Written by Kristina
Faith: "The road to redemption is a rocky path." ~ Judgement
Angel has a mission - or at least he did. He helped the helpless, aided by visions sent to him through Doyle, and then Cordelia, from the Powers That Be. He had a mission in life - to atone for the horror and torture he had caused when he was a soulless vampire, and for the man he had been before he was turned.
Life for Angel was simple - growing familial bonds between him and his group, averting the apocalypse, and annoying the lawyers of Wolfram and Hart were among his main goals. But then something changed. First, he learned that after he survived all the coming apocalypses, he would "shanshu" - become human. And then Darla came back.
Everything he had known, the foundation of his belief in his mission, was shattered. And he descended back into darkness…with his soul intact. He touched the darkness that still lived inside of him - not the darkness of Angelus, but the darkness of Liam. The ability to doubt, and lose himself in his emotions emerged full force. Gunn, Wesley and Cordelia tried to stop his descent, but he pushed them away. Angel retreated into his darkness, but was brought back from it - only after burning Drusilla and Darla, and sleeping with Darla. The next morning, he woke up, and had an epiphany.
"Well, I guess I kinda - worked it out. If there is 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 - finally just to beat the other guy, but... I never got it."
~ Angel, "Epiphany"
His beliefs and values had been structured on his redemption. In trying to redeem himself, he had lost sight of his true mission - helping people. He was still fighting the good fight, but he was only going through the motions. His eyes were on his final destination, and not the journey.
With this newfound knowledge, Angel restructured his beliefs. He dealt with the darkness within himself, and re-established the familial bonds with his group. He resumed the good fight once again, and found his mission. Even Gunn acknowledged Angel's mission, especially when it was called into doubt by the appearance of his friend Rondell.
Rondell: "He ain't your friend. *I* am. And you gonna chose that over me?"
Gunn: "Looks like. It's about the mission, bro. He's got it. You don't."
~ That Old Gang of Mine
Just when Angel had found his mission again, it was once again assailed by the return of Darla. She was the chink in his armor, and when she showed up, everything changed.
Darla was pregnant.
Angel and Darla had created life together, and their devotion to their child overpassed their devotion to their missions - Darla's mission of destruction and violence, and Angel's mission of helping the helpless. Angel became wrapped up in his son, as many mortal fathers do; however, mortal fathers don't have to worry about battling demons, and dealing with men from their pasts - their hundred year pasts.
Angel: "Lorne, I need you to use your contacts and find out what Holtz is up to. He's out there somewhere, and we can never forget that. Finding him is our number one priority."
Gunn: "I thought you said..."
Angel: "Finding Holtz and making money are our two number one priorities."
Cordy: (clears throat)
Angel: "Helping the helpless, finding Holtz, and making money are our three number one priorities."
What had set Angel up for such a large fall? How could a being, so set on redemption, and helping people, lose his mission? It is quite simply because he possesses a human soul. He can experience the full gambit of human emotions, and he knows, better than anyone does the shades of gray that resides in human souls. Morality is relative - what is right for one person is not necessarily right for another person. And in this world, it is so easy to lose your way.
So many things try to attract our attention. We are constantly bombarded and asked to make choices that require split second thinking. And when it came down to the wire, Angel made his choices.
Angel: "That spell I did was for nothing. I didn't find my son, so now he's gone forever. So, you ask me, was it worth it? Would I do it again? In a heartbeat, because he was my son."
~ The Price
Angel is a hero, and being a hero, he has his faults. He has a tragic flaw, and ironically, it is his humanity. He experiences emotions so deeply, that they have the power to diverge him from his mission.
Albert Einstein once said "If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed." Angel himself said (in Epiphany) "...all I wanna do is help. I wanna help because - I don't think people should suffer, as they do. Because, if there is no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness - is the greatest thing in the world." He knew what his mission in this world was, but he has since been swayed from it. When it comes down to it, Angel is still very much a mortal in his state of mine, and influences. He forgot about the small acts of kindness, and focused on the "eye for an eye" philosophy. He went to desperate measures to find his son after his kidnapping, was prepared to go after Holtz, and tried strangling Wesley (whom he thought was responsible for his son's disappearance) to death.
Angel became concerned with very basic human feelings - the need for vengeance, or retribution, being one of them. His mission, doing good for good's sake, and no other reason, was lost. Sitting at the bottom of an ocean for three months, Angel will have had time to analyze his mission, and how he has lost it. Whether or not he will do anything about this is up to debate, and more importantly, up to him. He is the only one that can see what his mission is, and how to find it again.