That Vision Thing
That Old Gang of Mine
Waiting in the Wings
Double or Nothing
A New World
Following a successful second season, Angel continues its impressive form with another explosive season of vampire action. With the characters already established and the group dynamic enhanced with the introduction of Fred, the third season sees sprinkles of romance accompanying the overarching story. In many ways, this season feels like a defining one in the history of the series, with an open ending potentially changing the dynamic of the show for seasons to come. Still, fans of Angel will be delighted at the excellent work put into this season which in many ways feels equally as good, if not better, than the season before.
A lot of the story this year stems from inner conflict between the various characters. A prophetic message about Angel (David Boreanaz) hangs heavy over Wesley’s conscience following a shocking reveal from Darla (Julie Benz) and this has the biggest impact on plot developments this year. To complicate matters, a demon called Sahjhan brings back a prolific vampire hunter from Angel’s past while Wolfram & Hart’s changed management continues to oppose Angel and Co. The focus on internal conflict is the big drive for much of this season and unlike last year’s more subtly placed themes, this year sees ideas around inner conflict and front and centre for most of the episodes. Even the individual episodes, like Gunn’s (J. August Richards) stand-alone Double or Nothing, continues this trend with each character finding inner strength in the face of adversity.
The love triangle between Gunn, Fred (Amy Acker) and Wesley (Alexis Denisof) does feel a little clichéd at times but for the most part, there’s some good, consistent work put into this story line to avoid it feeling contrived. Cordelia and Angel do tease a little romance too which is certainly intriguing but most of the character development here rests solely with Angel and Wesley who carry this series for vast stretches with their excellent development. Wesley in particular is barely recognisable from the timid, outspoken watcher in Buffy but here he comes into his own and his character journey is by far the most impressive out of the rest of the characters here.
It’s difficult to fault Angel’s third season and for good reason too, this spin-off show not only manages to continue the great work done last year, at times the third season excels the work done during the second season. While some of the themes are less subtle than they were last year and the love triangle subplot isn’t particularly original, this dark, gritty vampire series continues to subvert expectations. The open ending may divide opinion, especially with the angle the fourth season might take, but despite this Angel continues to surprise with another solid season of entertainment.