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Dilemma: Horns of the Bull (Spoilers for ATS "Inside Out") -- Tyreseus, 00:16:11 04/03/03 Thu

"When making a decision of minor importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons. In vital matters, however, such as the choice of a mate or a profession, the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves. In the important decisions of personal life, we should be governed, I think, by the deep inner needs of our nature."
-Sigmund Freud

Hey, I'm back with two functioning typing hands, and just in time! Thanks to everyone who sent words of sympathy. I'm still in a wrist brace, but it only slightly slows my typing speed.

So, I'm interpretting tonight's epidode of ATS as a serious meditation on choices. The choices we make, the situations that lead to no choice, and the god-awful "dilemma" or the situations where no good choice can be made.

Connor: Has the only real choice to make in the episode. To kill an innocent to protect his baby or to risk his baby by keeping his hands clean. So much character depth (finally) verbalized in Connor tonight. Two weeks ago I spoke about how Connor doesn't fit in with the rest of the AI team because he's never done something so horrible that he feels the need to atone for it. Tonight he clearly chose, with all the ramifications clear, to take an innocent life.

Darla's visit from beyond (sent by the PTB???) served to illustrate exactly what choice Connor was making, and in the end, he gave in to the fear, hatred and rage. Strong emotions, not rational thought, often lead us to make the really bad choices in life. It's easier to mistrust than to trust, easier to hate than to love, easier to fear than to understand. Connor fell for this trap.

Skip: Serves as a strong counterpoint to Connor. His choices are simple - he ways the pros and cons. "I'm a merc." No moralizing, no agonizing over the ramifications. It's simple, much like Darla's time as a vampire, he makes his choices purely out of self-interest. He may have a stake in seeing the "No-name" horror succeed, but he will do whatever's best for his own hide. Ultimately, however, his life is ended because of the choices he made. He could have escaped, but chose to attempt killing his captors instead. In this case, his need for revenge (strong emotion) was his downfall.

Skip's speech to the AI gang, however, coupled with Gunn's rehearsed monolog to Fred, illustrate the concept of choices in the light of free will versus predestiny. There are no easy answers here. If some higher (and not necessarily benevolent) power is maneuvering us like chess pawns, is there any such thing as free will? But Skip admits that we make some of those choices (sandwiches, flossing) so there must be some control over our own destiny, however minor. Gunn provides an excellent speech about the final shot still being a question mark, but where's his proof? Can you ever tip the scale if going up against a omniscient being?

Angel: Has the unspeakable dilemma. His choice is to kill the woman he loves or to unleash evil horror upon the world. It reminds me of Buffy's choice at the end of Becoming, Part 2. There's no happy ending to this scenario. Unlike Buffy, however, Angel hesitates at the crucial moment. He pauses as Fred calls out for him to "wait." Did he drag his feet getting to the meat packing district? He stands above evil!contraction!Cordelia and pauses, whispers "I'm so sorry," and waited a breath too long. In the end, this is why Buffy was always the stronger member of the team. She didn't hesitate until it was too late.

Angel kept saying, "I don't have a choice." Wesley said that Angel didn't have a choice. Skip said that Angel didn't have a choice (and wouldn't make a difference anyway). But did Angel have a choice? Connor also cried out that he didn't have a choice, but Darla made it clear to him that he did. Were there other avenues open to Angel that he didn't explore? He refused to go directly to the Powers That Be - could that have been the wrong choice? If the PTBs sent Darla to Connor, surely they must have an interest in this plane's little drama after all.

Good and Evil: Are just words, according to Evil!LaborPains!Cordelia. Moral concepts that are flexible, bound to the individual, meant to control. We've argued this very concept on the board. What is evil from the human point of view is good from the vampire's perspective. But ultimately, Darla knows (and so does Connor) that good and evil are not just words or concepts. They're feelings deep down in our souls that we just know, in the final count. Shades of gray, yeah right. All the characters (with souls anyway) know when they've done wrong - Fred, Gunn, Wesley, Lilah, Faith, Angel... They know the difference between good and evil, but they make choices out of self-interest or strong emotion that turn them into gray characters.

More on Connor (my latest favorite subject): We finally get to see further beneath the surface. His line to ghost!Darla "Did you hate me that much?" was heartbreaking. Everything he has grown up without knowing, a mother's unconditional love, was suddenly offered to him and he distrusted it. This kid would have to charter a private plane for all his baggage. He truly believes that his parents hate him. Both his parents. When Darla cries out "I love you" and Cordelia says, "This is how much Angel hates you" it was easier to believe that he was hated.

Connor needs a place in the world. He needs to know how he fits in. He needs to know what love is, something he's never experienced (not even from Holtz) and been able to comprehend.

For me, the most gut-wrenching moment came after Darla's plea "Don't do this. Don't make my death [redemption and sacrifice] mean nothing" when he drags the innocent girl to the next room and Darla fades out of view, only to reappear in place of the girl to Connor's mind. It's not a nameless innocent he helps to kill, it's his own mother. We already know there are Oedipal complexes for Connor, now we've got an Electra Complex to boot. More matricide and patricide than an all-day Greek drama festival.

And the saddest part is that he still tells himself (on some surface level) that he's doing the right thing. Unfortunately he proved Angel's MC Escher/Champion speech correct. Connor doesn't understand what it mean to make a difference, to fight for what's really right. He's still so wrapped up in his own need for validation (the baby will make them understand me, love me) that he can't see the bigger picture - although he's starting to. If it hadn't been for the manipulations of Evil!MySweet!Cordelia, he might have figured it out by now.

And whoa! MC Escher speech!
"What you did to me - was unbelievable, Connor. - But then I got stuck in a hell dimension by my girlfriend one time for a hundred years, so three months under the ocean actually gave me perspective. Kind of a M. C. Esher perspective - but I did get time to think. About us, about the world. - Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. - It's harsh, and cruel. - But that's why there's us. Champions. It doesn't matter where we come from, what we've done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world was what it should be, to show it what it can be. - You're not a part of that yet. - I hope you will be. (Angel moves to stand in front of Connor) I love you, Connor. (Quietly, after a beat) Now get out of my house."

Clearly, Connor's been thinking on that speech. He even references it in his discussion with Evil!BloodyBelly!Cordelia. But the speech applies to all the characters as much now as ever. Gunn's monolog to Fred was another version of the same speech. If we constantly live as though the balance hangs in our every action, that's the makings of a champion.

Burning questions left behind:
What becomes of Evil!FashionFauxPas!Cordelia? Dead, vegetable, or still savable? How long has "all this sweetness" been saturating every fiber of Cordy's being? And is it just me, or was the teaser for next week's episode like the shortest and least informative ever? It's enough to make a spoiler virgin break his vows!

Overall, I loved this episode! I gasped when Darla appeared to Connor. I yelled "no" at Connor when he made his choice. I was right there! And at least one burning question has been answered - Darla and Connor do bear a family resemblance. Who knew that they'd have such amazing acting chemistry together as well? I only wish we could bring Darla back from the dead (Again!!!!) for more vamp!mom/waif!spawn bonding.

And finally, on a completely lewd and unnecessary note, when Connor dipped his hand in blood, was I the only one who noticed how... um, long... his finger were? On such a small frame that only indicates one thing (from my perverted experiences, anyway), so I think I know what Evil!MotherDearest!Cordelia saw in junior. Sorry, just couldn't get that thought out of my mind (feel free to "ick" me now).

Ty

[> On a completely heartless note... -- ponygirl, 13:10:59 04/04/03 Fri

Does anyone want to start a Connor death pool? Seriously, I have a lot of sympathy for Connor, but I can't think of another character with the cards so stacked against him. He's been manipulated many times yet in each instance he's had a counterpoint to the evil influence (Angel in Tomorrow, now Darla), and still he goes with the evil. He doesn't even have Andrew's saving grace of being harmless and friendly when not under a direct influence. I'm not sure I like it but from a narrative standpoint I've got to bet on a big Moment of Self-Awareness and Final Redemptive Sacrifice in his future.

Oh, and great post Ty!

[> [> Is this fair? -- Masq, 13:45:22 04/04/03 Fri

By which I mean, should the spoiler trollops be allowed to play?

They may know whether Vincent K is contractually obligated to return next season (pending there being a next season).

Of course, in the Buffyverse, that could still mean he comes back in ghostly visitations just like Mumsie, after dying in a heroic and redemptive act (again, just like Mumsie). But trollops might know that, too!

And then there's always folks who claim not to be trollops but are lying....

[> [> [> All we have is the honor system -- ponygirl, 14:16:39 04/04/03 Fri

by which I mean Honorificus eats those who place bets with inside information.

Putting my kittens in the pot!

[> [> [> [> is that why they call it... -- anom, 15:23:00 04/04/03 Fri

"Putting my kittens in the pot!"

...the "kitty"? I always wondered about that!

[> Am I really the first to post on "Inside Out?" Weird. -- Tyreseus, 00:19:46 04/03/03 Thu


[> [> The board wasn't up at 10 pm ET or PT, Ty! -- Masq, 05:24:36 04/03/03 Thu

Or even I would have posted (which I never do the night of, I usually watch the ep again and go to bed).

It must have come back on line around eleven or so, by which time I was deep into taking notes on this episode, which I also usually don't do the night of an episode.

But GAH! I am so hoping we actually got some real answers in this episode!

Plus, all the Connor stuff was stunning!

[> [> [> Oh, I must have just caught it. -- Tyreseus, 06:54:48 04/03/03 Thu

And yeah, amazing Connor stuff! You've been a bad influence on me Masq. I used to care so much more about BtVS... but lately, I almost don't mind missing it as long as I get my AtS fix.

[> [> [> [> Well, absence makes the mind forget... -- Masq, 09:09:49 04/03/03 Thu

I've been procrastinating my "Lies My Parents Told Me" analysis because I've gotten so obsessed with figuring out what's going on on AtS.

But the end of the Buffy season promises to be eventful, full of lasting consequences, and a Faith-fest to boot. We'll all remember soon enough!

[> Great post.. murderous comments inside (spoils cont) -- neaux, 04:37:18 04/03/03 Thu

Like I said this was a great post. And I totally understand that Connor ultimately made the wrong decision.

Yet I still had a sigh of relief when Cordelia was the one who swung the Butcher's knife. So technically Cordelia is still the big bad murderer. I know I know. Connor should be in it as deep as Cordy for his decision to let the girl die, but I can't stop thinking of what U.S. judgement would be. What is it when you assist someone to murder but not actually do the act?

I am no way a lawyer but I know there are some on this board. I would love to hear someone come to Connor's defense, because I would love to rationalize Connor back to the side of good. (like Cordelia's Manipulation was the reason for Connor's actions)

eh?

[> [> In America the law doesn't matter -- lunasea, 06:56:25 04/04/03 Fri

What matters is how the jury feels. With Connor's "childhood" a lawyer should be able to get him off. That is one episode that would be hysterical. The jury might think the lawyer was crazy. Maybe after WR&H are put back together, Angel could make some deal with them and they could get Connor off.


could a jail actually hold Connor? Doubtful

[> [> [> Re: In America the law doesn't matter -- Dannyblue, 10:27:15 04/04/03 Fri

You're right. The feelings of the jury do matter. I think a judge is more likely to go by the facts, while a jury tends to go by their feelings. (Although I'm sometimes surprised by how logical some juries can actually be when presented with a very sympathetic defendant. There have been cases where you're positive they've been won over. Then, they come back with a GUILTY verdict. When interviewed later, a juror might say something like, "Well, we felt sorry for him, but the facts...")

Anyway, this is why when defendents are given a choice between having a judge or a jury trial, they choose the jury. Unless they're accused of something so terrible, and they seem so guilty, it looks like a jury might be much harder on them than a judge.

[> [> Joint unlawful enterprise -- Helen, 06:47:12 04/03/03 Thu

No idea about Californian law, but the Aiders and Abettors Act in the UK means that if you assist someone to commit a crime triable by indictment (such as murder) you can be tried as if you had yourself committed that crime. The actus reus of aiding and abetting murder is giving aid, encouragement or procuring a person to commit the offence. The mens rea is to intend that they should commit the offence.

In other words, Connor's in it as much as she is.

[> [> Depends on his trial lawyer I suppose -- Tyreseus, 07:06:07 04/03/03 Thu

From the California Penal Code on murder (190.05.(h)). Emphasis mine.

In determining the penalty, the trier of fact shall take into
account any of the following factors if relevant:
(1) The circumstances of the crime of which the defendant was convicted in the present proceeding and the existence of the prior prison term for murder.
(2) The presence or absence of criminal activity by the defendant which involved the use or attempted use of force or violence or the express or implied threat to use force or violence.
(3) The presence or absence of any prior felony conviction.
(4) Whether or not the offense was committed while the defendant was under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance.
(5) Whether or not the victim was a participant in the defendant's homicidal conduct or consented to the homicidal act.
(6) Whether or not the offense was committed under circumstances which the defendant reasonably believed to be a moral justification or extenuation for his or her conduct.
(7) Whether or not the defendant acted under extreme duress or under the substantial domination of another person.

(8) Whether or not at the time of the offense the ability of the defendant to appreciate the criminality of his or her conduct or to conform his or her conduct to the requirements of law was impaired as a result of mental disease or defect, or the effects of intoxication.
(9) The age of the defendant at the time of the crime.
(10) Whether or not the defendant was an accomplice to the offense and his or her participation in the commission of the offense was relatively minor.
(11) Any other circumstance which extenuates the gravity of the crime even though it is not a legal excuse for the crime.

My feeling is that there are few lawyers who could get him off on this one.

[> [> [> interesting -- Helen, 07:17:50 04/03/03 Thu

point ten would certainly have relevance in UK law, point seven wouldn't (duress is not a defence to murder as decided in R V Howe) and point six, if you honestly believer your act was not wrong or was justified, could have you going to a mental institution for the rest of your life if you fell foul of the M'Naughton rules on legal insanity.

Note to self: must do law finals essays, not post random information on web and kid self it is like studying.

[> [> [> Re: Depends on his trial lawyer I suppose -- CW, 07:27:41 04/03/03 Thu

I've never heard of a court actually giving any consideration to point 6, unless the court/jury thought the act was justified, before considering whether the defendant did. Otherwise anyone who firmly believed they should kill someone would have to be set free. I don't think you'd convince a jury he was justified.

Dragging the girl into the apartment clearly against her will and then into the room where she was slain makes Connor a big time accessory, so point 10 is moot.

7 is the only real arguing point a lawyer would have, and that would depend heavily on how far the AI survivors would be willing to support his case.

It isn't that clear anyone could get him off.

[> [> [> [> Ooh, clarification on that Calif. penal code -- Tyreseus, 08:37:15 04/03/03 Thu

On closer inspection, it seems the passage I quoted applies more to how a sentence should be considered for a convicted person, not how a defense attorney would try to get someone declared not guilty.

I'm a journalist, not a lawyer, so I can access all sorts of info, but that doesn't mean I always understand it.

[> [> [> [> [> Accessory to murder would be prosecutable and his actions apply..... -- Briar Rose, 02:33:27 04/04/03 Fri

It doesn't fit "In Fear of One's Life" because it was not done in a moment of passion.

They would also get Connor on abduction and kidnapping with intent to murder with the transport of the girl from point A to point B under CA law.

But the DA would definitely argue accessory and kidnapping with malicious intent.

These are always fun to think about - especially in Angel since they seem to actually take LE semi-seriously where BtVS doesn't.

[> [> Felony Murder rule -- Corwin of Amber, 08:00:53 04/03/03 Thu

In most jurisdictions in the US, there is a concept called the "felony murder rule". What that basically says is that if anyone present dies during the course of a felony taking place, the perpetrators of the felony, all of them, can be charge with murder.

The classic example is someone dying from a heart attack during a bank robbery. The robbers could then be charged with murder.

In this case, Conner kidnapped the girl, and then Cordy murdered her, so Conner can also be charged with murder.

I don't know California law specifically though.

[> [> [> Re: Felony Murder rule -- Dannyblue, 08:15:36 04/03/03 Thu

There was a case in which a battered woman was found guilty of murder. Basically, she told all her friends what her husband was doing to her. One night, things got really intense, and her friends proposed killing the husband, who was working late at the office, so he couldn't hurt her anymore. Everyone agrees that the woman never proposed this plan. She never said, "I want you guys to go kill my husband." She even argued against it, because she really loved the guy. But, when they left her house, she had some inkling of what they were going to do. She admitted that, while a part of her didn't really think anything would happen, she wasn't really surprised to get the 'phone call saying her husband had been killed.

