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Angel: the Series s4

This is my favourite season of AtS by far. Definite roller-coaster ride. I'm glad the writers ditched the monster-a-week format and stuck to a more serial nature. But I don't actually... have much to really ~add.



I'm surprisingly not bitter about anything. I went into it knowing that Cordelia would be taken over by Jasmine and that Lilah would get her head chopped off, but return anyway, so there was no biting my nails wondering at character motivations. I was sad that Lilah was killed off so soon (it is always too soon) and that I wouldn't be able to see Lilah/Wesley make out even more. Angel(us) and Connor surprised me, though.

Stuff

- I wasn't actually sure if Amnesiac!Cordy was Cordelia. But after the reveal of when Jasmine woke, I really liked those early episodes. So brave, Cordelia. Sorry the writers decided having you effectively killed off in the first few eps was the choice.

- Lilah/Wesley is the hottest thing I have seen on TV for some time. And this is 50x more impressive because they don't actually show much skin for most of their scenes. I TOTALLY RIGHT SHIP THEM? Lol. I am easily taken in by their smiles, all right? Plus, they hit one of my biggest shipping kinks -- they care about each other, but won't hesitate to use the other to their advantage. Would screw over the other's agenda without a thought, but wouldn't actually hurt each other. They know each other so well, they've become better than anyone else at twisting the knife in each other. Especially Lilah reminding Wesley he's fallen. Either way their narrative is beautiful.

Especially in the middle. And the beginning. And the end. You know.

LILAH: You couldn't save me from me.
WESLEY: Is that what you thought?
LILAH: Me? (laughs) Lover, I'm not even here. I'm just a figment in your devilishly handsome head. So, clearly, it's what you thought. For all your supposed darkness, edge of the razor mystique, (whispers in his ear) there was always a small part of you that thought you could pull me back from the brink of my evil, evil ways. Help me find redemption.

She laughs at being called "fallen". A+ to you, Lilah.

I love the beautiful irony that Wesley was the one least taken in by W&H's offer, in favour of trying to burn Lilah's contract.

WESLEY: You've suffered enough. (lights the paper) I want you to find some peace. (watches it burn)
LILAH: Gallant to the end...but I knew what I signed up for.
WESLEY: It's done.
LILAH: Look in the drawer. (Wesley opens the drawer, takes out a paper from the same file) Flames wouldn't be eternal if they actually consumed anything. (Wesley looks heartbroken) But it means something that you tried.

JSYK I am lifting these quotes from the transcripts, and am not the one who adds things like "heartbroken" into it.

- Lol @ "Lilah couldn't feel love"/"Wesley didn't love her". If two souless vampires could feel love, Lilah could. And Wesley's slips of the tongue said otherwise.

- Lilah is the best. Her confidence this season was amazing, evil has never been more fabulous, or unrepentently, blatantly evil either. I am sad I won't be able to see her snark at Angel Investigation's antics any longer.

ANGEL: We'll get through this thing. Together.
LILAH: I can't believe we didn't crush you people years ago.

LILAH: Just waiting to prove that your Powers That Be are all hat and no cattle. And if they do pull it through, well then braid my hair, and call me Pollyanna. (smiles) The upside of being in it for yourself, Wes—you always end up on the winning team.

- I was very fond of everything Fred did this season. Hurt so much for her at the end when she was left alone despite all her fears, and she really stepped up.

- Also apparently I like Angel again. I guess his interactions with Faith made me fond. It helps that everything I was unenthusiastically poking at back in season 2 gets addressed again. Redemption isn't one big act, it's a lot of little ones.

- Though I think Angelus might always be my favourite form of Angel haha. Crazy, sly, powerful villain. So utterly magnificent.

- The continuity stuff was a little messy around Angelus, though. If he "wasn't here" when Angel got his memory wiped, how can he have seen every little thing Angel did? If he saw them, then he was "inside" Angel. I imagine he simply meant he had those memories, in a different light, but the show seems to present them as different beings entirely.

- Going through his personal hell was one of the most hilarious things I have seen on this show. ANGEL SAVED A PUPPY, a good dead that will forever torment Angelus.

