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Thread: Positives And Negatives - Season 5

  1. #81
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    Yes, I think we're going in circles. I'll just say that I don't think Wesley is really responsible for Fred's death and I don't think he needs self-awareness to feel responsible. Knox and Sparrow pre-meditated Fred's murder and pulled the strings to have Fred replaced with Illyria. Gunn brought in a clearly dangerous sarcophagus for selfish reasons and then, withheld information about her death. Actually by Wesley's standards, Wesley didn't even blame Angel for Fred's death once he understood the history. Wesley suspected Angel of killing Fred in Origin because there was evidence that Angel altered reality. However then, once he found out the history from the Window, he didn't blame Angel for making the executive decision to take them to W&H. That's why there's another plot in Power Play where the gang suspects Angel of having Fred killed as a ploy to join the Black Thorn because of Drogyn's testimony. With his correct memories, Wesley pleads for clemency for Angel if he mistakenly got Fred killed. So, if Wes isn't going to blame Angel for wiping their memories and making an executive decision to take Angel Investigations to W&H under the false argument that Angel believes he can reform W&H from the inside when Angel really only made this decision to build a Well Adjusted Connor (which is why *I* blame Angel in part), I don't see how Wesley would blame himself for following Angel's executive decision and deciding that he wanted to be part of AI even though it's now operating out of W&H. To say nothing of the fact that Wesley doesn't want to blame Fred for her own death. If Wesley blames himself for Fred's death because he continued to work for Angel even though Angel was relocating to W&H, Wesley would necessarily also be blaming Fred for her death as well.

    I also don't see any evidence that Angel would have told Wesley the truth after Connor's fight was over. Telling Wes the truth also means a damn sight less than restoring the memories that Angel stole. I don't even see why it matters. Angel had months to come clean and he continued not to come clean as Wesley confronted him. There's no reason to believe that Angel, after the threat passed, would cop to violating Wesley and his team just because Wesley knows that Connor is his son. Angel could still continue to a brick-wall of secret-keeping. Moreover, Wesley would be relying pretty much entirely on Angel's (lololol) integrity if he gave up this chance to break the Window. Wesley got a specific opportunity to surprise Veil/Angel and break the Window while it was out and about and unguarded because it was the subject of blackmail. He had a specific opportunity to gather Illyria's help and come in with greater strength than Angel because IMO Wesley believes that Illyria is only helping him as long as she finds him "amusing" which could pass at any moment. I don't believe that Wesley could count on such an element of surprise again whereby he could take the Window and I don't think he reckoned that Illyria could be counted on to help him in the future.

    To try to move on:

    Why We Fight

    Positive: I think Angel looks good in his tight black sweater on the sub. DB was looking overweight in a bunch of S5. However, there's something about the sweater or the angles while filming that creates quite the V-shape between his big shoulders and a relatively trim waist. Spike looks great with brown hair.

    Negative: This ep is boring and stupid. I don't buy this version of the Initiative which is relatively new but apparently sophisticated enough to know about Angelus and how he's cursed and can be relied on for their war effort. Lawson threatening to kill Gunn/Fred/Wes is devoid of any emotion or suspense. The submarine war plot is dry as a bone. There's nothing new or novel about Spike's dynamic with Angel in the flashbacks and it feels very contrived that Spike would wind up on the same sub where Angel was sent. The Prince of Lies and Spike's other side-kick vamp are lame. The vampiric mythology behind Lawson is bullshit and I actually agree with Priceless that he's a hum-drum redundant mirror to CEO of W&H!Angel and all of his contradiction/in-betweenness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    Dipstick I see Spike's reaction as completely organic in that it's a reflection of the whole gangs reactions at being at W&H. They were all bowled over by the added extras. Fred saw her lab and suddenly being here made sense. Gunn was given all that brain power and now he sees the good side of W&H. Angel himself only came there for the added extras of the mind wipe and keeping Connor safe. I think Spike's reactions fits neatly with the others in that they all know W&H are evil, this is the company that's tried to kill them many times over, but they're all taken in by it because of what it offers them personally.

    The only person who rails against W&H is Cordy, and that's because she's been in a coma and hasn't been offered anything substantial. I wonder if Eve offered her a gold credit card, a high end apartment, maybe a shot at a movie role, she'd be taken in too. That's how evil gets you.
    But do we see their actual reactions? By the time we see them the changes have been made - the world has been rewritten. Yes, the are saying it might be better than expected, but that could so easily bee a light suggestion. In fact, I'd be stunned if there was no push in that direction. Angel did not say he wanted each person to make a choice - he made the choice for them.

    I love Angel because there is some Angelus there. He is ruthless enough to restructure reality to make life easier for himself. Angel, of course believes he can do this without anyone being harmed. This is what Spike sees as soon as he arrives. And that what I mean by my oft repeated comment - they know each other. The humans pretty much see the souls/persona. The demons recognize each other here, too.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Priceless - people learn from their mistakes. Once Wesley's mind is wiped he no longer realizes what happened with Connor. Whatever progress he mad in trusting people over prophecies would be gone anyway. Gunn and Wesley are no longer at each other's throats. Fred and Gunn are no longer feeling bad about Seidel. As Fred said, she became a new person when her memories were changed.

    And he actually shouldn't have trusted Angel. That's the whole point - the dissonance between the old Angel and the new crew who no longer knew him.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Jeez Dipstick I've said nothing of the kind. We are talking about Wesley, not Angel. What Angel did was absolutely wrong! Horribly, disgustingly wrong! As I later say, I've made whole threads about this and how much I hate Angel for doing it. But this conversation is about Wesley, and I'm trying to keep it focused.
    It's about how Wesley should trust Angel in your opinion. I don't think you can decide a trust issue without looking at the situation.


    It's a 'bad thing' in that if reflects badly on Wesley's character. He says he trusts Angel, then when he thinks Angel has betrayed them and has played a part in Fred's death, he loses all trust in him. It's the hypocrisy that I don't like. It's also the blaming of Angel, the stabbing of Gunn, the killing of Knox, everyone is to blame except Wesley, which shows how little self awareness Wesley has. They are all culpable because they all joined W&H and allowed it to continue. Everyone of them had a part to play in what happened to Fred, but Wesley lacks even a modicum of self awareness to realise that. And that annoys me and makes me not like him.
    How is it hypocritical to lose trust in a person? Particularly if that loss of trust was because you should not have trusted them all along? Before he knew that Angel had signed a contract wiping all of their memories and creating a huge difference in the world Wesley trusted him.

    After he knew - not so much.



    Exactlty my point. Wesley is over emotional and highly strung, he rushed to Vails, doesn't believe what Angel tells him, which is the truth, and accuses him of being involved in Fred's death. He's irrational, which is probably understandable, but by now I've lost all compassion for Wesley so I'm just shaking my head, thinking here he goes, making another stupid mistake because he doesn't trust anyone. It's the Connor prophecy all over again, and it's the story of Wesley's life. Angel says 'just trust me' . . . if only he had, for a few more hours maybe, because Angel had already told him Connor was his son, Wesley wouldn't have let that go and Angel would have had to tell him the truth. But Wesley couldn't wait, and in the end what good did he do.
    What harm did he do? Without the Orlon Window being broken Connor would have lost the fight and Angel would have lost his son. in breaking the window Wesley saves them, and learn what he should have known all along.
    Bottom line is, even if you see them coming, you're not ready for the big moments...The big moments are gonna come, you can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are.

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    But do we see their actual reactions? By the time we see them the changes have been made - the world has been rewritten. Yes, the are saying it might be better than expected, but that could so easily bee a light suggestion. In fact, I'd be stunned if there was no push in that direction. Angel did not say he wanted each person to make a choice - he made the choice for them.
    I'm not sure Angel did make the decision for them. Didn't they all take a tour and then decide from that? Yeah the mind wipe would have had an effect of course, but they were all well aware that W&H were an evil law firm.

    Priceless - people learn from their mistakes. Once Wesley's mind is wiped he no longer realizes what happened with Connor. Whatever progress he mad in trusting people over prophecies would be gone anyway. Gunn and Wesley are no longer at each other's throats. Fred and Gunn are no longer feeling bad about Seidel. As Fred said, she became a new person when her memories were changed.
    But Wesley should still remember everything that happened with Faith. Not trusting Giles and calling the the Watcher's Council to deal with her, and what a disaster that was. He remembers Angel and Cordy taking him in, allowing him to join the team back in S1. He remembers all the times the three of them saved each other.

    We don't know what memories were wiped, but the way Wes and Gunn talk about Fred I think they all remember the earlier love triangle stuff that went on. It's only Darla coming back preganant and all the Connor stuff that was wiped, so all their other memories were still there, just altered in someway to edit out Connor, or that's how I imagine it.

    It's about how Wesley should trust Angel in your opinion. I don't think you can decide a trust issue without looking at the situation.
    It isn't really about wanting Wesley to trust Angel, it's about Wesley presenting himself as someone who trusts Angel and when that trust is tested, he fails. It's his lack of self-awareness, believing himself to be one type of person but constantly doing things that disprove that. It's that he has so little understanding of himself that really irks me. He's an intelligent man, and yet he has not concept of who Wesley really is. I don't know how else to explain it . . .

