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ciderdrinker
04-10-08, 11:43 AM
I have a friend who has watched all of BtVS and only about 3 or 4 episodes of Angel. She caught an AtS S4 episode the other day (I think it was "Release") and then phoned me up and asked "How did Wesely turn into a badass?"

A difficult question because there is no short answer to that. I mumbled something about Faith torturing him in S1 and how working with Angel had given him direction, but that she really needed to watch the whole series to understand.

So it got me thinking about what does happen to the characters that make them change throughout the seasons. If someone were to casually pick up Issue 1 of AtF, and wanted backstory on any of the characters what episodes would you direct them to to really show how much a character has changed from where they were when we first met them?

This could apply to any character throughout Jossverse, but for the moment I want to concentrate on Wesley (as that's what prompted me to think about it, and because he does have such an amazing journey). So what are the episodes that mark out transitions from bumbling watcher in S3 of Buffy to W&H ghost lackey in AtF?

This thread is basically to discuss Wesley's journey and to start the ball rolling here's my list of the milestone episodes for Wesley:-

Season 3 BtVS
Bad Girls - Wesley is introduced as Buffy's new watcher
Graduation Part 2 - Buffy "fires" him as her watcher
Season 1 AtS
Parting Gifts - Now a Rogue Demon Hunter he meets Angel again
Five by Five/Sanctuary - His ideals on how to save people are seriously challenged
To Shanshu in LA - Seriously injured by an explosion
Season 2 AtS
Guise Will Be Guise - Takes on Angel's persona to solve a case
Reunion - Angel fires the gang
Redefinition - Gets Cordy and Gunn together to carry on the mission and becomes their leader. Bonds with Gunn.
The Pylea mini-arc - Becomes stronger as a leader
Season 3 AtS
Loyalty/Sleep Tight - Gets bogged down in the bigger picture and steals Angel's son which ends up him having his throat cut and left for dead
Forgiven - Angel tries to kill him and he's outcast from the team
Tomorrow - Starts sleeping with Lilah
Season 4 AtS
Deep Down - Rescues Angel from the bottom of the sea
Spin The Bottle - Makes a move on Fred and fights with Gunn
Apocolypse Nowish - Is accepted back into the group
Soulless - Decapitates Lilah and gets Faith out of retirement (another fight with Gunn)
Home - Tries to burn Lilah's contract
Season 5 AtS
Lineage - Confronts his demons in the form of his father
A Hole In The World/Shells - Loses Fred and starts to bond with Illyria
Not Fade Away - Takes on Vail and is killed in the process

That takes us up to After The Fall, on which I'm reserving my judgement at the moment as to what events have/will affect Wesley's growth.

So is that it? Is that everything? Are there any other episodes that I haven't mentioned that factor in Wesley's character progression?

Bloodsucker
04-10-08, 01:33 PM
Where Virginia ditches him, but I don't think that's a factor that matters, compared to all the other events. :)
Or do you think the "loss" of Virginia causes him lasting disappointment? To me it seemed that he just swallowed it and went on with life, certainly disappointed but ot overly affected... but what was your impression?

Nina
04-10-08, 02:26 PM
I'm not sure, It's a while ago that I saw the episode. But when he got shot in season 2? It made him stronger and more sure of himself ... at least it was one of the many reasons.

ciderdrinker
04-10-08, 03:04 PM
Where Virginia ditches him, but I don't think that's a factor that matters, compared to all the other events. :)
Or do you think the "loss" of Virginia causes him lasting disappointment? To me it seemed that he just swallowed it and went on with life, certainly disappointed but ot overly affected... but what was your impression?

I don't think the relationship with Virginia has any real effect on him in the long run. It was important for him to move into a more independant capacity and she helped that along the way, but I think the events of Angel's "beige" period pushed that much further along than Virginia did.


But when he got shot in season 2? It made him stronger and more sure of himself ... at least it was one of the many reasons.

I considered this event, and I do think it did have a bearing on the person he was becoming from the Pylea arc onwards - the leader who can look at the big picture, but really I see that event as having more effect on Cordelia and Angel's character progressions than Wesley's.

I do think that when Wesley stood up to Angel and popped his sitches, it was important. However, whether or not he was shot he was still becoming the leader of the group. The standing up to Angel would've happened at some point anyway, so I feel it has less bearing on events than Angel firing him and him stepping in as the "boss".

