The final episode of Angel picks up where the previous episode left off: Angel asks Wesley, Lorne, Gunn, and Spike if they want to wipe out the Circle of the Black Thorn. They all agree; Gunn thinks Illyria would be good to have in their corner, and Lorne mentions she's looking after Drogyn. Angel tells them to get over there right away, as Drogyn's already dead. Hamilton walks in and tells Angel that the Circle wants to see him, as they have a few...concerns about Angel's loyalties.
At Angel's meeting with the Circle, Black Thorn leader Archduke Sebassis produces the original copy of the Shanshu prophecy and asks Angel to sign it in blood. By doing so, Angel will spoil any chance of ever becoming human again—and thus prove his loyalty to the Circle. While Angel signs the prophecy, his friends find Illyria bloodied and beaten in Spike's apartment; she fingers Hamilton as her assailant. Back at Wolfram & Hart, Angel convinces old foe Lindsey MacDonald to aid in the planned attack on the Circle, then heads to Spike's apartment. Angel tells his friends to spend the rest of the day as if it were their last, because it probably will be—the attack on the Black Thorn goes down that night.
Angel meets with his son, Connor, for coffee. Connor reveals that he knows that Angel is his father; his old memories are now "mixed in" with his new ones, and he understands and appreciates what Angel did for him. Lindsey spends the day with Eve, who is suspicious of Angel even after being told he always keeps his word. Wesley tends to the wounds of Illyria, who is puzzled at why he is spending his time this way. She knows he wants to be with Fred, and offers to assume her shape, but Wesley confesses that with Fred gone, there is nothing he wants and nowhere else he'd rather be, and he would prefer that Illyria not take her form again. Gunn helps his old friend Anne, who still runs a homeless shelter in his old neighborhood. Spike spends the day at a local bar by getting drunk and...reading poetry.
After the day has passed, Angel meets with his team at Spike's apartment to go over the attack plan.
Angel says the group will divide and conquer: Angel himself will go after Archduke Sebassis, Gunn will kill Senator Brucker, Wesley will attack sorcerer Cyvus Vail, Illyria will take out Izzy the Devil and three other members of the Circle, Spike will wipe out the Fell Brethren (as well as save the human baby in their possession), and Lorne and Lindsey will team up to fight the Sahvrin Clan. Lorne has serious reservations his role in the plan; he agrees to do this "last thing" as a favor, but says he's done with the group after that.
Hamilton, forewarned by Harmony of Angel's intentions, confronts Angel at Wolfram & Hart—but Angel reveals he knew Harmony would give away the plan...and that he'd already poisoned Sebassis by spiking the demon's slave at the meeting where Angel signed the prophecy. Angel had his sights set on a one-on-one showdown with Hamilton all along; Hamilton, being an obliging sort, gives Angel what he wants. (But only after Angel fires Harmony, gives her a recommendation letter, and allows her to leave.)
Gunn, Spike, and Illyria all manage to take out their targets. Lindsey and Lorne double-team and kill the Sahvrin clan, but afterwards, Lorne—acting on Angel's orders—draws a pistol and shoots Lindsey dead. Wesley tries to kill Cyvus Vail; though he manages to hurt the demon, he is mortally wounded in the process. Illyria arrives too late to help Wesley.
Wesley: I know.
Illyria: ...would you like me to lie to you now?
Wesley: Yes...thank you, yes.
Illyria fulfills Wesley's dying request by comforting him in Fred's guise. When she turns to face the still-living Vail, he mistakes her for human and taunts her into punching him—a fatal mistake, as Illyria shatters his skull with one blow.
Back at Wolfram & Hart, Hamilton continues to beat the (un)living hell out of Angel. Connor arrives to help his father, but the duo still have trouble taking Hamilton down. Exasperated by the persistence of both father and son, Hamilton tries to boast about his power:
Angel: Can you pick out the one word there you probably shouldn't have said?
Angel takes a bite out of Hamilton and drinks enough blood to put the two of them on equal footing. After a brief flurry of attacks, Angel punches Hamilton hard enough to break the bastard's neck—but the Senior Partners leave no room for celebration. The entire Wolfram & Hart building shakes as Angel mentions the Senior Partners's impending counterattack. He orders Connor to go back to his family and get somewhere safe, then flees the building, not before meeting with Eve, who remains in the crumbling building after Angel coldly tells her Lindsey is not coming back.
Angel reaches the alley behind the Hyperion as rain begins to fall; Spike is already waiting for him. Gunn arrives next, heavily wounded from his fight with Brucker's vampire bodyguards. Illyria shows up moments after Gunn, left in an uncontrollable grief due to Wesley's death. When she expresses a desire to inflict more violence, the Senior Partners decide to grant her wish by unleashing an army of demons into the alleyway.
Illyria: You're fading. You'll last ten minutes at best.
Gunn: Then let's make it memorable.
Spike: And in terms of a plan?
Angel: We fight.
Spike: Bit more specific?
Angel: Well, personally...
[a dragon roars as it flies overhead]
Angel: I kinda wanna slay the dragon.
The horde of demons charge at the group...
Not Fade Away contains the following tropes:
- After Action Patch Up: Wesley spends his last day on Earth tending to Illyria's injuries. When she asks him why, Wes gives a Despair Speech. "There is no perfect day for me, Illyria. There is no sunset or painting or finely-aged scotch that's going to sum up my life and make tonight any... There is nothing that I want." Illyria realises that what Wesley wants is Fred, and he's spending time with what's left of her.
- Almost Dead Guy: Wesley stays alive just long enough to say goodbye to Illyria who is pretending to be Fredthe original owner of her bodyby Wesley's wish.
