In the twenty-second and final episode of the fourth season of Angel, the team are given a ridiculous offer from an unexpected person, and Connor… I don’t even know. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.
This episode is unbelievable, and I mean that in two different ways.
1) Angel Investigations is offered the Los Angeles branch of Wolfram & Hart.
I often use the word “unbelievable” in a more hyperbolic sense. It’s supposed to mean that it’s so fucking out there that I didn’t expect it. This entire plot is absolutely one of the best things this show has ever done, and I am so disgustingly anxious to see season five because of it. I thought the Wolfram & Hart storyline wouldn’t even last beyond the first season, let alone be the focus of season five. And here we are: Lilah’s contract allows her one last moment on Earth, and she offers the Angel Investigations team the entire rebuilt Los Angeles branch of Wolfram & Hart. That moment where the team just stares at each other in shock for nearly a minute is just a perfect reaction to this news. It seems so absurd that there’s no way Lilah could be serious. It’s a trick, right? It’s a trick. Admiral Ackbar is waiting around a corner, I swear.
Coming off of the Jasmine arc, this episode is particularly freaky. We just spent days worrying about a long con. We watched the main characters get taken in by a misguided Power That Was. Everyone has an ulterior motive. So why does this feel so wrong? Everything about this is SO SO WRONG. Lilah has the group split off (A CLEAR TACTIC TO TRICK THEM, RIGHT???), each guide shows their assigned person exactly what they want from life, and this is a fucking trick, right? Lorne gets access and the freedom to be who he wants. Fred would have access to the greatest lab in the history of science. Wesley would have so much power and knowledge at his finger tips. And Gunn gets… wait, I don’t actually know. WHAT THE FUCK DID THAT JAGUAR THINGY TELL GUNN??? I AM REALLY SCARED.
I guess what frightened me about this is that Wolfram & Hart has always represented the excesses of Los Angeles. They have access. They have money. They have power. They can make people disappear. They can spin any news story. Again, it’s one of the things that made me like Angel so much in season one. This is a very Los Angeles sort of story, and I don’t think it could work anywhere else. (Well, you could probably pitch Angel as being set in New York City, and I wouldn’t fight you on that. Oh god, wait, THAT’S A FUCKING GREAT IDEA.)
I had a feeling a lot of this decision would hinge on Angel. Gunn, Lorne, and Wesley seemed pretty gung-ho about what they could do with this place, while Fred was far more reluctant. But what was this place going to offer Angel that he didn’t have already? A nice office? An elevator? A file on the Sunnydale apocalypse? Okay, no, that’s great. I’ll get back to that.
What Lilah offered Angel leads me to my second point.
2) Connor’s reaction is unbelievable.
And I mean it this time as a way to convey the fact that my ability to suspend my disbelief for this series has finally stretched too thin. While I ultimately like how this episode ends, I am just all kinds of confused about what we see here. At heart, there is an incredibly touching and heartbreaking story concerning Connor. What we’ve seen of him since his appearance in season three is a pervasive inability to fit in. He was kidnapped from this world, raised in a hell dimension until he was a teenager, thrust back into life on Earth, told his biological father is an evil murderer all the time, lost his “real” father, got revenge on Angel by sinking him to the bottom of the ocean, and then he discovered that he was created as a pawn of a severely fucked up being from another dimension who wanted him to have sex with her through the body of his father’s true love, and DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW FUCKED UP AND AWFUL THIS IS? I don’t hate Connor at all. I feel nothing but an unending sense of sympathy for him. He (along with Cordelia) has been handed a brutal story over the course of season four, and I do like that the events in “Home” address the fact that Connor has had a truly difficult life.
What I don’t believe is that he’d take hostages and threaten to blow them all up. It’s a bit of a stretch from “young man feels out of place in the world” to “let me kill tons of people after beating up a cop.” I know that saying anything is “unbelievable” on a show like this is ridiculous in and of itself. Where do you draw the line? How is a maggot-faced demigod totally cool, but not a hostage situation? For me, this specific story felt like it jumped too far in too short of a span of time. I get Connor’s justified angst and frustration. I get him feeling empty and lost after losing Jasmine. And I’m glad the show has addressed that these people would feel confused after Jasmine went away. But the whole strapping bombs thing? How did Connor even learn how to make them? Where did he get the supplies? How is Angel not bursting into flames in that super sunny store???
Still, I was completely shocked by the end of this episode. It appeared that Angel slit Connor’s throat, making that “fake” prophecy kind of true. The father will kill the son. Only it happens in a way I couldn’t anticipate. While I’m sure that the rest of the team might be frustrated that Angel signed their lives over without them, they won’t ever understand why.
Angel “killed” his son by giving him a normal life of happiness. Oh god, it’s so sappy, and I fucking love it. Angel gave up his son so that his son could experience joy. Just. my heart. Is it ridiculous? Of course. But Connor’s life has been so full of misery that it doesn’t necessarily bother me that Angel erased that. I don’t expect Connor to be back after this episode, since his story is pretty much complete. He’s happy. My heart.
Also, pretty sure this episode outright confirms that Angel is going to Sunnydale with that file OKAY I AM REALLY EXCITED FOR THESE LAST TWO BUFFY EPISODES. Oh my god, I’m almost done Buffy. SHHHH, I’M NOT CRYING.
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