- Wesley O_O | He finally did it. He became a Watcher who used Faith, his Slayer, as a tool to destroy vampires. Tool first, person later.

- The plot was woven together like woah. (Sometimes I watch for the plot.) Jasmine was an excellent way of confronting the different beliefs of "greater good", with a side of freedom/control that makes me wonder if there should be some sort of communist/socialist metaphor I need to look out for. I mean THE BIG BAD IS A LAW FIRM, IT'S NOT MUCH OF A STRETCH. Way to question our belief, and Our Heroes' belief, in the heroism of their actions, especially when W&H "rewards" them.

- Especially the end, the beautiful, depressing end that punctuates the entire narrative arc of choice/free will/pain and good. Angel Investigations fights so hard to give humanity "free will", and Angel's final act is to do greater by not just killing Connor, but erase everything he ever was, in an act of "love" -- after the audience has learned that Connor clings to his pain. And signing his entire team up to W&H for the chance. It is the most gloriously depressing ending that has ever hung over a happy ending, except maybe for Sam standing in the rain watching Dean with his family in that season finale. That one.

+ I really adored all the mythology

- Also I love Jasmine a lot. The whole plot about people "opening their eyes" amused me, because Connor so rightly points out that everyone's obsessed with how she looks. "Beautiful" is apparently a shorthand for being in awe with someone. She works precisely because she's what Angel / the viewers have always wished (divine interference) taken to its logical conclusion - if you can change something, why not change everything? The complete inversion of God, from skin colour to gender to action.

- Not that I really believe she's ~good, if she goes homicidal once her plan is taken apart.

- Poor Connor. Poor Cordelia. Poor Gunn. Lol.

- Darla's return was beautifully played, from her words to her failure. She was lost once she tried to convince Connor he was loved unconditionally, but what other way does Darla love?

(Not that I didn't scream inside at Connor for what he was doing. He's the one character whose arc I knew nothing about, so it was all shocking.)

- I legit cannot pick a favourite episode, once we got past The House Always Wins (episode 3) and "Cordelia" comes back. Spin the Bottle, featuring the return of Geek!Wesley and some v. fine acting from everyone. Habeas Corpses, with mythology, the epic demise of W&H for the moment. And... pretty much every episode after that once we started digging into the mythology. Home and its depressing ending, the return of Lilah and Lilah/Wes and W&H, rates pretty high too.

- Oh yeah, also meant to say that Willow's cameo made me happy, and Faith's made me very happy. Fred/Willow should be a thing.

In conclusion: fav.



I need to be spammed with Lilah/Wes vids.
Lilah/Wesley is the hottest thing I have seen on TV for some time.

THEY ARE PERFECT. This show has ruined me for all morally dubious ships, EVER. EVER.

they care about each other, but won't hesitate to use the other to their advantage. Would screw over the other's agenda without a thought, but wouldn't actually hurt each other. They know each other so well, they've become better than anyone else at twisting the knife in each other.

Yes, WORD to all of this. And I love how both of them are loath to admit they're in love, because they'd see is as "losing"--to each other, to themselves...but they so are.

I was very fond of everything Fred did this season. Hurt so much for her at the end when she was left alone despite all her fears, and she really stepped up.

I loved her. Especially in The Magic Bullet. Just amazing. When she says, "Sorry" to Angel before shooting him...wow.

Also apparently I like Angel again. I guess his interactions with Faith made me fond.

The Angel-Faith and Faith-Wesley interactions were pure gold from beginning to end. How Faith refused to give up on Angel, refused to stake him soul or no soul, and then risked her life like that to take him down...wow.

The plot was woven together like woah. (Sometimes I watch for the plot.)

Yes. The storytelling was TIGHT, just awesome awesome awesome and perfectly paced, too.

Especially the end, the beautiful, depressing end that punctuates the entire narrative arc of choice/free will/pain and good.

I really love that about this show--it goes places most shows wouldn't. So often narratives are heading towards beautifully logical conclusions and then chicken out at the very end...but AtS actually GOES THERE, more often than not.

Also I love Jasmine a lot.





