I feel like a broken record saying how impressed I am with the continuity in this series but it stands out when this story picks up right after Buffy left and Angel is still affected by her departure. He explains it all to Doyle who tells Cordy, and the story goes on. Then we get a story about heroism, as one might expect from the title. I’m a sucker for a good hero story. The episode opens with Cordy scripting a commercial for Angel Investigations and the stage is set to paint Angel as the Dark Avenger….
The thing is, Angel, like Buffy, has a track record of surprise moves; defying expectation in ways you just don’t see coming. Doyle gets a vision (leading to one of the first great lines of the episode: “did they look like they could afford to pay?”) setting the stage for a Nazi-like race of baddies called The Scourge. They want to destroy all half-breeds. Who knew purity was a big thing with demons? They are hunting a group of zombie-looking demons who have heard of the Promised One and the arrival of Angel is just what they need. When the demons whip out their portable sun, it’s just a matter of time before the light touches and obliterates anyone with human DNA. And then the hero comes in…
I don’t think I could overstate this, but I did not see this coming! Doyle is the hero and he dies saving the day. That’s pretty impressive and I have no idea how they’ll get out of that one. Well, that’s not actually true: they set the stage last week that we could go talk to the Powers That Be (AKA the writers) and just ask for him to come back. I’m hoping that’s not how this will play out because that’ll become too much of a get-out-of-jail-free card and would cheapen an otherwise excellent series. But wow… I’m stunned.
“So much for the security of long-term savings bonds!” Seems like Doyle summed that up well. This series (and by that, I mean both Angel and Buffy) was miles ahead of the curve when it came to killing off main characters. Think that started with Game of Thrones? Think again! Angel even got one over on me by writing off a main character faster than Babylon 5 did! It took a full season to write Sinclair out and there’s a reason that happened that holds the series together, but Doyle only made it 9 episodes. To compound the hurt, after the truth of his demonic background comes out, Cordy says that’s far lower on her list of reasons for rejecting him (below being short or broke). She then asks if he will ask her out. Just as Doyle becomes my hero for one thing, he goes out a hero for saving people. What an episode!
I can’t say the episode had a lot of humor but the story held my attention. I was especially attentive when one demon told Doyle he was “passing”. I have a friend who explained this to me in real-life terms so it took deeper meaning to me. Passing is where you can get away with being misidentified as a more acceptable culture. That’s a deplorable thing that it has to be viewed that way, but it gave the episode deeper significance to me. So I was delighted to see Angel and Doyle vanquish the demons. I do think it happens a little conveniently though. We had seen dozens of them running up the gangplank of the ship, but it looks like only 4 were a real threat. Still, hardly noteworthy when we compare it against the rest of the story. The episode then ends with a quiet farewell; a recap of the video Cordy recorded earlier in the episode and Doyle is gone. What does this series have in store for us?? ML
I remember the first TV episode where I learned about the issues of passing, which was a Quincy M.E. episode. With it’s culture, race or even a handicap, being made to feel like you have to resort to passing just to get by in life is unfortunately a big sign of society’s oppressive conformity. So it serves television drama right to still open the minds and hearts of audiences to those people who struggle with the issue, with Angel proving that even the supernatural genre can be no exception. Thank you, ML, for your review.
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