Angel: The Series

Season 5



Harm's Way

Soul Purpose



The Metaphysics of "Lineage"

Warning: this page contains info about episodes up through season 7 BtVS/season 5 AtS. If you're in danger of being spoiled, proceed with caution.

Cyborgs are constructions made of both human and machine parts. The cyborgs that attack the Wolfram and Hart building are little more than metal meat-puppets, carrying out the orders of their central processing units. Their construction also includes a self-destruct device.

Most of the cyborgs have hoods that hide the metal face-plates, that in turn cover what remains of their human faces. One of the cyborgs, however, hides its technology under a "glamor"--a disguise created by magic. He appears to be Roger Wyndam-Pryce, and is programmed with detailed information on both Roger and Wesley from the Watchers Council files, including enough memories and personality traits to convince Wesley he is interacting with his father. The glamor disappears when the cyborg is destroyed.

Where are the cyborgs' creators from? Wesley suspects they have an Eastern origin. The instructions for handling the technology is written in Dutrovic. Wesley consults the Saitama Codex to learn about the Dutrovic symbols.

The Staff of Devosynn is made of gnarled wood and has a green crystal embedded in one end. It has been in a vault at Wolfram and Hart until the cyborg masquerading as Roger steals it. He leads Angel to the roof of the Wolfram and Hart office building, raises the staff in the air and says, "Atistrata!" A white stream of energy flows out of Angel, disabling him. The staff is said to rob someone of their free will--make them the slave of whoever possesses the staff.

The memory wipe: What do Wesley and the others remember of the past two years? Indications are they remember everything except those elements directly related to Angel's son Connor. So Wesley does not remember kidnapping Connor, but he does remember having a girlfriend he had to "chop up" because "a higher power saw fit to stab her in the neck". This seems to imply that he remembers chopping off Lilah's head after "Cordelia" killed her.

Moral Ambiguity in "Lineage"

Angel: When Wesley brings Fred along on a mission and she is wounded, Angel gives Wesley the third degree for making such a dangerous decision behind his back. Overreacting much? Eve reminds Angel that Wesley no longer remembers the events that lead to Angel's distrust of him--kidnapping baby Connor and inadvertently letting him fall into the hands of Angel's enemy, Holtz. Wesley apologizes to Fred for not protecting her, but Fred doesn't want an apology. She finds his assumption that he should protect her patronizing. She can protect herself.

Later, Angel decides that Wesley is not so different from himself, even when he was kidnapping Connor. Wesley is the kind of person who does what he believes is right, regardless of the cost, and accepts the consequences of his actions.

Who is the mystery organization? A group of cyborgs, including a cyborg impersonating Wesley's father, penetrate the L.A. branch of Wolfram and Hart in order to capture their vampire CEO. Wesley's department also has reports of cyborg teams taking out a demon cabal in Jakarta and destroying the Tanmar death chamber. Are the people these cyborgs work for good guys or bad guys? Their ends seem good, but they are willing to enslave and kill people to achieve them. Are they affiliated with the former Watcher's Council? They have access to the Watcher's Council old files and know a great deal about Council personnel and methods.

After the ninja-cyborgs attack the Wolfram and Hart offices, Angel and Gunn fight them off. Even Spike manages to throw a punch that gets Gunn out of a choke-hold. Then Roger tricks Angel into going to the roof to "help Wesley" and attacks him.


"Focuses too much on the big picture. Doesn't think about the people involved? Willing to risk anything... or anyone... for the greater good." --Eve on Wesley's philosophy of fighting

What little we have learned of Wesley's father over the years indicates a man who belittles his son and gives him very little credit or approval for anything. So when a cyborg shows up impersonating Roger Wyndam-Pryce, it brings out all of Wesley's daddy-issues. In Roger, we see the origins of two of Wesley's most distinctive traits--his insecurity, and his ruthlessness. Upon "Roger"'s arrival, Wesley becomes immediately defensive and bumbling. He wants his father to go away, but he also wants to impress him with his Watcher-trained abilities and the skills he has learned in his tenure with Angel. He doesn't do very well. His "father" defuses a bomb that Wesley accidentally tripped and whose instructions he mis-translated. Then he gives Wesley a hard time about the security on Wesley's source books.

