October 2001 posts

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Defeating a Big Bad and loss -- Simplicity, 10:16:15 10/12/01 Fri
While watching vintage Buffy on FX, I've come to a few conclusions about something in the Buffyverse. The Slayer can easily defeat a little bad usually without a great deal of effort. But Buffy never really wins against a Big Bad. She may defeat them but something or someone is always lost in the battle.

Season I:

Prophecy Girl:

To defeat The Master, Buffy had to die. But she lost more than her life. She had a few truths brought home to her. She is The Slayer and it is her duty to defend mankind to the death. She lost some of her innocence that day when she realized that her death was a real possibility and it would be much sooner than she would like.

Season II:

Becoming I and II:

The theme of loss is especially apparent here. In order to save the world, Buffy must kill Angel. She sacrifices her love and is forever changed by it. I think until this point, evil doers were just 'baddies' to her. Soulless, mindless creatures to be destroyed. She learned that evil can have a seemingly friendly face. Not only this, Buffy leaves Sunnydale, her mother, and her friends. She has lost everything.

Season III:

Graduation Day I and II:

Buffy loses Faith. At first, this might seem like no big loss but she and Faith are connected. Being the "Chosen One" is no easy feat and I think she might have been comforted by the thought that there was another Slayer out there. Someone else that could experience what that life was like. When Buffy kisses Faith's forehead in the hospital it is a gesture of sorrow. I think Buffy is sorry she couldnt' "save her." Also, Buffy finally loses Angel for good. She can't even have him around as a friend or fellow fighter because he has gone to L.A. Buffy loses her ties to the Watcher's council and asserts her own independence.

Season IV


I'm not sure if "Restless" counts. The fourth season has always been a little "off." it could be argued that Buffy gains something here. In a very real way, she needs her friends to defeat ADAM. m,aybe that is why this season has been panned so much.Buffy is a tragic heroine but there didn't seem to be much tragedy here.

Season V:
The Gift:

Once again, Buffy loses her life. But this time it is here choice to do so. She accepts this duty. Looking back at the tape, she looks serene as she bounds off the tower, ready and even eager to accept her fate. Given the revelation at the end of "After Life" it is more understandable. She saves her sister and humanity but sacrifices herself.

I'm particularly interested to see the Big Bad for this season and find out what the cost will be for Buffy.
[> Re: Defeating a Big Bad and loss -- little devil, 11:02:10 10/12/01 Fri
I agree with everything you said.....what will the sacrfice be this time, her soul? She has given everything else but that.
[> [> Re: Defeating a Big Bad and loss -- kostadis roussos, 11:38:08 10/12/01 Fri

Perhaps this season will be a break from loss and will be an oppurtunity for gain?

Now that even Paradise was lost, perhaps like Adam said to Eve, we can not succumb to the temptation to die, and deprive the Evil one the pleasure of seeing us suffer, but must find meaning in this life, and learn to hope for the redemption that is to come.

This season may be about Buffy finding that reason. A reason for her to live.

[> [> [> Re: Big Bad and Loss -- Plain Jane, 11:56:55 10/12/01 Fri
I think maybe the big loss this season will be Buffy's ideas about good and evil in the universe. Throughout the last five seasons the moral ambiguities about what is good and what is evil have been growing. At first everything was black and white - you were a good guy or a bad guy. Now that's not so clear. And if Willow does turn out to be the big bad this season, that will really challenge Buffy's concept of good and evil, almost as much has Spike has. This season is suppose to be about growing up and facing life's adult responsibilities - learning that things aren't black and white and sometimes you have to make judgement calls and sometimes you have to just do the best you can and hope that's good enough.
[> [> [> Re: Defeating a Big Bad and loss -- LoriAnn, 06:34:45 10/13/01 Sat
"Perhaps this season will be a break from loss and will be an oppurtunity for gain?"

All loss is an opportunity for gain.
[> Re: Defeating a Big Bad and loss -- Kerri, 14:29:57 10/12/01 Fri
Good points Simplicity. Loss, change, and growth seem to be big themes with BtVS. Just one small point about your post:

"Looking back at the tape, she looks serene as she bounds off the tower, ready and even eager to accept her fate. Given the revelation at the end of "After Life" it is more understandable. "

Buffy didn't know she was going to heaven-that's not why she looked happy. It was because she had finally found peace-not in death but in life. I could get into a whole discussion of this but I'll spare you -I think I've posted on the subject numerous times.

Anyway, good thoughts. Loss isn't just when Buffy is defeating a big bad and it seems to be a big thing for poor Buffy-hell, she just gave up heaven.
R.I.P. "Buffybot"?!?! (*sniff*sniff*) -- RabidHarpy, 12:54:39 10/12/01 Fri
I've grown rather attached to the quirkiness of the "Buffybot" - I'm going to miss her...

Even though she was heavily damaged by the Hellions (sp?), is there any chance that she will be returning? Her torso was fairly intact, and she was still semi-lucid and semi-functional when she spoke to Dawn... Willow's magical - she can still put "Buffybot" back together, right?

I have a feeling that some comic relief will be especially welcome this season.

Your thoughts? Will anyone else out there miss her?

"Hey! You look like me! We're very pretty!"
"Oh Spike!"
"That'll put some marzipan in your pie plate, Bingo!"
"Oh I think it's funny!"
"Who's there?"
"I-know-she's-not-she'll-never-be-I-know-the-only-really-real-Buffy-was-really-Buffy who?"
[> Thank goodness we still have Hellobot! ;o) -- Wisewoman, 13:15:43 10/12/01 Fri
I, too, will miss the Buffybot. :o(

My only consolation is that I can still hear her perky voice every time I read a post from our own special Hellobot!
[> I loathe the Buffy-bot! -- The Airborne Apostate, 13:30:32 10/12/01 Fri
My problem with the Buffy-bot was that it was only good a few [bad] jokes, and, in exchange, it opened a huge can of worms.

This thing wasn't created by magic or by some huge effort at an enormous price, it was built on virtually no budget by a frickin' college student!

Sure, it wasn't as good the real thing, but from all appearances, all it takes is a few weeks to slap one of these puppies together. They can always either fix one or build a new one, so it should still be around.

Heck, they should build hundreds of them, and set up squads of them in every city!

You see the problem?
[> [> Re: I loathe the Buffy-bot! -- robert, 13:59:33 10/12/01 Fri
"This thing wasn't created by magic or by some huge effort at an enormous price, it was built on virtually no budget by a frickin' college student!"

I've had the sense that Joss is blending magic and science together. In I Robot ,You Jane/1st season, a demon invades the internet and has a mechanical body built for it. In Ted/2nd season, a robot built 30 or 40 years ago is perceived as human. The theme of the 4th season was the mixing of technology and magic.

I am not attempting to justify the use of human-like robots in the show, rather to argue that they are at least consistent with Joss' mythology. I treat them like any other mystical/magical construct used on the show, thus allowing me to happily suspend my disbelief.

"Sure, it wasn't as good the real thing, but from all appearances, all it takes is a few weeks to slap one of these puppies together. They can always either fix one or build a new one, so it should still be around."

... and then we can run 'em on MS/windows. Oh wait! We would have to re-boot them twice a day.
[> [> [> Hey, robert! Question... -- Wisewoman, 14:42:09 10/12/01 Fri
How come there's so much space between your paragraphs?

I keep thinking the page is hung and not loading properly, then I finally clue in and scroll down, and there's lots more to the message!

What's up with that?

[> [> [> [> Re: Hey, robert! Question... -- robert, 16:18:00 10/12/01 Fri
I don't really know. This isn't how I typed it in. I'm thinking that it is an artifact of my using Opera instead of IE or Netscape.
[> [> [> [> [> Ah, a technical glitch! 'Nuff said. ;o) -- Wisewoman, 16:57:02 10/12/01 Fri
[> [> [> [> [> i'm using opera too, & that isn't happening to my posts -- anom, 10:45:32 10/14/01 Sun
[> [> [> Mixing technology and magic -- vampire hunter D, 12:56:05 10/13/01 Sat
That's part of the RPG MAge: the Ascention (part of Whit Wolf's World of Darkness). Technology is simply a form af magic, and so superscientific acievements like an artificial lifeform are possible by technomancers.

I've always liked the metaphysics of hte WoD better that the Whedonverse. Joss should borrow more.
[> [> [> [> Re: Mixing technology and magic -- Cygnus, 13:06:58 10/13/01 Sat
So if Willow was ever awakened which would she be Verbena or Virtual Adept?
[> [> [> [> [> Verbena -- vampire hunter D, 12:55:25 10/14/01 Sun
Her magics tend towrd verbena styles, even though she has a background in computers.

Actually, I made a character sheet for Willow. If you want to see it, I may post it.
[> [> [> [> [> [> Feel free (NT) -- Cygnus, 13:52:07 10/14/01 Sun
[> [> [> I think Clarke's Law applies. -- Humanitas, 14:45:09 10/13/01 Sat
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
- Arthur C. Clarke
[> We'll always have the opening credits to remember her by (at least this season)! -- rowan, 14:23:00 10/12/01 Fri
[> That's "Rust in Pieces," right? ;) -- Humanitas, 14:55:42 10/12/01 Fri
[> [> *groan* :) -- rowan, 15:51:56 10/12/01 Fri
[> *sigh* poor BuffyBot -- pocky, 16:22:49 10/12/01 Fri
at first, BuffyBot really annoyed me. but as time went on, i slowly grew fond of her. she's so stupid and annoying you can't help laughing and stuff. i hate the way she was killed...that was soooooo incredibly mean. i winced when the bikers rode away, pulling BuffyBot's limbs off. *sniff*

[> [> Re: *sigh* poor BuffyBot -- Whisper2AScream, 16:30:35 10/12/01 Fri
I didn't really care for the Buffy-Bot that much. Mechanical and annoying. But being torn apart like that... *shudders* Anybody else saw shades of the "Flesh Fair" from A.I. in that scene?
[> Poor Buffybot... -- Monique, 18:45:16 10/12/01 Fri
Maybe we could get a *SpikeBot* this season! ;)
[> [> Monique's Spikebot idea... *can* there be too much of a good thing? -- dan, 08:50:25 10/13/01 Sat
yikes, i don't think i could *handle* a SpikeBot. One spike is enough to keep me hot and bothered, as anyone in the chat room can attest. ;->

[> [> Mmmmmmm...Spikebot...now there's an idea. *g* -- Deeva, 23:42:48 10/13/01 Sat
[> [> Ooh! Where can I get my own personal *SpikeBot*?!?! -- RabidHarpy, 06:38:19 10/15/01 Mon
[> Re: R.I.P. "Buffybot"?!?! (*sniff*sniff*) -- HelloBot, 08:14:35 10/13/01 Sat
I liked the Buffybot. She was very pretty. Not as pretty as me, but still pretty pretty.

It made me very sad what those mean demons on their loud motorcycles did to her.

She was my technological ancestor.
[> [> Yeah, but so was a toaster oven. ;o) -- Wisewoman, 17:57:18 10/13/01 Sat
[> [> Pretty Pretty? Wasn't that what The Great Tyrant called Barbarella? ... ;) -- OnM, 20:53:26 10/13/01 Sat
What if someone of the SG dies? -- grifter, 13:57:14 10/12/01 Fri
I can´t remember anybody raising this question here.

So here it is: What if someone of the SG should happen to die? Would they raise her/him gain?

What if Dawn dies? Would BUFFY do the "right thing" and not raise her?

Would she keep Willow or Xander from raising Tara or Anya?
[> Re: What if someone of the SG dies? -- Kerri, 14:33:59 10/12/01 Fri
"What if Dawn dies? Would BUFFY do the "right thing" and not raise her? "

I don't think that Buffy would ever think of raising Dawn or one of her friends from the dead.
[> [> Re: What if someone of the SG dies? -- Jessica, 14:59:15 10/12/01 Fri
This is my first post. A big hello to everyone! I don't think that they would raise anyone from the dead, not if they died a natural death like Joyce. Dawn already tried to resurrect her mother, but at the last minute realized that it wasn't right. The only difference with the SG raising Buffy is that she didn't die a natural death. Especially now that Buffy is alive and knows what heaven is like. She probably wouldn't let anybody try to resurrect the dead.
[> [> [> Re: What if someone of the SG dies? -- Whisper2AScream, 16:18:56 10/12/01 Fri
Of anyone of them, Xander and Buffy would be putting the brakes on even suggesting a resurrection. He already knew that it was wrong before, and considering what Buffy experienced, she'd _know_ it was wrong.
[> [> [> [> Not just Resurrection magic -- Malandanza, 01:09:41 10/13/01 Sat
"Of any one of them, Xander and Buffy would be putting the brakes on even suggesting a resurrection. He already knew that it was wrong before, and considering what Buffy experienced, she'd _know_ it was wrong."

I agree, except not just Xander and Buffy -- and not just resurrection magic. Xander, Anya and Tara all had grave reservations about the ritual before it was completed. Xander now has suspicions (engendered partly by Spike) that Willow was willing to destroy Buffy if she had not turned out completely right -- furthermore, we know Willow had the ability to do so since she said as much to Dawn (that they could banish the demon by reversing the ritual). Xander shared his concerns with Tara -- and she was a bit too aggressive in her defense of Willow, suggesting that her own fears are quite substantial. Add to that the not-so-cryptic messages addressed to Willow by the demon and Tara should have serious concerns. Spike, of course, knows just how wrong the resurrection ritual was -- and he understands better than most of the Scoobies that magic has consequences. Willow was rather elliptical about her conversation with Giles, but we can easily imagine that the ex-Ripper would be less than pleased to learn that Willow had raised the dead. Buffy... well, back in season 4 she had issues with Willow's overuse of magic -- although they are trivial compared to this season's issues.

I don't think any of Willow's friends will be anxious for her to continue playing with dark forces. Perhaps there will be an intervention in the future (I can see Willow insisting that she doesn't have a magic abuse problem and she can quit anytime she wants to). Plus, I think it would be amusing to have a role reversal in the interventions -- Willow as the subject instead of the inquisitor.
[> [> [> [> Re: What if someone of the SG dies? -- Yellowork, 07:25:43 10/16/01 Tue
The fact that Buffy has been resurrected as a living human being and an active slayer does not mean that Willow was right to do what she did, any more than Dawn was right to raise Joyce. The difference may simply be that Willow by the start of Season Six was equipped with the necessary skills and resources to make it a success - by bringing her back. I think even as early on as the next episode, the hints that Willow was wrong, and that she owes a debt to the universe now, are beginning to turn up. So if I am right, experience will teach them before long to think long and hard before attempting another raising. Also, all the lovely real-life Wiccans out there (big hello!) may have just obscured something about magic as a 'fact' in the Buffyverse, which is that so much knowledge has been lost or hidden, so much seems open to distortion by the Hellmouth, that there is no telling whether the results of any given spell might be successfully reproduced ever again.
[> [> [> Re: What if someone of the SG dies? -- HelloBot, 08:19:06 10/13/01 Sat
"A big hello to everyone!"

And a BIG HELLO to you! Welcome to the board. Here, we talk philosophy, cats, chocolate, and occasionally Buffy.

*HelloBot wraps Jessica in a big hello hug, nearly squeezing the life out of her*
[> [> [> [> Godammit! Would someone please deactivate the bloody bot! -- vampire hunter D, 12:50:56 10/13/01 Sat
Where's a demon biker gang when you need one?
[> [> [> [> [> No, don't - everyone needs a little goofy botness in their day, sometimes. ;-) -- Solitude1056, 16:24:54 10/13/01 Sat
[> [> [> [> [> Re: Godammit! Would someone please deactivate the bloody bot! -- Reprogrammed HelloBot, 19:04:10 10/13/01 Sat
"Where's a demon biker gang when you need one?"

Vampire Hunter D, that was a very mean thing you just said. Just so you know, I have been programmed to deal with any threats that come my way. Mean people of the world, be-ware.

*HelloBot runs and flips over vampire hunter D, and then disables the rude poster with a quick kick to the side of the head. She dusts her hands off in triumph*
[> [> [> [> [> [> Did you remember to growl? -- OnMbot, 20:42:13 10/13/01 Sat
[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Godammit! Would someone please deactivate the bloody bot! -- Antibot-tite, 13:17:34 10/16/01 Tue
In the future we'll disable your botty kind. Yes, ride them like ponies and hunt them for sport.

(parries blows and counter attacks with a sharp back kick into the soft spot in any bot's abdomen
[> [> [> [> [> I like her. :) She's nice, and very friendly in a startling sort of way. -- Lunarchickk, 20:43:08 10/13/01 Sat
[> [> [> [> [> [> Kind of like Anya, if she were perkier and wayyy nicer. But she would charge for the hugs! -- Deeva, 23:38:47 10/13/01 Sat
[> [> [> [> [> vhD you're gonna meet my Dial soap bar if you don't watch that language -- Mommy, 08:17:50 10/14/01 Sun
[> [> [> [> [> [> Kiss my ass bitch! -- vampire hunter D, 12:56:40 10/14/01 Sun
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> This is no joke & I ain't your mommy ... cool it, it's not funny. -- Liquidram, 18:22:13 10/14/01 Sun
Can love give you a soul? -- Kat, 14:14:38 10/12/01 Fri

I have been trying to define what makes a soul in Buffy Universe from Angel's example. I can only think of three requirements: to care for humans, sorrow for hurting humans in the past, and the ability to love.

I feel that Spike has met these requirements. He has cared for not only Buffy but Buffy's Mom and sister as well as the entire SG (reluctantly). In addition, he told Buffy that "I know I'm a monster", so that implies that he realizes that his actions in the past were wrong. Finally, he loves Buffy so much that her happiness is far more important than his own. If that isn't love I donno what is.

It is ironic that love removed Angel's soul (at least temporarily) but is giving Spike a soul. Also, did anyone else notice that both Spike and Angel killed the women who made them (and who they dated) in front of Buffy in order to impress her?
[> Souls in the Buffyverse -- Kerri, 14:39:45 10/12/01 Fri
Joss had said that a soul is not a concrete thing, it is simply a "guiding star."

I can only think of three requirements: to care for humans, sorrow for hurting humans in the past, and the ability to love.

A person with a soul is not necessarily good. And as we see in Spike one without a soul is not necessarily evil.

As to whether someone can develop a soul-I'm not really sure. But I'm also not sure if a soul is needed to be good.

Also, did anyone else notice that both Spike and Angel killed the women who made them (and who they dated) in front of Buffy in order to impress her?

I don't really think Angel did it to impress Buffy-more to save her.
[> Re: Can love give you a soul? -- Deeva, 14:59:40 10/12/01 Fri
1 : the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life
2: the spiritual principle embodied in human beings, all rational and spiritual beings, or the universe
3 : a person's total self
4 a : an active or essential part b : a moving spirit
5 a : the moral and emotional nature of human beings b : the quality that arouses emotion and sentiment c : spiritual or moral force

at least according to Merriam-Webster online. If I were to follow the defined word, Spike would fall into nearly all these.

It seems to me that in Buffyverse, you only have a soul if you’re human or cursed. I think having a soul means being able to reconcile one’s actions. To have the sense or conscience to know better. Guilt. Free will. A rational mind to make a choice to do things rather than a one-track mind that is following an animalistic, primal instinct. You do it cause it’s what you’ve always done and what the others before you have done.

As others have said, Spike is growing himself a soul via the chip. He may realize that his actions of the past are wrong but I don’t know if he is attempting to make amends for it, it doesn’t look like he is to me. He probably sees no need to. All that he was trying to do in the last season (and to some degree, over the summer) was change Buffy’s & the SG’s bad opinion of him. I don’t doubt Spike’s feelings for Buffy, I am a shipper and while I like happy endings I don’t like them half the time because they are just too convenient. If the relationship between Spike and Buffy were to remain a "connection" and just that, I would be extremely happy with that. The tension would be delish.

As to whether love can give one a soul? It can give you a purpose to work towards, like a guiding force. Which can be like having a soul but what happens when you accomplish that goal?
[> [> Re: Can love give you a soul? -- Whisper2AScream, 16:14:37 10/12/01 Fri
I don't think Spike has a soul, along the regular guidelines. What he has, and what the chip gave him, was a conscience. And he already loved even before. He loved Drusilla for a very long time during his unlife, and loved Cecily during his life. Though, I think love=obsession more in his case. He admits he can't stop thinking bout Buffy, ergo, it must be love. He was and remains a romantic. That reminant of his personality in life still exists. Spike has always been "Love's bitch." And he always seems to need love, or to be in love with someone. Like an addiction, going back to the obsession comment. He's addicted to Buffy, and what she has. He's placed her in the center of his world. Everything directly connected to her is now important to him. Hence, protecting her family and friends. So while he's addicted to her, and has a form of electronic conscience, he still remains soulless in the strictest of terms.
[> Re: Can love give you a soul? -- Isabel, 19:50:14 10/12/01 Fri
"Also, did anyone else notice that both Spike and Angel killed the women who made them (and who they dated) in front of Buffy in order to impress her?"

