so I can't rewatch and obsess over them as I used to with Buffy - so caveat emptor, re my next comments; they may be the result of my misremembering something.

This was the first time we've really gotten to delve into Angel's brain since Home; the episode is written almost entirely from his point of view, and we gain a lot of insight into what's going on with him these days. He's suffering, he's confused, and he seems to have lost his way, and his belief in helping the helpless (or hopeless?) even if his actions ultimately go unacknowledged. In one of those strange confluences of internal problems and external events that run rampant throughout art and literature, Angel runs into someone who is what he might become - a Jacob Marley to his Ebeneezer Scrooge. By the end of the episode, Marley is laid to rest and Scrooge is trying to find his faith again; it'll be a long, slow process, but he's on the right track again.

I loved the music of the episode; it added to the beauty and the melancholy of the theme, the unacknowledge hero. One of the praises the movie The Royal Tennanbaums received is that it showed the lives of precocious children long after their precociousness had run to seed. Angel, in meeting El Numero Cinco, is confronted with that same phenomenon - a man who had, once, fought the good fight with his family at his side; yes, his family was a group of professional wrestlers in shiny masks, but their appearances in no way detracted from their accomplishments. Yet, years after their deaths, their images were mocked and their accomplishments were forgotten. (consider also the fact that Angel's group is more than meets they eye - a skinny English guy, a besuited lawyer, a skinny scientist, a green lounge-lizard, and, now, a ghost.) As a result, El is left embittered, a former hero. Maybe El never realizes that forgotten accomplishments aren't diminished in effect, but Angel does. It's a beautiful, melancholy realization, and perfectly in keeping with the beautiful, melancholy music. In the end, El recieves what he'd most desired, to be reunited with his brothers. Angel returns to the prophecy.

I can't speak to the anvily-ness of the episode. I liked Cautionary Tale, so am willing to forgive it a lot. I understand that many don't or won't share my feelings; I, for instance, dislike Lie to Me a lot, but most fans I know adore it. To each, blahdiddy blah blah... ;)

[> [> [> Like Your Post -- CTH (who is hanging around a little more today), 17:21:13 11/06/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> Why, thanks! -- Anneth, come over all blushy., 12:30:32 11/07/03 Fri

[> [> Re: Bored non-wrestling fan (spoilers for Angel 5.6) -- genivive, 17:22:19 11/06/03 Thu

Can't agree with you. I thought it was the best so far. The "eternal champions" to swipe a phrase from Michael Moorcock. It was both discouraging and uplifting that the fight never stops. It also points the way to where future episodes will go. The consequences of the mindwipe, Shanshu and two (vampires with souls) the consequences of corruption. Can't wait for more.

[> [> [> Agree. Loved the episode! -- jane, 23:29:47 11/06/03 Thu

[> [> [> Champions -- Gyrus, 10:52:09 11/07/03 Fri

The "eternal champions" to swipe a phrase from Michael Moorcock.

It was certainly interesting to see that the PTB have had some champions who were neither Slayers nor ensouled vampires. I'd love to know the origin story of the Hermanos Numeros, especially how they got their superhuman strength.

Poor Spike -- Nino, 17:25:27 11/06/03 Thu

...I'll diddle his Willie for him, if he needs help :)


[> LOL! I think you'll have to stand in line ;-) -- s'kat, 23:08:33 11/06/03 Thu

Suddenly had this vision of thousands of Spikefans, male and female mary-sueing into the tv show simulataneously... run Spike! run! LOL!

[> [> Re: LOL! I think you'll have to stand in line ;-) -- Dlgood, 00:20:53 11/07/03 Fri

Followed up by those fans being disappointed as Spike fails to maintain his concentration during the process, returning to his incorporeal state at the most inopportune of moments.

[> [> [> Re: LOL! I think you'll have to stand in line ;-) -- Claudia, 09:48:16 11/07/03 Fri

[Followed up by those fans being disappointed as Spike fails to maintain his concentration during the process, returning to his incorporeal state at the most inopportune of moments.]

It's not wise to underestimate Spike.

[> [> [> reality bends to desire -- Miyu tVP, 14:09:31 11/07/03 Fri

he just has to *want* it bad enough.


[> Poor Everybody Else -- Gyrus, 11:01:18 11/07/03 Fri

Given that Spike can invade their privacy whenever he likes, I'll bet none of the other Angelistas are spending much quality time with Willie (or Wilhelmina) either.

[> [> Re: Poor Everybody Else -- Ann, 12:21:26 11/07/03 Fri

I never thought of it as a "helm" until now!!! I'll be at the helm! The puns just keep coming.

[> [> [> By that reasoning... -- Gyrus, 12:49:27 11/07/03 Fri

I never thought of it as a "helm" until now!!! I'll be at the helm! The puns just keep coming.

Then would a guy who does it for you be a helmsman?


[> [> [> [> Re: By that reasoning... -- Ann, 15:14:59 11/07/03 Fri

That is hilarious. I just burst out laughing. Thanks.

[> [> [> [> [> Thank you, I'm here all week. :) -- Gyrus, 21:54:34 11/07/03 Fri

[> [> In that case, this is the perfect time for Spike to reveal his sexual urges for Angel...! -- Nino, 13:24:53 11/07/03 Fri

I'd love love love to see some fanfic about THAT encounter!
(hmm....maybe I'll write it...)

[> gentlemen's time (mild spoliers 5.5 & 5.6) -- Miyu tVP, 14:00:50 11/07/03 Fri

Ok - now that someone else has broached the topic so I don't feel like such a perv. ;)

Spike would love to diddle his willy, but is incapable of doing so. Contrast this with Angel's flat denial of enjoying any "gentlemen's time" in LotP... Angel can and probably should (insert your favorite euphemism) but has no desire to. Whereas Spike wants to, but is incapable of... you know.

While working through a translation of the Bacchai, my professor made the interesting comment that Bacchus is the god of fluids, and his counterpart is Apollo, the god of solids. Wine, blood, sweat, tears, semen... all the ineffable craziness of the human condition is the domain of Bacchus. Marble statues, stone temples, moral absolutes, logic belong to Apollo. So here we have the unquestionably solid Angel who has lost all heart. Literally his heart is beef jerky. Literally there is no warm blood passing through his veins. He's a big, cold corpse. And also as a person he is dangerously cold, dead & inert. Then we've got Spike who is literally fluid - slipping and sliding through walls, across dimesions. And as a person - well he's the perennial ball of energy, forever passionate, driven. Both in diddling willies and life in general, at the moment Angel has the ability, but no desire. Spike has boundless desire but no ability.

Ok, so who's going to write the essay on diddling in the Jossverse? ;) In the immortal words of Xander, the epitome of heart - "Sometimes, I think about two women doing a spell, and then I do a spell by myself."

BTW - I know it's pretty much a waste of time to think about the physics behind all this, but - why wouldn't Spike be able to diddle his own willy? Granted his willy would be... unreachable(?) to everyone in the real world, but whatever dimension Spike is in, why wouldn't his willy be right there with him? Is there a willy-dimension? sometimes I shouldn't say words...


[> [> Masturbation on 'Buffy' -- Nino, 15:37:08 11/07/03 Fri

I was rewatchin some Angel season 1...and in "She" after that hottie/demon got him all excited he was unreachable by Cordy and Wes by cell phone. They came to his plce and found him, kinda jittery, just getting out of the shower. The dialogue and delivery of lines definitly leads one to belive that Angel had, in fact, just diddled his willie.

What about other self-pleasure moments?
-DreamXander's referece in "Restless"
-Anya's blatant comment to Andrew in "storyteller"
-Buffy's embarassment about listening to "I touch myself" in "Lie to Me" (i think)
-Xander's boner at the beginning of "Dirty Girls" was most likely met with a good diddling

Were there anymore? I'd think that season 6 would be rife with them.

Hey who wantes to undertake a comprehensive list or masturbation references? Or better yet, oral sex, or some other uber-naughty?

[> [> [> uber-naughty, really? -- skeeve, 17:02:14 11/07/03 Fri

[> [> [> Re: Masturbation on 'Buffy' -- Alison, 07:57:11 11/08/03 Sat

Well, here's another one for your list.. Xander's "sock puppet of love" in the Prom.

[> [> Feeeelllingss... -- LeeAnn, 04:29:45 11/08/03 Sat

I know it's pretty much a waste of time to think about the physics behind all this, but - why wouldn't Spike be able to diddle his own willy? Granted his willy would be... unreachable(?) to everyone in the real world, but whatever dimension Spike is in, why wouldn't his willy be right there with him? Is there a willy-dimension? sometimes I shouldn't say words...

He could make it seem to move like he makes himself move and like he made his clothes reappear in Hellbound but what would be the point since he can't touch or taste or smell. He wouldn't be able to feel it if he did.

[> [> [> Re: Feeeelllingss... -- Celebaelin, 06:04:37 11/08/03 Sat

but what would be the point since he can't touch or taste or smell

Did you just suggest that, were he corporeal, Spike would be able to taste his own willie? Fan worship is one thing but this is what I'd call 'above and beyond'.

