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  • Season 4

    I'm rewatching season 4 - just seen the first few episodes. I'm being reminded how much I loved the Lilah/Wesley plotline: it reminds me of something out of Dangerous Liaisons. The perfectly-matched sparring, the strangely polite conflict they have. But there's something a little beautiful about it, too - sometimes I feel there's almost hope that they could have a real relationship...that they could be good for one another.

    How does Wilah fit into Season 4 as a whole? Well, the theme of new (and unsuitable) alliances follows hot on the heels of season 3's betrayal theme. Cordy and Connor's rather icky teaming-up, for instance. There's a sense of the Fang Gang reforming in a new shape - one with a Cordy-shaped hole.

    I'm not a fan of the Cordy plot this season - and not just on a feminist tip of "gah! hollowing out a powerful woman and making her just a vessel for something else!" There's something rather unimaginative about creating character "development" by first wiping a character's memory then essentially replacing her with another character (controlled!Cordy).

    IMO this the soapiest season of Angel (even to the point that various characters notice...Fred calls Cordy's amnesia "movie of the week"-ish, and I'm sure Gunn says he feels like he's living in a supernatural soap opera...unless he says that in the previous season?).

    I'm enjoying the fast pace though. The Gwen episode at the start seems a little random - seems odd to have it so early on in the season. Also, as I've said elsewhere, I don't find her very interesting in her X-Men-rip-off-generic-comics-chick persona. Also, she talks a bit like a watered-down version of Glory, which just feels old.

    But, anyway...this is one of those seasons which I can forgive its flaws cos I get carried along...even though I do roll my eyes sometimes. Or even howl and gnash my teeth.

    What do you think of this season?


    -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --

  • #2
    Season four is an interesting one, isn't it? Because it has some incredibly strong standalone episodes in it...except that they don't stand alone. Virtually none of them do. Almost every episode follows on directly from the one before, usually with non-stop action that gets pretty exhausting for viewers to try and keep up with. Although that does help with the understanding of the characters, that sense of exhaustion, in the sense that if it's tiring to watch, it would be beyond tiring to live through, and all that.

    Shame the plotting is so messy. A lot of the plotlines and character development I find extremely dodgy, the Cordelia arcs especially. And yet there is so much to enjoy, as you've pointed out.

    An interesting season, definitely.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post
      I'm rewatching season 4 - just seen the first few episodes. I'm being reminded how much I loved the Lilah/Wesley plotline: it reminds me of something out of Dangerous Liaisons. The perfectly-matched sparring, the strangely polite conflict they have. But there's something a little beautiful about it, too - sometimes I feel there's almost hope that they could have a real relationship...that they could be good for one another.
      I loved Wes and Lilah. I loved how it defied the conventions and while they sought out each other in the depths of lonliness and self-loathing that isn't how it ended up. There was a sort of tragic beauty. Wes as much as he feigned apathy wanted to save her and on a level himself but Lilah isn't the type to be saved, a part of him knew that and a part of him wanted her more for it.

      How does Wilah fit into Season 4 as a whole? Well, the theme of new (and unsuitable) alliances follows hot on the heels of season 3's betrayal theme. Cordy and Connor's rather icky teaming-up, for instance. There's a sense of the Fang Gang reforming in a new shape - one with a Cordy-shaped hole.
      Well the idea of loss and finding someone unlikely was definitely a parallel for Wes/Lilah and Connor/Cordy.

      I'm not a fan of the Cordy plot this season - and not just on a feminist tip of "gah! hollowing out a powerful woman and making her just a vessel for something else!" There's something rather unimaginative about creating character "development" by first wiping a character's memory then essentially replacing her with another character (controlled!Cordy).
      I actually don't even consider it part of Cordy's arc. What I did find interesting is Angel going to kill Jasmine by killing Cordy. It reminds me that he was at the receiving end of a similar sacrifice. Buffy succeeded but Angel failed but instead of a hell dimension it appeared heaven was here, or so it seemed....

      IMO this the soapiest season of Angel (even to the point that various characters notice...Fred calls Cordy's amnesia "movie of the week"-ish, and I'm sure Gunn says he feels like he's living in a supernatural soap opera...unless he says that in the previous season?).
      It felt a little like a plot conveniance however there other character elements that saved the season. Overall, I could accept it.

      I'm enjoying the fast pace though. The Gwen episode at the start seems a little random - seems odd to have it so early on in the season. Also, as I've said elsewhere, I don't find her very interesting in her X-Men-rip-off-generic-comics-chick persona. Also, she talks a bit like a watered-down version of Glory, which just feels old.

      Whoa, let's not say something we'll regret. I felt Gwen had potential and her arc was wonderfully intertwined with the rest of Season 4. Connecting but not. Estrangment and solice defying the idea of 'holding hands'. This apllies in different ways to Connor/Cordy, Angel/Cordy, Wes/Lilah and even Gunn and Fred who stopped 'touching each other. I'm not sure if Joss planned this particular element to work as well as it did. Also I'm sure the Raiden thing is reference to the electric guy out of Mortal Kombat.

      But, anyway...this is one of those seasons which I can forgive its flaws cos I get carried along...even though I do roll my eyes sometimes. Or even howl and gnash my teeth.
      There are always moments like that for me but overall, I really liked it. I'm one of the few who didn't mind sacrificing Cordy for the Jasmine/Connor/Angel storyline. I think there was a lot there.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Llywela View Post
        Season four is an interesting one, isn't it? Because it has some incredibly strong standalone episodes in it...except that they don't stand alone. Virtually none of them do.
        I felt that the early ep with Gwen (deep down?) was like that: having a guest star made it feel like it should be a standalone ep, but it was tied into the main plot (looking for Cordy). Perhaps that's what made it disconcerting? Though in that case I think it was more the placement of the ep so early in the season...

        In general, standalones do give you that chance to breathe you need sometimes, and to reflect on the wider plot.

        Originally posted by kana View Post
        I loved Wes and Lilah. I loved how it defied the conventions and while they sought out each other in the depths of lonliness and self-loathing that isn't how it ended up. There was a sort of tragic beauty. Wes as much as he feigned apathy wanted to save her and on a level himself but Lilah isn't the type to be saved, a part of him knew that and a part of him wanted her more for it.
        The idea that she wanted him both for his depravity and his potential for goodness is interesting...and perhaps neither could admit their true motives, even if they were putting on a show of not giving a crap, not having a "relationship". The parallels with Spuffy are particularly intriguing to me...though I'll have to think more on exactly what I think of the contrast as I rewatch season 6 and watch this season of Angel.


        I actually don't even consider it part of Cordy's arc.
        True...in a sense, Cordy dies at the end of season 3 (except for that one ep in season 5 when she comes back, You're Welcome).

