The earlier seasons of a television series faces the toughest critics. But for the television series Angel, the fourth season was considered it’s most problematic with some even calling it the show’s worst season. I don’t entirely agree with this. I admit there was a particular story that I still question the writers choice in making, but for me Angel Season Four sadly gets a bum rap. I feel badly about the criticisms the actors have faced over the years (in particular Charisma Carpenter). They were part of a show that has a lasting legacy and a cemented place in television history.
In my opinion, Angel Season Four contained some great episodes. I give my choices for the Top Ten Angel Season 4 episodes. Read below to see whether any of your favorites made the list.
The opinions expressed in the article below are that of the writer and may differ from other fans of the television series Angel.
1. Spin the Bottle S4Ep6
Cordelia returned from being a Higher Being but with no memory. Team Angel was determined to get her back. Lorne managed to get his hands on a memory spell from one of his clients and assured what could possibly go wrong. Anyone who’s ever read a book or watched a television show knows that no sooner than those words are uttered, what doesn’t go wrong? Cordy got some of her memory back, but thought she was still a teen from Sunnydale. And the rest of the Fang Gang reverted back to their younger days as well: Wesley attends The Watcher’s Academy in Southern Hampshire, Gunn runs his vamp staking crew, Fred is a high school student from San Antonio with a passion for weed. And Angel…well Angel is again Irish bloke Liam who thinks they all speak madness.
From start to finish, “Spin the Bottle” captured what Angel did best (Besides for taking on the Big Bad): humor. Charisma Carpenter delivered her dialogue with classic Cordelia wit “I’m Cordelia Chase dumbass.” I loved how much of bumbling, know-it-all Wesley was in the episode harking back to the character’s early days on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. His rivalry with Gunn continued in the episode even without knowledge of their shared love for Fred. The Gunn/Wesley interaction featured funny dialogue like this:
Wesley: The cross obviously doesn’t affect me, or our friend the pugilist.
Gunn: Oh, your ass better pray I don’t look that word up.
Everyone thought Lorne was The Devil and part of a plan to keep them trapped in the hotel. And the only way to escape was to kill the deadly vampire who was lurking in the shadows. The humor escalated once Liam realized he was a vampire. “They’re gonna kill me!” This made him desperate to leave the hotel before the group dusted him. Fortunately, Liam/Angel doesn’t get staked and everyone’s memories are restored by episode’s end.
2. Habeas Corpses S4Ep8
Zombie Apocalyse in a law firm. The Beast’s reign of terror continued. After bringing forth a rain of fire, Mr. Cloven Foot decided to pay a visit on evil law firm Wolfram and Hart. It started killing everything inside. Connor was there having gone to ask for Lilah’s help to learn once and for all his true nature. Real smart Connor, come to the people who want to dissect you! Wesley saved Lilah after The Beast attacked her. They escaped to the sewers through a trap door located in a storage closet. But then she revealed Connor was still trapped upstairs. Worried about Angel’s son, Wesley rushed to The Hyperion Hotel to tell Team Angel. Although angry and jealous because he knew Connor and Cordelia slept together, Angel resolved to go to Wolfram and Hart to get his son. But once inside Wolfram and Hart, Team Angel found out The Beast wasn’t the only danger there. The employees The Beast killed had now joined the racks of the undead as zombies.
And once Angel found Connor, we got this funny exchange between them:
Team Angel made it to The White Room where they found The Beast siphoning something out of the evil Little Girl, who pointed to the group and said “The answer is among you.” Then using the last bit of strength she had left, she transported the gang back to the hotel.
The danger, excitement and humor kept this episode hopping. It was a good follow-up to “Apocalypse, Nowish” and a worthy Mid-Season Premiere.
3. Deep Down S4Ep1
In my opinion, the season premiere of Season 4 was the best season premiere of Angel. We had Angel’s voyage to the bottom of the sea where his blood starved hallucinations included him killing the son who cursed him to the watery tomb. We had Wesley now a total bad ass figuring it all out and rescuing Angel. We had Fred and Gunn acting as surrogate parents to unruly teen Connor. And the long awaited confrontation between Angel and Connor in which Angel told his son what it meant to be a Champion before kicking him out of the hotel:
“Nothing in the world is the way it oughta be. It’s harsh and cruel, but that’s why there’s us: champions. Doesn’t matter where we come from, what we’ve done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be. You’re not a part of that yet. I hope you will be.” “I love you, Connor. Now get out of my house.” – Angel
4. Orpheus S4Ep15
The conclusion of what I like to call “The Angelus Chronicles.” Willow came to Los Angeles after receiving a phone call from Fred. With Angel’s soul missing, Team Angel needed help from the only known person to ever re-ensoul the vampire. But Cordelia was having none of that, attempting to stop the powerful witch. Charisma Carpenter played Evil Cordy to perfection and was a perfect foil for Team Angel. When it looked like Willow’s restoration spell was going to work, Cordy tried to convince Connor killing Angelus was the only way to keep their baby safe. And both Faith and Angelus’ spirits where taking a “This Is Your Life” tour into Angel’s past where the slayer got to see a low moment in Angel’s life that has tortured him.
