Season three of Angel is usually considered one of the best in its entire run, this is true to an extent. But I think the seasons each improve upon the last in many ways, thus after this season things only get better. I think its fair to say that the show hit its stride in season 3 and its events help to set the cogs in motion for the final two seasons.
'Life's full of surprises', that being the main theme of season 3; when Darla shows up pregnant at the hotel after her little tryst last year with Angel, things get serious. I won't give away the story arc, but the latter half of the season deals with Angel's son Connor and in the earlier part we are introduced to Holtz, the vampire hunter who persued Darla and Angelus back in the 1700's.
With the addition of the quirky scientist 'Fred' to the fang gang and the gradual integration of 'Lorne', this enabled the writers to explore the increasingly complex relationships between the main characters. The writing having greatly improved upon earlier seasons, meant the characters, the small and larger story arcs could progress at a steady compelling pace. Relationships of all kinds take centre stage this season, including the Fred, Wesley, Gunn love triangle and the familial ties that bind father and son. As well as people getting together, there was a fair amount of people and things falling apart.
Consequently, the season finale leaves us with a cliff-hanger leaving us with the unsettling message that great changes are just around the corner... I sorta get the 'where do we go from here?' feeling at the start of season 4, and nothing sets this up like the end of season 3. Ultimately, this season raises a lot of questions; most of the answers will come later, some not at all, but the most important role this season takes is to setup the events that will inevitably cause the circumstances of Angels last two years. Thus this season sets the cogs of fate in motion and delivers one of the series most dramatic and emotional story arcs.
The best episodes of the season include: 'Billy', 'Birthday' in which Cordelia feels the full effects of a human carrying the visions for such a prolonged period. 'Waiting in the Wings', the Joss Whedon penned episode where the fang gang go to the ballet, however the ballet is never complete without some good ole' spooky fun. Other good episodes of the season include: 'Offspring', 'Heartthrob', 'The Price' and 'Loyalty'.
The DVD extras include a few extra scenes from 'Birthday' and 'Waiting in the Wings' and a few commentaries which add some insight into the show, as well as featurettes analysing season 3.
So all in all, well worth buying whether you're new to Angel or not. 10/10