[> [> [> [> lol -- LeeAnn, 08:40:01 11/08/03 Sat

Did you just suggest that, were he corporeal, Spike would be able to taste his own willie?


In the words of Woody Allen, not even if his major was mechanical engineering.

[> [> [> [> [> There are several other... -- Celebaelin, 17:19:23 11/08/03 Sat

Woody Allen quotes. I like 'I just beat a man insensible with a strawberry', but then again 'I like his earlier, funny, ones'.

So what do I know?


[> Re: Poor Spike -- blondiebear, 08:42:48 11/08/03 Sat

at last...we get to the crux of the matter...the REAL reason for watching angel...spikes'willie...i can tell you this
it is a subject i have given great thought to...usually at night...alone....ummmmmm
anyyway...spike has something i can't get enough of...ok ...sorry..i just love the character and the way james pulls it off...was that freudian??/

[> Sadly, I don't think you can either--? -- mamcu, 10:18:21 11/08/03 Sat

Just like no one can hit him, I guess no one can touch him anywhere--what a loss!

Heroes: Angel vs. 911 firefighters (spoilers AtS 5.6) -- Tyreseus, 20:50:16 11/06/03 Thu

INTRODUCTORY CAVEAT: A bad miscalculation on my part resulted in my video tape running out of room just a few minutes before the end of the episode last night, so for me, the episode ended with the killing of the demon. "What," you may ask, "caused Tyreseus to be away from his TV during the sacred hour in the first place?" Only tickets to a Jonny Lang concert with Jason Mraz where I stood so close to the stage that sweat fell from the men onto me!! Anyway, my point is that I wasn't exposed to the final "did Angel learn his lesson?" moments of the show.

As I watched the episode, every time I heard talk about being a hero, a champion, it reminded me of the firefighters, police, paramedics, and doctors who became heroes in the wake of the 9-11 attack on the United States. In my life, I've been lucky enough to know a few of these "everyday heroes" personally. What Angel is experiencing isn't so far from things I've heard them say about their chosen careers.

Angel, in essence, signed on several years ago to be a "professional" hero. That is, he decided to use his talents for stopping evil to earn financial compensation for himself and his team. As we remember from early seasons, Angel resisted this at first and Cordy was the catalyst for the slow but ulitmate change. If Cordy were awake and well today, her season 1-2 persona would probably view this involvement with W&H as the ultimate way of putting value to what they do.

Problem is, Cordy isn't awake and well, and Angel is starting to find the idea of stopping evil for a paycheck repulsive again. He puts his life on the line and gets rewarded with things like a fleet of pretty cars, a great place to live, and a measure of fame, but is that enough.

Returning to the "everyday heroes," people who put their lives on the line for a paycheck. I have known a few who have had similar crises of conscience. Sure, they all went into their professions expecting to earn a paycheck (a difference between them and Angel), but there are many different, less dangerous careers they could have chosen. They generally choose to be police officers, firefighters, paramedics, etc. because they want to make a difference in people's lives.

But at some point, even doing heroic things becomes repetitious, mundane and "just doing a job." My take on the episode is that a certain amount of Angel's disconnectedness comes from his feelings that he's just doing a job. He just doesn't feel like a champion anymore. He saves the world or individual lives so regularly, but the payoff isn't what it used to be. Now he gets a paycheck and people expect him to go out and do it again.

I think back to the very beginning of the season, when he rescues the pretty blonde girl in the alley. She was thanking him and Angel was super pleased with himself for doing a good thing. He tried to leave anonymously, knowing that the girl would remember him as the mysterious stranger who saved her life one night. But that's not how things work anymore. Before he can make his super-hero exit into the night, W&H lawyers are having the girl sign papers indicating that she has been saved by W&H CEO Angel, etc. She asks "did you do this publicity?" and Angel tries to tell her no, but the "mysterious stranger" illusion has been shattered. Will she remember him forever as her savior, or will she remember him with a jaded "this guy who saves lives all the time once saved mine as well."

It's not a paycheck, some pretty cars or "the high life" that Angel needs. Nor is it the Shan Shu prophecy. When he says he feels disconnected, it's because Angel needs to make personal connections with the people whose lives he is saving or changing. That's why Gunn's beaurocratic acts of heroism seem vacant to Angel.

Remember this exchange from "City of..." (AtS 1.1)

Doyle (to lady): "Get a job, you lazy sow. (to Angel) It's about letting them into your heart. It's not about saving lives; it's about saving souls. Hey, possibly your own in the process."

Angel: "I want to know who sent you."

Doyle: "I'm honestly not sure. They don't speak to me direct. I get - visions. Which is to say great splitting migraines that come with pictures. A name - a face. I don't know who sends them. I just know whoever sends them is more powerful than me or you, and their just trying to make things right."

Angel: "Why me?"

Doyle: "Because you've got potential. And the balance sheet isn't exactly in your favor."

Angel: "Well why you?"

Doyle: "We all got something to atone for. (reaches into his pocket and pulls out a piece of paper) Had a vision this morning. When the blinding pain stopped I wrote this down."

Angel reads the paper-Tina Coffee Spot "Tina."

Doyle: "Nice looking girl, needs help."

Angel: "Help with what?"

Doyle: "That's your business. I just take the names."

Angel: "I don't get it. How am I supposed to know..."

Doyle: "You're supposed to get into her life, remember? Get involved. Look, High School's over, boy. It's time to make with the grown up talk."

The whole point of AtS is that Angel needs to save souls, not just lives. Yes, there is ultimate reward for this (his own soul), but that's the point, nonetheless. It's now been at least a full season since Angel had the directly seen influence from the PTBs in his life, and he's starting to forget the mission they had in mind for him. Without Doyle or Cordy as emmissaries, he's become disconnected from his original cause.

Let's come back to the idea of the 9-11 firefighters. Some of the firefighters I know felt a renewed sense of purpose after 9-11 because suddenly the nation was holding them up as heros, performing concerts in their honor, media specials, entire clothing lines with "NYPD" or "NY Fire Dept." emerged. But lately, they're starting to feel the ennui of just doing a job again. Numero Cinco reminded me of them last night. His bitterness over the "farce" acted out in memory of his brothers was a cry to be continually remembered as a great hero. But people have short memories, and it's easier to immortalize actors or sports stars than the real heroes. "Only a fool would want to be a champion," because people will forget what you did.

My "what Angel needs" theory isn't that he needs to renew his faith in the Shan Shu prophecy. My theory is that he needs to renew his original directive to "get in their lives." Maybe he needs to make a girlfriend out of wolf-girl. Maybe he needs to call Kate for coffee (and give her a job on W&H special ops team - I know he already created a vacancy). Or maybe he needs to find some of the evil employees at W&H and try to save their souls rather than just firing or stopping them from doing more evil. Maybe he needs to save Eve's soul, or Harmony's, or anyone else, because it's not enough just to save their lives.

I say this because the everyday heroes I know usually get out of their ennui through interacting with people. The firefighter talks to a groups of elementary school students. The police officer holds a barbeque in the neighborhood he regularly patrols. The paramedic makes a follow-up visit to the home of the elderly couple after saving the husband from a heart attack.

Anyway, that's my $.02 and it's long after having been too busy to visit the board much lately. Maybe it's more like $.05. I've missed you guys.


[> Real World Heroes (spoilers AtS 5.6) -- Rufus, 21:23:02 11/06/03 Thu

Joss has mentioned that the end of Chosen was something he wanted to say for a long time about everyone being a hero, or at least being capable of being one. In works of fiction we see the deed of the hero, not how long it takes for the spin cycle to stop on laundry day. Angel is a hero that we see as a Dark Avenger with no life other than the heroic deed. Real heroes sound like the people the Aztec demon was killing....

Wes: I'd forgotten that the Aztec culture was so violent.

Gunn: Yeah, cause our culture's so at peace.

Wes: All right, but by and large we don't eat our victims.

Gunn: You got that file on the lady at the All Souls Mass?

Wes: She's the most puzzling, the demon passed by over twenty people so he could attack her.

Gunn: I know, we need to find his MO so Angel can quess it's next move.

Wes: Does Angel seem all right to you?

Gunn: Yeah, still adjusting to corporate life I guess. Bit of a disconnect.

Wes: Disconnect?

Gunn: His word not mine. But he's still doing his hero thing...wait a minute...didn't you say the homeless guy in the alley was a vet?

Wes: Yeah, Gulf War.

Gunn: And something about a Bronze Star? Bronze star - lady in the church worked with gangs - this dude, a fireman

Wes: Saved his crew in a fire, that's the thread, that's the MO?

Gunn: It's taking the hearts of heroes.

There are heroes, and there are heroes. Angel got a wake up call when he felt the rejection of the demon who passed over his shriveled walnut of a heart in favor of a more meaty kind. Being a hero involved a heroic deed, but I think it also is a mindset of being able to do something more than is required of you to exist.

From s3 Heartthrob...

James: "You think you won - just because you're still alive? - I lived. - You just existed."

