I'm going to try and explain something about why I'm so upset by this episode. I'm not saying anyone else has to agree, just why for me personally this episode was so disgusting. And why even now, ten hours after I watched it, it still upsets me so much.
Yes, I know that Angel's done many heroic thing. I realize it's his show and that it's all about him. I'm not going to deny either of those things, but...
What became clear to me, while watching this episode, is that Spike seems to have given up all belief in himself. He likes Fred and he likes that she at least seems to have some faith in him. But other than that, he's been given the belief, by the other members of the Fang gang, but most of all by Angel, that he doesn't matter.
That no matter what he does, what he tries, it'll never be enough to be anywhere near Angel. This is just plain wrong, since in my opinion Spike is a much stronger and better person than Angel could ever hope to be. But noone ever bothers to tell Spike this.
Even when someone (Fred) finally thinks he's worth saving, she's still comparing him to Angel and she still seems to put Angel first.
When Spike asked Wesley about the shansu prophecy, some little chance at hope for him, Wesley makes it instantly clear that he doesn't see Spike as worthy of it.
Even Spike's earlier belief that his saving the world at the very least made him a hero and worthwile has been denied so much that he can no longer see himself as a hero.
Yes, he's tollerated, but unlike with Angel, noone other than Fred (once again) seems to give the slightest damn about his emotions, his feelings. Angel looses a bit of hope and instantly it's a toppriority, but noone seems to realize that Spike too is starting to loose hope that anything he does will ever matter to anyone.
That he will matter.
And to see someone like Angel, who willingly chose to give up his standards and decided to take over W&H for the protection of his son(through a very unethical mindwipe) gets rewarded with money, possessions, all that support, all that belief, while Spike gets to wither away and be treated as if he doesn't matter while he selflessly gave up his life to save the world... That, is unforgivable.
Spike has already spent years in a group of people that has NEVER recognized any of his accomplishments, where only one person was willing to even remotely consider him a good man and only after he'd long proven himself. And he's held strong, all that time, with no support. (just compare that to angel and all the help he's gotten for years.)
It would be different, if everyone had been telling Spike how important he was, if it had been in Spike's personality that he's always bragging about how good he is. But it isn't.
And ME knows that.
And they still use the same double standards they've always used.
I'd hoped things would change on Angel, that Spike's bravery would finally be aknowledged. But it hasn't. And from the looks of it, it never will and that angers me, greatly. He already had to die, believing himself unloved, I do not want to see a repeat of that.
No matter what ME seems to think we need.