- Always Someone Better: Wesley is picked to assassinate Vail due to his knowledge of magic. He creates a glowy fireball in his hand, but Vail suddenly draws the fireball it into his own palm, leaving Wesley virtually defenseless.Vail: You don't know who you're dealing with, do you, boy? I mean, really. I crap better magic than this.
- Ambiguous Ending: Despite the dire odds they're facing, the episode chooses to leave it unrevealed if Angel & Company do indeed meet their fate in the alley. This is rectified with the Angel comics which continue the story.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Wesley tells Illyria!Fred that he missed her, and she kisses him, reassuring him that they will be together again soon. Wesley tells her that he loves her. Weeping, she tells him that she loves him too; he dies in her arms a few seconds later.
- As the Good Book Says...: Lindsey makes light of Angel's chronic speechifying when he paraphrases the Ten Commandments: "This is not about coveting your neighbor's ass, your buddy's job, the last Mallomar in the box."
- When preparing for battle, Angel tells his team, "This may come out a little pretentious, but: one of you will betray me." Spike eagerly raises his hand, and Angel shoots him down, prompting Spike to moan, "Can I deny you three times?" Both are references to the Last Supper and The Crucifixion involving Judas' betrayal of Jesus and of Peter denying three times that he knows Jesus during his arrest.
- With his last words, Marcus Hamilton says "We are Legion, we are forever." This is a reference from Mark 5:9 and Luke 8:30 in the Bible, when the devils (demons) refer to themselves as "Legion."
- "Looks like we're getting kicked out of the garden, Eve." Another obvious joke at Eve's name.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Wolfram & Hart's demon army includes shadowy figures, some of which appear be to around 20 feet tall, and another that might be around 50 feet tall.
- Back for the Finale: Connor.
- Also deliberately averted with Buffy; there were talks of her appearing in the episode, but Joss wanted the focus of the finale to be exclusively on the characters of this series, and so she isn't even referenced in the episode.
- Gunn chooses to spend his last day helping Anne Steele, last seen in "The Thin Dead Line". Anne (played by Julia Lee), is a character who has sporadically appeared in both Buffy and Angel since the former's second season.
- Badass and Baby: As soon as Spike lifts the baby out of his bassinet, he turns to face several members of the Fell Brethren in the doorway, looking annoyed. And also armed. They tell him to put the baby down, and Spike looks down at the infant, who seems to shake his head in the negative. "Right.", Spike announces, throwing off his hood and drawing a sword.
- Badass Boast: Hamilton gets one. It backfires a bit.Hamilton: Let me say this as clearly as I can. You cannot beat me. I am a part of them. The Wolf, Ram, and Hart. Their strength flows through my veins. My blood is filled with their ancient power.Angel: [pops fangs] Can you pick out the one word there you probably shouldn't have said?
- Badass Longcoat: Lorne wears a brown duster when he leaves to join up with Lindsey. The Brown Coat of Burgeoning Moral Qualms?
- Lorne's wearing a browncoat! Self-reference?
- Bait-and-Switch: Spike demands an explanation for Angel saying he's killed Drogyn. Angel punches Spike in the face...because Hamilton is entering the room and they need to play out the conflict he saw from outside the glamor.
- Angel talks about how dangerous it will be for everyone on their team. Close Up On Head of Harmony sprawled with Blood from the Mouth. Then a Bedmate Reveal shows Marcus is there too, sharing a cup of blood with her.
- Spike's in a bar with some tough-looking customers, doing shots. The bartender comments on the ugly crowd, and Spike boasts that he'd welcome a fight. "Couple more shots of courage, and I may make my presence felt." The bartender says it's his funeral, and Spike quips, "Well, I never had a proper one." Looks like the Blood Knight is planning to spend his last night boozing and fighting. Subverted in his next scene, where it's revealed Spike was getting up the nerve to recite his poetry before an audience.
- Batman Gambit: Angel entrusts a portion of his plan to Harmony because he knew she would betray him to the Senior Partners. He actually lied about his part in the plan, resulting in Hamilton being unable to prevent any of the planned assassinations.Angel: I knew you'd turn on me. I just didn't know when.Harmony: What do you mean you knew?Angel: Loyalty...really isn't high on your list.
- Battle Discretion Shot: Izzy and his pals walk out from their restaurant to a car. Close-up of the ignition key turning; the driver turns on the headlights and sees Illyria standing directly in front of the car. In the next cut, we see Illyria marching down the street past Izzy's car, which is now a smoldering wreck.
- Battle in the Rain: The final shot of the series, as Angel, Spike, Gunn and Illyria charge against Wolfram & Hart's demon army.
- Bedmate Reveal: Angel warns the bad guys might retaliate against their people. Cut to Harmony sharing a friendly cup of blood with Hamilton and spilling Angel's secrets.
- Benevolent Boss: Angel tells Harmony to get out, and that she's fired. Harmony gets over her look of shock and asks, "Do you think I could get a recommendation?" Angel rolls his eyes and says it's already in her desk.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: Angel rushes through the collapsing offices and finds Eve. Time to go. She pulls on his arm and demands to know what happened to Lindsey. Angel coldly replies that he won't be coming for her. He leaves her standing in the room — having lost her job, her immortality, and her love — as the building collapses in on itself.
- Eve's death is confirmed in the After the Fall comic, after her former bosses (the Senior Partners) hash over the possibility of reviving her as a zombie (or possibly Lindsey, in a pinch).
- Big Damn Heroes:
- Big "WHAT?!": Angel tells his group that they'd better go check on Illyria, because Drogyn's very dead.Spike: [supiciously] And how would you know that, Kreskin?Angel: Because I killed him.Spike: WHAT?
- Blatant Lies: Illyria during Wesley's death scene, and even lampshaded beforehand.Illyria: Would you like me to lie to you now?
- Blindfolded Vision: Sebassis' slave during the Circle meeting, which is why he blunders into Cyvus' blood machine.
