Are You Now or Have You Ever Been
Guise Will Be Guise
The Shroud Of Rahmon
The Thin Dead Line
Over the Rainbow
Through The Looking Glass
There’s No Place Like Plrtz Glrb
Following an impressive first season, Angel (David Boreanaz) returns for another 22 episodes of action packed, supernatural drama. Unlike last year’s predominantly episodic structure, the second season of Angel radiates an air of confidence in its maturely written serialised plot. There’s a good pacing throughout the series too and a deeper look at some of the key characters in the series really helps give Angel an extra dimension lacking a little in its first season. With some great character work to back up the absorbing plot line, Angel’s second season improves in every way to produce a season rivalling some of Buffy’s best work.
Most of the stand alone episodes rely heavily on Cordelia’s (Charisma Carpenter) visions which act as the crux for much of the episodic case work this season. There’s much more emphasis on the overarching story this year though which sees Wolfram & Hart become involved with the dysfunctional duo of vampires, Darla (Julie Benz) and Drusilla (Juliet Landau), as they cause havoc in L.A. Interesting themes around morality and the blurred line between good and evil/right and wrong is surprisingly well written and never comes across as contrived or forced at any point during the 22 episodes. As the series progresses, a climactic fight with an apocalyptic demon ends a surprisingly well written season featuring a good deal of intricate detail through vast stretches of this season.
With the core group already established last year, each of the cast are given a good amount of screen time to progress their personas. Wesley (Alexis Denisof) and Cordelia prove their weight in gold this year and Gunn’s (J. August Richards) gung-ho, indifferent attitude toward the others sees him slowly grow closer to the group and become a mainstay. Lorne (Andy Hallett) plays both the spiritual guide and comedy relief to perfection too and this blend of dark, gritty action and bursts of comedy is arguably better this year thanks to the established roles of each character. Angel continues his inner struggles this year and is pushed to breaking point by Darla and Drusilla on numerous occasions. So much so that Angel actually plays the antagonist at times, at odds with the rest of the group. It’s a really smart move too and works to highlight the main theme this year around morality and what it means to be right and wrong. The inclusion of crucial flashbacks from Angel’s past involving the terrible foursome – Angelus, Spike, Drusilla and Darla -sheds more light on the bloody history the characters share and helps to really flesh out the characters in a way that lacked a sinister edge in Buffy.
If the first season acted as an anchor to prove Angel could hold its own against Buffy, the second season only further emphasises this fact with an impressively written season rivalling some of the best work in Buffy. Although the individual episodes aren’t quite at the same level as that seen in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel’s overarching story and thematically strong plot line is far more intricately developed and maturely written. The future is certainly exciting for this series that seems to be growing from strength to strength with every passing year.
Verdict - 9/10