“ Open your eyes, Mom. What do you think has been going on for the past two years? The fights, the weird occurrences… how many times have you washed blood out of my clothing, and you still haven’t figured it out? “
Warning: Long and includes mentions of Spuffy, Spangel & Sprusilla
In Destiny, we see a flashback where Angelus first meets the newly vamped William. Angelus moves from the shadows, in a scene not dissimilar from the scene where Spike first sees Buffy at the Bronze in School Hard. He then grabs William’s arm, thrusts it into sunlight, and says this…
ANGELUS: Do you have any idea what it’s like having nothing but women for travel companions, night in and night out?…don’t get me wrong, I do love the ladies, it’s just that lately, I’ve been wondering what it’d be like to share the slaughter of innocents…with another man. Don’t think that makes me some kind of a deviant, do you?
He smirks at William in a way that leaves us with little doubt as to his intentions. The line is a blatant come-on. But I think William only sees the male-ego challenge. William is an upper-class 19th century British fellow, and I’m guessing he has little idea what homosexuality even is. Angelus on the other hand has been roaming around for over a century, exploring every corner and walk of life, and other countries where homosexuality is more acceptable due to different cultures than it was in 19th century England. He means exactly that, but William doesn’t have a clue.
Angelus takes William’s accepting of his challenge as a good sign; they go out hunting, and William immediately praises Angelus’ killing prowess. Angelus is pleased by the attention, but his expression looks like he still wants more. He offers William a drink from his spoils, but William rejects her. Angelus starts pushing and William says “Nah, I think I might go and find Drusilla.” Angelus’ expression immediately darkens and he probes “She’s special, isn’t she? Our Drusilla.” William starts espousing his romantic ideals about Dru, and Angelus responds by dumping on her “She is a sweet plum - a bit dotty and brain-addled, but - ” This scene seems almost out of a sitcom, where the guy with the unrequited crush on the cute girl immediately starts dumping on her new beaux.
What seals the deal here for that interpretation is that this flashback in the episode Destiny immediately follows a shot of Angel looking on as Spike runs off to go sleep with Harmony. Now, unlike Drusilla, there’s no way that Angel was jealous for Harmony’s sake. He doesn’t give a damn about Harmony - not that Angelus cares much more about Drusilla, but he had been sleeping with her since before William showed up, so some idle viewers might think he’s just annoyed that William is hitting on his special creation. But no - he was the one who gave Dru the idea to create a mate for herself in the first place! The Flashback from Darla shows Dru mourning that “His head’s too full of (Darla)” for Angelus to truly make her a good playmate. Angelus suggested Dru make herself a boyfriend in the first place, and Dru followed suit. I think Angelus just didn’t expect her mate to be so damned good looking and gutsy and emotional, and more importantly, so damned attractive to him, Angelus. He’s been thinking (as he said above) about experimenting, I’d imagine, with a guy for a long time now; he’s been with Darla for over a century and Darla recently scampered off to go be with her Master. He’s bored with Drusilla, and wants to try something new. But it goes beyond simple experimentation here. I think Angelus is legitimately attracted to William and disappointed that William doesn’t feel the same. The juxtaposition of this scene with the Harmony scene pretty much proves it.
Angelus responds the only way he knows how - by boning his love rival Drusilla and telling William to “come and take her”. He can’t get William to pay him the attention he wants, so he resorts to ruining his relationship with Dru.
Angelus hopes, I think, to dominate William, the same way he dominated Penn and currently dominates Drusilla. But William is a surprising fellow. Within a year’s time, he’s changed his name to Spike, adopted a lower-classs accent, and taken to such wild public brawling that he’s got Angelus and his women hiding in the luxury of a mine shaft. Anyone else who made so much trouble for Angelus I’d imagine would be dead pretty quickly, but Angelus keeps William around. I think Angelus is perplexed by his inability to mold William to his wishes, and I notice his dislike of using William’s preferred name of Spike, and his annoyance at his changing accent. Angelus was attracted to upright, romantic nice boy William with his well-tailored shirts and classiness, and this new lower-class brawler is alarming to him; try picturing Angelus as a girl, dismayed at her man’s abandoning of hygiene and sudden lower-class loutish behavior. Angelus is a man of class and taste who likes the finer things in life, and seeing William degenerate into a brawling, filthy blood knight seems to distress him.
Still, Angelus is willing to negotiate with Spike, and even though at first he thinks he knows best, Spike’s ideas about a full-out fight seem to get to him. Spike baits him into fighting - and I notice that the insult that gets Angelus to attack him is when Spike calls him “Poofter.” Which is a rude British slang term for a homosexual. That’s right, the one insult that makes Angelus snap at and nearly stake Spike, losing his usually fairly calm temper, is when Spike makes fun of his orientation - which he’s established, earlier on, that he’s not very comfortable with. I think Angelus is frustrated by Spike’s lack of reciprocal interest, and now Spike’s essentially made fun of his feelings - feelings that for him (yes, even for a sociopath like Angelus) are quite intense. Intense enough for him to snap, like Spike does so often, and act on pure emotion.
Angelus is a sociopath, and a soulless demon with a particular level of uncaring. We’ve never seen another vampire or another being get this kind of an emotional rise out of him. Darla doesn’t elicit much emotion from him other than lust; Drusilla doesn’t get much more than pleasure at her pain, and most other vampires he completely ignores and derides. But William the Bloody is special. Spike gets a rise out of him, gets his attention. I don’t believe Angelus capable of love, but he is capable of attraction and obsession, and sometimes even caring - at least, if something he values is in danger, he’ll go to lengths to protect it. Usually the things he values are himself and his belongings, but the only vampire we ever see him showing some real fondness for is Spike.
Also, note the phallic weapon in their fight scene, and Darla and Dru’s delight at their wrestling.
Angelus responds to Spike saying “now you’re getting it”, showing that he was baiting him deliberately, by calming down and tossing the rod aside, almost like he’s ashamed at Spike getting a rise out of him - or even realizing that Spike isn’t aware of his feelings and was simply baiting him, not deriding how he really feels. He gives Spike some advice - that he can’t keep this up forever, and if he keeps this up, he could get killed. I think Angelus is honestly really concerned, and this line is the last line he has in this scene. I think everything he said to Spike before, about his recklessness and need to change his style, is out of concern for him. He wants Spike to do better, and he doesn’t want him to get hurt.