- Blood from the Mouth: Subverted. Angel warns the others that the villains might retaliate against their people. Cut to Harmony sprawled out with blood coming from her mouth. Harmony is a vampire however, so she's just sharing a cup of blood with a lover...who happens to be Marcus Hamilton.
- Blood Oath: Angel is reaching for the Shanshu Prophecy when Izzy jabs a fountain pen in his hand. "It's got to be in blood."
- Blood Magic: Angel is temporarily made stronger after he drinks Hamilton's blood.
- Bodyguard Betrayal: At the Sahrvin bar, Lindsey washes the blood from his hands and comments on how much he enjoys being a good guy , whereas Lorne ominously says the work is getting too unsavory. Lindsey thinks "it's just getting interesting", which Lorne doesn't find reassuring. Lindsey jokingly offers to sing for him. Lorne says, "I've heard you sing," and suddenly shoots Lindsey twice.
- Bolivian Army Ending: CLANG.
- Though there were enough cryptic hints dropped to make it ambiguous. It's left unclear, for example, whether or not consuming Hamilton's blood made Angel just as invincible.
- After the Fall confirms that everyone survived this battle except for Gunn, who succumbed to his wounds and was turned into a vampire. He got better but almost managed to destroy all reality during his 'evil' period. He felt really bad about it.
- Book Ends:
- Spike recites, "My heart expands / 'Tis grown a bulge in it" and then hesitates for a second before the awful conclusion of "Effulgent." He waits again, presumably for the riotous laughter. But there isn't any, and the crowd goes wild. Genius recognized at long last!
- Lindsey's boredom over Angel's Patrick Stewart Speech is similar to Angel's boredom over Lindsey's Freudian Excuse speech in the first season.
- Illyria experiences grief after Wesley's death — just about the first thing she did on fully taking over Fred's body was express distaste at the grief Wesley was projecting. Likewise Wesley dies in the arms of 'Fred', just as Fred died in Wesley's arms.
- Harmony spends her first and last appearances in the series betraying Angel's team to help out the main villain of the episode before running off at the end. Angel predicts her Face-Heel Turns both times.
- Brass Balls: Angel. As observed by Lindsey, of all people."Everybody goes on about your soul, vampire with a soul. Nobody ever mentions the fact that you're really a vampire with big brass testes!"
- Brick Joke: Spike's Stylistic Suck poem from BTVS "Fool For Love" is heard in its entirety and gets a standing ovation!
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: The comic series continuation has all of Los Angeles being dragged into Hell as punishment.
- The Bus Came Back: Chantelle/Lucy/Anne returns to give Gunn the moral boost he needs to charge into an unwinnable war against evil.
- Call-Back: As hinted at the end of "Origin", Connor got his old identity back when Wesley smashed an artifact belonging to Cyvus Vail — the sorcerer who doctored all of Connor's fake memories. His real memories are now "mixed in" with the fake ones. Angel figures that Connor has questions, but Connor shakes his head and says he understands what Angel did, but he doesn't want to complicate his normal life. Angel understands and agrees not to push the issue.
- Lorne once heard Lindsey singing and it was implied that hadn't been the first time.
- During their last meeting, Lorne prophesied Eve had a terrible future ahead of her.
- This episode is the coda to Epiphany. "If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do.". You can't win the fight, because all that matters is the fight. Doing for the sake of doing, not for an non-existant noun.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Archduke Sebassis's mini-slave. (Or "Pee pee" guy, if you prefer)
- Chekhov's Skill: Angel's bloodlust turns out to be Hamilton's Achilles' Heel.
- Cliffhanger: Joss Whedon says of this episode:The word 'cliffhanger' is really a misnomer here. This was not the final grace note after a symphony, the way the Buffy finale was. We are definitely still in the thick of it [at the end]. But the point of the show is that you're never done; no matter who goes down, the fight goes on. Did I end it this way so that it could lead into an exciting sixth season? Yes, but this is still a final statement, if that's what it needs to be."
- Comfort the Dying: Illyria does this to Wesley in his final moments, showing both that she's finally come to feel genuine affection for him, and now understands enough about humanity to be kind.Illyria: ...Would you like me to lie to you now?Wesley: Yes. Thank you, yes.Illyria: *Fred's hand strokes his cheek*Wesley: Hello there...Illyria: *as Fred* Wesley. *sniffle* My Wesley.
- Comically Missing the Point: Angel says he knew Harmony would betray him as loyalty is not high on her list. Harmony blames Angel for lacking confidence in her and takes offense at being called disloyal.Angel: You betrayed me. You are betraying me now EVEN AS WE'RE TALKING.
- Conscience Makes You Go Back: Ignoring Angel's instructions to regroup at the alley, Illyria bursts into Vail's mansion and catches Wesley just as he collapses from his gut wound.Illyria: I killed all mine. And I was— [draws a blank]Wesley: ...Concerned?
- Continuity Nod: Spike emphatically tells Angel that he's not wearing any amulets, bracelets, broaches, beads, pendants, pins or rings. This is because last time he died while wearing a piece of jewelry (in the Buffy series finale), he was brought back as a ghost.
- Spike takes Angel's advice to "live the day as if it were his last" quite literally, as the poem he reads is a completed form of the poem that was originally read on his last day before being sired by Drusilla. A snippet of the poem was heard in Buffy S5's "Fool for Love". He dedicates his reading to Cecily, the object of his affection at the time.
- Spike then announces his next poem is "The Wanton Folly of Me Mum", presumably about the events shown in BtVS "Lies My Parents Told Me".
- Connor summarizes the real memories as being like a bad dream, and elaborates, "A very strange, violent... at times inappropriately erotic dream." This refers to his relationship with the Jasmine-possessed Cordelia.
