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Alternative ending to Angel as a show:

Angel6

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Sineya
We have had 20 years to ponder this now, and for the resolution to the Wolfram and Hart arc of Angel doesn’t sit quite right.

Angel as a character and as a show had always been about helping one soul at a time, we see this again and again through the series, it’s not about grand gestures, it’s just about being there to save one person. The ending feels like he loses sight of that completely.

I feel like the shows strongest status quo was its initial concept, Angel as the central protagonist with Doyle/Wesley as his confidant and Cordelia there as the heart of the show. I would have loved the show to end with Angel going back to basics in LA and realising he had got away from his mission. I actually really like the idea of Wes as a ghost continuing to be Angels confidant, perhaps he could be confined to the office.(they did this in ATF, just not very well!)

I don’t mind the end, but I feel like the lead up is really muddled (understandably). I would love to hear some of your thoughts.
 
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Hmmm - it's tricky. I appreciate the end scene of the show and understand why they did that and how thematic it is - but your idea of him returning to the Hyperion and getting back to basics still meets that theme. And it is maybe a little bit more hopeful than a desperate last stand, and of course less morally ambiguous and more fitting with 'if nothing we do matters than all that matters is what we do' than Angel just deciding to bring Armageddon down on a city full of innocent people, just so he can prove a point.

However, as a final scene for a show - the huge drama and epic scale of it does seem more fitting and more memorable than a quiet return to what really matters. As a final moment, I can understand the reasons the writers decided to go big rather than small.

I think the main problem with the end of the season is that it was not supposed to be the end of the series. The original idea was pretty much what we got (sans Wesley dying) but then s6 would deal with the ramifications and the putting it right.
Unfortunately, the decision to cancel came too late for them to really change the direction of where the show was going (I read an interview once with Vincent Kartheiser, who said he was on set when the news of cancellation came in - which means it must have been as late as 'Origin').
However, I think the real problem is that the threat of the circle of the black thorn is not very well seeded, and isn't introduced until far too late. Yes we get Sebassis in episode 5 and then Izzy in 12, and then Vail and then the Senator - but there's no sign of them being a threat, or having a goal beyond their own personal ones or of Angel doing anything about them pretty much until 'power play'. That they are a group is just a reveal that comes out of nowhere and so has little impact.
We spend so much time on Spike, and then Lindsey and then Fred dies and the main threat, what leads to the final showdown, is little more than an afterthought thrown in at the end.

So it isn't the very ending, itself, I would necessarily change - because it is both thematic and epic and that is what the series deserved - but I would change the way we got there, I would actually develop the circle as a big bad and therefore make the ultimate showdown a growing inevitability that would actually effect positive change, or save the world (like they do in every season of Buffy) rather than a last minute suicide mission for the sake of proving a point.
Even if we didn't get to see the final battle, and it still ended where it did, I'd prefer it if they were there because the circle had been an immediate threat and they were fighting to protect people from that threat.
 
B
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Cancellation came in during the filming of Underneath. They mention it on the DVD commentary. It was during the Basement fight scene

Angel6

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Sineya
Damn I love this character so much. I just really wish we could’ve got a proper/non rushed conclusion to his story. I was so excited by the recent comic book revival and it’s really sad I just don’t think they are gonna do anything more after it not making much money. I feel like Angel is such an iconic character, the vampire with a soul detective searching for redemption is just such an amazing premise. Imagine a novel series even, it could be so well done, and it just isn’t being.
 

AlphaFoxtrot

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Originally, Angel Season 5's metaphor was that of young people struggling to balance their ideals with climbing the corporate ladder. That’s clearly not the theme of the Series Endgame. If I had to guess, Hamilton was the Big Bad for the season, the team has to ally with Lindsay to take him down, leading to a competition between Lindsay and Angel for Blackthorn membership in Season 6, with Season 7 being the never ending battle season.

I don’t disagree with your basic premise.
 

Dogs of Winter

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We have had 20 years to ponder this now, and for the resolution to the Wolfram and Hart arc of Angel doesn’t sit quite right.

Angel as a character and as a show had always been about helping one soul at a time, we see this again and again through the series, it’s not about grand gestures, it’s just about being there to save one person. The ending feels like he loses sight of that completely.

Not Fade Away is one of my favourite endings in all of TV. I love it so much I have never even really thought about what you said and in many ways you are right.

In S2 he decides to raise the stakes and go after W+H before realising in Epiphany that his mission is to essentially help out one person at a time, and as he says
"All I wanna do is help. I wanna help because - I don't think people should suffer, as they do. Because, if there is no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness - is the greatest thing in the world."

So to go after the Black Thorn is in some ways a return to what he rejected in S2, especially when the build up to the final battle is more rushed than would normally be the case in a season of Angel. And if you look at the probable consequences of the final fight - he is bringing an army of demons down on LA, and there is a good chance Team Angel will all die, so they wont be around to deal with the consequences or indeed to help out the little people anytime in the future.

But having said all that sometimes a big grand gesture trumps logic especially in a series finale. In general I think when the Whedonverse has a choice between the big emotional moment and something more grounded and logical they tend to go for the former, and I am fine with that so for me Not Fade Away will always remain a perfect episode of TV.
 

Angel6

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Sineya
Not Fade Away is one of my favourite endings in all of TV. I love it so much I have never even really thought about what you said and in many ways you are right.

In S2 he decides to raise the stakes and go after W+H before realising in Epiphany that his mission is to essentially help out one person at a time, and as he says
"All I wanna do is help. I wanna help because - I don't think people should suffer, as they do. Because, if there is no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness - is the greatest thing in the world."

So to go after the Black Thorn is in some ways a return to what he rejected in S2, especially when the build up to the final battle is more rushed than would normally be the case in a season of Angel. And if you look at the probable consequences of the final fight - he is bringing an army of demons down on LA, and there is a good chance Team Angel will all die, so they wont be around to deal with the consequences or indeed to help out the little people anytime in the future.

But having said all that sometimes a big grand gesture trumps logic especially in a series finale. In general I think when the Whedonverse has a choice between the big emotional moment and something more grounded and logical they tend to go for the former, and I am fine with that so for me Not Fade Away will always remain a perfect episode of TV.

I like Not Fade Away as an ending far more than I like the arc, I agree with what you say, and for me they just don’t earn it.
 

AlphaFoxtrot

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They made a silk purse out of a sow's ear. They the best they could with the time they had.

I agree with the basic point. Joss's philosophy regarding choice and action are an awkward fit for a lot of Angel's story. It seems like he had some big ideas he wanted to drop, but the writing team decided to stick with vauge redemption quest. I like Angel a lot, but thematically, the show has always been a mess.
 
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