I finished Angel season five about a month ago, before I went on a mini-vacation and took a long break from NWN. (Spoiler alert: I’m still kind of doing that. My mind is much more at ease now.) And though it’s been a long time since I last saw anything from the Buffyverse, I figured I owed it to myself, the series, and anybody reading to publicize my final thoughts.
For one, I will say that I didn’t think season five was as great as everyone had boasted about. That could, of course, be because I had my expectations exceedingly high. But just like the characters on the show, I wasn’t quite partial to all the change. Mostly, I just wanted Cordelia back a lot. And the episode everyone has labeled one of the best in all of the Buffyverse — “A Whole in the World” — didn’t hit me in the gut as much as the other episode about death. In fact, it left me thinking that it was the episode Cordelia deserved but never got.
But never mind that, because Amy Acker got the chance to act circles around everyone.
Though I will say that I appreciated what the season was about. What I mostly realized about this season was that it had a lot of life left in it, with a lot more to say about the human condition than I think the show is given credit for.
Aside from the first five episodes, which I thought were really solid (and I previously wrote about), here are some of my favorites:
“Destiny”: Not usually a fan of the History Lessons, but this one was a lot of fun. I think there’s something to be said about the pacing of the first half of the season, which I personally enjoyed, to boot.
“Harm’s Way”: Are you kidding? This is like “The Zeppo,” but for Harmony. And, if we’re being honest, Harmony was like the best addition to season five. This episode was simply the best.
“Soul Purpose”: I’ve said this a million times before, but it needs to be repeated: I am extremely freaked out by parasites. So it’s no wonder I was creeped out while watching this.
“You’re Welcome”: Cordelia!
“Smile Time”: CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS? Holy goodness, there goes some of that Buffy charm and camp. This was simply perfect. Har har, they literally made Angel a puppet. Get it? I think some of the problems with this season is that everyone seems quite aware of how Wolfram & Hart is changing them but they never care to do much about it. Once Cordelia came and drilled it into everyone’s heads, I don’t think Angel literally needed to become a puppet for us to get the point. But it was a fun 42 minutes.
“A Hole in the World”: Obviously.
“Shells”: Obviously redux.
“Time Bomb”: I think “Time Bomb” might actually be my favorite favorite favorite episode of the season. It kind of solidified the theme of the entire season without hitting us over the head with it.
“Not Fade Away”: And then the series finale sort of gives us that closure of what it means to fight for the greater good — which is not by any means glamorous. And though our cavalcade of heroes is most likely going to die in the next 30 seconds, we’ve grown to appreciate that they made the ultimate sacrifice to fight for what they believe in.
I probably would have listed every episode, but believe it or not, I was trying to be selective. So, yes, I did enjoy most of season five — with the exception of “Numero Cinco” and “Why We Fight” goodness why? — but I didn’t find it to be as exceptional as I had hoped. Still, you can’t walk away from season five and say that it didn’t reflect everything the Buffyverse was about.
And with that, goodbye Buffy and Angel! It was a pleasure knowing you, characters. I’m very sad there isn’t more of them in the video medium. Maybe it’s time to read Buffy season eight?