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Angel's Ethics-the Decision to join W&H

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  • Angel's Ethics-the Decision to join W&H

    Angel gets a lot of flak for joining W&H, for the mindwipe, etc. I think his decision to sign a contract with W&H goes back to his decision in IWRY. He took back the day and gave up everything he wanted because he found his humanity to be a burden to Buffy and not a help, plus he could help more people as a Champion and a Vampire with a Soul. He did decide for Buffy and gave her no choice in the matter. In signing up with W&H he told his crew he was making an executive decision. He saved Conner and gave him a new life, he provided the best medical care available for Cordelia, he kept his team under his control and what he must have seen as his protection. Again he gave them no choice in the mindwipel In some way I believe he also saw it as a way to wipe out Wesley's actions in stealing Conner, giving Wes back his "innocence". Again he took away everyone's choice like a God Father and Wes made more bad decisions for the greater good because he had lost the chance to learn from past mistakes. Also, I believe because we only see Angel's signature on a W&H contract, contrary to comic canon, he prevented his crew from signing up for the infamous perpetuity clause. This makes more sense to me than Angel's "selling his people" to Wolfram and Hart for Conner's sake. Angel may have had more invested in Conner and Cordelia, but there is no denying that his crew was also his family.
    Last edited by ilovewesley; 17-12-11, 12:08 AM.

  • #2
    This is really insightful and I'm going to try and analyze what you've written.

    When I quote what you've written, I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you but more commenting on some of your points.

    Originally posted by ilovewesley View Post
    Angel gets a lot of flak for joining W&H, for the mindwipe, etc. I think his decision to sign a contract with W&H goes back to his decision in IWRY. He took back the day and gave up everything he wanted because he found his humanity to be a burden to Buffy and not a help, plus he could help more people as a Champion and a Vampire with a Soul.
    I find this point of view really refreshing. I see the flaws in the both the decision to take back the day in IWRY and the decision to join W&H. They were decisions born out of love rather than selfishness but I agree there is an air of arrogance in making decisions that affect people's lives without consulting them. All of this notwithstanding, it's always worth noting that he had, at least, noble intentions.

    He did decide for Buffy and gave her no choice in the matter. In signing up with W&H he told his crew he was making an executive decision. He saved Conner and gave him a new life, he provided the best medical care available for Cordelia, he kept his team under his control and what he must have seen as his protection. Again he gave them no choice in the mindwipel
    One thing I must say is that we don't know if and indeed how the mindwipe affected their decision to take over W&H. Although Angel made an 'executive decision' there was no evidence that the memory spell automatically made them agree with Angel's decision.

    For example (and I think Nina pointed this out to me) Fred and Wesley were arguably the most sceptical when it came to the decision and this seemed to be the case after the mind wipe. This is converse to Lorne who seemed very much in favour of the decison to take over W&H. Again, this didn't seem to change after the mindwipe.

    In some way I believe he also saw it as a way to wipe out Wesley's actions in stealing Conner, giving Wes back his "innocence". Again he took away everyone's choice like a God Father and Wes made more bad decisions for the greater good because he had lost the chance to learn from past mistakes.
    This was the fundamental thing that could be argued, is immoral about Angel's decision. However subtle, memories are an essential part of our identity. Even if you argue that it wouldn't have made a difference (which is possible as I explained above) we still don't know for sure and one could argue that robbing someone of any part of their identity is wrong.

    Is it so wrong? Consequentialists may argue (as you've hinted) that they may have been happier because of the new memories. Wesley seemed to imply that having the new memories, even along side the new ones is preferable:

    ILLYRIA: Do you? There are 2 sets of memories--those that happened and those that are fabricated. It's hard to tell which is which.

    WESLEY: Try to push reality out of your mind. Focus on the other memories. They were created for a reason.

    ILLYRIA: To hide from the truth?

    WESLEY: To endure it.
    Wes seemed gladt to find out the truth but he seemed to understand and cherish the new memories as a way of dealing with the truth.

    Also, I believe because we only see Angel's signature on a W&H contract, contrary to comic canon, he prevented his crew from signing up for the infamous perpetuity clause. This makes more sense to me than Angel's "selling his people" to Wolfram and Hart for Conner's sake. Angel may have had more invested in Conner and Cordelia, but there is no denying that his crew was also his family.
    I think I'd need to reread the comics, bu I was under the impression that...

