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BB Discusses: Soul Purpose

Cohen

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After many stand-alone episodes, I feel like this episode kickstarts the true arc of the season. We get a true return of an old foe. And we finally see Angel begin to grapple with the decision to take over Wolfram & Hart, a conflict that continues throughout the end of the season.

Let’s kick of discussion with a few general questions, and then we will get more in depth throughout the week.

Do you like this episode? Why or why not?

What was your initial reaction to seeing Lindsey come back and pretend to be Doyle?

What was your favorite Angel coma-dream?
 

spikenbuffy

"Hi honey, I'm home"
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Do you like this episode? Why or why not?

Yes, love to explore Angel's fears/doubts, this episode is also funny at times. Spike, Wesley & Gunn conversation about W&H was quite good too.

What was your initial reaction to seeing Lindsey come back and pretend to be Doyle?

S5 was the first season I've watched to see Spike in it so I didn't know who exactly that guy was previously before that.

What was your favorite Angel coma-dream?

The one with Fred & the bear 😁😄. Kinda foreshadowed Fred's death which was interesting.
 
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Well I think first a shout to David Boreanaz' directorial debut - this probably wasn't the easiest episode to start on but he did a fantastic job. I remember at the time, him saying in an interview that the episode was very 'Jacob's Ladder' (a 1990 film starring Tim Robbins for those too young to know). Of course it's much more lighthearted than that - but the dream sequences and the confusion do pay homage to it (I've actually only ever seen Jacob's Ladder in French - it looks like a confusing enough movie if you understand what they're saying, it was utterly mystifying in a foreign language.)

I do enjoy this episode, the dream sequences are a lot of fun. The bit where they get a report of a vigilante saving damsels and assume it's Angel and then read that the vigilante asked the damsel if she 'wanted to get a bottle of hooch and listen to some sex pistols' and they wonder if rather than just being sick, Angel has gone insane is very funny. And then there's the ever growing hint of corruption when Wes and Gunn pay a visit to Spike and offer to put him on the books without 'troubling' Angel about it, which then ties in nicely with Angel's growing fears of being obsolete which are played out in the dreams. It's a tight episode that manages to do a lot, include some plot stuff (such as the s5 plot is) has great humour, and does a good exploration of Angel's character.

My feelings about Lindsey pretending to be Doyle are many and complex. As it happened that s5 turned out to be the very last season, it feels right to bring Lindsey back in and it's good that they use that link right back to the beginning. It feels like a proper send off to the show, referencing it's beginnings in order to tell the last bit of the story.
However - at the time of filming, they had no idea this was the last season, in fact they had good reason to hope for and were planning a season 6. And when that is taken into account, absolutely none of it makes sense. Why Lindsey has come back, why he is evil again, what his goals are, why he's decided these are his goals and how he even heard about Angel getting W&H is never explained at all. It's just 'here's Lindsey and he's evil again.' Which undoes his growth from before while not really moving anything forward.
And then there is the insanity of him calling himself Doyle. How? Why? What? How?
Here's the thing - Lindsey never met Doyle. Lindsey is in City Of and doesn't appear again until Five by Five. By which time the show has long forgotten Doyle was ever there (his last s1 mention is in 'I've got you under my skin' four episodes prior- and he'll not be mentioned again until 'Dead End' which is episode 18 of s2... but that is a conversation between Wesley and Gunn and Lindsey is not privy to it.)
Unlike Lindsey, however, Spike actually has met Doyle. Now - as it happens, Doyle's name was never said in Spike's hearing, but Lindsey wouldn't know that- as he was not in the episode.
So - on making contact with Spike, it is more likely that Spike would know the name 'Doyle' than he would 'Lindsey' ... and yet Lindsey chooses to use Doyle's name. It is a decision that makes no sense. Especially when we see his ultimate plan with the fail safe in 'You're Welcome' - he intended to kill Angel without ever making contact. If he was attempting to draw Angel out or leave clues for Angel to follow then it makes sense to use an alias that will mean something to Angel. But that isn't his plan. He intends for his plan to go down without Angel ever knowing he was there or that Spike was in contact with 'Doyle'. And as finding out about faux Doyle only slows Angel down from correctly identifying Lindsey for all of 30 seconds, it's hardly an extra layer of protection if something goes wrong. If he wanted protection from an alias then literally an other name would be better to choose than 'Doyle' and if he wanted Angel to know who he was (which he didn't seem to) then he might as well use his own name.... So therefore the only reason he is using Doyle's name is for the audience's benefit which is a stupid way to tell a story.

