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Redemption with an easteregg.

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  • Redemption with an easteregg.

    Angel saying that he is redeemed gave many people a bad taste in their mouth. I'm not sure what to make of it yet, but I was listening to the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack today and I thought of something obvious.

    Angel let somebody kill him for humanity. Angel's last words are; "I love Connor, I love my friends and I love this city. I'd die a thousand deaths to save any of them." Angel's sacrifice is nothing but one of the many bible references comparing Angel to Jesus. This time Angel dies for humanity like Jesus died for humanity. And they both come back afterwards, or what about the the lines in NFA that fool around with betrayal and denying Angel three times. Or Angel falling of his believe some time before his sacrifice, and of course he is killed by his former friend.

    Jesus death was a payment for all sins, those of humanity but also his own ... easter is about redemption.

    Is it possible that the Catholic Angel feels the connection somehow? They never used his religion that much, but it wouldn't suprise me if it plays still a big part in his life. His quest for redemption, the burning guilt, feeling like a monster/unable to touch religious things, even Angelus' obsession with nuns and how he mocks God. Also his name has a religious tone. Angel has issues with God and him sacrificing himself could for us be a lame reason to forgive yourself, but is it possible that somebody who is raised with very extreme Catholic ideas, sees/feels it differently?

    Ironic that Angel finds out in the same arc that he is the anti-christ in the literal meaning.
    Last edited by Nina; 05-03-09, 06:44 PM.

  • #2
    Angel has never been "subtle" about religion (I've seen non-religions fans--Hell, I'm agnostic--try to say that while they notice the religious themes, they think it is "subtle" or deny it because they know Joss is an atheist). He's actually been the most vocal of any character in the 'verse about it. He is easily the most religion-obsessed character. And while BtVS/AtS are definitely in a polytheist world created by an atheist, Angel's specifically Catholic background isn't remotely hidden. It frequently is used thematically.

    He talks about Heaven, Hell and redemption in very religious terms. Angelus was obsessed with it. One of Liam's issues with his father was that he saw him as a religious hypocrite (he even says so in Spin the Bottle). Angelus is obsessed with corrupting purity, asks if Drusilla is a saint, stalks Drusilla using religion and her mother's religious issues with Drusilla's visions to drive her mad, specifically picks the day that Drusilla is about to take her holy orders to rape and sire her, goes after convents and nuns specifically, carves crosses in cheeks, sires a puritan with father issues, etc... Angel even feels like quitting W&H when nuns are slaughtered.

    We also get the brilliant moment of Angel looking up at Jesus on the cross in I've Got You Under My Skin during the church scene.

    Then we have the constant references to Wesley being Judas Iscariot and the 9th ring of Hell being for those who betray. Connor is mentioned by Wesley in religious terms (among them, he mentions Jesus) as being an example of immaculate conception or an impossible birth. Wesley again refers to his role as Judas Iscariot when he asks Angel if the Orlon window is his "30 pieces of silver"--of course, not realizing that he, himself, was the Judas figure. Now we have Gunn playing Judas Iscariot (which goes with the "deny you three" times line), Gunn killing Angel and Angel rising again like Jesus.

    And we have Angel's talk with Spike about them both going to Hell. Darla specifically says while holding a cross to his smoking flesh, "No matter how good a boy you are, God doesn't want you... But I still do." Darla and Spike are both very aware of it being a sore spot for Angel. They wouldn't use the cross to illustrate their point if wasn't hurtful to him.

    I can't help but think that the writers might have been influenced by David Boreanaz in some way (big time Catholic who talks about it quite a bit). Bones is just as loaded with Catholicism as AtS is, if not more. And it's pretty acknowledged that the writers took that from David Boreanaz, himself.

    You're right on to notice that Angel appears to still be a very Catholic character. It has influenced a lot of the motivations of Liam, Angelus and Angel.
    Last edited by NileQT87; 05-03-09, 03:31 AM.

    "If there is no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do."
    "Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. It's harsh and cruel. But that's why there's us. Champions."


