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May 19, 2004
Fading Away
by Daniel Erenberg

It hit me hard. I know why.

The episode was called “Not Fade Away”. It was the last episode of any show to take place in Joss Whedon’s universe. It made a lot of noise about not fading away. The title yelled at you. This isn’t the end. But it is. It hit me, I think, especially at the end during The WB’s Thank You to the Angel crew. I started whimpering a bit. I didn’t even do that after Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s finale. But this hurt. Because it’s all over. It’s faded away. It’s done with. I offer you, the viewers of these shows, a continuation of my column. The shows deserve to live on in your memories. They deserve to be discussed and pored over. They don’t deserve to fade away. But they have.

As for the episode being discussed, it was pretty incredible. It was also very much an ensemble episode, something we haven’t seen a lot of lately. The hardcore fans are the only ones that have ever believed that Buffy and Angel were ensemble shows (and it hurts me writing in the past tense about Angel for the first time).

Wesley Wyndham-Price: My favorite Angel character. He went through quite a five-season character arc. And now he’s dead. His death really did hurt. It hurt me. But, just like Anya’s death in Buffy’s finale “Chosen”, it made a lot of sense. When he explained to Illyria that he had no perfect day, that he had nothing to live for, that was the first time in the episode I sobbed a bit. Alexis Denisof is a revelatory actor and if he doesn’t continue to work good and regularly, then Hollywood really is a lost cause.

Illyria/Winifred Burkle: Illyria spent most of the episode doing her usual hardcore posing and having her dark, meaningful conversations with Wesley. But she showed grief. Her final two scenes, first with her “lying” to Wesley in his time of need, and then with her fascination at what she was feeling in the rain, made me feel something interesting. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Amy Acker was truly a find. The way she can seamlessly go back and forth from Illyria to Fred is nothing short of astonishing.

Krevlornswath Of The Deathswok Tribe: Lorne went through the greatest character change of the series (other than Wesley perhaps). He really impressed me as a character in this one. And Andy Hallett showed some surprisingly subtle acting, and it was a joy to hear him sing one last time. Lorne’s final scene, killing Lindsey, leaving for good, “Goodnight, folks”, it hurt.

Lindsey McDonald: Even evil Lindsey had some great moments in this one, particularly his surprise at having been killed by a “flunkie”. When the the WB advertisements stated that someone was going to die, and Lindsey got shot, I thought that was it. I was wrong. Christian Kane gave yet another solid performance.

Charles Gunn: I enjoyed Gunn more in this episode than I have in ages, probably since around “Billy” in season three, and that’s high praise. His perfect day was going back to the old neighborhood, and boy was it great seeing Anne again. In his final fight, we finally got to see the bad-ass we first met in season one’s “War Zone”. J. August Richards—I can’t say enough about this man. No matter how little I’ve felt towards the character at times, he always surprised me.

Spike: James Marsters was again wonderful. His perfect day of drinking and fighting seemed certainly fitting. Finally, the scene in which he read his poem for Cecily, so reviled when he was a human, and it was finally appreciated was another thing that tore me up inside. I would have loved to have seen that in an episode of Buffy.

Angel: Angel signed away Shanshu. Thus proving that he deserved it in the first place. I can’t love this character enough. His duet with Conner fighting Hamilton was glorious. There was nothing that wasn’t glorious. David Boreanaz proves himself one of the best actors to ever grace a television set. Once again.

Some fans are going to bitch about the seeming lack of closure in the finale. Four characters still alive, one wounded very badly, with an army coming after them. We don’t get to see the fight. And I guess it’s because the show didn’t want to fade away. But it has.

Daniel Erenberg lives in a gothic-looking house in a suburb of Long Island shrouded by trees and darkness. His backyard is so overrun with shrubbery that he can't plant flowers in the soil. He's penned articles for numerous magazines (and a couple of websites for free). Currently, he's writing his first novel, entitled People That I've Long Since Forgotten. He's also written two plays, Little Room and Dystopia and a screenplay called Youth Or Consequence. He lives a fairly happy life alone except for the mind-numbing loneliness he feels on occasion. If you’re a beautiful woman that’s fallen in love with Daniel, or you just want to talk Buffy with him, you can contact Daniel at

Latest Comments

Interesting stuff, Koos. Never thought about much of that stuff before. I don't know about Jesse's role in it, he was never mentioned again, but makes sense.
Everyone email Daniel to get the s4 Buffy review online. Maybe angel s1, too.
That was your favorite Tara ep? Like Anya, she only got one episode to herself, so it was her only ep. Loved her, thought they should have used her more, brought her back in dreams for s6.

