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Which Fang Gang's Choice to Work for W&H Is Illegitimate Because Of theMindwipe?

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  • #21
    So much of this responsibility really does rest on Angel's shoulders, even without considering the mind alterations. In fact, Angel's mind alterations can be seen as the symbolic reflection of how much control Angel has over the gang's actions (and this has already played out with Cordelia, too--her mind invaded by painful visions, her body eaten up by PtB infiltration interested in using Angel).

    For instance, I can't imagine Angel deciding to join W&H and Wesley not going with him. In large part because I think Wesley feels it's his duty to safeguard Angel as the figure in Shanshu prophecy which will be the turning point in the ultimate battle between good and evil. So like... Angel going into the belly of the beast? Wesley's diving in after him. Because that is The Mission for Wesley.

    (The sad thing about Angel mindwiping Wesley is that Angel made it harder for Wesley to help him by stripping Wesley of his personal experience and knowledge. Stripping him of his hardwon wisdom when it comes to Angel and Wesley's mission of helping Angel be a hero.)

    I have trouble seeing any of the gang actually signing the dotted line without Angel leading the way (though I can kinda see the argument for Gunn). The fact that Angel does go through that door first signals the tumbling of dominos. Angel's going locks in Wesley's involvement. Angel and Wes going means Fred's going. I could see Gunn going either way. And frankly, the only way I see Lorne going through with it is with the added security provided by the fact that all the ~warriors~ are there to keep him ~safe in the belly of the beast. But without Angel, it just doesn't happen. And the only way to get Angel to walk into that mystical hellish office that'll turn you into zombies... is to endanger Connor, the symbolic reflection of Angel's hopes and dreams and redemption.

    Maybe after surviving the Season 4 neverending apocalypse, the shiny of W&H doesn't look so evil. But those who would be most hesitant about the insidious nature of this bargain -- Angel and Wesley -- are the ones who ensure the rest of the gang signs on. And where Angel goes, Wesley follows. Where the mission goes, Wesley follows. And with those two, the illusion of the enterprise of fighting for the greater good is maintained. Thus, to save the world as compatriots of the Vampire with a Soul, you must join W&H. Fred, Gunn, and Lorne are then onboard.

    The amount of influence Angel possesses over the group is staggering because Angel holds the power to define the mission itself (who to fight, how, where, why -- all up to Angel now that visions from Cordy no longer exist). Then add on mindwiping them and just... wow.

    And what makes it so terrible is that Angel -- in his position of power over the group, and knowing that where he goes they follow -- does not AT ALL consider their safety. He still acts as if he's alone on that hill in Sunnydale about to commit suicide, but now he has more in common with Connor's suicide bomb strategy. Angel saves Connor and the innocent bystanders in the shop, but suicides his team a year later. For the ~greater~ good.

    Angel's a leader who doesn't know how to care for and protect his team. He still thinks he's alone. Even when he has a son, he still thinks and acts as if he's alone. Even actively reshaping the world so that he is truly alone.


    ETA: You know, the brilliance of W&H's approach is that they treat the situation as if everyone has the individual freedom to decide whether to join W&H or not. But it's Angel Investigations: they're a demon fighting team and Angel is their leader. Their fates are intertwined and to act otherwise is to avoid the complex reality of their interdependence with each other and their dependence on Angel. When Angel capitulates and gives the W&H party line of 'individual choice', that's when the mindwipe sweeps through. Because the freedom for individual choice is an illusion, driven home by W&H and Angel violating his team members' autonomy. W&H divides them, targets Angel as the head, and conquers.

    Sure, each member can choose to quit entirely the enterprise of Save the World led by the Champion Vampire With a Soul. But why would they quit their jobs when they're needed? Because it's dangerous? When isn't it dangerous? Angel's effectively called the play by saying the battlefield is infiltrating W&H and winning from within. So that's a call to duty that I can't see any team member failing to answer.