One thing I didn't cover in my first post was the mindwipe and what happens when he gets his original memories back. I think that might be because it was never fully fleshed out in the show. We didn't see a lot of changes between early S5 Wesley with altered memories and late S5 Wesley with his original memories. The mindwipe should have had a huge impact, because those memories - kidnapping Connor and being excluded from the group because of it - were instrumental in shaping the man he was in S4. With the mindwipe intact early S5 Wesley should've been a very different person from the person he was in S4, and the return of those memories should've jolted him back to the "real" Wesley.

The same could be said of all of them though - how did they understand the events of S4 if Connor wasn't in their memories? But I digress, where that way leads, madness must surely follow!

sueworld
04-10-08, 03:22 PM
I personally find Wesley one of the most complex characters in the Buffyvsere. I see part of the route of Wesley's problems being a mixture of things.

He seemed a person who always looked up to authority figures (his father, the Watcher council, Angel) and seemed to seek approval from them in some way. Maybe in part to an underlying insecurity that always seemed at the core of his personality, strangely combined with a desire to show he was a good leader, which sadly turned out not always to be the case.

I also believe Wesley started the long slide into darkness when after his relationship with Fred came to a dead end, and when he decided to take the matters into his own hands and steal Connor. I don't think that even he was prepared for the aftermath of that one. The fact that Angel flew at him with such an incredible outburst of hatred really did immense damage to both his psyche and his relationship with not just Angel, but with others around him.

From that moment on his closed himself off from the others around him, only seeking some kind of 'solace' in a sexual relationship Lilah.

Right to the very of his Life I think Wesley was a man who was always holding onto his sanity by the fingernails.

His character went through enough trauma to send anyone over the edge a thousand times over. So Is it any wonder when Fred died he took to shooting folks through the kneecaps just for walking into his office.

'Mad, bad, and dangerous to know'. That was our Wes. :D

Nina
04-10-08, 04:09 PM
I think that Wesley had no self-esteem. His father was clearly a man who always complained about Wesley and punished Wesley for every mistake but never rewarded him for the good things.

Angelus, who knew that Wesley had no self-esteem, used that against him in 'Eternity' when he said;

"Well, good news, Wes, old boy! You don’t really have an inferiority complex. You’re just simply – inferior."

We saw Wesley become stronger in season 2; he became the leader, people did trust him and he found his place in a team. Nobody told him that he wasn't good enough and he was far enough to believe that Fred could like him instead of Gunn. I think that this was where healthy!Wesley found his waterloo. He couldn't get the girl and at the same time Angel and Cordelia became closer. He fell outside the group and stood alone.

But he had enough faith in himself to plan Connor's kidnap. When he lost everything after that mistake, Wesley decided to become a new person. He must have believed that he wasn't good enough and changed his persona.

I think that this was the moment where he really lost it, a person who changes himself this much because he hates himself, is ready for some good therapy.

ciderdrinker
04-10-08, 04:41 PM
He couldn't get the girl and at the same time Angel and Cordelia became closer. He fell outside the group and stood alone.

That's an interesting angle I had never considered - that the group were "coupling up" and he was left as the fifth wheel.

This explains his inclination to not go to the others for advice when he translated The Father Will Kill The Son prophecy - he literally thought he didn't have anyone to turn to. He was wrong, of course.

It also feeds into his inferiority complex, as Sue so rightly mentions. As a boy he was always undermined by his father and therefore had this hugely pressing need to prove himself. Without the others there to talk to (in his mind at least) he allowed himself to forget that there were other ways to read the prophecy.

Wesley also has a inflated sense of esteem at times as well though, he thought that he was the only person that could change things, see the bigger picture. He shows traces of this back in S3 BtVS when he turns Faith in to the Watcher's Council and becoming leader of the group in S2 must have again falsely elevated his status in his head so that he thought he could do no wrong. He realises his mistakes, after the failed kidnap but then thinks he is so worthless that he makes no effort to repair the damage, allowing himself to slide further into despair. He shares the inferiority/superiority complexes that Buffy does

By the time of S4's re-admittance to the group he has re-discovered his own self-worth through his relationship with Lilah - because it is she that forces him to choose a side. When he sees again how far Angel and the rest of the team are willing to go to fight evil (in the form of fighting the beast in Apocolypse Nowish) and how Lilah would just stand back and watch it happen, he finally finds his place again:-

Wesley: It’s over, Lilah.
Lilah: You’re serious.
Wesley: After what I saw last night, I believe a day of reckoning has arrived.
Lilah: And you just reckon you’ll toss in with the good guys?
Wesley: I’m choosing a side.
Lilah: And the girl of your dreams just happens to be on it. What are the odds?
Wesley: This isn’t about Fred. Or anyone else, for that matter. It’s about right and wrong.
Lilah: And you have such a clear grip on those concepts.
Wesley: I’ve made mistakes.

