db2305 and I met up with monanotlisa at her parents' house, conveniently located halfway between our respective bases, for the sole purpose of sharing the pleasure and pain of the last ever episode of AtS.
It was a good episode, full of surprises. As I'd remained unspoiled, one of these was Wesley's death -- and yet, in retrospect, it made perfect sense: Wes was so obviously weary, and had been for some time. Still, witnessing it, tears welled in my eyes.
Lindsey's death came as an even bigger surprise, esp. since it came as one to him as well, as a result of Angel's double-dealing and by a flunkie, no less. Even while I can see the logic in Angel's ruthlessness, I can't help but feel sorry for Lindsey -- and even, slightly sorry for Eve, which came as a total surprise to me, not really caring either way about her character until the finale.
The Keeper of the Well-chappie's death (and I had to watch the episode twice before I actually noticed) at Angel's fangs, so that he could establish his credibility with the Circle of the Black Thorn...hmmm, no wonder Angel didn't have to think twice before signing away his shanshu (though monanotlisa pointed out that because he signed it in the margin, under European law at least it wouldn't be valid) -- he must have known by now, and after all the questionable decisions he's made in the last year or so, he was further away from achieving it than ever.
Another surprise was Lorne's decision not to join the others for the final battle, and leaving directly after carrying out Angel's wishes regarding Lindsey. How disillusioned he must have been to do that...
The pleasantest surprise of all though, and perhaps my favourite scene of the whole episode, was seeing the Bloody Awful Poet finally find applause and recognition for his magnum opus, Cicely.
One question remains, though: who were the Circle of the Black Thorn, exactly? Surely they can't have been synonymous with the Senior Partners? Which means that ultimately, any victory Angel c.s. may snatch from the jaws of defeat, in the end will prove as pyrrhic as all their previous wins. Wolfram & Hart will rebuild itself and all will be well with the world until the next hero comes along and decides to take them on.
But if the Black Thorn wasn't linked to W&H's Senior Partners, then why did the building disintegrate? Or had Angel simply severed the link to whatever was keeping it upright by killing Hamilton?
Deep into the night, db2305 and I drove back along Germany's not quite deserted motorways, going over and over it again, and not finding any answers. This didn't prevent me from sleeping the sleep of the just on a fold-out bed in db2305's Holy of Holies, right next to the computer that she uses to write her stories.
The next day, I came home to yet another surprise: the news that the previous afternoon, my Dad had been rushed to hospital after collapsing in the street again. It's alright, though: he didn't seriously injure himself and after keeping him overnight, they sent him home the following day.