"Just Rewards" is the second episode of the fifth season of Angel television show and the ninetieth episode in the series. Written by David Fury and Ben Edlund and directed by James A. Contner, it 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.
Nearly three weeks earlier, Spike saves the world by collapsing the Hellmouth and is burned up in the process. Now, he suddenly 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. Spike is very confused wonders why the group are now working for Wolfram & Hart. He asks where Buffy is and wants to find her, but Angel tells him that she is in Europe and he has no intention of letting him see her. Spike taunts him, asking if he was going to stop them. Both remembering what happened in Sunnydale, this soon leads both vampires in a heated jealous argument with each other, but is soon broken up.
Being analysed in the lab, it soon becomes clear that Spike isn't a ghost as he is has no ectoplasm, but is still visible, registers brainwave activity, is producing heat, and is still a vampire. Fred notes that Spike is definitely something mystical and Wesley theorizes that Spike's essence must have somehow gone into the amulet when he burned up in the Hellmouth. Angel notes that the amulet was supposedly buried in the Hellmouth, so he wants to know how it got there. Fred wonders if Spike has some higher purpose and was sent by The Powers That Be. Spike thinks that he should have just died in the Hellmouth, since he helped save the world, and that the Powers shouldn't have been allowed to bring him back against his will. Spike suddenly starts to fade, then disappears completely.
A minute later, he rematerializes and blames Angel for everything that's happened, since Angel brought the amulet to Sunnydale in the first place. He thinks that Angel chickened out from using it himself and left town, abandoning the woman he claims to love. Angel argues that Buffy made him leave so he didn't have a choice. Spike adds that he doesn't have a choice in what he is now and doesn't care about destiny and atonement like Angel does. He brings up the fact that he has a soul, which surprises the others. Wesley asks why Angel didn't mention it and he answers that it wasn't worth mentioning. Spike says that Angel doesn't want him in his special exclusive club of souled vampires. Angel shoots back that Spike isn't even really in the world.
Angel heads towards the lobby and is joined by Spike. Angel denies that he had anything to do with what happened to him. Spike calls him a sell-out, noting that one of his perks is that Angel has Spike's "ex-tumble, the littlest vampire, fetching coffee" for him. He says that fighting from inside the belly of the beast might mean the gang are getting digested; Angel isn't in control and doesn't know it. He suddenly spots a Grox'lar beast, which Angel fights; Spike can't join it because he's non-corporeal. Angel breaks the demon's neck then learns from Harmony that he was supposed to meet with it to negotiate with its clan. Gunn arrives and tells Angel that it might be okay, since Grox'lars respect people who take a "strong opening position." He explains that when Wolfram & Hart gave him knowledge of the law they put in some knowledge of demon laws from other dimensions. Harmony tries to chat with Spike, but he ignores her and walks away. She calls him "Slayer-loving freak" under her breath.
Angel and Gunn head to Angel's office and discuss employees Gunn has had to fire. Spike arrives, noting that the building is huge, and Angel tries to kick him out so he can continue his meeting. Gunn warns that the fired employees are going to fight back, then says that he's going to have to deal with one now. A guy named Novac comes in and asks why Angel shut down the Interment Acquisitions Department (aka grave-robbing). The division is under contract to provide bodies to a guy named Magnus Hainsley; Angel tells Novac to get rid of Hainsley as a client. As Novac leaves, Spike tells him that he doesn't have to take that from Angel. Angel kicks him out and Spike says that he doesn't want to spend his afterlife this way anyway.
Later, Angel talks with Wesley, telling him that he could be in Spike's position right now. Wolfram & Hart gave him the amulet, so they must have expected him to use it and wind up where Spike is. Wesley notes that they handed over the firm to him and Angel wonders what the Senior Partners are up to. Spike returns and reveals that he tried to leave but something physically kept him inside Los Angeles. Wesley says that that makes sense, since the amulet is Wolfram & Hart's property and Spike is connected to it. Spike is annoyed that he can't leave and Angel is annoyed that Spike is going to keep haunting him.
Harmony tells Angel that Novac is back and two men walk in holding buckets full of Novac. Spike smirks and tells the gang they are doing a great job. That night, Angel tells Harmony that he wants to keep quiet about Novac for a little while. 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 was giving him 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 respond to Hainsley's bucket message in person, even though Wesley advises him not to. Before Angel leaves, Gunn gives him something to really hurt Hainsley.
Angel heads to the garage and gets into a Dodge Viper; Spike is already there, having guessed that Angel would pick that car. Spike is starting to enjoy the possibility of haunting Angel for eternity; he could drive Angel crazy and Angel wouldn't be able to do anything about it. Angel moves to a different car, but Spike is there too, wanting to go on a road trip with his old buddy Angel. 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 poses bodies. Meanwhile, Hainsley is in his workshop chanting over a body as a demon chats nearby. He puts the demon's essence into the woman and is interrupted by the butler, who says that there are men from Wolfram & Hart there to see him. Hainsley tells him to kill them. Back in the showroom, Spike says that the bodies there are lucky, since no one's forced them back into the world against their will. The butler returns with knives, but Angel quickly buries a teaspoon in the butler's forehead. Spike is disappointed in Angel's method of killing the butler, and they start arguing. Spike says that Angel has all this material stuff, but Spike saved the world and doesn't get anything. Angel replies that Spike asked for a soul, but Angel didn't; Angel worked for a hundred years to "come to terms with infinite remorse," but after a few weeks in a basement, Spike was fine. Spike disappears.
