"Why We Fight"
Written by Steven S. DeKnight and Drew Goddard; directed by Terrence O’Hara

It’s 1943, and a submarine is moving through the Atlantic Ocean as its crew panics about something. A guy named Lawson is in charge of moving guys around, which he’s doing when their captain is suddenly grabbed and killed by an unseen creature. In the present, the MoG hold a meeting in a conference room at Wolfram & Hart, where they discuss the fact that Eve has vanished. Wesley is worried because she said she would get revenge (see “You’re Welcome”), but Gunn thinks that the Senior Partners will take care of her for them. Angel wants to make sure that Lindsey is being punished as well, but Gunn notes that the white room is still empty, so they no longer have a link to the Senior Partners. The MoG are surprised that Angel is letting them go before midnight on a Friday, but they still have work to do. Angel gets them to agree to meet up again in a few hours for another discussion. The four MoG split up as Lawson arrives in the building. Later, Fred encounters him in the science lab and is shocked to realize that he knows her name. She casually tries to run, but he tells her that he’ll have to stop her. He tells her that he’s an old friend of Angel’s and knew him “back when he was in his patriotic phase.” We’re back to 1943, where Angel is ambushed by some military guys in New York City. They try to get him to join “the war effort,” explaining that the submarine we saw earlier captured a German prototype submarine but ran into some weird trouble on the way home. The sub is stuck in enemy territory, but a human won’t be able to get it, because the pressure would be too much. Angel is being recruited instead.

One of the military guys explains that he’s part of a new agency, the Demon Research Initiative (see season 4 of Buffy). They know about Angel and want him to deal with whatever weird thing is in the sub. Angel reluctantly reads the file they’ve brought. In the sub, Lawson and his shipmates discuss their options. One tries to get info out of a captured Nazi, but he doesn’t speak German. They hear another shipmate screaming nearby and Lawson heads over to rescue him from the creature. A shipmate stops him, telling him that if they open the hatch, they’ll all die. They hear a clanging sound in the tubes and Lawson realizes that it’s Morse code. They open the tube and discover Angel inside. In the present, Wesley is headed for his office when he spots Fred gagged and tied to a chair. Before he can help her, Lawson knocks him out. In the submarine, Angel asks for the captain, but since he’s dead, Lawson says that he’s in charge now. Angel issues and order and gives a verification code to ensure the crew that he’s on their side. He heads for the hatch to confront the creature and comes face-to-face with a Nazi uniform-clad, dark-haired Spike. “Angelus,” Spike remarks. “They’ll let anyone in here.” Angel accuses Spike of being a Nazi; Spike says that he just ate one and took his uniform. He thinks that Angel was grabbed by the S.S. the same way he was - at a “free virgin blood party.”

Spike takes Angel into the hatch, which holds a bunch of dead bodies, and introduces him to his cohorts, two vampires named Nostroyev and the Prince of Lies. Angel says that there are some guys in the torpedo room, then tells Spike that they can’t kill any more humans. Since they’re trapped in the submarine (“we’re underwater?” the confused Prince of Lies asks), they need the crew to get them back to the surface. Spike tries to prove that he can get them out, but he sets off an alarm which Angel has to turn off. Nostroyev says that they’ll kill all but one and Angel stops him. Nostroyev won’t listen, so Angel dusts him. Angel repeats to Spike and the Prince of Lies that they won’t kill any humans until they’re back on land; Spike gives him the two-fingered salute and a “heil.” In the present, Lawson reaches Angel’s office. Angel recognizes him and learns that Lawson has been keeping tabs on him over the past 60 years. Back on the sub, Angel introduces the crew to Spike and the Prince of Lies, telling them to put the vamps to work. Angel and Lawson move the dead crew members out of the way as Lawson says that he’s not sure how to feel about Spike being there, since he killed the captain. Angel reminds him that they have to follow orders and bring the sub in. Lawson replies that “there’s a difference between orders and purpose.” He’s scared, but he knows he can handle dying, as long as it’s for a greater purpose. Angel tells him that the job they do will help win the war, so they need to work together.

