Following is the main story arc and what's happened on the show to date where Buffy and Angel are concerned.
Buffy and Angel
The arc of the "Vampire in love with a Slayer" began in Season 1 and remains central to the show. Throughout Season 1, Buffy was intrigued with the mysterious person who would come to warn her about things. She found out in Angel that Angel was none other than a vampire! Of course, he was different from your ordinary run-of-the-mill vampires in that his soul had been restored. They did have feelings for each other, but decided it would be best for everyone involved if they didn't act on them.
Season 2, for the most part, found both Buffy and Angel coming to terms with their feelings for each other. In the first episode of Season 2, When She Was Bad, Buffy was still traumatized from the events of killing The Master and from dying. Her fears drove her to become relentless in fulfilling her Slayer duties, and she shoved Angel away big-time. By the end of the episode, Buffy was back to normal.
Buffy and Angel continued to have small tiffs with each other as Angel kept trying to push Buffy away; he'd often say she didn't know what she was getting into. Angel also seemed to fear what would happen if they became involved; this apprehension of his makes sense because his demon still exists deep within in him. But for all intents & purposes, Buffy and Angel are an item for much of season 2.
It's in the episode Lie to Me that Angel asks Buffy if she loves him, and she admits that she does. He then tells her of the unconscionable things he did when he became a vampire, and that he not only sired Drusilla, but that he also drove her insane. This information comes into play later in the season.
It's in Surprise that Angel's and Buffy's relationship is finally consummated. This is pretty much the beginning of the end.
In Innocence, we learn that Angel's soul has been lost as a result of his having achieved a moment of true happiness with Buffy. He reverts to his demon self and vows to kill all of Buffy's friends. Here we learn that the Angel Buffy knew is dead, and that Angelus (aka the dark side of Angel) plans to drive Buffy insane before he kills her.
Even though Buffy is horrified by what Angel's become, she can't bring herself to kill him until Passion. She knows that Angel has already killed one of her classmates, Teresa, but it's the death of Jenny Calendar that finally motivates her to be able to kill Angel.
Buffy and Angel are in each other's company in a romantic sense in I Only Have Eyes For You -- but that's only because they're being possessed by the ghosts of a teacher and her student paramour..Angel still loathes Buffy and has to go shower and hunt after he's kissed her. Buffy doesn't seem able to move on from Angel...However, when they're being possessed by the spirits of Grace Newman and James Stanley, Angel and Buffy achieve a sense of closure. Although it's the spirits saying the words -- Grace (Angel) forgives James (Buffy) and says that the shooting was an accident and therefore no one's fault -- the meaning of the words applies to Buffy's and Angel's situation. But basically, after the possession, it's back to business as usual, evil Angel and feeling-guilty Buffy.
We glean more of Angel's and Buffy's pasts in Becoming part I. You can read about Angel's past on his character page, but suffice it to say that Angel first learned of Buffy in 1996. He was told by a good-hearted demon named Whistler that he had a choice..he could continue to maintain a meager existence in the streets of New York, or he could come to LA to see something. The something was Buffy, and it's the day she finds out she's the Slayer. She'd never heard of vampires before, and was surprised when a man approached her and told her she was the Chosen One. Angel follows Buffy on her first kill, and then he follows her home. It's there that he witnesses the parental strife in her household, and senses how she must feel about her destiny as the Slayer. He tells Whistler that he'd like to help the girl.
Buffy has no knowledge of this, of course, so for all she knows, the first night that Angel met her in the alley in 1997, in WTTH is the truth behind the story of her and Angel. So even though Angel made himself known to her then as "a friend" it's apparent he'd known more about her than he'd let on. Ah, the cryptic-ness...
Becoming part II seems to close the book on the Angel/Buffy relationship. Buffy's determined to dust Angel, and she has a new ally in Spike. Buffy and Angel have a swordfight, with each of them at times having the advantage over the other. Finally Buffy's got the upper hand, and just as she's about to kill Angel, his eyes flash and we see that his soul's been returned to him. He tells Buffy he has no idea what's happened and that he feels like he hasn't seen her in months. The two of them are standing in front of Acathla, who's just beginning to open his mouth to swallow the world into Hell. Buffy and Angel share some smooches, tears, and final "I love you"s, then Buffy asks Angel to close his eyes. As he does, she plunges the sword into him, thereby stopping Acathla from ending the world. Angel is sucked into the vortex to Hell, and Buffy is alone. How's that for tragedy?
