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Tighten Your Grip- by pixelbee

AtS: Connor- Not Feeling the Love

This is going to sound terrible, but I desperately want to spank fourth season Connor - and then forcibly cut his hair. Yes, I am well aware that he came of age in a hell dimension filled with all manner of beasties and suffering. And I am well aware that no one is going to come out of that sort of formative experience without one hell of a dark side (witness also Fred and the professor, or, if you want to go cross-fandom, Stark). BUT-

Home killed the potential love with one monumentally selfish gesture. It's one thing to decide that your life is one big, unendurable lie, but it's another thing entirely to rope in a bunch of innocent people with you in your quest for release...

... and then, after everything, suffer no consequences because your father, who loves you, has apparently contracted with the devil to give you a shiny cosmic do-over and protect you from the redemptive process.

Connor is an undeservedly lucky kid.

Now - selenak, convince me that I am totally off-base. *g*

Comments

You're not alone in your thinking. I think most fans hate Connor anyway.

Ooh! You're up to season 5! Just wait, it's just getting good. Btw, what did you think of Evil Cordy and the Jasmine arc?
I have a popular opinion? Ooh, was that a pig flying by my window? *g*

Regarding Evil Cordy and the Jasmine arc, I do in fact agree with my aforementioned German friend - the retcon made me forgive the show for Saint Cordy, and the serial nature of the entire season was one thousand kinds of awesome.

Now perhaps that is an unpopular opinion, which would be more like me. *g*
Agrippina?
Yep. I don't have any appropriate AtS icons, so I picked one of my less-often-used icons at random. Is there something wrong with Roman soap opera? *g*
The more I hear about that show the more it scares me.
Fear is good, though! [/pimp]
Hearty agreement, here. I felt bad for the kid and he was cute and all, but "Baby Angel" as my sis-in-law calls him, really was a royal wanker for most of his stay on the show. The only time I thought I might really start to like him was during the episode that turned out to be what Angelus later referred to as "Angel and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" or "Angel's retarded fantasy". Sigh. I was really looking forward to liking the little twit. But no. Wah.
I wanted to like him too. I mean, my sympathy generally extends pretty far - I genuinely care about other characters who have done horrible things, so it's not the fact that Connor deliberately chose evil over the people who love him that puts me off. In the end, it really does boil down to the whole no-consequences thing. At least Londo over on B5 ultimately took responsibility for the evil he had committed and accepted punishment.
I hated Dawn on Buffy. But I hated Connor even more. And neither had enough Spike. *pouts*
Ah, see, I don't hate Dawn. She had her typical adolescent "me, me, me" moments, but even with the self-absorption of her youth, she still fought on the right side and at least made an attempt to grow up and be a decent human being. Connor, on the other hand, never grew out of the me-phase - to the very end of season four, he consistently took out his woe on everyone else.
Well, firstly, nobody can force you to feel fannish love. But if you want to know my own reasons for Connor adoration - and he is indeed after Darla my favourite AtS character - well, butterfly who loves him, too, once wrote a splendid essay about his season 3 and 4 development, which says it all and can be found here:

http://www.geocities.com/poisoned_h/connorsspiral.htm

My own take on the end of season 4, the Jasmine arc, and what Angel does for Connor:

http://www.livejournal.com/users/selenak/104999.html

And the fanfic I wrote after season 4 and before season 5, which hence you can read unspoiled, which is a fictional love declaration (plus the reasons why) to Darla and Connor:

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/1380356/1/

Lastly, on the deserving question - as Giles says in season 2, mercy is not something you deserve. It's something given. Now whether Connor can make up for his own crimes this way? (i.e. not remembering) That's another question. And let's just say his story isn't finished.
You know what's weird? For the most part, I agree with both butterfly's and your analyses of the fourth season (your observation that the Jossverse is very Augustinian was particularly on the nose). And yet - something's not clicking.

mercy is not something you deserve. It's something given.

You don't have to clarify this for Vir's writer. *g* Pointing out that Connor didn't deserve what Angel did for him was meant only to emphasize the reality of Angel's love.

Now whether Connor can make up for his own crimes this way? (i.e. not remembering) That's another question.

Shades of Passing Through Gesthemane, says the fanatical B5 fan. *g* Either that or my "Things Best Forgotten" amnesia bunny of doom.

And let's just say his story isn't finished.

Then I shall wait before drawing any final conclusions. *g*


Watching Connor really made me sad and cross. Not because of needing to spank him, but because of the feeling that the show had really written itself into a corner with his character, then took the Magic Fairy Wish way out.
He was so angry, detached and depressed - and the writers so in love with Bad Son Connor and Suffering Dad Angel - that there was no growth or progress in his character for the whole season. It wasn't the anger that troubled me, it was the wallowing in it, by the show, not the characters.
So, while I felt sad for Angel (the character) I was really disappointed in Angel (the show).
It wasn't the anger that troubled me, it was the wallowing in it, by the show, not the characters.