Angel breaks into Hainsley's workshop; the woman Hainsley put demon essence into tries to leave, but Angel punches her out. He tells Hainsley that he's cutting off his supply of bodies. Hainsley quickly takes control of Angel's body and freezes him. Spike reappears, telling Hainsley that he can do whatever he wants to Angel. Hainsley tells Angel that he could kill him right now without even 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 over his books to the IRS. Hainsley threatens to sue, but Angel isn't worried. On the way out of the house, Spike taunts Angel for using legal methods to get Hainsley rather than violence. He disappears and doesn't rematerialize until Angel has already left the house. Hainsley offers to restore Spike's freedom, destiny, and power of choice — he can have a corporeal body again. In exchange, Spike has to do something for him, but he immediately expresses willingness to hurt 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 add that Hainsley is going to fight back. The discussion turns to Spike; Wesley says that the only way to get rid of him for good is basically to exorcise him. Spike returns to the firm and Harmony slams him for acting like he's better than her. Spike overhears the group discussing him and saying that they're going to kill him. Wesley thinks that sending Spike to his afterlife is merciful, since he can't do anything on Earth. Angel doesn't care about mercy; he just wants to get it over with. Wesley tells him that the amulet is protected and normally can't be destroyed, but that magic won't work on hallowed ground, such as in a church or cemetery. Only Fred objects to the plan to unilaterally terminate Spike. Angel decides to sleep on the decision.
Spike shows up in his bedroom; Angel tells him that he can haunt 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 tried to make a deal with him. He's decided that he wants Angel to end his life. They head to a cemetery with the amulet and say their goodbyes. Angel picks up an urn and starts to smash the amulet but winds up hitting himself in the head instead. Hainsley appears and Angel realizes that he has taken control of his body again. He knocks Angel out and Spike blasts him for taking so long to get there. Spike refuses to be used by Hainsley, but Hainsley says he'll have to. After he's done, Spike will get his body back.
Hainsley takes Angel to his workshop; Angel wakes up and says that the Senior Partners won't be happy when they realize that Angel is missing. Hainsley tells him that he won't be missing: he'll turn up again, with Spike inside his body controlling him. Spike contemplates the things he can do with Angel's body. Hainsley starts the essence-entering spell, but it doesn't work. Spike stops inside Hainsley so Angel is able to fight him. Angel decapitates Hainsley and Spike reappears, upset that he couldn't keep hitting Angel inside the body. It turns out that Hainsley's been dead for a little while and Spike was just taking out some anger on Angel.
Back at Wolfram & Hart, Angel tells Wesley that Spike came to Angel with his plan to defeat Hainsley; Wesley says that Spike should have run the plan by everyone first. Angel says that Spike isn't good at sharing. Spike pays Fred a visit 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 says that that must be what it's like when he disappears. Spike tells her that he's seen what's in Hell and that heroes like him don't go there. He's scared, so he asks Fred for help.
- 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").
- Winifred Burkle
- Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan
- Charles Gunn
- Magnus Hainsley
- Harmony Kendall
- Número Cinco
- Buffy Summers (Only in flashbacks)
- Wesley Wyndam-Pryce
- Hainsley's butler
- Unidentified demon
Organizations and titles
- Angel Investigations
- The Powers That Be (Only mentioned)
- Senior Partners (Only mentioned)
- Slayer (Only mentioned)
- Voodoo priest (Only mentioned)
- Wolfram & Hart
- Europe (Only mentioned)
- Los Angeles, USA
- Sunnydale, USA (Only in flashbacks)
- Hellmouth (Only in flashbacks)
Weapons and objects
- 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 dead woman in Hainsley's show room, possessed by a demon and 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.'"
- Ben Edlund reportedly incorporated the spoon death scene as an homage to his comic creation the Tick, the superhero whose battle cry was "Spoon!"
Pop culture references
- Lorne considers that the movie version of the Angel–Buffy–Spike triangle should involve the actors "[Johnny] Depp and [Orlando] Bloom", who portrayed two sides of a love triangle in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003).
- Angel calls Spike "Casper", in reference to "the Friendly Ghost" character.
- Angel quote the song "We're Off to See the Wizard" from The Wizard of Oz (1939).
- Harmony says Spike has "gone all Patrick Swayze," in reference to his role in Ghost (1990).
- Robert J. Kral — original score
- 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)
|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?" [points at Wesley, Gunn, and Fred] "Besides him and him and her and..." [to Lorne] "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."|