[> Good to see you Tyr! -- Ponygirl, 08:05:49 11/07/03 Fri

Angel's mourning -- Ann, 21:01:29 11/06/03 Thu

Losing a child. What is Angel is going through? I contend that even though he knows Connor is "alive and well", he is still going through what every parent goes through when they lose a child. It is not as simple as the so-called five stages of grief but he is experiencing a normal but extremely complicated (ME'verse) grief. Angel is experiencing the normal yet painful reactions that every parent has following the death of a child.

From Compassionate Friends: "When a child dies, parents mourn and begin the long process of bereavement. Those who have had a child die often immediately experience shock, numbness, denial, and disbelief, all of which act as a cushion against the full impact of the loss. As time passes and these emotions wear off, others emerge, often including guilt, anger, loneliness, despair, sadness, and regret. These feelings are all part of the emotional reaction called "grief" and may be so overwhelming that parents often do not understand what they are experiencing."

Also "Parents also feel that they have nothing to live for and thus think about a release from the intense pain." (I think it is interesting that the writer's had Angel have a release of another sort in LOTP.) Life is going on. Sort of. That is painful in light of his loss. (He withdraws from the party to his office to watch hockey. He withdraws to watch, not to live.) Life. That is something Angel also needs to learn to live with. Support is necessary during a grieving period and Angel does receive it in a "disconnected" sort of way from his co-workers. They are worried about him but they just don't know the reason. A survey done in 1999 on behalf of Compassionate Friends says that 60% of parents that have lost of child turn to their co-workers for support. But Angel can't do that in the traditional way because they do not remember Connor. They do not remember Connor but this in fact is a common occurrence after the death of a child. People do not know how to speak of the dead child so they don't. Angel's coworkers don't speak of Connor because they truly can't. It is the same thing. Connor's death is not remembered because children's deaths, especially in infancy are "forgotten" by family and friends. The child's name is never mentioned. The parents feel that everyone has forgotten and there is much anger.

The worst fear of a parent whose child has died is that they themselves will forget the child. This worst fear is so truly manifest in the W&H agreement. It has taken away Connor's memory. Angel's life is ongoing but Connor's isn't, as Connor. Angel is suddenly childless. Connor was so long in coming, was such a difficult journey, but Angel had pinned hopes on Connor as all parents do and now Connor is gone. A parent often question the value of their existence after the loss of a child and that is just was Angel is doing. He used to help the hopeless and now he is one of them. Angel thought that being pushed to the bottom of the ocean was as "low" as he could go but Connor's loss has proved otherwise. He is having a complicated grief with the guilt that he feels for making this choice. It has affected everyone around him. All parents who lose a child feel that they were responsible and Angel truly is. He is getting through the day and night, moment by moment, and can't look to anyone for help. Yet.

I think meeting the five will open the door to the pain and perhaps to dealing with his lack of hope and his loss. "5" died a hero and Angel can find that also. He won't become "the masked man". He will be able to become "1" with himself feeling less disconnected. His mentioning the prophecy is his way to open the door to allowing the memories of Connor to come out. He needs to speak of Connor to someone, as all parents who have lost a child, have to. His slip will allow this to happen and I bet any money he makes more slips. He has begun falling on the slippery slope to the truth about Connor - his responsibility for it and all of the reverberations and consequences after it. He needs to do this, so he will. After all he helps the hopeless. It will come out. And I too think it will be an ass whupping but it may be kind and gentle. It doesn't necessarily have to be harsh. That will be his penance for his deed, this choice of his.


[> Yes! (Angel and Pearl) -- Maura, 22:59:31 11/06/03 Thu

Great reading, Ann! I think Angel is definitely going through a grieving process much as many parents do when a child dies.

Your post made me think of _Pearl_, a 15th century narrative poem (by the _Gawain and the Green Knight_ poet) that is about a man grieving over the death of his two-year-old daughter. His daughter has gone to heaven. He knows she's "alive and well," so to speak, moreso than she was on Earth. But that knowledge just doesn't take away the pain. Even though, through a dream he has of her, he seems finally to come to terms with the fact that "God's in his heaven and all's right," his final acceptance of her death seems a bit too pat. Is this a factor of late medieval Christianity, or is it meant to seem too pat? Is the poet's message that grieving is a subtler, longer process than that? I don't know, but I agree that we see Angel going through that process.

[> [> Re: Yes! (Angel and Pearl) -- Ann, 19:34:43 11/08/03 Sat

Thank you for the reference. I am printing out a translation as I type this message. I had never heard of this poem before and look forward to reading it. It has been many years since I read old English and this one is really old so I am going to start with the translation. Thanks again.

[> Re: Angel's mourning -- jane, 23:08:42 11/06/03 Thu

Very interesting and perceptive post, Ann. I think it explains a lot about Angel's emotional state right now. As you say, not being able to talk about Connor makes his grieving even more acute. It is true that one of the hardest things for a parent following the death of a child is that people don't know how to talk about that child. My sister's middle child was killed in a car accident when he was 19. She told me the worst thing was that it seemed like Sean's life had been wiped away because no one wanted to talk about him. She went through a lot of the same despair Angel seems to be experiencing. Interesting that you mention Compassionate Friends. She says they saved her.

[> [> Re: Angel's mourning -- Claudia, 10:29:04 11/07/03 Fri

Was Angel's despair and mourning apparent in "Convictions", or did it start manifesting after Spike's arrival?

[> [> [> Re: Angel's mourning -- Athena, 10:51:11 11/07/03 Fri

I do think Connor is a major reason Angel is being so grumpy to Spike. Connor did relatively little evil and even then it was under the cruel manipulations of a posessed Cordy, resulting in him becoming completely lost without hope or trust; meanwhile, Spike did countless horrible things and he's on the path to redemption. Yeah, Spike has a soul now, but it doesn't make it easier, so to some extent Angel is using him as a punching bag.

[> [> [> [> Connor and Spike (spoilers through 5.6) -- Masq, 11:18:22 11/07/03 Fri

I think it's more complicated than that even. In some ways, Spike is serving as Angel's substitute for Connor. When Angel would really, really like Connor to be there, he's "stuck" with his grand-offspring instead, and that is creating a strange sort of bond between the vampires.

Spike and Angel's relationship is more subtle now than a rivalry over Buffy or a rivalry over being "the vampire with a soul". Spike is stuck at Wolfram and Hart, unable to go very far outside its doors, unable to effect much. So Spike spends most of his time either standing around criticizing Angel (which, hey, used to be Connor's job) or tagging along looking for a diversion, or trying to bond with the most familiar person in the building, the one he is most like, and the person he has the most history with (namely, Angel).

Meanwhile, Connor haunts Angel's mind like a pale ghost. So Angel wavers back and forth between over-the-top hostility towards Spike (for not being Connor, and for resembling Angel in so many things, as Connor did) and openness to bonding with him. As if some part of him is feeling the need to fill the void left by the fruit of his loins, and the only obvious choice for filling it is the fruit of his fangs.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Connor and Spike (spoilers through 5.6) -- Converso Romano, 17:04:10 11/07/03 Fri

Also did you get the moment in Numero 5, when Angel tells Spike to leave and Spike says "if wishes were horses," and Angel is so overcome by that expression, he has to physically turn away, because he is so overwhelmed by wishing for Connor, or wishing he didn't magically do Connor, and that he wasn't at W&H.

[> [> [> [> [> [> FYI If wishes were horses -- Ann, 18:56:13 11/07/03 Fri

I googled this phrase and got:

"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride
If turnips were swords, I would wear it by my side.
And ifs and ands were pots and pans
There would be no work for tinkers."

Scottish proverb, first recorded circa 1628


If wishes were horses beggars wad ride, and a' the warld be drowned in pride.

There is also a Bryan Adams song:

If Wishes Were Horses
Come with me you can wish upon a star
You can do all the things that you've longed to
And you won't have to wonder who you are
You can be anybody you want to
In a land full of promises and kings
All your best laid dreams are for catchin'
You can have the world to tie up on a string
Just close your eyes and imagine

If wishes were horses
Beggars would ride
All dreams and desires would ride along side
Worries and troubles would fall off behind
If wishes were horses, beggars would ride

To a land far or near come along
There's an all new-round everyday glow
Like the young girl sang in the song
"Somewhere over the rainbow"

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> yeah, but... -- anom, 23:56:58 11/10/03 Mon

...even if beggars rode their wish-horses, they wouldn't get what they wished for. Unless they wished for horses. Or maybe they could sell the horses & buy what they wished for!

[> [> Re: Angel's mourning -- Ann, 19:37:23 11/08/03 Sat

I agree. The best thing you can do for someone who has lost a child is to ask about that child. It might be hard for them to talk about it but it is harder not to. I hope your sister is doing okay.

Angel 5.6 or the Caraciture of Angel season 5 (spoilers ats 5.6) -- Seven, 10:47:31 11/09/03 Sun


Ok, this is my first real analysis of any episode, but I thought that this was a great episode for so many reasons that I just felt compelled to add my thoughts on it to the board. Usually I just lurk or add a comment here or there. I don't really have a guiding thought to this post except maybe the idea of caricature. I hope that that will at least be clear at the end. Hope you enjoy.

