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Angel tries to murder Wesley in Forgiving

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  • Angel tries to murder Wesley in Forgiving

    Angel: Hey, Wes. I just — I want you to know I understand why you did it. I know about the prophecies and I know how hard it must have been for you to… do what you did. You thought I was gonna turn evil and kill my son. I didn't. It's important you know that. This isn't Angelus talking. It's me, Angel. You know that, right?

    [Wesley blinks his eyes once]

    Angel: Good. [grabs a pillow and shoves it down on Wes' face] Son of a bitch, you're gonna pay for what you did! You took my son! You son of a bitch! You bastard! You think I'd forgive you?! Never! You're gonna die! You hear me? You're gonna pay!

    Orderly: [tries to drag Angel off of Wesley] Hey!

    Angel: [throws him off] You took my son, YOU TOOK MY SON!

    Fred: Stop it!

    Angel: You took my son!

    Gunn: Angel, stop! [Gunn and the orderlies begin to drag Angel away with success]

    Angel: Never! Never!

    Gunn: Come on, man! Stop!

    Angel: I'll kill you! You're dead! You're a dead man, Pryce! You're dead! I'll kill you! I'll kill you! You're a dead man! Dead! Dead
    I like how Angel goes out of his way to establish that he’s not Angelus — not a soulless being delighting in other’s pain for his own pleasure, or not the “I just can’t seem to care” Angel of season two who locked the lawyers in a room with Darla and Dru.

    The attempted murder of Wesley is thoroughly human — revenge born from grief and loss and betrayal. It’s one of Angel’s darkest acts but also completely human. (Even if a touch OTT.)

    It also plays very differently than Dark Willow’s torture and murder (at least until the season 8 retcon) of Warren. Willow was much colder, crueller, sarcastic — with lines like “Bored now.” But Angel’s actions were passionate. Does Angel’s behaviour make a difference?


  • #2
    Both of them are clearly acting in the context of their emotional responses to loss and are looking for some revenge. Whilst Willow is able to target the person directly responsible for pulling the trigger that killed Tara, Angel is somewhat looking for a release from his inability to target the person that took his son. So his focus on Wes includes his frustration and fury at Holtz too, targeted onto Wes for his part and the betrayal that facilitated his son being taken.

    In both cases they are clearly choosing their actions and it seems calm and considered. Angel goes to great pains to make that clear as you say. But really neither are fully in command of themselves as the losses are raw and the pain engulfing. That Angel loses his temper during attacking Wes and shouts at him I don't think makes a difference to how I see the overall choice both are taking. Angel's is just more of a passionate attack because of the personal element mixed in from the betrayal I think.

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    • #3
      Angel attacking Wesley was a superb scene imo. One of AtS's best. It completely caught me off guard too. I remember back in the fandoms hay days somebody (and sadly I forget who) created a wonderful photoshop artwork of that scene, with this swirling maelstrom of backness above Wes's hospital bed, with furious Angel on the far right. It expressed that scene perfectly.

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      • #4
        It is an excellent moment and so well done. I love the whole Wes/Connor/Angel storyline, it's my favourite element of AtS. I think I found the scene with Willow more shocking because it was more surprising that she went that far, but they were both incredible and intense moments.

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        • #5
          It's a wonderful scene. It's key that Angel could have killed Wesley in seconds if that was his goal - a snapped neck, a crushed windpipe. But he holds back, despite the fact that his loss is even greater than Tara's. That alone shows that it is Ange, and not Angelus. His desire is to terrorize, to express his own pain and grief, but not to kill.
          Can we agree that the writers made everyone do and say everything with a thought to getting good ratings and being renewed. This includes everything we love as well as everything we hate.

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          • #6
            The scenes feel very different to me. As you say, Willow’s isn’t just colder and more sadistic but also far more gruesome with her skinning Warren alive which is a particularly horrible death. Whereas, Angel’s outburst is so passionate and rageful and feels like an almost loss of control. Willow is sarcastic and biting whilst Angel is so angry he can’t do anything but scream barley-coherent profanities (“You took my son! You son of a bitch! You bastard!) It’s a far cry from the Angel who turned Holland Manner’s own words against him in Reunion or who’s words could be masterfully cruel and biting as Angelus. Angel’s blinding rage here reminds me more of Willow’s burning red eyes in Seeing Red and then how she screams in pain and banishes the demon gatekeeping Osiris. By the time she’s captured Warren in the woods her anger seems so much colder and passionless.

            The other difference for me is that Willow goes through with murdering Warren whereas I don’t believe Angel ever intended to kill Wesley. If he had, I don’t believe for one moment that a couple of hospital orderlies and Gunn would have a chance in hell of overpowering him and especially when he was so angry. Willow was hellbent on murdering Warren and wouldn’t let anybody stand in her way whereas Angel goes home and never attempts another attack on Wesley again.

            I also find it difficult to parse how much of Willow’s actions are her and how much she’s being influenced by the dark magics. Whenever I rewatch the Dark Willow arc I am left more and more with the impression that the dark magics are meant to be significantly changing her here. In Grave Giles had to ‘dose’ her with good magic so that Xander was capable of reaching through to her in some capacity, which seems to suggest that the dark power was blocking her humanity/empathy. That could explain why she’s capable of killing Warren so particularly inhumanely.

