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Hot Topic: Should Angel have left the lawyers to die at Darla & Dru's hands?

AlphaFoxtrot

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Eh, it falls into the “I don’t have to save you” category. I mean, Wolfram and Hart, they made a deal with the devil, they unleashed both Dru and Darla in the first place, and they didn’t invest in reasonable security for dealing with Vampires. They were also trying to recall Angelus. If somehow William the Bloody had been recalled, they were going to get eaten at some point. Besides, they all got great jobs in the Home Office afterwards, what’s the big deal?
 

Mr Trick

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Eh, it falls into the “I don’t have to save you” category. I mean, Wolfram and Hart, they made a deal with the devil, they unleashed both Dru and Darla in the first place, and they didn’t invest in reasonable security for dealing with Vampires. They were also trying to recall Angelus. If somehow William the Bloody had been recalled, they were going to get eaten at some point. Besides, they all got great jobs in the Home Office afterwards, what’s the big deal?
True, but I doubt Angel knew that to be fair;) The main issue people have with it is that there would have been random guests at that party (not W&H employees), who got caught up in it. Think that is the only grey area. The rest I agree with you on.
 

thrasherpix

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I'd give Angel a break for "just letting them reap what they sow" except that he locked them in (which was probably unnecessary, and he could've waited for the 2 to be done, sated, and then take them by surprise, possibly taking the two vampires out after the vampires took out most of the lawyers).
 

Mylie

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No, I don't think he was right, morally speaking. I definitely understand the appeal and might have been tempted to do the same thing but it's clearly not something to be proud of. I think Cordelia and Wesley reacted appropriately. Besides, it's the first oh shit moment of Angel's dark (or beige) arc so I think we're definitely not supposed to agree with him.

I don't mind though. I thought it made sense and was in character for him at that point. It's one of those things that makes the character more interesting to me and I enjoyed every bit of that arc.
 

EarthLogic

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Yes. Because it was awesome(-ly dark)! :D
...

But in all seriousness, morally speaking, no. Human or not they absolutely deserved it, because they brought it upon themselves and hey, they're unabashedly evil! Ok maybe the waiting staff were innocent but I can't imagine the spouses were. I can just see Holland coming home to his wife: 'Hello darling, how was work? Unleash any exciting evil today?. Holland's not the type of man to invest energy in maintaining two faces and even if she's not entirely in the know, Catherine at the very least would be a Carmela Soprano - silently complicit because of the material comforts her husband's activities provide. All the guests would have been clued in too otherwise Holland's speech about the Senior Partners' plan would have had little significance for them.

However, the wrongness of Angel's actions isn't really anything to do with them, it's about how they morally compromise Angel himself. Up until then his mission has been about helping those in need and fighting demons by taking them down. He could have just walked away leaving the lawyers to fight it out/run away themselves, which is fine - let them sort out their own mess, but he locked them in, thereby ensuring the massacre. It also allowed Darla and Dru to go free, risking other people's lives when Angel could have prevented it by swiftly taking them out. Doyle initially told him that he could save his soul by saving those of the people around him and the only way to do that was by getting involved in human lives - by actually giving a damn. His last line shows how far he has strayed- he just stops caring. Angel's greatest strength - and the marker of his humanity - has been his ability to care so his weakness is the temptation to stop caring when it becomes too much, too hard. It takes energy to love, it takes even more energy to hate, but it's easier to not care because then you don't have to feel. His vengeance in Reunion was emotionless - that was the real danger.
 

Tez

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He didn't the right thing wolfram and hart spend all season pushing and pushing him trying to get him dark and when they got him dark they didn't like it at the end of the day wolfram and hart have some ****ed up plan she thinking they can manipulate and control 3 of the badest scariest vampires from back in the day how did thy think it would end ?
 

MarieVampSlayer

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It was definitely wrong but understandable for Angel especially at this time in this season. As for Buffy, no she wouldn't do the same especially with Darla and Drusilla involved because of all the history she had with them. She would feel that the W&H people needed to pay for their crimes but not this way. Buffy doens't like to play god and deciding the faith of theses people kinda was.
 