    Spoiler:
    Wes signed the the standard perpetuity


    If he somehow didn't agree, I would have thought that it would have been raised at least.

    Did Angel do the right thing? Maybe not but life is made up of little choices that can affect out moral integrity and she shouldn't negate all the things Angel did when he started with W&H.

    It was a mixed bag, but I think Angel was thinking in terms of nobility, however misguided it may appear.

    Comment


    • #3
      That is the true nobility of Angel's actions, he tries no matter how grey the decision to do right by "his" people. It is canon in the comics that Wes signed the agreement, why would someone dedicated to doing the right thing agree to work for demons for eternity? Anyway, back to Angel, it is the flaws in his "humanity" and the grey in his noble choices that make him truly noble, even with all the guilt of two hundred years, he really does want to do what is noble. He is very much like the flawed Lancelot of the once and future king by t.h.white. (A really outstanding book!) I don't believe that W&H would have ever been able to corrupt Angel, play him maybe, but never corrupt him.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think that the writers were simply to lazy to write about the deal properly. (Nor is there a reason to believe that the team signed up for eternity, perhaps the deal was just for 5 years.) There is indeed that line in 'Home' where Angel says that it was an 'executive decision' but logic tells us that a undead person like Angel who can't even own a credit card, can't sell out the souls of his friends. They must have signed their own contracts and we've no reason to believe that any magic was involved to make them sign. (It's not like they forgot about W&H being evil after the mindwipe) If the mindwipe did more than removing Connor from their memories, than it's not Angel's fault either. It's not like W&H need Angel to nod before they can use magic on people. Angel made a deal; give Connor another life and I sign up.

        And I don't see why W&H would bother; so what if Fred doesn't want to sign up? They got Angel... that's the one they went for.


        About the decision, well like any other person I think it's a very moral ambigious choice and I wish the writers would've told us why Angel never told his friends or at least showed us that he was troubled by the mindwipe. It sometimes even didn't make sense; why would he let everybody shit on him while he could tell them what made him join W&H (it's not like others would've went to Connor and told him the whole story) or why nobody actually wondered why Angel joined W&H.

        But I wouldn't compare it to IWRY; because while overprotective behavior can be arrogant or crossing the lines of somebody's personal space, it's perhaps good to remember that Connor, in contrast to Buffy, was Angel son... a son with the emotional maturity of a kid, in direct mortal danger. Parents also have a duty to their childeren. The world has many warriors and Connor only has one dad (and no other parental figures).

        Does it make it right? of course not. But I don't really think there was 'right' option either. Angel picked his son over his morality and freedom, and you can agree or disagree with that choice. It's not like 'the gift' where the choice was so absolute (Dawn or the world?) that the choice made itself.

        Comment


        • #5
          If it was a five year deal then they would have had time to "turn the place around" and get out of the contract before the standard perpetuity kicked in. Realistically though, it was a very naive and arrogant move on the part of the team to think that they could really control or dictate to the Senior Partners. They were played like rubes.

          I don't think Angel had time to think about ethics or morality, he just reacted to save Conner the best way he could. I think the mindwipe was protection, if no one remembered Conner there was no way any of them, particularly Wesley, who might have seen Conner as a male "Slayer", a watcherly weapon for the greater good, could drag Conner back into the fight.

          It could be argued that Wesley's decision to steal Conner back in Sleep Tight was an instinctual move to protect both father and son, more of a reaction than an ethically considered decision, but that doesn't wash because Wesley was at best an honorary "uncle Wes", not family, Angel as Conner's parent had first rights to decide on the best way to keep Conner safe.

          Wesley tried to emulate Angel, who he saw as a noble Champion and a very "human" friend, but Wesley, physically and/or emotionally abused from birth, had no concept of true humanity or family. Abused children struggle in adulthood to form healthy adult relationships. They just don't know how and see no value or confidence in their own self worth and image.

          Angel didn't want Conner to be a weapon or a charge or a tool, he wanted him to have a normal human family that gave him what Angel couldn't, not because Angel didn't love him supremely but because Angel had too many prophecies and responsibilities and enemies to allow it. The importance of a family that loves you and believes in you is paramount in the formation of a healty psyche. If Angel wanted to see the result of a child raised without love or concern he just had to look at Uncle Wes to know how much Conner needed that family.
          Last edited by ilovewesley; 17-12-11, 05:55 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Not so sure if the team wanted to control and dictate the SP, I don't think any of the members was that delusional. Nor so I think any of them is so stupid to sign a contract for eternity. So it was probably more than 5, but none of them would be stupid enough to sign a contract for eternity, especially because they all just saw that death is not a reason to stop a W&H contract.

