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Mercy in BtVS - "the Gift" (spoilers 5.1 Conviction) -- Ladyhelix, 20:43:51 10/13/03 Mon

We've talked about references to MERCY - but watching THE GIFT this weekend - I notice another one that I don't think we've discussed (thought I may have missed it - if so SORRY!)

At the very end of the fight with Buffy and Glory, Glory morphs into Ben, so Buffy can't kill him/her/it. Giles kneels down to Ben, and says:

GILES: Can you move?
BEN: Need a ... a minute. She could've killed me.
GILES: No she couldn't. Never. And sooner or later Glory will re-emerge, and ... make Buffy pay for that MERCY. And the world with her. Buffy even knows that... (reaches into his pocket, takes out his glasses) and still she couldn't take a human life.
GILES: She's a hero, you see. (then Giles kills Ben)

So - sooner or later Glory would have made Buffy pay for that Mercy - and the world with her. So Mercy has a "price" in Sunnydale. A VERY steep price. Buffy knows that - and still she couldn't take a human life. That was Buffy, Sunnydale, season 5.

Now it's 3 years later - and it's Angel. As we've discussed before, Angel doesn't tow the line as strongly as Buffy did when it comes to human lives. But then their missions and goals are very different. Angel is a grown up, in an adult world, playing with adults, in LA no less. But is their definition of "MERCY" the same? Is the price the same for Angel, as it was for Buffy (had Giles not killed Ben). What would Buffy have done when the ops team arrived in the school room?

Angel leaves the ONE guy alive - but not really because he is truly "merciful" - but rather so the special ops guy can "spread the word" about the new boss. This is not a "pure" deed, or a demonstration of Mercy (in the sense that Buffy lived it). Angel will not pay the kind of PRICE Buffy pays for being merciful (certainly not the price Glory would have insisted upon had Giles not killed Ben). Apples and Oranges to me guys.

I don't know. David Fury insists that Angel is innately GOOD, and that Spike is innately EVIL. I'm not seeing that - at all. I know Spike is not pure, but since season 4 of BtVS he has demonstrated more compassion even in his un-soured state than Angel has in all his soulful wanna-be-redeemed glory (no pun intended). What do you think?


[> Hmmmmmm.....(spoilers 5.1 Conviction) -- angel's nibblet, 21:55:51 10/13/03 Mon

The situations are slightly different. For one, Ben *himself* didn't present a threat to Buffy, he himself had not killed anyone (though it could be argued that through his complicity with glory he was guilty of being a thoroughly nasty person, if not strictly evil) I think in the moment, that's what Buffy would have been thinking about. Regardless of the truth concerning Glory, that she would come after them later, I dont think that, in that moment, faced with a wounded, bleeding "normal" guy, Buffy could bring herself to kill an 'innocent' for the greater good (sorta mirroring her stance on Dawn don't you think? it might have kinda ruined the whole moment if she HAD killed him) I realise im slightly ranting here :-) But the black ops guy made it quite clear to Angel that he was against him and everything he stood for, and would have killed him if he the right weaponry and the chance to do so, clearly making him 'evil' and definitely not an innocent. .......I apologise for the rant, that made little sense even to me:-D......

[> [> Re: Hmmmmmm..... -- LittleBit, 22:46:08 10/13/03 Mon

While it's 'technically' true that Ben didn't kill anyone personally, I don't believe he's an innocent. Ben summoned the Queller demon who very nearly took Joyce's life.

DREG: Sir, forgive me. I just want to understand. Why summon the Queller?
BEN: What do you think? Because I'm cleaning up Glory's mess. Just like I've done my whole damn life.

Ben's response indicates that this isn't the first time he's done something like this, either. He may not have killed with his own hands, but in 'Shadow" there are two people dead as a direct result of his knowing action.

[> [> [> Re: Hmmmmmm..... -- angel's nibblet, 23:33:45 10/13/03 Mon

That is true about the Queller, but I'm pretty sure (been a while since I saw that season) that there's no way Buffy would have known about it. Boy would she have been pissed though if she did! I have very little pity for Ben, considering the pretty dodgey choices he made, I'm not saying that it was the right thing to do to leave Ben there (bit of a hard call really), just that at the time it might have not seemed right to Buffy, when actually faced with the guy. Plus at the time, getting to Dawn as quickly as possible would have been on her mind. Perhaps she meaned to deal with Ben/Glory after she'd gotten Dawn safe (since she didn't know that Doc had already cut Dawn and therefore already opened the portal).

[> [> [> [> Re: Hmmmmmm..... -- LittleBit, 23:55:38 10/13/03 Mon

Actually, I don't think anyone had a clue that Ben wasn't an innocent except Dawn, and she was in no position to tell anyone. My point was more that he didn't become moraly culpable only when the barrier between Ben and Glory was breaking down, but that he was responsible for two deaths and the near death of Joyce herself. And showed essentially no remorse; he merely indicated that it was something he had to do to cover Glory's tracks...again.

[> [> [> [> [> They ALL knew Ben was Glory (the Gift) -- Ladyhelix, 05:01:52 10/14/03 Tue

From The Gift:

At the magic box, before the battle:

XANDER: What about Ben? He can be killed, right? I mean, I know he's an innocent, but, you know, not like Dawn innocent. We could kill a ... regular guy.

Pause while everyone considers this and Xander realizes what he's said.

XANDER: (softly, in self-disgust) God.
GILES: It's doubtful he'll surface again this close to the ritual. We can expect it's Glory we're dealing with.
WILLOW: We don't have to kill her. Uh, we just have to stop her from doing the ritual. I mean, there's only the one time that she can do it, right?

And, Glory had made it VERY clear that she was threatening the whole world, and didn't care.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: They ALL knew Ben was Glory (the Gift) -- LittleBit, 00:24:34 10/15/03 Wed

I agree entirely with this. It isn't even that Glory may not be able to make use of the Key again...we know she needed the 'brain-suck' to keep her energy up. And we know that the personality barriers between Glory and Ben were breaking down. Regardless of whether the current face was Ben or Glory, allowing Ben to live also allowed Glory the chance to recover. While Giles' action certainly carried it's moral price for him, Giles recognized that this was their one chance to defeat Glory, and he took it.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Hmmmmmm..... -- Lunasea, 08:38:25 10/14/03 Tue

Ben choose to become a doctor. I didn't see him as covering up Glory's tracks so much as there was no cure for what she did to people's minds, so in an act of mercy he was dealing with them. I'm not advocating killing the mentally ill, just saying that I can see how a doctor didn't want to stand by and let these people suffer. He would consider that suffering to be a mess that needed to be cleaned up.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Agreed. Plus, -- shambleau, 09:02:57 10/14/03 Tue

to make the matter as morally complicated as it actually was, don't forget Ben saved Giles's life, not to mention Dawn's (and probably a number of patients at the hospital). He had chances to kill her, which would have erased Glory's chances of making it through the portal. He even discussed that subject with Glory's female minion. She asked him if he could do it, since it would involve taking a human life, and he couldn't. So, that makes Lunasea's thesis even more valid to me.

It's true that, in WOTW, he made a bargain with Glory to turn over Dawn. Glory stated, though, that Ben's outlook was bleeding into her. She was more merciful and felt actual guilt. The converse happened with Ben. His selfish side became more prominent as the magical barriers between them broke down. All of which makes him a more sympathetic character as far as I'm concerned.

Besides, having Giles kill an obviously guilty guy, who's also a danger to the world, reduces the moral ambiguity to practically nil. I'm all about the ambiguity, so I prefer this interpretation.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> When in doubt, look at someone's actions. -- Arethusa, 09:40:03 10/14/03 Tue

Ben stood by and did nothing while Glory was creating the crazies, then he sent for an alien creature to kill them. "Cleaning up Glory's mess..." is a very callous way of describing horrible murders. Ben did some good things, but his inaction throughout his "whole damn life" doesn't speak well for his morality. The Glory-induced mentally ill were suffering, but they were also able to go home with their families who presumably didn't want them dead, just as Willow later didn't want Tara dead, especially because she was partially lucid at times. She wanted to take care of her girl, and would not have preferred to have Tara horribly murdered in a supposedly merciful act.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: When in doubt, look at someone's actions. -- Claudia, 10:23:23 10/14/03 Tue

[Ben stood by and did nothing while Glory was creating the crazies, then he sent for an alien creature to kill them.]

Considering that Glory was sharing his body, what could Ben have done? Aside from killing himself. And I think that he was too much of a self-preservationist to do that.

I think that Whedon made the last call on Giles' killing of Ben, when he had Tara call Giles a murderer out loud.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: When in doubt, look at someone's actions. -- Rook, 13:53:53 10/14/03 Tue

Actually, it's "killer" that she calls him, not "murderer". There is a subtle, yet important, difference.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Tara was cured -- sdev, 14:21:02 10/14/03 Tue

[> Re: Mercy in BtVS - "the Gift" (spoilers 5.1 Conviction) -- Rufus, 01:17:56 10/14/03 Tue

I don't know. David Fury insists that Angel is innately GOOD, and that Spike is innately EVIL.

David Fury has said that Spike without a soul is innately evil, very different from how he speaks of him now. For David Fury it was an issue with the soul not just character preference.

[> [> Re: Mercy in BtVS - "the Gift" (spoilers 5.1 Conviction) -- Claudia, 10:26:57 10/14/03 Tue

I have to disagree with David Fury. With a soul or not, I don't believe that any being is innately good or evil. After all, both BtVS and AtS have shown "souled" beings or humans who were capable of horrific and evil acts.

[> [> [> Re: Mercy in BtVS - "the Gift" (spoilers 5.1 Conviction) -- Rufus, 13:46:43 10/14/03 Tue

I do agree with him. If Spike hadn't gotten that chip he never would have taken a break from killing and feeding to care much about the daily ups and downs of his potential meals or conquests to him. The inclusion of the chip allowed that human part of him to start functioning again but ultimately not enough to make him totally safe to be around. Add in the fact that he couldn't understand why he should care about his victims I think that he is predominantly evil. Both human and demon are capable of acting contrary to their natural bent but on the whole the vampire feels the same way about evil as a person does about good, doesn't mean that rules out anomalous acts.

[> [> [> [> What I'm Trying to Say Is . . . -- Claudia, 14:03:03 10/14/03 Tue

What I'm trying to say is that no being, whether he or she has a soul or not, is innately evil. Even without a soul, I believe that a being has the potential to be either good or evil . . . or in Spike's case - both. If Spike was really innately evil, would he have been capable of falling in love with Drusilla in the first place? Look how Vamp William acted upon his return to his family home. Or his reasons for killing his mother. I don't think he was motivated by evil. Then again . . . perhaps so, if you can consider his selfish desire to keep his mother by his side as evil.

Then we have souled beings like Willow, Warren, the Wolfram & Hart employees and Ethan Rayne, who have clearly demonstrated that even with a soul, a being can become truly evil.

If Joss Whedon's message that a being without a soul is innately evil, then he did not clearly conveyed that message.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: What I'm Trying to Say Is . . . -- RJA, 14:10:10 10/14/03 Tue

I dont think that being innately evil is at somehow at odds with being in love with someone. It depends on the form that this love takes - evil doers dont have to be dead automatons, and as such, loving someone isnt necessarily a sign of being good or necessarily the capacity to do good.

Although Joss message (or rather theme, since I dont think it was a message) wasnt that those without a soul were innately evil, rather that they tended towards evil.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: What I'm Trying to Say Is . . . -- Claudia, 14:19:01 10/14/03 Tue

[wasnt that those without a soul were innately evil, rather that they tended towards evil.]

Personally, I feel that one can say the same about humans. Humans, I believe, are more tended toward evil than many believe.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: What I'm Trying to Say Is . . . -- RJA, 14:37:39 10/14/03 Tue

Depends what evil is. There are so many definitions (some going so far as to be the simple fact that someone is the 'other'), that to make one proclamation about what is evil and the human race's tendency towards it most likely involves a far more indepth analysis than I could hope to provide.

But Joss was talking about his show. Clearly, in saying that those without souls tend towards evil he is not making an explicit comment about the world we live in. What he was saying is that the unsouled were capable of good, just that they were more likely to do evil. It was harder for them to overcome that instinct, but not impossible. And since that vampires, certainly, are those who kill humans, evil would be a tag which is fair for us as humans to label them.

Whether they are true evil is another matter. Not all vampires like to be bad for being bad's sake, but are more drawn to killing through circumstance (i.e. addiction, or whatever). So while we label it as evil because it is in direct opposition to the safety of our existence, to say that it is true evil is a little more difficult.

That reminds me of how Juliet Landau said that she believed, and played, Drusilla as someone who didnt think what she did was evil, but completely natural. In a way it was pure for her.

[> [> [> [> [> Your belief is not the Buffyverse -- Lunasea, 14:33:46 10/14/03 Tue

cause I'm pretty sure you're not Joss. We all have beliefs that we carry with us when we watch the shows, but when it comes down to it, the universe is formed on the beliefs of one man and his name is Joss Whedon.

IRL no sentient being may be innately anything. In the Buffyverse, soul = oriented to good, no soul/demon soul = oriented to evil. Simple formula. Each character may exist along some continuum of gray, but innately soulless = evil. Buffy is not dusting creatures who are potentially good. You can fluffy puppy Spike up all you want. Innately a soulless vampire cannot be redeemed. Innately a souled human being can be. Even Spike knows this.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: What I'm Trying to Say Is . . . -- Rufus, 21:55:16 10/14/03 Tue

Here we go again.....what Joss has said about the soul....


The Paley Festival, March 30, 2001

Audience Member: "I'd like to know what your definition of a soul is? And what distinguishes Angel from the other vampires, because it becomes clear from both Buffy and Angel that vampires have human emotions and human attachments. So is that a conscience? And then what separates vampires from humans if it is a conscience?"

JW: "Um, very little. (laugh) Essentially, souls are by their nature amorphous but to me it's really about what star you are guided by. Most people, we hope, are guided by, 'you should be good, you're good, you feel good.' And most demons are guided simply by the opposite star. They believe in evil, they believe in causing it, they like it. They believe it in the way that people believe in good. So they can love someone, they can attach to someone, they can actually want to do things that will make that person happy in the way they know they would. The way Spike has sort of become, an example is Spike obviously on Buffy, is getting more and more completely conflicted. But basically his natural bent is towards doing the wrong thing. His court's creating chaos where as in most humans, most humans, is the opposite, and that's really how I see it. I believe it's kind of like a spectrum, but they are setting their course by opposite directions. But they're all sort of somewhere in the middle."

then in 2003 he said......

