Angel Rewatch – Podcast for “Power Play”


Here is the podcast covering episode twenty-one of season five “Power Play”

You can download it here.

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Next, we will be covering the series finale, “Not Fade Away”


9 responses to “Angel Rewatch – Podcast for “Power Play””

  1. Joseph says :

    Hey, I didn’t get my power play comments into the last thread in time (although they’re there if anyone wants to check them out). In light of the podcast, let me see if I can make my point a little better.

    The way he explains it, I think Angel’s decision to go to war with the Black Thorn is almost the same as Gunn’s decision to sign the shipping document that kills Fred.

    Throughout the season, Gunn has used his legal brain mostly for good – I’d argue that his contract reading and document finding has done more good than anyone, with Spike’s simple punching things as a close second. Yes, he also signs the paper because of his personal insecurity, but he definitely plans to do good with it. And the way Angel explains his plan, he’s hoping to set the Senior Partners back a little, but it frankly sounds mostly for spite. Angel is mad that Fred is dead and he’s mad that the Senior Partners have been manipulating him, so he wants to hurt them and end the fight. It would be different if he had explained that this would prevent some kind of Buffy style suck-the-world-into-hell apocalypse, but Angel explicitly says that killing himself and all his friends won’t do much.

    And just like Gunn, Angel knew there was going to be a price for joining the Black Thorn, and just like Gunn, he didn’t know who would pay it. If he had jumped through the fire and found Buffy being beaten by bats instead of Drogyn, or if they had told him to rape a child or something to show how evil he was, I assume the plan would have ended right there, but even if Angel had tried to fight, Buffy or the hypothetical kid would still be dead, and it would be Angel who caused it to happen. Given that he’s trying to prove his worth to join the most evil group in the world, the price literally could have been anything or anyone, and Angel was willing to pay it.

    It’s actually mildly fun to imagine who Angel would or wouldn’t kill if he had found them on the other side of the fire. My guesses – Buffy, Faith, or Ghost Cordy on another pass from the afterlife, no; Dawn, probably not, random innocent child, 50/50, and everyone else we know – Gunn, Wesley, Nina, Lorne, Giles, Xander, Willow, Eve, yes. Actually, Xander and Lindsay would be definitely yes, and now that I think about it, if he had to kill Spike to prove his loyalty, I’m not sure.

    So it’s exciting that something is finally happening, and I definitely enjoyed it on first watch, but ultimately, this isn’t actually something good. If all that matters is what we do, Angel should actually be good and help people. Getting his friends killed to stick a thumb in the Senior Partners’ eyes is actually selfish and evil. You can tell the story that without Cordy and Fred, and with with Wes and Gunn in tailspins, Angel is doing the wrong thing because Spike and Lorne can’t convince him otherwise, but I’m not sure that the story the show is telling – so far, this is a heroic last stand, but it’s a heroic last stand for spite, and one built on innocent blood.

  2. thehistoryofbyzantium says :

    I’ll leave you to debate the wider issues of Angel’s suicidal plan. If you accept that decision then this is a superbly paced, satisfying series finale. They hit so many character beats in such quick fashion and delivered the emotional punches.

    Two moments stuck out on rewatch. Angel having to sign away the Shanshu is quite the moment. Definitely necessary in convincing the circle of his intentions. But also a desperately selfless decision.

    And then just Spike’s poetry reading. A lovely piece of misdirection leading to an unexpectedly poignant reminder of the person he once was. Then bang back to comedy.

  3. hausosdance says :

    Power Play:

    Interesting parallel to final season of Buffy in terms of the focus on power, such as in Angel’s early speech in the episode, his later re-affirmation of the sentiment (albeit from a different perspective now he’s not pretending to be power-drunk himself), and of course the title.

