So I've decided that every week I will do an alternate episode of Angel outlining the one I watched in my head as opposed to on TV, and by "decided" I mean "whimsically deluded myself into believing" and by "every week" I mean "this week and probably never again" and by "head" I mean "pudding." By "I," of course, I mean "me, Dave Barry."
So this week, Angel and his gang were up on a hill at night having a picnic and we got to see Wes ride up on his motorcycle and strip off some leathers and unsaddle himself in a manly way from the seat, providing a beautiful shot of his faded denim package, and then they sat around and bantered for a bit and someone said "Spike," and Angel muttered snarky commentary and Wes said in his thoughtful, dulcet British voice: now wait a minute, Spike is unique and perhaps we should consider his role in the prophecy as you're not the only souled vampire around here anymore, Cream Cake. And Angel sulked. Then he cocked his ear and heard a werewolf and ran off and fought the beast for a while, getting mauled in the process, until with herolike prowess he killed the beast. Not with a pen. Meanwhile, WereBoy, who resembles Justin from QaF, runs off.
Then they return to W&H and there's some exposition and Spike pops in on Fred, who blows him off because she has PMS, so Spike gets all hurt and po-faced and slides out of there, running into Wes, who says: oh good, I've been meaning to find you, how are you feeling? And Spike says, cor blimey! ...no, wait, strike that, he says, not so bad, kind of peckish. Eternal hunger, incorporeal stomach, tragic. Could really go for a kabob. And they discuss fate and world-saving and prophecies and the strange paths that ex-watchers take, and they gossip about Giles and the Scoobs and touch lightly on Buffy, all of which lasts for SEVERAL MINUTES, and at the end Spike confesses that he's afraid he's going to get sucked into Hell and suffer the torments of the damned and Wes softens and gets an oddly concerned and empathetic look on his face and you can see him determining right there and then to do something to help Spike.
Then we cut to short, complex, and strangely compelling exposition about werewolves. Oz is discussed. We find WereBoy turning into beast. Angel calls him out, struggle, blah blah. Boy wakes up naked in cage. Mmm, caged naked boy. WereBoy and Angel talk earnestly, trade life stories. WereBoy seems rather intrigued by Angel; Angel looks uncomfortable or perhaps constipated. Or perhaps attracted. Hard to tell.
Plot follows, visit to house, Fred kicks ass, la la la. More exposition back at W&H, discussion of Initiative, who are ruled out on certain points of Fred's eyewitness testimony or perhaps via some hacking research into government project files. Spike wanders in, Angel snipes at him, they fight, Spike winks out. Angel glowers, but Wes says, look, you really shouldn't antagonize him, because any strong emotion seems to trigger his disappearance. Be soothing, Wes says. Angel: What? Offer him tea? Wes gives him a Look, says, I know you dislike him, but you did help create him and bear some responsibility for him; in a way, he's like a son--or a grandson. TENSE MOMENT.
Cut to plot. Some stuff happens with the pretty WereBoy who is wheeled naked into a clapping room to be eaten alive. Good stuff.
Daring rescue, Wes KICKS ASS. No changes there. Anna gives a whimpering scream at Wes with weaponry. Wes saves Gunn's life during melee, helps Gunn up; there's what could have been a moment of restored friendship--Wes is obviously expecting it and says something warm, but Gunn brushes him off, pride hurt, plus he's still sore over being suspected as the SP's inside man. Wes looks upset.
They rescue DogBoy, WereJustin--let's just call him Justin--and the lab-man gets bitten; they appear to leave him to his fate, take off. Angel and Justin bond during several close, heartfelt moments and just as Justin is about to get out of the car and return home he leans over and impulsively kisses Angel on the cheek, rather cheekily in fact. Angel looks flummoxed. Justin returns to family bosom, yadda, cue song.
Back at W&H Wes gets extremely anxious when he sees Spike fading out, follows him into a closet, turns on light. Spike is standing inside and when he turns around he looks puzzled. Got lost. Due South fans have a Squee Moment as Wes & Spike stand in the closet with the door closed and talk in strange intimacy, with only about six inches between their scrumptious selves. Spike is feeling alone, helpless, ready to give up--he's very nearly transparent and he's looking terrified. Wes offers calming reassurance, quiet but intense; he offers the other man a lifeline to hang onto. Their eyes meet. You've got to hang on, Wes says, giving it a delicate emphasis that somehow conveys a dozen layers of meaning--slashers get what they want, and everyone else is just impressed that ME has managed to achieve DRAMATIC TENSION. Spike continues to look at Wes for a moment, unsure, and then his sudden surge of trust is signified by a return of opacity. Wes puts his hand out as if to clap Spike's shoulder, they both look at it, then Wes gives a funny smile and pats the air of Spike's incorporeal shoulder. This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Cut back to ending, which can pretty much stay as is, except that they let us know that lab-boy was not served up for dinner but was merely given a scare and will be semi-benevolently taken care of; however, they all seem rather disappointed that rough justice was not served and you can see them turning a collective beige hue as the lights dim....
[ETA: Ooh, it only just occurred to me that WereJustin could be a Connor stand-in, making Angel all angsty, which would make the little kiss at the end even more disturbing--like, Angel's all paternal, but Justin is suddenly busting out all over with flirtiness, rendering previous subtext more suspiciously texty; or, even better, you'll realize that for the entire episode they might have had their wires crossed, were on somewhat different wavelengths. Of course, we'd have to go back and erase Angel's far less interesting substitute-son issues in the pilot & come up with another angle. But I probably won't rewrite that. Because: lazy. And sore-wristed. Also, hey, it's one a.m. Why the frell aren't I in bed? If I don't get sleep tonight, I'm going to be a total waste of space tomorrow and I can't have that! Bed. Bed. Bed.]