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3x16: "Sleep Tight"
Review by Ryan Bovay (Ryan-R.B.)
Posted on June 23, 2007
Writer: David Greenwalt | Director: Terrence O Hara | Air Date: 03/04/2002

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Spoiler Warning!
This is a retrospective review and may contain spoilers from anywhere in the series. Read at your own peril.
Review

The word 'tragedy,' like almost every other word in the English language, has become over-used to the point of being devalued these days. Anything from the loss of the family pet to a school shooting is solemnly referred to by news media as a 'tragedy,' it seems. Since I'm a staunch relativist it'd be fairly hypocritical of me to go on a tirade about impregnable meaning, yet 'tragedy' remains a word which, to me, holds a lot of power when used in its originally intended context. This meaning is also the context I personally believe it should most closely be associated with as well. Tragedy: A person coming to ruin as a result of their own flaws.

An unfortunate accident in which a steam-roller crushes someone as they pick a penny up off the ground is certainly a sad thing, but it is not a tragedy. Not by this definition. However, if this person failed to notice the steam-roller's approach because of their obsession with shiny objects, it would fit the bill. With "Sleep Tight," co-creator of the show David Greenwalt has created a true tragedy in the most epic, Shakespearian sense. Wesley Wyndam-Pryce's exodus from Angel Investigations and the shake up that follows it is so powerful, dramatic and important that it's a shame that the episode isn't better overall. The events that unfold here change the series in a way on par with "To Shanshu in LA" [1x22] or "Epiphany" [2x16].

After this, things are never the same. Ever. Like I said in my review of "Couplet" [3x14], AtS is a show divided into three acts, and this is the start of the third, which I lovingly label 'the pain era.' And while it doesn't thematically re-define the philosophy of the show like "Deep Down" [4x01] will at the start of next season, the paths it puts everyone on are critical in getting us to that place. In addition to that, this is unarguably one of entire series' most effectively dramatic episodes. There are many smarter, better, a few more important and a bunch more powerful, but there's very few more heartbreaking.

We begin like we did last episode with the focus on the Nyazian prophecy: "The father will kill the son." Wesley has only gotten more worried and rough with however much time has passed, and fate and the world, whatever else you may call them, have him convinced that it's only a matter of time until Angel tries to kill his infant son. As we later find out, this is a false prophecy concocted by time traveling demon Sahjahn, who hopes to push Wesley to action against baby Connor by making him see the prophecy as true through expectance of its fulfillment. I discussed at length in my review of "Loyalty" [3x15] what this is: a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Such a thing leads to the expectance of certain events and motivates people to act based on the future they anticipate. As such, a prophecy like this can come true by at least some interpretation because people can only act as they do; Wesley is Wesley, and can act like no one else. And down the road his decision leads to a long chain of events that do indeed see Connor (presumably) killed by Angel in "Home" [4x22] as part of a blood ritual, before assuming a new 'life.'

An action like that is without doubt one of selflessness, even though it may constitute a betrayal. One day down the road Angel will take a knife to his son's throat, a terrible burden for any decent person to bear, let alone a parent, to save his life the only way he knows how. And that's Wesley's dilemma. What makes it so powerful to watch is that Angel Investigations is the only family he's ever really known. They may squabble, fracture and hurt one another, but what family doesn't? They've grown together and had an impact on each other's lives for the better, something we know Wesley's own biological family couldn't do with him because of his father's soul-crushingly high standards.

Though he finds himself jealous of Gunn, pained by the sight of Fred and terrified by the presence of Angel, Wesley loves these people and knows that they love him as well. And yet he's ready to sacrifice all of this for an infant incapable of such affection. Why? Well, as I noted in "Loyalty" [3x15] and as far back as "Somnambulist" [1x11], Wesley's hero complex – his tragic flaw – leads him to believe that such a burden can't and shouldn't be burdened by anyone else but the one who must act. Beyond that, he simply believes it's the right thing to do. By betraying his own family Wes believes that he will spare Angel from inevitably doing the same as foretold by the prophecy.

Given the power of his internal conflict, he knows how terrible this would be and his actions seem noble in that light. But they're tainted by his unwillingness to involve anyone else in saving the child. Either he doesn't trust them or believes that they wouldn't trust him, and that distance, as well as having lost Fred to Gunn, puts him over the edge to take the final step. In a strong parallel to Holtz, Wesley places the abstract ideal over basic human dignity, and though he claims not to, lies to himself by thinking his actions are at all just. After having 'seen' the signs foretelling Angel's actions in "Loyalty" [3x15] he could act no other way. For he's Wesley.

