4.22. Home, Airdate: 05/07/03 (WB, 8/9c).
Er, hm. This was pretty much about giving up, don't you think? From the end of season 3, the really cliffhangery one, the series focussed on the thought of Angel having a son. Many fans, me among them, thought, raising Connor in some hell dimension and resume story telling when he was a teenager, was a pretty lousy story device. After all, it made most of us don't feel for Connor. We really didn't care what happened with him, at least most of the time. He was just there to be dangerous to Angel and to the fang gang. Only when season 4 approached its end, Connor got more carved out from, well, whatever wood he was made from. His ennerving one-dimensionality slowly broke and enabled us to have, here and then, a glimpse of the complex and interesting person he could have been.
I am not complaining about crappy wiriting here at all, it's just that... well, this season of Angel was strange. They had some really cool shows, and some really crappy ones. The story-telling was below what it could have been most of the time. The problem was, somehow they didn't focus on what they were trying to express, and they over-used fantasy cliches - yes, they still are fond of undercutting, but this season, they used those cliches too long and too often. We had Evil Cordy the whole season, and she really sucked. She wasn't fun to watch, and when Charisma could have entertained by a role better suited, she was doomed to lay around.
However, we had some great scenes this season. Wesley made it: he's now Mr. Cool Guy. Gunn had some exposure of his own, Gwenn was introduced in a rather complex way (which possibly means, we can expect more of her next season), the Beast stole the sun, Fred had to save the gang on her own... yet, this season's story arc was the weakest so far. Which hopefully doesn't mean anything, since Joss takes over the ship next season and brings with him some of the best writers of Buffy. So, the best season of AtS may just lay before us.
Most of the emotional impact of this season was on Angel and Connor. He tried to be a good father, and Connor was lost in our world. He grew up in some sort of hell dimension without ever feeling what it means to be loved. Though the Connor ending was smarter than to just kill him off, it in the end meant, Angel has given up on him. They revised history, possibly brain-washed Connor, and now some family takes care of him, possibly brain-washed, too, or created by monks? Anyway, he has a family, he feels the love, but it is not his life. It isn't his family. And it's a very cheap ending. What does it mean? What does it say? We can cope with reality by altering it?
It's pretty much against everything I said about the show in my recent reviews. I defended the show, said, it doesn't take sides in political or religious discussions, but just focusses on its characters, and thus may imply doctrines, but doesn't push them forward for the sake of belonging to one side of an argument. I said, the show pretty much says "Life's just that: living". And though it may be true for Buffy, it doesn't seem to be true for Angel anymore. Connor and Angel couldn't go on living, they weren't able to cope with all that happened. They gave up, both of them. Connor by trying to blow everybody up - which is nothing else than a tremendous call for help, and Angel by giving up his duties and by altering reality for Connor. Is it better for him to be deceived once again? To have a life that is not his? To have parents, a family that is not his? To live a lie?
Angel and his gang learned what's the price of making a lie reality: they're now heads of W&H, L.A. branch. In terms of logic, there couldn't be a better start for them: they're heads of a law firm, and they started it by lying to and by deceiving one of them: Connor. It may offer them lots of opportunities, and it certainly is an interesting twist for the hopefully upcoming fifth season, but it also means, they have to cope with company politics, with many members of their company working against them, being suspicious, with having to stand for a lot of decisions, they don't approve.
I was wrong with Lilah. She isn't the FE, and somehow I like the thought of Buffy not being part of Angel's finale. It emphasizes that AtS has grown and is on its own now. The more: Angel already has a file on how to stop the FE, and that's how he'll come to Sunnydale.
There's one question I haven't asked yet: What did Gunn do? What was that part with his "big cat"? Did anyone get it? Anyway, for the gang things may seem pretty wonderful now, with having all the possibilities they wished for. But there's one thing with wishes come true: they'll bite you - or something that comes with them, will bite you. What is W&H planning to do with Angel? What will the fifth season be about?
That leads to the most important question: What did you think of the finale and of the whole fourth season? Write to me! I'll feature the most interesting points of view right here on my site.
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Connor: Carl writes, Connor's new family isn't about giving up, but about a new chance. It doesn't say, if you can't cope with life anymore, go and dream of a new one, but it says, even if everything seems hopeless, you always get a second chance. Well, this thought seems so beautiful, I refrain from criticizing - this time.:)