    • #3
      I agree with you two, Angel has struck me as still under the influence of the religion he was brought up with while watching the series (with the "going to hell no matter what good we've done in the meantime" remark from Hellbound clearly pointing in a Catholic and not Protestant direction, which makes perfect sense since he is Irish and has strong sentiments against the English in his human times (as shown in Spin the Bottle) and therefore most likely to be a Catholic).
      Nina, good point about the "I have been redeemed" remark directly tied to his sacrifice for humanity.
      Sin is what I feast upon
      I'm forging my crematorium
      Your tomb is waiting here for you
      Welcome to my ritual

      -Judas Priest, Death


      • #4
        Great posts everybody and great ideas and theories, it's been a fun read

        I thought the same thing when I read Issue #17 as you did Nina, though I hadn't thought about it in regards to his line about being redeemed. That's a really interesting theory.

        I think it's pretty obvious that his self sacrifice for humanity is connected to the story of Jesus' self sacrifice. And it's not the first time Joss has drawn on this for inspiration, Buffy's swan dive in 'The Gift' with her arms stretched outwards clearly symbolised the famous imagery of the cross and what it represents. Joss may be an atheist but he isn't afraid to incorporate religious ideas and symbolism into his work.

        And Buffy’s actually not the only one, in ‘The Trial’ Angel’s held with his arms stretched outwards as he decides to sacrifice himself so that Darla can get another shot at redemption.

        ~ Banner by Nina ~


        • #5
          Hey, good observations. I totally missed those.

          Something I completely forgot to mention in my last post (and hopefully I'll be able to convey my meaning properly ): As shown in "The Prodigal", Angel never really got over what damage his father did to his psyche. Part of what his father used to dominate and humiliate him was religion, therefore religion certainly has a atrong grasp on him still. He can pretend to shake it off, but as long as he has not gotten over what happened between him and his father in the past, it will always be a looming shadow over him, so to say. The whole "I'm bad, I'm going to hell" seems to me to be not only his own guilt, but also a residue of what his father kept drilling into his head: "Whatever you do, you'll never be good enough.", with a religious connotation.
          Sin is what I feast upon
          I'm forging my crematorium
          Your tomb is waiting here for you
          Welcome to my ritual

          -Judas Priest, Death


          • #6
            Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
            And Buffy's actually not the only one, in ?The Trial' Angel's held with his arms stretched outwards as he decides to sacrifice himself so that Darla can get another shot at redemption.
            Holtz also bound Angel up with his arms stretched out in Lullaby. If I remember correctly Tim Minear talks about it in the commentary.

            Or what about the 'prostitute'? Maria Magdalena and Darla. Of course it's not clear what Maria's role was in Jesus' life. But still big roles for the prostitutes. And Angel's destiny screams anti-christ and christ at the same time. Which is probably a direct reference to the man and the demon in Angel.

            And yes, Angel is still influenced by his religion. I would love it when the writers dug deeper. Does Angel believe in God? Or is it nothing but his own education and childhood that influences him?


            • #7
              Darla certainly seems to think that Angel still believes in God. Why else would she say "No matter how good a boy you are, God doesn't want you... But I still do." if it wasn't still relevant? Though she certainly has 'unwanted by God' issues, herself (ever since her prostitution days). That line only hurts if you still believe in God, not if you once did once upon a time. He still does.

              For the vampires who have christian God issues, the inability to touch a cross strengthens their belief that there is a God. It seems to have an effect on all four of the Fanged Four. Liam and Drusilla are definitely Catholic. William and Darla also appear to have Christian God issues (Spike puts himself on the cross and doesn't disagree with Angel's Hell comment / Darla had issues with being unwanted by God when she was a prostitute).

              And yep, I've also noted the Mary Magdalene insinuation with Darla. Also her role in the "impossible birth" makes her a Mary figure--the irony there is that Mary was a virgin and Darla was a prostitute. Connor is given the whole thing about him either being a savior of humanity or the destroyer of it. Lilah and Wesley's conversations about the events of season 3 are almost entirely biblical or Dante-oriented.