So then it almost feels like providence when he, so staunchly himself, collides with the fates of Holtz and Justine, who use different parts of their personalities to manipulate him. Neither of them lie; Justine about what Holtz really wants and Holtz about what Wes feels bound to do. But in a show about the means over the ends, it's brilliant that truth becomes the greatest tool of betrayal. When Wesley steals Connor he says nothing in falsehood to Angel, and actually reveals himself to Lorne in a way. Watching horror overcome each one of these characters as they realize the true depth of the situation's context makes for a sequence of affecting emotional moments.

Watching Wesley in quiet anguish as he leaves his life forever is heartbreaking in its quiet introspection. No doubt he knows Angel will one day be coming for blood. But of course, this is the Whedonverse, and it doesn't take that long for everything to go wrong. Justine slitting his throat is the one of the most dramatically cathartic moments of the series, and as a plot point it is probably the most definitive short of Angel's elevator ride in "Reprise" [2x15]. No words can do justice its power; suffice to say that if you've seen it, you've shed a tear and/or taken a quiet minute to absorb the shock. We leave Wes at rock bottom; he'll never play the 'hero' again.

And then there's Angel who's an innocent victim in all of this. Prodigiously Lilah tells him everything she's about when she says "it's all about making the rest of your eternal life miserable." More damning truth. And coming from the only personwho actually lies in the episode. Lilah's been around for awhile but this is the first insight we've gotten into her since "Untouched" [2x04]: she lives a lie and enjoys the hell out of being that person. As someone who's hidden behind an image for much of his life (see my review of "Guise Will Be Guise" [2x06]) Angel understands and even spares her because of this, even though she tried to change him by spiking his blood.

In contrast to everyone else in the episode, his motivation is simple: his son. What's good for Connor comes first. Lilah, Sahjahn, Holtz and Wesley all have varying ideas of justice, heroism and necessity. The first two act for unapologetically selfish goals, while the latter two deceive themselves. Angel is simply interested in the welfare of the baby. Though his blood 'comedowns' reveal a frustrated and violent edge to him, it's nothing we haven't seen before ("Reunion" [2x10]). What's different now is that Angel knows that violence is a natural part of him like any human being, and he can control it. Which he does. He goes so far as to deprive himself of holding his son.

And when the confluence of events that have built throughout the episode finally come together for the last stand outside the Quor'toth portal, Angel is willing to hand over the child to his sworn enemy rather than see him harmed. Holtz even makes him beg for it and he does so without hesitation. These heart-wrenching final moments are what make the episode's case for a perfect score so attractive, despite the fact that there's not enough intellectual material or enough high-stakes development in the first half. Nonetheless, we end on a note of raw pain and tragedy as Angel and Justine are left without their reasons to live, Lilah without her ass covered and Sahjahn with his mission at last accomplished.

Angel lying amongst heaps of wreckage and fire is truly an iconic moment. All of these qualities add up to the quintessential S3 episode: its focus on the characters, tension and emotion, despite a lack of deep thematic exploration when compared to the greats of S1 or S2. But that doesn't matter when you sit down and watch. This is a skillfully constructed piece of character work – and a classically effective tragedy – that is used to peak the story to amazing dramatic heights. I only lament the lack of a perfect score because with just a little more, it really could've gotten there.

Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)
+Fred and Gunn on California vs Texas.
+Angel's funny blood 'highs.' Love the flying nun ramble.
+Holtz offering Wesley a bite of apple.
+Angel being too scared of himself to hold the baby.
+Lilah being able to 'sense' Angel.
+Sahjahn. In general. This guy is always funny.
Foreshadowing
  • Angel's first action after learning Connor has disappeared is to torture one of Holtz's men to find out who is responsible. In "Forgiving" [3x17], with Connor gone, Angel focuses heavily on punishing the guilty, abandoning any hope of rescuing his son.
95/100A
N/A

DEPTH
N/A

EMOTION
N/A

CHARACTER
N/A

PLOT
Quotes
WESLEY:Glad to see you're using the company phones for such important calls.
GUNN:(defiant) Did you want me to pay for that?
ANGEL:Chain em up!
FRED:What?
ANGEL:I say we put a chain and a combination lock on the weapons. Better safe than sorry!