The next flashback we see is 14 years later in 1894. Angelus and Spike have been hanging around together for years and years and are long past the phase of petty brawls. In fact, by this point, not only are they friends, but they are equals. Angelus treats Spike in the Flashbacks from TGIQ more like a friend than we ever see him treat anyone else. Darla and Drusilla he never shows much affection or bond with; Penn is clearly his inferior, and humans are all beneath him. But I think that Spike was a good influence on Angelus. While Darla was always breeding his sadistic and petty sides, and Dru was pretty much just his pet, Spike challenged him. Spike - that being of pure emotional wildness, that pure, raw force of nature who is pretty much incapable of not affecting everything around him by his sheer volatility, was changing Angelus for the better. The flashbacks in TGIQ are the most human we ever see Angelus, before the ensouling.
The first scene shows Angelus and Spike chained up in The Room of Pain - Spike is shirtless, probably indicating that he was tortured more than Angelus, who is not. Angelus wakes up first, and as soon as he regains consciousness, he expresses concern for William (I like how Angelus still calls him William at this point, showing that he remembers the romantic poet he met back in 1880 and still sees him there behind Spike). He immediately swings into William and checks to see if he’s all right. That’s right, Angelus shows concern for someone else. Angelus, who during the flashbacks in Heartthrob sold out Darla and both of his travel companions for a chance to get away from Holtz, actually shows some concern for another vampire.
Spike wakes up and Angelus proclaims “The immortal thinks he can do this to US?” That’s a phrase Angelus uses again and again throughout this episode - he likes to refer to himself and Spike as “Us”. Then follows another exchange I really like: William says “He’s gonna curse the day he ever crossed purpose with Angelus.” Generally, Angelus takes credit for all his evil deeds and refuses to acknowledge anyone as an equal. But when William praises him here, he adds “And William the Bloody.” Angelus makes sure to say that he and William are on an equal footing as formidable threats. William says “We’ll see just how immortal he is when we’re done with him.” Angelus responds to what sounds almost like a question with a long over-the-top death threat; then as he struggles, actually asks Spike “How you doin?” Another instance of Angelus showing concern for William’s welfare - and from his expression, I think it is genuine concern.
When the servant of the Immortal comes in, Angelus again makes a threat in which he makes many references to himself and Spike as “Us” “Ferry US to hell, then. WE’LL save a spot for him.” The next bit is really something to see. The manservant unshackles Angelus and says to HIM “YOUR recent actions against his concerns merited stiff reprimand”. I think this comment is angled more directly at Angelus, and Angelus doesn’t fight him; he’s angry with him, but is aware that there’s a bunch of cross-bow wielding servants behind the guy and it would be unwise to attack him. William asks the manservant as he unshackles him “His concerns?” Angelus protests “This is OUR city. WE were here first.” This makes him and William firmly identified as “WE”, and while the manservant referred to Angelus alone before, I think he’s referring to both of them in the next sentence. Bear in mind the previously mentioned - that the manservant has armed guards behind him, that Angelus was wary but not murderous around him before this point, and that attacking this guy is an unwise move, particularly for the generally stolid and uncaring Angelus. So the manservant says “YOU (both of them) will leave this city tonight and never return under a penalty of death so swift that - ”
He never gets a chance to finish it, because Angelus promptly kills him with a look of pure outrage. What set off this potentially unwise move - a move that seems more like something Spike would traditionally do, allowing emotions of the moment to take over? The manservant threatened both him AND WILLIAM. I think the threat against William’s life was what made Angelus react that way and snap the guy’s neck.
He then uses anger and wild threats - something again very Spike-like of him to do - to intimidate the guards into leaving. As soon as they do, and he turns back to William, he calms down and goes to retrieve his shirt as they share a laugh; William asks about the arrows, and an in an interesting change from the last time we saw them talking about over-the-top displays of violence, Angelus is actually modest in response to the question, admitting “The arrow thing? I don’t know, never tried.” Angelus usually boasts all the time about how great he is, even to Penn, Darla and Dru, but to William, he’s honest; he admits right out he was bluffing, and mourns the destruction of his nice shirt. William murmurs “His benevolence, the immortal”, sounding annoyed and a little bit dejected. Angelus tells him, no doubt commiserating him “In for a shock, he is. There’s gonna be a reckoning.”
TGIQ does more to humanize Angelus than any other episode I’ve seen. Prior to this, we’d only ever seen Angelus (the Angelus of Flashback land, mind you) as a cold-hearted, almost emotionless being. He showed nothing but blithe amusement at the Master, cold pleasure in killing Holtz’ family, mild concern for himself when threatened by Holtz, sociopathic lack of concern for James and Elizabeth, not even much caring when Holtz was torturing him, amused tutoring of Penn, rude disrespect for The Beast, and obsession with but no passion for Drusilla. Angelus was always shown, in any flashback before William, to be a cold, passionless being, self-assured and pretty much not giving a damn about anything. But throughout TGIQ, and really in any flashback showing Angelus post meeting William, there’s something much more passionate, much more emotional, much more caring about him. Again, in TGIQ, he seems almost human. I think that’s William’s influence; it’s almost impossible to be around William/Spike and feel nothing. Even Buffy, when she goes into freeze-out mode, can’t quite manage it. He just brings out emotions in people.
So back to the flashbacks, Angelus and William come home and find Darla has been beaten up. I notice Angelus’ attitude towards her here is so passionate, so caring “Darla, my sweet death! What have they done?” That’s so completely different from his attitude of blithe uncaring from Heartthrob, where he cheerfully turned her over to Holtz. Here, he’s shocked and scared, even caring and romantic, claiming - in a line that seems very William influenced “i’d claw my way back from the depths of hell to lay by your side.” That doesn’t sound at all like the Angelus we used to know - the man who, again, cared so little about Darla he’d turn her over to Holtz without a moment’s thought to save his own ass; he’s never said anything so passionate or romantic to her before he met William. I think that’s the effects of Spike’s romanticism. Being around him, seeing him with Dru, I think brings out the passionate lover in Angelus, a side of him we thought was long-dormant or even inexistent.
