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Reaction to "Not Fade Away"'s cliff hanger ending

Discussion in 'Sunnydale Cemetery' started by Joshua, May 28, 2016.

  1. Guy

    Guy Scooby

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    Black Thorn
    I like the idea of the cliffhanger ending, everyone going out fighting... But I have some big problems with the episode as a whole, and that kinda ruins the effect of the cliffhanger ending.

    Put simply - I think that Angel's plan is selfish, and immoral.
    He meant well, but his actions were guaranteed to achieve nothing and bring destruction on everyone around him. He wasn't fighting for what's right, he was fighting just to fight. He said so himself - W&H will continue, and his attack will not achieve anything other than proving that "they don't own us". Which is not a goal worth fighting for. It's kindergarten logic. It's suicide. It's a plan without hope. I could root for such a plan if there was some sort of ticking clock thing, if there wasn't time for a better plan, but that's not the case - W&H were not on the verge of unleashing an apocalypse any day, and Angel could have waited. His attack ended up BRINGING the apocalypse, not stopping it. And he KNEW that it was going to end that way.

    [​IMG]

    Moreover - Angel wasn't just fighting purposelessly, he was also fighting DIRTY. His plan involved a lot of immoral actions, most of all the killing of Drogyn. Now, I can get behind the idea of doing bad things for a greater good... But we've already established that Angel's plan wasn't pushing towards a greater good. His plan was to just go out fighting. And Drogyn's life wasn't worth sacrificing for such a pointless plan. Angel killed Drogyn for nothing, because he was already planning to die the next day. If Angel wanted to just "fight the good fight", then he should have just died fighting for Drogyn's life in that dungeon, instead of killing him so he could execute a plan that will achieve nothing.

    So, when our heroes stood in that alley, about to fight against the army of Wolfram & Hart, I wasn't rooting for them. I was too busy thinking "you damn idiots, you're gonna die because of your own mistakes".

    Lorne had it right:

    "I'm telling you, our fearless leader has fearlessly lost it. There's no part of this that makes any sense."
    "Say, any other tips on how to be a hero we could share with the boys and girls at home?"

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. WillowWhispers

    WillowWhispers Bored now...

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    I have mixed feelings about this episode. There are parts that I love- mainly Wesley and Illyria's final moments. Outside of that, it just feels like they threw in everything but the kitchen sink to get the job done- the episode appeared choppy, out of place, and didn't feel like a series finale.

    I agree with @Guy that Lorne seems to be the only one that really points out how crazy this whole plan is. Not to mention, the finale's whole story line is developed in 2 episodes?! That's a short timeline.

    I will say that series finales really have to try hard to please me, though. My expectations for a series finale were ruined by Six Feet Under a long time ago, and not a single show has made a fantastic finale since that time, in my opinion.
     
    GwenRaiden: Six Feet Under finale kills me everytime! Not a dry eye in the house.
    Guy likes this.
  3. white avenger

    white avenger white avenger

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    Plus, he was starting a war that he, realistically, had no chance whatsoever of winning, which would have left an unsuspecting world scrambling to come up with a defense against an enemy such as they had never faced before. Would Buffy and her friends been able to come together quickly enough to save the day? Possibly, but we have to remember, in every apocalypse battle that she fought previously, Buffy had weeks, if not months, to plan for battle. With W&H, even though they were forced to launch their battle early, Buffy would be at a disadvantage such as she had never faced before.

    I realize, the series was ending, and Joss wanted to go out with a bang, but in so doing, he set up the potential for literally global disaster. If he really wanted to end the series, and, as it appeared at that time, his depiction of the Buffyverse, on a cliffhanger, why not have some sort of situation such as, the Shanshu prophecy is about to be fulfilled, and we are left wondering which ensouled vampire would be the recipient? Will it be Angel? Will it be Spike? How will they both react to the result? How will BUFFY react? Will she ever even know? That would be ending on a positive note, with every fan being able to imagine their own conclusion, without the possibility, or, more likely, probability, that all was lost, simply on a whim of Angel's to bite the figurative elephant in the ankle while it was stomping him into paste. Or, maybe, Faith comes rushing into Angel's office when Spike, Wes, and the others are having a meeting, and says something like, "Angel, you guys gotta come quick. If we can't stop her, Buffy's gonna marry the Immortal!" Or, any one of a dozen situations that, okay, still end in a cliffhanger, but a HOPEFUL cliffhanger. Even John Wayne's version of "The Alamo" ended in an up note, with Mrs Dickinson and her daughter walking past the smirking General Santa Anna, and you just KNOW she's thinking, "Grin, you bastard. Sam Houston's gonna kick your ass at San Jacinto."