- At Brucker's campaign headquarters, Brucker is on the phone with a reporter. She says, "If Mr. Conley's recent confession is true, then he's a very sick man." This is in reference to "Power Play", in which Brucker had Wolfram & Hart brainwash her opponent and turn him into a pedophile.
- Lindsey, standing in a roomful of corpses, commends Lorne on his assistance in a fight. "Couldn't have done it without that high note in Macarthur Park! They'll never have that recipe again." (Lorne hummed the song to Faith in "Salvage").
- Judging by their final exchange, we can surmise that Lorne read Lindsey's future when he sang for him in "Dead End" and knows that, for all his protestations, he will never truly change and will remain just as corruptible as always.
- Before the end battle, Gunn says "Okay, you take the thirty thousand on the left..." This may be a reference to "Over the Rainbow" in which Gunn, when confronted by a gang of Pyleans, sarcastically quips, "I'll take the twenty on the left, you take the fifty on the right."
- Illyria tells Gunn she finds him attractive — if she's indeed influenced by Fred's memories, they would include their affair in Seasons 3 and 4.
- Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Angel is lying broken on the floor as Hamilton strolls over and finds a handy makeshift stake amongst the debris. He bends down to stake Angel, and is suddenly punched by Connor, causing Hamilton to go sailing through the windows lining Angel's office.Angel: What the hell are you doing here?Connor C'mon. You drop by for a cup of coffee and the world's not ending? Please.
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Wesley tends to Illyria's wounds while she blusters that she's gonna totally kick the Black Thorns' asses for this insult.Illyria: I will shred my adversaries! Pull their eyes out just enough to turn them towards their mewling, mutilated faces!Wesley: You're a very inspirational person. Have I mentioned that?
- Later, Angel instructs Illyria to take out Izzerial and the nameless members of the Black Thorn . She affirms, "I will make trophies of their spines."
- Curb-Stomp Battle: One of Angel's dumber decisions ever was to try and take Hamilton on alone, very shortly after he demonstrated his ability to beat down Illyria. He survived only through Connor intervening and Hamilton falling prey to Explaining Your Power to the Enemy.
- Deconstructed Trope: Lindsey has a big showdown planned with Angel, only to be outraged when he's shot and killed by Lorne. Turns out that tropes like Arch-Enemy and The Only One Allowed to Defeat You make great fiction but life seldom turns out that way. "Goodnight, folks."
- Despair Speech: Wesley gives one to Illyria, when she asks him why he's using his Last Day to Live treating her wounds rather than going out to have "one last perfect day."Wesley: Why don't I go off and have one last perfect day? Smell the flowers, or sky-dive, or have a go with Mistress Spanks-A-Lot... or whatever the hell one is supposed to do in this situation. [...] There is no perfect day for me, Illyria. There is no sunset or painting or finely-aged scotch that's going to sum up my life and make tonight any... There is nothing that I want.
Illyria: You want to be with Fred.
Wesley: Yes. Yes, that's where I'd be if I could.
- Destination Defenestration: This episode contains more broken windows per capita than the rest of Angel combined.
- Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: It's difficult to avoid the conclusion that Illyria is expressing her own feelings when she takes Fred's form and tells Wesley she loves him.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Wesley dies in the arms of Illyria!Fred, just as Fred died in his arms several episodes earlier.
- Dies Wide Open: Vail runs Wesley through with a knife and Illyria is left to tearfully cradle his body.
- Dirty Business: Why Lorne leaves.
- Divide and Conquer: Gunn asks if the plan is to take out The Circle in one swoop. Angel says The Circle as one body is the most powerful group on earth, but separated they're just demons.
- Do Not Go Gentle: "Let's go to work."
Illyria: You're fading. You'll last ten minutes at best.
- Special mention should go to Gunn, who already appears to be mortally injured but makes it clear he'll still go down fighting.
Gunn: Then let's make it memorable.
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Cyvus Vail, after killing Wesley, makes the slight error of taunting Illyria into punching him as hard as she can. She doesn't disappoint.
- Dramatic Irony: When Lindsey says to Eve that he's glad she's the one thing in his life Angel didn't "get his mitts on", it becomes apparent that Eve omitted to tell Lindsey about their impromptu sex at the Halloween Party.
Spike: So what do you think this means about that Shanshu bugaboo? We make it through this, does one of us get to be a real boy?Angel: Who are you kidding? We're not gonna make it through.Spike: [sighs] Well, long as it's not you.
- When Spike reminds him of their equal stake in the prophecy, Angel tellingly dodges the subject.
- Lorne sings, "If I Ruled the World", its feel-good lyrics making an ironic composition to the Crapsack World the Circle of the Black Thorn have created through their secret rule.
- Dressing as the Enemy/In the Hood: The Fell Brethren march down a hallway in great big hooded robes. We hear a baby coo, and see that Spike is in disguise in one of the robes.
- Dying Declaration of Love: Illyria shapeshifts into Fred's form to comfort a dying Wesley, and they confess their love and swear to be Together in Death. However the anger and grief Illyria experiences afterwards leaves the clear implication that Illyria was also expressing her own feelings.
- Dynamic Entry: The Sahrvin clan are hanging out in their lair when they hear a loud noise outside the door, which is suddenly pierced by a bloodstained sword. Lindsey then kicks down the door with the sword-impaled guard still attached to it.
- Enemy Mine: Angel says that if they do succeed in crippling Wolfram & Hart, someone will have to fill the power vacuum. And he'd rather have Lindsey in that spot than anyone else. Subverted in the third act, when it's revealed that Lindsey was on Angel's hit list all along.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: At the Circle's insistence, Angel signs away his claim to the destiny foretold in the Shanshu Prophecy. Sebassis never suspected that Angel would kill them merely to do good and not for a reward.
Hamilton: Yeah, but we won't care.
