So my marathon see-every-episode-Angel-was-ever-in thing has finally left the world of BtVS and entered AtS.
Back in May, I had the thought of going back and reviewing all the AtS episodes I hadn’t yet reviewed in my LJ, but whoever told me that it would be boring to review old episodes that everyone’s seen long ago was probably right (dherblay?). So I’m just going to give general impressions on what I’ve watched so far, which is everything up to the middle of “Parting Gifts”. In short, all the Doyle episodes and the first appearance of Wesley.
I liked Doyle. He was a good character, and good for Angel. A demon-guy for Angel to hang with and talk to, someone to kick him in the butt when he needed it. I think Lorne took over this role in the subsequent seasons. Anyway, despite my love for Doyle, the show didn’t really take off until Wesley appeared. Which is ironic, because back when Season 1 of Angel originally aired, a lot of fans thought Wesley coming on the show was the worst.idea.ever. It was going to “utterly ruin the show”. I was one of these fans.
But think about it: what had we seen of Wesley except the close-minded wimpy little dandy from Season 3 of BtVS? I was posting at the Bronze in those days, and people weren’t happy to see the return of him. It was like bringing back Eve into a hypothetical Angel Season 6.
Nowadays, a leather-clad, scruffy, cross-bow carrying “Rogue Demon Hunter” doesn’t strike a fan as completely ridiculous the way it did when “Parting Gifts” first aired. You barely blink now. Wesley’s character development over the next few seasons was that good. And one of the reasons it was good? You see the Wesley of Season 5 of AtS, then go back and see the Wesley of Seaon 3 of BtVS, and you have no problem believing it’s the same person. The one-track-mind ruthlessness is still there. The book-man is still there. Wesley’s just become the thing he wanted to be in “Parting Gifts”, and it’s a delicious “Be careful what you wish for.”
Of course, we joked back then that Wesley wanted to *be* Angel. In retrospect, though, I think he just found other parts of himself through the angsty events of Pylea, Connor’s kidnapping, the gang’s rejection of him, etc, etc.
Watching the Season 1 episodes, though, it bugs me to realize that every member of Angel’s little family, including probably Angel himself, will all be dead within a few years. I look at how amazingly they were developing Cordelia, how much growth she was showing in just those first 10 episodes, and I’m like, “what’s the point? She’ll be abducted by an evil PTB within two years, and die without barely a blip of life again a year and a half after that.”
I’m not fond of how devoted Cordelia was to the PTBs in “You’re Welcome”. I wanted some bitterness. I wanted the episode to end by having her hang up her champion hat and walk out of Wolfram and Hart and go have a life somewhere, disillusioned but struggling to continue to grow as a person. [/end Cordelia rant]
I Will Remember You doesn’t go down as well as it used to. Of course, at the time, I was still a Buffy/Angel ‘shipper, and I found the idea of Angel getting to have the one (or two?) thing(s) he could never have very romantic. Because you knew he’d have it ripped away from him by the end of the episode–the humanity and the woman he loved.
(I always love Angel getting the things he thinks he can never have and then losing them. But that’s a story for another season.)
Now the happy!bedroom scenes in IWRY seem kind of sappy. I’m remembering people bitching about the episode and now I’m like, “I see what you mean.” Give me the angsty!sex scene of Angel and Darla in “Reprise”, please! But back when these first few episodes of Angel were airing, Darla was still a memory of a boring ditz in a Catholic school-girl uniform (OK, mostly, the alley way scene in Becoming did give her a *little* depth).
“Hero” still makes me cry, even though I also finally see the point of people who said the Scourge was a complete and utter anvil.
Methinks I was more forgiving of Mutant Enemy’s anvils and wish-fulfillment-plots in those days. Subsequent seasons made my standards higher.