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From Nydailynews.com


Fallen ’Angel’: A Grand Finale

Wednesday 19 May 2004, by cally


Fallen ’Angel’: A grand finale

ANGEL. Series finale. Tonight at 9, WB. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," when it ended its TV run, went out victoriously - with Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Buffy defiantly energizing every dormant Slayer on the planet, and vastly shifting the odds in the battle of good vs. evil.

"Angel," the spinoff of "Buffy" that has survived five years on its own, ends its WB run tonight at 9.

It’s a premature, somewhat rushed goodbye, because co-creator Joss Whedon and company would prefer to have continued the show a few more seasons.

But give "Angel" this: The show, like its characters, goes out swinging.

Its final one-hour adventure - well, final unless someday there’s a movie or DVD revival - sets up a battle that seems hopelessly futile, yet gives Angel (David Boreanaz) and his team their own chance to upset the demonic status quo.

Having spent the entire season presiding over the satanic law form of Wolfram & Hart, Angel has uncovered and infiltrated an even more ruthless and powerful organization of evil: the Circle of the Black Thorn, a top-secret amalgam of sorcerers, demons and (shudder) senators.

Tonight Angel and his colleagues - Alexis Denisof as glum Wesley, James Marsters as fellow vampire-with-a-soul Spike, Andy Hallett as green-skinned Lorne, Amy Acker as reincarnated ancient demon Illyria and Mercedes McNab as vampy secretary Harmony - square off against members of the Thorn. They also defy the well-dressed, crushingly powerful Hamilton (Adam Baldwin), liaison to the law firm’s senior partners.

One reading of Baldwin’s character of Hamilton, a soulless, deadly adversary in a very expensive suit, is to think of him as a TV network executive, and Angel as, well, "Angel." Odds are you won’t be able to win against the guy, but there’s lots of dignity in trying.

The apocalyptic fight in "Angel" cries out for reinforcements - that legion of newly empowered Slayers, for example, or at least Willow or someone else from the "Buffy" universe.

What we get, instead, without revealing any secrets, is a last fight, and a last day, totally deserving of "Angel" and its complex origins and mythology.

"Does one of us get to be a real boy?" Spike asks Angel, echoing "Pinocchio" while wondering whether he or Angel will get to fulfill the ancient prophecy about a vampire who averts the apocalypse and regains mortality.

Tough to say. On "Angel," it’s not necessarily even over when it’s over, and death often isn’t final.

But there is death in this last "Angel," and after the hour is up, "Angel," too, is dead. For now.

But it goes out in a big, funny, dramatic burst of flair and creativity.

Watching this final "Angel," you’re bound to enjoy it, mourn its passing, and wonder why WB didn’t see enough in the series to renew it.

Originally published on May 19, 2004

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