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Morally Wrong/Ambiguous Angel

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SpikeRocks

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For lot's of (usually) understandable reasons, this is a struggle for Angel from the get-go of his curse, and even during his redemption and hero path. We all know a soul doesn't innately equal "good and moral" by default, and he may struggle more due to some inherent weaknesses in character of his original mortal self. This is a layer to Angel that makes him more interesting, yet simultaneously bothers me at times. Sometimes it's complicated by extenuating circumstances or states of mind (Dark/Beige Angel...CEO Angel), yet other times some things seem to needlessly cross a line.

I feel like there are a lot of morally wrong or ambiguous (that garners a strong "really??" reaction) moments/actions for Angel, and it would be neat to try to list them and discuss them. Here's a couple to start off:

*All the murders (however many, idk) he committed for the short time he tried returning to The Whirlwind as "Angelus" after regaining his soul
*S5, Conviction: outright killing the W&H Agent that's been defying him (his whole "the last of my mercy" thing)
 

RachM

I'm busy. I'm brooding.
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This feels more like a "hate on Angel thread". Are we having a thread for every other character and all their wrongdoings?

Angel struggles a lot. He's a character with a true darkness in him and he struggles against that darknes every single day. To me, that only make him more compelling and makes his good even greater. Does he have a lot of WTF moments, even with a soul? Yes. So do so many other characters.

Angel has committed evil even with a soul. He has made lots of bad choices and decisions. But what's the point of listing them all like some sort of strike list?

Re: the examples you've listed. We've seen with both Angel and Darla that suddenly having a soul after being a murderous creature is a traumatic, confusing and downright awful experience, and sometimes it means trying to return to the familiar. Darla commits evil with a soul. Angel returning to the Whirlwind is a time of weakness, but he does so because he's lost and confused and trying to escape himself. And, as Darla points out, he only kills evil doers.

Killing the W&H agents is not what I'd call "evil" especially since said Agent was ready and willing to kill children. If anything, Angel eliminated a source of evil.
 
S
SpikeRocks
I mean, if it's not interesting for you, then just don't participate, right? For me, this is one of the more interesting parts to Angel and integral for his whole arc/development given who/what he is, arguably more than most of the other characters.

WillowFromBuffy

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The WRH agent shot himself. Angel just redirected the barrel to avoid getting peppered himself.
 
S
SpikeRocks
Sarcasm? can't tell lol

spikenbuffy

"Why can't I stay"
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I'm pretty mixed about many Angel ambiguous actions. Angel seems to have often reasons though I'm not sure that he being a vampire with a soul who doesn't have to apply to human rules about murder/killing evil human beings should have a pass contrary to humans like Wesley, Fred, Willow....

In Shells, Angel doesn't seems to agree with Wesley about killing that scum of Knox, though Angel didn't seem to care about the life of evil human beings in Convictions, Unleashed...
 
S
SpikeRocks
Oh yeah, Unleashed, that was definitely one of the times I had to do a double-take on.

Bluebird

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Black Thorn
I think Wesley is a better fits the discussion of moral ambiguities, but then he is less contentious than Angel since he didn't date Buffy.
 
Athene
Athene
I'd like to talk about Wesley
S
SpikeRocks
Wesley would be excellent to talk about

Ethan Reigns

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Sineya
Killing Drogyn in order to infiltrate The Circle of the Black Thorn is reminiscent of the worst of the street gangs that require prospective members to kill someone in order to join. Angel has no issue with Drogyn - Drogyn has done him no harm and is not an evil character. That this happens so late in the story shows that whatever development Angel has had throughout the series, he will still do anything he thinks is necessary to further his own agenda. This is all the more reprehensible because he knows that this will not be more than a temporary inconvenience for the Senior Partners. He never understands the scope of the evil he is dealing with or the nature of Wolfram & Hart. In spite of the tactical success of his plan, it is of little strategic value.
 
S

SpikeRocks

Guest
Killing Drogyn in order to infiltrate The Circle of the Black Thorn is reminiscent of the worst of the street gangs that require prospective members to kill someone in order to join. Angel has no issue with Drogyn - Drogyn has done him no harm and is not an evil character. That this happens so late in the story shows that whatever development Angel has had throughout the series, he will still do anything he thinks is necessary to further his own agenda. This is all the more reprehensible because he knows that this will not be more than a temporary inconvenience for the Senior Partners. He never understands the scope of the evil he is dealing with or the nature of Wolfram & Hart. In spite of the tactical success of his plan, it is of little strategic value.
True true, this is a big one. This one sort of hits me less than some of the earlier examples, since at this point it's very much the direction they're going with Angel. I'm very mixed on ATS S5.....in a lot of ways I love it and I like what they're exploring, but I'm sort of simultaneously going "why? why? why?"
 

