Saturday, August 8, 2009

Rejoining the Group

I must be more forgiving than others. I'm still pissed off at how Cordy, Wes and Gunn treated Angel when he started making overtures to rejoin the group, particularly when he came to visit Wesley in the hospital in Angel's Season 2's "The Thin Dead Line". I wrote about my feelings previously here. I really thought the three of them acted like a bunch of high school kids who were quick to judge non-conformers. I was particularly irritated at Cordelia's endless "you're not my friend anymore" moments. Did no one care that Angel was struggling to re-emerge from Darkness? Although Angel fired Wes, Cordy and Gunn, they were awfully quick to turn their backs on him. I'm just glad that Angel accepted his demotion with good grace when he returned to the group.

It was heartwarming to see that Wesley himself seemed happiest to have Angel return to the fold, as we witnessed in this scene from "Epiphany". Wesley smiled and was genuinely excited that Angel cared enough to come over and save his life. However, Wesley quickly felt compelled to put his stern face back on and treat Angel like a lackey over the course of the next several episodes. I'm reasonably sure that Gunn was equally as happy to see Angel return. He just didn't have the same history with Angel that Wesley had.

While Wesley and Gunn were simply making Angel do penance while they indulged in a few alpha male needs to make themselves top dogs over Angel, Cordelia was the only one who seemed like she truly did not care to have Angel back. Cordelia, who could be pretty dense about recognizing her feelings toward others, probably had the deepest feelings for Angel of anyone in the group. Therefore, she was the one most hurt by Angel's abandonment. I don't think Cordelia handled the situation all that well, but she was barely out of high school at that point. She had a lot of growing up to do, and her dealings with Angel helped make her a lot more mature, unfortunately at the expense of their relationship.

I try to fully admit when I've had a "duh" moment, and I think I had one of those moments regarding Angel's reluctance to tell his group about his "epiphany". I had written previously that I thought it was a terrible mistake for Angel to not have told the group about the circumstances surrounding his "epiphany" since it led to tragic consequences for the group later on. (For example, the whole "pregnant Darla" episode, the shock of Lilah showing up at the Hyperion after she had already died, etc.). I blamed Angel's reticence on his hangups about talking about his sex life with his friends. I now realize it was due more to the fact that, by having sex with Darla, he was trying to revert back to Angelus.

I took it all in stride while watching the series, but now I realize that Wes, Cordy and Gunn wouldn't have been quite as understanding. Angel could hardly just blurt out to the group at the precise moment he was trying to regain their trust that just a few hours earlier he was this close to turning Evil. He probably wanted to tell them, but when is it ever a good time to tell something like that to anyone? After a while, it probably seemed like a painful memory that was best left buried, until a pregnant Darla showed up and forced his hand. I still think Angel should have been more forthcoming about what had happened, but I can certainly understand his reluctance.

Cordelia Chase probably wasn't upset so much by the fact that Angel had sex with Darla, (although I'm sure jealousy had a lot to do with it), but by the fact that he was trying to revert back to Angelus. Regardless, Cordelia seemed to be the one who was bothered the most by the revelation. She had one more chance to forgive Angel, and chose not to do so, leading to one more tragic consequence. By the time she could get over Angel's actions and agree to take their relationship to the next level, she herself was taken to the next level by Skip the Demon.

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