    Still nothing remotely sinister about the ‘Big Bad’ for the season, and of course ultimately the series. The senator, the racquetball demon, Vail and the Archduke don’t in any way make me feel terrified for humanity or even slightly suspenseful about what this ‘apocalypse’ would look like if Angel and the fang gang don’t stop it (or at least slow or annoy it). The idea that after everything we’ve seen them triumph over, they’re completely outmatched by that lot is of course ridiculous. I’d as soon believe Buffy would be outwitted by Clem. But I know the writing team were against it a bit, so I can forgive and just try to enjoy it as cheesy silly fun. David and crew sell the hell out of it given what it is, so good on them. And if one can buy that they’re really at risk from those clowns, the idea that they will go down fighting despite it being ‘so futile’ is totally on message for the show. Just a shame we don’t see anything scarier or stronger as the Biggest Bad.

    Really odd but still quite entertaining pillow talk with Nina where she blathers on about whether he’s thinking of Buffy, staking him, being needy, and him masturbating – but I appreciate them showing us that Angel ‘dates’ now, even if he does condescend to her horribly later in the episode (‘I’m not asking’). His personal development has been pretty stagnant in some regards!

    Bit confused – did Angel actually kill Drogyn, then? Greater good, I guess? Bit weird as it seems he had no idea who he’d have to kill at that point (them being chosen by the Circle), but was resolved to kill whoever it may be. Interesting how Angel is both a representation of ‘shades of grey’ morally and so flawed – still not trusting his team, working alone until he absolutely is forced to communicate with others, willing to sacrifice random people to get into a secret society etc – but also held up as almost the ‘goodest’, most noble one of all. I guess that’s one of the things that has kept us all watching….

    Not sure my MVP between Wes and Illyria. Fabulous acting from both Alexis and Amy, as always, in their respective scenes.


  4. hausosdance says :

    Not Fade Away:

    A worthy finale in many ways, given the constraints, and a pretty perfect ending scene that fits the show’s core message (“In terms of a plan? We fight….. Let’s go to work”).

    There was lots to love here, particularly how all spent their last days – Gunn dropping in on Anne (who also reiterated the message), Spike reciting his Cecily poem as he did on his actual ‘last day alive’ before being sired as a vamp, Angel ‘dropping in for coffee’ with Connor (“and the world’s not ending? Please!”).

    The humour was on point – particularly when Angel sheepishly gets all Messianic and Spike tries to call dibs on betraying him or at least ‘denying him three times’, and Gunn making cheesy but sweet mid-fight gags about the democratic process – it made me all nostalgic for earlier seasons of this and its parent show – aided by the Harmony and Spike call-backs too. Further end of days references were also welcome, like “We’re being thrown out of the garden, Eve” – even if I still can’t really see the Black Thorn Circle as being the ultimate in evil and destruction.

    Someone got thrown through a window one final time (Angel), someone telegraphed their murderous intention and was themselves killed for it – albeit perhaps intentionally (Wes). Angel reminded Connor – and us – that Shanshu or not, he can still in some way live on through his son if he doesn’t himself survive. There was some really moving and interesting stuff between Wes and Illyria – as always – my favourite arc of the season I think and in some ways an odd parallel to the Angel and Connor scenes in that Wes has arguably brought to birth a kind of humanity in this Old One that now outlives him. Such a shame that Vail was Wes’ ultimate demise – although he got off better than Lindsey of course. I didn’t think Lorne had that in him and found that the most shocking part of the episode, not just the assassin selected and that he carried it out, but that Angel enlisted him only to have him murdered in the course of the carnage. I know Lindsey has proven himself untrustworthy on many occasions but couldn’t he have just stayed locked up? Such a cold-blooded assassination from the Redemption Brigade served to further muddy the moral high ground they walk on (and robbed us of seeing Lorne and Angel part on warm terms – not that anybody really did). All par for the course with this show, of course…

  5. hausosdance says :

    That last comment was from Charlotte, btw – always forget that it comes up with my business name!

