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December 17 2008

(SPOILER) Discuss Angel: After The Fall #15. How will the huge cliffhanger from the last issue get resolved?

Just a fantastic issue. The best of "Angel: After the Fall" so far, and it's not close. Kudos to all involved.

Angel was incredible in this issue. The fighting, the bringing his people together, and having a great idea of which he is actually capable of pretty often. The parallel between W&H's plan to change Angel, between the changes in Gunn as a vampire, and Illyria's attempts to "be" Fred was just brilliant, and actually makes every part of all their arcs for this series tie together very well.

We have the incredible disappearing, reappearing Nina again, but at least she's alive, so that's good.

I love that Betta George was sort of the key player in this, being able to access Illyria and use Wes and Spike's memories of her to set Illyria straight. Have to question creatively -- why Wes and Spike? Rather, why not just Wes? Or, if not just Wes, why not Angel, too? Angel knew her longer than Spike did. Should have been Wes or all three of them, IMO.

Groo went bravely, and I disagree -- he died with honor, defending the city from two attackers. I have to wonder, though, are their survivors of the NINSCVs*? Particularly Spider? We see her fighting, but not going down. Can we expect more of her?

Connor. Wow. I didn't cry when I read it, nor when I read it now. But I will. It was so sudden and so brutal to see him struck down by Gunn. I've gotta admit, I like Angel in this issue, but I don't *quite* get/agree with him not killing Gunn. If killing Gunn would prove that Angel is capable of being what W&H wants him to be, then so has every single vampire he's ever killed. So was killing Lawson in "Why We Fight". He already crossed the line that proves his capable of that when he killed Drogyn, I'd say. Killing Gunn isn't a character weakness. I went with it because it was clearly the plot element that connects for him and gives him his plan, but I question the premise behind it. Unless there's a sort of Jedi-like "don't kill in anger" idea behind it Lynch is going for, killing Gunn is just as okay as killing Russell Winters was. If anything, I've always been more creeped out by the people Angel's killed dispassionately -- Drogyn, Lindsey.

But Connor went out very bravely and very emotionally. It's a shame that Angel has to go on with that loss, it's horrible for him, but Connor made it okay. "Vampire or not... you're a good man". Man, isn't that what Angel's hoped to get from him since "A New World"? It was very sad but very touching.
KoC: What's a NINSCVs? And who actualy died then? Just Groo and Baby Angel?
ah, forgot to add that asterisk. NINSCVs = Now Inappropriately Named Scantily Clad Vigilantes.

Groo and Connor, yes, although possible loss of Spider as well and some if not most if not all the other NINSCVs.
I called it.I've suspected for a while the Connor would be killed.Just a few days ago I said that I had a bad feeling that it could be Connor who dies.I really hoped I was wrong but I could see Connor's death really breaking Angel and from a story point of view,I could see why Brian and Joss would go there.I'm just remembering Brian blog post about how tough this issue was to write and Connor dying could fit that.

Like I said,I hoped I was wrong.Brian did say over at the IDW board that,"the reason this one was hard goes beyond death. It's just really emotional." I can see why he said that based of how things sound.

I'll have my copy a little later today.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2008-12-17 18:36 ]
I'm really glad Brian and Joss are going there. The major deaths really gives After the Fall a nice sense of finality. While I want more Angel stories in the future (whether Aftermath or another Brian/Joss collaboration) I'm kind of hoping that this is the grand finale of the Wolfram & Hart arc. To quote Spike, "I wanna see how it ends."

By the way, I call Wes and Gunn going down before the dust settles.

Oh, one final bit of randomness that I meantioned in a previous post. On Harmony's Myspace, Wolfram & Hart is listed under Companies. Is this a reference to the final season of Angel? Or is Harmony's reality show and the outing of vampires, demons and slayers W&H's doing? It could be nothing. There's a chance I'm over geeking it a bit.
@JesusSavedIn01: Noooooooooooo not Wes! D=
Nah, Wes will live.
Wes is still dead, right?
Yeah. Dead in the same way Spike is. For him, though, I mean live as in not *poof*. Maybe even make with the solidification.
I love Wes and Gunn, it's just that I think their storylines have reached their brilliant, logical conclusions.

