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  • Season 5

    There is one like this in the Buffy section for S6&7, and I thought this season was very controversial, so I needed to know some opinions!

    Personally? I thought it was the weakest season. The loss of Cordelia really showed, especially when they brought her back in "You're Welcome" to compare. Plus, the setting irked me. It was bright, more happy than I wanted. I know, sounds weird, but Angel fits so well in The Hyperion Hotel, but he just doesn't blend with Wolfram and Hart. We also lost a lot of the show we gained. The whole thing in Season 4 was forgotten, and characters changed drastically. A lot of the standalones, like Conviction, Just Rewards, Unleashed, Cautionary Tale, and TGIQ are ridiculously bad and cheesy. There are some great episodes like Not Fade Away (my favorite episode) and Shells but it did not make up for the beginning half. Eve was a lame excuse to try and bring back Lilah in a different character. She was an annoying bitch that I could not stand. Also, I liked Illyria, but not as much as Fred! Fred was killed off! Amy gave an excellent performance, and Illyria gave us back a little of the badass Wes we lost but still, it was Fred! They killed off all the girl leads! Minus Harmony, of course, who was underused. And Spike....wow, could that have been more lame? I'll give a Spike rant at a later time

  • #2
    I'm just beginning season 4 in my first rewatching of AtS, so my impressions here might well shift as I come to understand the series as a whole better.

    But I think season 5 is very powerful. There are a smattering of things I don't like, but overall -- guh -- very gutsy television.

    Pros:

    1. W&H has been trying to seduce Angel for years, and they finally named the price that would bring him over: Connor. Not only do they get him in their organization, with the illusion that he'll be able to make a difference from the inside, they get him to agree to an intrinsically evil act -- mind-wiping his friends (and Connor) in order to make it possible to 'save' Connor. W&H have already won before Angel steps foot in the door, and Angel isn't even aware of this.

    2. The effects of the mind wipe DOES mean that we really have no idea who any of the affected characters are. What do they really remember of their histories? I find this especially poignant in the case of Wesley, who almost certainly does not remember the most significant event in his life -- his kidnapping of Connor and Angel's subsequent attempt on his life. It's chilling to watch these people give their loyalty to a man who has so thoroughly betrayed them. They are shells of themselves. Pun thoroughly intended. No wonder Angel feels so isolated -- he no longer has a shared history with the people to whom he's the closest.

    3. It was interesting to watch Angel deal with the mirror provided by Spike, the other vampire with a soul. Angel has been so vested in the uniqueness of his label as the champion, *the* vampire with a soul. It's great to see that taken from him, so that he has to start looking for real at the man underneath rather than relying on the label. By the end of the season, he still doesn't have a truthful picture of himself. But he's closer than he was. And their dynamic is generally interesting. They really are family -- regressing emotionally around each other -- but fundamentally loyal to each other.

    4. NFA is possibly the darkest hour on television. And bless them, it looks like AtF knows how dark it was. (I've often wondered whether the writers intended for it to be *that* dark.)

    5. Best line ever: "There's a hole in the world. Feels like we ought to have known."

    Cons:

    1. I don't love Fred/Wesley and Fred's death scene is over-the-top. Though it does work as a device for making concrete just how heavy the price was for coming to W&H.

    2. Eve is lame.

    3. Unclear picture of what Lindsey wants or what he's up to. In general the plotting seems weak. It looks to me like there was a mad scramble to pull things together for the series finale after the cancellation was announced. Bottom line: NFA is not as sharp as it should be because the run up to it is so rushed.

    4. It bugs me to know that they used the stand-alones because the networks wanted them. I'd rather think that Spike was there because of his usefulness to the story rather than network demands. I wish they had sorted out a better ending for Cordelia, who up through the penultimate episode of season 3 was a fabulous character. The season just looks to be visibily impacted more often than it should be by external considerations.

    Still -- a season about a hero who sold his soul and doesn't hardly even know it is gutsy TV, like I said. The dynamic in the wake of the mindwipe is pretty gutsy too. High marks for ambitions. And honorable mention for having conceived W&H in the first place. A show in which the hero learns that the real evil in the world is in our hearts not externalized in big bads is cool. A show in which the hero can visibly forget that lesson because life has tossed one to many tragedies his way is even better. To have this richer conception of evil embodied in the form of an evil lawfirm? Meep.
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    • #3
      I actually think Season 5 of "Angel" had some of that show's best episodes. It's not the trees I don't like, but the actual forest. Season 5 basically stripped Angel of "hero" status for me in almost every way. I really didn't like that the season tried to present the characters' dilemma over going to Wolfram & Hart and whether they were doing any good there as an issue that actually had too reasonable points of view. It was a bad idea early, bad idea in the middle, bad idea late, and they never did do a substantial lick of good that they might have been able to do from ground level. Their biggest "achievement" was a suicide run that apparently was a completely ineffectual act that just got millions of people sent to a hell dimension right along with them.
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      • #4
        I'm still not sure about my feelings for season 5. Somethings I loved, but there were things I hated about the season. But the second part of the seaon was so fantastic I can't dislike the season. And it was a much better last season as BtVS had. I'll do pro's and con's ... just like Maggie.

        Pro's:
        A really good big bad, W&H are scary, smart and powerful. I like the whole concept of Wolfram & Hart, they are thinking bigger as lame 'kill humanity' and 'let's finish the world' plans. And the Circle of the Black Thorn were just good enough as the generals. Strong and scary, but the gang could beat them without a big plothole.

        Connor, I don't think I ever disliked a character on tv as much as I disliked Connor (well, Owen of Torchwood perhaps) ... but the sacrifice of Angel really made a difference. Connor was likeble and I can understand Connor now.

