In case you didn’t get the memo, I am a pretty huge Buffy and Angel fan. Emphasis on the former. But Angel is probably up there in my list of top 10 TV shows. Or top 20 definitely.
And I’ve been engaged in my own little (slightly huge) rewatch lately. Which, by the way, wasn’t an incredibly effective revision strategy.
I’m now up to season 5 of Angel, which a lot of fans don’t really like that much. Personally I prefer it to the third and fourth seasons, but I can understand why people wouldn’t really like the fifth season- the slightly forced inclusion of Spike, Lorne and Harmony; the random change of scenery; the lack of Cordy; the quite random recharacterisation of Gunn; the inconsistency of the memory loss; the possible complete ignoring of the show’s own mythology… and some pretty dudtastic episodes like ‘The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco’, ‘Why We Fight’ and ‘The Girl In Question’. However, there are also some really good things about it- I think the humour is great, and although the series as a whole is quite hit-and-miss I like that they at least got creative. And there are some fantastic episodes. And the fact that I was already quite the fan of Spike, Lorne and Harmony probably doesn’t hurt.
‘Why We Fight’ is probably the episode that annoys me the most. The central character is annoying, and it also fucks with the show’s mythology quite a lot. As have previous episodes, like ‘Somnambulist’ which creates an extra childe of Angel/us who was meant to be fraffling around with him and the gang in the past, yet I don’t think he (Penn) is ever mentioned before or after. But I think messing with the mythology is more acceptable in season 1 when the show is establishing itself than in season 5. Also, ‘Why We Fight’ is largely set in flashbacks on a submarine. And Spike has bad hair. So, you know, there’s that.
But then comes ‘Smile Time’. It featues puppet Angel with a detachable nose. And a puppeteer being manipulated by evil puppet demons. There has to be love for that.
And after that comes ‘A Hole In The World’, which might actually be the best Angel episode ever. I’m not sure I would say it’s a favourite, but it’s amazing- in the way that ‘The Body’ (the Buffy episode dealing with the death of Buffy’s mother) is clearly fantastic. Watching it basically consists of me sobbing for the entire 40-something minutes. I can’t recommend it highly enough, even if that’s not usually your idea of a good time. I expect it doesn’t have much of an emotional effect if you don’t care about the characters (like do people who watch Serenity without watching Firefly understand how great Wash is?), but it’s intense.
And Wesley wears an incredibly unattractive jumper throughout the episode, but it doesn’t annoy me. It seems poignant I guess in a silly way, the fact that these massive and important things can happen, and your memory will be slightly jarred by the sequins or whatever they were.
It also seems to make Spangel pretty cannon(ish). But I’d rave about this episode even without that. Seriously.
“Winifred Burkle once told me, after a sinful amount of Chinese food and in lieu of absolutely nothing, “I think a lot of people would choose to be green, your shade, if they had the choice.” If I hear one note — one quarter-note — that tells me you had any involvement, these two won’t even have time to kill you.” – Lorne
“Cavemen win. Of course cavemen win” – Fred