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Top Five Moments Where Angel WASN'T A Dick
My White House
sunclouds33
My next batch of Top Fives. I chose to tackle local_max Top Five Moments Where Angel WAS NOT a Dick. More lists later!

I also struggled how to define the top five moments where Angel WASN'T a dick. Do I go wildly in the other direction and pick Angel's most wonderful, heroic moments? Or do I focus on how Angel could have acted like a dick given his MO and the tempting reasons to be dick but he DIDN'T and that's the miraculous things. AND THE OIL THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO ONLY LAST FOR ONE DAY LASTED FOR EIGHT DAYS AND HENCE, CHANUKAH! I chose to pick the latter.

1. I really have to give props to Angel for hiring Wesley and putting him on salary after three eps on AtS and for paying Gunn freelance after Gunn gave him like six occasions of unpaid work (although the latter was Cordelia's idea). Angel really could have squeezed both guys for a *lot* more free work. Wesley was hanging around- desperate for good things to do and for friends. Gunn was pretty used to living on no-salary and was willing to pitch in if Angel asked for his help. When you consider how many employers squeeze unpaid interns and try to get non-paid hours of labor and keep dangling that elusive paying job to just squeeze even more unpaid labor, Angel was very ahead of the curve.

2. Angel was Big Time Heroic by refusing to chop off Fred's head in the middle of that crowded Pylean square and escaping with Fred. Complete with a shiny white steed. However, this list is about the small interpersonal stuff and I do love Angel following Fred after she ran off with the "handsome man, saved me from the monsters" to check up on her and how she's doing. Angel could have taken an attitude that he saved Fred from the mob but she's clearly nuts and he needs to find his friends to make sure they're OK so they can get back home. However, Angel saw that Fred was insane with pain and made it a point to check up on her and give her some peace of mind in her cave.

3. Angel giving Cordelia money to enjoy herself with Groo at a resort in Couplet is like the opposite of dick. It's a classical example of "Times Angel WAS NOT a dick".

4. I think Angel has too many dickish moments to Wesley, Buffy, and poorly advised methods of dealing with Faith in Five by Five/Sanctuary for me to lionize Angel for his conduct there. However, I do give full Non-Dick props for visiting Faith in prison in Judgment and any other time that he visited her. It would have easy to just consider his work done in getting Faith to take responsibility and relinquish her dangerous impact on society. However, Angel took the time to follow through and be there for Faith. (Although given that Faith didn't even know about Connor's existence or Fred in Salvage before Wesley told her about them, Angel's visits and calls apparently really dropped off. Way to be someone's evil-addiction sponsor! Yeah, I'm supposed to come to praise Angel- but I actually come to get digs in because I can't stop myself...)

5. I think Angel is delightful through Doppelgangland. Once he saw the henchavamps start taking over the Bronze, Angel could gone all Cock of the Walk to fight them. However, he calmly brain-stormed with Oz showing rare caution and rare respect to a non-Buffy and Giles Scooby. I like that he immediately followed Oz's instruction to get Buffy when Vamp Willow appeared. His grief over Willow "dying" felt real. Yes, he has big time self-interest in lying that a vampire is NOTHING like the soulled person that was- but I think that Angel was partly trying to look as different as possible from Angelus to Buffy and partly trying to be polite and comforting to Buffy and Willow.

Man, that was hard. Maybe I should have just gone for the big "Angel kicked a bad guy and that helped stuff!" moments.

Angel could have acted like a dick given his MO and the tempting reasons to be dick but he DIDN'T and that's the miraculous things. AND THE OIL THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO ONLY LAST FOR ONE DAY LASTED FOR EIGHT DAYS AND HENCE, CHANUKAH!

ahahaha!

I mostly agree except for (4). IMO he got a lot more out of going to see Faith than it cost him, since her hero-worship of him is lower-maintenance than anyone's. That dynamic squicks me so much it's just immediate dick points. To a lesser extent that's the thing with Fred, though Pylea was a much scarier and time-sensitive thing so I do give him points for that.

Hmm, I don't know if I'd put it that Faith's hero-worship is lower maintenance than anyone else's. I'm talking about their relationship pre-comics here. Maybe it's the least complicated because Angel and Faith are important to each other but they don't really *deal* with each other all that much. However, Angel is an actively destructive assholic vampire in Buffy's, Wesley's, Fred's, Lorne's, even Willow's and Cordy's life- and they keep up hero worshiping Angel. At least, Angel steered Faith right and then, was just low-grade helpful instead of actively destructive a lot of the time.

I do agree that Angel got more out seeing Faith than it cost him. Still, even though Faith adores Angel and Angel basks in that, I do think that Angel did try with Faith because he'd like to help her. He did invite risk and pain in Sanctuary (taking the fall as an accessory to Faith's crime which could have landed him in a sunny cell come morning, angering Buffy which he had to apologize for in The Yoko Factor) long before he knew that Faith would be such a stalwart admirer/successful project of his. Since I do think a substantial part of Angel wanted to help Faith for Faith's sake, I try not to tax him too much for enjoying the fact a beautiful, charismatic, *vampire slayer* who used to hate everyone considers Angelus, Scourge of Europe as her moral compass and shining beacon of redemption. It would be a heady experience for anyone- Faith's passions are just that vibrant and moth-to-a-flamesque.