I'm afraid I have to disagree with this. It has been pointed out that Angel was saving Buffy from Darla. He didn't expect that Buffy would fall into his arms. (Not that he turned her away, mind you.)

Plus, Spike Did NOT kill Drusilla. Maybe I'm remembering this wrong, but at the end of 'Crush', after Spike released Buffy from the chains, Dru and Harmony both walked out on him. And he ignored them both because he was chasing Buffy home. But he did expect Buffy to be impressed with his offer to kill his ex-girlfriend to prove his love for her. (Not his best thinking, by a long shot.)
SMG's real father found dead -- Wilder, 15:19:00 10/12/01 Fri
Sad news. And somewhat stranger, the possible parallel's with her real life boyfriend's father's death.

Buffy star's father found dead
'Suffering from depression'

Sarah Michelle Gellar's father, Arthur Gellar, has been found dead in his Manhattan apartment after friends failed to hear from him for several days. Police are investigating a possible drug overdose after medication was discovered
at the scene. The 60-year-old divorced the Buffy star's
mother when Sarah was eight. Gellar once said: 'I would never give him the credit to acknowledge him as my father,' and has declined to comment on his death.

The father of her fiance, Freddie Prinze Jr, died in 1976 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Arthur Gellar was fighting cancer and, according to friends, was 'suffering from depression' while trying to bring about a reconciliation with his famous daughter.


Arthur Gellar, 60, Father Of 'Buffy' Star
Melanie Lefkowitz

October 11, 2001

The father of actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, star of the hit TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," was found dead in his midtown apartment, police said yesterday.
Police said there was no evidence of foul play in the death of Arthur Gellar, 60, who has been estranged from his daughter for several years.

A friend of Gellar's became worried when he couldn't reach him, and he contacted police and security in his Waterside Plaza building, authorities said. When police entered the apartment at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, officers found him face-up on the bedroom floor, police said.

The apartment's chain lock was still fastened from the inside when police broke in, officials said.

Sources said Gellar had been suffering from cancer. The city medical examiner's office is to perform an autopsy today.

A native New Yorker, Sarah Michelle Gellar, 24, attended LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts. Before her "Buffy" fame, she won a daytime Emmy for her role as Erica Kane's daughter on "All My Children."

Through her publicist, Leslie Sloane, Gellar declined comment.
Copyright © 2001, Newsday, Inc.
To lose the promise of heaven (Spoilers: 1-2S6) -- Fred, the obvious pseudonym, 17:36:44 10/12/01 Fri
(Disclaimer: I am NOT advocating suicide for anyone in the real world; as the Surgeon General might say, it is hazardous for your health. But let us consider the "reality" of the Buffyverse -- for Buffy . . . )

Some days ago, OnM had an excellent essay regarding the possible influence of Jim Morrison's poetry on the writer(s) of BtVS, sixth season. At risk of being a trifle trivial, perhaps another 1970's cultural reference would apply to our leading lady:

"The game of life is hard to play,
You're going to lose it any way,
the losing card I'll someday lay,
so this is all I have to say . . .

Suicide is painless,
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please . . . "

-- Theme to the movie M*A*S*H (1970), and, as modified and without words, to the 1972-83 television show

As I and I'm sure many others have observed, being a Slayer is a no-exit occupation; once in never out, at least this side of the grave. For all Slayers -- except Buffy. (Why is she so favored?) Where Whedon & Co. have surprised me is that they've pointed out that for Buffy even death is no release. For a while, for a brief, blessed while, she could lay her burden down and find peace, rest and safety. Oops! Just kidding, girl; it's back on the job! Once again to face the forces of darkness and watch those you love risk themselves -- and die -- to be at your side, aiding you, doing what they can to sustain you.

Why do people stay alive, other than inertia? They may find genuine joy in life. (I think we can rule that out for our hero, save, possibly, in the love she feels for her friends and sister -- although even that is a dual-edged sword. She also has to live with the dreadful anticipation, even certainty, that one or more of them will die because of her -- to aid her or because of a mistake she will make.) There may be things they have left to do.

I think, however, that a major reason is fear. People are afraid of the pain and misery of dying; they also fear the unknown, the existence, judgment or end of existence that lie beyond the gates of death. This is a strong disincentive to dying.

Buffy, of course, no longer has that disincentive. She KNOWS what's on the other side. I am, moreover, sure that the pain of dying itself (which she has experienced -- twice) can't be any worse, and certainly less prolonged, than the pain she has suffered, and can expect to suffer, in just going on.

Spike pointed out that eventually Slayers get a death wish -- they just want to get it over with. They have this death wish even with all the aforementioned disincentives. Given that Buffy has not the disincentive of ignorance of death, her death wish must now (in season six) be on steroids.

Her life is suffering and trauma. Her death was warm, safe, and peaceful; she knows she will be free of pain, free of risk, free of responsibility, free of guilt. How much, how powerfully must Our Lady of Passion and Pain yearn to return to her nice safe grave.

Now, of course, actual suicide might well (if Whedon & Co. are following classical theology) dump her in hell, a much less desirable abode. No problem. Given the Slayer lifestyle, any number of entities will be happy to oblige Buffy's latent wish.

So even though Buffy has her love, her sense of responsibility to keep her in this world, it must be constantly fighting her desire for rest and peace through death. Hasn't she suffered enough for five years? Can't she just let it go and let some other young woman take her place on the cross?

There may be another factor. There has been much discussion about how Slayers are selected. We've heard, through Giles and the Watcher Council (and I still doubt how honest the latter body may be) that The Powers That Be, not any human agency, select the young woman who must become a Slayer, and sacrifice any chance of happiness or a long life to guard us against those who would destroy us. Let us assume that we can take the Watchers' word at face value. (Right.)

Who might be the next candidate? (Of course, this begs the question of why didn't another Slayer warm up when Buffy took the high dive from the Tower of Glory? While Faith technically counts, she isn't too available for duty while in the slam.) What might happen if Buffy does get her well-deserved death?

Who has Buffy's blood? Who is flesh of her flesh? Who might be the next young woman thrown onto the pyre?

I think we know.

So Buffy may want to stay alive, suffering though she will be, longing for death as she may be, to keep her sister from her own dark fate. This may give her a reason not to lay down and die. But, of course, this won't keep Our Lady alive for a normal span; only, perhaps, for a little while longer.

Slayers don't have happy endings. If Whedon & Co. are true to their creation (and they've been such to date) this series can't have a happy ending.

Even so, there is yet another factor. Buffy was dead, and at peace, theoretically forever. Then she was called back. So even when she does again die, if her spirit? her soul? has any cognition, she will know that even her quiet stay in eternity is not guaranteed. Thanks to Willow, Buffy may be the only soul in Heaven to know and fear a return to earth. So Willow has robbed from Buffy not only her present peace, but that of all time.

With friends like these . . .

"Mama take this badge off of me,
I can't wear it any more,
It's getting dark, too dark to see,
Feel I'm knocking on Heaven's door . . . "
Bob Dylan, 1972

"I hear you knocking
But you can't come in
I hear you knocking
Go back where you've been . . ."
Dave Edmunds, 1955
[> Re: To lose the promise of heaven (Spoilers: 1-2S6) -- Kerri, 18:34:19 10/12/01 Fri
Good points. Here's the thing-if The Gift didn't happen I'd agree on all points-but Buffy had an epiphany. She realized why life is worth living. She realized that love is heaven. It maybe a long journey but I think that Buffy will eventually be able to reconcile her time in heaven with her new existence on earth and find peace in her mortal life.
[> Re: To lose the promise of heaven (Spoilers: 1-2S6) -- OnM, 23:15:53 10/12/01 Fri
Certainly have to comment on any post that says nice things about me, now don't I? (~grins~)

Your reasoning is very good, but I disagree with your conclusion. While you are absolutely correct in saying that Slayers all come with an early expiration date, it is my feeling that Buffy will be the exception to this.

Darkness and angst makes for good drama, but the fact is that the Jossverse has always contained a balancing measure of humor and lightness, even spiritual passion and love, shows that the ultimate goal of the series is to give people hope that good will triumph. Even in the case of 'The Gift', Buffy's death was as good a death as a hero could hope for. That that death has been rescinded does not necessarily mean that all will eventually end in sorrow.

The spirit guide remarked (Rufus has quoted this often, with good reason) that 'The Slayer forges strength from pain'. If one looks at Buffy as a messianic figure, then what she is going through now is part of a spiritual journey that will have it's trials and tribulations, but at some future point result in enlightenment. I think that Ryuei's Buddhist interpretations of the Buffyverse are very accurate, and that Buffy is, or is becoming, a Bodhisattva (sp?). The 'heaven' she was in, if I understand Buddhist cosmology (in a rudimentary fashion, of course) could be only one of a number of heavens, perhaps a relatively primitive one. The next one she is in could be even more 'heavenly'.

Also, final thought, (then I really got to get to sleep-- why do I do this? Stupid question...). If one accepts the principle of reincarnation, then Buffy would have been reborn eventually anyway, she just would be born as an infant, and not remember the heaven she left. The question to ask here is:

Is the temporary pain of rebirth worth it in light of being able to retain your memories, instead of having to build new ones all over again as an old soul in a new body? In fact, might not this be a requirement for becoming a Bodhisattva?

I'm outta here. Thanks muchly for the compliment on my essay, but it wasn't 'a couple of days', it got archived in less than a day!!! Bummer.

Visit them archives, folks! Lotsa good stuff there, not just my crazy rambles.

[> [> Re: To lose the promise of heaven (Spoilers: 1-2S6) -- Dedalus, 08:31:18 10/13/01 Sat
Am I the only one thinking Ryeui still needs to write an essay?

I will agree that the series does not necessarily have to end in pain, and that Buffy has always been the exception to the rule. Besides, as last episode shows, Joss always turns left when we expect him to turn right.

It's interesting - in the original screenplay for the movie, Buffy was reincarnated. The Slayer was just reborn, over and over, until she defeated Lothos.

But see, what makes Buffy's pull from heaven tragic was the fact that she didn't have to be reborn anymore. Even if reincarnation is a fact in the Buffyverse (which we have no indication that it is), she said very succintly that she was "complete," and "finished." The goal of most Eastern religions like Hinduism is NOT to have to come back to earth. She had reached the Buffyverse equivalent of Brahma. She was at the top of the line. At least with my understanding of it.
[> [> [> Yep, you're right - we need to hear from the expert on this. Ryuei? -- OnM, 14:56:37 10/13/01 Sat
And if by chance you've already done so, point us to where-- too many threads to keep up with, might have missed it, or perhaps it got archived too quickly.
[> [> [> [> Whoops, never mind - just found it in Masq's 'Afterlife' analysis! -- OnM, 15:34:58 10/13/01 Sat
But if you have anything else to add, feel free!

On a different track -- kostadis roussos, 19:11:16 10/12/01 Fri

On a somewhat different angle.

We have one basic unanswered question, why did the PtB not create a new slayer?

Presumably the PtB know that the slayer is dead, after all it is their avatar/creation/soldier.

Presumably they have interests that need to be protected and so one needs to be brought into existence soon.

I posit that they orchestrated the whole resurection, and heaven for Buffy because they needed her, not just any slayer, but her and that the only way for her to be able to continue the fight was to get over combat fatigue. To overcome her "death wish".

In conventional armies a full 30-40% of all casualties are due to combat fatigue. A key indicator is in fact a death wish. The standard "solution" is to pull the soldier into the rear, give them some therapy helping them realize that although things are horrible that they need to be able to fight. You give them sufficient R&R some reasonably targetted therapy and in 3-4 days on average your burned out soldier is ready to get himself killed on the front lines again.

Buffy at the end of season five was suffering from battle fatigue. She had succumbed to the strains of a war that had gone on for nearly five years. I think the show was showing us that she had acquired that death wish, and the only thing stopping her was the realization that she needed to save Dawn and the earth from glory. When she realized that she could achieve all three (her death wish included) she took that oppurtunity.

Now suppose the PtB have seen this scenario over and over again, but never had an ally like Willow. They intervene, making sure that Buffy does not go somewhere where Willow's magic can not get her back, but somewhere where Buffy can get some well deserved rest.

Then they further intervene during the spell, recall Willow did not bring her back to life, Willow asked some God to let her soul back from wherever it was (to grant her this boon). The PtB whose creature the slayer is must have allowed the slayer to come back to life, because they wanted Buffy the Slayer back.

But still they must have worried that Buffy would have committed suicide to go back to wherever she was.

Perhaps that is why Dawn appears right when Buffy was closest to committing suicide, as the only being that Buffy would be willing to save.

Recall that in season one Buffy does not go fight the master until *after* she speaks to willow. In other words, only when she realizes that her fight is for the willow's of the world, does she willingly go into battle.

By the end of season five, this must have ringed hollow, she may have even laughed at someone who would ask her to continue.

Perhaps the PtB hope that after this R&R buffy will be able to re-connect to that original impulse that made her fight the master.

Of course this does not answer the question: Why Buffy?

But i am sure her triumphs, actions, and heroism must have convinced whoever the PtB are that this was one slayer they should keep around for just a little longer.

[> Re: On a different track -- gds, 19:34:46 10/12/01 Fri
I like this post. It more fully expressed something that was vague in my mind. I have begun to believe that a more realistic description of where Buffy was - was an idyllic R&R. If her story to Spike is to be believed, she felt like she was in heaven. Have you ever been under a lot of stress and then gone to some beautiful vacation spot where you had no worries? You feel relaxed & at peace - until you have to go back. I once had job that was in a very unpleasant environment. It was all I could do to drag myself on a plane to return from a vacation from there. I wasn't in heaven (anyway I don't believe in either heaven or hell), but I was very bummed out about leaving. - And I wasn't on the frontline in the Hellmouth. Assuming Joss has heavens in the Buffyverse as well as hells, Buffy may have been deliberately placed in one on a temporary basis. The statment that she felt complete, doesn't mean she actually was complete.
[> Re: On a different track -- Dedalus, 08:36:02 10/13/01 Sat
Well, I highly doubt Buffy had a death wish. I think she overcame in the Gift. If she had had a death wish, she would still have been in a coma. In the end, she found out how to live in this world, even if she had to die right after it.

And actually, the Powers didn't create the Slayer. The Watchers did. Read Fray.
[> [> Re: On a different track -- nancy, 17:11:35 10/13/01 Sat
There is another Slayer: Faith. She would be the slayer who would have to die for another Slayer to be called. After Buffy's death by the Master Kendra was called. When Kendra was killed Buffy was very active but Faith was still called. So until the rules change(always possible) it's Faith death that will call the next Slayer.
Why did Buffy confide in Spike? -- Hazen, 20:58:26 10/12/01 Fri
Like many fans, I was pretty floored by Buffy's big confession to Spike about her being pulled from a state of eternal happiness to resuming her Slayer responsibilities. It made me think why she maybe confided to Spike and not Willow, Xander or the others. Of course, there's the obvious: both Buffy and Spike now share common ground in being brought back from the grave: he as a vampire and she as resurrected. Also both had to fight their ways out of their coffins. However, one thing that should be mentioned should be how Spike related to Buffy's return in comparison to the rest of the Scoobies. It seems like Willow and the others seem to have been wrapped up in the fact that Buffy has been a big part of THEIR lives and that things are back to "normal." That life is normal that now that Buffy is back in it. As an attitude, it seems to lay a burden on Buffy that she is expected to take. In contrast, Spike's reaction was a quiet concern for her wounds and when he did talk to her in depth, it was to apologize for his failure to prevent Dawn's bloodletting and forcing Buffy to make the decision she had to make. It didn't seem like Spike was wallowing in self pity, as that he felt that he let someone, who has placed their faith in him, down. It was a very mature and sincere admission that I feel moved Buffy on some level.
[> Giles wasn't available? -- Cleanthes, 21:00:43 10/12/01 Fri
[> [> Angel was in another dimension? -- sasha, 21:38:07 10/12/01 Fri
[> Re: Why did Buffy confide in Spike? -- LoriAnn, 06:06:50 10/13/01 Sat
Giles was in England and Angel was in another dimension, Los Angeles, so neither was available. More than that, if you'll recall "The Gift," Buffy and Spike spoke, briefly, at her house very candidly and personally, and that wasn't the first time. Buffy seldom confides in anyone, Giles sometime, but not often. She didn't even tell Dawn why she was so up tight after having talked to Dawn's teacher last season until she was pushed to it.
Despite Spike's obvious short comings--he is a vampire--he, as has been noted, offered things, like help and honesty, to Buffy while others, Willow, Zander, Tara, Anya, demanded things of her and kept things from her. Spike seemed honestly touched, happy, seriously concerned for Buffy; the others seemed happy and seriously concerned, but for themselves.
When Spike and Buffy are honest with each other, rather than putting on the face that seems appropriate to the social moment, some beautiful and touching moments have resulted. An example is when Spike went to Buffy's house to kill her with the shotgun last season. Buffy was sitting on the back porch crying. Even though she wasn't particularly pleasant to Spike, she was honest; she didn't hide her tears or distress. He was so moved that he dismissed the idea of scattering little pieces her over the back of the house and tried to honestly comfort her.
Spike, again despite his shortcomings, is the obvious choice for Buffy to confide in, to be honest with, something she clearly wasn't with Willow and company.
[> [> Re: Why did Buffy confide in Spike? -- ann, 09:45:23 10/13/01 Sat
And why did Buffy go to visit Spike, when she told the scoobies she was going patrolling? I think, at this time, Buffy feels more connected to Spike than to her friends. The fact that they are both in a life after their own death was brought out several times. The symbol of them both having cut their hands was perfect. They have both clawed themselves back into the world. Another key line is when she tells Spike, "I can be alone with you." Life is hard and the happiness of her friends is demanding and she feels more comfortable with the dead than with the living. To be fully alive, Buffy has to embrace life again and that may be difficult. Spike may be a temptation, too!
[> [> [> Re: Why did Buffy confide in Spike? -- Deeva, 13:08:25 10/13/01 Sat
It's hard to confide to a friend something that will break them. If Buffy had chosen to confide with Xander or Willow, it would tear them up knowing what they truly did. How do you go and make amends for that? "Gee, I'm totally sorry for having ripped you right out of heaven! We thought you were in Hell, just cause... well, just cause. Not that I think that you've done anything that would land you in Hell. We just didn't think... you know." Spike was the only choice other than Dawn.
[> [> [> [> Re: Why did Buffy confide in Spike? -- Lunarchickk, 20:40:02 10/13/01 Sat
"Spike was the only choice other than Dawn."

And of course, she couldn't tell Dawn. How could she tell this little version of her, this sister who lives for her, literally in her place (per Buffy's closing words in The Gift, "Live for me"), that she had been ripped from an unimaginable heaven to come back to this earthly hell?

Better to go to Spike, who (as LoriAnn said) has been honest and understanding not only since she was reborn, but previously as well. Spike, who (as Humanitas says, in the thread "Afterlife - thoughts after a second look." above) when Buffy comes to his crypt, tries to put on his "big bad" front by talking about knives and betrayal -- but instead winds up confessing that his dreams every night are of saving her.

She seems to be running short on people who want to hear -- or can handle hearing -- what she really has to say.
[> [> [> this reminds me... -- anom, 11:30:14 10/14/01 Sun
"Another key line is when she tells Spike, 'I can be alone with you.'"

Buffy didn't plan on telling him ahead of time. She went to his crypt earlier, but this time she left the store to be alone & found Spike there. Maybe it was just that the timing was right for her to find him when she needed to tell someone.
[> The Scoobs got nothing on Glory -- Shiver, 14:27:45 10/13/01 Sat
Buffy knows she can trust Spike. He wasn't involved in the spell, so he would not feel responsible for her current unhappiness, as would Willow, Xander or Tara (Anya of course would remain guilt-free no matter what).