    Gunn knows exactly who he is, which is why he grabs at the chance to change himself when it's offered, because he knows he's the muscle, he knows his uses and his limitations and what sort of man he is. Wesley has never known who he was. He arrives in Sunnydale as the new Watcher, thinking he's special and clever and in charge, none of which he actually is. He goes to LA, presenting himself as a 'rogue demon hunter', which he really wasn't. He thinks he's a nice guy when it comes to women, but the way he treats Gunn and gets between him and Fred was just creepy to me and he comes off like an incel. He believes he knows better, he understands more, and ends up kidnapping his best friends child, because he doesn't know better or understand more. Every step of the way Wesley presents himself as, or believes himself to be, someone he is not.

    How is it hypocritical to lose trust in a person? Particularly if that loss of trust was because you should not have trusted them all along? Before he knew that Angel had signed a contract wiping all of their memories and creating a huge difference in the world Wesley trusted him.
    It's hypocritical when you present as someone who has full trust in Angel, and within hours you're accusing him of being involved in Fred's death. Once again Wesley presents himself to Illyria as someone who has complete trust in Angel being able to handle everything, but as soon as he sees evidence he's ready to turn against him. He doesn't question it, he doesn't say 'Angel is my friend, I'll talk to him, present my evidence, before I just off the deep end and start accusing him of killing Fred!' Nope, Wesley goes in all guns blazing in his usual fashion, the man who knows everything but understand nothing, and blows everything up.

    What harm did he do? Without the Orlon Window being broken Connor would have lost the fight and Angel would have lost his son. in breaking the window Wesley saves them, and learn what he should have known all along.
    You could be right here, but we'll never know, because we didn't see the fight play out any other way.

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    I'm not sure Angel did make the decision for them. Didn't they all take a tour and then decide from that? Yeah the mind wipe would have had an effect of course, but they were all well aware that W&H were an evil law firm.
    The sequence of events is that Angel saw what was happening on television. He told Lilah his price for signing on. He went and slit Connor's throat. At that point the spell took effect because it had to or Connor's dead body would have been left on the floor. Then Angel returned to W&H, came down the stairs and told everyone that he had signed them all up. But they have no memory of Connor, so their memories have already been altered. In the first episode Wesley mentions that he still has no idea what they are doing there.

    But Wesley should still remember everything that happened with Faith. Not trusting Giles and calling the the Watcher's Council to deal with her, and what a disaster that was. He remembers Angel and Cordy taking him in, allowing him to join the team back in S1. He remembers all the times the three of them saved each other.

    We don't know what memories were wiped, but the way Wes and Gunn talk about Fred I think they all remember the earlier love triangle stuff that went on. It's only Darla coming back preganant and all the Connor stuff that was wiped, so all their other memories were still there, just altered in someway to edit out Connor, or that's how I imagine it.
    No, the way Wes and Gunn talk at all would lead me to believe that the memories of any competition over Fred has been highly muted. There is no anger and very little competition between them. They cooperate, and they respect each other. They have changed radically from who they were before Jasmine arrived

    Wesley is clearly different from BTVS Wesley. He risks his life to protect Angel from his father - just like he risked his life to protect Angel and Faith in season 1. I'd say he was pretty much the same Wesley who returned from Pylea - early season 3 Wesley. Still open and hopeful about Shanshu for Angel - no edge of the razor mystique.

    How much of seasons 3 & 4 dealt with Connor? Wesley's entire arc in those last season consisted of consequences for the biggest mistake he ever made. That mistake was erased, and so was his growth as a human being.

    It isn't really about wanting Wesley to trust Angel, it's about Wesley presenting himself as someone who trusts Angel and when that trust is tested, he fails. It's his lack of self-awareness, believing himself to be one type of person but constantly doing things that disprove that. It's that he has so little understanding of himself that really irks me. He's an intelligent man, and yet he has not concept of who Wesley really is. I don't know how else to explain it . . .

    Gunn knows exactly who he is, which is why he grabs at the chance to change himself when it's offered, because he knows he's the muscle, he knows his uses and his limitations and what sort of man he is. Wesley has never known who he was. He arrives in Sunnydale as the new Watcher, thinking he's special and clever and in charge, none of which he actually is. He goes to LA, presenting himself as a 'rogue demon hunter', which he really wasn't. He thinks he's a nice guy when it comes to women, but the way he treats Gunn and gets between him and Fred was just creepy to me and he comes off like an incel. He believes he knows better, he understands more, and ends up kidnapping his best friends child, because he doesn't know better or understand more. Every step of the way Wesley presents himself as, or believes himself to be, someone he is not.
    Give me a break. In Somnambulist Cordy kicks Wes out because he shows her the news articles. She insists that Angel is good and he would never do that. Less than a minute later she's telling Wesley to stake Angel while she cuts off his head. Yes - Wesley grew up with a belittling and overbearing father who abused him. He was raised to be a watcher and prophecies, information, and cold intelligence are what he has learned to value. Like Giles he has sworn to do things other people can't do or shouldn't have to. He does have blind spots, but so do all the characters.

    This is so much like reading that Willow is a power hungry psychopath, or that Spike is a serial rapist even before he laid a hand on Buffy. Buffy trusted Spike when he came into the bathroom. Was she a hypocrite for telling him she couldn't trust him after the AR? She trusted Giles until he conspired to have Spike murdered. Was she a hypocrite to change her mind after she realized he was stalling her? Angel signed away everyone's freedom and had powerful demons mages reconstruct their memories.

    Gunn is just as screwed up as any of the characters. Exactly how do you think street warrior Gunn would regard a lawyer who gets evil clients off, who decides cases on the golf links, and who allows W&H to muck with his brain? Would street warrior Gunn have decided to do something sketchy knowing someone else would pay a high price - and decide it was all right because he probably would never know who it was or what happened?

    Lawyer Gunn is pretty much everything that street warrior Gunn loathed. He sold someone - as it happens it was Fred - down the river because he decided that being a warrior meant he was just the muscle. He was wide open to the kind of corruption W&H specialized in, and they had him where they wanted him pretty quickly.

    As for the triangle - that was created by three people. Do we even have a season 3/4 thread?


    It's hypocritical when you present as someone who has full trust in Angel, and within hours you're accusing him of being involved in Fred's death. Once again Wesley presents himself to Illyria as someone who has complete trust in Angel being able to handle everything, but as soon as he sees evidence he's ready to turn against him. He doesn't question it, he doesn't say 'Angel is my friend, I'll talk to him, present my evidence, before I just off the deep end and start accusing him of killing Fred!' Nope, Wesley goes in all guns blazing in his usual fashion, the man who knows everything but understand nothing, and blows everything up.
    Wes trusted Angel. He discovered Angel signed all of their memories away in blood and that what he thought was real was all a lie. What was left to trust? Not his own memories and experiences. Certainly not the person who signed them away, or the evil law firm that arranged the magic.

    You could be right here, but we'll never know, because we didn't see the fight play out any other way.
    Yeah - we only saw the fight play out the way the fight played out. It was obvious suburban Connor would have been dead without his memories. That's kind of the point of the fight scene. Connor needed his dark side, his memories, in order to meet that challenge.
    Bottom line is, even if you see them coming, you're not ready for the big moments...The big moments are gonna come, you can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are.

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    The sequence of events is that Angel saw what was happening on television. He told Lilah his price for signing on. He went and slit Connor's throat. At that point the spell took effect because it had to or Connor's dead body would have been left on the floor. Then Angel returned to W&H, came down the stairs and told everyone that he had signed them all up. But they have no memory of Connor, so their memories have already been altered. In the first episode Wesley mentions that he still has no idea what they are doing there.
    But their morality didn't start the moment they met Angel. They could have walked away at any time. The chose to join W&H, they could have said no. Wesley even talks about all the good they could do there.

    No, the way Wes and Gunn talk at all would lead me to believe that the memories of any competition over Fred has been highly muted. There is no anger and very little competition between them. They cooperate, and they respect each other. They have changed radically from who they were before Jasmine arrived
    I disagree. I think the Fred memories are fully intact for both him and Gunn. I think just time and Gunn's change of persona have made it easier for both men to feel they are now on an equal footing and so can allow the past to be the past. Basically Gunn's moved on and no longer feels inferior to Wesley.

    Wesley is clearly different from BTVS Wesley. He risks his life to protect Angel from his father - just like he risked his life to protect Angel and Faith in season 1. I'd say he was pretty much the same Wesley who returned from Pylea - early season 3 Wesley. Still open and hopeful about Shanshu for Angel - no edge of the razor mystique.
    He is different, but he also isn't. He's changed in some ways, but not in others, like all the characters. I would say the way he acts around Fred in early S5 is pretty much the same as he acted around Cordy S3 BtVS. He really hasn't changed much, although I did like him more on BtVS because we weren't asked to take him seriously and see him as a tragic figure. On AtS we're told he's tragic, which he is, but so much of it is down to his own hubris and lack of understanding of his own nature.

