The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco
Season 5 Episode 6
Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s spin-off show, Angel, tackles Aztec demons, Day of the Dead lore, and numbered luchadores who happen to be brothers and are not named Los Villanos.
If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s okay, neither am I. From what I gathered, Angel is a vampire and he solves crimes with supernatural law firm Wolfram & Hart in an alternate Los Angeles in which vampires, demons, and monsters all coexist. And probably also get harassed by the LAPD. At this firm, the mailman is retired luchador, Number Five, who raises the suspicion of one Angel when an Aztec warrior demon named Tezcatcatl shows up and starts ripping out the hearts of people.
Angel tracks down Number Five, not to apologize for antagonizing him and most likely getting him fired, but to seek his help in destroying Tezcatcatl. You see, Number Five and his brothers, Los Hermanos Numeros (a placeholder name that the writers must’ve forgotten to change before production started), came close to defeating Tezcatcatl. They were a pretty big deal as we see through a lengthy flashback.
Inside the ring, Los Hermanos might as well have been Los Villanos (villains) considering they used, what Michael Cole constantly refers to as, “the numbers game” against their opponents. The match we’re treated to via flashback is of the numerical bros. overcoming the odds, by outnumbering their opponents five to three. They basically said, screw relevos australianos we’re adding two more guys to our team. Los Hermanos Numeros don’t resort to the typical flippy luchador stuff, but instead your usual TV show wrestling match fare; dropkicks, hip toss, etc. Boring transitional moves. Although this is supposed to be taking place in the 50’s or some other era where men and women dressed up for wrestling shows.
Hermano Number Four actually performs a lucha-style second rope head scissors take down. He then proceeds with the worst trash talking ever heard within the vicinity of a lucha libre match. If you have ever been to an actual lucha libre card then you know the language traded between the wrestlers, and the fans themselves, is far from PG and corny. It bounces back and forth from doing unthinkable things to your mom to homophobic slurs. There’s just as much verbal as there is physical abuse. But with smack talk like, “let’s dance, milkmaid!” and “You ballerinas still wanna waltz?” it makes you think that Hermano Numero Four’s fighting dance euphemisms aren’t euphemisms at all. It’s like that recent Tracy Morgan “Standoff” sketch on SNL, in which he actually wants to dance instead of fight. Maybe Number Four had plans to break out into a solo career and become that generation’s Fandango, or better yet, El Merenguero.
Either way, the brothers’ battles didn’t start and end in the ring. During the same flashback you see them taking out a random hitman plant in the crowd with an actual high-flying lucha maneuver. They fought monsters, and gangsters, and vampires. They spent every waking hour together. The best scene is easily them chilling in their own bar, in which they’re the only male patrons and there’s hot women hanging around them. They’re playing cards, drinking, and because they’re wrestlers, one is even pumping iron, bro.
At this point in the story, Number Five refers to him and his brothers as “Luchaderos”. A major gaffe that should’ve led to a certain script supervisor getting fired for his incompetence regarding lucha libre lingo. And during this hypothetical situation, they should’ve also fired the writer who thought “Andale!” was a fitting catchphrase for the brothers. Apparently his exposure to the Spanish language was limited to Speedy Gonzales cartoons.
Back to Number Five’s brothers. Tezcatcatl, the Aztec warrior demon, apparently killed them all. We don’t know how Number Five survived, but he did. Afterwards, a sullen Number Five accepts a job with Wolfram & Hart, even though nobody cared that he worked there until this episode. An Aztec warrior demon shows up and suddenly everyone remembers they have a Mexican employee. Typical. Angel tries to convince Number Five to care again and help him fight off the demon, but it’s hard for him considering the way he and his brothers have been remembered by the wrestling community.
Number Five takes Angel to a Lucha VaVoom show that just happens to be taking place that same night. Happenstance! There he shows Angel the disgraceful tribute to Los Hermanos Numeros: five mini luchador versions taking on one guy. At least they stayed true to the Hermanos’ unfair fighting style. Now, with regards to American wrestling, Number Five might have a point because little people wrestlers are considered a joke. ESPECIALLY, in the WWE. However, in Mexico, having a mini-estrella in your image is a big deal. Hell, at one time AAA even created a Mascot Tag Team Championship in which luchadores teamed up with their mini versions to compete for said championship. But no, according to Number Five those mini Hermanos Numeros are a farce, even though they’re doing a decent job wrestling. It’s not like they’re being toyed with and baseball slide-kicked out of the ring.
On a side note, music from Calexico needs to be added as background music to more lucha libre matches on TV and film.
Angel finally convinces Number Five to help, sort of, and they square off against the Aztec warrior demon at the burial site of Number Five’s hermanos. Number Five immediately gets stabbed, but it’s cool because he smears his blood across the headstone of his deceased brothers, and since there is no concrete rule as to what triggers zombies to rise from the ground, this apparently awakens the rest of the formerly deceased Hermanos Numeros. Still in their suits, still sporting their lucha masks, still playing the numbers game.
At one point, the brothers hoist one of them up in the air, unnecessarily causing him to flip multiple times before landing on Tezcatcatl’s shoulders and delivering a hurricanrana so devastating it forces the Aztec demon to 450 splash onto its face. Angel then tags himself in and stabs Tezcatcatl in the heart. Having vanquished the demon, Hermano Numeros One through Four carry Number Five to the grave with them, and restore Angel’s faith in being a litigious monster killing vampire once again.