Joss Whedon

May 16, 2003

Q. 5. I would like to get a more in-depth, coherent explanation of your concept of the soul. It seems to be the crucial thing that separates good and evil in the Buffyverse, yet at times it is treated like a commodity -- if you survive torture or know the right kind of magic you, too, can get a soul. Is it one particular soul per customer, as the white fog in the glass jar, identified as "Angel's soul" would indicate? Or is the soul merely the conscience? Why was Spike able to be "good" even without a soul?

A. I would love to give you a more in-depth coherent explanation of my view of the soul, and if I had one I would. The soul and my concept of it are as ephemeral as anybody's, and possibly more so. And in terms of the show, it is something that exists to meet the needs of convenience; the truth is sometimes you can trap it in a jar; the truth is sometimes someone without one seems more interesting than someone with one. I don't think Clem has a soul, but he's certainly a sweet guy. Spike was definitely kind of a soulful character before he had a soul, but we made it clear that there was a level on which he could not operate. Although Spike could feel love, it was the possessive and selfish kind of love that most people feel. The concept of real altruism didn't exist for him. And although he did love Buffy and was moved by her emotionally, ultimately his desire to possess her led him to try and rape her because he couldn't make the connection -- the difference between their dominance games and actual rape.

With a soul comes a more adult understanding. That is again, a little vague, but.. can I say that I believe in the soul? I don't know that I can. It's a beautiful concept, as is resurrection and a lot of other things we have on the show that I'm not really sure I can explain and I certainly don't believe in. It does fall prey to convenience, but at the same time it has consistently marked the real difference between somebody with a complex moral structure and someone who may be affable and even likable, but ultimately eats kittens.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: What I'm Trying to Say Is . . . -- LittleBit, 01:21:51 10/15/03 Wed

There seems to be a little confusion in clarifying whether the belief that no being, souled or not, is innately evil is a personal belief that relates to real life, or if you are applying it to the Buffyverse. The problem with applying it to the Buffyverse is that to do so is essentially re-writing it. The Buffyverse is a defined fictional universe and the definition for the meaning of the soul has been clearly spelled out by the creator of that universe. Within that definition there were no absolutes of good or evil, both were on a continuum, but the predisposition, or innate qualites, are still "soul --> good; no soul --> evil."

Now, if you want to debate the topic in general terms (say, what role does the soul play for us), I'd say go for it. But there aren't many who will go for it when it flies against the canon, and basis, of the show.

[> [> [> [> [> [> What about Harmony (spoilers S5) -- yabyumpan, 05:49:05 10/15/03 Wed

Within that definition there were no absolutes of good or evil, both were on a continuum, but the predisposition, or innate qualites, are still "soul --> good; no soul --> evil."

Not really disagreeing with the above statement and I haven't seen any of S5 yet but from what I understand, Harmony is still a Vampire without a soul, without a chip and yet is, of her own volition, refraining from feeding from humans and is working for and helping the good guys.

I realise that Harmony has been introduced as 'comic relief' and most of the comments I've read about her seem to be summed up in the phrase "she's to stupid to be evil", but is that really good enough? Unless ME are planning on making her the 'big bad' of the season, which seems unlikely and would also make Wesley and Angel look really stupid, doesn't her attempt to be, at the very least, not bad, turn everything we've learnt about Vampires from day one on it's head and also denigrates both Angel and Spike's journeys? It also brings into question the whole Slayer 'stake on sight' policy. If the measure of a Vampire's evilness is the level of their intelligence or 'stupidity', then shouldn't they be required to take some sort of intelligence test before being staked?
From a logical view point, it seems to me that having Harmony not drinking human blood and working for the good guys means that she is far more evolved than either Angel or Spike, is this really the message that ME are trying to get across? Maybe it's the ultimate 'feminist' message, that even without a soul, women are superior ;o)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: What about Harmony (spoilers S5) -- Finn Mac Cool, 08:57:56 10/15/03 Wed

The impression I got was that she started working for Wolfram & Hart back when it's mission statement was the destruction of human kind (though not necessarily in the LA branch; she may have been transferred). At any rate, she suddenly finds that her new bosses are stalwart do-gooders. This means that, if she wants to keep her job and her life, she has to live by certain rules. Do you really think Angel and Co. woud keep her around if she was drinking human blood and helping perpetrate evil? Like Spike, Harmony is an opportunist; she'll do whatever it takes to help herself, and, in this case, her life and employment depends on her conforming to Angel's standards of right and wrong.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: What about Harmony (spoilers S5) -- shambleau, 09:33:33 10/15/03 Wed

So, all we have to do to rid the world of vampires killing people is give vampires jobs and tell them they'll lose their jobs and their lives if they don't follow the rules? They'll voluntarily obey this?

What exactly is Harmony getting out of working for W&H that is worth sticking around for now that Angel's in charge? She could just not show up for work, go to some other part of the country and eat all the people she wants. And why was a vampire working in the steno pool? They have vampire detectors at W&H, and we've seen no evidence that it was their policy to have vampires actually working with the human staff until now. The only reason I can think of is someone picked up on just how anomalous Harmony is as a vampire. (Of course, the real reason is ME wanted some female presence and comic relief, but I'm on a fanwanking roll here.)

Harmony voluntarily refrained from biting Cordelia and tried to be good. Most vampires rave on about how they feel powerful and connected to a Greater Evil. Harmony once said that being a vampire sucks. I'd say she falls about as close to neutral on the "tending toward evil" scale as you can. It's not her opportunism, it's her basic lack of imagination and lingering desire to please, her sheeplike qualities, if you will, that keep her in the W&H fold.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The LA branch may have had vampire detectors -- Finn Mac Cool, 11:28:31 10/15/03 Wed

But those were only put in after Angel began to become a regular menace. Odds are that W&H branches in other cities don't have the same detectors and, after "Habeas Corpses", the entire building had to be restaffed. Besides, do you really think they'd keep the detectors around once Angel moves in?

Also, what works for Harmony won't work for all vampires. Some are too brave or too dedicated to evil for it to work. Also, you'd have to hire every vampire on earth first and then have the resources to kill them. But I do agree that Harmony's sheepness plays into this, but she also seemed genuinly afraid that Angel might fire her (seemingly not hearing his death threat, but, then, the two are pretty much the same at W&H).

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> heehee -- LittleBit, 15:51:58 10/15/03 Wed

They do seem to take their termination policy literally, don't they?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Harmony's true love -- auroramama, 12:01:26 10/16/03 Thu

Harmony is definitely an anomaly, almost as much as Spike was, and for the same reason: an overmastering passion. Harmony feels about being accepted the way Spike felt about Drusilla: she gives it her all. Her all may not be very much, and as a true love, fitting in isn't very romantic. But she needs it badly enough to resist her (never too strong, good or bad) moral compass.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I like that! "How do I love fitting in? Let me count the ways." -- shambleau, 15:30:58 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Opportunist? -- Claudia, 15:57:52 10/15/03 Wed

[Like Spike, Harmony is an opportunist;]

What makes Spike an opportunist and other vampires - souled or unsouled - not?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> They don't seem too concerned with doing the right or wrong thing -- Finn Mac Cool, 17:19:02 10/15/03 Wed

Spike was willing to make deals with the Slayer, his arch nemesis, in order to get what he wanted. And, once he was chipped, he decided to use demons as an outlet for his violent impulses. He didn't care that he was doing good, nor did he care when he did evil. He just did what was best for Spike. Harmony has shown similar tendencies in "Disharmony" and now in Season 5.

Other vampires, however, have something of a reverse conscience. They feel a draw to do evil things simply because they're evil. Just look at Angelus, the Master, or Holden Webster. They are examples of "moral" vampires: they follow the edict of "evil is good". Spike and Harmony are the sociopaths of the vampire world: they don't care about good and evil, all they care about is helping themselves.

Note: I'm only referring to pre-soul Spike here.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: What about Harmony (spoilers S5) -- LittleBit, 09:40:25 10/15/03 Wed

Harmony, to me, is one of those interesting side cases. I for one don't think she's stupid. She may not be 'book smart' but then she never was. Harmony was (and is) a good follower who's a wannabe leader. Even before she was vamped this was one of the amusing (if one calls it that) aspects of her: whenever Cordy was out of favor, Harmony stepped right in, and did her darndest to lead like she believed Cordy did. After she was vamped she found for herself a "boyfriend" who was one of the few who could protect her from the others and the Slayer. Now, I'm not saying this was a 'good' choice, but it wasn't an unexpected one from someone who was excited about being third on some guy's list of girls to ask to a dance.

Harmony wasn't a trend setter but she was definitely a trend follower. She read books and "took control" of her power. She threw Spike out. She gathered followers, even, once again demonstrating that she'd like to be a leader and once again showing why it would never work. When she finally went to L.A. she first goes to see Cordy, and tries to fit herself into the AI mold. She does her best to do what they want of her. But as soon as she's away from them, and she hears the inspirational speech about vampire self-actualization she's jazzed about that and turns on the AI group.

Harmony, while never a brain or a leader, has always been able to look out for herself, whether that was following Cordy as a Cordette, helping at graduation, finding the strongest vampire around to be her boyfriend, gathering her own minions (albeit being foolish enough to keep calling them that) or finding work at Wolfram & Hart. Following the new rules isn't that much different.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: What about Harmony (spoilers S5) -- yabyumpan, 12:12:21 10/15/03 Wed

Thank's for all your responses and while I can understand everyone's points it still leaves me feeling uncomfortable about this situation.
One of the complaints about S7 BtVS was that Giles showed no interest is Spike getting a soul. I think the situation with Harmony is even worse if Wesley doesn't show interest in a Vampire voluntarily giving up drinking human blood and chosing to help the good guys, what ever the reason. It goes against the fundamental teachings of the WC, and all his experience.
I would have thought that Angel and Spike would also question it. Angel had to be cursed with a soul before he stopped feeding from humans and even then it was a pretty rocky path before he even thought of actually doing good. Spike had to be forcibly stopped by the chip from feeding and then spent a rocky couple of years undergoing Behaviour Modification therapy and being influenced by Buffy before he went for his soul.
With Harmony not drinking human blood and not being evil without either a soul or a chip, I would hope that both Angel and Spike would really want to know why.
I hope this is something that's going to be addressed and that Harmony is not just going to be used as 'comic relief' without the deeper implications being explored or questioned.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> What if she lied? -- Sheri, 13:49:42 10/15/03 Wed

As an unsouled vampire (how rare!), don't you think it's possible that Harmony lied to Angel about not drinking human blood? Sure, around the office, she walk around with her cup of Otter-infuesed blood... but on her off-time, she could very well still be killing humans.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: What if she lied? -- yabyumpan, 14:18:57 10/15/03 Wed

don't you think it's possible that Harmony lied to Angel about not drinking human blood?

It's possible but I would think/hope that Angel and Wesley (who was the one who actually hired her) would be keeping an eye on her, it's not like she hasn't double-crossed and betrayed them before. Would ME really want to make Angel and Wesley looking really stupid by having Harmony fool them again? Unless they're go to really grey the waters and have them not care what Harmony does as long as it's not on the firm's time or premises.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> If anyone sang for Lorne, surely it would be Harmony. -- skeeve, 07:46:38 10/16/03 Thu

How Would You Describe Wesley? -- Claudia, 14:28:48 10/14/03 Tue

I had came across this theory on Wesley's personality portrait, and the author listed some pretty interesting things about his character.

One, the author stated that he was a self-aware sociopath, an antisocial narcissist, has a death wish, prone to both hallucinations and delusions of grandeur, saw Angel as a father figure and harbored a subconscious jealous of Connor - among other things.

I am not saying that I agree or disagree with what the author had stated, so I am asking for opinions from the rest of you. What do you think?


[> Sexily scruffy? Scruffily sexy? English? -- RJA, 14:42:09 10/14/03 Tue

Oh, you wanted something a little more indepth...

Thats not quite how I see Wesley to be honest, but could yo provide a link, since I'm pretty interested to read the reasoning behind this personality portrait.

[> [> Re: Sexily scruffy? Scruffily sexy? English? -- Alison, 14:55:16 10/14/03 Tue

I think Claudia was talking about this essay: http://www.imjustsayin.net/indemnity/index2.html

[> [> [> Re: Sexily scruffy? Scruffily sexy? English? -- RJA, 15:05:34 10/14/03 Tue

Thanks for the link.

And seeing it in that light, all I can say is ROTFLMAO (at least I think/hope)

[> Not to speak for the forum... -- Lunasea, 14:47:45 10/14/03 Tue

but why not give whether you agree or disagree, you know YOUR opinon. That's what we do here for the most part, share opinions. If you can't decide whether you agree or not, say what evidence you think supports it and what contradicts it. That would be more likely to spark dialogue. These inflamatory statements that are posted without any evidence tend to come off as trollish to the posters that I talk with. If you want to appear to be a troll, brava. You have done a wonderful job. If you don't want this, then as someone many here (and yes I use the general term. The archives will support this assertion) perceived to be trollish, may I suggest that a change in your posting style will do wonders for how your posts are received.

[> [> Huh? -- Claudia, 15:18:16 10/14/03 Tue

[but why not give whether you agree or disagree, you know YOUR opinon. That's what we do here for the most part, share opinions. If you can't decide whether you agree or not, say what evidence you think supports it and what contradicts it. That would be more likely to spark dialogue. These inflamatory statements that are posted without any evidence tend to come off as trollish to the posters that I talk with.]

Inflamatory statements? I made an inflamatory statement?

[> [> [> I think what Lunasea is trying to say is.. -- Alison, 15:43:36 10/14/03 Tue

That your habit of answering questions with questions, or feigning (I'm guessing here) ignorance towards other posters comments can be seen as baiting.

[> [> [> [> Re: I think what Lunasea is trying to say is.. -- Claudia, 16:16:58 10/14/03 Tue

[That your habit of answering questions with questions, or feigning (I'm guessing here) ignorance towards other posters comments can be seen as baiting.]

I'm not baiting. I was being serious regarding my question about Wes. I want to know what others think of him.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: I think what Lunasea is trying to say is.. -- Alison, 16:26:08 10/14/03 Tue

I understand your desire to know what other posters think, I too often posted questions when I first arrived at the board. However, I got few responses, because the prefered method of communication here is more give and take. I know it can be frightening to attempt to put your opinions into words and parade them in front of complete strangers, especially such an intelligent bunch, but since you are asking the same of them, offering your opinion as well can't hurt.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Also . . . -- Claudia, 16:58:36 10/14/03 Tue

Also, although I have seen a handful of ANGEL episodes, hardly any of them had focused upon Wesley. It wasn't until I saw "That Old Gang of Mine" that drew my interest toward him (I know, odd considering that episode was Gunn-centric). He seemed quite different from the Wes I remembered from BtVS Season 3.