        The grey morality; It's not always black or white ... good or evil. Most of the time it's somewhere in between and this season shows that more as ever. Angel kills for the greater good, Gunn who is corrupted, the brainwash Angel made happen to save his son. The way the scoobies reacted was also a great point of this grey moral. Team Buffy was always more 'Black vs. White', and that was showed in Damage once again. The difference was nice ... I'm on the side of Angel and his gang ... but I don't think Buffy was wrong ... according her rules ... Angel went to far no matter what the reason was. She doesn't have to play with his rules, neither does Angel with hers btw.

        Lorne leaving, I love Lorne ... but I loved his depature more. He showed that not everybody is ready to fight in this war. It made it more human, this warriors are human.

        The last goodbye of Cordelia, I would love to see more Cordelia but this was a beautiful goodbye. The last we've seen of Cordelia ... was a grown up woman ... but still Cordelia.

        Angel's story in this season, from a depressed, weak CEO back to the brave (and a little stupid and naive) warrior. And he finally found peace in the final. He won of Hamilton because he was a vampire ... a slayer (or something else) wouldn't have won.

        Harmony, I loved her ... She was there just enough. She was there for the laughs and the fun ... just like Andrew ... only better.

        con's

        I didn't like Spike there, Spike was a character who needed a lot of attention. The Angel crew had to clean up the mess the Buffy crew made. Back on BtVS, Spike showed no remorse and he was always there to be Buffy's cheerleader. On Ats he had to grow, he needed to show remorse and learn of Angel instead of laughing about him. The Angel crew made that happen and I liked Spike again *yeeh* ... but it costed to many screentime. So no screentime for poor Wesley, Fred, Lorne and Gunn in the Angel and Spike show. I was really happy the second part of the season restored the balance.

        Illyria ... I didn't like her. I love Fred but Illyria wasn't all that.
        What's up with the mini skirts of Fred btw?

        Eve, not a big fan of Eve. I loved Lilah.

        Lindsay, gah! I like Lindsay, but his story was poor. I mean ... that was his masterplan? He trained and planned fot the stupid plan in You're Welcome?

        Not enough Cordelia.

        'The Girl in Question', why do we always have to see how Buffy moved on and Angel didn't. Why did he act like a little child who's cookie was stolen? Hello! He cried! Angel cried because Buffy dated a new person. Which kind of Angel hater wrote that? I don't want to believe that Angel cried. *La La La, can't hear you*

        Good season, not the best.
        Last edited by Nina; 26-11-07, 07:22 PM. Reason: I can't type.

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        • #5
          What's up with the mini skirts of Fred btw?
          I don't know, but they clearly didn't use them nearly enough. Terrible oversight. Long legs and brains!
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          • #6
            I don't think there is a weak season of Angel personally but I enjoyed it less than some of the others. I actually tink some of the weakest episodes are in Season 1.

            I agree with Nina mostly but I'll copy and paste what I wrote on another forum.

            Common complaints:
            1. Too much Spike

            I actually liked Spike and Angel. I like comparing their characters.

            2. Not enough Lorne

            There were some nice Lorne moments but I agree he was underused. If they had another season then maybe that could have perhaps been a little better.

            3. Eve's a waste of space

            Eve should have got kicked out of garden long ago. It's annoying really because I understand what they were trying to do and it didn't work. They had to replace Lorne as the chorus/confident but she's not warm enough for Angel to really trust her but she's not sexy/dark enough to be interesting. I get that they tried to have all the moral ambiguity but she seemed dull and annoying when she was trying to be seductive and smart.

            4. Illyria should have been introduced sooner

            I would have loved to have seen more Illyria.

            Season 5 is kind of wonky but I have to say that's more the pressure of the network rather than the evil of Joss lol.

            It does have some gems in my opinions.

            What struck about the season is that it's changes the premise of the show without us losing Angel completely. It asks the question 'Can you fight the system from the inside of the Beast' and it's not an easy question to answer, especially in the last season when moral absolutes were attacked to readily. All Angel has left is his own morals and believes. I actually believe this but our champion takes this to the next level in the final episode.

            Things I liked and issues I had:

            Lindsay

            I loved seeing Lindsay back. It struck me how smart he is. I mean he's relatively young but he's acheived more than most of the lawyers at W&H. I believe he really take Holland Manner's speech to heart. It's about power. Lindsay turned his back on justice and chose power and if he takes this as gospel which he seemed to, then he'll always be a threat. Power doesn't care about good and evil, it doesn't care who it hurts; it pursues tenaciously like a ravenous beast. To Angel Lindsay's no different or better than the Senior Partners. Lorne must have read that Lindsay would do anything he can to get to the top which is why he agreed to kill him (I don't like it when people paint Lorne to be the victim and Angel the horrible monster who made him do it, Lorne agreed dammit and more or less gave his reason to Lindsay himself) It doesn't matter whether you compromise with good, if your intentions are ultimately for gain and this greed is insatiable, with W&H always existing in one way or another, you'll never be a part of the solution.

            He made a great villain although I couldn't really see him with Eve. Darla was captivating and had depth, Eve, doesn't. I heard a theory that Eve was Lindsay's sacrifice to get into the circle. I thought that made sense. Lindsay could do better.

            Lorne

            Why go through the trouble of making someone a Season regular only to use them less than before. It was interesting however to discover that Lorne often pays lip service rather actually give his honest opinion. When you think about it, this must be true. Lorne joined AI as an official employee so he must have been interested in justice.

