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When I got back from work on Friday evening, I found myself with a whole pile of Angel. I’d picked up 5x15 and 5x16 from snowking the previous evening; My season four DVD set had been delivered from Amazon during the day; and my season two set had been returned.

The latter event was accompanied by some slightly depressing news: apparently disc two was scratched, and ‘Darla’ no longer played properly. So the first thing I did was to sit down and watch it, to check the extent of the damage. Thankfully, it was limited (at least on my player) to one minor skip just before the Lindsey/Darla kiss. It was interesting to watch, though; I hadn’t seen ‘Darla’ for over a year, probably, and it took me back somewhat to umta’s early days. Back when gagravarr had not introduced me to the joys of downloading, and I would have to find some sneaky way of laying claim to the JCR TV on a Friday evening if I wanted to see Angel (either that, or get brassyn to post me tapes...). Back when nat was still posting random thoughts; back when pretty much every viewer was united in their praise of the show. Back when I would have found the line ‘it’s not me you want to screw’ entirely innocent.

Anyway, after that I decided I was in the mood for something of a retrospective. The next episode I dropped in the player was ‘A New World’, grown-up Connor’s first appearance. It’s not really in the same class as ‘Darla’, but I like it lots anyway, mostly because I rate Vincent Kartheiser as an actor, and because I love and adore the Angel/Connor relationship. Every scene those two characters had together worked for me, and their meeting in Sunny’s apartment makes my breath catch in my throat every time I see it. So good. The bullet-time teaser ain’t too bad, either...And this episode carries a whole different set of memories; first time I watched it was off a magic CD, with pikelet and mattia, in the front room of the Marston Street house I lived in for the fourth year. I remember Tim being pleased that the end of the episode had Connor running off and leaving Angel alone; I remember the mockery of old Holtz’ makeup that followed.

Next had to be something from season four. I debated beween the commentary for ‘Inside Out’ or the commentary for ‘Home’. In the end ‘Home’ won because (a) it was the man Minear! and (b) I was going to follow it up with some season five, so maybe it was more relevant. ‘Home’, in my opinion, is up there with ‘Darla’; if season five doesn’t redeem itself, I’m more than happy to take this episode as a wrap to the show. Again, a lot of that love is due to Vincent Kartheiser and Connor. So often the actor and character were underused or misused, but when the writers got it right, as they do in this one, they produced some of the best scenes in the show’s history. The commentary turned out to be more about the directing of the episode than the writing – how different shots were used in different scenes, how they were all put together; no great insights into the plan for season five, and only a cursory nod to the fact that the CRC made ‘a lot of people unhappy' – but it was still enjoyable. When ‘Home’ aired, I was still living at home; my expectations had changed such that I was almost resentful if I didn’t get to see an episode before America. I can’t remember whether or not that happened in this specific instance.

Then, it was on to season five! And a hell of a comedown. I am utterly convinced that 'Waiting In The Wings' was a fluke, and that Joss Whedon must never write an episode of Angel ever again. If this means chopping off his hands, then so be it. I know, I know, there's only six episodes left, and all of them are probably already accounted for, but frankly, I think this is the only way to be sure. 5x15 is profoundly, shockingly bad. Overdone, overwrought, repetitive and stale. Worst of the season? Probably not, but only because this year's competition for that particular accolade has been stiff.

After all that, 'Shells' seemed somewhat miraculous. All hail Steve DeKnight! His script had just about everything that was missing from 'A Hole In The World.' It had a good structure, it had interesting content, it raised the whole scenario a level or three - in fact, it was a full-on episode of Angel. The use of the temple blew me away, as did some excellent acting from Amy Acker...and I think I've figured out where they might be taking this plot. And I think I like it. See abe for more detailed musings.

Anyway, all of this musing (and some prodding by tizzle_b) has led me to an inescapable conclusion: We need a series finale party. Current estimates suggest that 5x22 will air on May 19th, so Saturday 22nd seems to be the logical choice of date. Who's interested? I'd like to host, but I'm open to suggestions if anyone can think of a better location.
 
