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Ha, I agree with those selections. "School Hard" is one of the all-time biggest ones. Even if we give him latitude on his strategy - and I'm willing to grant, for the purposes of discussion at least, that it is a flaw in the writing of the episode, that Angel's plan makes sense in-universe for some fuzzy reason that the script failed to articulate, and that we shouldn't hold Angel responsible for the pointlessness of the plan, we are STILL left with Angel throwing Xander into this plan without telling him any of the content of the plan and then letting him believe afterwards he would have totally sacrificed him. I mean, what the hell man.

I think maybe the "dumb as a post" and "I hated those girls" would be my number one -- in terms of epitomizing the definition of dick you are using. Because, while it *arguably* *could* have done some damage to Buffy to reinforce her belief that all women were failures before she invented female power with her fists, mostly he's not doing any direct harm here -- and in the "Halloween" monologue is doing good by helping Buffy feel better about herself. There is no pain being caused directly, no risks ala the one to Xander and no pain or threat of pain ala the jerkiness to his team. There is no risk being undertaken ala his laissez-faire attitude to Connor. There is *just* an extremely crass series of statements which give insight into Angel's brain and suggest his total inability to grapple with the humanity of his victims.

Ha, I agree with those selections. "School Hard" is one of the all-time biggest ones. Even if we give him latitude on his strategy - and I'm willing to grant, for the purposes of discussion at least, that it is a flaw in the writing of the episode, that Angel's plan makes sense in-universe for some fuzzy reason that the script failed to articulate, and that we shouldn't hold Angel responsible for the pointlessness of the plan, we are STILL left with Angel throwing Xander into this plan without telling him any of the content of the plan and then letting him believe afterwards he would have totally sacrificed him. I mean, what the hell man.

Yup. I do have a feeling from the standpoint of authorial intent that Angel's plan was *supposed* to make sense- but the script-writers failed to convey why. But then, I also get the sense that the authors wanted this trick to be seen as a little mean, but ultimately no where near damaging to their efforts to build Angel up as a swoony love interest for Buffy. Angel did come off many times worse based on a direct read of his actions instead of looking at a fuzzy-wuzzy read of his role and specialness to whitewash what he actually did.

Y'know, I was thinking, I think that Angel might have had a good reason behind the Somnambulist outburst. It's easy to write it off as more of the same given his other behaviour, but I think that its role in that episode itself is more this: I think it's important for him to establish *to Wesley* that he could easily overpower Wesley in one of Wesley's heartbeats if he decided to be an evil murdering monster again, so that if it turns out he is becoming an evil murdering monster again in his sleep, Wesley knows that he can't really handle it without huge precautions. Wesley's belief that he could take Angelus on could get him killed, and Angel's gonna make sure he knows that. That is still kind of dickish, but I think that read makes Angel's action read a bit differently and for a real purpose. This is different from knocking Lorne's hat off because he finds Lorne annoying -- in that Angel at this point really does want his friends to remember how dangerous he is, because part of the reason he has them around is to kill him in case he goes bad.

I'm still dubious, but I see your point. I mainly think that Angel choke-holded Wesley because Angel was irritated by Wesley holding up a cross and treating him like a threat. Angel wanted a sympathetic and *trusting* hearing from Wesley and Cordelia even though he was about to confess that he might be very dangerous so ironically, Angel demanded that benefit of the doubt by force.

Angel walks forward and Wesley threatens him with a cross: “Come no closer!”
Angel turns his head away from the cross: “I’m not going to hurt you.”
Cordy: “Oh, is that what you told Miss ‘third body found in alley’?”
Wesley: “Why should we believe a word you say?”
Angel laughs, grabs Wesley’s arm and spins him around to grab him by the neck: “Because this is how fast I could take you if I wanted to.”


Angel said, "I'm not going to hurt you" like it was a point on why Wesley shouldn't hold up a cross. When Wesley didn't listen and further challenged Angel, *that's* when Angel started the choke-hold. Then the conversation proceeded the way Angel demanded- Cordelia and Wesley give Angel a sympathetic hearing where no one is brandishing crosses or stakes protectively i.e. Cordy and Wes are on *less* hair-trigger alert.

Even though Angel may be dangerous for some unknown reason, and probably Wesley *should* have continued to hold up his cross protectively and maintain a fighty-protective posture from a distance instead of visibly relaxing into Angel's story. Wes and Cordy were a little silly there. Then, Angel does submit to being chained to to the bed. Good on him. But it's on Angel's terms so Angel can learn what's up with him.