    How much of seasons 3 & 4 dealt with Connor? Wesley's entire arc in those last season consisted of consequences for the biggest mistake he ever made. That mistake was erased, and so was his growth as a human being.
    I agree he can't remember Connor, and probably not pregnant Darla, but I am sure he remembers a lot of the things that went on. He certainly remembers how he behaved towards Gunn about Fred, because he brings that up again, and Gunn remembers he and Fred were a couple. I think the memory wipe had to be very specific as they were wiping out 2 years of memories. Perhaps you are right and his growth was wiped out, but what was his growth? How did he become a better person? I didn't see it.

    Give me a break. In Somnambulist Cordy kicks Wes out because he shows her the news articles. She insists that Angel is good and he would never do that. Less than a minute later she's telling Wesley to stake Angel while she cuts off his head. Yes - Wesley grew up with a belittling and overbearing father who abused him. He was raised to be a watcher and prophecies, information, and cold intelligence are what he has learned to value. Like Giles he has sworn to do things other people can't do or shouldn't have to. He does have blind spots, but so do all the characters.
    Nope, you give me a break. We are talking about Wesley, not Cordy. The same difference between Wesley on BtVS played for laughs and Cordy on early AtS, also played for laughs. It's only later when we are asked to see Wesley as some tragi-hero that it raises my hackles. I simply have no time for him. We're never asked to see Cordy as a tragic-hero, which she most certainly is. I'd take Cordy over Wesley any day of the week.

    Wes trusted Angel. He discovered Angel signed all of their memories away in blood and that what he thought was real was all a lie. What was left to trust? Not his own memories and experiences. Certainly not the person who signed them away, or the evil law firm that arranged the magic.
    Wesley talks a good game. He's trusting of Angel only when it's expedient for him to be. As soon as he sees evidence that shows Angel's guilt, he's there with his side-kick Illyria, to damn him. Angel tells him the truth, but that's not convincing enough for Wesley, who's so desperate to get Fred back he'll sacrifice his best friends.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bespangled View Post
    Priceless - people learn from their mistakes. Once Wesley's mind is wiped he no longer realizes what happened with Connor. Whatever progress he mad in trusting people over prophecies would be gone anyway. Gunn and Wesley are no longer at each other's throats. Fred and Gunn are no longer feeling bad about Seidel. As Fred said, she became a new person when her memories were changed.
    belspangled, I agree with most of what you're saying. However, I don't believe the mindwipe erased Seidel's murder or the love triangle. The wipe was geared towards all events relating to Connor- which are legion in S3-4 because Connor shaped those seasons. The Gunn v. Wes conflict was already quieting down in late S4. Once Gunn broke up with Fred, Gunn didn't really have her to fight over. And the triangle is referenced in S5. I don't see why the Seidel murder would be removed. Fred and Gunn pretty quickly didn't seem guilty or shaped by that murder. When Gunn brings it up in Sacrifice, it feels awkward and shoe-horned in as Gunn weirdly uses how Fred was emotionless in the murder to justify Jasmine mind-jobbing her.....?- it's some odd bullshit.

    The wipe did erase Connor and that particular feud with Wesley. However, I've always felt it was f*cked up that it wasn't just a clean re-set in Wesley's personality to pre-Offspring. To me, he doesn't seem like early S3 Wesley and he doesn't seem like late S4 Wesley but instead, some other person. With the wipe, he still remembers sleeping with Lilah. The wipe did not re-set him back to his Offspring position as Leader of AI. LOL, if Angel just wanted a clean re-set of Connor, he'd have to submit to Wes's leadership again. It seems like some kind of rift or issue de-throned Wes. It underscores that not only were memories robbed from the gang, they were implanted with fake memories, chosen by Veil, to actively lie to them.

    This is personal canon but I've fanwanked that Veil's alternate memories feature Wesley quitting AI because of his jealousy over Fred/Gunn and lack of tolerance for Frunn's whole "No YOU'RE schmoopy" (TM Seinfeld) relationship in S3. He's in an epic sulk so he sleeps with Lilah. Then, the S4 apocalypses start but without Connor but instead with solely Cordelia/Jasmine (which Cordelia apologized for YW). The situation is dire enough that Faux!Wesley gets off his stupid epic sulk and rejoins AI to stop these apocalypses threatening LA. Of course, he doesn't get to pout off like that and get his former Leader position back. The lesson that Fake!Wesley learns is that his petty feelings shouldn't make him abandon his post. As a result, a Wesley with this experience wouldn't trust himself at all to not follow Angel's lead to W&H. I can see how such an alternate memory would appeal to Veil. Veil doesn't have to write a conflict with the same weight as the Connor-napping in S3. He just needs to draw on Connor-absent conflicts and magnify those feelings. Angel remains as CEO, which must have been a key point for the Senior Partners. The fact that the fake memory features Wesley acting worse without cause than reality and that could mess him up would be of no interest to Veil, the Senior Partners, and evidently *Angel*.

    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    I'm not sure Angel did make the decision for them. Didn't they all take a tour and then decide from that? Yeah the mind wipe would have had an effect of course, but they were all well aware that W&H were an evil law firm.
    Wesley didn't even take the tour. Sirk got through one book and Wesley knocked him out to go rescue Lilah from her contract. Actually, Lilah repeatedly offered Wesley a job at W&H at the end of S3. He declined. So apparently, he didn't join W&H for their cool sh*t. We see that he wouldn't join W&H 1.0. Wes only joins W&H when Angel makes an executive decision that AI will only be operating out of W&H as Angel feigns that he's making this executive decision because of he thinks they can do good at W&H even though secretly, Angel is only joining W&H to make Fake Connor. Mindwipes aside, I think it's a horrific betrayal for an employer to represent to his employees that they should follow him into a dangerous situation when the employer is lying about his motives and his expectations of the worth of embarking on this dangerous mission. Especially when that employer is like the only, similar business in town and is supposedly essential to protecting the city/world.

    But Wesley should still remember everything that happened with Faith. Not trusting Giles and calling the the Watcher's Council to deal with her, and what a disaster that was. He remembers Angel and Cordy taking him in, allowing him to join the team back in S1. He remembers all the times the three of them saved each other.
    In BTVS, Wesley was caught between two institutions to trust. Wesley (easily and immediately without conflict) choose his actual employers. You place a whole emphasis on how Wes should placidly accept evidence of Angel messing with his mind because Angel hired him back in S1? The Watcher's Council raised Wesley, educated Wesley, hired Wesley and appointed him to manage two slayers, and was giving his instructions and paying him. So yeah, Wesley followed Council Standard Operating Procedure over Giles, a guy who Wes just met two days ago, wasn't getting along with, and actually was keeping Faith's problems from him and Wesley only over-heard any of this because Giles and Buffy were whispering about Wesley's nominal responsibility in Faith. How is any of that an object lesson for Origin? Wesley trusted the wrong institution in BtVS S3- and he'd the first to say that after he was disillusioned by the Council. But in Origin, Angel/Veil/the Senior Partners (who are all in cahoots) are also the wrong institution to trust.

    Actually, Wes's whole experience as a Watcher was an object lesson in "Don't blindly trust your employers. Just because they hire and pay you doesn't mean that they're beyond reproach." IMO, that's what he mainly learned from the experience and why AtS Wesley can be so rebellious.

    I disagree that being "taken in" means that you owe blind trust. Again, I say Willow took Tara into the Scoobies, Willow saved Tara's life, defended Tara to her horrible dad, loved Tara and constantly looked after complimenting Tara to raise her confidence, took excellent care of brain sucked!Tara, and restored Tara's sanity. Tara said that she trusted Willow with her life in Tough Love. In NO WAY, does that obligate Tara to ignore how Dawn referenced a fight with Willow that Tara doesn't remember, not research the mysterious flower on her bed, and not draw the conclusion that Willow was the one who wiped her mind. Tara had every right to run with this clue that her brain wasn't right to investigate and determine Willow messed with her head. Just like Wesley had every right to run with this clue that Angel was acting mysteriously horrible by sending a child into battle and determine that Angel messed with reality based on later clues.

    It's hypocritical when you present as someone who has full trust in Angel, and within hours you're accusing him of being involved in Fred's death. Once again Wesley presents himself to Illyria as someone who has complete trust in Angel being able to handle everything, but as soon as he sees evidence he's ready to turn against him. He doesn't question it, he doesn't say 'Angel is my friend, I'll talk to him, present my evidence, before I just off the deep end and start accusing him of killing Fred!' Nope, Wesley goes in all guns blazing in his usual fashion, the man who knows everything but understand nothing, and blows everything up.
    Why does Wesley have to say "Angel's my friend" like he's only wants to cuddle with Angel. Wesley had the signed contract, Illyria's testimony, and his own eye-witness account of Angel being in cahoots with Veil to alter reality because they were just discussing that before he confronted Angel. Again, are you saying that Tara had some obligation to be all "Willow's my girlfriend. I'll just talk to her and get her side of the story"? and that Tara was wrong to bark at Willow "What is WRONG with you?" when Willow proposed wiping Buffy's Heaaaaven memories by way of telling Willow that she knows about the Lethes Bramble done on her and that she intends to break up. Willow's my favorite and I criticize Tara at a lot other points but I don't think Tara owed Willow some cuddly, non-judgmental, gentle query to get her side of the story by any means. Tara had evidence that Willow was messing with her head. Tara had every right to harshly announcing her knowledge with intent to break up. Wesley had evidence that Angel was in cahoots with the Senior Partners to mess with reality. Wesley had every right to take advantage of this rare opportunity of getting Illyria's help and surprising Veil/Angel to take control of the Window instead nicely alerting Angel, putting the Window down, so that the mindwipe and lying could continue at solely Angel's discretion. Which is what you're demanding. That Wesley allow his mind-wipe to continue only at Angel's discretion on whether it should stop.