Granted I felt the same way when Angel ended, yet Joss and Brian somehow managed to pull more fantastic character arcs out of their butts.

[ edited by JesusSavedIn01 on 2008-12-17 20:34 ]
I've gotta say the colorist for this issue really impressed me. He made the art leap of the page for me - so much depth, texture and detail. Wow. Fabio Mantovani - welcome!
Yes, hell has a much more polychromatic quality in this issue.
It's not really about the actual colors for me here (though the colors themselves are great) but the style the artist uses and the textures he creates. Like towards the end when Illyria is being bombarded by Wes and Spike's memories of Fred - the background of the sky and the stars is really beautiful and gives this awesome glimmer effect. It helps to make the moment more haunting. The detailed and realistic coloring and texture of Groo's sword was also very impressive.
I guess my suspicions were right

RIP Connor

All I can say is Bravo Brian.

I didn't want Connor to die.I was dreading it coming since I've been suspecting it was on the way the last three weeks or so.Just something was giving me the feeling that this was going to be the big death in issues 15 after thinking about Brian's blog post from a while back.Connor dying would fit the bill perfectly.So I was expecting this and hoping I was off base.Sadly I was not.

But as much as I hate losing Connor who has become a favorite of mine,I have to give Brian props because he handled it so very well.It was given all the weight and power this deserved.And the emotion.Connor dying in Angel's arms and their last words to each other tore at the heartstrings.This is the worst loss Angel has ever suffered and probably ever will.No parent should have to watch their child die and right now,I just have know more words.

Brian has entered Joss level of tearing our hearts out.Connor's death here ranks up there with Buffy's in The Gift.And that final splash page echos Buffy's body being surrounded by her loved ones in The Gift to a tee.

I'll post more thoughts on the rest of this issue tomorrow probably because I need more time to digest.This whole issue was a slam dunk though.
I DID cry for Connor, that was beautifully done, everything about this series has been working for me but this issue was particularly exciting, touching, and easy to follow (some past issues have been a tiny bit confusing). I'm going to be really sorry when this series ends, won't Brian Lynch start another one.... please? Pretty please?
This was a great issue. Not the best of ATF, but a very good addition.

For starters, can I please say how glad I am to have Urru back. I have always felt his art is dynamic and gorgeous, and he doesn't disappoint. Indeed, the colors look great, as well. Specifically, for some reason Groo's flaming sword drew my eye in every panel it appeared.

I am kind of disappointed Angel didn't kill Gunn. I dunno if that rang true, but, knowing Brian, it was the right choice.

As far as the two deaths, I'm upset, not because it was a poor story choice, but because I loved both characters. Groo was always adorably naive and heroic. Connor's passing is even more upsetting. I have loved him since his first appearance in season five. He'll be missed.

Good work Brian and Urru! Can't wait to see how it wraps up!
This was one of the best issues! It was really nice to have Urru back.
I don't think Spike is going to make it through.
(Since his first appearance in season 5?! I loved him since being birthed in season 3, all the way through season 4--even if I was apparently the only one who liked that poor, misguided, psychopathic kid--I really did love him even then--and of course the healthier, more well-adjusted times of seasons 5 and 6. I never didn't like him, unlike many.)

This was my immediate response to getting the spoilers. I still haven't read the issue, but I will soon. So, without having read the issue, this was my brain earlier today:

Nuh. Buh.


Oh, this just ruined my day. And Angel's. I think it was a mistake. There is so much left to do with the character.

And I agree (...this was a response to King of Cretins...). I think Lynch's Spike-love is coming out a little too much in having Wesley and Spike being the memories used for Illyria. Angel was the one who saved Fred in Pylea, after all. "Handsome man saved me from the monsters." I think that was also a mistake.

Either just use Wesley (way more poignant) or use everyone. Angel has a much more poignant and longer history with Fred than Spike, no matter how much time Spike spent with Illyria. Angel saved Fred. Wesley would still have been the choice I'd have used (much like Xander and Willow in Grave).

