Part One: Whistler
Angel entered a pizzeria to find Whistler sitting at a booth, waiting patiently. He waved at him good-naturedly, only to have Angel grab him by his lapels, clearly furious at him. He angrily asked if he was crazy to team up with Pearl and Nash, immediately demanding that he take him to them. In no mood for this, Whistler easily snapped his wrist and ordered him to sit down. Still annoyed, he reluctantly sat down. Whistler reminsced over all that had happened, the day he had brought Angel to Buffy and had set him up on his path to his destiny. However, he quickly flipped out, expressing his fury that he had thrown everything they had planned away. He also put other people in the resturant in a light trance.
Angel remained unrepentant, claiming that their friends were in danger and Buffy needed his help. Whistler angrily exclaimed that they could have done of all that by finalizing the new world. He mentioned that he had told all of that to Buffy but she didn't believe it, adding that she was right. No matter what they did, there would've been far too many casualties. Whistler easily admitted this, incredulously asking if he ever expected it to be easy. Angel said he didn't but added he never told him he would have made everything worse because he knew he wouldn't do it if he did. He pointedly stated that Whistler had assumed that by the time everything went bad, they would be too high on power and each other to really notice and they wouldn't be able to make the right choice. Angel then demanded that Whistler admit to using both him and Buffy from that alley to Twilight as means to achieve evolution.
Whistler replied that Destiny is when the Universe is using you. He then began to tell the story of his birth parents, a pureblood demon and an agent of the Powers That Be. This was unheard of, and the forces of good and evil joined forces to kill them—not exactly a true alliance, just so they could get rid of the couple who had broken the rules and was threatening the status quo of the Universe. When Whistler's parents died, instead of being eaten by demons, Whistler was adopted by the Powers and given precognitive powers that produced visions of possible futures, raising him to help when he was needed and to maintain the natural balance in the world. He operated privately (a flashback was shown of him pushing young King Arthur to pull the sword out of the stone) and worked very hard to keep the world from becoming too dark. Sometimes though, he had to do things the other way but that was considerably less as people were prone to making their own problems. He never liked pushing people towards changes knowing that they are going to fail in the end, but didn't want to be too sensitive over it, reasoning that balance was always the greater good. Eventually, he realized that there was a way to keep the balance and still make things better which was after he found Buffy and Angel and their possible destiny.
The flashbacks are over and there back to the restaurant, Angel seeming completely thrown by all of this. Whistler then said, " I like to think the Universe got the idea to bring you two together from my folks. That their death wasn't for nothing, y'know? You coulda birthed a new Universe. One where good and evil, magic and science, light and dark merged together. Where the balance was maintained because everyone evolved. Into something higher. " A panel of Buffy destroying the Seed is shown and Whistler once again stating that Angel lost his chance and the whole planet as well. The end of magic cut Whistler off from the Powers, making him loose his visions, destroying the balance, and everything was terrible. He had a huge part of himself torn away and he empathized with how the Earth must've felt.
Whistler then revealed that he had recieved one last vision before his precognition cut out: that of a dead world, grim and sick humans wandering around a dark, dirty city; a one-armed little girl walking down the street, flying cars in the air. It'll be hell, unless they act and work to change it. He pulled out a glowing marble from his jacket, explaining to him that the only magic left in the world where in magical items. He was going to distill magic throughout the world without a Seed and magic will just be a part of nature, evolving like it's supposed to.
Angel finally inquired of the cost of it all and Whistler admitted that about two billion people might die but it wasn't about that. It's about the bigger picture: their world is already overpopulated and the only other option was the dead world he had seen. He didn't truly want to work with Pearl and Nash, expressing a desire for Angel to help him save the world, and join him on his new mission. Closing that part, Whistler admitted that his every past vision was always a possibility, that's why he believes the future can be changed away from his vision.
Angel hesitated. He admited to him that he owed him everything: his purpose, his chance at redemption, Buffy. He owed him more than he could ever repay and he did want to help but not way he wanted. He bluntly claimed that the end of magic had caused Whistler's sanity to waver and that he wasn't thinking clearly. That's what he wanted to help him with. Whistler didn't like this. Furious, he got up to go before Angel added that he couldn't let him go through with this. This remark earned Whistler to literally punch a hole through his stomach and breaking off a stake from the tabletop, raising it to kill Angel. Instead of doing it, he stopped himself, saying " I can't do it. You were always my favorite, kid. I can't do that to you. " He tossed the stake to the floor, adding " So don't make me. " . He left with a warning for Angel to not see him ever again.
Part Two: Pearl and Nash
It now cuts to Pearl and Nash backstory. It started in Oklahoma of 1935. Inside, a naked woman with runes all over her skin was seen waving a dead chicken over a pentagram: she summoned a big, spindly orange demon. He asked what she wanted, expecting it to be riches or some altuistic improvement to the human condition. She looked at him grimly before confessing that she wanted him to make her pregnant. He was surprised but pleased. It then skipped to five-year old Pearl and Nash with their mother, learning about their purpose in the world.
It once again cuts to thirty-five-year old Pearl and Nash, getting their brood of demon youngsters slaughtered. They're holding their own and their mother showed up with a shotgun to help. The last of the human warriors disappeared through a portal, still spatting out threats. He wasn't seen directly but the mother called him Alasdair Coames. When it's just the three of them, Pearl and Nash hold each other and cry while their mother complained about all the good breeding that had been wasted. Pearl said she couldn't deal with it anymore, but her mother was having none of it. She suggested trying humans with strong magics, rather than just demons, so the offspring would blend. She also added that the two of them could come up with something better, advising them to take the pain as a reminder of what they're fighting for.