He’s immediately disgusted to find that The Immortal has tasted her, and actually asks if he hurt her. I love how he actually seems concerned for her here - in a way we’ve never seen Angelus show concern in any other flashback. Of course, then Darla says she banged The Immortal willingly. Angelus seems angry, but not wildly so; God help him, he actually looks wounded. William says “She’s glowing, mate.” Angelus is more defensive of his sexual prowess to Spike than he is to Darla - unlike William, who even at the sight of Darla (who he doesn’t love) glowing over The immortal starts defending his sexuality (“We’re immortal), he simply is angry over Darla having slept with his arch-nemesis. But when William starts questioning it, Angelus starts getting defensive, replying to "She’s glowing” with a hasty “She isn’t.”
William starts telling him that he’s been made a cuckold, but then Drusilla comes in and William screams “Son of a bitch!” Angelus suddenly becomes more dismayed and more concerned when he see that Drusilla slept with The Immortal. Darla’s betrayed him before, many other times; this is a bad one, but not something he can’t recover from. But when he sees Dru’s also gone with him, and William’s pain and dismay, he’s suddenly a lot angrier. “That’s why he had us tossed - so he could violate our women.” Angelus doesn’t use the word “Violate” lightly - we saw him in I Only Have Eyes For You claiming that he was violated by love, in a tone of voice that nearly shakes. He starts using much harsher language on finding out William’s been cuckolded too - because unlike him, William legitimately loves Drusilla. Angelus has seen what the effect of Dru straying has on William, and since this time he’s not the cause of it (and I fathom hasn’t been for a while), he’s outraged.
When Angelus finds out that the Immortal slept with them “Concurrently” by consent, he says “You never let US do that.” I think Angelus rather fancies a four-way with the Whirlwind - to be honest, he’s the only member of the group who’s definitely slept with every single one. Drusilla and Darla walk off, hand in hand, in a very les-yay laced scene; I like how William’s arrival didn’t change the relationship between Darla and Dru, which was implied to be sexual back in 1880. In fact, I think William has actually helped them get closer if anything. In 1880, Dru seemed more distant form Darla, but now, with William around, they’re so much more blatantly affectionate.
Angelus is so pissed off now that he smashes a vase against the wall. Again, I note how much more emotional post-Spike Angelus is than pre-Spike - Holtz caused him about as much trouble as The Immortal, but pre-Spike Angelus just ran the other way. Post-Spike Angelus is willing to take him on, face-to-face, and responds with pure, violent emotion to his actions. The two go and seek blood vengeance - Angelus is the one to suggest “Blood vengeance.” Back in the scene in “Fool for Love”, Angelus felt that “a good kill takes pure artistry. Without that, we’re just animals.” But being around William for so long has changed him; he’s willing to go for something as wild and crazy as blood vengeance, and when the Bouncer rejects them, says “To hell with the list” and tries to barge into a room he’s not invited in. Spike sure has changed our evil asshole, hasn’t he?
The two walk away, with Angelus moaning “He mocks US at every turn,” again with the “us”. William concurs, taking about a past incident involving nuns and a rathruhn egg. Angelus rages “Those were my nuns!” - Again, the formerly stolid and controlled Angelus sounds like a petulant five year old here - and William commiserates “Nuns are your thing, everybody knows that - they respect it, they respect US.” Angelus adds to this praise by adding “WE’RE the reason men fear the night!” They walk out, angry.
But yes, even though he’s distressed throughout this episode, what strikes me the most about these - the last flashbacks we see of Angelus before the re-ensouling - is that post-Spike Angelus is a different man. Like I said, prior to meeting Spike Angelus was a cold, uncaring SOB, who wasn’t easily roused to rage or any emotion whatsoever. Here though, he’s a raging, emotional guy, quick to anger and act on impulse. He’s become more like William, even shedding some of his glamourous clothing - he’s dressed a lot shabbier here - but I think he’s happier for it. In fact, the entire Whirlwind seems so happy here, in this episode; aside from the Immortal, I get the impression that they’re a much happier, more emotional and closer bunch with Spike around. Darla and Angelus were a cold, unloving duo, who killed a lot of people and slept together a lot, but never really felt happy or emotional. Darla, Angelus and Dru weren’t much better, with Dru as a kind of third wheel pet. But William has changed the group forever. Just like he’ll change both the Scooby Gang and the Fang Gang in later years, William’s a loose canon, and his passion and emotion can’t help but change a person.
I think that had the Whirlwind stayed the way they were, they would’ve been pretty damn happy now. All those years of Angelus and Darla alone and I get the impression that they were never really happy. But here, Angelus is finally feeling, finally expressing himself, finally allowing some of his baser instincts to come through and acting almost human, showing vulnerability. William sure did change that man, didn’t he?
It’s stated in Power Play that Angel and Spike had at least one sexual encounter during the 18 years they were roaming the countryside together. My guess is that it happened before TGIQ’s flashbacks, and probably sometime in the late 1880s. Angelus made his come-on to Spike, who was to pre-occupied with Drusilla to notice, but I’d imagine once they all got more comfortable with each other, something just happened - and I’m guessing it happened in St. Petersberg. But I’m thinking that William was loyal to Dru and rejected the idea of anything more - which probably stung Angelus more than he expected it to. We saw his reaction to William rejecting the spoils he offered him in the Destiny flashback; I think he suddenly was able to feel sad that William wasn’t interested in more than one quick encounter and general friendship. And I think that changed him forever - we see his emotional state in TGIQ. William has made him more caring towards Darla, more volatile emotionally, and also more willing to defend his friend and call them “US”.
For a point of comparison, think about Buffy in Season 6. She’d come back from the dead and was unable to feel anything. The only time she ever felt anything was when she and Spike were fucking. Spike’s obviously pretty damn good. Angelus was with him at least once, and we see his response. Just like with Buffy, I think Spike made the undead, uncaring Angelus feel something for the first time since he died, and that allowed him to open up to the feelings, to caring. Sadly though, for Angelus’ sake, I don’t think “that one time” meant as much to Spike. Spike didn’t see it the same way he did. Still though, the fact that Spike made Angelus finally be able to care about things was changing him for the better.
