Episodes #3: Angel, I Will Remember You (Season 1, Episode 8)

With Oscars week firmly in the rear-view mirror for another year, this week on RhettMedia is scheduled to be vampire week, and will cover various aspects of bloodsuckers on screen in an attempt to ascertain their perpetual and growing appeal to the viewing audience, while also analysing the present boom period that the supernatural creatures are currently entrenched in. To kick us off, this edition of Episodes will examine one of the trendsetters prior to the ‘Twilight era’ and deconstruct an instalment of the heralded Buffy spin-off Angel.

Having only just broken off from its smash-hit parent programme Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel was still going through the process of creating its own voice and presence by the time episode 8 I Will Remember You rolled around. In establishing the show as a new brand, Angel’s creators were set to do what most successful spin-offs do at some point, that being to inject one of the characters from the parent show into an episode to entice viewers to flock toward the programming and essentially draw a wider audience familiar with the relationship that these characters share. Angel did this many, many times over the course of its five seasons, but it is perhaps this early case that displayed the most important and effective example of the impact of the crossover.

In what was to be a dual-show crossover, Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz performed in both incarnations of Joss Whedon’s vampire universe in one night, appearing in both Buffy and Angel in a two hour block of programming on the now renamed The WB network. In this regard, the aim of the crossover was to create awareness of the male lead’s new show, as well as transpose both the Buffy and Angel characters into the differing realms of existence that their opposite’s show offered them. In particular though, the crossover was an opportunity to perpetuate the popular on-going relationship between the characters and give its fans the chance to revel in one of the more compelling dilemmas the creators’ produced.

The general premise of the episode lies in Gellar’s Buffy confronting Boreanaz’ Angel about the complex situation regarding their doomed relationship in his new digs of Los Angeles, having moved there at the inception of the series in an effort to start afresh from the vampire slayer, knowing that her mortality and his nature as a vampire meant that their relationship was condemned to failure. The pair argue about their circumstances, but interference from a demon delivers a twist to their troubled history in that it grants Angel humanity and his freedom from the vampiric being that kept the two apart. From this, Angel and Buffy get the chance to explore what their lives together would be like, before a vulnerable human Angel realises that he needs his heightened abilities and intensified strength in order to assist his lover in her fight against evil, and goes through the process of reassuming his supernatural powers by turning back the clock, while still painfully retaining the memory of the one day of happiness he spent with Buffy while her memories are erased in one of the most memorable and poignant moments spanning across both of these iconic series.

The script is sharp and full of the wit that Whedon and company are renowned for, with enough action to separate from the exceptional dramatic scenes. The drama itself is an indicator of what made the original series such a major success, with the romanticising of a relationship between vampire and slayer proving to be a substantial driving force behind both shows’ rise to prominence and underlines how it captured the imagination of its extensive fan-base. Though at the core of both Buffy and Angel is the supernatural and fantastical aspects of the two series, what makes this such a classic and memorable piece of television lies in the believable and torturous disassembling of what is a very real and very human relationship, and the excellent chemistry between Gellar and Boreanaz make the major scene near the end where Angel tells Buffy that the clock is being turned back a heart-wrenching climax to a relationship fated for tragedy.

What makes it all the more crushing is the realisation that the memories are only lodged within the mind of Angel, and it remains his cross to bear. I Will Remember You is significant to the burgeoning success of Angel as a show as it channels what made David Boreanaz’ character compelling enough to warrant a spin-off. In this sense, the real genesis moment of Angel occurs in this episode, as the common motif of Angel’s character is delivered as a mission statement that while Angel still ultimately pines after the slayer, the tortured tale of the vampire with a soul and his conflicts of emotions in relation to his fate is the driving force behind the drama of the series, and from Boreanaz’ performance in this episode we can essentially extrapolate that both the character and the actor in question have moved on and are establishing a separate identity from its predecessor. In this manner, what makes this such a notable episode is that it is the first real instalment in its linearity where the strings are so strongly severed from its parent show, and is an outstanding example of how a spinoff series bids farewell to its predecessor.


~ by jrhett on March 6, 2012.

One Response to “Episodes #3: Angel, I Will Remember You (Season 1, Episode 8)”

  1. […] Episodes #3: Angel, I Will Remember You (Season 1, Episode 8) […]

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