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March 01 2009

(SPOILER) New Kelley Armstrong Interview. Kelley Armstrong answers Buffyfest's and other fans' questions about Angel: Aftermath. Spoilers for Issue #1.

Nice interview

I'm very unhappy though about Cordelia's return even a fairly...restricted return.

This is becoming a bad joke now.It's just too much.Way to much IMO now since I didn't agree with the return in ATF #12/13 even though it was handled fine.

I suppose I should wait to find out what a fairly,"...restricted return" means but considering I think it was a bad move in ATF,this doesen't give me any confidence since I feel it was a mistake the first time.A second time just compounds the same mistake over IMO.

A lot of good questions were asked and it was nice getting her insight.I asked about the line that caused so much discussion in the issue 18 thread.Looks like Buffyfest was going to ask about it anyway.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2009-03-01 02:47 ]
I think her answer is only going to exacerbate the discussion, honestly. And I agree with you about dead characters' returns as a rule, although I'll reserve judgment about Cordelia until I see how she's used here.

[ edited by Enisy on 2009-03-01 02:46 ]
Her answer to the,"redeemed my past" is probably not going to satisfy everyone,I agree.But atleast the question was asked and she gave her opinion.So we know where her thinking is with the line now.

I still go with my reading of the line,that it's just the idea that Angel is focusing on the here and now of just trying to help people rather than worrying about some form of cosmic redemption.

I think it really brings Angel back to where he was at the end of the Beige Angel arc of season 2.Not worrying about achieving redemption,just helping people to help.

As for Cordy,I'm trying to reserve judgment but it's hard since I disagree with what was done in ATF #12/13 so much.This just makes it worse to me.

Flashback is fine or a visual nod that someone is thinking about her but anything else,another post death return, I have a problem with.Even more so now after ATF #12/13

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2009-03-01 03:02 ]
If Cordy can come back again, maybe Wes can too?
I enjoyed reading KA's thoughts here, while she isn't Brian, she may end up being o.k.
Let's bring Doyle back too, just for kicks. The interview really turned me off to Aftermath. If she thinks Angel has redeemed himself, that will reflect in her writing. I'm a bit confused too.

There are a lot of memories at the Hyperion and Angel isn't ready to deal with that.

If he has redeemed himself, he'd certainly be able to deal with a return to the Hyperion, especially after all the time he spent at W&H and Hell-A. I can understand wanting a fresh start, but I don't agree with a church as a thematic choice.
I think Angel's been redeemed for some time, same goes for a lot of characters. Honestly, why would anyone want an unredeemable Angel? How much more can he honestly do before he's redeemed? If he's not redeemed than he's going to Hell as Angel states in 'Hellbound' and I'm sorry but Angel does not deserve hell. He’s no Pavayne or Holland Manners and to think he’d “deserve” to go to Hell along with the likes of them is really depressing and really sad for a character who’s been fighting evil for years now.

If Angel hasn’t redeemed himself then I’d honestly say redemption is impossible to have because someone really can’t do much more than what Angel has done. I’m gonna have a little faith and think otherwise. If Angel's going to hell and is unredeemable so is Spike, Wes, arguably Gunn and Willow and man that's just painful.

There's a difference between Angel still feeling guilty and Angel being redeemed and I think the two coexist and have done so for quite some time now. I believe through his actions Angel has made an "amends" but it doesn't mean he's ever going to stop feeling bad for the bad things he has done, which is far more important IMO.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2009-03-01 06:10 ]
If he's not redeemed than he's going to Hell as Angel states in 'Hellbound' and I'm sorry but Angel does not deserve hell.

I use a different interpretation of "redeemed." For me, it has to do with remembering. If Angel is redeemed, I think he will forget that people suffer. If he forgets that people suffer, he won't have a reason to fight the good fight. I think the reason he has been so determined to help people is because he has been on both sides of suffering. When Kelley Armstrong talks about fresh starts, it makes me worry she wants to perform a memory wipe on Angel.

I do have a question. If he isn't redeemed and he goes to hell, where would he go if he is redeemed?

This is my favorite speech by Angel and is how I have always interpreted his actions:
"It doesn't mean anything, in the greater scheme, the big picture. Nothing we do matters. There's no grand plan, no big win. If there's no great, glorious end to all this; if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do. 'Cause that's all there is, what we do. Now. Today. I fought for so long for redemption, for a reward, finally, just to beat the other guy; but, I never got it. Not all of it. All I want to do is help. I want to help because I don't think people should suffer as they do, because if there's no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world."
They have Angel in a church ?