- Hamilton asks why Angel keeps fighting, noting that Angel signed his Shanshu away. Angel gasps, "People who don't care about anything... will never understand the people who do." Hamilton's rejoinder is to clobber Angel across the room.
- Subverted with Lindsey, who thinks he's sized up the situation well, and assumes he and Angel would eventually fight it out in an epic battle. Instead, Lorne simply shoots Lindsey and walks off.
- Executive Suite Fight: Between Angel and Hamilton
- Explaining Your Power to the Enemy: Hamilton makes the critical mistake of bragging to Angel, a vampire, about how his blood is filled with the power of the Senior Partners. Angel even tells him that was a stupid move before biting Hamilton and drinking from him to power up.
- External Combustion: Referenced when Izzy and his minions get into their car and there's a closeup of a hand turning the ignition key — but instead of an explosion we get Illyria revealed in the headlights; after a cutaway the vehicle looks like it's been carbombed.
- Fake Defector: Wesley is selected to kill Cyvus Vail for three reasons: he knows the layout of Vail's place ("Origin"), he's the team's magic expert, and Vail already thought that he'd usurp Angel at some point.Wesley: That's not very flattering.
- Feed the Mole: Harmony expects her boss to be surprised at her betrayal. Angel informs Harmony that he never trusted her and used her as a pawn to lure Hamilton.Angel: I figured you were the one I needed to be alone with.Hamilton: Why, so I could kill you?Angel: Well... I thought the fight would be going a little better.Hamilton: Oh. [nods understandingly]
- The Fog of Ages: Angel tells Harmony he can no longer remember what being human was like.
- For Doom the Bell Tolls: A bell clangs moments after Hamilton reveals the source of his power to Angel.
- Foreshadowing: During the war planning session, Angel doles out jobs to his teammates and turns to Lorne, who sighs, "I'm not a fighter, Angel-wings. Never had the stomach for it. Looks like I'm your weak link." Angel smiles reassuringly and says Lorne is simply providing "backup" for Lindsey.
"They're sending me in with karaoke-boy; how tough can they be?"
- Wesley marvels at Angel for bringing Lindsey onboard. Eve is equally skeptical, though Lindsey brushes off her concerns.
- The dragon Angel is anxious to slay at the end of this episode turns out to be an ally in "After the Fall". Angel says he managed to tame the dragon not long into their fight.
- Illyria offers to take Fred's form, but Wesley refuses because he knows Fred is gone and to accept anything else would be a lie. "And since I don't actually intend to die tonight, I won't accept a lie." Of course that's exactly what Wes does, when he realises he's dying.
- Grand Finale: Angel and his friends make a final stand against Wolfram & Hart and their agents of corruption. This marks the end of the televised part of the Buffyverse, three years later the storylines resumed with the Buffy & Angel comic series.
- Half-Truth: When Angel passes her desk, Harmony smartly reports that she's "been keeping [Hamilton] busy, just like you said."
- Once Angel exposes her act, she squeals, "It's not an act! I'm really this nervous!"
- HeelFace Door-Slam: Lindsey's trip through the HeelFace Revolving Door finally ends when Lorne shoots him in the chest. Lindsey in fact saw it coming, and in his last breaths, mutters about how insulting it is that he was killed by a "flunky" rather than Angel himself.Lorne: You're not part of the solution, Lindsey. You never will be.
- Held Gaze: Wesley turns for a last look and a nod at Angel before he leaves on what will be his final mission.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Angel shows up the meeting in the alley behind the Hyperion wielding a sword, and is the only member of his team to have one.
- Heroic Second Wind:Marcus Hamilton: Let me say this as clearly as I can. You cannot beat me. I am a part of them. The Wolf, Ram, and Hart. Their strength flows through my veins. My blood is filled with their ancient power.Angel: Can you pick out the one word there you probably shouldn't have said?
- The word, of course, being blood a really bad thing to say to a vampire, as Angel proves by promptly getting his Game Face on and vamping out on him.
- Hollywood Silencer: Invoked when Lorne double-taps Lindsey in the chest. THWIP THWIP.
- Hope Spot: Cyvus Vail has Wesley beaten with magic, so Wes resorts to a knife. Vail then blocks him, grabs a bigger knife, and proceeds to fatally wound Wes. There's a great subversion when Vail tries it again. Unfortunately for him, Illyria is quite able to kill him with the one free punch he offers her.
- I Was Just Joking, Round #2:Connor: But it's the wolf part that jones' you. There's some full-moon love, am I right? Fur flying.Angel: ...Huh?Connor: So vampires really don't understand the concept of jokes....
- I'm Standing Right Here: Gunn is assigned to take out Senator Brucker at her campaign headquarters in West L.A. Angel mentions that Brucker "tends to surround herself with vampires", making Gunn uniquely suited for the job.
- Indy Ploy: At the very end, Angel, faced with an approaching horde of monsters and asked by Spike what he has "in terms of a plan?" sums up the team's strategy for the past five seasons:Angel: We fight.Spike: Bit more specific?Angel: Well, personally, I kinda want to slay the dragon. Let's go to work.
- Innocence Lost: Lorne, a peaceful Nice Guy and Actual Pacifist, is instructed by Angel to to assassinate Lindsey. Lorne goes through with it, but bows out of Angel Investigations after doing so; his last scene in the episode is of him dropping the gun he used to kill Lindsey and walking off into the night, disgusted and broken.Lorne: Goodnight, folks.
- Insane Troll Logic: When Angel confronts Harmony about her betrayal, she insists it's because he has no confidence in her. When he points out it's because she is a soulless vampire, she still insists she would have a soul if he had more confidence in her.
- Karma Houdini: Once Hamilton finally appears in the lobby, Harmony doesn't wait around to see who the victor is; she retrieves her recommendation letter, wishes them luck, and skips away happily.Harmony: Good luck! Umm... may the best man win?