I wasn't sure how to evaluate Angel knocking Wesley's cross-bow out of his hands in Parting Gifts. Wesley *did* start the aggressive action- pointing a lethal weapon at Angel. However, quite a bit of that is legit defense- Wesley's on hair-trigger alert as a relatively inexperienced non-super fighting demons alone. Angel, a known powerful vampire with a detachable soul and conscience, was skulking around the spooky, dark hotel complex. However, some of it is Wesley getting off on controlling Angel with a legal weapon. "Pip pip, *I'm* asking the questions." Some of Angel knocking the cross-bow out of Wesley's hand is Angel exercising his right to self-defense- to not have a undeadly weapon pointed at him to compel answers to questions. However, another part is Angel reveling in beating Wesley easily with his greater strength and cutting him down to size since Angel's last impression of Wesley was Annoying British Guy Who Sabotaged His Faithervention. I ultimately decided it was too complicated to put in that Dick Entry.

Edited at 2014-03-25 03:33 pm (UTC)

Heh. Yeah, I think you're right -- I had forgotten that Angel said "I'm not going to hurt you," which changes the tenor of the scene. If he really were trying to remind them how dangerous he was, he wouldn't *also* be showing how magnanimous he is not to kill them right there.

I agree that the Parting Gifts moment is too ambiguous. I think Angel has the right to knock the crossbow away for self-defense, and, given that he is doing that anyway, I don't *really* begrudge him enjoying it, though it does kind of set off some of the dick alarms. But mostly I'm okay with Angel there.

ALWAYS here for talking about Angel being a dick!

(1) This bothers the shit out of me. I feel like it's Angel trying to push and exercise his dominance over Xander and Spike at the same time? To see if he can play Spike in front of Spike's guys, or failing that, to show Xander how little Xander's life is worth to him. Dick move, Angel!

(2) SUCH a dick! Particularly since he's playing that card specifically so he can manipulate Buffy. ugh.

(3) This is something people love to let Angel and characters like him off the hook for. "Oh, well, he's bullying them constantly just to show that he can, but at least they know to be grateful he's not murdering them horribly!" Yeah, that makes it better.

(4) Yes, THANK you. He was SO irresponsible about Conner.

(5) I almost feel like that was how Angel acted precisely because he knew he bore some responsibility for Fred's death in some ways and he didn't want Wesley to catch him out about it, so he pulled rank while Wes was still destabilized by grief. He didn't care one way or another about Gunn abandoning them because Gunn was beating himself up too badly to throw stones at Angel, and then took himself out of the picture before he could cause trouble.

This bothers the shit out of me. I feel like it's Angel trying to push and exercise his dominance over Xander and Spike at the same time? To see if he can play Spike in front of Spike's guys, or failing that, to show Xander how little Xander's life is worth to him. Dick move, Angel!

I agree. Good point about dominating Spike. Much of BtVS acts like Angel is long past his old Scourge of Europe mates and the jockeying for power and control there and he's moved on- but AtS disproves that pretty thoroughly.

SUCH a dick! Particularly since he's playing that card specifically so he can manipulate Buffy. ugh.

Ick. It makes me wonder whether a part of Angel thinks that *Buffy* is as dumb as a post since he definitely thinks he can manipulate her and he openly relishes it when he's soulless. ("And you fall for it every single time!"; "What did you expect, a choir of pretty little birdies?") And since we know that Buffy is definitely no dummy but Angel manipulated her, it really calls into question whether this gypsy girl was about as sharp and clever as Buffy but found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I almost feel like that was how Angel acted precisely because he knew he bore some responsibility for Fred's death in some ways and he didn't want Wesley to catch him out about it, so he pulled rank while Wes was still destabilized by grief. He didn't care one way or another about Gunn abandoning them because Gunn was beating himself up too badly to throw stones at Angel, and then took himself out of the picture before he could cause trouble.

Good point. Plus, Angel was already cooking up his NFA plan- it's the interest of Angel's hairbrained scheme to make sure that Wesley couldn't properly grieve and heal and just stayed in a spiral of destablizing depression and then shame for feeling that way to be malleable to Angel's ambitions.

Angel's easy acceptance at leaving Gunn in hell to rescue Lindsey because Lindsey's girlfriend who's been lying to them all season said that Lindsey is the ULTIMATE EXPERT on a Senior Partners (which I saw no evidence of in S1-2 or for that matter, S5) is also disgusting- even though it's not as classically a dick move in the diminutive way that I mean it.

