Angel 2/25 or Gunn's Black

Gunn’s really black now at least in typical TV fashion.

Sure I liked the Angel puppet episode as much as the next guy, but Joss has failed me. I speak of course of the typical emasculation of the black man or how Gunn became a bitch.

Now, now, I am not accusing Joss of being racist, just of being predictable. It’s a shame really. I had such hopes for him, to actually create a black character that didn’t fall in to the **two ** categories Black Nerd who gets no women or the brawn but no brain type, whose inferiority complex makes him easy pickin’s for manipulation.

Oh well, he started off well enough.

Gunn’s fall from grace is as predictable as Southern Republican asking for “State’s Rights” and just as transparent. As soon as the Doctor said he wouldn’t deal with the old Gunn, I knew Joss had fallen into the " i’m writing a “black guy”, how do they act again…?" As opposed to writing a character that had well, character.

Gunn may not have been Genius, but he wasn’t stupid. Hell he organized a “ragtag” group of street kids against a horde of vampires, handled his own against various demons and even helped the electric girl fight a bunch of trained …asian guys.

Yet he’s going to allow this doctor to play him? To make him feel “stupid”? Don’t think so. Bad writing. Typical writing when it comes to fleshing out black ”urban” characters.

Being a street kid myself, my one weakness is I don’t trust anyone. Everyone’s got an angle and my “civilization” hasn’t blunted that protective coating…much. There’s no way that Gunn would have trusted the doctor. There’s no way Gunn would have just let the conduit bitch slap him and not EVEN attempt to defend himself. He may still have gotten the crap kicked out him, but he would have been on his feet, like a man.

Weak writing, I know everyone’s having a crying party about the cancellation, but I’m sorry. It’s like Joss forgot his own character.

I know you’re saying, well what would you do…fine.

My story goes like this. Gunn refuses the repair offered in “Smile Time”, but Knox knows Gunn’s not himself and tricks him into releasing the coffin from customs. All occurs as it did the episode and in this week’s.

Howeve when Gunn confronts him, Knox shows him the document and Gunn realizes his failure…THEN Gunn goes for the upgrade.

Not because he feels useless or stupid. You see I question Joss’ rationale for Gunn’s lack of judgement. It appears that Gunn doesn’t wish to be “stupid” again…note the “Flowers for Algernon” comment that the Doctor made to Gunn.

Bad writing. Gunn is not stupid, nor is he a selfish person. His weakness is pride and great sense of responsibility. That in my opinion is the direction, Joss should have guided Gunn’s fall.

Gunn realizes that the team have come to depend on his knowledge and without the implant, he is now a liability to the team. So he gets the upgrade. Not because he doesn’t want to be a thug again…he was never a thug to begin with. As several posters said, he would have made more sense to have the Gunn conduit dressed as the old Gunn, to remind Gunn of when he had purity of purpose and needs to chose being a hands-on fighting guy or behind the scenes power-broker.

He can no longer be both.

But Whedon missed it, going for the sure thing. He almost had it, when he had the guys on the phone ask Gunn if he was going to sue them and when Gunn said, “no we’re going to break your bones”, they hung up. Gunn is more powerful has a W&H lawyer then he ever was has a street fighter…but he doesn’t realize it? C’mon, one of the first things he did as a lawyer is freeze the assets of the Necromancer, now he’s threatening to break bones? Remember he’s already had the implant fixed. Weak.

You don’t control a character like Gunn by appealing to his insecurities, it won’t work. He’s too contrary and proud to listen and will most likely do the opposite just to spite you…but by playing to his sense of responsibility…the same responsibility that allowed him to protect his charges when they were on the street, the same responsibility that caused him to stake his sister and to kill the professor, dooming his relationship with Fred, but saving her from committing murder.

I could see Gunn going to the Doctor or the PTB thinking, “because I wasn’t prepared, Fred was hurt, I will never be unprepared again…I want the implant repaired AND more.” and they have him. That makes sense…cursed for the noblest of reasons, but cursed none-the-less.

But no, Joss has to go for the sure fire thing…wait next week for the Gunn and Wesley confrontation…blah, blah, blah. Predictable. Oh look, ANOTHER “dark” babe. Predictable. Dark Wesley beats up guilt-ridden nancified Gunn. Predictable.

And of course i will be watching next week…I’m predictable too.

Wasn’t White Wesley played into stealing Angel’s son? And then going dark over it?

Don’t see the racism if what the Black character is going through is parallel to what a White character went through.


First let’s drop the racism stuff. I am not claiming that Joss is a racist or the show is racist. What I’m saying is the way Gunn is being characterized is a very familiar role and goes against the character’s core personality.

Wesley’s transformation is within his character. His moviation for stealing Conner was one of protection of Conner AND Angel. It wasn’t a selfish act. The people who played him, played into his personality traits…as a protector, as a loving friend. Not has a fool…even though he did a foolish thing.

