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Is Angel right to be jealous of Buffy and Spike?


Jun 25, 2017
He feels like Spike is stealing his whole identity

I think that's right but I'm not sure to what extent Angel has his own identity. Identity is to a large extent external...it's given - which is why identity can be stolen (and why it's funny when you're represented by a "lobster"). My passport identifies who I am: my height, my nationality; my age. I offer it as proof of who I am. However, I can feel "taller"; I can act "my age" - or not; I can feel "younger". I can feel as much European as British. The latter is self - "me" not I. That said, there's an overlap.

When Buffy says "he's not my boyfriend but he's in my heart" Angel should be worried.

Throughout, people constantly identify (or misidentify) Spike as Buffy's boyfriend. They impose an identity on him (and by association her) from the outside. For Buffy to internalise him, to take him to heart is a much more intimate relationship than boyfriend because it cuts out a third party. To a large extent, it's the message of Touched, which is kinda groundbreaking. As a sense, touch is immediate: the moment you touch someone, they touch you back. It does away with subject/object. She's embodied him; he's part of her self - not part of her identity (which was a major problem in S6). He doesn't stand in for her, he doesn't "represent" her as a passport does. He's inside her. In fact, we've come full circle from S6. "I know you felt it ... when I was inside you..." but we're on a different level. Spike saw red; Angel's seeing green. Kinda clever when you think about it.

In contrast to this closeness, Buffy "basks" in Angel...you bask in the sun and the sun's a bloody long way away...as are the baked cookies. Still love...but of a different type.

How else could Angel have responded? What's the opposite of jealousy? Indifference (wasn't going to happen) generosity (of spirit)? Could he have been happy for her? It's a running joke that Angel isn't generous and is morose...and I think running jokes in BtVS run deep. Jokes are "the royal road to the unconscious". The dictionary says "admiration...pride". It might be a negative emotion but I'm not sure how you can be jealous of someone without admiring what they have (or what they are). If I'm jealous of some one's dress, shoes, life-style, talent it's because I want it...perhaps want to be them.

Despite what people (and the bible say), I don't think jealousy or envy are "natural" or entirely negative emotions. They're cultural and I presume, for that reason, it's possible to have a social formation where they don't exist (and I suspect that state comes very close to primitive communism...or being dead). In fact, I don't see how consumer capitalism works without jealousy or envy in some form or other. For some schools of thought, "jealousy" and "possession" are an intrinsic part of love.

In Real Me, Buffy is envious of Dawn's relationship with Joyce (for very similar "internal/external; self/identity reasons). Riley tries to reason her out of it. Buffy replies.
BUFFY: Thank you, logic boy. Did I mention this is a rant? Sense really has no place in it.
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Member of the Church Of Faith
Dec 23, 2013
The Moot, England
I don't see Angel expecting anything from Buffy when he showed up in S7, except that he would deliver an world-saving amulet and maybe get to wear it (because he didn't trust the source).
Then Buffy kisses him and honestly its the first time I've seen Angel look a little surprised after a Bangel kiss.
I always figured that their off-screen meeting in S6/3 went pretty poorly and that Angel had come to the conclusion that Buffy no longer had any feelings for him- hence him trying to move on romantically.

So no, Angel was not expecting anything from Buffy (before the kiss) and Buffy did not 'call him out and send him back home'. They talked openly and honestly about the future and Angel accepted Buffy's complicated feelings and then left.
I thought more than just wear the amulet... any noob can wear an amulet.


Never go for the kill when you can go for the pain
Apr 12, 2019
all around
Buffy told him to stop acting like a 12-year-old child and to stop going all Dawson on her every time she had a new boyfriend. Angel offered to fight shoulder to shoulder by her side, but Buffy told him to go back to LA to establish a second front. It was Angel who pointed out that this wasn’t the only reason, that it was Spike.

And sure, Buffy kissing him could have contributed to or even caused his jealousy and petty remarks. We certainly don’t know. It is a good point.


Feb 18, 2021
I think Angel was entitled to his feelings. What was annoying was that he repressed his feelings and did not deal with Buffy related heartache healthily. It came out as anger and mistreatment towards Spike, especially on AtS S5, at which point Spike did not deserve that. It made their dynamic frustrating to watch sometimes. I would be yelling at my screen: unpack your emotions, Angel! Be honest about how you're feeling!
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