In the tenth episode of the fourth season of Angel, this is the most brilliant pile of N O P E that I have ever seen.
No. NO. Okay, wait. Let meâ€¦ ARGH I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO FURIOUS AND SO IMPRESSED AT THE EXACT SAME TIME QUITE LIKE THIS. Okay, before I set sail on the S.S. Nope once more, I really want to take a step back and appreciate “Awakening.” I do! I swear! If you watch today’s Mark Watches video, you will see my complete and utter destruction, but despite that, I was able to sleep on this episode before writing anything. I mean, look, there will always be a part of my soul that utterly despises what happened here. I DON’T LIKE BEING TOYED WITH. Why are the writers being big ol’ meanies to me? Yet even if the vision that Angel has ultimately doesn’t “matter” in terms of the plot becauseâ€¦ well, it’s a vision, that doesn’t mean that it’s pointless.
What I just saw was a very long and emotional explanation of everything that Angel wants in his life. And this is about more than just his feelings for Cordelia. Over the course of the vision that Wo-Pang gives Angel, we see his true desires. He wants his friends back together. He wants Wesley to apologize, to actually say, “I’m sorry.” He wants to fight the evils of the world with his friends. He wants Cordelia. He wants his son to forgive him and accept him as his father. He wants Cordelia.
It’s at times subtle and and sweet to watch. The only time I ever even suspected that something might be off was when Connor returned at the very end to help fight the Beast. That seemed a bit convenient, more so than anything else, but I figured that the writers just needed to get a lot of these extraneous plots wrapped up. Otherwise, I can’t deny that what the writers have created here is kind of brilliant when you think about it. They’re not necessarily lying to us; they’re just showing us everything that happened. And there will always be a part of me that will respect that. They could have just said that Angel was given a vision of true happiness to get his soul extracted, and I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about it. Instead, we see the entire thing, and by gods, that is genius.
That being said:
NOOOOOO WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING TO ME. NO. NO!!!! Everyone was HAPPY or at least GETTING THERE and the Beast was DEFEATED and the sun came BACK and WHAT THE FUCK HAVE YOU DONE. Oh my god, I haven’t felt this betrayed by a narrative sleight of hand since LOST, which SOME OF US NEED TO TALK ABOUT THAT ONE EPISODE. Wait, I just realized there are like TEN OF THEM. Okay, let’s talk about A LOT OF THOSE EPISODES. But my god, the night before I wrote this review, I just went to sleep completely furious. I was so upset I fell for it, I was upset that everything I saw wasn’t real, and I was upset that HAPPINESS CAN’T EXIST ON THIS SHOW.
But now I’m just left with so many questions. Like:
- Are the Bosh M’ad real?
- Is that sword real?
- Were those figments of Angel’s imagination?
They still have to fight the Beast. THEY STILL HAVE TO FIGHT THE BEAST. Oh my god, I feel so used. On a positive note, I do get to see Angelus again, so that’s cool? Right?
Okay, I’m going to go back to being just utterly furious again.
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I’ve been waiting for you to watch this one since you started Buffy, and it was worth it.