        What I did find interesting is Angel going to kill Jasmine by killing Cordy. It reminds me that he was at the receiving end of a similar sacrifice. Buffy succeeded but Angel failed but instead of a hell dimension it appeared heaven was here, or so it seemed....
        When was he at the receiving end? Oh, you mean the pointy sword end! Heh. I thought you meant someone sacrificed themselves to save him. Yeah, Angel's been the sacrificial victim in an apocalypse. Cordy was perhaps more the victim of a cosmic joke (the whole higher being thing).

        When I read spoilers for the Jasmine story arc, I thought the idea was fascinating (setting aside the Cordy issues)...but I didn't feel it quite played out as well as it might have. But the idea of "does it matter what's true if you're happy" is a very important one for season 4 and 5 of Angel...a well-meant lie is at the heart of Angel's relationship with both Connor and the Fang gang there. Did he have the right to alter people's memories? Does anyone have that right? I feel that Angel's choice - giving Connor and everyone else new memories - was a symptom of his saviour complex, but also perhaps a realistic, very "human" one (or human-like)...a father who wants to protect his child isn't going to make the right choice perhaps, but he is trying to.

        The parallel with Angel's choice and Willow's mind-wiping of Tara is one that I find unsettling...because he is doing the same thing to his friends. Sure, it's for Connor's "good" rather than to cover his ass...but at the same time, taking these things into your own hands is an arrogant thing to do. Even if the end result was good (and the results were very mixed imo), the idea that you think you can make a choice FOR someone is a dangerous one I feel.


        Wolfie said: I don't find her very interesting in her X-Men-rip-off-generic-comics-chick persona. Also, she talks a bit like a watered-down version of Glory, which just feels old.
        Whoa, let's not say something we'll regret. I felt Gwen had potential and her arc was wonderfully intertwined with the rest of Season 4. Connecting but not. Estrangment and solice defying the idea of 'holding hands'.
        Thematically, that definitely works. But I don't like the character they used to make the point - for me, Joss was letting his comics influences show too much, creating a character who didn't have as much unique life as others. Of course, I'm sure people will have very different reactions to her...but for me she was like so many scantily clad comics vixens that I didn't feel she was as real as characters like Cordy or Wesley etc. Or even David Nabbit (who's my fave random Angel character)...who's a very OTT character, but somehow very alive.

        Also I'm sure the Raiden thing is reference to the electric guy out of Mortal Kombat.
        Don't know MK...I mean, I know of it but don't know it if you know what I mean For me she was a mish mash of Rogue and a few other X-Men. The breathy evenness of her voice is a pet peve of mine in sci fi women. It's just too...well, just a bit too porno. Those characters who use their feminine wiles to distract men...can't we move on from them? I know women do that but I expect more from Joss Cordy manages to be sexy and wile-y without talking like she's about to record Je T'aime with her daddy...

        Nah, being harsh. S'funny really, when I think of individual scenes she's in, I enjoy her...but I feel like she doesn't belong in Angel somehow.
        Last edited by Wolfie Gilmore; 26-07-07, 06:04 PM.


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        • #5
          In S4, I didn't love the evil Cordelia storyline, or Cordelia and Conner, that's just gross, but I love my Faith so her coming back was fantastic, and any time Faith is around Angel or Angeles it's just wonderful, so I loved that aspect of S4.

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          • #6
            I've just finished rewatching season 4 and, you know what? I fell completely in love with the Jasmine plot. Not with all the fiddly retcon nonsense about it's all been planned for years (more on that later) but the actual character of Jasmine and how she fits into the Fang Gang's lives, and their moral universe.

            Connor's line "you can't be saved by a lie" is one of the most powerful of the season. Ok, it's melodramatic and cheesy, but it sums up so much of the season, and the dilemma's faced by the characters. Jasmine is a lie that saves. Angel tries to save Connor with a lie?and does he succeed? It seems so at the end of season 4. Connor is happy and whole. Is Angel better at Jasmine's job than she is?

            But then, perhaps the issue is that you can be saved by a lie?but there's a price that others must pay. By the end of season 5 of Angel, I'd say that Connor is still "saved". He does have his bad old memories back, but with the strength he draws from his other "fake" life, he's more or less whole as a human being, and will have the chance to live a good life, if not a normal one.

            However, as a result of the decision to take over Wolfram and Hart, both Fred and Wesley are dead, and Gunn seems to be on his way out (or perhaps on his way to becoming a vampire, as one rumour suggested was his putative season 6 fate?). This is partly their own faults: everyone signed up for the W&H deal?but I can't help feeling that if Angel hadn't pre-signed them ("it's already made", I think he says, re the evil deal, at the end of Home), perhaps they might not have gone for it? Or at least, Fred and Wesley might not have. But, whoever was responsible for it, the fact remains that Connor benefited from a lie that led to pain and death for others.

            Back to Jasmine's story: I love her episodes. Not so much after she's unmasked, because I think it spoils her motivation, when she starts randomly killing people?I like the idea that she believes she's doing the right thing, and that eating people is a small price to pay for universal bliss. The scenes where the Fang Gang are worshiping her, love ?em. Especially when they sing Jasmine to the tune of Mandy. Genius.

            The idea that everything that's happened in the past two or so seasons was to bring forth Jasmine?hmm?that feels cheap. I think if there had been a lot of unexplained stuff, little clues and hints for the future, that had been part of the writer's plan to bring forth Jasmine?that could've worked. But as it was, the actions of the previous seasons felt complete in themselves, so the idea that the characters were being manoeuvred felt like it had just been imposed rather than feeling like an organic part of the writing.

            The ambiguity over whether Cordy was herself at any point in season 4 is annoying rather than intriguing. I think their throwaway explanation about Cordy being in there but not driving?needed more, imo. I wanted to know when she was Cordy and when she wasn't?cos otherwise, it all seems a bit arbitrary in terms of character motivation (is she doing x because shes' cordy or because she's the beastmaster?did she sleep with Connor cos she was evil or because she was a pawn in someone else's game??).

            Oh, and remembering one thing I liked about Gwen...when she makes a joke about her "origin story". Acknowledging the comics roots at least.


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            • #7
              I completely love some parts of season 4 and hate others. I loved the opener, Angel is back in the house and Connor is out and I enjoyed the episodes leading up to Cordy coming back, Gwen was a great character, a good match for Angel. I wasn't really keen on Cordy coming back with no memory.. I felt it was hard work to watch, I get how upseting that would have been for her but it did annoy me to watch as I felt Cordy had come so far and with no memory of that she kinda reverted back a bit.

              I love Wesley/Lilah, always a joy to watch! Especially how she played him to get to Lorne!

              Once the beasty comes in I really enjoyed it, I had no idea it was Cordy in control but I loved how it was stronger than the gang. Turning out the sun, rain of fire, great watching.. and then bringing forth Angelus.. best idea that season

              I can't get enough of episodes like Soulless.. watching him play with them, locked up but he might as well be free for the mess he's making. Wesley and Fred especially! Cordy letting him out to kill Lilah was great, especially as she ended up killing her! Not a huge fan of Wesley's chopping off her head scene, but in all that madness it was a nice change of pace!