Interesting that the show never really explored Angel's (or Liam's, if you like) Catholic roots. I mean yeah he was a drunk who, by 18th Century standards, was probably a bit of a rebel. May not've been all that religious, or was ambivalent about it. Angelus wouldn't have cared I guess (or would've seen God/goodness as an adversary to be beaten or simply ignored). What would ensouled Angel's perspective be ?

Based on what cricketer quoted and from the character's overall arc in general, it seemed Angel had an open mind and while he may not have been an atheist ('cause you can still believe that nothing matters except what we choose to care about/do something about, in Angel's world he may simply be coming at it from a "the Powers That Be and Senior Partners are gonna fuck with our paths regardless, but we can still try"), he definitely didn't seem to subscribe to any particular belief. Darla tried the whole, "God doesn't want you!...but I still do" thing on him, but it didn't seem to faze him.

I was going somewhere with this, but someone's been talking at me on MSN for the past few minutes while I've been slowly writing it and I've lost my train of thought. Oh well.
A Cricketer, that's my favourite Angel speech too, probably one of the most moving monologues ever. I love the idea of Angel living in a Church. On the issue of whether he has redeemed himself, I think he has finally realised that brooding over what he's done won't help him: 'A man isn't measured by the mistakes he's made, he's measured by what he does about them'. Being Angel, he's never going to stop feeling remorseful, but he has decided to move forward and concentrate on helping people and the knowledge of doing good will be in his eyes, redemption in itself. The question is whether TPTB will give him his Shanshu as a reward and that raises the question of whether his helping-the-helpless will stop. Of course it won't: human or vampire, Angel truly believes in helping people 'I want to help because I don't think people should suffer as they do...'. and it would be like saying that that's where he draws a line at atoning for over a hundred years of unspeakable evil, and how can you really determine where that is? - every soul is unique and priceless. I think even if Angel had killed only one person, he would never stop trying to make up for it.

I'm going to reserve judgement about Cordelia's return too. I'd love to see Doyle again - that may fit in nicely because the arc is more like Season 1 and Doyle was the one who really put him on his true path, but I'm not too keen on the idea of Cordelia coming back again.

[ edited by Shep on 2009-03-01 13:33 ]

[ edited by Shep on 2009-03-01 23:11 ]
Joss quote about redemption:

Joss Whedon: With Buffy, I needed closure, because she, poor girl, had earned it. Buffy is about growing up. Angel is really about already having grown up, dealing with what you've done, and redemption. Redemption is something you fight for every day, so I wanted him to go out fighting. People kept calling it a cliffhanger. I was like, "Are you mad, sir? Don't you see that that is the final statement?" And then they would say "Shut up."

Or how about that Orpheus quote that Emmie has been posting in these threads...

Angel: I used to think that. That there'd be a point when I'd paid my dues.
...
Faith: I did my time.
Angel: Our time is never up, Faith. We pay for everything.
Good interview

I really enjoyed the 1st issue. I like the set up and what seems to be the future.

I'm not bothered about the redemption line. Angel is not responsible for the crimes of Angelus. Never was.He knows that, he has comes to terms with that. He got beyond that...he just wants to help people.
Angel is not responsible for the crimes of Angelus. Never was.He knows that, he has comes to terms with that.

Yes, he is responsible. I believe that was the whole basis of the series: that he is responsible, and that's why he's fighting for redemption.
I'd have to disagree with you there.

I think the point is that Angel isn't responsible but he believes he is because the demon still resides in him. When Angel has memories of committing those crimes he remembers feeling the thrill of it as the souless Angelus. That's what makes him feel guilty; the soul and the demon share the same body so Angel sees and feels everything from his point of view. He may have a soul, but he knows that demon that makes him a vampire is essentially evil and so has the potential to do great evil which is what he hates about being a vampire.

Having a soul means Angel continually has to fight that internal battle between doing good and controlling the demon, and giving in to his innate vampiric nature.

A soul doesn't necessarily make you a good person, it's what you choose to do with it. A soul can easily be corrupted and that was shown time and time again throughout the series.
wow, that was the best/most simple description of the soul vs. demon (Angel vs. Angelus) debate I think I've ever heard, Shep. Good one, it makes sense and solves a lot of problems.
Ya Shep - mirrors my thinking exactly. He wasn't there when Angelus commited his crimes, since the demon is still within him there is the possibilty he could do evil.


