3 months ago
Thursday, January 22, 2009
SPOILERS FOR ANGEL:AFTER THE FALL # 16 if you haven't read it yet, because I'm gonna babble about it.
I warned you...
...if you've read ANGEL:AFTER THE FALL # 16, you know that Angel and Wesley figured out that if Angel dies in hell, Wolfram & Hart needs to go back into his timeline to get him back. And since it was said that their time in hell was actually between moments, they had to go back to the very last moment in the actual timeline that Angel was around...
...which was the moment Angel first went to hell. So they yanked everyone out of hell, and life resumed for (most of) our characters.
When I told Chris Ryall the ending we cooked up, his eyes grew wide and he looked somewhat scared. I remember the moment perfectly. It was at my bachelor party, we were both a little tipsy in a very crowded bar, so of course we discussed ANGEL:AFTER THE FALL. I told him how the story was going to wind up and he was concerned that it would be a retcon, "none of this happened, it was all a horrible, horrible dream"...which is, of course, not the best way to end a series.
And then I realized that drunkenly yelling a two-sentence description of a comic book finale over a crowded bar is NOT the best way to pitch an idea. So I explained it further and he dug it. I don't think he was entirely convinced, however, until he read the issue. I'm noticing that's happening on quite a few places around the internet: people don't love the idea when they hear it, but when they see how it plays out, they dig it.
It was my job to make it so that the events you see in issue 16 clearly could be the only viable ending for this specific story. Of course, if everyone was coming back, we could have fun with body count (that seemed to please Mr. Whedon), but we had to keep it so a reboot wasn't a foregone conclusion. This meant, basically, not killing off Angel or Spike. Once that happened, people were gonna start thinking things would HAVE to be undone.
Connor's death was the key. Angel would do anything to change it. We hoped that the audience would root for it to be taken back. After all they've been through, and all that's happened to Connor in AFTER THE FALL, I wanted people to be so distraught and frustrated that Connor died at the end of issue 15 the only ending they'd accept was taking it back. I think, for some, we accomplished that. For others, it was a swell death and they were fine with it. To them I say, please, pretend the series ended with issue 15 and everyone's happy.
Remember in issue 2, Gunn is talking about the man Angel is, and how maybe THAT man isn't all that noble to begin with. After all, look what he did, look at the trouble he caused, look at the fate of those that trusted him. Well, Angel, just a man, killed himself without hesitation, on the chance that it save everybody and everything.
And hey, Cordelia actually tried to help Angel "move on". Whether or not she knew that was the solution, if Angel had gone with his oldest friend in the series, everything would have been okay.
Gunn to the humans he saved from Kr'ph in issue 1: "Think of the last couple of months as a bad, bad dream. That's all they were." Welllll, Gunn was on the right track. Hell, his plan to use Illyria to timeshift back to normal was kind of what Angel did...only, of course, Angel found a way to do it without hurting anybody but himself.
That said, it wasn't a dream. It all happened. Betrayals, first loves, murders, deaths, it all happened. And now, every single person (and other assorted creature in Los Angeles) remembers EVERYTHING that happened.
From Illyria having all of Wesley and Spike's memories of Fred in her head, to the Powerful Demon Lords remembering Angel is the one that blowed them up real good, to the citizens of LA knowing who Angel and company are, to Connor realizing his first love was a traitor. The repercussions of this are enormous, from a story and a character standpoint. Angel is famous AND wanted by the demon underbelly. Illyria knows what it's like to be human more than she ever thought possible. Wolfram & Hart...well, we go into that a bit more next issue. You'll see.
The snowglobe has been shaken. All the characters are at different places to be sure.
Wow, this was long. My apologies. I just hope, above all else, that I did justice to the characters and entertained you. And, hey, an ANGEL issue/episode with a happy (ish) ending. Not something you see every day.