    Wesley didn't confront Angel like a super nice suck-up. But he did confront Angel and Angel had a chance to explain before Wesley shattered the Window. As I said before, all Angel says is, "I didn't kill Fred. Connor is my son. Don't shatter that Window- just trust me" after Wes found Angel in cahoots with the very dark wizard who altered reality. Wesley did confront Angel and found Angel continuing to lie his head off and undermine any authority in telling Wes what to do. Wesley actually asks Angel "Why are you so afraid me breaking this?" and Angel STILL doesn't give him an answer other than "Don't do it- just trust me."

    Nope, you give me a break. We are talking about Wesley, not Cordy. The same difference between Wesley on BtVS played for laughs and Cordy on early AtS, also played for laughs. It's only later when we are asked to see Wesley as some tragi-hero that it raises my hackles. I simply have no time for him. We're never asked to see Cordy as a tragic-hero, which she most certainly is. I'd take Cordy over Wesley any day of the week.
    bespangled made a great point about Cordelia lurching from "How dare you accuse Angel?" to "Let's kill him!" in Somnabulist. You didn't refute why you're cool with that and hate what Wesley did in Origin at all. Just because Cordelia was a comedic character in AtS S1 doesn't mean that she's not also an actual character with her own moral choices. I mean, that's why you're criticizing Wesley calling the Council in BtVS S3 even though he was a comedic character then. Cordelia is absolutely put forward on the show as a tragic hero, at the end of the day. I ABSOLUTELY see her as a tragic hero. I don't see any other way to regard her- she endured tremendous pain and struggle to help people but she died at 20 after being raped and cruelly used by a higher power. That said, I find Cordelia considerably less effective and gripping than Wesley. Wesley is full-stop painted as a tragic hero from S3 on and we constantly see him live through the effects of his choices. Cordelia is painted as a shiny, pure, glowy hero who's ultimately become too good for humanity in S3 and then, she's an unexplained villain in S4, and then, we only get an interpretation that paints her as a tragic hero until the end of S4/S5. Even then, her critical choices to hide how the visions were affecting her/become demonized/ascend which all led to Jasmine never get a chance on the show to "breathe." Cordelia's choices were huge but they were largely unexplained and affected her in unseen, mysterious ways.
    Last edited by Dipstick; 15-12-18 at 04:15 PM.

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    Wesley didn't even take the tour. Sirk got through one book and Wesley knocked him out to go rescue Lilah from her contract. Actually, Lilah repeatedly offered Wesley a job at W&H at the end of S3. He declined. So apparently, he didn't join W&H for their cool sh*t. We see that he wouldn't join W&H 1.0. Wes only joins W&H when Angel makes an executive decision that AI will only be operating out of W&H as Angel feigns that he's making this executive decision because of he thinks they can do good at W&H even though secretly, Angel is only joining W&H to make Fake Connor. Mindwipes aside, I think it's a horrific betrayal for an employer to represent to his employees that they should follow him into a dangerous situation when the employer is lying about his motives and his expectations of the worth of embarking on this dangerous mission. Especially when that employer is like the only, similar business in town and is supposedly essential to protecting the city/world.
    Then Wesley is so incredibly weak he can only do as Angel tells him? You're a fan of his and you're painting him as incredibly weak willed. I don't believe that. He's been a solo 'rogue demon hunter' and he's set up his own business without Angel in the past. He doesn't join W&H because Angel told him so, he joins because he believes they can do good there.

    In BTVS, Wesley was caught between two institutions to trust. Wesley (easily and immediately without conflict) choose his actual employers. You place a whole emphasis on how Wes should placidly accept evidence of Angel messing with his mind because Angel hired him back in S1? The Watcher's Council raised Wesley, educated Wesley, hired Wesley and appointed him to manage two slayers, and was giving his instructions and paying him. So yeah, Wesley followed Council Standard Operating Procedure over Giles, a guy who Wes just met two days ago, wasn't getting along with, and actually was keeping Faith's problems from him and Wesley only over-heard any of this because Giles and Buffy were whispering about Wesley's nominal responsibility in Faith. How is any of that an object lesson for Origin? Wesley trusted the wrong institution in BtVS S3- and he'd the first to say that after he was disillusioned by the Council. But in Origin, Angel/Veil/the Senior Partners (who are all in cahoots) are also the wrong institution to trust.
    By siding with the WC against Giles and Buffy, we see Wesley once again make the wrong choice. His instincts are terrible, and once again the way he goes about it is so underhand. He doesn't tell Giles what he intends to do, he does it all behind their backs, with no thought of Faith's actual welfare, just in pleasing his masters. He's quite unethical, yet believes himself to be an upstanding pillar of the WC. It's the duplicity of his character, here played for comedy, that grates on me. When it was comedic, I enjoyed it, but once we were asked to take Wesley and his issues seriously, I balked.

    Wesley didn't confront Angel like a super nice suck-up. But he did confront Angel and Angel had a chance to explain before Wesley shattered the Window. As I said before, all Angel says is, "I didn't kill Fred. Connor is my son. Don't shatter that Window- just trust me" after Wes found Angel in cahoots with the very dark wizard who altered reality. Wesley did confront Angel and found Angel continuing to lie his head off and undermine any authority in telling Wes what to do. Wesley actually asks Angel "Why are you so afraid me breaking this?" and Angel STILL doesn't give him an answer other than "Don't do it- just trust me."
    Super nice suck-up? Do you mean in an ethical, rational, mature and well thought out manner? No he certainly didn't. Wesley appeared at Vails at the worst possible moment. He disregarded everything Angel was saying, which was true but didn't fit with the narrative Wesley had made up in his head, and did the worst thing possible at the worst time for any of them.

    bespangled made a great point about Cordelia lurching from "How dare you accuse Angel?" to "Let's kill him!" in Somnabulist. You didn't refute why you're cool with that and hate what Wesley did in Origin at all. Just because Cordelia was a comedic character in AtS S1 doesn't mean that she's not also an actual character with her own moral choices. I mean, that's why you're criticizing Wesley calling the Council in BtVS S3 even though he was a comedic character then. Cordelia is absolutely put forward on the show as a tragic hero, at the end of the day. I ABSOLUTELY see her as a tragic hero. I don't see any other way to regard her- she endured tremendous pain and struggle to help people but she died at 20 after being raped and cruelly used by a higher power. That said, I find Cordelia considerably less effective and gripping than Wesley. Wesley is full-stop painted as a tragic hero from S3 on and we constantly see him live through the effects of his choices. Cordelia is painted as a shiny, pure, glowy hero who's ultimately become too good for humanity in S3 and then, she's an unexplained villain in S4, and then, we only get an interpretation that paints her as a tragic hero until the end of S4/S5. Even then, her critical choices to hide how the visions were affecting her/become demonized/ascend which all led to Jasmine never get a chance on the show to "breathe." Cordelia's choices were huge but they were largely unexplained and affected her in unseen, mysterious ways.
    Cordy in Sonambulist, in fact in most of her performances, was played as comedy. We were rarely asked to see Cordy as some sort of tragic hero, or to pity her. We were asked to laugh at her and see her as foolish, self-serving, etc. As I've said, I liked Wesley early on, when we see him as a comedy character, it's only later when asked to see him as tragic that I don't like it. Most people in the fandom, I think, feel the same about Cordy. They like her early on, but feel that the 'saint Cordy' ruins her character. I feel the same about 'tragic Wesley', like him early on and not so much later. I think Cordy was much more deserving of the title of hero, but everyone else seems to think Wesley was some sort of 'flawed hero'. I don't.

    As we've agreed before, neither of us are about to change our position, so I don't think there's any point in continuing this discussion.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Time Bomb

    Positives:Spike. He even makes Illyria interesting. Lorne is fun and it feels like we've not seen him in a long time. The time shift scenes were the highlight, especially watching Illyria kill everyone. I get an extra buzz from the Illyria/Angel scenes because we know they will actually fall in love and become a couple. I keep expecting Angel to sweep her up into his arms and kiss her

    Negatives: This is quite a dull episode, meant to introduce the Fell Brethren so they could be part of Angel's final plan and reduce Illyria's power, so they don't simply have to rely on her to save them. The actual story is like a S1 damsel in distress episode and feels a bit out of place in this season.