WESLEY:You're here in Holtz' army - ready to kill others, die for the cause. You must have lost someone very important to you.
JUSTINE:That's none of your business.
HOLTZ:Her twin sister Julia was murdered by vampires.
WESLEY:You lost family. I'm sorry. Angel and the people I work with are my family - and when I say I don't want to see anyone to get hurt...(he grabs Justine and puts a knife to her throat) …I mostly mean them.

LILAH:It's a survival thing. I made a lot of devil's bargains and I stuck to them. As a result, I live somewhat dangerously, and quite comfortably. My mother, who no longer recognizes me, has the best room at the clinic. I get up every morning, put on my game face and do what I have to.
ANGEL:Thing about a game face, Lilah, you wear it long enough, it stops being something you can put on and take off.
LILAH:Wow. We've spent so much time and money on you. You're so pivotal to the coming cataclysm, that I sometimes forget how dense you can be. The game face - the one I worked so hard to get - I became that years ago. Just like you've become simpering and good from yours. You're the new poster boy for human. Thank you very much. I don't want it.

ANGEL:(to Sahjahn) So, why do you wanna kill me?
LILAH:He wouldn't tell me either. Not that I need a reason. I was just curious. (to Sahjahn) Did he boink your demon bride? Eat your mother? (Looks from Sahjhan to Angel) You really don't know who he is.
SAHJAHN:You will pay?
ANGEL:(nonchalant) For what?

COMMANDO:(about Angel) Should we do something about...
LILAH:Yes, we should. (takes a long look at Angel) We should let him suffer.


Comments (30)
All Comments | Link1 | buffyholicMar 11, 2008
Wow, this is truly painful and my heart goes out to Angel and Wesley too. It´s amazing how each of them have their own secret agenda. One of the best episodes of this season.
All Comments | Link2 | Plain SimpleJul 31, 2008
^What is Angel's secret agenda? I think it's out in the open, just like Ryan says in his review: he wants to take care of his son.
All Comments | Link3 | BenOct 24, 2008
Love this episode so much.
All Comments | Link4 | cxMay 20, 2009
All I felt when Justine slit his throat was joy, and sadness that he would be dead so Angel couldn't torture him some before killing Wes himself.

In my opinion this is the worst episode of all Angel. Wes's character motivations and completely out of character and arbitrary. It reminds me of fan fiction where the fan changes the characters nature in order to make some impossible situation happen.

How many prophesy's have Angel and co. broken or gotten around before? And even if true... How many episodes before this was it that Wes himself was talking about killing the child because he might be evil? Did he consider that Angel might have good reason for killing it?

And how much worse even is contacting Holtz?!? Making a deal with him? Somehow expecting him to keep his word?!?!? You have a problem, so you go to your worst possible enemy for help? Lilah would have been more trustworthy. Or ANYONE else who wished him and Angel harm. Anyone not motivated by vengeance.

It's just bad writing is what it is. Completely out of character. Unrealistic. Poor plotting. And to top it all off Wes doesn't stay dead! At least we could have had the satisfaction of seeing him die and stay dead for his attack of terminal stupidity. But no. He lives.

And what was he trying to accomplish? Angel had more than 200 years experience tracking people down. Magic is pretty strong in the Buffy universe. There must be a spell for finding people. Or a demon. Or artifact. In season 4 Angel got a artifact that would show Cordy even though she was in another dimension. And of course Angel wouldn't stop until he found Wes and Connor. So what did Wes hope to accomplish?

Bad writing. Just bad.
All Comments | Link5 | cxMay 20, 2009
All I felt when Justine slit his throat was joy, and sadness that he would be dead so Angel couldn't torture him some before killing Wes himself.

In my opinion this is the worst episode of all Angel. Wes's character motivations and completely out of character and arbitrary. It reminds me of fan fiction where the fan changes the characters nature in order to make some impossible situation happen.

How many prophesy's have Angel and co. broken or gotten around before? And even if true... How many episodes before this was it that Wes himself was talking about killing the child because he might be evil? Did he consider that Angel might have good reason for killing it?

And how much worse even is contacting Holtz?!? Making a deal with him? Somehow expecting him to keep his word?!?!? You have a problem, so you go to your worst possible enemy for help? Lilah would have been more trustworthy. Or ANYONE else who wished him and Angel harm. Anyone not motivated by vengeance.