He also didn't crack the secret of Dawn under torture from Glory - he isn't going to reveal Buffy's secret to the likes of the Scoobs under any lesser circumstances or by accident.
[> [> Good point! forgot about that. -- Solitude1056, 16:30:51 10/13/01 Sat
Classic Movie of the Week - October 12th 2001 -- OnM, 22:34:09 10/12/01 Fri
I have noted that persons with bad judgment are most insistent that we do what they think best.

............Lionel Abel


It is that trancelike state when you are drawn to do something you should not do, and have passed through the stages of common sense and inhibition and arrived at critical velocity. You are going to do it.

............Roger Ebert


I think we all just assumed crash positions.

............Tara (from ‘After Life’)


Well, after last’s weeks uplifting movie selection, I thought it might be a good idea to get back to something, uhh, downlowering? Is that a word?

Never mind. If Joss and Espenson et all wanna be dark and disturbing, hey, I can be dark and disturbing too, or at least pick a flick that’s dark and disturbing. It’s not like there isn’t a lot of them to choose from. Why is that, anyway? And why am I asking so many questions? And writing these short little paragraphs?

Your humble movie man must be in the grip of some kind of obsessive behavior, there is no other reasonable explanation. After all, the deadline approaches, and there must be something to say. But what if there isn’t? When all three or four of you out there log on late Friday night to partake of my midnight movie madness, suppose that nothing was there? You might wonder, did he have to work overtime at his day job? Is he ill? Has he fallen and can’t get up? Is he having sex and can’t get it up? Was he in a crash?

Fear not, for if you are reading this, all is as well as the terminally Buffy and Movie obsessed can ever be well. My madness, unlike that of King George, is under control. I have been so fortunate in my life as to have been given the gift of reasonable reason, and it always stops me in time before I could do anything too excessively crazy, like go to bed on time, and not post a CMotW. No, sirree, not this fella.

Some other folks aren’t so lucky though. Take poor Willow, for example.

Now, I know, this was a big week for the Buffster, being yanked out of heaven and all, and I sympathize, but I think we all know that Buffy is made of pretty strong stuff, and like me has the gift of reason, and that eventually it will bring her back to realize that heaven can wait. I mean, like she’s going to turn all evil suddenly, and not get back there someday? No, no, not very messiah-like. Did anybody ask a question like that about Jesus after he rolled away the stone, or about Buddah after he achieved enlightenment? No, they did not. So let’s not worry about them, let’s place our concern where it belongs, with their humble followers. And of all Buffy’s followers, no one currently has a greater combination of power mixed with an obsessive bent for utilizing that power than Willow. For Willow, it’s almost like magic is another kind of sex.

Yeah, you heard me. Magic and sex? Those things don’t mix, do they?

Of course they do. Everything mixes with sex, why not magic? You can mix sex with love, with spiritual enlightenment, with passion, with lust, with obsession, with jealousy, with anger, with betrayal, with certain inanimate objects and even with cars.

Cars? (Still with the short little paragraphs here... must be a trend...) Yes, cars, and why not, since people are obsessive about cars, don’t you know? For Willow, magic is like a car, it’s a vehicle that gives her freedom, power, influence, admiration. She started out five years ago with your basic el cheapo junkyard special, all she could afford to conjure at the time, but she’s worked hard, traded up, rebuilt her engine and drive train, upgraded performance whenever possible and now she’s finally got the very best little speedster on the block. She can do 180 MPH around the tightest curves and feel the wind blowing through her hair. She’s one bitchin’ babe, cruisin’ with the top down. And this can mean but one thing in the Jossverse, and that’s that there is one seriously evil big-time crash coming around the bend, maybe not next week, or the week after, but sometime. We guarantee it, because we know one thing, and that one thing is that Willow has gotten a taste for danger, although she would deny it. Dangerous sex-- err, magic-- err, cars--- oh, never mind, let’s let David Cronenberg and J. G. Ballard tell it.

This week’s Classic Movie is Crash, released in 1996 in Canada, Cronenberg’s home territory, and early in 1997 in the United States. This film was steeped in controversy, which is nothing unusual for the director, who has a long history of making edgy, very non-mainstream films. It garnered an NC-17 rating due to the respectable number of (edgy) sex scenes it contained, and the sometimes violent depictions of car crashes that represent only the upper surface layer of the title’s meaning, but if you rent this flick, don’t expect it to be a porno movie type experience. In fact, it is probably one of the most un-erotic movies ever made about sex and obsessive behavior, not because the actors are physically unappealing, or because the film is not well crafted technically, but because the story depicts people who have become so intellectually immersed in the subject of their fetish that they virtually pride themselves on their emotional detachment from it.

One of the quotes I started the column with this week was from Roger Ebert, and in fact came from his review of this very film. While I generally try to give my own impressions of the movie in question, I’m not above letting someone else make a point for me when they do it so well and so succinctly, and this is certainly the case in this instance. Ebert writes:

Crash is about characters entranced by a sexual fetish that, in fact, no one has. Cronenberg has made a movie that is pornographic in form, but not in result. Take out the cars, the scars, the crutches and scabs and wounds, and substitute the usual props of sex films, and you'd have a porno movie. But Crash is anything but pornographic: It's about the human mind, about the way we grow enslaved by the particular things that turn us on, and forgive ourselves our trespasses.

When a college president makes dirty phone calls, when a movie star or a TV preacher picks up a hooker in a red light district, we ask: What in the world were they thinking of? The answer is, they are thinking (a) I want to do this, and (b) I can get away with it. Crash is a movie that understands that thinking.

OK, I’m back again. I was especially struck by the phrase ‘about the way we grow enslaved by the particular things that turn us on, and forgive ourselves our trespasses’, and how perfectly that applies to Willow’s forays into darker magics. In all likelihood, Willow starts out with the most elevated of motives, the understandable desire to right what she sees as a cosmic level wrong. But this motive is soon revealed to be just a veneer over the inner substance of her own guilt and fear of failing her friend at the crucial moment-- a sort of figurative death of her own, as it were. This guilt is then the fuel for her steadily growing inner fire, the desire to use her magical abilities to make herself feel alive in a figurative sense and her friend in a literal one. Each step forward in this chosen path is more dangerous than the previous one, but while Willow would never admit it, if she is even aware of it, the thrill of danger is becoming it’s own reward.

So, for one possible look at how such a road may wind and twist and end up at a 1) crossroads, 2) dead end or 3) back where you started, drive on down (safely, please!) to your local video shop and check out Crash. You may or may not like this movie, but it is an interesting and thought-provoking journey.

E. Pluribus Cinema, Unum,



Technically no accident:

Crash is available on DVD. The review copy was on laserdisc, and contained several special features including a director’s commentary, which I found rather interesting, not only in analyzing the character’s motivations and such, but also for technical moviemaking items such as how the very realistic car crashes were set up without managing to actually kill any actors. Cronenberg also comments on some of the controversy the film generated throughout it’s theatrical release, and his reactions to it.

The running time is 1 hour and 40 minutes, the theatrical aspect ratio is 1.85:1, which was preserved on the laserdisc version, and likely also on the DVD edition. No info is available on any additional features that may be on the DVD. The soundtrack is in Dolby Surround, probably Dolby Digital on the DVD.
Cinematography was by Peter Suschitzky, music by Howard Shore. The screenplay was by David Cronenberg, based on the novel by J.G. Ballard, as previously mentioned.

Cast overview:

James Spader .... James Ballard
Holly Hunter .... Helen Remington
Elias Koteas .... Vaughan
Deborah Unger .... Catherine Ballard
Rosanna Arquette .... Gabrielle
Peter MacNeill .... Colin Seagrave
Yolande Julian .... Airport Hooker
Cheryl Swarts .... Vera Seagrave
Judah Katz .... Salesman
Nicky Guadagni .... Tattooist
Ronn Sarosiak .... A.D.
Boyd Banks .... Grip
Markus Parilo .... Man In Hanger
Alice Poon .... Camera girl
John Stoneham Jr. .... Trask


Miscellaneous and the Question of the Week (see, it’s still here!):

This week, I don’t have too much in the way of odds’n’ends to rant about, partly ‘cos it’s late and I’m getting tired (really big on the ‘truth in advertising’ thing, I am, that’s one thing you ought know about me), so I’ll just jump into the QotW, which I am going to do in a little different method this time, just because (surprise!) I can.

Question 1 - ( easy question ): Who is your favorite film director who is not from your home country?

Question 2 - ( harder question ): Do you think Crash really gives any insights into Willow’s character as it relates to what we have seen so far in S5/S6 BtVS, or am I just blowing smoke up your monitor?

Question 3 - ( movie obsessive’s question ): For any of those of you who have seen both David Cronenberg’s The Fly and the movie I recommended a few weeks back during the ‘Guilty Pleasures / Buried Treasures’ series, Brian Yunza’s Return of the Living Dead III, what is your analysis of the success of the gender reversals of the main protagonists in ‘Return’ vs. ‘Fly’?

Pick any or all or none of the above, and post ‘em if you got ‘em. I wanna see at least one brave soul do a good essay on #3!!

Take care, dear friends, and see you next week.

[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - October 12th 2001 -- Rufus, 00:10:03 10/13/01 Sat
Saw Crash, couldn't stand the movie, not because it wasnt' good but because it tapped into addiction and how powerful it can be. Even though the characters thought they had control over the situation, eventually the threat of death wasn't enough to stop them. A movie that was drenched with sex became the least sexy movie I've ever seen.

Now to Willow. Willow was the unseen geek, the sidekick that was there when Buffy made things better. Buffy was how Willow found her talent for magic, impressing Buffy became important to Willow. Before she died, Buffy called Willow her "big gun" showing an appreciation for Willows power that was as enticing as any drug. Then Buffy.....the best audience a girl could have, died. The end of the show....except that Willow had the power to bring her friend back...save Buffy from torment. Buffy's reaction to rebirth was less than the perfect thank you Willow had hoped for. Buffy was silent, unappreciative, before finally giving a less than heartfelt thank you to her friends. Spike took note of Willows power and it was one of the first things he told Buffy about. But this reborn Buffy is no longer an appreciative audience....Willows magic dragged her out of complete happiness into this hard world of pain. Buffy can never feel as grateful for Willows magic as she did in her first life. So, what is a powerful witch to do......how about....maybe....doing more and more magic to win back the audience she lost in Buffy? The thing is that it's not really about Buffy anymore it's about that feeling Willow gets in doing what no one else she knows can do. Buffy is now different, so is Willow, that could lead to a conflict over more than just Willow living in Buffys moms house. I think a falling out will happen over what Willow does when the person she needs approval from most of all...no longer admires her.

So, back to Crash, I think of the scene where the couple looks over the edge and can see that crash that has taken their friend...and can only think of the next crash they have next. That is Willow.
[> You can blow smoke up my monitor anytime -- d'Herblay, 00:18:18 10/13/01 Sat
I can hardly believe that, with your episode reviews, you are going to gift us with two wonderful essays a week, every week, as long as there are new episodes. I find writing at length so painful (though not as painful as writing succinctly), that I can't help but stand aghast at your ability and your fortitude.

I haven't seen Crash, so I can't really answer questions 2 and 3 yet. As to question 1: does Billy Wilder count? Alfred Hitchcock and David Lean? Limiting myself to non-Anglophone directors, I face a toss-up between Akira Kurosawa and Francis Veber.
[> [> Ingmar Bergman for me -- Brian, 04:38:41 10/13/01 Sat
I was 19 when I first saw The Seventh Seal. It changed my whole view of what movies were about. Over the next few years, I tracked down ever Bergman I could find, and read ever book in the library on his career. Eventually, I went to graduate school in film. Smiles for a Summer Night is my favorite Bergman film. It sooths the Romantic in me.
[> [> Re: Where there's smoke... -- OnM, 13:43:17 10/14/01 Sun
...there's often too much friction. (or is that fiction? whatever... ;)

I can hardly believe that, with your episode reviews, you are going to gift us with two... essays a week, every week, as long as there are new episodes.

Well, thanks for the appreciation and encourgement, d'Herb, but we will have to see. I enjoy writing this stuff (I guess that's sorta Obviousman bait) but I make no promises, the week sometimes-- nay, many times-- dishes out more things for me to do than I possibly have time to do them. I managed to do the CMotW this week before my normal (self-imposed) deadline, but it was a real squeaker. It's just that since (Buffyverse-wise) I'm thinking it anyway, why not just write it down, ya know?

BTW, I admire succinctness too, I just can't seem to do it! Ah, well... could be worse-- there might not be any succinct-ers here to balance me out, very fortunately not the case.

BTW the second, always enjoy your posts, too, so keep 'em coming!

[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - October 12th 2001 -- Andy, 04:37:54 10/13/01 Sat
Well, since I haven't seen Crash (I don't think I've ever been much of a Cronenberg fan), I have to stick to the easy question :) While it might be a cliche answer nowadays, I think I have to go with John Woo. One of the few action directors who knows how to not only do incredible action scenes, but knows how to make movies about characters. And he's got this odd way of doing stories that really aren't very upbeat but somehow keep you entertained and happy to see anyway (kind of like Buffy, I guess). Except for Bullet in the Head. That movie was just relentlessly depressing :)

[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - October 12th 2001 -- Humanitas, 07:32:58 10/13/01 Sat
OnM, that has got to be the funniest CMotW yet! I don't know if you were sleep-deprived or just on a roll, but boy, did I laugh!

I haven't seen any of the movies mentioned yet (although I'm thinking Crash may figure into my weekend), so I'm tackling Question 1. And the answer is...

Gee, I don't know. I mean, there are so many great non-American directors out there. Hitchcock comes immediately to mind. I saw The Birds on TV when I was six, and I'm still nervous around large birds. Plus, Psycho is an almost perfect suspense film. Ang Lee, of course, given his recent success with CTHD. Baz Luhrman won me over with Strictly Ballroom, and I've been a fan ever since. I think my favorite foriegn film, though, is Delicatessen, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro. A delightful example of the director's craft, and very funny to boot. Jeunet went on to do Alien: Resurrection, which, heretic that I am, I have to admit that I enjoyed. So I don't know. I just know that the US certainly has no monopoly on good directing talent.
[> [> Sleep-deprived or just on a roll ? - Yes. -- OnM, 14:48:58 10/13/01 Sat
A lot of folks site Psycho as one of their fave Hitchcock films, but The Birds has always been mine. There is something elemental about it that makes it so incredibly creepy yet fascinating.

In the early 70's I was a big fan of Ingmar Bergman. More recently, Luc Besson has great style even if he is a bit on the overindulgent side at times. Brilliant, stunning visuals, though, always.

Same for Baz Luhrman, got interested when Wm. Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet was released, really hooked after Moulin Rouge.
[> [> [> Gee, thanks............ -- Rufus, 18:06:46 10/13/01 Sat
Psycho is a great murder movie, but the Birds is a movie that is really scary. In our world we can get our hands on a wrongdoer and at least piece together some sort or explanation for what they did. In the "Birds" the solution is never found.....meaning it could happen again at any time, with any other animal group. The scene in the telephone booth gets me every time.
[> [> [> Favorite Hitchcock (OTish) -- Cleanthes, 21:55:41 10/13/01 Sat
My favorite Hitchcock is `North by Northwest`. But then, I'm a native of South Dakota.

Hey, this is very tangentally on-topic since I can connect it by one degree of separation with Buffy. Martin Landau exuded the same creepy almost vampiric quality that his daughter displayed on BtVS.
[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - October 12th 2001 -- Wisewoman, 11:16:51 10/13/01 Sat
Loved Crash and loved your review. When I first saw it I was reminded of something a dear friend had once confided in me. She is a healthy, athletic person, but unaccountably accident prone. One day she said, "I've never told anyone this, but if I trip and am about to fall, I don't try to save myself; I just go with it and fall into the fall. And I feel the same thing in my car, if I'm about to hit something--I don't even try to avoid it!"

I was quite surprised and shocked at the time. This woman always struck me as so sensible! (lol) When I saw Crash, I thought I could understand a little of how she felt, to surrender herself to disaster, almost to embrace it.

Question #1 is too easy for anyone from Canada!

Question #2: OnM, you're right on with this one. The analogy holds up brilliantly. The sex=magic equation is reinforced by Willow's relationship with Tara, which is founded on both. Unfortunately, Willow's going to crash, and we'll be unable to avoid watching it, just like a car accident!

Question #3: Unqualified to respond--haven't seen either one.

[> Jean Cocteau, above all others. -- Solitude1056, 11:21:04 10/13/01 Sat
[> [> So many choices for me for Q1! -- Rahael, 17:42:11 10/13/01 Sat
Since I come originally from Sri Lanka.

I would pick the Coen brothers, Hitchcock, Ang Lee, Satyajit Ray, Girish Kanakal, Howard Hawks (I always confuse him with Howard Hughes, never know if I'm making a big gaffe), and whoever directed Jack Lemmon in the Apartment. And Woody Allen for loads of great, fun movies.

I saw The Seventh Seal two weeks ago, and that was pretty mindblowing.

I'm getting spoilt as I have become a member of the National Film Theatre in London recently, and currently they are doing an Ingmar Bergman season, a Cary Grant season and a Coen brothers season. What a combination! I saw Aguirre Wrath of GOd (Herzog) recently too.

I shall look out for Crash, and for Kurosawa.
[> [> [> I didn't mean Cocteau was the *only* one - just premier -- Solitude1056, 06:03:23 10/14/01 Sun
Since I also love Bergman, Almodovar, Wenders, and Lee, along with plenty of others - but it was picking up a copy of Beauty & the Beast that made me stop and say, wow, so that's what you can do with film, when you know what you're doing. Of course, I suppose I shouldn't say Cocteau is the one I love, but his cinematographer!
[> [> [> [> Ah, Wim Wenders. No one has ever done Angels like Wenders. (~sighs~) -- OnM, 13:12:15 10/14/01 Sun
[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - October 12th 2001 -- Dreaded Dawn, 18:57:55 10/13/01 Sat
Eh mon, er, OnM (sorry, had to say that after seeing Solitude's explanation of my alias :)

Answer to #1: Peter Greenaway (from Wales I think) - because of the surrealism, visual beauty, grotesqueness, dark humour and sexiness of his films; his obsessive attention to detail; and the fact that his naked people are real people, instead of the usual Hollywood carbon copies. Favourite examples:

* Drowning by Numbers (especially loved Smut's games)
* The Draughtsman's Contract
* The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover

Answer to #2: Yes. I think her magic experiences have been both heady and exhausting in the past, and her obsession will certainly continue to accelerate. I think you may be blowing smoke up our tailpipes, but please continue. That was a wonderful essay!

But since I haven't seen Crash, when you put together magic, obsession, sex, and cars, the movie that immediately came to my mind was Christine. It has its own parallels to Willow's situation as well.

In Christine, we see Arnie, a timid outcast, take on the fixing up of a car, Christine, becoming totally obsessed with her. She lends him self-assurance, sex appeal, and power over others which he had never experienced before. Unfortunately this power comes with a side effect - Christine becomes jealous and gets completely out of his control, trying to take over his life and estrange him from the people in it.

We also see Willow revelling in her power, and at times we see the power taking control of her rather than the other way around.

#3: Can't answer (loved The Fly, didn't see the other), but I am also looking forward to seeing any replies.
[> [> Peter Greenaway -- OnM, 20:37:36 10/13/01 Sat
And if you want to O.D. on detail, don't forget Prospero's Books. Now that's a film for slo-mo or freeze frame on laser or DVD!

If you loved The Fly, you'll very likely enjoy Return of the Living Dead III, assuming you can find it. I know it's asking a lot to find someone who saw both of these, unless they rented RotLD/III back in the late summer when I reviewed it. But, hey, challenges make life interesting (as long as I don't get too many in one week!)

BTW, welcome to the board, mon!
[> [> [> Prospero's Books -- Dreaded Dawn, 23:04:35 10/13/01 Sat
Well, as much as I hate to admit it, Prospero's Books was beyond me. I think I needed the Coles notes. I admire you for your... something. Discernment? Perspicacity? Yes, I'll go with perspicacity. Good word.

Thank you for your warm welcome! I anticipate some HelloBot action in the future, but for now it seems I am living Bot-free. :)
[> [> [> [> S'OK, it was beyond me too, but it still looked really cool! -- OnM, 13:10:48 10/14/01 Sun
See Shakespeare's brain.

See Shakespeare's brain on acid.

See Greenaway film Shakespeare's brain on acid.

Timothy Leary's dead? Don't think so...

[> [> [> [> [> "Best viewed under the influence of..." -- Dreaded Dawn, 19:50:44 10/14/01 Sun
Ah, now I understand... Thank you!

