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Angel/Lawson- Why We Fight

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  • Angel/Lawson- Why We Fight

    Why did Angel let Lawson go after turning him in episode Why We Fight? Angel had a soul when he sired him. He was still struggling with redemption and all of that.

    Also why did Lawson feel 'nothing' after turning in to a vampire? He seemed very depressed/bitter that Angel turned him. Lawson even wondered if he got some of Angel's soul which seems unlikely.
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  • #2
    I actually don't know the answer to your first question. Why didn't he follow him and then kill him. I could understand that at this point Angel wasn't a hero but still didn't like what he did as promised to kill him the next time he saw him.

    As Lawson, we don't know. His case is unusual as most vamps understand their raison d'etre at least on a instinctual level. This is true of the vampires Spike sired with his soul. Lawson didn't seem to have this. Maybe his desire to find purpose followed him strongly into vampirism and overrided everything else. Not sure really.


    • #3
      Angel does this a few other times, even in the "present day"--usually when he feels a personal connection to the vampire. The one that jumps to mind is Darla. I believe that on some level, Angel wants to give them a chance--however unlikely it may be--to find their way to the same redemption he's looking for.
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      • #4
        Truthfully, I never really did understand the whole point of the Why We Fight episode. In S5 there were so many questions I wanted answered and so many reunions I was hoping for - to me Why We Fight was just out of place.

        Of course, any previously unknown history is appreciated, but still.........I don't understand the point.

        If anyone wants to elighten me about the point of this ep - or why it was plop in the middle of S5, please feel free to do so.


        • #5
          Well Angel believes in redemption and giving people the chance to change, I think this extends to demons and vampires as well: Lorne, Groo, Holtz (he said sorry to guy), Darla, Lawson, Faith and yes, even Spike. Though the process of "redemption" may be difficult and often times laced with gray areas it's deeper meaning applies to these characters more than anything else.

          Look at BTVS, Willow's search for redemption was not really explored as much as we wanted in S7, it's all magic bad, afraid to use it, whereas Faith was able to show it in two eps in Angel. Same applies to Spike, in BTVS he was just a broken badboy who wanted to be loved, unlike in ATS where he made some break-throughs (that he refuted with a short line in NFA, you know what I'm talking about: IT invloves the shanshu).


          • #6
            Also why did Lawson feel 'nothing' after turning in to a vampire? He seemed very depressed/bitter that Angel turned him. Lawson even wondered if he got some of Angel's soul which seems unlikely.
            I agree with kana - that it's possible Lawson's need for "a mission" and his overarching sense of pragmatism and reason were strong personality traits of his that simply carried over when he was turned. Traits that don't generally jive well with those of a vamp (ie. a demon whose un-life revolves around self-preservation and the kill, no real higher purpose than that). This contradiction of character then could have resulted in his feeling he is "nothing".

            We've seen this type of "personality retainment" before - take Spike for example. Even pre-soul Spike had undertones of the hopeless romantic in him, remnants of William, though technically he was a demon and shouldn't have "human-like" qualities like that (if you subscribe to the S2 BtVS "demon sets up shop in your old house/but its not you" take on vamps).

            Makes sense then that Lawson would feel lost/depressed/bitter; perhaps, using the above theory, he's battling with conflicting feelings/beliefs within himself. Undead killer with no moral compass vs. remnants of that young idealistic naval engineer with a mission to uphold. Judging by everything we've seen in the Buffy/Angelverse, no two vamps seem to be alike. While Spike might have been able to exist with his dichotomy, maybe Lawson can't and he suffers emotionally for it - blaming Angel for his (in his opinion) meaningless/flawed existence.

            ...Or maybe I shouldn't wax on about episodes I haven't seen in months.
            ~a si i-dhuath u-orthor~


            • #7
              I always thought of 'Why We Fight' as being one of the best episodes of Season 5. Coming right after 'You're Welcome', it sorts of reinforces what Cordy has been trying to tell Angel in 'You're Welcome'.

              In that episode, we see Angel beginning to lose sight of his purpose, losing track of what he has to do. This is not the first time we see it, of course; we see it even in Buffy. After Angel returns from Hell in Season 3, he keeps questioning why he was let out, what his purpose was. This feeling of uselessness almost led him to kill himself in 'Amends', but Buffy knocked sense into him telling him that if he was put back on Earth, then there is always a reason. Giving up would just mean that he is just another monster.

              Cordy came back to Angel in that borrowed time in 'You're Welcome' to tell him the same thing Buffy told him all those years ago. cordy told him that there is a reason to fight, a reason to go on. All Angel needs is to find that reason again, and it seemed that at the end of that episode, he did.

              'Why We Fight'in a way made clear to Angel that everyone is looking for a reason to exist, a reason for going through life. We can see this when Fred finds Lawson in her office:

              Lawson: Do you like working here?
              Fred: What?
              Lawson: You know, do you enjoy what you do? Do you find yourself waking up in the morning, eager to start your day?
              Lawson seems to be asking people whether they feel compelled to get out of bed every morning to go to work, whether the work is worth waking up for. Because, as we see as the episode progresses, Lawson have lost his reason; the way Angel lost his.