Angel 5.6 or "The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco" opens like any other episode of Angel this season - with no "Previously on Angel" segment. I suppose this was one of the ways that ME is showing that these can all be stand alone episodes----- but won't there likely be a significant need for them later in the season? I imagine there will be.

The teaser scene is standard. Introduce the monster - oooh, so scary --- Now cut to # 5. We get a seemingly unneeded scene with Lorne, 5 and Fred. I think maybe though that the "and I'm all woman" line may come back to play a part in Fred's growth. We are seeing now very similar aspects of Fred that we saw in season three when she was essentially just a prize to be won by either Gunn or Wes. I imagine that she might become more of a vixen (for character and WB purposes). Maybe she'll fool us all and just use old Knoxy boy like a cheap whore. Could happen.

Next we get Gunn and Angel sorting through paperwork. The work is rewarding to Gunn who feels he is really making a difference now. He is more hands on then he ever was fighting day-to-day, monster-to-monster. Gunn mentions that Angel has signed off on something like a shelter for runaways or something for disenfranchised kids. This reminds us of where Charles comes from. This is at least the second reference to that this season. The first was in "Conviction" when talking to Eve.

Gunn: "Eatin' ,trash and watchin' my buddies get picked off one by one? Yeah, that was the life."

Because of the mind wipe, Gunn is much closer to that life than we realized. The last time we heard mention of his old life was "That Old Gang of Mine" (Ok, there was the episode with the soul for a truck, but that's mostly in flashback right?)

Next, Angel lying to himself. "Not bad for a day's pay." He'll do this throughout the episode.

Spike: A reminder to the audience that he can't touch anything, but we also are told outright what was only implied before. He can't smell or taste either. (And later he says he can't drink or smoke as well) So he can see and hear with no problem. Likely because without those senses, someone like Spike wouldn't realize that he exists. But we know that if he tries hard enough he can touch things. How about the other things? If he concentrates enough, could he tap into his vamp senses? I have a feeling that he might, but I'll get to that later.

Soon #5 throws Angel through a window, but I'll get to that later as well

Opening credits

We have the pretty basic setup. Wes finds a pattern of bodies. The writing seems a little weak with Spike. The camera angle sort of annoyed me and Spike's lines were kind of forced. Maybe the writer (Jeffery Bell) isn't sure how to write the banter or maybe he had a dry spot here. Anyway, other than that, the editors did make an awesome transition sequence. Especially with the rattlers.
We follow this with more plot development. Nothing real special here. The only notable thing was Wesley's gun use. "Do they ever work?" - Skip

Next is a short scene with Gunn and Fred. Hmm, no tension at all between former lovers? Seems fishy to me. Like some nut who has given up all his hope went and wiped there memory of the whole thing. Oh, wait...

Let's skip the Spike and Fred dialogue.

Angel lies to himself again. "Cause that's what we do."

The second Shanshu reference of the season. I think Wes is guilty of not reading between the lines. "Any vampire with a soul who's not a ghost." Uhm, isn't what Spike described - his saving of the world ---doesn't that qualify as enough? Can't Wes see that maybe Spike has Shanshued? No. He still has too much faith in Angel. Not exactly like season 4 Wes is it?

Cut to Wes figuring out the who defeated the monster (of the week) last time it was here. Great ME joke on us here.

Angel: "Do we know his number?"
Wes: "Actually we do."

Cut to the number "8" when we were all thinking 5. Very funny.

Ok, the vampire rules seem wiggy here. 5 pulls Angel in, I suppose in doing so either giving an implied invitation or more likely giving up his invitation only rights.

More importantly is what is said next.

#5: "Did you not get the message from our last conversation?"

Angel: "We didn't have a conversation. You just through me through a window"*

*Many of these lines are from memory and likely not exactly right and defiantly not word for word. I'm just trying to get the implied meaning out of it.

These lines have meaning. When Angel made the decision concerning Conner, he didn't ask for anyone's advice. He didn't have a conversation with them. He just acted. Just like #5

Now the story of Los Hermanos Numeros, "The Number Brothers." This is an obvious analogy to the team of Lorne, Fred, Gunn, Wes and Angel. The campy-ness of Brothers act as a caricature to the former. A caricature brings to the surface all the ugly flaws of a person or thing by making them cartoonish and easily visible.

Now another great line.

#5: "Surly you've heard of our victory over the Devil's Robot.

Angel: "Sorry."

#5: "ugh, no one remember the good stuff."

I almost peed myself after hearing this line. What a great reference to the mind-wipe. Then numerous other parallels: Brother's die/friends are mind-wiped, worked for W&H/made a deal, now runs W&H.

Also of significance is this amulet. "There's always a talisman." Hmm, just thinking now...that could be a connection from Lessons to Chosen....and then from Chosen to the end of Conviction and that would mean big reference to (future bookend Angel episode title here)....but I digress. Yes an amulet (that looks suspiciously like the one Spike is connected to) that had significant importance to the caricatures of Angel's team. Yeah, that amulet is gonna be of mondo importance.

Now some talk of the past from

,b>#5: "Is it too much for people to remember the past? To much to remember those that fought and died?"

Pretty strong connection to the mind-wipe.

Also some fun with semantics. Does #5 say (my brothers) sacrificed their lives ---as heroes or (my brothers) sacrificed----their lives as heroes?

One is the Numbers Brothers --- one is AI.

Then we have Angel's big fake speech. He says the work is it's own reward. But the way it comes out seems like he was trying to convince himself but he didn't even believe that. And it seems like ME is trying to make us feel the same...trying to strip the meaning away from Angel' "Epiphany" scene with Kate. Now they are refocusing on Shanshu. Remember that (essentially) one idea was traded for the other. ATS was set up at the end of season one to be that---the journey to his humanity. But season 2 smothered that idea with the first ep of the season and then solidified the new idea with "Epiphany." Now we are headed back to the Shanshu idea.

Next important scene to note is Gunn's Eurika moment. Yes, Gunn figures out the M.O. of the monster. When have we seen this in the past? We haven't. At least not in a situation like this. At least not to my memory. Eurika moments are for Angel, Fred and Wes, not Gunn, never Gunn. This means that his logical reasoning is more developed. He couldn't possibly be a good lawyer with just the base knowledge at his command. He has to be able to decipher it and put it to logical use. Maybe Gunn always had that in him but it is possible that the big cat toyed with his logical reasoning. And I'll be the first to say that if one thinks differently, one is different. He has changed and this is a problem for Charles.

Now we get the monster looking for Angel's heart, but why doesn't he take it? Unanswered question really. Look at the monster's face when he has Angel pinned. I think it looks like he was going to but then something told him not to. Didn't Wes say that this beasty had a contract with W&H? Maybe they said no. Maybe they want Angel to have that seed of doubt that he isn't a hero. Maybe that's why he's alive right now.

Great exchange from Angel and Wes --El Diablo Robotico -- Very funny but also connects the "no one remebers the good stuff line to what is said next.

The big revelation. Wes doesn't remember the "Father will Kill the Son" prophecy. Uhm, yeah that's big. This puts Wes back to at least "Waiting in the Wings," before the whole Saijan stuff started to emerge. If Wes never did that, then he was never booted from the group, he never went rouge and HE NEVER GAVE UP LEADERSHIP OF ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS. As far as he sees it, when Angel was offered W&H, he kind of relinquished his command. That may be why we see so much of Wesley giving orders. Look at Conviction for a reference. There are others too but I can't think of them right now. Also in Conviction, Harmony says "BOSS!" And both Angel and Wes turn and say "What?" Looks like he wasn't thrilled about giving up the job without good reason.

The rest of the show was great but I didn't find too much more insight. Just more of what was already expressed throughout. I LOVED that Angel went to look at the Shanshu prophecy. It was really a great ending.

So that's it. That's my take. Thoughts? Questions? Suggestions?



[> Gunn -- abt, 16:11:49 11/09/03 Sun

Good post, very interesting comparisions. Just one point, I think we have seen a Eureka moment for Gunn before, in season 4, episode 7, when they were looking at marked maps, Gunn sort of took a step back, and saw the big picture, saw how laying the maps out showed "X marks the spot".

[> The Shanshu Question (spoilers ATS 5.6) -- Ixchel, 17:58:38 11/09/03 Sun

Seven, great analysis, and you seem to touch on an idea that had occurred to me as well.

You say Spike may have shanshued, and I was thinking that rather he will shanshu when/if he becomes corporeal (but still a vampire) again. If I recall correctly, the vagueness of the prophecy could allow that Spike (souled vampire) would *live* again as a *dead* person (a vampire) after a key role in an apocalyptic battle (could certainly be the Chosen battle as it doesn't specify how long after said battle). And the interpretation that it (the shanshuing) is a reward, could be just that, Wesley's interpretation. Also, Spike's situation was inconceivable before ATS S5, so no one would consider that shanshuing would mean being restored to corporeality and nothing more (such as becoming human). If this is the case, then Angel could have been the shanshuee (if Spike had not obtained a soul, etc.), and the result would be the same, life as a (presumably souled) vampire again after a heroic death. I have to admit liking this idea as (IMHO) it's a neat twist on the whole shanshu issue.