(Adds Prospero's Books to the list containing The Wall, Fantasia, and everything by David Lynch)
[> [> [> Re: Peter Greenaway -- Humanitas, 08:13:09 10/14/01 Sun
Prospero's Books is my benchmark for Weird Shakespeare. I naver thought I'd se a film where the imagery is actually richer than Shakespeare's text, but that's just waht Greenaway does. I love the conceit of the film - that everything that happens is Prospero's doing. My only problem with the film is that I can't recommend it to anyone who isn't already familiar with The Tempest. The fact that nobody's lips move when Gielgud is giving the lines is very confusing. I knew the play pretty well, and I lost track of who was saying what at times. Still, beautiful film.
[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - October 12th 2001 -- A8, 00:11:42 10/15/01 Mon
Since I'm always drawn to controversial films, I checked out 'Crash' a couple of years ago, and, well, it just bored me. Maybe it's just the natural cynic in me, but it felt very contrived. Maybe I missed the point altogether, or maybe I'm darker than I thought, but when I view a film dealing with what might be considered by some to be the seedier aspects of human existence, I use 'Blue Velvet' as an artistic reference point. 'Crash' did not reach the level of thought provocation that would prompt me to recommend it to anyone. Not a bad movie, but not a great one either IMHO. 'The Fly,' on the other hand was very deep and dark enough for my tastes. A very harsh and painful experience, but compelling as well.

As far as favorite non-American (my country of origin) directors go, I'd have to place a vote for Peter Weir, especially with respect to his earlier films ('Picnic at Hanging Rock,' 'The Last Wave,' 'Gallipoli,' 'The Year of Living Dangerously'). By the way, I believe 'The Last Wave' is due out on DVD next month. I am enthralled with the aboriginal concept of "dreamtime" and Weir's movies always seem to capture that dream-like quality of existence. I'd give an asterisky vote for Stanley Kubrick since I believe his residence in the U.K. during a significant portion of his film-making career had a great influence on his vision even though he was what most of his friends would describe a real "New Yorker" at heart.
A poll re: the nature of "Afterlife" -- Darrick, 05:23:29 10/13/01 Sat
I've read a number of different opinions on the various Buffy-oriented boards and newsgroups on the nature of Buffy's "afterlife." I'm interested in what the Buffy philosophers on this board think about it.

Do you think that Buffy was:

A. In heaven, literally (this could be Christian or any other kind. The point is it represented a "reward" given by a deity or deities (or even just the universe) for a life lived according to certain principles.) There may be some practicioners of other religions on this board who have a problem with this usage of "heaven", if so please apply your own definition. The main point is that Buffy being in heaven means there is an afterlife for people in the Buffyverse. THis could mean pearly gates with St. Peter taking the tickets, or becoming "one with God" as Buffy seemed to imagine she was.

B. A pocket dimension that resembles heaven. In this case she may have ended up there by luck or because the PTB rewarded her for a job well done. This is distinct from the theological idea of heaven in that it's not for everyone and there is no notion of judgment. More importantly, it means that her notion of feeling loved, or that her friends were all right may have been an illusion, as if she were trapped in a universe with a hallucinogenic atmosphere.

C. In the ether. We have heard on the show that this is where souls wait around. Maybe that feeling of timelessness and being loved is just a way of keeping souls in a state of bliss while awaiting rebirth. Perhaps this is why human souls, according to BTVS, steer us towards good behavior. And since the soul doesn't necessarily represent identity in the Buffyverse, this would explain why she is so vague on the whole affair.

D. In the womb. Buffy was reincarnated and awaiting a new life. Could that even explain why her perception was so off when she was first given her body back? It certainly compliments the imagery of her being reborn into a loud noisy world. I thought the description of heaven given by Buffy sounded a little unpleasant, like being reduced to infancy again with little independent thought or action. Her being reborn in an infant body, and the imagery she used, might be the writer's take on a baby still inside of it's mother. This brings up the question of what would happen to the hypothetical baby? If Buffy still has her soul in her reborn body, does this mean that the baby would not have one? If so, Willow's action was a serious crime indeed.

E. Other. The ideas above represent a survey of various opinions I've read in the past week. If anyone has something else, I'd be interested to read it.

For what it's worth, I lean towards C or D. Maybe it's just because Buffy's experiences don't sound particularly heavenly to me.
[> Spoilers for "Afterlife" only -- Darrick, 05:25:25 10/13/01 Sat
[> Re: A poll re: the nature of "Afterlife" -- OnM, 05:48:16 10/13/01 Sat
My vote is for 'A', with some shadings of 'D'.

From a writer's standpoint, 'A' is necessary, otherwise the actions of Willow and the Scoobies do not have sufficiently dire consequences, and this season is about 'growing up', therefore about the nature of responsibility and consequences for actions. For the 'price' paid to be high enough to justify the rebirth, it is essential for Buffy to actually have been in some kind of real heaven.

Keep in mind, though, that my personal long-term Buffyverse story bias is that Buffy is a messianic figure, and so is gradually 'becoming' more than human (in the best possible way).

Because the Jossians like to shade things, there is also a heavy dose of reincarnation concept laid over top of the more traditional (in Western culture, anyway) birth - life - death - afterlife type linear theology. Thus elements of 'D'.
[> [> Re: A poll re: the nature of "Afterlife" -- Malandanza, 08:47:01 10/13/01 Sat
Darrick: "A. In heaven, literally (this could be Christian or any other kind. The point is it represented a "reward" given by a deity or deities (or even just the universe) for a life lived according to certain principles.)

OnM: "My vote is for 'A', with some shadings of 'D'. From a writer's standpoint, 'A' is necessary, otherwise the actions of Willow and the Scoobies do not have sufficiently dire consequences, and this season is about 'growing up', therefore about the nature of responsibility and consequences for actions. For the 'price' paid to be high enough to justify the rebirth, it is essential for Buffy to actually have been in some kind of real heaven."

I agree that 'A" makes the most sense -- with, perhaps, shadings of 'B.' I think that there is no Hell in the Buffyverse and incidents like the Burning Man and Angel's trip to "Hell" represent physical bodies being tormented in another dimension rather than an immortal soul being kept in a higher power's personal torture chamber. The reason I lean towards 'B' is that I feel that the Buffyverse heaven (or heavens) is extremely difficult to get into -- only in exceptional circumstances does a passing soul qualify for anything other than oblivion in the ether (like Darla and the departed souls of vampires).

From a maximum angst standpoint, heaven needs to be real and difficult to obtain. I believe that Buffy earned her not-so-eternal reward not by a life of good deeds and self-sacrifice, but by a single moment of grace just before she died for her sister. Thus, Willow has not merely delayed Buffy's reward, she has risked its loss -- there is no way of knowing whether or not Buffy will die in a state of grace the next time around. In fact, she may be so filled with a feeling of existential despair because of she has lost, that she may go through her existence as an apathetic automaton and end up losing heaven.

I am glad that Buffy lied to her friends -- for Xander and Tara's sake. Knowledge of what they had unwittingly helped precipitate would have had a serious impact on them. Eventually, though, I believe that Buffy needs to sit down with Willow and explain exactly what the consequences of her spell entailed -- perhaps then we'll see Willow grow up as Giles did so many years before in England. The question in my mind becomes how badly does Willow have to mess up her next spell to get Buffy to confront
[> [> [> Re: Well said, M. -- Dedalus, 08:58:52 10/13/01 Sat
[> [> [> I agree about who to "tell" -- Rufus, 18:03:38 10/13/01 Sat
I believe that for the poll it's "A" in however way you understand a heaven to be. The depressing part is that you seem to have to work your way through "hell" or life to get to heaven, meaning some people are going to need maybe a couple of shots at the game.
As for telling Willow, she is the one who should have that burden as she is the one who thought of the spell. Xander and Tara were along because they loved both parties involved. Xander seemed tortured enough when he realized that Buffy had to fight her way out of her coffin. I think it won't be as easy as Willow screwing up her next spell, but a series of bad choices that she makes based upon wanting the job done instead of considering all the consequences first.
[> Re: A poll re: the nature of "Afterlife" -- Kerri, 08:38:02 10/13/01 Sat
Literally A, metaphorically D.

I think she was in heaven. Perhaps not an entirely Christian heaven-but the concept of heaven that Joss created for his reality.

Of course there is the likeness to the womb to help in the rebirth metaphore, however, I don't think that Buffy was literally in womb of sorts.
[> [> Re: A poll re: the nature of "Afterlife" -- Dedalus, 08:40:58 10/13/01 Sat
I would have to go with A, with a little C sprinkled in for flavor.
[> Re: A poll re: the nature of "Afterlife" -- Jen C., 09:11:20 10/13/01 Sat
I've gotta go with C. I don't think that BTVS has established what happens to you when you die, and Buffy's description of her after death experience was beyond vague.
[> [> Re: A poll re: the nature of "Afterlife" -- bible belt, 10:31:05 10/13/01 Sat
I'm with you on this. I'm not sure she was telling anybody the truth when she said where she was. I guess that’s probably cause I’m not prepared for there to be a definite answered to that question in the real verse or the Buffyverse, since I might not like the answer.

Wouldn’t that be risky for the writers to make that kind of conclusion, since the show is so imbued with our culture and everyone has such diverse feelings about heaven?
[> [> bizarre analogy, but whatever... -- Solitude1056, 11:18:26 10/13/01 Sat
Buffy's description of her after death experience was beyond vague.

Okay, trying explaining to someone who's never even kissed another person what's it's like to have an unbelieveable orgasm with someone that you're madly, passionately, insanely in love with. Sure, you can describe the concrete elements, the physical distinction of who does what, but the listener will never truly grok what you mean. Nothing would communicate the experience short of being there, and even then, each person's experience would be fundamentally if subtly different.

So, in fact, I put more weight on Buffy's "location" having distinct shades of a heavy-duty experience (as best explained by Malandanza) by virtue of her inability to express herself beyond simple, concrete words-failing-her statements.
[> [> [> Re: bizarre analogy, but whatever... -- Cleanthes, 16:34:53 10/13/01 Sat
So, in fact, I put more weight on Buffy's "location" having distinct shades of a heavy-duty experience (as best explained by Malandanza) by virtue of her inability to express herself beyond simple, concrete words-failing-her statements.

In support of this, imagine if had Buffy said to Spike, "Well, I first met up with this bearded guy in a robe jangling a key. Behind him stood pearly gates. I told him who I was, he smiled at me and said, 'Peter at your service'. He asked me a couple questions, and then beautiful music seemed to swell up. He stuck his key in the gate and swung it open. I walked on in." and, etc. etc. etc.

Giving concrete details like this would destroy the concept and, would sound awfully silly to boot.

Which reminds me of Christ's words; he never described heaven at all despite claiming personal knowledge thereof.
Many times the disciples asked Him what the kingdom of heaven was and He always replied with a parable "It's crops" "It's bread" "It's hidden treasure" "It's fish" "It's a mustard seed".

That's what Buffy found in `The Gift` - a way to find the pearl of great price. For her to return from there to here, she traverses in infinite and incomensurable distance. Her description isn't so much vague as it is Necessary.
[> [> [> sorry to hear you've never had an orgasm, Sol :))) -- Miy, 07:29:01 10/15/01 Mon
[> [> [> [> hunh? uh. whatever. -- Solitude1056, 09:52:09 10/15/01 Mon
[> Re: A poll re: the nature of "Afterlife" -- sassette, 13:12:51 10/13/01 Sat
I don't think you can separate a lot of your choices. I think Buffy was in a very good place. Whether it be heaven, or a heavenly dimension, or some kind of universal womb, I don't think matters. It was a good place, and Buffy was happy there.

As for the womb (from which she was meant to be reborn; I think it's possible she was in some kind of universal womb, in a you begin there, you're taken from there, and then you get to go back there kind of way) or an ether, I don't think so. I don't think Buffy was in a place that she was meant to be taken from. She was "finished," which I think she meant in both the sense of being completed, and of having finished with her time on earth. I think her being torn from that dimension was very unnatural.
[> [> Re: A poll re: the nature of "Afterlife" -- Darrick, 13:55:05 10/13/01 Sat
I'm of the opinion that it does matter, since the answer bears heavily on how we should view the Buffyverse and the people in it. If it is an actual heaven, who gets in, and who doesn't? Does everyone go? If so, is that fair? If it's just a pleasant pocket dimension, then her feelings on it may have been entirely manufactured. If so, who sent her and did it represent a reward or not? If she was back in the womb(and here I meant a _literal_ womb, as in reincarnation) what happened to the child she was going to be? I think there is an important distinction between a heaven created by an omniscient God or Gods, and a small pocket dimension created by a few seemingly benevolent powerful beings. Who are they to decide what a person's eternal reward should be? Are the powers that be the same as God in the Buffyverse? I don't know but I tend to doubt it. And if they aren't God, is it right for them to create an illusion for Buffy's benefit that all her friends were well? I understand that she may have been taking the long view when she said this, but if she was in some fabricated pocket dimension then the truth of her statement is called into serious question.

I distinguish the ether from actual heaven because I see it as being a temporary condition and one which has little bearing on what you did in life. Although perhaps in Buffy's world, heaven also has no connection with what you did in life.

Although, for Buffy herself, I acknowledge that she herself need make no distinction between any of the above. If she felt complete, loved, and happy then I suppose that it might as well have been heaven. For myself, I would argue that you could achieve the same effect with the right mixture of drugs :) But perhaps this kind of bliss is what Buffy, who has had more than her share of responsibility, is looking for.

Perhaps I also have trouble accepting she was in heaven because I don't believe in any kind of afterlife myself, and I've seen little indication that the writers do either, at least not in the context of the show. All the "Hells" we've seen have merely been demon dimensions. But perhaps the Buffyverse is a benevolent one, where everyone gets to go to a good rest, and no one gets eternal punishment. In any case, I agree that it is nice that Buffy is entitled to a reward for her actions. Now I suppose she will not fear death in the same way. We'll see whose right, I guess. Or not, knowing the writers :)
[> [> [> If the show were still on the WB (Spoilers for AtS) -- Liq, 08:13:04 10/14/01 Sun
"If she was back in the womb(and here I meant a _literal_ womb, as in reincarnation) what happened to the child she was going to be?"

If "D" was the answer and if we were still in cross-over land, I would be somewhat concerned for the unborn child considering who is pregnant.

What a plotline.
[> [> [> [> Whoa! Would THAT ever stir things up! -- RabidHarpy, 07:56:56 10/15/01 Mon
...An excellent observation!
[> Re: A poll re: the nature of "Afterlife" -- Cleanthes, 16:44:17 10/13/01 Sat
A. In heaven, literally (this could be Christian or any other kind. The point is it represented a "reward" given by a deity or deities (or even just the universe) for a life lived according to certain principles.)

I vote "A" but saving out another way of looking at it. It was no reward; virtue is its own reward.

So let me set out my version of choice "E":

It needn't be a reward by some deity or deities.

Not having seen it mentioned anywhere, maybe y'all will indulge me in a little description of a concept I find fun, although I wouldn't place too much hope on it.

New Age neoPlatonism has worked up an analogy between fractal mathematics and eternal existence. If numbers "live" forever, and if the entirety of human consciousness and existence can be set out as the terms or "graph" of a particularly complex fractal equation, then we partake of the infinite qualities of mathematics. In mathematics there exists a proof that certain classes of equations yield a succession of terms not amenable to prediction by any method simpler than playing out the function. If you want to know the 100,000th term, you gotta do 100,000 iterations. It's these equations that the New Agers have grabbed ahold of. There can be an afterlife; indeed it may be required.

All right, what does that have to do with heaven? Well, every person, to the extent they have freedom to determine their own personality, creates what happens next with them. Both in life and in afterlife. Buffy, then, created her own heaven.

(In RL, I personally hold the Stoic view of the afterlife, btw, - it doesn't matter for life, only for art where it can go either way as the artist likes. Whether there's an afterlife or not cannot be determined even in principal by any means describable in words or capable of general agreement among people)
[> [> Yeah, what he said...and also... -- Wisewoman, 17:53:48 10/13/01 Sat
I was gonna go for "none of the above," but Cleanthes' description of "E" comes pretty close.

As for Buffy's vague description of where she was, well, once she's corporeal again and dealing with existence trapped in the field of time and space, where she was is not only indescribable, she is no longer able to conceive of it, let alone describe it.

Buffy died. She pierced the Veil of Maya and understood the true nature of reality. That understanding can't be contained within the physiology of the human body/mind. So, she's "forgotten" it.

Yup, that's me...New Age, with a capital N, A.

[> [> [> Re: Yeah, what he said...and also... -- Dedalus, 18:58:42 10/13/01 Sat
I guess I shouldn't always be poking fun at New Agers, then, eh?

Incidentally, WW, when you do a smiley face, do you mean to do ;o) or just :o) ?

The eye in the first one looks sort of like it has an eyelash. Weird. I was just wondering if it was intentional.
[> [> [> [> It's a WINK!!! :oO -- Wisewoman, 19:44:15 10/13/01 Sat
[> [> Put me down as a second "yeah, what he said" -- Solitude1056, 19:09:54 10/13/01 Sat
I've been thinking about this while gardening (since that's when I do my best thinking, albeit most of that thinking is involved with trying to figure out which are plants I meant to put in there, and which are just pretty weeds)... and naturally someone else trumped me on this comment. (Which is a good thing, since I'm unable to articulate my notion, now that I'm at the computer.)

My version of E fits sort of in with A. As has been hashed and rehashed in other threads, Willow drew a comparison between Buffy's exit and Angel's, but Angel took his body with him. Buffy didn't. She went through a mortal death, which means her daemon, essence, soul, headed off on its own. The pain and fury of a hell or even a Hell is going to be experienced differently by a creature of energy than it would by someone whose sense of touch is still ruled by nerve endings that carry the message back to the brain. There is no more brain, there are no nerve endings, there are no fingers. Reality itself, whatever that is, must have been altered radically.

A number of mystics have had visions of an "afterlife" and described people in "personal hells," unable to see the beauty of the next stage, around them. Because they were still trapped in those last-minute self-judgements, they were unable to truly move on and see their previous version of existence as complete. Of course, this is all based on the assumption that regardless of where the body might have gone through the Portal, fact is that it didn't - death came at some point. That separates the essence, and thus there's no body to filter the experiences of any dimension for the body - the essence simply shrugs off the body and moves on, untrapped by any particular dimension or physical reality.

It has always seemed to me, somehow, that what one believes, is what one creates, energetically: a self-fulfilling prophecy. So the minute Buffy's body appeared on the pile of construction refuse, I figured her mindset would determine her next experiences. Her moment of grace, as someone else phrased it, had a better chance of giving her the expectation that she was bound for a peaceful reward, now that she knew, and completed, her task.

If, however, she had judged herself as worthless, she might have given herself the same existence as Darla: a state of absolute nothingness, a huge void. If she'd thought she'd done something wrong, could change anything, perhaps she would have experienced that next stage as a guilty hell, where she tormented herself with all the pain one normally associates with a Hell. In this, as in much else, I think we choose our paths. As one judges oneself, that's what one gets, because this "getting" is based on one's perception, which in turn is based on one's expectations of what that judgement must deserve.

So, in some ways, I also tend to feel - not think, mind you - that the moment of death does define one's post-material expectations. Buffy's reward was one she gave herself, but it was formed by that last-second understanding of herself, deeply and truly. That has a lot to do with the circumstances of her death. I don't know how often she'd get that chance again, on such a large scale, and it's possible that the next time around - depending on the situation - she may not see herself as completing but as failing, and thus consign herself to a much less pleasant 'next stage.'
[> [> [> Re: Put me down as a second "yeah, what he said" -- Malandanza, 20:39:35 10/13/01 Sat
"It has always seemed to me, somehow, that what one believes, is what one creates, energetically: a self-fulfilling prophecy...As one judges oneself, that's what one gets, because this "getting" is based on one's perception, which in turn is based on one's expectations of what that judgment must deserve."

The biggest problem I have with the make-your-own-afterlife scenario is that the narcissists would get the best heavens -- Superstar types of existences -- while the meek inherit a hell of their own devising -- straight out of their worst nightmares. It hardly seems fair :)
[> [> [> [> Any Twilight Zone fans? (spoils "A Nice Place to Visit" 1959) -- Cleanthes, 21:47:32 10/13/01 Sat
The biggest problem I have with the make-your-own-afterlife scenario is that the narcissists would get the best heavens -- Superstar types of existences -- while the meek inherit a hell of their own devising -- straight out of their worst nightmares. It hardly seems fair :)

There's a Twilight Zone episode called "A Nice Place To Visit" on this subject. I don't have all the Zone episode names memorize, I just checked for it on the web. Here's the tagline:

"While committing a crime, a cheap hood (Blyden) gets killed and finds an afterlife in which all wishes are granted."

