Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The End of Angel Season Three

I'm going to zoom through these, 'cause, frankly, I got "Buffy"s to blog. So, our next episode of "Angel" was entitled "Benediction," which I always thought meant a prayer that brings something to a close.

It was written by Tim Minear, and picks up a little while after the last one. Angel goes back to the hotel and tells the others how he let Connor go. He's not sure if it was the right move, but to his surprise, Connor arrives immediately after, apparently willing to give the whole father-son thing a try.

We know, however, that he is still Holtz's boy, and that Holtz has told him to get in close with Angel as part of a plan we're not privy to. Old Holtz also tracks down Justine, his vampire slayer protege. He tells her that hate drove him to do what he did, but he's moved past that now . . . and that love is even stronger a motivator. She too looks at him like a father, and his encouraging words only make her more loyal to him

And speaking of loyalty, the Groosalugg notices how much attention Cordelia pays to Angel, and how she runs to him time and time again, when she should be running to her boyfriend. He's jealous, but continues to act honourably and hide his pain.

And Wesley continues to spend time with Evillawyerwoman Lilah Morgan, who constantly reminds him of how smart and useful he is, and how much of a waste his life is right now. She takes him out to a nightclub, where there "just happens to be" a bunch of vampires about to do some damage, and where Angel Investigations "just happens to have been" tipped off about the encounter. From the shadows, Wesley watches Angel arrive . . . with his teenage son, and do battle with the vampires.

Kicking a little undead butt seems to bring Connor closer to Angel, but a bit later, Connor goes to his REAL father and Holtz tells him it's time to kill Angel. The boy does seem torn, though, as he has seen his biological father in action and probably senses that he's been told a certain version of the truth, if not outright lies.

Angel is told that Holtz is alive and where he's hanging out, so he asks Gunn and Fred to take Connor out that night and show him a good time. By "show him a good time," I mean, take him out to get ice cream and see the ocean and look at the pretty girls at the Santa Monica Pier, not . . . well, the other good time. They do, and Angel takes his opportunity to go out and deal with Holtz.

But Holtz doesn't seem to be in a fighting mood. First of all, he's old-aged-make-upped, and second, he seems content that he took Angel's son away from him, as Angelus took his own children away, and actually got a loving relationship out of it. In the end, Angel can't kill him, as much as he'd like to, and he leaves Holtz alone again. Except he's not alone.

At the tideline, Gunn and Fred whisper to each other about why they're there, and Connor overhears. He immediately begins running in the direction of Holtz's hideout.

But he'll arrive too late. You see, Holtz has asked Justine to do one more favour for him, and that is to take his life. She stabs him in the neck, putting two puncture wounds there, and leaves him to die in an alleyway. Connor arrives, sees the body, the blood, the "bitemarks," and puts two and two together. The end.

Sadly, I wrote a great deal on here that is not here now. I guess it didn't save as I blogged through the next episode and my feelings about this one (though one of the reasons I like this program is that it saves as you go), so when I opened it to finish this sucker up today, I found a lot more work to do than I wanted to commit to.

The last episode of Season Three was called "Tomorrow," written and directed by show runner David Greenwalt. I found it interesting that neither of the vampire shows had their season finales written by Joss this year, as he was too busy working on his ill-fated space western at the time. Of course, I likely wouldn't be here blogging about "Angel" if it weren't for said space western, so I'm glad he did, even if the older shows suffered because of it.

Briefly, Connor and Justine take Holtz's body out into the woods somewhere and bury Holtz. Connor insists they cut his head off to prevent him from returning as a vampire, which bothers Justine, but ah well. Then Connor goes back to Angel's side, pretending to be a loyal, happy son.

Angel isn't aware of Holtz's death, and wants some bonding time with Connor, so he takes the youth to a drive-in Action movie. Also there is Lilah Morgan's boss at Wolfram & Hart, Linwood. He wants to capture Connor to study him and kill Angel for terrorising him earlier. But Angel and son are more than a match for Linwood and his thugs, and the duo bond over some butt-kicking.

We do get our requisite Wesley scene, and see that Lilah has bedded him, eager to pound whatever morality he once had out of him. Pity Emperor Palpatine didn't use this same scheme to get Luke Skywalker to join the Dark Side of the Force.

Also, Lorne packs up his things and leaves, claiming he'll do better in Las Vegas than constantly rebuilding and losing his karaoke bar. He does tell Cordelia, before he goes, that Angel feels the same way about her that she does about him, and that she ought to do something about it.

The Groosalugg is long gone by this point, but I can't remember if I covered that or not, and if I did, if it was part of the wiped ut portion. Regardless, he was tired of playing second banana to Angel, and realised that's where Cordelia wanted to be all the time. Poor weird-eyed chap.

So, the end of the episode comes, with Angel planning to meet Cordelia on the beach to talk about their feelings. She's driving there, but a traffic jam slows her down. Also, Skip, her demonic pal, shows up and tells her that the time has come for her to move on to the next stage in her development. It's something all glowy and floaty and magical and powerful, and though she wants to be with Angel, it's hard to argue with the Powers That Be. So, she leaves her car there on the freeway, and floats up into the air . . . never to return?

Angel gets to the beach, but instead of Cordelia, he finds Connor and Justine. They fight him and taser him and toss his cellphone away. Then, they take him out on a boat and, sealed in a metal coffin, they dump him over the side, where he sinks down into darkness. The end.

I quite enjoyed the cliffhangeresque ending of this episode. The fact that Angel and other vampires don't need to breathe is seldom if ever touched on--especially since the actors playing them obviously need to--but sentencing him to a living death for God knows how long is a really cruel, but also unique, way to go. Assuming that Season Four will pick up three months later, in what condition will Angel be, having been at the bottom of the Pacific for all that time? How can he be found?

Through magic? Some kind of tracking device? A vision from Cordelia? A fisherman? Wesley? A misplaced scuba diver? A change of heart by Connor himself?

Someday, I suppose, I'll find out the answers, and I sure hope I like them more than I liked some of the plot twists we were given these past few episodes. I know a lot of people balked at "Buffy" Season Six, but I wonder if there were others like me who had a lot more difficulty with "Angel" around the same time.

Guess I'll never know.

Rish "Typing All This A Second Time" Outfield

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