I'm always a bit narrow eyed on the extensive use of Doyle's name in this season as well, in behind the scenes terms. As I've said, he is mentioned very few times after his death - once in s2, once in s3 and not at all in s4. And then in s5 it's open season for people using his name and having conversations about him ... and I've always felt that the show wanted to pretend he had never really been there - but then once Glenn was dead and the fans couldn't clamour for the return of the character if they mentioned him again, they were happy to talk about him and acknowledge the importance of his role in the series - putting Angel on his path, introducing the PTB and the original bearer of the visions.
Add in how unsure David and Christian were about using his name, how much it upset them to do it and to talk about him on the show (Glenn was only very recently dead at the time of filming) and it actually seems a bit cruel on the part of the writers - to have barely mentioned or acknowledged him for years, and then to bring him back up just as it will hurt the actors to include him (remember the writer's don't know it's the final season at this point, so the poignancy that comes from using his name in the final season doesn't exist when they make the decision to use it).
I've thought Joss was a W***er for 20 years, and it is now widely recognised that he probably is - and that he does treat people cruelly - and I think this may be one of his less recognised acts of cruelty. It's not actually telling a good story because it makes no sense, it upset David, Christian and Charisma to do it ...so what was Joss' reasoning behind doing it if not to be a bit of a dick?

On the other hand - I'm always pathetically grateful for any acknowledgement the show ever makes that, yes, Doyle did exist and he did matter. And, as fate would have it, this was the very last season of Angel, so this was the very last opportunity to bring him up and remember him ... and I am glad that it happened. If the show had been cancelled and they hadn't run this story line, then Doyle would never have been mentioned again after 'Birthday' which really wouldn't feel right.

I think my favourite Angel coma dream is the one where Spike averts the apocalypse and becomes a real boy ... and poor Angel becomes the mailman.
 

Stake fodder

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Do you like this episode? Why or why not?
I liked parts of it, and it moved things forward, with Angel's growing doubts about working for W&H, Spike's becoming a do-gooder, and Lindsey's re-introduction. Angel's fever dreams were mostly well-done, alternately realistic and funny, except for the part where they played old lines of Buffy.

I didn't like Spike here, doing the hero thing mostly out of boredom, and then being smug about it. I also thought the parasite thing was cheesy (and the prop cost $85K!). Finally, it seemed absurd that Angel would remember what earrings Eve was wearing, when they weren't even that noticeable.

What was your initial reaction to seeing Lindsey come back and pretend to be Doyle?
Like @spikenbuffy, I watched S5 first. So, I had no reaction, except to know Lindsey was using a name Angel would know. Now that I'm watching S1, I assume Lindsey used that name to hurt Angel if he found out. But otherwise it's a strange choice, as Spike may have known that Doyle was dead.

What was your favorite Angel coma-dream?
Fred's extracting things from Angel. I feel there is some symbolism about everything she takes out, but it goes over my head. I also liked the dream of Lorne as a honky-tonk player. I did wonder when Angel has fever dreams, should vampires sweat?
 

Cohen

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Well I think first a shout to David Boreanaz' directorial debut - this probably wasn't the easiest episode to start on but he did a fantastic job. I remember at the time, him saying in an interview that the episode was very 'Jacob's Ladder' (a 1990 film starring Tim Robbins for those too young to know). Of course it's much more lighthearted than that - but the dream sequences and the confusion do pay homage to it (I've actually only ever seen Jacob's Ladder in French - it looks like a confusing enough movie if you understand what they're saying, it was utterly mystifying in a foreign language.)
Good catch! I forgot this was his directorial debut! I'm sure he had a lot of fun (and stress) filming this episode! I've always wondered how actors are able to multitask as directors on the shows that they star on. It's a little more intense having to play a scene and not be able to see the cinematography as you are also directing it! But it did turn out nicely!