But alas, things aren’t going to last. A gypsy girl, a curse and a soul await Angelus four years after the run-in with The Immortal. Angelus comes home to Darla, who he’s now learned how to truly care about, and she rejects him for his soul. Interestingly, though, she doesn’t tell Drusilla and Spike. In fact, Spike doesn’t find out about Angel’s soul for another century.
THE BOXER REBELLION:
We don’t see Spike’s reaction to Angelus’ leaving, only that he apparently fed off of the gypsy’s family and that the remaining members of the Whirlwind massacred them all. Spike doesn’t seem to concerned, though, which goes to reinforce my idea that he never cared about Angel as much as Angel did him. Angelus does return, though, tracking them down during the Boxer Rebellion, and I note that he inquires about Spike and Dru rather quickly - using Spike’s preferred name now.
During the Rebellion, Spike kills his first slayer. Angel’s reaction to this is interesting, because he has a soul now. He understands that what Spike has done is wrong, an evil act, and his face is so dead, his voice quite glum “Congratulations. I guess that makes you one of us.” I think Angel sees the tragedy in Spike’s descent; he knows that there was a time when William was a nice, innocent human guy, rather than a killing machine. He cares about William/Spike as much as he can care about anyone, and he realizes that he’s become a monster now, a true one. Spike picks up on his gloomy mood and says “Don’t be so glum, mate!” The last time we saw Spike call Angel “Mate” Angelus rejected it - perhaps because he wants to be more than “Mates”. Spike also suggests that when the new girl comes along, he’ll give angel first crack at her (foreshadowing). I notice that when Dru and Spike start cuddling, Angelus turns away and suggests they get out of there. He never stops being jealous of Dru, does he?
In the aftermath of the boxer rebellion, Angel escapes and goes to live a miserable, lonely life full of guilt for years and years. I think that while Angelus was a little bit in love with Spike, Angel can only see him as a vampire - an attractive one he once slept with, but still - as a reminder of the evil in his past, and as an evil, soulless being.
WORLD WAR II
Still though, when he runs into him on a submarine in WWII, his reactions are quite interesting. Angel first protests to his Nazi uniform - checking out that sexy leather, I suppose - and is clearly stunned to hear that he was captured at a “free virgin blood” Party. I think he’s a bit disgusted with this - although his disgust is more hypocritical than Buffy’s. Spike introduces him around, and Angel reigns him in, not letting him kill anyone. He’s quite contemptuous of him throughout the whole experience, even manhandling him several times. Where Angelus felt love and allowed Spike to raise his emotions, Angel feels disgust nd tries to shut him out. I do note that when the Prince of Lies and nostroyev disobey his commands, Angel promptly kills them, but he tries to reason with Spike. He has a past emotional attachment to him and can’t bring himself to dust him. Even a few emotions come out of Angel being around Spike, and in the end he gets Spike off the ship safely, before dawn.
I think Angel’s attitude on Spike is similar to Spike’s attitude towards Buffy in TGIQ “Look, I know I don’t have a shot with (him), all right? Probably never did. But I still care about (him).” Angelus had, I’m pretty certain, feelings for Spike and Angel shares those feelings; he isn’t in love with him, and he knows the attraction will never be mutual, but there it is; he’s been dealt the losing hand in this love story. He doesn’t see or hear from Spike again until 1998. By then he’s fallen for Buffy and is fully committed to helping her side. Right?
I think Angel overhears the conversation probably from Willow’s line onward “Could we hide? I mean, if that Spike guy is leading the attack - yeeesh.” Giles replies to Willow “Well, he can’t be any worse than any other creature you’ve faced.” Angel overhears this and realizes his old friend is back and now in Sunnydale, threatening Buffy, and says “He’s worse. Once he starts something he doesn’t stop until everything in his path is dead.” Angel doesn’t like to talk about his past much, but Spike elicits this long line of description. Angel remembers him vividly.
When Xander brings news about Spike’s attack on the school, Angel enacts what, from a new viewer watching SH for the first time’s POV, seems like the dumbest plan imaginable; he uses Xander as a Trojan horse, grabbing him by the neck and going into vamp-face. If we look at Angel as just the “good guy in love with Buffy” in that scene it seems completely idiotic. But taking Spike and Angel’s history into account, it makes perfect sense. Angel wants to have at least a minute to talk to Spike - to figure out his game plan, and even, just for a moment, to be together with him, to hang out like they used to.
Spike looks thrilled initially to see him, and even gives him a great big hug and a laugh. Angel criticizes his guarding, but it’s an affectionate criticism - he’s smiling throughout it and Spike takes it as such, saying he’s surrounded by idiots. He asks Angel what’s new with him and Angel admits “everything.” It feels very much like two old friends meeting up for the first time in a while. Spike then brings up Buffy and Angel tells a big story about the “act” he’s keeping up. There’s no real reason for him to do this, except that the wants a minute to talk to Spike like old times; it reminds me of Buffy kissing Angel in the series finale, just for a minute reliving her old times before going back to the hard reality. Spike asks him why he’s scared of Buffy, and criticizes him, asking if he’s housebroken. He even tells Spike that he saw Buffy killed the master.
Here’s my interpretation on this scene: Angel wants Spike to get out of town. He knows that Buffy can kill him and probably will; he still cares about his old friend, regardless, and he wants him safely away from the Hellmouth where Buffy can kill him. So he takes on his old identity, using Xander as bait, so he can covertly warn Spike to get away. True he’s also concerned for Buffy’s sake, but I think he believes Buffy can take Spike. And he doesn’t want that. He wants Spike to leave - he will later on tell Dru in Lie to Me to take Spike and go. Angel still cares about him, and can only respond to Spike’s outburst at him with “things change.” Spike calls him an “Uncle Tom”, and I note Angel’s dejection at the end of the episode, and his notable lack of appearance in INCA MUMMY GIRL. I think Spike’s words stung him, and the fact that his old friend looked at him with contempt and will probably get killed soon facing Buffy - I think it affects him. He says to Xander that if Spike had bitten him, they would’ve known he bought it. Clearly Spike buying his facade was more important to him than Xander’s safety.
