Goodnight Folks: Remembering Andy Hallett

Fred once told me, after a sinful amount of Chinese food and in lieu of absolutely nothing, ‘I think a lot of people would choose to be green, your shade if they had the choice.’

Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan was unique among his people: he could hear music. Mystic tomes and dimensional portals aside, I choose to believe this is what brought him to our world. In a sense this is actually kind of true since Joss Whedon created the role of Lorne on the series Angel specifically for actor Andy Hallett after hearing him sing. Lorne came from a savage world filled with violence and death and ended up in… well, Los Angeles, so not much changed in that regard. However OUR world of violence and death at least had music, and with that music he found a kind of peace. And he managed to share some of that peace with the lost souls of his adopted home. He opened the karaoke bar Caritas, the Latin word for “mercy”, and used his power to read peoples auras (while they’re singing) to offer advice and comfort to his patrons. He allowed anyone, good or evil, to patronize Caritas, which became a safe haven for many. Lorne was non-judgmental, accepting everyone and treating them all as equals and friends.

With his gifts for reading people (and demons) and his web of connections with the supernatural underworld of Los Angeles it didn’t take long for the folks from Angel Investigations to seek him out. He was an invaluable source of information for our heroes throughout much of the second season, and after his beloved bar was destroyed (by humans) in the third season he found himself joining up with the Fang Gang full time.

As with so many of Joss’ characters it’s the red wash of tragedy that makes Lorne so compelling and unforgettable. He began the series as a carefree, lighthearted beacon in the darkness of Angel’s world. He became the heart of the show, and his kindness and love oftentimes was the only thing that made all the pain surrounding these characters we loved bearable. And in the Whedonverse, as soon as your goodness proves essential to the happiness of others, particularly the audience, you are doomed to suffer.

Of all the tragic figures from all the Joss Whedon series, Lorne is possibly the most depressing. He was filled with life and humor and wanted nothing more than to bring joy to others, and maybe a really good Sea Breeze. But his association with Angel, while it did allow him to do good, to make a difference, it also lead him so deep into the darkness of our world that he wasn’t able to pull back out. His time with Wolfram & Hart damaged him, and he never fully recovered from what happened to his friends there, particularly Fred. His breaking point, performing one last mission as a member of the Fang Gang, was to kill enemy-turned-ally Lindsey after the battle with the Circle of the Black Thorn. Though Lorne’s empathic sight told him that Lindsey would never be one of the good guys, the act of murder damages him in a way he may never recover from. The tragedy of Lorne is the death of his spirit. His final words of the series, as he drops the pistol and walks away, hunched under the weight of his moral compromises… “Goodnight, folks.”

One month after filming the final episode of Angel Andy Hallett suffered a dental infection that weakened his heart, and five years later, on March 29, 2009 he passed away. He was 33 years old. He was a magical presence in this, the real world, and his performance was a true and inspiring gift to us all.

Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan, the character, and Andy Hallett, the man, was unique among his people: he could hear music. Through them both we ALL could.

 

Originally presented as part of Gobbledygeek’s Top 100 Characters in Fiction series.