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October 08 2003

Herc's seen AtS S5x02 'Just Rewards'. Contains spoilers but after the episode post your reviews.

This for those in the States who like to write about they thought after the episode but don't want to post in a thread which could contain spoilers for subsequent episodes and heck it's a kinda water cooler thread as well.


The cut back to Sunnydale circa...19 days ago...was awesome, it got me back into Spike's head. It reminded me of his death, and his desire to sacrifice himself. It's awesome to see Spike and Angel interact, it shows the extreme difference between the two despite the fact that they both have souls, and that ultimately they both work for the same side.

Spike's lack of interest in redemption was interesting, and that by the end of the episode I think he realized that he didn't atone by a long shot. He doesn't want to go to hell, and he knows that's where he would go despite the sacrifice.

I'm not sure I buy a Fred/Spike hookup that everyone's insinuating. I'm spoiler-free so don't ruin anything, but I think that Spike's commentary was more to get under Angel's skin than anything else. I could very well be wrong...but it just doesn't feel right.

I expected a double-double-cross. But Edlund and Fury pulled it off so well that it kept me heavily entertained throughout.

To recap, I was worried about how they'd bring Spike back. I was worried that they'd ignore his sacrifice. But the realization in Spike that he simply hadn't done enough to go "where heroes go" and that he needs to more in order to atone makes a lot of very cool sense.

This episode scratched an itch I've had since May.
Too much Spike, not enough of other characters. This episode feels jarring after last week's episode which manage to give almost every character a role in the episode. In this episode, Wes, Gunn, Fred, and Lorne are shafted to the background. I hope this is not the trend of the season.
I love Spike more than some members of my own family, but there was really too little of the other characters in this episode. I completely give it a pass, though, because they needed an episode to set up the story. I just hope that next week and going forward there's WAY more Wesley... and Lorne .... and Gunn .... and Fred, I love Fred. I even liked Harmony (a first). And I thought Eve had PLENTY of face time. Oh? She wasn't in this episode. My bad.
First of all, I have to vent about Boomtown, which became my favorite drama last year and had a chance to be one of the best series ever, in my opinion, was taken a BIG step towards being canned yesterday. After only two weeks, NBC has put the show on "hiatus," after damning the show with 10 p.m. Friday timeslot and mandating changes in the format to dumb down what was an outstanding premise: a Rashomon-like look at events from differing points of view to show the complete truth about a crime. Although the network claims that it has not given up on the show, production has been halted.

About Angel and Smallville: Although I have enjoyed each series' first two episodes, I must say that although Smallville had the better two, the plotlines set up by Angel have far greater possible breadth and depth. Smallville seems to have painted itself into a familiar hole with the unconsummated love affair between Clark and Lana, while abandoning what should have been a promising story line of Pete, the best friend who knows Superman's secret. The continuing moral decay of Lex Luthor, however, should be fascinating to watch.

Conversely, although neither of the first two Angel episodes deserve mention as all-time favorites in quality or exposition, the stage is now set for any number of directions, both within the current cast and the now under-employed do-gooders from Sunnydale. The brother finally has something to do beside act tough, fight and get knocked the bleep out. Angel has the perfect foil in Spike. And, there is the likelihood that the triumvirate of Fred, Wesley and Lorne will each have stand-out, stand-alone episodes within the current tapestry.

[ edited by brother_grady on 2003-10-09 15:05 ]
ok, the eppy gave over to Spike, but I think it was a way of giving to the 'Spike' fans and the BtVS fans---loved the opening and then to trip back to '19 days ago'.

Why is Spike the way he is now? What's going on, and will he use Fred's scientific interest in him for his own means (and the fact that there is a draw between Fred and Angel and he could come between could be *bonus* in his mind), or will some kind of 'friendship' develop between he and Fred?

He's straddling a chasm? Over hell? Why? Hmmmmmm----interesting things you do to us, Joss.

Ok, I'm a total BtVS geek, but it felt like home to see the words 'Sunnydale' on the screen, no matter how brief.

BTW, the 'Necromancer' character, isn't he the voice from Disney's Haunted Mansion? Guess I should do an imdb check, hmmm?