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    But their morality didn't start the moment they met Angel. They could have walked away at any time. The chose to join W&H, they could have said no. Wesley even talks about all the good they could do there.
    Anything Wesley says in that final scene is said after his memories were altered by Angel, and he became a different person. Since the evil law firm had the memories altered we have no idea what choice Wesley would have made. He refused to join W&H in his early days, and when he went to see the place all he tried to do was rescue Lilah. There is nothing to indicate he would have joined on his own with his own memories.

    He is different, but he also isn't. He's changed in some ways, but not in others, like all the characters. I would say the way he acts around Fred in early S5 is pretty much the same as he acted around Cordy S3 BtVS. He really hasn't changed much, although I did like him more on BtVS because we weren't asked to take him seriously and see him as a tragic figure. On AtS we're told he's tragic, which he is, but so much of it is down to his own hubris and lack of understanding of his own nature.

    You are defining the Greek Tragic Hero right here!



    Ankara—Hubris, Ate, and Nemesis are three minor Greek deities, mostly remembered today for their function in ancient Greek drama. Hubris symbolizes arrogance, and deviation from virtue. Ate refers to an act of folly, a direct consequence of hubris, which provokes the wrath of gods and precipitates their intervention. Nemesis is the retribution of divine justice—painful, but necessary to restore world balance and order.


    Hubris - believing he alone could save Connor. Ate - defying the prophecy and trying to rescue Connor. Nemesis - losing everything.

    Incidentally Gunn's path is also destroyed by hubris. His pride and jealousy cause him to make decisions that destroy a person he loves. Cordelia's act of hubris was believing Skip that it was time for her to ascend to a higher plane and become a divine being. Angel's decision to take on an evil law firm and sell all his followers down the river in order to recreate reality is the ultimate hubris.

    But I agree - enough with the circle game.
    Last edited by bespangled; 15-12-18 at 11:04 PM.
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    I agree with Priceless that you can't place all the blame on Angel for the team choosing to work at W&H. At the beginning of Home Angel states;

    ANGEL
    You want to get into that limo when it gets here? That's up to you. (turns to grab his coat) It's not a decision I can make for you, for any of you, but know this: Before the ride's even over, before you even cross through their doors, you'll be corrupted. (walks toward the door)


    And then;

    WESLEY
    I don't know how long it's been here. Since before I arrived.

    FRED
    (guiltily) I thought I'd be the only one.

    WESLEY
    I thought for sure I wouldn't be, although I wasn't expecting it to be you.

    FRED
    I just figured...well, if they are up to something—

    GUNN
    (walks up to them from the shadows) We should know what it is. I get that.

    WESLEY
    Well, we three.

    GUNN
    Looks like.

    WESLEY
    What are the odds the humans would be the most corruptible?


    By Wesley's own admission he already feels that they've been corrupted by the mere fact that they chose to take the tour. This is long before Angel makes any kind of "executive decision" and before Angel agrees to the mind wipe. Furthermore, we have W&H prey upon Gunn's very specific insecurities and he's insistent that he's taking the deal regardless of whether anyone else chooses to ("I'm doing this. Hope it's not just me, but if it is, that's all right, too"), we have Wesley concede that he feels they could do some good with W&H's resources ("As much as it pains me to admit it, there's probably a great deal we could accomplish with the resources available here"), and Lorne is completely smitten with W&H's schmoozing and temptations. It doesn't make sense to me narratively at all why they'd set the characters up as feeling they've been "corrupted" by merely taking the tour, or have scenes such Gunn talk directly with the black cat, or have W&H prey on the character's very specific weak spots, if it's all for nothing and we're meant to hold Angel entirely responsible or think that he altered their minds so that they'd be convinced to take the deal. The groundwork is all there regardless of whether Angel did the mind-wipe or not.

    I'm not even entirely swayed by the argument that Angel led the gang into W&H under false pretences. I mean, even if Angel was being dishonest about his true intentions for joining W&H (I agree that he was but not to the extent that Dipstick does) that doesn't absolve the team of their own choice to follow Angel into the corporation. It especially doesn't absolve Gunn of responsibility as he was adamant he was taking the deal regardless of whether anyone else, including Angel, took the deal or not. But the others were all fully prepared to take the tour without Angel as well. You can blame Angel for being dishonest but you can't blame him for the other grown adults making their own decision to follow him knowing full well what W&H was. That's on them and they have proven on numerous occasions that they're willing to go against Angel when they really wanted to. I mean, in this very episode they intended to take the tour regardless of Angel's warning. In this very episode they also have Angel explicitly announce that he can't make the decision for them.

    In regards to the mind wipe, the only thing we're told about it is that it removed their memories of Connor. There's no basis at all to say that it removed their memories of anything else or persuaded them to join W&H. They were all very familiar with W&H before Connor was even born so it doesn't track with me that removing their memories of Connor would have an impact on their specific decision to take the deal. It often feels that Angel is used as a scapegoat here to absolve the other characters of their own flaws and weaknesses.
    Last edited by vampmogs; 16-12-18 at 04:06 AM.
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    I thought we were finished debating so I let Priceless's comment stand today even though I had arguments against her points. But I guess we're not finished debating for now so I'll answer vampmogs's point and just let Priceless's Origin/BtVS S3 comments lie unless they come back up again.

    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    By Wesley's own admission he already feels that they've been corrupted by the mere fact that they chose to take the tour. This is long before Angel makes any kind of "executive decision" and before Angel agrees to the mind wipe.
    Wesley's admission is contradicted by how he actually didn't take the tour. He only went on the tour to rescue Lilah and spent most of his tour-time doing that. I see Wesley's comment here as a wry bit of foreshadowing that he's corrupted because he entered into an affair with Lilah and now he's in the position of pretending to go on the tour to rescue her. But corruption isn't one-size-fits-all. Just because he's emotionally entangled with Lilah doesn't mean that he anticipated working at W&H.

    Plus, I just fundamentally disagree that you've committed to work somewhere just because you went on a tour of the office. I don't care what the characters say. No one was corrupted until they actually agreed to work at W&H. If I took Angel's logic into my life, I'd have to assume that I've already committed to buy a car when I agree to take it on a test-drive or I've committed to work at a job when I go on a job interview. Hard pass.

    By Wesley's own admission he already feels that they've been corrupted by the mere fact that they chose to take the tour. This is long before Angel makes any kind of "executive decision" and before Angel agrees to the mind wipe. Furthermore, we have W&H prey upon Gunn's very specific insecurities and he's insistent that he's taking the deal regardless of whether anyone else chooses to ("I'm doing this. Hope it's not just me, but if it is, that's all right, too"), we have Wesley concede that he feels they could do some good with W&H's resources ("As much as it pains me to admit it, there's probably a great deal we could accomplish with the resources available here"), and Lorne is completely smitten with W&H's schmoozing and temptations. It doesn't make sense to me narratively at all why they'd set the characters up as feeling they've been "corrupted" by merely taking the tour, or have scenes such Gunn talk directly with the black cat, or have W&H prey on the character's very specific weak spots, if it's all for nothing and we're meant to hold Angel entirely responsible or think that he altered their minds so that they'd be convinced to take the deal. The groundwork is all there regardless of whether Angel did the mind-wipe or not.
    I think Gunn was actually corrupted in a big way. His comment about how he'd work there alone even if it wasn't a W&H run by Angel but instead by whatever CEO is appointed by the Senior Partners puts him on like, Lilah's or Lindsay's level when they first came to work at W&H. I'd imagine/hope that Gunn would leave if an evil CEO was appointed and gave Gunn your standard "evil lawyer" orders but Gunn did reach the Square One where he accepted W&H's job offer even if Angel wasn't going to reform the office. And that's damning. (I don't think the Big Cat got into the weeds of telling Gunn that he'd get to run the LA Branch if Angel declined.) That said while I deplore Gunn's choice to let the Senior Partners load his brain up with law knowledge, I still feel bad for Gunn that he made such a choice completely ignorant of how the Senior Partners/Angel/Vail already messed with his brain without telling him.

    Lorne is underwritten. He was smitten but I didn't hear him agree to work there. Fred was against going. Wesley responded to Gunn's eagerness to work there with that comment about how they could do a lot with W&H's resources. However when Angel came down and said that he took the deal, Wesley sounds disappointed and wrong-footed when he says "I didn't think you would." So, I don't think there's really any weight to Wesley noting that W&H's resources could do good if Wesley didn't think Angel would take the deal and Wesley had no plans to leave Angel's mission. He was pretty much making polite conversation. So, I don't see much groundwork to tag Fred/Wes with full responsibility. I have to query why we're meant to heavily hold Fred and Wesley responsible for working at W&H and let Angel's "executive decision" off the hook when Fred verbally objected to working there and Wesley didn't even take the tour and didn't say one way or the other whether he'd vote to work there but certainly didn't expect to work there until Angel took the deal. I don't know why we're meant to regard Angel's "executive decision" as nothing but words that can be sooo easily ignored when it cuts off the current discussion between his crew.