I legit cannot pick a favourite episode

Yeah, it's pretty much impossible for me, too. I loved Deep Down because it restored my faith in the show after being annoyed by Tomorrow. I also love Habeas Corpses, Awakening, Calvary, The Magic Bullet, Home...yeah, they're all great. :D
I'm thinking back over the... three days that I watched the entire season in, and I can't think of a single Lilah/Wesley moment I didn't love, that I think was out of place.

Yes, WORD to all of this. And I love how both of them are loath to admit they're in love, because they'd see is as "losing"--to each other, to themselves...but they so are.

*Sobs* If there ever were a play of dominance. Neither wants to be more invested in what they have than the other is.

The Angel-Faith and Faith-Wesley interactions were pure gold from beginning to end. How Faith refused to give up on Angel, refused to stake him soul or no soul, and then risked her life like that to take him down...wow.

Not just risking her life, either, but knowingly making the bargain until she decides she does want to live. And Faith + Wesley = gold, always. Wesley's speech about her "rabid" animal self chills me to the bone. That he's in a place where he can say that...

THAT GIFSET. CONNOR + ANGEL. I laughed so incredibly hard.

Lol - I didn't mind the end of s3 except facepalming at how they drew out Cordelia/Angel, but Deep Down was amazing, yes. Which makes me lol again at how s4 of TVD ended apparently.
Lmao @ that gifset, do you have a reblog link?

I'm glad to see love for HC, I feel that episode is so underrated when it was so amazing!!! But then again I love disaster-movie-intensity and Wilah so...
Lmao @ that gifset, do you have a reblog link?

Here you go!

Habeas Corpses is an amaaaazing episode. IDK, sometimes the whole season feels like one long ep, to me. I love it.
omg I ~right ship Lilah/Wes too, wtf. IT’S JUST THAT I SINCERELY FEEL THEY SHOULD BE ENDGAME DOWN IN HELL, OK?

The Angel/Angelus business is so wack. Usually Angel is pretty consistent about Angelus BEING, YOU KNOW, HIM. But after the S4 business he starts talking about Angelus like he’s someone completely independent of himself and it’s all very wth.

The Jasmine arc is one of the greatest arcs this show ever did, end of.

Angel's final act is to do greater by not just killing Connor, but erase everything he ever was, in an act of "love" -- after the audience has learned that Connor clings to his pain. And signing his entire team up to W&H for the chance. It is the most gloriously depressing ending that has ever hung over a happy ending
REASONS WHY FAVE SEASON FINALE (on the days when the S5 finale isn’t my fave finale).

Also, Gina Torres is the bomb, y/y? (The answer is yes.)

Spin the Bottle and Habeas Corpus are probably among my top 10 too. I’d also put Salvage and Orpheus up there (Angel/Angelus weirdness notwithstanding). And The Magic Bullet (FREEEEEEEEEEEED). And the whole back half of the season lbr.

I need to be spammed with Lilah/Wes vids.
Fine.
THEY WILL PROBABLY STAY IN HELL TOGETHER (I.E. WATCHING EPISODES OF GOSSIP GIRL AND SNARKING ABOUT IT.) ONCE WES DIES.

Lilah/Wes will probably always be my favourite, and Angel/Darla is glorious, but I even had ~feelings for Angel/Cordy in this season though I knew it wasn't Cordy and though I was annoyed by them in the back half of s3. And Fred/Wesley's chemistry hit me. And Gunn snapping that professor's neck, which I interpreted at first as ~sharing in the guilt instead of trying to shoulder it all, but alas the show dashed that hope.

Gina Torres will win all the awards ever. I am amazed at her range, after seeing her in Alias and Firefly too. And she absolutely sells semi-benevolent control freak goddess.

SPAM ME, ALEX, with your YT vid-finding skills. All I can see are old vids.

Edited at 2013-07-13 04:23 am (UTC)
Why were you annoyed with C/A in the back half of season 3? And yeah I also still love season 4 for Cangel even though Cordy wasn't even there for most of the season, because you can really see how MUCH Angel loves her (despite the ignorant deniers' claims), and it's so heartbreaking. (Aaaansgt, I eat it for breakfast!)