It's just bad writing is what it is. Completely out of character. Unrealistic. Poor plotting. And to top it all off Wes doesn't stay dead! At least we could have had the satisfaction of seeing him die and stay dead for his attack of terminal stupidity. But no. He lives.

And what was he trying to accomplish? Angel had more than 200 years experience tracking people down. Magic is pretty strong in the Buffy universe. There must be a spell for finding people. Or a demon. Or artifact. In season 4 Angel got a artifact that would show Cordy even though she was in another dimension. And of course Angel wouldn't stop until he found Wes and Connor. So what did Wes hope to accomplish?

Bad writing. Just bad.
All Comments | Link6 | Nathan.TaurusFeb 4, 2010 @ 4:57pm
This is one of my favourite episodes of the season and there aren't too many of those this season.
The scene that really made it for me was when Wesley was trying to sooth Connor and he starts singing a lullaby and then realises and looks over at Lorne who just stares at him. Similar to the episode 'Lullaby' when Lorne realises what Holtz is about to do by singing a tune.
Justine (I really don't like her) slits Wesleys throat and c'mon, he doesn't want revenge!

CX: I can see some of the points you are making, but I'm pretty sure there are many, many other episodes this season and throughout the series that are worse than this.
All Comments | Link7 | JoeFeb 19, 2010 @ 10:45am
CX: it would have been bad if it just happened out of nowhere, but, as Ryan's reviews demonstrate, Wesley's isolation from the group has been coming for quite some time now--and a lot of the prophecies that he's read and found have come true, so he's got no reason to believe this one won't. And while I can understand some of the irrationality of going to Holtz for help, he originally went to him to avoid bloodshed between the two groups, and in some ways was forced into giving him Connor to avoid any of his friends' deaths. I think you're oversimplifying by saying it was "out of character" for Wesley to do what he did. It wasn't as though he just woke up and thought, "Hey, I think I'll avoid this whole prophecy thing by taking Connor to Holtz! That'll do it!" He clearly agonized over it for quite some time.

