In the tenth episode of the third season of Angel, Angel becomes a father. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.
We need to have a conversation about four things, and PLEASE take the time to read these four things before you read the review. It is crucial to your participation here at Mark Watches.
1) Do not ever threaten people offsite in my name.
It’s come to my attention that folks are taking it upon themselves to not only locate people who participated in the Great Spuffy Meltdown of 2012 (all my Internet dramas have catchy names), but to send them rape threats. It shouldn’t even need to be said, but DO NOT SEND PEOPLE RAPE THREATS ANYWHERE FOR ANY REASON! It especially shouldn’t need to be said that it is extremely fucked up to think that you are defending me or fighting rape culture by SENDING PEOPLE RAPE THREATS!!!!!! HOW THE FUCK IS THAT A THING IN YOUR BRAIN THAT YOU THINK IS TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE?
And even more generally, there’s this awful behavior on the Internet where people think that if someone famous or well known calls out or has harsh words with another person, that’s a cue for you, as a fan, to also jump into the conversation and start fighting or bullying that person. Seriously, take a second to think about that. If you saw me arguing with a person in the street and then I left, would you take it upon yourself to follow them home and keep yelling at them for something that wasn’t even done to you? No? THEN DON’T FUCKING DO THIS. You are not welcome in the conversation. It is between me and the person having it, THE END.
Here’s your one and only warning: If I find out any of you in this community seek out anyone for any reason and bully/harass/threaten them offsite, I will publicly ban and shame you. No exceptions for anyone. This seems like basic shit, but some blowhards can’t even comprehend this, so I feel responsible for saying it and spreading it to my community. Do. Not. Fucking. Do. This.
2) I have been intentionally spoiled by a very bitter Spike fan.
It sucks. I have never had to deal with being spoiled during the course of any project for Mark Does Stuff. Hell, three years is a pretty good run! But yesterday, someone sent an anonymous message to my Tumblr to spoil a HUGE future plotline. Now, I’m about to discuss it so that I can be transparent and open with y’all, since that is the point of this site, but it will be in rot13. If you are watching this show along with me, I will never talk about it outside of rot13, so you will not be spoiled.
Don’t cypher this if you haven’t seen beyond “Wrecked.”
Rirel gvzr V fgneg n arj fubj be obbx, V yvfg jung fcbvyref V unir npdhverq bire gur lrnef fb gung V pna or hcsebag nobhg jung V xabj tbvat vagb fbzrguvat. V qvq gung sbe Ohssl, naq V jnf ubarfg. V’q arire frra gur fubj, V qvqa’g unir sevraqf be ebbzzngrf jub jngpurq vg va zl cerfrapr, naq V oryvrirq gung V’q abg npdhverq nal xabjyrqtr nobhg Ohssl sebz bfzbfvf.
Va Znex Ernqf Rpyvcfr, V fcrag bar puncgre erivrj qvffrpgvat guvf gehyl njshy ivqrb nobhg ubj Rqjneq vf gur vqrny zna sbe nyy jbzra rireljurer. Nsgre vg jrag yvir, zl sevraq Nfuyl VZ’q zr gb gryy zr gung V zvffrq n fhcre vzcbegnag yvar va gur ivqrb jurer gur nhgube rvgure ersreraprq be vapyhqrq n dhbgr nobhg ubj gb orunir sebz Fcvxr. Gb fubj ubj yvggyr V xarj nobhg gur fubj, V vavgvnyyl fnvq gung NATRY unq fnvq vg, ohg fur pbeerpgrq zr naq vasbezrq zr gung vg jnf cebonoyl n onq vqrn gb gnxr nqivpr sebz n punenpgre jub nggrzcgrq gb encr n punenpgre ur ybirq.
Gung jnf va Abirzore bs 2009. V sbetbg gung zbzrag, juvpu ynfg ZNLOR gjb zvahgrf bs zl yvsr, nobhg n qnl yngre orpnhfr JUB SHPXVAT ERZRZOREF FUVG SEBZ ARNEYL GUERR LRNEF NTB. V qvq abg erpnyy gung V unq jevggra guvf. Ubjrire, gurer vf n tebhc bs crbcyr jub jrer PBAIVAPRQ gung V jnf ubyqvat bagb guvf fcbvyre FCRPVSVPNYYL gb whqtr Fcvxr jvgu, juvpu znxrf AB SHPXVAT FRAFR. V unir nyjnlf orra ubarfg nobhg fcbvyref. Qhevat Znex Ernqf Uneel Cbggre, V nqzvggrq gung V xarj FANCR XVYYF QHZOYRQBER evtug ng gur ortvaavat, naq gung’f fheryl n jbefr fcbvyre. Gurer vf ab orarsvg gb zr uvqvat guvf fcbvyre. Vg jbhyq unir freirq ab checbfr.
