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

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  • KingofCretins
    replied
    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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  • MikeB
    replied
    * 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.

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  • HardlyThere
    replied
    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.

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  • KingofCretins
    replied
    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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  • MikeB
    replied
    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.




    vampmogs

    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.

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  • buffyholic
    replied
    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.

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  • kana
    replied
    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.

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  • Emmie
    replied
    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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  • Local Maximum
    replied
    Originally posted by Maggie View Post
    No, he didn't put a gun to their heads and force them. He just (a) mindwiped them in a way that would cut out some reasons they might have to be skeptical of his leadership and (b) lied to them about why he was making the choice he was making. To hold them accountable, you'd have to say they would have made the same choice if they had full information. 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?
    I agree with this. Additionally, I want to reiterate the fact that they are going to work at W&H under Angel. They do seem to have some independence, and Gunn especially seems to be doing his own thing. But for the most part, Wesley, Fred and Lorne report to Angel and are "doing good" in a way that aligns with Angel's mission.

    If Lilah said to Wesley, "OK Wesley, you can go work as a mystical expert under Ilona Costa Bianchi at the Rome offices," would Wesley have said yes there, too? Working at W&H for a CEO who is there 100% because they're dedicated to doing good and working at W&H for a CEO who are there for other reasons are very, very different.

    Working at W&H for Angel requires believing that Angel is committed to the job. If Angel's only possible reason for taking the job seems to be the resources to do good or the shiny gadgets, and the team understandably/admirably thinks that he is not corrupted by the shiny gadgets, then Angel's stated reasons -- to do good! -- are the reason he took the deal, and that means he's got to be pretty committed. But no, Wesley, Fred et al. think they are going to work for Angel, heroic CEO of Wolfram & Hart who took the job in order to do good, not Angel, antiheroic CEO of Wolfram & Hart who took the job for reasons the gang have no possible way of guessing without research and without several clues which don't come until Origin for Wesley and Illyria (with Fred's memories) and is trying to make the best of a bad situation while in a pit of despair he can't/won't talk to the gang about and while they lack some of their memories.

    I guess I think an employer has a responsibility to his potential employees to be honest with them about who they're working for, because the employer ultimately has the greater amount of power in the relationship.

    Fred, especially, was shocked at the end of Home that Wesley seemed to indicate that W&H had good resources, and even more so that Angel took the deal. Would she have taken the job if she weren't working for Angel (or at least, Wesley or Gunn)? And since whether she takes the job depends on whether or not it's Angel who's going to be her boss, of course Angel factors into her decision in a big way -- whether he wants her there, whether he is going to support her, her own loyalty to Angel and following him around everywhere.

    I also am not so sure that Fred herself is guilty of being corrupted the way the rest of the team are. Wesley shoots a guy casually in A Hole in the World, Gunn, well, Gunn, Lorne seems to have lost himself by the end of the season, but Fred was doing relatively okay before her physical "corruption" by mummy in AHitW. Fred's real fatal flaw is her naive belief that she could trust W&H and Knox. And the proximate fatal flaw of hers is curiosity -- reaching out to touch the sarcophagus -- which is related to her desire to join the team. But I don't think she was morally corrupted herself. (This isn't because Fred is just that awesome, but because I don't think that she ended up being tested in the same way as the others.) Which, yes, her naivete is a flaw that she has, but as Maggie says, Angel could have warned her, and has to know that Fred coming to work for him has at least a tiny bit to do with him, and that she still idealizes him as the man who saved her from the monsters.
    Last edited by Local Maximum; 19-12-13, 07:41 PM.

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  • Maggie
    replied
    Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
    Isn't this almost identical to the beginning of the episode when Angel is adamant that he won't be taking the tour at that anyone who does will be corrupted the moment they get in the limo? This didn't deter any of the gang from sneaking down to the limo that night, totally unaware that Angel's own curiosity had gotten the better of him. So I'm just not as confident as you are that the gang would follow Angel out of W&H. He already gave the speech about how corrupting a force W&H is and how he won't be joining them and the gang went ahead anyway. Heck, Lorne was in the limo before he even knows Angel has changed his mind.
    They were all tempted to go have a look-see, that's true. But that's hardly the same thing as *choosing* W&H *over* Angel. Do you really think any of them would have done that? Fred's defining characteristic is that she follows Angel around like a lap dog. Wesley wasn't particularly tempted in any case. Lorne going off to work for Team Evil without Angel and the other crowd? I seriously doubt it. He'd already been there and done that in Vegas (assuming he remembers that after the mind wipe). That leaves Gunn. If you want to say Gunn would have ditched Angel for W&H, well.. that is possible.


