BUFFYVERSE

The Theme of Forgiveness in Whedonland

POSTED BY: DIETCOKE
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 26, 2005 22:38
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VIEWED: 2558
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Tuesday, April 26, 2005 5:18 AM

DIETCOKE


I was just thinking about all the things that various characters do, i.e. kill people, become super evil, leave people at the alter, use people for purely selfish reasons, steal their children, and of course offer up crew members to the Alliance....and yet no matter what, they are forgiven enough to comeback into the group. (That was really a run-on sentence wasn't it?)

On the other hand, you have Giles who really never forgave Angel for killing his girlfriend and torturing him for hours. Everytime Angel called Giles for help you could always feel the tension....

So, what do you think Whedon is trying to say about forgiveness?



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Tuesday, April 26, 2005 5:36 AM

MANWITHPEZ

Important people don't do field work.


Offhand, I think forgiveness in Whedonland is a highly conditional and subjective thing. Mal keeps Jayne around knowing that someday he's probably going to try and screw him over. Its just that he's been able to manage it so far.

Giles dopes Buffy for the episode Helpless, and he is forgiven. Buffy seems to pick and choose who or why she forgives. She can't seem to forgive Faith for using her (Buffy's) body to sleep with Riley, but takes her in season 7 out of necessity. She has a problem with Angel and Faith's interaction when Faith thought Angel was Angelus in season 3, and can't seem to completely forgive Angel. Anya killed very possible thousands of people in her time on earth, but she is allowed into the fold, and don't get me started on Spike.

For me, the least sensible showing of nonforgiveness was when the Scoobies, led by Giles refuse to help Angel when Fred is dying because they still work at Wolfram and Hart! I couldn't believe what I was hearing, and I certainly couldn't understand it. Then of course, Wes's unbelievably strange stabbing of Gunn. Of course, it just seemed that way to me. It seemed that Gunn had to work harder for forgiveness. He did, and that was a fact. Wes didn't after he stole Connor, to me, as a father, a much less forgivable crime. It saddened me to see Angel's reaction to what Wes had done, even knowing why, but I could understand it.

Then again, this one requires some thought. Who knows...Give me some time!

Kaylee: "What's so damn important about being proper? It don't mean nothing out here in the black."
Simon: "It means more out here. It's all I have..."

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005 5:38 AM

MANWITHPEZ

Important people don't do field work.


Offhand, I think forgiveness in Whedonland is a highly conditional and subjective thing. Mal keeps Jayne around knowing that someday he's probably going to try and screw him over. Its just that he's been able to manage it so far.

Giles dopes Buffy for the episode Helpless, and he is forgiven. Buffy seems to pick and choose who or why she forgives. She can't seem to forgive Faith for using her (Buffy's) body to sleep with Riley, but takes her in season 7 out of necessity. She has a problem with Angel and Faith's interaction when Faith thought Angel was Angelus in season 3, and can't seem to completely forgive Angel. Anya killed very possible thousands of people in her time on earth, but she is allowed into the fold, and don't get me started on Spike. And, let's not forget Willow. She SKINNED a man alive. Sure, he might have deserved it, but still...SKINNED! And, then she tried to destroy the world. Came closer than damn near anybody on the show. Welcomed back with open arms...She's Will, after all.

For me, the least sensible showing of nonforgiveness was when the Scoobies, led by Giles refuse to help Angel when Fred is dying because they still work at Wolfram and Hart! I couldn't believe what I was hearing, and I certainly couldn't understand it. Then of course, Wes's unbelievably strange stabbing of Gunn. Of course, it just seemed that way to me. It seemed that Gunn had to work harder for forgiveness. He did, and that was a fact. Wes didn't after he stole Connor, to me, as a father, a much less forgivable crime. It saddened me to see Angel's reaction to what Wes had done, even knowing why, but I could understand it.

Then again, this one requires some thought. Who knows...Give me some time!

Kaylee: "What's so damn important about being proper? It don't mean nothing out here in the black."
Simon: "It means more out here. It's all I have..."

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005 5:41 AM

MANWITHPEZ

Important people don't do field work.


Aw crap! Double post...that was supposed to be an edit! I added new stuff about Willow, but I still need time to think about this one. Watching season 3 of Buffy will help, I think. Which is what I'm doing with now.

Kaylee: "What's so damn important about being proper? It don't mean nothing out here in the black."
Simon: "It means more out here. It's all I have..."

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005 6:06 AM

CARTAGIA


If you take Wesley and Gun's cases and put them side by side, there is a difference in the motivations. Wes, at the time, thought that he was doing the right thing. Turns out he was wrong, but all of the evidence pointed that Angel was gonna kill Conner. Wes thought that he was saving him.

Gun, on the other hand, seemed more motivated by personal gain. He couldn't stand going back to being the thug again, and so he made the devil's bargain. He KNEW someone was going to pay the price for his knowledge. He just thought it was gonna be some nameless, faceless person.

