Angel: Season 4, Episode 11

Soulless (5 Feb. 2003)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Action, Drama, Fantasy
9.0
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After Team Angel succeeds in removing Angel's soul, they have two new problems to confront. First of all, they have to get Angelus to tell them everything he knows about the Beast. And ... See full summary »

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After Team Angel succeeds in removing Angel's soul, they have two new problems to confront. First of all, they have to get Angelus to tell them everything he knows about the Beast. And secondly, they have to keep him from turning Team Angel against each other. As Angelus starts exploiting all of Angel's memories about his friends, though, it becomes clear that he's has a lot more power than it seems. Written by katierose295

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5 February 2003 (USA)  »

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Angelus: Doin' your mom and tryin' to kill your dad. Hmm. There should be a play.
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References Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) See more »

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Angelus is back! Woo-Hoo!
5 March 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Angelus being on screen again just completely makes season four for me. He's so lovably evil and horribly clever that every episode that he's in is a winner. Angelus is so very, VERY different than Angel that I don't even see them as the same person. I think that this episode really explains the Angelus/Angel dichotomy well. It's like Angelus is Angel's alternate personality or evil twin. They're really two totally different "people," who happen to share a body. Seeing someone who looks like Angel being so incredibly cruel is just an amazing change of pace. Anyway, this is a great episode and I highly recommend it.

This episode revolves around Angelus' return. He's locked in the Hyperion basement, but he's still taking control of everyone at the hotel. Angelus is smart. He's willing to take all the knowledge Angel has on his friends and use it against them. Pretty soon he has Wes and Gunn arguing over Fred. When Wes kisses her, the two men start fighting, much to Angelus's delight. He's telling everyone that Conner slept with Cordy. He's attacking Fred and basically just being an evil jerk. He also refuses to tell them about the Beast, until Cordy approaches him with a deal. If he'll help them, she'll sleep with him. Angelus agrees. It turns out that there is a mystical sect of witches who can banish the Beast. When Wes, Conner and Cordy track them down, though, that finds the entire sect dead. Discouraged they head back to the hotel. Cordy says that her deal with Angelus is off since they still haven't gotten any closer to killing the Beast and Team Angel prepares to re-ensoul Angel. Unfortunately, when they open the safe to retrieve his soul, they find that it's been stolen.

There are some great parts to this episode and most of them have to do with Angelus. He's just so cool and sinister and funny. I love his scenes with Wes. He's annoyed by Angel's "Indiana Jones" fantasy and feeling his way through the conversation, waiting for an opportunity to strike. Wes and Angelus are fencing back and forth with words, but Angelus is clearly in control. He hits all of Wes's sore spots: His love for Fred, his kidnapping of Conner, his failure with Faith... But, then when Angelus grabs Fred through the bars of his cage, Wes calmly shoots him with a trank gun. Angelus stares at him with a look of pure frustrated hatred that's just chilling. He can't believe that Wesley has the power to stop him. And Angelus mocking Cordy is also pretty fun. He's utterly contemptuous that she broke up with Angel because of his past. He does this higher pitched "Cordy" voice as he reenacts the scene from "Appocolypse Nowish." "You ate babies." He's even got the hand gesture down. It's hilarious. Also, I like Fred's reaction to learning that Conner and Cordy slept together. She creeped out and I know just how she feels. Finally, I think its interesting that Conner really thinks that Angelus is his father. The kid's wrong, of course. But I like the different ways you can interpret Angelus' relationship to Angel. Angel and Wes think Angelus is like a dark infection inside of Angel. Angel is the real person and Angelus is the disease. Conner and Holtz believe that Angelus is the real person and Angel is the mask he has to wear. Angelus is eager to exploit Conner's fears and it's just cool to watch.

I think this episode shows how much Spike and Angelus learned from each other over the years. In the BTVS season four episode, "The Yoko Factor," Spike splits up the Scoobie gang using his inside knowledge of their relationships and problems. Within half an episode, he has them arguing and walking away from each other. Here in "Soulless" Angelus does the exact same thing. He's ripping into Wes, breaking up Fred and Gunn, and manipulating Conner. He's trying destroying Team Angel using their own insecurities against them. Spike and Angelus aren't even lying when they turn the Scoobies and Team Angel against each other, respectively. The two of them just know their victims so well that they can "lie with the truth." I'm not sure if Spike learned the trick from Angelus somewhere along the line. Or if Angelus, stuck in a cage and unable to fight with his fists, is just channeling some of Spike's unexpected perceptiveness to use as a weapon. But, it's really cool to watch.

On the down side, I don't believe that Angelus would cut a deal with Cordy. When he went after the last woman Angel loved, Buffy, he didn't want to sleep with her. He just wanted her dead. Why would that be different this time around?

My favorite part of the episode: Angelus snarking at Conner that the kid wants to sleep with his "mother" and kill his father. "Someone should write a play."


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