After reading that "Wesley Unification Theory" essay, I ended up a little confused and wanted to know everyone else's own opinion regarding his character.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Also . . . -- RJA, 17:08:05 10/14/03 Tue

Anyone can correct me if I'm wrong, but that Wesley Unification Theory essay wasnt entirely serious. Certainly anything that claims that Wesley was made to dress as a girl as a child cant be without tongue in cheek.

So while I think there is surely an indepth and amazing character study of Wesley out there, that wasnt it.

Hopefully someone will provide it, so we can get down to discussing the fascinating character that is Wesley - for as you say, the change he as undergone since BtVS season 3 is immense.

[> Either rogue demon-hunter, or perhaps rogue-demon hunter. ;o) -- CW, 15:02:11 10/14/03 Tue

The rest seems to change as each different writer at ME portrays him. Some of them seem to think of him as conceited and with very bad instincts and judgement skills. Others protray him as the noblest of the AI team. The two poles of opinion aren't necessarily mutually exculsive.

[> [> the makeover/transformation of Wes -- Ann, 16:57:17 10/14/03 Tue

As a relatively new watcher of AtS, I was stunned to see the transformation of Wes from the nerdy watcher of Faith in BtVS to this new rogue/sexy/trim guy. Did this happen on screen or off? He was a pompus rightous watcher who had no authority and became this suave fellow dictating policy at AI. At first I thought they were using the same actor as a different character when I first start watching AtS. Interesting how with this new glamour came this brave demon killing character!

[> [> [> Some on screen, some off. -- CW, 17:46:48 10/14/03 Tue

Being buddies with Gunn seemed to improve him a lot. They fell out over Fred, and Wes did some very dumb things without consulting with the rest of the group. After Wes being tricked into kidnapping Connor, the group divorced itself from him. By himself, Wes made all the right moves to get Angel back and to earn the trust of the others again.

[> [> [> Re: the makeover/transformation of Wes -- JM, 18:27:21 10/14/03 Tue

On-screen and very subtly and very very well done. One of AtS great acheivements. The charater essays from ATPoBtVS first anniversary have a great exploration of the first two seasons of his growth. And actually give you a good starting point for this first season. Early AtS S3 Wes is actually remarkably similar in temperment and demeanor to current Wes. Grave, competent, controlled, but much calmer than the haunted, bitter, dangerous depths that peaked mid-S4, IMHO. (Whether it is because he's recovered from his visit to the Bad Lands or because he can no longer remember, I'd be fascinated to find out.)

[> [> [> The evolution of Wesley, a primer (spoilers AtS seasons 1 through 4) -- Masq, 18:46:04 10/14/03 Tue

Catch the TNT reruns, or watch the S 1 and 2 DVDs to see Wesley evolve.

The tranformation of Wesley has been gradual and subtle and convincing.

He comes to Angel Season 1 already a step ahead of who he was in Sunnydale. Being thrown out by Buffy and then the Watcher's Council has humbled him.

He's still a bumbling dork, but he has no where to go and wants to help people. He's eager to get on Angel's team, and works very hard to impress Angel through the second half of season 1 by improving his fighting skills and using his Watcher know-how.

In Season 2, as CW indicates, he starts to befriend street-tough demon-fighter Gunn. But before that, he faces some challenges. A significant one was in the ep Guise Will be Guise, where circumstances force him to masquerade as Angel. He is forced to fight the bad guys as Angel would, and when he succeeds, this boosts his confidence. Plus he gets a hot girlfriend in that ep, which is also an ego-booster.

Gunn and Wesley don't hit it off at first. Gunn is a no-nonsense fighter, and sees Wesley as a know-it-all priss. But they gradually start to develop a respect for each other's complementary abilities, brains vs. brawn.

Then circumstances lead Angel to first neglect his responsibilities and then leave the gang to their own devices all together. This is when Gunn and Wesley's friendship forms as they are forced to fight together as fellow humans with no vampire assistance. In one episode, Gunn goes off to stop the bad guys and Wesley races to find him and help him. Wesley gets shot in the process.

The slow healing process of recovering from a bullet wound really strengthens Wesley a lot. Once he is healed, he is tougher than he was before. He's battle-hardened.

At the end of season 2, Wesley faces his biggest challenge when the gang goes to the demon dimension of Pylea. Wesley is chosen by some humans in that dimension to lead their rebellion against the bad guys.

There, we learn that Wesley is a good leader, but his leadership style is definitely informed by his Watcher background. He is willing to send men under his command to their deaths to beat the bad guys, just as he was willing to sacrifice Willow to defeat the Mayor in "Choices" on BtVS.

Between seasons 2 and 3, Wesley, Gunn and Cordelia are a fighting team without Angel as Angel goes off to mourn Buffy's death. One imagines Wesley really hones his skills during that time.

Season 3 sees Wesley gradually distancing himself from Angel and the others as he struggles over a prophecy concerning Angel. He is afraid to confide in Angel, and makes a choice that causes Angel to lose his son. Angel angrily throws Wesley out of the group, and Gunn, Fred and Cordelia follow Angel's lead.

Wesley is at loose ends again, and bitter at Angel and the others. That's where Lilah of Wolfram and Hart steps in. Wesley doesn't trust her, but he is attracted to her, and he lets himself get drawn into an affair with her.

At this point, the end of season 3, Wesley is scruffy, gun-weilding Gray!Wesley. A fight with an apocalyptic demon and the return of Angel's son in season 4 brings Wesley back in with Angel and the others, but the Wesley we see is now experimenting with different kinds of weapons. He's like the Inspector Gadget of good guys. And he's still somewhat distrustful of Angel and Gunn.

Over the four seasons of AtS, Wesley has experienced battles, he's been made de facto leader of the group (for his brains) when Angel is in communicado, he's learned a lot and suffered a lot.

And yet deep down, he isn't so different from the somewhat arrogant Machavelian Watcher we knew in Season 3 of Buffy. And that's why I find his transformation convincing

[> [> [> [> Thank you for the primer!!! -- Ann, 18:55:17 10/14/03 Tue

Now if I only had the time to read the transcripts. Thank you.

[> Re: How Would You Describe Wesley? -- JM, 17:08:07 10/14/03 Tue

Claudia, I'm pretty sure I've read the essay you're talking about and know who the author is (though on-line only). The essay is fasinating (I even outlined a response once) and the author has some superb fanfic (if I'm right about who it is.)

Though I largely disagree with her characterization of Wes, I think the context on her interest is important: she's a huge Lilah fan and gravitates largely to interpreting topics and events through the lense of Lilah and Wes's relationship. Also the world of fanfic, I feel, is a little different than that of criticism and commentary -- the role I think this board fulfills. Some writers use fanfic merely as a way of filling in blank spots in the canon or exploring what-ifs. Others use the on-screen characters as a jumping off point for their own explorations and characterizations, exploring the subtext of the subtext as it were. Where any work falls is probably the subject of subjective and not-universal evaluation on the part of each reader and writer.

My opinion, Wes is not nearly so mad nor so nafarious. He's definitely carrying some damaging baggage and his emotional make up is impacted by his tendency toward intense privacy and ? repression. Which tendencies give the writers a character to work with whose internal and external personalities are not infrequently at odds. I think he has proved to be quite stable, moral, and often kind, and also determined, relentless, and utliitarian. It is extremely important to realize that his moral code does not exactly match Angel and Buffy's and his decisions will not alway be in agreement with theirs.

My short description of Wesley would be someone both better and more competent than he has often believed, but less rational than he would like to.

[> [> Re: How Would You Describe Wesley? -- Claudia, 17:13:10 10/14/03 Tue

Your argument sounds a lot more logical than that essay I had read, because the latter seemed to portray Wes as a little off the wall.

[> [> [> Re: How Would You Describe Wesley? -- JM, 17:30:35 10/14/03 Tue

Thanks. Mine's more textually based I think:-) I really think the author was paying particular attention only to sub-textual details that accorded to the character that was coming to life in her fanfic. They can tend to take on a life of their own, especially during the dry summer season.

There are some very good discussions of Wes in the archives, especially from March during the Salvage-Release-Orpheus Faith arc and also in October when the season premiere launched the Wes-Lilah relationship.

If some one is looking for good essays, I like this one -- http://www.yeswes.com/essays/bigpicture.html -- from someone who used to post here I believe. (In case you can't tell I really, really like Wes.)

[> [> [> [> Re: How Would You Describe Wesley? -- jane, 18:24:47 10/14/03 Tue

I'd describe him as a nice bit of crumpet..(sorry, couldn't help myself!) Seriously, though, watching him over the years since his first appearance, his growth has been remarkable. Season one on ATS, he was still pretty much the nerd at first, but I think he gained in confidence and self esteem through working with Angel and Cordy. He probably always had the goods, but needed the support and recognition to access that part of himself. He's still a work in progress.

[> [> [> [> Re: How Would You Describe Wesley? -- Claudia, 11:27:10 10/15/03 Wed

[If some one is looking for good essays, I like this one -- http://www.yeswes.com/essays/bigpicture.html -- from someone who used to post here I believe. (In case you can't tell I really, really like Wes.)]

I just came across this web site. I've already read one particularly excellent essay of Wes' character, up to the end of Season 3. I can't wait to read the rest.

[> Wearing a large fluffy cat suit and leaping across the stage singing "Memmmories..." -- Rochefort, 22:38:01 10/14/03 Tue

[> Can you provide a link to the theory you're referring to? Thanks -- Sheri, 09:49:56 10/15/03 Wed

[> As the weft and weave -- fresne, 10:28:48 10/15/03 Wed

"As a drowning man who rising above the waves, for a moment sees once more the shore, only to sink again beneath the swell."

As an indirect strategist, whose grandfather mayhap knew Lidell-Hart.

As the lamb who thinks he's the wolf. As the tiger who wishes he were the lamb.

As not as terrible as he thinks. Worse than he has the potential to be.

As Percy. As the boy locked in the closet under the stairs. As the head boy. As the sinking enigmatic. Bristled and a dollar late and short and tired.

As the one who bears the mark he of Judas not on his neck but in his burning heart.

As the one washed away clean of sin (wasn't that easy) by the sacrifice of the son. The tapestry of his life made up of threads, now unraveled and rewoven into this pattern. But I wonder if they are as tight.

And, you know I going to save this because, I haven't quite the time at the moment to complete the arrow of my thought. It is Xeno driven and currently hangs unmoving.

So, umm...when are writing/delivering these essays. I work better to a deadline.

[> This reminds me of another very good Wesley essay -- KdS, 11:50:14 10/15/03 Wed

This one is by the LJ author The Brat Queen, on the question of Wes's possibly ambiguous masculinity and its, she feels, explosion of an established Hollywood stereotype. Linked with permission.


Thanks to D'Herblay for helping me find it when I'd forgotten the original author.

[> [> Re: This reminds me of another very good Wesley essay -- Claudia, 12:22:01 10/15/03 Wed

Reading this article about Wesley, reminded me of another in which the author expressed the belief that Spike's strength as a vampire - whether for good or evil - only comes about when his character becomes androgynous.

[> [> [> Re: This reminds me of another very good Wesley essay -- punkinpuss, 12:52:40 10/15/03 Wed

Do you mean one of these:

Arwen Spicer's essay at Slayage, "Love's Bitch but Man Enough to Admit It: Spike's Hybridized Gender" or D. Amy-Chinn's "Queering the Bitch: Spike, Transgression and Erotic Empowerment" from the Blood, Text & Fears conference.

The Spicer essay is in Slayage #7 at: http://www.slayage.tv/

I don't think the Amy-Chinn essay has ever been published, but I don't have any of the recent essay collections on Buffology. Sounds really interesting.

Thanks for the link to The Brat Queen's Wesley essay! Watching the TNT reruns where Wesley has just arrived in L.A. this week, it's such fun to see the adorable sissy boy he used to be. BTW, I think "She" -- today's episode -- is when the infamous goofy dances by Angel and Wes take place. I can't wait to see Wesley "dancing" LOL!

[> [> Thank you thank you thank you for recommending this essay. -- Alison, 12:35:51 10/15/03 Wed

TBQ always has interesting ideas, but I loved reading this.

[> [> Re: This reminds me of another very good Wesley essay -- RJA, 14:22:14 10/15/03 Wed

It was an interesting, well written and entertaining essay (as was the Willow and Tara one, which I think was perhaps more on target).

My problem with the essay, though, was not so much what it said about Wesley, but the linking between homosexuality and 'sissyness'. I think she made good points about Wesley's original lack of masculine traits and then the adverse reaction from the characters to him changing (although she didnt point out that fan response to this was actually an increased interest and following for him, which is perhaps unfortunate in regard to the point she was making).

However, my problem with the essay is that in some ways I think in so closely associating sissyness with homosexuality, the author was falling into using the same stereotypes that were being criticised. Wesley's character arc could be used as an exploration as to what is desireable in a man, and the many facets of masculinity without it having to be tied to homosexuality. Sissyness as a homosexual character trait is only linked through popular culture and prejudice, rather than any true fact. So to my mind, the essay would have been better of looking at the perception of masculinity and sissyness and what it is to be a man, without tying it to being gay. Having 'sissy' characteristics is no necessary indication of a gay subtext other than the fact that popular culture has led us to believe that gay = sissy. A trap I think the essay fell into.

Interestingly though, in her essay she mentions Larry, but only to say he was defined as being 1) gay and 2) dead. However he was a very masculine man, with no 'sissy' traits, yet he was an open homosexual. Surely that scores a point for busting stereotypes?

[> [> [> I think that was because... -- KdS, 02:34:18 10/16/03 Thu

The essay was written as a contrast to one on the infamous Dead-Evil-Lesbian debate over Seeing Red-Grave, in which she argued that ME did bear some guilt for unconsciously reiterating homophobic stereotypes. So the issue of the specifically homophobic element of the stereotype was in there from the start.

[> [> [> Let me post TBQ's entire essay on gays in the Buffyverse -- Scroll, 12:38:24 10/16/03 Thu

I think you really have to read her introduction on "The Celluloid Closet" to understand the premise of her two essays on gay stereotypes re: Willow/Tara in Buffy and Wesley in Angel.

I'll start a new thread at the top of the board.

Buffy, Angel and Ring of Amara -- Claudia, 13:45:54 10/15/03 Wed

In the AtS Season 1 episode, "In the Dark", Oz arrives in L.A., with the Ring of Amara. He gives it to Angel, as a gift from Buffy.