Wesley has come a long way from his self-doubting ways in the early seasons no doubt, but his complexes are still there. Eve mentions this very thing to Angel in Lineage:-

Eve: Is it? Or are you worried about the next time Wesley betrays you trying to do "the right thing"?

Angel doesn't trust Wes completely then and so in AtF I strongly believe that these problems of Wes's will be very important now that no-one's sure whether to trust him

sueworld
04-10-08, 04:53 PM
I think that this was the moment where he really lost it, a person who changes himself this much because he hates himself, is ready for some good therapy.

He hated himself and he resented the world in a way, because he realised in some senses he wasn't a part of it anymore. After the Connor incident he was pretty much a man in exile.

God I miss his character. :(

KingofCretins
04-10-08, 06:24 PM
Wes was getting progressively tougher from the time he showed up in LA.

The first step in his progression took place on Buffy, though, and it's not on your list. It's "Graduation, Part II" --


Wesley coming up behind her: "You haven't an enormous amount of time."
Xander: "Hey it's Mr. States-the-Obvious."
Buffy without turning around: "The council is not welcome here. I have no time for orders. If I need someone to scream like a woman I'll give you a call."
Wesley comes to stand next to her: "I'm not here for the council. Just tell me how I can help."

See, what shaped Wes into the "badass" aren't just a list of things that embarrassed him or went wrong for him. It's the experiences that toughened him, times he stood up instead of sitting down. This is the beginning for him.

He progresses steadily through "Angel", as well. His "nice moves" in "Eternity", him stepping in for Angel to protect Cordy in "Guise Will Be Guise", standing up to Angel in "Reprise".

sueworld
04-10-08, 06:57 PM
I'd say the above example was a but a tiny drop in the ocean compared to what really helped shape him into what he turned into by the end of his life. I feel what came later made the most impact and set him on his path to destruction.

Wesley was a dark/morose character who almost reveled in these feelings in some ways. Already by the end of season 3 he understood the power within him and used it in a very ruthless manner sometimes. Not many characters in the verse kept a 'slave girl' chained up in his bedroom....:roll:

ciderdrinker
04-10-08, 07:24 PM
See, what shaped Wes into the "badass" aren't just a list of things that embarrassed him or went wrong for him. It's the experiences that toughened him, times he stood up instead of sitting down. This is the beginning for him.

That's the whole point. Our character is created by our experiences both good and bad, the choices we make. We start off with a blank piece of paper and gradually fill that page with everything we learn on the journey of life. This thread is to discuss those experiences and how they shaped him. I just started off with a list to get the ball rolling - to give some examples of how I saw the "milestones" along the road


I'd say the above example was a but a tiny drop in the ocean compared to what really helped shape him into what he turned into by the end of his life.

Totally, that might have been the beginning of a change for him, but it's by no means the greatest choice/decision he made...

sueworld
04-10-08, 07:29 PM
Totally, that might have been the beginning of a change for him, but it's by no means the greatest choice/decision he made...

Oh lord yes. I still think that him deciding to take Connor was the biggest of his life effecting decisions. Once he did that his whole world turned upside down.

ciderdrinker
04-10-08, 07:53 PM
Oh lord yes. I still think that him deciding to take Connor was the biggest of his life effecting decisions. Once he did that his whole world turned upside down.

But wouldn't staying in LA to help Angel after Parting Gifts, instead of going off on his own have had more of an effect? If he hadn't stayed with Angel then the Connor thing would never have happened anyway. Chances are, what with everything he learned whilst with Angel, he may have been killed a lot earlier as a Rogue Demon Hunter.

Whatever, though, you're right that it was at least one of the most important decisions he ever made.

I'm interested in how you see the move to W&H affecting him? In my mind it affected him much less than it did any of the others. Angel, Gunn, Lorne and Fred were irrevocably changed just by working for W&H, whereas Wes (the death of Fred aside) didn't. In fact he seemed to fit in quicker and easier than any of the others and seemed to struggle less with the greyer aspects of it. Do you think that it was because he was already the most corrupted?

I never really saw Wes as being corrupted - just disillusioned and confused about how to fight evil. Even when he had Justine chained up, he did it to find and retrieve Angel. A plainly wrong way of going about things, but still for the greater good. As soon as he had Angel, he let her go (well left her chained to some railings but free nonetheless) and talked to her about always being a slave - a kind of pep talk if you like. The same thing applies to kidnapping Connor - he thought it was for the greater good.

Angel talks about going to W&H to change it from the inside, but never really believed it. Did Wes though? Did he really think they would achieve great things by going there, that it was for the greater good and consequentially made his peace with being there much more easily?