After Wesley and Roger fight off a ninja-cyborg, Roger knocks Wesley out and steals an artifact that he uses to attack Angel. But this doesn't raise any suspicions in Wesley's mind; he believes his father would be that ruthless. Like father, like son. Wesley notes that the cyborgs feel pain and manipulates the sword in a cyborg's gut to torture it for information about what Roger stole. When that doesn't work, he threatens to set off the cyborg's self-destruct device. Later, Wesley finds Roger on the roof with Angel. "Roger" reminds Wesley of his failure with the Council, and judges him on his decision to work with Angel. When Wesley tries to stop him from taking Angel, cyborg-Roger grabs Fred, and Wesley shoots him without hesitation. Then he keeps shooting until he is out of bullets.

He sees what he has done and throws up, in shock. "Roger"'s cyborg body overloads. The fact that "Roger" is a cyborg and not his real father gives Wesley no comfort. Fred tries to reassure Wesley that he knew it wasn't his father, but Wesley knows what he believed when he did it.

Spike doesn't trust Eve--not her "just here to help" attitude with Angel, and not her interest in Spike. He believes he is trapped at Wolfram and Hart for a reason and that she's part of it. After all, if the amulet that binds him was meant for Angel, there should be no reason to keep Spike around unless they want something else from him. Eve asks why he assumes the amulet was meant for Angel, which only confirms Spike's suspicions.

The Evil of Spike

Philosophies Represented in "Lineage"

Free will and the good fight

When Angel is lying frozen on the ground, unable to initiate any action he is not commanded to make, "Roger" tells Wesley that Angel's lack of free will isn't so different from the state the vampire always finds himself in--Angel has been a puppet, Roger claims, for the Powers that Be, for Wolfram and Hart, and soon for whatever organization cyborg-Roger works for. Skip made a similar claim in Inside Out. He compared Angel and his friends to pieces on a chess board and claimed that the major events of the past few years had been manipulated by a higher power, that the choices they appeared to make were nothing of the sort.

Angel once fought because he thought he had a "calling" or duty. Then he fought because he thought he had a particular destiny. Then he rebelled against all that and made a personal choice to fight. But is he really in control of his choices?

In May, Angel, Wesley, and the others appeared to make a significant choice about the way they would fight the good fight--they accepted Wolfram and Hart's offer to run their Los Angeles offices in part because they thought they could turn it into a powerful "weapon" to fight evil. But how much control do they really have there? Can they really make a difference? In some respects, they already have done some good with the resources they have, but the Senior Partners still run the show there, and they have their own agenda.


The Metaphysics of "Destiny"

Recorporalizing Spike: Spike receives a package in the mail addressed to him at Wolfram and Hart, similar to the way Angel received Spike's amulet in the mail. When Angel's secretary Harmony opens the package, there is a flash of light. The package is otherwise empty. Spike marches across the room intending to walk through Angel's door but hits it instead. He is solid again. He drinks the blood in Angel's mug, kisses Harmony, then leads her off to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh.

Throwing the universe out of whack isn't as fun as it sounds. You're likely to get nearly choked to death before it's over. Eve and her co-conspirator, the ex-Wolfram and Hart attorney Lindsey McDonald, throw the L.A. offices of Wolfram and Hart into chaos in an attempt to manipulate Angel and Spike with the shanshu prophecy. The flash of light in Spike's box is the trigger. Phones start ringing. Instruments go on the fritz. Employees turn vicious, bleeding from the eyes and attacking each other. Although their anger is spell-induced, it is informed by each individual's pre-existing issues: Harmony feels used by Spike, Gunn is suspicious of Eve, etc. In addition to all this, Gunn reports that the Conduit is gone and that the White Room has been replaced by a howling abyss. Wolfram and Hart has been cut off from the Senior Partners.