    Even if I agreed with you that Angel was such a guiding force for the gang, despite them blatantly ignoring him earlier, this still doesn't make the gang any less responsible for their actions. It'd be one thing if Angel lied about his reasons and then proceeded to encourage or try and persuade the gang to join him but he did no such thing. He took the deal and they followed... but that's all on them. They're all adults fully capable of making their own choices and at no point did Angel try and evoke some "I'm your leader so you do as I say" orders.
    No, he didn't put a gun to their heads and force them. He just (a) mindwiped them in a way that would cut out some reasons they might have to be skeptical of his leadership and (b) lied to them about why he was making the choice he was making. To hold them accountable, you'd have to say they would have made the same choice if they had full information. 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?

    That's significant because it means that Angel already knew he was corrupted by W&H, and he let his team walk in under the illusion that somehow corruption could be avoided and good done. And he plays along with that lie all through the first half of season 7. He keeps talking as though they are there to do good, as though somehow it can work out. He lets them keep talking that way. And he knows better. And if they knew what he knew they would be absolutely clear about the dangers W&H posed. IF they still stayed knowing all that, then yes, it would be "on them".

    Anyway, we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this, I'm afraid. You want to hold them responsible for choices they made without the crucial piece of information that in my opinion would have completely set them against going to work for W&H. I don't see how to do that, and writing about it makes me just get angrier at Angel, which is not my agenda these days! I want to be on the love train!

    Maybe the most I can give you is this: they were guilty of being tempted, and overconfident in their ability to survive temptation. But Angel could have saved them by being honest. He didn't choose to save them. So if you do want to hold them responsible for that -- then could you at least say that Angel is also responsible? It doesn't have to be a zero sum game. If Angel hadn't lied, Fred and Wesley wouldn't have died. If they hadn't been subject to temptation, Fred and Wesley wouldn't have died. That's the closest I can come to your position.

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  • Dipstick
    replied
    Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
    It wasn't a one minute temper tantrum. At the very least, it extended to the following day which meant Angel slept on it and was still adamant he was resigning. This was also on the back of Soul Purpose which showed the strain working for W&H was having on Angel's mind. Dismissing it as just a " temper tantrum" unfairly paints Angel as just being childish and not being legitimately upset at the slaughtered nuns, which is something worth getting upset over.
    Yes, Angel is upset. However, that's pretty much all it is. Angel never considers how to get out of W&H. He doesn't try to move away from yelling at his team with frustration to just actively convincing and persuading them to leave. And Angel's so-called plans to leave are pretty much just two scenes of instinctive emotional reactions to Angel seeing dead nuns which plays on all of Angel's nun/church issues.

    I never took You're Welcome as Angel was seriously planning on leaving but his team convinced him to stay. This was Angel have a momentary moral crisis that took the form of a tantrum.

    None of the gang are jumping at Angel's heels to follow him out of the door. Fred's defensiveness that they're trying their best aren't the words of someone who wants to leave but someone who thinks Angel is being unfair and too hasty. Ditto for Wes trying to calm Angel down by calling it just a set-back.
    IMO, Fred's and Wes's words are of people who aren't focused on Angel's plans to leave but instead focused on Angel's behavior because the latter is much more compelling and obnoxious to them. Fred isn't focused so much on the correctness or wrongness of leaving because Fred is more concerned with the immediate problem that Angel is yelling at her and acting like she's a bad employee. In that scene, Fred is troubled by Gunn's assertion that they can't leave.

    Wes seemed focused on Angel acting erratic- like the events of last night change the stated mission that Angel had been touting and they've all been trying to convince themselves of- to change the world from W&H's inside even though everyone understands that their clients are monsters.

    Yes, Wesley and Fred are used to and somewhat seduced by W&H's toys and don't take Angel's words as a prompt to do something permanent. However, Angel's whole crisis was pretty shallow on its own and came across as an even more shallow tantrum to his team.

