One of the worst seasons of a television series I have ever watched.
Earlier this year I went back and re-watched Angel from the very start. Back in my teens I tuned in weekly to watch two hours of Buffy and Angel on a Friday night. I was at college when season 4 of Angel began. I remembering thinking it was bad. I remember thinking Cordelia’s character had been ruined. Because I didn’t enjoy season 4, I stopped watching Angel and apart from being aware that James Marsters joined the cast for season 5, I knew very little about what happened to Angel after the finale of season 4. The show got cancelled, and after what the writers did to the fourth season, I’m not sure how they even managed to get a fifth.
As a grown woman I sat down and watched seasons one to three again and loved them, for the most part anyway. I was impressed that almost ten years later, the series didn’t look aged. The storylines were exciting, the characters felt like friends. And even though I knew I hadn’t enjoyed season 4 the first time round, I thought watching it with fresh eyes and at a different stage of my life might allow me to see something new and appealing. I was wrong.
The writers destroyed Cordelia Chase, and with the annihilation of her character, they lost my respect. I’m far from the only one who feels appalled by how the writers betrayed Cordy and feels totally grossed out by Connor and Cordelia’s relationship. “The Assassination of Cordelia Chase” by Jennifer Crusie is a great article.
Another thing that irked me was Angel removing the memories of Connor, an unforgivable act in my eyes. He took away the last year and a half of his friends’ lives, all that growth, all that change. How would viewers watching season 5 even know what to make of each character? Wesley, who for me changed the most, would be the hardest to judge how different he would be without Connor’s existence. He stole Connor, betrayed his friends, was in turn cast aside, struck up an unhealthy sexual relationship with Liliah, loved Fred, warred with Gunn, found Angel at the bottom of the sea, battled Jasmine. Who is he now, without all that pain and life experience that led him to the tough, take-no-prisoners impressive man of late season 4?
Angel violated each and every one of his friends, not to even go into what he did to his own son. The Connor sharing dinner with his fake family is not real. Connor who suffered because of one lie after the other is now a lie himself. All thanks to his own father.
The writers, as far as I could see, backed themselves into a corner that season. Next time I decide to re-watch Angel from the beginning, I’ll go to the end of season 3 and pretend the show stopped there.
For fans of Angel, what did you think of Season 4. Did season 5 improve at all? Can you remember being utterly disappointed by a TV show you once loved?