|Season 5, Episode 8|
|Air date||November 19, 2003|
|Written by|| David Fury|
Steven S. DeKnight
|Directed by||Skip Schoolnik|
|J. August Richards||Gunn|
|Alexis Denisof|| Wesley |
|Juliet Landau|| Drusilla |
|Mark Kelly|| Reese |
|Aaron Spears||Security Guard #1|
"Destiny" is the eighth episode of the fifth season of Angel and the ninety-sixth episode overall. Written by David Fury and Steven S. DeKnight and directed by Skip Schoolnik, it was originally broadcast on November 19, 2003 on the WB network.
When a mysterious package arrives at Wolfram & Hart that renders Spike corporeal again, Eve claims the universe is in chaos because the Shanshu Prophecy states only one vampire with a soul can be the champion of good. Angel and Spike duel over a mystical grail to decide which one will be the champion, as flashbacks show the complex relationship between the soulless vampires Angelus and William the Bloody.
The episode begins with a flashback to London in 1880, where recently-sired William (not yet Spike) meets Angelus for the first time. Angelus accepts William into the group, saying he looks forward to killing with another man. In the present, Spike demands his own office (or Wesley's office during his leave of absence, while he adjusts to the shock of killing what he believed to be his father). Spike lacks sympathy for Wesley, since he himself killed his mother while she was hitting on him.
Harmony opens a package for Spike from an unknown source, producing a flash of light. When Harmony goes to answer the phone, she's greeted by electronic screeching. As phones start ringing off the hook, Spike heads for Angel's office, but when he tries to walk through the door, he quickly finds he is corporeal again, and immediately makes the most of his new body by taking away Harmony for sex.
Fred arrives, complaining that all of the atmospheric gauges in the science department have gone haywire and blown out the instruments. She is surprised to hear that Harmony and a re-corporealized Spike are, as Gunn says, "having a nooner". Eve arrives and announces that the whole universe is in turmoil - Spike's existence is messing with the expected course of the Shanshu Prophecy, because after dying on the Hellmouth to save the world, Spike now qualifies as a champion. Although this hadn't been a problem before when Spike was a ghost, now he's flesh again the universe can't cope. Meanwhile, Harmony's eyes start bleeding and she bites Spike, screaming that he's using her and really wants his "Slayer whore". He returns to the group, and Eve says because there are two possible candidates for the Shanshu, "the wheel of destiny starts to spin off its axis."
Gunn returns with news that the White Room is gone, replaced with a howling abyss. Eve thinks the solution is in the Shanshu Prophecy, but Angel says he just read it and it wasn't helpful. Spike is surprised he has been reading the prophecy which he claims not to believe in. They decide someone from Wesley's department needs to look over the prophecy, and meet with Sirk, who tells them that they read a translation and therefore didn't get everything out of it. He re-translates: "The balance will falter until the vampire with a soul drinks from the Cup of Perpetual Torment". Sirk says that whoever drinks from the cup is the one who was destined to, and once the champion is decided the universe will go back to normal. Sirk says the cup is in a destroyed opera house in Death Valley, Nevada.
Back in 1880, Angelus and William celebrate a wedding massacre, until William leaves to be with Drusilla, whom William calls his destiny. Shortly after, William discovers Angelus having sex with Drusilla; the two laugh at William and Angelus taunts him with his earlier words. At the opera house, Spike and Angel battle it out for the cup with Spike saying that Angel has already chosen the side of evil by working at Wolfram & Hart. In the science lab, Gunn begins bleeding from the eyes, warning Fred not to trust Eve. He starts choking Eve, demanding to know who she really is. Fred tends to Eve, who starts crying and says that she knows what all the group think of her, but she's "not the bad guy." Back in 1880, William fights Angelus for sleeping with Drusilla. Angelus tells him that no one belongs to anyone, and William should take Drusilla if he wants her; William chooses to keep fighting.
Spike says Angelus tried to make Spike into another creature as terrible as him in the world, so that he could feel better about himself and that unlike Angel, who had his soul forced upon him, Spike fought demon trials so that he could be rewarded with one so that he could be a better man. Angel retorts that Spike only did it to try and have sex with Buffy who never really loved him. Spike, furious, reveals to him that while Angel only had sex with Buffy once he did it plenty of times. Provoked into a jealous rage by Spike's words, Angel quickly gains the upperhand, fighting more fiercely than before. Both furious, the fight continues more aggressively. However, for the first time in 100 years, Spike comes out the victor. He contemplates killing Angel, but stakes his shoulder instead, stating that he would dust him, but he also doesn't want her(Buffy) to bitch about it. Spike grabs the cup and Angel tells him that it's not a prize - it's a burden: "Do you even really want it? Or is it that you just want to take something away from me?" "Bit of both," Spike replies, drinking from the cup. His expression changes as he realizes the cup is filled with Mountain Dew. Angel returns to Wolfram & Hart with the news that the cup was a set-up; Sirk has disappeared. Gunn and Harmony regain consciousness.