It better not have felt safe to kill Connor because of his formerly low popularity levels. There better be a big payoff for doing that to Angel. Remember Forgiving?

It's one thing to kill all of Angel's friends, but quite another to kill the only family he will likely ever have. Puts new meaning to the cover of Angel burning up for me. One of the reasons he seemed to most want becoming human was having a family (going back to the days where he told Buffy about the things he couldn't give her). As a vampire, he got a son and as a human, he got his son--the only flesh and blood offspring he'll ever have--taken away. IMO, that's the worst possible thing that could have happened to Angel. Nothing else that has happened to Angel in the franchise comes close for me (and that's a lot of bad luck to beat).

Connor: They'll destroy you.
Angel: As long as you're okay, they can't.

[ edited by NileQT87 on 2008-12-18 02:15 ]
Never mind. Found what I was looking for.

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2008-12-18 02:35 ]
As Bucolic Buffalo would say, "Sigh-um."
I think Spike will survive. This wasn't his story. Plus Brian probably doesn't want a hit put out on him.
Wow. Just wow.

Connor. Angel's connection with humanity. How is he going to feel? Technically, Connor's death is Angel's fault in many ways. Is he going to see it this way?

I get why Angel didn't kill Gunn. He would be killing for revenge, not justice or for what's right. The more important thing was to stop Illyria. But holy crap. Ugh. I cannot believe this. Angel's son. How is he going to live through this?
Connor's death was dramatically exactly the right thing. The whole sequence of events leading to LA being sent to hell was initiated by Angel's misguided (albeit understandable) effort to save his son. But you can't save people like that (wiping out memories, constructing false lives). It's not real. And because of that, I think Connor was always doomed. Also, if all that badness was the price for "saving" Connor, it would make sense that there can be no restoration of the good with Connor still in the picture. Sort of a balancing of the scales thing.

Doesn't make it any less tragic of course. Connor was quite likeable in the series. And since it turns out that Angel really can't escape losing Connor, the heavy price paid by everyone else (Fred, Gunn, Wesley) weighs all the more, since it really was all in vain.
The deaths didn't get to me for some reason - indeed I saw that Groo was gone and immediately thought, 'Aah, they'll reverse time later, when they escape from hell,' though perhaps I'm a bit of a cynic(!!) - but for the most part this was a strong issue, nowhere stronger than in the pretty interesting take on the Shanshu Prophecy in the flash-forward. Unfortunately (and I genuinely hate saying this) it seems redundant after Season Five, which saw Angel sign away the prophecy without even blinking (his most heroic act, I'd say). And even that was just the punctuation mark on a point that had been effectively made as far back as Season Two, with Angel's elevator ride to hell-on-earth, and reiterated in his climactic duel with Spike mid-S5.

Indeed there's an essay waiting to be written about whether After the Fall has anything at all in common with the TV series at its most basic level - if the show was often a dimly-lit elaboration of Holland Manners's elevator-ride point that evil is in everyone and can't be expunged or reversed by any means, the comic has often felt a little too histrionic, too desperate...too many climaxes, not enough actual living. The Buffy comic is impressively mundane at times, particularly in the opening issues but in the romantic/growing-up arcs (Satsu, Dawn, Willow/Kennedy) as well. There hasn't been a single moment in the whole of AtF that hasn't been Big! Comics! Action! And over time it's gone from an interesting setup - Angel/Deadwood crossover in hell - to a climax that's of course all about our heroes, and that's fine, but in which the other millions of residents of Los Angeles seem to matter not one iota. Near as I could tell Illyria was killing demons and smashing empty buildings - I couldn't help wondering what was the difference, why any of it mattered at all.

(Which is, along with everything else, to reiterate my long-running complaint that any comic that so utterly short-changes Angel's transformation back into a human being is an absolute waste of time and effort, no matter how plotty it is.)

Right now I'm enjoying the Illyria plot more than any other part of this series,, haven't we seen an all-powerful Buffyverse female try to 'end suffering' by destroying the world? Oh man, I couldn't stop thinking of that fucking yellow crayon.