Fb lrfgreqnl, nzvqfg gur Terng Fchssl Zrygqbja bs 2012, fbzrbar checbfryl frag zr guvf fcbvyre, gryyvat zr gung V qb abg haqrefgnaq Fcvxr ng nyy orpnhfr V nz hasnveyl whqtvat uvz sbe n encr gung unfa’g unccrarq lrg. V nz gehgushyyl ng n pbzcyrgr ybff nf gb ubj n crefba fraqf zr n ubeevoyr npg bs gurve punenpgre nf n jnl gb trg zr gb SHYYL HAQREFGNAQ GURZ. Yvxr, JBHYQA’G LBH FCBVY ZR NOBHG UVZ QBVAT FBZRGUVAT NJRFBZR VAFGRNQ? QBRFA’G GUNG ZNXR ZBER FRAFR? Fb, qrfcvgr gelvat uneq gb xrrc fcbvyref ng onl, V abj xabj gung ng fbzr gvzr va gur shgher, Fcvxr jvyy nggrzcg gb encr Ohssl.
V’yy pbzzrag ba vg jura V trg gb vg orpnhfr V qba’g xabj nal bs gur qrgnvyf, ohg fhssvpr gb fnl V ungr gung V xabj guvf abj, naq V ungr gung fbzr cerffrq shpxvat sna jub pna’g qrny jvgu fbzrbar’f artngvir bcvavba BS BAR PUNENPGRE VA BAR RCVFBQR BS GUR FUBJ gubhtug guvf jnf n terng guvat gb qb. V nyernql xabj jub qvq vg, naq gurl unq orra onaarq cerivbhfyl, fb gurer’f abguvat V pna qb nobhg vg. V cebzvfr gb qb zl orfg gb or snve naq gel abg gb yrg n shgher rirag nssrpg ubj V ernq n punenpgre. Gur vebal va nyy guvf vf gung guvf crefba qvqa’g jnag zr gb hasnveyl whqtr Fcvxr sbe na nggrzcgrq encr, fb gurl FCBVYRQ ZR BA GUR IREL NGGRZCGRQ ENCR UR JVYY PBZZVG. zl tbq zl oenva uhegf sebz gur evqvphybhfarff.
As I said, if you don’t know this spoiler, you won’t know it. I will keep any talk of it behind rot13, but to be honest? I’m probably not going to talk about it.
3) Do not threaten me with really terribly-executed threats.
Last night, an apparent Spuffy fan (and I say apparent because I obviously don’t know who this person is, and it’s possible it’s some fartbutt who doesn’t even watch Buffy being terrible and creepy) sent me an anon message on Tumblr, telling me to “Stop bullying the spuffy fandom, since I can send shit to your house,” and included a Google Maps screenshot of my previous apartment in Oakland. Yes, it’s terribly creepy and unsettling, but I just have to laugh at it because you are shit at being a stalker. You can’t even get my address right!
Anyway, I turned anon off on my Tumblr, and I refuse to let these assholes ruin Tumblr, this site, or Buffy for me. I know they don’t represent Spuffy fans, and they certainly don’t represent the Buffy fandom at large, who have been extremely wonderful for me. This is not going to make this worse. If anything, I am more resolved than ever to have a fabulous time watching this show and writing about it. I refuse to let them take this away from me. Buffy is probably the one show on Mark Watches that I have enjoyed writing about the most, and y’all ain’t gonna lose that because someone weakly threatened me.
my god WORST INTERNET WEIRDO EVER.
4) I am not going to allow another Great Spuffy Meltdown to happen again.
Throughout all of the past 48 hours, I did my best to try to make this a safe space for minorities and marginalized folk, but that doesn’t mean I actually did do that. Lots of you have sent private feedback, and I’ve not only listened to it, but starting today, there will be changes to the way this place is run.
I do not regret the way I’ve acted. To give you some insight into what’s going on, if you followed the comments on “Smashed,” multiply the number of terrible/fight-y comments by about 10, and that’s how many none of you saw. I take full responsibility for how that went down because it was my idea to finally engage people making certain comments instead of doing what I normally do: delete and ban.