Again, thought provoking post.

Ixchel (sporadic delurker)

[> [> Anyone else think that Spike is already in Stage 2...? -- Nino, 20:58:58 11/09/03 Sun

Stage 1 being his role in an apocolyptic battle....maybe this whole ghost bit is just the next stage before turning human....or maybe not. I know it seems too obvious to "give" the Shanshu to Spike, but the way the characters have ignored the possibility that Spike is the souled vamp in question, makes me think that it would be a great storytelling opportunity, even if its a little obvious...

[> [> This is exactly what I mean... -- Seven, 21:10:41 11/09/03 Sun

I feel that the whole Shanshu thing is much more complex than Wes made it out to be. Also, another idea could be a big fake out. If W&H knew what would happen to Spike and knew what Angel's decision (to take over W&H) would be, then the evil corporation could be purposely making it seem like Spike has Shansued and that there is no hope for Angel, making him sink deeper into solitude and become more and more like #5. The team may start looking at Spike and saying, "Hey, maybe he's the Shanshu guy and Angel is just screwed" and then maybe Angel will think that way too. Then he will just give up because What else is going to do?

[> [> [> Re: This is exactly what I mean... -- skeeve, 09:34:26 11/10/03 Mon

Angel knows how to become human.
Buffy seems to have dealt with her last appocalypse.
Why Angel doesn't become human isn't clear to me.

[> [> [> [> Because this way.... -- Seven, 11:47:11 11/10/03 Mon

He preserves his life.

If Angel truley doesn't ---or at least hasn't ---believed in the Shanshu prophecy, and he does believe that when he dies he is going to hell, then continuing his life as an immortal vampire is the only way to escape eternal damnation. Hell, I'd most likely choose the superhero life instead of a life of torture.

[> [> [> Re: This is exactly what I mean... -- rsfayez, 12:05:26 11/10/03 Mon

doesn't anyone think that it's weird ME posing the possible elegibility of spike while showing his vamp face in the opening credits?

[> [> [> Demoralize and divide? -- Ixchel, 18:03:06 11/10/03 Mon

I wouldn't put this kind of manipulation past the Senior Partners. Intriguing idea.

I thought of another reason why I like the Shanshu means "living" as a corporeal souled vampire and nothing more scenario:

In the end, Angel couldn't even be angry with Spike for "taking" some reward from him. The Shanshu wouldn't be the shiny new car at the end of the game show, it'd just be a charcoal briquette death, some phantom limbo, and then the life of a souled vampire (and hey, Angel already has one of those).

Yum, irony.


Buffy's episode 'Get It Done' -- Cicily, 22:44:06 11/06/03 Thu

Does anyone know where I can find some Buffy fanfiction where Buffy took the demon power offered to her by the Shadow Men in the season 7 episode "Get It Done"? If you do, please email me at

Love (is like a) Building on Fire (spoilers for Tru Calling 1.2) -- cjl (with apologies to Talking Heads), 23:13:40 11/06/03 Thu

*Heavy sigh.*

Warning: TWOP-level snarkiness ahead. I am unhappy.

Okay, folks, I did it--on your collective recommendation, I skipped over the pilot, the better to save my sanity. And then, I get the worst bits of the pilot in the credits, anyway. Run, Tru, run! Bounce out of that top, Eliza! The money shot, with the wind-blown hair and the soulful look straight into the camera. Oh my God. It's the most embarrassing moment for a woman in the credits of a TV drama since Kim Delaney's infamous hair flip in the credits of NYPD Blue.

The story itself starts out in the morgue, where nobody seems to have developed any psychic calluses to deal with the constant flow of dead bodies. It looks and sounds like a bunch of actors playing coroner. (Couldn't we have just one jaded lifer for Eliza to play off of, please?) Her boss is agreeably quirky, but a little of him goes a long way.

Then we get a building fire (nicely done, by the way--the only thing remotely convincing in the entire ep), and Dead Hunky Firefighter sacrifices himself to save a 10-year-old boy.

Tru has breakfast with little brother, and I forget his name almost as soon as he leaves the screen. He's Gambling Addict, and so far, there's nothing to his character beyond that. (Maybe next week's ep will give the actor more to chew on, but it smells like more melodramatic nonsense.) Tru has a tete-a-tete with Big Sis, but she's not really much of anything, either. Best Friend looks like fun, but I think Eliza and the actress would rather be doing some actual shopping than reading the script.

The casualties of the fire get wheeled into the morgue, including DHF and a sweet seven-year-old girl. Our heroine hears dead things; she pulls out the slab, receives The Call for help from DHF, and Tru does the time warp again.

Back to yesterday. Tru takes a taxi (yay!) to her local firehouse and talks to not-Dead Hunky Firefighter, convincing him to do an inspection of the doomed building in the hope that he can prevent a disaster the easy way. Nobody who's watching believes this for a second. The screenwriter (NOT Doug Petrie, thank god) is supposedly developing heaping amounts of sexual tension between Tru and n-DHF during the inspection, but nobody's buying this either. This is criminally bad writing: n-DHF is vapid, but a pretty good looking guy--and Eliza is smoking hot.

[My brains cells spend their free time wondering why n-DHF has his own pin-up calendar hanging in the station house. Shouldn't there be an Eliza Dushku or a Barbie Twins 2003 calendar up there? That's a serious level of narcissism for such a supposedly straight-arrow, blue collar guy.]

At one point, when Tru and n-DHF are checking for gas leaks, the camera zooms in on Eliza's tight skirt, and I'm so bored I say to myself: "Could we just hold the camera there for the rest of the show?"

Anyway, n-DHF fixes the leak, and Tru thinks that maybe--since Professor Weasel is out of the picture--she can find a man who treats her with respect. But Tru can't avoid the anvils dropping all around her, as n-DHF's dedication to his job (paralleling her dedication to her mission, you know) indicates that he's toast long before the first half irises out. Speaking of which, it's 8:27. Friends is over. Time for the recap.

Yes, they do it AGAIN.

The second half stinks up the screen with a number of red herrings that add nothing to the characters or the plot. While walking in the shadow of the GG Bridge, Tru keeps telling n-DHF to go back to his apartment and wait until she comes over. (Nice background scenery, BTW. fresne, is that real or green screen SFX?) She's being sweet and protective and utterly loony, but for some reason, he doesn't listen to her. If Eliza Dushku told me to go my apartment and stay there until she came over? I think I'd stay there.

Turns out, the ten-year-old boy DHF rescued at the start of the ep started the fire. Tru manages to get most of the building out just as he's lighting the benzene-soaked rags. But the boy's little sis--the seven-year-old girl--is still trapped in the building. To absolutely no one's surprise, n-DHF goes back in, rescues the girl, and is DHF once more. Apparently, Tru's mission was to rescue the girl, not the love interest. (Okay, I'll go with it.)

And then, we get the finale. Tru grieves over the body of DHF, begging him to wake up and talk to her. It makes the credits shot look positively dignified by comparison. Badly written, badly acted, and almost painful to watch.

Okay, I've vented. I'm going to give Tru one or two more shots. But Petrie had better show up soon. The producers had better get a freakin' clue. Otherwise, this is going the way of Skin and Tarzan, and no amount of time travelling by Eliza is going to stop it.


[> Re: Love (is like a) Building on Fire (spoilers for Tru Calling 1.2) -- jane, 23:24:09 11/06/03 Thu

Sadly, I have to agree with you here. Eliza, you deserve better than this! Lame plot, and when the recap came, I actually yelled at the TV. What, are we all too dumb to remember what happened 10 minutes ago? Please!
BTW, the scenery is real. That park scene with hunky firefighter guy was filmed in Vancouver, along the seawall,in Stanley Park.
I'm going to give it one more try next week.

[> [> I have to wonder ... -- Earl Allison, 05:11:15 11/07/03 Fri

... How much of the premise was changed after the original pilot was changed? It may have been sold/sized up as an entirely different show before the new pilot.

Poor Eliza is locked into the show now, for good or ill.

However, and also for good or ill, Tru Calling may actually survive past December (my original prediction was that it would die before the new year) -- only because FOX has axed so many other shows. I'd heard they pulled the plug on Skin, but Tarzan, too? Not that it isn't deserving, but FOX can't run test patterns and Simpsons reruns forever, can they?

As to the Professor/Tru relationship, I'm of two minds on it. Firstly, I'd never cheat on Eliza (but then I have no chance with her, either, so the grass is always greener), but this seems a lot like the marriage formed from prior adultery falling apart.