AlphaFoxtrot

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Yeah, on reading this, yes, this is not something Buffy or another Champion would have done. Buffy would have fought to the death to save those people. Angel probably would have too, if he hadn't been pushed to the brink of despair. But, is it wrong? No, it's not just not heroic. In fact, I'm not certain Angel could kill Darla and Dru. He can't beat Spike. He nearly lost to Darla. And nobody knows how strong Dru is.
 
FaithLehane16
FaithLehane16
Are you undermining Angel(us)'s strength?

Ethan Reigns

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This is all reminiscent of Giles killing Ben at the end of Season 5 and giving a very good explanation of why he was doing it. Reduce, reuse, recycle seems to be the screenwriters' mandate on both Buffy and Angel. Quoting Holland Manners "and yet I just can't seem to care" makes it sound karmic in a way - what you do to others gets done to you.

I would disagree with @EarthLogic that:

It takes energy to love, it takes even more energy to hate, but it's easier to not care because then you don't have to feel. His vengeance in Reunion was emotionless - that was the real danger.
I don't see the danger in being emotionless. Does an exterminator hate roaches? No, he just eliminates them. He is not taking vengeance here (other than maybe for W&H hiring Faith to kill Angel) because he has no reasonable expectation that the people at the party are currently a danger to himself nor that they all were involved in anything to do with him. Does the bombardier in an aircraft hate the people he is aiming at? No more than the ground crew for the aircraft. The presence or absence of emotion is not that important in the greater scheme of things. You may get the idea that Angel's psyche is being damaged by being "emotionless" but it also means he can perform his function in a clear-headed manner. This is definitely a contrast to Buffy telling Kendra that her emotions give her strength - they may give strength but they can cloud judgement.
 

EarthLogic

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I don't see the danger in being emotionless. Does an exterminator hate roaches? No, he just eliminates them. He is not taking vengeance here (other than maybe for W&H hiring Faith to kill Angel) because he has no reasonable expectation that the people at the party are currently a danger to himself nor that they all were involved in anything to do with him. Does the bombardier in an aircraft hate the people he is aiming at? No more than the ground crew for the aircraft. The presence or absence of emotion is not that important in the greater scheme of things. You may get the idea that Angel's psyche is being damaged by being "emotionless" but it also means he can perform his function in a clear-headed manner. This is definitely a contrast to Buffy telling Kendra that her emotions give her strength - they may give strength but they can cloud judgement.
I disagree. The examples you give are all of people doing their jobs. The point of that scene is to illustrate how far Angel has strayed away from his job. He enabled the deaths of people who, despite being unrepetantly even, were still human and also were not actually doing anything evil in that moment. This allowed the more imminent threats of Darla and Dru to walk away, which endangered more innocent lives. And the presence of emotion has been shown to be extremely important in Angel's life. Perhaps the word 'emotion' is inaccurate, but I can't think of a better one at the moment. However I stand by my statement that:
Doyle initially told him that he could save his soul by saving those of the people around him and the only way to do that was by getting involved in human lives - by actually giving a damn. His last line shows how far he has strayed- he just stops caring. Angel's greatest strength - and the marker of his humanity - has been his ability to care so his weakness is the temptation to stop caring when it becomes too much, too hard.
Yes, intense emotion can cloud judgement (see Angel's actions when he loses Connor), but Angel is at his best and most level-headed when there is a degree of emotional connection to the people around him and to the cause he has committed himself to. His actions in this episode show how disconnected he is becoming by becoming hardened and hollow. It's why Darla says 'who was that?' after Angel sets them on fire. Even Angelus was driven by his passions, albeit sans empathy and conscience, but the Angel here is completely numb. It's what will lead him to eventually try and lose his soul with Darla; he hits rock bottom when he realises for all he might want to care, nothing he does as a result will change things. So he tries to stop caring because its too hard, and because he thinks anything would be better than the emptiness he already feels.

And Angel's mistake in his pursuit of Darla and Dru is in thinking that cutting himself off will give him strength and enable him to think more clearly, when all it really does it remove him from the human connections which actually do give him strength and which keep him grounded.
 
