There's very little narrative arc to Forgiving. More than anything, it's just a cluster of individual scenes linked by Connor's abduction. Unlike most episodes, you can't really discuss any separate subplots or whatever, because everything feels so scatter-shot right now. And 'scatter-shot' only because the show is going balls-out at this point. Forgiving depicts exactly what would happen following a traumatic event, with people falling apart, urgent searching for some kind of resolution, but coming up empty just as you think you've found it. It's an episode that is daring, brutal and uneasy to watch, but ridiculously powerful.
Of course, the easy option would be to have Angel forgive Wesley in the end. Because, hey, we like Wesley. He thought he was doing the right thing, and unfortunately fell into a trap. We can forgive. But then you begin to think that this guy's actions lead to the potential demise of Angel's son. Connor's gone, taken into some unknown dimension somewhere and nobody has any clue of how to get him back. It's not something that can be forgiven by a couple of pep talks, or by seeing how cut-up Wesley got in Justine's attack. It's a brutal ending, but you understand why Angel does what he does.
The rest of Forgiving has a ton of bad-ass moments. The casual reveal of Linwood Morrow, tied to a chair in Angel's burnt-out bedroom, is insanely powerful. Likewise Angel's team-up with Lilah, the trip to the White Room, the ritual on the floor of the Hyperion, and Linwood getting tossed down the stairs. Sahjhan's big reveal is also crazily entertaining, and gives so much additional importance to his powers. You're so used to shows introducing supernatural abilities purely because they're "sort of cool and stuff", but Sahjhan's entire back-story ended up hinging on them. I love that.
Angel has been running on empty for a while now, and that ending showcases that it's not a series that's about to settle down and keep quiet any time soon. This is Angel at its most unflinching, boundary-pushing best. A
Guest stars John Rubinstein (Linwood Morrow); Andy Hallett (Lorne); Laurel Holloman (Justine Cooper); Stephanie Romanov (Lilah Morgan); Jack Conley (Sahjhan)
Writer Jeffrey Bell Director Turi Meyer