Episode # 92
Original Air Date: October 22, 2003
Review by: Anne
Fred works around the clock as she attempts to corporealize Spike. Wesley observes that Fred isn't sleeping or eating; Angel expresses concern that Fred has exceeded the quarterly budget for her department. Meanwhile, Spike struggles to maintain his weak grip on reality as spectral forces threaten to send him to hell. He frequently finds himself in the basement of Wolfram and Hart, and ghostly apparitions taunt him that "the Reaper" is going to get him. As Spike tells the others about the ghosts, he suddenly disappears from their sight, but he's still there and can see them. He manages to convey a clue - the word "Reaper" - to Fred. Researching, the gang discovers that Matthias Pavayne, aka the Reaper, was a serial killer (and a master of dark magic) in the eighteenth century who was sacrificed by W&H to deconsecrate the ground for their current offices. As Pavayne tortures him, Spike learns that he has been feeding other ghosts into hell to delay his own descent. Pavayne boasts that nothing in that realm exists without his will; Spike realizes that he can fight back - he just has to want it badly enough. Spike and Pavayne fight. In her lab, Fred prepares the device that will make Spike corporeal. As the device charges, Spike and Pavayne are drawn to the lab by the supernatural activity. Pavayne grabs Fred by the throat and tells Spike to choose between saving her life and getting his body back. Spike chooses: he knocks Pavayne into the device. Pavayne becomes corporeal; he shouts threats until Angel punches him, but Spike appears, warning him that if Pavayne becomes a spirit again they won't be able to stop him. Angel has a cell prepared for the guy in the basement, where he'll remain, conscious but unable to move... forever.
When Spike was talking to Angel, at first I thought that conversation was another trick because I couldn't believe that Angel would be so negative after all his previous talk of hope and redemption. When it turned out to actually be Angel, it suddenly made sense that he grew despondent after Spike's reappearance, because Spike's presence is a constant reminder of their past and the horrible things they've done. Not only that but seeing the fate that Spike, whose situation increasingly resembles Angel's, was about to suffer probably didn't make him feel any better.
Pavayne is truly left in a terrible place: he can forever dwell on how if he hadn't played games with Spike - making him disappear and reappear for so long - then Fred wouldn't have had the chance to work on corporealizing him and Pavayne would still be doing his thing in the spirit realm. Ooh, that's gotta hurt.
* That may be my shortest review ever for this site. :shrugs: I just didn't have much to say about this ep - but then again, that usually doesn't stop me.
* When the Parental Advisory warning spoke of partial nudity, I knew it would be James Marsters who was partially nude. (Note that I am *not* complaining.)