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RomanticSoul

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Absolutely. Holland wanted a massacre and he got one. So what's the problem? Oh the possibly blind and willfully obtuse spouses of these evil lawyers also got killed? Who cares. Wasn't that the point of W&H bringing Darla and Dru in, to kill innocent people? Well they got that wish granted too. Again, I don't see the problem.

It's funny to me, the one time the show abandons it's blatant racism and everyone is horrified. In the show and the viewers. It's fine if Angel kills anything that looks different, I mean demonic, even if they are good. It's gonna be an 'oops, my bad' situation and everyone moves on. But God forbid he touches even a hair on humans that are through and through evil (have literally signed away their soul to evil to do evil) and whose endgame is the destruction of humanity. That's the worst offense ever and he crossed over the moral horizon. Really?

I feel like I'm in the wrong movie often when it comes to this racism in both AtS and BtVS. If your mission is to save people or save the world or both, who is trying to destroy it doesn't matter. Race doesn't matter. Aliens, demons or humans it makes no difference. If it's your mission you stop them, period. But the 'humans first and they need to be spared even if they are evil' (see also Knox in S5) approach is something I just don't agree with.

For me Angel shutting the door on the lawyers was always symbolic of shutting the door on racism. Too bad Angel was 'wrong' apparently according to his co-workers. And he should be ashamed of himself.
 
FaithLehane16
FaithLehane16
In your last paragraph, you should replace "And he should be ashamed of himself." to "And he shouldn't be ashamed of himself."

EarthLogic

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It's fine if Angel kills anything that looks different, I mean demonic, even if they are good. It's gonna be an 'oops, my bad' situation and everyone moves on. But God forbid he touches even a hair on humans that are through and through evil (have literally signed away their soul to evil to do evil) and whose endgame is the destruction of humanity. That's the worst offense ever and he crossed over the moral horizon. Really?
Which is why I say that it's not necessarily that he let them die, it's the manner in which he did it, which showed how far he had strayed from the original mission. I would have walked away too, perhaps with the parting shot shot along the lines of 'this is your mess, you clean it up'. But I wouldn't have locked the door and I wouldn't have waited for Darla and Dru to be let loose on an innocent population.

What both shows have often also stressed is that that the human world has it's own laws for dealing with people. With W&H it's tricky because most of its employees have one foot in both worlds but what I think is important is that it's not Angel's job to police both. His job is to fight to good fight by helping those in need, not by getting involved in the intricacies of every W&H machination. He should fight them when he has to, because that's when he can be most effective. Leaving the lawyers to die didn't make a difference anyway because they're replaceable; the Senior Partners can always get more corruptible humans to do their bidding.
 

RomanticSoul

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Which is why I say that it's not necessarily that he let them die, it's the manner in which he did it, which showed how far he had strayed from the original mission. I would have walked away too, perhaps with the parting shot shot along the lines of 'this is your mess, you clean it up'. But I wouldn't have locked the door and I wouldn't have waited for Darla and Dru to be let loose on an innocent population.
Locking the door is only logical, otherwise some evil lawyers might escape. Not killing the vamps right after they are done in the cellar, sure that's not great. But he probably figured D&D would go back to W&H and do some more damage. It's a risk, a big one, for any innocent humans between the cellar and W&H but 'when you can't seem to care' I don't think that enters your mind.

What both shows have often also stressed is that that the human world has it's own laws for dealing with people. With W&H it's tricky because most of its employees have one foot in both worlds but what I think is important is that it's not Angel's job to police both.
And AtS has established that W&H can't be dealt with the regular human way. Because they OWN the law. And if by some chance someone tried the legal way and looked to be succeeding, they have supernatural means to change the outcome. So what is the alternative option then? Sitting back and twiddling your thumbs? The human world can't bring W&H's human employees to justice, the supernatural world can't either. So the only solution then is to let them do whatever they want. I'm not on board with that.

His job is to fight to good fight by helping those in need, not by getting involved in the intricacies of every W&H machination. He should fight them when he has to, because that's when he can be most effective. Leaving the lawyers to die didn't make a difference anyway because they're replaceable; the Senior Partners can always get more corruptible humans to do their bidding.
Angel doesn't chose to get involved with W&H's intricacies, they force him into that constantly. This whole thing with Darla and Dru was specifically designed for Angel by W&H. He literally had no choice but be involved.