- Killed Offscreen: Izzerial, the unnamed members of the Circle, and possibly Eve.
- Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Illyria asumes Fred's form to give comfort to the dying Wesley.
- Last Day to Live: On the eve of the big fight, Angel asks his teammates to take the day off and live as if its their last day.
- Lorne sings "If I Ruled the World" onstage at a karaoke bar.
- Angel visits his son, Connor, for coffee.
- Spike is in a seedy bar somewhere, drinking shot after shot. It turns out to be courage-building for his poetry reading in front of a crowd.
- Gunn visits his old neighborhood and greets Anne (last seen in "The Thin Dead Line"), who is busy loading boxes into a truck. Her shelter is moving to a new location. Gunn asks after Rondell and his old crew, and Anne says that they were supposed to help her with the move, but that something may have came up. They discuss the vampire situation, and Anne says that the Rondell and co. keep them pretty safe. Gunn suddenly grows dark and asks what she would do if he told her none of it helps; that everything is controlled by powerful forces who will never allow things to get better. Anne tells him she would get the truck packed. Gunn accepts that, and together they start moving a couch.
- Wesley tends to Illyria's wounds, citing that with Fred dead he has nothing else to live for.
- Last Request: As he lies dying, Illyria grants Wesley his wish to see Fred one more time, taking her form and kissing him before telling him she loves him.
- Last Villain Stand: Unbeknown to Hamilton, he's the last to be checked off on Angel's list. He's also the most difficult one to put down.
- Last Words: Lindsey can't believe that a karaoke demon is the one who takes him out."YOU kill me? A flunky?! I'm not just... Angel kills me! You don't— Angel..."
- Let Them Die Happy: Illyria coldly observes that Wesley will be dead in a few moments. Then, unexpectedly, Illyria morphs into Fred and strokes his face, and Wes tells her he misses her. She kisses him, telling him the pain will be gone soon and then they will be together forever. note "Would you like me to lie to you now?"
- Let's Split Up, Gang!: The team split up to attack their targets individually. Justified in that Angel says together, the Circle could vaporize them, so the only way to attack them is separately. It works rather well. Except that Wesley dies and Gunn ends up heavily wounded.
- Lingerie Scene: Harmony is wearing nothing but blue bra and matching panties when she rats out Angel to Marcus.
- Load-Bearing Boss: The Wolfram & Hart building starts to rumble and shake once Hamilton bites the dust.
- Long Speech Tea Time: Angel sighs, "You haven't heard a word I've said. For, like, years back." Lindsey admits that when Angel gets "speechy," he dozes off a little, but he got the main idea.
- Meaningful Echo:
- Lorne coldly tells Lindsey he's "not part of the solution" after shooting him. This echoes what Angel told Agent Hauser in "Conviction," the season premiere — before blowing Hauser's head off with a shotgun.
- Despite what Wesley claims, Illyria knows he wants to be with Fred, and adds that she could assume Fred's form. Wesley recalls that the first lesson he learned as a Watcher was to "separate truth from illusion", as it's the hardest thing to do in a world of magic. He concludes, "The truth... is that Fred is gone. To believe anything else would be a lie." Not long afterward, Illyria holds the dying Wesley's head and asks if he'd like her to lie to him now. He says yes.
- Mind over Matter: At Château de Cyvus, Wesley is suspended in the air with magic as Cyvus Vail scoffs at his attempt to kill him with sorcery. Wesley shrugs that he'll have to do it "the old fashioned way" and produces a pocketknife, but Vail blocks it and calls forth a kukri from the wall, which he then plunges into Wesley's stomach and twists around.
- Mirrored Confrontation Shot: Angel vs. Hamilton. Right before the former breaks his fist on Hamilton's rock-hard abs.
- The Mole: Not long after she pleaded with Angel to be allowed in on his secret plan, Harmony is seen cuddled against Hamilton in bed, clad in her underwear with a glass of blood in one hand. She has betrayed her boss. Again. "So, about Angel's secret plan..."
- Mortal Wound Reveal: Gunn comes running up with an axe, boasting about how he took out all those vampires. Spike comments, "You're supposed to wear the red stuff on the inside, Charlie boy."
- Neck Snap: Hamilton's demise, through being punched in the face.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: After Angel and his team assassinate all members of the Circle of Black Thorns, the evil forces of the world decide to pull out all the stops and unleash every available evil creature on LA. Though to be fair, they expected this.
- What's worse is the demonic army is just the beginning. Wolfram and Hart's real reaction to Angel taking out the Circle is to send the whole of L.A. - every man, woman and child - to Hell.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: As quoted above, the seemingly unbeatable Hamilton reveals that his blood is filled with mystic power.. to a vampire.
- The Nicknamer: Illyria is referred to as "Blue Thunder" — though by Gunn rather than Spike. Lorne calls his boss "Angel Wings".
- Non-Action Big Bad: Archduke Sebassis is the most powerful, influential, and feared member of the Circle. Angel poisons him without even needing to face him directly.
- Nothing Up My Sleeve: Gunn uses Angel's dual wrist-stake rig for the last time.
- Obfuscating Disability: Cyvus Vail appeared reliant on a complex intravenous drip, physically vulnerable and weak. However when under genuine attack his IV was broken and he ignored it, he shrugged off being hurled twice into a wall, and gutted his opponent with a kukri.
- Obligatory Joke: Connor ribbing Angel over his werewolf girlfriend. "There's some full moon love, amirite? Fur flying?" Angel blinks. Connor resigns himself to the fact that vampires don't appreciate jokes.
