Here’s the thing about morality: sooner or later, no matter how rigorous your principles or how well-defined your code, you are going to find yourself in a situation whereby what you define as ‘moral’ and what you define as ‘right’ are not entirely in agreement.
Here’s another thing: you won’t necessarily see it coming.
Even if, for the sake of argument, you’re a several-hundred-year-old scholar with a wide breadth of knowledge, a decent handle on people and their motivations and, you think, a fairly thorough understanding of exactly how cruel sapient beings can be to one another, especially when those sapient beings are acting under the guise of so-called medical advancement.
And here’s the third thing about morality: if the choice between doing what is moral and doing what is right has anything to do with another emotion – say, for instance, love – then whatever you would have hypothetically chosen, in a vacuum, in a world where that emotion didn’t exist, has absolutely no bearing in any way on what you actually decide to do in the moment, faced with that sudden and terrible choice.
Archer certainly thinks what he did all those years ago was immoral.
He’s also still certain, in a way which goes beyond logic and into bone-deep instinctive knowledge of how the world should be, that it was right.
[Author’s note: Slightly more abstract interpretation of the theme here, but I’m still happy with it. Also, I swear I’m not using these as narrative breadcrumbs deliberately, and yet]