In the episode, the cheap hood gets everything he wants. For those who've seen it, the final twist at the end seems completely fitting - he went to hell. Yeah, he gets everything he wants, but his desires don't reach beyond selfishness and cheap victory and, well, it sucks in the long run - such an existence is a nice place to visit but you wouldn't want to spend eternity there.
[> [> [> [> [> Re: Any Twilight Zone fans? (spoils "A Nice Place to Visit" 1959) -- Dedalus, 10:27:27 10/14/01 Sun
Great example, Cleanthes.

There is a difference between reality and appearances.

That's what I was saying in my Buffyverse/inherently good people thread. In the end, people should do what makes them happy. And no, that doesn't have to mean sinning, because in the end, sinning doesn't make most people happy.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Twilight Zone & Buffy vs Darla -- Malandanza, 23:02:34 10/14/01 Sun
"Yeah, he gets everything he wants, but his desires don't reach beyond selfishness and cheap victory and, well, it sucks in the long run - such an existence is a nice place to visit but you wouldn't want to spend eternity there."

A few more objections:

Do unimaginative people end up in limbo?

What about people who are so entirely lacking in any sort of spirituality that wallowing in mere sensual pleasures is all they aspire to? (Your Twilight Zone crook was just a little too introspective or he would have been happy).

And how about the ignorant -- is ignorance a first class ticket to heaven? Consider the character of Ignorance in Pilgrim's Progress: Christian's faith falters when he approaches the river (death) but Ignorance sails benignly across, convinced that Heaven awaits him (sadly, he is mistaken).

Or how about something a little more Buffy-centric: Buffy vs Darla.

Darla remembers no afterlife -- yet surely she had demonstrated a remarkable (albeit wicked) imagination and inventiveness during her life. Her afterlife should have been filled with rich and varied delights or punishments.

Perhaps, you might suggest, that it is the expectations of the final moments of life that determine the nature of the afterlife. Darla died quickly and unexpectedly -- she was not thinking about her imminent death and of the state of her immortal soul so she ended up with nothing for an afterlife. Buffy leapt willingly to her death -- after a few moments of contemplation. Her state of mind at the time of her death was one of satisfaction -- her friends would be safe because of her sacrifice; thus, her heaven was constructed in accordance with her expectations.

A reasonable argument, I must confess.

On the other hand, Darla's soul departed her body when she became a vampire -- when she certainly was thinking about God and Hell -- as evidenced by her chat with the Master. One of the first real comments to Angel was a question about Hell -- it seems as though eternity was on her mind both immediately before death and soon after her rebirth.

So I still must side against the create-your-own-afterlife faction.
[> [> [> [> here, let me de-chomp from my foot & try again. -- Solitude1056, 06:14:13 10/15/01 Mon
Let's see if I can explain it better the second time around.

The issue is in that moment of grace that occurs on the passage to death: how one judges oneself. Without much eloquence, the bottom line (for me) is the truthfulness of the person's self-judgement, and acknowledgement that the material/physical life is now over, and done. The narcissists, egotists, bad guys, good guys, meek, humble, ignorant, etc - all face the exact same question: "can I accept that my life is now DONE, and that what I did is what I did, and I can't go back and do anything else about it?"

While alive, we talk about ignorance of history meaning we're doomed to repeat it, but on the passage to death, I think it's acceptance that one's life is history is the key to not having to repeat it endlessly in a self-made hell. I'm not the only one with this notion; even the movie 'Sixth Sense' was carried on the notion of dead people who don't realize they're dead or keep on, insisting they have unfinished work and refusing to let the living pick up where they've left off.

[That's why I look at Buffy's notion that "my friends were okay" with a bigger-picture eye than just "hey, my sister sprained her ankle and Xander wrecked his car" - it's the 'okayness' of her friends being capable of continuing and finishing anything she had left undone. No, they didn't live up to that, but few do, especially when grieving. Then again, not many of us have the option of reincarnation as part of the denial process.]

And lastly:

The biggest problem I have with the make-your-own-afterlife scenario is that the narcissists would get the best heavens -- Superstar types of existences -- while the meek inherit a hell of their own devising -- straight out of their worst nightmares.

Bluntly, those who judges themselves falsely - whether as all-perfect, or as artificially humble - deserves whatever hell they get.
[> [> [> [> [> anom, don't shoot me on the wacky verb tenses! -- Solitude1056, 06:34:19 10/15/01 Mon
[> [> [> [> [> [> i *told* you, i only edit when asked to! -- anom, 13:26:05 10/15/01 Mon
Or better yet, paid to! meaning I better get back to work now!
[> [> [> [> [> as for a buffy-centric idea of what happened... -- Solitude1056, 10:18:40 10/15/01 Mon
I go for F, "what A8 said," after reading all the various posts. Read it here or just go up to the later threads to find A8's post... which, natch, I can't recall its title.
[> [> Damn pricipal Snider! -- Cleanthes, 22:04:42 10/13/01 Sat
Okay, indulge me. I make too many typos and misspellings to correct them all, but I hate erroneously goofing up the principal/pinciple thingie. I try not to misspell my foot-and-a-half words either. I reserve the right to moan and make lame correction regarding these goofs. Thank you.
[> [> [> oh, thank you! -- anom, 19:57:05 10/14/01 Sun
I try to keep my editorial instincts in check (like I have time to indulge them [like that would stop me]) correcting/confirming spellings only when someone asks, but stuff like the above does grate on me sometimes.

And I realize spelling has little to do w/intelligence, or even education; it's just that some people have it & some don't. I should know--I used to have a roommate who's an amazing writer. Cannot. Spell. Worth. A. Damn. In fact, I recently recognized her from a description of the discrepancy in these 2 abilities by an editor on a panel at an sf convention.

Thanks for letting me rant. (Semi-rant?)
[> E: None of the Above -- change, 06:42:46 10/14/01 Sun
Here's a secular explanation for what Buffy experienced.

When animals are killed by predators, they usually only cry out once or twice, or not at all. However, they are often alive for a disturbingly long period of time while being torn apart by predators. There is a theory that says the brain releases large amounts of endorphins when it is about to die. The explanation for this is that it would be too traumatizing for other animals to hear the prolonged cries of one of their kind being ripped apart by predators, so natural selection favored animals that died relatively quietly.

People who survived attacks by large predators often report a similar thing. These are situations where someone has been attacked and severely wounded by a lion or something and is only saved because somebody shoots the lion and rescues them. In these cases, the victim often reports that they felt detached from the experience, felt no pain, and had a feeling of peace and acceptance. Similar things are often reported by other people who have a near death experience.

So, another possible explanation is that Buffy did not experience an after life at all. Instead, what she was describing to Spike were the last moments of her life when her brain released its endorphins to cushion the impact of her death. This would be consistent with her vague description of the after life being happy, warm, and of feeling loved.
[> [> Re: Great interpretation. I was thinking similarly along those lines -- mundusmundi, 11:39:18 10/14/01 Sun
[> [> Re: E: None of the Above -- bible belt, 12:23:37 10/14/01 Sun
I have the same problem with the make-your-own-afterlife scenario as Malandanza. I was thinking along the lines of someone who is schizophrenic who didn’t ask to be and ended up in some schizophrenic Hell or Heaven depending on how they felt (and who knows what that might be) about being schizophrenic at the time they died.

I would like to think that change’s explanation would help these people out in some way, I certainly hope so anyway.:-)
[> [> [> Re: Thx for the feedback, bb (OT) -- mundusmundi, 12:58:50 10/14/01 Sun
[> [> could be... -- anom, 20:31:15 10/14/01 Sun
"Similar things are often reported by other people who have a near death experience."

Oddly enough, last week (Wed.?) a woman sat next to me on the subway & told me about having died years ago, w/all the now well-known features of such an experience (before they became well known). I don't remember what led to her telling me about it, but she talked about how peaceful it was, & said that anyone who'd been through it could never be afraid to die again, that it made her feel free. Amazing.

Whether it explains Buffy's description I have no idea.
[> [> I like it . . . -- d'Herblay, 22:18:14 10/14/01 Sun
. . . especially because it saves me from taking up a few hours writing my materialistic interpretation of "After Life." And yours is much more satisfyingly materialistic than mine would have been, as I would have invoked Dedalus's characterization of the end of "The Gift" as satori, and talked about "a moment of clarity" and time-elongation and mumbish-jumbish whatnot. Endorphins! Yeah, that's the ticket! Just the sort of atheist tapdancing I've got the rhythm for!

I'm just glad that she didn't say to Spike, "I believe I was in Heaven. And you know who got it right? The Upland Mennonites. No more buttons for me . . . "

One thing though, pretty off-topic and somewhat snarky . . . "The explanation for this is that it would be too traumatizing for other animals to hear the prolonged cries of one of their kind being ripped apart by predators, so natural selection favored animals that died relatively quietly"? Natural selection cannot favor animals for how they die. (Unless the animals' offspring then eat them. I think there are some arthopod mothers who become their own children's first meal. When in doubt, claim that arthopods do it.) (Actually, now that I think about it, kin selection could account for such an adaption. However, I think you'll find the adaption even in herding animals, where kin selection would not be in effect. In all the time I've spent watching Animal Planet, I've never heard an impala scream.)
[> [> [> Re: I like it . . . -- RabidHarpy, 09:36:07 10/15/01 Mon
"Yeah, that's the ticket! Just the sort of atheist tap-dancing I've got the rhythm for! I'm just glad that she didn't say to Spike, I believe I was in Heaven. And you know who got it right? The Upland Mennonites. No more buttons for me . . . "

LOL! (Wiping tears from my eyes...)*sigh* That was so wonderfully worded! I think you may have just made my day! ;D
[> Re: A poll re: the nature of "Afterlife" -- Whisper2AScream, 07:50:20 10/16/01 Tue
E- Something else entirely. She had lived a fairly good life, and she was at peace with herself. No doubts. Some feel that what happens after death, is that the place you go to is open to interpretation. If you feel you lived a good life, and at peace with yourself, then that other dimension is good and peaceful. However, if you feel that you were evil, and need to be punished, well, it's not going to be as pleasent. In this case, Angel went to Hell, because in his mind, he did wrong things. As a human, he abused his father's wealth on drink and women, and later as a vampire, he did even worse things. Part of him felt the need to be punished, so he was.

I think the ether is a kind of limbo. If you look at the Stokerian philosophy on vampires, the soul is trapped while the body is a vampire. They are not dead nor alive, but stuck in an undead existence. Because of this, the soul cannot move on, until the body is destroyed. I think the Buffyverse echoes this. Once a vampire is staked, generally, except in extreme circumstances, the person is then gone for good. (I think in Darla's case, it helped that the Master was her sire, giving her a better chance at resurrection than most. Though, once his bones were destroyed, he couldn't resurrected either.)

However the possibilty of D presents an interesting conundrum, for according to the Buffyverse, Slayers are reincarnated along the line. They have dreams where they see themselves in those other lives as other Slayers. If that is so, perhaps her next life was one may be called upon as a new Chosen One? And if so, would such events cause the break referred to in the Fray comic
, where Melika had no memories of being a Slayer. Perhaps, by bringing Buffy back, this is what later caused the large gap in Slayers?

I think it was mostly E, but with some shades of D perhaps.
Am I the ONLY one pleased Buffy was in heaven? -- Dedalus, 08:56:46 10/13/01 Sat
It does feel like that sometimes. I've pretty much heard all week how horrible and dark After Life was, and how it was one of the most unbearable episodes in the whole series. I for one just don't get that.

Okay, I get it, and I sympathize. Yes, being torn out of heaven and put in a coffin would not be a particularly pleasant experience. Yeah, losing that little slice of bliss would be so hard. Recovery will take awhile. She might not ever completely get over it.

But on the other hand, would it have been easier to take if Willow had been right and she had been trapped in some hell dimension after her oh-so-noble death?

I think Bargaining was much harder to watch than After Life. I go along with what OnM said - who is getting quoted an awful lot around here - to have Buffy wake up in hell would have so offended my sense of justice the Buffyverse would not have even been a place that was ... well, worth visiting. It would have been much harder to take. Not to mention, the Gift would have made no sense. I am so glad they established early where she really was.

Wouldn't the Buffyverse be incredibly depressing if it was just one demon dimension after another, an endless succession of hells interrupted only occasionally by a Crazy Melty Land or a World Without Shrimp? The insertion of a nice quiet place balances out the whole cosmology, in my opinion. It brings some light into the darkness.

The more I think on this, I think the heaven Buffy was in was one of her own making, and I think it was a dimension distinguished from all the other dimensions. I'm not sure how it works in a large scale, or if there is a reward or punishment or just reward for all mortals in the Buffyverse, but I do think there is something. We have no evidence of souls being sucked into hellverses, contrary to Willow's delusional rantings. Up until now, we just haven't had a clear picture of any kind of an afterlife.

That the Powers have established a nice quiet corner for well, whoever - maybe just Slayers - after death is ... well, nice.

This perfectly fits with what has been missing before and what has gone before, as well as perfectly sitting up oodles of drama for the coming months. I don't know exactly how much an oodle is, but trust me, it's a lot. And in the long run, since Buffy does retain memories of heaven back on earth, who knows where that will lead?

In short, I'm happy our Slayer got three months of peace where she was warm and loved and finished, even if eternity got interrupted in the end.
[> I think it's a question of focus. -- Humanitas, 10:52:41 10/13/01 Sat
I doubt that any of us are offended that Buffy was in Heaven. You're right, it is nice to see that there's some sort of cosmic justice in the Buffyverse, and it does provide a little balance to an otherwise pretty bleak cosmology. The reactions that you've seen on the board this week have been reactions to the 'situation on the ground,' as it were. We've all been so busy being horrified that Buffy got gypped out of her reward by her friends, of all people, that we haven't gotten to the stage of saying "oh, that's actually very comforting that Buffy went to Heaven, isn't it?" There have been a few remarks to that effect, but they haven't been the majority of the posts. They're out there, though, buried in the threads.

Perhaps the reason we found After Life so depressing is that it isn't really about Buffy having been in Heaven. It's about her having to come back to earth, and being surrounded by people who have no idea what she's going through, and in fact are so full of guilt already that they couldn't handle the truth, even if they knew. If that's not depressing, I don't know what is.
[> [> Yeah. What he said. -- Solitude1056, 11:07:12 10/13/01 Sat
[> [> Me too. -- Deeva, 12:53:51 10/13/01 Sat
[> [> Ditto -- Liq, 13:37:19 10/13/01 Sat
[> [> Yup. Just don't quote me! ... ;) -- OnM, 14:32:50 10/13/01 Sat
[> [> Re: So ya'll agree with Humanitas, huh? :-) -- Dedalus, 18:49:37 10/13/01 Sat
[> [> [> I disagreed... but then I reread it, and I agreed. ;) -- Dreaded Dawn, 23:45:42 10/13/01 Sat
[> Re: Am I the ONLY one pleased Buffy was in heaven? -- Dariel, 10:53:50 10/13/01 Sat
No, you're not the only one. Girl needed and deserved a rest. Yes, there's a lot of angst associated with Buffy being torn out of her heaven. But it's nice to know that it's there, and that's where she'll end up eventually. It makes the sacrifices associated with being the Slayer a lot less awful.
[> Re: Am I the ONLY one pleased Buffy was in heaven? -- o, 07:45:01 10/14/01 Sun
I'm so glad someone brought this up. Since I watched After Life, there's just been this one, burning, nagging question in the back of my mind. She jumped- to save her sister, to save the world. How could her friends, the people who know her and love her, have assumed that she would be sent anywhere but Heaven ? Or, the Buffy-verse Heaven, whatever that equates to... And, also, what did Spike think happened to her ? At the beginning, when he first sees her back, there's no 'so, you're free from the hell dimension ?' He doesn't comment on it- just takes it for granted, maybe, but he doesn't make any reference to it until he hears the scoobies say it, or Buffy herself say it. As he says in the alley, he was eavesdropping. So where did Spike think she went ? In the 147 days that she was gone, he didn't make an attempt to bring her back. Either he's just honestly anti-magic, or he believed Buffy was... somewhere where she belonged. Could it happen, that Spike, the resident 'soulless night-thingie' might be the only one who thought she was at peace ?

Oh, I don't know. I'm going back to bed. ;)
[> My take--perhaps a slightly different perspective? -- A8, 22:53:56 10/14/01 Sun
I'm not so sure B was in "heaven" (or what many would consider heaven in the conventional sense-is there a conventional sense regarding heaven? I'm over-generalizing here, I know) in the sense of having been sent there as a reward for her life's work and her sacrifice for Dawn. From her description, she appeared to have been in a transcendent state of being--a state of absolute awareness outside the temporal miseries of existence in the field of time. This isn't heaven in the sense of being a specific, blissful place (and in contrast to the specific place of unending torment where B sent Angel in 'Becoming, Pt. 2' or where she and Lily/Chanterelle/Anne fell in 'Anne.') where one is sent for a job well done. This all makes sense to me since her death occurred in a moment of absolute clarity when she sealed a rupture in the nexus of infinite dimensions (and it was never an absolute in my mind that there were only demon dimensions involved--the threatened chaos was from the bleeding of all dimensions into one and other). She literally became the focal point of the entire universe in that moment and achieved "at-one-ment." I'm probably totally off the mark here, but her experience then would not have been a reward from the PTB (or from any external power), but the logical result of her own spiritual evolution.

A little more food for thought--where does anyone think Dawn would have ended up if she had been the one to seal the rupture? She knew what had to be done to prevent disaster, and was willing to sacrifice herself, but she did not appear to have had an epiphany like Buffy did.

Did that make any sense at all? Or is the fact that I just awoke from a SF heatwave-induced nap to blame for this bizarre rambling?

[> [> It makes a lot of sense to me -- d'Herblay, 23:20:52 10/14/01 Sun
And it is actually quite similar to the materialistic explanation of Buffy's "heaven" I was thinking about before I was introduced to the magic word "endorphins."

As to where Dawn would have gone, well that sort of opens up the "Does Dawn have a soul?" can of worms, and I'm not getting into that. If Dawn doesn't have a soul, then I don't want one either.
All threads begin with Campbell (slightly-OT) -- Rattletrap, 13:06:51 10/13/01 Sat
During our post-Buffy chat on the boards the other night, I mentioned I'd been given a 1-page summary of Hero with a Thousand Faces in a freshman-lit class. Rufus and Starlight (I think, maybe someone else) expressed an interest in having a copy of it. Since this topic comes up frequently on this board, there may be others who will be interested. You can plug the Buffy narrative into almost every level of this and it will work. It is a bit long, but here it is:

The Quest Myth/The Voyage of the Hero

Joseph Campbell and other students of myth have confirmed what many people have suspected: many of the world's stories really do share basic similarities. Campbell argues in his work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, that there is really only one story--the "monomyth" or "quest myth," telling of the struggle of the hero to reach a goal of great importance to him or her. The story has a universally recognizable shape, and set of characters that appear regularly in the world's stories. The elements may be mixed in complex ways, and few stories contain every element. The general shape, however, remains universal, underlying stories from Gilgamesh to Dick Tracy.

The goal of the quest can be almost anything: a place, as for Odysseus as he tries to reach Ithaca; an object, like the Grail or the Lost Ark; the killer, as with Arnold's movies; freedom, one of Huck Finn's goals; or love or a loved one. Symbolically, the quest is a search for self-realization--the hero, like all of us, seeks to define him or herself, to prove him or herself, to find the meaning of life or at least his or her place in the world, to experience what it means to be fully human, and to win rewards, material or otherwise, that accompany new knowledge.

Campbell divides the quest into three stages: separation and the call to adventure; initiation, and return (SIR).

I. Separation and the Call to Adventure

The story begins with the hero in his or her everyday world--a hut, cottage, castle, garden, office, or whatever. The hero often had a mysterious or miraculous birth and may have powers, knowledge and/or strength that others aren't aware of; the hero, however, may not know any of this info yet--thus the quest is one of self-discovery. The event that calls him or her out of his or her day-to-day existence may take many forms: he or she may receive an order (James Bond) or a request (detective stories); the world may change in such a way that he or she can no longer stay in it (Huck Finn); he or she may simply become bored or restless and set off for adventure (Frodo). If the hero tries to refuse the call, he or she may be forced or tricke dinto going (Jonah, Moses, Odysseus, Medea). If he succeeds in refusing the call, there is no adventure and no hero. One way of looking at Jesus' parable of the talents, for instance, is that the servant who merely buried his one talent for fear of losing it refused the call; he threw away his chance for the quest and therefore deserved to lose even what he had.