              We see that before he was turned, Lawson was content with his life. Times then were simpler, as he says:

              Lawson: We all need a reason to live. Even if we're already dead. Mom, apple pie, stars and stripes--That was good enough for me until I met you.
              All that mattered to Lawson, what gave him a reason to fight was family, for a place to call home and importantly, for his country. And that all could be achieved by fighting the war. Being in the military allows him to fight for what he believed in, even if he didn't fully understand his orders; but he knew he had to do it, because doing it gave him reason. He and his crew were even prepared to give up their life if their sacrifice was for a higher purpose.

              But that changed when they were taking the ship back home. With vampires on board, many died, including the captain, leaving the crew lost. when Angel came down, he gave them direction again, and assurance that they'll get home safe. But Lawson's sense of purpose wavers in the face of grey areas. He denies that his government would ever experiment on demons to create a demon weapon, believing that people win by doing what's right.

              Turns out, that's not true. Because more often than not, people are more likely to do what is needed to achieve their means. And he experiences this first hand, as the price to keep everyone else alive and to get the sub back, Angel has to turn him before he dies from his wound. It is not entirely right in the strictest sense, but it gets the job done.

              When Lawson comes to Wolfram & Hart looking for Angel, he is again, looking for a purpose; something that he had lost after being sired. As it turns out, he has been stuck between two natures. One would be the nature of the vampire that urges him to kill, but at the same time, there is his inherent nature, one that was there before he became a vampire, and that is how he is always questioning the purpose of things and what they achieve. He thus, is unable to feel anything as a vampire because killing does nothing for him, there is no purpose in it.

              As it turns out, while Angel gave Lawson the means to succeed in he and his crew's mission to bring back the sub; Angel also took away whatever purpose Lawson had. And so, several decades later, Lawson comes back, after Angel lets him go, to ask for a mission from the last commander he knew; but he never gets it. In a way, Angel always knew that Lawson would be dust one day, but just wanted Lawson to understand why first, to let him understand his purpose.

              So, this episode discusses the importance of finding a reason; for it is reason that makes us do what we do, it is why we fight. And when Spike comes into Angel's office and Spike asks "....what was he looking for?" We see Angel looking up at the sun and he says "A reason"; as though completing what Buffy was trying to tell him in 'Amends', just before the sun rose up.


              I hope that answers the questions posed:

              Why Angel let Lawson go?
              Why Lawson felt nothing as a vampire?
              What is the purpose of this episode?

              I know it's a rather long explanation of what I think of the episode, but I hope it helps!
              Last edited by Sup3rnal; 26-07-07, 03:18 PM.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cinderela View Post
                If anyone wants to elighten me about the point of this ep - or why it was plop in the middle of S5, please feel free to do so.
                From what I understand, the answer to this one is pretty crappy. The network weren't interested in a strong arc and wanted more 'one' episodes. It's a crap way to end a series, imo. If you compare s1 of Angel to s1 of Buffy, Angel is the far stronger one based on an arc, loose at it is, and to go back to that format, to me, indicates rocks in the head of the PTB.

                As for the rest of the question, I think Angel didn't automatically kill Lawson because he does believe in second chances and the guilt of killing killing someone, even if he'd killed him already, might have been too much. Or, and I'm going out on a limb here, and don't especially believe it myself, another theory could be 'survival of the species', maybe as often as Angel does kill vamps (which he only really starts doing in the 1990s) instinctually, like wanting to drink blood, he wants to see his kind survive, and in the 1940s this urge is stronger than it is in the present day.


                • #9
                  So coincidently I just watched this episode this evening. I never actually found it too surprising that he let Lawson go, though I have always thought it was rather telling that he also let Spike go. The Lawson thing struck me as a bit like the Dru thing; Angel feels guilty and responsible. Even though he has actively starting killing vamps, he doesn't hunt down Dru when she shows up in Sunnydale. Also I think that the company line (or Council line anyway) that the demon takes over and nothing is left thing isn't so true and Angel knows it. He knows that Lawson is still Lawson and he can't just kill him.Course it would have been nicer if he'd have kept him and tried to to keep him on the good side, but since he hadn't actually come around to that yet himself....
                  As far as whether his having a soul had any affect on Lawson...I'm not so sure that we can saw that it wouldn't using Spike's sires as an example. I'm not sure what effect being under the control of the first would have, but if I had to guess-I'd say it would make them extra evil. Also none of them lived long enough for us to know what they would have felt. Yes they attacked but they were all in the midst of newly made hunger. Could be they would have run into the same issues.
                  If I had to vote though, I'd go with having a strong need for a purpose as being a key part of Lawson's personality and that he just retained it, kinda like Dru retained her insanity and William retained his romantic nature.
                  "All I ask is that... that you try to see me."