Blaze

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Black Thorn
The only real moral problem I have with Angel is the fact the he pursuid a relationship with a 15 year old girl.
 
S
SpikeRocks
A HUGE one, especially for me, but I've got to eventually relent on this one and chalk it up to a very misguided writing decision. And I'll clarify(bc someone will argue), he technically wasn't pursing/allowing a relationship until she was 16yrs old
S

SpikeRocks

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Re: the examples you've listed. We've seen with both Angel and Darla that suddenly having a soul after being a murderous creature is a traumatic, confusing and downright awful experience, and sometimes it means trying to return to the familiar. Darla commits evil with a soul. Angel returning to the Whirlwind is a time of weakness, but he does so because he's lost and confused and trying to escape himself. And, as Darla points out, he only kills evil doers.
Yes indeed. He's struggling with identity/his place/where he fits in the world, and tries going back to all he's really known. I don't really care about him discriminating in who he murders, he's still able to "do the deed", apparently several times....makes me wonder how long he would have been able to keep that up (in lieu of the baby) before it ate away at him too much. I wish they would have shown him do it once, and then unable to do it again.....that would have been good enough for me and served the same purpose/outcome.

Killing the W&H agents is not what I'd call "evil" especially since said Agent was ready and willing to kill children. If anything, Angel eliminated a source of evil.
This one hits me hard, because it's the first episode of the S5, so he hasn't even approached the murky/morally ambiguous space they take him to in the course of the season. I don't read it as him taking out a source of evil at all, because incapacitating/knocking him out (which is what he normally does for "bad" humans) and taking him to the authorities is what he should do, but he just doesn't....he goes straight to murder. I don't get why they start his character off this way....it would have made his progression/descent over the season way more impactful if he was behaving as a true "hero" at the beginning. Yeah, this one bothers me for his story.
 
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WillowFromBuffy

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@SpikeRocks Not sarcasm. If someone was going to shoot me with a shotgun and I pushed the barrel out of the way so they hit themselves instead, I wouldn't feel too bad about it. As they say, those who live by the shotgun gets their face exploded by the shotgun.
 
S
SpikeRocks
Angel's life's not in danger by the shotgun....aaaaand Angel intentionally causes the gun to fire through the guy's head. Morally wrong/ambiguous af lol

WillowFromBuffy

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@SpikeRocks Considering the debilitating effects of single bullets, a shotgun blast at medium range would in all probability leave Angel unable to defend himself from a staking. It's why Angel or Spike never attack people with submachine gun head on, as the bullets would cripple them.

And you can't fire a gun with your foot.
 
S

SpikeRocks

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And you can't fire a gun with your foot.
I said "causes gun to fire", not that he pulled the trigger with his foot or something lol. He knew very well what he was doing and causing.....murder

Considering the debilitating effects of single bullets, a shotgun blast at medium range would in all probability leave Angel unable to defend himself from a staking. It's why Angel or Spike never attack people with submachine gun head on, as the bullets would cripple them.
Super poor reasoning lol.....there's no moral contest between one person (a bad guy)having the potential/likely-hood of of causing the other to be "debilitated" vs the other person (a good guy) choosing to outright murder them as a preemptive counteraction, above all other possible actions. The case for debilitation to the point of getting Angel possibly staked is also really poor......let's consider the affects of a shotgun blast vs the multiple hits from machine guns that Angel has taken, and kept on trucking through to subdue a bad guy 😋

It's about his options, and the one that he chose
 

WillowFromBuffy

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It makes as much sense as blaming Buffy for trapping Mrs Madison in the statue. Buffy may have put up the mirror, but it was Madison who cast the spell.

Angel only sustains a single hit in that fight. He avoids getting his and uses the soldiers as human shields, because he knows that if he takes too many hits, he will fall and then they will stake him with their wooden knives. In the episode "Angel", Angel is out of most of the fight between Buffy and Darla after taking only a few hits from a pistol. In Underneath, Angel and Spike both flee from gunfire. Spike sustains a few hits to his shoulders, but he knows that if he attacked head on, he would eventually go down.
 