    I think Lorne/Wes/Fred do have some responsibility for their choices but I think Angel affected those choices in such a huge way that Angel is incredibly responsible for their fates. (Cordelia is always left out of these discussions. Angel absolutely violated Cordelia by leaving her body at a W&H hospital without any effort to obtain a second medical/mystical opinion from a non-W&H doctor. It's contemptible that Angel goes from Home to Sunnydale to suck face with Buffy and have love-triangle conversations without asking to see if Willow who just restored his soul could help Cordelia. I don't usually charge characters with not seeking help from the spinoff/OG series but the cross-over eps here make it glaring. I'm forced to think about how Angel actually chose to spend his time in Sunnydale in End of Days instead of presuming that there's a Chinese Wall between the shows.)

    It's hard for me to allocate the percentage of responsibility between Angel and Fred/Wes/Lorne. vampmogs, I don't know if you would/could do that. I do consider Angel significantly more responsible for Wes/Fred's choice to join W&H than they are but not completely responsible. For starters, Angel claims that he made the "executive decision" to join W&H. Ok fine- I *do* consider Angel the executive and the general of AI. In my book, that makes Angel responsible for his employees/troops. "Executive" doesn't mean "I'm the C*ck of the Walk big-shot with the biggest penis" in my book. It means "The buck stops here." In a para-military situation (the closest analogue to AI/the Scoobies), the foot soldiers can go AWOL if they disagree with the General's orders but I think most observers blame excess/needless deaths on the General.

    Wes/Fred/Lorne going AWOL from Angel's mission leaves them with very bad choices. They could retire to civilian life but none of them felt ready to abandon The Cause and the last few months of epic apocalypses would discourage them from leaving this fight when it's so clear how the world nearly ended. They could form their own gang but I think AtS/BtVS repeatedly shows that a teensy-tiny gang of 3 non-powered humans is an untenable solution to fight large-scale evil on a long-term basis. Like, over and over again in a number of different combinations of characters. Angel has the super-strength. Cordelia is in a coma but Angel is the subject of interest by TPTB so he has the gods giving him context on what to fight.

    Now, I don't think Angel was obligated to make his special self available to his crew. (Angel was more obligated to do that back in S2 when Cordelia was his link to the TPTB.) However, Angel should know that these are the choices before his team, besides continuing to work for him at W&H. As a result, Angel is obligated to honestly state his reasons for taking the deal. Angel smiled at Wesley's comment in Couplet that Angel can't be replaced by Groo because Angel and his missions animates them all but that also comes with real responsibilities. If Angel believes that his mission animates his crew, it's his obligation to disclose the true mission that'll animate them. Not lie about how the mission to "Destroy the beast from inside its belly" when it's really "Work for the beast so that the beast maintains my son's fake memories so he's well-adjusted."

    In addition, besides the content of the mindwipe, Angel betrays the gang by taking on their fealty to him and his mission even as he's lying about their memories being wiped in order to continue to support the mind-wipe. Wesley is another case-in-point. Wesley didn't agree to work for W&H 1.0 when Lilah offered him the job in S3. I think Wes knew about as much about their cool, glamorous stuff in S3 as he did in Home because, again, Wes didn't take the tour. The missing ingredient? Wes wouldn't just work for W&H but he would work for Angel taking over the LA branch of W&H to reform the office around Angel's own mission. However in all of Wes's faith in the Angel-part of turning W&H into an agreeable place to work, Wes and the rest of the gang have no idea that Angel already ordered the wiping of their memories and implantation of false memories before their first day on the job. Somehow, I think that would be a particular sticking point for Fred and Lorne with Fred's rigorous commitment to facts/reality and Lorne's fundamental identity as an anagogic demon since they don't have Wesley's kidnapping guilt issues.

    Then, there's the content of the mindwipe and false memories which the audience never gets clarity on. I agree that probably only the Connor-memories were wiped and other Connor-secondarily-related memories like Wesley sleeping with Lilah were kept or Angel taking back leadership of the gang must have gotten their own fake backstory. That's still a *huge* violation in scale to me. The last two seasons of the show were defined by Connor. After such a huge alteration to their memories, I'd agree with Wesley's assumption that none of them are the same people.
    Last edited by Dipstick; 16-12-18 at 05:54 AM.

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    See, I feel Angel's "executive decision" makes absolutely no sense at all. Certainly not from a standpoint where Angel literally signed their lives over to W&H (as I've seen it interpreted before) because, legally, Angel absolutely has no power to do that whatsoever, and mindwipe or no mindwipe, I don't believe for one moment that the gang would be ok with this or that it wouldn't have repeatedly come up as a source of resentment and bitterness between them in Season 5. It also doesn't make sense to me from a "Angel's the leader and they'll do what he says" POV because Team Angel (Wesley in particular but all of them at one time or another) have repeatedly demonstrated an uneasiness or blatant disregard with following Angel blindly. If we were talking about the Scoobies, who despite personal issues, have for the most part always been pretty harmonious and loyal as a evil fighting force (Empty Places aside), then I'd put more weight behind them blindly following Buffy because they trust and admire her. But Team Angel? They've always been a mess! How many times did Gunn and Angel nearly come to physical blows whenever Gunn disagreed with one of Angel's choices? How many times did Wesley make decisions completely of his own accord and demonstrate a willingness to work separately from Angel (he ran his own crew *twice*)? Fred worked against everyone when she wanted to murder Sidel. Lorne repeatedly tried to get through to Angel in his quest to use dark magics in Forgiving despite not being able to physically stop him and/or try and prevent him from doing so. And Cordy, Wes and Gunn all demonstrated how they would work separately from Angel in Season 2 when they felt he had gone off the deep end or was no longer "fighting the good fight" and turning his back on his responsibilities. I don't feel that as a team they have this faith in Angel that you do. Certainly not the kind of faith that would singlehandedly convince them to join W&H if they would be otherwise against it when Angel's warning about corruption didn't even compel them enough not to get in the limo.

    Fred is the only person to me who seems very unsure about taking the deal down at the lobby. I *do* think she largely went along with it because everyone else (not just Angel - everyone) signed up but, honestly, that doesn't let her off the hook with me? She's a grown-ass woman. An apparently *very* intelligent grown-ass woman. If she really was morally against taking the deal then take a damn moral stand and don't sign your life away to Evil Inc just because your friends did. And if she couldn't do that (despite showing extraordinary capabilities whilst isolated and alone during Jasmine's reign) then that's ultimately on her. I'm not saying that would've been an easy choice for her to make but it was still a choice that she could've made if she really was against the deal, and it was a choice for her alone to make.

    In regards to the mindwipe, I agree with you that they're not the same people anymore. I don't think the writers gave that much thought because storylines such as Jasmine were so heavily entwined with Connor and yet the writers clearly wanted us to assume things played out more or less the same (hence Cordy's apology) which is not unlike Dawn's insertion into Buffy. However, unlike with Dawn, the writers do at the very least pay lip service in Origin to the idea that by robbing the characters of their Connor memories they are different people now. I'm on board with that and I agree that the mind wipe was very wrong and a violation. However, we're only ever told that the memories of Connor were erased and it's pure fanon (and to everybody's credit - nobody has suggested otherwise) that other memories were erased to make the characters more receptive to joining W&H. And since the gang have extensive history and experience with W&H completely independent of their history with Connor, removing their memories of Connor, IMO, in no way absolves them of their responsibility in choosing to work there. As I said, it does sort of feel like Angel is used as a scapegoat here to pile more responsibility and hate onto him and spare other characters from that. It very much feels like people are already so angry at him for the mindwipe that what's the harm in inventing further fanon which makes his actions even more terrible and the other characters less so. I don't feel it's what the writers had intended for Season 5 in the endless repetitions of the characters doubting themselves for taking the deal. If we're meant to believe they were all essentially brainwashed and altered into doing this then the moral complexities and dilemmas they all face (not just Angel) become hollow and meaningless.
    Last edited by vampmogs; 16-12-18 at 12:48 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    See, I feel Angel's "executive decision" makes absolutely no sense at all. Certainly not from a standpoint where Angel literally signed their lives over to W&H (as I've seen it interpreted before) because, legally, Angel absolutely has no power to do that whatsoever, and mindwipe or no mindwipe, I don't believe for one moment that the gang would be ok with this or that it wouldn't have repeatedly come up as a source of resentment and bitterness between them in Season 5. It also doesn't make sense to me from a "Angel's the leader and they'll do what he says" POV because Team Angel (Wesley in particular but all of them at one time or another) have repeatedly demonstrated an uneasiness or blatant disregard with following Angel blindly. If we were talking about the Scoobies, who despite personal issues, have for the most part always been pretty harmonious and loyal as a evil fighting force (Empty Places aside), then I'd put more weight behind them blindly following Buffy because they trust and admire her. But Team Angel? They've always been a mess! How many times did Gunn and Angel nearly come to physical blows whenever Gunn disagreed with one of Angel's choices? How many times did Wesley make decisions completely of his own accord and demonstrate a willingness to work separately from Angel (he ran his own crew *twice*)? Fred worked against everyone when she wanted to murder Sidel. Lorne repeatedly tried to get through to Angel in his quest to use dark magics in Forgiving despite not being able to physically stop him and/or try and prevent him from doing so. And Cordy, Wes and Gunn all demonstrated how they would work separately from Angel in Season 2 when they felt he had gone off the deep end or was no longer "fighting the good fight" and turning his back on his responsibilities.
    No, I don't think Angel literally signed their lives over. However, yes, I think the culture in the gang is that they have to follow Angel's "executive decisions" on big stuff if they want to continue to have a place in his mission. Sometimes they rebel but IMO Team Angel does a bunch of stuff that they don't like because Angel ordered them.