- Offscreen Inertia: Joss Whedon said this was explicitly his intent with the ending, and he was a little confused when people generally thought of it as a Downer Ending in which the characters fail at their "impossible" task and all die.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Illyria is still clearly weeping as she stands up from Wesley's body, and later admits to the others that she's unable to get her grief under control.
- Once More, with Clarity!: At the Black Thorn meeting, Cyvus Vail goes into a wheezing fit when Sebassis' slave gets caught in his IV line. Angel leans over and impatiently shoves him away. Later, when Hamilton wonders aloud how Angel planned to kill Sebassis, Angel smirks back. He already did. A flashback reveals that he injected Sebassis' slave with a concealed, venom-tipped needle in his ring.Angel: I spiked his drink.
- One Last Job: As they start to move out, Lorne says, "I'll do this last thing" as a favor to Angel, but then "I'm out." He says he won't be in the alley afterwards, and that they shouldn't try to find him.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Inverted with Lindsey's shooting. Lindsey is genuinely shocked; in his mind, it should be Angel who kills him, not a flunky.
- Opium Den: Lorne and Lindsey ambush the Sahrvin clan inside what looks to be an opium bar.
- Opt Out: When Lorne learns what his part is to be, he tells Angel not to look for him again. In his final scene, after shooting Lindsey with a silenced pistol, a disgusted Lorne drops the gun and simply says, "Goodnight, folks" as he leaves for good.
- Our Orcs Are Different: The demonic army is meant to look like Tolkien Orcs. Indeed, there is an interview where Joss Whedon calls them "Orcs".
- Perfect Poison: After Angel reveals his gambit to Hamilton, we cut to Sebassis reclining in his bath while drinking his slave's blue blood. He realizes it tastes strange, then glances over to see his slave lying dead on the floor, blood dribbling from his mouth. Sebassis' glass shatters on the floor as he perishes in his tub.
- Pietà Plagiarism: Grieving Illyria holds Wesley partly across her lap as he dies.
- Plot Tailored to the Party: Angel has exactly as many tasks as he has helpers, all of which are suited to their skills and desires.
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Hamilton makes the mistake of mentioning that the power he has is in his blood.Angel: Can you pick out the one word you probably shouldn't have said? *vamps out*
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: After killing Brucker, Gunn turns sees that there are still a half-dozen angry vamps glaring at him. Gunn grumps, "And you wonder why folks don't vote!"
- Present Company ExcludedGunn I was hoping it'd be vamps. Haven't dusted nearly enough this year. [turns to Spike] No offense.Spike: S'alright.
- Prophecy Twist: Ironically, by exempting himself from the Shanshu Prophecy, Angel has ensured that Spike is next in line to fulfill it and become human. Then again, in the After the Fall comics its revealed the Wolfram & Hart never managed to "file" Angel's signature.
- Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: After a beat of the pair staring each other down, Angel punches Hamilton in the stomach. Hamilton barely flinches under the impact. Angel shakes his fist in pain and sighs, "Did that hurt at all?" Hamilton replies, "Lil' bit," and then lifts Angel off the ground by his neck."But it's all part of the job."
- Punctuated Pounding: Near the end, Hamilton asks if Angel really thinks that he can defeat the Senior Partners, saying "We are Legion. We are forever." Unimpressed, Angel punches Hamilton so hard his neck snaps."I guess [PUNCH!] "forever" [PUNCH!] just got a hell of a lot shorter." [CRACK!]
- The Purge: The deaths of the Black Thorn members has definite aspects of The Godfather finale, right down to the mafia-style murders of Izzy and Lindsey.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Hamilton hurls Angel across the lobby, over the balcony and through the wall, leaving his crumpled body on the floor. As he ascends the stairs, Hamilton tells Angel that the Senior Partners probably should not have bothered "wasting resources" on him."You're gutter trash. That's where you should have stayed — drinking and whoring your way through an unremarkable life. But fate stepped in and made you a vampire. With a soul, no less. A "champion", a hero to the people. And yet, you still manage to fail everyone around you. Doyle. Cordelia. Fred. They're all gone. And it's time you followed."
- Sanity Slippage: Vail believes Wesley is going there. Brucker is dissapointed Gunn is no longer on the path.
- Saying Too Much: While boasting about how thoroughly he outclasses Angel, Hamilton said one word he shouldn't have about the source of his power.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: When Lorne finds out his role in the final battle is to kill Lindsey after he kills the Sahrvin Clan, he agrees to do it for Angel and their friendship, but states afterwards that he won't be joining the rest of the team in the alley, and they'll most likely never see him again.Lorne: I'll do this last thing for you, for us... but then I'm out, and you won't find me in the alley afterward. Hell, you won't find me at all. Do me a favor. Don't try.
- Secret Circle of Secrets:Sebassis: The Circle does not abide secrets.
Angel: Which is interesting for a "secret society".
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: When Hamilton gains the upper hand over Angel, he begins to boast about how he is part of the Senior Partners, ending with: "My blood is filled with their ancient power!" Angel picks himself up, and smiles almost pitying at him before saying "Can you pick out the one word there you probably shouldn't have said?" and proceeding to drink from him, gaining a massive power boost. And then, with his Game Face still on, he gets another perfect one-liner after draining him. "Wow, you really are full of it." (licks his finger). There is one final one at the end of their fight, when Hamilton boasts: "We are legion. We are forever." Angel breaks Hamilton's grip, and proceeds to pound him saying "Then I guess forever, just got a hell of a lot shorter" ending it with one final punch that break's Hamilton's neck.
- Shut Up, Kirk!:Angel: People who don't care about anything will never understand the people who do.Hamilton: Yeah, but we won't care.
- Smash Cut: And so ends the series
- So Proud of You: Clutching his wound, Wesley looks at Illyria rather proudly and says, "It was good...That you came." He's got a "I raised my girl up right" glow in this scene.
