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Darla Doesn't Brood

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Anyone got any theories for why Darla acted so different from Angel to being reborn with a soul? Shouldn't she be paralysed with guilt? The thing that eventually gets to her is the love Angel shows her.
 

Taake

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I think that Darla generally is a much more "fend for yourself" and "survival of the fittest" type of person. We're lead to believe that she had a pretty hard life before she became a vampire, being a prostitute and contracting a disease was probably not a fun time and most likely roughened her in regards to other people, as in - she saw to it to take care of herself, everyone else be damned. As a vampire she is still that way, she seeks to save her own flesh at all times, even abandoning Angelus when needs be. It's a dog-eat-dog worl in Darla-land.

When she comes back as a human I don't think she shows much remorse partly because she's dying again and is more concerned about herself, but also because she probably doesn't experience it in the way that either Angel, or even Spike, does. I think, basically, that she's better at compartmentalizing. Her vampire-self killed people, not her. Given the opportunity she, at first, wants to be a vampire again rather than die naturally herself - again only thinking about her own physical well-being and showing a complete disregard for other people, this as a human with a soul. Clearly, guilt was not on her list of priorities at all.

Angel does get to her eventually of course, but I doubt Darla would ever have been as regretful about the havoc they wrecked, even if she had lived on as a human being.

That, and, Darla was always brought back to be an antagonist. We only see her show the slightest remorse when it will hurt Angel the most to see her turned again by Drusilla. If it hadn't been for that emotional impact on Angel being better for the story, I can't see it being an organic part of the character really. Basically, she doesn't show guilt because she's in the "villain" category, pretty much permanently.
 
MarieVampSlayer
MarieVampSlayer
Is it strange that this made me love Darla even more?

Octavia

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I thought that Darla had forgotten what it was like to be human, lost her humanity. Angel was still young enough to remember.
 

thrasherpix

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It's possible that the ritual suppressed Darla's conscience, though I have no problem believing Darla had been made harsh to the world and easily compartmentalized and dissociated from her past given her mortal life, a trait she carried over into the modern world.
 

Mrs Gordo

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But she does begin to feel the weight of her soul and she feels pain and suffering. It just takes her some time. The soul doesn’t make you a good person. But the soul gives you the ability to feel and care about your bad acts. Darla doesn’t only start to feel the soul until Angel shows her compassion she feels it before.

In the episode “Darla” Lindsay walks in to find the apartment mirrors shattered and her hands and wrists cut (she was self harming maybe even suicidal). And this exchange:
Lindsey: "Something happened?"
Darla: "God, yes. So many things. I remember them all. Which one were you thinking of?"

Then she is having an identity crisis:

Darla: " I'm not her, whoever she was. I was Darla for so long - then I wasn't. I - I wasn't anything. I just stopped. - He killed me. I was done.” ... "What did you bring back, Lindsey? What am I? Did you bring back that girl, whose name I can't remember? - Or did you bring back something else? - The other thing?"

Because we see that Angel too had an identity crisis when he regained his soul. Even post re-ensoulment he tried to go back to the only family he knew and realized he didn’t belong there anymore. So it makes sense for Darla to have gone back to trying to be evil and find that it didn’t feel right anymore (thus giving her insight as to how Angel felt when her demon caste him out).

Then she tells Angel to turn her because she can’t bear having the pain and suffering and she can feel herself dying as well.

She wants to die. She prefers to die and be immortal because Darla is afraid of death but either way she wants to be rid of her soul because she can’t handle the weight of it.
 

thetopher

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It's entirely possible that W&H was dosing mortal Darla with something to begin with; something to suppress her natural guilt (it wouldn't even have to be anything mystical, just something to mess with her brain chemistry).
Since they had her on a 'schedule' according to their schemes and she was completely at their mercy (living on their property, recovering from Hell, etc) it makes sense that they would 'regulate' her eventual emotional breakdown to suit their plans for Angel.
 
Octavia
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Thats a point

EarthLogic

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I thought that Darla had forgotten what it was like to be human, lost her humanity. Angel was still young enough to remember.

Because we see that Angel too had an identity crisis when he regained his soul. Even post re-ensoulment he tried to go back to the only family he knew and realized he didn’t belong there anymore. So it makes sense for Darla to have gone back to trying to be evil and find that it didn’t feel right anymore (thus giving her insight as to how Angel felt when her demon caste him out).

I've recently been wondering about this too. I agree that Darla hated her mortality and obviously preferred the moral freedom of vampirehood. It also makes sense that like Angel and Spike, she would initially cling to her former identity.

What I find curious, however, is that she really does seem to take pleasure in the memories of the terrible things she and Angelus did. With Angel, it makes sense that memories of the past affect him in such a conflicting way because he still has the demon in him, which is in conflict with his human soul as well as his darker human desires. That's what creates the curious mixture of pleasure and revulsion he feels at the horrors he recalls. But Darla no longer has a demon when she's brought back and yet she's not immediately repulsed by those memories, which means her indulgence in darker appetites comes entirely from her human self at the point ('God I could eat his eyeballs'; [Lilah:'What's hidden in Angel's secret chambers?'] Darla: (smiling) 'Horrors'). What's more, she manages to carry out her manipulations for weeks, possibly months after she's brought back, whereas Angel and Spike felt the weight of remorse pretty much immediately and had to forcibly try and push it aside in an attempt to act like their former soulless selves.

Can we still attribute this to Darla having forgotten what it was like to be human? Or is it because she's not actually trying to kill/hurt innocent people and is focused entirely on Angel with whom she has a history - if W&H had sent her out to kill someone would she have felt her soul sooner?
 

Mrs Gordo

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Can we still attribute this to Darla having forgotten what it was like to be human? Or is it because she's not actually trying to kill/hurt innocent people and is focused entirely on Angel with whom she has a history - if W&H had sent her out to kill someone would she have felt her soul sooner?

I always figure this was an Angel specific/centric. Darla is still obsessed with Angel. And now, Angel is the only one who will understand her (as she tells him). She both needs him and resents him for that. I think so much of the horrible things she does to Angel has to do with the betrayal she feels at the memory that he killed her. I don't even think I understood the weight of Angel killing Darla until ats s2. After seeing their history, seeing how much she meant to him (as convoluted as those feelings were) that he was the one to end her for Buffy - I think Darla found that a grand betrayal. And I think that as well as the jealousy we see in Dear Boy (final scene) is why she wants to bring him, specifically, to madness.
 

EarthLogic

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I think so much of the horrible things she does to Angel has to do with the betrayal she feels at the memory that he killed her. I don't even think I understood the weight of Angel killing Darla until ats s2. After seeing their history, seeing how much she meant to him (as convoluted as those feelings were) that he was the one to end her for Buffy - I think Darla found that a grand betrayal.
Ah yes, I'd forgotten about the betrayal aspect. That makes sense - I can see how her hurt and spite would help her compartmentalise initially and use those horrible memories to torment him.
 
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