            I think I remember in Conviction however, when he is reading their employees he puts the 'Evil' column before the 'To be fired' column. Does this mean Lorne is willing to compromise with evil? This said at the end I found Lorne amazing, showing real depth of character. He is actually the most judgemental of Angel's morally ambiguous actions. In all fairness he's not simply getting at Angel, it's W&H. I think he blames himself for flirting so readily with the shades of grey. Although Lorne isn't in Season 5 a great deal, his moments of development were interesting

            Spike

            Spike was a little irritating in early Season 5 although his development was interesting. For me the whole 'for the girl' thing started to great at the end of Season 7 of Buffy.

            "I did this for you. The soul, the changes - it's what you wanted."

            That made me want to heave. When she said he should go back to being the badass Spike he obliged, but I still felt dry because I wondered if Buffy said 'Spike bend over' would he say 'How far?'.

            What I liked about Spike on Angel is that he began to get his own identity as a hero outside the definition of one Buffy Summers. He even stated that he stayed in LA because it's what he wanted (as opposed to staying for Fred's memory) This was spot on and I respected him a lot more.

            Good eps

            There were some good eps

            Conviction was a great opener, perhaps one of the best.(City Of was good but Judgement, Heartthrob and Deep Down were actually comparitively average imo)

            Lineage was just WOW!!!!! Cements Wes as one of my fave characters

            Destiny has some great choreograhy. It almost feels cinematic compare that fight to early Buffy fights.

            Damage, is a great ep that reflects on both vampires and their days of evil.

            You're Welcome. Cordy, Great!!!!!! CC's best performance on Angel ever.

            Smile Time is a funny episode but's more than that. I'll probably analyse that at some point.

            A Hole in.../Shells I take these eps as one. Great! Heart rending, well acted. "Why can't I stay?"

            Underneath has Lindsay. Nuff said.

            Power Play. Angel's gone dark, or has he.....?

            NFA. Angel shows why he's the champion of the human condition. I bet Angel does slay the dragon.

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            • #7
              The first time I watched season 5, I absolutely hated it. Well, not absolutely. There were some episodes I thought were excellent: Not Fade Away, Smile Time, Soul Purpose, Damage. There were other episodes I quite enjoyed but can't really remember well enough to list off the top of my head. And then there were episodes I loathed or scorned with the strength of a thousand firey suns: Hole in the World, You're Welcome (well, I didn't loath that at all, I just thought it was a big dumb fun episode "worthy" of Smallville! Why did Lindsey's shirt come off? And?a giant crab? Seriously! And, Cordy turning up just to snog Angel and then die?oh, yes, that's doing justice to the character?)

              Rewatching the season recently, I enjoyed it a lot more. The things that bugged me before still bugged me ? the schmaltzy crap of Hole in the World, the poor pacing (the end of the season felt sooo rushed) and the disappointment I felt, that the premise of the new season was excellent but somehow the way it was executed never quite lived up to that gestalt shift.

              However, the flow of it seemed a little better - perhaps because I was braced for the jumpy-rushed feeling at the end of the season? And a lot of the imagery is excellent ? Soul Purpose is a much under-rated ep on that score. The way they deal with the idea of Spike getting the Shanshu ties together the ideas surrounding Spike, Angel and their potential for humanity beautifully (and also, funny). The fairy tale elements of Spike and Angel's story come to the fore and we get a nice echo of OMWF ("Strong, some day he'll be a real boy"?and when Spike's talking about others, he so often unwittingly reflects on himself? "Pacey you bloody idiot, don't you know she'll never love you?"). The image of Angel's soul as a goldfish, of Fred gutting him ? it's vivid and takes you in all kinds of interesting directions. I'm also enjoying the pilfering from comics there ? it was originally an Alan Moore Superman story, wasn't it? With the parasite that makes you hallucinate?

              I still hate that they killed off all the female characters in passive/non-heroic ways, or provided us with rubbish ones/ones defined by their love relationships (Eve, Nina). Actually, the coooolest female character in season 5 was only in it for a few minutes. The psychic in Hellbound rocked. But she was dead before she'd had a chance to do much. Loved her bit about "the crack of "why am I awake" and "let me do my sweet funky". So very LA.

              I am soooo bored of the possession/pregnancy idea on Angel? first Cordy, then Fred, getting scooped out by the thing inside them?which I suppose also happened to Darla in a different way. The woman is lost, a new thing replaces her. There's some serious pregnancy anxiety going on there. Or perhaps Joss just watched Rosemary's Baby too many times? And Illyria, the product of that scooping, reminded me too much of "She Woman Cat Type Thing" to take seriously ? anyone remember that Harry Enfield sketch? No? *is old, boring and English, like Y?ul Brynner?*

              The idea of someone speaking in an over-formal, archaic way?seems like something Terry Pratchett did ages ago, and was funny when I was ten but not so much any more. bit where she talks about "drinking that poison and making noise with your nose" to Wes?cringed a bit. Try. Harder. With the comedy. Though she was funny in her double act with Spike. I want to keep Spike as my pet? Fight off the fangirls first, lady She became more interesting when she started to act Fred-ish, but still. I'd rather have Fred, thanks. She was just starting to seem large and in charge (or teeny weeny and in charge) when they offed her.

              But still. There's much to enjoy in season 5. It's got some big flaws and some irritating elements ? ooh, another one is the way they keep having to recap for new viewers, ie the way they seem to keep saying "we're in an evil law firm, but we're the good guys, what's that about huh?" (perhaps they don't say it as often as I think they do, but enough to pish me off!).