Sure it doesn't change a thing because humans are replaceable. But it was a great message to send to the humans working for W&H. You think you are safe just because you are human and this verse is racist, well I got news for you. Too bad this message was deemed 'bad' by everyone. Because racism yay, not racism nay. And it's never done again.

Maybe I'm just as emotionless as Angel. But I always take the victim stance. 'Heroes' like Superman are not for me. Someone who is more concerned with not compromising their self appointed morality than they are with human life...you can go screw yourself as far as I'm concerned. Heroes are heroes because they have to make the tough calls, they are able to do things us mere mortals can't. And they are willing to live with the consequences of their decisions, even if said decisions destroy them.

Angel's decision to lock them in there might not change anything in the grand scheme of things. But if it makes the other humans at W&H even a little bit afraid to pull off their next schemes, then that's better than doing nothing while the body count rises because you can't be bothered to get your hand dirty.
 

Ethan Reigns

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Let's keep a clear picture of what this party was about: Holland Manners had invited fifteen people from the company to a wine-tasting. What kind of employee gets this treatment? Not the ordinary lawyer with a caseload and desk in the office. These were the best and the brightest, the movers and the shakers, the people who will be at the reins of the company in a decade or so. This was almost too good to be true - all the most powerful and evil people in one room. If you are fighting the good fight, this is the equivalent of the attack on Pearl Harbour except with the good guys winning. This was his original mission. Remember, these guys own the legal system and would never be called out on their machinations, so acts like this were the only way the good guys had of addressing the situation.

I see @RomanticSoul beat me to it.
 
FaithLehane16
FaithLehane16
This is one of my reasons for being really annoyed by Cordy this season, and somewhat Wesley.

EarthLogic

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And AtS has established that W&H can't be dealt with the regular human way. Because they OWN the law. And if by some chance someone tried the legal way and looked to be succeeding, they have supernatural means to change the outcome. So what is the alternative option then? Sitting back and twiddling your thumbs? The human world can't bring W&H's human employees to justice, the supernatural world can't either. So the only solution then is to let them do whatever they want.
Angel doesn't chose to get involved with W&H's intricacies, they force him into that constantly. This whole thing with Darla and Dru was specifically designed for Angel by W&H. He literally had no choice but be involved.
But this is exactly what Angel's story in this season is about. They do own the law, so Angel does have to fight them on some level because they will always be there. But the problem is Angel allows himself to be provoked to such a degree that he goes off on a one-man kamikaze mission to try and destroy the Senior Partners for good and all he ends up doing is abandoning his friends and the people he really does have the power to help on a one-to-one level.

Sure it doesn't change a thing because humans are replaceable. But it was a great message to send to the humans working for W&H. You think you are safe just because you are human and this verse is racist, well I got news for you.
It was a very effective message, but again the problem is that it ultimately only left Angel in a dark psychological/emotional (or indeed emotionless) place.

I'm not being unsympathetic to Angel's arc here, in fact I understand it completely which is why it's my favourite season. They've been screwing with him constantly and naturally there comes a point where he just snaps. But I'm just trying to argue why his decision here was for the bad.
 

RomanticSoul

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But this is exactly what Angel's story in this season is about. They do own the law, so Angel does have to fight them on some level because they will always be there. But the problem is Angel allows himself to be provoked to such a degree that he goes off on a one-man kamikaze mission to try and destroy the Senior Partners for good and all he ends up doing is abandoning his friends and the people he really does have the power to help on a one-to-one level.
The thing here is perspective. These aren't street thugs, drug dealers or abusers or what have you. These are humans who have signed their soul away to a multidimensional evil for the expressed purpose to do evil to other human beings. Their ultimate goal being the destruction of all mankind. What good is Angel going to do on a one-to-one level when those individuals he helps are going to die anyway because he refused to get his hands dirty/get involved with W&H? If mankind gets destroyed, so will all the people he helped.

