For a few episodes things go pretty well--but Angel's enemies, both those he has made in his quest for redemption and those he made when he was unadulterated evil, are still out there. Stephanie Romanov comes into her silky own in this series, making Lilah Morgan all the more seductively evil because she is clear about the choices she has made; the satanic law firm of Wolfram and Hart are this show's most inspired creation. As the season moves to its close, Wesley (Alexis Denisof) has hard choices to make. The devastating climax is compulsive viewing, and this season also contains one of the most impressive single episodes of the entire show: in "Waiting in the Wings," writer, director and creator Joss Whedon comes up with a classic ghost story as Angel and his crew go to the ballet and find a performance that is literally timeless. --Roz Kaveney
Season Three of Angel remains, in many ways, my favorite of the show's run. The shows are persistently good, but if I had to put my finger on a specific reason I like it so much, it is that the cast meshes together perfectly. By the end of the season, there would be major--at the time seemingly impossible to mend--rifts between some of the members of Angel Investigations, but the core group was the best to date. Angel, restored to the group as their spiritual if not technical leader, has recovered his sense of purpose. Cordy (whose presence is missed mightily in the Fifth Season--I hope she and Joss Whedon patch up their differences and work her back into the show where she belongs--Note: their differences, apart from the official rhetoric, apparently revolving around her leaving the show for a few episodes near the end of this season, and her delayed announcement of her real-life pregnancy in Season Four, causing significantly rewriting--my gut feeling is that she will be back after a period of "punishment") has completely accepted her role as the contact to the Powers That Be, and both works hard at becoming a more important member of the team and manages to work a compromise to deal with the extraordinary physical toll the visions are taking on her (by becoming part demon--a gigantic step that one could hardly imagine the Cordelia of the first three years of Buffy making). Wesley and Gunn are both taken by the new resident of Hotel Angel, Winifred aka Fred, the scientifically brilliant but psychologically traumatized young woman they had rescued from Pylea. And finally, Lorne, formerly known as The Host, moves in when his karaoke bar has to close. It is a great group, and the interaction between all of them is extraordinary. And the romance! Well, the potential of romance. Fred is initially smitten with Angel, her rescuer. Wes and Gunn gradually fall in love with Fred. And Cordy and Angel are both quite obviously growing closer and closer to one another.
Against this background of interpersonal relationships, Angel unexpectedly becomes a father. Darla, with whom he had had sex in Season Two in a futile attempt to lose his soul, returns to LA, in an exceedingly pregnant state, all the more remarkable for the fact that vampires cannot reproduce sexually (they reproduce through that biting thing). The result is a cute baby Angel dubs Connor, which is all well and good until he is kidnapped and taken to a demon dimension, where he grows up to be an uber angry, obnoxious kid bent solely on revenging himself on Angel, who he has been taught to hate by the man who kidnapped him. In the entirety of Buffy/Angel, the Connor story line might be the least popular in the history of the show. Still, it doesn't keep this from being a very good season indeed. Unlike most years of Buffy/Angel, Season Three is carried less by the season-long story arcs than by the individual episodes. There are some great shows, and many marvelous moments. The most harrowing might be the torturous decision that Wes has to make, and the enormous payment he has to pay for attempting to obey the dictates of conscience.
One of my favorite moments in the season occurs when the writers engage in one of the great in-jokes in TV history. On Season Six of Buffy, Buffy is so broke that she has to take a demeaning job slinging hamburgers and frying processed chicken product patties at a fast-food joint called Doublemeat Palace. It is probably the most biting joke at the expense of the fast-food industry in the history of TV (especially ironic given the fact that Sarah Michelle Gellar's career began as a very small child in a famous series of commercials for Burger King explicitly attacking MacDonald's). As a result of the Doublemeat Palace episodes, MacDonald's and other food outlets ceased advertising on Buffy. Meanwhile, on Angel, Wesley is researching a prophecy and is striving to solve the last piece of the puzzle. To do so, he needs to consult an idol in the shape of a statue, but when he goes to the coordinates, he sees not an imposing statue, but a personified plastic hamburger (think the Hamburgler from MacDonald's). The image of a dumb plastic hamburger person being a powerful and all knowing entity is funny enough on its own, but knowing about the conflict with the fast food industry on Angel's sister show gives the scene an entire different dimension.
