Yes I am back yet again with another look at a season of your Buffy spin off Angel.
And still only barely impressed. Maybe.
Starting with your star, the Vampire with a soul, Angel, we see an attempt at an emotional rollercoaster for him this time. He gets the glow of victory from surviving Pylea, only to find out his true love forever and ever is dead. Yes, Buffy is dead and never coming back. Till now. And Angel is appropriately broken up over this, but seems fine that the apocalypse he became human again to help Buffy with went by and he was in another plain of reality. Continuity is not a strong point on Angel. Now I did think Joss that it was an interesting idea to make Angel a daddy, and the new wrinkle of him learning to take care of and raise a child had me intrigued. But then you all had to bump the baby to older teen in a warped storyline.
Sigh. And make him and Angel fight and argue and almost have junior kill daddy. What a copout. Now instead of having Angel grow more human expanding his soul because of Connor, now they just argue and fight and lie to each other. As Dr. Horrible would say, “whatever.” But even more sarcastically.
As for Connor. He was cute as a baby. Now he is a sulky moody teenager with daddy issues who inconsistently wins fight. Congrats, he is now a regular cast member of Angel. And we are supposed to believe a lifetime of conditioning against Angel will go away in a few days and letter from Holtz.
Cordelia also goes through the wringer this year, also in a non sensical way. I love the Cordelia who speaks her mind and is the strong support for AI, which shows real growth for the character. Heck, we even have her change time to save her friends, on her birthday of all days. But this horny version of her is annoying. I have nothing against woman having sex drives, that does not bother me, but Cordelia comes across as a crazed frat boy as soon as Gruesome shows up. And in the season finale, we have another sabotage of her by saving she is in love with Angel. Gimme a break. But at least she becomes a higher being or something because of being a half demon and the visions and whatnot. Oh wait, that was silly and out of the blue as well.
Another casualty this year is Wesley. We have already seen he has daddy issues and tries oh so hard to be nice to the jerk who raised him. But now you claim Joss that he has the same evil, maybe possibly inside him. That’s just the start of sad Wesley this year. He illogically takes on the dire prophecy all by himself, which makes he all hated and threatened by hi so called friends. And along to way, he becomes jealous and possessive of Freddie. None of this makes any sense. Another thing to fix in season four.
Gunn gets my applause for finally leaving his old gang, but takes to steps back when he declares Angel not a friend. That doesn’t work Joss. He also becomes abit more reactionary, and does not care about Wesley’s feelings, which does not work with him. But at least he has Freddie.
Speaking of Freddie, we turn the corner from my dislikes to my likes.
So yes, I like Freddie. She is probably the most Buffy like character on Angel, which explains my affection for our Pylean escapee. She is smart and funny and just naive enough to appear kinda clueless but not stupid. The fine line Freddie rides here is also what makes her so great, and I bet hard to write and play. Her crush on Angel was understandable, but I also like her with Gunn. But she would have been nicer to Wesley’s feelings and more forgiving of him. That meanness was not her. Two nitpicks, where did her parents go after that episode, and how did she catch up on computers so quickly?
Lorne is awesome and super cool and I dearly hope he comes back. The dude should reopen his club in the hotels ballroom, and I did feel bad his old club kept getting destroyed. I do find the plot point of people singing around Lorne in order to advance the story kinda much Joss.
Gruesome has a certain charm as the dimwitted loyal warrior. AI could use more pure muscle and I hope he comes back. The big lug grew on me.
Still on the positive note, what did I like this year?
Dennis is way fun. Skip is also fun. That Old Gang Of Mine dealing with Gunn’s old gang was very different and interesting. The witches who want Angel are funny and creepy at the same time. Wolfram and Hart fixing Angel’s legal status, which took care of that long dangling plot hole and showed the inner machinations of the lawyers. The body switch one had some finer points, including how they have plot it out so Freddie would not be raped. That annoying demon changing the prophecy for his own twisted ends was fascinating. Loved the Birthday episode for Cordelia. It was evil but Wolfram and Hart’s stunt with Angel and Connors blood was inspired. Disagreed with but loved Forgiving with Wesley’s throat cut and Angel trying to kill him. Double Or Nothing, the one with Gunn and the casino, had a cool ending. Darla finally became interesting because she was an expecting Vampire. And the wannabe Scoobies Justine and Holtz collects are losers, but fun losers.
But what didn’t work so well, you ask Joss?
Holtz had an interesting backstory and reason for being, but somehow it did not translate to the screen. Justine varies from annoying to tolerable but I do hope she comes back and joins AI. Why is the hotel such a mess? Angel could clean a lot of it up very quickly. And why does Cordelia and Wesley and Gunn not live at hotel? Dennis could be transferred there. Billy the fake Kennedy was over the top, and Lila would not have done that. It makes sense Wolfram and Hart would attack or bug the hotel, but it makes more sense the hotel would have magical protection from early on with AI. And speaking of the slimy lawyers, Wolfram and Hart are very very inconsistent, which makes them boring somewhat. That reminds me, Lila is dull and Gavin is annoying. Hope he gets lost on an island Joss.
It seems to me that the network switch for Buffy hurt Angel. While as the crossovers could before happen naturally, now they feel almost verboten, like special permission must be obtained to even mention the Slayer. Maybe that is why Faith has been unseen all this time.
The real problem with season three to me Joss is that a family is being slowly built for Angel Investigations, something that could work and gel and make fans happy. But instead it is all dismantled and thrown into disarray, all for the sake of cheap drama.
This sounds completely negative, and I don’t mean to or take joy in this, but why else would so many characters be chucked away so easily? In such a callous way? It hurts the show and means more rebuilding just when you almost had something almost going.
Here’s hoping for season four!
…is currently reading The Crucible by Arthur Miller