It was a very effective message, but again the problem is that it ultimately only left Angel in a dark psychological/emotional (or indeed emotionless) place.
That's IMO the price you pay. In Angel's case it was a bit different precisely because of the way W&H chose to do it (using Darla to drive Angel to the edge). But if you 'appoint' yourself a 'hero' and involve yourself with things like world saving and what not, you better be ready for all possible ways this can go. That includes having to make decisions some people feel are immoral.

I'm not being unsympathetic to Angel's arc here, in fact I understand it completely which is why it's my favourite season. They've been screwing with him constantly and naturally there comes a point where he just snaps. But I'm just trying to argue why his decision here was for the bad.
I don't see it as specific to this Season's arc. W&H is a series long story. And in their actual world, a thing that has existed forever and will continue to exist forever because the actual source (Senior Partners) is multi-dimensional and doesn't exist on Earth's plane. We also know their plan is destruction of all mankind. And their preference for using human agents is because they know that good guy 'heroes' killing humans is a thing few, if any, do. That's why I'm perfectly fine with the good guys killing W&H employed humans, heck I'm angry that a) they don't do it constantly and b) if it happens it's seen as something bad.

Think long term. If their apocalypse comes to pass and Earth literally becomes hell, where humans die left and right and you have to fight for your life every day and probably will still die. Angel's crew comes by and tells you 'Yeah, we might have been able to stop them but we were all too squeamish about getting human blood on our hands. All life is sacred after all, even evil humans. I tried once to stop them by killing the evil humans who brought this upon us but everyone slapped my hand for it so I never did it again.' I know what I would do if Angel and crew were standing in front of me telling me that. Angel and crew can't have it both ways. They can't devote their lives to 'helping the helpless' but draw the line at human/non-human threat. Either you fight evil that wants to destroy humans no matter what species or you take responsibility for being partially responsible for the end of the world because you couldn't be bothered.
 

FaithLehane16

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Well considering that Wolfram & Hart started the whole Shenanigans, I think the lawyers deserved getting massacred.
 

FaithLehane16

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But this is exactly what Angel's story in this season is about. They do own the law, so Angel does have to fight them on some level because they will always be there. But the problem is Angel allows himself to be provoked to such a degree that he goes off on a one-man kamikaze mission to try and destroy the Senior Partners for good and all he ends up doing is abandoning his friends and the people he really does have the power to help on a one-to-one level.
Angel did not abandon his friends. He just needed to distance himself from them because they were telling him how to do things and how to feel which led him to fire them. Cordy never understood him because she is all about herself the 80% of the time while Wesley finally understood him in late Season 3&5. I'm not sure about Gunn, but he wasn't as forceful on Angel like Cordelia and somewhat Wesley was. The whole Darla and Drusilla thing depressed and disappointed him greatly because he was trying to save Darla, which he failed on, and Wolfram and Hart got in the way of that; made things worse. If that were to happen to me and I had friends/colleagues telling me how to do my business, I would get pissed off that I would need to distance myself from them. Cordelia NEVER even understood that because she was only thinking about her income more than anything. She never even bothered to look for work elsewhere. She just blamed Angel for everything.

Buffy distanced herself between the Seasons 2&3 from her friends(Giles, Xander, Willow, and Oz), her mom(Joyce), and her acquaintance(Cordelia) because she was devastated that she had to kill the love of her life to save the world, and her mom kicked her out in a way. She needed to run away for awhile and be alone. When she came back to Sunnydale, everyone lashed out except Oz. Xander and Cordelia were being the most jerks to her about the situation. Willow wasn't being much help, but she wasn't being a total asshole. Joyce was lashing out because she is the mother. Mothers do worry.

Buffy also distanced herself in Season 6 because her friends minus Spike, Dawn, and Giles resurrected her against her will. Willow, Dawn, and Anya never understood that, so she had to distance herself a bit. They were thinking of themselves. Willow never even bothered to look for work when Buffy was dead. Dawn wished upon everyone to only stay with her in Once and Far Away against their will because she wasn't getting enough attention. She basically disregarded that people have responsibilities in everyday life.
 
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