In the present, Lawson asks Angel if he only did what he did on the sub for himself. He wants to understand “why we do what we do.” Angel attacks Lawson and starts to stake him with the leg of a coffee table, but Lawson asks if he really wants to do that. Angel reminds him that the last time they saw each other, Angel promised he would kill Lawson the next time they were together. Lawson says that he would never come there without having something up his sleeve. He takes Angel to a conference room, where Angel sees that Wesley, Fred, and Gunn are all tied up and standing on office chairs. Lawson explains that the MoG have wire around their necks, so if they get knocked off their chairs, they’ll be decapitated. Back on the sub, the crew does their thing while Spike complains to Angel that he wants to steer the sub. Angel sends him off to do something and tries to assure Lawson that he can control Spike. They two hear screaming from the next room and rush over to discover that the Prince of Lies is beating up the captured Nazi. He and Lawson try to get the Prince of Lies away from the Nazi, but Angel has to stake him to stop him. Angel has to explain to Lawson that the Prince of Lies was a vampire, but Lawson doesn’t appear to believe him. Spike points out that the Prince of Lies was holding a report in German and demands that the Nazi tell them what’s in it. Lawson does some translating and reveals that the Nazis have been doing experiments on the brains of vampires. (Unlike the Initiative, they want to create an army of vamps.) Angel admits that he knew about this and Spike is upset that he’s playing both sides against each other.

Spike wants to kill the crew again and Angel and Lawson stop him. Lawson tells him, “You don’t win a war by doing whatever it takes. You win by doing what’s right.” Angel tells Spike to burn the report, which he does. They hear an explosion, and a distracted Spike accidentally sets his clothes on fire instead of burning up the whole report. Destroyers are spotted and the crew moves the submarine, eventually unable to go anywhere. The sub starts taking on water and Angel helps fix the pipes to stop the flow. As Spike notes that the Nazi has disappeared, Lawson looks for his screwdriver. The Nazi and the screwdriver both reappear when the German stabs Lawson in the stomach. In the present, Lawson waves non-poetic about dying. In the sub, Angel tries to get the dying Lawson to tell him how to get the sub home. Lawson says that he’s the only one who can. Angel vamps out and bites Lawson, then makes Lawson drink from him. Angel heads back to the main room and tells the crew to get ready to surface. The newly vamped Lawson fixes things and thanks Angel. However, he now wants to eat the rest of the crew, since they don’t need them anymore and they aren’t part of the mission. Angel takes Lawson to the main room and tells him that if he ever sees him again, he’ll have to kill him. Lawson leaves the sub, followed by Spike, who won’t see Angel again until “School Hard.”

In the present, Angel tells Lawson that he jumped ship near Maine and laid low until the end of the war. He says that he never wanted to sire Lawson, but Lawson notes that it seems fair to sacrifice his life to help the Americans. Angel tells him that killing the MoG won’t change the past; Lawson says that it’ll hurt Angel, which might be enough for him. “Never is,” Angel replies. “Then maybe I found my mission again after all these years,” Lawson says. He starts waxing non-poetic again about having a reason to live and how he never feels anything. He wants to know if all of the vamps Angel has sired feel this way, but Angel has only sired Lawson since he got a soul. They start fighting and Lawson accuses Angel of making him nothing because Angel gave him a little bit of his soul. Lawson tries to stake Angel, who turns the stake around so it’s pointing at him. “Give me a mission,” Lawson says. Angel stakes him instead. The next day, Spike goes to Angel’s office, explaining that Fred filled him in on the events of the previous night. He thinks that Lawson was there for revenge, but Angel says that he came there for a reason.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Don’t watch “Why We Fight.”

GRADE: C- So, so bad.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Nostroyev: “Haven’t heard much of you lately, though.”
Angel: “Haven’t heard much of you, ever.”
Nostroyev: “Nostroyev! Scourge of Siberia and Butcher of Alexander Palace.”
Angel: “Sorry.”
Nostroyev: “I was Rasputin’s lover!”

“This bathysphere is perplexing.” - the Prince of Lies


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