    And if Angel had called another play, if he'd said that in order to Save the World, they needed to help the helpless and rebuild the Hyperion and get back in touch with the mission? Then that would've been how the battle was fought. Because Angel embodies the mission, chaining his teammates to him, in a way similar to how Buffy was chained to the hellmouth (and how Willow felt obliged to stay with Buffy instead of going off to an Ivy League). Only even more extreme, because the fate of the world rests on whether Angel's feeling good or evil when the chips fall, whereas Buffy as the Slayer is... replaceable. That gives Angel even more power because he is essential to the mission. If Angel simply chooses to walk away, that's game over. No one else on the team holds that degree of power.

    Not to mention the bone deep loyalty that the team feels towards Angel and their dedication to watching his back. Once he signals that he's going into the belly of the beast, the team feels obligated to follow. It's very Frodo and the Fellowship. Angel's decided he's going into W&H to destroy the one true ring and there's no way he's going into hell alone. If Angel had said they didn't need to go to the W&H division of Mordor to defeat evil, though, then the team wouldn't feel obligated to go.

    Angel's decision makes a fait accompli of what might have been individual choice by the team to sign up. This is why a person in a position of power refrains from influencing someone else's decision-making process, so that the undue influence doesn't determine the decision itself. Instead of protecting the process of individual freedom, Angel forces the situation. So whatever potential decision Fred, Gunn, Lorne, and Wes may have made -- that potential is eliminated and overwritten by Angel deploying his dominant, influential power. And that's the symbolism inherent in the mindwipes. That Angel holds the fates of his friends and his son in his hands. The magic reflects the interpersonal dynamics.

    The illusion of freedom of choice masks the reality that Angel rules by fiat. We'll see this again at the end of Season 5 when Angel offers his team the ~choice~ to join his suicide plan after he's already put said plan into action, once again obligating them to help him fight or leave him up a creek without a paddle. Better to ask forgiveness than permission, right?

    It's not surprising then that Angel's mission -- which is the method by which he's granted ultimate forgiveness -- teaches him to bypass the need to ask permission and also (ironically) why he typically fails to ask forgiveness, too. Because he's fighting a mission for an all-encompassing forgiveness and so long as he keeps justifying his actions for ~the mission~, then the greater good is served. Thus, he doesn't have to do the time-consuming, difficult, morally challenging (and potentially confusing!) mission of seeking consent, offering direct reparations, or respecting autonomy and personal freedom. Only an all-encompassing forgiveness from a higher power will suffice, so the little steps towards forgiveness from the mere mortals and the 'all that matters is what we do' is lost. Angel still can't resist going for the grandest, most melodramatic gesture. Be it a son living a happy life or roses leading up to a bed where a dead lover lies as a specially staged present. And so goes Angel's best of intentions leading him straight to hell...
    Last edited by Emmie; 19-12-13, 11:02 PM.

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    • #22
      Originally posted by Maggie View Post
      If Angel had walked up and said "hey, I just mindwiped you all for a personal interest I'm not telling you about, and the reason I'm taking the deal is to secure that personal interest I'm not telling you about; I was totally going to walk when all they were trying to tempt me with was the resources to do good, but when they gave me a way to secure this personal interest I'm not telling you about at the expense of depriving you of important chunks of your history, I totally went for it", I sincerely doubt a single one of them would have signed on. Do you think they would have if they had known what had just happened?
      Isn't this somewhat of an illegitimate argument? Maybe I'm not understanding the debate, but I thought it was about whether the mindwipe robbed the group of vital information that would have served as determining factors for their decision or, more importantly, their respective decisions.

      Your above argument actually introduces a completely different hypothetical scenario into the proceedings. Your scenario not only robs them of certain information, but it provides them with the information that the certain information was robbed from them!!! That is somewhat different from the group not having the information taken from them in the first place.

      In any event, I'm still not far removed from my original assertion, because we'd have to come to a conclusion without not only knowing exactly what memories the group had removed, but also knowing how those memories would have affected their decisions.

      However the moral transgression of robbing someone of their experiences still stands. Angel still robbed them of their identity however seemingly insignificant the changes.

      To me, the question stands as to how the group would feel about their memories being stolen, rather then speculate the specifics of how those memories would affect their decision making process.


      • #23
        Wesley. Because he had his memories of stealing Connor removed and a) reverted back to the Wes that almost agreed with Angel on everything and b)badass Wes would never accept the deal.