              However, and I do keep meaning to get to the good stuff, there is some great stuff. Some of the Angel/Spike interactions are genuinely funny. I love Gunn realising that he's sold Fred up the river (it's one part of the Dead Fred storyline that I really enjoy). I loved Lineage, even though the robot ninjas seem a bit random to this day?who was behind that again? And then the questions raised by Angel's position in the belly of the beast. The opening bit of Conviction, excellent ? with the woman thinking he's doing it for publicity. Oh, and then Not Fade Away, where Angel's essentially responsible for an apocalypse, rather than being the person standing in the way of ?em. Curiouser and curiouser, further up and farther in?to quote the two Lewises

              Connor, also comes into his own in season 5. I love the layering of Fake!Connor over Real!Connor. Not quite sure about the mindwipe, because I feel they didn't explore it as much as they might have. Though I do like the bit about Wes's pen.

              "There's a hole in the world. Feels like we ought to have known."
              Can't help hearing that in a scouse accent?like "There's a hole in my pocket" in Yellow Submarine.

              However, the inevitability of the devil deal did have force, even if the way it played out was rocky in places.

              Oh and re Lorne's "bitchin' big suit"? Spike clearly hadn't seen Adam Baldwin yet. That man is BIG. And lots of fun, far more fun than wet blanket eve. Though neither deserved to kiss the feet of Lilah of course. Really missed her that season. Was the actress not available or something?


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              • #8
                Power Play. Angel's gone dark, or has he.....?
                Snapped the neck of another champion who was only in danger because Angel got him involved so... yeah, he has

                NFA. Angel shows why he's the champion of the human condition. I bet Angel does slay the dragon.
                Or...
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                • #9
                  Hehe. I haven't read the Season 6 yet and the time I originally wrote this was soon after finishing the fifth season. But I've avoided all spoilers so far...

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                  • #10
                    No spoilers, don't worry. He very well might have

                    Still don't buy Angel as hero... really at any point in Season 5, but even less so at the end. He was just a desperate guy trying to get out of a bad spot he put himself in.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                      Still don't buy Angel as hero... really at any point in Season 5, but even less so at the end. He was just a desperate guy trying to get out of a bad spot he put himself in.
                      I don't know if I buy it. His plan was stupid, he was being naive and he didn't thought it over ... but he believed himself I guess. He believed in making the world a better place, or at least fighting for it. Yes, I think he was desperate. But in 'Deep Down' (far before the whole W&H trouble) he said;

                      Originally posted by buffyworld.com
                      Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. - It's harsh, and cruel. - But that's why there's us. Champions. It doesn't matter where we come from, what we've done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world was what it should be, to show it what it can be.
                      I don't like the word 'champion', but I think it's used as another word for 'hero'. He believed he should change the world (or at least trying) to be a hero. And that is what he did, he did what he thought heroes did. He did what he thought the world expected from him. And he failed, I like that he failed ... his plan wasn't good. But his intentions were ... and I guess that is enough to make him some kind of hero ... well he will always be an anti-hero.

                      And all his mistakes are human mistakes, and so is the reason he was in W&H. Angel is more human as he thinks he is. He doesn't see himself that way, he thinks he is a monster ... he just tries to make up for that. He makes mistakes, but I think we shouldn't be to hard on him.

                      If winning makes someone a hero, Buffy will be the greatest hero ever ... but her intensions and plans aren't better as Angel's intentions or plans. Angel failed where Buffy always won. But she isn't better as him I guess. Still she is called a hero in the end.

                      I don't think this post makes al lot of sense, but neither do my thoughts ...
                      I believe Angel is some kind of hero, because he is ready to fight and die to change the world.

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                      • #12
                        I don't know if I buy it. His plan was stupid, he was being naive and he didn't thought it over ... but he believed himself I guess. He believed in making the world a better place, or at least fighting for it. Yes, I think he was desperate. But in 'Deep Down' (far before the whole W&H trouble) he said;


                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by buffyworld.com
                        Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. - It's harsh, and cruel. - But that's why there's us. Champions. It doesn't matter where we come from, what we've done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world was what it should be, to show it what it can be.
                        But everything about Season 5 contradicts what he said in "Deep Down" -- and what he said in "Epiphany". Season 5 was all about him looking for the shortcut, to compromise, to relativize. Nothing about shaking hands with Sebassis and marginalizing the clubhopper being attacked by a vampire in an alley for the sake of breaking up supernatural arms dealers is living "as thought the world was what it should be". Everything about Wolfram & Hart in Season 5 was Angel and the others giving in to the world as it is, and ignoring what it could be.

                        And when they finally had gone too far to realize it, they were trapped, and they'd never get free of W&H. Killing the Black Thorn, *knowing* it would probably get them killed and who knows who else was just a desperate measure to try to escape and salvage their integrity in the process. It wouldn't save the world -- even Angel admits that it had *no meaning* other than as a symbolic act.

                        I don't like the word 'champion', but I think it's used as another word for 'hero'. He believed he should change the world (or at least trying) to be a hero. And that is what he did, he did what he thought heroes did. He did what he thought the world expected from him. And he failed, I like that he failed ... his plan wasn't good. But his intentions were ... and I guess that is enough to make him some kind of hero ... well he will always be an anti-hero.
                        I think of champion as a fine term. I'm pretty sure that it was introduced into the Angel vernacular in 2.01 "Judgment" by the Tribunal. The entire premise being that the unnamed pregnant woman... needed a champion. Someone who'd fight to protect her.

                        Angel wasn't an 'anti-hero' other than in that stretch of Season 2 and, I suppose, in Season 5. He was a pretty straight-laced hero the rest of the time, and much better for it. He didn't think Season 5 was what a hero would or should do, he admitted it frequently. It's at the core of his personal conflict all the way through the season, in fact, as he finds himself constantly forced to defend the indefensible choice and finding himself unable to do it.