    When did Gunn and Angel nearly come to blows when working together? I only count The Shroud of Rahmon (where they were mystically affected) and That Old Gang of Mine. Wesley ran his own crew twice. However, it wasn't a "willingness" to work separately from Angel. Wesley was fired twice from AI- in S2 and the end of S3. Once he was fired, Wes did the best he could eke out a living and save lives as a paranormal fighter- but pointedly, he never wanted to be fired from AI and on his own. The Gunn/Cordy/Wes agency in S2 had serious limitations without Angel's super-strength and purpose and their collaboration landed Wes in a wheelchair and required Angel to save the group in Epiphany. We don't even know if Wes kept his memories of his S3/4 project but Wes also left his independent shop and rejoined AI in short order because it's so difficult to impossible to fight evil, especially once it's heated up to apocalyptic, on his own without Angel and his super-abilities and connection to the Powers.

    I count Lorne in Forgiving along with the long list of times when the gang followed Angel instead of what they want. Because that's numerous. Wes/Cordy listened to Angel's instruction to pack up and leave when Faith came to hunt down Angel, even though Wes disagreed. Then, Wes argued with Angel coddling Faith after torture and Cordelia didn't like that Faith was being coddled- but they just went along with it and dealt by going off and sulking/vacationing. There are numerous examples where Wes/Cordy didn't like how Angel was turning his Darla-obsession into actual cases for the agency- Dear Boy, Guise will be Guise, Darla, The Trial, Reunion- but they went along with that because Angel is the boss. As for Lorne, yeah, he kept trying to convince Angel to stop doing black magic and torturing Linwood. However, Angel had a whole rampage in Forgiving where he tortured, tried to kill Lilah and Wesley, and did black magic resulting the death of a man and the near death of Fred and he faced.....zero consequences from his team. A sidekick like Willow goes on a rampage like that and she gets a scolding but more, she submits to Giles's/Buffy's authority on what to do with her and she goes to the classes that Giles suggests on managing her powers and then, goes to Sunnydale when she doesn't want to because Giles directed her to do that. A boss like Angel goes on a rampage- and doesn't expect nor does he receive any consequences or limits on his power and decision-making. Lorne pointedly felt powerless when he was trying to get Angel to take responsibility for the guy who died from the Sluths and Angel refused to take any responsibility- and Lorne had to just give up and fall back in line. Fred was very upset that Angel tried to kill Wesley- but she was clearly afraid to bring it up because Angel is so scary.

    I also disagree that there's less insubordination in the Scoobies than AI. Buffy and Xander nearly came to blows in DMP and Revelations (as stated in the text) and arguably in Becoming. Like Fred, Willow also went off on a murderous vengeance spree against Buffy's orders but more so than Fred. Anya went off to become a demon again. A pretty big part of Giles considered himself Buffy's boss/leader because he was the Watcher. In many episodes, Buffy gave Xander and Willow orders to go off to safety and they refused and stayed in the fight with her or looked for a fight of their own. They had a full-on mutiny at the end of S7. I mean, I do think the Scoobies, like AI, often overrule their own preferences to follow their leader. In BtVS, the Scoobies tamped down their discomfort with Buffy's vamp boyfriends or refusing to sacrifice Dawn in The Gift or gave her space when she was being distant and avoidy. However, I think the Scoobies are actually more insubordinate than the AI gang. It's just that the AI gang comes off like much more of a mess than the Scoobies because the Scoobies generally defer to Buffy because they love and admire her while AI defers to Angel because he's often the named or in-practice Boss of an actual company and he intimidates and domineers over his employees to get his way. These are generalizations. I saw love in how Wes/Cordy were deferring to Angel's Darla-obsession in S2 and I saw fear in how the gang reacted to Buffy threatening to kill them if they touch Dawn. However, generally, I think Buffy and Angel both get tremendous deference and obedience but Buffy gets it through love and Angel gets it through fear.

    Fred is the only person to me who seems very unsure about taking the deal down at the lobby. I *do* think she largely went along with it because everyone else (not just Angel - everyone) signed up but, honestly, that doesn't let her off the hook with me? She's a grown-ass woman. An apparently *very* intelligent grown-ass woman. If she really was morally against taking the deal then take a damn moral stand and don't sign your life away to Evil Inc just because your friends did. And if she couldn't do that (despite showing extraordinary capabilities whilst isolated and alone during Jasmine's reign) then that's ultimately on her. I'm not saying that would've been an easy choice for her to make but it was still a choice that she could've made if she really was against the deal, and it was a choice for her alone to make.
    Number one, I don't think anyone signed their lives away to W&H. Maybe only Angel did. Wesley was surprised to see a contract with Angel's signature in blood establishing contractual proof that Angel conspired to alter reality. It's probable that such a contract also included Angel agreeing to work at W&H so that W&H has some consideration for the Connor-spell. I didn't see Gunn sign a contract but he let W&H fundamentally shape his brain. However, I think Smile Time indicates that Gunn never had to sign a document in exchange for his brain upgrades before. The signed document letting the sarcophagus out was a new demand to Gunn.

    I didn't see anyone else at AI sign contracts. In You're Welcome, Gunn indicates that they can't leave and Fred is pretty horrified at his suggestion that they're trapped there indicating that she didn't sign anything. Gunn, scumbag lawyer that he's become, chooses to deal with Fred's horror that they're trapped by not answering her question but instead acting like the gang are the flighty reniggers by pretending this was a "lease with an option to buy." Whatever the f*ck that means. With Gunn's manipulative lawyer skillz, he's undermined the conversation about leaving. Fred did lose her life at AI but that's because it was a dangerous place to work and Gunn helped make it dangerous for her.

    Number two, Gunn and Angel had made deals with the Senior Partners. However, I didn't see Wes/Lorne/Fred make any deals with the Senior Partners. IMO, they believed that they were promising their services to Angel, not to W&H. Angel made the executive decision to take the deal, making him the new President of the LA Branch. From there, a Lorne/Wes/Fred who didn't take the deal yet, reported to Angel's branch of W&H. They thought they were occupying real-estate and getting to use the lab and books and celebrity Rolodex, currently managed by President Angel who took over these possessions and real estate. They were unaware of Angel's own independent contract with W&H likely promising his services as CEO for the Connor-spell.

    Number three, I read both Wes and Fred as unsure about taking the deal and Lorne didn't say anything either way. In my book and pretty much everyone's book, a person has to affirmatively agree to a deal in order to take it. Going on a job interview doesn't commit a person to take a job. Saying that they liked the person interviewing them doesn't commit a person to take a job. Only agreeing to take the job commits someone to a job. You place such a big emphasis of "Why would the writers have Lorne act delighted by the Celebrity Rolodex or why would Wesley say they could do good with these resources?" if they weren't individually seduced into working there regardless of Angel's choices. Well, I put the question to you. Why didn't the writers have Wes/Fred/Lorne actually say that they wanted these jobs at W&H before Angel came down with his executive decision? The writers could have easily written such a scene. They sure went and had Gunn affirmatively agree to take the job.

    IMO, it's *because* S5 is written to put a lot of the responsibility for the corruption/destruction of his team on Angel. Not all of the responsibility- Wes/Lorne/Fred could have gone AWOL. However, I think the writers wanted to communicate that Wes/Fred and probably Lorne were following Angel into W&H rather than they made their own decision that they wanted AI operating there. I do not think that writers were substituting taking the tour or an acknowledgement of the firm's amazing resources as actually deciding to work there. Because the world doesn't work that way. None of us want to live in this world where we're regarded as "corrupted" and obligated to take whatever position just because we took a tour of the place. That's like a Scientology position where if you take the Free Personality Test and take a tour of a Scientology office, their salespeople are instructed to hound you (and then your friends and employers) about how you've already agreed to become a Scientologist and you're a free-loader because you're not ponying up thousands for more courses because you've already represented that you're a member by taking a tour of the offices.

    I don't feel that as a team they have this faith in Angel that you do. Certainly not the kind of faith that would singlehandedly convince them to join W&H if they would be otherwise against it when Angel's warning about corruption didn't even compel them enough not to get in the limo.
    That's because checking out the terms of a deal isn't corruption. Wesley took this tour to rescue Lilah. Fred was famously curious and wanted to check out the terms. However, Fred thought she could look at the lab and then, say they should go home.

