Thursday, May 20, 2004

Angel Series Finale

I did watch the Angel series finale last night. I've always liked Angel better than Buffy, the character as well as the series. He was just more interesting and tragic. I also liked the fact that Joss Whedon did a better job of keeping the power-level reasonable in Angel. In the last few seasons of Buffy, Buffy, and especially Willow, had become too powerful, so that it was hard to find challenges for them any longer. In the last season of Angel, the principals had a lot of power, but it was more due to the organization than the characters themselves, and the organization couldn't be trusted.

That leads me to what I found most disappointing about the finale: the manner of Wesley's death. Going into the finale, I thought the chances of Wesley's survival were pretty slim; he's been borderline suicidal since Winnifred's death. Wesley had become one of my favorite characters, growing significantly from the wimp we first encountered on Buffy, and the one thing that I liked the most about him was how smart he was. He had a realistic view of his own abilities, knew where he was weak and where he was strong, and he was able to take on his opponents by finding their weaknesses and exploiting them. While Wesley knew a good bit about magic, he was never shown to be truly powerful in the way that Willow was. Thus, I found the concept of him fighting an uberpowerful sorcerer with magic out-of-character. I kept waiting for him to pull some trick, or at least a pistol (not a switchblade!). (Another reason I liked him was that he used guns. Dramatic as it is, it's unrealistic that in this day and age manually staking vampires is still considered the best way to kill them. Sure, ordinary bullets won't do it, but why hasn't anyone in Whedon's universe thought of this.) Perhaps it was a reflection of his borderline suicidal psyche, but I wouldn't expect him to throw his life away at the cost of the mission. Nor am I convinced that his plan all along was to die in Illyria's arms so she would kill the sorcerer.

I'm also not a huge fan of the cliffhanger ending. Farscape was the worst; this one was at least fun, if infuriatingly inconclusive. But if the rest of them died in the fight at the end, at least they went down appropriately, which is more than I can say for Wesley.

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