            I agree that Angel didn't really think about any concequences and just wanted to save Connor in 'Home'. But in season 5 he could've been playing with the idea to tell anyone or feel bad about the mindwipe. That said, I never thought about it, but you're right; Wesley is the kind of person who would ignore Angel's wishes and Connor's happiness just to get Connor back for some fight. It actually makes sense that Angel never told Wes.

            On the other side, I think he could've told Spike. They perhaps annoy eachother, but they know and love the other as well. I don't believe that Spike would've used that information against Angel or told anyone. Spike is also the only one (next to Cordelia) who showed at least some concern about Angel being at W&H. Sure he did it in a snarky and annoying manner, but he was interested in Angel.

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            • #7
              I like this subject of Angel's ethics so much I would like to start a new thread. I don't think Angel didn't believe there wouldn't be consequences from his decision, he just didn't have much time left to save Conner. You are right, he could trust Spike because even as an unsouled vamp he had a sense of family, more than Wesley, poor dumb smuck, ever had.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm not sure if there was a contract per se. The conversation in You're Welcome between the team gives the impression they could leave anytime they like, but they speculated there could be consequences if they leave. This may or may not be limited to losing what they got out of the bargain, which most notably would be Angel and Gunn respectively.

                If there was a specific contract then I'm sure at least Gunn with his legal knowledge would have mentioned it and considering Angel was thinking about leaving, I'd wager there was no specific contract or specific clause that stipulated what would happen if they left.

                As for Angel telling Spike? Angel is secretive as the best of times, so I can't imagine him opening up to him about the mind wipe. It's likely he isn't proud of what he did, so it seems in character for him to bottle it up then open up to Spike about it.

                I do think he questions his culpabilty in the situation, especially in regards to what happened to Fred.

                Spike: "Fred wanted to be here. It was her choice."
                Angel: "Was it?"
                He couldn't be sure if the mindwipe at least affect her decision making process. However artibitrary they may seem our experiences make us who we are and however subtle it may seem AI were quite the same people they were before the mindwipe. Without proof that memories stolen were a contributing factor though, we cannot blame Angel for 'selling out' his friends to W&H. Perhaps the moral aspect of robbing someone of their experiences can be questioned. One might argue that, that is a trangression that stands on its own.
                Last edited by kana; 18-12-11, 07:26 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well if you consider ATF as canon, there was a contract because there is no way W&H could've 'used' Wesley after he died otherwise. It was his contract what bound Wesley to W&H, like Lilah was still working for them in 'Home'. And let's face it, people who take over a company sign a contract. Perhaps they didn't really fear breaking the contract? I don't know... in 'Origin' Wesley thinks Angel sold them out, which is a reason to believe that the others had no choice in the matter. But again, you would expect some complaints before that moment if that really was the case.

                  'Playing' with the memories is always dangerous, but I don't see how forgetting about Connor would make the team sign the contracts. You could even argue that it works the other way around because Wesley was less ruthless after the mindwipe. Angel's quote doesn't say too much in my opinion, Fred just died so he wanted to remember her in the best way possible (and not as somebody who would love to work at W&H) and when Angel feels bad, he is a world champion in beating himself up. All the guys loved to think of Fred as a strong but cute and innocent woman, while she had no trouble getting her hands dirty (weapon deals, killing a man, drugs when she was younger -although I don't think that is bad... but I guess it's illegal-). So Angel 'taking away' some of the blame put on Fred seems a natural reaction in this case and Fred signing up for W&H isn't out of character at all. Another option is to read the quote in another manner; Fred just followed her new family, she followed Angel. If Angel would've said no to W&H, Fred would've stayed with him probably. So you can indeed raise the question, which is even an interesting question, but I don't think there is much of a reason to believe that the mindwipe made a real difference.