Because she didn't try harder to stop it (say by calling the police, or calling to warn her husband) the courts considered her just as guilty of the murder as the friends who actually did the deed.

[> [> [> [> Which is an argument for picking friends competent enough not to get caught ;-) -- KdS, 08:26:22 04/03/03 Thu


[> [> [> [> [> Re: Which is an argument for picking friends competent enough not to get caught ;-) -- Dannyblue, 13:32:20 04/03/03 Thu

We're not talking rocket scientists here. I mean, if she'd really been into this thing, she would've hired better help I'm thinkin'.

[> [> [> [> Re: Felony Murder rule -- Dochawk, 15:22:47 04/03/03 Thu

Can you find a reference for this, it sounds suspiciously like an urban legend rather than a true case.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Felony Murder rule -- Dannyblue, 15:46:49 04/03/03 Thu

I saw it on one of those crime shows A&E does on American Justice and City Confidential. (It couldn't have been on The E! True Holly Stories because there were no celebrities involved.) Anyway, I can't remember if this particular story was on A&E or Court TV, or even Unsolved Mysteries. I used to watch 'em all, and they sort of bleed together after a while.

[> [> [> Re: Felony Murder rule -- fidhle, 15:16:30 04/03/03 Thu

In most US jurisdictions, murder is divided into degrees. First degree murder - which may carry the death penalty in those states with a death penalty, and would usually carry a maximum sentence of life in those states without the death penalty - is usually the premeditated, that is planned and thought out, unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. Malice doesn't mean that the person has to hate or otherwise dislike the victim. Second degree murder is usually lacking the premeditated part, or has some other extenuating circumstance which overcomes the premeditated part, such as a person who kills someone immediately after being severely provoked. It is not necessary that the killer intended to kill the victim for a murder conviction, merely that the person acted with malice. For example, if a person fires a gun at someone, intending to hit a portion of the body which would not usually cause death, and, by mistake, kills the person standing by the intended victim, the malice towards the intended victim transfers to the unintended victim and the killer is guilty of murder, most likely in the second degree. If the killer had intended to kill the intended victim, and had planned it, then, even though he didn't intend to kill the second victim, the killer would probably be guilty of murder one.

What the felony murder rule does is to raise the level of the degree of murder to murder one for a death occurring as the result of certain felonies. For example, if a person robs a bank, and accidentally knocks a pedestrian in front of a speeding car so that the pedestrian is killed, then that death is murder one, and the killer can get the death penalty or life, depending on the state.

An accomplice to either kind of murder is just as guilty as the person who does the killing. For example, a get-away driver sitting around the corner is just as guilty of first degree murder if the robber he is waiting for kills the clerk at the store he is robbing. The fact that the get- away driver has not intent to harm anyone does not matter. The law is quite harsh on these issues to try to dissuade people from engaging in life-threatening activities, especially when committing a crime.

BTW, I understand that in California, the rule is especially harsh, so that if one robber is killed by the police in a shootout, the other robber can be convicted of the first degree murder of his partner on the basis of felony murder. Always thought that was a bit extreme, and maybe it has changed since I first read that.

Poor Connor.

[> [> [> [> Re: Felony Murder rule -- Dannyblue, 15:33:30 04/03/03 Thu

Also, crimes of passion are considered second degree murder.

For example, I find out my boyfriend is cheating on me. Enraged, I spend a few weeks planning how I'll kill him so that I won't get caught. Or I hire someone else to do it. That's pre-meditated, first degree murder.

On the other hand, I find out my boyfriend is cheating on me. I stew about it for a few weeks before finally confronting him. We get into an argument. In the heat of the moment, I'm filled with so much anger and hatred that I pick up a statue and hit him with it. I didn't plan to do it but, when I picked up the statue, the law assumes that I knew the statue could cause lethal injury. Still, since it wasn't pre- meditated, that's second-degree murder.

Now, say I took a gun when I went over to confront my boyfriend, it gets murder. Was I coldly planning to kill him when I got there? Or did I take the gun because, in the heat of the moment, I wasn't quite in my right mind? The first would be first-degree, the latter second-degree.

Now, say I find out my boyfriend is cheating on me. I stew about it for a few weeks before finally confronting him. We get into an argument. In the heat of the moment, I push him. It was just in a fit of anger. It's not unusual to give someone you're angry at a little shove. But I didn't realize he would trip over a shoe on the floor, fall, and hit his head on the edge of the coffee table, or that he would die as a result. But I did push him. So I could be tried for manslaughter.

I think the fact that Connor planned to take the girl and knew she would be killed as a result means he'd be tried for first-degree murder. But a defense attorney might argue that, due to Evil Cordy's manipulations, he wasn't in his right mind at the time, which could change things.

[> [> [> [> [> Question -- Traveler, 12:01:45 04/04/03 Fri

In the heat of the moment, I push him. It was just in a fit of anger. It's not unusual to give someone you're angry at a little shove. But I didn't realize he would trip over a shoe on the floor, fall, and hit his head on the edge of the coffee table, or that he would die as a result.

Wouldn't this be voluntary manslaughter?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Question -- Corwin of Amber, 18:40:53 04/04/03 Fri

Actually, I think it would problably be involuntary manslaughter. You didn't intend to kill him, you were simply angry, no criminal intent.

If I remember rightly, an example of voluntary manslaughter is the proverbial bar fight, where you you hit someone, he falls down and hits his head on the bar or floor and dies instantly.

[> Re: Dilemma: Horns of the Bull (Spoilers for ATS "Inside Out") -- yabyumpan, 07:43:41 04/03/03 Thu

Angel: Has the unspeakable dilemma. His choice is to kill the woman he loves or to unleash evil horror upon the world. It reminds me of Buffy's choice at the end of Becoming, Part 2. There's no happy ending to this scenario. Unlike Buffy, however, Angel hesitates at the crucial moment. He pauses as Fred calls out for him to "wait." Did he drag his feet getting to the meat packing district? He stands above evil!contraction!Cordelia and pauses, whispers "I'm so sorry," and waited a breath too long. In the end, this is why Buffy was always the stronger member of the team. She didn't hesitate until it was too late.

Disagreeing with this. By the time Buffy puts the sword though Angel in "Becomming part 2" she has already hesitated for almost half a season. I think the situation is more comparable with 'Innocence'. In both episodes, Buffy and Angel start off with the realisation that the person they love has become 'evil'. At the end of 'Innocence' Buffy made a conscuious decission not to kill Angel/us at that point in time, it takes her until the end of the season to be ready. By the end of 'Inside out' Angel has made the decission that he's got to kill 'Cordelia'. There may have been some hesitancy when Fred calls to him and when he's finally standing over 'Cordelia', but the reason he's to late is because 'Cordelia' realises that he will be comming after her and so speeds up the birthing process.

I think to say that Buffy is a stronger member of the team than Angel because she doesn't hesititate is stretching the facts. This is not to bash Buffy in anyway, I totally understand and sympathize with her dilemma in S2 but I don't think you can compare Angel's actions in 'Inside out' where he had only a matter of hours to decide that he needed to kill the woman he loves, with 'Becomming part 2' when Buffy had had week/months to get herself ready to kill the person she loves.

[> [> Re: Dilemma: Horns of the Bull (Spoilers for ATS "Inside Out") -- Dochawk, 15:55:52 04/03/03 Thu

I agree that Buffy waited to kill Angelus, but although Angelus committed some wonton violence the world wasn't threatened by Angelus once the Judge was destroyed until Acathla forced the issue. Then Buffy responded.

I actually think the biggest issue is that I don't think Angel loves Cordy, I don't think he ever did, but by the time of yesterday's episode he doesn't. There remains a reason why he said Buffy's name in order to achieve perfect happiness, even if it was Cordy in his fantasy's bed. And if Angel loved Cordy only as a friend it would make it somewhat easier for him to kill her, just as it would be easier for Buffy to kill Anya then it would be to kill Spike.

[> [> [> Re: Dilemma: Horns of the Bull (Spoilers for ATS "Inside Out") -- yabyumpan, 22:14:25 04/03/03 Thu

I actually think the biggest issue is that I don't think Angel loves Cordy, I don't think he ever did, but by the time of yesterday's episode he doesn't. There remains a reason why he said Buffy's name in order to achieve perfect happiness, even if it was Cordy in his fantasy's bed. And if Angel loved Cordy only as a friend it would make it somewhat easier for him to kill her, just as it would be easier for Buffy to kill Anya then it would be to kill Spike.

You can choose to read it that way although I don't really think that saying Buffy's name after he realised he was loosing his soul is proof that he doesn't love Cordy. As far as i'm concerned Angel's love for Cordy is cannon but if people want to see it differently that's fine. I'm not that invested in it, I'm interested primarily in Angel's journey, not who he shares it with.

As for why it would seem to be easier for Angel to kill Cordy than for Buffy to kill Angelus, I think it's actually got more to do with time on earth and life experience as opposed to who loves who more.

At the time of Angelus in Sunnydale, Buffy was a 17 year old girl with barely 2 years experience of evil. When her boyfriend became evil it was obviously going to be very hard for her to kill him.

Angel has has 250 years of experience. Experience which includes being evil himself and trying to destroy the world. He knows the way evil thinks, he's been there, it's still in him. He can also remember the people he killed in SD before Buffy was able to stop him.

This isn't about who loves who more (is it really easier to kill a friend? would Buffy have been able to kill Willow last season and found it easier than killing Angel/us?),it's about youth and the last vestiges of innocence verses a very long life and an intimate knowledge of evil.

[> [> [> [> Re: Dilemma: Horns of the Bull (Spoilers for ATS "Inside Out") -- Dannyblue, 22:36:23 04/03/03 Thu

According to Skip, Cordy was going to die either way. Either

a. Angel killed her before she gave birth to this ultimate evil. Or

b. Cordy dies immediately after giving birth to this ultimate evil.

Given two sucky choices, the first was the best sucky choice. And I think that Angel, who would rather be killed than have Angelus on the loose murdering innocents, would believe Cordy would rather be killed than give birth to an evil that would cause who knows how many deaths.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Dilemma: Horns of the Bull (Spoilers for ATS "Inside Out") -- maddog, 11:16:37 04/04/03 Fri

hmm, Skip did say that didn't he....thing is...I didn't see Cordy die. Now, agreeing that we didn't see much past everyone kneeling I suppose it's sill possible. But it would throw Masq's theory that Skip wasn't being totally honest with them when he gave them the headsup on their past.

[> [> [> [> [> [> That's not exactly what Skip said -- Tyreseus, 15:55:40 04/04/03 Fri

He said the life force would be drained in the birthing process and she'd either be dead or a vegetable.

As a vegetable, there are still mystical and mundane ways the gang could bring back the original (non-saturated with evil) version of Cordelia. Do we even know who that is anymore?

Ty

[> Ick -- Sofdog, 07:46:15 04/03/03 Thu


[> Re: Dilemma: Horns of the Bull (Spoilers for ATS "Inside Out") -- maddog, 08:46:47 04/03/03 Thu

Great comments there. Gunn's monologue makes me wonder one thing. When the world does hang in the balance...when it seems like they're going to finally lose...will it be Connor that has to come through? He's made wrong decisions left and right this year....isn't it his turn to make that right choice?

Your question about how long Cordy's been that way is a very good one. Skip said they'd been set up since the beginning. Does this go back to pre college? or does this go back even further? Could he have been sent back by whoever in season 3 of Buffy for this final purpose. As someone who was slightly spoiled I was under the impression that they were going to be told it had all been a setup since Cordy was returned. Nowhere in that spoiler did they say ALL of the gang had been a setup(including poor Doyle...may he rest in peace).

[> Ick! And...ooooh! KABOOMy post! -- Rob, 14:06:38 04/03/03 Thu


[> Quote of the week -- Masq, 14:49:04 04/03/03 Thu

... Because Connor isn't my least favorite subject

I only wish we could bring Darla back from the dead (Again!!!!) for more vamp!mom/waif!spawn bonding

It's funny, but my favorite Buffyverse characters at the moment (and have been for a while now) are Angel, Connor, Faith, and Darla. Except for Faith, I guess I have a thing for the vamp!family. Loved seeing Connor finally interact with mom.

So what's the vamp!family's last name, anyway, Aurelius?

[> [> Or perhaps Galway, with a possible "of" in front of it. -- Finn Mac Cool, 16:11:29 04/03/03 Thu


[> [> [> Nah, I'm assuming Darla gets to bequeath her name to Angel and Connor, not Angel to Darla and Connor -- Masq, 17:46:59 04/03/03 Thu

She's the "mother" of Angel, after all.

[> [> [> [> Which makes it tough, since she can't even remember her name from her human life -- Finn Mac Cool, 17:59:53 04/03/03 Thu


[> [> [> [> [> Which is why I went with Aurelius -- Masq, 21:50:54 04/03/03 Thu

"Connor Aurelius" sounds way cooler than "Connor Of Galway".

Although I'm assuming Liam's last name wasn't "O'Galway".

I always had this perverse thought that it was "O'Riley".

*snerk*

[> [> [> [> [> [> Now that would be poetic. -- CW, 06:13:52 04/04/03 Fri

Liam O'Riley. Good one, Masq. Now what was Spike's full name? William Rupert Harris, maybe?

Speaking of names how about our new 'goddess' on AtS? How about Bubbles? a) It's ridiculous, and b) it ties in with the Aphrodite/Venus connection someone brought up. Or how about Minnie (from Minerva) to tie in with Athena, another sexy goddess born fully grown?

[> [> [> [> [> [> I can't resist! -- Rahael, 06:39:22 04/04/03 Fri

"Today I freed myself of all troublesome events Ď for I learned that trouble is not outside my mind, but inside, in my interpretations. "

"Just as physicians have their tools, so do you have tools for healing your mind. Try to remember the bond between humans and the Divine."

"You have power over your mind Ď not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. It is in your power to return to life. "

"The corruption of the mind is far worse than any external corruption. "


Meditations, Marcus Aurelius

(Classicists, forgive me if I haven't chosen the best translations!)

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Which is why I went with Aurelius -- lunasea, 06:51:06 04/04/03 Fri

I thought it was O'Connor. Thus Connor does become Angel's innocence (may it rest in peace)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> What, Dad? My real name is Connor O'Connor?!! -- Masq, 09:47:05 04/04/03 Fri

Might as well be a cheesy second-rate lounge act playing the accordian!

[> [> [> [> [> [> Of course, if you follow a certain Irish custom of naming . . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 09:41:26 04/04/03 Fri

Someone's last name is directly tied to his father's first name. So Jeremy Mac Kline might be the son of Kline Mac Dolce. Or, the mythological figure who inspired my screen name, was Finn Mac Cool, the son of Cool Mac Something. So, theoretically, Connor might be Connor Mac Angel. Of course, now that he's partially gone off the evil end, he might be Connor Mac Angelus. Or, if he ever becomes a normal human, Connor Mac Liam.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Connor O'Liam, I thought of that one, too -- Masq, 09:54:41 04/04/03 Fri


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> What about using 'Fitz'? -- abt, 11:15:52 04/04/03 Fri

IIRC that means 'son of'.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Connnor mac Darla? -- leslie, 15:13:21 04/04/03 Fri

Of course, heroes with exceptional mothers sometimes take their mother's name--as in fact did Connor's mythological prototype, Conchobor (pronouced Connor) mac Ness. Ness, interestingly, was orignally named As, 'gentle,' until her fosterfathers were all killed; she formed her own fian (an early Irish gang) and became a warrior and avenged the murderers, and thus her name became Ness, i.e. Ni-as, 'not gentle.'

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Any relation to the Loch? -- Finn Mac Cool, 15:16:40 04/04/03 Fri


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> My Theory is That-- -- Angel, 15:28:33 04/04/03 Fri

--Connor was named after his "grandfather"; Liam's father.


Comic Books and Spike -- Celebaelin, 00:47:10 04/03/03 Thu

The thread was archived whilst I was writing the post but on reflection I think you may be interested enough to justify this (perhaps Masq will tag this on to the end of the thread after Helens mention of Spike's origins).

2000AD Progs 61-85 (start date 22 April 1978) Judge Dredd "The Cursed Earth"

In Prog 62 we are introduced to the character that JD chooses as his second bikeman for the journey across the radioactive wasteland a Punk by the name of Spikes Harvey Rotten.

JD and Spikes are in a fist fight

JD: You want to do something good with your life...you got the chance now...'cos you're the best biker in the business...and you know the Cursed Earth well from your days of gun running to the muties! Right Spike? (sic)

Spikes: T-that was never proved...

JD: (Now with Spikes in an armlock) Maybe I'm a bit deaf, Spikes - but I can't hear you volunteering for this mission of mercy that's going to save thousands from the plague! Could you speak a little louder?