And if you think about it, the prophecy does, in a way, come true--Angel "kills" Connor in "Home," by destroying his real memory and creating a new one. And the prophecy that Connor would kill Sahjann comes true as well. Which prophecies has Wesley ever encountered that have not come true? I only ask because your evidence that he's acting out of character is that these prophecies haven't come to pass and he shouldn't believe this one will (even though the giant hamburger tells him it will).
All Comments | Link8 | WulvaineSep 19, 2010 @ 12:11am
My one problem with this episode is that I just don't buy for a second that Angel can't smell Connor's blood in the pig's blood, no matter how small the amount. Maybe that's just a nitpick, but he's a VAMPIRE. And it's his KID's blood.
All Comments | Link9 | yourdancerdollSep 25, 2010 @ 2:02am
When Lorne reads Wes, you would think he would have figured out about the prophesy...
All Comments | Link10 | CoyoteBuffyFanSep 6, 2011 @ 6:09pm
Nathan.Taurus -- I am re-watching this episode right now and I totally agree with you. This episode is great and the scene when Wesley starts seeing and then realizes what he has done as he meets Lorne's stare is excellent. That scene is one of my favorites in the whole series.
All Comments | Link11 | CoyoteBuffyFanSep 6, 2011 @ 6:10pm
"singing" not "seeing".
All Comments | Link12 | KeatonOct 4, 2011 @ 1:27pm
I swear I didn't see this and the last episode before making the comment about self-fulfilling prophecies in the comments to the ballet episode review and the comment about the prophecy not being clear about the relationship between father and son below the "Couplet" review.
I didn't actually see it coming, but I had suspicions, which makes the impact these last 2 episodes have on me not that great. It's same old same old, a topic dealt with in nearly every SciFi show I have ever seen. But to be fair it was seldom done this well (SciFi shows rarely are more than entertaining trash). Holtz is a great villain and him stealing Connor, leaving Angel in pure despair, that creates so much tension that it's nearly unbearable. Even the Lilah dialogue wasn't that bad (she is still a onedimensional psychopath bitch and W&H still don't have any real purpose besides being the usual cartoonish "evil", don't misunderstand me here)
Wesley is a fool though. Of course he has to discuss it at least with Fred, Gunn, Cordy and maybe Lorne, or at least with one of them. But to make a decision like that purely on his own? Something must have went very wrong in his childhood.
And he is rather stupid to not think about the semantics of that simple sentence "The father kills the son." more.
I bet the father is Holtz and the son is Connor and that talking burger demon didn't seem trustworthy to me. (Where exactly did Wesley get the info on that thing? Some wizard... And?)
But I guess I was just a misconception on my part to think that that caricature of Giles would be smarter than I thought.
I still like him somehow so please don't die, Wesley ... idiot. ;)
All Comments | Link13 | KeatonOct 4, 2011 @ 1:39pm
And I second everything cx wrote (especially that prophecies in the Buffyverse are never inevitable), but I still liked the episode. As I said, deep down inside me I always thought that Wes was an idiot so I don't mind. ;)
And I don't care about canon anyway so some plot hole arguments are just wasted on me.
All Comments | Link14 | KeatonOct 4, 2011 @ 2:05pm
Ok, correction, I don't agree on everything cxy wrote.
Wesley never wanted to give the baby to Holtz. It would be insane to give Angel's son to the guy whose only remaining purpose in live is to make Angel suffer as much as he can (for example by turning his son into a vampire). Even Wes isn't THAT stupid.
No, these scenes with him and Holtz might be pointless because if he was smarter he would know that there is nothing to negotiate about with that guy. But that really was all Wesley wanted there, to negotiate some kind of armistice.
All Comments | Link15 | KeatonOct 4, 2011 @ 2:09pm
Oops, cx didn't even write that, that was just Joe reading something in his comment that wasn't there. ^^
Ok then, so I indeed agree with everything cx wrote, I just make different conclusions. *gg*
All Comments | Link16 | KeatonOct 5, 2011 @ 11:44am
one last thing:
"As we later find out, this is a false prophecy concocted by time traveling demon Sahjahn, who hopes to push Wesley to action against baby Connor by making him see the prophecy as true through expectance of its fulfillment. I discussed at length in my review of "Loyalty" [3x15] what this is: a self-fulfilling prophecy."
WTF?
That false prophecy doesn't try to push anyone to action against Connor! If anything it moves to action against Angel of course.
And therefore it clearly isn't what one would call a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And I don't really understand this phrase: "making him see the prophecy as true through expectance of its fulfillment".
Sounds like saying the same thing twice to me...

What I meant with the self-fulfilling prophecy was an entirely different thing, I truly believed that the prophecy was true (didn't read the review, commented on the episode) and that Wesley just misinterpreted it. Then it would become a self-fulfilling prophecy because Wesley would have taken Angels son away and given him to Holtz unintentionally, so he would have given the son (Angel's son) to the father (Holtz, taking revenge for his children's death).
All Comments | Link17 | MikeJer | CREATOR/WRITEROct 5, 2011 @ 12:36pm
Keaton, please keep in mind that these reviews are retrospective and take future events in the series into account. What may not make sense now to you could very well make a whole lot more sense later. I'm not saying all your complaints here will be resolved, but what's happening in these episodes spills over into a lot of what's to come. This prophecy is not forgotten about.
All Comments | Link18 | KeatonOct 5, 2011 @ 12:41pm
I mean I understand the reasoning:
Sahjahn wants to kill Connor, Angel protects Connor, so Sahjahn has to separate them first, ergo he plants that false prophecy. But he doesn't really care about how Connor is killed, he gives that job to W&H and he even gives them free hand on how to do it (feeding Connor's blood to Angel was their idea, not Sahjahn's).
That false prophecy was never meant to fulfil itself, Sahjahn just didn't think this far (why should he, all he wants is Connor dead, no matter by which means)
And it didn't fulfill itself, Connor wasn't killed by Angel or Holtz. Sahjahn's plan, whatever it was, did work out somehow, he seems to be rid of Connor atm. But in no way that was a self-fulfilling prophecy, it's just convoluted (Bogus prophecies, meh! Sahjahn can travel through time and space btw, so he could try it over and over again. ^^) and disappointing storytelling, nothing more.
All Comments | Link19 | KeatonOct 5, 2011 @ 1:08pm
"he gives that job to W&H and he even gives them free hand on how to do it (feeding Connor's blood to Angel was their idea, not Sahjahn's)"
Sry, I was wrong there, it was Sahjahn's plan, they just put it into action.
So maybe he really wanted it to become a self-fulfilling prophecy (Angel killing Connor after tasting his blood) so he would have something to laugh about, it just didn't work out. Then plan B was to just separate the two (Angel might even give Connor away himself if he notices that blood craving before it's too late) and let someone else do the job. Only problem there: It is far too easy for Angel to find the source of this blood craving. So then Sahjahn would accomplish the opposite thing he wanted, Angel would protect his son even more. Well, it's a mess anyway.
In front of the portal at the end of this episode he didn't care about it though, he just wanted the child dead, no matter how.
All Comments | Link20 | KeatonOct 5, 2011 @ 1:34pm
@mike: "This prophecy is not forgotten about."