Posted by: Lissie on August 16, 2004 11:42 AM


I have thought long about it, and saw some eps again.

Buffy is about pain, growing and moving on. But, mostly pain. Xander has staked Jesse. With that he lost a male buddy, the only one he had. A male figure whom could understand his relation to father or simply doubts only a male figure could understand – his doubts for his marriage as prime example. Angel couldn’t fulfil that role out of jealousy and the guilt his still had towards Jesse’s death. Then there was Oz, but the fluke has no doubt brought trouble in their friendship. Short moment of Spike, but then Riley was the replacement. (Not only for Buffy missing Angel; see the Replacement). But he left. Then he reached out to Spike, starting immediately in Triangle. I am convinced that Xander wanted to see Spike as a buddy. He realizes Spike has protected Dawn in Intervention and he really reaches out of his own in Spiral. (Where he offers Spike a light for his cigarette). There is the moment of Ben = Glory, which everybody, but Spike constantly forgets. Spike smashed Xander on his head out of irritation. Spike actually laughs through the pain (did you noticed that?). Then Spike failed to protect Dawn in The Gift and Buffy died. This brought tears out of Spike and he got extremely protective of Dawnie. Even with Spike’s failure, Xander still trust him with Dawn. He has accepted Spike as a friend.

Spike is a way for Xander to accept Jessie’s dead. Spike is what Jessie could have been. A friend who is a vampire.

I think it’s mutual. (Which is also extraordinary for Spike, considering he barely is interested in men or friends).
Then Buffy comes back and their friendship falls apart.

Xander did see that Spike was having sex with Buffy in the episode Gone. He just can’t believe it, because he trusted Buffy. He knew it, but was too loyal to Buffy to say anything about it. (That’s why he got so angry at Buffy when he did find out. Buffy had broken his trust in her. His worldview was shattered; also somewhat to Spike.)
Spike was invited on the wedding. Xander did that. He hoped that Spike would still help him (as the only male friend), with his doubts. This was the moment Xander needed Spike. But, Spike wasn’t interested. Spike at that moment has lost the feeling of friendship and trust too; Xander had agreed with Buffy’s resurrection after all.

So, Xander lost the rest of his trust in Spike and added with what saw in Gone he came to the accusation. But, part of it was also a test towards Buffy. How she would react on it.

Why had Giles left and did went behind Buffy’s back to kill Spike? Ben’s dead. He had murdered an innocent man, of which he still hadn’t restored. Of course it was a necessary move, but Buffy was dead. Giles couldn’t make this harsh decision when she was still alive. Giles became bitter and harsh. A part of him died when he had killed Ben, his gift to Buffy.

Like Xander with Jesse, Giles' murder on Ben is very hard to deal with. I'm only not sure what Spike's role is in Giles' case.

Posted by: Koos on August 5, 2004 11:32 AM

Yeah, that was Family. "I only know that she likes Willow, but she already has one of those." Great line :) And then Giles'reaction.

Posted by: Koos on August 5, 2004 08:20 AM

hmm, was never a fan of Tara. the best Tara-ep ever was the one where she had b-day and they all kept going that the girl is weird and they don't really know what to get her, but Will loves her, so they kept on talking bout it. was sooo funny!!

almost as much as your little bit bout Anya in heaven. LOL!! good one!!

Posted by: chinga747 on August 5, 2004 05:03 AM

I very much agree with you. Don't forget Tara. (And Jesse. Saw Welcome to the Hellmouth again, and he's really funny). They should make a movie with Tara, Anya, Wesley and Cordy. Could be funny. I see Anya waking up in heaven. A nice green field. Fresh air. Peace. A nice sweet bunny sniffling at her face as she wakes up :)

Or talking with Wes about humanity.

Posted by: Koos on August 4, 2004 12:53 PM
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