Spikes: I volunteer! I volunteer!

JD: I'm proud of you, Spikes! Proud!

Beyond that, well, read it and see!

C (thinking "Gosh, that was a long time ago."


You brought light to my shadow......Don't let my death mean nothing...spoiler for "Inside Out" -- Rufus, 05:19:47 04/03/03 Thu

Are your insides the same as the outside? Can one thing one choice make a difference somewhere else? These are questions that come to mind in Inside Out. We know right off that Cordy isn't exactly a saint and who knows what's inside of her. How did Angel figure out at least some of the worst of it? One thing about Big Bads, they don't take the time to make sure they don't sound like a big girly man when they throw around affectionate terms or what Angel said...rather femme for a big booming macho voice. So, how did Angel investigations get so screwed up? The bad guys did the best thing.....worked from the inside out...where they could do the most damage. Everyone was so preoccupied in their own sh*t that they were distracted from the reality around them.....disconnected they were just pawns....or as Skip said puppets.

The person that has been taken the most advantage of is Connor. His insecurity about his heritage, feelings that he could never be a big Champion like his dad, left him open for sneaky, evil, whisperings. Just when things couldn't get worse, Connor is sucked into getting a virgin sacrifice. Then for the first time in awhile we see the Powers step in and try to influence the game....in the form of Darla......

Darla: The powers have sent me to give you a message.

Connor can't accept that the glowing image before him could be the mother he never knew.

Darla: I have her memories, her feelings. Isn't that what makes a person what they are?

Connor doesn't know what to do.....his mother was the most evil vampire next to Angelus and here she is remembering what the sound of a victim was about. She looks at the innocent girl that Connor has gotten for Cordy.

Darla: I know that sound, I've nurtured it a thousand times. In all the people I've murdered.

Interesting, send a former murderer to stop a potential murder. Darla has a few words that her son should listen to.

Darla: I'll always be a part of you. You shared your soul with me once. When you were growing inside of me. When I had lost my own. You brought light into my shadow. Filled my heart with joy and love. I'd never felt as close to any living thing as I did to my beautiful boy.

I did so many terrible things Connor. So much destruction. So much pain. You were the one good thing I ever did. The only good thing.


From inside of Cordy (or the thing driving Cordy) came Connor, someone that gave her the feeling of joy that never ever came when she killed for so many years. He was the light that extinguished the shadow, made her see for the first time what she was destroying so long with so little care. As a soulless vampire, Darla was a puppet to evil without a soul to tell her she was being used.

Connor decided to ignore the voice of a mother he had never known for the familiar, comforting, and consistant, Cordy. Darla wanted Connor to do something good, and Cordy wants him to do evil because they are special. If you consider the combined damage Angelus and Darla did, can Connor ever make right what he did with Cordy tonight?

Darla: You really think that safety can be plucked from the arms of an evil deed? Don't let this happen Connor....Don't let my death mean nothing.

At the Hyperion the Gang is getting their act together enough to make sense of all the unrelated game pieces.....

Skip: It doesn't even have a name.

Pay attention to that.....and think Buffy......"not the Bang, not the word".

Wes: An impossible birth to make one possible.

Skip: That's what the kid was designed for.

Lorne: To sleep with Mother Love?

Angel: To create a vessel.

Skip: Look out....the monkey is thinking again.

Angel: Being inside a human makes it vunerable doesn't it? That's why it had to stay hidden. Why it needed to create something stronger to pour itself into.

Gunn: Wait, so the big nasty inside of Cordy is going to give birth to itself?

Skip: Circle of life it's a beautiful thing.


We've seen this sort of thing before in season five Buffy. Glory was trapped in a mortal created as a vessel for her to live out a human life in so she would be vunerable enough to die when the mortal did. But this is a bit different....Cordy was convinced into becoming part demon, then an impossible birth of a vampire/human child, and you get what comes out at the end......and the results will be more sturdy than Ben was on Buffy. All these acts intersected to create the situation we have now. But is this as hopeless as Ben's life on Buffy?

Darla: You have a choice Connor. That is something more precious than you'll ever know.......It has to be your choice.

This connects to the speech Gunn gives ....

Fred: Will it make a difference? If we are really are just pieces being moved around a board.

Gunn: Then we kick it over and start a new game......Look, monochrome can yap all he wants about no-names cosmic plan. ......The final score can't be rigged. I don't care how many players you greased. That last shot always comes up a question mark. But here's the thing......You never know when you're taking it. It could be when you're duking it out with the Legion of Doom. Or just crossing the street deciding where to have brunch. So you just treat it all like it was up to you. The World in the Balance...cause you never know when it is.


Free will, choice.....depends on each person. Will you make your own choices be they brunch or the big stuff, or will you allow yourself to become a puppet much as Connor has, or, at some point will someone take the unexpected final shot...tip that balance and save the world?

[> I loved the C/D interaction, it was intense! -- Masq, 05:30:14 04/03/03 Thu

And something I've been waiting for since Darla snuffed herself.

Vincent K goes right up there on my list of amazing actors. Not that he wasn't right up there already.

And always always love to see Darla.

So tell me something, oh Spoiler Queen Rufus, did we finally get some real answers in this episode? Was any of the gang's speculations and Skip's EVIL ramblings TRUE????

[> [> Re: I loved the C/D interaction, it was intense! (spoilers) -- CW, 06:13:59 04/03/03 Thu

Can't say I like the episode in the least. It made a mockery of everything that's happened on Angel all the way back to Doyle giving Cordy the 'gift' with a kiss. Everything we know means nothing. The whole Shanshu business might as well be another evil trick. ME seriously crossed the line into bad taste last night. The story is so befouled now, I'd be shocked if the series is renewed. I'm a big fan of Gina Torrez, but the fight against the glowing goddess isn't going to save the series.

However, I do agree with Masq about Connor/Darla. I've consistantly panned Julie Benz acting ability, so I think I ought to be a big enough person to say what a great job she did in this episode. I was totally convinced by her performance. VK was convincing, too. Too bad the story makes Connor out to be such a smuck. Connor must be attending the same school of gulliblity and bad judgement Wesley graduated from. Didn't Holtz teach that boy anything, but how to hate Angel?

[> [> [> Link to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Game of Go -- Rufus, 04:03:05 04/04/03 Fri

BTVS and the Game of Go

Whatever I said about Buffy and the Game of Go works exactly the same for Angel.

[> [> [> [> You are driving my poor brain crazy Rufus (spoilers and spec) -- lunasea, 09:04:45 04/04/03 Fri

Here is totally wacked speculation this is probably way off base. I haven't been right about anything on AtS, so why should this be any different (I have been right about pretty much EVERYTHING on BtVS though).

I think my mistakes on AtS come from a view of the PTB as being the "good" guys and the First as the "bad" guy and what this means. The shows are lining up for the real apocalypse, Armageddon, the final battle between "good" and "evil." Everything before this was evil/demons v man, not good v evil. Big difference.

The game is being played, but we aren't the players. We aren't the hunters. One side is being marshalled in LA and the other is being marshalled in Sunnydale. It is these two sides that are going to go head to head. The battle will result in destruction of the world as we know it. Our champions will want to stop it.

Countess Iblis is either evil who will suck people in with her charm (Lucifer the Light Bearer) OR she is the side that is usually labeled "good." The second actually is more interesting to me. Nobody knows jack about the PTB. In "City of" Angel wants to know who sent Doyle. Doyle answers him, "I╠m honestly not sure. They don╠t speak to me direct. I get - visions. Which is to say great splitting migraines that come with pictures. A name Ď a face. I don╠t know who sends them. I just know whoever sends them is more powerful than me or you, and they're just trying to make things right."

What if the forces in LA just want to make things really right, paradise on earth? What choice is there in that? We only have choices because we can choose between "good" and "evil" (and all the resultant shades of gray). LA and Sunnydale. The First is tired of being that choice. It is going out with a bang.

There is the Powers that Be above everything. Then beneath them is "good" (in LA) and "evil" (in Sunnydale). Nothing is that black and white in the Buffyverse, so "good" doesn't look so good. It was starkly contrasted with Willow (Orpheus) and Darla (Inside Out).

Regardless, Buffy and Angel have to stop them or life as we know it is finished. Who wants to take a risk that paradise is actually paradise? What side does Angel fight on in the Apocalypse? He fights against "good" but not for "evil."

Now tell me how incredibly off I am.

[> [> [> Re: I loved the C/D interaction, it was intense! (spoilers) -- 110v3w1110w, 06:44:04 04/03/03 Thu

i don't think it makes a joke out of it at all the sacrifices and heroic deeds were still real and i will explain why i think this. i don't think skip or his master has power over peoples will i think they power lies in creating a situation and putting people in it making them think they have no choice but to act in a certain way. for instance he can create a situation and put conner in the position of thinking he has no choice but to kill an innocent but he still has free will he can still refuse to do it.

[> [> [> Re: I loved the C/D interaction, it was intense! (spoilers) -- The One with the Angelic Face, 07:46:56 04/03/03 Thu

I was massively disappointed that they refused to acknowledge that Cordy received the visions from a person (i.e. Doyle), instead just mentioning how the Powers set her up to receive the visions or whatever the line was. It would have been a nice throwback to hear them mention him, and I am saying that not in tribute to Glenn Quinn (although that would have been a nice reason to mention Doyle as well), but as a fan of continuity.

[> [> [> [> Re: Skip could have also exaggerated -- Sheri, 10:09:42 04/04/03 Fri

Bad guys LIE, remember? So while, yeah, making Cordy into a "saint" was clearly manipulation... do we have any real evidence that this was the case with EVERYTHING that has gone on? IMHO, Skip was taking credit for far too much just as a way to mess with the AI gang. It's pretty easy to take credit for things AFTER the fact.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Skip could have also exaggerated -- Dannyblue, 10:33:33 04/04/03 Fri

On a past show, someone mentioned that there was this demon in town claiming to be a direct descendent of the snake from the Garden of Eden. And someone else basically said, "Please. Every demon with scales makes that claim."

As someone else mentioned, the First took credit for bringing Angel back from Hell. And Buffy basically said, "What? The Big Evil tells you something and you just believe it?"

How do you make yourself seem more powerful, more intimidating, more unbeatable?

Take credit for things you haven't done. Exagerate what you are capable of.

[> [> [> Come on CW, Connor is obviously a much better father than Angel was... -- KdSwift, 08:22:53 04/03/03 Thu

Thanks to the discussion of Lies on this board, I've seen the light. Angel was an appalling father! Insisting on bringing up the baby himself, when his lifestyle was filled with such horrible danger and the kid would always come second to the Mission! Wes was perfectly right to give Connor to someone who really loved him. Should have staked the cold-hearted bastard himself while he was at it.










(I've finally worked out an name for my Evil alter ego. Like it?)

[> [> [> [> Re: Come on CW, Connor is obviously a much better father than Angel was... -- Saguaro Stalker (no intials for me. Please!), 08:38:26 04/03/03 Thu

At least Angel was reasonably sure he was, in fact, a dad, before he started acting goofy. One moment of true happiness, and Connor doesn't turn evil like dad. He turns into a hen-pecked ninny. Otherwise in total agreement. ;o)

Some of us folks out in the desert have the cultural IQ of the native lizards. Could you explain KdSwift? Is it like Jonathan Swift?

[> [> [> [> [> Yep, I had Jonathan S in mind -- KdS, 10:27:09 04/03/03 Thu

You may or may not know, but as well as Gulliver's Travels he wrote a famous joke essay in which he suggeste that the starving Irish should survive by eating their own children. Hence anything deadpan...

[> [> [> Lots of mixed feelings (spoilers, including trailer) -- lunasea, 08:27:44 04/03/03 Thu

My favorite Connor moment was the look on his face when he dragged the virgin across the floor. I liked how he believes in Angel on one level and Cordy really had to work him this episode. If you think about it, it is fitting that the guy who wrote "Seeing Red" wrote this particular episode.

I am not sure how I feel about evil not understanding Ockham's Razor. After this episode I felt like I did after the movie "Body Double." So what in the last 7 years was "real?" Did this thing bring Angel back from Hell? Were Whistler and Doyle played? Is this thing the Senior Partner? Too many questions now.

Or was it a lie? The First took credit for bringing Angel back from Hell. Was that a lie? Evil can tell the truth, but it doesn't have to. Why did Skip know all this any way?

What annoyed me the most is the Battlestar Gallactica plot rip off. It was my least favorite plot then (and it is one of my 6 favorite series of all time) and it was religious crap written deliberately from the Jehovah's Witness perspective on the Devil. What is Joss' excuse? Until that last minute, the episode was incredible. So Fred gets to be Apollo next episode by the looks of the trailer.

It could be worse, Angel could have found Earth in the 1980's and Wesley could be marooned on another planet.

The only thing saving this crappy idea is that Wesley and Angel are brothers again (that and I have faith that Joss will lead me to greener pastures where I can lay down). That was quickly interjected, so I would be willing to put money on it being important (a la Buffy and Dawn in "Him")

[> [> [> CW, did you honestly believe everything Skip said? -- Masq, 08:31:14 04/03/03 Thu

Personally, I loved this episode. It had me gripped from start to finish. But I saw it very differently than you, CW.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Skip is Evil. He wanted to psyche out the fang gang, and so he made it sound like everything they'd been through was all manipulated by something evil.

But I don't believe it for a second. I'll buy that Skip manipulated Cordy into becoming half-demon. I'll buy that Connor was created to help bring about this new Big Bad.

But I don't believe Cordelia got the visions from anything evil. I think the PTB's gave them to her to help her do good, and that evil co-opted them much, much later, when Cordelia became part-demon. Doyle certainly wasn't "in on" the seduction of Cordelia to evil.

Cordelia bears some responsiblity in that she was flattered by her ego into becoming part demon and in letting herself be brought to the higher plane.

But evil certainly didn't make Lorne leave Pylea, it didn't make Gunn kill his sister, it didn't make Fred open that book in the library, and it didn't make Cordelia inherit the visions or bear the burden of them for all these years.

None of those things needs explaining. They are already explained by the choices the characters made. The only thing that needs explaining is why Cordelia is acting the way she is and where Connor comes from. Those things I'll buy Skip's explanation for.

[> [> [> [> Re: CW, did you honestly believe everything Skip said? -- maddog, 10:00:40 04/04/03 Fri

And I interpreted it differently than you because I don't think Skip meant that everything that happened to them was evil. No, Doyle wasn't evil at all. I think what Skip meant was that evil put them into the position to make the decisions they knew were right. Like Doyle giving up his life and giving Cordy those visions. Sure, good wins in the short term, but it's a long term setup for evil and we all know how patient evil can be. That's just one example, but I can see Skip being right. And as much as I don't want to believe him, he sounded like he was just pissed off enough to being spilling his guts.

[> [> [> [> I agree, Masq. ("Inside Out" spoilers) -- Rob, 08:51:06 04/03/03 Thu

From the moment I heard Skip's revelations, I bought his why- Cordy's-evil explanations, and Connor's creation. But that every single thing on the show has been masterminded, no way. Why would an evil force want Cordy to be helping all those people with her visions in the first two seasons? Why would an evil force make Lorne choose to leave Pylea? etc etc

I believe that the stage was set in "Birthday," but not before. After being demonized in "Birthday," Cordy became more and more convinced that she was saint-like, thus making it easy for her to buy her Ascension in "Tomorrow." But to paraphrase what Buffy said to Angel in "Amends," so a huge evil takes credit for everything, and you just buy it? I believe that this evil on AtS (still not convinced it's not somehow connected to the FE) was able to manipulate Cordy after seeing her extreme dedication and devotion to her visions, and manipulate them into something evil. But not that it is what gave her the visions in the first place. UNLESS that old spec is true and the First Evil and the Powers that Be really are working together.

And still we can't trust everything Skip is saying. For example, his words about Cordy needing to be killed to stop this evil force come off as a little suspicious. I'm not sure if I believe that this is the real Cordy and she's not still in her cloudy prison. Just a thought.

On the whole, this was my favorite episode in a long, long time. It was so dark and so disturbing, particularly the murder of the girl. I could not believe Connor actually went through with that. I was shocked by the bravery of ME to go to SUCH a dark place. Julie Benz was brilliant, as usual, IMO. The script was great, as was the directing. I think this was my favorite episode since "Soulless". And I am completely fascinated by this new turn that the plot took at the end of the episode.

"You are so beautiful."
"Angel!"

All evil beings should be as good-looking as Gina Torrez!