Now, as much as I admire Buffy for believing in giving others a chance in life, I have to admit that she really made a big mistake in giving the ring to Angel. After getting it back from Spike in "The Harsh Light of Day", she should have destroyed it. What was she thinking?


[> Was probably thinking Angel's quest against evil would benefit from being invincible -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:01:02 10/15/03 Wed

He's fighting vampires and other monsters on a regular basis, and Buffy understands the fear that one of those demons might some day get lucky. So she sends Angel the ring to increase his odds of surviving (plus she knows how hard it is for him to never see the sun).

[> [> additionally -- Dlgood, 14:10:32 10/15/03 Wed

As Finn stated, it's an indicator that she trusts him as a warrior in the fight against evil and badness, so she's willing to give him a very powerful and dangerous tool in that fight.

Giles had suggested destroying the ring, and considering Angel's willingness to destroy the very powerful Glove of Myneghon the previous year, I suspect Buffy may have been aware that he might destroy it as well. IMHO, it's a case of Buffy trusting Angel to do the "right thing" with the ring, whether that's destroying it or using it.

It's also likely, that on a less professional level, she loves him and wants to protect him. Knowing the ring would make him invincible must have eased her own worries for his safety.

[> [> [> Did She Ever Consider . . . ? -- Claudia, 15:50:16 10/15/03 Wed

Did Buffy ever consider the possibility that Angel might lose his soul, again and become Angelus? And lo and behold, he actually did nearly two-and-a-half years later.

[> [> [> [> Why do you think that she didn't? -- Masq, 16:49:23 10/15/03 Wed

There has been a lot of debate over whether Angel could ever again lose his soul without intending to. He knows now that a moment of true happiness would make him lose his soul, and his fear of that happening actually ruins any moment of true happiness he could experience. It's like an aversive anxiety. "I can never let myself get too happy again."

Buffy trusted that Angel would take responsibility and not lose his soul again involuntarily the way it happened in season 2 of BtVS. And he has taken that responsiblity.

When Angel lost his soul last year, he did it with his eyes wide open, by choice, because he believed it would help in the fight against the Beast. He didn't want to do it. He took every precaution against his own inner beast getting out. He didn't count on the evil that was in Cordelia upsetting his precautions, no one knew about that, except Cordelia.

If Angel had still had the ring in Season 4 of AtS, he would have found some way to destroy it or keep it out of reach before he submitted to the spell that removed his soul.

[> [> [> [> [> The other thing about the Ring of Amara.... -- yabyumpan, 17:43:26 10/15/03 Wed

...in relation to Angel, is that the episode was about him re-afferming his commitment to The Mission. That was one of the themes of S1, the other episode which dealt with this in a big way was IWRY.
The Gem of Amara served a different purpose on both shows, on BtVS it was about Spike's last stand as a Big Bad and Buffy having to deal with him again, once it got to L.A. it was no longer about Buffy or Spike but about Angel's continuing journey and how he was going to go about it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The other thing about the Ring of Amara.... -- Claudia, 11:38:04 10/16/03 Thu

It's not Angel's actions that I'm criticizing. I think he made a wise choice. It was Buffy's action that I'm questioning. I admire that she is willing to give people a chance, but handing over a ring that makes a vampire unkillable, whether souled or not was a stupid thing to do.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The other thing about the Ring of Amara.... -- Dlgood, 13:48:50 10/16/03 Thu

And it's not like that argument was made. Ultimately, the group as a whole backed her decision, enough that Oz delivered the ring to Angel. Given Giles' willingness to overrise Buffy if he really felt it necessary, I imagine Giles would have had Oz destroy the ring and make up a lie rather than give it to Angel if he'd really believed the ring to be that much of a danger. He decided to shelve his objections and trust Angel as well.

So, I wouldn't limit the questioning to Buffy herself. It's the group as a whole.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> She loves him, she trusts him -- Lunasea, 15:42:24 10/16/03 Thu

And she could give him one thing he really wanted and couldn't get for himself. She gave Angel back the sun. It was a beautiful gift that Angel didn't understand was a gift. Not only didn't he trust himself with it, but he didn't understand why Buffy gave it to him because she didn't send a note with it.

The Gem was all about desire. It played out with Harmony and Spike and then with Buffy and Angel. Buffy and Angel desired to be together, but couldn't be. Instead each tried to give the other what they though they wanted. Angel didn't want to take Buffy into the dark with him and Buffy gave him back the light.

It wasn't about helping him fight the good fight. It was an act of love. If Angel had understood that, he never could have destroyed it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: She loves him, she trusts him -- Dlgood, 16:38:58 10/16/03 Thu

It wasn't about helping him fight the good fight. It was an act of love. If Angel had understood that, he never could have destroyed it.

I actually think it's a bit of both. And even if Angel understood the gesture I think he would still destroy the ring. As wonderful a sign of love it is, the ring is also still an extremely dangerous artifact. Even were they a couple, and the curse a non-issue, I'm not entirely certain Angel wouldn't have eventually destroyed the ring anyway. Based upon both his and Giles' arguments.

And I'm inclined to believe, were a discussion held, almost all of the characters would have understood.

Who are the strongest and best fighters on Buffy or Angel? -- deathdealer, 14:30:24 10/15/03 Wed

In Personal opinion the Five best from both series are Buffy, Angel, Spike, Faith,and then Connor who is a wussy character but tough.


[> I'd put the Vamps above the Slayers -- Ray, 16:05:19 10/15/03 Wed

Their non-human bodies can withstand so much more in a fight. Plus they've got hundred plus years of experience.

[> [> Re: Slayers stronger than vampires -- Ames, 16:12:42 10/15/03 Wed

But Angel said to Buffy in Sanctuary (complaining after they exchanged blows): "You hit me first. In case you've forgotten, you're a little bit stronger than I am."

Slayers almost always win when they fight vampires, even old ones. Buffy beat Angel and Spike every time they fought. It's a rare day for celebration among the vampires when one of them kills a Slayer.

[> [> [> But, we're talking overall fighting -- Ray, 16:47:13 10/15/03 Wed

Vampires can be shot, stabbed, suffocated without being beaten. Slayers are still prone to human weakness. So, while a Slayer has the edge in strength, they're still easier to kill.

[> [> [> [> No way! -- Ames, 19:05:22 10/15/03 Wed

I've always thought that vampires are way too easy to kill on BtVS and AtS:

- Anything resembling a wooden stake through the heart, even a pencil or an arrow
- Cut off their head with any handy axe, sword, cymbal, strand of barbed wire, penkife etc (just to mention a few used tod date)
- Exposure to sunlight (severity varies, but see the Turok Han in Chosen for extreme example of going poof in an instant)
- Fire (check out the fire arrows in Graduation Day 2)
- Holy water (ingested as in Helpless, on the skin it's like acid)
- Poison (at least specialized vampire poisons like Killer-of-the-dead)

Presumably you could also blow them to bits with explosives, or blow off their head with a shotgun.

It's a miracle that Angel has survived as long as he has!

Now it's true that most of those (except sunlight and holy water) would also kill a Slayer, but a Slayer moves pretty fast - how often have you seen a vampire stake a Slayer or cut her head off?

[> [> [> Not Quite -- Claudia, 11:31:33 10/16/03 Thu

[Buffy beat Angel and Spike every time they fought.]

Buffy came seriously close to be beaten by both Angel and Spike in episodes like "Becoming, Part 2", "School Hard", and "Out of My Mind". In the last two episodes, her life was saved by an outside force.

[> [> [> [> Re: Not Quite -- LittleBit, 11:55:47 10/16/03 Thu

As close doesn't count except in horseshoes and hand grenades, coming seriously close to being beaten and being beaten are not the same thing.

[> [> [> [> [> Okay . . . -- Claudia, 12:16:20 10/16/03 Thu

Okay . . . Buffy "was" beaten by Spike . . . twice. In "School Hard" and in "Out of My Mind". In the first episode, Joyce saved her from being bitten. In the second, the chip saved her. There.

[> [> [> [> [> And X-beat-Y is not a valid method of comparison. Move along. -- Majin Gojira (in full SD.net mode), 12:47:12 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: And X-beat-Y is not a valid method of comparison. Move along. -- Claudia, 15:32:58 10/16/03 Thu

Why should I?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: And X-beat-Y is not a valid method of comparison. Move along. -- Majin Gojira, 15:55:47 10/16/03 Thu

Not Move along as in "Go away", Move along as in "Find a different method to settle this".

[> I've got very different choices -- Finn Mac Cool, 17:34:51 10/15/03 Wed

First off, by fighters, I'm assuming you mean in hand to hand combat. If that's the case my list would be this:

1) Glory

2) The Beast

3) Jasmine

4) Scythe-wielding Buffy

5) Scythe-wielding Faith

Glory obviously gets in for her invincibility, super-strength, and super-speed. The Beast comes in just below her, since he lacked increased speed. Then comes Jasmine, who could toss cars around and survive thousands of volts of electricity. Then we've got the two most experienced Slayers on the show bearing as mystical weapon that greatly increases their abilities. Of course, provided we can't include weapons with our warriors, then I'd have to five number four to Caleb and number five to either Buffy or the Master (the Master killed her twice, so I'm not sure who is better).

[> My Choices -- Rook, 17:58:52 10/15/03 Wed

5: Cordelia: Doing the vulcan death grip since she was like five.

4. Tara: Highly skilled fighter. Or maybe swimmer, or whatever that weird thing with her arms was.

3. Andrew: Because no one can resist the power of the pan flute

2. Jonathan: Magic bone. Meanest left hook in town. Plus he has the proportional strength of...uh..him.

1. Dawn: Shiny, shiny hair. Plus That Thing with Her Hips. It's enough to make strong men weep.

[> The top 10 and why -- manwitch, 18:12:10 10/15/03 Wed

I will assume by "best fighters" you mean best at winning fights.

1) The Master -- 2-1 against Buffy, including wishverse. No one else is even close to that.
2) Buffy--She's never lost to anyone on this list but the master. And she beat him once, too.
3) Angel--Clearly the toughest of the vampires
4) Chipless Spike--Quick, ruthless and resourceful, but lacks Angels brute strength and cruelty
5) Drusilla--This chick is not to be trifled with. And its rare to have the hypno thing going in a vamp so young. Her bout with Kendra was no contest, and even though she tried to kill Buffy, she's still alive.
6) Willow--The only thing keeping her from the top spot is confidence.
7) Faith--A very strong, very tough girl, but against the others above her on this list, she's gonna have trouble. She would match up best against Spike, but I think she's too reckless to beat him.
8) Groo--the dude's a warrior and a nice guy.
9) Giles--The only pure unadulterated human on the list. Pretty impressive.
10)Oz--Well, three nights out of the month, Oz breaks into the top 10. The rest of the month, I'd maybe give it to Gunn.

Obviously, an argument could be made to put Connor at number 8. I don't personally like that argument, because I never liked Connor.

But even so, we can draw some conclusions. In general terms, the strongest vamps seem to be stronger than or as strong as slayers. Supernatural folks are stronger than humans. Buffy tends to have more experience and hardcore supernatural folks on it than Angel.

We should not even discuss whether or not Wesley belongs on this list, as he certainly could not defeat anyone on it. He would probably come in around 15 or 16.

[> [> I think Wesley could defeat some of them. -- Finn Mac Cool, 19:36:28 10/15/03 Wed

He's a pretty good fighter and gains extra credit through his use of guns and, at one point, a grenade. I think this makes him a better fighter than Giles.

[> [> Re: The top 10 and why -- Dlgood, 22:06:45 10/15/03 Wed

(7) Faith

I'd move her up the list. Way up. She fought Buffy to draws in "Revelations", "Enemies", twice in "This Year's Girl", and in "Who Are You". And only really lost to her in "Graduation". A fights she still managed to survive and escape.

And, she's essentially 1-1 against Angel, having bested him in "Revelations", lost to him in "Release", and lost to him in "5x5" primarily because she wanted him to kill her.

[> [> Re: The top 10 and why - ??? -- Claudia, 11:34:22 10/16/03 Thu

[2) Buffy--She's never lost to anyone on this list but the master. And she beat him once, too]

She lost to a chipless Spike in "School Hard" and a chipped Spike in "Out of My Mind". Joyce saved her in the former, and the chip in the latter.

[> [> [> Re: The top 10 and why - ??? -- LittleBit, 11:49:35 10/16/03 Thu

As manwitch says, Buffy has only lost once, to the Master. A Slayer who loses is a dead Slayer. Until the fight is over and Buffy is dead, she hasn't lost. We didn't see the end of the Buffy vs. Spike ones you mention because outside intervention took place. Something that happened not for the first time, and certainly not for the last time. But the fact that Buffy was not killed by Spike means she didn't lose.

[> [> [> [> Re: The top 10 and why - ??? -- Claudia, 12:21:15 10/16/03 Thu

[As manwitch says, Buffy has only lost once, to the Master. A Slayer who loses is a dead Slayer. Until the fight is over and Buffy is dead, she hasn't lost. We didn't see the end of the Buffy vs. Spike ones you mention because outside intervention took place. Something that happened not for the first time, and certainly not for the last time. But the fact that Buffy was not killed by Spike means she didn't lose.]

If I sound bitchy, sorry, but I'm in a bad mood. Which brings me to my next statement. I don't care if Buffy survived her encounters with Spike. As far as I'm concerned, Spike beat her. Why? Because it took external forces - namely Joyce and a chip - to save her butt.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: The top 10 and why - ??? -- auroramama, 12:35:31 10/16/03 Thu

I see your point here, and I won't bother with the usual supertext arguments about dramatic tension, though that's pretty much my own way of thinking.

But as an interesting side note, Spike doesn't seem to see Joyce as an external force. He isn't reassured by having beaten Buffy before Joyce showed up; he's really worried now, because this is something new: a Slayer equipped with family and friends. And he's right to be worried, isn't he?

And OoMM? My view: by this time, Spike has become a full-blown conspiracy theorist about his defeats in Sunnydale. One might expect him to be pleased that he got so close - if he'd had a gun pointed at her instead of fangs, he might have been able to kill Buffy despite the chip - but he's not that rational. Later, in a cold rage in FfL, he has no trouble coming up with the gun solution. It might not have worked, but it might have. But it's too late for him by then, poor dear.

[> Re: Who are the strongest and best fighters on Buffy or Angel? -- Majin Gojira, 20:02:48 10/15/03 Wed

Strongest, Physically: Olvikahn (Transformed Mayor) -- Why hasn't he been mentioned yet? He's a True Demon. Full Power! HellO!

Runners Up: The Dragon from "The Gift", The Beast, Glory, Jasmine and The Hellmouth Spawn.