The vast majority of moderation on this site is invisible. You never see it. We set certain people, IPs, emails, and phrases to an auto-delete pile, and it is HUNDREDS of comments per day that get filtered there. You have no idea how vile it is, but the point I’m trying to make isn’t about that. The past two days, imagine that hundreds of thousands of people came into your house, started trolling, yelling at you, breaking the rules, creating sockpuppet accounts to support other assholes, and this went on for DAYS.
I am calling this the Great Spuffy Meltdown because I have no problem saying this: I had a goddamn meltdown. Man, I thought the Great Ginny Slut Shame War of 2010 was bad, and the Tolkien Race War of 2012 wasn’t pleasant, and the Aang and Zuko Shipping Conflict was really awkward, but this takes the cake. And part of the reason for that is that I purposely fanned the flames instead of disengaging and just deleting/banning problematic shit.
I thought that if I finally addressed folks who had a history of posting problematic, icky, and toeing-the-line comments, it would work and I could shut down the behavior that was triggering a large group of you. (And we took all those reports about being triggered VERY seriously.) It clearly did not work, and that’s because of something I never thought of: all the lurkers and all of the people who weren’t involved still had to watch this all go down, and it made them feel any number of negative feelings. Even if they supported me, some people just didn’t feel great about watching a fandom war happen.
So, that’s my fault. Well, okay, it’s not my fault that people posted SUPER SHITTY THINGS, but I let the size, scope, and intensity of the situation overwhelm me. It is not going to happen again, and here’s how we, as mods, are going to change that:
- You will see far less of the mods engaging in conversations concerning problematic shit. What I mean by this is that we are going to develop a more uniform way of telling commenters, “Hey, that thing you said could hurt or is hurting users. Can you stop it?” We will also try to link to some basic education info if it is something that isn’t obvious.
- We are going to shut down and disengage from any and all conversations that take a personal, intense turn, and they’ll default to me, so that I can shut them down. One of the big problems is that people fight with the mods if the mods tell them to knock something off. From here on out, it’s not going to be tolerated, but the mods will also not engage in conversations like this.
- If a situation is reaching critical mass, like it was over the past two days, the mods can turn everything over to me so that they don’t get overwhelmed and angry and lash out at anyone. This is for the safety of them just as much as it is for the sake of the community.
Things were downright ugly, and while I don’t really feel SUPER AWESOME PUPPY TIMES about it, I also need y’all to understand one thing: all of the mods are volunteers who give up their time and energy to make this community work. That also means that they will get tired, that they will be overwhelmed, and that they will get angry LIKE EVERY HUMAN BEING EVER. This entire Meltdown happened because we have been dealing with WEEKS and WEEKS of wave after wave of creepy, inappropriate, and downright damaging shit sent our way, and as best as I can describe it, we snapped. We got so overwhelmed by the sea of people shouting at us that the best we could muster up was a whole lot of FUCK YOUS and FUCK OFFS.
Y’all know I love a good cussing match, but I know that this made people uncomfortable. I don’t feel the need to apologize for this because we felt unsafe, and we lashed out. That being said, it absolutely does not need to happen again, and as much as we can, we are going to take steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
You can each help out by (obviously) taking a second or two or fifty to think about what you’re going to post. Please don’t pick fights with the VOLUNTEER MODERATORS; if you have an issue with the way someone has moderated, tell me. It does not help if you go back to your LiveJournal or your Tumblr and whine and complain about them because I will never see it, I can’t give anyone feedback, and I certainly can’t change anything about the way things are run. Just send me an email (markreadsandwatches [at] gmail [dot] com) and I’ll have a conversation with you about. And please read all three of the list items above, and don’t do them.
Here’s to a better future here, and gods be damned, I am going to enjoy Buffy.
My god, Angel is a dad. And it’s really weird.
Well, only at first. I’m still upset about Darla’s death, and I admit that there were times during “Dad” that I wished she were around. I mean, how awesome would it have been if Darla just annihilated all the demons, monks, vampires, and demons outside the hotel while Angel tried to give Connor a bottle? (OH MY GOD, HIS NAME IS CONNOR, THAT’S SUCH A GOOD NAME. Not that it’s not DARLANGEL or something, Stephenie Meyer.)