I hate how Fred/Gunn ended though, where no matter what Gunn had done in that situation he couldn't win. :/ Fred/Wes' actors have some chemistry (visible also in "Much Ado About Nothing"), but the ship is just so awful in its development (like aside from that one kiss in season 4 she shows NO romantic interest in him until right before they get together). And Lilah just does so much more for his character...

You are making me want to investigate re-uploading my Wilah vid to a different server...
Hm... my annoyance kicked in when Groo reappeared, and it became obvious just how much the writers wanted to draw it out for the sake of drawing it out. C/A is one of the ships where... that doesn't work for me, since I saw them as functional, fully aware of the other, best friends who communicate well, etc etc. So yeah, facepalming.

LOL there are people who think Angel doesn't love Cordelia? What show were they even watching, because those people are wrong.

I didn't really care about most of Fred's pairings, lol, so I'm ambivalent right now. With Fred/Gunn, I liked them for a while in s3 but the saccharine sweetness made my teeth melt too much to fully pay attention. You could say that she showed some interest in Wes when she reverted to her teenage self, with no memory of what Wesley had done or who he was. But yeah, Lilah/Wes is the best of Wes's pairings.

You are making me want to investigate re-uploading my Wilah vid to a different server...

Ooooh, do it. Or you could make the vid link-only? That could also protect it.
Hmm, fair enough. I just don't like it when people say that Cordelia was too ~Buffyesque~ at the end of season 3 and such and claiming she was no longer bitchy/sassy enough, etc. And yeah, there are people who say that because Angel never directly said the exact phrase, "I love you" to Cordy (or she to him), it wasn't really love! *rolleyes* Usually they are Buffy/Angel shippers who can't get over the idea that Angel could ever *really* love someone else. *sigh*

And aww, I like some sweetness and adorableness now and again to go with all my usual angsty pairings! It was nice to see a normal, happy, functional relationship like they had, and I just don't think it was handled properly in the very end. And hmm I forgot that part of STB, but again, in her proper actual state of mind even before Wesley did shady stuff, she still just didn't feel That Way about him, and just...ugh. Well you can see for yourself in season 5. At least we agree about the epic win that is Wilah! ;)

Ooooh, do it. Or you could make the vid link-only? That could also protect it.

Okay I finally put it up on vimeo, public for now--thanks for giving me that nudge I need! :) Don't judge too harshly, it was my first moving vid as I said, lol: https://vimeo.com/70260159
And yeah, there are people who say that because Angel never directly said the exact phrase, "I love you" to Cordy (or she to him), it wasn't really love! *rolleyes*
HAHAHAHA. Even as someone who doesn't particularly ship Angel/Cordelia, I would never claim they didn't love each other.

I liked Fred/Gunn for a while. Probably the high point of my feelings was the one where Gunn realizes he traded away his life in the past, breaks up with her to "protect" her, and she doesn't accept it because she knows something's wrong.

Aww, don't be silly, any video with Lilah and Wes is perfect. And I really liked yours. Beginning from the high-pitched voice singing, the truth about us while Lilah hugs Wesley, it was perfect. *Sniff*
It's really good right?! I love S4. The Jasmine arc is one of my favorites too, and it was my favorite season for Fred, who I really like. And AtS does dark ships like no other show does dark ships.
Lol. It seems that most of my f'list does, in fact, love s4, which I appreciate, since I've heard it's divisive.

And AtS does dark ships like no other show does dark ships.

Very much so.
SO I WILL ACTUALLY READ THIS POST LATER but for now, vids:

Queen Bitch by thedothatgirl Lilah vid, but of course has some Lilah/Wesley in it. In black & white with touches of red, like any good femme fatale.

Actual Lilah/Wes vid: Cosmic Love by 1SnoWhiteQueen1. It starts of looking like a Fred/Wes vid, but that's just the setup.
THAT FIRST VID IS BREATHTAKING. And I am glad 1SnoWhiteQueen1 exists because she has made so many Lilah/Wes vids ♥

THANK YOU :DDD
Lilah/Wesley is the hottest thing I have seen on TV for some time. And this is 50x more impressive because they don't actually show much skin for most of their scenes.