Nina
04-10-08, 08:19 PM
I'm interested in how you see the move to W&H affecting him? In my mind it affected him much less than it did any of the others. Angel, Gunn, Lorne and Fred were irrevocably changed just by working for W&H, whereas Wes (the death of Fred aside) didn't. In fact he seemed to fit in quicker and easier than any of the others and seemed to struggle less with the greyer aspects of it. Do you think that it was because he was already the most corrupted?

Wesley is raised that way, it doesn't matter how ... as long as you get there. I doubt that Wesley saw it as a quest to make W&H a better place, but he was interested in the power and knowledge they had and to use those for good. And I'm not sure, but there is chance that they saved much more people when they worked for W&H. I can see the other being more emotional about it while Wesley sees the facts and decides that his own morals don't matter if it saves more people.

ciderdrinker
05-10-08, 10:55 AM
Wesley is raised that way, it doesn't matter how ... as long as you get there. I doubt that Wesley saw it as a quest to make W&H a better place, but he was interested in the power and knowledge they had and to use those for good. And I'm not sure, but there is chance that they saved much more people when they worked for W&H. I can see the other being more emotional about it while Wesley sees the facts and decides that his own morals don't matter if it saves more people.

I think this is the crux of Wesley's problems. He thinks it doesn't matter how you get there as long as the end result is that more people are saved. And yes, I do think the AI team saved lots more people whilst at W&H than when they were running AI from the Hyperion, but at what price?

Both Angel and Wesley can make the hard decisions when needed to, which is why they were both leaders in their own right. But Angel is tormented everyday by the death of ordinary, little people by his own hands, and therefore he realises that sometimes the price is too high. The risk outweighs the reward, if you like. Wesley doesn't have that guilt and that makes him far more ruthless - like a president of a country sending men to war, rather than a general who can see the effects on his soldiers. Wesley is more detached from it than Angel.

Like Sue said a few posts up, Wes does seem to have a loose grip on sanity. At first, as a watcher, he is overcompensating and trying to be so good -covering his insecurity of being in charge by bossing his slayers around and acting as if he knows everything. Working with Angel gives him confidence to trust his decisions, and so he relaxes. When his confidence is totally broken down in S3 with the loss of Fred, the kidnap of Connor, his near-death and exclusion from the people who gave him confidence he slides to the other end of the scale and ends up sleeping with Lilah, chaining girls up in a closet and stabbing druggies in the shoulder to get information - he can't find a balance.

It must be hard for him to keep up the appearance of being "right" all the time when you're plagued with self doubt and loathing, and a natural extension of that would be to take a step back and view things from afar.

I believe Wes' weaknesses are because he has no internal "plane autopilot". A plane autopilot doesn't make the plane fly in a straight line to it's destination, it just constantly corrects the plane when it goes off course, forces it back to the right direction. The autopilot in Wes' life are the people who force him back to the path of good - Angel in S1, Cordelia and Gunn in S2, Fred in early S3, Lilah in S4 and then the death of Fred/dealing with Illyria in S5. In my mind the only time that Wes is actually in "control" of his own destiny is between finishing with Lilah in S4 and Fred dying in S5 - he seems at his most confident and sane at this time

vampmogs
05-10-08, 11:45 AM
I think Wes is a loose canon to be honest, he's a hair fibre away from loosing it completely. I thought it was pretty interesting that the writers state in the commentary for 'Not Fade Away' they included Wes saying "Since I don't intend to die tonight" intentionally, as they thought most fans would think he'd be happy to die. That's scary, but ultimately the impression you get from the guy.

Wes is one of those guys were I think he'd have been better of sticking as the funny "idiot" at times. As he progressed into a more serious, strong character he also regressed mentally. He’s a strange guy because in my opinion, he’s had a hard laugh but not so disastrous that it blows other characters lives out of the water. I mean Buffy, Cordy, Xander, Angel, they’ve all had very hard lives but it seems to have effected Wes much worse.

I think to compare him to Angel, Angel has a strong sense of character whereas Wes doesn’t. Giles talks about how anyone suffering a hundred year of agonising torment would need an amazing strength to regain any semblance of self, but Angel did. If Wes had been in the same situation, I think he would have crumbled. I don’t blame the guy, I mean as Giles states you have to be exceptional, but my point is that Wes cracks under the pressure, it’s screwed him up.

In my honest opinion he’s the most dangerous “good guy” character in the series. He’ll shoot a guy in the kneecap, calmly stab one of his best friends in the gut, take someone’s child from them if he feels he needs to ect.

sueworld
05-10-08, 12:05 PM
but my point is that Wes cracks under the pressure, it’s screwed him up.