The show ends on a spectacularly chaotic note. Angel, unlike Buffy, has tended to end each year with far more loose ends. Every season ends with as many questions raised as answered. Of no season closer is this truer than this year. The final episode sees Angel and Cordy, both obviously with strong feelings for one another, agreeing to meet on the beach near Malibu to "have a talk." (No mention is made about that nasty little curse afflicting Angel, which I found curious. No curse and Angel would have been back with Buffy.) But Cordy is unexpectedly called upon to become a Higher Being and ends the season by ascending into the Higher Realm, and Angel is bushwhacked by Connor and, in one of the most nightmarish moments in the show, encased in a metal cage and lowered to the bottom of the Pacific. The season started off with everyone feeling pretty good about things, but ends with Cordy no longer on Earth, Angel on the bottom of the ocean, and Wesley recovering from a near-deadly wound and utterly alienated from all his friends. And all of this sets up the utterly remarkable fourth season.
That said, in retrospect, there's a lot in this season that sets things up for season 4 and for that reason, it's worth having as a reference if for no other reason.
There are also some gems here. "Loyalty", "A New World", "Lullaby" among them, Darla's touching moment of conscience before she sacrifices herself to save her son and protect him from herself, the introduction and the promise of Connor - Angel's son - to the series. I think Connor's story line went badly astray later, but there were some fine performances here.
I liked Holtz as the villian of the season, because he wasn't evil so much as misguided and fanatic... a father seeking revenge on the vampires that destroyed his family. His final revenge on Angel, to steal Angel's beloved child and turn Connor against his own father, was both poignant and heartbreakingly tragic. The three episodes following Angel's loss of Connor, his discovery of Wesley's betrayal, his attempt to kill Wesley, and tragic finale in which his hope for reconciliation in his relationship with his son are horribly dashed as Connor sinks him to the bottom of the ocean in "Tommorow" (even though Angel tells him no matter what he does, Angel will aways love him) are some of David Boreanaz's best performances.
I thought Sahjahn - the time traveling demon that brings Holtz forward in time, was a riot! His manipulations to contrive the prophesy to save his own ass was masterful.
Wolfram & Hart are both enacing and humorously inept at times. Lilah is delciously wicked, and the the start of her conflicted and twisted affair with Wesley is both unexpected and perfectly understandable.
The development of Wesley's character to the dark, tragic outcast, for believing the false prophesy and faciliting Holtz' final revenge on Angel was very well done and made Wesley one of the most interesting character of the season.
The not so good...
Although the end of the season, and Angel's reactions and interplay with Connor are excellent but... he acts like a big GOOFBALL for part of the season in a totally out of character and regressive way.
I like Angel when he's true to his mission, thoughtful, intelligent and heroic. For a large part of this season, he was completely out of character; materialistic, immature (he's 250+ years old acting like an insecure lovesick school boy) and not the smart, confident warrior and leader he always had been. Which brings me to...
Cordelia. The transformation of her character from fun, brash, down-to-earth, and vulnerable sister-figure with a heart of gold, to saintly, floaty/glowing paragon of virtue and wisdom and potential romantic interest for Angel (after years of sisterly behavior) bored and annoyed me to distraction.
All the sudden (literally), Cordelia became the wise one, the leader, the one that everyone else turned to for advice. It was almost Angel had a lobotomy whenever Cordelia was arong and his character diminished in relation to hers, and it turned me off. But what's saddest is that it made Cordelia go from a character I liked and sympathized with to one I couldn't care less about. Her final ascent in "Tommorow" was eye-roll worthy. The only saving grace here is after the disclosures of season 4, some of the otherwise improbable behaviors and events (i.e.: in "Birthday") make more sense.
A few minor details...I never bought the romantic intensity between Gunn and Fred. I didn't like Holtz's protege, Justine, and Groo, while nice to look at and a more convincing love interest for Cordelia, really is kind of pointless being in as many episodes as he is. Again, these are small details.
anyway...while season 3 was not my favorite, I'm pleased to have the DVDS and I'm enjoying them than I thought I would. There about half the episodes that I won't watch except points for later episodes, but if you're a fan of the show, I definitely recommend buying them.
The BUFFY series are (also on the cables) programmed at good time, around 8:30 pm, for ANGEL, it's at about 5:30pm.. which is a real bad timing, or most people are at work, at school...
Well it seems as if it was to make BUFFY a more popular serie than ANGEL... and it works ! As Buffy is programmed at a large diffusion time, everybody knows the Buffy serie and pretty less ANGEL.. for those who have the cable, they mostly prefer ANGEL than the Buffy which seems mostly for kids which makes it anoying to have it programmed at the larger viewers timing.
Lucky you who can watch it... we are still on season II.. snif
The first reason is the continual story arc. Read more