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Morally Wrong/Ambiguous Angel

RachM

I'm busy. I'm brooding.
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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.
While I do agree that Angel has a bad habit of making unilateral decisions, I don't think the two exmaples you've listed are comparable to what Wesley did in Season 3. In IWRY, Angel makes a decision about his own body and his own destiny and the only negative effect is that he can't be with Buffy. No one else is affected, no other lives are altered. When he agreed to W&H giving Connor a new life, he was literally saving his son's life and ended up making said life better. I don't agree with him allowing W&H to alter his friends' memories without their consent, that was a huge violation but, again, no one's life was really altered or affected for the worse.

Meanwhile, Wesley made a decision to hide a prophecy from his entire team out of pure hubris. He met with Angel's enemy in secret. He betrayed Angel and Connor by kidnapping Connor, leading directly to Holtz kidnapping Connor, tearing Connor away from his father and putting Angel through the torment of losing his son. He was at least partially responsible for Connor's traumatic upbringing in a Hell demension. And he never apologises or admits fault. His actions ruined Connor's life, caused Connor and Angel irreparable pain and trauma and altered that relationship forever. So yeah, not really on the same page as what Angel did.
 
Puppet
Puppet
I wasn't trying to make Wesley's actions less severe, or compare them to Angel's, just showing that one gets consequences and another doesn't.

SpikeRocks

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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.
Wrong, sorry, bullets hit everything else as they dive for cover. Then while everyone else is running/escaping, Angel charges directly at her and there's at least 6 machine gun blasts while she's aiming directly at him. And she's not missing the vampire charging at her from a few meters away. They land.

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.
Again, not comparable. Buffy's acting to protect her life (Angel's life was not in danger), Buffy has no intention to kill (Angel does), and Buffy is fighting the supernatural (Angel isn't)

Thanks for playing, though lol ;)
 
WillowFromBuffy
WillowFromBuffy
Ah, I didn't realise you were talking of Underneath. But even then he makes sure not to get hit too many times. A shotgun could blow a hole through his body, so that's a different kind of issue, even if he doesn't have any vital organs.

WillowFromBuffy

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In IWRY, Angel's instance on keeping Buffy out of every decision he makes seems almost manic. He tells Cordelia not to tell Buffy where he has gone, just to be absolutely sure that she doesn't run in to save him from the demon he has absolutely no chance of beating on his own as a human. Like, what's even up with him that episode?

And turning back time is a big deal. Think about all the people who won money that day. But the biggest issue is that instead of sharing his concerns with the woman he has agreed to share his life with, he runs straight to those shifty Oracles, who I suspect are being just as manipulative as Skip in "Birthday".

Like, how can they start a life together, if he is going to keep all his worries to himself, do everything alone and make every decision without her knowledge?

Wesley also has a tendency to take action on his own, though her are certain times, such as "Graduation" and "Sanctuary", where he swallows his pride and follows his head rather than his knee jerk reaction. The reason he never apologies for taking Connor may have something to do with being mute, ostracised and once he and Angel are speaking again, Angel has wiped his memory.

Are we ever given an explanation for why Angel wipes the memory of his team? It seems completely unnecessary to me, and it must really have messed up Wesley, as he no longer knows why his life took such a turn and why he was temporarily kicked out of the group.
 

SpikeRocks

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I don't think the two exmaples you've listed are comparable to what Wesley did in Season 3
This isn't necessarily directed at you, @RachM , but I'm fairly new to these boards and I'm noticing when I open discussions wanting to delve into and discuss/consider one character or one relationship, particularly darker/less shiny aspects of them (because that's what's often most interesting/worthy of discussion to me), a lot of people go the route of side-stepping/comparing against other characters/ships......which doesn't so much provide a commentary on the person in question and the topic of discussion, as it does divert attention away from the person being discussed. Is this because it's a loved character and people aren't comfortable discussing their worse/questionable layers and feel the need to defend and divert?

It's been confusing for me, because my brain doesn't work that way.....if the intention of the topic IS to compare and weigh against other characters/ships, then I do, but if I'm asked to consider one character/ship because we're trying to understand them better/appreciate/critique, then I just hone-in on them. Other characters's actions/choices and ships aren't going to enlighten me on them.