Rob

[> [> [> [> [> Re: I agree, Masq. ("Inside Out" spoilers) -- leslie, 09:10:03 04/03/03 Thu

One thing that strikes me as interesting about the nature of Cordy's evil is that she has really gone back to her high school persona of thinking that she is "special" and thus better than everyone else, and now she is trying to imbue that in Connor. The thing is, even in high school, she was aware that she was putting on a show--that whole speech to Buffy about not being able to know whether people like you for you or just want to be near the popular girl--and now she seems to really believe it.

I, too, am suspicious of Skip's statement that Cordy has to be killed, because she's going to die anyway when the Beast is born. The scene of Angel lifting the sword to plunge into Cordy, well, what did that do? It reminded me of the business in Dark Age when Willow drives Eyeghon out of Miss Calendar and into Angel, where his own demon beats the shit out of him, by threatening the current vessel. Angel is about to kill the vessel currently holding the Beast, which drives it out to take another form that will be "safer" (and it seems that becoming a beautiful woman does the trick--did anyone else see any resemblence between Gina Torres's stance and the position of Venus in Botecelli's "Birth of Venus"?). And it comes out as energy, not as a physical baby--that isn't the kind of "labor" that Skip implied. However, if he was trying to get Angel to physically threaten or kill Cordy in order to drive the Beast out into another form, then a) it worked, and b) Cordy probably would have/should have died in the process.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Great pick up (spoiler Inside Out and Storyteller) -- lunasea, 09:40:14 04/03/03 Thu

Angel loves Cordy, so he was sacrificing his love. The child need to be annointed in blood, but born into a place similar to what Andrew did to Jonathan in "CwDP." It was Andrew's tears that quieted the Hellmouth. What will Angel have to do in order to stop the "baby"?

Great observation.

[> [> [> [> [> And the big evil is... -- Tyreseus, 12:11:32 04/03/03 Thu

But that every single thing on the show has been masterminded, no way.

Sure it has. It's obvious. Joss Whedon is the ultimate evil manipulating the characters of the AtS.

[> [> [> [> Re: CW, did you honestly believe everything Skip said? -- CW, 09:08:29 04/03/03 Thu

I fully expect most of the damage to the plotline to be undone in the last few episodes. But for everyone like me who has a support group to keep me watching, there must be scores who saw exactly what I saw and hated it just as much, who are not going to watch the show again. Think of the storm over "Normal Again." It's the same thing except the episode ended with the mess even more firmly in place (at least in my opinion.) You are undoubtably right on all points. But at this moment, each of those points is seemingly up to the whims of the next writer. That's not good story structure. It's just jerking the audience around for the sake of a cheap thrill. If Angel were straight horror, it certainly would be a valid technique, but I'd hoped ME was past that stage.

This was a major disaster, folks.

[> [> [> [> [> The lies are part of it (spoiler) -- lunasea, 09:33:55 04/03/03 Thu

Lies aren't told so ME can "jerk the audience around" for any reason. They are integral to what it going on. Why give explanations at all? If you want to jerk the audience around, you take 5 episodes, with many repeats between them to answer a simple question (oh wait they did that, but not on AtS). AtS has posed and answered questions pretty quickly this season. Most episodes opened exactly where the previous one did and answered things in the first few minutes.

One of the telling moments of this episode for me was in Julie Benz's acting. There was one moment where you could tell that she wanted to tell Connor what was going on, but wasn't allowed to. HE had to make the decision based on his *heart* not based on *knowing.*

One thing we have learned about the good guys, both on BtVS and AtS, is that they don't just come out and say things. Even Angel started out with fairly cryptic warnings to Buffy. Whistler didn't tell Angel much of anything. He showed him things and let him figure out what to do. Doyle was similar. Slayer dreams are a bitch to interpret. Same with all those prophecies. Even the visions aren't about what they seem.

I had a dream last night that Willow figures things out, but Tara comes to her and tells her she can't tell Buffy. If she does, then Buffy wouldn't be acting from the right motives.

What Skip told Cordy before he ascension (which at the time reminded me of the Mayor. Why not use another term?). "What you are called to do transcends love." That is what evil thinks. It thinks even the greater good can transcend love.

Another thing that comes to mind about the "baby" is the scene in FOTR with Galadriel where she talks about becoming a "terrible queen." It might not be standard evil that it is after. It blocked out the sun to replace it. It wants to rule to make things better, removing our free will for the greater good.

Thing is what is an atheist doing writing this stuff? This is standard Lucifer, the light bearer stuff. On Battlestar Gallactica it made sense. Joss said he wasn't going to use the devil. That is exactly who the "baby" is. Princess of lies.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The lies / Why is an atheist writing this stuff -- hellraiser, 09:32:15 04/04/03 Fri

If it is true JW is an atheist, doesn't it make sense he would get inspiration from that which he hates(a great motivator) and is certain a large chunk of humanity is duped into believing by false authorities(Christian and Muslim - they share Abraham which to many means they share the same God). It must be hard to think you're the supreme animal in your one and only life and above the stupid majority surrounding you.
That's not saying that is all he uses for storylines. ME treats all 'mythologies' the same and incorporates and mixes them into a melting pot of the human and non-human condition.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The lies / Why is an atheist writing this stuff -- Arethusa, 10:30:39 04/04/03 Fri

You are assuming that:

1. Atheists hate religion.

2. Atheists think religion dupes people.

3. Atheists think their lack of beliefs mean they are superior to those who have beliefs.

4. Atheists think believers are stupid.

5. Atheists think people are animals.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Couple technical points: -- Finn Mac Cool, 15:06:02 04/04/03 Fri

1. People ARE animals. Or, at least they're part of the Animal Kingdom.

2. Atheists do have beliefs. They believe that no higher powers exist to believe in.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Exactly! (spoilers for next week's trailer) -- Masq, 10:18:02 04/03/03 Thu

It might not be standard evil that it is after. It blocked out the sun to replace it. It wants to rule to make things better, removing our free will for the greater good.

I've been trying to reconcile this higher-plane glowy stuff, and the thought that Cordelia might have initially consented to this, with the obvious evil that's occured. I've tried to figure out why the Beast destroyed Wolfram and Hart enmass and why any being would want to do what "Cordelia" has been trying to do--give birth to a creature that smiles down on Angel with affection.

I've tried to figure out why they're going to have a seemingly lame plot development next week of everyone blindly worshipping this woman.

And it seems to me just the sort of megalomaniac thing a "higher being" would do under the assumption it is doing the right thing. As in my "war for human souls" post above, I think there's a division among the PTB's, among the higher beings, about how to relate to human beings. One side wants them to chose for themselves, the other wants to take choice away from them, for their "own good".

One side intereferes when only when it must--giving visions to guide Angel and co without interfering in their free will and free choice, considering the "one tiny sparrow" of a human life valuable above all things; the other side interferes completely, considering individual human lives pawns in some "greater good" for the whole human race and what this creature thinks humanity could some day "become".

This makes a lot of sense, lunasea. We'll see how it comes out.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Excellent points Masq. Nail. Head. -- Rahael, 23:59:24 04/03/03 Thu


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Exactly! (spoilers for next week's trailer) -- MaeveRigan, 11:23:58 04/03/03 Thu

I've tried to figure out why they're going to have a seemingly lame plot development next week of everyone blindly worshipping this woman.

Obviously, she's an antiChrist-figure--it's all in Revelation: the rain of fire (either after the opening of the 7th seal 8:5, or after the blowing of the first trumpet 8:7), earthquakes, plagues, darkening of the sun, a first beast and its master (Rev. 13).

Which returns us to the question of why an atheist keeps orchestrating all this Biblical imagery. Why? Two possible answers occur:

1. It's just rattling good story/imagery/metaphor.

2. The explanation given by J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis (and the one I personally subscribe to):

"Amidst the complex narratives of myth, certain realities are adumbrated which the Christian scriptures reveal to be historical fact. The myth of the dying and rising god, for instance, existing in various forms in so many mythologies, is an adumbration of the historical reality of the death and resurrection of the Son of God.

"The historical account in the Gospels of the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ is the central eucatastrophe of history. Eucatastrophe is Tolkien╠s term for the essence of consolation█the 'happy ending' that affords a joyous sense of conflicts resolved and justice achieved. 'There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true,' he states concerning the Incarnation. (Carpenter, Letters 72) The pattern portrayed in the life of Christ expresses the complete paradigm upon which successful fantasies draw."

J.R.R. Tolkien: Myth & Middle Earth

But that still doesn't mean that everything will end with sweetness and light on AtS this season. The message about individual free will is also coming through loud and clear, and is one which anyone--believer, agnostic, atheist, and/or existentialist--can feel quite comfortable with, so ultimately, I'm sure there will be something for everyone on AtS, and (probably) Buffy. Because it's a television show.

"We shall be as gods," eh? Time to re-read Milton! ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Milton!! MR, I have more to add later! -- Rahael, 00:01:38 04/04/03 Fri


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Milton!! MR, I have more to add later! -- MaeveRigan, 09:17:20 04/04/03 Fri

Great, Rahael! Would love to hear about your take on Milton's relevance to the portrayal of evil's MO on this season's Angel.

That's what I was thinking about, at any rate.

But you always have interesting things to say, so post away!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Choice, virtue and Truth -- Rahael, 09:45:53 04/04/03 Fri

This is the short version, because I'm running out of time, but hopefully I'll expand over the coming weeks.

But your mention of Milton, and Masq's posts about the difference between 'the Good''s view of choice and Evil's view of choice, struck a chord.

In Areopagitica, Milton says:

¤Many there be that complain of divine providence for suffering Adam to transgresse, foolish tongues! When God gave him reason, he gave him freedom to choose, for reason is but choosing.Ë

And man's (and woman's capacity) to reason is what will lead them to God, because:

¤The first of the attributes which show the inherent nature of God, is Truth Ë (De doctrina Christiana)

For Milton, God constantly presented choices, and the ultimate choice that man could make was to choose liberty, or bondage.

There could be a parallel made between the mental slavery one falls into if one gives up choice, as Connor does. Mental slavery, like Samson - who is convinced that he has been abandoned. But it is Samson who abandoned God, by choosing to be enslaved in his mind.

¤Which shall I first bewail,
Thy bondage or lost sight,
Prison within prison
Inseparably dark?
Thou art become (O worst imprisonment!)
The dungeon of thyself¸¸
Imprisoned now indeed Ë

In Areopagitica, Milton had argued that true virtue could only be seen under trial, that through contradiction, truth (and, thus, God) could be expressed:

¤I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary but slinks out of the raceË

and

¤that which purifies us is trial, and trial is by what is contraryË

This view╠s ideal form is demonstrated in Samson Agonistes, as different and opposing ideas build into the final truth Ď liberty in spirit (Ď and God).

When Darla appears to Connor, perhaps it could be comparable to this sentiment, that 'if virtue feeble were, Heaven itself would stoop to her' (Masque performed at Ludlow Castle). The choices are there for us to make. If we are weak, help is at hand (Angel Investigations - we help the helpless), but, everyone has to make their choice, whether it's Lindsey, going back to Wolfram and Hart, or Angel in Redefinition, or in Epiphany, whether it's Gunn and Fred in Supersymmetry or Connor in Inside Out - virtue that is not exercised by the temptation of evil might be meaningless.

In the new and terrifying version of the AtSverse that Skip posits, tempting everyone to fall into despair (and thus mental slavery) there is still the presence of choice, of the exercise of our rational minds, of the path to liberty.

More later, I have to run now!!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Excellent post, Rah! -- Masq, 10:00:50 04/04/03 Fri

I look forward to your further comments!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Choice, virtue and Truth -- MaeveRigan, 13:17:22 04/04/03 Fri

Thanks, Rahael! "Areopagitica" is definitely one of the things I was thinking about.

¤that which purifies us is trial, and trial is by what is contraryË

Connor wants to be a champion? Here's his test--he's offered the truth by an apparition of the most unlikely source possible (at least to his mind), his vampire mother, Darla.

I was also thinking of Skip, and the FE, and the way Milton portrays Evil as lying with the truth, or intermingling truth with lies, in Satan's temptation of Eve in Paradise Lost Book 4. It's much too long to quote. So, back to "Areopagitica":

"Good and evil we know in the field of this world grow up together almost inseparably; and the knowledge of good is so involved and interwoven with the knowledge of evil, and in so many cunning resemblances hardly to be discerned, that those confused seeds which were imposed on Psyche as in incessant labor to cull out and sort asunder, were not more intermixed. [...] And perhaps this is that doom which Adam fell into of knowing good and evil, that is to say, of knowing good by evil."

Connor thinks he knows evil, but really, he's only heard the speeches. He's been so afraid he was a monster that his fear blinded him to the truth, made him distrust the people who love him and vulnerable to true evil in an attractive disguise.

It works almost every time, especially on the inexperienced. Now the question is--what will happen to Connor?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> "Take all that away... and what's left?" "Me." -- Arethusa, 11:48:04 04/03/03 Thu

Which returns us to the question of why an atheist keeps orchestrating all this Biblical imagery. Why?

"You have so much more to lose," Dinza told Angel, and I think his dependence on TPTB is one of them. He has to be able to reject the evil goddess(?) and TPTB to have free will. No reward, no Brass Ring of Redemption. Just him, and the life he creates through the choices he makes.

Very slightly spoiled spec follows.









Rufus, is Dinza important? Based on your hints, I wonder if Angel's mention of Atlantis is a big clue for finding something long lost. Yes or no is fine.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: "Take all that away... and what's left?" "Me." spoilers for ATS -- Rufus, 23:11:25 04/03/03 Thu

Rufus, is Dinza important? Based on your hints, I wonder if Angel's mention of Atlantis is a big clue for finding something long lost. Yes or no is fine.

Dinza......so so Finding something that has been lost..Yes Skip mentioned it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Spoiler speculation above, after spoiler space -- Arethusa, 11:51:12 04/03/03 Thu


[> [> [> [> [> twisted reality (spoilers for "Inside Out") -- purplegrrl, 10:22:20 04/03/03 Thu

The very first thing I thought of when Skip started spouting that every major event in the last couple of years had been manipulated by the Big Evil was BOBBY EWING!! That whole this-past-season-has-been-nothing-but-a-dream thing. It was so preposterous that it instantly became a cliche.

That said, if Skip [BTW, love that name for a demon :-D] really is working for the-Evil-who-cannot-be-named, then he's going to be mixing his truth and lies until one can't be told from the other. Why is it so easy for us to see that Cordy has either gone evil or is being manipulated by evil and is therefore manipulating Conor, but when Skip starts spinning his web we fall for it hook, line, and sinker?? Is it because we know Cordy is good? We once thought Skip was good, too. Or is it that whole humans- good, demons-evil prejudice? The AI gang (and we) should know better -- just because someone doesn't look human doesn't mean they're evil; and vice versa.

Gunn was closest to the truth. Even if the gang is all being played by some Big Evil, they still have free will and free choice, and in the end *that* will make the difference in the battle between good and evil. The Big Evil always thinks it knows what is best for us. The Big Good lets us figure it out for ourselves. (And just because Joss is a self-professed atheist doesn't mean he can't use the Lucifer story for his own storytelling ends.)

[> [> [> [> [> [> Agreed, and... (IO spoiler) -- Rob, 12:07:18 04/03/03 Thu

...personally, if Joss had just written Gina Torres in to sit down and read the phone book, I'd still be happy.