Yeah, I've enjoyed the last two issues more than the rest of the series by a wide margin. If this work hasn't quite breathed like the show, has seemed to lack the 'incidental' (i.e. secretly central) humanity that characterized the TV series, it's still gong out nicely. And I'm absolutely certain it'll read a million times better in a single sitting than it has month to month. I look forward to giving Brian his full credit when it's all done.
After reading this I just feel sad. I had just started really liking Connor this season.
Connor's death, a big disappointment for me. Since his introduction, I've always enjoyed Connor's presence and had really hoped to see him grow up even more and give Angel that time to really bond with his son (minus Hell on Earth). It reminded me a lot of Anya's death. Sudden and cut down by a sword. I wish Urru had done a better job at developing the spacing of the scene, as it seemed as if Connor went from being behind Angel to suddenly popping up next to Gunn. (Was Connor moving on Gunn?)

Groo. I don't think he's dead, and if he is, his last words really summed it up. Totally unglamorous.

ATF has really sucked me into this issue by issue hope and fear concerning Angel's destiny. Great work, me thinks.
So, I held in my hot little hands a new Buffy and new Angel. I have always enjoyed Angel more than Buffy (I really do think that (aside from the art sometimes) Angel comics are better than the Buffy variety (by a little, not a lot)). But, for some reason, I read Buffy first today. I thought, "That was good!" then I read Angel.


That was amazing. "-Cue the music" indeed. I think that we just officially saw what happened in the alley. (Yes, I'm aware that we officially saw what happened months ago)

So, yeah, well done. Couldn't be happier, really. I never liked Connor. He always just kind of messed everything up. He was the monkey wrench in the cogs. So, yay? I know that's mean but. Yay. I'm sadder about Groo. Not to say that the scene wasn't beautifully written or drawn (or inked or colored).

And, at the risk of gushing TOO much, special shout out to Franco for the panel on page 4 of Lorne looking up at the... black hole sun, maybe? I stared at that panel for a long time. Just beuatiful.
One of the part's I found most fascinating was Wesley referring to Illyria as "it" and no longer a "she". He was so dispassionate in his discussion of how to take "it" down.

I'm not sure how I feel about Connor's death. On the one hand, I understand how it works in having to pay for the consequences of Angel's decision. But on the other hand, Connor was the one bright shining message of the entire series. Even when he was trying to kill Angel in the past, his life was still sacred. Connor was Angel's hope. To lose Connor, Fred, (human)Gunn *and* Cordelia in one year's span of time? Dear god. Perhaps we shouldn't let Angel fight with any overly sharp objects at the moment? I'm a bit worried he might slit his wrists.

waxbanks, I've been a bit worried by the extremely darker trend of After the Fall. The most notable difference for me between it and the show is the absence of hope from these actions. Connor just was the final nail in that coffin. A part of me is still hopeful that some narrative curve ball is waiting for us up ahead.
Angel has always been about hope. Much of season 5 was devoted to the idea that if Angel has no hope, he cannot do good. I'm reminded of Numero Cinco. I hope that this is not something Brian has decided to do away with. I trust him, though.

Jeez, his SON. Still can't get over that.
Well. I'm just speechless.
Okay I'm shocked no one has said this yet, but...

Emmie: Connor was Angel's hope. But consider how Connor came into being, conceived in a moment of sheer despair. And the tragedy that ensued was also rooted in Angel's prior actions (the ones that set Holtz on his quest for revenge). Angel's tragedies are rooted in his own character and his own choices. It's a classic tragedy in that sense. I'm not sure if we are meant to feel hopeful in such a universe. Again with the balancing of the scales. Angel risked losing his own soul and unleashing Angelus on the world. How could his salvation (which he looks for in Connor) be a result of that act?
But Maggie I thought that Connor was TPTB's life they owed to Darla and Angel: Angel was ready to die to save Darla, and then after he successfully completed every ordeal and had won a 'life' they discovered that it couldn't be used to save Darla, since she had already been magically resurrected. So really Connor was a gift from the Powers that Be in recognition of Angel's achievement as a champion... not that that means that Connor gets to live forever, but certainly he was a worthy symbol of salvation.
embers-Wasn't that whole thing just Jasmine's loophole into the world? She said as much in Shiny Happy People.
Exactamundo, Embers.
Well, actually, Connor was conceived in order to create Jasmine (the trials were part of Jasmine's plan). Jasmine was the specific PTB that seemed the most preoccupied with Angel & co.

