"The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco"
Episode # 94
Original Air Date: November 5, 2003
Review by: Anne
At Wolfram & Hart, the man with a mask bearing the number five is quietly pushing a cart, delivering mail. Angel is in his office, signing documents; Gunn proudly tells him what the signed papers are going to accomplish, but Angel remains unenthused. Number 5 enters the office shortly before Wesley arrives with news of three bodies found in east LA with their hearts cut out. Unnoticed by the others, Number 5 looks up, as if he is familiar with the news, but he hurries out as Gunn calls to him that he missed picking up their mail. Number 5 keeps going; Angel offers to take the mail to him, but when Angel tries to get the man's attention, Number 5 shoves him through his office window and hurries away. Gunn notifies security who escorts Number 5 off the premises. Angel, Spike, Gunn, and Wesley go to investigate a fourth murder, but on the way to the crime scene, they find another body - and the demon that killed it. They fight (well, Spike tries but is unable to help) but the demon gets away. Researching at Wolfram & Hart, the gang learns that the demon is called Tezcatcatl, and that it previously appeared fifty years ago, when it was destroyed by five brothers. Four of the brothers were killed: the remaining brother is Number 5. Meanwhile, Spike questions Wesley about the Shanshu prophecy and reveals that Angel doesn't believe in it. Wesley is concerned by this; Angel reasons that as long as the work is getting done, what does it matter if he doesn't believe in the prophecies? Wesley informs him very seriously that nothing matters more than hope. Angel goes to see Number 5, who tells Angel how he and his brothers were wrestlers and heroes who helped the helpless. However he isn't interested in helping now, saying that his brothers are dead and the monster is back again, so why did they even bother? Talking to himself as well, Angel says that they do it because it's right, and because they can. Number 5 slips away, while Angel is talking. At W&H, Gunn learns that Tezcatcatl was cursed to return every fifty years, and when he returns, he searches for a talisman that will make him invincible. Hearing a description of the talisman, Angel remembers seeing it at Number 5's apartment. He finds Number 5 in the cemetery, holding a vigil at his brothers' graves. Tezcatcatl appears; after a brief fight, Number 5 is mortally wounded. As he falls, dying, his brothers suddenly climb up from their graves. They attack Tezcatcatl and pin him, so that Angel can destroy him by piercing his heart. At the end of the day, Angel tells the gang that Number 5 fought and died a hero. The others leave and Angel goes to Wesley's office to read about the Shanshu prophecy.
Well, Spike: which is it? Are you a champion worthy of shanshu-ing? Or did you just stand there and "let the fire come"? When Fred attributed Spike with saving the world, he dismissed it; yet when he was talking with Wesley, he suggested that his actions and the battle he was in were the conditions listed by the Shanshu prophecy. Since he could touch the book, I'm led to believe that he really is hoping that the prophecy applies to him. Maybe he played it down to Fred because he doesn't want her to think (or see) that he's trying to steal Angel's rightful reward. Then again, maybe he's being deceitful for some other hidden agenda.
Meanwhile, poor Angel has taken his "all that matters is what we do" speech from season two a bit too far. In retrospect, his epiphany - in the episode of the same name - may have been what halted his belief: at that time he stated confidently that nothing we do matters. Later, when the gang learned that Wesley stole Connor because a prophecy said that Angel would kill him, Angel immediately declared that to be untrue. Yet, even though Sahjhan claimed to have falsified that prophecy, technically Angel *did* kill Connor.
It's almost too convenient that Number 5's situation would cross Angel's past just when he needed to be reminded of the perils of losing hope; keeping faith in the writers, I'm sure it adds something to the overall story - whatever that may be - for this season. In any event, I liked this episode. I'll admit that though the darker eps are powerful, the lighter ones make me feel better. I believe the same way that Wesley does: hope sustains us and gives us a reason to go on.
* Was Angel lying when he said that Number 5 died a hero? It was unclear to me if Number 5 was trying to summon his brothers, or if he was trying to get the monster to kill him and his brothers appeared by chance.
* I bet the contracts office has info on whatever deal Angel made to take over W&H.
* Spike was annoying when he lied that Angel attacked Number 5.