Angel takes until Lie to Me to directly confront Drusilla - maybe that’s how long it took him to track down either Dru or Spike. He tells Dru to take Spike and get out; he adds “If you don’t leave it’ll go badly. For all of us.” He’s talking to her as an old friend - he wants them to get away. This is very different from his attitude towards Darla; true, he hadn’t sten Buffy klill the master at that point, but he showed no concern for Darla’s safety and no interest in trying to get her to leave Sunnydale for her own best interests. Spike is different, because Spike Angelus actually cared about. And still cares about, despite himself.
They kidnap him in WML P2, and Dru starts torturing him. Spike says “I’ll see him die soon enough. I’ve never been much for the pre-show.” Since finding out about Angel’s ensouling, this is the first time we’ve seen Spike explicitly threaten his life. Spike kidnaps him and lets Dru torture him; Angel is confronted with his old friend not only upset with him, but completely rejecting his new ensouled state. No wonder he waited so long to tell him - Spike has nothing but contempt for him anymore. And just as he did back in the day when Spike rejected the offer to share his spoils, Angel responds by taunting him, and implying he’s not keeping Dru satisfied.
Knowing Spike and Angel’s sexual history, the comments they make are rather…suggestive. “Or maybe you two just don’t have the fire we had”, says Angel. The obvious surface idea is that he’s referring to himself and Drusilla vs Dru and Spike - but remember how Angelus used to refer to him and Spike as “WE” and “US” all the time? That’s what’s on his mind, though not on Spike’s. Angel has always been jealous of Spike and Dru, but it’s the blonde he’s jealous of.
Buffy saves Angel and we don’t see him and Spike on-screen again until SURPRISE. Even then, they don’t interact much, other than Spike snarking at him a few times. Angel is focused on Buffy and saving her.
So after a hundred plus years, Angel has spent his time with a soul, brooding and mourning over his years of violence, but his feelings towards Spike are still rather tragic. He still cares about him, even if he can’t sort out that feeling. A part of him longs for the chance to go back to being evil, to be with Spike and Dru again (particularly Spike). And when the soul is taken away from him, he makes a B-line for Spike and Dru.
In response to Spike questioning Dru about what she saw for Angel, Angelus makes a sarcastic speech about fulfilling that broadway dream, symbolically explaining that he’s been playing a part. Spike tells him “You don’t give up, do you?” Angel’s response is basically him explaining how he feels toward Spike, now that he’s soulless “As long as scum like you is walking, well, rolling the streets, I’ll be a round. Look over your shoulder. I’ll be there.” He’s saying basically that he’ll always be there with Spike.
Angel’s venom directed at Spike - and everything - is venom he’s been building up for a century. He’s spent a century unable to be rude to people - and I think he enjoys it. When the truth comes out, Angel is cheerful; Spike asks him “No more of this ‘I’ve got a soul’ crap?” and he responds that he was going through a phase, striking up a cigarette. Spike is thrilled to have him back, and I think this is very gratifying for Angelus to hear. Spike is so thrilled to have him nearby again, and it seems for a moment that maybe his old unrequited feelings aren’t so unrequited after all - he saw Spike’s response to seeing him after all that time in SH, and since he agrees with Spike on hating his ensouled self, his behavior since then isn’t indicative of anything. Spike’s behavior in SH may have given Angel the tiniest bit of hope that the feelings aren’t as one-sided as he used to think, and Spike’s ecstatic reaction to having him back only seems to confirm it - particularly as Spike says “It made me sick to my stomach seeing you the Slayer’s lap dog.” This phrase, which Angel agrees with, gets him to kiss him.
Ah, the only male-male kiss of any kind in the Buffy-verse. It is kind of sad that a verse so full of great female/female relationships has no canon (other than Spike and Angel) male/male couple, so we’ve got to cherish this one. This kiss bears some analysis. Angel has spent a hundred years with the memory of what it was like to have some kind of sexual encounter with Spike. Recall that Spike’s sexual powers were enough to make Buffy feel alive, and got Harmony to put up with an awful lot, even him staking her. I get the impression that Spike is generally amazing in the bedroom, and only leaves his partners craving more. Angel is no exception; he’s pretty much spent a century of longing for that kind of sexual release. For Spike, essentially. Dru says “We’ll feed and we’ll play”, putting Angel’s mind on sex. Spike has spent the scene elated that he’s back, and says even more forwardly “It made me sick seeing you the Slayer’s lap dog”. Hearing this very certain proclamation, Angel lunges forward with a growl, seizes Spike’s shirt, and stares into his eyes. He flicks his tongue out, his expression just ripe with longing, and kisses Spike on the forehead in a moment of sexual release.
They both start laughing and everything seems right with the world. Angel plans to go destroy Buffy. He doesn’t talk about Buffy until after Spike brings her up. Earlier in that scene, Angel said nothing of Buffy and the Slayer, not even mentioning that she had something to do with his soul returning (you wouldn’t believe me if I told you); when Spike called him 'the slayer’s lap dog’, he starts asserting, over-compensating, about how he wants to destroy her, how she won’t be anything resembling a threat. I think Spike puts his mind on his urge to destroy Buffy; he wants to prove to his old friends that he prefers them.
He does so, and returns with his triumphant story of ruining Buffy emotionally, hoping to impress Spike. It doesn’t; Spike just wants her dead. Angel tries to reassure Spike “Don’t worry about it.” And when Spike says he does, Angel snaps at him - again, no one can get a rise out of Angel like Spike can - "Spike, my boy, you really don’t get it! Do you? You tried to kill her, but you couldn’t. Look at you, you’re a wreck!“ He clearly sees Spike in the wheelchair as a bit of a wreck of his former self, but he continue educating Spike on the better manner of ending the Slayer. Back in the day, wild and volatile William was easily the dominant force, and Angelus had to listen to him as they duked it out for how best to kill people. Now Spike is in a wheelchair and Angel has the floor, and he can educate Spike on the advantages of psychological warfare, maybe prove that his POV has some validity too - show himself off as a capable warrior.