                        If winning makes someone a hero, Buffy will be the greatest hero ever ... but her intensions and plans aren't better as Angel's intentions or plans. Angel failed where Buffy always won. But she isn't better as him I guess. Still she is called a hero in the end.
                        Angel didn't pull his hero status into question by losing, but by compromising. Buffy doesn't need to win to be the greater hero between them. Buffy wouldn't have taken the W&H deal in the first place.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                          But everything about Season 5 contradicts what he said in "Deep Down" -- and what he said in "Epiphany". Season 5 was all about him looking for the shortcut, to compromise, to relativize. Nothing about shaking hands with Sebassis and marginalizing the clubhopper being attacked by a vampire in an alley for the sake of breaking up supernatural arms dealers is living "as thought the world was what it should be". Everything about Wolfram & Hart in Season 5 was Angel and the others giving in to the world as it is, and ignoring what it could be.
                          Isn't the story of season 5, the story about a defeaten team who stands up again? They were in a place where they didn't belong and they tried to fight it. They knew they couldn't make a difference. The only thing they could was fighting against the way it was ...

                          And when they finally had gone too far to realize it, they were trapped, and they'd never get free of W&H. Killing the Black Thorn, *knowing* it would probably get them killed and who knows who else was just a desperate measure to try to escape and salvage their integrity in the process. It wouldn't save the world -- even Angel admits that it had *no meaning* other than as a symbolic act.
                          The whole idea was standing up against the gods who played with humans. All you have is your own choice to fight the plan of the gods. Warriors go down, but their dream can't be beaten. It won't save the world, because the world was doomed ... the Wolf, the Ram and the Hart will take over the world once ... they can't lose or be beaten. They are everywere in everyone, in everything. And not just on earth. We learned that in season 2 ... Wolfram & Hart aren't leaving ever ... All Angel could do was showing them, as long humanity has a choice, they didn't control the world completely. It was symbolic because that was the only possible thing to do. Again, I agree that the plan is poor, but the idea isn't IMO.

                          Angel wasn't an 'anti-hero' other than in that stretch of Season 2 and, I suppose, in Season 5. He was a pretty straight-laced hero the rest of the time, and much better for it. He didn't think Season 5 was what a hero would or should do, he admitted it frequently. It's at the core of his personal conflict all the way through the season, in fact, as he finds himself constantly forced to defend the indefensible choice and finding himself unable to do it.
                          Angel will always be an anti-hero IMO. His history and the demon inside doesn't give him a chance as a real hero. Angel will always be the tragic hero who will never win. He wil fight until his death, and after that he goes to hell. He was for a hundred years a pretty pathetic man. His 'anti-hero' hightpoint was season 2, but he will always be one I think.

                          Angel didn't pull his hero status into question by losing, but by compromising. Buffy doesn't need to win to be the greater hero between them. Buffy wouldn't have taken the W&H deal in the first place.
                          It was a stupid move, but I never understood him better as that moment.

                          If Angel didn't sign the contract with W&H, he would be a bad father ... at least in his own eyes. Angel failed in everything in his life, he was a bad son, in 'Home' he just ended wordpeace and he was doubting if that was the right thing, he was a bad lover and often a bad friend. I don't think he could live with himself if he was also a bad father. He felt guilt for the way Connor was in 'Home'. Maybe it was stupid, but Angel didn't love anything more in this world and he didn't destroy the world by signing the contract. There was a choice, but I don't think you can ask a father to make an other choice. Angel tries to save the world, but most of all; He tries to save humanity. And how can you do that when you destroy you own humanity by giving up your son.

                          BTW, I don't think that you can say that Buffy wouldn't do it. Buffy was ready to end the world so Dawn didn't had to die in 'The Gift'. If Dawn would stand there with a knock-out Xander behind her and Buffy felt guilty for that situation ... I think and hope she would show her humanity and sold her soul just like Angel.
                          Last edited by Nina; 26-11-07, 11:45 PM. Reason: L-O-N-G not L-O-N-D

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Nina View Post
                            Isn't the story of season 5, the story about a defeaten team who stands up again? They were in a place where they didn't belong and they tried to fight it. They knew they couldn't make a difference. The only thing they could was fighting against the way it was ...
                            I think this is what Angel meant in the "It doesn't matter if we make a difference" portion of the champion speech.

                            The whole idea was standing up against the gods who played with humans. All you have is your own choice to fight the plan of the gods.
                            This is kind of a continuation of the nature of choice that is crucial to the human condition as Angel sees it. It was important in Peace Out dispite the Utilitarian argument she made. The price was still too high as far as he was concerned. There was no guarantee that Jasmine was wrong especially in a world steeped in not only what is represented as evil but also different perspective on what is considered morally right. We have this explored a little on Buffy in Choices. Wesley was hailed as being insensitive even though his logic was actually sound, and let us not forget Buffy not killing Ben. Wonderfully merciful or reckless/overly soft hearted decision?

                            If Angel is carrying on from killing Jasmine in the symbolic sense then indeed killing God is indeed an act of empowerment with it's own merit if indeed man can place value in such an act. If mankind has the power of that choice than, well it can mean everything.

                            Warriors go down, but their dream can't be beaten. It won't save the world, because the world was doomed ... the Wolf, the Ram and the Hart will take over the world once ... they can't lose or be beaten. They are everywere in everyone, in everything.
                            But as long as mankind has choice then this is their greatest weapon. The hidden Utilitarian purpose could reveal itself as a kind of positive propaganda as far as Angel's message is concerned. A move like this makes waves. If mankind knows that they can fought, then even in the depth of dispair these elements of humanity that Angel holds dear can breath in hope if nothing else.


                            And not just on earth. We learned that in season 2 ... Wolfram & Hart aren't leaving ever ... All Angel could do was showing them, as long humanity has a choice, they didn't control the world completely. It was symbolic because that was the only possible thing to do. Again, I agree that the plan is poor, but the idea isn't IMO.
                            Well if the idea is important enough then the plan stands as victorious in it's own right. In terms of the bare bones, it was a successful plan, all that can be debated is whether it means something.