I mean, you are in a situation that is, if not actually illegal, certainly immoral according to standard societal views. Is it so much of a surprise to find out that the Professor you (as a student) were sleeping with/involved with is now involved with (gaspshockhorror) another student? It's like the man/woman who sleeps with a married partner, wins him/her away, the two marry, and suddenly they are seeing the same signs of what came before, only now THEY are the ones being cheated on. Those immoral acts don't simply form in a vaccuum, and while I can understand the tendency of ANYONE to rationalize their own actions (but WE have true LOVE!), there are patterns to be seen.

It's just very hard to get any sympathy here. Sure, the Professor is a jerk (and hey? Eliza Dusku here, would YOU cheat on her?), but is Tru really so wronged a party, or did she simply choose a bad partner and do so in a bad way herself (by sleeping with her Professor while a student). None of this exhonorates the Professor's actions, certainly, but I don't think only ONE of the two in the relationship is bad, here.

Curious to see if she will continue to enable her brother's problem. There's an upcoming episode called "Brother's Keeper," I think. Maybe that will deal with it? Title's all I have, so that shouldn't spoil anyone :)

Take it and run.

[> [> [> Re: I have to wonder ... -- skeeve, 09:35:58 11/07/03 Fri

It's not clear whether Tru was sleeping with one of her professors or
just a professor that happened to work at the same place she took classes.
In the former case: Naughty, Tru, naughty.
Otherwise: Ho-hum.

[> Re: Love (is like a) Building on Fire (spoilers for Tru Calling 1.2) -- neaux, 06:08:53 11/07/03 Fri

Unfortunately I watched Tru Calling AGAIN last night.

And you know what I realized?? As BAD as tru calling is.. there is no alternative! I actually hit my television guide to see what else was on Thursday nights and there is NOTHING!! Other than playing video games or watching anime on dvd.. (which takes effort) I'm stuck watching Tru Calling.

So if everyone who watches Tru has the same affliction I have, this show will stay around forever.

Thank God CSI was awesome last night.

[> Re: Love (is like a) Building on Fire (spoilers for Tru Calling 1.2) -- CW, 07:46:55 11/07/03 Fri

Well, this time cjl and I largely agree. This ep was a bit better than the pilot. But, obviously that isn't saying a whole lot.

As neaux was saying, this show's biggest assest is its time slot. From the early reviews I'm surprised Threat Matrix is still on, and this incarnation of Survivor apparently isn't as popular as the ones before it. Still, Tru Calling is a gonner. I like watching Eliza so I'll probably keep tuning in, but otherwise I not going to expect anything from it.

Comparing this show to the UPN show Seven Days of a few years ago, it's almost impossible to believe anything Tru does on her 'missions.' If some stranger comes up to you and starts demanding you to do thus and such, you're probably going to think they're crazy or trying to rob you, one way or the other. If somebody walked into a firehouse and asked a fireman to do a building inspection, wouldn't the fireman suggest she go through channels (unless, of course, he saw a prime opportunitty to get in her pants.)? If as last week a stranger came up and started accusing several people you know of trying to kill you wouldn't you most likely call the police to keep this nut away from you? The time traveler in Seven Days usually had a little time to make sane-person contact with people he couldn't bully with his military connects. Tru says in the last ep to the prof (one of the few meaningful lines there have been in the show overall) he had his day, he only gets one. One day just isn't enough for Tru, either.

[> Yep, I'm done -- Ponygirl, 08:02:40 11/07/03 Fri

I actually got a fair amount of house-cleaning done while supposedly watching Tru so that's something.

[> Re: Love (is like a) Building on Fire (spoilers for Tru Calling 1.2) -- skeeve, 09:59:22 11/07/03 Fri

In the fairly near future, Tru should be able to hire done what she needs done.
As has already been hinted at, Tru could make a fair amount of money gambling.
If there is to be any premise-specific drama, 'twould stem from discovering what she needs done or avoiding prosecution for winning too much.

Gary, the guy who received the Early Edition, worked much too hard.
Eventually Gary encountered a guy from New York who worked much less and got more done.
He had employees and played the stock market.
Gary's strategy didn't change.

BTW I miss Seven Days.

[> Wait, are you saying that... -- Masq, 10:58:59 11/07/03 Fri

'Tru Calling' takes place in San Francisco? I wonder if Eliza does any location shoots....

[> [> Nope, looks like I'm wrong again.... -- cjl, 11:10:07 11/07/03 Fri

From the Fox website:

Tru Davies is a smart, sexy recent college graduate who finds herself working the midnight shift at the New York City morgue. One night, Tru questions reality when she thinks she hears a murder victim asking for her help. But the next morning, Tru wakes up to find that she is back at the beginning of the previous day -- twelve hours before a murder that only she knows is about to take place. With the clock ticking, she is compelled to scour the city of New York to prevent this wrongful death, while at the same time trying to make a difference in her family's unhappy lives.

It's set in New York?

Looks like Vancouver to me.

[> [> [> They all look like Vancouver! -- Masq, 11:27:33 11/07/03 Fri

Every town in America Mulder and Scully visited in seasons 1-4 of the X-Files looked oddly like Vancouver. I've never seen so many pine-tree covered cliffs and hills in a "small Iowa town" in my life.

[> [> [> [> Re: They all look like Vancouver! -- Emma, 14:09:27 11/09/03 Sun

We only worry about Vancouver because we live here but everyone seems in a panic about Arnold. Now that he's governor he's probably going to try to steal some of our territory as far as movie and television locations go. It's a big business in Vancouver because it's a pretty city with a dessert, snow capped mountain, cattle country, and forest.

[> All I can say is thank heaven DP didn't write it, and(spoilers for Tru Calling 1.2) -- s'kat, 11:27:56 11/07/03 Fri

Why wasn't he the one writing it??? (sigh, mucho apologies,
apparently my information source was wrong. OR maybe he did write one but they didn't like it and that's why he bailed is working on Lost in Space now?)

And wait - they cancelled SKIN? But they aren't cancelling Tru Calling? Are they insane? Are viewers insane? SKIN was actually good - innovative with good actors, Ron Silver, Rachel Ticotin, John Anderson, DW Moffet. I give up.
Long as I live I will never understand the majority's television viewing habits.

Neaux is right - there is zip on tv Thursday. I was bored until Scrubs came on at 9:30. Tru Calling? I agree with
CW, it was better than the pilot but that seriously isn't saying much. The only thing they've fixed so far is the running.

[> [> Agree completely. -- cjl, 11:45:54 11/07/03 Fri

The FOXies have no brains whatsoever. "Skin" and "The O.C." would have been a superb one-two punch of soap operatics for Thursday nights, an excellent counterprogramming move against NBC's comedies, Survivor, and whatever the hell ABC is throwing up in those time slots. (Threat Matrix? Please.)

The O.C. is doing well enough on Wednesdays at 9, but it's not nearly the break-out hit it could be. (It's also chipping away at Angel's demographics, which isn't making me happy either.) Skin should have been given more of a shot--more of a shot than Tru Calling, anyway.

And if Tru goes down in flames anyway, what has Fox have on tap to replace it? Anything?

[> [> Re: All I can say is thank heaven DP didn't write it, and(spoilers for Tru Calling 1.2) -- alcibiades, 14:33:37 11/07/03 Fri

I agree with CW, it was better than the pilot but that seriously isn't saying much.

I thought the opposite. Once you saw the pilot, you knew the premise for the whole show. Go back a day, think you fixed the problem, nope, go back two more times until you get it right. Or don't.

Which is why I stopped watching about three minutes on and only wandered back in occasionally and then for the final scenes.

Moreover, in the age of Third Watch, we are supposed to be so stupid as to believe that nDHBmaterial would venture into the fire without being suited up because he is stubborn, when actual suited members of the fire squad are standing right near by and not going in at that moment to help? And no one on his squad stops him? Like the other guys? Or the captain?


In which case, nDHBmaterial is so stupid, he deserves to die his fictional death.

Moreover to the second power, didn't anyone learn anything obvious about ED's acting abilities from watching BTVS and ATS. She is great when she is playing off other strong actors, being high energy girl. In an ensemble cast of strong actors, she would be lots of fun. But anchoring an entire show of non-memorable actors? And standing around looking indecisive? I don't think so.

But then, it was brought to you by the idiots who deleted Firefly. Yep, that about sums it up.

[> Tap, Tap, Tap -- Dlgood, 11:45:50 11/07/03 Fri

I'm waiting for College Basketball season to start, so I can watch the ACC games instead of this boring & lame show. Eliza's hot and all, but it's not enough.

At least Shack's recaplet for TWoP was funny.

[> [> Did you read the TWoP recaplet for Angel as well? They tie together. -- Doug, 11:48:48 11/07/03 Fri

And they're both very funny.

[> [> The recaplet WAS funny. Especially when you combine it with the AtS recap.... -- cjl, 11:51:25 11/07/03 Fri

ANGEL 5.6: "The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco"

Episode Report Card

555 users: B

Subject: Re: RE: Re: RE: Oh, *that* Donald Sutherland movie


How are you? I am fine. Sorry for not writing sooner but stop forwarding me spam about Viagra. Ha ha okay? Please stop.