Just sort of an open question to everyone....because I've often gotten the sense there's more push-back to discuss the actual topic than there is willingness to discuss the actual topic, and I'm wondering where that comes from (unless I just make extremely uninteresting discussion topics lol, which is probable 😋)....am I making sense lol?
 
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RachM

I'm busy. I'm brooding.
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This isn't necessarily directed at you, @RachM , but I'm fairly new to these boards and I'm noticing when I open discussions wanting to delve into and discuss/consider one character or one relationship, particularly darker/less shiny aspects of them (because that's what's often most interesting/worthy of discussion to me), a lot of people go the route of side-stepping/comparing against other characters/ships......which doesn't so much provide a commentary on the person in question and the topic of discussion, as it does divert attention away from the person being discussed. Is this because it's a loved character and people aren't comfortable discussing their worse layers and feel the need to defend and divert?
I responded to a point that someone else made because I felt contrary to their argument and wanted to express it. I wasn't trying to "side-step" around the original topic or around Angel as a character. I merely responded an argument another user posed which I disagreed with. That happens a lot on Forums. OP might post about one topic and that that topic segues into another, into another etc. Usually if it gets too off topic, the Mods are very good about steering it back to the original post.

I also feel like it was kind of directed at me, given that you used my quote as your example.
 
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SpikeRocks
Yeah, as an EXAMPLE, for an open question to everyone

RachM

I'm busy. I'm brooding.
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SpikeRocks Yeah, as an EXAMPLE, for an open question to everyone

Yeah, and you could have used anyone else's quote as an EXAMPLE. You chose mine and then said "it's not directed at you" when it clearly partially was.

EDIT

@SpikeRocks Sorry. I'm in a mood. Shouldn't post when I'm like this. I took it too personally. Apologies.
 
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SpikeRocks
You're taking offense to something I put no intention behind. I grabbed the quote as I scrolled down the page. I'll be more sensitive to you in the future ;)

SpikeRocks

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But the biggest issue is that instead of sharing his concerns with the woman he has agreed to share his life with, he runs straight to those shifty Oracles,
Like, how can they start a life together, if he is going to keep all his worries to himself, do everything alone and make every decision without her knowledge?
This is my same issue, which I guess falls more into a "shitty partner moment" area than a "morally wrong/ambiguous" area. Time was literally turned back, so people's minds weren't messed with/violated, and everyone in the world other than Buffy will repeat the same day's experiences as before. Then again, I feel like it does cross a huge ethical or moral line depriving Buffy-of-the-original-timeline of her choice in the matter. Since alternate-timeline-Buffy is blissfully ignorant of what's been taken from her, are we supposed to be ok with Angel's actions, and feel for his sacrifice more?
 
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WillowFromBuffy

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Comparisons are useful, because nothing has meaning in isolation. You can't describe the colour blue to a blind person, because they don't know what yellow and red are. In order to understand what a morally wrong person is like, you also need to decide what a morally righteous person is.
This is my same issue, which I guess falls more into a "shitty partner moment" area than a "morally wrong/ambiguous" area. Time was literally turned back, so people's minds weren't messed with/violated, and everyone in the world other than Buffy will repeat the same day's experiences as before. Then again, I feel like it does cross a huge ethical or moral line depriving Buffy-of-the-original-timeline of her choice in the matter. Since alternate-timeline is blissfully ignorant of what's been taken from her, are we supposed to be ok with Angel's actions?
Well, I think that being a good partner is a moral good. Relationships certainly shouldn't be divorced from morals.

I think robbing someone of their past is a huge deal. Maybe it could be justified in this instance, if you trust those Oracles, but the thing is that Angel decides to be secretive at every turn in this episode.

And he uses their fight this episode against Buffy in "Sanctuary", which I think is really insincere. He has knowledge about Buffy that she doesn't know that she has, and he is using it to his advantage, so that he can win a shouting match.
 

SpikeRocks

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He has knowledge about Buffy that she doesn't know that she has
Wow, that is a detail I've never considered......intimate knowledge of her that she has no idea he has. Oy vey, that's all kinds of wrong

Angel seems to need (or gives himself) a level of control and authority over others/others' agency that crosses huge moral lines.....I feel like this is consistent for him without his soul, as well (of course the amoral thing, but I mean the control thing). Maybe because, as Liam, he felt a lack of agency and control over his own life? And perhaps also because Liam, too, seemed to forced his will on others, what with the "manipulative" ("His lies sounds pretty when the stars are out...") aspect of his womanizing.
 