But the fact still remains. Angel had only one shot at having a family. He continuously made references about what he couldn't have/give and his desire for a family starting way back in Bad Eggs, The Prom and War Zone. It was almost poetic that he had a child, because it was always the one thing he always assumed he could never have, which probably made him want it all the more; both for him and others. He seemed to often wish his desires for others. I think his speeches about his vision for Buffy's normal life spoke more about what he wanted than what she wanted.

As I quoted, Angel explicitly stated that Connor's death would destroy him in Not Fade Away. Now, I expect to see just that. This is the man who would give up anything (including himself and his friends) or do any dark magic regardless of consequences to save his son. It doesn't feel right to me if he doesn't.
Embers: Still don't know how to get past the fact that Connor was conceived when Angel recklessly slept with Darla in the full expectation of losing his soul. Indeed, I think there's a kind of poetry at work. He could have become Angelus and visited horrible tragedies on lots of people. But instead, he kept his soul, and the tragedy was visited on him through Connor and all the horrible mess that ensued.

I get that for a lot of people (Patxshand) Angel is just a hero to whom bad things happen. But that's just not the show I watched. And I actually think it takes away from Angel as a character to deny that a lot of what happens to him is a result of his own actions. It's one thing to overcome external bad things. It's another to confront one's own tragic flaws. Angel has never been able to overcome himself; but he's never stopped trying either. To me that's what makes him great. It's also why I think he has a chance to survive the loss of Connor and go on.
Maggie, please don't assume to know my interpretation of the 'verse. I agree with everything you said in that lower passage, so I don't get why you're saying I think Angel is this white knight with a crappy life. I've never said anything to suggest that. I was merely agreeing with Embers about the facts of Connor's birth--the reason Darla was able to have a baby at all was because of the events of The Trial. That's all I was saying.

[ edited by patxshand on 2008-12-18 07:25 ]
I don't expect Connor's death to take Angel apart -- it already would have when he instead spared Gunn. I don't agree with the rationale behind sparing Gunn, it would be far less amoral than a few other people Angel's killed ("Reunion", "Power Play", "Not Fade Away"). But I get why it was written that way. He knew Connor was going to die when he was standing over Gunn, was already dead for every real purpose. And yet he didn't break then; he won't break now and dishonor his son.

The role of the Trial and of Jasmine in Connor's existence are not mutually exclusive. Both are textually true. Jasmine set all the events in motion *which included* Angel winning the life that was paid off in the form of Connor in "The Trial".
I don't think we can measure Angel being "okay" just because he's able to keep on fighting evil. Buffy has been fighting evil for the entire seven years and she's not emotionally okay IMO. We have no way of knowing how Angel will be in the long term because of Connor's death, but I expect him to be hugely broken up about it considering all his social support systems continue to be ripped away from him.
Brian and Franco, Thank you for another great issue. This may very well be the best one to date. So full of emotion and wonderful character moments. Fabio's coloring added much to the story also. I agree with Emmie on this.

I'm not surprised that Wes suggested using Spike's memories also. Spike and Fred had become good friends with each other during Season 5 and Illyria also had a bond with Spike, as well as with Wes. Wes and Spike were the two that were the closest to Illyria and who were also close to, and loved, Fred. Angel and Illyria did not have that connection. Therefore, to me, the impact of Wes' and Spike's feelings about and connections to Fred would resonate with Illyria more than Angel's emotions.

I agree with all the other posters that during this series I had really grown to like Connor. His character was well developed and his passing very sad. However, I don't see Connor's death tipping Angel over to the evil side, especially not after Connor's last words. If Angel had enough self-control to stop himself from killing Gunn in a rage, then he won't allow himself to dishonor Connor, Connor's last request, and Connor's good opinion, by turning evil. It may very well be Connor's death that keeps Angel on his redemptive path.