              I loved Wesley going to get Faith and the three episodes that came after. Some great fights and I loved she got a chance to get to know the real Wesley. Loved Willow having that magick fight with Cordy to ensoul Angel, really nice. Especially the Willow/Wesley moments

              And from then on.. I hated it Really evil Cordy, Jasmine.. the fake life.. the only bits I enjoyed was Fred's struggle with the truth on her own. I hated, hated the whole 'we knew her first' and then that episode 'Peace Out' that huge cliff hanger we had going into it and then Angel waves his little key thing at them and they all run??! Are you kidding me?!!

              So Connor kills Jasmine, I think that had to be and thank god she's dead.. then Connor goes all nuts and tries to become a terorist.. okkkkay.. So Angel makes a deal with Dead Lilah, signing not over his friends, his families lives without consulting them but agreeing to a spell that will wipe all their minds of this last season with Connor.. so mind rape really. I hated him for that. I still hate him for that. Thus ending the season in a horrible way. Pity because for the most part I really enjoyed it /sigh

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              • #8
                I concur. I considered s4 my fave season until I re-evaluated and decided two was just a little better. But I like it so much for all the reasons I like btvs 6 so much: it's dark and the characters had a lot of development. Sure, Jasmine was sort of lame but she was only around for a few eps. And it did give the gang quite a bit to overcome in order to defeat her. Evil Cordy is something a lot of fans really hated. But I'm okay with it. I love Cordy and it was sad to see her character essentially sacrificed for the sake of a storyline but we got some cool eps because of it, like Soulless which Nikki just mentioned. I don't know. I like it.

                I think what I like most about though is the seasonal arc and how each episode plays right into the next. There's not really a MotW in these episodes, for the most part. And that's kind of neat.
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                • #9
                  Guess I am the only person not to join in the S4 love around! In retrospective S4 for me became the season where they slowly but systematically started to butcher the show that I came to love over the first 3 seasons. Mainly this stems from the disrespect this season showed to a lot of the crucial characters of the show. Character integrity was sacrificed for what looks like an epic, apocalyptic storyline, but only was a hole-filled patchwork in the end:

                  Cordelia: Rarely have I seen a beloved character abused, violated and sacrificed for a (very shaky at best) plotline like S4 Cordy. 6 seasons of truly captivating character development from Highschool bich to full-fledged heroine thrown out of the window just for the sake of a surprise effect in typical Whedon-fashion. I am not even going into the whole possessed!Cordy/Connor plotline which was simply disgusting, probably only topped by Cordy kissing the Beast.

                  Angel: Another case of misdirected character exploration. Firstly, everybody who saw Amends knows that Angel would never, ever, under no circumstances, consent to be reverted to Angelus. He was rather willing to kill himself than to be that monster again. Especially considering the extremely ridiculous explanation that Angel couldn't remember the Beast while Angelus could because "his mind wasn't there when the spell or whatever was cast" *cough*. He goes from determined refusal to acceptance just because possessed!Cordelia teases him with a remark about Angelus IQ, c'mon, that's completely pathetic and makes him look like an idiot.

                  Secondly, if we had only known that Angel can reach perfect happiness and lose his soul when he is under an illusion -- a very questionable idea, destroying a wonderful myth in the process. How can true happiness be achieved when you are in a dream state? 'Eternity' proved that illusionary happiness may lift Angels grip on the demon, but ultimately he can't loose his soul this way. It would have been easy just to avoid the whole *perfect happiness* clause and simply go for a soul-sucking demon or a shaman spell that rips the soul out .. anything would have been better than this farce that made Angel look completely stupid.

                  Angelus: I mean, we talk about the 'scourge of europe' here, one of the most feared and viscious vampires of all time .. and he doesn't even get to kill a random person on the street, let alone kill someone from the gang, but rather hangs out in a bar bragging about his past and this from the Angelus who chided young Spike about seeking out brawls. Angelus always considered himself as some sort of elite, I don't exactly see him hanging out with the average Jack and Joe demon in some seedy location. I am sorry! Apart from 'Soulless' (which was truly chilling) and his fight with Faith in 'Release' Angelus in this arc was a comedic figure rather than a fear inducing vampire.

                  The overall plotline of S4 was a long series of plotholes that were never explained. The whole pre-Jasmine arc, blocking out the sun, rain of fire, bringing Angelus back for whatever reason was simply swept under the rug and never mentioned again, let alone given a reasonable explanation for it .. "birth pains" *cringes*. And while the Jasmine storyline is interesting on a intellectual level, it was badly executed in the end. And the end? Nothing says 'Okay, we screwed up' more than a mind-wipe.

                  But, the problem about S4 isn't S4 alone. The problem is that S4 tore AI apart, abused a core character of the group, well actually 2 if we count Connor as well as Cordy, and they didn't give them a chance to redeem. I felt that they could have done interesting things with the characters recovering from the aftermath of season 4 - and that especially goes for Cordelia. Here you have someone who has tremendous faith that what she is doing is worth giving her life for if needs be, who perhaps overreaches herself in believing in her specialness to the TPTB, only to have that faith destroyed as the one of the powers uses her against her friends and the world. So many untold stories lie here and they go all to waste in the catastrophe that was S5.

                  The only things enjoyable in S4 for me was Wesley/Lilah and the Wesley&Faith dynamics, directly connecting to the events between them in S1. That was truly wonderfully done. 'Deep Down' & 'Spin The Bottle' & 'Soulless' are the only episodes that I fully love in this season.
                  Last edited by galathea; 31-07-07, 06:15 PM.

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                  • #10
                    I agree with quite a lot what you have said, although some things I have a slightly different view on

                    Originally posted by galathea View Post
                    Cordelia: Rarely have I seen a beloved character abused, violated and sacrificed for a (very shaky at best) plotline like S4 Cordy. 6 seasons of truly captivating character development from Highschool bich to full-fledged heroine thrown out of the window just for the sake of a surprise effect in typical Whedon-fashion. I am not even going into the whole possessed!Cordy/Connor plotline which was simply disgusting, probably only topped by Cordy kissing the Beast.
                    I wouldn't have had a problem with what they did to Cordy's character if she had been in the fifth season, the fact that she wasn't was the problem for me at least. I have no problem with the disgusting things she did like sleeping with Connor or kissing the Beast because it wasn't her. If this had been the *real* Cordy then I'd agree 100% but it wasn't. Cordy was evil, "demented" and self obsessed and because it wasn't her I don't have a big problem with the disgusting things she did. My only real regret is that Cordy's character didn't really get a great chance to shine again, we were pretty much left with her acting like this with little to no real chance to redeem her character's intergrity. Your Welcome was superb, it was classic Cordy with all the qualities we grew to love. She redeemed herself a lot in that episode, we fell in love with her character again and it was an exceptional high to go out on but I still felt we needed a lot more from her. It was unfortunate her main storyline had to end in such an awful disturbing way.

