After spending some 6 weeks making myself sick over the mutilation of Spike, with the removal of his hands... I have to say that the episode was much better than it appeared on paper. Yes, still got all queasy and teary over the de-arming (so much more than just his hands **shivers**), but it wasn't as gratuitous as I had feared.
I believe this to be a pivotal point in our boys' relationship. For the first time, their sniping was less based in deep-seated hatred, and they merely seemed annoyed with each other. Angel seemed somewhat protective of Spike... in trying to warn him that Dana was dangerous to both of them as VamPyres **snickers**. Plus... this little fangirl went ape when Angel was the one to rescue Spike from Dana. Best, best, best moments of the show were the final ones, in W&H's infirmary. Very subdued... open and honest communication. Angel discussing his own atrocities... and not berating Spike for his. Familial understanding. Innocent victims... once upon a time. Beautifully written, achingly portrayed. And no, I don't believe it's all gonna be blood and peaches for Spike and Angel from now on... but... something has definitely changed for the better.
Andrew, Andrew, Andrew... what can I say that hasn't been said before? Nada, but... here I go anyway. Loved the Spike grope-fest when he first caught his eye... hugging and stroking his cheek, and telling Spike he was beautiful. "My Frodo." **sighs** Very cute. Love his dynamic with Spike... someone who knows him, and listens to him, and looks up to him... amazing how connected Spike suddenly seems. Can't be meaningful and multi-layered in a vacuum. The walk on the docks, the friendly snark (wedgie you to death - HEE!), blood tasting like pennies... stronger being nickels. It felt like home. Enjoyed Spike asking for Buffy, and Andrew's intuiting that she has no clue that Spike is back. Hope Spike actually makes good on his word and tells her, himself. Guess I still miss Buffy/Sunnyhell. Nice to have a small piece of it on Angel, in Andrew.
Loved the standoff between Angel and Andrew... with his backup
In addition, I do envision the following in my widdle head upon his return to Europe.
Buffy: Andrew, what's wrong? You seem awfully avoidy.
Andrew: Nothing... must be jet lag.
Buffy: C'mon, you little weasel. You lie about as convincingly as Spike.
Andrew: (squirming) Buffy... what would you do if someone asked you not to tell
something secret... but...it was a good secret... and he was hurting... and...
Buffy: Andrew! Spill it already... who are you talking about?
Andrew: Well... remember how Spike went all dusty and combusty in the Hellmouth?
Buffy: **sniffs** And your point is?
Andrew: He's looking better now.
What? It can happen. My Spuffy heart says so.
5 stakes out of 5! Loved it to pieces. First time all season.
Hope the ramblings of the insane make some kind of sense. **grins**