Joss’ use of Gunn’s moviation goes against Gunn’s character…but plays into the traditional role of insecure thug…unfortunately that role has been the one most given to black men. I am disappointed because at least in the earlier seasons, Gunn was portrayed as no one’s fool and certainly not ashamed of his origins.

Gunn’s blackness was a non issue. It was apparent he was black, but he didn’t fit into the well defined stereotypes that black men usually do on tv. Now IMO he does.

Try this, we know Cordelia’s personality. Let’s say I write an episode in which Cordy gets attacked with sexual overtones, knowing Cordy how should I portray her?

If i have her in rolled up in ball, or helplessly “taking it”, without even ATTEMPTING to fight; is that a honest portrait of her character? The Cordy that I know would put up a fight and even she loses would seek justice. She won’t be in a bathtub, in the next scene using a wire-brush to clean herself.

To portray her doing that is cliché and goes against her core personality. It would be as if I as a man, am ignoring all that I know about this character. I am writing what every other movie of the week tells me; That women who are attacked are ALL rendered a shell of their former selfs and feel dirty.

Concidering how Joss loves to create strong, confident and powerful female characters. Would you not think there was something amiss to reduce one the most defined female characters into a ‘typical’ battered wife?

I would.

I have NO problems with Gunn compromising his values for the chip. All I’m saying that that Joss used an all to common characterization and rationale to get Gunn from A to B.

You realize, of course, that in Season 1 Cordy was attacked by the ghost of Dennis’ mother when she first moved into her apartment. The mother ghost played on Cordy’s innate insecurity, and literally had her rolled up into a ball, begging her to stop … basically, helplessly taking it.

Now, Cordy did snap out of that in that episode, and did attack the mother. But that was a stand-alone episode, and could be resolved in 42 minutes. If you’re dealing with a story-arc of four or five episodes, you have more time to allow the characters to react to things.

I think the Gunn you know would stood there as long as it took while the conduit beat him to a pulp … if he knew (or thought) it would get him an answer or an idea on how to help Fred. Because that, too, is an important facet of Gunn’s persona – he has few friends, but those he does have, he sticks with and protects as much as he can. Fighting the conduit wouldn’t help Fred, but getting information from it might. I could see Gunn getting pummelled over and over, refusing to fight back … but getting up after each shot, just the same.

Well, first off, let us recall that the person talking to Gunn was evil. He was manipulating Gunn, who was panicked, for his own purposes. So of course that character is going to say whatever he can to get what he wants. And if that means calling Gunn “stupid” or a “thug” or whatever he called him, then that’s what he’ll do. Gunn was not portrayed IMHO as an insecure thug. He was portrayed as someone who had been given vast amounts of knowledge to continue carrying on a fight that, while he was quite capable of fighting as a street-level fighter, is infinitely more effective as super-lawyer. I don’t think race had anything to do either with Gunn’s characterization or his reaction. A white or Latino or Asian or demon character, being faced with the loss of knowledge and power Gunn was facing and realizing what that entailed both for him and his team, would have reatced the same way.

Gunn’s not stupid, or a selfish person? Have you seen the episode where he SOLD HIS SOUL FOR A PICK-UP TRUCK?!?

Yes but that was season ONE…would Cordy do that now? If I wrote her doing it now, you would ask me who was i writing or if I understood the character.

Agreed and had Gunn asked a question or said, “you can kick my ass, but you’re gonna tell me what you know”, I would agree even more. He didn’t. The conduit read him the riot act, "I’m not your friend. I’m not your flunky…"slapped him down and when Gunn UNSELFISHLY offered his life for Fred’s was told he was the conduit’s bitch and took another beating.

I do see your point and I think a few extra lines of dialogue would have made that scene clearer…for me anyway.

That was revealed in Double or Nothing. Final scene:

“Who’d you trade your soul for?”-Fred
“It…it was a truck. I was 17 years old and I sold my soul for a truck.”-Gunn
“Not this truck.” - Fred
“Don’t go dissin’ my girl!” - Gunn

17 year old Charles Gunn sold his soul for a truck that kept him alive along with many others over the years…i

Back then, a 17 year old Gunn didn’t think having a soul was a big deal and thought he’d never have a future…but he needed something to protect his “family”.

Again I don’t see Gunn being stupid or selfish, Christ the thing didn’t even have air conditioning.

I don’t think that Gunn’s taking the lawyer enhancement is simply the matter of an inferiority complex.He wants to fight the good fight with his friends, however:

  • He may be smart, but he will never know as much about magic as Wes or as much about science as Fred
  • He may be strong but he will never be able to fight like Spike and Angel
  • He does not have any magical abilities like Lorne does
    With out the enhancements, Gunn really does not have much to offer to Angel incorporated now that they are running Wolfram & Heart. With the lawyer upgrade, however, Gunn is an integral part of the team who has saved countless people. I don’t think it was a simple matter of wanting to be smarter, I think it was about Gunn’s (perhaps well founded) insecurities about being able to help his friends. I think he trusted the Doctor because he is not selfish or stupid. He knew this was the only way for him to help his friends, and he thought that the only person he was putting at risk was himself.