                    Angel: Another case of misdirected character exploration. Firstly, everybody who saw Amends knows that Angel would never, ever, under no circumstances, consent to be reverted to Angelus. He was rather willing to kill himself than to be that monster again. Especially considering the extremely ridiculous explanation that Angel couldn't remember the Beast while Angelus could because "his mind wasn't there when the spell or whatever was cast" *cough*. He goes from determined refusal to acceptance just because possessed!Cordelia teases him with a remark about Angelus IQ, c'mon, that's completely pathetic and makes him look like an idiot.
                    A lot has changed since Amends. Angel somewhat understands his purpose now, has his own mission and tries to redeem himself. He is a very different vampire to the one we saw in Amends and has come to peace, or at least a certain understanding about his unlife than he did in that episode. Take for example Angel not blaming himself for anything Angelus did, he says sorry to Wes for what Angelus did to Lilah but is comfortable to say they all knew the risks and did it anyway and that it was Angelus doing these things and not him- a far cry from his suicidal resort to the whole situation back in Amends. If Angel had been giddy with the thought of doing this or there was no pressure for him to do this then I'd agree 100% with what you have said but it didn't go that way. I found it understandable he'd do such a thing.

                    Though I agree 100% about the lame explination for him not remembering Angelus' encounter with the Beast.

                    Secondly, if we had only known that Angel can reach perfect happiness and lose his soul when he is under an illusion -- a very questionable idea, destroying a wonderful myth in the process. How can true happiness be achieved when you are in a dream state? 'Eternity' proved that illusionary happiness may lift Angels grip on the demon, but ultimately he can't loose his soul this way. It would have been easy just to avoid the whole *perfect happiness* clause and simply go for a soul-sucking demon or a shaman spell that rips the soul out .. anything would have been better than this farce that made Angel look completely stupid.
                    I see things a little differently here Angel created this illusion that this is how he lost his soul, wether he in fact did loose his soul from perfect happiness is debatle. From what we can tell the Shaman interefered and removed the soul in the process Angel created an illusion in his mind as to how this happened because this is how he imagined loosing his soul again. It was however just a cover for what really happened, loosing his soul because of happiness was no more real than the Shaman being killed in his dream state- I wouldn't automatically assume this resulted in him loosing his soul- the Shaman forced it out of him and into the jar.

                    Angelus: I mean, we talk about the 'scourge of europe' here, one of the most feared and viscious vampires of all time .. and he doesn't even get to kill a random person on the street, let alone kill someone from the gang, but rather hangs out in a bar bragging about his past and this from the Angelus who chided young Spike about seeking out brawls. Angelus always considered himself as some sort of elite, I don't exactly see him hanging out with the average Jack and Joe demon in some seedy location. I am sorry! Apart from 'Soulless' (which was truly chilling) and his fight with Faith in 'Release' Angelus in this arc was a comedic figure rather than a fear inducing vampire.
                    I agree 100% here. I prefer how Angelus was portrayed in Btvs s2 than Ats s4 any day. His entire persona changed and I didn't like it. Calling Faith "darlin" and being far too comical wasn't the Angelus we knew and he had seen before. I did like how he was portrayed in 'Soulless' it was creepy and more Angelus. The rest of it though wasn't something that I liked at all, especially how he acted in the flashbacks he shared with Faith.

                    The overall plotline of S4 was a long series of plotholes that were never explained. The whole pre-Jasmine arc, blocking out the sun, rain of fire, bringing Angelus back for whatever reason was simply swept under the rug and never mentioned again, let alone given a reasonable explanation for it .. "birth pains" *cringes*. And while the Jasmine storyline is interesting on a intellectual level, it was badly executed in the end. And the end? Nothing says 'Okay, we screwed up' more than a mind-wipe.
                    Wasn't it explained this was all done as a distraction so that Cordy/Beast Master could bring forth Jasmine without being noticed? All of this was done to create carnage whilst waiting for the big show.

                    But, the problem about S4 isn't S4 alone. The problem is that S4 tore AI apart, abused a core character of the group, well actually 2 if we count Connor as well as Cordy, and they didn't give them a chance to redeem. I felt that they could have done interesting things with the characters recovering from the aftermath of season 4 - and that especially goes for Cordelia. Here you have someone who has tremendous faith that what she is doing is worth giving her life for if needs be, who perhaps overreaches herself in believing in her specialness to the TPTB, only to have that faith destroyed as the one of the powers uses her against her friends and the world. So many untold stories lie here and they go all to waste in the catastrophe that was S5.
                    I think to some extent both Connor and Cordy were redeemed by their appearences in s5 when both characters were at their best. I would have loved to have Cordy in s5, much more than Spike, but they were slightly redeemed. The writers did an excellent job with their appearences.

                    The only things enjoyable in S4 for me was Wesley/Lilah and the Wesley&Faith dynamics, directly connecting to the events between them in S1. That was truly wonderfully done. 'Deep Down' & 'Spin The Bottle' & 'Soulless' are the only episodes that I fully love in this season.
                    Loved Wilah! I think it was one of the best relationships in the entire Buffyverse- just adored it. And I liked most of the season, I didn't really enjoy Jasmine because it kinda slowed down the pace from a great dark and action-packed start and middle but didn't hate it like some.

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                    • #11
                      Re Angelus: it was irritating that he seemed so inert...though a lot of the time I feel Angelus talks bigger than he walks. But he did have one line that gave me chills...when he jokes to Fred about raping her to death. Oh, and the one about listening to Gunn and Fred having sex. What makes that so disturbing is I can actually imagine Angel doing it. Well, not necessarily doing anything...but listening in. Then feeling really really guilty. But still, he does have super hearing... Angelus is at his best for me when he plays on the fear that maybe Angel isn't all that different from him...that they're both part of the monster.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post
                        Re Angelus: it was irritating that he seemed so inert...though a lot of the time I feel Angelus talks bigger than he walks. But he did have one line that gave me chills...when he jokes to Fred about raping her to death. Oh, and the one about listening to Gunn and Fred having sex. What makes that so disturbing is I can actually imagine Angel doing it. Well, not necessarily doing anything...but listening in. Then feeling really really guilty. But still, he does have super hearing... Angelus is at his best for me when he plays on the fear that maybe Angel isn't all that different from him...that they're both part of the monster.
                        Any time Angelus was in the cell I enjoyed him, he was creepy and very much like the Angelus in season two of Buffy. However, for some strange reason they completely changed his persona upon releasing him from the cage and made him more of a snarky comical bad guy then the truly terrifying bad guy he really is. There was always something very creepy, gothic and alluring about Angelus inside the cage and in Btvs s2, they ruined it when he got out the cage.