Man, that was hard. Maybe I should have just gone for the big "Angel kicked a bad guy and that helped stuff!" moments.

Nah, this is a good list! I think little, low-stakes moments can be as (or sometimes, more) telling about who a character really is as what they do when Big Damn Hero Time comes around. Especially in a show like AtS, where we see a fair amount of their mundane (for some value of the word that applies in the Whedonverse) day-to-day in between mytharc and MotW.

Thank you! Yeah, I wanted to pick small moments to hew to the "dick/not a dick prompt" prompt that I was given since I do think that being a dick or not being a dick is about the small stuff. Plus, the big moments in the Buffyverse have been discussed to death.

However, it was challenging! Angel is a fighter, a liver of big mytharcs and MoTW's rather than someone is usually considerate or charitable in the small ways. Angel v. Anne Steele. However, I hope my list shows that something Angel really got it right!

I really like these, especially "Doppelgangland." I think his total deference to Oz once vamp!Willow enters is classy -- the calm acceptance that once Willow is involved, this is Oz' show and not his, is pretty classy, considering how little Oz and Angel interact and how secondary Oz and Oz' decisionmaking is within the gang's decisionmaking process. Not only does Angel's grief seem real, but he seems to recognize that Buffy's grief will be greater. Which, like, I know that is kind of to be expected, but it's cool that he is such a class act.

Like, to contrast this with "Consequences," Angel is big-time heroic in carrying on his own unprompted Batman investigation and saving Xander's life from Faith. Big-time heroic because this is all unprompted, and he gets no reward for it, and while he *should* save Xander from Faith once he stumbles upon the Faith/Xander tableau, it still is a big deal to pick a fight with one of the two people you know who can kill you to save a guy who hates your guts. And then he follows it up with his I think genuinely well-intentioned but dumb "you are just like meee!" routine, which I wouldn't consider dickish exactly, but is misjudged and shaped by Angel's own self-absorption. "Consequences" gives a general picture of how Angel operates -- he independently comes up with several unusually heroic actions and makes some unusual blunders in the process of carrying them out. Which makes "Doppelgangland," in which he doesn't drive the plot or do anything all that remarkable but is generally a helpful and supportive presence, seem all the cooler.

Edited at 2014-03-26 08:29 pm (UTC)

I agree with all of this. Except, I do think Angel was rewarded for Consequences a lot but quietly. IMO, Angel's daring rescue of Xander was the reason why Buffy put Angel in charge of talking to Faith and made herself...Faith's Clothes Fetcher. Angel wasn't even on the list of people in the running to redeem Faith before Angel successfully apprehended Faith. This was originally supposed to be a Buffy/Core Four mission. But Xander blundered and Angel saved Xander and apprehended Faith- so Angel got the headline, delicate, high stakes job of trying to get through to Faith. And Angel getting to write the story that he was close to redeeming Faith if not for Wesley bought Angel big social capital/upper-handedness with Buffy, Faith, and Wesley to varying amounts. I don't think Angel calculated all of this- but I do think that Angel focuses on Faith-related activities because redeeming Faith is a major feather in his cap.

I really like these, especially "Doppelgangland." I think his total deference to Oz once vamp!Willow enters is classy -- the calm acceptance that once Willow is involved, this is Oz' show and not his, is pretty classy, considering how little Oz and Angel interact and how secondary Oz and Oz' decisionmaking is within the gang's decisionmaking process. Not only does Angel's grief seem real, but he seems to recognize that Buffy's grief will be greater. Which, like, I know that is kind of to be expected, but it's cool that he is such a class act.

Agreed. I had considered putting Angel just listening to Willow in The Dark Age and submitting to engaging the Eygohn demon into his body. However, it was a little too big for the "small but nice gestures" aspect of this list. Still, it's another occasion where Angel listened to Willow who he rarely interacts with, who isn't a WARRIOR!CHAMPION with all of the gravitas therein because Angel had a laser-eye focus on just solving the problem for Buffy and he was going to go with research conclusions from Willow without posturing.

Angel has similar deference with Oz who isn't loaded with inner Scooby circle CHAMPION gravitas but who Angel does recognize who has the worth to contribute to the original "How to save the Bronze from the vamps" quandry and the emotional right to dictate Angel to get Buffy when the situation became about Willow.

Maybe it's too small to be notable but I also love that Angel hung back at a distance to tell Buffy that Willow's dead and he just comes out with it instead of pushing his way in to dramatically hold and kiss Buffy because Buffy NEEDS Angel's big manly comforting touch to take the news. It was painful for Angel but he just sucked it up to convey the horrible news without Bangel attention sucking PDA that Buffy may not want and that Giles/Xander don't need around their already shot, miserable mood about Willow.

(However as good as that body language is, it doesn't compare to one of my favorite SMG body language choices in the series- Buffy CONSTANTLY touching and beaming at Willow all misty-eyed through the entire scene as the conversation lurches from informing Angel to learning that the Bronze is infested with vampires to Buffy getting her idea to have Willow dress up as Vamp Willow. Because AWWWWWW!)

Excellent list and again, you're very insightful!


Gabrielle

Thank you! It was actually instructive to try to break out of the character-bashing a little. Although re-reading it, I still got bitchy digs in on Angel when maybe I should have left well enough alone on a list designed to praise him.

Psaw. If I'm not offended, no one else should be. We can't help how we feel. Plus: Your journal, your rules.


Gabrielle

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