beginning | blinding torment | boils | lies | making me bitter | evil compounds evil | blah blah bity blah
Angel 5.13: Why we fight
I only caught the last half hour of this episode, and I don’t really feel the need to watch the whole thing. I mean Nazis, vampires and submarines? I have better things to do, like scrub my toilet clean with a toothbrush while standing on my head. Besides, I feel fairly safe in assuming that in the time I missed a) Angel whined about working for evil and felt really bad about it (the working for evil, not the whining) b) Spike sat around in various affected poses while sucking in his cheeks to emphasize his cheekbones and probably abusing the word “bloody” and c) no one else really did anything but stand around and exposition about why they’re at W&H or reminisced about their life before W&H and maybe argued about who liked working there and who didn’t and, of course, why. Also, I can assume from the vampire that arrived gunning for Angel that the security at W&H was once again found lacking. So I don’t really need to watch the entire episode, now do I?
For the purposes of this recap, half-ass as it may be, we’re just going to agree with the crackheads at ME that it’s entirely plausible that Dru didn’t want to go to the free virgin blood party (totally not her scene) and that Spike didn’t realize Angel was a whipped little soul having poodle yet and that this episode in no way screws with continuity any more or harder than it’s already been screwed. So I’m not going to argue, I’m not going to hunt down dates and create timelines and graphs and say that he was supposed to be a depressed anti-social loner living off of rats in gutters at this time because I’ve got too much to argue about already and the continuity fairy willingly bent over and grabbed its ankles long ago, so what’s the point?
Anyway, filling in the beginning from people who care enough to torture me with details, the depressed, agonized, wracked-with-guilt Angel was apparently recruited during WWII by the good ole USA’s pre-Initiative military division. (And hey, props to ME for revisiting THAT storyline.) Angel, not wanting to be all patriotic because he is in fact dead and should therefore be released from all patriotic duties and besides, he’s Irish, allows himself to be coerced into swimming down to save a nazi submarine that was captured by American troops, who promptly and stupidly got it stuck at the bottom of the sea. Angel mopes his way down to the depths and climbs in through the torpedo thingy and goes about saving the good guys (Luckily, Angel did not have to decide if he should also save the evil people, saving us from torturous scenes of his moral agonizing, as they were all mostly dead. Mostly.). While strolling the hallways he runs into one William the Bloody in really, really, astonishingly bad hair. There’s just no reason for this hair. None. I can only assume the Nazi’s made him dye his hair in order to fit in more with their idea of what an evil, non-pansy ass vampire looks like. The weirdos.
When one was finished being astounded at the badness of the hair, one might wonder why Spike was on the submarine, but if one would stop to think about it I’m sure one would realize that if the United States thought of training vampires, then certainly the evil empire did too. And as it turns out, one would be right. Turns out those wacky Nazis had a pre-Initiative division too! However, they went the route of actually capturing scary vampires who like to kill things, rather than pansy ass dumbasses who like to sit around dark apartments and brood. And really, if you’re trying to build an undead army of vicious killers, isn’t that the kind you want? I’m no despotic dictator with a secret government organization that captures and trains demons to do my evil, misguided bidding, but if I were? I’d totally be all over the meat eaters. It’s just good business sense.
This whole flashback from hell is interspersed with modern day snippets of some random guy wandering the halls of W&H freely, snatching up the fang gang one by one until there’s no one but Angel left. He then ties them up, stands them on chairs with wire around their necks and goes off in search of Angel, whom he has a grudge against. This guy? I could come to like. Too bad he’s going to die.
This young man, who is actually already dead, and who will soon die again, was once a spunky young man who signed up with the military because he believed in doing what was right. He was a smart lad in some respects, quickly taking over when a vampire ate his captain 20,000 leagues below for example, and a bit mentally deficient in others, i.e. leaving an evil Nazi alive and roaming about so he could later show up and shiv him in the stomach. So not the brightest bulb in the pencil box, but not the dullest either. Inconveniently, he’s the only one aboard the submarine who can fix whatever’s wrong with the submarine, and he spends a lot of his last few mortal moments on earth blabbing about everything but how to fix the submarine, so Angel vamps him. I’m sort of surprised that in all of Angel’s time moping he hasn’t learned how to single-handedly run a submarine, but I guess these are his slacker years. I hear those years between slaughtering half of Europe and partying with the Rat Pack in Vegas can be some of the hardest, most confusing years of your life.
The new vampire recruit fixes the submarine and is thanked for his trouble by being told to take a long walk towards a pier. Any pier. Hopefully he can find one. Oh, and it’ll be daylight in 8 hours. That’s right. He’s somewhere in the middle of the ocean and he’s being given 8 hours to high tail it to land and find himself some shade. Spike, too, is let go in this fashion. I could pretend I understand Angel’s motivation here, why he could kill the other two Nazi vamps and not Spike or the other guy who’s name I’m not going to bother to learn, but will heretofore refer to as TOG (the other guy), but it’d be like me saying I enjoy this show. Clearly, it would be a lie. And I don’t like to lie. It’s much less interesting than being snarky.
This whole vamping on a submarine thing actually brings up all sorts of potentially interesting questions about new vampires and whether or not they just get it or if someone, like, has to sit down and explain the whole sunlight and sucking thing to them, and other questions like why would ME even attempt to posit that Angel vamping someone while ensouled leaves a bit of soul inside his victim? It also makes me wonder about this whole transferring the demon—every time a vampire makes another one, does a bit of itself die? Because, technically, they’re giving part of the demon in them to the new host, right? Or is it like an anemone and part of it breaks off but grows back? Because if not, wouldn’t the demon in the man get pretty thin? Metaphorically speaking? Wouldn’t some of the vamps not be so much evil as confused, morally ambiguous and allergic to sun over time? Does this explain why the vampires on Buffy got less and less demonic as time went on? Am I just making excuses for ME’s inability to stay consistent to avoid finishing up this episode? See? Isn’t this way more interesting than Nazis, submarines and bad black turtlenecks?
TOG finds Angel, they banter wordily, TOG is confused because he doesn’t really enjoy being evil and he wants to know why. Nobody knows, maybe it’s because Angel had a soul when he made him, maybe it’s because TOG is a spoiled sport who always sees the cup as half-empty. Either way, they fight, Angel stakes him and TOG’s final words are something along the lines of “c’mon chief. Give me an assignment”. Which, fine, I see why they used it, given his patriotic zeal before he became undead, but it really only makes a whole lot of emotional sense if Angel had actually been his captain or hung out with him longer than five minutes, you know? So I appreciate the stab at maudlin emotion, but maybe a dig at Angel’s hair or something would have been more appropriate to the moment. Or maybe he could have said “hey, champion, give me a mission” because that would have been funny. As long as the word was wielded sarcastically, because then we could have had hours of Angel fretting that maybe, since he did such a horrible thing, he’s not worthy of being a champion and he works for someone evil now and that’s really not working in his favor and maybe Spike really is the person the Shanshu is about and that means it’s not about Angel but if it’s not about him what is it about and…
Moping later in his office, Wesley wonders why, and Angel thinks it was because he wanted a reason. Or maybe he just wasn’t man enough to stake himself, Angel. C’mon champion, you know something about that. Not all of us have a girlfriend to kick our sissy ass inside.