Or made him into one hell of an fascinating character. :D I don't think he regressed intellectually either. He seemed capable enough of working out that Angel had done something to their collective memories and how to rid Lindsy of his covering spell.


In my honest opinion he’s the most dangerous “good guy” character in the series. He’ll shoot a guy in the kneecap, calmly stab one of his best friends in the gut, take someone’s child from them if he feels he needs to ect.

And lord, that why I love him so. :D

vampmogs
05-10-08, 12:12 PM
Or made him into one hell of an fascinating character. :D I don't think he regressed intellectually either. He seemed capable enough of working out that Angel had done something to their collective memories and how to rid Lindsy of his covering spell.

I didn't say he wasn't interesting, he's very interesting, but really.. not right in the head.

I also didn't mean he's regressed "intellectually" in the sense that he's dumber now. What I meant be regressed "mentally" is that he's not as able to take things now, he's more mentally weak than he used to be.

sueworld
05-10-08, 12:15 PM
I agree. Mentally towards the end of his life he was emotionally 'blade running'. To me thats what made him one of the most fascinating as well as realistic characters in the entire Buffyverse.

His responses under such extreme circumstances were so real to me at least. He was a hero, but a very flawed one. Just how I like e'm. :D

bknick
05-10-08, 06:07 PM
I think to compare him to Angel, Angel has a strong sense of character whereas Wes doesn’t. Giles talks about how anyone suffering a hundred year of agonising torment would need an amazing strength to regain any semblance of self, but Angel did. If Wes had been in the same situation, I think he would have crumbled. I don’t blame the guy, I mean as Giles states you have to be exceptional, but my point is that Wes cracks under the pressure, it’s screwed him up.

In my honest opinion he’s the most dangerous “good guy” character in the series. He’ll shoot a guy in the kneecap, calmly stab one of his best friends in the gut, take someone’s child from them if he feels he needs to act.

I think it would be interesting to reverse Angel and Wesley's roles. Angel was not a very strong character, in fact (at least as he was first presented). In Becoming, we see that he becomes completely debilitated by his condition. It's not until someone comes along and helps him that he gets towards the true path, not until he can love a human girl. And this is over a hundred years! I'm not saying Angel wasn't damn strong, and probably a stronger character than Wes, but he didn't do it on his own. After Buffy kills him, and Angel comes back, it is for Buffy. He regains himself because of his love for Buffy. Replace Buffy with Fred, and I completely believe Wesley could have pulled himself back to reality as well.

With Wesley, he immerses himself into darkness and despair. He gets as close as he can to the bottom. And he comes back to the fold (albeit in a much more dangerous way) because he knows his purpose is for good. I'm not saying he's not dangerous, but I don't doubt his strength for a second. Misguided occasionally, yes, because he's a human, but definitely strong.

Nina
05-10-08, 06:56 PM
But there are more kinds of love; when Angel got himself back on track it was because Buffy believed in him. But Wesley found his way before Fred, because Wesley had friends who loved him. Angel and Cordelia were the people who believed in Wesley and loved him. After that both fell again, only Angel found a way to stand up again and be stronger than before, while Wesley didn't. Wesley isn't strong enough to face himself and find a way to love himself. I think that Wesley and Angel both started out as people who were self-loathing but Angel did end up fixing that, while Wesley hated himself and his life more and more.

It's interesting to look at both men. Angel's father destroyed Angel's self-esteem and the same did Roger to Wesley. Both men were friendless for the biggest part of their lives. When we met Angel, nobody cared if he was alive or waking up in the morning. The same happened to Wesley after BtVS.

Both men are very strong, but Wesley is mentally not strong while Angel is exceptional in that area. And I'm afraid that this is the reason why Angel becomes stronger every season and why Wesley is losing it.

assydingo
05-10-08, 11:40 PM
I think in time Wesley would have become the strongest of them all. He always had brains but when he started on Buffy he was weak in many ways. All he's went through make him stronger and stronger.

I really hate that he's dead even if he's still kinda alive.

Nina
06-10-08, 12:13 AM
I'm stuck with one question;

Did Wesley regress or progress as a person?

His journey was amazing, the acting and writing were better than any other journey on both shows. But as a person, did he became a better person?