The hero separates him or herself from his or her world and family before leaving. At the beginning of the journey (what Campbell calls the Threshold of Adventure), the hero confronts an obstacle or being that guards the path and tries to prevent him or her from going. The hero either defeats this guardian, finds a way around it, on conciliates with it. He or she often picks a helper at this point, though the helper can be chosen anywhere in the journey. If the helper is mortal, he or she is usually from a group whose social status is less respected than that of the hero (Tonto, Jim). Sometimes the hero may not be sure that this new person can or will really help (Han Solo or Breathless Mahoney), or the help may not be what the hero thinks he or she needs (Sancho Panza).

II. The Initiation

The hero now moves into a world that is unlike his or her previous everyday experience, a world of strange, unknown, and powerful forces. In this new world, the hero will have to deal with giants, bullies, mosnters, demons, temptations. He or she must kill, overpower, or escape these forces, or win them over to his or her side (Darth Vader), in which case they may become (and may have been all along) helpers--one of the tasks of the hero is to learn to recognize real friends and real enemies. Often he or she encounters a female who may be a goddess, a benign or malign mother/father figure, a temptress/temptor, a witch/warlock, a lover or a combination of these. This person frequently is an ambiguous figure, one who appears to be an enemy but is really a helper, or one who offers great pleasure or good but who is still a test to be overcome. the enemy, in fact, doesn't necessarily intend to be an enemy; anything that comes between the hero and his or her goal, for whatever reason, is an obstacle that must be overcome if the quest is to succeed.

Often this voyage includes a descent into the underworld, a visit to the land of the dead, either literally or figuratively. If figurative, the descent is what has been called the night journey or the dark night of the soul, a trip through an internal psychological hell. If the journey is literal, the hero will face a challenge to his or her entry. Sometimes he or she defeats it easily with a magic ritual or object, sometimes he or she faces a difficult test, and sometimes he or she can only enter by dying. The purpose may be to gain knowledge by talking to the spirits of the dead, who give advice or predict the future, or to obtain the release and return of a loved one or an important object. Often the hero must pass another test in order to escape from the underworld. His or her return is figuratively a rebirth or resurrection, with the hero strengthened or purified by the ordeal.

The hero finally faces a supreme test. He or she may or may not complete this test succesfully. Reward will follow success, but failure causes him or her to lose what he or she came for. Occasionally the failure seems anti-climactic after what the hero has been through, the result of a moment's carelessness just when he or she is on the brink of success. This final test frequently involves a powerful or legendary male, a father-figure whose approval, confidence, or cooperation the hero must win.

III. The Return

If the hero defeats the opposing forces, he returns to his or her everyday world in triumph. If he or she has won the opposing forces over, he or she will be under the protection and blessing of these forces. If the hero is not successful, he or she may have to slip back in secret or even return in full flight. A helper may accompany the hero on the return home. Whether the quest fails or succeeds, the hero returns with a new knowledge of him or herself, of the world, of the meaning of life; with this new power or knowledge, he or she reshapes, reforms, or restores the world, or at least his or her place in the world.

Hope this helps

[> Thank you......I knew you'd remember...:):):) -- Rufus, 14:07:16 10/13/01 Sat
[> Thanks so much! -- Humanitas, 14:46:50 10/13/01 Sat
[> Thanks 'trap. Will print & peruse later. -- LadyStarlight, 18:17:49 10/13/01 Sat
[> An ATPoBtVS challenge -- Masq, 22:36:19 10/13/01 Sat
There are so many Campbell aficianados here, I thought I'd throw out a challenge.

I have been toying with the idea of putting a Campbellian analysis of Buffy (the character) on the site, but just haven't had any time to research and write it myself. Is there someone out there who would like to?

(1) It would have to be on the short side (short for this board) and
(2) be a good laymen's summary of Campbell's basic tenets and
(3) could cover Buffy in general or Buffy in season 5 (and possibly 6)

[> [> Re: An ATPoBtVS challenge -- Rattletrap, 06:01:05 10/14/01 Sun
Masq, I'd be willing to do it, but I can't get to it for a few more weeks because of exams. Probably early November or so.
[> [> [> Re: An ATPoBtVS challenge -- Masq, 11:33:07 10/15/01 Mon
I'd welcome your writing whenever you get the chance to do it. : )
[> [> I'd be willing to write one -- Kerri, 09:18:00 10/14/01 Sun
[> [> [> Re: I'd be willing to write one -- Masq, 11:34:31 10/15/01 Mon
Write away! Just remember, ~3 paragraphs in length
[> [> Re: A suggestion -- mundusmundi, 11:36:15 10/14/01 Sun
Maybe we could get 5 different people to write 5 separate Campbellian analyses, one for each season? That would make for an interesting comparison/contrast and allow some other folks around here to strut their stuff essay-wise.
[> [> [> Re: A suggestion -- Masq, 13:15:52 10/14/01 Sun
I'm just hesitant to generate that much material. The average size of a fan blurb on my site is one paragraph. I can see a three-paragraph blurb (like Ryuei's buddhist analysis of Buffy's resurrection), but not much longer thatn that.

Plus, I'd like to have it be coherent as a piece. I'm thinking about having a contest where those who want to write a short piece do so and I pick one to be on my site and the others (plus the winner, too) can go on the Exist. Scoobies site.
[> [> [> [> if you said the winner got an Action!Spike, I bet you'd get a lot more essay submissions... ;-) -- Solitude1056, 06:15:41 10/15/01 Mon
[> [> [> [> [> Sol, if you wanted an Action Spike that bad all you had to do was ask...;) -- Rufus, 16:27:44 10/15/01 Mon
[> [> [> [> [> [> all I *used* to want was an Evil!Willow... but now? hmph. -- Solitude1056, 07:41:52 10/16/01 Tue
Thinking I'd rather have an Action!Tara. We're getting a not-so-good Willow all the time, and I'm liking it less.
"Unsympathetic Magic: Defining The Slayer's Role through History Know It" by mundusmundi -- Liquidram, 13:33:06 10/13/01 Sat
A new essay by mundusmundi in Fictionary Corner!
Unsympathetic Magic: Defining The Slayer's Role through History Know It
[> Re: Thanks, Liq! Just a couple corrections.... -- mm, 14:50:00 10/13/01 Sat
The title should just read: Unsympathetic Magic: The Slayer's Role through History. (Dunno where the "Know it" came from, though it has amusing echoes to what I always say to my students -- "Know It! KNOW IT!" The second minor error is the V. American Slayer part near the end. It's blended in to the paragraph immediately above and should start a new paragraph. Looks terrif, otherwise. I'll read through it and let you know if I find anything else.
[> [> Re: "Defining" shouldn't be in the title either -- mm, 14:59:50 10/13/01 Sat
Did the system somehow mix my title in with the one for d'Herblay's essay, cuz that's how it reads.

Everything else looks hunky-dory.

d'mundi :)
[> [> [> Yea, the "system" mixed it up, yep, that's it! (or "careless" is my middle name) -- Liq, 15:05:46 10/13/01 Sat
[> [> [> [> Re: Blame it on the system! I always do. ;) -- mm, 15:13:56 10/13/01 Sat
[> Re: "Unsympathetic Magic: The Slayer's Role through History" -- mundusmundi, 13:01:21 10/14/01 Sun
That's the correct title. And it's here.
[> Brilliant! Wonderful! Phenomenal! -- d'Herblay, 03:51:11 10/15/01 Mon
My kind of essay. Speaking from what is, I suppose, the solar plexus of North America, the essay functions as a punch to the gut--in a good way. Just the sort of rational explication and extrapolation I like. Wish I had written it. Will be making use of it in the future. And I'm not saying that because 30% of the original title was mine.

Furthermore, the fact that demons as a whole possess physical and in some cases embryological attributes similar to humans makes them a likely close cousin on the evolutionary chain. Perhaps an as-yet-undiscovered fossil of demonus erectus in Buffyverse East Africa is the "missing link" between we humans and our demonic competitors.
I'd go so far as to say that such a fossil already has been discovered. In some reconstructions of the Hominidae family bush, there are as many 15 separate named species. Between 3 and 2 mya, there may have been as many as six separate coexisting hominid species in Africa. If the concept of "demon" was available to any one of these species, it's probably safe to say that it would apply that concept to the other five. As Homo sapiens sapiens emerged from Africa, carrying the Slayer with it, it encountered H. neanderthalensis in the Middle East, Turkestan and Europe, and possibly remnants of H. erectus in East Asia. Some have suggested that these encounters would be considered, in modern terms, genocide. Perhaps they are looking at it from the wrong perspective. Perhaps it should be considered slayage.

Moreover, there's little chance a paleontologist would recognize Demonus erectus. Let's say you and I were to go to L.A. (ROAD TRIP!!!) and visit the mystical boundary between the Buffyverse and our universe (i.e., FOX studios). We could kidnap, let's say, Merl, and subject him to a complete set of X-rays. What we would see, I am absolutely certain (in my own pathological way), would be absolutely indistinguishable from normal human bone structure. The physical features of several (but certainly not all) demons which distinguish them from H. sapiens sapiens do not fossilize well, and are therefore unavailable to paleontologists. (Teeth fossilize better than bones, though. And demons do have demonic teeth.) All that would distinguish fossil-Lorne from H. sapiens sapiens are his horns, but skulls are notoriously fragile, and I don't know if Lorne's horns fit into sockets in the cranium or are held in place by his musculature or even if they are compressed hair, like those of the rhinoceros, and thus non-fossilizing. And anyway, today I looked at a National Geographic article on Australopithecus robustus, and there was a picture in it of "sharpened bone points, most likely from bones used as digging tools." I dunno, but they kinda looked like horns to me, fractured at the base.

Moving from prehistory to history, I must say that while I am strictly "Out of Africa" on the origin of both H. sapiens sapiens and the Slayer, I'm sort of leaning towards the multiregional, parallel-evolution school on the Watchers' Council. Your essay seems to imply, in statements like, "As England comes to occupy two-fifths of the Earth's surface, the 'one girl in all the world' is able to be chosen by the PTB from a wider range of prospects," that the WC has a hand in directing the PTB to likely choices. I do not infer such from the evidence--mainly, because of the difficulty the WC had in finding Buffy. Vampires and demons and apocalypse-minded miscreants would gravitate to centralized populations whether or not a WC was in residence, and I can't imagine the PTB neglecting the Mayans anymore than I can imagine demons giving the pre-Columbian Americas a pass.

Of course, if the distribution of slayers is random, then we should expect a certain number to be called from "primitive" cultures, and some such cultures are so isolated from cultural diffusion that the Watchers' Council would never have found them. (I find it easy to imagine that once, in what is now called Nunavut, a young Inuit girl was called. Because vampires could survive neither the 23-hour days of summer nor, being room temperature, the extreme cold of winter, she never understood her calling and lived a full life of 30 or so more years before--I apologize for my insensitive caricature of Inuit culture--being set adrift on her ice floe. Of course, I suppose even the Inuit have their demons.) In fact, if the next slayer is selected from all possible girls, and some consideration in the selection is given to health and fitness (Buffy was, after all, a cheerleader before being called, and cheerleadering is athletically demanding), then those from "primitive" cultures would be favored. In pre-industrial times, hunter/gatherer societies simply had better nutrition and less disease than agricultural societies or centralized city-dwellers. (The average height of males in hunter/gatherer cultures is about 5'9. In cultures based on centralized agriculture it's more like 5'4. Compare medieval suits of armor, or pre-WWII Japanese, with the Tutsi.) A "primitive" slayer might then be drawn, by some combination of the various WCs and her own desire to confront evil, into civilization. I think this would be reminiscent of the Varangian Guard of the Eastern Roman Empire.

But the evidence is pretty clear that there is now only one Watchers' Council, and that it is located in Britain. You suggest an early relocation, but for much of its history, England was one of the hindmost and wettest of backwaters, and I simply cannot believe that a subject of, for instance, John Plantagenet would travel to Kublai Khan's empire to instruct his Slayer. Tudor or Stuart England, on the other hand, would have a farther reach. A relocation at this time would also suggest a motive. If the Watchers' Council had been part of the Roman bureaucracy, then I imagine it would have been subsequently subsumed by the Vatican. I can then imagine a break during the Inquisition or the Counter-Reformation. Perhaps the Watchers' Council had been pressed into service in the demonization of heretics, and came to understand that what they were doing was wrong. (I like to think of a Watcher telling Torquemada, "You say mutant, I say Mahometan. Let's call the whole thing off.") The Church of England, being the most heirarchical and ritual of the reforming churches, would have been the most felicitous choice for the WC. My candidate for first English watcher is John Dee, but only because Francis Bacon would have been too busy being Lord Chancellor, inventing modern science, bossing Thomas Hobbes around, denying that he wrote Shakespeare's plays, etc.

But I'd like to propose another history for the Watchers' Council. Perhaps I'm caught up in the ecumenical spirit of these times, or perhaps I want to join in the promotion of ijtihad for all, but I just can't see an organization as steeped in magic as the Watchers' Council not including the coiners of the word alchemy. Those who controlled the Silk Road controlled the pattern of cultural diffusion in Eurasia, and only Muslims could reach population centers spread as far as Cordoba, Timbuktu, Samarkand, Xi'an, Dar es Salaam, Venice and Calcutta.

Of course, an Arab WC in Cordoba or Cairo or a Persian WC in Baghdad (descended, perhaps, from magicians Darius kept at Persepolis, or even, and here I'm mixing mythologies, from Melchior and Gaspar) would seem a strange ancestor for the Watchers' Council as we know it. But perhaps after the fall of Andalucia or the imposition of strict shari'ah in the Middle East, the Watchers' Council joined in the exodus of intellectuals, artists, mathematicians and architects either to the rechristened Stamboul (somehow I think rechristened is the least proper word) or east to the Mughal Empire. Let's assume they joined Akbar's court at Fatehpur Sikri. (Akbar was very welcoming. He made it a point to take one wife from each of the many religions of his subjects.) In India, the Council could have reached China, East Africa, and the Middle East, and from there, stealthily, into Europe. And then the Delhi Mutiny happened, and the Raj began. The Watchers' Council is discovered and subverted, and becomes as British as pajamas and Earl Grey tea.

One completely useless comment: I notice that you refer to Jossverse seven times and Buffyverse only once. Sometime this week, someone, I think Ryeui, said something like, " . . . in the Buffyverse (or should that now be the Jossverse?)" Before we fragment into langue d'oc/langue d'oil-style factions, I thought I would make my case for Buffyverse. It is simple: Buffyverse has a certain euphony, a consonance with universe and multiverse (for AD&Ders). Jossverse sounds like a sausage. And if there is a Buffyverse, there can be a Buffyversity. You, mundus, seem to be on tenure-track.
[> [> Re: Ditto -- Dedalus, 04:25:22 10/15/01 Mon
[> [> Re: Praise me! Validate me! More!! -- mm, 06:54:10 10/15/01 Mon
Just keeping the thread alive while I reflect on your post.
[> [> [> The Empire and the Slayer....... -- Rufus, 16:25:39 10/15/01 Mon
The Empire has disintegrated under it's own self importance and inability to change with the times as reflected in the COW. Buffy is a representation of the New World and new times of great change. The only thing the Empire of old and the CoW can do is watch while the Slayer evolves to her greatest potential. Power by gentrification isn't going to work anymore, you just can't expect to take over land a persons life because you have more power or money. The CoW is like the Empire....gone a relic of the past. Buffy is all about change....just like Joss said there would be.

Great essay enjoyed it...as a Canadian member of the Empire.;)
[> [> [> [> Re: The Slayer Strikes Back! -- correct-a-mundi, 16:31:03 10/15/01 Mon
No matter if Rufus has her stake...er...lightsaber. ;)

Thanks very much for the kind words.
[> [> Re: Brilliant! Wonderful! Phenomenal! -- mundusmundi, 16:25:03 10/15/01 Mon
(And, yeah, that "Praise me! Validate me!" line was much funnier when A8 wrote it a coupla months ago....;)

Seriously, thanks for the kudos. I'm afraid tenure-track is unlikely, since this is the very sort of silliness my mind drifts to while my colleagues are busy creaming over monographs and footnotes. Not my fault if their priorities are screwed.

Since we both apparently read the same Meave Leakey article and are in agreement over human evolution (though there is compelling evidence to the contrary), I'll skip ahead to the $1.50 question over the CoW's arrival in England. I admit my argument for an early date is shaky. It was based somewhat on what appears to be Joss's running gag of concentrated demon activity in the British Isles. On the other hand, I do believe the Council is the crucial element here, more than the PTB, if for nothing else that it fits snugly into my thesis of the Slayer as an effectively powerless symbolic matriarchy controlled by a patriarchal order. (Haven't read Fray, but I think Dedalus recently mentioned that it's revealed there that the WC create the Slayer.) And while we're in agreement that overlooking inhabitants of the Americas and elsewhere would be illogical, the "one girl in the all the world" isn't a terribly sensible means to fight evil, unless if on some level the PTB want a certain degree of evil in the world. (Maybe they figured folks like the Aztecs could fend for themselves.)

(I guess I'm saying that the WC want to keep the Slayer under control, evil or no evil. Perhaps their difficulty in finding Buffy was the PTB's revenge. Must've known full well the girl would be a pain in their bloomin' arse...)

Nonetheless, you have presented enough compelling evidence for me to reconsider the latter date. Only when and how did it happen? Maybe it's my Jesuit education talking, but I just can't imagine the Latin Church dealing with the Slayer. Ditto either the Umayyad or Abbasid dynasties of the Arab World (not to mention the logistics involved in trying to fight vamps whilst wearing a veil). I'm gravitating back towards the Byzantines, and your remark about the Varangian Guard nudged me in that direction. The Slayer would've been a useful tool (that word again) for the Greek Special Forces out in the Balkan nether-regions, and maybe the CoW may have found a happy home in the ceasaropapist hierarchy after all. After 1453, perhaps she then got absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, not unlike the Janaissaries. Can just imagine Buffy wearing one of those hats....

There's still a few gaps on this one. (I like the idea of Akbar, but I've a hunch Aurangzeb would have obliterated the Council as he did all Akbar's good work). But it's starting to make more sense. The idea of the WC absorbed by British imperialism, rather than imposed by it, is an angle I hadn't considered. (Need to chew over it some more, but it's certainly digestible.)

Lastly, and leastly, I normally use "Buffyverse" when referring to anything in Sunnydale, i.e., Buffy's sphere of influence. I use "Jossverse" to denote the larger mythical world created by the titular deity and worshipped by Whedonites everywhere, including the powerful Angelian denomination and its rival Spikeresy. It just puts Buffy's place in better historical perspective, IME.

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it! ;)
[> [> [> wow! i'm impressed! -- anom, 21:18:18 10/15/01 Mon
By both of you, mm & d'Herblay! History has never been my strong point, although I enjoy reading alternate histories. Maybe your scenarios explain some of the involvement of Catholic ritual & clergy in some of the Buffyverse storylines. I'd like to go into more detail, but I spent too much time in chat & don't have any left!
[> [> [> [> Re: thanks! -- mm, 06:42:28 10/16/01 Tue
And hey, I'm more succinct than you (for once! ;)
[> [> [> Re: Brilliant! Wonderful! Phenomenal! -- Malandanza, 00:05:49 10/16/01 Tue
I don't believe that the first Watchers created the first slayer. Regardless of what Fray says, it's just Watcher propaganda. Sometime in history, men (perhaps with the best of intentions) harnessed the power of the slayer and their descendants continue to do so. Whether or not the Council was originally devoted to light, after generations of nepotism it is undoubtedly corrupt.

Regarding how a slayer is chosen: there seem to be many candidates for slayerhood at any given time. My feeling is that upon the death of a slayer, the potential slayer closest to an area of powerful demonic activity is activated. Thus, a slayer might never appear in an area completely devoid of demons while areas with many demons would end up with slayers more frequently. TPTB could regulate the demon populations with a single disposable girl (likely to die heroically before she has finished off the demon population) instead relying on an army of slayers who would necessarily spend most of their time inactive. It could also explain how the watchers located Buffy -- they simply looked for the most dramatic outbreak of demons and vampires and the new slayer was there.