Im sorry Invisible Green but please explain to me how Angel is responisble for all the atrocities commited when he didnt have a soul.
Shep, I disagree with what you said. Angel isn't the only one with a soul and a demon. Doyle, Cordelia and Lorne are examples of characters with souls and demon blood. The best example of a human with an internal demon is Faith. I always thought everyone had an angel and a demon inside of them. When the demon gets out, the angel tries to atone. Doyle told Angel in the very first episode, "We all got something to atone for." So it's my understanding that the battle isn't between the soul and the demon. The battle is between the angel and the demon. The soul exists because of the battle.

Joss makes this hard on us because in Angel, he always wrote in shades of gray, but Angel and Angelus are black and white.

[ edited by a cricketer on 2009-03-01 19:59 ]
huh? Angel's a vampire. He had an actual bad soulless demon residing inside of his dead body. His human soul now residing inside of his vampire body and he remembers all of the demon's horrific crimes...and the curse. It's completely different from Cordy, Lorne and Doyle.

There is actually no character like Angel in the Whedonverse. Even Spike is different - no curse.

[ edited by DeathIsYourGift on 2009-03-01 21:39 ]
I know what you mean Cricketer. It's true, everyone does have a demon inside i.e.the potential do evil, that's why I said a soul doesn't necessarily make you a good person and that it can be corrupted, even Angel came close to darkness while he still had a soul in Season 2.

However, I was talking more about the particular physical demon that takes over the body when a person becomes a vampire. The nature of the demon just makes Angel's ability to be evil even worse because it's something he can't truly get rid of until he becomes human or he dies. The soul, being what gives a someone a conscience and allows him to feel remorse is what helps Angel control his vampiric urges. Of course every soul is unique and a person with a soul can change for better or worse: Angel, as Liam, was a thieving, drinking, man-slut but the actions of Angelus had such a profound impact on Angel when he regained his soul, that it changed him. Whilst Angel possesses a human soul (I believe every soul starts off pretty grey) and everything that has happened to him has shaped him and made him stronger making his soul mostly good.

Angel's body contains the evil demon which wants to rip people's heads off, maim, torture and/or drain them, and a largely good soul which makes Angel a good man but he has to keep fighting off the demon's urges.

So I'd say the soul is made stronger by not only the physical internal triumphs against the demon, but by everything that has hppened to him.

(I'm not sure if I've strayed off the point here or indeed made any sense but meh..)
I think Angel's been redeemed for some time, same goes for a lot of characters. Honestly, why would anyone want an unredeemable Angel? How much more can he honestly do before he's redeemed?

As Enisy quoted with Whedon, redemption isn't a prize to be fought for finally but a way of life, forever fighting, forever constant. When redemption is looked at as a reward or a sure thing (keeping score in Judgment in Season 2), this is when Angel loses sight of the true mission of helping people. Atonement isn't something that you reach your quota for and you're done. No matter how many lives you save, that will never redeem aka buy back the lives you ended. There isn't a cosmic scorecard. Angel fights forever to be redeemed because he has an inner darkness inside him, an even more insidious evil than Spike, so he must remind himself of past wrongs and the need to help others in order to toe that fine line.

The main theme of AtS was that redemption was never something to be handed to you like a trophy. It's not meant to be achieved. Redemption is the driving motivation of the show. Whenever redemption was treated like a trophy (Judgment, Destiny) it showed how far off the path Angel had fallen. And I still wonder where does Angel get the arrogance to proclaim himself redeemed? By what arrogant authority does he absolve himself from all past sins? I am honestly baffled by the reaction of happiness that Angel is redeemed, thereby feels himself free from blame and guilt over past wrongs. I think Angel should feel bad about murdering Drogyn (one of his more recent crimes).

Sanctuary 1x19

Faith: "So, how does this - work?"
Angel: "There is no real simple answer to that. - I won't lie to you and tell you that it'll be easy - because it won't be. - Just because you've decided to change doesn't mean that the world is ready for you to. - The truth is - no matter how much you suffer, no matter how many good deeds you do to try to make up for the past - you may never balance out the cosmic scale. - The only thing I can promise you is that you'll probably be haunted - and may be for the rest of your life."

Maybe Angel should give Faith a call and tell her to get over it already. Faith and Giles are still working to make up for their pasts in NFFY. But apparently sacrificing yourself in Hell-A when you know the odds are that you'll be saved by W&H's interest in you is enough to ensure that you're now fully redeemed. Strange how Angel told Faith she couldn't just give up her life in Orpheus and that she had to keep fighting, yet it's a similar situation we have here. Faith wanted to give her life in order to save Angel. Angel gave his life to save the people of Hell-A (while knowing that the odds were high that it wasn't a real sacrifice of death, unlike Faith). Yet Angel tells Faith that's not enough to acquire redemption. That she has to keep fighting for redemption and that they never fully get to pay their dues. Yet now we have a redeemed Angel in Aftermath.