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  • vampmogs
    replied
    Originally posted by Maggie View Post
    The different question is would anyone have taken the deal if Angel had NOT agreed to W&H's deal. And again, I think it's unlikely -- with the possible exception of Gunn. Why? Imagine Angel comes down to that lobby and says he's out of there -- you can't do good by joining forces with evil... it's too corrupting, the temptations are too large. And then he says it's up to them, but walks out the door heading back to the Hyperion to go back to helping the helpless one soul at a time.
    Isn't this almost identical to the beginning of the episode when Angel is adamant that he won't be taking the tour at that anyone who does will be corrupted the moment they get in the limo? This didn't deter any of the gang from sneaking down to the limo that night, totally unaware that Angel's own curiosity had gotten the better of him. So I'm just not as confident as you are that the gang would follow Angel out of W&H. He already gave the speech about how corrupting a force W&H is and how he won't be joining them and the gang went ahead anyway. Heck, Lorne was in the limo before he even knows Angel has changed his mind.

    So, sorry. I think a huge amount of the consequences of Angel's choice rest on Angel. He's their leader -- and him acting like it was possible to do good by joining evil was the sine qua non of their decision to give it a try.
    Even if I agreed with you that Angel was such a guiding force for the gang, despite them blatantly ignoring him earlier, this still doesn't make the gang any less responsible for their actions. It'd be one thing if Angel lied about his reasons and then proceeded to encourage or try and persuade the gang to join him but he did no such thing. He took the deal and they followed... but that's all on them. They're all adults fully capable of making their own choices and at no point did Angel try and evoke some "I'm your leader so you do as I say" orders. Angel is responsible for his decision to join W&H but the others are equally responsible for there's. And whilst I agree with you that Angel is lying about thinking they can change the place from the inside and the gang are unaware of that, it's a serious character flaw if they were so willing to follow him blindly regardless of their own opinions. I think I'm actually giving them more credit by believing they didn't upturn their entire lives just because Angel did too. Is it a factor? Most likely. Is it the defining reason they took the deal? IMO no. And certainly not in the case of Gunn who explicitly states he is taking the deal regardless of whether or not anybody else joins him.

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  • Local Maximum
    replied
    Originally posted by Maggie View Post
    So, sorry. I think a huge amount of the consequences of Angel's choice rest on Angel. He's their leader -- and him acting like it was possible to do good by joining evil was the sine qua non of their decision to give it a try. And, btw, this is a big part of Angel's hell. He KNEW it was corrupting to go to W&H because he had to be corrupted to say yes in the first place; every time they voice the naive and utterly false hope that they can work at W&H without being corrupted, they're just voicing his lie right back to him. At any moment he can set them straight and they all walk out the door. But he can't/won't do that because Connor (or rather "Connor") matters more to him than the lives and souls of the people who are loyal to him.
    Right. And the gang's only experience trying to Do Good without Angel in mid-s2 went...well, okay, but it didn't go great. No one wants to go back to that, ultimately (which is part of the reason Angel was accepted back in so easily at the time). It's very possible Wesley forgets that he could run a crew separate from AI on his own. At the very least, he forgets why that happened.

    That the gang don't want to leave after they've been there a few months (in You're Welcome) is also, on some level, because they have been partially seduced, but, unlike Angel, haven't had to recognize that yet. Angel knows that taking the W&H deal for below-board reasons is wrong. That's part of why he can't commit fully to the choice of staying there.

    Angel actually is really racked with guilt that he is at W&H for the wrong reasons, but he believes he can't come clean about the reasons without totally destroying his connection with his team, which further isolates him from them. It's a fantastic story.

    ETA: It occurs to me that this is why Joss made the otherwise bizarre commitment to having "Connor" turn out to be the perfect son after all. It leaves Angel owning that decision for all time. If it hadn't worked for him, he'd be nothing but regret -- he essentially killed Fred and Wesley in order to save Connor, and he didn't even manage that. But now he's got the loving perfect son -- who just happened to come at the price of Fred and Wesley. Angel can never be redeemed because he can never regret that decision and that decision was thoroughly damning! Phew -- my faith in the diabolical nature of Joss's plottng is restored.
    Ha! I like it. I like it because even post-Twilight, Angel still kind of shifts pretty easily into boss-guy. As you guys know, I'm not anti-resurrection, and I have trouble with "black magic" as itself a descriptor which is meant to be conclusive -- tell us some more specific risks so we know the risk-benefit analysis, please! explain why it's "black"! But taking on board that Angel's Giles resurrection plan was hugely risky, it's pretty similar -- he recreates Giles because he feels really bad about hurting him, and is willing to risk others getting hurt in the crossfire. But in some ways it's there at least in part to bolster a lie -- the lie being that Angel has sufficiently "made up" to Giles/Connor his previous failures toward them. But Giles 2.0 is a kid. Connor 2.0 is not really Connor (at least until he gets his memories back). And so Angel is in a sense repeating Home in A&F, and he jumps to repeating Home basically the first issue, and that comes down to a belief that that decision in Home was still the "right" one. This also makes Family Reunion's position in the season make a little more sense, since the Connor love fest bolsters Angel's belief that he did the right thing there. The only real difference is that this time Angel at least let Faith (and Alasdair and the aunts and so on) in on what he was doing, which is still a very significant one.

