Angel is trapped in dreams.
Written by: Brent Fletcher
Directed by: David Boreanaz
Angel is worn out, wearied by the moral compromises forced upon him by Wolfram and Hart, and takes to his bed. Meanwhile, Lindsey, calling himself Doyle, tells Spike he has a message for him from the Powers That Be.
As Spike starts to help the helpless, Angel lies in the grip of fever dreams. In them, his friends appear one by one to tell him that he is irrelevant, and should just give up and die. They also point out that he has something on his shirt, a something that turns out to be a hideous sucking parasite.
Angel wakes for long enough to destroy the parasite, but Eve appears and places another one on him. Fortunately, help comes from an unexpected direction - Spike, who turns up and destroys the creature, on the instructions of "Doyle".
Conscious once again, Angel accuses Eve of planting the parasite. As usual she denies everything, but Angel isn't convinced.
Quiz: - ten quick questions.
Man of many talents: This is the first episode to be directed by David Boreanaz himself, something he obviously enjoyed. Talking about the experience to the SciFi Wire website, he said, "I've always been fascinated with the camera and the movement and communicating with other actors. Directing is really about telling someone to put applesauce on the table. ... And some people know how to do it, and some people don't."
Sounds familiar: Lindsey claims to Spike that his name is Doyle. He's obviously got Angel's first visionary partner, Allan Frances Doyle, in mind. Half-human and half-demon, the original Doyle was Angel's connection to the powers that be, but he sacrificed himself to save a clan of demons back in the season one episode Hero.
Something in the water: Fred's discovery of a numberplate, and her comment, "Came up the Gulf Stream, huh?" are straight out of the 1975 blockbuster Jaws.
Heard but not seen: When Spike is shown getting jiggy with Buffy, the lines heard are from the season three episode The Prom. Needless to say, Sarah Michelle Gellar herself doesn't actually reprise her role as Buffy in this scene - that's taken care of with some pillows and imagination.
LA Vice: Spike refers to Wesley as Crockett and Tubbs - the pastel-suited cop duo at the heart of 80's show Miami Vice.
The smell of deception: Matchabelli, for those who didn't get Harmony's goofy reference, is the name of a range of women's perfumes. And actually, some of them do come in a can.
It's David Boreanaz's first time behind the camera on Angel, and the boy done good. If you didn't know this episode was directed by a first-timer, you'd never guess. It's assured and tight, with Boreanaz particularly turning in a great performance. Obviously he's good at telling himself where to go.
Soul Purpose gives you an intriguing glimpse into Angel's mind - who's have thought the big guy had quite so many insecurities? I loved the dream sequences, especially Fred's surreal operation and Spike receiving his just rewards. I also giggled away at Spike helping the helpless - then slagging them off for wearing stupid shoes.
The only thing that didn't quite work for me was Eve's easy misdirection of Angel's friends away from him. For people who neither like nor trust her, they seemed awfully happy to nip off and do her bidding.