Stand back folks, I'm about to get pretentiously poetical:
"Do not go gently into that good night,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
I can't think of a better summation of what Angel is, and, perhaps, what the tv of Joss Whedon has been about in the seven years we've shared in it, than this episode.
Because real life is not shiny. Because too often, the Freds, the Wesleys, the Cordys, and the Taras too often get taken from us too soon while the Lindsays and the Harmonys never seem to go away. Because real life isn't like TV. We want it to be, we want to think that we can all meet at Central Perk or Cheers for one final drink, we want to think we can ride into the Wonder Year sunsets, but that simply isn't true. But more often than not, the ones we care about go away or even betray us.
Whedon understood that, and he told us, in Buffy, in Angel, and in Firefly, that the most important thing in this world is to live in it, to really live. And when we get kicked in the teeth, get back up again and DO THE JOB. Because the will to never give up, to always keep fighting, and, yes, to never fade away, is not only what makes us human, it's what makes us heroes.
It's the stuff legends are made of, and legends never die.
And neither will Angel, Spike, Gunn, and Illyria (despite all seeming evidence to the contrary). Not while we have the shows. Not while we have the stories.
Best series finale ever? Well, no, that honor still belongs to the Homicide Life on the Street TV Movie. But I'm hard-pressed to think of a better one since.
Because, in reflection, this was the send-off Buffy deserved. This was the perfect capper to an astonishing era in televison.
And yes, it was, a wonderful ride.
"I want to slay a dragon...Let's go to work."