Episode # 98
Original Air Date: January 21, 2004
Review by: Anne
Lindsey finds Spike and introduces himself as Doyle; he says that he sent the amulet to Wolfram & Hart, and he made Spike corporeal again. Spike is suspicious, but Lindsey says that he's just doing what "they" tell him to. Lindsey says that he gets visions of people in trouble, people who need a champion. Spike tells him that's Angel's territory, but Lindsey argues that Angel's working for the other side now. Following the so-called visions, Spike saves a few people from vampires. After getting a report about a vigilante, Gunn and Wesley find Spike and ask him to join them in fighting the good fight at Wolfram & Hart. He declines, telling them that a place like that doesn't change - it changes you. Meanwhile, Angel feels sick and suffers from nightmares that he isn't the vampire from the Shanshu prophecy. He finally wakes up, ripping off a small flat creature that was on his stomach. Still feverish and barely lucid, Angel sees Eve in his room. She tells him he's still dreaming, then she opens a box and another creature much larger than the first starts toward him. He tries to fight it, but is too weak. The moment the creature bites him, he finds himself in a lovely field in the sunshine. He recognizes that he's not supposed to be there, but in the dream the others encourage him to stay forever. Suddenly, the dream ends as Spike - informed of Angel's predicament by another of Lindsey's "visions" - rips the creature off and kills it. Later, the gang sits, trying to decide how the creature got in. Seeing Eve, Angel declares that she put it on him, saying that although she changed her clothes, she is wearing the same earrings as when she brought the box. She tries to laugh it off, but the gang doesn't buy it. Finally, she heads for the door, accusing Angel of looking for someone outside of his group to blame; she challenges him to look inward, "unless you don't like what you see."
For a vampire, Angel has some very human fears: that he doesn't matter, that the life he longs for is actually meant for someone else, that his friends would desert him, etc. (It's notable that in an episode of mostly dream sequences, on a sci-fi/fantasy series, the issues presented were more real than those on most so-called reality shows.) His humanity is no surprise, because we've seen it before, time and time again. However, this glimpse into his nightmares shows us another layer. Not long ago, Wesley told Angel that he needs to care about the prophecy; I think it's now safe to say that Angel cares deeply, which is why the thought that his hope is in vain unnerves him so.
In Angel's dreams, even when the setting seemed real, the minute the other characters started to behave strangely, it was obvious - to the viewer, at least - that this was only another dream. That's like life, too; we sometimes lose faith in ourselves, but others can see the big picture more easily.
Even Spike knows the score: when Lindsey mentioned a champion, Spike was quick to direct him to Angel. I agree that Spike is a powerful force for good, but Lindsey's attempts to establish him as, well, Angel only serve to show that he's, well, not. I suspect that the vampire attacks that Spike thwarted were contrived by Lindsey, just like his rescuing Angel from the box creature. Which brings me to a small gripe about this Lindsey sub-plot: though the symbols hide Lindsey from the Senior Partners, didn't The Partners know that Spike was talking to someone? Didn't they wonder who it was?
* I loved Spike's extreme non-concern after Lindsay's so-called vision.
* Did the gulf stream comment refer to Angel's time in the box under the ocean? It must, but since the others don't remember Connor, how do they remember Angel getting trapped in the box?
* Wes said that Angel would never know he had the creature on him, but he did know about the first one. In his dreams, people kept telling him about something on his shirt, until he finally noticed it.
* Eve's challenge to look inward could mean inside himself (as in his dreams, his fear of being empty) or inside his group of friends.