Mark Watches ‘Angel’: S03E17 – Forgiving

In the seventeenth episode of the third season of Angel, everyone must deal with the disappearance of two key characters and cope with betrayal, loss, and revenge. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.

It’s not easy to watch this episode. Well, it’s not easy to watch everybody everywhere suffering all of the time. This show just took all of its characters to an extremely dark place after “Sleep Tight,” especially Angel. How are the members of Angel Investigations supposed to cope with Wesley’s betrayal? How is Angel supposed to get his son back from a hell dimension? How is Lilah going to survive after messing up yet another case for Wolfram & Hart? “Forgiving” manages to address the aftermath of Holtz and Connor’s disappearance as it relates to practically every character who it affects.

Fred and Gunn

It’s totally fascinating to me that Wesley spent so much time trying to disprove the Nyazian prophecy, and we basically watch Fred and Gunn work as hard as they can to try and disprove the uncomfortable truth of Wesley’s behavior. It’s obvious that they wouldn’t have been as upset as Angel was because Connor wasn’t their child. Instead of getting angry or furious with Wesley, they both do what they can to discover any explanation for his actions that doesn’t paint him as a terrible villain. We know that this isn’t the case, but it’s still difficult to watch them struggle with this issue. As time passes and it seems less and less likely that Wesley had a good reason to abduct Connor, you can see the dread and fear spread between the two of them. What if their best friend really did do something horrible? For Fred especially, it’s a delicate issue. She personally knows how terrible it is to be sucked through a portal. How bad was the experience for Connor? And did Wesley know what he was getting into?

But they can’t believe Wesley would do something like what he did, and they act as the main force against Angel’s rage. I’ll elaborate more on that later, but he does get real scary for a bit in this episode. I always wonder if Gunn, Fred, Lorne, and Wesley all secretly roll their eyes whenever Angel gets mad. Do they think, “Oh fuck, not again. Can’t Angel just go on vacation for a few weeks?”

Anyway, that’s not the point.

Lorne

Lorne fills a similar role as Fred and Gunn do in “Forgiving,” and I’ve noticed he’s sort of resigned himself lately to being ignored by Angel. He’s like the Hermione Granger of this series: always there to give the best advice imaginable, and always ignored. Lorne tries real hard to help Angel out, to get him the information he needs about the Quor’toth dimension, and to do what he can to be a good friend. And… well, that’s all the writers seem to use him for these days, isn’t it? He’s kind of like the Dawn of this show. Wait, so he’s Dawn and Hermione. Hmm. I’m okay with that comparison.

Lilah

LOOK AT HOW CALM AND COLLECTED SHE IS FOR LIKE 95% OF THIS EPISODE. She just strolls from disaster to disaster with a face of perfection on and she gets shit done. Like, it isn’t a damn thing that Angel is taking her to the White Room, and love how blatantly she tries to take Linwood’s instructions from Angel. GOD, I LOVE HER SO MUCH. She barely gasps when Angel nearly snaps her neck, and then there’s that fucking unbelievable moment when Angel needs human blood and she teases Linwood with the idea that she’s going to take it from him. The sheer brilliance and power she demonstrates in that one moment is so monumental to me. She is in control here, and you can see that Linwood knows this. HE IS SCARED SHITLESS. But at the last moment, she cuts her own hand, smirking at Linwood, as if to say, “Yeah, don’t you forget how much I do for Wolfram & Hart, asshole.”

For real, Lilah Morgan is one of my favorite secondary characters on this show.

The White Room

NO, LIKE, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THIS IMMEDIATELY?!?!?!? HOLY SHIT, I LOVE THAT THE WRITERS KEEP INTRODUCING MORE AND MORE FUCKED UP AND WEIRD CRAP CONCERNING WOLFRAM & HART. Oh my god, I don’t even care if this wasn’t planned all along, I LOVE THE ENTIRE IDEA OF THE WHITE ROOM. So is this like some weird communication place where people can talk to the Senior Partners? Is that little girl an intermediary between the lawyers and the Senior Partners? Oh my god, I absolutely love that place, and I seriously hope we can see it again.