 
 
 
 
 
I *knew* you would hate HitW! So predictable Harrison ;-)

Finale party sounds good :)
It may interest you to know that Joss had quite a large hand in 'Shells'. See this post on alt.tv.angel for details.
Um. So: he wrote the opening scenes (which were nothing special) and the closing scene (which I kinda guessed, given that it ties in with 15) and he had a hand in the you-know-which-scene (which was one of the episode's weak points, as many people seem to have pointed out). On the other hand, DeKnight wrote the first confrontation, the temple, the Wesley stuff, the Gunn stuff...
Well, personally I didn't think any of the writing was particularly impressive. Just once again trying to counter your extreme reactions..
So, are you going to be on hand to restrain me/talk me down if there's a finale party? :)
Oh, I think that's a strong possibility. :)
Niall being restrained by Dan - I wander what wg would think of this proposition.....
She'd be waving pompoms from the sidelines?
Liz is most wise. I would indeed be cheering 'Yay! DanSlash!'. It worries him when i do that, which is even more incentive :-D
I can't begin to explain how wrong you are about 5x15/5x16 and Connor. So I won't.

I've been sounding out people and here's the current state-of-play:

Hoggy thought you had said you wanted to host when I talked to him about it, hence the speculative text to you a few weeks ago. Both are willing to host although he has more crash space and is easier for me to reach. Is also 'quite' easy for those by train and/or car, as you've proved before. I've no preference although I wouldn need someone to stay after unless, say, a car was heading back elsewhere (i.e. Chez Tim/Hogg) and I could steal space there :)

Ban has said he'd be interested in attending. Christy was asked and said she'd be tempted if Baniel was present. But she just wants his freckles and wants to mock the Angel, so perhaps not.

That aside? Nothing more I know.
Is also 'quite' easy for those by train and/or car, as you've proved before.

You misspelt "we all want to go to Andrew's place." :-p

Baniel

Uh?
Andrew's place

One: Please don't call him Andrew. Who is Andrew?
It's the same as using Natalie. It's WRONG.
At the very least call him by his lj username :)

Baniel

Uh?


Hartland. Ban Hartland? Ban = Dan. Baniel = Daniel.
Never mind.
Who is Andrew?

The guy over there.

Was there a Two?

Baniel = Daniel

Oh! OK. I'd just about got my head around the 'Ban' thing, but that one I just couldn't parse. You kids and your crazy, typographically-challenged ways.
I've taken to calling him Banielle. So you can add gender-bending to that list, Niallina.
Can you please not plant mental images of that kind in my head?

Ever.

Someone poke out my mind's eye - pleeeeeaaaaasssse!
Not that I'm in any way condoning Andrew's perversion of the English language, but - you encouraged Dan/Me slash! You named your pets after me and Tim!

You have no high ground here. :-p
The wrongness of you in drag is just *way* off the scale......

<sits in a corner and rocks gently>
Christy was asked and said she'd be tempted if Baniel was present.

Untrue! Stirring Spoonmeister strikes again!

But she just wants his freckles and wants to mock the Angel, so perhaps not.

I'll cop to this though. :)
As Tom has already noted, I would be verily interested. I will be having a visitor from across the seas at a yet-to-be-accurately-determined time in May, so if they clash I will either cancel or bring her along. But to be honest, I don't think it's going to be late May, so it should be all good. Also to be honest, I probably wouldn't subject her to us and an 'Angel' finale party. Too cruel.

Short version: count me in until you hear otherwise! :)
I probably wouldn't subject her to us and an 'Angel' finale party. Too cruel.

It's alright - if she's cute, I'll find some way to cope. :-D
...
Oh, Tom's already arranged it's going to be at le palais du beige. we're all coming. Coming, in the sense that you people are going to have a big emotional Angel-farewell/reminiscing sob-fest at ANDREW's and me and Su are taking Ban to Henry's Bar to check the waiters are still hott. Okay?
I hope you're posting this to people who download or have Sky ;)
Back when nat was still posting random thoughts;

I like that phrasing, makes me sound important! ;p

Back when I would have found the line ‘it’s not me you want to screw’ entirely innocent.

Come now, that was never innocent and you know it. We were green but not that green!
I like that phrasing, makes me sound important! ;p

You were important. You are important! Think it's safe to say that without you, none of us would be here now...

Come now, that was never innocent and you know it. We were green but not that green!

You weren't. And, hmm, ok neither was I, apparently.