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RachM

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Puppet I wasn't trying to make Wesley's actions less severe, or compare them to Angel's, just showing that one gets consequences and another doesn't.

I mean, he loses the chance at a human life with Buffy and also loses his son. I'd say those are pretty big consequences. And, again, Wesley's actions had far worse consequences for the people involved and so his consequences should match those.

I do think there should have been more comeuppance for Angel allowing W&H to tamper with his friends memories (I mean, do Gunn and Lorn even find out what he did?). Wesley is a little too accepting of Angel's actions, although I guess he's weighing his own sins against Angel's and understands Angel's motives.

And he uses their fight this episode against Buffy in "Sanctuary", which I think is really insincere. He has knowledge about Buffy that she doesn't know that she has, and he is using it to his advantage, so that he can win a shouting match.
What? Are you talking about this line:

"That was your idea, remember? We stay away from each other."

How is that "using knowledge he has that Buffy doesn't know about"? He's referencing something she said both before and after the Day That Never Happened. There's no extra "knowledge" about her being used. If the Mohra demon had never attacked the first time and he had never been human and Buffy had just left, she still would have said those words. Also what "knowledge" about Buffy could he have possibly got in one day that he could use against her? She wouldn't have said anything on that one day that she hadn't said to him previously.

He blurted out her words in the heat of the moment, not to "win a shouting match" but because he was upset. He even recognises that he was wrong to yell at her and goes to Sunnydale to apologise.
 
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SpikeRocks
I always liked Angel expressing himself there and blowing up a bit. They were valid feelings, I thought it was nice for him. I think it rubs people wrong to see Buffy yelled at though, I guess.

WillowFromBuffy

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What? Are you talking about this line:

"That was your idea, remember? We stay away from each other."

How is that "using knowledge he has that Buffy doesn't know about"? He's referencing something she said both before and after the Day That Never Happened. There's no extra "knowledge" about her being used. If the Mohra demon had never attacked the first time and he had never been human and Buffy had just left, she still would have said those words. Also what "knowledge" about Buffy could he have possibly got in one day that he could use against her? She wouldn't have said anything on that one day that she hadn't said to him previously.

He blurted out her words in the heat of the moment, not to "win a shouting match" but because he was upset. He even recognises that he was wrong to yell at her and goes to Sunnydale to apologise.
There are really two reasons that was a quite awful thing to say. Firstly, Angel should realise that Buffy has cause to be angry with him at the start of IWRY. First, he dumps her, then he comes back to spy on her.

But the biggest issue is that Angel knows how things originally played out. They make up and decide to get back together. Angel knows that she didn't say what she did out of malice, but because his actions were hurtful to her. She confesses to him that she has never felt so content as in that day he takes away.

Knowing this, I do indeed think it is pretty scummy and disingenuous to weaponize this encounter.

Being the only one to remember this, Angel has knowledge of Buffy that Buffy lacks. Keeping it to himself is one thing. Exploiting it to win an argument just makes it so much worse.
 
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RachM

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There are really two reasons that was a quite awful thing to say. Firstly, Angel should realise that Buffy has cause to be angry with him at the start of IWRY. First, he dumps her, then he comes back to spy on her.

But the biggest issue is that Angel knows how things originally played out. They make up and decide to get back together. Angel knows that she didn't say what she did out of malice, but because his actions were hurtful to her. She confesses to him that she has never felt so content as in that day he takes away.

Knowing this, I do indeed think it is pretty scummy and disingenuous to weaponize this encounter.

Being the only one to remember this, Angel has knowledge of Buffy that Buffy lacks. Keeping it to himself is one thing. Exploiting it to win an argument just makes it so much worse.
Oh my god, like Angel's some Big Machiavellian Villain just creeping around his basement, twirling his moustache and thinking to himself "Yessss, the next time Buffy comes to see me, I shall exploit words she said and weaponize them against her, mwhahahaha" while he rubs his hands together with glee.

