On Angel

The Path of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce

By Amy Berner

Funny thing about black and white: You mix it together and
you get gray. And it doesn’t matter how much white you try
and put back in, you’re never gonna get anything but gray.

–Lilah, “Habeas Corpses” (A4-8)

The last third of the final season of Angel was jam-packed with major plot happenings. Character deaths, new arrivals and, oh yes, the requisite Last Stand. Amidst all this, there was another event that you’d think might have received a little more attention: In “Shells” (A5-16), Wesley stabbed Gunn in the gut. Calmly. Without a glimmer of remorse.

And yet, nobody was really all that surprised about this, were they? I wasn’t. Momentarily shocked and saddened, yes, but not truly surprised. Taking a step back, I have to wonder why that is. Why weren’t we surprised? Shouldn’t we have been? How is it that a character can be that brutal to a former friend and comrade-in-arms without a huge outcry from fans? The wound intentionally wasn’t fatal, but that fact doesn’t explain this silence away completely.

A part of this is certainly our anger at Gunn. He made an incredibly poor judgment call in order to get his legal knowledge reinstalled, one that led to the death of the woman Wesley loved. Actions have consequences. If they didn’t . . . well, it wouldn’t be a Joss Whedon show, would it? This has always been one of the main tenets of his work. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, free  …

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