Second, I disagree that Gunn should have fought the conduit “on his feet, like a man”. The conduit might have killed him with out batting an eye if he tried to defend himself, which I don’t see helping Fred any.

Am I the only one to notice last season, several references to Gunn as “the muscle?” often by himself…or the season finale, after everyone else gets their “dream job”, Gunn is convinced he’s now head of security and the woman telling him that he’s better than that and takes him to the white room?

Which is why I accepted that Gunn would take the implant, for all the reasons you mentioned. The same reason, why he sold his soul for a truck…his well-being is secondary, all that matters is the team.

I am I the only person who noticed, after Gunn said to the Doctor, “I need this…” notice I, not we, not the team, but I…need…this…the Doctor began with the Flowers For Algernon comments? After which the Doctor begins telling Gunn that he wouldn’t have dealt with the old Gunn, the street Gunn, the uneducated Gunn…but he would deal with this Gunn and Gunn’s reaction to that?

What happened to the team, I looked like Gunn was thinking only of himself to me.

Joss has been building this storyline for some time and I was really hoping that once Gunn got the implant, Gunn’s characterization as an insecure street fighter would change course and instead of being corrupted by the loss of knowledge, he would be corrupted by too much knowledge, by being able to only see “the big picture”.

No right, no wrong…just shades of grey and thereby become a real danger to the team.

I’m disappointed, I mean I know how this is going to end now. Gunn’s gonna be the Welsey of this Season, only while Welsey’s decision was based on misguided loyalty, Gunn’s seems IMO, to be based on his sudden smallness.

…but YMMV.

Small hijack. This reminds of a Daredevil story many, many years ago…one of the Beyonder tales. The Beyonder restores DareDevil’s vision and allows him to keep his enchanced senses too. At the end of the comic, DareDevil demands the Beyonder to take back his “gift”. The Beyonder doesn’t understand, as there are no strings attached. Daredevil tells him that he loves being able to see so much, that he’d most likely do anything to keep his vision and doesn’t want anything to have that much control over him.

It would corrupt him.

As I said in my OP, I would have loved to see Gunn reject the Doctor’s offer, then after Fred is hurt, accept it. That would have been in Gunn’s character…but wouldn’t allow for Wesley’s rampage next week…

I think the developments in this week’s show are completely in character for Gunn. He’s always felt insecure about just being “the muscle.” Has been since the character was first introduced. He’s always had this sort of resignation that he’s just the guy who hits stuff, which he mentioned pretty much anytime anyone needed him to do something more. And out of the group of them, he’s not even the best at that, since that’s pretty much all Angel does, either. He was the guy that fights the minions so Angel can fight the bad guy undisturbed. Now he’s the guy that knows stuff no one else knows. He’s gone from being the back-up brawler to being arguably the most indispensable part of the team. Meanwhile, Spike has shown up, which now makes him the third-string brawler on the show, and even more useless without his lawyer implant. I can absolutely see him going to the doctor and making just about any deal to keep the knowledge he was losing.

Gunn started off as a very big fish in a small pond: in his neighborhood, he was the leader of the folks who were keeping everyone from being killed by vampires. There was nobody cooler or smarter or tougher than him; he was the leader, he was loved, he was feared.

Then Angel came along, and he joined up, and suddenly he was a minnow in the ocean. EVERYONE on the cast was better than him in some way, and he struggled like hell just to be relevant. And his old friends disowned him, so he couldn’t plausibly go back to them. Besides, once he’d gotten a taste of the big world, of earth-threatening apocalypses, it would’ve been very difficult for him to go back to the street-by-street struggles he’d been having.

Then W&H comes along, and suddenly he’s a very big fish in the big pond: once more he’s a leader, he’s respected, he’s feared. He’s no longer second-rate. Think what that meant to him.

That’s what he thought he was going to lose. If he lost his lawyer knowledge, he wouldn’t be the second-best fighter (inferior only to Angel). He wouldn’t be just behind Angel and Spike. No, if he lost his lawyer knowledge, he’d have a hard time getting hired on as a security guard at W&H.

I thought it was very well handled, and I thought what he did was perfectly in-character – with one caveat. If character on Joss Whedon shows ever thought of talking to one another, then maybe Gunn would’ve gone to Angel and said, “Hey, listen, the doctor down in medical is offering to give me back my lawyer abilities if I’ll do a criminal favor for him. Whaddya say you and I go pay him a visit with some of these pretty blades?”

However, Joss Whedon never solve problems through communication when they could instead keep things secret until they blow up into a full-on apocalypse, so I can’t really complain too much about that.


I don’t really see the problem. At the end of last season, there was a thread that focused on what W&H had offered each person. I said that Gunn was likely offered some kind of power so he could better fight evil. When he got the implant, I got to be all smug. His primary motivation isn’t insecurity or vanity. Gunn wants to be able to fight evil and protect the innocent. He failed to save his own sister. The implant gave him more power than he’d ever had before. When he walks into court and gets the judge to recuse herself, he saves countless lives. He gets re-implanted so that he can keep saving lives.