The writers didn't really go to a whole lot of trouble to imbue Connor with any redemptive qualities. We sometimes saw a glimmer of concern for something beyond his own pain, but for the most part, Connor was one unending wangst storm. And, owing to my RL experiences with real people who have had shit lives, I was starting to lose patience.

So, yes - perhaps I should boo the writers a bit.

part 1

Selena sent me over *g*

When I first watched Angel I came in during the middle of the season 4 arch and hated Connor with a fiery passion. I thought he was just this punk kid who blamed his father for the bad things that happened to him. Which he is, but then I think most teenagers go through that at one point or another. It wasn't until I caught up with the eps during the season 4 hiatus that I had a new view on him.

Connor is basically a kid with wicked genetics and crappy luck when it comes to role models. I think most people forget that Connor had no social skills. Even if we discount his genetics (because face it Angel has social skills problems even when he was mortal), he was raised in a hell dimension by the guy who had his life ruined by Connor's biological parents. He spent his early formative years having to survive. When he wasn't learning how to fight demons, he was being told that God sent him to be used as a tool of vengeance against his birth parents.

There was no way possible that Connor was going to turn out stable. Holtz basically sold his soul for the opportunity to enact vengeance on Angelus and Darla. He was calculating and cruel, just as Angelus and Darla had helped to teach him to be. In some ways you could say Holtz is truly Angelus and Darla's greatest creation because he understood the art of the kill better than their fledglings and later family members. He instilled those skills into Connor and then he set Connor up to believe he had betrayed him by bonding with Angel and that Angel in turn killed Holtz. The only true tie to humanity that Connor had was yanked away from him by the only biological tie he had left. He was new to this world and all he knew was vengeance.

Then you have Angel who is screaming how he loves Connor. That he'll forgive him. That he will always be his son. Connor doesn't believe him really, but I figure during the months he is hanging with Gunn and Fred and trying to adjust to living in this dimension he thought about those words. It played in the back of his mind if his biological father was truly capable of loving him. Can a monster love just because they have a soul? The things he was told about Darla and Angelus had to make him wonder if soulless creatures could love considering their bond. Angel gets brought back and the first thing he does is kick Connor out. Which of course is tough love, but it also makes Angel look like a liar.

Connor is still a kid who doesn't know much about this dimension. Has little to no social skills and has been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: kill his biological father. For some reason he is unable to do this. That makes him a failure to the father who raised him. Things get turned upside down and he gets played by the power walking around in Cordy's body. He was an easy target obviously. He was the one who had no true ties to anyone in this dimension after being kicked out.

part 2

Then he has a daughter who he loves. She loves him back. She brings peace to the world and he knows it's a lie, but he's still a kid. I don't care how many time they tell us he's eighteen, the boy is still a kid and easily influenced. He gets a taste of a world without violence and vengeance. It's unlike anything he's experienced before and he truly believes his daughter loves him unconditionally which is also something he has never experienced before. Connor would see his fathers, both of them has setting conditions on their love for him. He chooses to believe the lie, things fall apart, and he loses hope. He chooses to kill Jasmine to save her from enduring the pain he can't handle. He's angry at the world at large because he believes they weren't worthy of his daughter's love. That they saw her for her true face and their love became conditional.

Was he right to snap on those innocent people in the mall? No, of course not. He had his moment of falling from grace and his father wanted to save him. Angel made a deal with the devil to save his boy, but Connor didn't get a vote. I think he just wanted Angel to do for Connor what Connor did for Jasmine. Death brings peace. It ends the lies. He didn't expect to be brought back. When he gets his memories back he has to deal with what he did and the knowledge that when Angel brought him back he created Connor to be what he always wanted his son to be. I'm sure he understood later that Angel was trying to make up for the crappy childhood that Connor got thanks to Connor paying the price for what happened to Sarah and the baby, but he is the one who lives at the end of the series and has to deal with the price of what Angel's deal cost everyone.

Connor is a very flawed character. In some ways I see him as what Faith was before she ended up in the alley with Angel. Angel was able to reach her and convince her she could fight for redemption. That she could try and save herself. One has to think that Angel had already made the deal with Wolfram and Hart when he went in to get Connor and save those people. He was pretty sure how it would play out. Did he try and save him? Of course. Did he fight as hard as he did in the alley with Faith? I don't know. I think he already figured the best plan was to give Connor a fresh start. Angel has a habit of making choices for his family and loved ones without giving them a vote. Just ask the end of season three Buffy about that. *g*
Connor *IS* an undeservedly lucky kid, and in season four, I hated his guts and wanted to spank the living crap out of him too.

But without being too spoilery, I hope... I would wait untill "Not Fade Away" to hold judgement on Conner.

Series ain't over yet.
Well, as I said to selenak, I know I haven't seen everything, and I definitely don't intend this to be a final judgment. This is a first impression, which usually ends up meaning squat by the end. My astringent opinions on all things B5, Farscape, etc.? Developed over multiple viewings, after I had had the chance to digest these shows as a whole.