              I'd argue the vampires are probably the most religious characters in the 'verse. Perhaps the cross and holy water stuff really gets to them. And we also saw the vampires in Who Are You? mention that vampires are usually afraid to enter churches. Angelus is plain obsessed with all things religious and makes it his mode of operation to defile all things holy and go against his vampire senses of fear. The Master also makes sure to go against the vampire fear of touching crosses in Nightmares and spoke of God when approaching Darla on her deathbed.
              Last edited by NileQT87; 05-03-09, 06:59 PM.

              "If there is no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do."
              "Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. It's harsh and cruel. But that's why there's us. Champions."


              • #8
                You're right, Darla is obsessed with God as well, maybe less than Angel(us) but;

                Holtz: "I knew you'd come back to Europe, but Rome Angelus? Why in Gods name would you come to the seat of all that's holy?"

                Angelus: "Darla - she loves the Sistine chapel."

                Holtz: "Michelangelo?"

                Angelus: "Not him. She's mad about Botticelli's frescos. The Temptation of Christ is her favorite."
                But in Darla's case I've the feeling that it's pure dispise where Angel is confused but leans towards love and hope.


                • #9
                  Nice posts, but I always wondered Buffy being more as alegory for Christ, even if not intended by the writers:

                  The myth of the huntress always stated that she alone fight evil for the sake of humanity, but Buffy was much further. In "Prophecy Girl" she faces the fact of having to die to fulfill her destiny (go to the cross), try to say no, but sees that this is her mission and assume its role as a martyr - "father take away from me this cup."
                  She died but resurrected to save all

                  In the episode "Graduation Day" there is a betrayal of someone close and an offering of the blood of the Savior - "Last Supper".

                  In "Restless", Buffy watcher, Giles mentions that its duty includes the "blood of the lamb" (Jesus was the lamb). Buffy goes to the desert where she is tested by a devil and says "I'm gonna be a fireman when the flood rolls back" - After the flood (Noah), she will be the Savior (Christ).

                  In "Beneath You" Spike finds his rest embracing a cross, after looking out for his soul for love for Buffy.

                  Finally, Buffy's work is almost always performed with the use of a wood spike and Christ was a carpenter.
                  Sorry, I don't speak English.


                  • #10
                    Well Angel uses wooden spikes/stakes as well. And Jesus was no carpenter, his father was. Jesus was probably a rabbi.

                    That said, both characters have religious symbols in their story and both are Jesus-like at times. Angel a bit more often than Buffy. But in the end both journeys look alike, they go through the same things (dieing for the world, being betrayed by a friend etc.) so it makes sense that they both go through Messiah-like situations. If the one does it, the other follows.

                    There is another character with some heavy Christ insinuation, and that's Connor. An impossible birth and the prophecy around his birth is about a person who is like Christ or the anti-Christ;

                    Wesley: "It predicts the arrival or arising of the Tro-clan, the person or being that brings about the ruination of mankind. And I'm not sure on the translation. Ruination may in fact mean purification. It's purification in Aramaic, ruination in ancient Greek and in the lost Ga-shundi language it means both."

                    So Connor and Angel (well I think that Spike is ruled out) are both in the race to become the anti-christ but it could also mean that they play the role of the Messiah. And it means that they would face eachother, or that they do it together. On the other side, the Jasmine arc fits. I don't know what the writers planned for Connor in season 3. And it could be used as a fanwank now because no way that Connor is going to play a special role in the end. We are already lucky when Joss goves Angel some role in BtVS.

                    Which is in the end the heaviest one of them all. Who is playing which role in the last battle ... who will be the Messiah and who the anti-Christ?
                    Last edited by Nina; 12-03-09, 05:16 PM.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nina View Post
                      Well Angel uses wooden spikes/stakes as well. And Jesus was no carpenter, his father was. Jesus was probably a rabbi.
                      Are you saing that Indiana jones and The last crusade lied to me?
                      Sorry, I don't speak English.