I KNOW RIGHT? That scene that ends with him going down on her :)

they care about each other, but won't hesitate to use the other to their advantage. Would screw over the other's agenda without a thought, but wouldn't actually hurt each other.

YES. A definitive piece of dialogue for me:

LILAH: I was just doing my job. You're the one who decided to take what you overheard and give it to the good-n-plentys. So before you go all righteous fury, figure out who you're really mad at here.
WESLEY: What was the real plan?
LILAH: Let's just say, I could've had Lorne's brain in a jar, but I left it in his head 'cause he's a friend of yours.
WESLEY: What's that supposed to do? Lull me into trusting you again?
LILAH: If I'd thought you'd ever trust me, I would've never played you like that.
WESLEY: It's never simple, is it?

IF I'D THOUGHT YOU'D EVER TRUST ME, I WOULD'VE NEVER PLAYED YOU LIKE THAT

I just. This ship and Darla/Angel(us) are still some of the best constructed canon darkish ships I've seen.

there was always a small part of you that thought you could pull me back from the brink of my evil, evil ways. Help me find redemption.

Goooooood, my femme fatale darling. (Ats's film noir influences are really apparent at times.)

Lol @ "Lilah couldn't feel love"/"Wesley didn't love her". If two souless vampires could feel love, Lilah could. And Wesley's slips of the tongue said otherwise.

YES. I don't get this attitude even if one prefers Fred/Wesley - you can love more than one person. (Also: Darla and Angelus loved each other too, damnit.)

Redemption isn't one big act, it's a lot of little ones.

Yes yes yes. This is part of why I'm so fond of Angel - he gets this better than so many broody heroes with a ~dark past~.

Way to question our belief, and Our Heroes' belief, in the heroism of their actions, especially when W&H "rewards" them.

That time they "saved the world" by preventing world peace. Oh kids. ("And look what free will has gotten you."//"Hey, I didn't say we were smart. I said it's our right. It's what makes us human.")

Connor knowing Jasmine was a lie from the start, but thinking she was "a better lie" than the ones he's been told before. Oh god. I mean after the number Holtz did on him...

I have trouble picking out individual episodes from season 4 just because the plot is so tightly woven. And so many arcs tied up from across seasons!! It's just so good wow.

edit: oh wow this is long

Edited at 2013-07-19 05:52 am (UTC)
THIS IS NOT LOOOONG.

That scene where Wesley went down on her is a work of art. Scientifically proven :D

IF I'D THOUGHT YOU'D EVER TRUST ME, I WOULD'VE NEVER PLAYED YOU LIKE THAT
I KNOW, ALL MY FLAILING FOREVER.

YES. I don't get this attitude even if one prefers Fred/Wesley - you can love more than one person. (Also: Darla and Angelus loved each other too, damnit.)
*Nods* the Buffyverse relationships are BUILT on this in particular. Buffy loved Angel, Riley and Spike. Angel(us) loved Buffy, Darla, Cordelia, and from what I hear, Spike as well XD

That time they "saved the world" by preventing world peace.
D Y I N G at the way you put this.

Connor just broke my heart this entire season. *Sniffle* And when I remember Darla pointedly told him that she was herself because she had Darla's memories, and to have Angel TAKE HIS MEMORIES AWAY. Gah. FEELINGS.
I just. This ship and Darla/Angel(us) are still some of the best constructed canon darkish ships I've seen.

OMFG. THIS. THIS THIS THIS. I don't know how AtS managed to get Dark!Ships so right when almost every other show I've seen gets them so wrong, but this show was MASTERFUL at such dynamics.

That time they "saved the world" by preventing world peace. Oh kids.

This pretty much sums up what I love most about the show as a whole.
LILAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. <3 I too love Lilah, and agree with all your meta, especially all the Lilah/Wes stuff. They were one of my favorite couples on the show, if not, um, the healthiest.
Lol this mess is not a meta, but thanks for saying so.

They were one of my favorite couples on the show, if not, um, the healthiest.

Basically. They are perfect.