Monday, 7 October 2013

Angel: Epiphany



“So what? You just wake up and bang?”

“It was sort of the other way around.”

So, Angel did the deed with Darla, and we’re all expecting it to turn out as it did when he shagged Buffy! After all, there was a cliffhanger and everything. But no: the famous Whedon misdirection strikes again. No Angelus. It wasn’t a moment of true happiness, but just a bit of meaningless sex. Darla is deflated, but Angel has a new lease of life. His cynicism has gone and been replaced with a pragmatic heroism. It doesn’t matter that doing good is pointless; the act of doing good has value in itself. So that’s all right then.

Thing is, though, Angel can’t just slot back in when he feels like it. Too many bridges have been burned. But at least he makes a start. He begins by saving Kate’s life, so presumably she can bugger off and be annoying in some other TV show. I always found the character annoying. Still, she illustrates that nice Angel is back, and the fact that Angel is able to save her without even being invited in may suggest the existence of a god in this, a universe created by arch-atheist Joss Whedon.

But the episode is basically about Angel kissing the arses of Wesley and co., agreeing to work for them as coffee maker and general dogsbody, and make rather comical attempts at complimenting them. There is, a demon type threat to give us a bit of plot, but this episode is about Angel getting to know his old friends again. He has to adjust to this new world where Gunn and Wesley have bonded to form a great comedy double act and, as eloquently described in a speech by Wesley which is the height of the episode, has to face the fact that Cordelia has changed from a shallow, status-obsessed, spoiled air head, to a shallow, status obsessed, spoiled saint who has become a deeply tragic and deeply caring figure, caring as much about the pain suffered by her fellow human beings as she does about shoes.

The episode ends predictably, with Angel being hired. But it will take a while for the wounds to heal, and trust to be regained.

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