Eve claims that Spike's recorporealization is the culprit. The world now contains two physical vampires with a soul, both champions, both of whom are candidates for the shanshu prophecy. Since this destiny can belong to only one vampire, the normal unfolding of events in the universe has been disrupted. The way to put things right again, she tells them, is to settle once and for all which vampire is "the" vampire with a soul of prophecy.

Sirk, a man in Wesley's department, reads a "newly-translated" section of the shanshu prophecy that predicts the two-vampire dilemma and resulting chaos. It indicates that the vampire of prophecy is destined to drink from the "Cup of Perpetual Torment", which is located (conveniently) in Death Valley. The vampire will experience torment from drinking (hence the name), but once he drinks, the metaphysical dilemma will be solved and the universe will return to normal.

However, when Spike drinks from the cup, he experiences no torment. And the problems at Wolfram and Hart continue for quite a while afterwards. The cup, the new prophecy, and the whole universe-out-of-whack problem have been a ruse, the result of a spell invoked by Eve and Lindsey. When Eve goes home for the night, she enters an apartment covered with mystical symbols. Lindsey has mystical symbols on him as well. Eve and Lindsey are working at odds with the Senior Partners, and these symbols are part of a powerful protection spell to keep the Partners at bay.

Fred's finest moments

What is known about "the Vampire with a Soul"

Fred: "I thought the shanshu had to do with Angel becoming human again after-"
Eve: "That's just the epilogue, princess. And, for the record, the prophecy doesn't call Angel by name."

The Prophecies of Aberjian, which speak of "the Vampire with a Soul" are a little more complex than just "he will fight many battles and become human as a reward". The prophecies also indicate that the Vampire with a Soul will play a key role in a final apocalyptic battle, but they are vague about which side he will fight on--good or evil. Wolfram and Hart made much of this vagueness in season 2 when they attempted to turn souled Angel dark. There have also been indications on the show that the shanshu is a reward that will be bestowed by the Powers that Be for averting the apocalypse (I Will Remember You), and that the Vampire with a Soul would, at some point in the process of fulfilling his destiny, have all his connections to the Powers that Be severed (To Shanshu in L.A.).

But prophecies in the Buffyverse are tricky things. Even when they come to pass, they do not always play out in the way they were interpreted before hand, and they are sometimes partially false or incomplete. For a more detailed examination of the prophecies concerning the Vampire with a Soul, go here:

"That's just the epilogue, princess": The prophecies about the Vampire with a Soul

Evil and Moral Ambiguity in "Destiny"


"I am not the bad guy."

There is more to Eve than meets the eye. Though she claims to be merely the Senior Partner's messenger-girl, she is also working at odds with them behind their backs. She and Lindsey create chaos at Wolfram and Hart to manipulate Angel and Spike. When the falsity of the "new" section of the shanshu prophecy is discovered, Eve blames her henchman Sirk and continues her ruse about the two vampires with a soul "disrupting the universal equilibrium". By telling the gang that the Senior Partners stepped in and stopped the chaos, she encourages them to suspect that she and the Senior Partners might be behind the whole thing. From what she tells Lindsey later, she wants them to believe the Senior Partners are "making their move", proceeding with whatever plans they had when they invited Angel and the others to take over their offices in the first place.

What is Eve and Lindsey's plan? If Eve and Lindsey are working against the Senior Partners, is it for good or evil?

In 1860 London, Angelus is both threatened and intrigued by the arrival of the vampire William, Drusilla's new progeny. He likes the thought of having another man around for companionship, but there is also his status in their vampire family to consider. The solution is to take the still wet-behind-the-ears William under his wing and treat him as a pupil and playmate, and to let him know in no uncertain terms the rules of the vampire game. It's all about fun and power, and Angelus exercises both when he continues to sleep with Drusilla just as he always has. And in doing so, he attempts to take away the one thing that is giving meaning to vampire William's (un)life--his belief that Drusilla defines his new existence.

The relationship between the two vampires has changed over the years as Angelus became Angel and William became Spike became souled Spike, but it hasn't changed that much. Rivalries over women (Drusilla, Buffy), rivalries over power, and rivalries over moral status have created a situation in which the two men don't know how to interact with each other except as rivals. And that is how they approach the whole process of determining who is "The Vampire with a Soul".