                        It is likely that Angel would have heard but it isn't really his fault that he could hear I don't think he would have done what Angelus claimed he did, he just twisted the truth.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
                          However, for some strange reason they completely changed his persona upon releasing him from the cage and made him more of a snarky comical bad guy then the truly terrifying bad guy he really is. There was always something very creepy, gothic and alluring about Angelus inside the cage and in Btvs s2, they ruined it when he got out the cage.
                          They should've brought back the eyeliner he favoured in s2. Oh, and...leather pants. Did he wear leather pants in season 4? If he didn't, that explains it...he's like Sampson with his hair. The leather pants are the source of his true evil. Unless he did wear leather pants in season 4, in which case...imagine I said something more apposite.

                          It is likely that Angel would have heard but it isn't really his fault that he could hear I don't think he would have done what Angelus claimed he did, he just twisted the truth.
                          Yeah, I don't think he'd actually knock one out. But he'd think about it...and twisting that grain of truth is pure Angelus.

                          Mind you, Angelus in season 2 was patchy in his scariness - partly, I think, be ause they had to string him out til the end of the season, so they couldn't up the ante too much with the slaughter otherwise Buffy would've got around to killing him sooner. Sometimes narrative gets in the way of evil


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post
                            They should've brought back the eyeliner he favoured in s2. Oh, and...leather pants. Did he wear leather pants in season 4? If he didn't, that explains it...he's like Sampson with his hair. The leather pants are the source of his true evil. Unless he did wear leather pants in season 4, in which case...imagine I said something more apposite.
                            Haha perhaps- I think the extremely cool gothic mansion set also added to Angelus' creep factor.

                            Mind you, Angelus in season 2 was patchy in his scariness - partly, I think, be ause they had to string him out til the end of the season, so they couldn't up the ante too much with the slaughter otherwise Buffy would've got around to killing him sooner. Sometimes narrative gets in the way of evil
                            I agree with you there but he never changed his persona throughout the season. Angelus late s4 felt like a completely different character to the Angelus we'd seen before. I think he almost became too brutal, he wasn't as subtle which is usually when he is at his best. I think he was too flamboyant, to over the top with the evil. The cheesy taunting of the Beast was lame in comparison to his banter with Spike in s2.

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                            • #15
                              I wouldn't have had a problem with what they did to Cordy's character if she had been in the fifth season, the fact that she wasn't was the problem for me at least. I have no problem with the disgusting things she did like sleeping with Connor or kissing the Beast because it wasn't her. If this had been the *real* Cordy then I'd agree 100% but it wasn't. Cordy was evil, "demented" and self obsessed and because it wasn't her I don't have a big problem with the disgusting things she did. My only real regret is that Cordy's character didn't really get a great chance to shine again, we were pretty much left with her acting like this with little to no real chance to redeem her character's intergrity. Your Welcome was superb, it was classic Cordy with all the qualities we grew to love. She redeemed herself a lot in that episode, we fell in love with her character again and it was an exceptional high to go out on but I still felt we needed a lot more from her. It was unfortunate her main storyline had to end in such an awful disturbing way.
                              Agreed here. I don't consider Season 4 as part of her character arc.



                              A lot has changed since Amends. Angel somewhat understands his purpose now, has his own mission and tries to redeem himself. He is a very different vampire to the one we saw in Amends and has come to peace, or at least a certain understanding about his unlife than he did in that episode. Take for example Angel not blaming himself for anything Angelus did, he says sorry to Wes for what Angelus did to Lilah but is comfortable to say they all knew the risks and did it anyway and that it was Angelus doing these things and not him- a far cry from his suicidal resort to the whole situation back in Amends. If Angel had been giddy with the thought of doing this or there was no pressure for him to do this then I'd agree 100% with what you have said but it didn't go that way. I found it understandable he'd do such a thing.
                              Totally agree, exactly what I would have said. Also it wasn't the IQ thing that convinced him, it was the idea that he was already a danger to his friends anyway. This sounds like the Angel I know.

                              Though I agree 100% about the lame explination for him not remembering Angelus' encounter with the Beast.
                              Well I've got a few theories on this and none of them pretty. It seems weird because Angelus is always supposed to be 'deep in'. However if Angel has successfully fragmented his persona then it's possible which explains why Angel is so "It's me, it's not me". I'm not sure if Angel himself is sure. Well maybe Cordy was right in WITW: Angel is crazy.

                              I see things a little differently here Angel created this illusion that this is how he lost his soul, wether he in fact did loose his soul from perfect happiness is debatle. From what we can tell the Shaman interefered and removed the soul in the process Angel created an illusion in his mind as to how this happened because this is how he imagined loosing his soul again. It was however just a cover for what really happened, loosing his soul because of happiness was no more real than the Shaman being killed in his dream state- I wouldn't automatically assume this resulted in him loosing his soul- the Shaman forced it out of him and into the jar.
                              That's actually an interesting theory. The one I thought of wasn't as clever as that but I always thought that although illusion wasn't genuine, his reactions and feelings were. His feelings when he was drugged were different, kind of like a high allowing his darker urges to reign free but he wasn't genuinely Angelus, just an Angel who felt like Angelus but his feelings were not genuine. In other words it was always Angel but he had lost his inhibitions making his demon side appear more prevalent. His darker urges are always there, but he successfully supresses them.

                              I agree 100% here. I prefer how Angelus was portrayed in Btvs s2 than Ats s4 any day. His entire persona changed and I didn't like it. Calling Faith "darlin" and being far too comical wasn't the Angelus we knew and he had seen before. I did like how he was portrayed in 'Soulless' it was creepy and more Angelus. The rest of it though wasn't something that I liked at all, especially how he acted in the flashbacks he shared with Faith.
                              I must admit, I prefer Buffy Angelus but I have some legitmizing theories (as always). Of course Angelus is still Angelus and he does consider himself above the 'lowers' of the demon world. I believe he was playing up to the who celebrity thing. So when he said I'm just like the rest of you, it was a joke, playing to the idea of being a celeb, but I don't believe he saw any of the others as peers, just lackies. As soon as he has a chance to find some more powerful or more on his level, he seeks them out possibly to dethrone them.

                              Another thing is that Angelus is out of his element. He doesn't like chaos, or any environment where his sadism cannot manifest, he goes after the people who mattered most to Angel, the people he can hurt the most. This is very like Angelus.

                              Another thing is time. Angelus didn't have the time or the comfort to really be the bastard he likes to be. Had he got his hands on Fred, I shudder to think what he would have done. Angelus was only free, what a week, few days? Angelus was able to really run free for months in Sunnydale and cause some damage.

                              Wasn't it explained this was all done as a distraction so that Cordy/Beast Master could bring forth Jasmine without being noticed? All of this was done to create carnage whilst waiting for the big show.
                              That and also I think so that Jasmine could be the big hero and save the day. Darkness reigned but here comes the light, sort of deal.