Sure? That would be nice of course.
But to make it self-fulfilling would still require Connor to die.
...
We'll see.
But to be honest I don't even care that much about this prophecy, just had some problems to wrap my head around these last few episodes (convoluted mess imo) so I could decide what to think about them. The best way for me to do that is either to talk about it (can't, don't know anyone who watched that show) or write about it and read it again to see if what I wrote makes any sense (sry, hope I don't spam too much in your comments). ;)
All Comments | Link21 | MikeJer | CREATOR/WRITEROct 5, 2011 @ 2:36pm
Ideally it would be nice if you could collect your thoughts into fewer comments as to not scare away other people from commenting, but it's not too big of a deal.

As for the prophecy, it will make some amount of sense later on the show. I wouldn't get too worked up over it. :)

Again, these reviews are intended for an audience that has already seen the entire show, per the disclaimer at the top of every review.
All Comments | Link22 | KeatonOct 5, 2011 @ 3:28pm
"Ideally it would be nice if you could collect your thoughts into fewer comments as to not scare away other people from commenting"
Will definitely do that, sry again. :)

about the intended audience:
I know, but I want to read the reviews and the comments on the episodes as long as the memory is still fresh. I don't intend to watch Angel a second time, so maybe this whole retrospective perspective (*gg*, say that ten times) requires more dedication than I can invest. And since both Alex and you wrote that many of the points I made might not seem as valid anymore when you have that perspective I probably should stop commenting that much...

Nah, but I will avoid the comment spamming, I promise.
All Comments | Link23 | AlexOct 6, 2011 @ 2:00pm
Keaton, I don't think anyone would suggest that your views aren't valid, or that you absolutely must watch the rest of the show before commenting. I actually think it's very cool to have someone on here commenting immediately after they've first seen the episode in question. I first watched Angel a long time ago, so it's hard for me to remember exactly how I felt when I first watched each episode. You offer a fresh, new perspective, showing us someone's immediate reaction, rather than that of someone who's watched the same thing dozens of times over the years. I think it's great!

However, as Mike says, because you're coming at it from that angle, you should perhaps be a little hesitant about being quite so... erm... 'vocal' when disagreeing with Ryan, or the other people commenting on the reviews. Particularly when it comes to something like a prophecy which is, by definition, referring to events in the future. By all means, say that you don't get it, or that you don't agree based on what you've seen so far. But perhaps save the 'WTF!'s until you've watched a bit further...

My main concern would be that you're opening yourself up to some pretty huge spoilers by reading these reviews when you haven't seen the rest of the show. Not all of the reviews contain major spoilers, but I'm reviewing one of the early episodes in Season 4 (Apocalypse, Nowish) and it would be impossible to examine that one properly without referring to some big things which happen later on. But as long as you don't mind the spoilers then please, read away!
All Comments | Link24 | OliverAug 14, 2012 @ 11:51am
"Tragedy: A person coming to ruin as a result of their own flaws."

Actually, that's hubris.
All Comments | Link25 | DaveNov 25, 2012 @ 12:23pm
Have to say that anyone who holds complete contempt for Wesley in this situation is a moron. Regardless of the method, anyone who has been watching can see he is trying to save the baby's life.
All Comments | Link26 | arkiandruskiNov 30, 2012 @ 9:58pm
Hubris is extreme pride. He got tragedy mostly right.
All Comments | Link27 | AnnaMar 10, 2015 @ 10:20am
The scene that made it for me was Wesley trying to smooth things over when Lorne walked in on him taking the baby, singing out of nervousness and the expression on Lorne's face when he realized what Wesley was doing. That scene was so well done it hurt. And Angel just falling to the ground after he realized Connor was gone was a gut punch.
All Comments | Link28 | FlyingPenguinApr 18, 2015 @ 9:54pm
I'll grant that there was precedent for expecting that Wesley might behave as he did in this episode (in other words, I won't argue that it was "out of character"), and I also agree that the whole "Dark Wesley" arc that this led to was very interesting. That said, though, I quite simply have zero empathy for Wes with respect to what he does here. Besides the fact that acting unilaterally without bringing anyone else in was inexcusable, and the point someone else made earlier in these comments about how very recently Wesley himself was talking about the possibility that Connor might turn out to be evil, there's just the total stupidity of taking extreme action to try to thwart a prophecy.