But the whole point of this episode is that Darla isn’t here anymore, and she isn’t coming back. (I really doubt she’ll be resurrected a second time, honestly.) So Angel spends nearly every moment of “Dad” taking Darla’s last request seriously and quite literally. He is so dedicated to keeping Connor safe that he refuses to let go of his son. He won’t let anyone touch him. He won’t even let any of his friends help. Honestly, this is kind of exactly what I would expect from Angel. He’s trying to cope with the idea of being thrust into the role of a single father, so he overcompensates. And understandably so! I don’t want this to seem like I’m criticizing Angel. Not only did his longtime companion die before his eyes, but now he has a son, something he believed was impossible just a month before this, AND THAT SON IS BEING STALKED BY ENOUGH DEMONS AND MYSTICAL BEINGS TO FILL UP AN ENTIRE SEASON OF THIS SHOW. Of course he’s going to overcompensate and refuse to share any duties. It’s not that he distrusts the people around him. He just wants to be everything for Connor.
And that’s really the whole point Cordelia tries to make, and my god, she does so brilliantly. I seriously can’t cope with Cordelia’s gorgeous heart sometimes. She’s so direct with Angel because she cares about him. She wants him to be a good father. She wants Connor to have a good life. And that means Angel is going to have to take stock of the situation and let other people help him. It’s actually fantastic that this episode comes after “Smashed” for me because it addresses a remarkably similar theme. Until Lorne intervenes, Angel purposely does everything alone. He never reaches a point where he’s self-destructive, like Buffy and Willow do, but that same principle comes into effect. Why must we believe that we have to do everything all by ourselves? That was a hard thing for me to accept, too, and I don’t just mean that in terms of my relationships. I’ve been on my own since I was sixteen, so I tend to refuse help as well. Learning to ask others for help isn’t something that came natural to me. I had to learn it, to force myself to let down my walls in order to say, “Hey, you know what? I need you.”
Largely, “Dad” is a chaotic episode, and I love how disjointed and jarring it feels at times. We jump from plot to plot, always wondering where the story is going. I was impressed with the way the writers kept me interested, too, especially with Holtz’s and Lilah’s story lines. Wait, let’s talk about Holtz, can we? I mean, first of all, the guy’s plot in “Dad” is VERY BEAUTIFULLY PARALLELED WITH ANGEL’S. Both of them insist on doing things alone, their own way, and they’ll hurt others in the process if they need to. (Sort of. Angel does frighten and disappoint everyone aside from Lorne when he abandons them, but it was specifically to trick everyone, so it’s not quite the same as Holtz, who literally poisons all of the demon minions.) One is doing this for a lost child, the other is doing for a child just born. But oh my god, never in a million years would I have guessed what he was going to do to seek out “dedicated soldiers.”
If I understand this dynamic correctly, Holtz is basically going to create his own Slayer out of Justine, right? Well, yes, not the Slayer, of course, but it’s thematically sort of the same thing. He’ll train and mentor her, teach her to control her rage over the death of her twin, and set her loose on Angel. I don’t get what his endgame is, though, nor do I understand why he can’t just do it himself. OH GOD, I WANT TO SEE MORE OF JUSTINE AS WELL.
I didn’t find Lilah’s character to be developed that much over the course of “Dad,” but for the pure entertainment, her scenes in Files and Records are so satisfying. Holy shit, IT’S A ROBOT. I totally didn’t see that coming! I’m hoping, though, that the show develops her competition with Gavin beyond what we’ve seen this season. I like seeing the two of the interact, but at this point, it’s just a back-and-forth sort of thing. Will Angel’s threat towards Linwood actually change anything, or is this going to prove to be a fruitless action? I mean, let’s be real, I don’t know that Wolfram & Hart are frightened of Angel, but I’m wondering how the firm is going to proceed from here on out.
I really do enjoy this episode. I cackled when I saw that Angel went to the Antelope Valley to find an abandoned mine in the middle of the desert. THAT IS REMARKABLY ACCURATE. I have so many friends who live there, and it’s definitely the place to go if you want to blow up a group of demons and vampires. I love that the same teddy bear Angel used to attempt to comfort Connor is the actual bomb. That’s some nice visual poetry, if you ask me. But what I love the most about “Dad” is Angel’s growth into a father. This is not going to be easy, but the idea that Angel’s friends and coworkers are going to be Connor’s extended family is just so beautiful to me. Watching Angel change his behavior now that he has a son is touching, too, and it’s so great to get to witness David Boreanaz portray Angel differently. I know he’s going to mess up. What parent doesn’t? But he now has a support network in Fred, Wesley, Gunn, and Cordelia, and this family he’s built is going to give him a whole lot of help. I can’t wait to see that.
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