I repeat, he blurted out something Buffy said in the heat of the moment. It was one thing he said in an argument that went on for a good five minutes and it certainly wasn't used to "win the argument". Of course he rationally knew that Buffy hadn't said that to hurt him. But he wasn't thinking rationally in the moment. He blurted out something he regretted and he recognised that he was wrong and went to apologise to Buffy in person.

I know you think that Angel is just The Worst for his actiosn in IWRY and that he ruined everyone's lives, but, jesus, this line of arguing is getting ridiculous. Are people not allowed to say stupid things in the heat of the moment that they regret? Is Angel not allowed to repeat something Buffy said regardless of what happened after becuase he's hurt and upset?
 
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WillowFromBuffy

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Oh my god, like Angel's some Big Machiavellian Villain just creeping around his basement, twirling his moustache and thinking to himself "Yessss, the next time Buffy comes to see me, I shall exploit words she said and use them against her, mwhahahaha" while he rubs his hands together with glee.

I repeat, he blurted out something Buffy said in the heat of the moment. It was one thing he said in an argument that went on for a good five minutes and it certainly wasn't used to "win the argument". Of course he rationally knew that Buffy hadn't said that to hurt him. But he wasn't thinking rationally in the moment. He blurted out something he regretted and he recognised that he was wrong and went to apologise to Buffy in person.

I know you think that Angel is just The Worst for his actiosn in IWRY and that he ruined everyone's lives, but, jesus, this line of arguing is getting ridiculous. Are people not allowed to say stupid things in the heat of the moment that they regret? Is Angel not allowed to repeat something Buffy said regardless of what happened after becuase he's hurt and upset?
I don't think Angel is The Worst (capital letters), because I am not Leopold Fitz, nor do I think this is the worst thing Angel does in this episode. The worst thing Angel does is going after the Mohra demon by himself and telling Cordelia to lie for him. Imagine if Buffy had found him five minutes later, impaled. Angel really took leave of his senses that day.

But there is a pattern here. That whole episode, Angel seems obsessed with secrecy and with doing things on his own, involving as few people as possible and keeping Buffy (whom he decides to share his life with) as far away from what's going on as possible.

And when it was pointed out that this secrecy thing is something Angel does often, it really struck me how all of Angel's worst decisions are done in secrecy, sometimes in situations where Angel's motivations for keeping secrets seem kinda unfathomable. Like, I asked earlier if the show ever explain why Angel wipes his team of the memory of Connor. I can't think of a good reason that would justify it. I can barely thing of a bad reason. It seems completely illogical. These are his people, and they need to know what has happened in their own lives.

But I don't think Angel is The Worst, as I just compared what I think are his worst actions to those of Willow, who I have been very outspoken about being my favourite character, so obviously I am quite forgiving and should probably be canonised.

As for Sanctuary specifically, Angel's self righteousness towards Buffy and everyone else is pretty spectacular. I mean, he can barely look his team in the eyes in the morning and seems determined to speak to them as little as possible, though this is one of the instances where I can understand why he is acting this way. In IWRY I can't. He is just insane that day. Everything he does is stupid and poorly thought out. He refuses to listen to advice from anyone other than those stupid Oracles. As I've said before, my theory is that Angel is being manipulated just like Skip manipulated Cordy, which is the only way to explain both Angel's stupidity and the plot convenience of everything that happens.
 

SpikeRocks

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Angel seems to need (or gives himself) a level of control and authority over others/others' agency that crosses huge moral lines.....I feel like this is consistent for him without his soul, as well (of course the amoral thing, but I mean the control thing). Maybe because, as Liam, he felt a lack of agency and control over his own life? And perhaps also because Liam, too, seemed to forced his will on others, what with the "manipulative" ("His lies sounds pretty when the stars are out...") aspect of his womanizing.
I'm quoting myself here to maybe get things away from arguing (prob won't work lol).....anybody else see this run-through for Angel's character and tie it to his human-self? I always interpreted this trait in his character, and other "weaknesses", as inherent parts of his humanity that he's worked to improve/move away from, and yet, things he still can't escape being, which is at odds with his new mission in life.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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Yes, I think you could say Angel is eternally looking to usurp his father, while Spike is yearning for his mother's love.

Like, they're both very Oedipal, but in different ways.
 
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