David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter, Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, and J. August Richards in Angel (1999)

At night, the streets of Los Angeles can be a dangerous place. Demons and vampires hunt for fresh meat. But none of them will have won, not as long as he is there to protect the innocent: Angel, the vampire with a soul.

The myth of the dark hero

In 1999, his role as the secondary character becomes tight. So the shadowy Angel carves out his own television series. Paladin of souls who get lost in the folds of the night, our favorite vampire moves to Los Angeles. Here, he opens a detective agency with the help of the beautiful Cordelia and a new demonic friend, Doyle (played by Glenn Quinn, who died in 2002 of a heroin overdose).

David Boreanaz and Glenn Quinn in Angel (1999)
David Boreanaz and Glenn Quinn in Angel (1999) © IMDB

Ready to challenge evil to redeem himself from the past, the shadow of an ancient prophecy guides his path; a prophecy that one day will give him the humanity he dreams of so much. Between his alter-ego Angelus and a present of denied happiness, Angel becomes a real dark hero.

But what is a dark hero? It’s that character who lives in good even if he was born in evil, who fascinates us with a dark past and pushes us to believe in him. Despite being torn between opposing forces of light and dark, we trust his good intentions and know he will always do the right thing. Angel has all these qualities; barely hinted during his appearances in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, they become an integral part of his character in the show that belongs to him. Also, he acquires a hint of sarcasm that helps him come out of his shell.

Helpers against evil

The morning in Los Angeles surprises us, like every day. After a glass of blood, we accompany Angel to the office and find that everyone is already at work. Cordelia helps Wesley do some research; Fred is examining the venom of a demon; Lorne answers the phone to register new cases; and Gun has just returned from a hunt, covered in greenish fluids. The usual routine.

Evil never stops, demons and vampires are always on the lookout for new prey, and the lonely hero cannot do without his helpers. The team against Hell is ready, despite all its flaws.

Each member has a special role that makes them unique and indispensable. But this is not enough to preserve them from the darkness, which crawls and spreads causing them to fall more than once. Determined to save the world from the Apocalypse, they make difficult choices, which sometimes pit them against each other. They are human beings too, after all, and their soul is contested, preserves the good but can easily fall into error, risking serving evil.

As a family, they support each other. For five long seasons, they make us feel part of the team.

Spike’s haunted presence

James Marsters in Angel (1999)
James Marsters in Angel (1999) © IMDB

Despite Angel presents new facts and events, it maintains a common thread with Buffy The Vampire Slayer. So, in some episodes, we find Buffy herself, the huntress Faith, and Spike.

In the last season, filmed when Buffy The Vampire Slayer was already over, the second vampire with a soul acquires a permanent role in Angel, throwing a spark on the almost cold embers of the series. Once again, the most irreverent vampire of all time digs a place in our hearts, showing us the twisted brotherhood bond that has bound him to Angel for centuries.

Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia in Angel - Season 2
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia in Angel – Season 2 © IMDB

Maybe the series was losing streak, and Joss Whedon hoped Spike’s presence would enliven the audience. It’s not known why it was necessary to resurrect a vampire who in Buffy The Vampire Slayer gave his life to save humanity and shut down Sunnydale’s Hellmouth once and for all. However, what is certain is that Spike’s insolent presence wasn’t enough to stop it from putting an end to Angel‘s fifth season.

The female role

Cordelia ends up being possessed by a higher entity. This superior entity, apparently female, risks destroying humanity. Winifred is possessed by the ancient demon Illyria who destroys her soul, assuming her features. Attorney Lilah, director of the evil law firm Wolfram & Hart, has all the nuances of the femme fatale.

Thomas Burr, Christian Kane, and Stephanie Romanov in Angel (1999)) © IMDB

From this summary, it is easy to deduce how controversial the roles of the female characters appear within this show. If in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, female emancipation leads Willow and Buffy herself to have two roles of great prominence and inner strength, in Angel the female figure takes on more ambiguous connotations. Cordelia’s purity of spirit condemns her forever, and Fred’s curiosity becomes the cause of her death; Lilah serves evil but falls in love with a champion of good.

Despite their great strength, women seem more subject to malign influence and help consolidate Angel’s role as hero, who tries everything to save them. In a sort of balance of the parts, the spin-off of Angel restores strength to the male figure, so threatened by Buffy’s irrepressible tenacity.

In this way, Angel and Buffy, as equals, have distinguished themselves together as warriors of good.

Towards the end

In the last episode of the fifth season, the series finale is hidden, which, in 2010, was followed by a comic edition: Angel – After the fall.

Proceeding towards the conclusion, I noticed a crescendo in melancholy and reflective conversations, which tread on the importance of the moment and the gravity of the sacrifice that the protagonists are willing to make good triumph.

Since the first episode of the last season, you can feel that something big is brewing in the pot; something that explodes during the last episode, leaving our heroes alone in front of the army of evil, suggesting what price they paid to remove the evil power of the Senior Partners from humanity.

Life in exchange for a place in legend. For this reason, more than Old but Gold, Angel becomes an Old but Legendary, remaining an eternal masterpiece alongside Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

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