I do enjoy this episode, the dream sequences are a lot of fun.
I hope to get into the dream sequences later in the week. There is a lot going on, and a lot to unpack! Like the possibility of foreshadowing that @spikenbuffy pointed out!

My feelings about Lindsey pretending to be Doyle are many and complex. As it happened that s5 turned out to be the very last season, it feels right to bring Lindsey back in and it's good that they use that link right back to the beginning. It feels like a proper send off to the show, referencing it's beginnings in order to tell the last bit of the story.
However - at the time of filming, they had no idea this was the last season, in fact they had good reason to hope for and were planning a season 6. And when that is taken into account, absolutely none of it makes sense. Why Lindsey has come back, why he is evil again, what his goals are, why he's decided these are his goals and how he even heard about Angel getting W&H is never explained at all. It's just 'here's Lindsey and he's evil again.' Which undoes his growth from before while not really moving anything forward.
And then there is the insanity of him calling himself Doyle. How? Why? What? How?
Here's the thing - Lindsey never met Doyle. Lindsey is in City Of and doesn't appear again until Five by Five. By which time the show has long forgotten Doyle was ever there (his last s1 mention is in 'I've got you under my skin' four episodes prior- and he'll not be mentioned again until 'Dead End' which is episode 18 of s2... but that is a conversation between Wesley and Gunn and Lindsey is not privy to it.)
Unlike Lindsey, however, Spike actually has met Doyle. Now - as it happens, Doyle's name was never said in Spike's hearing, but Lindsey wouldn't know that- as he was not in the episode.
So - on making contact with Spike, it is more likely that Spike would know the name 'Doyle' than he would 'Lindsey' ... and yet Lindsey chooses to use Doyle's name. It is a decision that makes no sense. Especially when we see his ultimate plan with the fail safe in 'You're Welcome' - he intended to kill Angel without ever making contact. If he was attempting to draw Angel out or leave clues for Angel to follow then it makes sense to use an alias that will mean something to Angel. But that isn't his plan. He intends for his plan to go down without Angel ever knowing he was there or that Spike was in contact with 'Doyle'. And as finding out about faux Doyle only slows Angel down from correctly identifying Lindsey for all of 30 seconds, it's hardly an extra layer of protection if something goes wrong. If he wanted protection from an alias then literally an other name would be better to choose than 'Doyle' and if he wanted Angel to know who he was (which he didn't seem to) then he might as well use his own name.... So therefore the only reason he is using Doyle's name is for the audience's benefit which is a stupid way to tell a story.
I agree that the use of Doyle is definitely more for the audience, and it doesn't really add anything to the narrative other than a callback in what ended up being the last season. But, as you mentioned at the time, this was not planned to be the final season. However, taking "You're Welcome" into account, it seems that they WERE playing up that angle a bit, and may have intended the Doyle call-back as a "look how far we've come since the beginning" in this smaller arc of the season. Lindsey's arc from here to YW is all about the Angel/Lindsey dynamic, even if they do not share the same screen until YW. That being said, I would have just preferred the scene in YW where Cordelia is watching the tape from Hero as the little Easter Egg for viewers, as it makes more sense that she would watch that after coming out of her coma.
 
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I would have just preferred the scene in YW where Cordelia is watching the tape from Hero as the little Easter Egg for viewers, as it makes more sense that she would watch that after coming out of her coma.

But of course the video cameo opens up that whole can of worms of ... that first office blew up. It destroyed everything. Was this tape in an indestructible metal strong box or something? And then they took it to the Hyperion? And then three years later Angel transferred it from his suite in the Hyperion (which had also blown up at one point - back in 'Loyalty') to his new penthouse suite? Really? He never watched it in all those years - but by god he never let that tape stray far from his side.