                            Angel will always be an anti-hero IMO. His history and the demon inside doesn't give him a chance as a real hero. Angel will always be the tragic hero who will never win. He wil fight until his death, and after that he goes to hell. He was for a hundred years a pretty pathetic man. His 'anti-hero' hightpoint was season 2, but he will always be one I think.
                            I think Joss was trying to portray that message. Angel had gotten himself where he is but that doesn't mean he gives up. According to Angel there is no big win but it doesn't negate what has happened before in terms of tragedy, moments of kindness, placing mean in a seemingly meaningless world.



                            It was a stupid move, but I never understood him better as that moment.
                            The stupid depends on the value the act has. Maybe that the statement can mean everything and nothing is part of the point, part of what makes both powerful and meaningless in a single glance. Maybe it's the very nature of humanity, nothing about it is pure. It's muddied by perspectives and concepts of sin. Maybe Angel as a hero has given up the idea of purification by definition or in terms of a reward.

                            I
                            f Angel didn't sign the contract with W&H, he would be a bad father ... at least in his own eyes.
                            When my mum watched this she said, she couldn't imagine what parent wouldn't cross some lines to see that their child is ok and happy. It's kind of like the story of idealistic public defender working for the law firm which represents everything he despises to put his son through college.

                            Angel failed in everything in his life, he was a bad son, in 'Home' he just ended wordpeace and he was doubting if that was the right thing, he was a bad lover and often a bad friend. I don't think he could live with himself if he was also a bad father.
                            I think Angel felt a lot of guilt for the things he's done however to quote Jack White "No matter what you do you'll always feel as though you tripped and fell".

                            Finding one's own path I think was important. Joss often said that's what Angel's about.

                            He felt guilt for the way Connor was in 'Home'. Maybe it was stupid, but Angel didn't love anything more in this world and he didn't destroy the world by signing the contract. There was a choice, but I don't think you can ask a father to make an other choice. Angel tries to save the world, but most of all; He tries to save humanity. And how can you do that when you destroy you own humanity by giving up your son.
                            Well that's the flip of Angel's world. His getting personally involved as been both a blessing a bane but I think Angel wouldn't have it any other way.

                            BTW, I don't think that you can say that Buffy wouldn't do it. Buffy was ready to end the world so Dawn didn't had to die in 'The Gift'. If Dawn would stand there with a knock-out Xander behind her and Buffy felt guilty for that situation ... I think and hope she would show her humanity and sold her soul just like Angel
                            Haven't got a clue what Buffy would do nowadays but, we'll save that for Season 8 of BVTS.

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                            • #15
                              Rewatching the season recently, I enjoyed it a lot more. The things that bugged me before still bugged me ? the schmaltzy crap of Hole in the World, the poor pacing (the end of the season felt sooo rushed) and the disappointment I felt, that the premise of the new season was excellent but somehow the way it was executed never quite lived up to that gestalt shift.
                              Well to be fair, the production didn't know they were canceled until very late in the season (episode 18 I belive) and so thats bound to have complicated matters, and made them rush them headlong into things that they probably wouldn't have touched on until the following year.

                              Season five is one of my favorite seasons, and yes, being a Spike fan I'm going to be biased, aren't I. *g*

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                              • #16
                                My take on S5 seems to be a bit different from a lot of you out there.

                                Firstly, I think S5 is probably one of my favourite seasons (1st place to S2) maybe even my second favourite, and I think this is in part down to the episodic quality rather than the season-long story that it was in the previous season, in part down to the truly hilarious scenes that accompanied Spike's inclusion into the dynamics, but mostly down to the realistic portrayal of Angel's depression and how that affected him and everyone around him.

                                Angel's attitude from S1 to S4 changed a huge amount. He went from being a loner on the fringes of society, to having friends, a worthwhile job and a purpose in life, oh and drop a kid in that mix as well - all signs of growing into an adult. By the time we've got to S4, Angel has started to doubt that this path was everything he hoped for and the heartbreak of a lost love and a wayward son has rubbed off to make him much more disallusioned and lost. Signs of having grown up and re-evaluating your life.

                                Anyone who has experienced depression or has seen it up close in a friend or family member will probably agree that bad decisions are made when in the midst of "lows". During the low of losing his son to Cordelia, finding out that she, his love, was being hi-jacked by a higher power and then realising that nothing he did to put it right would bring either of those people back to him, he was offered a chance to put at least some of it right.

                                Generally, when something seems too good to be true then it's a safe bet that it is going to go wrong, and badly wrong, so you should stay away. That's what most people would do, right? Imagine, for one second that you have been through what Angel went through, are feeling totally desolate and someone offers you an opportunity to wipe the slate clean, would you consider it? I know I would.

                                So we know that Angel not only considered it but took the chance to improve his situation. As he says in AtF "In an existence defined by bad choices, that was my worst" I think he knew very early on that he made a wrong decision, and instead of feeling better he spiralled deeper into depression - doubting his role in life and feeling guilty about the obvious affect on his friends. The mirror of Spike, clearly didn't help matters. That is the beauty of S5 - we make bad decisions in life and have to deal with the consequences. Generally in TV land, that equates to "Oop's I accidentally killed someone, oh well I'm sorry now so that makes it all ok" but this season is much more realistic in it's portrayal of the awfulness of a bad decision and the sad and depressing consequences.

