The continuing saga of Spike’s fears and Angel’s anger is once again in full effect for this issue. Love is hard, even when you’re a vampire. But the love triangle must not take up center stage because they’ve all got more pressing matters to attend to — like Archaeus.
Note: This recap may contain spoilers!
The gang gets armed up, ready for a fight, but there’s a few heart-to-hearts tossed around throughout the issue. First up was Angel and Xander, the latter apologizing for beating up the vampire and letting his anger issues over Giles’s death get the best of him. I know that they’re focusing a lot on Xander’s anger issues and the fact that he’s in therapy for them, but I’ve never seen them as being as problematic as other characters in the comic. I applaud him for getting help, but I can see a justification for his actions as well. Still, the bitterness over Dawn being emotionally open to everyone but Xander is still weighing on his mind.
The group has to split into two teams, as Archaeus and the artifact he’s using to create the portals are in different locations. Is it a trap? Maybe, but it’s also a good opportunity to make sure Spike and Angel aren’t forced together more than necessary. Angel, Xander, Giles, and Willow are on Team One. That leaves Dawn, Buffy, Spike, and Andrew on Team Two. The latter even provides them with banana talkies, a communication device he invented during his bad-guy days, since cellphone signals won’t penetrate the magic they’re going to be up against.
During their journey, Willow tries to talk to Angel about Faith, how uneasy their relationship is, along with his feelings over the whole Buffy situation. What’s interesting is the point she makes about how Spike’s changed as a result of his soul, while Angel has remained in the same state since he got his soul. Buffy needs that change, and she can have a strong, possibly healthy relationship with Spike when Angel would just return her to her past.
Maybe Spike needs a little Willow insight, too, because he’s continuing to feel uneasy about Buffy, that she might leave him when she comes to her senses. Andrew and Buffy have a talk about relationships, how she can’t continue focusing on what-ifs and fearing what might happen. The second-guessing is going to doom their pairing if they don’t deal with it. I hope they can work through this sooner rather than later.
With all this touchy-feely talking going on, you might forget that they’re actually on a mission, but finally we get a little action going on. Spike’s team arrives at the ship scrapyard, after fighting off a group of vampires, and soon after Angel’s team arrives as well. Their paths converged, perhaps on purpose if Archaeus’s appearance is any indication. But he’s not going to be so easily taken down. Xander tries to destroy the artifact so that Archaeus loses his power, but it proves too difficult. And while Giles tries to figure out a way to break into it, the team is under constant attack from Archaeus and his bat-like minions.
In the final move of the issue, Archaeus takes control of Spike and Angel’s minds, making Angel stab Spike through the chest. I’m fairly sure this won’t be fatal, but it could be detrimental to any kind of healing that Buffy, Angel, and Spike hoped to achieve with his temporary return to the United States. When this is all over, I foresee the broody vampire returning overseas to think about how everything’s gone wrong once again. We’ll have to wait and see how it all turns out.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars