Buffyverse Wiki
Buffyverse Wiki

"Just Rewards" is the second episode of the fifth season of Angel and the ninetieth episode in the series. Written by David Fury with Ben Edlund and directed by James A. Contner, it was originally broadcast on October 8, 2003, on The WB network.


Spike mysteriously materializes in Angel's office through the magic of an amulet, but no one, including Spike himself, understands the reason he has returned or why he is now a ghost. Meanwhile, Angel jeopardizes his own life when he tries to stop one of his evil clients from using human bodies as vessels for demon spirits.[1]


Nearly three weeks earlier, Spike saves the world in Sunnydale by collapsing the Hellmouth, burning up in the process. Now, he unexpectedly finds himself in Angel's office at Wolfram & Hart, with no idea how he got there. Upon seeing Angel, his first instinct is to attack him, only for it to be revealed that Spike is now non-corporeal. Confused, Spike wonders why Angel is working for Wolfram & Hart. He asks where Buffy is and wants to see her, but Angel tells him she is in Europe. The two vampires begin to argue about the significance of Spike's relationship with Buffy but are soon interrupted by Harmony, who is disgusted at the thought of Spike romancing the Slayer.

As the team analyzes Spike in the lab, Fred concludes that the vampire isn't a ghost since he has no ectoplasmic matrix; he is visible, registers brainwave activity, and is producing heat. She believes that Spike is mystical, while Wesley theorizes that his essence must have entered the amulet when he burned up in the Hellmouth. Because the amulet was supposedly buried in the Hellmouth, Angel questions how it arrived in his office. When Fred suggests that Spike may have been resurrected by the Powers That Be for a higher purpose, he complains that he should be able to die in peace since he saved the world. Suddenly, Spike begins to fade, eventually disappearing from the room.

A minute later, he rematerializes and blames Angel for everything that's happened since Angel brought the amulet to Sunnydale. He accuses Angel of leaving town instead of wearing it himself, abandoning the woman he claims to love. Angel argues that Buffy made him leave, giving him no choice. Spike admits he doesn't care about destiny and atonement like Angel does. When Spike mentions his soul, Wesley asks why Angel failed to tell the others such an important fact. Angel shrugs and remarks that it wasn't worth mentioning.

Angel heads towards the lobby and is followed by Spike who calls him a sell-out, noting that one of Angel's perks is Spike's "ex-tumble" fetching coffee for him. Spike warns him that fighting from inside the "belly of the beast" may get the team digested in the process. Spike suddenly spots a Grox'lar beast in the lobby, whom Angel proceeds to attack. Angel breaks the demon's neck, then learns from Harmony that he was supposed to meet with it that afternoon to negotiate with its clan. Gunn arrives and tells Angel that when Wolfram & Hart gave him knowledge of the law, they included demon laws from other dimensions. He reassures Angel that the attack may be forgiven since Grox'lars respect people who take a "strong opening position." Harmony tries to talk to Spike about their past, but he ignores her and walks away. She calls him a "Slayer-loving freak" under her breath and storms off.

At the law firm, Gunn and Angel discuss employees that Gunn has to terminate, warning that they will fight back. Spike appears in the doorway, comparing the size of the firm to a theme park. A lawyer named Novac comes in and asks why Angel shut down the Interment Acquisitions Department, a division that is under contract to provide corpses to a man named Magnus Hainsley. Angel tells Novac that they are no longer in the grave-robbing business and to get rid of Hainsley as a client. Spike scoffs at Angel, saying he was once a hero, now reduced to a bloody bureaucrat. When he questions what Buffy would think of Angel's new role, Angel yells at him to get out. Spike tells him to get stuffed and vows to spend his unlife away from Los Angeles.

Angel talks with Wesley, saying that he could easily be in Spike's position; Wolfram & Hart gave Angel the amulet, so they must have expected him to wear it; why give him control of Wolfram & Hart if they wanted him to wear something designed to kill him. Wesley wonders if the Senior Partners have a plan for Spike instead. Suddenly, Spike appears and complains that he is unable to leave Los Angeles; every time he passes the city limits, he materializes back at the law firm. Wesley concludes that since the amulet is bound to Wolfram & Hart, Spike is connected to it and therefore cannot leave.

Harmony tells Angel that Novac is back. When Angel tells her to send him in, two men bring in buckets full of Novac's remains. Angel tells Harmony that he wants to keep quiet about Novac for the time being. Gunn brings him Hainsley's file, announcing that he's a rich sorcerer with shares in Wolfram & Hart and a lot of connections. Angel determines that he's a necromancer; Wesley clarifies that he has power over the dead, which is why Wolfram & Hart were providing him with bodies. Angel returns to his office, where he tries and fails to kick Spike out of his chair. He decides that he's going to visit Hainsley, though Wesley advises him not to. Before Angel leaves, Gunn gives him information that will hurt Hainsley.