                                For the first couple of episodes Angel is still trying to convince himself, and put on a show for the others that it was a good idea to go to Wolfram and Hart, but by the time we get to the 6th episode (The Cautionary Tale Of Numero Cinco) his facade has faded and Wesley can see that Angel is in trouble. I adore this episode as a tool for showing Angel how far down the wrong road he's wandered and how much further he could easily go if he didn't stop himself - to a beaten down man with nothing but stories to remind him that he was a champion once. (The repeat of the theme in Soul Purpose of seeing Angel pushing the mail cart after Spike gets Shanshued is genius)

                                Although he doesn't come out of it right away he is starting to heal from this point, but it is through the return of Cordelia that he finally sees a way out of the mess he's made. Her short visit is exactly what he needed to pick him up, shake him around and kick him up the arse (which was always Cordy's best trait when it came to Angel). We see a completely different Angel after this, much more go-getting like he was before. Sometimes in life things change and people move out of our lives. We miss them but carry on. They pop back into your life for a short period and it gives you the chance to reflect on how things have changed since you last saw each other. That was the exact point of having Cordy back for so short a time, to give Angel that chance to reflect, make decisions and move on.

                                Many of you have said that the run from AHITW to NFA was brilliant and I can't help but agree and that it was much more like previous Angel seasons. It was rewarding to see Angel feeling more like his old self after the dark times - the up made more satifying because of the downs. I don't agree that his plan in NFA went against his philosophy in Epiphany, in fact I think it strictly follows it to every degree. His words then were:- "If there is no great glorious end to all this, if - nothing we do matters, - then all that matters is what we do" At W&H Angel sees the power that evil holds and that there is no way that he could ever put a stop to something so all-encompassing, so instead of trying for the big win he goes for whatever he can. He can't bring down the senior partners, he knows that, but because of his rebellion he can show them that they don't own him - all that matters is what we do.

                                This season concentrates on Angel for the most part, so that causes some of the others to get sidelined (poor Lorne!), however they still go through an awful lot - Wesley and Gunn especially - and all have great character developement, which with a Joss show is a pre-requisite. The lack of Lorne and the inclusion of Spike maybe disliked by many, but I don't find it troubling. Lorne offered a lot of levity and that didn't fit in this season as much as the earlier ones, so to me makes sense. I loved the fact that Spike was always in front of Angel as a reminder that he'd strayed very far since leaving Buffy, like a knife in the gut - painful, obvious and difficult to heal. I totally agree that Spike was added to the cast list to pull Buffy fans over but he was used intelligently for the most part, and his character developement was faster in this season IMO than in two seasons of Buffy, (where he seemed to stagnate) so who cares?

                                It seems, reading through the list of complaints about the season, that a lot dislike it because of the difference to previous seasons - that it strayed away from the original concept. That's exactly why I'm so enamoured with it. The show didn't allow itself to become stale and moved into a new direction with interesting dilemmas and choices to make. The metaphors were still strong, the acting was as good as it always was and the Big Bad of W&H couldn't've been bettered - the true, ultimate evil! (The First, not so much - incorporeal beasty that doesn't do anything for months then launches an army which can be wiped out with an amulet - bah what piffle!)

                                I think the only thing I can think of that I truly dislike about this season is the fact that it's the last one, and I could see soo much more story to tell with all the characters. I really, really hope that AtF is good and popular because I want to see a lot more story of this band of charcters - more so than Buffy.
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                                • #17
                                  I've always assumed season 5 was the best season of Angel.. because I've seen so many praise it.. on this board as well as in reviews and critical success. I personally find it to be the strongest season of Angel.. Sure it has some of their weakest episodes (Why We Fight and The Girl In Question.. yes we're talking to you.) However, the final 7-8 episodes are all incredible.. from A Hole In The World to Not Fade Away (bar TGIQ).. the episodes are all unbelievable. Watching Amy Acker act is incredible.. and it made me realize what an incredible actor she is in terms of character ability. Personally I am not familiar with Angel enough to actually compare it to others.. I've only seen season 1, selected amounts of 2, none of 3, season 4, and 5.

                                  Rewatching the season recently, I enjoyed it a lot more. The things that bugged me before still bugged me ? the schmaltzy crap of Hole in the World, the poor pacing (the end of the season felt sooo rushed) and the disappointment I felt, that the premise of the new season was excellent but somehow the way it was executed never quite lived up to that gestalt shift.
                                  Which brings me back to my other point.. without a doubt the strongest piece of writing in the Angelverse. A Hole In The World is a beautiful masterpiece.. and it rivals The Body in terms of tragedy purposes. This episode is when I truly began to fall in love with Angel.. and began to realize how amazing the show can be. A Hole In The World touches parts of me that even Buffy sometimes hasn't.. and I was stunned when I watched the episode. The character interaction.. Spike and Angel.. the forest scene.. Amy Acker's performance.. Wesley's emotions.. Gunn's guilt trips.. I can't even describe how astonishing it is.

                                  I think there are plenty of "fun" episodes that get overlooked as well.. especially Life Of The Party.. this is Angel's "Older and Far Away" .. except actually pretty good. I enjoyed watching the characters.. and although the plot wasn't anything great.. it made me enjoy watching TV.. sometimes a thing even the greatest of dramas can miss. I also have to mention Just Rewards.. a fantastic episode. Spike coming back was such a breath of fresh air.. and once seeing that episode.. I knew I wouldn't be upset with his resurrection. Smile Time is a hilarious episode.. and one of the funniest episodes of a show I've seen in a long time. I don't think anyone really likes Nina.. but I tolerated her because I was entwined into the show. And well.. everyone knows the ending... the best fitting way to end the season.. and the best way to open up season 6.
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                                  • #18
                                    Still cannot edit

                                    Also:
                                    Originally Posted by Maggie
                                    4. NFA is possibly the darkest hour on television. And bless them, it looks like AtF knows how dark it was. (I've often wondered whether the writers intended for it to be *that* dark.)


