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Review – Angel & Faith #11 Family Reunion Part 1

Random observations on characters in A&F #11 , instead of full review. Too little too late, but there is power in positive thinking, so here we go.

Angel - Willow dynamics were actually great in A&F #11 - something I have not seen mentioned before is their post slap-on-the face exchange when she is breaking up in tears after her quite emotional outburst about -

'How empty the world is', and how 'the world is dying and nobody will admit it!'

'I need to save it. There is nothing more important. Why doesn't anyone understand...?


That's when Angel actually touched her shoulder and offers a compromise -

'We'll go see Connor. You can talk to him. But it's his choice. OKAY?'

Whatever Willow's true motivations are, and I think it is a mix of everything : missing her magic, missing her outer plane demonic lover Saga , missing her purpose and status in the world - as well as genuine feeling of emptiness and despair and lost hope - that she projects on the rest of the world, plus maybe her belief that the world is indeed dying without magic - that particular outburst was the only thing that could move Angel into giving in to her. Because he understands. He understands how the need to save the world - when nobody knows, believes you or understands your inner conviction - can overwhelm your good instincts. I am not sure he truly believes her at the moment - but maybe he is becoming to feel uncomfortable. Last time we saw him mention loss of magic with genuine concern was when they visited Alasdair Coames - but back then Faith shut him down with her - go back to my last 'not your fault' speech.

Add here my feeling that the Scythe is once again taking the center stage as an artifact of world-saving importance (?) I am quite curious if Saga Vasuki is going to surface in the Quar'Toth arc - or if she is only going to show up in Willow's mini. It is curious that Willow plans to 'soak up' in magic - to be able to bring it back to Earth Plane - supposedly to fix the Seed . Is this Dark Quar'Toth magic is going to turn her into 'something not human - not for a long time' - and is this how she is going to last 200+ years ?

Angel and Faith dynamics in this issue is interesting. I re-read the entire first arc of the A&F to remind myself where they started : Faith have gone from trying to rehabilitate catatonic Angel into being 'useful member of society' again, to 'nothing I did helped him - it was this idea(RE: resurrecting Giles) that brought him out of staring into the wall drooling state', to let's try to fix it all in a snap of fingers fashion - turn Angel human and drag him out of this obsessive quest so he can cut himself some slack, to 'I don't want any of these responsibilities - I can't even handle my own pain - I need to remove it!', to finally 'I cannot handle the guy who does not even trust me enough to tell me about his son's situation - because he obviously does not consider me part of his family'. Mind that we had various minor characters impressing the idea of 'Angel needs to be stopped before his obsessive quest turns into something awful' onto Faith - it have been almost as annoying as every secondary character pestering Angel and Cordelia with 'you are destined to be with each other' spiels, or every kindly demon/police officer telling Spike -'you love her - go do something about it'. Funnily enough, in Whedon's stories this obsessive ideas usually turn out into something of the opposite - so while I appreciate Alasdair, Vinny and Willow all pushing Faith into the same direction - of mistrusting Angel with his ability not to turn Giles' resurrection into a horrible disaster with major bad consequences - I somehow suspect that this is the vibe that the audience is supposed to get - and therefore that it is if not exactly a mislead than maybe a misdirection. Add Allie's increasing pitch of 'they are going to be at odds' and 'might be a narcissistic disaster in the making' and you cannot blame me for being extra skeptical - especially after the robo-Buffy scandal.

So, I stick to my prediction that Angel's plan probably involves self-destruction in the process of restoring Giles - and that's why he is not worried about the price being too much - there is not higher price one can pay - even Willow did not plan to kill herself while bringing Buffy back - she only killed a baby deer. And inadvertently - created the biggest misbalance in the verse's history that resulted in First Evil power grab attempt , which in turn led to Slayer empowerment spell, which in turn led to awakening of Twilight. (Bwa-ha-ha. )

Angel-Connor dynamics - kind of lame. I do understand lack of desire for further heart-break here - but really ? Muffins is enough to heal a year and a half missing father situation? I console myself with the fact that Connor quick jump into action routine was his payback to Angel. In a sense that Connor wants to get back to the place where he and Angel can share a world-saving quest and be somewhat equals. Because the last time they managed to fix things between the two of them, they were in Hell. Naturally the kid now thinks that Hell (or at the very least - the Hell dimension) is the only place where he can have his father close by and actually act like a father.

Finally the 'retcon' controversy. Honestly - I am not interested in discussing this. I know the 'You ever try finishing a sentence when Buffy's worked up?' line is Joss personal joke produced on either the writer's summit , or when Gage/Allie asked him about the controversy ( with Angel supposedly planning to 'destroy the world with everybody still in it').

Let me count the things that went wrong with fandom's interpretation so far that are being repeated so many times that in the end folks who keep repeating them started to believe its canon:

Angel planned to destroy the world so he can wax in paradise with Buffy . Not true! Angel did not plan to destroy the world - the world was 'out of balance' as per after Slayer empowerment Spell the Twilight prophecy was on the brink of being fulfilled. The dream of the new Universe was haunting the old Universe and urging its own birth. It was not Angel's plan to begin with - it could not have been Angel's plan - because it was old Universe's plan of finishing itself and new Universe's plan of birthing itself . Angel was as much a tool of the prophecy as Buffy. (And if you want to blame anybody - blame Joss - he is the mind behind the plan.)

Angel shifting the blame on Buffy when he said she was not letting him finish a sentence. The blame for what - not listening to him? He is not shifting anything- because once he made the decision to go back with her - it was his decision. If Angel was not capable of explaining himself properly to her while in Twilight - it was all his fault and he accepted it. The fellow was never much of a speaker - and Buffy has a way of wrapping him around her little finger anyhow. Analyzing the #35 content down to every line here is not much of a help - in essence it still boils down to them two having a discussion over whether to continue with shaping the new Universe and evolution of the new world - or returning back to the old world right now and unmaking the Rapture they have caused. Whether Angel was right and he was capable creating a new world without fighting and bringing everybody over into it - or not - the point remains moot - because Buffy convinced him to abandon the evolution and go back to this and now. I am not taking sides here - as I suspect that World of Eternal Peace is an utopia anyway, maybe even anti-utopia. The fact is - Angel was seduced by the idea - when confronted with the alternative of Eternal Hell instead.

Angel playing God. He was not playing it - he was God. You cannot play being Omni-potent being when you are being put into position of being Omni-potent - without asking your consent. ( I am speaking of the plane-saving episode after Angel crashing through Hollywood sign.)
Tags: angel, angel and faith, buffy, buffy s9
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