Angel heads to the garage and gets into a Dodge Viper; Spike is already on the driver's seat, having guessed his car preference. Spike says he is starting to enjoy the possibility of haunting Angel for eternity; he could drive Angel crazy, and he can't do anything to stop it. Angel moves to a different car, and Spike is sitting in the passenger seat, happy to go on a road trip. They drive to Hainsley's house, where Angel tells the butler to interrupt whatever Hainsley is doing. Angel and Spike find his showroom, where he has displayed a collection of dead bodies like dolls.

Meanwhile, Hainsley is in his workshop, chanting over a dead woman's body as a demon waits nearby. As he puts the demon's essence into the corpse, the butler announces Angel and Spike's arrival. Hainsley immediately orders that he kill them. Back in the showroom, Spike says that the bodies there are lucky, since no one has forced them back into the world against their will. The butler appears and threatens the pair with knives, but Angel quickly throws a teaspoon into his forehead. Spike is disappointed by Angel's method of killing the butler, and they begin to argue. Spike says that Angel has become king of a 30-floor castle, with all the cars, comfort, power, and glory that he could ever want. On the other hand, Spike got "toasted and ghosted" for saving the world and sacrificing himself for love and honor. Angel argues that Spike asked for a soul, but Angel did not; he worked for a hundred years to "come to terms with infinite remorse," while Spike moaned in a basement for a few weeks and was fine. Suddenly, Spike becomes blurry and vanishes into thin air.

Angel kicks in the door to Hainsley's workshop; the woman Hainsley put the demon essence into tries to leave, but Angel knocks her out. He tells Hainsley that he's cutting off his supply of bodies. Hainsley suddenly takes control of Angel's body and restrains him. Spike reappears, telling Hainsley that he can do whatever he wants to Angel; he's only there to haunt him. Hainsley tells Angel that he could kill him right now without using a stake, but he would be insulting the Senior Partners, who seem to have a plan for Angel. Angel calls Gunn and gives him the go-ahead to freeze all of Hainsley's bank accounts and turn his books over to the IRS. Hainsley threatens to sue, but Angel isn't worried. Spike taunts Angel for using legal methods to threaten Hainsley rather than violence. After Angel departs, Hainsley offers to restore Spike's physical body in exchange for something from him. Spike appears eager, asking if the favor involves hurting Angel.

Back at Wolfram & Hart, Gunn assures Angel that he's taken care of things concerning Hainsley. They share the good news with Wesley and Fred, but warns that Hainsley will fight back. The discussion turns to Spike; Wesley says that the only way to get rid of him for good is to perform an exorcism of sorts, which will kill him. Spike walks through the lobby, as Harmony complains that he refuses to open up to her despite having a soul. As Spike approaches Angel's office, he overhears the group discussing his fate. Wesley thinks that sending Spike to his afterlife is merciful, while Angel just wants to get it over with. Wesley tells him that the amulet is protected and can't be destroyed unless it's on hallowed ground, such as a church or cemetery. Fred objects to the plan, confessing that it doesn't feel right. Angel decides he needs a night to sleep on it.

Spike appears in Angel's bedroom later that evening. Angel tells him that he can haunt him during business hours but has to stay out of Angel's personal space. Spike says that he overheard the group talking about him and reveals that Hainsley offered to restore his body if he double-crossed Angel. He decides that he wants Angel to end his life, as he can't bear to be useless.

They head to a cemetery and say their goodbyes. Angel picks up an urn and starts to smash the amulet, but knocks himself in the head instead. Hainsley appears, and Angel realizes that he has taken control of his body. After Hainsley knocks Angel unconscious, Spike complains that it took him too long to get there. Spike warns Hainsley to hold up his end of the bargain, as he refuses to be used.

Hainsley takes Angel to his workshop. When he wakes up, Hainsley tells him that is going to put Spike inside Angel's body so he can reverse the seizure of his personal assets and reinstate the Internment Acquisitions Department. Hainsley starts the spell, sucking Spike's essence inside of himself so he can place it into Angel. However, Spike is able to stop himself inside Hainsley, controlling the necromancer so that Angel can kill him. Angel decapitates Hainsley, and Spike reappears, complaining that he wasn't able to continue hitting Angel while inside the body.

Back at Wolfram & Hart, Angel tells Wesley that Spike came to him with the idea to defeat Hainsley. Wesley says Spike should have run the plan by everyone first, but Angel tells him that Spike isn't good at sharing.