The line I cling to in this interview is when Armstrong says Angel is perhaps "paying lip service" to the notion of actually being redeemed. That he's been convinced by all the acclaim from 11 million LA'ers that he truly is their savior squared and thus, must be fully redeemed. Like Divas getting a god complex from all their screaming fans.
Emmie when do you believe his redemption and his guilt have to go hand in hand? He can be redeemed and still feel guilt for the things he’s done? He’ll always be paying one way or another for he things he did without a soul but why are his evil deeds measurable but his good deeds immeasurable?

There’s no written rule that because Angel believes he’s been redeemed that he won’t still feel guilty about his past crimes. There’s a dichotomy between redemption and guilt. He feels that he’s earned the right to be redeemed through his actions, that he’s earned something better than hell and isn’t he most certainly right?

It’s arrogance on Angel’s part to think he’s redeemed but it’s not arrogance on anyone else’s part to decide that for him?

Angel thinks he’s been redeemed but what about ‘Aftermath’ made you think he’s stopping helping people? Nothing indicates such as such so I’m not sure where all these complaints are coming from? From what I’ve seen Angel is still fighting, doing his part.

You're getting ahead of yourself, claiming that he no longer feels guilt or responsibility for his past, that he feels he's done ect. You have nothing in the text to support that.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2009-03-02 00:39 ]
His whole point to Faith in the episode Orpheus (which is arguably one of the most confusing eps of them all when it comes to Angel's soul) was that you never stop fighting. Angel didn't insinuate he was going to stop fighting anywhere in this issue.

Besides Angel doesn't seem too broken up about what happened regarding Angelus in the very next episode after Orpheus:

FRED
Angel, you can't feel guilty for anything Angelus did.

ANGEL
I know. I knew the risks. We all did.
Vampmogs, my understanding of the definition of redemption is it's the act of being redeemed. In this sense redeemed means to be free of blame or guilt, free of the consequences of past sins i.e. guilt.

It's one thing to not let these worries stop you from fighting (like Angel post-Orpheus as Deathisyourgift quoted), but it's another to completely disavow yourself from your past actions and believe through your own judgment that your scorecard has been put into the plus column - there is no scorecard. Would Faith say she were redeemed after Chosen? The key here is how the character views his or her self.

And the concept of redemption in the ANGEL 'verse is linked metaphorically with the fight going on for ever. They are inextricably linked, going hand in hand. That conversation in Orpheus links never stopping the fight with Angel's realization that he will never fully pay his dues (i.e. be fully redeemed). But the act of doing the right thing and being penitent for your past is where redemption lies. Yet it is something that must continue always, always fight for it.

And to be clear, I don't equate being fully redeemed with whether that person is a truly good person with good intentions. But disavowing yourself from the responsibilities of your past isn't redemption. Or in another way of viewing it, it isn't forgiveness. That's forgetting. Forgiveness is about penitence and there are some crimes committed that should haunt you for the rest of your life, should weigh on you. Murder is one of them. Murdering a truly good person, that should haunt you for a very long time. And just because you save another life doesn't bring back the life you viciously ended. Nothing can ever bring that life back. Should Angel not feel guilt for killing Drogyn? That is where I draw the line in my judgment. Redemption means freedom from the guilt, blame and consequences of past sins - considering that in LA time Drogyn has only been dead for a very short amount of time. I haven't seen anything to justify Angel being redeemed from murdering Drogyn nor in making his friend Lorne become a backstabbing murderer by killing Lindsey. Saving one life doesn't mean that you're forgiven for taking another life. That means serial killers who were firefighters shouldn't be prosecuted because they save as many lives as they take.
I've been staying out of this debate, but I had to join in because of this comment:

"making his friend Lorne become a backstabbing murderer by killing Lindsey."

Angel didn't force Lorne to do this by holding a gun to his head. Yes, Angel asked, but Lorne made his own decision at that point to do what was necessary. And, Lindsey was a BAD GUY.

