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.
- Top Five Moments Where Angel WASN'T A Dick