Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gone But Not Forgotten: Angel in Buffy Episode "The Prom"

Re-watching the latter half of season three, I'm still really bummed that Angel leaves town. Plenty of people love Buffy post high school, but I feel like it lost a lot of its magic when the scoobies graduated and Angel went away.

David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel
I say a lot of these episodes are my favorite, but really, the second half of season three is just my favorite Buffy era. The whirlwind of graduation and the chaos of transformation that it brings is depicted in the perfect Whedonesque way. It's the strongest the supernatural metaphor ever gets.

David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel
And this episode. The Prom. That gigantic money-suck of high school frivolity. All Buffy wants is one normal night with her devilishly sexy older boyfriend. But as Buffy says in the beginning of the episode, it's later than they think.

David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel
Of course, Buffy's mom picks this moment to show up and remind Angel that this can never work out. Oldest dilemma in the vampire/human book. Buffy's going to grow up, age, want children, want a life in the sun. He's fixed in time and can't give her those things. Unless you're in some other vampire story, you can't have it all. How do you choose? 

David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel
David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel
Also, this episode contains this little fantasy sequence. Sigh. Let's just imagine for a moment what will never be. Tear :'(

David Boreanaz Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel Wedding
David Boreanaz Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel Wedding
So Angel does the nobel thing and ends it with Buffy. But a) his timing sucks and b) I'm sort of with Buffy on the why-doesn't-she-get-a-say thing. They chose this episode to really emphasize Buffy's youth so that we'd forgive the adults for making her life decisions for her. But still, it sucks. There's no reason she couldn't have a few years of happiness. Would that really make parting all the more terrible? Eh. That's debatable. It's the whole is it better to have loved and loss quandary. 

David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel
"You should be with someone who can take you into the light." ... and also Joss has gotten me this sweet deal where I'll sort of be the star of my own show so yeah... I've got to go. Enjoy Riley.

David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel
They have this brief post-break up moment where Buffy tells him she's still going to prom - but only to prevent everyone's death. No normal for Buffy. Yeah, Angel. Feel like shit. You deserve it in this moment. 

David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel
And then prom. Sigh. Angel shows up. Because he loves her and he realizes that his timing was pretty balls. Buffy gets her night. It still makes me smile. 

David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel
Know what else makes me smile? Angel in a tux. Know what else makes me smile? Imagining Angel going to rent a tux. 

David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel
They dance to Wild Horses and it's all very sweet. This is their calm before the storm. This is basically their last really good moment. Wild horses can't tear them apart, but their inability to have sex without Angel losing his soul can. And will. 

David Boreanaz Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy Angel dance
David Boreanaz Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy Angel dance
Poor them. One of the many Romeo and Juliet couples that television has given us. But also one of the best. Enjoy your dance, kids. Thing are about to get suck-tastic. 

2 comments:

  1. I still can't hear that song without having Buffy feels.

    I always prefered high school era Buffy as well, although a mediocre Buffy episode is about 10x better than most other shows.

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    1. What are you talking about? The worst Buffy episode is about 10x better than 90% of the other shows.

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