Rob

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Ahhhhh what I like, an honest man....<g> -- Rufus, 23:13:08 04/03/03 Thu


[> [> [> [> [> Re: CW-agree totally Inside Out Spoils & Buffy Spoils, Spec & Casting thru 7.22 -- Angelina, 13:18:28 04/03/03 Thu

Oh My God. I found last night's episode totally appalling. The only saving grace was Gun's speech and Darla's scene with Connor. The rest of this episode was so disturbing, so brutal, I don't think I can even watch it again. I have seen many horrible things happen in the Buffyverse, Spike's evilness, Willow's dark side, etc., but I have never seen such a horribly "real" portrayal of a human sacrifice. I simply could not believe that Connor allowed this abomination to happen. I cannot believe that Angel is such a moronic imbecile. I never realized how much I have come to dislike Angel's character. He calls himself a champion (and if I hear that word one more time I am gonna vomit), but he is a selfish bastard. I must admit that I have only just started to watch Angel regularly over the last year or so, (but I was watching the DVD of Season One), I am a die hard Buffy fan, and I really wanted to continue with some form of Jossian entertainment, but this series is horrible. Filled with inconsistences and convenient plot reworking to fit the present situations. Watching Angel last night, only makes me realize how fantastic Buffy the Vampire Slayer actually was. Oh My God, am I gonna miss the integrity of that show. Buffy is a Hero and Buffy never hesitates to do the right thing. She would have had Cordelia in itsy bitsy pieces before she would have allowed that "thing" to emerge out of whatever has become of Cordelia - just like she pushed Angel into that hell dimension - and she truly loved Angel. Too bad he came back. And I hate Cordy too. CC╠s overacting, pathetic attempts at drama are ridiculous and painful to watch - she sounds like she has marbles in her mouth half the time. I have never seen any consistency in CC's portray of that character. She has been re-written so many times, as to make the character totally cartoonish. Forgive me, but I must go on. As a total Buffy lover, I had always wanted the best for Buff. I used to think that she and Angel should get back together at the end of the series. Boy have I changed my tune. I will pull an Elvis on my TV set if Joss/ME allows that to happen at the end of Buffy. I swear. What I DO want to happen, desperately, is for Buffy to realize that the "big poofy ponce" to quote Spike, chose his "calling", over her and played with her mind. I want her to remember everything that happened in "I Will Remember You" and I want her to slap Angel upside his square head and tell him to go back to hell, she's in love with Spike. Spike has devoted himself to Buffy - Angel never did. He always pulled a retreat from her. And now, he is totally in love with Cordelia - Oh God, it╠s too much. He goes off to save ¤the woman I loveË, I almost keeled over. This from the schmuck who gasped Buffy╠s name after sex with Cordelia in his dream of his perfect day. I╠m done with Angel. To be honest, I am going to watch the rest of the season of Angel, I want to see how they are going to justify Connor╠s involvement in the cold-blooded murder of a totally innocent young girl, and I am sure that is what will happen, even though Connor was perfectly capable of making the right decision and stopping Ms.EvilOverActingQueen, but if the show is renewed, and I hope it is not, I will NEVER watch that show again. And..if what I am hearing is true, if a certain Blonde vampire is going to appear on Angel if the show is renewed- the actor portraying him is making a big mistake. I simply do not trust ME to do right in the writing of that character. Ok, I am done and I truly apologize if I have offended anyone, but after all, this is just my opinion.

[> [> [> [> Re: CW, did you honestly believe everything Skip said? -- Dochawk, 16:16:12 04/03/03 Thu

We (the viewers) have a tendency to believe that our evil sympathetic characters speak the truth. For some reason we forget that most of what these characters are doing is trying to manipulate the feelings of the good characters. We see this most with Spike, whose utterances are frequently taken as gospel, yet who frequently says things that are far beyond his knowledge to know (most recently we saw this in his "discussion" with Wood, for some reason we believe he has great insight into Wood's relationship with his mother that he has absolutely no idea about because he projects his own mommy issues onto him), but we saw it with Webs in CwDP and in a way we have seen it with Cordy through the years. I find it fascinating that alot of people believe the "evil" characters have more insight than the "good" (please I am not callign Spike or Cordy evil, but when Spike says these things they are intended to hurt).

[> [> [> [> [> Re: CW, did you honestly believe everything Skip said? -- CW, 16:34:57 04/03/03 Thu

This reply will be a bit less serious than your thoughtful post deserves, but I think it's still appropriate.

Part of the problem is that we have seen Wesley, Connor, Angel, et al be so abysmally wrong so much of the time this season that we tend to gasp onto anything that sounds like the truth. And there is no question ME has been hiding the truth even more than usual this season of Angel. What can we do, but jump to conclusions?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: CW, did you honestly believe everything Skip said? -- Rufus, 22:36:44 04/03/03 Thu

Well, on a surface level Skip told a truth or two. Like when he said everyone was a puppet.....well that can be true if you give up the idea that your choices can make a difference. You then allow your strings to be pulled instead of taking control of your own destiny.

[> [> [> [> [> On Spike and Wood -- Masq, 17:43:52 04/03/03 Thu

That's exactly how I felt when Spike said Wood's mother didn't love him. How would he know? He met Nikki a couple times, and he thinks he has this deep insight into Slayers.

But the thing he should know about Slayers is they don't get a choice. Well, they do, but it's a bad choice. The Mission or death. Nikki can't win with Spike. If she choses the mission, she must not have loved her son enough "to give up her work for him". But the only way she could give up her work was by dying--without her, there is no slayer. She has no Kendra, no Faith to take over. If Nikki dies, Spike thinks its because she has a "death wish". If she "chose" to die, again, she must not love her son enough to live for him. But why should we believe she "chose" to die? Because Spike says so?

Nothing Nikki can do will prove her love for her son to Spike. It's utterly unfalsifiable to him. He will believe what he wants no matter what.

And why does he want to believe Nikki didn't love Robin? That's the question we should ask.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: On Spike and Wood -- pilgrim, 09:33:24 04/04/03 Fri

Is it really a choice between the mission and death? Spike does seem to have pretty good insight into the dark side of slayers, at least of the one slayer we've seen him interact with. I think probably his own demon, along with his gifts of intuition and imagination, allow him more than usual insight into slayers in general. But not into their light side. Buffy tells him that he doesn't understand her when he understands only her violence and self-loathing, her complicated but very real desire to hurt others and self. She's right, he doesn't understand her--he has yet to learn the power that compassion, forgiveness (of others and of self), self-sacrifice, and love of self and others, believing in self and others, have in her life. This is the power she's been discovering for seven years, and I for one think she has been developing into not just a hero but a great soul, despite (or because of) her setbacks last year and this. (An aside--if ME kills off this strong, heroic, well-rounded young woman, I'll choke. I really will.) And I think Buffy's confidence in these powers--both of creating and indulging in death and creating a loving and meaningful life--give her lots of choices in how to live her life. She's chosen, as we're all chosen--and we all have to choose how to accomplish our various missions.

Although we have very little evidence of Nikki's character, I like to think of her being fully as complex as Buffy. She doesn't seem very young to me, but rather a 20-something adult with some experience behind her. I prefer to think that she had a fully developed dark side--a fascination with death, a certain relish in the mission, the fight, the kill, periods of frustration with the burdens of being chosen and having conflicting obligations, a desire not to be alone but a need to consider herself special. And a fully developed light side--love, compassion, self-sacrifice, strength. I expect her love for Robin was fully as complex, more complex, than Buffy's for Dawn, with all that relationship's conflicting feelings and desires. I expect that sometimes she wanted to give up the mission for her son, or give up her son for the mission, or give up her life and find some rest from both. Probably though, mostly she found ways to live with all of it, as Buffy has done, making her choices for reasons that Spike isn't capable of fully understanding.

So why does Spike need to make it simple, need to believe that Nikki didn't love Robin? Spike loves Buffy in the way Spike loved his mother, and (notably) in the way that the four-year-old Robin loved his mother. Buffy is the center of his world. The show suggests strongly that although this is natural for a four-year-old, it's unhealthy and immature for the 30-year-old Robin and the 120-year-old Spike. Buffy, unlike Anne, does not love Spike back the way he wants her to. Spike says that the reason lies in Buffy, she's "wrong"- -she is a slayer, has a mission, as the chosen one she fights alone and damn everyone else. That reason, I think, Spike can accept. It's rational. And most importantly, it doesn't reflect on him. It makes you mad, Spike says, but he can handle it because it makes some sense and doesn't require any self-reflection. It doesn't, for instance, require Spike to confront the possibility that his way of loving--mutual obsession--may be "wrong," nor force him to find a new way of loving. It doesn't require Spike to come to terms with the fact that his own conduct--he tried to rape Buffy--may be contributing to her complicated feelings and inconsistent behavior toward him. (I can't believe Buffy doesn't still feel angry/betrayed/afraid of Spike because of what he did to her, and that although she needs to believe he can be a good man, she's gonna have a damn difficult time being physically intimate with him, imo.) Although he clearly feels guilty about trying to rape her, does he really understand how deeply he hurt her? (at least, that's my opinion that he hurt her worse than she is letting on). I don't know--he recognizes early in the season that she is "skittish" around him, he says he doesn't want her to look at him and that he can't ask her for help because of what he did--but in all this he seems childlike in that he is most concerned with how much he is hurting. She's proven to him that she's strong, so maybe he isn't caring enough or looking deeply enough at her pain. Spike is making it easy on himself, which may be understandable given the terrors and changes he has experienced in the last year. But boy, I'd like to seem him grow up a bit in regard to his relationship with Buffy--and I'd like to think he's capable of it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Huh, I didn't actually think he believed it... -- dream, 09:43:06 04/04/03 Fri

That is, I don't think Spike believed that Nikki didn't love Wood. I think he knew that a) Nikki had a duty which would sometimes at least come into conflict with her ability to do what she might want to for her son and that b) any child is going to find that issue confusing and difficult and that c) Wood hadn't reconciled that, as his obsession with Spike indicated, therefore d) the most hurtful thing he could say at that moment was that Nikki never loved him. So he said it. Nice? No, particularly not from the man who killed your mother. But Spike had been betrayed by a man whose life he had saved on several occasions, despite obvious mutual dislike. And Wood had also betrayed Buffy, and I'm pretty sure Spike would have known that. So he offered up to Wood his worst fears - wrong, but understandable.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Huh, I didn't actually think he believed it... -- Dochawk, 11:31:14 04/04/03 Fri

Ummm, when did Spike save Wood's life?

More importantly Spike only thinks he understands Buffy's dark side. From his "slayers have a death wish" to "what kind of demon are you" Spike projects his desires and interpetations onto Buffy. We buy them. And sometimes they are right, but just as often they aren't (or aren't substantiated and for some reason we take Spike's word). Same thing alot of people are doing for Skip. Yet, we always question the "good guys" partly because we are frequently shown they made wrong interpetations. Spike (and certainly Skip) just aren't up there in intelligence with Willow, Giles, Fred and Wes, yet they are frequently shown wrong.

[> [> [> Re: CW-agree totally Inside Out Spoils & Buffy Spoils, Spec & Casting thru 7.22 -- Angelina, 11:18:46 04/03/03 Thu

Oh My God. I found last night's episode totally appalling. The only saving grace was Gun's speech and Darla's scene with Connor. The rest of this episode was so disturbing, so brutal, I don't think I can even watch it again. I have seen many horrible things happen in the Buffyverse, Spike's evilness, Willow's dark side, etc., but I have never seen such a horribly "real" portrayal of a human sacrifice. I simply could not believe that Connor allowed this abomination to happen. I cannot believe that Angel is such a moronic imbecile. I never realized how much I have come to dislike Angel's character. He calls himself a champion (and if I hear that word one more time I am gonna vomit), but he is a selfish bastard. I must admit that I have only just started to watch Angel regularly over the last year or so, (but I was watching the DVD of Season One), I am a die hard Buffy fan, and I really wanted to continue with some form of Jossian entertainment, but this series is horrible. Filled with inconsistences and convenient plot reworking to fit the present situations. Watching Angel last night, only makes me realize how fantastic Buffy the Vampire Slayer actually was. Oh My God, am I gonna miss the integrity of that show. Buffy is a Hero and Buffy never hesitates to do the right thing. She would have had Cordelia in itsy bitsy pieces before she would have allowed that "thing" to emerge out of whatever has become of Cordelia - just like she pushed Angel into that hell dimension - and she truly loved Angel. Too bad he came back. And I hate Cordy too. CC╠s overacting, pathetic attempts at drama are ridiculous and painful to watch - she sounds like she has marbles in her mouth half the time. I have never seen any consistency in CC's portray of that character. She has been re-written so many times, as to make the character totally cartoonish. Forgive me, but I must go on. As a total Buffy lover, I had always wanted the best for Buff. I used to think that she and Angel should get back together at the end of the series. Boy have I changed my tune. I will pull an Elvis on my TV set if Joss/ME allows that to happen at the end of Buffy. I swear. What I DO want to happen, desperately, is for Buffy to realize that the "big poofy ponce" to quote Spike, chose his "calling", over her and played with her mind. I want her to remember everything that happened in "I Will Remember You" and I want her to slap Angel upside his square head and tell him to go back to hell, she's in love with Spike. Spike has devoted himself to Buffy - Angel never did. He always pulled a retreat from her. And now, he is totally in love with Cordelia - Oh God, it╠s too much. He goes off to save ¤the woman I loveË, I almost keeled over. This from the schmuck who gasped Buffy╠s name after sex with Cordelia in his dream of his perfect day. I╠m done with Angel. To be honest, I am going to watch the rest of the season of Angel, I want to see how they are going to justify Connor╠s involvement in the cold-blooded murder of a totally innocent young girl, and I am sure that is what will happen, even though Connor was perfectly capable of making the right decision and stopping Ms.EvilOverActingQueen, but if the show is renewed, and I hope it is not, I will NEVER watch that show again. And..if what I am hearing is true, if a certain Blonde vampire is going to appear on Angel if the show is renewed- the actor portraying him is making a big mistake. I simply do not trust ME to do right in the writing of that character. Ok, I am done and I truly apologize if I have offended anyone, but after all, this is just my opinion.

[> [> [> [> What the hell... -- Calvin, 11:39:30 04/03/03 Thu

Don't worry, I'm not going to go round-for-round with you. I recognize a good old fashion rant that you just have to get out of your system. Having said that, I just wanted to make one point. You clearly worship Buffy and loathe Angel. Fair enough. However, I think that you've overlooked (to me) the most important and intriguing aspect to *both* of their characters. The idea of "right". You say that "Buffy is a Hero and Buffy never hesitates to do the right thing." In season two, Buffy could not bring herself to kill Angelus, even when she had the chance, and Jenny Calender and others died as a result. Eventually, yes, she did do the right thing, but she clearly hesitated.

What about the flip side? Does Buffy really do the "right thing"? More recently, she had no qualms about killing Anya/Anyanka. Xander and Willow weren't on board for this. Given the choice, Anya made the decision to sacrifice herself in order to make things right. So, was killing Ayna the right thing? I really don't know, and I think that is one of the things that I love about her character so much. I could do the same for Angel, but you get my point.

Again, I'm not trying to change your mind here. Just throwing a few things out there to think about. Oh, one more thing. I think you are *completely* wrong about one thing. If the show is renewed next season, I think you will watch. Anyone who posts an admittedly well done rant like that and then closes by saying that they will still watch the rest of this season has some sort of emotions vested in this story. Just my opinion, though :).

Calvin

[> [> Re: I loved the C/D interaction, it was intense! -- Rufus, 18:00:51 04/03/03 Thu

So tell me something, oh Spoiler Queen Rufus, did we finally get some real answers in this episode? Was any of the gang's speculations and Skip's EVIL ramblings TRUE????

You have gotten some answers where you weren'looking...remember what they were saying about distraction? And about Skip......he said they were just puppets but what Gunn and Darla said gives you the idea of what type of power humans have but don't realize it.

Skip: It doesn't even have a name.

Darla: You have a choice Connor something more precious than you will ever know.

Gunn: Then we'll kick it over and start a new game.

Angel: To create a vessel.

Oh, at the end....Angel changed when he saw what came from Cordy, but did you notice what it was just before shaping into the beautiful Gina Torres? What did Angel see and most of all what did Connor see?

[> [> [> Re: I loved the C/D interaction, it was intense! -- Rob, 22:02:31 04/03/03 Thu

"Oh, at the end....Angel changed when he saw what came from Cordy, but did you notice what it was just before shaping into the beautiful Gina Torres? What did Angel see and most of all what did Connor see?"

Um, it looked like an octopus, or some creature with 8 legs.....and for a while the shape almost looked like a dragon. I'm missing the signficance. Rufus, please tell me, even if it involves a little spoilage. If it's possible to tell without giving away everything, I really wanna know!

Rob

[> [> [> [> Re: I loved the C/D interaction, it was intense!....spoilers for ATS -- Rufus, 22:34:08 04/03/03 Thu

If you read my post on Lovecraft, Marvel and BTVS you will understand what is going on. There are rules in the universe (Angelverse and Buffyverse) that even the most powerful and old creatures have to follow. I see the Buffyverse as one with Gods, demons, and other creatures, but they aren't the biggest power, the PTB is even bigger but has rules about intervention in the world. The biggest gift given to the mortals has been "choice".

Now to what we saw.....we saw something from another dimension giving birth to itself, or pouring itself into a vessel. Strong magics surround this being and the beautiful woman we see is not the reality....as you will see more of next week.

[> [> [> [> Whoa! (lotsa spec) -- HonorH, 22:36:20 04/03/03 Thu

Okay, Roberino, remember "Amends"? Just before FE-as-Jenny took off, it took the form of a spider--an eight-legged beastie.

"Along came a spider and sat down beside her . . ."

Could it be that the First is actually part of the Powers--a balancing force? It's gotten sick of the whole balancing act, as it said, so maybe it's decided to up the ante. If the Powers truly did send Darla to stop Connor, methinks we've got a war of truly epic proportions brewing here.