Plus, there was the fact that stabbing Wes was kinda pointless. He had already gotten his throat slashed. Plus, I would imagine that it's hard to stay mad at a guy who saved you from a watery tomb after you've been down there for 3 months or so. Angel did try to stay mad at him, even after that... but he kept needing him.

Simon: I've never shot anyone before.

Book: I was there, son. I'm fair sure you haven't shot anyone yet.


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Tuesday, April 26, 2005 6:14 AM

DIETCOKE


Quote:

Originally posted by manwithpez:
Offhand, I think forgiveness in Whedonland is a highly conditional and subjective thing. Mal keeps Jayne around knowing that someday he's probably going to try and screw him over. Its just that he's been able to manage it so far.

Giles dopes Buffy for the episode Helpless, and he is forgiven. Buffy seems to pick and choose who or why she forgives. She can't seem to forgive Faith for using her (Buffy's) body to sleep with Riley, but takes her in season 7 out of necessity. She has a problem with Angel and Faith's interaction when Faith thought Angel was Angelus in season 3, and can't seem to completely forgive Angel. Anya killed very possible thousands of people in her time on earth, but she is allowed into the fold, and don't get me started on Spike.

For me, the least sensible showing of nonforgiveness was when the Scoobies, led by Giles refuse to help Angel when Fred is dying because they still work at Wolfram and Hart! I couldn't believe what I was hearing, and I certainly couldn't understand it. Then of course, Wes's unbelievably strange stabbing of Gunn. Of course, it just seemed that way to me. It seemed that Gunn had to work harder for forgiveness. He did, and that was a fact. Wes didn't after he stole Connor, to me, as a father, a much less forgivable crime. It saddened me to see Angel's reaction to what Wes had done, even knowing why, but I could understand it.

Then again, this one requires some thought. Who knows...Give me some time!

Kaylee: "What's so damn important about being proper? It don't mean nothing out here in the black."
Simon: "It means more out here. It's all I have..."



Great ideas! Wes stabbing Gunn really took me by surprise. But Angel tried to kill him out of grief so it makes sense. More often then not, people who are abused, abuse others.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005 6:15 AM

DIETCOKE


And please DO give us your take on Spike. Go ahead....let me get you started!

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005 6:46 AM

ODDNESS2HER


I'm reminded of Giles' remark that you don't forgive people because they deserve it, but because they need it. It's an act of compassion that says more about the forgiver than the forgived.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005 6:52 AM

MANWITHPEZ

Important people don't do field work.


All right...Spike:

My attitude towards Spike would have to align itself with Xander's most of the time. Xander seemed to be grounded more in reality than the rest of the team. He was always cautious of Spike most of the time, and most of the time he ever "got physical" with Spike (while chipped) was anger and impulsiveness coming out in him. Much like when he found out that Spike and Anya were doing the deed in the Magic Shop. But (as stated) he never forgot what Spike was. He was always cautious of Angel, but that spoke more to jealousy than anything else, I think.

Spike, until season 7, is a vampire as vampire's are usually presented in Buffy...but a little more dangerous. He's killed 2 slayers in the past, and not very sorry about it. Along with Darla, Angelus and Drusilla, he cut a swath through Europe and Asia, killing indiscriminately. Two factors kept him from killing Buffy for the time that he was able to do it. Buffy's friends, and his inability to stay patient and see his plans through. He's seen doing this in both Buffy (School Hard) and Angel (In The Dark ((an excellent episode, I think))) The second he thinks his chip is no longer functioning in season 6, he goes out to try and kill someone. While he begged for forgiveness from his past deeds from Buffy, he was never, ever really sorry about anything he had done. I think this shows itself the most in season 7, when Wood tries to kill him. Wood plays the hypnotic song for Spike, not to try to get him to attack, but, much like Connor and Angel, wanted to see Spike's true face. I think Wood was more than justified in trying to kill Spike, as I feel Giles was justified in trying to assist him. Spike lets Wood live, but injured, and threatens to kill him if he tries again. Spike killed Wood's mother!

Does Spike redeem himself? Yes, I think, but for the wrong reasons. I don't think he played his role in destroying the ubervamps unselfishly. He did it for Buffy. He knew he was probably going to die, but how many times has he stated that that was how he wanted to die. Not ratting out Dawn was another step. Also for Buffy, though. I also don't think Buffy ever really forgives Spike for the things he's done, and that's a fact. She sleeps with him continuosly because he's the only one that can drive her from apathy, given the character she had displayed during the show's run to that point, I think that might have been the thing that hurt her the most. Buffy was always vivacious, full of zest for life and looking forward to its choices and where they would take her (even if it did seem to overwhelm her from time to time.) After she came back in season 6, that was missing from her, and she took up with Spike to feel anything...even pain or hurt.

After Spike tries to rape Buffy, and don't forget that's exactly what he was doing...I never could understand why they let him back...soul or not. Individuals with souls are capable of great evil, even he didn't live up to it just yet (he would eventually, even if he was subborned into it) didn't mean he wasn't going to eventually. Should Spike have been a Scooby? I don't think so...even if I can understand them needing him around for the muscle. Personally, I think Riley (a character I never really cared for) should have killed Spike when he had the chance...Whether Spike could have been redeemed (Like I said, I think he was, but for the wrong reasons) or not.