            In Forgiving whilst objectively I agree that Angel attacking Wesley is wrong I also can’t say I blame him one bit. I think there’s very few parents out there that wouldn’t have done similar if their trusted friend had not only stolen their child and intended to run away with them, but subsequently lost them into a hell dimension in the arms of a man who’d moments earlier contemplated snapping their neck. Angel felt Connor was lost forever, most likely killed in Quor-toth, and I can’t imagine the pain and anger any parent would be going through coming to terms with that. Dare I say that I’m actually far more morally outraged at Wesley for attacking Lorne and beating him senseless. He could have killed him and he did it so he could kidnap Connor which given the circumstances, and how Wesley didn’t go to anyone for help, I find way less sympathetic than a grieving father.

            A great scene. One of DB's finest moments in the show and easily one of the best endings to an episode in the series.

            ~ Banner by Nina ~

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            • #7
              That's a great point vampmogs , that Willow is greatly taken over by the dark magic and part of her dispassionate attack on Warren can be that blocking her humanity. I think this is very much a part of how Willow's foray into the darker magic lacks control that she later has to gain within herself, but just doesn't have here.

              I agree Angel's attack doesn't have the same level of murderous intent and he is wanting to express his pain and fury rather than kill Wesley, which he could easily have done. The expression on Wes' face as Angel is dragged from the room hits what Angel wants in getting to release his anger but also have Wes feel his utter rejection and know he was dead to him. It's such an incredible scene and most definitely the pain Angel is going through must be immense and it makes his actions very understandable.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
                The scenes feel very different to me. As you say, Willow’s isn’t just colder and more sadistic but also far more gruesome with her skinning Warren alive which is a particularly horrible death. Whereas, Angel’s outburst is so passionate and rageful and feels like an almost loss of control. Willow is sarcastic and biting whilst Angel is so angry he can’t do anything but scream barley-coherent profanities (“You took my son! You son of a bitch! You bastard!) It’s a far cry from the Angel who turned Holland Manner’s own words against him in Reunion or who’s words could be masterfully cruel and biting as Angelus. Angel’s blinding rage here reminds me more of Willow’s burning red eyes in Seeing Red and then how she screams in pain and banishes the demon gatekeeping Osiris. By the time she’s captured Warren in the woods her anger seems so much colder and passionless.
                Yes, I agree that both are committing crimes (or in Angel’s case, making a pretense of committing one) due to emotional distress rather than cold calculation. Despite the fact that both are somewhat premeditated crimes, one could make the case that they are crimes of passion and perhaps a slightly lesser degree than first-degree murder.

                The other difference for me is that Willow goes through with murdering Warren whereas I don’t believe Angel ever intended to kill Wesley. If he had, I don’t believe for one moment that a couple of hospital orderlies and Gunn would have a chance in hell of overpowering him and especially when he was so angry. Willow was hellbent on murdering Warren and wouldn’t let anybody stand in her way whereas Angel goes home and never attempts another attack on Wesley again.
                Yes, I agree that it’s unlikely that Angel was ever going to truly murder Wesley - I’d say it’s more Angelus than not in terms of a threat that isn’t quite carried out - it’s done in the same spirit in which Angelus slinks around Willow and Buffy’s houses but only kills their goldfish or leaves creepy drawings. Angel wants Wesley to know exactly what line he’s crossed by almost crossing the same.

                I also find it difficult to parse how much of Willow’s actions are her and how much she’s being influenced by the dark magics. Whenever I rewatch the Dark Willow arc I am left more and more with the impression that the dark magics are meant to be significantly changing her here. In Grave Giles had to ‘dose’ her with good magic so that Xander was capable of reaching through to her in some capacity, which seems to suggest that the dark power was blocking her humanity/empathy. That could explain why she’s capable of killing Warren so particularly inhumanely.
                Yes, I agree that the dark magics may very well be a kind of sentient force within her that tilts Willow towards committing terrible crimes ala vampires connected to an ultimate ‘evil’ force that isn’t uniquely theirs.

                In Forgiving whilst objectively I agree that Angel attacking Wesley is wrong I also can’t say I blame him one bit. I think there’s very few parents out there that wouldn’t have done similar if their trusted friend had not only stolen their child and intended to run away with them, but subsequently lost them into a hell dimension in the arms of a man who’d moments earlier contemplated snapping their neck. Angel felt Connor was lost forever, most likely killed in Quor-toth, and I can’t imagine the pain and anger any parent would be going through coming to terms with that. Dare I say that I’m actually far more morally outraged at Wesley for attacking Lorne and beating him senseless. He could have killed him and he did it so he could kidnap Connor which given the circumstances, and how Wesley didn’t go to anyone for help, I find way less sympathetic than a grieving father.[ A great scene. One of DB's finest moments in the show and easily one of the best endings to an episode in the series. [/FONT]
                There’s something compelling, though, about the father issues that Wesley has that are transferred here to Angel - who is the father who fights for his son in a way that Wesley’s father never did. In that sense, the Wesley storyline really resonates for me here - because I see Wesley as trying to save Connor based on a psychological damaged psyche caused by his own abusive father. But, yes, I think the audience sides with Angel here despite his desperate act. And the scene is very well directed and acted.

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                • Stoney
                  Stoney commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Oh it is certainly the complexity of all the sides involved that makes this one of the most compelling storylines in the verse. Wes made the wrong choice but we understand a lot of why and can definitely feel for all involved.

              • #9
                Great scene, and some of David's best acting up till that point in his career.

                Angel, and Wesley are my favorite Buffy/Angelverse characters so I feel bad for both of them though I feel more bad for Angel than Wesley. While Angel trying to kill Wesley is very wrong his anger towards Wesley is very understandable.
                Last edited by Lostsoul666; 25-08-21, 11:35 PM. Reason: Forgot to add a period.
                My deviantart: http://vampfox.deviantart.com/

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