I liked this season more than the first one. I felt that the show really found its direction.

Spoilers!

The continuous story lines are back with a vengeance!

The previous season ended when we found out that Wolfram & Hart had brought back Darla, who turned Angel into a vampire. Darla is haunting Angel’s dreams and trying to turn him evil. However, she was brought back as a human and that, and everything she remembers doing as a vampire, is driving her nuts. Angel, being the resident knight errant, wants to help her while the rest of the gang wants nothing to do with her. I really enjoyed this story because it showed how far Angel had come not only just since his time as Angelus but also since his brooding days before he met Buffy. However, Angel himself starts to spiral into darkness and he fires his gang.

It was pretty painful to watch Angel’s descent. However, I really enjoyed watching how the relationships between Cordelia, Wesley, and Gunn evolved into trust and friendship, and they managed to make Angel Investigations to work, too. They evolved from side kicks (especially Wesley) to real heroes. Of course, Angel and the gang made up eventually and it was also interesting to watch Angel working for Wesley. I’ve never really appreciated Angel’s leadership qualities (which IMHO didn’t really exist in Buffy) until he tries very hard not to lead.

Wesley grows a lot during the season from a humorous side kick to the leader. He takes over Giles’ role as a researcher but he also kicks demon ass. We also get a glimpse into his earlier life when he phones to his father which was really sad. Gunn has to deal with the consequences of walking out of his vampire hunting gang. I felt that Cordelia was more neglected; pretty much her only side plot was the visions becoming more painful and that was dealt with pretty quickly.

Even Lindsey from the enemy side gets character development! He and Lila are rivals but also have to sort of rely on each other to get things done. “Dead End”, where Lindsey gets a new hand, was a creepy episode and I’m interested to see where he will pop up next.

The three last episodes (“Over the Rainbow”, ”Through the Looking Glass”, and “There’s no place like Plrtz Glrb”) focus on Lorne’s home world where humans are slaves. I really enjoyed them; they felt more like Buffy episodes than ever before. The tone of the episodes were humorous on the surface but underneath there where serious issues. There’s of course slavery; but that was handled very lightly and humorously. The humans were called cows which made me laugh every time (admittedly, I watched them late at night) and took away the seriousness. Then there’s leadership issues with both Cordelia, when she finds out that she’s not really in charge, and Wesley and Gunn when they lead the rebel group. Angel deals with a lot of issues: in this other dimension he can walk in the sun and see his own reflection. On the other hand, when he uses his vampire side, he changes into a rampaging monster and can hurt even his friends. And then there’s Fred, the brilliant Winifred Burkle, one of my favorite Whedon characters ever. So, the writers managed to cram a lot of stuff in just three episodes.

The ending was, of course, tragic as Buffy fans will know.

Advertisements