    As much as I hate cliffhangers, I can forgive hopeful cliffhangers. To me, "Not Fade Away" ended with a feeling of hopelessness and impending doom.
     
  4. Guy

    Guy Scooby

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    Black Thorn
    I actually don't mind the feeling of doom. And I like a lot of the ideas in 'Not Fade Away', in theory. And I think that it DOES work very well as a PART of Angel's story, with season 8 being the next step.

    That said - the big problem is that the finale always left me cold, emotionally. When Angel and the gang stood alone in that alley in the end, I didn't feel thrilled, or scared, or sad, or excited, or hopeful, or hopeless, or any emotion really. I was just left cold. And I think that that's because of the stupidity of Angel's plan, which made it impossible for me to root for these characters... These characters that I loved for so long. And Angel.

    But the fact that the plan is flawed isn't a problem by itself. The problem is that the characters aren't AWARE that their plan is stupid, and I'm not even sure if the writers were aware of that at the time. If this episode was just different in that aspect, it could have worked brilliantly. I'll explain with a comparison:



    'Veronica Mars' had a very similiar finale to Angel, IMO. Both shows started with a rebellious, idealistic, strong-willed character, and then both shows spent years tying that character to the world, and making her/him more social, and more compromising. And in the final episodes of both shows, both of the main characters had realized that the society that they integrated into was just as corrupt as it was when their stories began, and both characters decided to go out fighting, like they did in the beginning of their stories. And both heroes end up causing a ton of collatoral damage in their final, pointlessly rebellious stand. Both shows even end in the pouring rain, implying impending doom.

    The difference is that the Veronica Mars finale REALLY worked for me, while the Angel finale didn't. Why is that? It's because while 'Not Fade Away' tried to paint Angel's reckless actions as heroic and morally righteous, the 'Veronica Mars' finale ('The Bitch is Back') fully acknowledged the problematic implications of Veronica's actions. Veronica's actions in the finale are heroic and moral in the short term (and god knows the villains of that finale deserved it), but the episode makes it completely clear that they're going to come at great cost to Veronica and her friends and family, and it also makes it clear that Veronica herself knows it, too. Veronica's rage-filled rampage in the finale caused great tragedy to everyone around her, just like Angel's in 'Not Fade Away', but because Veronica knew it, and because Veronica never pretended to be heroic in her actions, the episode works beautifully. It's a thrilling tragedy and it knows it. 'Not Fade Away', however, doesn't seem to realize its own tragic-ness, and the episode totally loses its emotional impact because of it. 'Not Fade Away' needed to acknowledge Angel's flaws, for the ending to work.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
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  5. CharlieGunn1

    CharlieGunn1 Ready for battle...

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    Personally, that ending has always been a powerful moment for me. Probably the crowning achievement of the series. Angel was always destined to lose. It's a lot like life itself. We know that no matter how awesome we might be, that any moment, it might be our last. So what do we do? Do we run and hide when the fight comes, or do we stand up and be counted, even knowing it might not mean much? Gunn is a street kid from L.A. who should have died way before that alley, Spike was a second en-souled vampire, with a lifetime of murder and mayhem to try to redeem. Illyria is a fallen god with no worshipers, no future, and no connection to anything accept Wes, the only person who cared she still existed. All of them decide together to go out swinging, giving evil one final butt kicking.

    The ending was about this...

    "If nothing we do matters... then all that matters is what we do." That scene epitomized that quote.

    I like to imagine that just Angel swings that sword, three more allies show up... Connor, not willing to let his Dad die knowing he could help. Gwen, shocking the mess out of a parcel of demons, and finally Groo, charging in due to a call from one dimension hoping Cordelia Chase.
     
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