    ETA: MAJOR, end-of-series Breaking Bad spoilers:

    Spoiler:
    This reminds me of the way Breaking Bad ends with Walt eventually "finding a way" to get money to his family after all, through Gretchen and Elliot. Some have commented, and I felt a little bit, that this undermines the show's pretty harsh anti-Walt, Walt-tragedy, story, by allowing something good-for-his-family to come out of it. But in a lot of ways it doesn't. Because, his family may still benefit from the money, just as Connor does ultimately in many respects benefit from his new memories. But it's still a lie, and the money itself will probably be toxic when it "reaches" them later in life -- it may well out, somehow, where that money came from. And Walt's continued refusal to buy that his dirty money is ultimately likely to be more damaging to his family than helpful represents the key to his final non-redemption. I don't think Angel is as damned as Walt surely is at his series' end, though the stories are interesting to compare, if nothing else because Angel's badness grows in some ways out of his immortality whereas Walt's is out of his present, just-over-the-horizon, mortality.
    Last edited by Local Maximum; 18-12-13, 06:59 PM.

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  • Maggie
    replied
    Good thread, and I think it's crystallized a few things for me.

    If any of the gang had known that Angel wiped their memories and accepted W&H's deal NOT to try to do good, but rather to "save" his son, they'd all have revolted and walked out the door. Why? The very choice Angel made epitomizes what's wrong with the temptation W&H is offering. Power to do good too easily morphs into power to do what you need to do, regardless of the side-effects. Angel was corrupted the minute he said yes, which means they'd know for a stone-cold certainty that W&H is inescapably corrupting.

    Even if Angel had just said he's taking the deal because it was his mode of saving someone that mattered to him (if he could have finagled a way of being honest about that, without divulging the mindwipe) that would have given them pause.

    The different question is would anyone have taken the deal if Angel had NOT agreed to W&H's deal. And again, I think it's unlikely -- with the possible exception of Gunn. Why? Imagine Angel comes down to that lobby and says he's out of there -- you can't do good by joining forces with evil... it's too corrupting, the temptations are too large. And then he says it's up to them, but walks out the door heading back to the Hyperion to go back to helping the helpless one soul at a time. Fred and Wesley surely walk with him. I don't see Lorne hanging out at W&H if Gunn is his sole peep. (And if he's not memory wiped he knows the dangers of being employed by evil people). And Gunn? I don't have enough feel for his story. Was he alienated enough at that point to cross over from Angel to evil inc? possibly. But he's the only one I see as being remotely tempted if Angel had reacted the way he would have had he not fallen to the Connor temptation.

    So, sorry. I think a huge amount of the consequences of Angel's choice rest on Angel. He's their leader -- and him acting like it was possible to do good by joining evil was the sine qua non of their decision to give it a try. And, btw, this is a big part of Angel's hell. He KNEW it was corrupting to go to W&H because he had to be corrupted to say yes in the first place; every time they voice the naive and utterly false hope that they can work at W&H without being corrupted, they're just voicing his lie right back to him. At any moment he can set them straight and they all walk out the door. But he can't/won't do that because Connor (or rather "Connor") matters more to him than the lives and souls of the people who are loyal to him.

    ETA: It occurs to me that this is why Joss made the otherwise bizarre commitment to having "Connor" turn out to be the perfect son after all. It leaves Angel owning that decision for all time. If it hadn't worked for him, he'd be nothing but regret -- he essentially killed Fred and Wesley in order to save Connor, and he didn't even manage that. But now he's got the loving perfect son -- who just happened to come at the price of Fred and Wesley. Angel can never be redeemed because he can never regret that decision and that decision was thoroughly damning! Phew -- my faith in the diabolical nature of Joss's plottng is restored.
    Last edited by Maggie; 18-12-13, 06:23 PM.

