Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2005-05-28 Entry: "The (Almost) Complete Angel (Season 5)"

I got rather engrossed in watching Angel during the week, and between that and feeling a bit under the weather, I haven't managed to do a synopsis of each episode, so instead I'll just cover the highlights.

Monday continues the Angel season with "Just Rewards." With a newly returned Spike now haunting Wolfram And Hart, now might not be the best time to be going up against a necromancer who wants them to continue their grave robbing activities for him. Of course, Spike wants a body, and the necromancer might be able to give him that... and Angel isn't exactly going to be able to stop him when the guy has complete control over the dead.

"Unleashed" is a werewolf episode, with Angel saving a young woman who's just been bitten. Nina, the girl in question runs away before he can talk to her, so they have to track her down before she turns that night and attacks anyone. They're clearly setting up a romance with Angel here, where he helps the girl come to terms with the beast within.

In "Hell Bound" Spike fights an evil murderer's spirit who's been sending other dead people in the building to Hell so he doesn't have to go. It seems his blood was used to deconsecrate the ground the building stands on and he's been haunting it every since. Spike manages to work out how to touch stuff, while Fred works out a way to bring a spirit back to life... but she can only do it once...

"Life Of The Party" is the requisite Lorne episode, and we find out he's not sleeping... because the company doctor removed it for him. Unfortunately, he's an empath demon and there's a Halloween party coming up. Angel's got to get some head demon (the Archduke Sebassis) to come, and Lorne starts causing people to do whatever he tells them... including Angel and Eve sleeping together, Gunn marking his territory, Spike enjoying himself, and Fred and Wesley acting drunk. Generally silly...

The less said about "The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco" the better. The company mailman is a mexican wrestler whose four brothers died fighting a heart eating Aztec demon. Now the demon is back and Angel has to persuade the wrestler to defeat it. Dumb... very, very dumb.

Fortunately, things pick up in "Lineage" which sees Wesley taking center stage when his father (ably played by Roy Dotrice) comes to visit. Things are picking up between Wes and Fred, but she's hurt on a mission and Wes is over-concerned with her wellbeing. Then there's the android ninjas invading the company to deal with... and a superb finale on the rooftop, showing just how much Wes cares for Fred (and how hard he's become since the bumbling fool of the first season). He then goes on a leave of absense so Alexis can marry Alyson... lucky bastard!

Tuesday kicked off with "Destiny" which sees Spike becoming corporeal when he receives a box in the mail... open the box and flash - he's solid. After sleeping with Harmony, people at the company start going crazy, and he's the cause... well, not really, but there's now two vampires with souls that could fulfill the Shanshu prophecy and the world will end unless one of them drinks from a mystical cup. Cue pointless but fun fight between Spike and Angel.

"Harm's Way" is the requisite Harmony episode. There's important negotiations going on between two demon clans and Harmony has to cater... and orders a live camel, as they're apparently a delicacy. She also manages to wake up next to a dead guy after having quite a lot of drinks the night before - enough that she doesn't remember whether she killed him or not. Some amusing scenes, especially the sticking people in a closet bit.

"Soul Purpose" gives a central role to Lindsey finally, where he introduces himself to Spike as Doyle, and claims he has visions about people in trouble. It's partly to set Spike up as a potential champion, and to make Angel doubt himself, but there's more going on - Angel is having visions (including a very silly scene with a bear) and Eve shows her true colours by putting a parasite on him that will leave him trapped in a catatonic state.

"Damage" shows us some of the fallout from Willow's spell the previous summer, when a disturbed young woman breaks out of a mental institution. She was kidnapped and tortured by the man who killed her family when she was young... and now she's a slayer... Andrew makes a reappearance as the representative of the Watchers, and the girl sets her sights on Spike, who loses his hands to her delusions.

"You're Welcome" concludes Tuesday night, with Angel's 100th episode, and the return of Cordelia. She wakes up, spends most of the episode being brought up to speed, then Lindsey makes a play for some beast in the basement that was the Senior Partners insurance against Angel, and the gang have to work together to defeat him. Very good episode, although Cordelia's breasts were a bit too much of a focus here...

Wednesday opened with the lacklustre "Why We Fight" which sees more fallout of past Angel bad decisions. In the Second World War, he was approached by the US government with a mission he couldn't refuse - get dropped into the ocean with weights attached to get in a German U-Boat, help the US soldiers on board, and deal with the German cargo and research. Seems they were working on using vampires as soldiers (the preliminary research for the Initiative's control chip) and Spike is one of the vampires on board. Unfortunately, when one of the soldiers is killed, Angel is forced to turn him so they can get out of there... the only time he's made another vampire since regaining his soul.

"Smile Time" has more Nina... who's not really the point of the episode but she's worth mentioning... anyway, the point of the episode is Angel getting turned in to a muppet by a mystical egg thing at a children's show.

"A Hole In The World" is the end of the fun... there's a mysterious sarcophagus and it's infected Fred with a serious parasite. It's an elder demon thingy, and it's using her body to come back to life... it'll kill her unless Angel and Spike can find a way to stop it, so off to the Deeper Well to find an answer...

"Shells" finishes Wednesday night, and we get the introduction of Illyria. She shows off her powers, Angel gives a long speech about showing mercy to Knox (before Wesley goes all revengey and shoots him), Illyria makes it back to her temple where her army sleeps, but they've all turned to dust over the intervening millenia. Amy does a good job here with the new role... it's definitely different to Fred...

Thursday sees me finish the show, and the final 6 kick off with "Underneath." They've got a new, more powerful liaison with the Senior Partners, who's hunting Eve. And they've got to get Lindsey out of holding so they can ask him about Illyria. Unfortunately, for one to leave the holding cell, one has to stay...

"Origin" sees the return of Connor, as the sorcerer who cast the reality changing spell wants him to kill Sahzhan for him, per the prophecy. Of course, Connor doesn't remember anything, so he's not much up for a fight. Angel is stuck with the decision of whether to give him his memories back, but Wesley turns up blaming Angel for Fred and takes the decision out of his hands.

"Time Bomb" sees Illyria's power getting out of control... and Fred's body not being able to contain it. She's going to explode, and take most of the continent with her, unless they can stop her somehow. Unfortunately she gets wind of their plans and kills everyone first. It's just a good job that her death sends her bouncing through time, allowing Angel to work out what's happening and stop her killing them all.

"The Girl In Question" is the last dumb episode... it's supposed to wrap up the Buffy storyline for Angel and Spike, but is just silly from start to finish.

"Power Play" sees Angel acting all evil... and he's slept with Nina... but this is souled Angel, just trying to join a secret society called the Circle of the Black Thorn. They're the Senior Partners henchmen in the world, keeping the Apocalypse on track, and Angel wants in.

Of course, as we see in "Not Fade Away" he only wants in so that he can find out who they all are and then kill them. He's decided to put a crimp in the Apocalypse and go out in a blaze of glory, and he wants the rest of the team to help him. Gunn gets to take on a demonic Senator and her vampiric campaign staff, Lorne and Lindsey take on a bunch of smoking demons (were this the bunch in Harm's Way?), Illyria gets to take on the devil looking guy and his friends, Wesley takes on the sorcerer, and Angel's taking on the Archduke... or is he? It seems Harmony has betrayed him to Hamilton, who's a bit too strong for Angel to defeat. Lucky for him, Connor is around to lend a hand.

And then they go out fighting... not the best ending in the world, but I guess there's always hope...

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