    I don't think Angel is anyone's zen-master where he can compel his team to not even go the time-share free breakfast and look at a property lest they'll be "corrupted". As I said above, Angel rules through fear more than love/admiration. I don't think Buffy would say something so cult-like and ultimately abusive as "you're already RUINED by taking the tour and asking questions" but as I said above, the Scoobies listen to her because they admire her ethical system so they'd be more likely to take that to heart. However, Angel is their practical leader where he decides where the mission is ultimately going to be. The gang can go look at offices without any cost to them even if it's over Angel's objection. However, like I said above, Angel's choice to work at W&H puts the gang in a terrible position. They can either give up The Cause and retire to civilian life, they can cobble together some gang bereft of superpowers or a guiding mission which has failed repeatedly in the past, or they can follow Angel to W&H. Following Angel and Gunn to W&H looked like the best option. However, it also particularly looked like the best option because Angel represented that he was taking this deal because he believed he could use W&H's resources to do good. That was a lie- he took this deal to make Fake Connor. It looked like the best option because Lorne/Wes/Fred thought they were working for someone who made the same deal as them- to take over W&H's tangible possessions and real-estate. They didn't know that Angel made a completely different deal with the Senior Partners to alter reality including their own memories and likely did sign a contract promising his services to keep the spell afloat. They didn't know they were working for a boss who violated their brains. If they'd known all of that, maybe they could have made an informed decision about which option was best. However, they did not so they could not make an informed decision.

    In regards to the mindwipe, I agree with you that they're not the same people anymore. I don't think the writers gave that much thought because storylines such as Jasmine were so heavily entwined with Connor and yet the writers clearly wanted us to assume things played out more or less the same (hence Cordy's apology) which is not unlike Dawn's insertion into Buffy. However, unlike with Dawn, the writers do at the very least pay lip service in Origin to the idea that by robbing the characters of their Connor memories they are different people now. I'm on board with that and I agree that the mind wipe was very wrong and a violation. However, we're only ever told that the memories of Connor were erased and it's pure fanon (and to everybody's credit - nobody has suggested otherwise) that other memories were erased to make the characters more receptive to joining W&H..
    I do think lots of S5 is stupid and the writers didn't put much thought into how S3-4 operated without Connor. I don't know that I'd co-sign that the writers wanted us to assume that stories played out the same. At least on a Watsonian level, I don't think they can get away with that like they could for the non-Buffy Scoobies and Dawn's insertion. We actually saw how critical Connor was to S3-4. Now, I can't hang my hat on "how" the memories were changed because we never get a coherent explanation for Veil's new history of AI. However, I always assume that the gang's memories had to be changed and re-written on an epic scale and a lot of creativity had to be employed to explain the gang's "new normal" like Wesley's loss of leadership of AI or how Lorne was drawn into the gang much more deeply in S3 without Baby Connor to watch. I don't think it's possible to fanwank a non-invasive simple deletion of Connor that doesn't affect the gang's history that much.

    I wouldn't say that the Senior Partners altered memories to make the gang more receptive to W&H. I just wouldn't say either way. I would absolutely say, though, that the mindwipe had to make the gang more trusting/receptive of *Angel.* In this new reality, I don't think anyone remembers that Angel tried losing his soul with Darla. Wesley doesn't have his guard up that Angel tried to kill him, even though Angel has his guard up on Wesley because Angel remembers Wesley kidnapping his son. No one remembers Angel's rampage in Forgiving. No one remembers Angel beating the crap out of Connor on their way out of Jasmine's lair. That's all substantial and it can't be discounted from why Wes/Fred/Lorne felt that they'd be making the right choice to follow Angel into W&H.
    Last edited by Dipstick; 16-12-18 at 09:15 PM.

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    The Girl In Question

    Positive: I love Angel and Spike together, they are so much fun. The tiny scene of Spike and Dru in 50's Italy was perfection. Andrew - 'Spike, is Angel crying?' Spike - 'No . . . not yet' is a great little scene.

    Negative: Fred's parents aren't told that their child has died but are gaslighted in such a cruel and unnecessary way. Wesley/Illyria's drama and the Italian farce are such an odd mix and really doesn't work. The change of tone is really jarring. Of course the actual farcical romp is absolute rubbish . . . 'he's my arch nemesis' 'signalled her with my eyes' The Italian caricatures are pretty bad, especially when accompanied by Dean Martin.

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    Smile Time

    Positive: I love the scene where the puppets are conspiring like gangsters and torturing Framkin, belying their cute puppet-suits. This ep reminds me of Hush in a good way- it's a completely original "arty" episode that's terrifying and hilarious, relying heavily on charismatic villains and horrific consequences to many people but also character/romance development for our heroes. It's incredibly thematically sound. Obviously, this is another entry of Angel being W&H's "puppet." Robot!Roger describes Angel as a perpetual-puppet in Lineage and he's turned into a puppet here. The puppet's gangster-lingo meshes with the mafia-motif throughout S5- Lorne's "horse's head" to advance his talent, the Italian rival Families in TGIQ,

    It's not a perfect match but I think that some of the puppets match up to the evil players at W&H.

    Polo/Dr. Sparrow:Polo is the one demanding that the kids touch the TV set with "Smile Time isn't free." This mirrors Dr. Sparrow getting Gunn to sign whatever document to get the brain upgrades. ("Nothing from Wolfram and Hart is ever free.")

    Groofus/Knox: Groofus is evil but he's been working incredibly hard on writing good music for the show. "We eat babies's lives!" "And uphold a certain standard of quality edutainment." Groofus intends to work on the bestest lil puppet song right up till the episode where they murder every child watching the show to make off with their stored childhood innocence/energy to hell. Meanwhile, Knox has had a plan in the works to murder Fred to bring back Illyria for months. However, he's still a busy little beaver working hard as Fred's second-in-command in the lab and he's actively trying to date the women that he's planning on murdering very soon. Yeah, he wants to kill Fred to raise an Old One...but he still upholds a certain standard of science-nerdiness in his professional life and in his personal aspiration to cutely nerd with Fred on dates right up until she dies to make way for Illyria.

    Ratio/The Big Cat: Ratio, like the Big Cat, just speaks in toots/growls. He can't be easily understood, unless by his compatriots. The other puppets understand Ratio because they're in cahoots. Gunn understands the Big Cat because they're in cahoots- see Angel's dream in Soul Purposes where Gunn growls like the cat. Ratio, like the Big Cat, ultimately guards the power as in the Nest Egg or the Senior Partners from the wider world.

    I struggled with the Girl Puppet's mirror, though, so it wasn't a clean analysis. I thought Eve because she's a girl and a consummate "follower" but that was weak.

    Negative: The Fred/Wesley get-together didn't work for me. As I said before, I have mixed feelings on Fresley. Wesley's crush on her may not be healthy but it's interesting, well-played, folds well into the major stories, and I find him sympathetic. However, Fred is frustratingly opaque about the whole thing in a way that feels poorly written. It's like the writers valued suspense/ambiguity in Fred's feelings more than telling an actual story about Fred's emotions. This is a general issue with Fred's character. There are teases that she has a rich, complex inner life but it's generally not explored. The writers continued to stick the landing on Fred's side of things in this ep when Fred declaratively said that she has feelings for him and wants to get with the kissing and dating. The whole comedic plot of Wes being oblivious to Fred's signals was annoying. Despite how the mindwipe may have altered things, I believe that they still have a history where she knew that he had a crush on her since mid-S3 but she didn't want to date him. Certainly thus far in S5, the dynamic was that Fred knows that Wes is interested in her but she doesn't want to date him for whatever reason and Wes unhappily accepts that she doesn't share his romantic feelings. So, I'm at a loss on why Fred thinks that she can drop these signals like "My car is in the shop again" and Wesley will naturally assume that she means "Let's have sex". Or by Fred saying "I'm not dating Knox", Wesley must assume that she means "I want to date *you*." Of course, Wesley wouldn't assume romance out of those comments. Frankly, I don't think that any decent man would presume that sex is on the table because their female co-worker's car is broken but that goes doubly when the female co-worker has historically rejected the man. I can't find it romantic at all at the end when she just insistently kisses him with a "Clear enough signal for you?" IMO, there's an unintended arrogant callousness to Fred of "Well, now I have a tingle for you, Wes, and I know you're on stand by."
    Last edited by Dipstick; 17-12-18 at 10:30 PM.

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    Oh god, did you have to include the video of that hideous orange freak? I so sick of seeing his loathsome face online.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver1 View Post
    Oh god, did you have to include the video of that hideous orange freak? I so sick of seeing his loathsome face online.
    I couldn’t pass up the chance to mock/pun. That clip was so ridiculous.

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    Power Play

    Positive: Illyria whispered in Wesley's ear and encouraged his actions in Origin and here she whispers to Spike about Angel being corrupted. I like how they are using her to spread paranoia and show she has no grasp of morality, she judges everyone by her own standards. I like this Angel, he's really entertaining.

    Negative: I think you can trace Twilight back to Angel killing Drogyn, and his acceptance of collateral damage. This is to exposition heavy to be an exciting episode and just feels like an information dump and getting all the players in place for the big finish.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Not Fade Away

    Positive: Everyone's last day was so touching and showed who these characters wish they could be, Angel the father, Spike the poet, Lorne the entertainer, Gunn the selfless and Wesley the friend. All the fight scenes are great, and the last scene in the alley hits exactly the right heroic note.

    Negative: Lorne shooting Lindsey is just horrible, 'you kill me . . . a flunkie . . . Angel kills me. Angel'. Poor Lorne, his last act is to be a demon dehumanised.

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