Well, last night was the last night for Angel, and what an ending it was. A bit rushed, perhaps, but I’ll forgive them that under the circumstances. Some have called the ending a cliffhanger, but I think that’s a misinterpretation. As much as I want the gang to survive that battle at the end of the episode, even that victory wouldn’t actually end anything. The Senior Partners are like the aliens in Space Invaders: they just keep coming, until eventually you slip up and die.
Or maybe Missle Command. Most of the old video games are like that. You kept playing until you died or your level overflowed a buffer and the game crashed. (“Sure, eight bits is enough to store the level number! Who’s gonna get through 255 levels?”) The point wasn’t to win; it was to have a good time playing.
Some more coherent thoughts by others:
“Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night”. A thoughtful look at the finale, noting parallels and allusions to Dylan Thomas, The Wild Bunch, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Particularly interesting if you’ve read the authors earlier essays for “The Girl in Question” and “Power Play”.
The Toronto Star: “Angel fights to the bleak, bitter end”. One of the better retrospectives I’ve read (yet). “[T]he low-rated but critically acclaimed and much-loved Angel was unceremoniously dumped by The WB to make room for, among other things, a new! dating! reality! series! and a sitcom about a mercenary turned nanny. Good times. … We have lost a show difficult to explain to anyone who didn’t watch every episode and didn't fall in love with Whedon’s darkly funny cast of tormented characters.” (via RavenU)
TV Guide: “Angel Creator’s Finale Post-Mortem”. “‘The word “cliffhanger” is really a misnomer here,’ series co-creator Joss Whedon stresses to TV Guide Online. ‘This was not the final grace note after a symphony, the way the Buffy finale was. We are definitely still in the thick of it [at the end]. But the point of the show is that you’re never done; no matter who goes down, the fight goes on.’” (via blwessels)
I’ll miss this show. I’ll miss the characters and their complicated relationships. Heck, I miss Fred and Illyria. But at least they got to go out deliberately, rather than being cut off mid-stream like Firefly and Wonderfalls.