LRae12
06-10-08, 12:48 AM
I
This thread is basically to discuss Wesley's journey and to start the ball rolling here's my list of the milestone episodes for Wesley:-

Season 3 BtVS
Bad Girls - Wesley is introduced as Buffy's new watcher
Graduation Part 2 - Buffy "fires" him as her watcher
Season 1 AtS
Parting Gifts - Now a Rogue Demon Hunter he meets Angel again
Five by Five/Sanctuary - His ideals on how to save people are seriously challenged
To Shanshu in LA - Seriously injured by an explosion
Season 2 AtS
Guise Will Be Guise - Takes on Angel's persona to solve a case
Reunion - Angel fires the gang
Redefinition - Gets Cordy and Gunn together to carry on the mission and becomes their leader. Bonds with Gunn.
The Pylea mini-arc - Becomes stronger as a leader
Season 3 AtS
Loyalty/Sleep Tight - Gets bogged down in the bigger picture and steals Angel's son which ends up him having his throat cut and left for dead
Forgiven - Angel tries to kill him and he's outcast from the team
Tomorrow - Starts sleeping with Lilah
Season 4 AtS
Deep Down - Rescues Angel from the bottom of the sea
Spin The Bottle - Makes a move on Fred and fights with Gunn
Apocolypse Nowish - Is accepted back into the group
Soulless - Decapitates Lilah and gets Faith out of retirement (another fight with Gunn)
Home - Tries to burn Lilah's contract
Season 5 AtS
Lineage - Confronts his demons in the form of his father
A Hole In The World/Shells - Loses Fred and starts to bond with Illyria
Not Fade Away - Takes on Vail and is killed in the process

That takes us up to After The Fall, on which I'm reserving my judgement at the moment as to what events have/will affect Wesley's growth.

So is that it? Is that everything? Are there any other episodes that I haven't mentioned that factor in Wesley's character progression?


I think that's a pretty good list, but there are a few episode that I would add:

First, in S2 I would add Billy because I think it's a great performance and gives us insight and even a bit of foreshadowing to the kind of man that lies beneath the surface of Wesley. Also, The Thin Dead Line where he gets shot, because without that episode an outsider watching wouldn't understand a peice of Wesley's history.

In season 3 there are a couple of episodes that I would add....first I would add Fredless because Fred is such an integral part to Wesley's character development, and that episode IMO is the beginning of the Fresley ship.

Secondly, I would add Waiting in the Wings, because again it's another step in the Fresley ship.

Thirdly, I would add The Price, because it shows us a glimpse of how Wes is living in such a state of isolation, but is willing to help the gang only for Fred.

I think you summed up the major Wesley points in Season 4.

In season 5 I agree with all of those episodes, but you left out the major episode of Origin, in which Wes finally gets his memories back and the character really comes full circle.

assydingo
06-10-08, 01:04 AM
I'm stuck with one question;

Did Wesley regress or progress as a person?

His journey was amazing, the acting and writing were better than any other journey on both shows. But as a person, did he became a better person?

I don't feel he became better or worse. He just went through several dark experiences so now he realizes life isn't as simple as black and white. He's also came to terms with the fact that he's human and can't be perfect.

vampmogs
06-10-08, 02:46 AM
I don't feel he became better or worse. He just went through several dark experiences so now he realizes life isn't as simple as black and white. He's also came to terms with the fact that he's human and can't be perfect.

Whilst it is true humans can't be perfect, Wes' imperfection went to a whole other level than most of the people around him though.

I think it’s a fair question to ask wether he grew or regressed. In my opinion he’s probably regressed a little as he grew, in a very odd way. He’s more useful to the cause now but he’s also a very unhappy and unstable guy so he was probably stronger in that regard, earlier on.

I wonder what Angel thinks? We know from 'Deep Down' that in many ways he considers the old Wes to be his friend, the happier version, the one in his vision of a perfect family gathering. I wonder if he still believes that to be the case now?

LaJaula
06-10-08, 05:06 AM
you left out the major episode of Origin, in which Wes finally gets his memories back and the character really comes full circle.

Oooh, yes, Lineage shows Wesley's character very well. This is one of the most interesting episodes to me, because you see how Wesley reacts to trusting Angel even after the mindwipe. And-- he doesn't. He needs to take matters into his own hands, and in the end no matter how much he cares for Angel, he can't trust him to do the right thing. The echoes of Loyalty and Sleep Tight here are amazing. On the other hand, it's a role-reversal for Angel and Wesley, because now it is Angel who has supposedly killed the person Wesley loves. Furthermore, we also get to see how Wesley reacts to the fact that his memories were erased, and while I do feel that this could have been explored more, we do get to see that he accepts what Angel has done and more or less agrees with it. As LRae said, it's Wesley coming full circle.

kana
06-10-08, 08:59 AM
I wouldn't say that Wesley necessarily regressed, merely that certain elements of of his character progressed while other elements remained the same or didn't catach up.