I disagree with the statements that Connor is Angel's only chance to have a child. That was true when Angel was a vampire. However, right now, Angel is still a human and who knows what will happen in the future. Admittedly, it's not looking good right now and there is a better than even chance that Angel will become a vampire again, but as a human he can have another child. Just to be clear - I'm not saying that having another or the ability to have another child makes Angel's grief over Connor any less. Just adding my two cents to earlier comments.

I'm surprised that no one's commented on the apparent demise of Illyria! I loved that character and there were so many potential stories to tell. I'm holding out hope that W&H forces don't kill her/it, but only subdue her/it. After all, Illyria was the most feared Old One during its original reign, surely it can hold its own against these forces W&H had amassed for this fight. (I say with hope.)

A shout out of my love for Betta George. He got to have a hero moment. I love the interaction between Betta George and Spike. Want to see more.

[ edited by MacGuffin on 2008-12-18 10:02 ]
Oh my God....what an issue. I am exhausted after reading it! I am emotionally drained. I can't believe Connor is dead. I thought it *might* happen...but never thought they would go there. Part of me doesnt want it to be true....maybe he can get him back. But probably not.

Man I actually have a pain in my heart...poor Angel!
I've linked to this on the side-bar so once this entry falls off the front page, you'll be able to access it without going into the archive.
As for the ways in which Connor was conceived. People are born for all sorts of reasons. Connor wasn't Angel's redemption in his existence, and the circumstances of his birth. Connor was Angel's redemption because Connor connected Angel truly to humanity. At the end of season 5, Angel was able to sign away the prophecy, because it had already been fulfilled in a sense. He had become human through Connor. Through his love for Connor, he finally had hope to sustain him, and a desire to protect him. These two things connect someone to humanity.

Now Connor's gone, and I have no idea what's going to happen now.
Oh and re: Groo's death - I have a theory that he will be back. Remember when at the beginning of #14 he talked about his "first death"? Maybe Groo has some wacky death thing like Lorne has - maybe it's a Pylean speciality?
I ended up getting the Field of Nightmares variant cover, so that was a wee treat. Good issue, the pace is certainly picking up nicely.
I was going to go with that one....but it's the only time I didnt hugely like the Garner cover - more to do with the likeness I think.
I managed to buy it by mistake. It was only when I got to the till did I realise it had no writing on the cover.
NileQt87 KingofCretins giles_314 Maggie : I know I'm digging up old and bitter bones rather than discussing the issue, but I really can't trust Skip that much. I know from hard personal experience that evil doesn't just want to win an engagement, they want to give the knife an extra twist, whether it's needed or not. It doesn't just want to take what it needs from you, it wants the satisfaction of knowing you have lost other things as well.
Obviously what Illyria needs is a yellow crayon.
Oh, Connor, no!

Those are my only thoughts right now.

Also, after the first five issues (that I found a bit wonky), Angel: ATF has really turned into one of my favourite comic book series. It's really awesomely good now. Only two issues left!
Two issues left???

Oh. crap.
My rule for reading exposition is that until you have a plot-based reason to doubt it, even what the villains tell you is true. Good case in point -- Joss used General Voll in Season 8 to break Buffy's (and the audience's) mold for finding themes by dispelling the idea that it's about women having power like Buffy first thought. It wasn't -- it was about humanity vs. the supernatural. He used a villain to set up that important theme change.

The trustworthiness of the narrator doesn't actually enter my analysis unless there are other contextual clues that he's lying. Since Season 4 of "Angel" never raised any real challenge to Skip's explanation in the storyline, there's no reason not to believe him, since he is the means by which the audience is being given the metaphysics of the story.

My only point was that arguing whether Connor was made by Jasmine's agenda OR Angel in "The Trial" is irrelevant, since they aren't mutually exclusive explanations.
My rule for reading exposition is that until you have a plot-based reason to doubt it, even what the villains tell you is true.