I'd also like to point out that nowhere is it said in that issue or in the interview that Angel is going to sit back and enjoy his un-life because all is forgiven. Armstrong said that she thinks Angel is redeemed but that what Angel thinks is another matter. She has a right to think one thing as a fan of the character and another as the writer. I think this has been blown way out of proportion considering we have another few issues to go before we should pounce on the character of Angel or the writer. I really wish people would give this a chance before any judgment is given. If at the end of Aftermath, Angel is sipping margaritas while the world goes to crap, then maybe a debate should be had.
I think it is a topic worth debating; it gets at the very core of who Angel is.

ANGEL: Why me?
DOYLE: Because you've got potential. And the balance sheet isn't exactly in your favor.

Even if there is a cosmic balance sheet, I agree with Emmie, there are some things Angel just can't take back, forget or feel better about, e.g., leaving Judy and the rest of the guests at the Hyperion, killing Drogyn, or even asking Lorne to shoot Lindsey. Those are all recent examples. I'm fairly certain Doyle was implying everything he did as Angelus was on his balance sheet as well.

Debate is always good. It generates interest and, hopefully, translates into sales so Angel can live on for awhile longer.
I got the feeling from the series and finale that Angel was beyond caring about his own personal redemption and was more about fighting the good fight for others because he had his eyes opened and was capable and willing to stop evil, even for just a moment, even if it meant sealing the deal on his damnation for eternity. Hence, how he signs away the Shanshu prophesy without blinking an eye.

I'm sure the character cares about himself and wants to believe he can move beyond what he has done but I also believe deep down Angel knows that he is cosmically screwed and wants to end things by leaving a positive influence, which like all great tragedies is very sad and very compelling.
It's my understanding that both the hitman and the person who ordered the hit are guilty of murder in cases like what happened to Lindsey. And it's also my understanding that under the law, the goodness or lack thereof of the victim has no bearing on the nature of the crime. In this case, there was a cold-blooded decision to execute Lindsey which was carried out.

Angel has done many good things. But if we translated this to real life, Angel would be subject to life in prison or the death penalty for having committed murder in the first degree. As would Lorne.

This issue was completely bypassed in AtF (which explictly dismissed it by saying that Lorne got his groove back). I'm sorry, I want to be able to root for Angel. But in order to do so these dark deeds need to be confronted and dealt with as a part of the story. It's not even like Lindsey's execution was the only dark spot on Angel's record if we confine ourselves to just season five. And Angel having let himself get killed when he (a) had lost everything he cared about and (b) fully expected to be resurrected and his son restored to him does not constitute "paying" the debt, especially when its done against a backdrop where those dark deeds aren't taken seriously by the text.

And I don't know how to connect with a story that wants to pretend that dark deeds are somehow OK because _______ (fill in any of the many rationalizations that have been offered by Angel's fans about why his dark acts really aren't dark). I'd rather watch the story of the guy who has potential for tremendous good, but who continues to do battle with his own darkness -- and that, of course, requires acknowledging that it's there and living with it every day -- as he told Faith, and Gunn. What I can't do is buy into a story where we are supposed to pretend that murder doesn't matter if it's done by a guy people prefer to think of as a straight-up hero. Real heroism in my book is being accountable for everything. Unless the dark matter of NFA gets addressed as dark matter, Angel isn't going to even get a chance to be that sort of hero. That's not his fault. It's the fault of the writers.
Vampmogs, my understanding of the definition of redemption is it's the act of being redeemed. In this sense redeemed means to be free of blame or guilt, free of the consequences of past sins i.e. guilt.

Which according to you Angel will never and can never have. So the main theme of Ats here is that his fight for redemption, any talk of redemption, any character he’s inspired to seek redemption in the end will result in nothingness. These characters can’t be redeemed, won’t be redeemed, can’t be forgiven and will never go to that happy shinny place in the sky. Sorry Angel, Faith, Spike, Wes, Gunn, Willow.. You’ve got no hope.

IMO you’re definition of redemption doesn’t seem to jibe with the stories idea of redemption. Because Armstrong states she believes Angel’s been redeemed but it hasn’t stop Angel from helping people and nothing in the text suggests he has no guilt either.

It's one thing to not let these worries stop you from fighting (like Angel post-Orpheus as Deathisyourgift quoted), but it's another to completely disavow yourself from your past actions and believe through your own judgment that your scorecard has been put into the plus column - there is no scorecard.

But there has to be? By you stating “saving this life doesn’t bring back this life taken” you’re making all of his past crimes measured but are saying all of the good things he’s done can and not and will not absolve those crimes. You hold his bad actions to higher standards than his good actions and have a scorecard for all the horrible things he’s done, just not for any of the good things.

