Angel: Well, I guess I kinda worked it out. If there’s no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters… then all that matters is what we do. ‘Cause that’s all there is. What we do. Now. Today. I fought for so long, for redemption, for a reward, and finally just to beat the other guy, but I never got it.
Kate Lockley: And now you do?
Angel: Not all of it. All I wanna do is help. I wanna help because, I don’t think people should suffer as they do. Because, if there’s no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world.
Kate Lockley: Yikes. It sounds like you’ve had an epiphany.
Angel: I keep saying that, but nobody’s listening.
–“Epiphany” by Tim Minear.
It’s been ten years since Angel, the vampire with a soul, has been on our TV screens. Yet he still has an impact on people, even in Russia. Apparently someone is listening.
A woman, who posts comments at Whedonesque as “Moscow Watcher,” was interviewed by The Daily Show’s Jason Jones in Russia a few days before the Winter Olympics. He looked at attitudes against homosexuality in Russia, and how they’re similar to anti-gay attitudes in America. He also talked to gay Russians, who say they won’t leave their country despite anti-gay laws being enacted by the Putin administration.
The last person he interviewed was “Moscow Watcher”, who found inspiration in Angel.
JJ: Are you hopeful that Russia can change?
Moscow Watcher: I really hope so because otherwise it’s just too depressing. I want to look at the eyes of my children and grandchildren and say that I did all I could. There’s a wonderful phrase from an American TV show called “Angel”, “if nothing we do matters, then all what matters is what we do.”
As fans know, that’s when Angel realized that while achieving redemption may be a goal that’s far away, trying to reach that goal is still important. That attitude can be quite valuable, not only in trying to fight for sexual equality, but human rights, climate change, health care, or any belief. In a time where cynicism is threatening to overcome some people’s hopes for the future, Angel’s words ring true more than ever.
By the way, “Moscow Watcher” posted this comment the day after the interview aired:
I talked to that guy more than 10 days ago – so it’s an amazing coincidence that his show aired on the 10th anniversary of the cancellation of “Angel”.
I’d love to highlight that not everything in Russia is depressive. That guy asked me if I believe that Russia can change, and I told him that so far, authorities don’t pay attention to peaceful protests (it was during a rally), so Russia could change into a dictatorship or be destroyed in a civil war. That’s really depressive.
But there is a lot of wonderful people in my country – clever, talented, devoted to Russia – who try to change things and do their best. Many of my friends go to rallies. My son was a poll watcher on several elections. Russia literature is great, Russian nature is beautiful, Russian cuisine is tasty.
So, please, don’t confuse Kremlin politics with all things Russian.
If you look at her words, her hopes for her country’s future may be familiar to those who believe in America despite divided government, media pundits who think they know better than anyone, and debates over health care, jobs or the idea of a gay man playing pro football. To paraphrase Moscow Watcher, maybe we shouldn’t confuse American politics with all things American, either.
As Angel said, what matters is what we do. Either stand by and do nothing, or make an effort to make things better. That was his epiphany, Moscow Watcher’s epiphany, and ours, too. That’s why his last words on TV, in the face of countless demons, were “Let’s get to work.”
Here’s the video from Comedy Central:
We also like to thank the Tumblr called “A Leaf On The Wind” for use of the photo.