This is pretty much your basic tragic romance, literally...
SEASON 3...The first three episodes of the new season have treated this arc somewhat delicately...Buffy has dreams and flashbacks of Angel..in them he's cryptic or dying a horrible death at her hands.
But in Faith, Hope & Trick, Buffy decides to try to move on with her life, and part of that entails returning her claddagh ring. She returns to the Garden Mansion where the showdown/vortex took place, and places it on the spot where (most likely) Angel bought the end of her sword. After she leaves, some kind of mystical whatzit takes place and Angel is dropped back into this reality. That's one hell of a trip...this ride should be interesting.
Well, check this out..in All Men Are Beasts, Buffy encounters Angel in the woods, and she's surprised. He's beyond speech and reason, it seems. And so in order to keep him in check while killings are going on, and to hide him from the gang, she chains him up in the Garden Mansion. Buffy learns that Angel, having spent a long time in hell, may be past redemption, and that it would take someone of great strength and character to survive down in hell. At the end of this episode, though, Angel comes to Buffy's aid by killing demon Pete. Then he speaks her name twice and holds on to her. It's quite the emotional scene.
Okay, after seeing Homecoming, I can definitely see why Angel's going to have split Sunnydale for his new spinoff...Can you say angst? Um, anyway, Buffy's bent on helping Angel recover and "readjust" to life outside of the demon dimension. When Buffy tells Angel about her new take on school and her being with Scott Hope, Angel looks kind of hurt, but also he looks like he knows this is the way it has to be. Anyway, that's where these two stand right now....on a big pile of angst.
What goes around comes around? Life is circular? Who knows? Anyhoo, in Revelations, Angel and Buffy share a smooch or two. I guess that it's hard not to, sparkage and all that, you know. Again, this is going to explain Angel's departure very well, I think. Wanting the one thing you can't have, I mean.... Anyway, Buffy saves Angel's undead life when he's about to be killed by Faith, and also, the gang discovers the liaison between Buffy and Angel. This arc is only going to get stickier, I predict. I think. I mean, like they say, you can't go back to holding hands, and frankly, Angel's hands are too cold anyway...
Okay, so Buffy sort of comes to terms with her "thing" with Angel in the episode Lovers Walk. She sort of believes she'd stay in Sunnydale for him, even though she says they're Just Friends, and she's miffed when Angel urges her to leave town for a good education. Ultimately, it's Spike who helps Buffy see what it really is that's going on...that she and Angel can never be friends...and given their history, we pretty much know that they really can't be anything else. So Buffy goes to Angel with not exactly an ultimatum, but she tells him she can't be around him. Gee, sort of like when he told her many eps ago that he couldn't be around her. Did someone say, circular? It kind of makes me wonder how Angel will continue to fit in now. Spinoff..spinoff..spinoff.
Alright, so in Amends, Angel and Buffy run into each on the street, have an awkward moment, and Buffy starts wondering what's up with Brood Boy. The two are later connected in a couple of dreams, and Buffy learns that some evil has taken to tormenting Angel. Buffy goes to save Angel when she learns that he's going to off himself, and Angel tells Buffy that he knows what would happen if he gave in to his passion for her, and that part of him doesn't care. Buffy declares her love for him again and says that she knows what he's done, and that she still can't bring herself to hate him. She also reminds him that being strong means staying and fighting, and she tells him that he's capable of doing good things. The cool part is when she tells him that they can "fight the evil" -- I almost wrote "power" -- together, which is the complete opposite of what she told him in Lovers Walk. So I guess now they'll be able to see each other a little, at least until Spinoff time. So, anyway, at the end of the episode they're at least reunited as star-crossed paramours again. Whether or not they'll paramour remains to be seen, but I kinda doubt it myself.
So, it's in Helpless that Angel reveals to Buffy that he saw her called as the Slayer back in LA. He also goes on about how he loved her when he saw her, 'cause her heart was open. Um, and he gives her a book for her birthday. It's Sonnets of the Portuguese, and it looked like Angel signed it Always. Thanks for telling me that, Little Willow and Lisa. So, it's good to know that they have mutual love. Too bad they can't act on it.
