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Did season 5 ruin Gunn?

telperion66

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I didn't really care for season 5 but one thing I do know is that Gunn rocked in season 4. This was when he was truly himself and when he was most enjoyable to watch. I did feel that he and Fred were a delightful match and that their romance was really sweet in season 3. It still gets me that she's the only person that calls him Charles which is endearing. I liked Wesley's pining after Fred and thought that arc was really powerful, especially the conflict between Gunn and Wes in season 4 when they come to blows. In season 5 he was pretending to be some corporate lawyer guy which I didn't like at all.
 

DeadlyDuo

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I don't think Season 5 ruined Gunn but it did take him away from his origins which is why, in Not Fade Away, he went back to his "roots" and helped out at the homeless shelter.
 

AnthonyCordova

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They didn't ruin Gunn for me in S5 because I don't think he ever really changed. What I mean is that from the very beginning he suffered from insecurities and to me the nature of those never changed. The same basic insecurities about his limitations within the group, his origins, the perceived effect of his socio-economic status on things like his intellect and so on in the beginning were the same basic insecurities that led him to make the deal to become a lawyer later. I guess you could say that I don't see Gunn as having evolved much as a character. That might be fair to say, but I would say that while Gunn's basic character flaws remained the same, the manner in which his flaws expressed themselves over the course of his time on the show did change. So I don't think Gunn changed really...but his way of dealing with himself did. But that's a subtle wrinkle, a finer point really. So getting back to the OP question, I don't think what happened to Gunn was dramatic like what happened to someone like Cordelia for example (i.e. the S4 "assassination" of her character). To me, Gunn before becoming the lawyer and Gunn after becoming the lawyer is more or less the same basic person in all of the essential ways. So Gunn wasn't ruined. For me.
 
W

WillowFromBuffy

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I do not think Gunn is a good characterat least not on paper. I do think J. August Richards does a fantastic job making him likeable. Whenever Gunn is just some dude, when he is not defined by his race or background, he really shines. However, whenever the show tries to explore his race or class identity, they end up doing a terrible job of it. Consider "That Old Gang of Mine" whose message seems to be that black people can be just as racist as white people. I do not think that BtVS and AtS are the right show to make this kind of argument, and it especially should not be done so hamfistedly, even if it may be true that xenophobia and group-think are universal human traits.

As others have pointed out, S4 is particularly harsh to Gunn. He is reduced to an angry black man stereotype for most of it. The narrative is that an educated black man could not be with an educated white girl.

Gunn is a much more rounded and likeable character in S5, even if the narrative continues to define his background in a purely negative light.

I sometimes wonder if Gunn did the wrong choice in joining team Angel. He was doing good work before. But then he abandons his community to help an immortal white man in his very personal struggle against a lawfirm and his ex girlfriend.
 

thrasherpix

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I liked how Gunn was the first in the team to remember the actual mission in season 5.
 

LeeJones41

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I'm confused here. Are some stating that Charles Gunn should have remained an "uneducated" man who had more or less served as "the muscle" to Angel's team. Or that he had resorted to the wrong method to make his life better?

Consider "That Old Gang of Mine" whose message seems to be that black people can be just as racist as white people. I do not think that BtVS and AtS are the right show to make this kind of argument, and it especially should not be done so hamfistedly, even if it may be true that xenophobia and group-think are universal human traits.

I had other issues with "That Old Gang of Mine".
 

Mr Trick

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I'm confused here. Are some stating that Charles Gunn should have remained an "uneducated" man who had more or less served as "the muscle" to Angel's team. Or that he had resorted to the wrong method to make his life better?



I had other issues with "That Old Gang of Mine".

I guess that depends on how you define being educated though. His new lawyer persona at W&H was a magic implant. Its not like he actually went to law school and became a lawyer. Also there's nothing wrong with being street smart and using that to your adventage. There are different ways to be smart. I enjoyed the new side to Gunn, but was a bit uneasy him helping scumbags get off. If I had a choice I would go with the old Gunn.
 

BuffyBot22

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The entirety of s5 is a hot mess IMO. I like to pretend s5 doesn't exist. It doesn't even feel like the same show. So yes I hated the Gunn storyline in s5. I hated the Illyria storyline. I hated the W&H storyline. The Spike coming back storyline. It was just a no for me.
 
Mr Trick
Mr Trick
I wouldn't go as far as you. It has its ups and downs. Personally I will liked the Illyria storyline. Shame we lost Fred of course.

Priceless

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I think season 5 ruined every character, for a while. That was the point of the season. They took a terrible offer from an evil law firm that had been their enemy for years, of course it wasn't going to turn out well. Angel did some evil, Spike regressed, Cordy and Fred died, Lorne murdered, Gunn betrayed and Wesley spiralled. Only at the end did they try to salvage some honour, and it's left to us to know if they ever really did. Great season.
 

