Me again, back with a look at the final season of Angel, your Buffy spinoff.
And I am finally impressed. Just when it was getting good, you get cancelled.
So now onto my SPOILER FILLED look at your fifth and (sadface) final season.
Breaking with time honoured tradition, I am not starting with Angel this time. But instead I am beginning with the Hellmouth at Wolfram and Hart, er, I mean the elephant on the table, the Angel Investigations takeover of Wolfram and Hart.
I really really liked this new status quo, with AI reforming evil from within, finally having proper resources, taking on new leadership positions, and facing even more moral quandaries. The tracking shot alone from the opener gives us such a great intro to the new the who and the what and the how of the new and improved Angel. Most excellent job, Joss.
With all our AIer’s leading people now, you see how additional power does not always make happier campers. The stress hits all of them, and everyone has different, but still frustrating, reactions. Plus, I love Joss how AI did not trust the Senior Partners, their employees, their clients, and rightly so.
And the constant thread of wondering whether evil can be reformed from within was interesting, occasionally overdone, and very logically taking its toll on the characters.
But I do miss the hotel, that was a kinda cool headquarters.
The other massive big huge gigantic change this season Joss is your addition of Spike, the other Vampire with a soul, to the cast. We know the Spike Faith spinoff did not take bite, which is a shame, but at least Angel got him for some fun and merriment and fist fights.
Spike coming back was classic, with the only happy person being Harmony. Blondie Bear is still a favourite line. And making him ghost like, with his usual outrageous mouth, was brilliant. A Spike not able to punch would be a pisser Joss. Whether ghost like or not, Spike’s ongoing endless arguing about, well, everything, was fun and entertaining most of the time. Okay, about 95 percent of the time Joss. One thing between Spike and Angel? They had a few too many fistfights. But the best one involved the puppet.
An issue with Spike however was his motivation for staying. It all felt very contrived and herky jerky Joss. Spike would go to Buffy. But I know you could do that Joss because I think you wanted to keep our fav Slayer off the table for now.
And on his supposed last day, Spike finally gets appreciation for his poetry.
So finally back to our title character, the ever brooding Angel. Despite joining Evil Incorporated, Angel seems a bit happier at the start of the season. Yes, vile plots must be foiled, and that is always stressful and everything, but Angel troops on. Maybe he thinks reforming Wolfram and Hart will be what makes the prophecy come true.
But then Spike shows up and complicates virtually every part of his life, much to our glee and his chagrin. Even as Angel professes to hate Spike, they really have one Hellmouth of a bromance. Spike kinda fills the Cordelia role of moral compass, which is somewhat the same job he took on in Buffy season seven, and a funny position for him of all people to be in. Angel might yak and complain and yak about Spike all the time, but in reality I think he kinda digs having Spike keeping him constantly on his toes. Okay, he occasionally vents by attacking Spike and destroying a wall or two, but that can be expected.
And just when Angel might be getting, dare I say it, some control over his fate and making headway to being human, you go and throw that yucky plot device the prophecy back into the mix. Angel and Spike both might be the Champion, and win the lottery to be human, so of course Angel fights for it and gets moody when he looses. Which beings up the finale Joss, where Angel signs away the prophecy, because I seriously seriously seriously doubt that the first Vampire with a soul (that we know of) would give up something like that.
To be human again is Angel’s big goal, all so that he and Buffy can be happier ever after. Forever and ever. With lots and lots of little Slayers and Angels staking around the house. A doggie wagging its tails with joy. And Connor living in a cool apartment above the garage.
Okay, that is all very fanficy Joss, I admit that, but I think I speak for a majority of us with this general picture of awesomeness. But you completely understand the sentiment.
So yeah, Angel signing it all away just to help destroy this last minute Circle villains? Not buying it. Maybe Skip could pull himself together and announce it was all a cosmic joke.
But maybe Angel was all depressed, again, as he often is, and signed away his future because he really wanted to be staked and go to dust.
Buffy does not trust him. Spike beat him. Cordelia dead. Freddie dead. Connor wants nothing to do with him. Gunn disgraced.
That is a lot of mental damage to live with. So is Angel just giving up and going out by destroying some evil in a big large battle?
Or is this his one last shot at being Champion. Earning the title by destroying some evil in a big large battle?
I am really really hoping the Champion route was Angel’s glorious plan all along. Seems fitting after Amends for him to try one more time to save the day and himself.
And on his supposed last day, Angel sees his son Connor.
Wesley really seems to be in his element, being a leader, as he took full advantage of Wolfram and Harts resources to fight evil. He brings Harmony into the loop, plans long term to take out the bad guys, and even stands up to his jerk father. Okay, he even kills his jerk father. It may have turned out to be a robot, but still. And Wesley, ever trying to be the nice guy, even works at reconciling with jerk father. By the Hellmouth I don’t know why, but still. We finally Joss got what we wanted, Wesley and Freddie together. True love to make the heart proud. Then Freddie died in Wesley’s arms and no one was happy. Illyria takes over her body and no one was happy. The new relationship between the new two sends Wesley back to the darkness, where I never liked him. The downward spiral ends with Wesley dying and getting one last moment with “Freddie”. Okay, that got me Joss. And RIP Wesley, ye shall be missed.