Angel is wary of prophecies and weary of wearing the mantle of "the Vampire with a Soul", but he has done it for so long that it is as habitual to him as Spike donning his leather coat. And after all the losses he has suffered (Connor, Cordelia, etc), being a "champion"--indeed, being "The Champion"--is the only thing that might give Angel's (un)life meaning anymore, and he is loathe to let Spike take that meaning away from him. So Angel does what he can to stop the fabric of the universe unraveling. Spike on the other hand, is fresh to the whole idea of the shanshu, and goes after the chance to be human and have his past sins washed away with the gusto Angel lost three years before. And if he can take something away from Angel in the process, all the better.

Angel and Spike both head off to Death Valley to drink from the the Cup of Perpetual Torment. But they have to get to the cup first, and that means going through each other. A cat-fight ensues, with Spike and Angel throwing fists and accusations at each other, each vampire trying to prove to the other that he is more heroic and worthy while their every action and word proves otherwise. Finally, Spike gets the better of Angel, and puts a stake through his shoulder. But he doesn't kill him. He just claims the (fake) cup.

The great thing about the fight was that it showed both of our vamps as complete jerks who bring out the worst in each other. Spike never said he wanted glory but he does crave external validation of his worth. Angel sees the quest as another problem to be solved, a duty, lacking in passion. They're both messed up and thus were both easily set-up (Ponygirl, 11/20/03 8:41).

Harm's Way

The Metaphysics of "Harm's Way"

The Vinji and the Sahrvin demon clans used to get along. But their superstition and intolerance of bad manners created bad blood between them, and they have been at war ever since. The clans have come to Wolfram and Hart to negotiate a truce, using a mediator they both trust, the demon rights activist, Tobias Dupree.

Gunn's brain upload included not only knowledge of the law and Gilbert and Sullivan tunes, it also included some demon languages. That means when important communication with demons is required, let Gunn do the talking.

The memory wipe: Add Gunn and Fred's relationship to the list of things the gang remembers about the past two years. Is there anything they don't remember, other than Connor? And how is it possible to forget someone so interconnected to events they remember?

Moral Ambiguity in "Harm's Way"

Harmony may suck at being evil, but she also finds it difficult sometimes to do what's right. She does her job as an executive assistant as best she can, passing all her blood screenings (no human blood metabolized by this vamp babe!) and walking a thankless line between the big wigs at Wolfram and Hart who undervalue her and the office "grunts" who see her as they eyes and ears of the boss. Then Harmony wakes up to find a man she met in a bar dead in her bed--the victim of a vampire bite. She doesn't remember taking the guy home, much less snacking on him, but she disposes of the body anyway and clocks some serious overtime covering up her connection to the death.

But the evidence is mounting: the man was bit by a female vampire. The latest blood test shows that Harmony consumed human blood. And Harmony admits to Fred that the dead man was the man she talked up in the bar. He was also the mediator who was supposed to negotiate the demon summit. Which doesn't bode well for Harmony's boss. The Vinji and the Sahrvin declare the negotiations cursed and demand a blood sacrifice from Wolfram and Hart.

Harmony decides she's been framed, and the schemer soon reveals herself: Tamika, a fellow vamp employee at the firm. Tamika is angry that Harmony, someone less qualified than her and with substantially less seniority, got chosen to be the CEO's assistant. The vamps start to fight. Harmony drags Tamika up to the demon summit where she hopes to get her to confess to Angel. But when they arrive, Harmony stakes the pain-in-the-neck Tamika over the conference table instead.

The demons have their sacrifice. They are ready to talk peace.

I'm not sure if Harmony has "changed her ways", because her fear of Angel decapitating her was coloring all her actions. If she has a chance to kill someone, and knows she has a reasonable chance of getting away with it...and decides not to do it...that's evidence of change (Corwin of Amber, 1/18/04 20:03).

Spike is off to Europe to find Buffy, but he doesn't get far before he changes his mind. Spike tells Harmony that he decided not to go because his return to the flesh will overshadow the grand heroic exit he made the last time he saw Buffy. But is this his real reason for not going?

