Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Angel: Offspring

"We tried to stop her by hitting her fists with our faces."

This is where the season really begins. The characters have had their fun, but from now on things get relentless.

We begin with the gang researching an intriguing yet inevitably vague prophecy about the birth of an Antichrist of some kind. This is able to be communicated pretty much in shorthand, as we've already been through this sort of thing with the Shanshu stuff, but the scenes are used nicely to further establish Fred as a useful and well-liked member of the team.

Of course we, the audience, are well aware that this is likely to relate to the child currently inside Darla's baby, father of this parish, and the arrival of a very pregnant Darla into the hotel sends shockwaves. Angel, from this point, is set to be a fast-moving serial with few stories of the week and no settling into any status quo, reminding me very much of Chris Claremont's classic fifteen year run on Uncanny X-Men.

Cordelia, whom Angel is increasingly coming to fancy, reacts rather strongly against Angel who has, after all, when all has been stopped away, acted as the feckless father type, knocking up his on-again, off-again father during a one night stand without protection and leaving her to deal with the consequences. (Yes, I know, if we're being literal about it then vampires can be forgiven for not using contraception, but this is subtext.)

The ultimate tension, of course, making for great drama, is the question of whether Angel's only child is a monster, set to unleash Armageddon? We end, after an entertaining scrap between Mummy and Daddy in a kids' amusement arcade, with reluctant mother Darla begging Angel to kill her. But he can't. Because the baby had a heartbeat. A soul.

As a postscript, making this episode even more ominous than it actually did, the demon Sahjahn brings Holtz, fresh from Angelus' murder of his wife and children, to the present day, extracting from him a promise to kill Angelus. But he has, of course, neglected to tell him about the whole soul business...

This is dramatic stuff, and great telly. It's almost as dramatic as the birth of my own daughter. Not only is this episode brilliant, but it elevates Angel to another level.

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