And the concept of redemption in the ANGEL 'verse is linked metaphorically with the fight going on for ever. They are inextricably linked, going hand in hand. That conversation in Orpheus links never stopping the fight with Angel's realization that he will never fully pay his dues (i.e. be fully redeemed). But the act of doing the right thing and being penitent for your past is where redemption lies. Yet it is something that must continue always, always fight for it.

And he’s still fighting… It doesn’t really matter if he believes he’s been redeemed or if he hasn’t.. he still fights. Spike says he doesn’t “give a piss about atonement” and yet he fights evil, are you saying until he does give a toss about atonement he’ll never be redeemed?

That's forgetting. Forgiveness is about penitence and there are some crimes committed that should haunt you for the rest of your life, should weigh on you. Murder is one of them. Murdering a truly good person, that should haunt you for a very long time.

And what evidence do you have to suggest this no longer applies to Angel, that he doesn’t feel this? Just because he’s made an “amends” doesn’t mean he suddenly no longer is haunted by his past crimes, it just means he’s believed that he’s done enough good that he’s now ok with himself and ready to move on and fight for another reason.

Should Angel not feel guilt for killing Drogyn? That is where I draw the line in my judgment.

Angel didn’t kill Drogyn out of malice, he killed Drogyn because if he didn’t they’d have both been killed. Either way Drogyn dies, all Angel could prevent was wether or not he died with him. It obviously ate him up inside but I don’t think he should feel “guilty” about it. He did what he had to do to survive in a situation where there was no other escape or hope for Drogyn, no alternative.

nor in making his friend Lorne become a backstabbing murderer by killing Lindsey.

He didn’t “make” Lorne do anything, and are we forgetting that Lindsey was a bad guy? That Angel was killing him to prevent him from hurting others or Angel, just like Giles did to Ben in ‘The Gift.’
Mogs, my definition of redemption is the Merriam-Webster's dictionary definition of redemption. And it is AtS that treats Angel as never being redeemed in the near future, that the fight is forever ongoing - that's why NFA was the perfect ending. It contained the metaphor of the constant battle between good and evil in the world and within Angel himself (the soul vs. the demon). And the text in Aftermath that suggests Angel isn't feeling guilt or responsibility is that very line of "I've redeemed my past."

As for Drogyn, are you arguing that Angel was morally right to murder Drogyn in order to save himself? Murdering his friend in order to continue his fight? What if Spike and Lorne's fears they'd expressed later on in NFA had come true and it had been Wes/Lorne/Spike/Gunn in that room with the hood over their head and their body beaten by the Circle? And they demanded Angel snap his "friend's" neck? Would you still be arguing that Angel was morally right to do murder his friend in his mission to take down the Circle of the Black Thorn? Yes, I understand that Angel had to get his hands dirty in order to win the fight, but the key here is that he *did* get his hands and soul dirty. Any way you cut it, Angel doesn't come out of murdering Drogyn with a clean slate. And that's what redemption is - a clean slate where all past sins are forgiven and the weight of those responsibilities are lifted.

These dark tendencies are what make Angel a Byronic hero rather than a straight-up hero. Makes him Batman vs. Superman. For Angel to think he's redeemed his past screams out to me like the most OOC line I've read in a very long time, running counter to the thematic heart of AtS. Again, I cling to the line Armstrong wrote that Angely was paying "lipservice" to that idea and that Armstrong is telling us the story of Angel becoming disillusioned by all his screaming LA fans. That this is why we see him disconnected from humanity - he feels no obligation towards them because he's arrogantly proclaimed himself redeemed and can no longer identify when there's a real need for his assistance. I'm hoping that the PTB's involvement in this 5-issue series will be the needed wake-up call/kick in the pants to get Angel's attitude back on track.

It's one thing for the fans to feel Angel has been redeemed. That's arguable but understandable. When Angel himself says this, warning bells should start ringing. Because Angel has said time and again that redemption is not something he feels he's ever going to "pay [his] dues" on completely. What's more, Angel has always viewed redemption as something that will be given to him from an outside source - be it love from Buffy (that she could love and trust him leading in part to perfect happiness), acceptance and love from friends, the birth of his son (the metaphorical Shanshu for some fans) or from the on-high PTB. For Angel himself, his character is always hardest on himself. So for him to make this judgment for himself requires a significant shift in his feelings about his responsibilities towards his past and the world. The line stands out like a ginormously sore thumb. What remains to be seen is whether it's actually relevant to Angel's story progression in Aftermath.

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