[> [> [> [> [> Great spec......oh, I'm so excited about the upcoming eps!! -- Rob, 07:11:43 04/04/03 Fri

Fits in perfectly with everything. And yeah, duh, I completely forgot that in "Amends." I was sort of thinking that maybe the monster was supposed to look similar to the one that escaped Glory's hell dimension in "The Gift." This makes even more sense, though. I wonder when the two gangs on both shows will find out that their apocalypse-i (?) aren't unconnected after all.

Rob

[> [> [> before reading any spec...(& a possible casting connection w/b5 [but no future casting spoilers]) -- anom, 14:34:10 04/04/03 Fri

"...but did you notice what it was just before shaping into the beautiful Gina Torres?"

Y'know what it reminded me of? Any "Babylon 5" fans out there? (C'mon, I know there are!) Remember when Kosh opened his encounter suit & we saw the real being inside? Wasn't it a similar hovering-squid kind of glowy outline?

Not that I have any idea what that might mean in terms of "Angel." Kosh never appeared as anyone who looked like Gina Torres...although he did appear to Sheridan in a dream as his father. And somebody check me on this: wasn't Sheridan's dad played by the same actor who was in Carpe Noctem? Not that I think that has any significance either....

[> [> [> [> Re: before reading any spec... -- CW, 15:06:55 04/04/03 Fri

The Shadows on Bab-5 also seemed addicted to that form. Their ships always seemd spider/squid like, and could change shape.

Not much help, but I still have "Bummin' a Boombox" playing over and over in my head. ;o)


"Now, that's not right." (Spoilers for IO) -- Solitude1056, 08:33:31 04/03/03 Thu

Mild disclaimer: I will not be held responsible for anyone taking any of the following personally.




I do not like Touched by an Angel.

I don't like moralizing series where every episode ends with a tag of all the characters sitting around reviewing what they've learned this week. I like it even less when it's wrapped up in some touchy-feely christian religious crap.

Not only do I not like Touched by an Angel, I'm not going to watch any show with some guy from Little House on the Prairie being all angelic as he wanders around the country. David Carradine did it already, with a completely different spiritual bent, and it really wasn't much better. The words "organized religion" and "entertainment" go together like "paint" and "dry." Perhaps so much of this is because the world's biggest book-religions (Judaism/Xtianity/Islam) have a certain moralizing black-white element to them. I mean, really, you die, and you go to hell or heaven. (I hear there's the option of purgatory if you're Catholic, but I'm not, so I don't give a damn. So to speak.)

My point is, I like Joss. No, I adore Joss. He seems to be the one man in mass-media entertainment these days that can give me a sense of right and wrong, solid ambiguous evil and good, and he can do it without shoving some religious agenda down my throat. If Joss has any agenda, in all the time I've seen, it's that: a) believe in yourself; b) your friends and your family are your true salvation; and c) in the end, you're all you've got.

Last night, I wasn't so much struck by the idea that, woe is anyone, we were lied to for four seasons. Well, that thought amused me momentarily but was quickly replaced by the realization that Lilah was right: nobody is coming to save anyone.

"You don╠t get it, do you, twinkie? I╠m what I believe in.
And you think I got this far by sticking my head in the
sand? The Beast that eviscerated me has a boss and that
boss is going to end life as we know it and nobody is
coming to save us! Not Angel, not the Powers That Be and
not the Forty-damned-second Cavalry!
[...]
Just waiting to prove that your Powers That Be are all hat
and no cattle. And if they do pull it through, well then,
braid my hair and call me Pollyanna. The upside of being
in it for yourself, Wes? You always end up on the winning
team.
[...]
Divine intervention? Trust me. You have more chances of
winning the lottery six times in a row. I had the numbers
done.

There was a certain producer on AtS who apparently has quite a leaning towards the organized crime, err, religion side of things. For the past few years now we've been contemplating the idea that both Angel and Buffy exist in a Buffyverse, yet Angel has frequent intrustions by and interventions from the Powers That Be. Buffy, on the other hand, is left to tell Webs that the verdict is still out on a force for good. The assumption on BtVS is that Buffy is The Force For Good, if there is one. When the PTB act on BtVS, it's a rare instance, yet in fact it happens every time a character says or does something that pushes the choices towards a positive or fruitful conclusion. The emphasis, in BtVS, on self- determination, and away from a Saving PTB, means more of that crunchy empowerment goodness.

Over in Angel's world, however, the PTB have had a heyday. Some have posited this is because some major force has to step in and balance the scales against Wolfram & Hart. These past four years, anytime the going gets tough, count on Cordy (or Doyle) to suddenly have a vision and whammo, somehow the gang pulls off another happy ending. I'm not saying the deus ex machina (as Lilah noted) isn't also done in BtVS; the difference is that in BtVS we have to believe that one or more characters had an intuitive leap and figured it out, or that such-and-such an old text just happened to have the right information or picture.

(The second option, incidentally, has never been that hard to believe. The Buffyverse good-guy modus operandi has always been 'intensive research,' so finding something eventually becomes likely, if you look long enough.)

Hmm.

The turning point, I think, was discovering that Wolfram and Hart's little girl was one of five significant powers. She may have been evil, as Manny said, but underneath that it was clear she was an evil who preferred a well-managed destruction. The beast's chaos is anathema to Creepylocks. Given this perspective of different types of evils, and Lilah's comments about 'being saved,' it got me thinking that maybe it's entirely possible that all the visions, all the PTB nonsense, all of it was completely engineered by A Bad Thing.

If I wanted to prime you for complete destruction, would I just spring another apocalypse on you, or would I maneuver you into a position where you'd just take what came along? How to explain... The visions may be a lesser of two evils, so to speak. I am Bad Thing, I send visions of something small and icky happening over there, you run and stop it, but you never notice what I'm doing over in this part of the boardgame. Distraction factor; even Lilah mentions it at some point in the first or second season that Wolfram and Hart doesn't bother to toss out AI because the gang was too small peanuts to have any serious impact on AI's plans. Who's to say that some Chaotic-evil (as opposed to Managed- Evil) isn't also treating AI with the same toying attitude?

In some ways, I prefer the notion that Big Evil has been toying with the gang all this time. I certainly prefer it over the idea that there's some Big Good sitting up in the sky, able to fix everything but only deigning to on a few spare ocassions. Darla's appearance, for instance, counts as an unexpected moment of Big Good, if a bit more active than the legendary Big Good we saw back in Amends. Thing is, this Big Good's message was simple and perhaps equally unexpected: you make the choice, on your own. Do it for a number of reasons, do it because it's the right thing to do, but you make the choice.

Besides, the idea of excessive elements of a former producer's Xtian bent getting warped in the space of a single episode just pleases me to no end. Take that, you despairing AI gang, waiting for Cordy to hurry up and have a vision that would tell you what to do. Take that, you lay- down-and-die AI gang, living in a world where the PTB are supposedly actively watching over you, making sure it all turns out all right. What if there's no PTB? What if there's just more of the Buffyverse same, where gods are just more powerful demons, and demons are the other side's gods, and they're all out to remove humans from the planet? What if the only real power is the power to make choices? In that case, wouldn't the battle already be won if you've set up your opponents to believe they can't make a choice without being told what to do by some wonky visions and a few cryptic passages?

Just makes ya think, is all.

[> Interesting post, Solitude. (spoilers IO) -- Ixchel, 22:17:40 04/03/03 Thu

You have voiced some of my own feelings about the overt religious tones inherent in the PTB. However, I have come to a different conclusion.

I can accept the PTB in the Jossverse as some supernatural (super-demon/god, whatever), powerful (but not omnipotent) force for "good". (Imagining a scenario where several different factions of these beings are trying to influence events to their individual liking. And so are fighting a war by proxy.) What bothers me is the PTB's resemblance to the CoW. The goals may be noble (or are perceived as such by humans), but the methods are not. There is an implied disregard (by either side or sides) for the "chess pieces" in their ultimate game. So, however good the intentions, IMHO it was blatant manipulation for the PTB to use Darla to talk to Connor. Also, I believe that it was impossible for Connor to make an informed choice _without_ the complete truth. As it was, he made a choice based on the emotional manipulation coming from both Cordelia and Darla. So, I submit that the PTB are a force for good, but does this mean that they are moral in what they do? Do they really know the best course of action? Do they have any individual's best interests in mind, or just some lofty abstract idea of humanity as a whole? What fate would they have decided for Dawn on the tower? And if they would have sacrificed her, then how is this so different from sacrificing a girl for Cordelia's "baby"? As one final point, the PTB may care a great deal for humans, but there is the possibility that it's not for altruistic reasons.

BTW, I loved the episode (it was wonderful to see Darla again) and thought it one of the best of this season. SDK doesn't disappoint.

Ixchel

[> [> Nothing is true, everything is permitted. -- Solitude1056, 05:26:13 04/04/03 Fri

I was discussing this last night over dinner, and I think I phrased it better. Of course, this was after several beers and a half-bucket of hotwings, and the mixture of spice and alcohol seems to increase my philosopher tendencies... even if now I can't remember half the oh-so-witty and thought- provoking things I'm certain I said the night before.

Anyway.

I can see how some would argue that the "it was all a machination" could come across as a "it was all a dream" notion. I just don't agree. For starters, Joss' villians are always the ones speaking truth - that's what makes them so difficult to handle. We want to ignore them, write off their words as noise fueled by being a Bad Guy, but we can't, because eventually we recognize they were telling the truth. Being a Bad Guy sometimes means, if you're a Jossian Bad Guy, that you can see what's going on, and you lose nothing by saying so. The Mayor reminded Angel of the truth of loving someone who will grow old while you don't. Spike pointed out the truth of Buffy and Angel never being friends. Lilah spoke of not being saved by a last-minute action from the PTB. Why would Skip be any different here?

There's nothing new about the idea that we're maneuvered or manipulated into various things, but Skip wasn't saying anyone was forced into actions. It may have been some skillful machinations that brought Darla back, souled, unsouled, and then stuck her in a room with a desperate Angel - but there were only two people in that room. No one made either of them have sex. Nor did anyone hold a knife to Gunn's sister's throat to get her to become a vampire; no one did the same to Gunn to get him to stake her. At each point, the players had a choice, regardless of whether they chose to see it as such.

As Masq mentioned above, that's the point of the story, children. I'm aware of that (and I think, in the end, it was a bit overdone with the whole "Conor, you have a choice! Make the right one!", but whatever). Thing is, I think it was about time someone reminded AI that they do have a choice. Willow's intervention played the role of a smaller reminder, but obviously it wasn't enough. We needed a Bad Guy to tell the truth. Dunk our heroes in some cold water and wake their asses up.

Part of my harping on this is due to the the overbearing emphasis on the PTB, over the past few seasons, and a great deal of blame for this is square on Cordy's shoulders. "I can't give up my visions, then we'd lose our sole connection to the PTB... Why would the PTB hurt me, when I'm the good guy? I'm the one with the visions, why would they do this to me?" We have this showing up as late as Long Day's Journey, when Cordy bemoans the fact that the PTB wouldn't have led her wrong, so why didn't the resouling mumbo-jumbo work? (I know Evil!Cordy knew it wasn't supposed to, my point is that no one around Cordy thinks such explanation - it was a vision, therefore must be from infalliable source - is out of line.)

Once, back in season two (I think), the gang tracked a vision to its source and determined Lilah had her fingers in the pudding. At no other time did they ever stop to say, "who is sending the visions? what are they gaining from this? what is their agenda?" It may be that the person paying you for the chemisty equipment has an agenda of saving the world, but if their idea of doing so is killing everyone and starting over, do you really want to help them along on their science project?

In the end, having everything stripped down to "we manipulated you, but it was your choice" is actually, in my opinion, freeing. It takes everything we've done, everything we could do, and puts it squarely on our shoulders. I would hope that AI, getting the same message, finally takes that kick in the pants and gets on with it, and recognizes their responsibility for actions. In the AtS half of the world, Angel is probably one of the few characters doing that (albeit inconsistently, but that may be due to the writing as much as his development) - understanding his past and present are his responsibility even if it was while unsouled or while being manipulated. Throughout it all, he had a choice.

I guess it's just that when it's a Big Good manipulating you, people tend to assume this means - like Cordy assumed - that it must therefore be towards an end that will provide good things for you, the pawn, as well. Not always. At least if you come at things with Buffy's attitude - in the end, you're all you've got - then you realize that it really is you, your friends, your family, against all Big Guys who would run your show, regardless of what color hats the Big Guys are wearing. And when you refuse to be jerked around or told what to do, you're no longer a pawn. More importantly, it's only then that you can become a Big Guy, too.

[> [> [> Re: Nothing is true, everything is permitted. -- yabyumpan, 06:51:23 04/04/03 Fri

With regard to no one at AI questioning the visions and being somehow at fault for this, I think it's also the case that up untill this point, we, the audience also have rarely questioned the visons. I think for AI and for the audience it goes back to Ep 1, S 1. Angel is told (and we are told) that the visions are sent by 'the powers that be' so he can help fight evil, save lives and save souls, maybe his own in the process. The people that first Doyle and then Cordy see in their visions, obviously need help. Angel and AI are doing a 'good thing' and helping people, the visions are a tool to help them to do that. They also help people who just walk in off the street and they have Wes and Fred there to research so it's not total relience on the visions. They seem to be a good thing, why should they question them if it helps them to help people?
They havne't questioned the visons before for the same reason the audience hasn't, because there hasn't seemed to be any need to.

[> [> [> [> Re: Nothing is true, everything is permitted. -- J, 11:14:15 04/04/03 Fri

They havne't questioned the visons before for the same reason the audience hasn't, because there hasn't seemed to be any need to.

Does that make the ultimate Whedonverse message "Question Authority"?

[> [> [> [> [> Yes. -- Solitude1056, 18:42:24 04/04/03 Fri

Duh!



Bwahahaha.

[> [> [> [> [> [> But wait! -- Arethusa, 05:05:01 04/05/03 Sat

Wouldn't it be "Reject Authority" or "You Are All the Authority You Need."

(I like the second one better.)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hmm... you're right - the second, definitely. ;-) - - Solitude1056, 07:35:18 04/05/03 Sat


[> What Is Jasmine? -- Convict 430019, 23:48:12 04/03/03 Thu

Jasmine did seem to have a rather octopus-like characteristic while she was all glowy and being a creature of "evil" and chaos the first reference that came to mind was Cthulu, the Lord of the Abyss.

[> Free will and moral choice--the war for human souls -- Masq, 08:58:05 04/03/03 Thu

Given this perspective of different types of evils, and Lilah's comments about 'being saved,' it got me thinking that maybe it's entirely possible that all the visions, all the PTB nonsense, all of it was completely engineered by A Bad Thing.

It would be an interesting twist, wouldn't it? I do believe some of the things we've seen that we thought were brought by benevolent PTB's were in fact brought by evil. Cordelia's call to be part-demon. Connor's birth.

But I don't believe all of it was. I don't think Doyle's visions, or his death, or the Oracles, or any of that was orchestrated by evil. I don't think Cordelia's inheritance of the visions was brought on by evil. I think there are good PTB's, I just don't think they're all powerful. I think they help where they can, and when all this Big Badness came down in L.A., there was very little they could do.

Darla, if she was real, and not just the voice of Connor's conscience, was sent by the PTB's, but notice what she said. "There's things go on here, and I can't--". She can't tell Connor the whole story. Connor has to be able to chose for himself what he'll do, and if she tells him the whole truth, he won't have the exercise of his free will anymore.

The PTB's exist, and they are good, or well-intentioned, anyway, but they are not all-powerful. There are beings just as powerful as they are who are evil. Who have manipulated things.

The PTB's are also stymied by the fact that they must let our characters chose for themselves. Find out what is going on for themselves. The AtS characters have never been spoon- fed information OR moral choices by the PTB's. The PTB's believe in human agency, human choice.

Skip wanted the gang to think they had no choice in some of their biggest decisions. That was a mind-fuck. He wants them to stop making free choices. The PTB's want to encourage free choices.

This is the lesson of "Inside Out".

[> [> Being a parent really sucks (spoiler Inside Out and Bring on the Night) -- lunasea, 09:57:47 04/03/03 Thu

We have had 2 visits from parents this season. Darla gets to appear to Connor and Joyce got to appear to Buffy. (Joyce in CwDP probably wasn't here. Too glowy. A lot like the "baby")

These are probably the only real visits sanctioned by the PTB this season. Interesting that parents, real parents were used.

