Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Angel: I Will Remember You (1999, TV)

Episode 8 of season 1 of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer spin-off Angel is one of the best pieces of television I've ever seen! Having watched the show when it was originally broadcast on Channel Four in 1999, it's been a good 10 years since I last saw this episode.

The Background Story For all of you who haven't watched Buffy/Angel before: Buffy is the 'chosen one', the only vampire slayer in the world and Angel is a vampire with a soul, burdened with the guilt and regret of massacring thousands of humans throughout his long life. As an attempt to put things right, he helps Buffy fight the forces of evil... and they fall in love as only star-crossed lovers can. They spend one night together which results in his curse of having a soul being broken. He reverts to his prior blood-thirsty, arrogant, killer vampire persona and proceeds to threaten Buffy and her friends and tries to release a demon from his cage who will swallow the world. Buffy has the impossible job of killing the man she loves, made worse by the fact his soul is returned the moment before she has to kill him... He gets sent to a demon hell world but eventually returns, recovers and by the end of series 3 of Buffy, has realised that although he and Buffy will always love each other deeply, they can never be together.

So the plot of this Angel episode is as follows: Angel has just returned from Sunnydale. After hearing Buffy might be in danger, he went to help her, but decided not to tell her this as it makes it harder for the both of them to move on. Buffy appears at his detective agency, angry that he didn't tell her he was in Sunnydale. They get attacked by a demon and chase it through the streets. As Angel fights it, he cuts his hand and then manages to stab it, getting it's luminous green blood into his wound at the same time. The demon is dead but the blood has a miraculous healing property - IT MAKES ANGEL HUMAN! He returns to the agency and tells Doyle and Cordelia of the news(eating everything he can from the fridge as he hasn't eaten any food for a good hundred years) and can't believe his luck. So Doyle suggests asking the Oracles, wise, powerful demons, whether they can explain everything. They confirm he is human so he goes to do the one thing he wants most... Be with Buffy! They have the perfect day together - Buffy says how nice it is to feel normal, lying in bed eating chocolate with her human boyfriend. But Angel hears the demon he 'killed' earlier isn't dead so goes out to finish the job leaving Buffy peacefully sleeping. However, now he is human, he's a lot weaker and gets beaten badly by the demon. He is only saved when Buffy turns up and kills the demon. Realising he isn't strong enough to protect Buffy (or anyone else) he returns to the Oracles and asks them to take make his mortality so he can be strong again and help fight evil. Only after they agree does he tell Buffy. She is heartbroken. Although deep down, she realises he is being noble and is doing it for the right reasons, it's another situation where Buffy must sacrifice her own happiness for others'. A clause of the deal with the oracles: only Angel will know of this day as the clocks will be rewound and it'll be as if the day never happened.

My Reaction: It was so good! It was so well written and acted that I was in tears that they couldn't be together again! Angel gains another thing to be tormented about and Buffy doesn't even remember that they had the perfect day as a couple. She also leaves Los Angeles (on the rewound day) still angry at him. A brilliant episode that even those who haven't seen much Buffy or Angel would understand their situation. AMAZING!

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