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SpikeRocks
I think Angel takes like 6 machine gun hits, and runs through them (I'm sure impaired, but not impaired enough) to subdue to Underneath wife. The Witch incident was not Buffy's intention/nor did she ever know (right?), donno how that would compare

DeadlyDuo

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Angel returning to the Whirlwind is a time of weakness, but he does so because he's lost and confused and trying to escape himself. And, as Darla points out, he only kills evil doers.
Also Angel was trying to hide the fact he had a soul from Spike and Dru. His reaction to the news that Spike killed a slayer and the fact he chose to distract Dru from the alley where he'd left the missionary family when she could "smell fear" as well as keeping Darla from investigating what was in the alley is what clued Darla in that Angel still had his soul. His earlier kills probably put her off the scent for a while because she just saw him killing but when she thought about it and realised his only victims were murderers and rapists, she knew he wasn't back to his old self.

She set him a test with the baby to prove himself but he couldn't do it and saved the child instead. He tried to be what he used to be but couldn't and so he had to develop his own path.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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@SpikeRocks Well, then you think wrong. We clearly see bullets hitting everything else than Angel, except for a single shot from across the room. But while the soldiers are awful shots, they have stakes and holy water, so they are sure to kill him the moment he is down, which is why he deals with them so brutally.

Buffy kicked the mirror to protect herself and as a result Madison was hit by the spell she herself cast. It is exactly the same situation.
 

Puppet

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Honestly, my biggest issue with Angel as a character is when he thinks he knows better than everyone else and thus makes decisions for them, like with Buffy in I Will Remember You or the whole gang, at the end of S4. Their opinions deserve to be considered, and he doesn't even question for a moment (or seems to at least) whether someone else's opinion might be as or more valid than his own. I don't know if it's his age or his position as the leader in LA or something else that makes him think he knows better, but I'm irritated by the lack of consequences he's dealt when someone like Wesley doing the same thing gets punished by having his throat slit and all his friends abandon him.
 
S
SpikeRocks
This is a big one for me too.....falls into an ambiguous-but-mostly-WTF moral area for me....that unilateral decision making that affects others without their knowledge or consent

WillowFromBuffy

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Honestly, my biggest issue with Angel as a character is when he thinks he knows better than everyone else and thus makes decisions for them, like with Buffy in I Will Remember You or the whole gang, at the end of S4. Their opinions deserve to be considered, and he doesn't even question for a moment (or seems to at least) whether someone else's opinion might be as or more valid than his own. I don't know if it's his age or his position as the leader in LA or something else that makes him think he knows better, but I'm irritated by the lack of consequences he's dealt when someone like Wesley doing the same thing gets punished by having his throat slit and all his friends abandon him.
I agree. There are so many examples of this. Not showing himself to Buffy at Thanksgiving, harbouring Faith, firing the team in S2, abducting Linwood to open the seal, taking on the Black Thorn, leaving Buffy for her own good and then being jealous about Riley, etc.

It's like, on the one hand he is often really humble, saying he has to prove himself, but whenever things go wrong, he does whatever he feels like without asking anyone else.

He has a lot in common with Willow. He doesn't accept loss, acts by himself and likes to employ dangerous magic.
 

thrasherpix

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If I weren't about to leave I'd list a lot about him, from s1 Buffy to s5 Angel, but the "you've seen the last of my mercy" doesn't even rate as noteworthy to me, not in that case (neither does Buffy vs the Knights of the Byzantium, and I think the Knights were less evil, but just as much of a threat then and later, as those operatives that tried to kill Angel).

And wasn't it implied that many were killed rather than fired when Angel took charge? (They'd sing for Lorne and hoped they passed the test, or at least didn't fail so bad that they got to keep their heads.) Those weapons on the wall above his desk were probably more than a convenience, but a reminder to those seeing the boss.



Though while I'm here and haven't said it in a long while, I think it's twisted that Spike was attracted to Buffy in season 2 according to some, but it's okay because he merely tried to kill her brutally rather than dating her, and yet Angel is the bad guy while Spike is praiseworthy for sublimating his lust into blood lust. That's just not Earth logic to me. (This is not intended as a defense of Bangel.)
 

Priceless

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Though while I'm here and haven't said it in a long while, I think it's twisted that Spike was attracted to Buffy in season 2 according to some
Spike would think it twisted too. He thought it was twisted in season 4 when he realised he was in love with her. But in season 2 I don't see anything twisted in Spike liking the look of Buffy. She's beautiful, why wouldn't he think her attractive?
 
Puppet
Puppet
S5. He realized he loved her in S5 :P
thrasherpix
thrasherpix
Some describe it as much like love at first sight. I don't personally believe it (as Dru would surely react, and probably Angelus as well, and other reasons) but others do. Appreciating her looks is, of course, different.
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