Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Poor, Misunderstood Angel

This is a relatively hasty, unscholarly post with no links whatsoever, because I want to cut this short and watch the hockey game on TV tonight. All I want to say is, for all of this talk of One Big Happy Family in Angel: The Series, the cast of characters seemed remarkably intolerant whenever any of the members suffered through particularly dark times.

Angel was a case in point. Poor Angel in late Season 2 and early Season 3 just couldn't seem to buy a break. He suffered his big crisis of faith in Season 2 when it seemed like a good idea at the time to go after Wolfram & Hart. Unfortunately, he got very little support from the Triumvirate of Cordelia, Wesley and Gunn. Angel was exploring some very subtle shades of gray, and his friends kept trying to drag him into black and white territory! I don't think any of them really made the effort to try to understand what Angel was going through. When Angel "fired" them, I thought it was pretty clear at the time that he was just giving them the message that he had to take care of some business on his own. Angel might have not been all that tactful, but I was surprised that the Triumvirate took it as a personal rejection. I think that if the three had held their ground and maybe humored Angel a little more, they could have gotten through the moment.

After he was completely abandoned by his group, I think Angel went a bit over the edge (like, by locking a bunch of evil lawyers in a wine cellar so they could be killed by vampires Darla and Drusilla). He finally had his "Epiphany" when he slept with Darla. At that time he realized that Evil would never be defeated, and that the only important thing in life is how well you live your life. I've blogged before about how Darkness does not necessarily equate with Evil, and a person will often become stronger after going through dark times. Angel was definitely a better person after going though his Dark Cycle, and I was a bit disgusted at how the Triumvirate did not seem to recognize what he went through. Instead of welcoming Angel back to the family with open arms after his crisis of faith, Wes, Cordy and Gunn made him go through a period of atonement where they, in essence, made him Chief Errand Boy and Bottle Washer.

To be honest, I can lay a little bit of blame on Angel for being reluctant to talk more in depth about his Epiphany. He was obviously being modest because it occurred during a sex act. However, he should have worked through his embarrassment and talked about it with the group because it was such a pivotal moment in his life. Angel also might have been reluctant to talk about these details in front of Cordy. (Although, he had a chance to talk about his Epiphany with Wesley, but chose not to.) Although Cordy talked the talk a lot, deep down she did seem to have some Puritanical hang-ups about sex, and also seemed to suffer from somewhat of a commitment phobia.

Which brings me to Cordy getting angry at Angel for 1) having sex with Darla and 2) lying about it. Excuse me, but Cordy didn't exactly have any sort of claim on Angel, and she got mad at him for sleeping with a girl he'd been in a relationship with for about 250 years? And when she flippantly asked Angel in a room full of people if he'd slept with Darla (while the Angel Investigations team was preparing to head out somewhere, if my memory is correct), did Cordy really expect Angel to say "Yes, I slept with Darla", and then stop to explain the situation?

Of course he lied to her and answered "no", particularly since Cordy was the type to say "Ew, that's gross", and then shut her ears to anything else Angel had to say.

(Do you think I'm being rough on a woman who had seen Angelus at his very worst and didn't want to risk going into a relationship with him and causing him to achieve total happiness again?)

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