I see Spike as incredibly insecure -- he really doesn't believe Buffy ever loved him or could, that he was just a sex object. I honestly don't think he likes himself very much - hence the bravado and attitude. Both signs of self-loathing. So it makes sense that he would ramble off an excuse instead of stating that he's scared. Harm, to her credit, sees through it and tries to tell him there's nothing to be afraid of. But in realizing how he rejected Harm and considering Buffy treated Spike pretty much the same way during the majority of their relationship, Spike [has a] moment of insight (shadowkat, 2004-01-15 00:27).

Ethical Quandaries in "Harm's Way"

Human and demon rights and wrongs

When someone "gets the ax" at the new Wolfram and Hart, that often means literally--employees found knowingly violating the company policy against killing and maiming are summarily killed themselves. At least, demon employees are killed. Are human employees killed as well, or are they turned over to human justice? And what if a human kills a demon? What is the difference between a justified execution and murder?

It's all well and good to put an end to Wolfram and Hart's long history of killing and hurting anyone and everyone when it suited their purposes, but how exactly does Wolfram and Hart's new "zero tolerance" policy work? Is human life considered more valuable than demon life, or are demons treated equally--given equal justice if they are killed, and equal rights if they are accused?

Consider this: if a demon is evil and kills people, Angel and company kill it, flat out. However, if a demon is good and doesn't kill people, it's spared. That's all well and good. However, except in cases of self-defense, the characters still refrain from killing humans, good or evil. Granted, some more murky killings do occur, but we're still generally expected to see killing evil humans as wrong. This leaves us with a conundrum: if demons can explore the full moral spectrum just like humans, why are evil demons subject to death but evil humans aren't? Neither the writers nor the characters have ever dealt with this issue (Finn Mac Cool, 1/18/04 19:48)

I would assume that [the zero tolerance] policy applies mostly to killing of innocents. ...There are numerous demons and supernatural beings in the Buffy-Universe that could be considered innocent, or even on the side of good. The Lister demons from "Hero" in the first season come to mind. Now who gets to be the judge as to who is innocent and who isn't can be tricky but the Angel Team has never really had a problem in the past deciding who lives and who dies. At least now there is some sort of guidelines (NothingJK, 18 Jan 2004 20:54).

In the past, vampires were killed simply for being vampires--they were staked as they rose from the grave by human warriors whose very job title seemed to imply it was their duty to kill vampires and demons. Now soulless vampires and demons can work right along side humans at Wolfram and Hart--as long as there is no evidence that they are following their (un)natural predatory instincts. And those instincts rather put them at a disadvantage. In addition, they don't have souls to guide them towards human moral standards.

[T]he chief mission of the slayer is not to kill demons - it's to protect the public. Sometimes, slaying a demon would not support the mission of protecting the public. Buffy didn't kill Whistler or Clem. Buffy Summers didn't kill Werewolf Oz - but she also didn't let him run wild either. ...Spike had a chip. Harmony has daily tests. From the slayer's perspective, it's still on the soulless Vampire to justify the value of their continued existence, given what is still known about their biological drives. Some of them can do so. (Dlgood, 1/17/04 7:43)

Soul Purpose

The Metaphysics of "Soul Purpose"

Selminth parasites are slimy gray beasts that attach themselves to the body (in Angel's case, his ribs) and inject toxins that produce paralysis and give the victim vivid hallucinatory dreams. If uninterrupted, the victim will eventually fall into a permanent vegetative state.

While under the influence of the Selminth, Angel has a series of dreams, each more bizarre than the last. The dreams are designed to drain Angel of his belief in himself, his passion about his mission, and his hope for his destiny. He sees images of Spike becoming the Vampire of Prophecy, saving the world, becoming human. He sees his friends telling him he is unable to do the job of leading them in the good fight. They tell him they no longer need him. They tell him to give in to his desire to relinquish the responsibilities he has taken on.