I mean, here's how I see it: Either you believe in prophecy (i.e. that what it foretells will inevitably come to pass), or you don't. In the former scenario, you should recognize that nothing that you do can possibly prevent the prophesized event from coming to pass; in the latter, the prophecy simply shouldn't concern you very much. Either way, then, acting otherwise than you would have if you'd never heard the prophecy, in an effort to thwart it, makes no sense.

Or, okay, say you believe that what prophecies predict is very likely to come to pass, but not actually inevitable. That seems silly to me from the get-go (either there's genuine magic/foreknowledge behind the prophecy or there isn't, right?), but putting that aside--what this basically would mean is that a prophecy is really no different from, say, someone simply voicing a concern to you ("hey, has it occurred to you that based on x and y, there's a danger that Angel might kill Connor?"). In other words, the obvious way to react is to consider: well, do I agree that x and y provide compelling reason to fear that this might happen? And since, in fact, there was no credible reason to see Angel as a threat to Connor...well, like I said: flaming paranoid stupidity, for which I have no sympathy.

I mean, even if you do believe both that the prophesy is likely enough to come true to warrant concern AND that it can potentially be prevented...don't you then have to think REALLY CAREFULLY about the potential consequences of any actions that you might take, and whether those actions seem more likely to prevent the prophecy or lead to its fulfillment? And since, again, there was no reason to think that Angel was going to kill Connor as things were, whereas kidnapping the kid would certainly enrage Angel, and could reasonably be expected to lead to all kinds of very unforeseeable consequences... Well, which seems the safer course: a unilateral kidnapping, or sharing the prophesy and your fears about it with the cleary very-concerned-for-Connor's-well-being Angel? I mean, come on.

Furthermore, Wesley's willingness to take extreme action like this based on nothing more concrete than fears about what Angel might do in the future (because, presumably, of the ever-present danger of the demon within him) sort of undermines his whole rationale for working with Angel in the first place. He could just as "validly" conclude that since Angel could potentially revert to Angelus at any time, the best thing to do would be to just stake him and be done with it.

Wesley is an inexcusable idiot. An interesting-to-watch-spiraling-down-into-darkness-after-betraying-his-friends inexcusable idiot, sure--but no less inexcusable or idiotic for that.
All Comments | Link29 | PathbeyondthedarkApr 18, 2015 @ 10:38pm
I agree. Even though I see the angle this review is going for and that Wesley is the type to misconstrue right from wrong, he's long since passed that with his blunder towards Faith. It feels like a reversion to me, a mostly contrived one.

But, I still love it. I'm biased. Wesley is the best thing this series had, and had this not happened, he might never have been.
All Comments | Link30 | FlyingPenguinApr 18, 2015 @ 11:19pm
I can't really entirely either love it or hate it. I would like the Wesley arc more if I could scare up any sympathy at all for his actions here--but on the other hand, I do feel like his betrayal was a pivotal piece of the story of the show, and just incredibly compellingly dramatic. But then again, as engaging as I found the whole Connor storyline to be up to this point, it really went to hell (pun intended), in my opinion, once Connor came back as a (really, really annoying) teenager--which makes it harder to argue that Wes's actions serviced the larger story in a valuable way. They took him to interesting places, but also sent the show down paths that I did not enjoy at all. And also, I'd have an easier time with Wesley's unforgivable choices if Fred, Gunn, and Lorne didn't all act as though what he did was understandable in the next episode (after they find out about the prophecy). Hell, even Angel claims to understand on some level why Wesley acted as he did, even though he immediately follows this by trying to kill Wesley. The latter was way out of line, of course, but expecting Angel to just "forgive" Wesley was insane...
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