As Angel and Dru leave, Angel whispers in Spike’s ear "Too bad you can’t come with, huh? Be thinking of you.” Though Angel is generally in sarcasm mode this episode, I think there’s some sincerity to this line. There’s an element of mocking too it as well, of course - back in the day Spike was always the one out for a good fight, and now he can’t come and facilitate the attack with the Judge with them. Spike again brings up Buffy, demanding “What happens if your girlfriend shows up?” Hmmm…
BEWITCHED BOTHERED AND BEWILDERED
The next time we see Spike and Angel, Spike is mooning over Drusilla on Valentine’s day. I’d imagine in between this and Innocence, Angel has realized that those minor hopes he’d entertained of Spike having learned to reciprocate are pretty much just that - minor. Spike is still completely in love with Dru, buying her jewelry and everything. Angel responds by giving Dru a torn out heart and taunting him by tying the necklace around Dru’s neck. He taunts him that “it’s so much easier when I do things for her.” Angel is getting a kick out of Spike now being the inactive, weaker one, since Spike ran so strong over him in the 1890s. Spike again brings up Buffy - awfully fixated on her, isn’t he? - and suggests ripping her lungs out. Again their two different styles of violence are clashing, and since Angel has the trumph card as the mobile one, he can do whatever he wants.
Angel sees Spike in a very pathetic state and finds him easy to mock. But some of it is in response to Spike’s lack of interest in him. When Dru says “we were worried”, Spike says bluntly “no we weren’t.” It’s in response to this that Angel starts mocking him again - asserting bluntly that he doesn’t need him. Spike threatens him “You’re a bloody guest in my bloody home” and Angel comes up close and personal to him and starts twisting the knife in his soft spots, implying he’s already boning Drusilla. Angel’s initial delight at hanging around Spike again is gone, because Spike is once again batting away his affection.
In response to hearing that Jenny is going to re-ensoul him - turn him back into the creature that Spike regarded with nothing but contempt, forever dashing his chances - Angel not only kills her, he snaps her neck and arranges her body in Giles’ room, an act that Spike of all people calls him out on for its folly. But there it is - Spike is Angelus’ berserk button. Hearing the possibility of being torn away from him again, he acts on pure, wild, vicious emotion, the same way he did in TGIQ. The chance that he could lose his second shot is too much, and he decides Jenny needs to suffer brutally for threatening to alleviate it.
But this act doesn’t impress Spike; in fact, he’s infuriated and even says “I find myself preferring the old Buffy-whipped Angelus. This one one is not playing with a full sack!” Angel seems stung here - and tries to reassure Spike that he has everything under control, don’t worry. But I think this response hurts him to his core. He pretty much killed that teacher for him, for Spike, and for Dru, and their little family together, but Spike has now stated that he likes him better Buffy-whipped now. His second chance is pretty much a disaster now.
Spike and Angel continue being very prickly with each other through the next episode. Spike criticizes his new choice of residence and Angel bites back with a series of wheelchair jokes. Spike isn’t amused, and Angel says “What can I say? I just love to see you smile, buddy.” I think this increased pursuit of Drusilla is a response to the previous episode’s “Buffy-whipped Angelus” preference.
THE TRUMP CARD
But there’s one more layer to these interactions - a completely unexpected one that will come to define their relationship for the rest of the series. There’s a new player in the endless tug-of-war between Spike and Angel, one that I’ve mentioned, but whose significance I’ve kind of downplayed so far. And that player is Buffy Summers, the Vampire Slayer.
So far I’ve only talked about Buffy’s influence on Angel, but she’s already starting to be a huge influencing factor on Spike. Spike has become a bit too interested in Buffy already; he’s constantly worried about her, and pretty much every time we’ve seen him and Angel talking since Angel turned, Buffy’s name cropped up in the conversation - brought into it by Spike. In Innocence, Spike brought up Buffy first when Angel came back, and later on when Angel was about to leave with the Judge. In Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, Spike brought up Buffy when there was really no reason to bring her up “You should worry less about Dru and more about that Slayer”. In Passion, Spike made the death of Jenny about Buffy, even though it was really about the threat Jenny presented. But Spike didn’t see it as “this woman was threatening us”. He sees it as “Buffy Buffy Buffy Buffy this person’s connected with Buffy We need to kill Buffy not leave gifts in her friends’ beds, this will make Buffy mad, I prefer the BUFFY-WHIPPED Angelus.” I note that by this episode he’s started referring to her as BUFFY, not the Slayer. “His little pranks will only leave us with one incredibly brassed-off Slayer!” Slayer, Buffy, Slayer, Buffy. Spike just can’t shut up about her, can he?
Something has changed in Spike - something besides the wheelchair. He’s met Buffy. He’s seen her, and I think that from the first minute Spike saw Buffy, he was never the same again. She got under his skin. She alarmed Dru from the first (“It’s all dark where she is”). And he fell into obsession with her. Dru was still his priority, but Buffy is starting to take over him. Spike usually has two strings to his bow - “Drusilla” and “Fighting”. Pretty much his only purposes in life - but a third string is starting to take over. The Buffy string. And this one is going to be even stronger than the previous two. Buffy completely takes him over. She becomes his everything, his obsession, his life, who he is and what he wants and loves more than anything.
So Angel, once again, is passed over in favor of a woman. Spike never makes Angel his priority. Nowadays, even Drusilla isn’t his priority. Buffy is. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is all that’s on his mind, all he bloody thinks about. He’s worried about her, overly concerned, constantly bringing her up. And he only ever sees Angel’s actions - all those actions undertaken to impress Spike, really, to be around him and Dru, to be his old self again - in how they relate to Buffy. Angel’s back? Well, that’s good - at least he’s not being controlled by Buffy anymore. So Angel, what’re you gonna do about Buffy now? You gonna kill her? Why didn’t you kill her? You’re supposed to kill her. I’m worried about her, what’s she gonna do? What happens if Buffy shows up when you try and destroy the world? You should worry less about Dru and more about Buffy (just like i do cough cough). The Dialogue in Passion could almost go like this:
Spike: You killed that teacher who was going to re-ensoul you and take you away from me?
Angel (like a dog wanting a bone) Uh huh! Aren’t I a good boy?
Spike: Are you insane? You’ll make Buffy mad! We can’t have Buffy mad! I’m worried about Buffy, she’s who matters, you dolt!
