Chris handled these final two episodes together, so I will, too.
SEASON FIVE: EPISODES 21/22 : “Power Play” and “Not Fade Away”
Chris: Angel’s strange behavior convinces the gang that he’s joined an elite group of evildoers called the Circle of the Black Thorn a group he could have only joined by killing one of his own. The gang prepares to attack the true powers of evil by attempting to take down the Circle of the Black Thorn in battle none of them expect to survive. I have a few problems with the season structure at this point. I didn’t feel that the finale had the necessary build-up, especially after one-shot tales featuring Connor and a search for Buffy. But I have no problems with the episodes individually. And I certainly have no problems with the finale.
While I still think it would have been interesting to end with Power Play and start a sixth season by taking out the Circle of the Black Thorn (an option that wasn’t available), I can’t be upset with these episodes. They’re both packed full with great turns, great scenes, great moments and great lines. Angel’s speech at the end of Power Play is powerful and effective. The death of Wes is truly moving, especially as he dies in Fred’s arms just as she had died in his. I felt so forlorn for Lorne as he did his one last job before getting out. And I loved Lindsey’s reaction, being more upset that he had been done in by a flunky than that he was going to die.
Was it not known at the time that Angel wouldn’t be renewed for a sixth season? I don’t know what kind of resolution I was expecting, but I was expecting an ending in the same way Buffy was given an ending. Follow-up comic series notwithstanding, I can only conclude from the end of the series that, like in a Shakespearian tragedy or the X-Men’s “Days of Future Past” that “Everybody Dies.”
12 seasons (total) of Buffy and Angel in 14 months. I can’t believe I’m finally through! I have a strong compulsion to start over with Buffy season one again, but this time pay closer attention to the introductions of characters such as Darla, Harmony and Anya, then switch over to Angel at the end of season three. A couple of weeks ago I thought I might re-watch Dollhouse, this time paying particular attention to Amy Acker’s character, but watching her performance as Illyria scratched that itch. I also feel like watching the last season of Buffy then getting caught up on the “Season Eight” comic book series.
I remember when James Marsters joined the cast of Smallville as Brainiac that everyone commented how he was Spike on Buffy. By the time I got to Buffy season two I had forgotten, and didn’t recognize him at first with the bleached hair. Smallville is another series I’d like to re-watch one of these days. I’ve seen every episode (except the most recent eight or ten which I haven’t had time to watch yet) only once each. I’ve also been meaning to start watching Lost.
Has Joss Whedon announced what project will follow Dollhouse? I find it hard to believe he’s been unable to duplicate the (popular) success of Buffy and Angel with shows such as Firefly and Dollhouse. Speaking of Dollhouse (and shifting gears to The Planet of the Apes), I never did really buy how human beings “fell from grace” so to speak to allow the ascendency of the apes, but after watching the Dollhouse conclusion, I can buy that as a possible explanation.
I wonder if Whedon’s ever considered creating a show set in the same universe as one of his cancelled series to serve as an unofficial “sequel” (perhaps similar to the way The Prisoner can kinda/sorta bee seen as a sequel to Secret Agent. Probably not. I’ve wondered the same thing about Jack Kirby after the cancellation of the “Forth World” titles. If it had been me, I’d’ve been tempted to move all my toys into Mister Miracle’s sandbox. I would welcome a new show set in the Buffy-verse.