Lindsey McDonald - Back to His Roots
Crawling inside the mind of occasionally evil lawyers is not always a fun thing to do, but when it comes to Lindsey McDonald it can be. He is a paradox of the best kind. He is the reluctant evildoer, which is always more interesting than the crash-bang-kill sort of villain that mindlessly destroys. Lindseyís evil stems not so much from inherent badness as a determination to have a better life than his upbringing would suggest. This essay is a consideration of what we know as fact and what we can imply from the episodes of Angel that he appeared in.
Lindsey McDonald grew up dirt poor on his fatherís Oklahoma ranch, one of six children. Two of his siblings died during an influenza epidemic and soon after his father lost his ranch to the bank. His fatherís jovial behavior with the men who took his land left a deep impression on him and Lindsey made a point of never smiling when things the things he earned were taken from him. This determination to take revenge of sorts manifested in his adult life when Darla, with whom he was in love, went to Angel during the episode ĎRepriseí. When Lindsey learned of her actions he went after Angel immediately, and while his attack ended with him battered on the pavement he at least had some level of satisfaction that he had not taken it lightly.
After his difficult childhood Lindsey earned a scholarship to Hastings University in San Francisco. He went to California, driving his fatherís battered farm truck, which he kept even after his triumphant rise at Wolfram and Hart, possibly as a reminder of where he had come from. While at Hastings Law School Lindsey was handpicked from his class by Holland Manners, a Wolfram and Hart higher-up. Holland did not hand Lindsey a prime position, he was started out in the mail room and had to work his way up defending demons and murderers in court, where he had an exemplary record, until he met Angel.
Around the time Lindsey became a Junior Partner he brought Angel to the attention of Wolfram and Hart. What began as an annoyance for Lindsey professionally became an obsession with Angel. This obsession led Lindsey to help the firm raise Darla, whom Darlaís portrayer Julie Benz has called Lindseyís soul mate. Lindsey at this point was emotionally damaged; he had tried to leave the firm earlier that year, even going so far as to side with Angel and steal files from Wolfram and Hart, but when he was offered a promotion and increase in salary he buried his moral qualms and took the job.
Lindsey also lost his hand while performing the ritual that brought Darla back as a human. All of these events, and those earlier in his life, led Lindsey to an emotional place where the poor kid from Oklahoma wanted the big office in the sky regardless of what it took to get there, but the young man who had worked to reach the top of his class at Hastings with ambitions of becoming a lawyer knew that he had become the sort of man he had hated in his youth. He had become a man who was comfortable taking from the poor to make the firm and their clients more money. He was a leader at Wolfram and Hart, and yet he took a shower every night as soon as he got home because he felt dirty. "Iím always dirty." He told Darla.
Lindsey is a man who is well aware of his own destiny and visited Caritas often, before he lost his hand, to get the Hostís advice on where his true path was leading him. In the end though Lindsey knew his destiny did not lie with Wolfram and Hart. After receiving a new hand, courtesy of a magical operation and a man he worked with when he first began at the firm, Lindsey began to look deeper into Wolfram and Hartís activities. It was then that he finally realized he couldnít be a part of their plans any longer. He left Los Angeles to "go back to his roots" or something like it. Before he left he and Angel were able to come to some sort of understanding, Lindsey even gave Angel a piece of advice, telling him that the "key" to Wolfram and Hart was to not "let them make you play their game, you gotta make them play yours".
Lindsey left L.A. in his fatherís truck with even less than he had arrived with. He had lost Darla, he no longer had Angel to unleash his rage on or the corner office, and where once had been a strumming hand he now had an Ďevilí hand. He had been Wolfram and Hartís golden boy, with his sharp mind and questionable ethics he could have gone to the top of the firm, instead he gave his promotion to Lilah and left them. He packed up his guitar, threw on his cowboy boots, and dared Wolfram and Hart to chase him.
In the end, what makes Lindsey McDonald a fascinating character to tackle is that is he complex. He loves to drink TnTís made with imported Tanqueray Gin, but drives a worn down farm truck. He wants to save children about to be murdered and people housed only for their body parts but has no problem keeping vampires and drug dealers out of the lawís hands. He is constantly trying to further his career by aiding in the coming apocalypse with one hand while plotting to undermine the firmís cause by attempting Angelís assassination at every turn. Lindsey is a paranoid individual, having his office swept for listening devices three times a day and yet invites a vampire into his home. He knows he could be killed by his employer for a single mistake and yet seems to not care, accepting that he has chosen his own course and must answer the consequences. He loves deeply and yet timidly, afraid to make the first move. There are so many sides to this character that the fanfiction author has nearly limitless scenarios to put him in, and the joy of it is that his reaction may never be the same twice. Thatís where the true fun lies.
Copyright Tania 2003
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