Sahjahn

HOLY RIDICULOUS AND SURPRISING CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT! There is no way I could have ever guessed Sahjahn’s true intentions. I foolishly just accepted the Nyazian prophecy as truth. Why would a prophecy be a lie, especially one that was rapidly coming true? Oh god, HOW FUCKED UP IS THIS? Connor was prophesied to kill Sahjahn. Well, wait, was he???

The one sired by the vampire with a soul will grow to manhood and kill Sahjahn. I’m confused. Angel hasn’t sired Connor, has he? Unless this is some fancy word for “raised” or “born.” Is it? Oh god, don’t tell me if that’s a spoiler, but I’ve come to realize that prophecies on this show have very specific language for a reason. So did Sahjahn still ultimately get his wish? I mean, Connor’s gone and he might still be alive, but if Lorne’s information is correct, it’s not going to be a walk in the park to survive Quor’toth. Still, for the time being, Sahjahn is gone, too, so at least Angel and his friends don’t have to worry about him.

Justine

As furious as I am with her for nearly killing Wesley, I still feel bad for her. Holtz specifically exploited her emotional vulnerability to recruit her for his mission, and then he abandoned her in an instant with no apology or goodbye. I don’t blame her for feeling listless, frustrated, or lost. What is she supposed to do with her life now? My god, I really hate Holtz now. He’s so gross and inconsiderate! And now he’s raising a child in a HELL DIMENSION without even a single, “THANKS FOR THE HELP, JUSTINE.” In a way, I think Holtz left her in a place that’s even worse than she was before, so I can’t help but sympathize with what she’s going through. Again, that doesn’t mean I want to high-five her for slashing Wesley’s throat, but I do want to understand her. I hope that the writers don’t just forget her and never bring her up again. OMG RECRUIT HER TO WORK FOR ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS. THAT SHOULD HAPPEN. Well, wait. Okay, Wesley would probably have a huge issue with that. You know, since he’s have to see the woman who cut his throat every day at work. On that note:

Angel

You know, it’s not lost on me that I don’t have a child and I don’t know how I would react to my newborn son being kidnapped right under my nose. So I don’t want to discount what Angel is feeling in “Forgiving.” Who knows? Perhaps I would react the same way. I admit that Angel’s one-track-mind type of behavior in this story is frightening at times. When he wants something, he goes after it, and he is fucking frightening. Like, I can’t forget he was within a second of snapping Lilah’s neck just to get information on how to give Sahjahn a corporeal body. He wasn’t getting his son back. He was just getting the first step of his revenge. 

That’s what most of this episode is about. Angel reacts to the grief and pain he is feeling with a desire for revenge. He thinks of nothing else. Well, sure, he does seek out information about the dimension his son was taken to, but knowing that’s going to take more than a simple spell, he focuses on causing as much pain as possible. And shit, look at the way he treats Gunn, Fred, and Lorne in this episode. For the most part, they’re either his servants, or they are obstacles. He doesn’t particularly care for how they feel or what they’re thinking.

So when Angel has to come to terms with what’s happened at the end of the episode, I thought this was going to a very specific place. Angel’s resigned himself to accepting that Connor is truly lost, and Lorne does his best to explain that both Wesley and Angel did what they could to protect Connor, at least in terms of what they knew. As complicated and messy as Wesley’s side of the story was, I appreciated that all of these characters were trying their best to put themselves in Wesley’s shoes. Hell, that is exactly why I thought Angel went to Wesley in that final scene: to forgive him for what he did so that Angel could forgive himself as well.

Yeah, I basically curled up into a ball and watched Angel try to smother Wesley while my hands were covering my face. I actually thought Angel would kill Wes. He certainly has the physical power to do so. My god, what a fucking mess. How is Wesley ever going to be a part of Angel Investigations again if Angel feels this way? What the fuck is going to happen when Cordelia comes back? HOW WILL ALL OF THIS BE EXPLAINED? Oh shit, it’s going to be fucked up.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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