Best Fighters: Cannot be determined logically. The "X beat Y and Y beat Z, ergo, Z can beat X" leads to extreme stupidity very quickly.


Gandalf defeated a Balrog. Saruman Defeated Gandalf. Wormtongue killed Saruman. Egro, by the above logic, Wormtongue can beat a Balrog! Make sense? No, of course not. It shouldn't.

So, how do you figure out who is the best fighter of the lot? It would take a lot of hard thinking to produce an answer, but generally: Buffy, the Various Big Bads, Angel, Faith and Spike, in roughly that order (many sharing the same spot -- Buffy and the Big Bads for example), would be appropriot--according to the Buffy RPG that is. (god I love that thing)

Character Update: Faith (a work in progress) -- Brian, 16:56:11 10/15/03 Wed


Faith watches the blood rinse from her hand.
She's tired from her last prison yard stand.
But her thoughts are calm, almost guilt free.
"After all, the knife-wielding bitch had come at me!"

Now Faith sits quietly against the cold stonewall
Her thoughts are calm, but her washed hand weaves a pattern in the air.
There was no Angel today come to call.
For him, she knew, she would sacrifice her all.
He's never missed a week; she thinks, and strokes her hair.

How did he come to know her heart so well?
He always spoke the truth; he, too, had traveled the dark road.
He had touched her heart
As no man had ever done, except one.
And he in his love, and in his guile
Had seduced her thoughts anew,
Had encouraged her twisted view,
Until her life had run to rue.

Once again, she looks inside her soul
And realizes that it's no longer black.
Angel had let in the light,
Giving her a sense of worth and right.

The sky to the south is too dark for day.
There is some menace she can tell.
Suddenly, she hears a distant bell;
A jailer has come to lead her from her cell.

Imagine her surprise upon sitting down
To see Wesley, not Angel, wearing an even grimmer frown.
Seconds later, the glass is shattered, broken.
Faith is once more on the run
But this time it's towards, not from.


[> Very nice, Brian! :-) -- jane, 17:24:57 10/15/03 Wed

[> Wow Brian... -- LadyStarlight, 18:08:28 10/15/03 Wed

Great job! There's going to be more, I assume?

[> [> Re: There will be more Faith in LA and Sunnydale -- Brian, 20:36:35 10/15/03 Wed

[> yes, very nice indeed -- Deacon, 18:13:45 10/15/03 Wed

[> [> Re: nicely done -- winterwolf, 04:39:17 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> [> Re: Looking forward to more -- Pegleg Pete, 08:08:52 10/16/03 Thu

[> Never missed a week!? -- shambleau, 10:10:08 10/16/03 Thu

That's dedication. Wouldn't being in a coffin under twenty fathoms or so of water have slowed him down? :)

Was he going in late season two, also? I can just see it. "Sorry I'm late. Between letting lawyers die and burning Drusilla and Darla to a crisp, I lost track of time. How's the food?"

[> [> Re: Character Update: Part 2 - Faith in LA -- Brian, 16:14:13 10/16/03 Thu


She passes the test.
Seems to have laid Wesley's fears to rest.
And now she meets the gang:
Connor, so young, his innocence like a red-hot flame,
Glowing and glowering, wondering who to blame.
Gunn, big with dark, flashing eyes
Wears his honesty like a disguise.
A welcoming smile from oh so cute Fred.
Her cheerfulness masks her inner dread.

And out into the smothering dark she goes
To reclaim the soul of her mentor, her friend,
Her ally in the dark struggle for redemption's grace.
To find and destroy the Beast, face to face,
To subdue Angelus by battle in the endless race.

In the dark alleys of unnatural night
She finds only the pain of broken fight.
The Beast breaks her body like pale, thin glass
Saved by Angelus who caps his stony, arrogant ass.
Ignoble relief and self-loathing grief,
Bloodied but unbowed she must retreat
Watches her blood course down her feet.
Her rage explodes, dark, destructive, and so needed.
But no time for rest, no time for bed.
Only time to regroup and try again.
Another sally and ignore the pain.

And in a dark warehouse
She faces her fears; she rediscovers her tears;
She holds her own; she knows now that she's not alone.
She feels sharp teeth; death makes its moan.
But the trap is set; Angelus makes his groan.
She saves her friend, but into unending darkness
She slides.

Drugged and beaten,
Down and down and down she falls,
Past reality, past fantasy into the land of dreams,
Into the rough past and path of Angelus and Angel.
She becomes witness to their wrath.
Two sides of the coin, separate but joined.
Forever in a dance of good and evil,
She struggles to find her own breath.

Coma bound she battles her demons
While Lorne narrates her decline
He knows she won't, she'll never be fine.
But Faith is made of sterner stuff
And she and Angel find their victory
To stand, to fight, and never to yield.
The truth for them is in the endless battle
Not in the reward.
Bruised and battered, tempted and tried,
Together from their darkness they have emerged
Sins and demons, never defeated, but finally purged.

[> [> [> Re: Nice - Next? -- Pegleg Pete, 05:49:27 10/17/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> Re: Part 3 is going to take awhile -- Brian, 08:53:22 10/17/03 Fri

I loved tonight's episode (spoilers, 5.3) -- Alison, 19:40:02 10/15/03 Wed

I'm so happy, since I felt the season got off to a rocky start. This episode was pulled together very nicely. I especially liked how the werewolf story handled Angel's own issues. I think this episode touched on the points key to Angel's development this season...as he himself said, he let go of the person he loved, Connor, and now has no reason to keep his monster in check. I have to say, I thought allowing that scientist to be eaten alive was on par with locking the lawyers in the cellar with Darla and Dru. I'm hope they continue in this direction...it connects nicely with season two, but so far, is taking the same idea in a different direction.


[> Re: I loved tonight's episode (spoilers, 5.3) -- Corwin of Amber, 20:07:58 10/15/03 Wed

I loved the episode too. Two points:

1. Fred had a hard time trying to think why Angel wasn't with Cordie (or was it Buffy she was referring too? hmmm), then seemed to forget all about it.

2. Amazingly, no one in the free will gang objected to serving up the scientist as dinner.Contrast this with the reaction after Angel locked a bunch of lawyers up with vampires in season 2.

[> [> Re: I loved tonight's episode (spoilers, 5.3) -- Alison, 20:16:34 10/15/03 Wed

Interesting point about Fred. I hadn't noticed that. I did notice the lack of a reaction to murdering the scientist guy..which leads me to wondering about Wes. As you said, Fred didn't seem to remember too much about events concerning Cordy in recent months...but Wes seemed more like his ambigious S4 self than his pre-Connor related events self...but then again, in S2, he was perfectly willing to sacrifice troops for the greater good (ah, watchers and the "greater good"..its like a magic word, or a trigger). I'm reminded again why I love the ep so much already- lots of juicy tidbits to sink my teeth into (no pun intended).

[> [> [> Re: Liking the season so far (big ole spoilers, 5.3) -- Philistine, 21:55:28 10/15/03 Wed

Yeah, they left Science Boy in there to presumably get eaten a month down the line, and none of the good guys batted an eye. I half-expected Science Boy to yell, "But you're supposed to be a good guy!" But during the morning-after conversation, Gunn (? My VCR ate the tape, so I can't check) said that the restaurant was shut down, gone, out of business. So maybe the reason it didn't bother them was that they knew the restaurant wasn't going to last another month. Maybe Science Boy didn't get et after all. And if he did get et, well, poetic justice does tend toward the harsh.

What I found much more disturbing was that last scene with Fred and Spike. Fred's promise to bring Spike back sounded like the signing of a blank check. Absolute, unconditional vows like that are the stuff that Capital 'T' Tragedy is built on, and I can't help thinking that Really Bad Things are in store for Fred this year. Spike pushed her buttons all too easily - which is why he went to her, of course, rather than one of the others. Can you see any of the others falling for that hard-sell shtick? (Speaking of Tragedy, Fred's Tragic Flaw is that she's too nice for her own good.)

Upon reflection, this is leading to some fairly nasty speculations about Spike. Like, I wonder if he already knows how he might be restored... and at what cost. Like, last time we saw him he seemed to be on the side of Good... but he's changed sides before, when he saw an advantage in it. Like, whose creature is he at this point?

Seems like there was more when I started typing, but now it's late and I'm too muzzy to remember it.

[> [> [> [> Re: Liking the season so far (big ole spoilers, 5.3) -- Corwin of Amber, 22:40:25 10/15/03 Wed

I guess I'm just too used to Spike being a manipulative bastard, to even comment on it. :) It IS a new thing since he got the soul - or a return to his old ways, take your pick. Spikes situation is kind of humorous, if you think about it. As William, he had his body and soul together, so to speak. He got vamped and lost his soul. Then, a century or so later, he gets his soul back...and then loses his body the next year.
Poor guys gonna develop a complex.

[> [> Re: I loved tonight's episode (spoilers, 5.3) -- Gyrus, 07:45:15 10/16/03 Thu

Amazingly, no one in the free will gang objected to serving up the scientist as dinner.Contrast this with the reaction after Angel locked a bunch of lawyers up with vampires in season 2.

I see a bit of a difference. In this case, the guy who got eaten was directly responsible for the girl being put on the platter in the first place, so what happened to him was pretty much poetic justice. In the incident with Darla and Dru, on the other hand, at least some of the people who were killed (including caterers and such) were not directly responsibile for resurrecting Darla or causing any of the other events that put them in that room with two hungry vampires.

[> I gotta agree (Spoilers 5.3 and 5.4 promo) -- Finn Mac Cool, 21:56:53 10/15/03 Wed

I also enjoyed tonight's ep. Didn't dislike the first two, but I'd rank "Unleashed" above "Just Rewards" and below "Conviciton" (of course, I was sick when I saw "Just Rewards", so I might not be being fair). Here's a few quick thoughts of my own:

It was nice to see that the AI gang is doing more than just reacting to their evil clients. Here they actually got to use their resources to help the helpless like they once did. Makes for a nice change of pace.

I've gotta wonder where Spike is (dimension wise) when he becomes transparent. Is he in hell but briefly visible in our world, or in our world but not very attuned to it, or is he in some realm between worlds. Also, he seemed to become less transparent after hearing Fred's rousing speech. Perhaps there's a connection.

I enjoyed Spike's made up backstory between him and Wesley. At first I was thinking, "OK, don't know why they felt they had to add this, but I guess it isn't a retcon per se". Then they had Fred call him on it, which made for a pleasant treat.

Anyone else find this ep darker than the last two? We have Angel accused of being a "psycho rapist", and Nina's plight is presented in a very serious way. Some might argue Fries putting a virus inside his son was pretty dark, but the manner in which it was treated was as more of an action/suspense device. Despite Angel's one scene getting upset over it, Fries's son is really just a MacGuffin. Ep 3 is our first sign this season that some of "Angel's" original, dark roots are still in tact.

Lorne saying that Angel's carrying some extra "psychic pounds" was funny in light of some people commenting that he looked chunkier this season.

I still don't get the Creepy!Gunn vibe that some people seem to have. He doesn't seem much different to me. That doesn't mean he can't go evil or at least dark grey, just that he seems, to me, to not seem any creepier or potential-threat-y than he always was.

A whole party of cannibalistic snobs. This is one of the weirder plot twists I've seen on "Angel". Of course, its motto is "anything can happen in LA", so I shouldn't be surprised. Still, bizarre much?

Enjoyed the leprechaun reference. It refers all the way back to "Faith, Hope, and Trick", and episode that aired five years ago. Those little things just give me a smile.

After Angel killed Hainsley in "Conviction", lots of people were commenting how this would have to be dealt with in later eps and what would happen when everyone else found out. Well, I didn't say much to this, but I did have some disagreements. As the writers have stated many times, Season 5 is gonna be like a whole new show, and a whole new show may have a different attitude towards human death. Now we're three eps into the fifth season (four if you count "Home" as the season pilot), and Angel has directly killed five people (though all of them except Hainsley were pretty clearly self-defense). He's also partly responsible for one lawyer's death in "Just Rewards" and is culpable in another's rather painful death at the hands of some high class cannibals. Considering that this last one was done with the full cooperation of Gunn and Wesley, I'm beginning to suspect my theory is right: Angel killing Hainsley isn't gonna be a big point of conflict; it was put there to illustrate a new attitude towards human villains. And this attitude kinda makes sense. After all, so far all of the bad guys they've faced have been human, excluding the vampire who appeared at the beginning of "Conviction". The more human villains you have the more the "don't kill evil humans" rule begins to require stretching. Also, Angel is now in charge of a law firm that still does specialise in helping evil people get away with their crimes. If they're willing to compromise their ethics to allow criminals to walk free, then they're probably willing to compromise them more in regards to the human villains they fight.

It was smart of the writers to call the werewolves we see a species never before found in North America. This frees them from having to abide by the werewolf lore established with Oz and Veruca.

The doorway for Nina to appear again is clearly left wide open, but that's probably a good thing. She's a good actress, has an interesting character, plays well off Angel, is good looking, and isn't shy about partial nudity.

I still find Spike's acting a little off on "Angel". Something about the tone of his voice or the way he keeps his arms folded so much just strikes me as odd.

It was nice to see Fred kick commando ass. Go Texas Twig!

I enjoyed the final scene. Something about scenes of people just hanging out on TV has always appealed to me. When done right, it just comes off so much more natural and real than grand romances or deep hatreds do.

Lastly, anyone else find the promo for next week kinda odd? Has any episode of "Buffy" or "Angel" ever felt the need to put up a disclaimer regarding violence or nudity? Is this really gonna be a more graphic episode, or is it just a ploy to lure more viewers in (if it's the latter, smart move; thousands of fan girls will tune in like never before if a Spike-centric episode has a nudity disclaimer).

[> [> Re: I gotta agree (Spoilers 5.3 and 5.4 promo) -- Cleanthes, 22:03:07 10/15/03 Wed

A whole party of cannibalistic snobs. This is one of the weirder plot twists I've seen on "Angel". Of course, its motto is "anything can happen in LA", so I shouldn't be surprised. Still, bizarre much?

Next thing you know, they'll be electing an Austrian bodybuilder as governor...

[> [> [> Former Austrain bodybuilder -- Ah-nold, 22:15:12 10/15/03 Wed

[> [> I have seen spoilers for 5:4... (ah say SPOILERS, people) -- KdS, 02:53:50 10/16/03 Thu

And it definitely looks as if it's going to be more physically horrific than anything much before.

[> [> Re: I gotta agree (Spoilers 5.3 and 5.4 promo) -- neaux, 04:35:47 10/16/03 Thu

Graphic Images and Parial Nudity!! Woo hoo!! Oh. wait who's gettin nekkid? -_-

[> [> [> From what I hear (5.4 spoiler) -- Mackenzie, 06:19:41 10/16/03 Thu

Spike does the nudity! Yeah for me, I want to see!