I did get out of the office like you suggested. Not a vacation though. Just another scavenger hunt through the alleys: demons and dead bodies. Nice to get away from the desk though and I met this guy. He was our mailman but he threw me through a window and he used to be a wrestler and a ch^H^H hero. He and his four brothers used to fight evil. Then the brothers got killed fighting this Aztec demon.

Remind me to look into pension plans.

The demon came back looking for the hearts of pure heroes, but me and the wrestle-guy were too bitter for him. You make fun of me for brooding but it saved my life this time so lay off. The guy was trying to get the demon to kill him but then there were wrestling ghosts and I'm not sure I understand it but everything worked out.

Since you asked: you-know-who just won't you-know-what. Stop laughing; you don't have to live with it. Now he's sniffing around my prophecies. Don't tell her I said this but just between you and me, even with almost sending the world to hell I'm still the best boyfriend Buffy ever had. No wonder she never got over me.

She hasn't gotten over me, right?

Plus I got impaled again. I've forgotten how much that stings.

Tell Buffy and the gang that I said hi. Don't let on that anything's wrong till we figure it out.


P.S. This will sound strange but have you ever really liked a piece of jewelry? REALLY liked it? Just wondering.

Tru Calling 1.2: "Putting Out Fires"

Episode Report Card

Shack: C-
58 users: B-
Subject: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Oh, *that* Donald Sutherland movie

Angel! I'm so glad I finally heard from somebody I know. Look, everything's a little confusing now and I don't have time to get into your...wrestling ghosts? Okay, well...actually, we've seen weirder.

Anyway, I've been body-switched, and this time it's really not my fault, I swear. I was just minding my own, when suddenly I'm trapped in the body of this girl named Tru. I know that I've been switched, and I think they know I know. This girl, Lindsay, keeps insisting to me that she's my best friend. And this guy, Harrison, keeps telling me he's my brother. Normal people don't talk like that. I think they're trying to mojo my mind, you know. Convince me this is all real. And my "sister," Meredith, just keeps telling my own life story back to me. If I'm really Tru, why would she do that? There's something nasty going on, and I'm not falling for it this time. I really don't need yet another damned coma. I think it has something to do with Tru's mom. She died a few years ago, and I found out the death rate here went way up after she was gone. Maybe she was a slayer? With three kids? Nah.

And then there's this other part. Whoever did this to me wants me to do something good for some reason. Some firefighter gets killed while trying to save some kid, and somehow I'm able to go back in time a day to try to stop it. I know, it's not exactly stopping Satan or anything, but the guy is seriously hot. Way hotter than Tru's asswipe of a boyfriend. When Tru gets her body back, she better damn well be grateful I dumped her cheating weasel-faced boyfriend for her. That guy was a big load. Oh, a little girl died, too. Forgot about that. So I flirted with the firefighter to get him to inspect the building the morning before the fire was supposed to start. What? It worked. You have your ways. I have mine. We found a gas leak and fixed it, but then it turned out that didn't cause the fire after all. It was arson. And then I thought it was the building super. Or owner. Or maintenance man. Whatever. Some balding guy. You know the type. But then it turned out to be the little girl's brother, who started it know, I don't know. I don't even know how I know. So I don't prevent the fire, and the firefighter insists on showing up at the building anyway. And then he saves the girl, but dies anyway, but I don't even know how, Angel! I was there, but I don't know how he saved the girl, yet still died.

There's something wrong with this world, Angel. Everybody here is dumb. Dumber than Wesley. Nothing makes any sense. This has got to be some hell dimension or something. Or maybe Ethan did it. Is he still alive? I can never remember who's still alive. You've got to get me out of here, or I swear I'm gonna do something, and I don't know what it is, but when it shows up on the news, it will be called a "spree."

Get me out of here, dude. Now.

5 x 5 (NOT!)
- Faith

P.S. Jewelry? B has not been a good influence on you.

[> [> [> Wow -- Ponygirl, 13:09:18 11/07/03 Fri

How is it the recaplets are so funny and the full scale reviews (the AtS ones at least) so not? Brevity is the soul of wit...

The recaplets kind of make me want Tru Calling to keep going!

[> [> [> [> The problem with TWOP's full-length reviews of AtS.... -- cjl, 13:24:22 11/07/03 Fri that their reviewer, Strega, hates the new set-up, and most of the subsidiary characters. She's been ragging on Wes since Day One (stubble or no stubble), she doesn't care about Fred or Gunn, and she insists on calling Spike "Spicule"--as if he's some kind of impostor in Spike's knee-length leather duster. For every somewhat amusing observation, there's usually an uncalled-for "Shut up, Wesley!" (Shut up, Strega. It's getting old.)

But that's TWOP for you. Every one of their reviewers has a pet peeve, and they beat that dog so many times during a review, I'm surprised the ASPCA doesn't shut down the site.

"The recaplets kind of make me want Tru Calling to keep going!"

I wouldn't go that far, pg.

[> [> [> *gasp* Trying to remember how to breathe -- Vesica, 11:21:32 11/11/03 Tue

*gasp*splutter* HOW! How can the recaplet be so much better than the show?? I want to see the racaplet as its own show! Faith's ending line is perfect. I want it on a T-shirt!

"You've got to get me out of here, or I swear I'm gonna do something, and I don't know what it is, but when it shows up on the news, it will be called a "spree." "

Where can I find the recaplet for the pilot? Anyone?

[> Tru's writing is trying our patience! -- Ames, 13:38:01 11/07/03 Fri

ED is an engaging actress, so I'll keep watching until it gets really bad. But so far the writing really sucks. I agree with a lot of the above review comments, i.e. heavy-handed red herrings, romantic interest not very believable, siblings and friends with nothing to contribute. And Tru has the perfect opportunity to think out exactly what she wants to say to her cheating lover, and that's the best she could come up with?

I'm sure you're right that the half-hour recap is to pick up the Friends audience changing channels. Now that's funny!

I don't think there's anying fundamentally wrong with the premise - it will serve as a vehicle just as well as any other unlikely set of circumstances (high-school girl in California town is the champion of humanity against the forces of evil?). But please, hire some decent writers! There used to be a good script doctor named Joss Whedon.

BTW, Tru Calling is filming in Vancouver until Dec 2003 (see

[> The Ratings for Tru Calling 1.2 -- cjl, 15:52:37 11/07/03 Fri

"Week two of Fox's Tru Calling sunk to a 3.4/5 at 8 p.m. (17 percent below last week's already dismal 4.1/6)..."


Keep that resume handy, Eliza.

[> [> Re: The Ratings for Tru Calling 1.2 -- celticross, 23:17:26 11/07/03 Fri

I'm calling it...A Faith guest appearance on AtS by February sweeps.

[> [> [> Here's hoping! -- Dariel, 10:22:40 11/08/03 Sat

I know it's wrong to hope someone's series tanks, but I do so want to see Faith again. I like ED, but Tru is so uninteresting that she might as well be played my generic actress. 10 or 15 years ago it could have been Valerie Bertinelli.

[> [> [> [> That's 'by any generic actress.' Time for more coffee. -- Dariel, 10:24:28 11/08/03 Sat

[> My nitpick -- Cheryl, 23:26:44 11/08/03 Sat

I liked this episode more than the first one, but it's still pretty disappointing. My question - why was the fireman's calendar on September 2004? Shouldn't it have been a 2003 month? Or did the firehouse have the 2004 calendar and put up September because it was one of their own? I just thought it was strange - were they going to have September 2004 up all year?

[> [> Oh good, someone else saw that! I thought I was hallucinating. -- jane, 23:30:52 11/08/03 Sat

government knowledge -- aperitis, 15:40:34 11/07/03 Fri

i was just curious...remember when the scoobies destroyed the initiative and they cut to a secret government meeting where the people said that research on the "hostile subterrestrials" was over...does that mean that the government knows about demons and magic? if it does, that really blows...i always thought of the magic world being separate from the rest of the world (as it is in charmed). if regular joes know about the supernatural then why dont regular joes go out demon hunting and slaying vampires; then demons woould be almost nonexistant seeing as how everyone would hunt them down. id like to hear thoughts on this


[> Re: government knowledge -- Ames, 17:07:50 11/07/03 Fri

There wasn't much follow-up to this on BtVS. Riley and his new wife when they showed up in "As You Were" in Season 6 were part of some branch of the military that was still hunting demons. And must still have been some remnant of the Initiative scientific staff around in Season 7 so that they were able to remove Spike's chip. It's difficult to believe that there wouldn't have been more continuing interest by government/military types, so you either have to suspend disbelief, or apply some fanwanking to come up with a plausible but unsupported explanation.

For example, a possible explanation for why most people can ignore the presence of demons and vampires is the "Ben/Glory" effect. Glory had some sort of magical spell or effect that kept people from remembering that Ben was Glory, until they were told or shown often enough to make the knowledge stick. It could be that there's a global spell that makes people quickly forget about seeing demons and vampires unless they are repeatedly exposed. Of course the spell becomes ineffective for those who are constantly exposed to the presence of these creatures (like the Scooby gang or Angel's gang in LA), so they know what's going on. This effect would also explain why people who were involved with the Initiative gradually just forgot about it once the Initiative was shut down. If they remembered anything, it was only that they were doing biolgical research on "animals".