  6. Cathleen says :

    Not Fade Away, series finale time. Great effort William & Derek to get through the entire series. I definitely give this episode a lot of slack as it’s not perfect but with the lack of time to wrap up the whole show I think the writers did a pretty good job. Though it does make me wonder what they originally had planned to end the season. Would they have brought in the Circle of the Black Thorn and would the gang end up fighting them before ending up in the alley with more demons than we’ve probably seen in this show? I personally think they added the dragon once they knew this was the end.
    Angel signing away his shanshu prophecy. That was a really big surprise on first watch. I always wondered how invested he could be in the idea of becoming human since we saw him go through that way back in Season 1’s I Will Remember You. It took him less than a day to return to his vampire life so he could save people’s lives. Even if he knew the shanshu prophecy was a reward for saving the world I don’t think Angel could ever see a future been a human being so signing it away and possibly giving that prophecy straight to Spike in order to get the trust of the Black Thorn doesn’t seem like such a surprise after multiple rewatches.
    There’s just something nice about the heroes’ going off and enjoying a perfect day before heading into battle. It would’ve been great to see them decide that a perfect day would be hanging out together like the old days but I think the writers chose the right day for each of the team. Lorne at karaoke, Spike singing poetry, Gunn helping the homeless with Anne, and Angel spending time with Connor. It’s a pity Wes is still so buried in his grief that he can’t imagine having a perfect day without Fred around.
    I liked the scene between Angel and Connor. It was pretty obvious that Connor did get his memories back at the end of Origin and it was nice that the two of them could sit down and have a real conversation without a whole lot of angst. It shows a bit of growth from Angel that he understands that Connor knows who he is but is happy with the normal life that was mystically given to him.
    I also like that the show gave Angel and Harmony a great little scene early in the episode. These two characters have made it from the two-part Buffy premiere all the way to the Angel finale. Who would’ve picked Harmony as one of them to do that? But Harmony is Harmony so of course she inevitably betrays Angel and all she wants from him is a job reference.
    Each of the fights Team Angel are put in is perfect for their characters.
    Love that the Senator still continues working while her vamps are been dusted by Gunn. Spike rescuing the baby whilst kicking ass. Connor coming to help Angel fight Hamilton. Not even needing to see Illyria kicking the devil demons’ ass. It’s a shame Lorne’s character ended on such a sad note killing Lindsey. Somebody needed to do it. Whilst Lorne is a good demon I think we’ve all forgotten that he’s a demon none-the-less and him killing a human was a massive moment to say ‘Goodnight folks’ to Lorne.
    Wes’s death scene is still so hard to watch. That’s definitely something they wouldn’t have done if they had another season. Sadly I remember getting spoiled of his death only days before the finale on first watch. Back in those days when Australia was about six months behind USA television I’d made such an effort not to be spoiled on how the show ended until I moronically clicked on an article that had something like the ‘top 10 deaths on TV this year.’ Well Angel made the list twice with Fred and Wes. I was pretty devastated to learn he was killed off even if it was the finale. But I still watched it and still cried more than I thought I would since I knew he wasn’t going to make it to the alley. His little nod to Angel as he walked out – yep that’s their goodbye after all these years
    Can’t knock the end of the show in the alley with Gunn about to keel over and still him, Angel, Spike & Illyria decide the only thing they can do is keep fighting the good fight.

  7. Joseph says :

    Ok, before rewatching Not Fade Away, I was composing an episode centered around the idea that once you lose the viewers’ suspension of disbelief, it’s hard to get back, but damn, this episode earned it back in spades.

    I still think Season Five is kind of a mess on rewatch, but Not Fade Away has definitely earned a spot in the great final episodes of all time. It was just so cool that I can’t bring myself to quibble about details. Standouts include all of the Connor scenes. the Angel/Hamilton fight, Gunn and Anne, and (surprisingly) Lindsey’s bad ass swordplay and touching exit. I also absolutely love that Angel’s plan included pre-writing a reference for Harmony, although I can’t explain why. As awesome as all of that was, Denisof and Acker are working at a level above that. I really couldn’t be much more satisfied.

    I guess a Whedon scholar could compare this to the ends of Buffy Seasons Five and Seven. When faced with possible cancellation, what we see are that Whedon’s writing stable are just tired of writing the same fights over and over again, and want to break out, but can’t. Do Arrrow or Supernatural have similar cries for help from the writing staffs?

  8. Charlotte says :

    Hey guys, not sure if you’re doing a separate wrap-up show for the whole series or not, but at some point it’d be cool to hear your thoughts on the relationship of the programme to Xena Warrior Princess, particularly the ‘former baddy seeks (but doesn’t expect) redemption’ angle…. if you know XWP, that is.


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