It reminds me a little of Willow (no surprise we have parallel in Orpheus.).One of the reasons why she descended into darkness was because her progression with witchcraft moved faster than her personal development.

I think Wesley wasn't emotionally ready for some of the changes he went through, almost like he grew too fast, too soon.

This is why I'm reluctant to say that Wesley was necessarily weak mentally. It's certainly not a phrase I'd use. The way I see it is that while he is certainly more complex than some of the other characters, his journey is steeped in moral ambiguity just like the others.

I mean Angel has progressed in some ways but he too has hit highs and lows. Angel went from being lucid as he was in Epiphany or in Deep Down to being virtually nihilistic in Season 5. There will always be peaks and troughs.

I also don't agree that Wesley necessarily came full circle when he got his memories back. It pushes forward. The new Wes is a result of both memories. He isn't who he was before and he isn't what he would have been if the new memories hadn't been created. He struggles further with his existential crisis. For someone who wont accept a lie, he was willing to see the purpose of them.

ciderdrinker
06-10-08, 11:46 AM
I'm stuck with one question;

Did Wesley regress or progress as a person?

His journey was amazing, the acting and writing were better than any other journey on both shows. But as a person, did he became a better person?

I don't really believe that a person regressess. Thir character changes and moves to new places but they never go back to a previous state. We never see Wes as the bumbling watcher again (with the exception of Spin The Bottle, but that was magic that caused it). Each event makes an impression and leads Wes a bit further on his journey of life, but he never goes back to what he was previously.


I think that's a pretty good list, but there are a few episode that I would add:

First, in S2 I would add Billy because I think it's a great performance and gives us insight and even a bit of foreshadowing to the kind of man that lies beneath the surface of Wesley. Also, The Thin Dead Line where he gets shot, because without that episode an outsider watching wouldn't understand a peice of Wesley's history.

I see what you're saying with Billy - that it shows what Wes is capable further down the line, but like Spin The Bottle, it's not indicative of where Wes was at that time - it's is foreshadowing but not a milestone that effected him and changes his persona.

With regards to The Thin Dead Line, again I don't think that Wes getting shot was as big a moment for him as it was for Angel and Cordelia. It didn't affect him in the long-run, because throughout that period he was supported by Cordy and Gunn - unlike his second near-death experience of getting his throat cut, where he was left to deal with it on his own and that causing him to spiral down into darkness.


In season 3 there are a couple of episodes that I would add....first I would add Fredless because Fred is such an integral part to Wesley's character development, and that episode IMO is the beginning of the Fresley ship.

I don't agree that this is the start of the Fresley ship, that happens later on after Connor is born. This episode is all about Fred and has very little exposition on Wes - except that small moment where he talks about his father


Secondly, I would add Waiting in the Wings, because again it's another step in the Fresley ship.

Thirdly, I would add The Price, because it shows us a glimpse of how Wes is living in such a state of isolation, but is willing to help the gang only for Fred.

I agree that these eps are major points in Wes's progression, for the reasons you've stated.


In season 5 I agree with all of those episodes, but you left out the major episode of Origin, in which Wes finally gets his memories back and the character really comes full circle.

Again, I think you're right there. I'm on a re-watch of S5 and haven't got that far yet (just watched Lineage last night) so I just forgot about which episode it was that he got his memories back.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean as Wes "comes full circle"? Could you care to explain it a bit more?


I wouldn't say that Wesley necessarily regressed, merely that certain elements of of his character progressed while other elements remained the same or didn't catach up.

Put more elegantly than I did but yes that's exactly what I meant ^^


It reminds me a little of Willow (no surprise we have parallel in Orpheus.).One of the reasons why she descended into darkness was because her progression with witchcraft moved faster than her personal development.

Hmm? I never noticed such similarities, as I always saw Willow's descent into darkness as a power-grabbing, attention-seeking thing rather than Wes' struggle to find his true persona. Willow is definite the subject of the next thread on character progression!

doubleshiny
06-10-08, 12:42 PM
Thinking back to Wesley when he was in Buffy, he gave off that air of being too intelligent too soon, like those child prodigies who can calculate pi to 4,000 decimal places but can't hold a conversation with a girl without wetting themselves.

