As I did with Buffy last summer, I’m taking some time to analyse it’s sibling, Angel. Angel is a completely separate beast to Buffy (in more ways than one). It is oft-times darker and more sinister, but also arguably more diverse in a multitude of ways. My adoration for the Buffy-verse starts here, with my Buffy series last summer and continues with Angel. Other topics covered on Angel: Beginning; The Team, The Villains and The In-Betweens.
Deaths on Buffy were always real. Surprising. Painful and needing to be dealt with. Deaths on Angel are gritty. Sudden and necessary. I was always surprised. I shouldn’t have been, because honestly. We managed to put together a whole series of Eulogies for Whedon-verse characters. I knew going into this that many would die. Yet here we are.
Starting out I had a general idea of who was going to die and around when it was going to happen, but my heart sank every time anyway. I was disappointed with Doyle’s death (“Hero”). Saddened that we couldn’t have seen his character through.
Darla’s death (“Lullaby”) was bittersweet. Undead, dead, alive and well, to return to undead and remain dead again. Darla could show up at any moment, but her final moments of the series reminded me of all the good that she had done. Conversely, Lilah’s death (“Calvary”) seemed unnecessary, but turned to sting in a new way after the smoke cleared.
I have mixed feelings on Cordelia’s death (technically “You’re Welcome”). I feel like her character died before the season five episode when she returned for a final farewell. In all the ways I dislike her actions before the coma, I adore her in “You’re Welcome”, her final showing in the series.
Cordy started her slow decline since coming back from the higher plane in “The House Always Wins”. When she gets her memory back in “Spin the Bottle” she also gets a piece of her demise. While I understand that her actions from then on (especially in episodes “Apocalypse, Nowish”, “Calvary”, “Salvage”, and “Orpheus”) are not her own, it’s still painful to watch. The horror of these episodes made me long for the kick ass woman that Cordy was in “Birthday”, when she consciously chooses to continue having the visions and become part demon; something the Buffy-era Cordelia would never have done.
Fred dies and doesn’t (“A Hole in the World”). When she turns to Illyria (“Shells”), the shift is first stunning. When we settle in to this new character we begin to see her part in the series. I only wish that we could have seen Illyria accepted by the team to be a one of them as she was sure to be. The pain of missing Fred will never really go away, but it dulls when it’s realized that she is still a part of the character.
A part of me cannot now speak of Lindsey’s death (“Not Fade Away”) without remembering Christian Kane’s performance in the final episode of Leverage (“The Long Good-Bye Job”). Without yet having read the comics, it’s hard for me to tell if the death was warranted, but the scene plays out as the end of Lorne’s character as well, showing how this final plan is breaking the team one by one, letting the final scene of the show be one of almost certain doom.
If Fred’s death is upsetting, Wesley’s is flat out depressing (“Not Fade Away”). His death is sudden and sharp, a reminder of all the things that can go wrong in complicated plans. While painful, it drives the others to carry on to a questionable end.
It’s odd to me even now to realize that the final scenes of Angel are so hopeless, because the show as a whole was so focused on finding redemption and hope… but more on that next week.
Which of the Angel deaths hit you the hardest? Did you know it was going to happen ahead of time?