[> [> [> Re: I gotta agree (Spoilers 5.3 and 5.4 promo) -- Corwin of Amber, 06:21:28 10/16/03 Thu

>Graphic Images and Parial Nudity!! Woo hoo!! Oh. wait who's gettin nekkid? -_-

And Clem makes his first appearance on Angel. In a flashback to a night of passion Spike would rather forget. :)

[> [> [> Calm down, Captain. -- skeeve, 07:29:27 10/16/03 Thu

[> [> Re: I gotta agree (Spoilers 5.3 and 5.4 promo) -- Claudia, 08:59:04 10/16/03 Thu

[(though all of them except Hainsley were pretty clearly self-defense).]

Actually, I thought that Angel's killing of Hainsley was more of self-defense, in compare to his killing of Hauser, which clearly didn't seem like a case of self-defense to me.

[> [> [> Woops! Sorry, got the Necromancer and the Black Ops guy confused. -- Finn Mac Cool, 12:26:26 10/16/03 Thu

[> Solid episode (5.3 "Unleashed" spoilers) -- Valheru, 23:38:37 10/15/03 Wed

Not a jawdropper, but definitely a worthwhile episode. I especially enjoyed the focus on Nina's estrangment from her normal life, the sense of isolation (the directing in those scenes set the mood very well, too). Of course, this parallels very nicely with Angel's struggles, but it also allows us a more "personal" view of what Oz must have been going through all those years ago. Watching Nina slowly losing it over the course of her first post-bite day (the desire to maim, the bloodlust, the heightened-sense distractions, etc.) gave me a greater appreciation for the inner strength Oz must've possessed just to stay sane, much less be laconic Oz, and it also makes Oz's flirtation with Veruca and his wolf-nature seem that much more dangerous.

Another thing I especially enjoyed was how well packed the episode was. Even though it was just as long as "Just Rewards", it seemed like much more happened. We got some great Lorne scenes, Fred was everywhere, Gunn got to be a suit AND the muscle, yet the main plot didn't seem shorted at all. As for Spike, I liked how he got to be both funny and serious, yet not seem like he was dominating the show--not that I think he has or is going to, but it proves to me (for this week, at least) that the writers feel they have enough stories to explore without relying on Spike to chew scenes in order to fill the hour. And personally, while I enjoyed his banter with Angel in "JR", I was far more interested in his story here.

But what really made this episode for me were the opening and ending scenes. The secret meeting in the teaser was a great scene, one that I'm glad ME thought to give us. Having the characters mention in passing "What are we doing at W&H?" is nice, but ultimately exposition. But the teaser scene tells us a lot, not just the questions the characters have about their current situations, but also about the characters themselves. About how they view themselves and each other. And the ending...I loved it. I've been wanting just that exact scene for a while now. Just Angel, Wes, Gunn, Fred, and Lorne, out of the office (be it W&H or AI). No supernaturalness, no heroics, no mysteries...just a bunch of friends being friends. Filled me with the same warm feeling as the ending of "Parting Gifts". Which is a good thing.

Seasonally, this year is shaping up to be very promising. These first three episodes feel sort of like the first three of BtVS S3, being "okay" to "pretty good" episodes, nothing spectacular, but pointing toward something very good. And the trailer for next week--well, if the actual episode is anything like the trailer makes it out to be, it might just be an instant classic. Here's hoping!

[> [> Re: Solid episode (5.3 "Unleashed" spoilers) -- jane, 00:01:57 10/16/03 Thu

I agree. I really enjoyed tonight's episode. I was delighted with the "secret" meeting that started the show. Showed me that the gang is aware that they need to keep focus on the mission, hard as it is to do with all the goings on at W&H. I loved that everyone seemed part of a team again. And loved Fred kicking butt - go Fred!
Good scene with Lorne and Angel;"psychic flab" LOL. Seems like Lorne may have a role to play as resident therapist.
The werewolf part was good too; I thought Nina and Angel had some interesting chemistry.
I do wonder about Spike; seems like he's still pretty manipulative, and I thought he might just be playing his hell place up to get Fred's undivided attention.
The final scene was neat, made me feel all smiley.

[> John Billingsley (spoilers, 5.3) -- neaux, 04:41:55 10/16/03 Thu

well if you were one of the 100 people who saw Out of Time in the theaters (Denzel Washington movie). You would have been happy to see John Billingsley in last night's Angel.

He was Soooo funny in Out of Time and yet only half as funny in Angel. (but his Jesse's Girl rendition was awesome!!)

I'm not saying Out of Time is the best movie ever to go see.. you might want to wait for video but its a good popcorn flick! Go John!

[> [> Re: John Billingsley (spoilers, 5.3) -- Masq, 10:55:03 10/16/03 Thu

I found his appearance in this episode distracting. All I could think was "Dr. Phlox!" If he'd played a non-scientist/doctor it might have been different (like when he played a casting director on Roswell).

[> [> [> Re: John Billingsley (spoilers, 5.3) -- neaux, 12:24:13 10/16/03 Thu

yeah I didnt realize he was a trek dude until checking his bio on the internet.

the only Star Trek I watched was TNG. :\

[> [> [> That Roswell episode (spoilers for that Roswell ep) -- Scroll, 12:27:39 10/16/03 Thu

Heh. Actually, in that Roswell episode, Billingsley was playing himself. Jonathan Frakes and Billingsley (playing themselves, as director and actor, respectively) were auditioning Max for a bit part in an upcoming Enterprise episode. Talk about meta!

[> [> [> [> Oh yeah, I remember that now... -- Masq, 12:43:22 10/16/03 Thu

Haven't broke out my Roswell tapes for rewatching in a long while, but yeah, he was auditioning for "Enterprise". Talk about UPN blatantly promoting itself.

[> [> [> [> [> OT: Roswell news -- Ponygirl, 12:27:34 10/17/03 Fri

I heard that Roswell season 1 (aka the good season) is coming out on DVD in Feb. as well!

[> [> [> [> [> [> "aka the good season" LOL! -- Masq, 13:15:50 10/17/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: OT: Roswell Question -- Rob, 13:36:45 10/17/03 Fri

I started watching "Roswell" when it first came on, and I saw the first few weeks, including the Julie Benz episode, but for no particular reason, I fell out of the habit of watching it, and even though friends of mine kept telling me I should get back into it, I missed too many episodes and was only confused when I tried to rejoin. I have wanted to watch the episodes for a while, though, so I am considering getting the DVD set.

What I was wondering, though, is, I've heard that the best season is the first, but are the other 2 worth seeing at all, or should I just get the first season box set and ignore the other 2 when they come out? Or, actually, even better question would be, is it worth it to watch the old episodes now, or will the missed potential after the first season only be frustrating?


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I plan to ignore the other two seasons -- Ponygirl, 14:15:49 10/17/03 Fri

It was pretty hard sitting through the episodes when they aired - after the first season one could feel the hand of the network. "Make it more like the X-Files!" "Less romance, more action!" "Less aliens, more conspiracy!" "More aliens, less conspiracy!" "More humour!" "Less humour!" "What happened to the romance?" and finally "Let's just wrap everything up real fast!"

It was a sweet little show with some really good actors (what ever did happen to the guy who played Kyle? He was great!), and a nice metaphor that could have developed into something interesting with a lighter touch. Let it serve as a cautionary tale! Or just get the first season and ignore the rest ;)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: OT: Roswell Question -- jane, 15:11:12 10/17/03 Fri

I watched the whole show, and enjoyed it all. Season one I think was the best, but I did like the other two quite well. I have to admit I'm not the most critical of viewers, and can overlook plotholes etc, if they are not too glaring. The thing that turns me off a show is a lame plot or too much reuse of old cliches. If I stop caring about the characters, I stop watching.(I've almost given up on Enterprise..)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Enterprise -- Masq, 15:23:43 10/17/03 Fri

First off, I can't get into any of the "Enterprise" characters. TNG, DSN, Voyager--they all had interesting complex characters. I don't know how they dropped the ball on Enterprise.

Second, almost every episode of "Enterprise" is a stand-alone. With the beginnings of the Federation, they have so many opportunities for doing back story on all the things we know from the 23rd and 24th centuries, and I don't know why they aren't doing that. It would make for some awesome arcs.

Third, it's like they took the worst, most tedious stand-alones from all the other series and started cloning them. The ST writers can do so much better than this.

Fourth, I tape "Enterprise" anyway. I have every other episode and movie of the ST universe on tape or DVD, and I have this thing about completeness.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Enterprise -- skyMatrix, 11:24:00 10/18/03 Sat

Not that I've watched any episodes since Season 1, where my Treknerdom was apparently powerful enough to convice me for 3-4 eps that the show was actually good (oh the shame), but I've been hearing about what they're doing via www.trektoday.com (mostly there to read the DS9 BBS) and this season is actually rather arc-based. However, they also seem to have forgotten about the Vulcan/UFP/etc and become stuck on some facile pro-establishment thinly veiled 9/11 allegory where some aliens called the Xindi that apparently act like the UN attacked our planet and now Archer beats up any Xindi he can find in their travels through the "Expanse" in order to find them and revenge ourselves. On the one hand, it seems interesting, as several on the boards have noted, that the conventional wisdom that stand-alone is better for ratings seems to have been reversed. The other thing is that Enterprise doesn't seem to be getting any better with an arc, from what I can tell. Archer as Bush and Trip as Ashcroft? Please no.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Oh yeah, it's arcy -- Masq, 12:16:16 10/18/03 Sat

It's arcy with some boring race we've never heard of and they claim they didn't realize its similarity to 9/11 until after they came up with it.

Whatever. It's just something to kill time until Angel comes on.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Alas, you folks should be watching Smallville before Angel -- Brian, 06:07:16 10/19/03 Sun

So far this season Smallville has been one wild ride! Lots of angst, deception, hot bods, unrequited love, family values, and super CGI

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Smalleville and purity -- Masq, 06:55:06 10/19/03 Sun

I didn't catch the first season of Smalleville because I had a viewing conflict, and being the purist I am, I didn't want to jump in mid-story, so I waited for the DVDs to come out first.

I've seen almost all of Season 1 now, but I want to then see season 2, then 3, etc.

I haven't been all that impressed with season 1 of Smalleville (it seems just a plastic combination of Buffy and Lois&Clark), but since I'm only renting DVDs, I'll probably watch all the seasons whenever they come out.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Smallville found its voice near the end of Season 1 -- Brian, 14:36:27 10/19/03 Sun

Season 2 made great strides forward with more complex plots, more time dealing with the Kents, and more time exploring what it really means to have super powers, and its impact on those around it.

Season 3 has been a wild ride from the first scene.

I confess it's my second favorite show; one that I try never to miss. But then I am an old Superman fan from when I read the comics in the 50's, and I really liked Lois and Clark until it self-destructed during season 5.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hmm.. I think you mean season 3 or 4 -- Masq, 19:21:59 10/19/03 Sun

I think the bad turn in Lois and Clark occured during the Lois-amnesia story line of season 3. Then they had the Kryptonians return story line, which was semi-lame.

Season 4 got a little better, but it was suffering from the Moonlighting syndrome, with Lois and Clark married and the sexual tension a little too .... untense.

But it was a great show up until then, and I was a little miffed to be left with a cliff-hanger at the end of season 4 when they weren't renewed.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> If you're watching Smallville for Clark and Lana, you're missing the best part of the show. -- cjl, 19:24:57 10/19/03 Sun

Tom Welling and his Wonder Abs do nothing for me. (I like when Welling's Clark Kent turns into "Supermangelus," but now that the Red K ring has been shattered, we're not going to get much Evil Clark anymore.) I think Kristin Kreuk's Lana Lang is a simpering child; I don't care how many times the producers show Lana kickboxing a bad guy into the wall. (I much prefer Allison Mack's Chloe as a potential romantic interest, as an interesting character in her own right--and as eye candy. Blows KK out of the water.) John Schneider and Annette O'Toole are fine as the Kents, but they're never going to be fully realized characters.

No, the good stuff on Smallville is on the high end of the wage scale, with the Luthors. John Glover's papa Lionel is a magnificent bastard, one of the creepiest, slimiest, most compulsively watchable CEOs who's ever lived. Lex, surviving the improbable cliffhanger of Season 2, is showing signs of incipient monomania. Michael Rosenblum is perfect as young Lex--you see where he's going, you know there's nothing you can do about it, and you feel all the worse because you know it could have been prevented. (Or could it?) The doomed friendship between Clark and Lex is one of the most fascinating and subtext-laden in the history of genre TV. If there isn't a mountain of Clark/Lex slashfic out there, I'd be stunned. (More potential slash-y goodness: Drew Greenberg is on staff, starting this week!)

Come to Smallville. If you don't take the big doofy kid with super powers too seriously, you'll have a great time.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'm already watching Smallville -- Masq, 21:14:37 10/19/03 Sun

Season 1, that is, and have noticed that the only character who actually seems like a real person is Lex. Everyone else seems sort of plastic. It's the acting, I think. The actor who plays Lex is the only one who can actually act.

I don't think it's Lex's moral ambiguity that makes him seem more real than anyone else, although everyone else is a little *too perfect*.

The guy who plays Clark is just too pretty to actually be "Superman". Superman, in my picture of him, has more rugged, chiseled features. And Lana, although bright (people complained she's vapid, I don't think she's vapid), is just too nice and too good at everything and too sweet. She gives me cavities.

The stories in season 1 have been sometimes such blatant rip-offs of season 1 BtVS. But the "hellmouth made it happen" is a much better plot device, IMO, than "kryptonite causes all these different problems".

I'm hanging in there, I'm watching it. I know (at least I think I know) that a show can't last as many seasons as this show has and be as popular as is without some substance. Of course, then there's Charmed, so maybe I'm wrong.

And as for slashy subtextual pairings of any kind, not my thing (unless it's Buffy/Faith).

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Odd what you say about Lex -- Finn Mac Cool, 21:52:48 10/19/03 Sun

From what I've seen of "Smallville", it's been very difficult to get a bead on his character. Often times it's just very difficult to tell why he's doing something, what motivates him. Of course, seeing about seven or eight episodes from the second season may mean I'm missing out on backstory that makes the character make more sense (currently trying to imagine seeing some of the BtVS/AtS characters for the first time in mid-stream, and it ain't pretty). However, I gotta agree on the kryptonite based plots; the ones I've seen have just come off very lame. The ones without a "freak-of-the-week" are of noticeably higher quality.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Odd what you say about Lex -- Smallville Fan, 11:55:10 10/20/03 Mon

Season 1 of Smallville is very uneven. I hung in there because of the potential that this show could be great. I really think season 3 could fullfill that promise. The actor playing Lex Luther has said he is deliberately portraying Lex as someone who you are never sure which way he will go during seasons 1 and 2. They want the audience to have hope that he can still be saved.