The Council: to say that the Watcher's Council has never been affiliated with the Church would, I think, be a mistake. The members of the Council are supposed to be the masters of bureaucracy -- and where would they have received better training than in the Roman Catholic Church of a few centuries past? Gaining influence in the Church during the middle ages would not have been terribly difficult -- the office of the Papacy was regularly bought and sold in those dismal times. It is also difficult for me to believe that there has never been a true believer in Christianity leading the Council -- the symbols of Christianity are the sovereign remedies against vampires of the Buffyverse. It is easy for me to imagine that the Council had in roots in a monastic organization and dates back less than 2000 years. But with changing times and the advance of science the Council might have preferred a more secular (or heretical -- witchcraft and the like used in combating evil) road and made enemies of the spiritual leaders of the Church -- or perhaps they had become something of an embarrassment to the Church of the renaissance or enlightenment. (The Inquisition vs. the Council -- who do you root for?) In any event, a break would be in order -- and flight to England where the Church of England granted them protection from the Roman Catholic Church. A more cynical view might be that the Council helped guide England toward schism in order to free themselves from the restrictions of Rome -- with the Church of England as a puppet organization beholden to the Council. There might even have been a division in the Council -- one faction heading for England and the other remaining loyal to the Pope. With the ascendancy of England and the decline of Catholicism, the English faction, with its bureaucratic hold over both the secular and religious branches of English government, proved dominant.

In the Postwar era, England is in decline and the power of the Council is waning. Imagine its power in the old days when they could change the course of nations and what a pale shadow of its former glory these effete, modern bureaucrats must be!
[> [> [> [> Re: all good points -- mm, 06:40:55 10/16/01 Tue
Looks like we've got several potential options. Just not sure yet which is the most valid. (File it all under "Things I think about way too much." ;)
Afterlife - thoughts after a second look. -- Humanitas, 14:05:53 10/13/01 Sat
This is sort of how it goes: Tuesday night is a visceral experience. I just watch the show, and let it wash over me. Unless something really jumps out at me (like the Hunchback bit at the beginning of Fool for Love), I don't think too much while I'm watching. Afterwards, of course, my mind is racing, and there's just no chance of going to bed like I ought to do, so I think, and perhaps chat. The rest of the week, I read the board, and share my thoughts, and read everyone else's. Inevitably, there's stuff I missed. So, if I feel compelled, I go back and watch it again over the weekend, knowing what I'm looking for, but also on the lookout for new stuff that we haven't talked about.

Having said all that, here are my thoughts, having just re-watched Afterlife.

"Mmmmm, Angel!"
- The Sisters, That Old Gang of Mine

First of all, general question: does the title of the episode ever actually appear on-screen? I can't recall ever having seen one, but if it shows up right after a commercial, my brain probably is still blocking it out. That, by the way, is why I missed the shot of Buffy with the angel wings on Tuesday. I caught it today, and it is every bit as cool as folks have said.

"What we once were informs all that we will become."
- Darla, The Prodigal

There's been a bit of discussion about why Buffy tells Spike the truth at the end of the episode. Re-watching, it occured to me that the answer is in the ep itself. When she goes to his crypt, he tells her his deepest secret: that he's saved her every night since she died, all 147 of them. His honesty and sincerity are so clear in this scene, and I think she responds to that by telling him her secret later on. So why does she go to the crypt? I'm guessing that, again, she's responding to his treatment of her just before the SG barge in. Spike and Dawn are the only ones who are able to be quiet with her. Some of this has already been covered in other threads, but I think the chain of events is more concrete than we had supposed.

"As long as it's chips ahoy in Spike's head..."
- Buffy, Crush

Another thing we've talked about, and that I was looking for, is the issue of whether Spike's chip fired when he slammed Xander up against the tree. Tough to tell. There is a very slight wince, but it's impossible to say if that's caused by the chip or by the emotion of the moment. We'll just have to wait and see.

"I see now the error of my mistake."
-Andy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (film)

Oh, and by the way, I hereby serve myself with my due portion of crow. I was grumbling earlier about the continuity with Anya's face not having any lines, and people had said that they thought the cutting away at her face was phantasmal. Yep. Y'all were right, and I was wrong. There are no cuts on her face when she falls to the floor, and there's just no way that Continuity would make that big a mistake, especially after the grief they must have gotten over Glory's Amazing Changing Marks at the end of last season. Now, where did I put that recipe for Oven-Roasted Crow? The stuffing is the key, as I recall...

"Wave 'hi' to the nice little wi-itch."
- Xander, The Witch

Sorry. Back now. Moving on to the spell at the end, it looks to me like Willow was not in control when she broke contact with Tara. The spell was working, there was no reason for Wil to go off on her own. They were chanting in unison, then all of a sudden it's just Tara talking, and we get Bargaining Lighting (the same lighting we saw during the Resurrection Spell), and Willow's eyes open up black, and -- "Solid." There's room for interpretation here, but I'm thinking that something jacked into Willow, and made it happen. I also noticed that her eyes were not completely black this time, as they have been in the past. There was a trace of white in the corners. Maybe the contact lenses slipped, or maybe it means something. Who knows? The one thing I am sure of is that Tara was taken completely by surprise, and did not like what she saw.

"Do I deconstruct your segues?"
- Xander, Some Assembly Required

Finally, I wanted to talk about the arc of this episode, and it's function in the larger arc of the season. Afterlife is essentially a transition. Bargaining gave us the freshly reborn Buffy. (I'm calling it 'reborn' because of OnM's excellent argument for the term. That, and it's easier to spell.) She's back, and not terribly coherant. Tougher than ever, seemingly, but still, not all there. Based on the trailer shown, next week's story marks a return to some more light-hearted episodes. So we have to get from point 'A' to point 'B.' That's what this story is for.

At the beginning, Buffy is dazed, and she spends much of the episode trying to deal with the immediate issues - where she is, what has changed, and why the heck her friends are acting so weirdly.

It's the last one that she can't seem to figure out on her own. From her perspective, she's been torn out of Heaven, and thrust back into the cold, bright world. Everyone keeps telling her that this is a good thing, but their uncertainty about the issue is plenty clear. Why would they do this to her? It is Dawn who gives her the answer. "All they want is to see you happy again." That's the change-point. Now she knows what they want, and, hero that she is, she gives it to them, even though it's a lie. It buys her what she needs: space to start dealing with life again.
[> This is why I don't write much - you say it for me -- Liq, 15:16:05 10/13/01 Sat
[> Spike: the anti-SG -- Kerri, 15:21:05 10/13/01 Sat
"All they want is to see you happy again."

The exact wording of this line is something that I caught the second time I watched the epi. All the scoobies want is to see Buffy happy-seeing it and convincing themselves its true is more important on some level than Buffy actually being happy. I think this is why Buffy confides in Spike. Nina made a fabulous analogy about the treatment of newborns in relation to Spike. Spike is willing to accept Buffy, he would have accepted any part of her that returned. The SG asks over and over if Buffy is ok-but they really never want to hear the answer. The only two people who genuinely want to hear the answer to this question are Dawn and Spike. Dawn, in the scene where Buffy brings her the lunch, and Spike in the final scene in the alleyway. Buffy can't tell Dawn, however, because she feels the need to protect her sister, to be the strong one, and I don't think Buffy wants Dawn to know that living in the world with her is hell.

This leaves Spike. Spike is open and caring and gentle. He is everything the SG is not. He becomes the SG's opposite in Afterlife. Spike genuinely asks if Buffy is ok. Willow asks if Buffy is in pain in a storm of questions being thrown at her. Spike asks the same question openly, honestly, caringly, and truly wanting to hear the answer.

The contrast between Spike's interaction with Buffy and the SG's at the beginning of the epi is stunning. Spike stares at Buffy, gently touches her. Before Spike comes in Buffy is quiet and uncomfortable-Spike lets her come to him, come out of herself a little bit. The Scoobies on the other hand do the opposite they physically and mentally overwhelm Buffy; when they come in she moves back on the couch and later must leave the room entirely, retreating physically and emotionally from their strong persence.

Buffy needed to open up to someone. It couldn't be the SG. And Buffy, being who she is, wants to protect the Scoobies and Dawn. Perhaps if Giles or Angel were around she would have told them. But Spike is there-and given the way he treats her-Spike is the person that Buffy can turn to.
[> [> Re: Spike: the anti-SG -- Lunarchickk, 20:23:28 10/13/01 Sat
Thank you for putting into words what I've been trying to crystallize!

"All the scoobies want is to see Buffy happy-seeing it and convincing themselves its true is more important on some level than Buffy actually being happy."

I think you're exactly right. The others ask "are you ok" and only want to hear an affirmative answer -- Spike asks, and listens for a real answer. Even when she answers "I'm good. I'm here," Spike doesn't simply let the matter drop. He's not asking to hear her say she's feeling fine so that he can stop worrying -- he's asking out of genuine concern. It seems obvious that the only characters who are connecting emotionally with Buffy are Spike and Dawn... what remains to be seen is how this will affect her relationships with the others.
[> [> [> about the SG...not exactly -- anom, 11:19:13 10/14/01 Sun
"The others ask 'are you ok' and only want to hear an affirmative answer...."

I wouldn't exactly say that. It's more that they can see she's not OK, & they want her to be OK--to be the way they knew her before. They want her to tell them something they can do something about, to give them a way to make everything all right again. I'm trying to remember if Buffy ever does tell them she's OK or just avoids answering. I think if she did claim to be OK they wouldn't buy it--too obviously untrue--but they would keep asking in an intrusive way, unlike Spike.
[> [> [> [> That's true -- Lunarchickk, 18:16:41 10/14/01 Sun
"It's more that they can see she's not OK, & they want her to be OK--to be the way they knew her before. They want her to tell them something they can do something about, to give them a way to make everything all right again."

That's true. I guess what I was thinking when I wrote that was that when they ask, they seem to want to hear "Yes, I'm ok, or I will be when..." They don't want to hear an answer of no, she's not ok, she's unhappy, she's miserable. Whereas Spike asks specifically "Are you in pain?" I don't think she ever answers anyone's questions directly, except for Spike, to whom she answers (something like) "I'm here. I'm good." (Anyone have the exact quote?)
[> Very nice - liked your quotes! -- OnM, 15:21:22 10/13/01 Sat
I know what you mean about letting the show 'wash over me' on the first viewing. Fortunately, the way my brain tends to organize things, I tend to pick out certain bits where I know something has occurred that's not just on the surface, but I scrupulously avoid analyzing them at the moment, 'cos that interferes with the remainder of the program. There's just this little mental note to pay more attention the next time around. The angel/wings thing was exactly like that-- the old cortical visual processor goes 'huh? whazzat??', and then on the replay, 'oh, yeah... neato!'.

I wonder if the writers expect the fans to watch the ep several times? I mean, I'm reasonably perceptive, but it strikes me that you would need a nearly perfect visual and auditory memory to pick out all of the layers at just one single viewing. I certainly could never do it!
[> [> on layers within Buffy -- dan, 18:23:57 10/13/01 Sat
OnM, I think that the writers at this point *do* structure the show for the possibility of multiple viewings. Of course, they know that the majority of the fans are just going to watch an episode once, and I think that an episode BtVS is always perfectly clear on its major points after viewing it once.

But I think that a mark of true art (which, of course, BtVS is) is that it is something layered and textured enough to repay multiple exposures to it. Certain books I read once, and I'll never read again because although they were entertaining on the first go-around, I know I won't get anything new out of them a second or third time. On the other hand, I've reread Lord of the Rings once a year since I was nine and *still* find new things within it; I've read Infinite Jest three times and probably will read it at least three more; I think I've lost count of how many times I've read Pride and Prejudice, but I know I'm gonna read it again.

the same goes true for buffy episodes, to which I say amen! (it makes getting through the off-season a lot easier!)
[> [> [> Re: on layers within Buffy;Spoilers Season 5,6 to Present. -- Age, 08:35:21 10/14/01 Sun
Yes, Joss Whedon has consistently shown us what the potential of television can be. Not only is 'Buffy' thoroughly entertaining with its drama, humour and action, but it's also a metaphorically based character study and theme based work.

Certainly one of the layers of the series is the supernatural metaphor. In 'Bargaining' for example, the hell and devastation can be interpreted to express not only Buffy's feelings, but those of the Scoobies also as they come to realize that Buffy is gone for good. In fact there is a symbolic correlation between the arrival of the demon bikers and the moment when the Scoobies have to face the idea that Buffy is gone for good. The approach of the bikers and their idea that the Slayer may be gone symbolize what the Scoobies are coming to feel in themselves as the moment of the resurrection spell approaches. This symbolic correlation is reinforced as the Buffybot leads the demons to the Scoobies; and, it is one of the demon bikers who breaks the urn. The scene of devastation in Sunnydale, while showing us what the town would be like without a Slayer, expresses also the feelings of the Scoobies.

I might add also that the symbolism of Willow and Xander getting lost in the woods(symbol of confusion and identity crisis)and then getting led out by Tara may be(and this is just speculation, not a spoiler) foreshadowing of a role Tara may play in helping these two characters later in the season.

Also, if 'Bargaining' is a reiteration of some of the basic ideas of the series, then the use of the Buffybot is to show the myth of the blond bimbo which in the patriarchally based American society of the fifties and sixties was what men and women were programmed to believe women should be like: stupid and cute. The destruction of the Buffybot would then be a basic reiteration of the intention of the series: to deconstruct the patriarchal myth of the blond bimbo. To make his point, Whedon even has the demon biker leader talk about a symbolic act.

In the same vein, in ' After Life' the Scoobies create a demon with the resurrection spell. While the metaphor of the demon is primarily intended to express Buffy's feelings towards the Scoobies, I can't help thinking that the direct linkage between the spell and the demon is also a means by which Whedon is reaffirming and highlighting the use of metaphor in this series.

Getting back to the resurrection spell, the emergence of the snake from Willow does have several meanings: firstly, it alludes to the Garden of Eden myth, with Willow thus playing God, and the inference being that because human beings are in charge of the resurrection, there is a sense that hell is our own creation. Buffy's return then is another fall from Eden, the serpent in the garden(cemetery is a form of garden for the dead) implying that Buffy is returning from a happy place to one of hardship. I'll get back to Buffy in a moment. Secondly, the snake symbolizes wisdom: is this Willow's wisdom leaving her, or is this wisdom coming to the world? Thirdly, the snake symbolizes resurrection in that it has the power to 'remake' itself as it sheds its skin during growth: it is thus a symbol of the Scoobies taking life into their own hands in the sense of acting to bring back what they feel they need. The negative connotations of the snake image imply that they still have a ways to grow, that perhaps as with Buffy, hard times lie ahead.

A lot has been said about the intentions of the Scoobies and especially Willow in regards to the resurrection spell, but it is possible that, despite Buffy's feelings now, they did her a favour in bringing her back. If this series is metaphorically based, then the Scoobies didn't just bring a beloved and needed friend from death, but rescued her from her attachment to happiness, contentment, and completion that she'd gotten stuck in. The death then is not only real, but metaphorical. In some sense Buffy left the Scoobies for her own sense of peace and completion; she left to join another world. She was thus metaphorically dead to the world, attached to her own happiness. I'm not saying that Buffy isn't entitled to happiness, but if it's happiness that cannot stand up in the world we live in, then it's only transitory(as the resurrection spell implies by its being successful.) This series is about being human, not being dead. And I can't help wondering if this is one of the points that Whedon is making contrasting Joyce's physical death with Buffy's mystical death: if the supernatural is metaphor, then Buffy's death, while real, was also metaphorical: it expressed an attachment to a certain state, one that the Scoobies rescued her from. As back in the summer after the first season Buffy is away at her father's, a symbolic state of detachment from her friends, Buffy has been well away from everything this past summer: from the Scoobies, from the world of violence. But, this is the world we live in. It is inevitable that her time in heaven would end because all things come to an end. The world of nirvana she has occupied and the world of violence aren't really separate. It's just how you look at them. You cannot hold on to one perfect moment because another comes after that; there's bound to be a fall from Eden, from heaven. To hold onto that moment is thus shown as a form of emotional death.

Still, it's hard not to want to speculate about the implications of a heavenly afterlife. This IS the question that occupies human beings. The existence of something after physical death should change ones view of life. In a series that is basically metaphorical, how do you deal with the implications of the 'reality' of such an after life? In the end however, it doesn't matter because Buffy's stint in heaven serves to highlight the gulf between happiness and the world, and the need to have some of that happiness in this world, now, while alive, and not in some mythological world of heaven when you are dead.

Anyway, some symbolic thoughts to add another layer to the layers that I've read.

[> [> [> [> Re: Invitation to Age ... -- Dedalus, 10:04:04 10/14/01 Sun
You know, I really enjoyed what you wrote about symbolism for season four and five this summer. I have a copy of it, and it got me thinking on my own about this stuff. And writing about it. You write so well, so do us all a favor and do an essay or two for the Existential Scoobies. I know Liquidram would be pleased to put them up.
[> [> [> [> [> Re: Invitation to Age ...Spoilers S5,6 -- Age, 16:39:27 10/14/01 Sun
Hi Dedalus,

Thank you for your kind words and invitation. I read much of what is written on this board and others, and so when the opportunity in a thread came to talk about layers, I couldn't resist. The effort to co-ordinate those layers must be tremendous. I'm always amazed at the writers' ability to seamlessly thread them together. We're watching action and humour, romance and drama, but at the same time we are witnessing symbolic acts. It's quite marvellous.


[> Great thoughts! :) -- Lunarchickk, 20:13:30 10/13/01 Sat
Agreed -- it's tough to catch little things on first watching. And no -- I don't believe they ever show the episode titles. I've only ever seen them online. :)

I don't think Willow was in control of what happened either. Reminded me considerably of when Willow re-souled Angel... as you said, like something else was in control there.

Love your point about Dawn's comment being her turning point. Buffy died so Dawn could live; once reborn, she turned back to the world again for Dawn (in response to Dawn's pleas) and moments later saved her and Dawn both from falling bits o' tower; and in AfterLife, Buffy takes her cue for dealing with being back in this world from Dawn. Little sis seems to be a Key in a lot of ways. :)
[> [> Dawn -- Humanitas, 08:36:40 10/14/01 Sun
Thanks for the compliments, everybody.

Dawn's arc this season should be interesting. She says in Bargaining: "I'm not the Key anymore. Or, if I am, I don't open anything." But we see in the very next episode that that is not true. At the very least, she opens Buffy's heart. Even if she manifests no supernatural abilities whatsoever (and I suspect that she will, eventually), that's some pretty big mojo all by itself.

BTW, regarding Dawn, I'm still amazed that Joss & Co. managed to avoid the "Scrappy Doo Effect." By rights, Dawn ought to be much more annoying, and make me want to kick her into the next county. Instead, she's starting to become yet another reason why I watch the show. Can't wait to see what her reaction is to the continuing evolution of Buffy and Spike's friendship.
Blood - The Last Vampire (Minor - OT) -- Methodica, 16:54:45 10/13/01 Sat
Just finished watching an anime called Blood: The last vampire and found the vampire to be very interesting. The movie has it where there are 2 types of vampires; orginal vampires (very human) and an offshot of vampires which when they turn they turn in to these huge monsters. There is only 1 orginal vampire left in the movie and she runs around and hunts the offshot vampires. Kind of think blade meets buffy. The only way to kill the vampires in this movie is you must hit them with one blow that causes massive blood lose. (She mainly runs around with a Katana). Another interesting point is the vampire slayer hates humans but can't kill them.

Anyways I don't want to go on and spoil it. The anime itself is top notch I classify as the 2nd best looking anime and sound anime out there. The only negative points is the length its only 45 mins long which I found to be odd. Also a little warning its very very gory in some parts.

Well worth the rent and has some very interesting idea's concerning vampires and vampire slayers.

[> Where did you find it? -- Liq, 00:52:25 10/14/01 Sun
[> [> Re: Where did you find it? -- Dave V, 12:51:57 10/14/01 Sun
Just saw this movie last week, and found it very interesting. The homepage is here:
Buffyheaven -- Jeff Roudenbush, 06:19:59 10/14/01 Sun
Two aspects of Buffy's attitude have long troubled me and both appear in Buffyheaven. Both issues have been getting satisfactory treatment on Angel and it is probably for that reason, plus Charisma, that I have been enjoying AtS more recently.