So yeah, it would seem that Angel now has yet another rival for Spike’s attention, and this one is even bigger and even worse than Drusilla. At least around Drusilla Spike was willing to be friends with Angel. But with Buffy in the picture? Angel might as well be dead to Spike with Buffy as his competition. Spike makes it clear over and over again that there’s only one thing on his mind, and that thing starts with B and ends with a word that rhymes with Mayor.
I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU
In I only Have Eyes for You, Angel is much more focused on Drusilla and much harsher with Spike. Spike seems defeated and downtrodden, and can only snark at Angel on occasion. Drusilla brings up Buffy and Spike responds “Big deal. He won’t do anything. Our man Angel here likes to talk but he’s not much for action. All hat and no cattle.”
In response to this, Angel does something rather remarkable. Ever since Innocence, he’s been obsessing over Buffy, trying to one-up her and get back at her, and in Passion he was stalking her and following her. But suddenly, he declares “I don’t know about that. I think this whole Slayer thing has run its course.” And later on in this episode, he goes to actually kill Buffy - not taunt her, not kill her friends, but kill her. Why the sudden turnaround? He maintains this attitude from this point onward, ending his obsession with Buffy and concentrating on bigger goals. So what provoked him here? It’s not Drusilla; she’s the same as she ever was, nothing in her has changed. I think his attitude has been different ever since the start of E19, he’s been acting differently with regards to Buffy - hell, since E18, he’s been more keen on eliminating Buffy than tormenting her.
Spike’s remark about preferring the “old Buffy-whipped Angelus” I think got to him. But more than that - I think Angel realizes that Spike’s now obsessed with Buffy. Buffy comes first for Spike, and once again he doesn’t. Buffy is who matters. Before this, Angel was focused on hurting Buffy in return for her making him feel human, and by doing so thus demonstrating to Spike how he’s no longer the “Slayer’s lap dog.” But the issue is, Spike’s the one who’s really obsessed with Buffy, and all Spike cares about is her (and Dru, but mainly Buffy). Again Angel has been thrown over for a woman, in spite of everything he’s done to try and prove himself to Spike, prove his evil, his superiority, and his sexual prowess.
So he goes to actually kill Buffy. She’s become his love rival. She has all of Spike’s attention, all of his obsession. Drusilla he could control, Drusilla/Spike he could mediate. But Spuffy is out of his control. Spike’s obsessed with Buffy, and Angel responds by trying to flat-out kill her. I think it goes to show how powerful a hold Buffy really has over Spike already; even more than Drusilla. With Dru, Angel was jealous but never tried to off his rival. But with Buffy? She has to die, right away, right now. No questions asked.
He goes to kill her and gets “violated” by love; he can’t shower enough. Spike observes him and Angel is, in his moment of emotion, very nakedly honest with him “What do you know about it? I’m the one who was frigging violated. You didn’t have this THING in you.” Love, he says. But we’ve seen Angelus understanding a few moments of affection with Darla. I honestly wonder if “This thing in you” was also Buffy. Buffy was in him (her tongue, at least), and she’s now his hated rival, rather than the thing that made him feel human. The last time he used the word “Violated”, it was with regards to The Immortal violating Darla and Drusilla - another romantic rival, taking up the affections and interest of someone he desires. Angel sees it as himself being violated by Buffy, but I think he also dreads the idea of Spike being violated by Buffy-love. He goes out for a particularly violent kill.
Notably, his dialogue to Spike in this time of distress, is less outwardly sarcastic “I’m sure he’d be hell on wheels but we don’t have much time. Gotta travel light. Sorry. Try to have fun without me.” There isn’t as much of a sarcastic edge here; he’s being partially sincere. He’s sorry Spike can’t come. Of course, Angel doesn’t have a clue that Spike’s Buffy-pull is even stronger than he could’ve imagined.
BECOMING PART 1
In the early scenes, the two banter as usual, with some of the venom from the previous episode gone; there’s a mild enmity, rather similar to S4 Spuffy. Speaking of which, I think Spike has been holding his rage in a little better lately because he knows he can walk, and he knows he’s planning a terrible revenge on Angel, so he’s more civil. However, his mild mocking of Angel has also become a mocking of Angelus’ over-the-top wicked schemes. Spike’s Buffy pull has already started to pull him away from generic evil, which he never really liked that much anyway. Spike’s character is magnificently complex, and I haven’t really talked about him as much in this manifesto because Spike’s feelings to Angel are just less complicated than Angel’s towards him. Spike, I think, has always essentially enjoyed the good side, has liked living in the world and existing in life and seeing people live and be and do. He doesn’t like destruction for destruction’s sake, and he’s attracted to the goodness and light inside of Buffy. The truth is, deep down, Spike wants to be a hero, a good guy, to stand in the light beside Buffy and save the world. And in this season already, he will choose the good, heroic, world-saving Buffy over the evil, wantonly destructive Angelus and Drusilla.
In other words, Betty=Buffy, Archie=Spike, Veronica=Angelus.
Angelus doesn’t know that, of course. He doesn’t know that Spike has a deep down naughty longing to be good, just like Willow has a deep-down naughty longing to be bad (there are a lot of Spike-Willow parallels throughout the series). He believes that Spike likes villainy and evil, so he shows off his evil powers and skills. He gets the stone of Acathla and plans a great big dramatic show of evil - its kind of like a grand romantic gesture, the kind guys pull at the end of romantic comedies in order to get the girl before she makes a mistake and marries the other guy. Like Benjamin slamming his fists into the glass of the church and screaming “Elaine!”, Angelus goes over the top and tries to one-up Buffy by destroying the world - the ultimate victory.
Spike says, in response to the history lesson about Acathla “Let me guess. Someone pulls out the sword - ” “Someone worthy” corrects Angelus. He wants no mistake to be made. Angel the Series establishes that Angel has a very old-fashioned “knight in shining armor” attitude towards life; he wants to get the girl and slay the dragon. The person who is worthy of the sword is also worthy of the princess. Or in this case, the prince. Angel will be worthy of the sword (phallic symbol), and of Spike. He’ll have proven himself truly evil, made it up after all those years of doing good deeds, and he’ll be worthy to stand aside Spike and Dru again. Maybe, at long last, Spike will reciprocate. And that pesky little Buffy-obsession? No need to worry about that once she’s dead in hell, right?