(Although to add to Angel being a dick in terms of Lindsey v. his friends, my Honorable Mention was Angel hanging around to beat the crap out of Lindsey and kick him while he's down in Epiphany KNOWING that Cordelia and now Wes and Gunn are in big danger with the Skilosh demons and it's right after Angel supposedly committed that he's going to give up the hurt W&H pointlessly vanity project to focus on actually doing some good and stop leaving his peeps in the lurch.

Edited at 2014-03-25 10:47 am (UTC)

Haha, I was waiting excitedly for your comment on this entry!

(1) it does mean that Leo has to swallow quite a bit of indignity because he convinced his then less wealthy, less famous, friend who never served in the military that he's the one who should run for president.

You know, I've never actually seen that being a problem for Leo? He just doesn't seem to have a particularly high opinion of himself. That startled little look he gives whenever one of them says something nice about him, like, "oh, you noticed me, you mean that?" I don't think it really occurred to Leo that he could.

(2) SO GREAT

(3) Toby and Josh fight interestingly and their conflict lines feel very real but they're also there for each other as friends

Ha, yeah, Toby and Josh seem to be really well-matched in how thick their skins are. They can push and yell and screw with each other all they want because neither of them quite seems to take it too far.

(4) Jed and Charlie were uncomfortable for a lot of reasons, definitely. There are episodes where I get the idea that Jed's feelings toward Charlie were specifically about how he wanted a son which is all kinds of blargh, particularly in context with, he was so weird and possessive about Zoe.

But Charlie and Dolores were really wonderful together. He missed his mom and she missed her boys and they never quite got that close, but I do think they filled those roles to some extent.

(5) This one was definitely complicated in some good ways. He really could be quite hard on her, in a way he never was with Sam the precious flower, but he trusted her, too. "I need you to jump off a cliff."

I do also like watching scenes between them? Like, actually seeing her tower over him physically, even though she looks up to him so much.

You know, I've never actually seen that being a problem for Leo? He just doesn't seem to have a particularly high opinion of himself. That startled little look he gives whenever one of them says something nice about him, like, "oh, you noticed me, you mean that?" I don't think it really occurred to Leo that he could.

I agree. I mean, Leo does have a problem when Bartlet rejects his counsel partly because it hurt his self-esteem. I think there are Two Leos- he's brimming with confidence about his own competence and the rightness of his political convictions. He lays down the law very easily with everyone. However, I think, personally, his addictions and his failed relationships with his wife and daughter took a lot of out of him and shamed him a lot. I find it revealing when he instantly accepts and embraces Jed after learning that he had MS and lied about it because when Leo was drunkenly lying face down in a parking lot, Jed came to get him.

Ha, yeah, Toby and Josh seem to be really well-matched in how thick their skins are. They can push and yell and screw with each other all they want because neither of them quite seems to take it too far.

Although, I do hold the rather unpopular position of loving their knock-down-drag-out fight in S6 because after years of knowing each other well enough to challenge but not take it too far and hurt, they lost control and *did* take it too far. Although, I do like that they somewhat healed their relationship in S7 right when everyone else was cutting themselves off from Toby.

4) Jed and Charlie were uncomfortable for a lot of reasons, definitely. There are episodes where I get the idea that Jed's feelings toward Charlie were specifically about how he wanted a son which is all kinds of blargh, particularly in context with, he was so weird and possessive about Zoe.

But Charlie and Dolores were really wonderful together. He missed his mom and she missed her boys and they never quite got that close, but I do think they filled those roles to some extent.


I agree with everything here. I also loved Debbie Fiderer, but I always missed Dolores largely because that dynamic with Charlie was never replicated. Word that Jed loved Charlie because he was looking for a son. And IMO, a big part of Charlie's feelings for Zoey felt like they came from how Charlie wanted Jed as a father. However even though that's weird and casts a negative light on Charlie/Zoey, it's more understandable from Charlie's end since he's still reeling from being left without parents in his teenage years even though he hides his pain with a lot of stoicism.

So, I'm making up for all the time I didn't know you and going back and reading past entries. As much as I am an Angel fan, you make some really excellent points here. He does play the churl card more often than is entirely excusable.


Gabrielle

I love your retroactive comments on my meta! I'm enjoying reading them and responding to them.

I think Angel is fascinating- well-written and by BtVS S2, well-acted by DB. However, I frequently don't *like* him- especially past S1 on AtS. I did write a counterpoint to this list-
Top 5 Moments Where Angel Was NOT A Dick which should be more fun for an Angel-fan to read. ;-)

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