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  • Stoney
    replied
    I see what you are saying Emmie but I almost felt that Lorne had some degree of meltdown post Jasmine. His sense of betraying those he was going to free from a sense of peace to enter back into the world, the reality that his life had become where he lives with the frontline good guys so war is up close and personal. I think that he had seen a Pylea around him again and that he needed/wanted to escape this. So in some ways I think the false glam/celebrities aspect of W&H is something that he could have surged towards as being more 'him', blocking out the aspect of where he was going because it was his new safe place in that he could be more Caritas!Lorne again. The only thing in this perspective is that he is going in with people that he believes are wanting to tear it down so there is no security in it but I think by this stage Lorne is in a loop of losing himself because he doesn't pull away from the team, until of course his own actions become so extreme he walks away in the end. S5 is for Lorne about going down the plughole .

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  • Emmie
    replied
    Can we really assume that Lorne's decision making wasn't impaired? What if the memories lifted from Lorne's past include all the ways that Angel crashed through and wrecked Lorne's life? The multiple destructions of Caritas, the vengeful wrath against Wesley despite Lorne's guidance? Or, even better, how W&H violated Lorne's mind and tortured him?

    I think it's fair to say that Lorne loves his creature comforts, but included in that is his even stronger desire to NOT BE TERRIFIED for his life. And, frankly, Lorne's more likely to toss up any and all religious signs whenever W&H crosses his path.

    And the whole process of feeding into his shallow side of Hollywood while failing to allow him to really help the good little people's destinies... well, that's the a big part of the moral compromise that leads to him killing Lindsey by NFA. Because all he's become is Angel's weapon, no longer an independent force for good, for the people.

    I think without the mindwipe, I can see Lorne going to W&H because he's curious, but I think he'd also have WAY too strong of a fear reaction to sign on the dotted line. Lorne's instinct is to run from the devil, not sell his soul for a chance to rub elbows with glitzy, glam stars. So the only way I can really see Lorne being tempted by the Hollywood aspect is if his fear reaction has been muted somehow -- because it's too central to his personality to not kick in, his self-preservation instinct, his non-confrontational ethos -- these all lead to him avoiding any and all danger.

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  • Local Maximum
    replied
    Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
    Max, I agree with you that, had the gang known about why Angel took the deal, it may indeed have changed their POV. I actually agree with that FAR more than the idea that the memories they lost severely impaired their judgement and made them take the deal. As I said above, even without their memories of Connor they know fully well what W&H is and what working for them would entail. But whilst I agree with you that it could have possibly changed their perception I don't feel as strongly as you do that their faith in Angel was their guiding star in all this. Angel tries to act confidant for all of 2 seconds in Conviction before sharing his doubts with the gang. Part of W&H's divide and conquer tactics was about winning them over regardless of Angel. And I guess a part of me is always somewhat weary of this argument, as it can be conveniently used to exonerate the others and pile the blame on Angel for not only his poor decisions but the poor decisions of his fully capable, adult friends too.
    Yeah, I can get on board with that for the most part. I think we probably differ in the degrees, because the loss of memories and the lack of information makes them not 100% fully capable of making decisions IMO. And while I agree that Angel didn't force them to take the deal, I think that he...strongly encouraged them to, not so much by making arguments to them as making the "executive decision" and expecting them to follow along, in a sort of leader-y way. I agree that "executive decision" is not meant in this case as Angel literally signing the team on against their will, but the use of the term suggests an expectation that they will follow him.

    However, that "not 100%" is not exactly zero either. The amount of information that the gang has is pretty high in many respects. They know what W&H is. None of them stand up and declare, "I want none of this!" and leave huffily.

    IMO I think there is a spectrum of responsibility for the W&H deal, with Angel being the person in the Fang Gang who has the most information overall, and has unaltered memories, and thus I place a greater burden of responsibility on him than I do on the others (possible exception Gunn). I place him as having more agency and power because he is above the others in the gang on the corporate ladder and the information asymmetries that we see impact that. Gunn has his own power/information asymmetry -- signing on to have his brain upgraded without telling the others, when that decision really could severely impact the others if W&H put a bug in his brain.

