Episode Report Card
Strega: B | 5 USERS: B+
Faith-Based Initiative

In the lobby, Willow is preparing magical stuff for the "Denothrian's Arrow" spell that will break the jar o' soul. Wesley questions Willow about the mechanics of how the spell works, which allows her to provide some exposition I don't care about. And to babble, which I also don't care about. Shut up, Willow. I'll translate: she found a spell that will break the jar. Got it. Wesley fails to giggle appreciatively at something Willow says, and excuses himself by saying, "I think my sense of humor's trapped in a jar somewhere," instead of just pointing out that her stream-of-consciousness "whimsy" stopped being funny sometime during "Welcome to the Hellmouth." Great: Wesley finally decides to be polite to someone, and it's Willow. Willow admits that Wesley seems gloomier. He sighs, "I've been -- I've changed. I've seen a darkness in myself... I'm not sure you could even begin to understand." Willow chirps, "I flayed a guy alive and tried to destroy the world." Well, that exchange certainly highlights the differences between Angel and Buffy. Here are two characters (or, technically, one character and one collection of quirky mannerisms) who had season-long descents last year, who made bad decisions for selfish reasons, and whose behavior had significant consequences for the other characters. But one of them has been dealing with the personal and interpersonal fallout of his decisions in virtually every episode for a year now. The other one occasionally makes jokes about that time she tortured and murdered someone. I mean, I hate Wesley, but at this point he is at least a developed character that resembles actual human beings. Willow is more like a Real Doll. In a number of ways. Fine, so Wesley mentions, "I had a woman chained in a closet..." but admits that he can't compete with the flaying, and Willow tries to comfort him, and see my previous rant. Wesley changes the subject because he clearly won't win the "who's a bigger sociopath" contest, and tellingly observes that Willow seems exactly the same as she was when he left Sunnydale. My point exactly. "Any major changes I'm not up on?" he asks, and Willow mugs, "Little things." Because she's gay now, you know. Like Cordelia wouldn't have shared that tidbit? Whatever. Then Willow asks what Fred's deal is, and Wesley gives her a confused look. We cut away before he digs out the DSM IV.

Back in the dream-world flashback thingy, Angel is holding the dying donut guy. "Mandy" seems to have finally stopped, so at least that won't be the donut guy's last memory. Angel says he's sorry as the donut guy dies; Angel then gets up and stares at the body. Angelus asks Faith, "Who's your big hero now?" Faith defends Angel, noting that the shooting wasn't his fault. Angel starts for the door and then, as Angelus "uh oh"s, locks it instead of leaving. Faith, worried, says, "He won't..." Angel goes back to the body as Angelus says, "Deep in, Faith. Soul or no soul." Angel hauls the body up, vamps out, and drinks. Cool. Faith looks disgusted, and then grabs her neck, which is suddenly bleeding. As she wipes at the blood, she insists that Angel was going to save the counterman. "Or did he choose to be a little slow on the draw?" Angelus asks. He tells her, "You're a murderer; you know just how good that blurry line tastes. You didn't think my hell was private, did you?" Angel suddenly looks up from the body he's feeding on and screams.

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