AngelFangs For Memories
By Rebecca Peterson
Wednesday 19 May 2004, by cally
Fangs for the Memories
Angel (9 pm/ET, WB)
Despite considerable critical acclaim and an impassioned save-our-show campaign initiated by devoted fans around the world, the beloved Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff centering on a vampire with a soul battling demonic forces to help the helpless draws to a dramatic close.
Over the course of these eventful final months, our heroes have struggled to reconcile their consciences with their new business partnership with the demonic law firm Wolfram & Hart while weathering personal tragedies. The final season kicked off with the arrival of Spike (James Marsters), who sacrificed himself to save Sunnydale from the Hellmouth in Buffy’s finale, only to find himself inexplicably transplanted in L.A., in the company of his beloved Slayer’s immortal ex.
Spike’s presence complicated the resolution of the Shanshu Prophesy, which stated that a vampire would become human again after saving the world from imminent destruction. For years Angel (David Boreanaz) had been convinced that he would ultimately be re-humanized, but Spike assumed that his arrival in L.A. was a sign that he could be the lucky vamp and has fought for the chance to prove his worth. Amid the crew’s dealings with various demonic clients, Angel was dealt a devastating blow upon learning that the comatose Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) had died in her sleep.
Fred (Amy Acker) was the next soldier to fall after her body was commandeered by Illyria, an Old One bent on ruling the human race. Fred’s soul was destroyed but her body became a vessel for the parasitic demon, serving as a painful reminder to the remainder of the crew of the personal risks of their dubious situation. Illyria’s presence was especially painful for Wesley (Alexis Denisof), who had only just learned that Fred returned his affection; and for Gunn (J. August Richards), whose bargain to retain his newly acquired intellect had a direct connection to Ms. Burkle’s untimely demise.
Meanwhile, the exposure of Senior Partners liaison Eve’s association with disgraced former Wolfram & Hart golden boy Lindsey (Christian Kane) ultimately led the crew to the revelation that they were merely pawns in the Circle of the Black Thorn’s plot to conquer the human race.
But our champion has a plan, which he sets into glorious, blazing action in tonight’s searing series swan song.
Angel has taken great pains - not to mention personal risks - to prove to the Circle that he has forsaken his crusade and joined their cause for world domination. At the same time, he has also convinced his wary teammates that they can stop the Black Thorn from succeeding. But, as always, our heroes’ triumph or failure will come at a price: If they best the Circle, they will invoke the wrath of the Senior Partners, who will rain down hellfire upon them. If they fail, it will cost them their lives.
As with the Buffy finale, the fight will be valiant and some warriors must inevitably fall. But the denouement is a satisfying, albeit emotional, conclusion that should somewhat lessen the sting of losing such a brilliantly crafted and superbly acted series while leaving the coffin door cracked open the slightest bit just in case series creator Joss Whedon ever sees fit to revisit his enchanted supernatural universe in the future. - Rebecca Peterson