Next, the two of them are seen talking to Twilight (while floating in the air at dusk), eagerly questioning him about the "evolution". He simply said the world was ending, and the "most suitable canidates" will enter a new world of light and darkness (Essentially the same thing as Whistler's monologue). They get especially excited when he mentioned there will be blood.
It now cut to the present. Their mother was on some sort of unholy life support involving a giant spider and dead chicken IVs. Tear-eyed at her bedside, Pearl and Nash apologize for failing her. She chided them by saying they just needed to get themselves together and keep trying. Twilight was to blame for everything and they were in good company with Whistler. Under their mother's wishes, her children kill her with their optic blasts. Over the remains of their charred body, Nash comforted Pearl, reminding her that they'll get their salvation and revenge. They smile
- Whistler referred the events when he first met Angel in the alleyway eating rats before introducing him to Buffy when she was called and putting him on the path of redemption. Flashbacks of this were explictly shown in "Becoming, Part One".
- Angel and Buffy's destiny of meeting to create a new world and being the "evolution" of the universe was earlier hinted as predestined in "Riley: Commitment Through Distance, Virtue Through Sin". It was fully confirmed in this issue. Before any of this, Angel also stated Buffy was his destiny in an alternate reality in "The Wish"
- Angel mentioned that Buffy didn't believe in the Twilight plan and that she was right in the first place, both him and Whistler referencing several events that took place from "Twilight, Part Two" to "Twilight, Part Four".
- Buffy's destroying of the Seed of Wonder, consequently ending magic on Earth in"Last Gleaming, Part Four" was seen in flashbacks.
- This issue showed Pearl and Nash's past in demon breeding. At the age of 18, Pearl would do something similar in Rome, seen by flashbacks in "A Dark Place, Part Three".
- Whistler stated that the future awaiting the Earth if they didn't stop it was dark and dysfunctional. This was a reference to the New York shown when Buffy traveled to the future in"Time of Your Life'". It also supported Willow's and Connor's claims that the world was truly on a dark path since the end of magic.
- Angel (Also in flashbacks)
- Whistler (Also in flashbacks)
- Buffy Summers (Only in flashbacks)
- Loo (cameo; flashforwards)
- Susan Finney
- Pearl (Also in flashbacks)
- Nash (Also in flashbacks)
- Alasdair Coames (only in flashbacks)
Organizations and Titles
Weapons and Objects
- Whistler's parents, murdered by The Powers That Be and Demons. (only in flashbacks)
- Unidentified sheriff, eye-blasted by Pearl and Nash. (only in flashbacks)
- Several of Pearl and Nash's children, killed by many skilled humans. (only in flashbacks)
- Unidentified human, head shot off with a rifle by Susan Finney. (only in flashbacks)
- Susan Finney, blasted by Pearl and Nash.
Behind the Scene
Pop Culture References
- Whistler described Pearl and Nash as "The Donny and Marie from Hell", an allusion to the two most well-known members of The Osmonds, a Mormon family singing group.
- When Angel pointed out there were going to be casualties in creating Twilight, Whistler replied "Evolution's a bitch. That's why they call it Darwinism .... 'cause that dude was ugly." Charles Darwin was the man who created the "Theory of Evolution".
- Whistler claimed to be on the Titanic and compared spreading magic across the world to Johnny Appleseed.
- Pearl and Nash's biological demon father dryly muttered "Thank you, Mr. Gutenberg. The printing press was a wonderful invention" when realizing Susan Finney had summoned him, a reference to John Gutenberg
- The variant cover of this issue is inspired by the back-cover photo on the 1972 David Bowie's album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Pencils and inks by Rebekah Isaacs and colors by Dan Jackson.
|Whistler - "You created a new universe! It was yours! All you had to do was decide what it should look like, then you coulda brought all your friends over! You coulda saved the whole world!"|
|Angel - "I tried telling Buffy that. She wasn't buying it. Because it wasn't true, was it? The hell dimensions were invading Earth. No matter how fast we worked, there were going to be casualties.|
|Whistler - "Well, duh. You coulda kept'em low if you'd moved fast. But c'mon, you thought it was gonna be a cakewalk? Evolution's a bitch. That's why they call it Darwinism ... 'cause that dude was ugly."|
|Angel - "I never thought it'd be painless. But you didn't tell me I'd make things worse. Because you knew I'd never go along with it. You figured by the time it got to that point, Buffy and I would be so drunk on power--and each other--that we wouldn't notice. Or be able to make the choice she made. Admit it. Everything you did ... from the alley to Twilight ... you were using me. Using us."|
|Whistler - "What the hell d'you think destiny is, kid? It's the universe using you."|
|Whistler - "And they told me to make sure the pendulum never swung too far either way to help where I was needed. Not personally. That wasn't my style. I operated behind the scenes. Found promising canidates. If the dark ages got too gloomy, I let in some light. Sometimes I hadda go the other way, too. Not often. People have a way of screwin' up things on their own. But I couldn't get sentimental about it. Balance. That was what counted. Even if it meant sometimes doing things that left a sick feeling in my gut. I know about making hard choices, kiddo. And I always chose the greater good."|
|Angel - "Whistler ... you're right. I owe you everything. You gave me a purpose. A chance at redemption. You gave me her. I owe you more than I could ever repay. Of course I want to help you. But you have to let me. The end of magic ... it did something to you. Affected your mind. It had to, the balance being thrown off like that. I'll fix it. I'll find a way. Get your head thinking clearly again. Just say you'll let me help you."|
|Susan - "Now take a good last look. Draw the pain into your hearts. Let it live there every day, festering and burning. As a reminder of what we're fightin' for. And an inspiration to do better next time."|
|Nash - "Sssh. We're going to do it. For her."|
|Pearl - "Angel was right too. There most certainly will be blood. Salvation and revenge. I scarcely know which I look forward to more."|