My thinking is just the opposite: Any information given by a specific character could be a lie, or the character could've misunderstood something. You're not hearing the truth, you're hearing the character's perspective. Omniscient narration or prose, on the other hand, can be accepted as truth.
If you apply that rule to television or a movie, you can't give anything credibility, which means you can never believe the stakes of the story, that they have to stop the guy from summoning the demon, and therefore there can not be suspense or tension of any kind. There is no "omniscient narrator" on television, there is only the characters. Will Giles' misread the book? Is the villain tricking the hero? Perhaps. But we have to have some credulity about the exposition or there's no point in watching it. We'll get plenty of clear hints if we're supposed to doubt something that have nothing to do with the words and who speaks them to let us know if deception is on the table.

I've had this argument relentlessly about Andrew's role in "Damage" (I'm not having it again on this thread), and I could apply it to any number of other issues, and its universal -- The information you get, even from the bad guys, that clarifies the metaphysical rules of the Buffyverse or the plot of the story is trustworthy without some other clue to suggest it isn't. At the very least, if something was important enough for the plot to lie about (Andrew's orders, Skip's explanation), the subject will be *brought up again* at some point. What Skip said about Jasmine was never brought up or challenged in the text that season, the next season, or in "After the Fall". So I ask -- if Joss was putting the creative effort into making that a lie, why never expose it as such? It follows that if it's never exposed as a lie, there is no narrative reason for it to have *been* a lie, therefore, it's probably not a lie.
This also works if you use Occam's Razor and the simplest explanation is always the best. If the writer's intended certain evil characters to be lying, there's normally going to be a payoff. Even Lilah saying "Oh, ya got me" sarcastically or Spike saying "Yeah 'cause I'm evil" to explain his behavior. So if Skip was lying, somebody would have said something about it. Wes would have said, "Well, he's hardly a trustworthy source" or Angel would have righteously accused "You're lying". Or the story would have contradicted Skip's version later on.

One very important lie in the 'verse was Xander saying "kick his ass" to Buffy in Becoming. The audience knew he was lying, it had a purpose. And it even had a little more payoff later on as Goddard brought it back in Season 7's Selfless.
I sort of agree with the Occam's razor thing. In a lot of situations exposition is exposition and we should take it as such. But that doesn't mean that the Jossverse is going to make no use of the unreliable narrator, either. Andrew has been clearly marked as one. The circumstances around Skip would mark him as another. Unreliable doesn't mean "totally lying", either. It just means that you don't want to be quick to assume every word is gospel truth. As for whether or not these lies would have been dramatically revealed -- as long as canon is open, it's always possible that they will be revealed. In the mean time, it's not like ME has an aversion to complexity or ambiguity!

Pat: apologies if I took you the wrong way. My bad.
KingofCretins Emmie : I grant the validity of your approach, I just don't approach in that way; I'm still not convinced Beljoxa's Eye wasn't lying, even. And Xander's lie had little repercussion beyond one scene. But, what the heck?
Fuck. This was a hard issue. A great one, but an emotionally difficult one. What got to me even more than Connor's death was Illyria's realization that what it was doing was not who Fred was, and then it just stopped. Stopped, and fell ("I don't see Illyria fall" is something of a devastating line for me). Some have said that Illyria has been taken down a little too easily, but I think it's important to realize that Illyria basically stopped. After the Fred memories, Illyria just sort of broke. And now with it gone, Fred is finally truly dead. (How many times have we gotten a "Fred isn't there anymore" revelation this season, though?)

Like many, I really started to warm to Connor this season. I've never disliked him, but he was never exactly one of my favorite characters. After the Fall, though, gave him a huge boost (much in the same way that Buffy S8 has elevated Dracula's stature). I like how Spike was the first at Connor's side. And Angel's narration: "World's going to end. World HAS JUST ended."

"Vampire or not--you're a good man."

Very upsetting issue! So who do we have left.

Angel, Spike, Wesley, Lorne, Gunn, Nina... that is everyone right? Unless you count Kate (which I don't) and only-seems-to-appear-to-the-dying-is-she-still-a-higher-power(?)-Cordelia (again, not really).

Angel, Lorne and Nina are our only alive characters. And I kind of don't really care about Nina. Gunn will surely get the chop by the end of the series, and it seems unlikely that Wesley will be able to re-enter his body. Angel is going to have to be re-vamped and re-souled at some point.

I am not feeling the love this issue. Mr. Lynch, can't you put something happy in the next few issues? Maybe a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow? Euphoria educing medication of some kind...