                                    Have to disagree here.. although an astonishing episode.. and very dark (although Angel was always the "dark" one..) .. I don't anything could ever be more darker than "Dead Things..." and possibly "After Life."
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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Nostalgia View Post
                                      Have to disagree here.. although an astonishing episode.. and very dark (although Angel was always the "dark" one..) .. I don't anything could ever be more darker than "Dead Things..." and possibly "After Life."
                                      Dead Things is way up there on the darkness meter. (And I must be twisted, cause it's one of my favorites also.) I'd say to me NFA is darker precisely because Angel himself doesn't fully realize how dark it is. To me people who do bad things in the name of good causes are scary, cause it's not clear what's going to wake them up enough to get them to turn things around. (Here's hoping that AtF is enough of a wake-up call!!) Things were horrible for Buffy in Dead Things, but she knows it. We don't get her turn around for a while, but we know it has to come -- cause she's already to the point where she can't stand how things are with her.

                                      After Life is actually closer. It's scary how much Willow doesn't get that what she did wrong. That's my kind of dark. (Which episode had her scene with Giles -- that was DARK). And Afterlife introduces us to a situation that's going to be a world of difficult for Buffy. But I guess it didn't strike me at the time as SO dark -- mostly because I had no idea that Buffy's depression was going to run so very, very deep.
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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Maggie View Post
                                        Dead Things is way up there on the darkness meter. (And I must be twisted, cause it's one of my favorites also.) I'd say to me NFA is darker precisely because Angel himself doesn't fully realize how dark it is. To me people who do bad things in the name of good causes are scary, cause it's not clear what's going to wake them up enough to get them to turn things around. (Here's hoping that AtF is enough of a wake-up call!!) Things were horrible for Buffy in Dead Things, but she knows it. We don't get her turn around for a while, but we know it has to come -- cause she's already to the point where she can't stand how things are with her.

                                        After Life is actually closer. It's scary how much Willow doesn't get that what she did wrong. That's my kind of dark. (Which episode had her scene with Giles -- that was DARK). And Afterlife introduces us to a situation that's going to be a world of difficult for Buffy. But I guess it didn't strike me at the time as SO dark -- mostly because I had no idea that Buffy's depression was going to run so very, very deep.
                                        Oh, I love Dead Things as well.. one of my top 10.

                                        I still have to disagree.. from the beginning of the episode.. after Buffy and Spike's "missing of the bed again..", we realize where this episode is going. There is a key part in this scene that stands out and supports the fact of it being such a dark masterpiece.

                                        Episode 6.13- Dead Things
                                        BUFFY: You know, this place is okay for a hole in the ground. You fixed it up.
                                        SPIKE: Well, I ate a decorator once. Maybe something stuck.
                                        The fact that Buffy acknowledges Spike's murder of a decorator and laughs it off is essentially the darkest thing I've seen Buffy ever do.. and shows that she was in a very dark place at the time. This whole scene refers to the reoccuring concept of apathy and disconcern. Next we find the balcony (probably the darkest scene of any show I've ever watched). Spike completely manipulates Buffy, convinces her to back away from her life and live in the shadows with him. Worse is that not only takes this into consideration but allows him to use her. It's a tale of two people who are using each other for their own desires. The lighting, and even the mood of the episode feels of a rotten state. I don't get this from Not Fade Away. I get more of post-heroic battle mode.. where it's all or nothing. I think there are a lot of dark themes to the episode (namely the killing of Drogyn).. but not enough to support the entire 60 minutes. Let's not even forget the Warren arc.. raping and abusing women.. killing and ex and finding it "kind of cool." What about the alley way scene? Buffy's disgust with herself.. her beating down of Spike and release of emotions. And of course the final scene.. which I think alone speaks for itself (probably one of the saddest times I've seen Buffy... where she truly hates herself. Not only are we dealing with apathy now, but self-hatred? Jeez.)

                                        After Life in terms of content is very dark as well.. but I get a different type of darkness. While Dead Things expresses it more physically and violently.. After Life exposes it through subtle moments and suicidal anecdotes. I think another very dark scene is when Buffy is sitting at the table while everyone is chatting.. just staring into space.. when she says



                                        BUFFY: I miss Giles.
                                        We see Buffy sitting across the table from Willow.
                                        WILLOW: Oh. He's coming back, I talked to him. I know I'm a kind of poor substitute, but until then, we'll get it done.

                                        BUFFY: I think I should patrol.

                                        WILLOW: Well, I know we'll find something soon.
                                        BUFFY: Yeah.
                                        After saving the world and showing her love, pouring her soul into her act of selflessness.. I get the instinct that she truly wanted nothing from her friends at that point.. even Dawn. This was truly a Buffy moment.. where she wanted to just disappear.. fade away. The atmosphere that Espenson creates is very moody and filled with dark lighting. Buffy seems to be quietly walking around, observing everything, as if she never really came back. Another great scene is the "hug" scene.. when she lies blatantly to her friends that she was pulled out of a great hell dimension. To see them hug her with such happiness and see her struggle with such pain to live.. such a wonderful and powerful dark scene. We see Buffy open up to Spike about her true feelings.. and that she had realized that life isn't worth living.. but is indeed a state of hell. Not exactly something you want your kids watching. This was when Buffy really became an adult show. Hard to believe I was watching this at 12 years old.

                                        Not Fade Away is probably one of the darkest Angel episodes.. but I've always felt Angel as a whole was a much darker show (aside from Buffy Season Six). Not Fade Away shows death in a light sense.. in that casualties are bound to happen, and that death is inevitable. One of the darkest things about Not Fade Away is that it approaches death with acceptance and understanding.. but it never really expresses a desire for it as Dead Things and After Life did.
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