If it was Holtz who appeared to Connor, Connor would have jumped at whatever he suggested. If it was the First Slayer, Buffy would have taken the words more seriously. She took the dream she had about Chloe more seriously than she did Joyce's words, as evidenced by that crappy speech she gave at the end of BOTN.

It sucks being a parent. You don't want to see your kids make mistakes. You want to protect them. You do have it in your power to do this pretty much. What sort of child would that raise though?

The PTB are like parents. They only interfere when it is absolutely necessary, like saving Angel in "Amends." They may gently guide, but they really leave it up to us to figure things out. Doyle and Cordy's visions were never about what they seemed. Just a quick example off the top of my head, from the Prodigal, Angel is sent to the subway to fight the drugged up demon. What it was really about was Trevor and father issues.

I do think the PTB are pretty damn powerful. They did manage to block out the sun to save Angel. The Oracles managed to fold time. They choose not to because if they save the world is it a world worth saving?

I don't think evil did all the things it said it did, because it would have to understand the goodness in the characters in order to do that. It wasn't just a mind funck to get them to give up free will. It was a mind fuck designed not to get them to trust their own goodness. I still think that Wesley and Angel's relationship will be the "baby's" undoing.

[> [> Re: Free will and moral choice--the war for human souls -- Dannyblue, 09:58:13 04/03/03 Thu

Exactly, Masq. That's one of the things that has always irritated AI about the PTB. "Why don't they just tell us what to do? Why do they make us figure it out all on our? Why don't they get more involved? Why don't they give us all of the answers?"

Because they want AI to do things on their own. To make the hard choices. To come to their own conclusions.

I also think there are forces of evil that are as powerful as the PTB, forces of good. But evil doesn't follow these rules. They don't care about whether or not Angel can learn important lessons on his own. They want the results they want, and will do anything to get them.

And the PTB (or someone) do seem to be involved in the goings on in Sunnydale. They sent Angel to Sunnydale in the first place. They sent Whistler to Buffy, to prepare her to kill Angelus. They made it snow (we assume) when Angel tried to walk into the sun.

The message doesn't seem to be that there are no higher powers trying to help us out. It's that, despite that, where we go, what we do, is ultimately up to us. But there's nothing wrong with getting help every once in a while. (You seem to be saying, what? That the Scoobs are somehow better than AI because they don't have a link to the PTB? How foolish would AI have been not to use this connection in their mission to help people? Just as foolish as Buffy would've been not to try to urge Willow to use her powers to fight the First.)

Also, belief in a higher power doesn't have to equate with organized religion. I know plenty of people who believe in a higher power without practicing any "recognized" religion in particular.

[> [> [> I didn't think there was a "versus" here. -- Solitude1056, 05:33:32 04/04/03 Fri

You seem to be saying, what? That the Scoobs are somehow better than AI because they don't have a link to the PTB? How foolish would AI have been not to use this connection in their mission to help people? Just as foolish as Buffy would've been not to try to urge Willow to use her powers to fight the First.)

No, I don't think anyone's said that. Rather, I've always gotten the impression that the Scoobies are more suspicious of free information than AI; then again, AI now has four years of a direct pipeline to Cordy's brain... from somewhere. The Scoobies, on the other hand, had cameos by Joyce, Cassie, and Eve, and lumped all of them into "guest spot of the First" category. Rather than assuming all visitations are positive until otherwise specified, they tend to see all visitations as negative until otherwise informed - hell, the Scoobies were pretty quick to suspect Giles based on little more than a snippet of information. AI, on the other hand, seems to have taken an equally small snippet of information and worked it for all it was worth, refraining from total action until Cordy was caught redhanded.

In some ways, AI may be more cautious - about taking action - than the Scoobs, as befits the impression that AI is a collection of slightly older in-the-world folks, rather than late college age small-town folks. But I think the Scoobs also have a cautiousness about free information that AI seriously lacks.

[> [> [> [> Re: I didn't think there was a "versus" here. -- Dannyblue, 07:11:13 04/04/03 Fri

You can almost see why Angel wants to trust in these higher powers. They (through Whistler) were the ones who sent him to Sunnydale in the first place, where he found a life waaaaay better than living in the sewers. And, as far as anyone knows (I'm about 80% sure) it was a higher force for good that made it snow when Angel tried to commit suicide by walking into the sun.

I think that, when Angel moved to LA, he had nothing. He went out every night to kill vampires, but that was almost like something to do to pass the time. (I also think that not doing anything would have made him feel even more guilty.) As far as he was concerned, he was preparing himself to spend an eternity just existing.

Then comes Doyle, to give him a purpose and a mission courtesy of the Powers. And Doyle had visions, sent by those Powers to help him with that mission. Angel is bound to have a certain amount of trust in them.

I think slowly, over the past seasons, he's found more and more reasons not to trust them completely. But, as far as he could tell, they never did anything intentionally "wrong".

[> [> Re: Free will and moral choice--the war for human souls Spoilers for OI -- Arethusa, 10:26:46 04/03/03 Thu

If you want to control someone, you make them think they don't have a choice. The evil characters all try to make everyone believe they are powerless, so the people don't use the power they have. And our greatest power is in our ability to make choices. They might not be good choices, or they might not give us what we want, but we are the ones who decide. It's our only true power as humans.

Angel told Faith that he knew what it was like to feel the power of holding someone's life in your hands. But it's an empty power, because as soon as that life is extinguished, the power disappears. By taking the life, you lose the power over life and death. That is why killers must continue to kill, over and over. Real power is in the feeling of control, and Evil can only control Good by convincing Good that it has no power, no choice.

It's all about power-it makes us feel we have control, value, purpose. It makes us feel like gods. ("We are gooooods!") So what's a god to do, since they can all give and take away life at will? In American Gods, the gods' powers come from the belief of their worshippers. The power is given to them; it cannot be taken. If a god strips its subjects of free will, that's an empty power, a power over nothing. It's too easy. Now, convincing the subject to voluntarily give up free will, and do what it is told- -that's real power. That's the sacrificial gift that keeps on giving.

(The creature from the higher dimension-the goddess-when she was born, did we see tentacles, snakes, or many waving arms?)

[> [> [> Re: Free will and moral choice--the war for human souls Spoilers for OI -- Dannyblue, 10:37:55 04/03/03 Thu

I'm fascinated by how people seem so willing to take whatever Skip said at face value. Every villain does what he did.

Darth Vader tells Luke, "The Empire is strong. You are weak. The Dark Side of the Force will always previal. And you know we're gonna crush those rag-tag rebels. So, hey, why don't you join with me. We can do evil together."

The Borg tells the Federation, "Resistence is futile. You've seen for yourself that we can't be stopped. Why fight us? Why resist?"

The Mayor tells the Scoobs, "I will ascend and turn this entire town into mince meat. You've already seen that you can't stop me, so stop trying. If anything, you should hop in a car and get as far away as possible."

Skip tells AI, "You're noting but pieces on a chess board. And we've been making the moves all along. Everything is already pre-determined, so why bother fighting anymore. Give up. As powerful as we are, you know we're gonna win anyway."

It's a tactic designed to make the good guys give up.

[> [> [> [> small problem (spoiler trailer) -- lunasea, 10:42:05 04/03/03 Thu

If the trailer is any indication, the good guys don't have to give up. The "baby" had Angel (and Connor) on his knees at the end. Don't think he has really given up.

There is a lot more going on here. I want to know why Fred is playing Apollo in the next episode. Interesting choice. Are we seeing something similar to "Billy" going on?

[> [> [> [> [> agree with lunasea - but I'm spoiled rotten.*L (spoilers for trailer only) -- Briar Rose, 17:31:00 04/03/03 Thu

It would appear that not all the AI Gang is going to be so enthralled with the "BabyGoddess" as Angel and Conner were at the moment of birth.

That shot of Fred walking on the street and seeing that what appeared to be the urban "temples" were full while life was being allowed to come ot a full stall made me think that this is NOT going to be some "pro-religion" backlash for the rest of the season.

ME has set it up for us to know that BabyGoddess is not necessarily of the good. She was brought forth by shedding innocent blood and seems to have morphed from either snakes or a large octopus into something human and we alreadd know (from Skippy) that Evil!Cordy was the bearer of something that the PTB were not exactly thinking was going to be good for the world.

My personal feeling is that they are pulling both storylines together of AtS and BtVS to have the *WKCS* work out by tying both shows together in what the Ultimate Big Bad is up to.


Angel and Addiction -- lunasea, 11:05:20 04/03/03 Thu

This is going to be three separate threads. Please keep any mention of this season out of this particular thread. It is only for Angel up to ¤Deep Down.Ë I will start a different thread for AtS this season. I really would like TCH to be able to respond and there is plenty of material to cover prior to this season. Thanks for your cooperation.

What started this was why I think Willow would make such a wonderful addition to AtS, beyond the obvious. It ended up with me understanding why I love Angel so much. I knew that I identified with what Angel(us) had done (on a metaphorical level) and how Angel(us) had grown, but writing this really explained why Angel pushes all my buttons (in a good way). Moderation really isn╠t something he is familiar with. He is one intense guy, as people with addictive natures are. It is his ¤PassionË that attracts me. He goes from one addiction/obsession to another, getting deeper and deeper since he doesn╠t understand moderation.

There is an ongoing debate in the world of biology, nature vs nurture. The characters of Angel and Willow illustrate the positions of this debate in regards to addiction (and this is what the 3 threads will be about). That is why I think that the character of Willow Rosenberg would be a great addition to the cast of AtS. If Willow doesn╠t come to AtS, at the very least another character that illustrates the nurture side of the debate and how recovery/redemption for her/him is different should be created somewhere in the Buffyverse. Perhaps Ripper/Giles will serve this function as he is expanded into a movie and possibly his own series. I think there is another area that Giles could explore that would be rather interesting (the man behind blue eyes whose dreams aren╠t as empty as his conscience seems to be)

One of the criticisms of Angel is that he had a soul forced upon him (whereas Spike ¤choseË to get his). I see this as integral to his character. Since he didn╠t choose it, he can have a rather strong moral compass, equally strong good as it is evil. Historically speaking, often the greatest saints were once the greatest sinners (for those unfamiliar with the Communion of Saints, I would be happy to elaborate on this). Their change of heart comes from the Grace of God. If Angel ¤choseË his soul, he would have to be more wishy-washy when it came to his moral compass. Think of it as a magnet with two poles equal in strength. When you turn the magnet around, it now attracts what it repelled (or is attracted to what it was repelled by) and vice versa. Something has to happen to turn the magnet around though. It can╠t do it itself. The stronger the magnet, the more force it takes to turn it.

Angel didn╠t have a choice about being vamped either. His attempted seduction of Darla resulted in him being reborn a vampire. One current theory about addiction that has a lot of empirical support is that addiction is genetic, that we are born with it. Angel╠s first addiction is his bloodlust. He has this because his is a vampire. He can╠t change that. It is something that will always be with him (unless/until he Shanshus).

Angel╠s choices are in how he handles what he was reborn with/as. With his magnet turned to attract evil, he fed that bloodlust in horrible ways. Those ways were determined by how he was nurtured (or rather not nurtured). He had a thing for families and religion. In ¤AmendsË Angel is tormented by visions of Angelus╠ past deeds and their ¤ghosts.Ë Travis remarks how Angelus killed his children first and then arranged them for him to find in typical Angelus style. In his parting shot to Margaret, he tells her that her son will ¤make a fine dessert.Ë In both these instances, he uses the children to torture the parents. It isn╠t about families, but bringing the parents maximum pain. The kids are just a means.

Angelus kills all of Drusilla╠s family and friends, but that is to outdo Darla by turning Drusilla mad. Darla made him. Drusilla reminded him of himself and he took out his rage on Drusilla (much as Buffy hated herself season 6 and took it out on Spike). Drusilla wants to be good, just like a 17 year old Liam that we see in ¤Spin the Bottle.Ë Drusilla is another one of Angelus╠ way to feed his addictions, religion/morality. Drusilla runs away to a convent, which Angelus refers to as ¤ a great big cookie jar.Ë As he tells Wesley ¤Anything you want to know. How sweet that virgin gypsy tasted. The special smell of a newborn's neck. My first nun█now that's a great story.Ë The newborn also plays into the morality thing, since a newborn is so innocent.

It is a newborn that is Angel╠s first really good act when his magnet is turned around. Angel╠s rock bottom isn╠t an alley in New York City. It is a house in 1900 in China when Darla wanted Angel to eat an infant. Two years later he comes to America. What happened in those 2 years? We know that Angel was in China and that he uses Tai Chi to center himself. He is also fairly proficient in the martial arts. When did he learn this? We have never seen Angelus fight in a flashback. He didn╠t even fight the Beast. It is quite possible that he learned this in those 2 years. When Angel is trying to get over Buffy╠s death, his reaction is to go to a Buddhist monastery.

Prior to China, Angel was in serious denial. With his magnet turned towards evil, he couldn╠t even see he had a problem, an addiction. It was just who he was and he loved how he was. He didn╠t realize how it controlled him or made his life out of control. (at least unsoulled Spike did) When his magnet was turned towards good, he didn╠t have a way to feed that addiction any more. He tried. He fed off of ¤Rapists and murderers, thieves and scoundrels,Ë but eventually even that felt wrong. He becomes so desperate he goes back to Darla to either be killed or get her back. When Angel can╠t feed off the baby, even to win Darla back, he is at bottom.

After China, Angel at least realizes he has a problem. In China he probably learned a few techniques to help him. He probably wasn╠t there the entire time. He ends up in New York City, not San Francisco. He probably back tracked across Europe, but he had a lot of memories there (think how Spike was in ¤Lover╠s Walk). Almost 150 years is a lot of memories. He comes to America to escape all of this. It isn╠t easy and he ends up in the gutter avoiding humans all together. He tells Whistler to ¤get away from me!Ë

He doesn╠t think there is help for his addiction. He isn╠t in denial, but he doesn╠t realize there is a ¤power outside ourselves that can restore us to sanity.Ë Whistler shows him this. Angel starts off slowly, but quickly gets obsessed in his cure and the cure becomes another addiction.

Angel is the new addict. A theory about genetics and addiction is that some are born with an ¤addictiveË gene or propensity. Someone isn╠t an alcoholic or a gambler or a sexaholic or a codependent. They are an addict. Any 12 step group will help an addict. It doesn╠t even have to be your particular addiction. Many addicts ¤cureË one addiction (though per this theory we never are fully cured and have to take it ¤one day at a timeË for the rest of our lives) and move onto another and another. Many even become addicted to 12 step programs. That is what we are seeing with Angel.

Angel╠s addictive state first manifest itself as his vampire bloodlust. (The argument could be made that is shows up in human Liam with regards to drink and women and this helps inform the addictive nature of Angelus. There are only a few brief scenes of Liam, so it is hard to draw any conclusions. This could be discussed on the other thread in regards to SpinTB.) In China Angel realizes he cannot feed his addiction. He still wants to, but just can╠t. He tries to find a way to deal not only with the guilt, but the cravings. He does this by removing the temptation and isolating himself more and more. This culminates with Whistler finding him in an alley in New York City. Without a way to feed the source of his addiction, he is nothing. Whistler gives him something, helping a 15 year old blond girl who is The Slayer. Angel pour all his energy into helping this girl.

He trains with Whistler for a year to prepare. Maybe that is where he learned Tai Chi and Martial Arts. It makes more sense to have happened in China and Whistler doesn╠t seem like the sort of guy that would know these sort of things. Whistler could have taken him to someone else for training. It isn╠t shown, so it is left up to the audience to speculate and write fanfict about it (wax on, Angel-son). Regardless, Angel was willing to go through some sort of preparation to help Buffy.

Buffy is the first thing Angel is really willing to fight for. As he tells her in ¤Helpless,Ë ¤more than anything in my life I wanted to keep it safe...Ë This is Angel╠s new addiction, protecting Buffy. When he is doing this, he gets his fix. He is able to get more and more involved. First it is cryptic warnings, then not-so cryptic ones, then he actually risks his unlife and begins to fight with her. Even when he feels it is best he doesn╠t see her because they are developing strong feelings for each other, he still tries to help her by going to Giles.

These strong feelings complicate things. The source of Angel╠s addiction is served better by these romantic feelings than it is by just helping her. Angel tries to resist and just help her, but that attraction is just too powerful. Angel╠s new addiction has a new rock bottom, ¤Amends.Ë Instead of having to wait almost 100 years, his addiction gives him another way out, ¤you have the power to do real good.Ë After this episode, not only are Buffy and Angel back together, but that relationship is different.