Another interesting sidenote... Will re-souled Angel still have the pesky true happiness clause that tends to go with a soul? Depends how they do it I suppose. I vote no on the gypsy style.
Finally got my copy; over-all reaction is "Ho-hum."
I'm not someone who follows enough to know Whedon's future plans for characters, publications, etc, but has it been discussed that everyone (sans the BTVS-born and vital Spike) in Angel's LA life is being killed off and Angel himself is human and that those two facts might speak to some type of end to ATS and a return of the character and Spike to Buffy's circle?
Just read it. I guess it wasn't a blank panel after all. It was purposefully blank.
Brett-There's another IDW series coming after "Angel: After The Fall" entitled "Angel: Aftermath". Besides, I believe IDW has the 'rights' to the Angel characters, not Dark Horse so I kind of doubt that speculation.
Am I the only one who's more upset about Illyria's downfall than Connors?
I mean, I actually really liked less-annoying Connor much more than hates-the-world-Connor and was sad to see him die.

Is she/it really, truly gone?
Please say it isn't so!!!!
I just read it! This is definitively a hard issue. Connor and Illyria in the same one!

I do agree that almost everything was (is) Angel's fault. He should have had more strength (not only physical, but also emotional) to hold Connor back in season 4, so maybe this could be avoided. He was stupid enough to take W&H and believe he could do any good out of it... there is no good in evil.

And I always suspected of Cordy's "last present". Angel receives her visions, and then he has one revelation and decides to go against W&H, black thorn. That always sound strange do me. It should have been clear to him that doing so would cause everyone's torment, not only his one. Angel went completely wrong at that point. After he knew that Connor knew about him, he should have called off his vendetta.

For someone who spent too much time trying to do the best for everyone around him, being so selfless, he was completely reckless, even selfish. Angel being reckless = bad things = your city going to hell (pretty much like Buffy and Apocalypses = something being blow up). I know he could not go back since the show was canceled and Joss wanted was to suffer together with him (:) :) :)).

Besides, lies are never good and he should have known it. Buffy lied about going to a party and ended up almost eaten by a giant snake... after that she lied about his existence when he came back from hell and he almost got killed by Faith... so he really had examples of what lies can do... Sooner or later lies come to get you.

I tend to disagree about the Holtz thing, since back then it was not Angel, but Angelus. But, then, Holtz was clearly a mad man still grieving his family... and wanting to punish someone... even if the shell of the beast that caused him so much pain.

I also think there are a lot of wasted words in all Skip said. I mean, for everything to happen the way we saw, even Angel being turned would be a plot of Jasmine… even Darla. Buffy going to Sunnydale, they falling in love, him losing his soul, going to hell, coming back, Mayor’s stupid speech, mommy visiting him, leaving SunnyHell, … yada yada yada. Didn’t Illyria say the same thing about herself? Did not she also plan her resurrection? Does not it mean she was the one planning everything… if there was no Jasmine, there would not be a crazy Connor, and no motive for Angel to make a deal with W&H, no Fred in their place for Knox to use?

I also do understand, although can't accept, that Angel did not kill Gunn. Maybe he did not process the fact that Gunn is crazy. The Gunn he knew is gone... just as much as Fred in Illyria. Maybe he felt guilt about killing him, since his downfall will be always in his back, just as Wes and Fred.

But, yeah... Connor’s death was hard. I mean, Angel always thought of himself as someone not worth of love, but still he had Buffy’s and Cordy’s love. But, as everyone said, he thought that children were the thing he could not really have… and he really could not. No matter how he came to be, it was still his son. It still pains me the way he looked through the window of Connor’s “house” in the end of season 4. He was again giving up something important for the greater good: first Buffy and his idea of a normal life for her, and then a normal life for his son (he should really stop thinking about give someone a normal life… every time he tries the person end up dead). The boy went from a murderous teen to a fully grown caring guy. They were developing some bonding and then... well, we know.

Poor Angel!

PS1.: Sorry for the English, but I’m not native, so

[ edited by Angeluffy on 2009-01-04 10:57 ]

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