                  Angel told Cordelia everything the moment she mentioned it and while it's not canon, there were plans that Angel would tell Buffy. Angel telling Spike something would not be unexpected and like I said before, I think the writers wiped it under the carpet too quickly. Only the idea that everybody (friends, Buffy, Spike) just accepted that Angel went to W&H without any real reason is even more strange than Angel not telling anyone. It's not like Angel sold the idea that he believed in changing W&H or that he was at his place there.
                  Last edited by Nina; 18-12-11, 10:29 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    ilovewesley

                    Angel’s decision to leave Buffy in BtVS was selfish: he couldn’t stand to be around her without really being able to be with her. He never actually wanted her to ever move on from him and was upset – at the least – whenever she was with someone else. So, he didn’t leave her for her sake. She wanted to remain with him.

                    I blame “I Will Remember You” (A 1.08) on Jasmine. Otherwise, Angel chose being able to beat up demons over being able to be with Buffy. The first time that Angel helps Buffy after “Pangs” (4.08) is in “End of Days” (7.22) and that was via Lilah Morgan/Wolfram and Hart.

                    Angel signed the Fang Gang up with Wolfram and Hart for selfish reasons: he wanted to give Connor a better life, wanted to likely Shanshu and be with Buffy, and W&H providing medical care for Cordy meant that Angel wouldn’t have to spend his own resources to do that (like sell the Hyperion).

                    __________________________________________________ _________________

                    Wesley tried to emulate Angel, who he saw as a noble Champion and a very "human" friend, but Wesley, physically and/or emotionally abused from birth, had no concept of true humanity or family. Abused children struggle in adulthood to form healthy adult relationships. They just don't know how and see no value or confidence in their own self worth and image.
                    Angel didn’t have a happy relationship with his father either. And Wesley was far more well-adjusted than Angel.



                    kana

                    “Executive Decision” means that he made the decision without them and signed them all up. It’s very clear in the scene. Angel “took the deal” and Lilah talks about “Team Angel”.



                    Nina

                    In AtS season 5, Angel and Spike were ‘fighting’ over Buffy. Angel telling Spike that Angel has a child would be a negative for Angel’s future with Buffy. And even in AtF,
                    Spoiler:
                    it doesn’t seem as if Spike knows that Connor is the son of Angel and Darla.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm reading Nik at Nite's rewatch for Angel S5 and she said in her last post (news to me)

                      Also, I meant to mention this a few weeks ago, but it was during "You're Welcome" filming that the cast and crew got the news from the WB that Angel had been cancelled, and the writers were already working on story lines for Season 6. One of those crucial story lines was the Black Thorn, which was supposed to be set up at the end of S5 and then compose much of what S6 would be (at least, that's what Alexis Denisof told me during a long interview I did with him). But then they found out they were going to be cancelled. So they pretty much introduced it in "Power Play" and resolved it in the next episode. Sigh. - Nikki Stafford
                      "Gunn dies, Illyria Survives, Spike shanshus, Angel looses an arm and Xander looses an arm too, which is odd because he wasn't even there."
                      Joss Whedon at the High Stakes convention - 2004

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                      • #12
                        It wasn't during You're Welcome that they found out they were being cancelled. They actually state on the DVD commentary that it was when they were shooting Underneath that they found out. And to be more precise, it was when they were filming the scene down in the basement when Angel and Spike are fighting the torture demon.
                        "The earth is doomed!" - Banner by Nina

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                        • #13
                          I have always found Angel to be destructively arrogant in the decisions he makes, particularly in the breadth of decision making on behalf of other people without their knowledge/consent. Don't get me wrong, this is what I find so interesting about his character, that he is a hero who whilst taking a general path to help others is a negative force in addition along the way. The decision of WH and wiping memories (all occasions) were entirely predictable for Angel and the fact that there were negative results par for the course with him.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MikeB
                            Angel’s decision to leave Buffy in BtVS was selfish: he couldn’t stand to be around her without really being able to be with her.
                            When you are dating someone, it's your right to break up with them whenever. If you decide that the relationship isn't working for whatever reason, it's your right to end it. I can't understand this idea that Angel was selfish for ending a relationship that he didn't believe was going to work.

                            He never actually wanted her to ever move on from him and was upset – at the least – whenever she was with someone else. So, he didn’t leave her for her sake. She wanted to remain with him.
                            I agree here with your disapproval of Angel being upset whenever Buffy was with someone else. I hated the way Angel provoked and attacked Riley. But Joyce was right, when it came to Angel, Buffy was a schoolgirl in love. Angel knew that the relationship wouldn't work and that he could never give Buffy some of the things that she might someday want like children or being in the sunlight. I believe that Angel was the "mature one" in that situation and that ultimately Buffy understands that he was right to end the relationship. They couldn't even be intimate with each other for the fear that he might lose his soul. Unless Angel becomes human or has that aspect of the curse removed, it's a doomed relationship.