It breaks my heart when you see how desperate Lex is for love and understanding, and how badly he wants to be a part of the Kents family. MR (the actor) has said that Lex has no idea how to fit in. He is so apart from others with his flashy sports cars, and designer suits, and he just can't understand why the town of Smallville hates him. All he wants is the chance to be good, and not emmulate his daddy. And yes Lional is a magnificant bastard. All his lessons for Lex, his talk of love being an illusion. No wonder Lex ends up deciding he is meant to be alone.

The all-time best moment of Smallville was the glimpse of Lex's future in Hourglass. The blood raining down, the millions of bodies, and Lex's crazed smile completely freaked me out. I really hope we get to see evil, scary Lex before the series ends. Season 3 has been excellent so far. Particularly Lex's inventive way of dealing with Helen's betrayal. He freaked me out there as well, "I guess you had to be there". For the first time I can really se how we are going to get a completely emotionally frigid, evil Lex. The seeds are definately being sown.

My mouth was open when Lex holds Luther at gunpoint for trying to kill him. And when Luther told Lex not to be too hard on himself for falling in love, and Lex actually thanked him for all the manipulations and tests making him strong. And when he's stopped shying away from his father's touch, and actually iniated a hug with that truly content expression on his face, well I was in floods. At the moment I am thinking at least a evil Lex will be a happy Lex. His happy little smiles as he has finally decided to learn from his father were just adorable.

Just fast-forward any scenes with Blana is my advice. It's Lex's journey to the dark side that has me gripped. And yes there is a lot of slash fic for Clark/Lex. You can find far more fan fic and videos based on the Clex friendship, than you will find on Clana.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> well, he's not superman--yet; & variable kryptonite effects -- anom, 23:06:11 10/19/03 Sun

"The guy who plays Clark is just too pretty to actually be 'Superman'. Superman, in my picture of him, has more rugged, chiseled features."

That's the adult Superman. When I started reading comic books, there was a definite distinction between the way boys & men were drawn. Boys had rounded chins, & grown men had square jaws. Superboy/Superman was no exception.

I don't know if this convention is still observed; comic book art has changed a lot since those days (when everyone's eyes were blue). And true, the Clark Kent of the show Smallville is closer to the end than the beginning of his (Super)boyhood. But I think his youth accounts for a lot of his lack of ruggedness.

"The stories in season 1 have been sometimes such blatant rip-offs of season 1 BtVS. But the 'hellmouth made it happen' is a much better plot device, IMO, than 'kryptonite causes all these different problems'."

Well, red kryptonite does! Um, yeah, I know--that's supposed to apply to its effect on Superman, not (previously) ordinary people. (Of course, "haven't you ever noticed how many strange things go on in this town" is itself a ripoff of the hellmouth plot device.)

I haven't watched the show regularly, so I can't really comment further, except to say that its quality seems uneven. Which is to say that I have a mixed opinion on it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I liked all three seasons -- Masq, 15:18:46 10/17/03 Fri

Some of the story lines are better than others, but IMO they keep the integrity of the characters in tact and they have some very interesting stuff happen in all three seasons. I'm not overly fond of the last few episodes of season 3, but I realize they had to wrap up the story quickly lest they meet the fate of so many other canceled shows and leave the fans dangling.

I wanted there to be a season 4, there wasn't. That's my recommendation.

Plus you can rent DVDs. I'm catching Smallville, Alias, Bab 5 and other shows I don't care to own that way.

[> Re: I loved tonight's episode (spoilers, 5.3) -- CW, 08:10:05 10/16/03 Thu

Have to disagree. I liked last night's ep. but far from loved it. It was by far the weakest ep. this season not the strongest.

The dialogue was stale; one from column a, one from column b stuff.

I've got nothing at all against seeing Jenny Mollen's nude body. But, wasn't the ep awfully heavy on the sleaze? I mean, sexual slavery suggested, "the wet tee-shirt contest" to clean her up, peeling her clothes off in view of the camera, bringing her into the room struggling "on a plate?"

I'm not averse to Angel having a potential new girlfriend, but why "Ozzette?"

"Vampires can control themselves if they want to." Er, forgive my nitpicking, but that's not exactly being honest with Nina. Angel didn't want to give up being a bad guy until he was forced to by that pesky conscience/soul that was forced on him. Wanting to control himself came much later. With Spike it was the chip that controlled him, the desire to be bad continued until he got his soul back in a love-sick bout of desperation. So vampires in general don't want to control themselves, any more than lycanthropes in wolf form care about controlling themselves. Could a vampire control itself without an atrificially introduced conscience? We don't know that. Oz actually did learn to mostly control his wolf side. Wouldn't that be an encouraging thing to mention?

Speaking of the dining room scene that was the worst job of gagging someone, ever. ;o)

Also, I prefer the term 'Spike the Spirit' to 'Spike the Spook.' But, not by much...

[> [> thank you, cw--agree w/a lot of this (spoilers for 5.3) -- anom, 10:25:04 10/16/03 Thu

I was very uncomfortable w/the exploitative bondage-y treatment of Nina, & how helpless she was portrayed as being. It seemed like they used all the worst clichZs of cheesy "true detective" stories, just w/a supernatural twist, & played them up to the nth degree. Don't you think people wanting to have an elegant gourmet dining experience would want to be "protected" from the fact that the werewolf they're eating is also a human being? And the whole idea that there would be a secret society that ate werewolves (& maybe other supernatural beings) as a delicacy just seems--I hate to say it about this show--stupid to me.

(Speaking of helplessness, how come they changed the slogan? It used to be "We help the hopeless," not the helpless. I hope this doesn't indicate a change in the direction of the show; maybe I'm just reacting to it based on not liking the overemphasis on helpless female victims both in this ep & in the opening scene of the season premiere.)

Oh, & I also agree about the bad gag--it looked so loose she could've just pushed it out of her mouth. Although it wasn't the worst I've seen. That "honor" goes to an episode of, believe it or not, The Avengers in which the bad guy wires Emma Peel so John Steed will be electrocuted when he tries to free her: he just places a folded-up piece of cloth in her mouth, which she obligingly opens to receive it!

On the other hand, I did like Nina's attempts to deal w/her moral dilemma (well, except for her feeling that they should have let her be eaten), & Angel's "I'm a monster too." A good exploration of the effects of having a scary, dangerous aspect of yourself that's out of your control (the control Hainsley said in 5.2 that we all want). But again, I agree that Angel's telling her that "vampires can control themselves if they want to" was misleading. It would've been more honest to tell her that there are ways she can control the effects of her condition, if not the condition itself.

Nina's condition could be seen as a metaphor for a treatable but incurable disease that changes a person's life & poses a threat to the people around s/him. However, this is only undercut by having her hunted for food.

"Oz actually did learn to mostly control his wolf side. Wouldn't that be an encouraging thing to mention?"

I was wondering why Angel didn't cite Oz's case to help Nina. Could they have consulted Oz about his method of controlling his lycanthropy, along w/its limitations (on the phone, of course, unfortunately)? Does Angel know that Oz found a solution that worked, up to a point?

Well, at Sunday's NYC meet, shadowkat & cjl said that if people hang in past 5.3, it'll be worth it. That's encouraging, at least. I'm willing to wait & see....

[> [> [> Angel mentioned the control thing after bringing up his soulness -- Finn Mac Cool, 15:35:19 10/16/03 Thu

So I personally didn't have a problem with it. After all, vampires can control whether they kill people or not, it's just that they don't want to.

[> [> [> Re: thank you, cw--agree w/a lot of this (spoilers for 5.3) -- Malandanza, 08:21:18 10/17/03 Fri

I don't think Unleashed was the weakest episode of the season primariliy because the previous two episodes seem so weak to me. The first episode, I can understand much of the exposition and radical changes -- it was more like a pilot episode in many ways than a continuation of the story. Rather than spend a dozen episodes making the changes in a gradual and realistic manner, ME made them suddenly, violating continuity, but getting on with the season.

However, there are things that were just too stupid for me. W&H is a law firm, full of lawyers one would expect, with a super lawyer machine in case they run out of lawyers -- yet the least competent lawyers in the world work there. Gunn's point that he had been on the case six hours and had discovered the connection between the Judge and the defendant points out the complete inadequacy of W&H's representation. Then there was the death squad that attacked a school in broad daylight, deciding they would kill a child and any witnesses (presumably the entire class and any other children near enough to hear or see the event). Angel races ahead of them in a helicopter and evacuates the school before they get there. He's apparently bulletproof these days (or maybe W&H not only hires the worst lawyers in the world, but also the worst marksmen) -- yes, I know the bullets won't kill him, but we've seen them hurt him in the past. I also wonder about what Fries was thinking -- he prepared a trap to murder the population of California (which includes himself) to blackmail and evil law firm -- unless he prepared the trap during the transition period between old W&H and Angel's W&H (which makes me wonder how he had time to track down someone who could create a custom virus in a ridiculously short time frame, let alone actually receive the newly created virus -- maybe the mad scientist had a few samples just lying around).

For the necromancer episode, the biggest problem was sending two dead guys after a guy who controls the dead. I can see Angel doing that, though. Still, the episode seemed rather lame -- all the wiggling fingers of the necromancer made the episode feel like one of those low budget Troma films.

I didn't have the same problem with the plot of Unleashed that you had:

"And the whole idea that there would be a secret society that ate werewolves (& maybe other supernatural beings) as a delicacy just seems--I hate to say it about this show--stupid to me."

There is an old Matthew Broderick/Marlon Brando movie called The Freshman where Brando plays a "mob boss" who runs secret epicurean feasts where endangered animals are brought out to show the guests, then taken back to the kitchen to -- apparently -- be slaughtered and cooked. ME just took the idea and added a supernatural twist. Instead of eating Komodo dragons, they're eating werewolves.

"I was wondering why Angel didn't cite Oz's case to help Nina. Could they have consulted Oz about his method of controlling his lycanthropy, along w/its limitations (on the phone, of course, unfortunately)? Does Angel know that Oz found a solution that worked, up to a point?"

I don't think Angel knows about Oz's "cure" -- and remember the cure didn't work too well for Oz -- he even wolfed out involuntarily during the day. If Angel had known and brought it up, he might have ended up sounding less hopeful -- "I know this guy who managed to control his wolf side -- well, not totally. He thought he could. Even went walking outside during the full moon -- but then he went on a spontaneous rampage and tried to eat his ex-girlfriend's new girlfriend, was shot and captured by a secret government agency, and tortured by mad scientists... uh, never mind."

[> [> [> [> i have some different problems w/some of the same things -- anom, 10:45:06 10/20/03 Mon

First, I agree w/Finn's points about W&H's still being in the recovery stage after the Beast's massacre & Fries' having the virus prepared ahead of time (but not telling anyone about it until things looked bad for him) & making sure he was immune to it. As for why Gunn got the law transplant, well, Eve said she could see why the senior partners chose him...that may imply something about the deficiencies of their surviving personnel.

"Gunn's point that he had been on the case six hours and had discovered the connection between the Judge and the defendant points out the complete inadequacy of W&H's representation."

I thought the idea that the judge would end up w/a controlling share of one of the defendant's companies was a lot less likely than that there was any connection in the 1st place, in these days of diversified funds that do investors' buying & selling for them. And unless I misunderstood, Gunn cited a case from Maine (Somebody v. Maine) that said the interested party didn't have to know about their financial interest to be held responsible for it--why would a case decided in another state be relevant to a case brought under California law?

I can also say from experience that coming from outside a system can give a person a different perspective on it. Fries' previous lawyers may have taken too much of a by-the-book approach; the part of the law having to do w/financial interest may have jumped out at Gunn in a way it wouldn't have to lawyers taking a standard approach--even W&H's standard approach. (No, I didn't have a body of knowledge implanted in my brain, but I did come to be actively religious as an adult rather than being raised & educated that way, & sometimes I have an insight--or a question that leads someone else to an insight--that people w/a stronger background aren't as likely to come up with. Of course, sometimes I'm just flat-out wrong....)

"He's apparently bulletproof these days (or maybe W&H not only hires the worst lawyers in the world, but also the worst marksmen)...."

Maybe they do. Hauser's team saw Angel dive to the floor when they aimed at him, but they fired horizontally, over his head! And then it takes them by surprise when he's unhurt & starts taking them out, even though the tables were built so you could see under them. Are they the worst, or just the dumbest?

"I also wonder about what Fries was thinking -- he prepared a trap to murder the population of California...."

As Finn said, it was probably prepared beforehand. (How old do you think Fries' son was when it was implanted? Did Spanky say anything about how long ago the vessel was created?) What comes off as dumb to me is the idea that a virus is gonna stop at the state border. I could see tailoring it to attack people w/specific genetic characteristics--some people are more susceptible than others to natural viruses--but a geographic preference? If I remember right (I don't have it on tape), there was no reference to any mystical properties of the virus itself (which might restrict it to California), only of the vessel containing it. OK, hmm, maybe the vessel doesn't disappear--it just expands to conform to the boundaries of the state? Naaah.

"For the necromancer episode, the biggest problem was sending two dead guys after a guy who controls the dead."

Yeah, somebody should've pointed that out to Angel before he headed off, just like once in a while someone has to remind him that, y'know, the sun's out? But nobody sent Spike, he just hitched a ride. (BTW, I can't be the only one who twitched every time someone said "internment" [= imprisonment] instead of "interment" [= burial]! Aarrgh!)

"There is an old Matthew Broderick/Marlon Brando movie called The Freshman where Brando plays a 'mob boss' who runs secret epicurean feasts...."

Oh, it was in a movie! That lends it some credibility! Um, wasn't that a parody? Or is that your point?

"I don't think Angel knows about Oz's 'cure' -- and remember the cure didn't work too well for Oz -- he even wolfed out involuntarily during the day."

Yeah, I remember. I even said so ("limitations," "up to a point"). But a lot of diseases have treatments that aren't cures but are a lot better than letting the disease go untreated--or than going into quarantine. I wouldn't withhold that info from someone on the basis that the treatments don't work 100% or have side effects.

[> [> [> [> The bad lawyers thing -- Finn Mac Cool, 10:58:59 10/17/03 Fri

You must keep in mind, the Beast killed most of W&H's good lawyers. The ones they've got now are those other divisons of the firm were willing to spare, and so aren't necessarily the cream of the crop. Now, we may wonder why no one else used the law machine. It could be that whole "untapped potential" thing that Eve mentioned: Gunn had the mental capacity to use the knowledge once he got it, which isn't true of everybody.