                              I think to some extent both Connor and Cordy were redeemed by their appearences in s5 when both characters were at their best. I would have loved to have Cordy in s5, much more than Spike, but they were slightly redeemed. The writers did an excellent job with their appearences.
                              It depends what you mean by redeemed. Morally,Cordy didn't really need to be redeemed and in terms of arc, it wasn't her. Arc wise, I liked both Connors, but morally, when Connor got his memories back then he could truly be redeemed but not before.


                              Loved Wilah! I think it was one of the best relationships in the entire Buffyverse- just adored it. And I liked most of the season, I didn't really enjoy Jasmine because it kinda slowed down the pace from a great dark and action-packed start and middle but didn't hate it like some.
                              Wilah is my fave ship, and I'm not even a shipper. I like Jasmine because I like morally ambiguous enemies. I loved the debate between Angel and Jasmine. It actually reminds me of Buffyworld in days of yore.

                              EDIT: Also whoever Angel is at time informs Angelus personality, so if he seems different it's because Angel was different to how he was before. They are always informing each other.
                              Last edited by kana; 01-08-07, 11:26 AM.

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by kana View Post
                                Agreed here. I don't consider Season 4 as part of her character arc.
                                Me neither. Cordy wasn't running the show whatsoever and had no control over what she had done. Therefore, I can't really fault her character or anything done in s4 other than before Jasmine had been woken up by Lorne's memory spell and up until then she had done nothing wrong but didn't even know she was.

                                Totally agree, exactly what I would have said. Also it wasn't the IQ thing that convinced him, it was the idea that he was already a danger to his friends anyway. This sounds like the Angel I know.
                                Agreed And the fact that Angel was initially hesitant also fits his character as well, I don't for a second believe he acted OOC.


                                Well I've got a few theories on this and none of them pretty. It seems weird because Angelus is always supposed to be 'deep in'. However if Angel has successfully fragmented his persona then it's possible which explains why Angel is so "It's me, it's not me". I'm not sure if Angel himself is sure. Well maybe Cordy was right in WITW: Angel is crazy.
                                I'm on the side of Angel and Angelus being two seperate entities. I know many see the soul as nothing more than the concience but I personally view it as more than that. A number of times a soul in the Buffyverse has been described as someone's essence. Buffy's soul went up to heaven. IMO when Angel got back his soul he was Liam, changed by the horrible memories of his past. He remembers everything Angelus did like he did it which is why he feels the need to redeem himself. Giles and Buffy both explain on two seperate occasions that a vampire walks and talks and acts like the person it once was but they are gone. IMO Angelus and Angel are therefore two seperate people.


                                That's actually an interesting theory. The one I thought of wasn't as clever as that but I always thought that although illusion wasn't genuine, his reactions and feelings were. His feelings when he was drugged were different, kind of like a high allowing his darker urges to reign free but he wasn't genuinely Angelus, just an Angel who felt like Angelus but his feelings were not genuine. In other words it was always Angel but he had lost his inhibitions making his demon side appear more prevalent. His darker urges are always there, but he successfully supresses them.
                                Thanks but your's is good too! I just never saw Angel's dreamstate happiness as the cause for loosing his soul. Clearly we had the Shaman interefering here and was able to extract the soul and put it in the jar. IMO the illusion and dream we saw was nothing more than an effect of what the Shaman was doing to Angel but technically speaking had nothing to do with Angel's soul being extracted.

                                I must admit, I prefer Buffy Angelus but I have some legitmizing theories (as always). Of course Angelus is still Angelus and he does consider himself above the 'lowers' of the demon world. I believe he was playing up to the who celebrity thing. So when he said I'm just like the rest of you, it was a joke, playing to the idea of being a celeb, but I don't believe he saw any of the others as peers, just lackies. As soon as he has a chance to find some more powerful or more on his level, he seeks them out possibly to dethrone them.
                                I agree. I've always just been a fan of the Angelus/Spike/Dru dynamics because they were so more elegant, poetic and gothic. I found the seedy bar very unlike the feeling I got from Angelus the first time which is something I enjoyed, I didn't enjoy this Angelus as much.

                                Another thing is that Angelus is out of his element. He doesn't like chaos, or any environment where his sadism cannot manifest, he goes after the people who mattered most to Angel, the people he can hurt the most. This is very like Angelus.
                                Again I agree. The mood is extremely different so I guess his behaviour is going to be slightly different- something you expand on later in your post.

                                Another thing is time. Angelus didn't have the time or the comfort to really be the bastard he likes to be. Had he got his hands on Fred, I shudder to think what he would have done. Angelus was only free, what a week, few days? Angelus was able to really run free for months in Sunnydale and cause some damage.
                                This I agree with. However, I see real no explination for Angel's taunts to the Beast- the way he acted was very unlike Angelus and IMO even unlike Angel. I just didn't like the way he was portrayed, I liked his more subtle brilliance.

                                That and also I think so that Jasmine could be the big hero and save the day. Darkness reigned but here comes the light, sort of deal.
                                Great point.

                                It depends what you mean by redeemed. Morally,Cordy didn't really need to be redeemed and in terms of arc, it wasn't her. Arc wise, I liked both Connors, but morally, when Connor got his memories back then he could truly be redeemed but not before.
                                Yeah sorry I should have explained myself better. What I meant by redeemed was that her character's intergrity was redeemed, not the character herself. Basically I'm taking an out of verse perspective here and saying that the writers had a chance to redeem themselves and how they portrayed Cordy's character. We didn't want her character to end whilst being taken over by some nastie that did disgusting things, instead we got loveable Cordy again. The *real* Cordy again. The character herself had nothing to redeem for she had done nothing wrong.


                                Wilah is my fave ship, and I'm not even a shipper. I like Jasmine because I like morally ambiguous enemies. I loved the debate between Angel and Jasmine. It actually reminds me of Buffyworld in days of yore.
                                I love Lilah in pretty much any scene so I think that could be a part of it. Although I'm a strong believer in saying that a love for a character shouldn't automatically mean you love any relationship they are in. I just loved the flow of dialouge between them, the interesting dynamics and understanding one another had about what the relationship was.

                                EDIT: Also whoever Angel is at time informs Angelus personality, so if he seems different it's because Angel was different to how he was before. They are always informing each other.
                                I had considered that but I don't think even Angel would have acted as flamboyantly as Angelus did in the flashbacks with Faith. He was way over the top.