                            I blame “I Will Remember You” (A 1.08) on Jasmine. Otherwise, Angel chose being able to beat up demons over being able to be with Buffy.
                            Angel chose being able to save innocent lives over being with Buffy. I hardly see how that is a selfish action.

                            Angel signed the Fang Gang up with Wolfram and Hart for selfish reasons: he wanted to give Connor a better life, wanted to likely Shanshu and be with Buffy, and W&H providing medical care for Cordy meant that Angel wouldn’t have to spend his own resources to do that (like sell the Hyperion).
                            So wanting to save your son's life is a "selfish reason"? Wanting to help a close friend who needs medical attention is a "selfish reason"? You expect Angel to sell they Hyperion... who says he even owns it? If he sells the Hyperion, where is he going to live or work from? Where is the rest of the fang gang going to live/work? Also, how is being at W&H going to help Angel shanshu?

                            “Executive Decision” means that he made the decision without them and signed them all up. It’s very clear in the scene. Angel “took the deal” and Lilah talks about “Team Angel”.
                            Common sense would dictate that you can't sell someone else's soul without their consent and approval. Do you think Angel has the authority to say, sign Xander's soul over to W&H too? It makes sense that each member of the group would have had a contract to sign.

                            Angel telling Spike that Angel has a child would be a negative for Angel’s future with Buffy.
                            How would that be a negative? I don't see why Buffy would be bothered that Angel has a son.

                            Spoiler:
                            In a recent interview Scott Allie said that as of season 9, Buffy knows about Connor. So I guess it's possible that he told her over the phone prior to season 5.

                            And even in AtF, it doesn’t seem as if Spike knows that Connor is the son of Angel and Darla.
                            W&H broadcasted Connor's identity to all the demons and vampires in LA in order to make him a target. This is why Gunn, Lorne and all the W&H foot-soldier demons know who he is. Spike immediately knows that Connor is Angel's son despite only ever meeting him briefly one time while Illyria was beating him up. In "Shadow Puppets" he met a puppet version of Connor I guess, but again it was never specified that this was Angel's son and Spike even mentions that Connor has never done anything of importance at this point.

                            In "After the Fall", Spike immediately knows that Connor is Angel's son as soon as he shows up. Spike mentions how Non's ability to drain people doesn't work on Connor because he is the product of two vampires. I don't know why you think that Spike doesn't know that Connor is the son of Angel and Darla. It's right there in the text that Spike knows that Connor is the product of two vampires and Angel's son. It's implied in the text (and acknowledged by Brian Lynch) that W&H beamed Connor's identity into the heads of all the vamps and demons. Spike learned from Drusilla that Darla was resurrected at one point and was trying to corrupt Angel. Take into account off-screen conversations between Spike/Connor, Spike/Angel, Spike/Illyria etc. I think the idea that Spike somehow wouldn't know that Darla is Connor's mother is pretty ridiculous.

                            ...and really, why should he care? Why is that information somehow relevant or important to Spike?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Vampire in Rug View Post
                              They couldn't even be intimate with each other for the fear that he might lose his soul. Unless Angel becomes human or has that aspect of the curse removed, it's a doomed relationship.
                              Actually I believe that the reason why they couldn't be together is because none of them ever actually tried to find a way to remove the obstacles. I'm not saying that it's possible to remove them, all I'm saying is that they never tried.

                              So wanting to save your son's life is a "selfish reason"? Wanting to help a close friend who needs medical attention is a "selfish reason"?
                              It is not a selfish reason if you mindwipe yourself. It's totally selfish when you do that to your friends and people you've never met and even to little children.


                              Common sense would dictate that you can't sell someone else's soul without their consent and approval.
                              No, but when you remove memories from somebody and make him believe that things happened while they haven't and things have never happened while they have, that actually compromises the decision and you don't know what the person would have actually decided had he had his own memories and not false ones implanted.
                              Do you think Angel has the authority to say, sign Xander's soul over to W&H too? It makes sense that each member of the group would have had a contract to sign.
                              You never know and you can't tell what will Xander do if someone changes his memories.

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