In case you doubted the association between Angel, Spike, the sword and worthiness, in the scene where Angel makes the melodramatic proclamations about Acathla, he looks at Spike as he says “I will be worthy to free Acathla.” He wants to be worthy of the evil Spike, essentially - and when he fails, Spike mocks him “Someone wasn’t worthy.” That’s what Angel has proven here. He tried to pull the sword from the stone, and the “princess” himself tells him he isn’t worthy. Angel insists, there must be something he missed - but WE’LL have OUR armageddon, he swears. Again, he calls them “we”, his favorite phrase to refer to himself and Spike. He thinks this is what Spike wants, after all - to be as evil as possible. After all, when they first met, William called him a “bloody killing marvel”. He got praise and love from Spike the most when he did horrible things, so surely he can recapture that moment - and get back that old passion we saw Angelus only ever show around Spike - by proving himself worthy through being as evil as possible.
But it’s too late. He’s already lost Spike to Buffy.
BECOMING PART 2
In the very next episode, Spike colludes with Buffy, forming an alliance with her against Angel to save the world. The truth is, Spike can’t love the truly evil Angelus any more than Buffy says she can love the soulless Spike in Season 6. Spike and Buffy both, essentially, prefer to be good. They find good appealing, desirable; saving the world is something they both want because both Spike and Buffy like this world and like living in it. Buffy’s hold on life is due to her having ties to the world in her friends and loved ones; Spike’s hold on un-life is due to him liking this world and all the things that come with existing in it. And neither one of them can ever really love the evil Angelus, because they don’t crave destruction for destruction’s sake. Spike’s collusion with Buffy here will forever change and alter his path in life, and although he claims it’s just to get Dru back, his previous scenes have proved that, as he says to Buffy later on in Sleeper “God help me, Buffy, it’s still all about you.” Spike’s had Buffy on the brain ever since he met her, and Angelus can’t compete.
But rather sadly (and yes, I do feel some sympathy for Angelus here), Angelus doesn’t have a clue. Spike interrupts him from his pleasure torture, and actually manages to reign him in. While back in the 1880s, William brought Angelus out of his shell and set loose his temper and emotions, nowadays Spike can stop Angelus with logical reasoning. Angelus listens to Spike, miraculous as it may seem; Spike can influence him. Spike says to Angel “You have your way with him, you’ll never destroy the world, and I don’t fancy spending the next month trying to get librarian out of the carpet.”
This is interesting - I’m guessing that Spike hasn’t indicated in conversation his distaste for the destruction of earth. In Innocence Spike seemed onboard with destroying the world, and as far as Angel knows that’s still true. Noticing Spike’s influence on Angelus - his ability to dictate his actions like no one else can - I wonder, if Spike had told Angelus how he really felt, how he honestly didn’t give a piss about destroying the world, and how it doesn’t impress him one bit, would he have been able to persuade Angelus out of it? I think he could.
Spike convinces Angelus to stop torturing Giles for fun, and even to spare Giles in case he’s lying. Spike can pretty much bat Angelus around like a ping-pong ball with a few choice words. And in return for this supposed affection, Angelus says “You know, I kind of like having you watch my back. It’s kinda like old times.” Oh, I admit it: my heart just aches for the savage sociopath here. He thinks he’s finally gotten Spike back, that he’s watching his back, that he actually gives a damn about him and whether he succeeds. For just a short crazy while, Angelus has some hope again. He sees the chance to get things back the way they used to be - like old times, when they were friends and he got to sleep with him just that once.
Angelus says to Acathla as he does the ceremony “You will be free, and so will we all.” Angelus has been locked down for so long, I think in his mind he’s creating a happy ending. I’ve seen Angel’s mindset on Angel - he’s always trying to get what he wants through some big, grand gesture, like Jonathan Levinson. Here, what he wants is to incinerate all the humans, especially Buffy, and be together with Spike and Dru and other demons for all eternity. Here, he’s got his chance. But who should come to try and wreck it but the Slayer herself.
Angelus is definitely uninterested in Buffy by now. He rejects her with a cold “I don’t have time for you.” Buffy replies that he doesn’t have a lot of time left, and Angelus replies “Coming on kind of strong, don’t you think? You’re playing some deep odds here. Do you really think you can take US all on?” Oh, poor Angel. He thinks there’s an “Us”. But Buffy responds “No. I don’t.” And up from behind Angelus rises Spike, and with an andiron, he beats Angelus down, savagely, brutally, again and again. Just as Angelus is about to accomplish his dream, his end-goal, the lover betrays him. Spike strikes him down. That dream of things being “like old times” is dead. And Angel collapses to the ground. Spike has picked Buffy over him. The real US here is Spike and Buffy. We saw them earlier - they worked together like a well-oiled machine, taking out Angel’s vampire goon (symbolism anyone?) in seconds. Angel’s long-standing love for Spike doesn’t stand a chance against Spuffy.
All Angel has left is his vengeance on Buffy - and in the wake of her winning with Spike, he’s pretty focused on killing her. Whereas before all he could say was “I don’t have time for you”, now he’s a lot more focused on her, a lot more vengeful “You almost made it, Buffy. My boy Acathla is about to wake up. You’re going to hell.” He perks up a bit when Spike leaves Buffy behind, swaggering off with Dru. The obsession can’t be that big if he’s gonna abandon her. I think that helps him deal with the betrayal a bit and gives him the confidence to corner her. However, Buffy still wins. She wins the fight. He’s re-ensouled by Willow, and sent to hell by Buffy. Angel completely loses.
Basically, if this were Aladdin, Angel would be Jafar, Spike is Jasmine, and Buffy is Aladdin. The scene where Spike pretends to be his friend reminds me of the scene in the movie where Jasmine flirts with Jafar to keep him distracted while Aladdin sneaks in to steal the lamp back. Angelus wants power, sure, but he also wants Spike, and to prove that he’s evil enough for him. But Spike doesn’t want Angelus. He wants Buffy; like every classic “damsel” in fiction, he prefers the hero to the villain.