        Although I love how he sneaked past the other guy just to try and destroy Lilah?s contract.


        • #24
          All caught up

          * I maintain that much of the Fang Gang's actions and experiences on AtS s1-s4 are because of Jasmine.

          After Jasmine is defeated, the question posed to the members of the Fang Gang is essentially whether they each wanted to continue working for Angel at the Hyperion Hotel or whether they each wanted to work at the Wolfram and Los Angeles offices and have an astronomical increase in compensation, benefits, and possibly power.

          Lorne's always been somewhat morally ambivalent and doesn't seem to have ever been a paid member of Angel Investigations (outside of living at the Hyperion Hotel for some time). If anything, his associations with AI cost him a bunch of money including the destruction of his beloved karaoke bar. He likely would have joined no matter what. Lorne could always call Angel or visit when Lorne is in his ?Angel's link to the Powers That Be' role.

          Gunn clearly would have joined no matter what.

          Wesley was impressed with the resources of Wolfram and Hart, but he possibly wasn't fully sold on the idea. It's possible he may have contacted Gils before making a decision and may well have joined Buffy and Co. instead of joined Wolfram and Hart.

          Fred seemed to be leaning toward not joining Wolfram and Hart. Fred already could have been working on science stuff. She probably would have followed Wesley and gone to work with Buffy and Co.

          The main problem is if the Wesley stuff in AtF is canon.


          MikeB, Angel didn't sign them all up.
          Angel's saying "Executive Decision" makes no sense otherwise. It could simply be that Angel was ?selling' Angel Investigations (including his equity in the Hyperion Hotel) to Wolfram and Hart. It could be that Wolfram and Hart was acquiring Angel Investigations including all the employees of Angel Investigations.

          Local Maximum

          * I disagree that Angel is ?low on the chain' of Wolfram and Hart and that Angel would consider he's ?low on the chain' of Wolfram and Hart.

          Angel's very aggressive actions against Wolfram and Hart happen after he knows of the Shanshu Prophecy thus knowing how important Wolfram and Hart considers Angel to be.


          • #25
            They aren't chattel, he can't sign them over like office furniture. His "executive decision" makes sense in that he's making it clear that the "Angel" in "Angel Investigations" is doing it. It's sort of like the end of the "Buffy" TV series, for example; Nick Brendan and Michelle Trachtenberg and Tom Lenk and Emma Caulfield all could have really wanted to keep making the show, but if SMG and Joss Whedon were done, they're done too. Lorne, Wes, Gunn, and Fred were all still moral agents with free will, any of them could have still walked out the door, Angel wasn't going to chain them to the copy machine. The relevant question is, how much were any of their inclinations to stay or go changed, or how much of their basis for deciding at all deprived, by suddenly not remembering properly many significant events in the previous year or so of their lives?
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            • #26
              There's a big gap in the whens and how muches in Home. Does the spell start at the cut to white when Angel "kills" Connor? Gunn and Lorne were seemingly on board before that. That leaves Wes and Fred. How much was removed? They don't question why they're at W&H, so they must remember Jasmine, The Beast and all that. They know Cordy was injured/comatose.

              So all that was deleted was Connor and the prophecy about him since Wes doesn't remember that in S5. I don't think any of that really impacts their decision to join W&H, unless the gap was filled with false info. No indication of that. The only impact I can see is if Wes and Fred would've been a thing since she doesn't remember Wes stealing Connor.


              • #27
                * Angel didn't say, "I'm going to work for Wolfram & Hart." He said, "I took the deal." "Executive decision."

                In addition, Cyrus Vail ? or some other Wolfram & Hart resource(s) did ? could have done a spell so that all the members of Angel Investigations were going to agree to work for Wolfram & Hart.


                • #28
                  Originally posted by MikeB View Post
                  * Angel didn’t say, “I’m going to work for Wolfram & Hart.” He said, “I took the deal.” “Executive decision.”

                  In addition, Cyrus Vail – or some other Wolfram & Hart resource(s) did – could have done a spell so that all the members of Angel Investigations were going to agree to work for Wolfram & Hart.
                  Why assume that for which there is no textual evidence, though? Your speculation is not a yardstick by which the question needs to be evaluated.
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