During one of his dreams, Angel becomes aware of the parasite. He wakes up, rips it off his chest and crushes it. Eve is in his room. She tells him he's dreaming, then puts a larger Selminth on him. Angel tries to kill it, but the parasite subdues him. He is awakened from his final dream by the parasite's scream. Spike has killed the second Selminth. "Just helping the helpless," he says to Angel.

Good and Moral Ambiguity in "Soul Purpose"


"I can't seem to find anything wrong with you. Except that you're empty."

Angel is feeling the stress of his work load, and the burden of the morally ambiguous choices he must make every day. When his friends discover that Spike has become a "vigilante champion", they aren't eager to tell Angel. Because Spike is doing Angel's old job, news that is bound to make Angel doubt his destiny even more than he already is.

Lindsey and Eve's aim is to get the Senior Partners to believe that Spike is the Vampire of Prophecy rather than Angel. In order to do that, they must manipulate Spike and Angel into believing it, too.

Eve puts a Selminth parasite on Angel in order to feed his already existing self-doubts. Meanwhile, Lindsey appears to Spike claiming to be "Doyle", a messenger from the Powers that Be. "Doyle" tells Spike that he is the one who mailed Spike's amulet to Wolfram and Hart, as well as the box that re-corporealized Spike, and he implies he did this on the orders of the Powers. Now he is here to recruit Spike as their new Champion. The old one, it seems, is "working the other side of the tracks"--playing politics with demons over in the gray murky land of Wolfram and Hart and ignoring the helpless he used to help.

"Doyle" pretends to have painful visions of people in trouble, and sends Spike out on "missions" to save people from vampires, and eventually, to save Angel from the Selminth.

In the meantime, Angel is starting to figure out that Eve may be working against the Senior Partners. He deduces that Eve's appearance with the Selminth was real, not part of his dream, and confronts her with his evidence. His evidence convinces Fred, but Eve deflects his accusation by telling Angel that he is only looking to for someone to blame for his own uneasiness working at Wolfram and Hart.

Spike is initially skeptical of "Doyle", inferring (correctly) that Lindsey was behind the false Cup of Perpetual Torment. But Lindsey appeals to Spike's desire to see himself as a hero, and his fears that he performed good deeds in the past in order to serve his own self-interest--to win "the girl"'s approval. So Spike goes along with "Doyle"'s missions. Although he isn't exactly the most sensitive champion, Spike now has an outlet for his newly-recorporealized energy, he has a place to live, and he has the conviction that he is in a better moral place than Angel--doing real, unambiguous good. Or so he believes.

What is Lindsey really up to?

Evil and Ethical Quandaries in "Soul Purpose"

The top brass at the L.A. Wolfram and Hart want to stop Lucien Drake, an evil warlock and cult leader whose followers sold their own children in return for powerful demon magicks. But the firm can't afford the financial and political cost of going up against Drake directly. They need a plan for taking him (and his organization) out that won't risk antagonizing Drake's powerful allies.

Angel makes a decision about how to proceed, but he is irritated that they have to compromise with evil--again. Fred later argues that they are "working for change from inside the system". But that is difficult when they must also preserve Wolfram and Hart's "bottom line". Gunn prefers to call what they are doing fighting the good fight by "a new set of rules". But is that just a nice, safe euphemism for selling out?

Wesley and Gunn's discussion regarding how to get rid of an enemy... Substitute "dictator" for "warlock" and "Weapons of Mass Destruction" for "black magics" and the argument starts to look very familiar. I don't think ME is saying Death Rays are a good thing; I think we're meant to examine the methods AI has become willing to use to combat its enemies. Fighting the good fight has become enacting "scenarios." (Arethusa, 1/27/04 19:36)


The Metaphysics of "Damage"

Gunn's brain upload: "Nine holes instead of a jury of your peers. Just what the Founding Fathers had in mind." Gunn continues to pull more Wolfram and Hart-gifted powers out of his barrister's hat. This time, it's the ability to play golf. Comes in handy for settling out of court.