LeeJones41

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I guess that depends on how you define being educated though. His new lawyer persona at W&H was a magic implant. Its not like he actually went to law school and became a lawyer. Also there's nothing wrong with being street smart and using that to your adventage. There are different ways to be smart. I enjoyed the new side to Gunn, but was a bit uneasy him helping scumbags get off. If I had a choice I would go with the old Gunn.
Or Gunn could have remained his true self and yet obtained an education for a better life and profession. Isn't that a better choice?
 
Mr Trick
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Yes, but sadly life isn't always that easy.

DeepBlueJoy

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I think season five corrupted everyone to a degree... because they let themselves get pulled into the trap of W&H -- but that was foreseeable. And Angel put his foot on the scale by taking their memories... But after the battering all of them took in season 4, I think all of them were a bit spun and it was easy for the tempting to suck them in. Then W&H used the unhinged nature of Connor (maybe even engineered it to happen) to maneuver Angel into taking the deal... which put Angel in the belly of the beast - as the beast desired.

Yes, of course, Gunn was wrong to accept the 'upgrade' - but it was all part of the whole and frankly, it make him better able to manuever against Wolfram and Hart, at least initially. They ALL put themselves in danger of corruption and their choices were poorer and more compromised, and so their mission was compromised.

I don't think Gunn was any more corrupted by the whole thing than the others were. Everyone had something they wanted from joining W&H. His was just more obvious and the consequences were obviously tragic... but if they hadn't come there, Most of them wouldn't all have ended up dead and Lorne and Angel wouldn't have ended up murdering people. (as against just killing the enemy).

If they hadn't been shattered (and Angel hadn't wanted to save his son) I don't think they'd have walked into such an obvious trap.

They got into bed with the enemy. On day one they were defending horrible murderous criminals and compromising everything they were. Angel ended up shooting his own security chief with his own weapon.

_______


To my mind, the series lost its way after the debacle of season four and the SHOW RUNNERS' choice to send them to W&H was a sign of it. They were looking for distractions from what had happened in the end of the previous season, and they needed to come up with 'something completely different' and W&H was it.

IMO, it was out of character for people who had been W&H's main antagonists. They were all people who made big mistakes, but none of them ever really lost the mission before season 4, (though Wes came closest after Angel abandoned him because of his taking Connor). Even then, even after getting hooked up with Lilah, he was trying to fight the good fight, though he was clearly bitter and angry and not making good life choices, he did not every change sides.

There was a serious degree of wishful thinking/arrogance that they could change W&H from within. It only made (some) sense once we realized that W&H had done a memory wipe on everyone.

__________

Regarding the lawyer implant, it seems to me that he did actually get the real education - he did actually acquire real knowledge -- it was just applied to his brain magically -- though clearly the credentials were magicked into place. I think that they only messed with the knowledge so that they could trap him and manipulate him... but that was par for the course for W&H as a rule -- everyone was subject to some kind of game or trap. It was a constant game.
 
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Mr Trick

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@DeepBlueJoy I think one of the problems might have been S5 being the last season. Angel and co. going to W&H on paper was a good idea. But it sort of felt like a reboot of the show where you needed at least 2 seasons for it to really play out. I agree it could have been handled better. S5 has its ups and downs. I don't hate it as much as some, but its far from my favourite season.
 

Stake fodder

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So my question to you guys is - did they ruin Gunn in season 5 by making him essentially a new person? By making him devalue himself? By isolating him from the group? Did they just not know what to do Gunn?
I agree that it's OOC for Gunn, because as others said, he even resisted fully committing to AI for quite a while, so it's hard to believe he immediately agrees to have his brain messed with by the evil firm. (I also think, like @CarrieHopewell, that he was hypnotized a bit by the White Room panther.)

But I think it had to happen for S5. There was less going out as a group and helping the helpless, and so a number of the AI crowd needed new positions. In addition, Spike came in and essentially became the new muscle. So I think making Gunn a lawyer worked very well, and gave him more to do than he would have had in his original guise. Compare him with Lorne, who never got integrated very well into S5, imo. It was even true of Fred somewhat, who had too much "I'll be off-screen in the lab doing science stuff" before becoming Illyria.

I don't feel like we really get to see that he comes to terms with himself... how could he, with the added kick in the gut that he essentially helped kill Fred? When do we get to see him deal. I want to see the process, not the result (much like with the end of season 6 and Buffy's "I'm not depressed anymore" speech, it's a cop-out!)
I also agree that we don't get enough of Gunn's accepting himself and what he inadvertently did to Fred. I think his returning to his ordinary street clothes is meant to be a sign that he's done trying to be something he's not, but a little dialogue about it would have been nice.
 
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