The crossover with Angel & Faith comes to a fitting end in the conclusion of Old Demons. It’s been interesting over the course of these last few issues to see how Angel interacts with the whole Buffy crew after so much time. He does have a history with these characters, after all, and that’s something that really hasn’t been explored much since he left the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in season three.
Of course, we pick up where the previous issue ended, in the heat of the action, with Angel turning on Spike and bending to Archaeus’ will. The fight between Spike and Angel isn’t really a big event. It’s not the main draw of the issue, the way it had been for the Angel episode “Destiny.” If anything, it just feels like another fight between the two, even if the resurfaced jealousy plays a major part. What does make the fight interesting is how Spike goes about getting Angel to snap out of it.
He doesn’t say anything about Buffy, instead he uses the true source of Angel’s rage and one that has barely come up over the years—Angel’s father. There have been a lot of remarks over both this issue and the last to point out what a complicated character Angel isn’t. Right before Spike gets him to wake up, he says that there’s nothing to Angel but Catholic guilt and daddy issues. And what happens next seems to prove him right.
Angel came to a similar revelation about himself in the previous issue by realizing that in over 250 years he hasn’t changed much. He partially says that immortality is to blame for that and he uses this to justify his reasoning for believing that Buffy and Spike will ultimately not work. What Angel ignores by doing this is the fact that Spike actually has changed quite a bit, not only over the course of his lifetime but just over the course of Buffy itself. He is constantly redefining himself. Even now we’re seeing aspects of his character that we’ve never really seen before. From his first appearance, he was a different kind of vampire.
His thoughts on Spike are, impressively, not as repetitive as one would think. These moments actually make up some of the best in the issue. Angel has a nice moment with Spike that at least taps into their long history and deeper connection than either of them would like to admit. He gives the relationship his blessing, not that they need it. Then he completely contradicts it a moment later when talking to Willow, making it sound like the only reason he’s okay with their relationship is because he’s confident it won’t last.
It doesn’t make him out to look all that great, but it does make for interesting reading. Some of what Angel says about Buffy and Spike might be true, but again, he’s more than a little biased. How much of these insights carry back over to Angel & Faith remains to be seen.
Xander’s interactions with Angel felt forced at first, but have gotten more natural as this arc has continued. He shouldn’t have had to apologize to Angel for beating him nearly to death moments after Angel had killed Giles, but when it comes to this vampire, Xander has a lot more to make up for and that’s clear in the dialogue even if it’s not spoken outright. These two have a hell of a history and they’ve never much liked each other. So it’s pretty amazing that some of the moments between them here hint at the fact that they’re not only finally seeing eye to eye, but might even become friends in the future.
Overall, this has been one of the more interesting arcs of the season. The character moments proved more interesting than the action, but that’s always been the case for Buffy. At the same time, it’s nice to see the plot moving forward in a very clear and deliberate direction.
WICKED RATING: [usr 8]