Like Faith, Willow becoming a temporary member of Team Angel was a treat as was her scenes with Wesley, especially knowing they were a real life couple. But the real highlight for me was Faith kicking Connor’s ass.
Team Angel’s celebration was short-lived when a very pregnant Cordelia descended from the stairs.
5. Awakening S4Ep10
Pre-awakening of Angelus. Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom vampire champion style featuring a dangerous booby trap cave. Angel, Connor, Cordy and Wesley were on quest for a magical sword needed to kill The Beast. Our heroes get the sword. Angel and Connor finally worked together as father and son to kill The Beast. Then, Angel and Cordy gave into their passion. A moment of perfect happiness…Angel becomes Angelus.
But all of it was Angel’s dream. Except for the part where he becomes Angelus, that really happened at the end of the episode thanks to a dark mystical shamon.
I enjoyed the action and excitement in the episode. It’s too bad Connor admitting Cordelia was too old for him and loved Angel was only in Angel’s dream though.
6. Soulless S4Ep11
“The Angelus Chronicles” begins with the reemerging of The Dark Prince of Vampire Evil. Angelus is a chilling character. Watching David Boreanaz as Angelus is amazing as he totally transforms; it’s almost like two different actors. Team Angel learned quickly enough that bringing forth “dark vampire” may not have been the best plan. In my opinion, Angelus was way more scarier than The Beast! He spent the episode playing mind games with Wesley, Fred, Gunn and Connor using their insecurities against them. Although Angelus is deadly with the physical torture, he’s equally menacing with the mental.
The “Angelus Variety Show” was entertaining. But how would Team Angel bring back their leader with Angel’s soul stolen?
7. Salvage S4Ep13
A deadly vampire is on the loose…who you gonna call? Ghostbusters…only kidding. For a vampire you need a Vampire Buster. But first, you’ll have to bust her out of prison. That’s right, Wesley goes to get Faith to capture Angelus. Of course, Connor is not on board with the plan; he wanted to dust Angelus and was not taking no for an answer. But Faith was in charge and told him so. I don’t know whether it’s just me but I got the impression Connor enjoyed being scolded by Faith from the look he gave. Also, he was fascinated she was a vampire slayer. Faith showed him first hand she was stronger than he was and for once, there was someone to put Connor in her place. “I like her”- Gunn
The “threesome” battle between Faith, Angelus and The Beast was more of a twosome as all Angelus did was stand on the sidelines and watched Faith and The Beast fight. Faith took a plummeting from The Beast. Angelus finished “rocky” off with a sword made by The Beast using his own body parts. And then there was light. “Ah crap, killing The Beast really does bring back the sun!” Angelus lamented.
8. Inside Out S4e17
When Connor met Darla. Team Angel learned Cordy was The dead Beast’s master and had been yanking their chains. But why? The demon Skip revealed the reason: The master needed a vessel to be born into and chose Cordelia. Additionally, it arranged Connor’s creation to be its father. Okay. Sixteen years after the episode’s original airing, I still don’t understand this…a powerful being went through all this trouble to walk the Earth? Again, okay.
Anyway, the best thing about this episode for me was Connor finally getting to meet his mother. Although it wasn’t really Darla, Connor got to release his pain and hurt by talking with his mother. And viewers got the pleasure of seeing Julie Benz on Angel one final time. Her scenes with Vincent Kartheiser’s Connor were emotional and heartwarming and reminded viewers how much Connor longed for his mother. He continued to make bad choices out of anger and abandonment. Not only was he a vessel to bring forth a superior being, but he was also a vessel to bring forth Holtz’s revenge against Angelus.
The episode concluded with one of the strangest births I’ve ever seen on television.
9. Home S4E22
The Champions have entered the building. Team Angel won the battle against Wolfram and Hart and they ended world peace (“No we didn’t. Not like you’re implying”-Fred). Their prize? Wolfram and Hart (“Just the LA branch”- Lilah). Although suspicious of the law firm’s motive, Angel, Wesley, Gunn, Fred and Lorne took the guided tour of Wolfram and Hart. Angel was ready to decline taking over the firm until he saw a news report: Connor had snapped and taken hostages at a sporting goods store in the mall. Finding his crazed and despondent son had strapped explosives to not only the people in the mall but also himself and Cordelia, Angel realized he had to do whatever was necessary to make things right for his son. And he did…Connor’s memories and every one’s memories of him were erased to give him a fresh start. The father will kill the son prophecy was realized: Angel killed the old Connor to give birth to a new and improved version.
And Connor got the normal family he always wanted. He was finally home.
10. The House Always Wins S4Ep3
Viva Las Vegas. Team Angel goes on a road trip. Save Lorne. And Angel gets his destiny back. This was just a fun episode. Watching it again makes me both happy and sad. It’s a Lorne-centric episode that makes me miss the late Andy Hallet, a talent that was extinguished far too soon.
Video Courtesy of BuffyVerse