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On TV Today's Date:

Power Play
original air-date: 05-12-04

The only good thing about Angel ending is that fans will no longer have to endure the WB’s inane phrase “another fresh episode.”

That being said, it’s especially sad to see a series end after such a strong season (despite the occasional detours to submarines or Rome). Still, that might be the preferred option over the last ramshackle seasons of Buffy and The X-Files.

This episode again proves that Angel is going out on top. Though it raises a lot of questions, it definitely entertains.

Here’s the quickie plot summary: Angel may or may not have gone bad. Has he gone off the deep end with power, or has he got something up his sleeve, which fortunately does not belong to his new Italian jacket? Part of this involves an evil Senator (or is that redundant?), some Boritz demons (not to be confused with vodka spewing Boris Yeltsin demons), and the oddest game of racquetball since Splash.

Now for questions. The biggest: Why couldn’t Angel share his plan with the rest of the Fang Gang? Sure, he wanted his cover to seem authentic. But doesn’t he trust the others to pull off the deception as well as he can?

But more importantly, why does Angel feel he needs to discover the specific members of some secret cabal before getting serious about throwing a wrench into the works of the Senior Partners? He’s been meeting serious baddies all along the way. Why wait until now? Meeting Archduke Sebassis once should have been enough reason to take him out.

Divide and conquer is a historically effective strategy when facing a coalition of enemies. Given enough time and cleverness, it might have been more effective (and fun) for Angel to pit the baddies against one another. But instead Angel is opting for “unite and conquer.” Take them out all at once when they’re not suspecting. Hey, it worked for Michael Corleone, so it just might work here too.

What about Drogyn? Maybe that will have a surprise happy ending, but right now it seems a bit harsh of a price to pay. Again, what did Angel really learn that allowed him to take action now vs. taking action before. Not much.

Angel’s supposed impetus (besides “cancellation compression”)? One last set of Cordelia delivered visions from the supposed Powers The Be. More like The Powers That Were. Where have they been lately? Certainly they might have felt annoyed when Angel took the Wolfram & Hart deal. Perhaps sending Cordelia was a last chance effort on their part and/or offer for Angel, i.e., get it right this time or we’re done with you. Far worse, as some fans have speculated, is the PTB and the SP are one and the same. Get the good guys to purge out the bad guys every few years before they get too powerful.

But after this episode, one has to wonder why the Senior Partners need Angel at all when they’ve got someone like Hamilton. Seeming invulnerability, good wit, long resume (he knows Drogyn, after all), and a solid wardrobe. So why have the SP taken a cue from ZZ Top and put this sharp dressed man in charge? What’s Angel got that Marcus doesn’t?

Well, maybe Wolfram and Hart is a family oriented firm. Since Angel now has a girlfriend and potential wife, that put him ahead of Hamilton in the corporate ladder.

Angel’s scenes with Nina don’t do much other than to let the audience know that Angel hasn’t really gone dark. There is nothing particularly appealing about Nina, but there’s also nothing to explain the widespread dislike among fans. First Eve, now Nina. At least there were enough Fred and Lilah fans to counter any charges of misogyny among the fans.

But there are numerous other scenes to delight the viewer. Illyria with Spike (calling her “Blue” recalls fond memories of Willow being “Red”...), and later with Drogyn. Lorne finally given some meaningful screen time and not reduced to buffoonery. And the Fang Gang voting to take a stand or die trying. All good stuff.

Let’s hope it continues for one more hour.

Chris Crotty


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