Angel has his new addiction and is able to continue with it when he leaves Buffy. As his own series progresses, he gets more and more obsessed with doing good. He doesn╠t just have to find vamps to dust any more. He has Doyle and his visions to help him. He is still not overly involved though. He just does what the visions tell him to. Then IWRY happens and Angel gives up Buffy and being human, the two things he wants more than anything. When he does this, he resigns himself to ¤fighting the good fight.Ë

Season 1 ends with the Prophecy of Aberjian. Angel will get to be human again. It just probably won╠t happen in time for him to be with Buffy again. He buries himself in doing real good. He is so focused/obsessed that he does make mistakes. When Darla shows up, Angel has found his means to do good and pours his energy into her. Angel even tries to completely ignore one of Cordy╠s visions for this and brushes it off. Rock bottom for Angel╠s new addiction is ¤Reprise.Ë Angel has tried to do ¤real goodË when it came to Darla. He couldn╠t. He tried to make a difference when it came to destroying Wolfram and Hart. He couldn╠t. He has no power and he crashes.

Luckily, again it isn╠t another 100 years before Angel finds a way out. ¤EpiphanyË gives him another option ¤the smallest act of kindness.Ë He doesn╠t have to go for ¤real good.Ë He can take it down a notch or two. Angel isn╠t very good at keeping it low key.

After Pylea, he is feeling pretty good about himself. He has to deal with Buffy╠s death, but he takes that in stride. He helps Fred recover from Pylea. He probably said something that helped Buffy when they met. He╠s doing pretty good with this taking things down a notch. Then Darla shows up again, pregnant. He is given his next project, Connor. Angel loses Connor and goes to remarkable ends to try to get him back. He is heading for a major fall again. That fall happens in ¤Deep Down.Ë No matter how many smallest acts of kindness Angel tries to show Connor after he gets back (it was almost painful to watch Angel try to connect with his son, they both do an excellent job), it doesn╠t help.

¤Deep DownË is Angel╠s fourth rock bottom (China, ¤Amends,Ë and ¤RepriseË) It seemed to me to be more of S3╠s finale than S4╠s premier. They just needed a few months for Angel to be at the bottom of the ocean. Again, we don╠t have to wait 10 years for the new addiction to present itself. Angel gives it in his ¤ChampionË speech at the end. This season has been great with Angel╠s new addiction. I will leave that for the next thread though.

What is missing in this essay is what is the ¤sourceË of Angel╠s addiction. Those addictions have been: Bloodlust, helping Buffy/relating to Buffy, doing good, small acts of kindness, being champion/an example. All these things do one thing, they reconnect him to humanity/life. I have done a post about how bloodlust does this. In helping Buffy he was connected to someone. In doing good, he is connected to something larger than himself. In those small acts of kindness, he is connected to those he does the acts for. Angel is disconnected from humanity because he is a vampire. People are as shadows to vampire, as Jesse tells Xander in ¤The Harvest.Ë

Angel╠s addiction is still genetic, still something he was born with/as. Angel╠s recovery/redemption can never be complete since he cannot escape his addiction. He can only learn how to deal with it. It is something that will always be with him as long as he is a vampire. His path, his 12 steps, have been in how to cope, not how to transcend. He broods because as Giles tells him in ¤AmendsË ¤ Because, sir, to be blunt, the last time you became complacent about your existence turned out rather badly.Ë Angel has gone from addiction to addiction, starting out each time fairly moderate and getting deeper and deeper until it controls his life and he hits bottom. Wonder how badly things will turn out this time.

This essay is a precursor to what I think it going on this season, which helped me put "Inside Out" into some sort of perspective. I will not talk about that here, since I would like TCH to chime in, since he has seen the episodes more recently than I have.

[> Some notes -- Tchaikovsky, 00:47:53 04/04/03 Fri

Since he didn╠t choose it, he can have a rather strong moral compass, equally strong good as it is evil. Historically speaking, often the greatest saints were once the greatest sinners (for those unfamiliar with the Communion of Saints, I would be happy to elaborate on this). Their change of heart comes from the Grace of God. If Angel ¤choseË his soul, he would have to be more wishy-washy when it came to his moral compass. Think of it as a magnet with two poles equal in strength. When you turn the magnet around, it now attracts what it repelled (or is attracted to what it was repelled by) and vice versa. Something has to happen to turn the magnet around though. It can╠t do it itself. The stronger the magnet, the more force it takes to turn it.

Like Saul/Paul. The Damascus road experience was so unnatural and powerful that, because he hadn't come to his revelation by slow degrees, he became possibly the most fiercesomely evangelical Christian ever. I think this is one key point in delineating Spike and Angel. Shadowkat and others have mentioned how Angel has the father problems, Spike the mother problems, but this is another angle. Spike's development is relentless and gradual- from te posturing big bad of 'School Hard', through the double agent of 'Becoming' and the 'Uncomfortable Truth Teller' of 'Lover's Walk and 'Pangs', through the lusting adolescent and the besotted youth to the confidant, the sexual partner, the valued comrade to possibly the lover, (or more probably not, but that's the trajectory at the moment). It's notable that a lot of these roles are in relation to Buffy- Spike believes he has become a character in Buffy's story- which is another reason why 'Beneath You' is so tragic. He wants to believe that he did it for Buffy, but it can't be that simple. Meanwhile, Angel gets cursed right in the middle of being dastardly, and as a result, he becomes the inverted magnet, as you say.

It isn╠t about families, but bringing the parents maximum pain. The kids are just a means.

Yes, good point.

Angelus kills all of Drusilla╠s family and friends, but that is to outdo Darla by turning Drusilla mad. Darla made him. Drusilla reminded him of himself and he took out his rage on Drusilla (much as Buffy hated herself season 6 and took it out on Spike). Drusilla wants to be good, just like a 17 year old Liam that we see in ¤Spin the Bottle.Ë Drusilla is another one of Angelus╠ way to feed his addictions, religion/morality.

Well, I haven't seen 'Spin the Bottle' yet, and I'm quite happy to believe that this imtimates your theory, but from what I've seen to date, I never believed that Drusilla was uncomfortably close to Liam. Liam seemed to be the drinking, whoring waster to me, and he took out Drusilla because she had a life that he could never have had as a human. Will be interested to watch that episode.

He comes to America to escape all of this. It isn╠t easy and he ends up in the gutter avoiding humans all together.

Interesting to consider Angel's trajectory between 1902 and 1996. Although he is a brooding, asocial wreck in 1952 at the Hyperion, he still keeps relating all the Rat Pack tales in 'The House Always Wins'. I'm happy enough to believe he's makign it all up, but if not, it's an odd twist in a tale which leaves him languishing in that alleyway waiting for Whistler.

He trains with Whistler for a year to prepare. Maybe that is where he learned Tai Chi and Martial Arts. It makes more sense to have happened in China and Whistler doesn╠t seem like the sort of guy that would know these sort of things.

Now I'm desperately trying to think of occasions on which it is clear that Angel was a good fighter before Whistler. It's certainly not a given that he had martial arts skills, but there are a few hints that he is a great warrior, (think about the demon who he fought all night with before sunrise in 'Blood Money' for example). I agree that Whistler wouldn't ahve known that stuff, and tend to believe that Angel learnt it much before he was found by him.

This is Angel╠s new addiction, protecting Buffy. When he is doing this, he gets his fix. He is able to get more and more involved. First it is cryptic warnings, then not-so cryptic ones, then he actually risks his unlife and begins to fight with her. Even when he feels it is best he doesn╠t see her because they are developing strong feelings for each other, he still tries to help her by going to Giles.

This is a very interesting take on Angel's side of the Buffy/Angel relationship, and one that I can certainly believe. I'm not entirely sure about your referencing 'Amends' as being about protecting Buffy- it seems more to do with Angel's personal struggles- and it isn't until Buffy explains that 'they're doing guest spots in each other's dreams' that it becomes important to her. 'Amends' is, for me, the pilot episode of the series Angel. Otherwise, agree.

After this episode, not only are Buffy and Angel back together, but that relationship is different. Angel has his new addiction and is able to continue with it when he leaves Buffy.

That's an interesting point- that it only after 'Amends' that Angel is able to leave Buffy, because he has transferred his obsession. I would tend to agree with this- I cannot see The Mayor or Joyce's speeches working to Angel and Buffy around the time of 'Surprise', say. Although changing the timeline of events in the Buffy/Angel relationship is tricky, because although they were involved for three seasons, the dynamic of the relationship is always changing. The whole of Season One is about lusting after the unattainable for Buffy. The start of Season Two, particularly from 'What's My Line?' onwards, is about the build-up to sex. 'Innocence' sees the beginning of the bad boyfriend arc which really propelled the show to a new level. In Season Three, there is the return of Angel, the attempt to just be friends, the re-union in 'Amends'- the brief insecure relationship which can never be consummated, and then the break-up. It never stands still for more than a couple of episodes at a time.

After Pylea, he is feeling pretty good about himself.
This is the point in the series where his addictions, if not altogether absent, are at their most latent. Between, 'Heartthrob' and 'Billy' his character is gentle, in control, almost peaceful.

¤Deep DownË is Angel╠s fourth rock bottom (China, lAmends,Ë and ¤RepriseË) It seemed to me to be more of S3╠s finale than S4╠s premier. They just needed a few months for Angel to be at the bottom of the ocean. Again, we don╠t have to wait 10 years for the new addiction to present itself. Angel gives it in his ¤ChampionË speech at the end. This season has been great with Angel╠s new addiction. I will leave that for the next thread though.


Now I'm with you until this point. Here I disagree a little. Although Angel's speech to Connor is his most powerful since 'Epiphany', I frankly don't believe that the cataclysms that affect Angel leading in to the end of the episode, nor the new resolution is as stark or important to his life as China 'Amends' or 'Reprise'/'Epiphany'. I don't accept that he has lost his addiction to the idea of 'the smallest act of kindness'.In fact, I would say that after he lays aside the idea of 'fighting the good fight', he doesn't have an addiction for a while. That's why end Season Two/beginning Seasno Three is such a good tiem for him. Then I would claim Connor is his new addiction- if a healthier one than any of the previous, because it is full of a love that it ultimately selfless. In this perspective, I would argue that 'Deep Down' does not come at the end of a phase. In 'Amends' Angel is ready to kill himself. In 'Reprise' he experiences a moment of perfect despair. In 'Deep Down', what? He has an MC Esher moment under the sea. He is brought back to health by someone against whom he has expressed a massive vendetta. He is re-united with his 'family' (Fred/Gunn). It's not a rock bottom moment, for me at least, but a moment where he accomplishes another point in his most constructive addiction to date- helping his son. He explains how what Connor did was wrong and untrusting, and he throws him out, but the evidence of the next two episodes, (all I've seen so far), is that he is still watching Connor's movements very closely.

So disagree on the end bit, but as for the rest, excellent stuff, and I agree that Willow's take on 'addiction' would fit nicely with Angel's

TCH

[> [> Thanks for responding -- lunasea, 06:06:53 04/04/03 Fri

I have really been enjoying your odysessy. It has been great and often I have very little to contribute. I like that.

As for Deep Down, his rock bottom moment is on the boat talking to the Lorne hallucination. He asks "why is it like this?" He hasn't come to the realizations he gives Connor at the end yet. He is still is dispair, which is what drives his hallucinations as much as not feeding.

The prior addiction isn't just "the smallest acts of kindness." It is them making a difference. Angel is still addicted to helping and it mattering. When all those acts of kindness don't help and result in everything around him turning to ashes, he changes it to just being an example, even if it doesn't matter. "It doesn't matter where we come from, what we've done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world was what it should be, to show it what it can be."

It could be said that this change in perspective allows him to hold onto his prior addiction, but the flow of S4 doesn't say that to me. I'm still working on that. It isn't small acts of kindness mentality that leads to the trouble he gets into S4. I am looking forward to your interpretation of the current season.

Now onto specific comments:

I think this is one key point in delineating Spike and Angel. Shadowkat and others have mentioned how Angel has the father problems, Spike the mother problems, but this is another angle.

I don't think Spike had mummy problems S2. He is probably written with mother problems later 1) because that is the thing on BtVS and 2) it does contrast him with Angel. For me the key thing to seeing where Spike's redemption (now that he has a soul) isn't which parent he has issues with, but how strong his mettle is. The mother/father problems aren't the issues but the vehicle to explore deeper issues.

But I am going to refrain from talking to much about Spike. After "Lies" anything I say is just going to sound like bashing. His character rests in Pathos and the writers have done an exceedingly good job with this.

The other thing is both the curse and obtaining Spike's soul are just plot devices so that the writers can explore certain things with their souled vampires. The curse wasn't some dramatic statement. It was a way to explain how Angel was good and then it was used to explain how he could be bad again.

I never believed that Drusilla was uncomfortably close to Liam. Liam seemed to be the drinking, whoring waster to me, and he took out Drusilla because she had a life that he could never have had as a human.

Not really sure what the writers were thinking S2 when they showed human Dru in that confessional, other than Angelus was uber-evil because he would vamp someone so pure. The thing I get from Angel(us) is they are trying so hard to be something that his father said he wasn't. Dru wanted to be good even though her mummy said her visions were evil.

When I first started taking S2 apart, it was quite obvious that Dru and Spike were written to compare/contrast with Buffy and Angel. Spike served to highlight both Angel and Angelus. I miss a lot because I was only pairing Angel with Spike and Buffy with Dru. It also works the other way around. Spike pairs with Buffy and Dru pairs with Angel. In many ways, loosing his soul drove Angel "crazy." Couples compliment each other. They have to have somethings in common and identify with each other, but they also have to fill gaps. That is why Spuffy never excited me.

I hope you enjoy Spin the Bottle. It is one of the funniest episodes this season.

I'm happy enough to believe he's makign it all up

I used to think he was making it up, but not so sure any more. You'll have to share your opinion after you catch up with this season.

I agree that Whistler wouldn't ahve known that stuff, and tend to believe that Angel learnt it much before he was found by him.

I think it makes more sense to his story for him to learn it in China. It would be a proactive step he took after her realized he couldn't feed again. We know he didn't go directly to the gutter. How was he able to get a remote handle on this powerful drive?

I'm not entirely sure about your referencing 'Amends' as being about protecting Buffy- it seems more to do with Angel's personal struggles- and it isn't until Buffy explains that 'they're doing guest spots in each other's dreams' that it becomes important to her.

He is going to kill himself because "I'll never hurt her." Angel's moments are so great because one thing initiates things and then he starts piling things on top of them. Here is my take on "Amends."

Angel will not kill Buffy, so he decides to kill himself. With this decision to die, he finds tremendous peace. In the almost 100 years with a soul, he hasn't found the motivation to die. Now he has one. He feels a great burden lifted. It was initially about Buffy, but this releases all the personal stuff that has been inside of him.

A similar thing happens in IWRY. Angel had time turned back for Buffy. The Oracles know this. They won't do it just for Buffy, so he tries to convince them by saying he has been taken from their cause. In that action, the Oracles make Angel into a higher being. Once he has given up everything for Buffy, he then justifies it to himself. In IWRY it is "Because more then ever I know how much I love you." In "Hero" that has become "We don't belong to ourselves. We belong to the world, fighting."

That is one thing I love about Angel. His motivations are always shifting.

Buffy did care before they were doing guest spots in each other's dreams. She was concerned since she saw him on the street. She mentioned it to Xander and Willow, she just didn't want to bother Giles with it. The dream thing brough a supernatural angle to it, so Buffy had to resort to going to Giles. (I really hope that we find out why she was in Angel's dream this season and I would like a repeat of it in reverse)

the dynamic of the relationship is always changing. The whole of Season One is about lusting after the unattainable for Buffy. The start of Season Two, particularly from 'What's My Line?' onwards, is about the build-up to sex. 'Innocence' sees the beginning of the bad boyfriend arc which really propelled the show to a new level. In Season Three, there is the return of Angel, the attempt to just be friends, the re-union in 'Amends'- the brief insecure relationship which can never be consummated, and then the break-up. It never stands still for more than a couple of episodes at a time.

I am sure that you see it as more than this, but I just wanted to be sure. Underlying the relationship from Day 1, back in LA is "he identified so much with Buffy because there are so many similarities. And she brough that out in him." (interview with DB) I would say the same is true of Buffy. What enthralls me about their relationship isn't the how dynamic it was, but why it was. It is how they brought these things out of each other and made each other better that I love. No matter what stage they are at, that always underlined it. Both characters are about their hearts. It is the heart that is the focus of their relationship. Their relationship mirrors their hearts. It was ME's way to show us these characters in a very intimate and powerful way.

[> Great post -- Tchaikovsky, 11:34:20 04/03/03 Thu

Need more time to do it justice in a reply, but shall sit down properly some time soon

TCH

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