I think a lot of the personality change was surface level, almost an act, and that truly he didn't catch up emotionally until quite late in the series.

buffyholic
06-10-08, 02:00 PM
Wesley had a lot of insecurities. He was smart, he had the ability to become a leader but he didn´t trust himself to overcome those insecurities and what happened in S3 changed him forever. He was insecure and he had a notion of a black and white world, and S3 changed him forever. Those notions were the base for his whole life and when that happened, his whole life just fell apart and he wasn´t strong enough to overcome that, so he slowly was slipping into hell, losing his mind.

kana
06-10-08, 06:57 PM
Hmm? I never noticed such similarities, as I always saw Willow's descent into darkness as a power-grabbing, attention-seeking thing rather than Wes' struggle to find his true persona. Willow is definite the subject of the next thread on character progression!

I was thinking simply in terms of darkness. Of course, the differences that you stated definitely stand, although, they both have something in common in terms of insecurity and arrogance (Wesley much less so).

In any respect the main point is that they went through a hell of a lot, almost too fast, there were still parts of the personality that had yet to catch up. Wes went through a life time of grief in just a short few years and he wasn't emotinally ready for that even if he hardened to a degree.

Willow became too powerful, too quickly and she wasn't ready to deal with both the power and the consequences.

sueworld
08-10-08, 07:57 PM
Just been re-watching season 5 again, and I'd completely forgotten about Wesley having to kill his own 'father'. I feel that was yet just another example of an event pushing him even further towards dark despair.

That whole scene is just superb, with the huge shock he'd suffered being so graphically depicted by him throwing up straight after the event.

Then if that wasn't bad enough the agony is piled on with Fred ongoing show of affection to Knox and that phone call to his real father not going how he hoped it would do.

Poor, poor Wesley. :(

buffyholic
09-10-08, 12:36 PM
Great parallel to Willow. She also descended fast into darkness but I feel that Willow is someone who is strong enough to overcome it, in S7 she was struggling to find her place in the world again and she made it, while with Wesley, difficult decisions and tragedies kept happening and he kept making hard decisions. The problem is that I think he didn´t overcome it. He emerged himself into that path of destruction and not pick himself up from that.

Nina
09-10-08, 03:22 PM
I saw Willow more like Gunn, good people who were unsure about themselves. So they wanted to be important and were corrupted. Willow by magic and Gunn by knowledge.

ilovewesley
09-10-08, 03:36 PM
Alot of what Wes did in the beginning was to impress his father, then he want on to try to impress Cordy and Angel, the Connor incident pushed all the buttons of an abused child who never learned to trust others, picture a five year old Wesley locked in a closet crying for a mum who never comes to let him out, why was it so easy for Wesley to believe that the father will kill the son, because his own parents abused,neglected and distorted his ability to relate to others, but not the need, never the need. Later Fred becomes his muse, his ideal, if he can impress and win her he will become someone worthy of love. Poor Wes, he needed to understand that true love is unconditional, that if someone loves you they will forgive you when you screw up. He found a corrupted version of that in Lilah, and the only person who really came to love him unconditionally as a person worthy of love, was Angel who forgave him the stealing of Connor. Why would Angel find it possible to forgive him for that act-because he knew that right or wrong Wes did it to protect him and Conner, out of his love for them. Love is a terrible thing-for Wes, the abused emotionally stunted and desperately need person that he is.

buffyholic
10-10-08, 01:46 PM
It would have been easier for Wesley if he had tried to repair his mistakes right away, suffer the consequences yes, but he could have talked things over. Insteadm he let himself submerge into guilt and self-pity. Also, the whole Fred issue earlier, in "Waiting in the Wings", where she chose Gunn, was another blow for Wesley.

Amazing comparison to Gunn, also. Gunn is a person that I sense he´s very insecure, he doesn´t like the group just labeling him as the "muscle" and that´s why in S5 he gets corrupted.

ilovewesley
11-10-08, 02:52 AM
At first Wesley couldn't speak literally, because of the throat wound, then Fred told him if he showed up at the hotel Angel would kill him. Maybe if Cordelia had gone to him there could have been reconciliation, since she was friends with Angel and Wesley both.
The loss of a child though, can be unforgiveable, even if the other person has the best of intentions. When the show aired it almost reminded me of real life incidents where one parent will literally kidnap the child from the other parent to prevent abuse.The time for Wesley to share should have been before he stole Connor not after. Then it was too late. I believe that because Wesley was an abused child he filtered the whole scenario through his distorted view of parental love. Later he did go to Angel when Connor was in danger, when Connor was trapped in Wolfram and Hart he went back and got Angel and the others. So he did progress and make some reparation for past actions.

buffyholic
13-10-08, 12:20 PM
One thing I can´t forgive him is the fact that he went to Holtz for help. Instead of speaking openly with the gang, he went to Holtz, whom he knew was out for revenge. For me, that´s even worse that the whole kidnapping story.