They did have their special night together at the Prom. That was their goodbye for me. Both accepted that they just couldn't be together. I don't think you actually need Angel saying goodbye for it to be tied up I think from a storyline point of view they had done as much as they could do with the relationship. Theey should have left it alone IMO.I actually didn't mention IWRY as a Bangel fan. I've seen lots of Angel top 25, 10 or even 5 episodes with IWRY listed. And that episode is pretty much always in a list of stand out season 1 episodes. I disagree, their relationship hadn't been tied perfectly at the end of season 3. Angel left without a goodbye, in fact, he never says goodbye. Buffy and Angel will always be important to each other which is why they mention each other frequently, why they see each other every season (off-screen in season 6), etc. IWRY isn't the episode that resurrected Bangel for no reason, because the shows continuously resurrected Bangel throughout the seasons (their kiss in Forever or Chosen, Angel saying Buffy's name in 'Awakening', the episode 'Heartthrob', Angel S5). IWRY obviously had a lot of Bangel, but it was about Angel's character, his sacrifice and showing the Angel audience who Buffy was. It wasn't really about pleasing the Bangel fans, which is why the episode didn't affect Buffy or interfere with her show.
'She' is truly bad. 'Expecting' and 'Sense and Sensitivity' are sweet and funny, respectively. Those are average episodes. You can't tell me 'Bad Eggs' or 'Gingerbread' aren't worse. The one with Rebecca is 'Eternity'. Angel supposedly has a crush on that woman (though I don't believe anyone can actually see it and it completely goes away after the episode) and she tries to unleash Angelus. I haven't rewatched it yet so I don't remember all of it. The parts with Angelus were good, but achieving fake perfect happiness and Angelus resurfacing without Angel losing his soul makes no sense. Does Angel temporarily lose his soul? Idk.
I like the AI team in S1. I think Angel as a character is at his best in S1 and S2, Wes is hilarious and this Cordy is my favorite - she's bitchy, blunt and funny, but kind and perceptive too. The writing isn't consistently strong, but when it is, it's really good. There are a quite a bit of episodes that are intellectually stimulating and define the core statement of the show. My favorite episodes this season are better than my faves in S3 (except for 'Lullaby') and probably at the same level as the best S4 writing (except for 'Deep Down' and 'Home'). S4 for example has some amazing writing, but the bad always brings the episodes down.
S1 is just a fun season, but with enough deep episodes to satisfy my need for substance. Season 2 is amazing because I love the subject of depression, hopelessness, existentialism, but season 1 is more re-watchable. The other seasons have some truly spectacular episodes and some really strong writing but overall I enjoy this season more. Also, this season is pretty much romance free and doesn't suffer from contrived romances and love triangles. I guess S5 is very serialized and has some amazing episodes, but I hate the first 11 or so episodes (excluding Lineage) and that season doesn't truly feel like an Angel season.
Bad Eggs isn't great but it has its moments and some of the dialouge alone lifts it above those Angel episodes IMO. Gingerbread gets a bad rap I think. Its actually a pretty good episode. It just looks avenge because of how great the rest of season 3 is. I liked the end of Enterity but besides that I think its pretty pants I don't think he did lose his soul no. But can't say for sure.
I'm not so keen on goofy Wes. It was fine in Buffy because he was bascially playing a bad guy. And there are a couple of moments in S1 when the character is too creepy for me, like in I think its Expecting. Cordy's good but I thought she was even better in the next season. For me there are two maybe three episodes that are as good as the best from any season but no more than that IMO. As you know I disagree with you about S3