Spike visits Fred in the science lab, noting that she's "the science queen" and might be able to help him. He says that he's slipping and feels like he's trying to balance between two places. She wonders if that is what he experiences when he randomly disappears. Spike tells her that he's seen what's in hell, and heroes like him don't go there. He's scared, so he asks Fred to help him.


  • The flashback at the beginning of the episode depicts Spike's sacrifice in "Chosen."
  • Harmony tells Spike they aren't going out anymore, having ended her relationship with him in "Crush."
  • Angel says the last he heard from Buffy she was in Europe; in "The Girl in Question," he believes she's in Italy, but it's revealed in The Long Way Home, Part One that she's been in Scotland.
  • Harmony mentions knowing Spike had a "twisted obsession" with the Slayer, having role played as her with Spike ("Crush").
  • Spike mentions got himself a soul, having done it in the episode "Grave."
  • Angel reflects on him being supposed to wear the amulet in Spike's place, as he was the one who received it from Wolfram & Hart ("Home").
  • When Angel and Spike find Hainsley's cadaver exhibition, Spike remarks "Man likes to play with dollies." and, later, suggests Hainsley may have sex with the corpses. In "I Was Made to Love You", Spike ordered the Buffybot from Warren, a robot replica of Buffy, essentially to be used as a sex doll. In "Intervention", Warren delivered the robot and Spike had his way with it.



Organizations and titles[]




Death count[]

  • Spike, self-sacrifice (in flashback).
  • Grox'lar beast, neck broken by Angel.
  • Novac, killed and mutilated by Hainsley's butler.
  • Unidentified bodies in Hainsley's showroom.
  • Hainsley's butler, spoon buried in his forehead by Angel.
  • Unidentified demon possessing a woman, punched by Angel.
  • Magnus Hainsley, thrown onto the ritual table by Angel.

Behind the scenes[]


  • James Marsters makes his 100th Buffyverse appearance in this episode as Spike, dating back to his introduction in "School Hard."
  • This episode is focused on introducing the character of Spike to Angel, explains producer Jeffrey Bell, "but it was also about 'We work for an evil company with an evil client and he doesn't want to go.'"[2]
  • Ben Edlund reportedly incorporated the spoon death scene as an homage to his comic creation the Tick, the superhero whose battle cry was "Spoon!"[3]


  • "Just Rewards" had an audience of 3.6 million households upon its original airing.[4]

Pop culture references[]


International titles[]

  • Czech: "Spravedlivá odměna" (Just Reward)
  • Finnish: "Manaaja" (Exorcist)
  • French: "Justes récompenses" (Just Rewards)
  • German: "Der tiefe Abgrund" (The Deep Abyss)
  • Hungarian: "A szellemidéző" (The Necromancer)
  • Italian: "Solo ricompense" (Only Rewards)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "A Recompensa" (The Reward)
  • Russian: "Только награды" (Only Rewards)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Solo recompensas" (Only Rewards)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Justa recompensa" (Just Reward)
  • Turkish: "Sadece Mükafat" (Only Reward)


Promotional stills[]

Promotional stills[]



Spike: "What? What?"
Harmony: "What the hell are you doing here, Spike?"
Wesley: "Harmony, please."
Gunn: "This is Spike? The Spike?"
Fred: "Wait a minute. Who's..."
Lorne: "Easy, slim. Easy. No one's gonna hurt you."
Gunn: "Speak for yourself, Green Jeans."
Fred: "OK, would somebody please tell me who..."
Wesley: "William the Bloody. He's a vampire. One of the worst recorded. Second only to..."
Angel: "Me. But you're dead."
Harmony: "Well, yeah. Who here isn't? Besides him and him and her and... What are you, again?"
Spike: "Think I'm hot, do you?"
Fred: "Hmm. Lukewarm. Just above room temperature."
Angel: "Get out of my chair."
Spike: "Make me."
Angel: "We're— I'm from Wolfram & Hart."
Spike: "I'm his date."
Spike: "You got it too good! You're king of a thirty-floor castle, with all the cars, comfort, power, and glory you could ever want. Here I save the world, throw myself onto the proverbial hand grenade for love, honor, and all the right reasons, and what do I get? Bloody well toasted and ghosted is what I get, isn't it? It's not fair!"
Angel: "Fair?! You asked for a soul! I didn't! It almost killed me! I spent a hundred years trying to come to terms with infinite remorse! You spent three weeks moaning in a basement, and then you were fine! What's 'fair' about that?!"


  1. "angel: Just Rewards." TheWB.com. Archived from the original on June 6, 2004.
  2. "Jeff Bell - Cult Times Magazine Interview." Whedon.info, December 17, 2003.
  3. "Angel - Season Five Episode Guide - Just Rewards." BBC. Retrieved on February 28, 2020.
  4. "Nielsen Ratings for Angel's Fifth Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on February 16, 2008.