Or did Cordelia keep it at hers? (which would at least save it from being blown up twice) and then Angel got it back when he cleared out her apartment in s4 and put it with his own stuff ... and then took it across to Wolfram and Hart with him. It must have been a clearly labelled tape - for him to know exactly what it was and for it not to have been taped over in 4 years. (In my Doyle lives rewrite is does get taped over - Cordy records all the commercials she makes on it and it's the tape Angel uses in 'Blood Money' - because it's meaningless when Doyle isn't dead.)

It's a sweet and meaningful moment, but not one that makes a whole lot of sense with regards to the logistics. Which is a bit like Lindsey using Doyle's name - there for the audience reaction but doesn't stand up to any real scrutiny. Though unlike the name stuff, putting the video in is at least a nice little tribute in the 100th episode. But presumably it wouldn't have been used if they had got their first choice and SMG had been in the episode instead of CC - and whereas what we get is Cordy watching the tape and then getting mad that someone is using Doyle's name, without that link Lindsey using Doyle's name really makes no sense, even for the audience.
 

Cohen

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It's a sweet and meaningful moment, but not one that makes a whole lot of sense with regards to the logistics. Which is a bit like Lindsey using Doyle's name - there for the audience reaction but doesn't stand up to any real scrutiny. Though unlike the name stuff, putting the video in is at least a nice little tribute in the 100th episode. But presumably it wouldn't have been used if they had got their first choice and SMG had been in the episode instead of CC - and whereas what we get is Cordy watching the tape and then getting mad that someone is using Doyle's name, without that link Lindsey using Doyle's name really makes no sense, even for the audience.
For me, I believe by the time they were arcing out the middle of Season 5, they knew that SMG's schedule wouldn't work out for the 100th episode. And, quite honestly, Buffy has never really been a part of Angel (save 2 appearances in season 1), so it really didn't make much sense to bring her in for the 100th anyway. However, it is quite clear that there seems to be a Lindsey thread from the ending of Destiny through YW. Otherwise, using the Doyle moniker would have no use at all, like you stated. But I agree with others that Lindsey's involvement in this part of the season destroys 2 seasons of growth for him. Personally, I would have preferred him to be an agent of the SP to kickstart the apocalypse. Like he couldn't outrun the evil that had captured him when he began to work for W&H. That would have made way more sense.
 

Stake fodder

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I will give it a try, with the scene where Fred "checks under the hood." I don't have the scene to hand, so am working off a transcript, and may miss some visuals! I did a little research and found that many of the items removed have symbolism that seems relevant to Angel's situation.

Firstly, I think the above phrase connects to Angel's love of classic cars. He cries out as Fred cuts him with a scalpel, probably due to the parasite on his chest causing pain.

Fred removes the liver and kidneys, which possibly aren't chosen much for symbolic reason here, just to start the process of "emptying" Angel. But in the past, the liver was thought to be the seat of anger, while kidneys have been considered to be related to conscience, reflection, and vitality. Finally, Fred takes out his "heart," a walnut. The heart represents compassion and love, and of course, Angel's heart has been referred to previously as being a dried-up walnut.

Next Fred takes out a pearl necklace. Pearls can be a symbol of perfection or incorruptibility, something Angel is struggling with in his takeover of Wolfram & Hart. Raisins can represent the shriveling of hopes and dreams, a theme throughout the episode of Angel feeling he is ceding his former heroism and hopes of becoming human to Spike.

I've got nothing for the license plate, next to come out, except that it is an allusion to a scene in "Jaws," so probably just stuck in for laughs.

Finally, Fred produces a bowl with a dead goldfish, which she says is Angel's soul, and hands it to a bear. A bear can be a symbol of courage or strength, and a goldfish can mean good fortune in Chinese symbolism. So here Angel feels he is losing those, as well as his soul.

So, all together, Angel is worried that he is losing his soul/sole purpose, working at Wolfram & Hart. He is losing everything that made him feel noble and good about himself. Depressed people often speak of feeling empty, so there is that connection, too, with how Angel has felt increasingly frustrated, angry, and depressed over the compromises he is having to make at W&H.
 
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