And on his real last day, Wesley spends time with Illyria.
Freddie was always a favourite of mine, being the Willow for Angel and everything. And Freddie gets the real cool lab at Wolfram and Hart, fighting the good fight, and showing her mettle yet again, especially when trying to defend Nina the werewolf. Freddie was wonderful, then you had go kill her Joss. RIP Freddie, you were amazing, and even more amazing with Wesley. My sadface was in full force when Freddie died in Wesley’s arms. Which brings up the strangeness of Illyria. I kept trying to understand her relationship with Wesley and what her final purpose would be. Make her good eventually? I also wished you had kept her that powerful Joss, because that level of fighting force would be a gamechanger.
And on her real last day, Freddie embraces her one true love Wesley.
And on her supposed last day, Illyria spends time with Wesley.
While I love Gunn, and really love the new and improved Gunn, now with 100 percent more legal knowledge, I find his decisions lacking. Even with all that law, both human and demon, bouncing around his noggin, and the moral lessons that musicals can offer, he still does stupid things to retain his edge. And those stupid things helped kill Freddie. Gunn was doing so well, helping the helpless and protecting the unprotected, but one lapse in judgment because of temptation cause oh so much heartbreak and damage.
And on his supposed last day, Gunn helps Anne with the poor.
Lorne is awesome as always, and does a great job keeping everyone’s spirits up. Having him run the entertainment division was a no brainer. But Lorne becoming more and more depressed towards the end of the season struck me as out of character. So Lorne killing Lindsay was a logical request, and Lorne walking away I could see because of that request. But all that pity party beforehand, not so much. One quibble, everyone at Wolfram and Hart can fool Lorne when they sing, all for made up reasons?
And on his supposed last day, Lorne sings to entertain.
One breakout character for ya this year Joss was my favourite soulless Vampire, the amazing Harmony. Yes, she is soulless and evil and everything, but she is also fun and mostly loyal and tries really really hard. Loved her episode, hated her being treated badly, and was not surprised at her betrayal. Harmony rocks Joss, and she deserves her own gang. Okay, a better gang than last time.
Lots and lots of fun greatness this season five Joss. The big return of Cordelia had me miss her really really really a lot. Sadface still for her passing, but happyface because she came back one more time Angel and her friends. Andrews return, with the fanfic dashing updates on the Scoobies, and the logical ending with Buffy’s orders, was simply wonderful. Hearing Giles being a jerk to Angel was annoying, but also made sense. Almost, kinda, maybe, possibly seeing the back of Buffy’s head was awesome. The long awaited return of Connor was pretty cool. Loved Nina the werewolf and loved the impeccable Marcus Hamilton. The robot cyborg ninjas I thought were crazy and should have been part of the Big Bad. Why We Fight had the interesting conversation again about the nature of the Vampire, still not quite answered. How much of the old personality is left behind? And finally Joss, that series ending was weird, but I still kinda dug it.
Some of the down points of this final season Joss? Well, I hated Lilah and you replaced her with Eve. And I hated Eve. She was obviously a villainess and held little interest for me. Oh, and speaking of hating, you brought Lindsay back, and that grated on my nerves. Plus it was never explained how he brought Spike back, or made him an almost real boy again, or where the magical tattoos came from, or even what his whole point was. Greatly dislike suburbia as hell and wish Lindsay had stayed there. Knox was annoying as well, evil as well, and now dead as well. If the frakking prophecy is never mentioned again, I shall be happy. Droggyn should have been left in that tree well. The Circle of the Black Thorn are Adam level dull, and kinda out of nowhere. The plot hole of how everyone at Wolfram and Hart was slaughtered, but all these employees talk of working there for years. Really miss Spike and Nikki’s jacket.
But the big thing I hated was the complete non-explanation of who remembered what from the history rewrite involving Connor. Waaaay too much story happened with the moody teen, effecting so many people, to pull it apart would be impossible. And Wesley would have investigated this Connor business after Angel mentioned the name in the season four finale.
What about some of my favourite episodes you ask Joss? Howsabout Conviction and Just Rewards, which set up everything and ghost Spike so well. Unleashed for the werewolf scariness, and Hell Bound for the Spikeness. Lineage with the Wesley focus, and Harm’s Way because Harmony has always been awesome. Damage with all the fallout from the Buffy finale, and You’re Welcome because of the return of CORDELIA!! And finally Smile Time. Gotta LOVE the puppet Angel!
Well Joss, that is all for season five, the final television adventures of our beloved Angel and friends. The continuing story lives on in the comics, which is cool and everything, and I am kinda wondering who survived the legendary alley fight.
My bet they all did. Because that would be different for you Joss.
…is currently reading Watership Down by Richard Adams. And clutching my copy of Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee very very close.