Vampire Slayers: Hundreds, perhaps thousands of potential slayers are born in each generation, but up until about six months ago, most of them would never have been called. Nevertheless, all potential slayers experience dreams in which they see events in the lives of past slayers. This is part of the connection all slayers and potentials have had to each other since the First Slayer died and another girl was chosen.

Hand reattachment: Although Spike can't bleed to death from severed hands, a vampire's hands are just as likely to atrophy if detached from the vampire's supernaturally animated body as a human's natural body parts would. Fred's team needs to reattach Spike's hands as soon as possible.

Vampires and injections

Good and Evil in "Damage"

While Spike follows a, er, hands-on approach to tracking down Dana, Angel and company use the resources from Wolfram and Hart to do the same. And they do some good, despite the fact that they are working in the Evil Stronghold.

Angel takes the time to study video tapes of Dana and determines that she is a vampire slayer. A psychic helps them uncover clues about Dana's past, including the basement she was tortured in. Clues that Fred puts together to lead Angel to the whiskey factory where Spike has been bound and mutilated. Angel throws Dana off Spike. Wesley stuns her. Fred helps Spike reunite with his hands.

The Scooby Gang are scattered throughout the world now, but each of them are part of a team with an important mission: finding the girls who have become slayers and giving them the guidance and training they need. Gee, they didn't mention that option during Career Week.

Vampire Philosophies

Angel thinks it through. Asks advice. Questions the nurse. Looks at the data. Analyzes it. Considers his options. [Discovers Dana is a slayer before Spike does]. Had Wes call Buffy's group. Even sets up a tactical team to back him up. Order.

Spike rushes out and does it. Gets the info he needs. Then takes off. Impulse. Chaotic. He finds the girl faster than Angel, using his body to do so. His sense of smell. His hearing. His senses (shadowkat, 2004-01-29 10:54)

Spike and Angel have different approaches to doing good in the present, and their methods are an interesting reflection of how they did evil in the past. While unsouled Spike was about action, the moment, the thrill, seeing victims as means to an end, Angelus was about being methodical, personal, an artist of torment and destruction.

UnsouledSpike: For a demon, I never did think that much about the nature of evil. No. Just threw myself in. Thought it was a party. I liked the rush. I liked the crunch. I never did look back at the victims.

Angelus: I couldn't take my eyes off them. I was only in it for the evil. It was everything to me. It was art. The destruction of a human being. I would've considered Dana a masterpiece.

Walter Kindel: "Fear. Anguish. Pain. He needed them to suffer." Dana's tormentor was a classic example of pathological sadism.

Moral Ambiguity in "Damage"

Dana: Every potential slayer has the memories of previous slayers rattling around in her head. Dana was no exception. But Dana's childhood trauma created a mind that can't tell dreams from reality. When she was ten, Dana's family was murdered and she was kidnapped by the man who did it, trapped in a basement and tortured for months. Her response was to lapse into catatonia. Until May of 2003, when she became a slayer.

Now the formerly helpless young girl has become supernaturally strong. Now the former victim is reliving her trauma and acting out in the role of her tormenter. Now the former potential is staking and beheading, seeing vampires and demons where they aren't. And where they are. Now the 21st century slayer is losing her own identity in the lives of the slayers Spike killed, and mistaking Spike for the human monster who once tormented her.

[Dana] attempted to... gain control over what happened to her re-acting [to] what happened, though recasting the parts so that she is the abuser. This happens all too often in real life. The vast majority of those that abuse others were abused themselves and perpetuate this cycle of abuse. ...[But] standing up for herself ...didn't do any good. Hurting Spike didn't free her. ...There is something inside of us that wants to see the bad guys get their just desserts, but ...[t]he only way I've seen to truly deal with trauma is to find a way to reclaim what was taken from us by it.

...That isn't to say that the trauma doesn't forever change us and we can find everything we lost. What we most lose is our innocence. That can never be reclaimed. It's gone. We can find out how to feel safe again. We can find how to be strong without being aggressive. We can find out how to trust again. We can find joy and love and all good things. THAT is what separates the survivor from the victim. We can define ourselves not by the damage that has been done to us, but how we cope with that (Lunasea, 2004-01-29 10:19).