Back in Angel's office, Eve tells everyone that the Senior Partners temporarily fixed things. She says that they don't know anything about Sirk's trick and are as angry as Angel is. He is soon seen brooding over something, and Angel confesses that even though the cup was fake, Spike beat him for the first time ever and was the one that managed to drink from it. As a result, Angel is starting to believe that this is proof that Spike is the vampire for the Shanshu Prophecy as not only was he stronger, but he "wanted it more".
Elsewhere in L.A., Eve enters an apartment and undresses, gloating to someone off-camera that Angel and Spike fell for the cup story and Sirk disappeared without the Senior Partners knowing anything. In addition, the gang are wondering if they can trust the Senior Partners. She crawls into bed and we see that she's with a tattooed Lindsey. "Well...it's a start," he replies.
- Angel tells Eve that a mysterious package was responsible for re-corporealizing Spike, much like the one that arrived in "Conviction" that caused Spike to materialize.
- This episode reveals the first time that Spike and Angelus actually meet. This was never done in the previous seasons of Buffy or Angel as any other time they are on screen together, they already know each other.
- Given Wesley's absence, this is the only episode of Angel not to feature any of the members of Angel Investigations from the first season with the exception of Angel himself.
- By extension, this is also the only episode of Angel in which no human characters originated on Buffy. Every Buffy character featured in this episode is a vampire.
- After Spike hits Angel across the room with the cross, he stands holding the cross as his skin burns and says, "You've never met the real me." This is the same thing he tells Buffy in the Season Seven episode "Never Leave Me" when he asks her to kill him.
- Lindsey McDonald returns in the final moments of the episode, having not been seen since the Season Two episode "Dead End". He will go on to play an important role later in the season, and will appear in the series finale.
- Spike regains corporeal form, courtesy of what will later be revealed as Lindsey.
- Ambassador and his wife, drained by Angelus (in flashback)
- Priest, wedding guests and husband, killed by Angelus and Spike (only mentioned)
- Wife, drained by Angelus (in flashback)
- Reese, beaten to death by Jerry with a copier toner cartridge
- Los Angeles, CA
- London, England (1880 flashback)
- Death Valley, Nevada
Behind the Scenes
- Although credited, Alexis Denisof doesn't appear in this episode. This was due to his wedding to Alyson Hannigan at the time of filming (Although in the context of the episode, Wesley had taken time off to recover from the trauma of shooting the cyborg duplicate of his father in the previous episode). This is the only episode after he made his first Angel appearance in Season One's "Parting Gifts" in which he does not appear.
- In the season retrospective, Joss Whedon says the battle between Angel and Spike in this episode is the highlight of the final season.
- Christian Kane returned as Lindsey McDonald in the last moment of the final scene of this episode, which Sarah Thompson describes as "a secret scene" that didn't appear in the original script. She says, "I heard rumors there were going to be a big reveal, but I didn't know what was going to happen. David Boreanaz was like, 'Maybe you're going to turn out to be a lizard.'" She received the scene in an envelope marked 'confidential' shortly before filming, with strict orders not to reveal Kane's return.
- Juliet Landau, excited to return to Angel, says, "this is a particularly fun episode... There are so many different colors and dimensions. Even though (Spike and I) are the villains and we are evil, there always has been this very sweet love story between us."
Pop Culture References
- The Music Man: Eve's comment, "we've got trouble with a capital T, that rhymes with P, that stands for prophecy" is a nod to one of the songs from this musical.
- German: Der Kelch der Qual (The cup of torment)
- French: Destin (Destiny)
- Dead Kennedys - "Too Drunk to Fuck" (song playing while Spike is driving to Death Valley, Arizona.)
- Robert J. Kral - original score
- When Spike walks in on Angelus and Drusilla, he comments "Well, looks like you haven't had your fill of her after [all]." The "her" he's referring to is the bride from the earlier carriage scene, implying necrophilia.