- Sole Survivor: With the deaths of Doyle, Cordelia, and now Wesley, Angel is the last (un)living member of the first iteration of Angel Investigations, which operated in the offices that got blown up by Vocah in "To Shanshu in L.A."
- The Starscream: Cyvus Vail is certain Wesley will become this to Angel, who decides to exploit it to get Wesley inside Vail's mansion.
- Stealth Insult: After drinking Hamilton's blood, Angel tells him he's full of it.
- A Storm Is Coming: A brief flash of rolling black clouds is shown during a scene cut, foreshadowing the upcoming Battle in the Rain.
- Suicide Mission: Team Angel sets to eliminate the Circle of the Black Thorn knowing that, even if they survive its members, the Senior Partners' punishment will likely result in their death
- Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious: Hamilton, being the offspring of the Senior Partners, carries their essence in his own veins.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Angel soars through the air, crashes through a skylight, kersplats onto the lobby and moans, "Hamilton." Harmony, who is seated nearby, quickly stammers, "He's not my boyfriend! I mean, I certainly didn't betray you!"
- Tempting Fate: "Take your best shot little girl".
- Tender Tears: Fred!Illyria weeps over Wesley's death. We can't tell if Illyria is weeping in her natural form, because the sky is weeping buckets on her head.
- Thanking the Viewer: After the episode ended, the WB showed a montage of scenes from the show over the past 5 years as a 'Thank You' to the production team and its viewers.
- That Came Out Wrong:
Lindsey [recoils] I think I'd be more comfortable if you did.
- Lindsey compliments Angel's cojones and says that, win or lose, it'll be a hell of a fight, so he wants to be part of it. Lindsey concludes, "If you want me, I'm on your team."
Lindsey: What are you thinking about?Eve: Angel.Lindsey: You simply couldn't have said a worse thing than that.
- When Lindsey and Eve are making out:
- That Makes Me Feel Angry: Illyria barely understands having human emotions, let alone how to express them. Best shown after informing everyone else of Wesley's death:Illyria: I'm feeling grief for him, I can't seem to control it.
- This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: As Angel confirms that Hamilton's dead, the building starts shaking. Connor asks what happens next. Angel tells Connor to go home: "This is my fight." Connor starts to accuse Angel of macho bullshit, but is interrupted by falling debris crashing around them.Connor: But they'll destroy you.Angel: As long as you're OK, they can't.
- This Is the Part Where...: Lindsey invokes this trope and adds, "Here's the twist: I'm in".
- Tonight, Someone Dies: The trailers warned that one of Angel's team would die before the end. It turns out to be Wesley. And while Gunn survives his fight with Senator Brucker and her vampire lackeys, he ends up heavily wounded.
- Trash the Set: Hamilton hauls Angel to his feet, mentions how much effort the Senior Partners have put into Angel, and tosses him up into a wall. But it's the wall with the "Wolfram & Hart" logo on it, so it's a wall-smash with symbolism! Presumably, the entire building gets leveled once the Senior Partners sense that Hamilton's been killed.
- Confirmed in Angel: After the Fall. Hamilton's death rescinds Angel's contract with the Senior Partners and prompts them to unleash their punishment, which includes an earthquake that destroys the W&H Los Angeles branch, followed by a horde of demons sent after Angel and his crew.
- The Triple: After signing away the Shanshu Prophecy, Angel reminisces with Harmony about how it felt to be human. "Not so great!," Harmony says supportively. "Zits, dandruff, mortality..."
- Try Not to Die:Illyria: Try not to die. You are not unpleasant to my eyes.Gunn: Uh, thanks. You... try not to die too.
- Use Your Head: Hamilton head-butts Connor and grunts, "What is it with you people?" before slamming Connor into an elevator door.
- We Need a Distraction: Harmony tells Angel that she knows something's going on, and whines, "Everybody's in on it except me." She says that she wants to help, and Angel ponders that. He tells her that he's going to 'visit' Sebassis later, and he'd prefer it if Hamilton was out of the loop.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The last we see of Eve is her in the lobby of the rapidly collapsing Wolfram & Hart. Considering all the debris falling around her, it's not to difficult to assume she was killed by a piece of debris. Angel: After the Fall confirms Eve perished and was her body was seized by the Senior Partners.
- What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Illyria herself doesn't quite seem to understand why she came to check on Wesley.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Spike mutters about how little that will help if Hamilton returns, which cues Angel to enter and react with surprise, "Hamilton did this?" Angel realizes it was Hamilton who brought Drogyn before the Circle, prompting Wesley to connect the dots and exposit that Angel killed Drogyn to prove he had turned.
- You Are Too Late:
- Wesley drops to the floor and collapses just as Illyria bursts in. Unfortunately, it's a minute too late, as Illyria remarks with blank surprise when she inspects Wes' wound and finds it is mortal.
- Invoked by Angel. Hamilton smugly asks him during their fight if he really thought he would be able to kill Sebassis. Angel reveals that the Archduke is already dead, as he had poisoned Sebassis' slave during their previous meeting.
- You Fight Like a Cow: Connor's cutting remark after bitch-slapping Hamilton through some pane glass."You care about that, Dress-For-Less?"
- You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Lindsey's reaction to Angel's Enemy Mine offer.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Lindsey teams up with Team Angel to seize Wolfram & Hart's power, only to find out Angel never intended him to survive.
- You Have No Chance to Survive: Near death, Hamilton tells Angel that he cannot win his war against Wolfram & Hart.
- Your Head A-Splode: As Illyria (still in Fred guise) mourns over Wesley, Vail recovers behind her and hisses, "How very touching his meaningless death was." Illyria/Fred turns to face Vail, who spreads his arms out and chuckles, "Take your best shot, little girl." Illyria winds back a punch and reverts to her true form as she throws it, smashing her fist through Vail's head.