I Will Remember You
Written by: David Greenwalt
Directed by: David Grossman
Air Date: Nov. 23, 1999

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If ever Angel’s belief that he has to earn his reward (being human, in this case) were to be tested, this episode would serve as that test. After spending half a year apart from one another, Buffy and Angel get their first big on-screen reunion this time, not counting the events that took place during “Pangs”, because Buffy never saw Angel, there. No, after finding out about it in a very comical way, Buffy makes a trip to see her long-forgotten father but is actually going to L.A. to grill her ex-boyfriend over his sneaky, deceptive ways.

This leads us into a pretty cool topic for discussion, one that goes across both shows. See, prior to this, Buffy’s dealt with adult life in college through metaphors and Angel has had to deal with metaphors related to plain ol’ adult life. Here, we see a joint issue: dealing with an ex. Yes, Angel kills some magical demon, gets his blood mixed with Slimer Ooze, and thus becomes a human being again, complete with a heartbeat and all. And, yes, this leads Buffy and Angel into wild naked sex parties with chocolate ice cream. But the real area in which the metaphor rings true is in the ending. See, Angel decides that he can’t stand back on the sidelines and watch Buffy fight the good fight, but he knows if he tries to help, he’ll either die or get her killed. He can’t have it. So he visits the Oracles, a pair of monotone, golden creeps that speak on behalf of the “Powers that Be” (the force giving Doyle his visions, no less) to have it all reversed, thus sealing the deal on an on-screen Buffy/Angel romance for good. Its noble, its brave, and it sucks. But, here we are, watching a show about Angel. Get used to this.

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The interesting real-life parallel here, though, is that it is supremely tempting to get back together with an ex-gf/bf. You know them, they know you. Its easy. And it usually doesn’t work that well because you always know why you didn’t stick together in the end the first attempt. Usually its a massive fight or some other major emotional issue, but while the reason they can’t be together here is not necessarily the norm (some men are abusive in relationships, but few of the are actually defined as being “evil”), its still as relevant here as it was back at the end of Season 3 of “BtVS”. And that’s good; its real and it sticks it to the heart, just like it should. Solid.

But, while this episode is otherwise cute and spends a great deal of time discussing the moral implications of this and the heavy decision making for that, at the end of the day, it spends too much time wallowing around in Angel+Buffy time to be anything other than what it is: kinda boring. I laughed at David Boreanaz playing a human Angel, experiencing food again for the first time. And I enjoy watching the conversations between Cordelia and Doyle about Buffy and what life means now that their higher purpose has vanished. But these cute moments aside, its all talk-talk-talk and kiss-kiss-kiss and then its over. I don’t mean to belittle the emotional one-two of the finale, and I don’t mean to stampede all over the expert use of the Buffy/Angel theme. But when the heart of your episode is based entirely around watching two good looking people get naked with each other, and you know – I mean, even when it first aired you had to have known – that it isn’t going to last, it isn’t sweet and it isn’t bittersweet. Just plain bitter.

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It is a nice change of pace to come off a Doyle episode dealing with an ex. In that episode, Doyle tells Angel that young people don’t break up with words, but more with soul-crushing tackles and 30-hit combos. And Cordelia even makes mention of it, too, that Buffy and Angel talk and talk and then tear the place up. Its nice to see that there is a fine layer of development that is in a never-ending state for these characters and that the information gleaned from them time and again is utilized with success here and there. I get what the writing staff were going for, but I don’t understand where they went wrong, other than to spend too much time with characters getting “groin-y” with each other.

As stated, though, I don’t want to belittle the ending, which has a bunch of passion to it. Buffy, played entirely through SMG’s eyes, comes across as so immediately vulnerable. Compare her, here, with someone she loves, against stupid guy Parker at the end of “Harsh Light of Day”. Its apples and oranges. And the fact that Angel will remember everything, including Buffy screaming through her tear that she, too, will remember is very heartfelt and pulled off without a hitch. But then you remember the lackluster fights of the episode and the fact that the monster of the week was just some putz that came in through the window and spent the rest of the episode shouting about a coming darkness. And then its all so very ho-hum, isn’t it?

Episode Rating: 82

Additional Notes:
-It is nice to see Buffy and Angel fight side-by-side again. It will be quite some time until we see that, again
-Cordelia doesn’t have a ton of time with Buffy, but when she does, its played well
-One really damn good thing about this episode is how Buffy is in 60% of it but never comes off as a guest character, more like herself, but displaced. It would be very easy to have her be weaker than Angel or to have her be extra bitchy. But the writing is just right
-Oracles showing up is key to setting up the larger Angel-side of the Buffyverse
-Cordelia totally thought the dust she hadn’t cleaned was Angel. Comical
-You know that Doyle is going to get a vision while he rants about no longer having visions, but the waiting is still so damned funny
-Buffy cries about having something “good” starting at home, and that something is Riley. She isn’t 100% aware of how big a doof he is, yet
-Buffy’s dad wins the award for worst TV dad in history, on account of never being on the damn show!

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