Kaylee: "What's so damn important about being proper? It don't mean nothing out here in the black."
Simon: "It means more out here. It's all I have..."

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005 7:09 AM

SICKDUDE


Besides forgiveness, there's also the related concept of turning former enemies into allies. And Joss does this all the time. The only other creator that does this much of it (that I can think of) is Akira Toriyama of Dragonball fame. Makes me wonder if Joss watched Dragonball, especially after Andrew compares himself to Vegetta. Anyone else ever wonder this?


"Don't say 'ka' until you've tried it." Daniel Jackson

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005 7:32 AM

SHINY


I would describe it more as redemption -- these characters have to *earn* their friends' (and the viewer's!) forgiveness.

Jayne, your mouth is talkin. Might want to look into that.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005 7:45 AM

MANWITHPEZ

Important people don't do field work.


SHINY! I just got the signature under your name. I bought Wonderfalls last night, and when I heard William Sadler say that last night, I couldn't stop laughing. My wife rolled her eyes when I told her where I'd seen it before!

Kaylee: "What's so damn important about being proper? It don't mean nothing out here in the black."
Simon: "It means more out here. It's all I have..."

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005 9:07 AM

SHINY


Yeah, I love that quote, especially since I'm a geek and "parse" has a specific meaning in computer science...

Jayne, your mouth is talkin. Might want to look into that.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005 9:36 AM

MANWITHPEZ

Important people don't do field work.


Angel...now redemption's his catchword!

Liam gets bitten one night in Galway, Ireland, and starting with a gravedigger, begins his massacre of the whole village, ending with his father. That's not enough for our darling boy, though, is it? He tears through half the known world, killing indiscriminately and referring to himself later as the biggest mass murderer Gunn has ever met.

Of course, he has a soul shoved in him, making him a contradiction among vampires. He took genuine pleasure (or rather, the demon that inhabited his body) in killing, torturing and maiming whole countries until his conscience is restored. What we know of Liam is that he wasn't a bad guy when we first meet him. Sure, he's got an overbearing father, and he's a shiftless layabout who would rather drink and whore than work, but not an evil man at all. For 150 years after becoming a vampire, he kills hundreds, if not thousands of people. His soul restored, he begins to feel the pain that a good person at finding out something truly horrible that they've done. Afterwards, he carries out a strange existence, reteaming with Darla and killing only evildoers. This doesn't sit well with Darla, and she tries to get him to sup on a baby...which he rescues. Eventually, he comes to America, where one would presume he stops feeding on humans altogether. He drinks human blood through 1952, as we are shown, and once, in the 70's, feeds on a dead diner worker. This fills him with such guilt that he begins to feed on rats and live in the gutters. He becomes completely detached from humanity until sometime in 1995 where, a balancing demon named Whistler shows up, takes him to California, and shows him a beautiful Slayer named Buffy. Angel decides to learn from Whistler and rejoins humanity with some nifty clothes and new mission to assist the Slayer.

His curse actually works against him, one of its parameters being if he feels perfect happiness (As in an orgasm with the woman he loves) then his soul is released again, and he becomes Angelus, scource to good. He kills indisciminately again, and feels no remorse for it. Until Willow works her first real spell and restores his soul yet again. Just in time for him to be sent to hell. Since we know that hell dimensions time works different from ours, he postulates that he may have been there a hundred years or more, but is returned for reasons he can't fathom. With Buffy's help, he regains his lost humanity, and begins his mission anew. Since he can't see a future with Buffy, and wants her to find happiness (even if its not with him) he leaves, to continue hs mission in LA.

Angel works all the harder as protector of the people from evil while in LA. And, for the most part, is quite successful. Will he ever find the redemption he so deperately wants...We don't know...The show ended before we got to that point. All signs point to yes, more than likely, as he has given more and more of himself to the greater good...He's given some of his friends along the way, but, hey...greater good.

So, will he ever find redemption. My answer is probably not. I don't think he will ever be able to balance the scales. I don't think he's meant to. Hey, I'm rooting for the guy, but look at all the bad he did as Angelus. All the stuff Angelus did that Angel can never put right.

Anyway...two very long cents on Angel/Angelus...sorry for the nonbrevity.

Kaylee: "What's so damn important about being proper? It don't mean nothing out here in the black."
Simon: "It means more out here. It's all I have..."

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005 10:38 PM

EMMA


Here's a question:

If Whedon is an atheist why does he use Christian concepts as main themes: forgiveness, redemption and salvation?

Also, Spike's soul is good. Liam was essentially a waste of humanity and it makes little difference whether Angel has his soul or not - in my view Angel is rotten to the core and only just manages to stay on the grey side of white sometimes - even when working for the greater good he is rotten (S5 Angel is testimony to that).

Spike, however was a lovely human and it makes sense that as a vampire with a soul he should also be lovely - hence the difference between Spike pre and post S6 and the need for forgiveness and his total redemption (unlike the Angel character).



I really should get me a signature

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