So, if you think of the houses of Capulet and Montague as Enemies, then I guess you could say the same of the houses of Vampires (in this case, Angel) and Slayers (Buffy). This episode finds the two of them at a movie, and then smooching, as Angel tries to prove to Buffy that he can control himself and his emotions towards her. I guess it is a good thing. However, the events of this episode kind of turn everything on its ear -- when Buffy witnesses Angel's role-playing as Angelus, it freaks her out plenty and causes her to distance herself from him. Hello, reality.
So it's kind of interesting that they showed Lovers Walk right after this episode ran...because it's in that episode that Buffy tells Angel that what she wants from him, she can never have. Anyhoo, just thought I'd mention that although they're still kinda bound to one another, Buffy tells Angel she wants to call it quits for a while. Wonder if we'll ever get to see Angel take her to a dance! (Revisit the end of Prophecy Girl, where hey, he said he liked her dress before they hit the Spring Fling!)
In Earshot, Buffy's still wigging about what went down between Angel and Faith. She knows he was just play-acting,but it kind of has gotten to her. Anyhoo, when she sees him out one night after she's been slaying, she kind of gives him the brush off. When he asks if it's because of the Faith thing, she sort of asks him if he's been following her, Buffy, or if he's just following Faith. It's all wacky.After Buffy's endowed with a new gift from the latest monster of the week, she's able to read people's minds. So she goes to Angel's place to see what's on his mind. But he tells her that she can't work that mojo on him, it won't work. And he asks her what it is she really wants to know, because he'll tell her. If this is written oddly, it's cause I wrote it a while ago and tried to "hide it" so no one would be spoiled by accident. Hence the odd sentences. Anyhoo.. Basically we learn that of all the dangerous skanky ho's Angel has had, he's only been in love one time, and that he's in love with Buffy So this is how they sort of get their thing back on track. It's also worth noting that Angel is the one who sort of saves Buffy from this gift after she's started to sort of go mental. He gets the monster's heart and feeds her this nasty looking drink that will cure her. Looks like she only took one swig. How come my medicine doses are never that small?! Anyhoo, it works. What a loving couple!
Okay, so in Choices, Buffy and Angel are still a big item thing. Buffy tells Angel that they're in a rut and that he never takes her anyplace new...fodder for laughs. But it's later in the episode that The Mayor throws their relationship in their face. He tells Angel that he's selfish, what kind of life can he give Buffy, no picnics, no sun, he's immortal, she's not, etc. It's probably not fun to hear that in the lunchroom in front of everyone, or hey...just at all. But later at the cemetery, Buffy tells Angel that they do have a future together and that the Mayor's just big evil. Big stupid evil. The look on her face kind of belies what she's saying, but who am I to deny anyone their, uh, denial? There are only a few episodes left. We all know about the spinoff. This 'ship is doomed. But it's still going to have to play out some, so...
In The Prom, Angel and Buffy seem to be all aces in their romantic liaison. That's until Joyce shows up to tell Angel that he should be thinking about Buffy's future..as in, look, maybe you should be re-evaluating your relationship with her since she's all caught up in it, and what have you. So basically, Angel gives Buffy the old heave-ho one night during patrol. He tells her that he doesn't want to be with her, he's a freakshow, she needs to have a life. Well, to that I say, who doesn't?Anyhoo, Buffy's freaked beyond belief and is sort of standoffish when she runs into Angel at the butchery type place. Well, it was bound to happen. They're not an item, realistically anyway. But Angel does show up at the prom to dance with Buffy, anyway. I guess it just goes to show you that Sting was right when he said if you love someone, set them free. Egads I hate Sting and I hate that song, I can't believe I just said that.
In Graduation parts 1 and 2, there's sort of the wrap-up to this relationship. Yes, we all knew it was coming. Yes, it had to happen. To Be Continued!
Stay tuned for more updates as events warrant on this arc.
The 411 for More Story Arcs
For more story arcs that are relationship-driven, but not central to the show's mythology, check out The 511/Relationships and The 611/Slayerships
The ABCs of Sunnydale