    However, while I think Angel is "higher than" the rest of the gang in terms of leadership/responsibility/agency, he is still really low on the overall W&H ladder. He runs the L.A. flagship branch and that represents power. But he still knows very little about the overall operation. I think that Angel "uses" the gang's deference to him, need of a central leader, and the fact that they don't know some of the worst stuff Angel has done (in particular, trying to suffocate Wesley, the mindwipe itself) to keep them from rebelling against him; but W&H "uses" Angel's Achilles' Heels of Connor, his increasing despondency, his feeling that he is trapped and going to hell, pure information overload, etc. to control him. The difference between the asymmetry between Angel & his employees and W&H & Angel in this discussion is that W&H is openly-actively-evil, whereas Angel generally wants to do the right thing but has that moral compass worn away by W&H, and so there is more to talk about regarding Angel. However, I think Angel is both manipulator and manipulated in the W&H power games, and that he has somewhat more information and power than his team does is only because Angel is slightly higher than them on the chain, while he himself is still very low on it.
    Last edited by Local Maximum; 18-12-13, 03:40 PM.

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  • vampmogs
    replied
    It wasn't a one minute temper tantrum. At the very least, it extended to the following day which meant Angel slept on it and was still adamant he was resigning. This was also on the back of Soul Purpose which showed the strain working for W&H was having on Angel's mind. Dismissing it as just a " temper tantrum" unfairly paints Angel as just being childish and not being legitimately upset at the slaughtered nuns, which is something worth getting upset over. The question of whether Angel will remain at W&H is left open until the resolution of the episode when the gang cheerfully asks him if he's staying on board, so, again, not a frivolous tantrum.

    None of the gang are jumping at Angel's heels to follow him out of the door. Fred's defensiveness that they're trying their best aren't the words of someone who wants to leave but someone who thinks Angel is being unfair and too hasty. Ditto for Wes trying to calm Angel down by calling it just a set-back. And I have not a single doubt he was going to follow that up with an argument for why Angel should stay before Angel interrupted him ("It was a terrible setback but-"). Lorne also gives off the impression that he feels Angel needs to cool down and rethink things. If any one of them had wanted to leave that would have been the perfect time to speak up. There'd be words of encouragement rather than feeble attempts to placate Angel and make him reconsider his decision.

    Max, I agree with you that, had the gang known about why Angel took the deal, it may indeed have changed their POV. I actually agree with that FAR more than the idea that the memories they lost severely impaired their judgement and made them take the deal. As I said above, even without their memories of Connor they know fully well what W&H is and what working for them would entail. But whilst I agree with you that it could have possibly changed their perception I don't feel as strongly as you do that their faith in Angel was their guiding star in all this. Angel tries to act confidant for all of 2 seconds in Conviction before sharing his doubts with the gang. Part of W&H's divide and conquer tactics was about winning them over regardless of Angel. And I guess a part of me is always somewhat weary of this argument, as it can be conveniently used to exonerate the others and pile the blame on Angel for not only his poor decisions but the poor decisions of his fully capable, adult friends too.
    Last edited by vampmogs; 18-12-13, 02:19 PM.

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  • Dipstick
    replied
    Disagree on You're Welcome. Angel threw a one minute temper tantrum about working at W&H. Fred just defensively reacted to Angel's anger by saying they've been doing their best. Wes tried to calm Angel down.for his anger by calling their client's murder a setback. Lorne said basically nothing. Only Gunn argued for staying.

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  • Local Maximum
    replied
    Well, at the very least, I think the gang might not want to work for Angel knowing that he erased their memories without telling them, which is another part of the overall lie Angel is selling. They have a right to know whether Angel is going to order the erasure of their memories before following him into hell. I guess I didn't underline this point enough.

    I agree that the gang want to convince Angel to stay in You're Welcome, but they still trust in Angel's overall moral authority -- they see him as still having taken the job for doing good, and being trustworthy as a boss. The piece of information that is missing is that not only can they not trust W&H, they cannot trust Angel. If Angel came clean about the fact that there was a memory wipe, and said "yeah, I will erase your memories if it is part of a spell to save my son, and that is why I took the W&H deal," the gang could make an informed decision about whether they could trust Angel. Taking the deal at W&H while their boss is untrustworthy is a much, much bigger risk than it would be otherwise. Wesley and Fred still largely defer to Angel in these early episodes. Gunn might want to just even work more independently.
    Last edited by Local Maximum; 18-12-13, 12:31 PM.

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