”DIFFERENT PATHS OF BROTHERHOOD”
While reading an old review by someone named Tchaikovsky about the Season Five ”ANGEL” episode, (5.08) “Destiny”, I noticed that the reviewer discussed a lot about Angel and Spike’s relationship as ”brothers”, whether they were in their souled or unsouled states. When I first viewed that particular season, I noticed one particular thing about it. There seemed to be a great deal of focus upon brotherhood.
In the relationship between Angel and Spike, viewers had two vampires with the potential to be close ”brothers” when they first met in 1880. However, their feelings for one female vampire – namely Drusilla – fragmented that sense of brotherhood. After his disappointments with his former object of desire, an English debutante named Cecily and his mother Anne, whom he had transformed into a vampire; Spike (or .should I say, William) saw the female vampire as his destiny, someone to love and worship.
I am not sure what Angel (aka Angelus) saw in Drusilla. Perhaps he viewed her as something or someone to completely control, perhaps? As the son of an Irish merchant, Liam never really had any control in his relationship with his father until the moment he killed the latter after becoming a vampire. Despite his rejection of his grandsire, the Master, Angelus found himself controlled by Darla, via her usual subtle way by making him believe that he was in control. And perhaps, deep down, Angelus knew this. Perhaps this is why he had decided to betray William by having sex with Drusilla. Perhaps he wanted to make the other male vampire realize that he was in control and that William’s idea of Drusilla being his destiny was nothing more than an illusion.
Due to Drusilla’s mental state, Angelus was not only Spike’s grandsire, but also acted as the latter’s sire and mentor. Yet . . . the night Angelus slept with Drusilla also marked the beginning of an antagonistic relationship and rivalry between the two. That antagonism intensified when Angel lost his soul in 1998 and became Angelus again; their antagonism deepened. Not only did Angelus resume a sexual relationship with Drusilla; Spike, in a crippled state, found himself unable to do anything about it. Until he healed and formed a partnership with the blond Slayer, Buffy Summers. Spike and Angel’s antagonistic relationship lasted over 120 years.
And yet, after Spike had reappeared in Los Angeles in Season Five of ”ANGEL”, the two vampires slowly began to form another bond. Before that could happen, the two vampires had to deal with another rivalry for the heart of Buffy Summers. After all, Spike had witnessed Buffy and Angel’s reunion kiss in the second to last episode of ”BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER”, (7.21) “End of Days”. And in the following episode, (7.22) “Chosen”, Angel learned several things – namely that Buffy and Spike had formed some kind of relationship, Spike had a soul and that Buffy had chosen the blond vampire as her personal champion. The two vampires’ resentment over Buffy spilled over when Spike’s non-corporeal form appeared at the end of (5.01) “Convictions”. Yet, from the moment following their fight over the Cup of Destiny in ”Destiny”, to their bonding over shared experiences in (5.11) “Damage”, and finally to their partnership in episodes like (5.20) “The Girl in Question” and (5.22) “Not Fade Away”; the pair managed to reconnect as ”brothers”. They finally realized that they need each other in their fight against Evil. Besides, with the Fang Gang slowly disintegrating, perhaps Spike became the only person that Angel could truly depend upon.
In contrast to Angel and Spike’s relationship, Season Five marked the final destruction of Charles Gunn and Wesley Wyndham-Price’s friendship. It is interesting that back in the series’ Season Two, they were close friends and partners in a detective agency with Cordelia Chase. Many of the series’ fans would remember the secret handshakes and the ”I got your back” declarations, and the manner in which they had fought together against demons.
But in the end the relationship was destroyed by Wesley’s kidnapping of Angel’s son; and a woman – namely one Winifred “Fred” Burkle. I am not saying that she is to blame for their past or present estrangement. But their views of Fred, along with their personal demons - Charles’ insecurity (which was fed by Fred’s comment about him being the gang’s muscle) and Wesley’s secretive nature and a whore/Madonna view of women eventually brought about a complete destruction of their relationship. Fred and Connor’s kidnapping turned out to be two reasons for their first break-up.
Yet, their friendship resurrected when both men finally decided to forgo a romantic pursuit of said female in late Season Four. But Angel’s decision to allow the Senior Partners, the evil overlords of the Wolfram and Hart law firm erase their memories of Connor and any other memories linking to the vampire’s son. This decision also led to the gang becoming employees of the law firm, Charles’ decision to become an attorney by supernatural means and resurrected Wesley’s desires for Fred. The two eventually began a romantic relationship. All of this culminated in disaster when Charles makes a pact to revive his diminishing legal abilities in exchange for signing the release of an ancient curio stuck in Customs. When this curio resulted in the death of Fred and the resurrection of a demon called Illyia in Fred’s body. A grieving Wesley decided to seek revenge by the attempted murder of Charles. Although both men assisted Angel in the latter’s battle against the Senior Partners and the Circle of Thorn in the Season Five finale, (5.22) “Not Fade Away”, their friendship never returned to the state it had been during Season Two and the second half of Season Four.
I find it amazing that two different male relationships ended on divisive paths. Angel and Spike’s relationship – which began on a rocky foundation saturated with resentment, rivalry over two females- managed to reconnect into a strong brotherly bond. On the other hand, Charles and Wes’ friendship began on a strong note and ended in complete ruin before the series ended. And to think that this all happened during Season Five.