Friday, 9 January 2015

Angel: Heartthrob

"Don't say the "B" word."

My wife could go into labour any week now, and becoming a new father is unavoidably going to curtail my blogging time. What better time to start a new season of Angel?

Excellent opening episode, this. Time has passed, the team has bonded in the absence of the brooding, the bereaved Angel is in retreat in Sri Lanka, Fred still won't come out of her room, and Cordy's visions are even more painful. By the time of Angel's return (touchingly, he's missed his friends and they all hug) we have a happy and bonded team. It's all, for the moment, very lovey-dovey.

And that's appropriate, because this whole episode examines the phenomenon of love and grief in the wake of Buffy's, ahem, "death". Flashbacks remind us of Angel's kinky yet easy-going relationship with Darla, but contest them with the much more passionate love between their fellow vampires Elizabeth and James- introducing a certain Holtz while doing so. We will be hearing more of him.

Flash forward, and Elizabeth is at large in present day LA being evil. Her evil is thematically sound, though; she taunts a male student by forcing to choose whether she kills him or the girl he professes to love. He breaks down and begs her to kill her and spare himself... and then Angel saves them. That's one couple who will be having an awkward conversation.

However, after Angel kills Elizabeth, James is not happy about the death of his beloved, and by "not happy" I mean like something out of Romantic poetruunable to live without his beloved, he accepts death as the inevitable price of attempting to avenge her. He dies happy, having failed to kill Angel but done the right thing by his loved one. 

We learn at the end- via, of course, Cordy- that Angel is troubled; does the fact that he is able to live, albeit in mourning, after Buffy's death mean that their love was never real, as James tied believing?

A solid opener, although I bet we never hear of either Elizabeth or James again. Quite the cliffhanger, too, as we learn that Darla is impossibly pregnant...

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