As for Fries, I'm thinking he had it made back during the days of the old W&H and this is just the first time he had cause to use it (it was mentioned that Fries probably made sure he was immune to the disease).

[> [> I'd give it a solid so-so (spoilers, 5.3) -- Ponygirl, 10:30:44 10/16/03 Thu

I think lots of interesting questions and parallels were raised but wasn't crazy about the execution. The guest stars felt more cookie cutter than I'm used to from ME and the song at the end... not so good. However the thought of Wesley on a motorcycle was very appealing!

Actually I really do think something interesting is going on with Wes. This is the second time he's been conveniently interrupted when he's tried to talk about Spike's connection to Angel and W&H. I also wondered about his comment about a well-trained underground group as something they've seen before. It could have been the Initiative (not that Wes has seen them but he's heard) or any number of things but I'm wondering if he was remembering his own early s4 commando unit. Something's building, I'm not sure what, but my bet is on Wesley figuring out the memory wipe eventually.

Plus there was that "she gave you a look" line while giving Angel the sultriest look ever. That along with the partial nudity preview warnings left me feeling happy at the end of the hour even if Unleashed's writings didn't have me singing any songs.

[> [> [> Re: I'd reduce it to a kinda so-so (spoilers, 5.3) -- shambleau, 13:00:06 10/16/03 Thu

The cookie-cutterness will be a persistent problem if they're going to go with the episodic MOTW format. It took a while for Lindsey and Lilah to develop enough for me to care about them. And I barely remember the victims in the first season, when they were doing similar anthology stuff.

Agree with all the criticisms voiced above. I'd emphasize, for me. the lame music at the end, which threw me out of the ep big time. I'd tack on the backing off on the Fang Gang moral ambiguity by having them disband the Evil Gourmets of Death. How'd they do that by the way? Tell them no, no?

Also, throwing this out for fun debate, couldn't the sasquatch eaters be seen to have been doing a social service? After all, if they'd caught the guy who bit Nina way earlier, they'd have saved lives. And what happens to the lackey who was bitten? Is he going to be put in a cage every month too? Since he's shown his true colors, he might have to be forced to do it, wherever he'll be working in the future.

Since the Sub-Terrestial Epicures were perfectly willing to take on W&H security, why not kill Fred, the only living witness? (I'm assuming they offed the guys in the van.) Especially since she shot some of them. Oh, yeah, she's a regular.

Good shooting by the way. Fred gets another skill because the plot needs it.

[> [> [> [> Didn't notice any music at the end -- Finn Mac Cool, 15:30:41 10/16/03 Thu

Also, regarding the fight to capture Nina, they snuck up on the guys inside the van; nobody saw what happened. However, they attacked Fred in broad daylight; not too safe to linger and finish the job in such a scenario, and we don't even know if the van guys were actually killed. Also, considering Fred's shooting in "Magic Bullet", what she did here didn't seem so odd.

Didn't think the characters seemed "cookie cutter", but that really comes down to personal taste.

[> [> [> OMG, the LOOK! (spoilers, 5.3) -- Scroll, 17:48:59 10/16/03 Thu

You're right, that really was the sultriest look ever. I just about died, my Wes/Angel loving heart couldn't stand it.

So while I agree that "Unleashed" was merely "okay", I have to give props to an ep that makes me rewind, play, rewind, play, rewind, play, PAUSE that LOOK a few million times.

And I definitely agree that Wes is being set up to find out Angel's mindwipe in a spectactuar fashion that will probably leave the group reeling during sweeps. I also think that while Wesley will initially be the most upset about Angel's deception, he will probably be the one to best understand and forgive it.

Rewind, play, PAUSE. *dies*

[> [> [> [> Excellent -- Rahael, 09:57:00 10/17/03 Fri

Will look forward to it. The first time I really really fell for Angel as a character was when in S1 when Wesley says to him "they think we're gay, don't they" and Angel replies "adds mystery".

[> [> [> Agree on Wes, the only good thing in that episode (spoilers, 5.3) -- s'kat, 11:11:48 10/17/03 Fri

(Well, the commercials weren't bad. Also they used the same house they used in I've Got You Under my Skin and of course Dr. Royce was a dark riff on Peter Billingsly's Star Trek Enterprise Doc.)

Wes was the only character or thing that I liked in that episode. And the Wes bits were the most interesting. I think you are right - Wes will unravel the memory wipe.

Look back at the beginning scene where everyone responds to Gunn's announcement that at least he's accepting the fact that they all got something out of their deal with the devil.

Wes - "I got a pen" - he looks really confused when he says that. Remember in Home, Wes decided to go to W&H and sign with W&H way before the memory wipe. But unlike Fred and Gunn, his reasons had nothing to do with money, power or access to books. He went because of Lilah. He may not have been "in love" with Lilah, but he deeply cared for her. The memory wipe changes that. OF all the characters, Wes was the most changed and affected by Connor. What happened with Connor led Wes to change and develop, led him to become involved with and care for Lilah. He went to W&H in attempt to save Lilah from hell. Now we have Spike being connected to hell - must be pushing at Wes' memory.

Angel lies in that scene - stating he only got fancy cars, fear and distrust. He conviently leaves out: Connor, Cordelia, and the amulet.

Very interesting scene. Oh and Angel takes Wes' pen to kill a male werewolf who we later learn tried to control his urges, separated from humanity and his wife and child, then finally out of despair set things in motion so someone would kill him. Does this remind you of anyone? How about Connor? The second direct correlation to Connor that we've seen - first Fries son, now male werewolf Angel kills but doesn't save.

Yep, I think what Angel did in home is going to really kick him in the butt before the season is over. We've yet to see the full ramifications of that.

[> [> [> [> Minor point (spoilers 5.3) -- Masq, 13:14:26 10/17/03 Fri

Now we have Spike being connected to hell - must be pushing at Wes' memory.

I don't think anyone but Fred knows about Spike dangling on the edge of hell, at this point. He told her that's why he was fading in and out, but hasn't told the others yet. I suspect that's next week.

I do like your other thoughts on Wesley and the mind-wipe and W&H. I'll have to go back and rewatch Home with that in mind.

[> [> [> [> [> Yes, you're right I'm jumping the gun(spoilers 5.3) -- s'kat, 22:35:55 10/17/03 Fri

Although I have no idea how Wes reacts. I'm guessing.
It's just the hell metaphor reminds me a lot of what happened with Lilah - which makes me wonder if Fred was thinking the same thing, maybe not consciously...is it possible that even though their memories were wiped of Connor, there's a subconscious residual of what happened before that is urking them? OR is this wishful thinking on my part? (God, I hope not. I worry about ME glossing over the memory wipe, it's just bad storytelling if they do so.)

Once Wes does find out - the similarities to what occurred to Lilah and even Wes himself are just too close to not trigger something. I'm wondering if it may start motivating Wes to investigate - possibly be the thread that pulls apart W&H's set up? Hard to tell.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Yes, you're right I'm jumping the gun(spoilers 5.3) -- Masq, 08:20:55 10/18/03 Sat

I worry about ME glossing over the memory wipe, it's just bad storytelling if they do so.

You and me both, s'kat, but you know that's my personal hot-button if you read my LJ!

I did not see any foreshadowing of the revelation of the memory wipe in this episode like I did in 5.1 and 5.2, but I've only watched it once so far. This weekend I'll watch it again in detail for my ep analysis and check out that Wes and Fred stuff you're referring to.

[> [> [> [> Re: Agree on Wes, the only good thing in that episode (spoilers, 5.3) -- RJA, 16:15:02 10/17/03 Fri

Oh and Angel takes Wes' pen to kill a male werewolf who we later learn tried to control his urges, separated from humanity and his wife and child, then finally out of despair set things in motion so someone would kill him. Does this remind you of anyone?

Well yes it did, but it wasnt Connor (although I like that take on it). But the way I interpreted that line was not that the man wanted someone to kill him, but that having isolated himself away from everyone he ceased to have a reason to care what he did. In other words, with no ties to humanity he didnt care about hurting humanity.

So the situation that reminded me of was Angel. Especially by the end of the episode he decides to invite the gang back to his quarters. So, if it struck a chord in him, what could that say - what happens if Ange cuts himself off from those he cares about? That he stops caring altogether?

[> [> [> [> [> Lone Angel (sp 5.3) -- Masq, 16:31:40 10/17/03 Fri

what happens if Ange cuts himself off from those he cares about? That he stops caring altogether?

That was actually one of the themes of Season 1 of AtS. In the very first episode of the very first season of AtS, Angel is approached by Doyle, who tells him the dangers of isolating himself from others. Eventually, he might stop caring about the people he's trying to save. He might lose his mission to help others.

In fact, this has been a theme of Angel the Series through out the entire series. Angel has, more than once, turned away from his friends and tried going it alone for one reason or another, and each time he's realized he does better with his friends around. They are his family, his support system.

Angel is a loner at heart, and he it wasn't easy for him to invite his friends into his home for a social visit. In fact, I can't think of the last time he and his friends socialized in Angel's home, as opposed to socializing elsewhere or just having a business meeting in Angel's room.

So this was just a resonance from earlier seasons, this visit by all his friends in his room. It's a sign that Angel is trying to keep himself open to them, and to humanity, which is exactly what he needs to be doing in the context of Wolfram and Hart.

[> [> [> [> [> [> I agree -- RJA, 16:39:14 10/17/03 Fri

I was trying to be a little rhetorical there, but I agree with what you say, and something that is really striking about this season is the strong continuity with the journey Angel has undergone over the last few years.

Which is why i thought it was an explicit reference and reminder to Angel. That in the belly of the beast he needs contact with those he loves more than ever.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Didn't mean to get lecture-y -- Masq, 17:01:59 10/17/03 Fri

There are lots of AtS newbies on the board, and I'm in this "explain everything" mode.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Didn't mean to get lecture-y -- RJA, 15:00:45 10/18/03 Sat

Oh, that was fine. It was a good fleshed out answer, and I fully agree with that you said :-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> Could Spike be a metaphor for that as well in this episode? (sp 5.3) -- s'kat, 22:27:44 10/17/03 Fri

Could Spike's increased isolation, his disappearences, the fact that when he passes Fred, he's so faded he doesn't appear to hear her, and the way he seems to be facing walls or corners away from the group - be an extended metaphor of Angel's internal state? The fact that Angel feels apart from the group due to his actions in Home? That the family atmosphere and group dynamics are in a way an illusion, something he fears not really having? It's almost reminiscent of the family dinner scenes in Deep Down - is the friendly group bit at the end of Unleashed illusionary?
Has Angel separated himself from humanity and the group by taking over W&H? Note his penthouse is above the city, above them all - looking down on humanity. While in Reprise he takes the elevator ride from the top of W&H to the street where the locals dwell.

I'm not sure if that's where ME is going or not. But I'm curious how much Spike's ghost state, the male werewolf are metaphors for Angel's own internal state and emotional upheavel?

Also Spike seems to give voice in the episode, annoyingly so, to some of Angel's own fears and misgivings about himself and what happened with Connor. Once you become a monster are you in the "killed or be killed category". Does a soul really give you a chance?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> The problem I had was...[spoilers 5.3] -- Random, 10:17:35 10/18/03 Sat

...that Spike's observations were of the all-too-common "grain of truth flavoring the stew of half-truths and lies." He annoys me precisely because he is giving voice to doubts and insecurities in the most narrow, dangerous way possible, as he has been wont to do. Now in the "kill or be killed" category? Well, yeah, if one is, say, not a cast regular on the show and thus has not experience any situation where a certain amount of discrimination mighy be desirable. And he continues to harp on issues that reflect the voice of a twisted, perhaps even malicious, Truth-teller. If that is the role ME is setting Spike up for -- it's done it before, but never quite so emphatically -- then ME may be painting themselves into a corner in terms of character-development. (Luckily, I have heard several excelllent theories about what ME's purpose might be and where all this might be leading, so I'm not unduly worried despite being utterly and fanatically unspoiled.)

The problem with metaphors is that they can so often be used in many different, equally-valid ways. I want Spike to be a metaphor for Angel's state (even though that raises questions about whether Spike's role on AtS is primarily ancillary to Angel's central one as the Vampire-Seeking-Redemption.) This was not, actually, a bad episode in many ways. We got treated to some heavy-handed metaphoricizing with the werewolf, but it was at least pointed.

We got a brief glimpse -- as if we needed any after the first 2 eps of the season -- of exactly why Angel doesn't seem overly concerned with Spike's condition. Spike isn't exactly winning Brownie points with the AI gang, even given his double-double cross with the necromancer. The problem is, and always has been, that Spike is not only morally ambiguous and questionable, but actually not a particularly likable person in general. He is snide and rude to people, and his "bad boy" persona doesn't appear to mask anything except insecurity. He shows tenderness and normal friendship with Buffy, Joyce and Drusilla alone -- past those three (plus Clem?), he can never seem to resist the snide comment, the general jackassedness. Just when you think he's ready to behave -- Bargaining Part I, for instance -- he insults Giles or snaps at the rest of the Scoobies. So it's little wonder that Angel personally dislikes him. No need for metaphor here, though metaphor is obviously possible, even likely. Fred alone witnesses Spike's fear and vulnerability -- which he proceeds to undercut by harassing and berating Fred later. The question of how Spike's personality will be affected this season is every bit as, if not considerably more, interesting as the issues of his redemption and all that. I even imagine they go hand-in-hand. Just as Faith made the false assumption that being good meant behaving like Buffy, Spike may be making the assumption that being redeemed may mean behaving like Angel, and thus rejecting that summarily. However, not all paths lead equally well to the greater good of the person. Somehow, Spike may discover that Angel's personality isn't inseparable from his redemption. Few things about him are. Perhaps Spike will learn that he need not be the "Big Bad" in order to separate himself from Angel, that being more human (and less assfaced) is actually a by-product of the sincere desire to be better than he was.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Good points,Random. -- jane, 17:39:35 10/18/03 Sat

[> [> Re: I loved tonight's episode (spoilers, 5.3) -- Alison, 12:32:32 10/16/03 Thu

I don't think Angel was exactly being misleading when he says that vampires can control themselves if they choose too, its not all that uncommon. All that sort of control requires is sufficient motivation. For Angel, a guilty conscience did the trick, but even vampires aren't souled can control themselves, if not for the most altruistic reasons. The vamp nests that Riley frequented for example, were full of vampires who fed but didn't kill and only with willing participants.

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