[> Re: government knowledge -- manwitch, 16:30:59 11/08/03 Sat

Regular joes do go out after demons and vampires. That's what the scoobs are between seasons 2 and 3. That's what Gunn is. That's what wolf-poacher is in season 2. The vampire wannabees in Lie to Me are an ignorant version of average joes who know about the supernatural world.

The first indication we have of government knowledge of the supernatural world is in Season One's Out of Mind, Out of Sight. Marcie is taken by federal agents to some covert ops program to learn assassination techniques.

In Season 2, we find an average joe, well, reasonably average, makes money off of poaching werewolves in Phases. Many members of the Alpha Delta Machita fraternity are obviously aware of demons and the supernatural even though they have gone off into regular society for the past fifty years. We also find that the Principal of Sunnydale Highschool and members of Emergency Services are aware of the unusual qualities of Sunnydale and are engaged in covering it up. See School Hard. The end of Season 2, Becoming begins to implicate the Mayor of Sunnydale, which implies government.

In Season 3 we find that the government of sunnydale itself is corrupt and demonic.

In Season 4 we get the special ops Initiative, which by that point is hardly a surprise in terms of government knowledge or involvement in the world of the supernatural. They are, of course, attempting to tame it as it were, to objectify it and reduce it to a series of rules and equations. To demystify it one might say.

In Season 5, we discover that regular Army also goes after demons.

I kind of prefer this vision of the supernatural. That people willing to see it, can see it, can interact with it, can be effected by it and can in turn effect it. People who don't know about it can learn about it, like Oz or Joyce, and can learn how to function in the new but consistent reality. I also like that while many in the non-mystical world know about the mystical world, there are also people in the mystical world that don't know they are mystical, like Dawn for example. I just personally find it more interesting then the completely separate worlds approach. It means characters, even minor characters, are given room to grow and develop. Plus it blurs the line of what a regular joe is or if they even exist. Is Jonathon a regular Joe? Is Xander? Tucker? Girlfriend-beating Beast boy? The loser bullies that know how to raise themselves from the dead?

It seems that everyone has a connection to the mystical world if they choose to recognize it. I just think that's kinda cool. No one is cut off unless they do it to themselves.

As Plain as the Number on his Face, er, Mask.......spoilers for ATS 5.6 -- Rufus, 04:52:00 11/08/03 Sat

The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco was an episode that was allegory and farce, but something was as plain as the number on the old mans mask.....five. So, what does the number five have to do with it?

From A Dictionary of SYMBOLS by J.E. Cirlot...

Quinary: This is a group of five elements. It is represented formally by the pentagon and the five-pointed star, and also by the square together with its central point. Traditionally, the number five symbolizes man after the fall, but, once applied to this order of earthly things, it signifies health and love (44). Esoteric thinking sees this, not as the effect but, in fact, as the cause of man's five extremities with the number five inscribed also on each hand and foot (54). This association of the number five with the human figure, common during the Romanesque period, is found all over the world, from England to the Far East. Agrippa of Nettesheim depicted the image of man with arms and legs apart and related to the pentagram. Many amulets and talismans are based upon the number five, not only because of the associated ideas of the human figure, health (or physical integrity) and love, but because the quinary is symbolic of the whole of the material world (denoted by the quaternary) plus the centre or quintessence. In Morocco, for example, to protect oneself agains the evil eye one repeats the phrase hamsa fi ainek ('five in your eye'). Certain Islamic rites and concepts were patterned after the quinary: there are five religious duties, five keys to secret knowledge, five daily prayers and a solemn oath is repeated five times (12). For the Chinese, five is the most important of all the numbers. The Quinary, in sum, represents the natural rhythm of life, the order of the cosmos. The following groups (among others) are based upon the quinary 'model': the five planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn); the five elemental forms (metal, vegetable, water, fire, earth); the five colours (white, black, blue, red, yellow); the five musical timbres (of bronze, stone, silk, wood and clay); the five essential landscapes (of mountains and woods, rivers and lakes, hills, fertile plains, springs and swamps) (13). In the Near East and in the West the number five has been used solely as an expression of the human figure as a whole, and of eroticism; here the predominant model-numbers have been four and seven, and it is according to these numbers that the cosmic components of the universe and of man have been ordered.

Angel restored free-will, changed the fate of his son by giving him a new life, wiped everyone's mind of the sons existance. We have seen six episodes of Angel and for some people the arc isn't that clear, but there are things that are happening that show that the natural order has been changed by Angel's actions, even if they were well intentioned. Number five was someone who had been a hero but lost his way as the connection to the centre he had by his relationship to his brothers had been forever altered. His heart hardened and life became a wasteland where existance was all there was, no more joy to be had. When his brothers came from the earth to collect their fifth the order was restored, for them. We have talked about Grail Quests but what are they symbolic of?

From An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols....

Grail: In Christianity the Grail is also the Sacred Heart of Christ. The loss of the Grail represents the loss of the Golden Age, Paradise, man's primorial spirituality, purity and innocence.
In Christian legend the Grail was given to Adam but was left in Paradise at the Fall. It is at the centre of Paradise and must be refound, hence the Redeemer (of whom Seth, who achieved re-entry and recieved the Grail, is the prototype) recovers the chalaice and restores Paradise to mankind. The Quest for the Grail is the return to Paradise, the spiritual centre of man and the universe, and follows the symbolic pattern of initiation through trials, tests and encounters with death in the search for the hidden meaning and mystery of life. The quest is usually undertaken by a solar hero, often the son of a widowed mother and brought up in seclusion and in ignorance of his true nature. Grail symbols are the cup or vase, a radiant chalice with a heart, the lance, sword, dish, downward-pointing triangle, magical stone. The Quest is sometimes symbolized by the Book, in which case the search for the Lost Word.

Paradise: Paradise Lost,. or the Fall, symbolizes the descent from unity into duality and multiplicity in manifestation; the movement away from the centre of perfection and dispersal and disintegration in the world of multiplicity. Paradise Lost plunges man into time and darkness; Paradise Regained restores unity and ends time. Symbols of Paradise are the Centre; the enclosed and secret garden, having bird song and scented flowers; the rose garden; the Island of the Blessed; the Green Isle; Elysian Fields; the Promised Land; El Dorado; a cluster of pearls (Chinese), etc.
The lost Paradise is guarded by monsters, dragons, or angels with flaming swords; to regain it entails great difficulties, trials and perils, which symbolize the arduous spiritual path of the journey back to the Centre.

Notice that Lorne mentioned "Ship of Fools" when he spoke of his ability to guide anyone, help them see their destiny, as Lorne is now a crew member of Wolfram and Hart.

Angel. It's a graveyard out there, and all the guests wanna meet the new guy in charge.
Look, Lorne, I-I- I have things. I'm busy. I'm brooding.
(turns behind him to see the television is on)
Oh, you're watching hockey!
Yeah, but my team is losing.
Get up off your keister and get out there! I can't steer this ship of fools by my lonesome! I just can't do it! I-

From Herders Dictionary of Symbols.....

Ship: It is a symbol of journey and crossing, and thus a symbol of life ("the journey of life").

Now we see that no one has purchase on moral or spiritual matters as everyone associated with Angel is now in the Belly of the Beast where transformations can occur for the better or worse. The thing is that even if we never see a container or anything like a Grail, we see the struggle they are in as a Grail quest, that quest to restore the centre that could no longer hold....comeon, I just had to throw in that Yeats reference....;)

The Wish -- Buffys#1fan, 15:52:33 11/08/03 Sat

Hi I just noticed something in the wish. When the master was releases in prophecy girl, the hellmouth began to open and all those demons were coming out. Howcome it didn't happen in The Wish since I thought that's what the master always wanted. Thanks.

Oh and is it true Lilah or Lindsay are coming back?


[> One can fanwank -- KdS, 16:30:42 11/08/03 Sat

In Prophecy Girl the Master implied that it was necessary for him to drink Slayer blood if he were to be freed and the Helmouth opened. In the Wishverse, presumably the Harvest occurred uninterrupted and the Master was freed, but the Hellmouth was not opened. In my personal imagined Wishverse, the Master spent a while making fruitless attempts to open the Hellmouth until Spike and Dru turned up and showed him how much fun the world could be, putting him on the emotional path that led him to his decision to enslave humanity in The Wish. Spike and Dru, however, had by this point been dusted by Vamp!Willow for trying to take her puppy away ;-)

[> [> Re: One can fanwank -- Finn Mac Cool, 16:39:17 11/08/03 Sat

In my version, it goes more along the lines that Giles and Angel, realizing Buffy wasn't coming, try to stop the Master from rising. They fail, but find some way to close the Hellmouth again (we know Hellmouth closing rituals exist, see "The Zeppo"). The Master, having been stuck underground for 60 years the last time he tried to open the mouth of hell, probably decided to leave it be and enjoy his rule over the human populace.

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