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                                • #17
                                  IMO the illusion and dream we saw was nothing more than an effect of what the Shaman was doing to Angel but technically speaking had nothing to do with Angel's soul being extracted.
                                  This is why I have a bit of a problem with Season Four. There are some gems in the mix - Wilah, Jasmine, Connor's complete losing it at the end - but I feel there are some clunky sequences that bring the tone down too - the Beast, Jasmine turning from interesting villain doing things debatably for the 'greater good' into a Destroy-All-Life-Athon, and Angelus turning from a subtle, cruel masochist into a great big dull machine that I thought someone said above somewhere took interest only in 'cruising seedy bars'! (And what happened to big picture Angelus? Wolfie has some interesting comments somewhere about the Doctor and the Master, about how they are both big picture guys, see the universe etc, but also focus on the little day to day things - the Doctor and his love for humanity and a bit of domesticity, and the Master for his wife, popular music, and making little jokes - I feel that was like Angelus - he could be all end of the world and kill the Slayer, but also enjoyed day to day existence, in the delights of torture and murder, in taunting wheelchair bound Spike etc. We lose that in S4 - he kills the Beast not to be the Big Bad or to stop the BeastMasterCordy, but because it annoys him. He doesn't care about the potential for more domination / power when the sun is blocked out, but just picks off more victims and jokes about in bars! Where's the Angelus that bought back Acathla?)

                                  And coming back from my ranting tangent, I mean, if the dream sequence Angel had did not make him lose his soul, and just 'distracted' him or something while the Shaman took his soul, why bother having it? Angel had already consented to having his soul removed, so it couldn't be like he could have tried to stop his soul from being removed (and whenever his soul is inserted / removed, he appears to have no control over what happens anyway; I'm thinking of Angelus trying to fight having the soul put back in in the Orpeheus(?)-mushrooms-eaten-by-a-bear-with-Faith ep to no affect). In which case, why not just remove it? I know it was a set up, but another shaman in Season Three appeared to do the same thing, just rip it out. If, then, this was impossible, and the dream sequence was necessary to provide the illusion of a moment of perfect happiness, we again get back to whether an illusion would have worked - it only lasted for a day or so as stated above with the magic Es in S1 or whatever they were - and why other seemingly 'perfect' moments didn't cause Angel to lose his soul (e.g. Connor's birth, end of S4 seeing Connor happy with a new memory, fighting the Black Thorn - all maybes, but certainly contenders, considering in the illusion very little happened imo; Wes and Gunn made up, they stopped the Beast, Connor accepted him as a vamp, and he slept with Cordy. Yawn.)

                                  So, yes, I really like a few nuggets of Season Four, but there are some clunkers there. Though, agreeing with above comments, although they frustrate me, I don't think they retract from the Season significantly, since it moves very quickly in terms of pacing and the season arcs. It's only in retrospect, when thinking about the issues raised (like the oh-so-thinly-veiled Angel/Existentialism vs Connor/Nihilism in the last eps - any of the writers take a Philosophy course at some point?! - and that glorious idea of Jasmine and whether world peace & freedom is worth the deaths) that these thumbs start to stick out. For me, anyway.

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                                  • #18
                                    Firstly, great first post! I can see I'm going to enjoy talking about Ats and Btvs with you

                                    Originally posted by The_Narrator View Post
                                    This is why I have a bit of a problem with Season Four. There are some gems in the mix - Wilah, Jasmine, Connor's complete losing it at the end - but I feel there are some clunky sequences that bring the tone down too - the Beast, Jasmine turning from interesting villain doing things debatably for the 'greater good' into a Destroy-All-Life-Athon, and Angelus turning from a subtle, cruel masochist into a great big dull machine that I thought someone said above somewhere took interest only in 'cruising seedy bars'! (And what happened to big picture Angelus? Wolfie has some interesting comments somewhere about the Doctor and the Master, about how they are both big picture guys, see the universe etc, but also focus on the little day to day things - the Doctor and his love for humanity and a bit of domesticity, and the Master for his wife, popular music, and making little jokes - I feel that was like Angelus - he could be all end of the world and kill the Slayer, but also enjoyed day to day existence, in the delights of torture and murder, in taunting wheelchair bound Spike etc. We lose that in S4 - he kills the Beast not to be the Big Bad or to stop the BeastMasterCordy, but because it annoys him. He doesn't care about the potential for more domination / power when the sun is blocked out, but just picks off more victims and jokes about in bars! Where's the Angelus that bought back Acathla?)
                                    I pretty much agree with everything you have said here. I disliked the way in which Angelus was portrayed during s4 of Ats. I think I talked about it in an earlier post, but I didn't mind Angelus when he first appeared and was locked in the cage. I liked that they placed the creepiness, I liked how he was shown to be incredibly smart and like you said, he enjoys the day to day evil pleasures as much as the big picture, and he enjoyed breaking down the fang gang in these scenes. However, after escaping his entire persona changed, no longer was he creepy or sadistic, he was just a stupid goofy villain who pretty much lost all his appeal for me. I much prefer the way he was portrayed in Btvs s2 and I wished that he had been shown in the same way during Ats s4 but unfortunately, he wasn't.

                                    And coming back from my ranting tangent, I mean, if the dream sequence Angel had did not make him lose his soul, and just 'distracted' him or something while the Shaman took his soul, why bother having it? Angel had already consented to having his soul removed, so it couldn't be like he could have tried to stop his soul from being removed (and whenever his soul is inserted / removed, he appears to have no control over what happens anyway; I'm thinking of Angelus trying to fight having the soul put back in in the Orpeheus(?)-mushrooms-eaten-by-a-bear-with-Faith ep to no affect). In which case, why not just remove it?
                                    Perhaps this was the only way the Shaman they found could remove it? Perhaps the illusion was just a side effect of the Shaman and whatever magics he used to take Angel's soul? Perhaps there was no choice in the matter but it was just a side effect the Shaman had no control over?

                                    I know it was a set up, but another shaman in Season Three appeared to do the same thing, just rip it out.
                                    I've never been sure if both Shamans were supposed to be from the same kind of order or not, but I choose to think they weren't. Perhaps the shaman in Btvs s3 was more powerful?

                                    If, then, this was impossible, and the dream sequence was necessary to provide the illusion of a moment of perfect happiness, we again get back to whether an illusion would have worked - it only lasted for a day or so as stated above with the magic Es in S1 or whatever they were - and why other seemingly 'perfect' moments didn't cause Angel to lose his soul (e.g. Connor's birth, end of S4 seeing Connor happy with a new memory, fighting the Black Thorn - all maybes, but certainly contenders, considering in the illusion very little happened imo; Wes and Gunn made up, they stopped the Beast, Connor accepted him as a vamp, and he slept with Cordy. Yawn.)
                                    I personally don't believe it was necessary to Angel loosing his soul, more just a side effect. The Shaman put Angel into some coma, it appears the illusion just happened as a result of Angel loosing his soul. Perhaps Angel was just imagining a scenario that made him loose his soul as deep down he felt it being taken from him.