*~back from computer crashed pergatory, my own personal chasm~*
I loved it.
Yes, it was a Spike heavy episode but that was necessary to pave his way into the series. Also the episode did a good job in contrasting Angel and Spike.
Personally I saw no sign for a possible love interest between Spike and Fred. I agree with Ringworm that it was simply a ploy by Spike to get under Angel's skin. And Fred's reply in the lab, i.e. "lukewarm" is a good description of the sextual tension between them.
Did anyone else think that the Spike-as-ghost thing was Whedon's way of getting back at the network (which, I heard, required Spike to come on board). Like, you want Spike, fine, have him. But he's a ghost. Hah!

Just a thought.
Did anyone else notice that Spikes voice sounded a little lower and kind of "echoish"? I also think his mouth was slightly out of sync in some scenes. I'm just wondering if maybe he had to loop some of his dialogue. Perhaps he had a cold.
I actually noticed the voice thing too, I couldn't figure out what it was. At first I thought his accent sounded slightly different, then I thought it might have been looping. But it seemed to happen quite a bit for it to be looping. Hmm. It'll probably remain a mystery to me forever, like why Giles doesn't sound like himself at the beginning of 'Doomed' from season 4.
Whoever is in charge of the looping for Buffy and Angel needs to be fired, it is always obvious and it is always distracting.
I loved it.
I must say the 19 days ago part really brought back memories and i felt like i was at home again, watching buffy on tuesday night...
And about the Fred/Spike thing??? No, I just don't see that working, but Joss can do a lot of interesting things.. we'll see
A lot of Spike's dialogue was dubbed, I read elsewhere. You can apparently check the difference between work print and final edit. I haven't seen the final edit yet (next up after I watch my West Wing download).

(edited to add ... haven't noticed any difference between workprint and final.)
I thought that the episode really hit it’s mark. I see how it was a “Spike-heavy” episode but I am sure that the other characters will have episodes that focus more on them as well. How can any storyline develop without spending some time with it? I think that the addition of Spike is good for the show. He is a link to the Angel of old and he finds Angel’s behavior completely out of character and questions his reasoning. A really good touch since there are bound to be some fans watching with the same confusion. Watching Spike in his “ghost” form shows how truly helpless he is at the moment and isn’t that what Angel Investigations specializes in…helping the helpless? It’s a good way to show how that motto may hold up in Wolfram & Hart’s ten story castle.

The Sunnydale flashback was great (like others have mentioned it did have a very warm “home” feeling) and it’s good to have a reference as to just how long the gang has been at W&H. It was strange to see a Buffy clip with that little WB logo in the corner again. I do agree that the looping as distracting at times and I don’t know if it was just me but I swear that some of the dead bodies in the showroom didn’t stand completely still in the background of some shots.
Who *is* Fred involved with these days, anyway? It's hard to tell for sure because a lot of what happened between characters over the past few seasons is left kind of murky now that Connor has been "erased" from the continuity. If there was no Connor, then did the events set into motion around Connor-centric plotlines still happen? Just how do all the non-Angel characters on the show *remember* the past few years?

(I had the same problem (less egregiously) when ME inserted Dawn into the continuity in S5... I always thought it would be fun to throw in some false flashbacks to how the showdowns with Big Bads from seasons 1-4 must have gone differently once the monks photoshop Dawn into the picture.)

Other than that nagging at me, I'm enjoying the new season. There are lots of places they can go with this and they all look exciting. I just wish they hadn't made hash of so much of what's gone before-- part of what I like about the ME shows is that they operate on a principle that events have consequences.
Another thought: The show is now headed up by two vampires with souls who BOTH can't get with the nookie (Angel cause he'd lose his soul and Spike because, well, hello! Ghost now!).

Sad that our heroes can't ever, y'know, get grunty.
*grunty* Loved that fraying! :D
Great ep!
And the flashback to the Battle at Helm's--I mean at the Hellmouth was a very welcome surprise, especially since they mercifully cut the awkward "I love you -- no you don't" part.