Can Dana be held responsible for her actions? Not legally, in the United States, anyway. According to Gunn, Dana is "non-compos mentis". Not legally responsible for her actions by reason of insanity.

Angel wants to move against Eve for moving against him, but he agrees with Gunn that they can't go up against the liaison to the Senior Partners without real evidence, and Angel doesn't have it. Yet. But his suspicions that he made a mistaking by agreeing to work for Wolfram and Hart are only confirmed by Eve's actions.

And it's not just enemies that are driving home the point. Andrew tells Angel that Buffy and the Scoobies no longer trust him. That they do not consider Angel and the others at Wolfram and Hart "on the same side" as them.

Buffy's rejection of Angel is one done because she has responsibilities that come before him because it's about the mission and right now Angel doesn't fit in that mission because of where he has chosen to be...that doesn't mean there is no room for change.... They are in the belly of the beast and that is about transformation and rebirth (Rufus, 1 Feb 2004 7:27)


"You corporates go on with your talky-talk. Anybody needs me, I'll be out doing his job."

Spike's new role as "lone street hero" is playing right into Angel's regret at accepting Wolfram and Hart's offer. While Angel is almost forced by circumstances into doing things the legal, corporate, hands-off manner, Spike is getting his hands dirty on Angel's streets in his own inimitable damn-the-torpedoes way. But no matter how much Angel might envy Spike's opportunity to play vigilante champion, the role has its dangers. Especially for someone like Spike, who has a tendency to act first and ask questions later. It doesn't take long for Spike to find himself at the mercy of a rather brassed-off slayer.

And Spike's not entirely convinced that he doesn't deserve it. While he didn't hurt Dana or her family personally, he did hurt slayers, and he did hurt families. And coming face-to-face with his victims, even in proxy, is sobering.

"The lass thought I killed her family. And I'm supposed to what, complain, because hers isn't one of the hundreds of families I did kill?"

Andrew: Mr. Giles has been training the last surviving member of the Trio, and Andrew the evil mastermind geek-gone-good is now stronger, faster, and 82% more manly than the last time we saw him. At this rate, he might just grow up to be Wesley Wyndam Pryce. If he doesn't get himself killed first.

Ethical Quandaries in "Damage"

Did Buffy do the right thing in "Chosen" by not considering the possible negative consequences of giving all the potentials Slayer power?

In Chosen, Buffy shared her power with girls all over the world, and in that one act, found a way to help defeat the First Evil and end the lonely burden of being "the" Chosen one. Giving slayer powers to the Potentials also ended the hierarchical relationship of many watchers to one slayer and empowered thousands of young women with supernatural strength. That strength meant they could stand up to anyone who might try to victimize them. It meant they could become heroes like Buffy if they chose to. But there is also a dark side to power. Was Buffy remiss in not considering this?

Buffy and Willow ...decided to share Buffy's slayer powers with every potential slayer in the universe. Not knowing who these girls were, what their mental state currently was, and what sharing these powers might do to them. Andrew claims that was entirely unforeseen. Hmmm. Buffy has had the powers for seven years, has hated having them, been tormented with dreams she didn't understand and when she first got them was quickly tracked down and aided. That was when just one slayer got chosen. She didn't foresee what this would do to people? Plus she does it so she can build an army of girls to go out and kill vampires?

This has disturbed me since Chosen. Maybe because I don't see female empowerment the same way Whedon does... while physical power is important, it is not the only power or the most important.... Fred to me is an incredibly powerful woman and she is not physically powerful nor has great magics. Tara was also incredibly powerful. And I'd like to add Cordelia who tried to help the world day by day with painful visions.

...Buffy's power turned Dana into a killing machine. That disturbs me. And it never occurred to Buffy that this would happen? ? (shadowkat, 2004-01-29 10:54)

In Buffy's defense, she did take full responsibility for the consequences of her choice to share power with the other Potentials. She has made it her mission to track them down and guide them, wherever they may be and whomever they may be. And that includes Dana.

Angel: the Series copyright © 2003 The WB Television Network.
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This page last modified 5/24/04

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