                                    So, yes, I really like a few nuggets of Season Four, but there are some clunkers there. Though, agreeing with above comments, although they frustrate me, I don't think they retract from the Season significantly, since it moves very quickly in terms of pacing and the season arcs. It's only in retrospect, when thinking about the issues raised (like the oh-so-thinly-veiled Angel/Existentialism vs Connor/Nihilism in the last eps - any of the writers take a Philosophy course at some point?! - and that glorious idea of Jasmine and whether world peace & freedom is worth the deaths) that these thumbs start to stick out. For me, anyway.
                                    It did have some bad bits but I don't think they were terribly bad, at least in comparison to the big problems in Btvs s7. I enjoyed s4 immensely.

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                                    • #19
                                      in season 3 btvs, that wasn't a soul removing spell. how does faith know what a soul-removing spell looks like? they just needed a light show to trick faith into thinking it was a soul-removal spell. also, remember that in season 3 btvs, the shaman was a demon. in season 4 btvs, the shaman was a man. it is very probable that the demon shaman had more powers or different abilities than the learned magic of the human shaman.

                                      it is very possible that there are multiple ways to remove a soul, and that the human shaman just used the perfect happiness clause as his choice to base his spell around, whereas some demons might just suck out the soul (like the soul-eater that was working on sucking out connor's when gunn killed it, or kathy, buffy's first college roommate), or rip the soul out in another way. it seems like some demons nourish themselves on souls, some can magically remove them and the human shaman didn't want the soul to go up in the ether, but into the muo-ping jar. perhaps that spell had something also to do with controlling where the soul goes.

                                      season 4 ats was brilliant. especially the shades of marxist communist world peace utopia being brainwashing and taking away the freedom of will. the fact that human kind is incapable of world peace because people can't work as a one-minded army without losing all their basic human rights. the writers certainly have extensive historical and philosophical knowledge. i think a lot of it might have been too deep for the average viewer though. most people don't really understand "world peace" as actually being something quite vile and historically catastrophic. it always ends the same way--some power hungry person brainwashing the masses for their own gain and committing mass murder in the name of marxist communist "world peace" (see: v.i. lenin, joseph stalin, mao zedong, fidel castro, che guevara, pol pot, etc...). coincidently, holland manners even makes a reference to khmer rouge (pol pot) being particularly exceptional in terms of evil.

                                      what season 4 showed was that angel is not fighting for a utopian "world peace", but for humanity, with all our flaws intact. freedom of choice and will is tantamount to human existence. it goes back to that elevator speech in reprise (coincidently, the same one that holland mentions khmer rouge). humanity isn't perfect--they aren't angels, but it's a lot better than being mindless meat-bags being manipulated. angel is the people's champion. it isn't about destroying evil, but helping people.
                                      Last edited by NileQT87; 28-08-07, 12:35 PM.

                                      "If there is no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do."
                                      "Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. It's harsh and cruel. But that's why there's us. Champions."

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by The_Narrator View Post
                                        This is why I have a bit of a problem with Season Four. There are some gems in the mix - Wilah, Jasmine, Connor's complete losing it at the end - but I feel there are some clunky sequences that bring the tone down too - the Beast, Jasmine turning from interesting villain doing things debatably for the 'greater good' into a Destroy-All-Life-Athon, and Angelus turning from a subtle, cruel masochist into a great big dull machine that I thought someone said above somewhere took interest only in 'cruising seedy bars'! (And what happened to big picture Angelus? Wolfie has some interesting comments somewhere about the Doctor and the Master, about how they are both big picture guys, see the universe etc, but also focus on the little day to day things - the Doctor and his love for humanity and a bit of domesticity, and the Master for his wife, popular music, and making little jokes - I feel that was like Angelus - he could be all end of the world and kill the Slayer, but also enjoyed day to day existence, in the delights of torture and murder, in taunting wheelchair bound Spike etc. We lose that in S4 - he kills the Beast not to be the Big Bad or to stop the BeastMasterCordy, but because it annoys him. He doesn't care about the potential for more domination / power when the sun is blocked out, but just picks off more victims and jokes about in bars! Where's the Angelus that bought back Acathla?)
                                        I definately agree that Angelus isn't at his best in Season 4 but he still seems relatively consistent. One thing about Angelus in Season 2 is that he was the big bad however in Season 4 someone else more powerful is running the show. After deftly realising that the Beast is just a lacky. When the Beast tries to recruit him for the Beast's Master, he unequivicolly refuses because he's not going to be anyone's lacky. Angelus is about control but as long as the Beast's Master is out there, he is not the one running things. Angelus efforts are about gaining knowledge because knowledge is power and Angelus likes power, especially over his victims. He kills the Beast a) because he has no use for him as he cannot gain anymore information about the Beasts Master and b) to show the Beast's Master that he wont be manipulated either. Angelus then goes after a weakened Faith but she manages to escape. His torture of Faith is three fold. Physically be beats the crap out of her, mentally he taunts her about what he says is her true nature (trying to methodically undo everything Angel did) and thirdly he wants he to lose control before he kills so it makes a fitting artistic end to a would be hero trying to show constraint. However when she shows restraint, this is fine, Angelus will corrupt her in the more conventional way by siring her.

                                        And coming back from my ranting tangent, I mean, if the dream sequence Angel had did not make him lose his soul, and just 'distracted' him or something while the Shaman took his soul, why bother having it?
                                        I think the dream sequence did make him lose his soul. He was so vivid in Angel's mind that he felt genuine happiness. His feelings were real even though what brought the happiness wasn't.

                                        In which case, why not just remove it? I know it was a set up, but another shaman in Season Three appeared to do the same thing, just rip it out. If, then, this was impossible, and the dream sequence was necessary to provide the illusion of a moment of perfect happiness, we again get back to whether an illusion would have worked - it only lasted for a day or so as stated above with the magic Es in S1 or whatever they were - and why other seemingly 'perfect' moments didn't cause Angel to lose his soul (e.g. Connor's birth, end of S4 seeing Connor happy with a new memory, fighting the Black Thorn - all maybes, but certainly contenders, considering in the illusion very little happened imo; Wes and Gunn made up, they stopped the Beast, Connor accepted him as a vamp, and he slept with Cordy. Yawn.)

                                        I think it was a culmination of all these things. Angel in those other scenarios obviously wasn't perfectly happy or any potential moment was immediately muted by another negative feeling or at least a feeling Angel deemed negative.

                                        So, yes, I really like a few nuggets of Season Four, but there are some clunkers there. Though, agreeing with above comments, although they frustrate me, I don't think they retract from the Season significantly, since it moves very quickly in terms of pacing and the season arcs. It's only in retrospect, when thinking about the issues raised (like the oh-so-thinly-veiled Angel/Existentialism vs Connor/Nihilism in the last eps - any of the writers take a Philosophy course at some point?! - and that glorious idea of Jasmine and whether world peace & freedom is worth the deaths) that these thumbs start to stick out. For me, anyway.
                                        I really liked those elements and the existential/nihlism theme runs throughout but is most prevalent in the last couple of Seasons.

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