Spike as a ghost is intriguing, though his disappeaaring act can get a bit old -- unless they start to show where he goes when he does dissappear...a la Frodo when he puts on the One Ring.

And Gunn: I wonder when the next time he'll beat someone(thing) down(with his fists, not his newly implanted law degree), doesn't look like it's gonna happen as often as usual..but it's cool that he has a new focus.

Harmony is kinda growing on me, her cluelessness is refreshing.."I cracked up to her "preaching to the horse's mouth" line.

Also got a good chuckle out of the "WB's Tarzan" ad appearing right as the Necromancer was making a play on words about said vine-swinger.

All and all, I'm stoked over the new season!
I hope to God that Spike gets the cure soon and becomes corporeal. I think the whole "ghost" thing is just a conciet on Joss Whedon's part to keep the continuity going from BtVS. I wouldn't have cared if Spike had just shown up at W&H with no knowledge of what had happened since he'd left the cave in Africa.
Grunty. Argh! Of course I meant "fleshy," which is how Doyle described the Angel-Buffy moment of perfect happiness in episode one of Angel and OH MY GOD SHOOT ME I AM SUCH A NERD.

I too noticed something odd with the sound of Spike's voice and the accent. The cold theory works as good as anything, I suppose.

The idea of Spike potentially going to hell is sort of interesting, if you really want to get obsessive about it, and here's why:

The standard line on Jossverse vampires is that, when you get bitten, your soul (whatever that may be) leaves and is replaced by a demon -- therefore the vampire version of "you" is not actually "you" at all, it just sort of thinks it's "you" (whatever that means).

So, the geeky and basically very sweet and decent William the Bloody Awful Poet becomes simply William the Bloody -- a guy who still loves his mum but doesn't mind murdering lots of people and is a lot cooler besides (even if he won't get that leather jacket for a few centuries).

The theory goes that Vampire Spike and un-Vamp William are in reality two different people. So, once the soul returns, is it really fair to hold the William-soulliable for the acts of Spike (during which time William was supposedly away, presumably in heaven or limbo, though besouled Spike certainly seems to have no such memory) by sending him to hell.

Would that be fair?

Of course, it's possible that Jossverse isn't fair and punishes the besouled for the acts they committed while unsouled. Of course, there are only two besouled vampires, so the whole thing is a bit of an anomoly, I guess.

Follow me? Well, I barely do myself....
I forgot to add that -- unless they've re-recorded the narration in the last few years -- I doubt this week's vampire could be the voice of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, simply because it was actually done by Paul Frees (sp?), an actor with an Orson Welles-like quavering baritone voice who did a lot cartoon work in the sixties and seventies. (I think he was part of the cast of "Rocky and Bullwinkle" and, possibly, bad guys on "Scooby Doo.)

Frees died some time ago, but I don't have any good necromancy jokes on hand.
BTW guys...the audio problems occur in post-production...If there are changes to dialoge, say when Spike is speaking and his back is turned to the camera, the post-production crew can actually go back and re-record new dialogue that might just fit better within the scene and story as a whole...If you have a really good ear you can notice the same effect in movies, as post-production work is often much more intensive throughout a full feature film.

[ edited by Simpleba on 2003-10-10 07:12 ]
Okay guys, I'm completely in the dark here...can someone tell me what it means when you say "BTW", like above in Simpleba's post? Thanks.
"By the way".
I loved this episode. It felt right seeing Spike on Ats.

Someone on another board noticed a curious thing about 'Just Rewards'. The idea of a necromancer who can control vampires because they're dead was a plot line in the 'Spike and Dru' comic book. This was written by Chris Golden and also a certain Mr Marsters.

What are the odds James put this idea to Joss?
Yes, the differences are probably a post-production matter. The reason a cold could be the reason is that Marsters might have had a raspy voice during shooting and then been forced to go in an reloop ALL his dialogue, which he may not be that experience with, to that degree -- or perhaps the colds effects were lingering.

However, at least in feature film production (TV may be a bit different because of the time factor), some looping is required on almost all productions and many actions films are probably 70% looped or more. Often, entire scenes are looped and no one notices. So there is probably some unusual situation for Marsters/Spike to sound so different from the usual.

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