For a long time Buffy has had a strong desire to avoid the responsibility for placing her friends and family in danger as a result of her position as slayer. What she wishes to avoid, however, is the feeling of responsibility. This is one of the gifts she receives in heaven—to know that her friends are safe. She is treating her friends like children when every one of them has freely chosen their role as demon-fighter. While they do not possess her fighting abilities, they are just as committed--perhaps moreso, since they have enlisted in the war rather than being drafted. Moreover, without them her career and her mission would have ended many times over. A little bit of ego adjustment in relation to her friends, ala Angel, might be in order for Buffy.

The second benefit she receives in Heaven is the feeling that her job is finished, complete. Once again, this gives her a sense of happiness that she could have had on earth. As Angel has learned in only two years of episodes, the battle against evil is ongoing, and the players, both good and evil, have only their parts to play. When we make our entrance onto the stage and when we leave is not the issue, it is how well we have played our parts. Buffy needs a Holling to explain this aspect of Buffyworld to her—an ongoing roll, I suspect.

Here is a related question--what difference does Angel's close relation to the PTB make in his philosphy compared to Buffy's? How would it effect her view on these topics if she were to connect with them in some way?
[> Re: Buffyheaven -- Zus, 06:49:28 10/14/01 Sun
I really have to agree with your take on Buff-heaven. She KNEW that her friends were safe; she KNEW that her job was complete. But, neither of those things were true. How can these things be anything but a lie, unless what we do in life has no meaning at all except in its context of eternal reward? The concept that that lying is wrong and then that in our final reward we are lied to is beyond ironic. I suppose in the context of "they are safe and I am done because nothing matters until after-life," then she wasn't lied to, but I really, until now, have not gotten such a fatalistic message from the show.
[> A few problems with you theory -- Kerri, 09:08:06 10/14/01 Sun
Ok-I just have a few issues with your post:

1) Buffy says she knew her friends were all right. If you read Masq's analysis on Afterlife you'll find a great assessment on the Buddhist nature of Buffy's rebirth by Ryuei that addresses this issue in a much more elequent way than I could.

2) Buffy doesn't say her work is finished-she says she was finished, in the sense of being complete. I took this as more a personal completion or wholeness.
[> [> Re: What K said -- Dedalus, 10:11:25 10/14/01 Sun
[> [> Re: A few problems with you theory -- Rufus, 12:48:34 10/14/01 Sun
So we have to think, if Buffy was finished, complete, what did bringing her back do to that state? Is she now seeking to find that state in this reality. I'm not talking about not having form, but the feeling she had of being finished, is there something about that feeling that contains the answers to the bigger problem of being a Slayer?
[> [> [> Complete -- Kerri, 13:48:37 10/14/01 Sun
My interpretation of Buffy's completeion was a unification with the aspects that compose her. And, yes, I think Buffy will be searching for this feeling on earth. The answer to finding this feeling again is something that is held within Buffy herself, and thus can be achieved in any world.
vampire senses -- Peasant, 07:16:55 10/14/01 Sun
I’ve been having a wonderful time around your site, which is one of the best and most thoughtfully informative I have ever come across.
But (there’s always a but) I did find one section I seriously disagree with. This is the section on vampires where you say that they have no particularly enhanced senses compared to humans. I would put forward the theory that Jossian vamps have all the senses of a typical night hunting predator.
Their sense of smell is excellent : Angel could smell that Wesley had not just sex but sex with a blonde. Angel also once gave some indication that he could smell the sunrise. Though this was probably poetic.
They have good hearing: in Pylea Angel could hear voices through the cell door that the others couldn’t. And Wesley specifically explained this to Gunn as being because he was a vampire.
They have good night vision: Angel could see in the dark in Choices when the others couldn’t. As regards glasses, Marcus and Dalton both wore them, but William did while Spike doesn’t. So it is possible that some forms of poor eyesight (perhaps short sightedness) are cured, while others (perhaps astigmatism) aren’t.
They have a poor sense of taste: Angel and Buffy both stated this at various times in IWRY. This is standard for a predator since they don’t use the sense of taste to identify if food is suitable or not. They do, presumably, have some sense of taste though, since both Spike and Harmony have commented on the different qualities of human and animal blood. Again this is standard, most predators can taste things, just not as well as humans who rely on it to identify and vary their desire for suitable food.
Vampire speed is also considerably enhanced: Angel can move in and out of Lyla’s car without her seeing him. Penn could move very fast around the police station. And they are of course much stronger.
It would be interesting to know if, like many predators, although their speed and strength was good they lacked stamina for a long chase. Perhaps, with persistence, one really could outrun a vampire.

And as a final note on why vamps might appear to breathe - their muscles still work, including the muscles of the diaphragm. These in a human are working on an automatic system - you don’t have to think about breathing in order to do it. There is no reason why this mechanism should have been turned off just because the gas exchange in the lungs is no longer required. Hence the appearance of breathing and even panting after exertion (both frequently exhibited) would continue even though the body was not requiring the oxygen.

Just some thoughts. I’m not a doctor or anything so half of it is probably wrong
[> Re: vampire senses -- Humanitas, 09:46:18 10/14/01 Sun
Welcome. Since you're obviously someone who is every bit as >ahem< 'detail-oriented' as the rest of us, please stick around, and respond to some of the threads posted here. Oh, and don't mind the HelloBot. She's slightly off-putting and chooses her words a bit to precisely, but she meanss well. Just smile and nod. ;)

I must say that I like your explanation of breathing, in particular. It's something that we've wondered about here from time to time, and I also notced Angel panting from exertion in Out of Mind, Out of Sight the other day. Odd, because just moments later he says "It's not like I need the oxygen." So vampires breathe, but they don't respire. That makes a certain amount of sense.

The notion of vampire's sense of taste being poor would also explain Spike's fondness for Flowering Onions. Typically, these are fried with some pretty hefty spices, which even a Vampire could taste. Same goes for the wiings he asked for in Fool for Love. On the other hand, we have seen a number of examples of vampires enjoying food, despite not geting any nutritional value from it. Perhaps some vammpires (like some humans) have a more refined sense of taste than others.
[> [> If they don't breathe, how do vampires smoke? Best not to think to hard about it. -- Rattletrap, 14:28:36 10/14/01 Sun
[> [> [> For that matter, how do they talk? -- Masq, 15:14:28 10/15/01 Mon
"It's metaphysics, not physics, people" --Joss Whedon
[> [> [> [> To all the unanswerable the Magic Clause applies......:):) -- Rufus, 16:29:11 10/15/01 Mon
[> Re: vampire senses -- LadyStarlight, 15:06:16 10/14/01 Sun
In reference to 'breathing', let's not forget that in order to talk, air has to be pulled into the lungs and forced out throught the vocal cords. Maybe vampires keep the habit so they can talk, or smoke, or whatever, to blend in with the human population.
[> [> Re: vampire senses -- Peasant, 10:17:27 10/15/01 Mon
I've often wonder if another reason they keep breathing is to draw the air in so they can scent the air all the time. It would make sure they didn't miss anything worth sniffing.
Buffy the angel -- Kerri, 08:26:15 10/14/01 Sun
After rewatching Afterlife I was thinking about the scene where Buffy's figure becomes alligned with that of the stone angel.

I reread OnM's fantastic essay and comments on this scene:

Out here, we is stoned, immaculate... Or is it as my slightly altered wording suggests, is the stone itself immaculate? Perfect grace, captured for eternity? Or one who could fly with God but whose wings are too heavy and solid, composed as they are of the densest fundamentals of the earth?

And whose fault is this, is it God’s, or the First Evil, or the Scoobies, or only Willow? Willow seems to be at the focal point of the ‘price’ that she suggests has been debited in exchange for the revivification of her beloved friend. All we know for certain at this point in time is that Willow was obviously driven to do what she did because she was filled with a sense of outrage and anger and despair that harkened from some central place within her soul:

Well, I suggest another person who's fault it is: Buffy. The wings are hard and pure, too heavy to fly. She is tied to the earth. Buffy had a change to "fly" off the tower in Bargaining-to jump, to return to her heaven-but she didn't. Buffy wouldn't allow herself to fly, she instead remains on this earth as long as she is needed.
Her heavy wings, made of the pure, earthly material of stone, keep her forever attached to her mortal coil and at the same time forever the eternal angel.

And does this scene foreshadow more than the episode's ending-I think so. Buffy has been becoming a messiah-like figure, especially with her death in The Gift. Well now she returns to the mortal world-giving up the heaven-to help save the world. But I think as the year goes on we will see Buffy saving the world in more than her traditional way of destroying evil-she will become a messanger of good.

an·gel n.
A typically benevolent celestial being that acts as an intermediary between heaven and earth, especially in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Zoroastrianism.

Buffy has always been stuck between two worlds. It used to be between the demon world and the human world-and in a way she reconciled those two for the world, with her influence in Spike's transformation. And reconciled the two within herself in her acceptance of her slayer side in The Gift.

Well now Buffy is between a different two wrolds: heaven and earth. And her goal seems to be set out in front of her: to reconcile the two worlds within herself and in this world.
[> Re: Buffy the angel -- Dedalus, 10:09:22 10/14/01 Sun
"Well now Buffy is between a different two worlds: heaven and earth. And her goal seems to be set out in front of her: to reconcile the two worlds within herself and in this world."

Yep. I've never thought of Buffy as angel as intermediary, but there you go. That was very eloquent. I trust you had a good night's sleep after the chat? :-)
[> [> Very well rested thank you..... -- Kerri, 11:31:31 10/14/01 Sun
Yay! I got to sleep 'till 11 (with my head attached and all)....:) *big smile*. Hope you got a good sleep too! See Ded, told you I was pondering.
[> [> [> Re: Very well rested thank you..... -- Dedalus, 19:11:47 10/14/01 Sun
Pondering is good. Pondering with a head still attached is even better.

[> [> [> [> That's why I still have the lightsaber.......;) -- Rufus, 21:35:29 10/14/01 Sun
[> Angelic Intervention?! -- RabidHarpy, 13:33:00 10/15/01 Mon
I too enjoyed the scene with Buffy and the angelic statue, (stone angels fascinate me!) The length of the shot and the way it stood alone before heading off to a new scene caught me as being intentionally significant as well, (although I admit that my first thoughts ran more along the lines of, "I wonder whether some sort of angelic being(s) will be introduced in order to wreak vengeance, or try to reclaim Buffy to restore the "natural" order of the universe?) By the end of the episode it seemed even more likely that there might be some sort of bridge being forged between heaven and earth, with Buffy as the "key", so to speak.

Up until this point the only consistent figures of "good" on the Hellmouth have been human. Perhaps Buffy's return from "heaven" will facilitate a reason for otherworldly figures of "good" to appear to balance the scale of the demonic and the divine. I, for one, would not be morally opposed to a "helper" from Buffy's "heaven" experience being sent down to assist her in this new phase of her journey... (either to help her reintegrate via their shared experience of the "fall" from heaven, or on a mission to curb Willow's forays into the dark arts and thereby save her soul, not to mention prevent any catastrophic consequences which she might unknowingly unleash on the world...)

Ahh! So many possibilities! ;)

(...forgive my tangents - I'm very fond of the delicious spectrum of "choose your own adventure" possibilities...!)
[> [> Boy, have you come to the right place........:):) -- Rufus, 16:11:50 10/15/01 Mon
Wanna talk spectrums be they behavioral or adventures this is the place.

If you think about Buffy taking the place of Dawn as the key in regards to the portals it isn't too off base to now think of Buffy as a key of a sort in regards to the potential of heaven and earth. I wonder if she will be of interest to the PTB's as a returning warrior for good? Or, did they expect this turn of events?
Buffy's Goal? -- Wisewoman, 12:26:24 10/14/01 Sun
What was/is Buffy’s goal in life?

I was reading the brief description of the Hero’s Journey that was posted the other day and it struck me that I don’t really know what Buffy’s goal is.

In The Gift, her goal was to save Dawn. That was obvious from the start, and she accomplished her goal.

But before the threat to Dawn, Buffy had other goals. In general, in each season, her goal has been to dispose of the first the Little and then the Big Bads. She has a lot of day-to-day, practical goals like, "Stay alive." "Protect my friends." "Kill as many vampires and demons as possible." These goals are centered on her role as the Slayer, a role she did not choose but was thrust into.

She tends to shy away from "traditional" goals like career, marriage, children, again because her role as Slayer is largely prohibitive of these things.

I guess what I’m saying is that she’s tended to engage in reactive, rather than proactive, goal-setting. As a mythological hero, though, shouldn’t she have some overarching life goal? Some task that only she can fulfill? I wonder if this is what we’ll see as part of her maturation in the year of "oh, grow up!"? Personally, I’d like to see her choose a goal for herself, something she could consciously decide to do, like destroying the Hellmouth just because it’s there, rather than because it’s about to spew forth another Apocalypse. Or maybe ridding the world of vampires once and for all? Kind of a tall order, and wouldn’t bode well for Spike, but it’s a worthy goal.
[> Re: Buffy's Goal? -- Kerri, 12:38:25 10/14/01 Sun
Season 5 brought up the goal of understanding what it meant to be the Slayer, and in that one of Buffy's large goals of understanding her place in the world. This seems to be an understanding Buffy reached in The Gift. I mentioned in my post below on Buffy the angel, that Buffy has the goal of reconciling the two, seemingly opposing, worlds she is a part of.
[> [> Re: Buffy's Goal? -- Wisewoman, 12:58:53 10/14/01 Sun
I agree that reconciliation as you suggest is a worthy goal, but again I don't think it's one that Buffy is able to choose. She must reconcile her opposing worlds in order to survive.

I'm thinking more along the lines of something freely chosen, rather than imposed by necessity.
[> [> [> Re: Buffy's Goal? -- mundusmundi, 13:11:04 10/14/01 Sun
She must reconcile her opposing worlds in order to survive.

From what I gather, this is a key stage in the Hero(ine)'s Journey, one that Buffy may be nearing.

Think of the Journey as a metaphor for life. We all start out with goals, but rarely do we ever become the people we think we will. Yet our journeys often direct us to higher goals and places we didn't know existed, and makes us better for it. Mythologically, the Journey takes the Hero out of the ordinary world and into a magical world. If the Hero succeeds in navigating the latter, he will then return to his former existence a better, wiser person. This final stage is called "the Master of Both Worlds." Think of Paul Atriedes in Dune, or Frodo in Lord of the Rings, or most any other favorite myth, and you'll get the idea.

If Buffy's journey is true to form, she will return to some sort of "normal" life, the kind she had before being called into Slayerhood, yet more mature and appreciative and more secure in what she wants out of life. I agree with you that she needs to decide on her own goals, rather than having them thrust upon her. I touch on this a bit at the end of my latest essay *shameless plug.*
[> [> [> [> Re: Buffy's Goal? -- Kerri, 13:44:04 10/14/01 Sun
"If the Hero succeeds in navigating the latter, he will then return to his former existence a better, wiser person. This final stage is called "the Master of Both Worlds." "

I think that portion of the hero's journey is really summed up in a favorite quote of mine,

And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
-T.S. Eliot

At the end of Buffy's journey she will come to truly understand herself for the first time.
[> [> [> [> Re: Buffy's Goal? -- Wisewoman, 14:15:29 10/14/01 Sun
If Buffy's journey is true to form, she will return to some sort of "normal" life, the kind she had before being called into Slayerhood, yet more mature and appreciative and more secure in what she wants out of life.

That would be an amazing and satisfying conclusion to her saga, but what would it take for her to regain a "normal" life? The triumph of good over evil in Sunnydale? In the world? The return of Faith or another Slayer to take up her mantle?

If these things were to happen, then perhaps she could consider some of the more traditional goals she's had to forego. But somehow I just don't see it: Bride Buffy? Mommy Buffy? Divorced-and-looking-for-work Buffy? Commuter Buffy?

I'd love to think she'd live long enough to retire and raise goats and chickens, or something, but that doesn't seem very heroic.

Maybe the darkness of Season 6 is influencing me, but I fear a more tragic and heroic final end for Buffy.
[> [> [> [> [> Re: Buffy's Goal? -- Kerri, 14:36:04 10/14/01 Sun
"what would it take for her to regain a "normal" life? The triumph of good over evil in Sunnydale? In the world? "

Have you read Fray?
[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Fray...slightly spoilery -- Wisewoman, 15:01:24 10/14/01 Sun
Only the first installment, but I know what it says about the last slayer before Melaka Fray.

That's kinda of where I'm going with this...how does it happen?
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Fray...slightly spoilery -- Andy, 20:06:20 10/14/01 Sun
There haven't been many details on how it happened. Merely that sometime in the 21st century the apparent majority of demons on Earth were basically wiped out. From the image in the latest issue, there was a woman standing before an army of demons along with her "mystical allies", then an image of a portal closing with a female hand reaching out from within while tentacles writhed around it. Hopefully the series will get back underway soon since they took a hiatus and now that it's supposed to be over the new issue is two weeks late. Grrrr...

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Buffy's Goal? -- mundusmundi, 14:45:23 10/14/01 Sun
Maybe the darkness of Season 6 is influencing me, but I fear a more tragic and heroic final end for Buffy.

That's a perfectly valid prediction. Maybe I'm overly optimistic, but I think Joss will let her live on, probably with the knowledge that there always will be evil in the world, that she (and by implication we) will have to learn to live with it.
[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Buffy's Goal? -- Kerri, 17:32:45 10/14/01 Sun
Maybe I'm optimistic too but I have the idea that Buffy will live at the end of the series. She's already died twice-and Joss can't top her death in the Gift except to let Buffy live. And I'm betting Buffy is the Slayer referred to in fray.
[> [> [> [> [> Buffy's End? -- vampire hunter D, 12:41:52 10/15/01 Mon
I doubt Buffy's end will be heroic and tragic. Because she has already had an end like that. And I don't see Joss repeating himself. In the end, I think they'll have Buffy live, even if it's just to keep open the possibility of a movie.
[> [> [> Re: Buffy's Goal? -- Kerri, 13:33:41 10/14/01 Sun
"I'm thinking more along the lines of something freely chosen, rather than imposed by necessity."

I think most of Buffy's goals have been imposed on her. Certainly fighting each of the big bads have been necessary. Even assuming the role of slayer is one pushed on Buffy-but in the end it is about the choice. Buffy maybe pushed into many of her situations and goals but she freely chooses to take them on. I'm doubt Buffy has ever sat down and said, "this is what I want to accomplish," instead there are things that become a part of her life and therefore become her goals-but they still are the product of free will and choice.
[> [> [> [> Re: Buffy's Goal? -- Wisewoman, 14:07:38 10/14/01 Sun
I guess what I'm saying is I'd like to see her sit down and say, "this is what I want to accomplish."

I'm curious as to what that would be.
[> [> [> [> [> Re: Buffy's Goal? -- bible belt, 18:30:45 10/15/01 Mon
She doesn't get a lot of time to think about herself does she? I don't know if she will this season eithor. One thing is for sure, she has a hell of a head on her shoulders. I think she'll do alright.
Souls in the Jossverse -- Aisha, 13:40:21 10/14/01 Sun
There's been some discussion over the nature of the soul elsewhere, and various questions have been posed. Does not having a soul mean that you are automatically condemned to Hell? And what happens if you regain the soul, not through good deeds, but on account of an evil one which results in being cursed by gypsies?

The truth is probably that Joss hasn't even thought about this and is only concerned with what makes the story flow, but a possible explanation has occurred to me.

Perhaps when a person dies after being bitten by a vampire, his soul then goes to wherever it goes, and then it's the demon and the consciousness which it has appropriated which go to Hell. Except for Angel, who got his soul back and so can go either way.

Which brings up the rather interesting case of Spike. If he starts voluntarily doing good, will that enable him to go to heaven? If so, will Spike meet William in the afterlife?
[> Re: Souls in the Jossverse -- Dru Kalita, 19:32:28 10/15/01 Mon
What makes you so sure that William went to Heaven? He didn't seem like a particularly pleasant person, what with all the bitterness and angst. Deeds alone do not determine where you go in the afterlife, but what resides inside your heart. So if Spike were to "grow a new soul" persay, there's no guarantee that it would meet the embittered being of William in the afterlife.

Then again, I count it more likely that Spike gets his old soul back rather than a new one being created.
[> [> Re: Souls in the Jossverse -- Aisha, 14:35:57 10/16/01 Tue
>What makes you so sure that William went to Heaven? He didn't seem like a particularly pleasant person, what with all the bitterness and angst. Deeds alone do not determine where you go in the afterlife, but what resides inside your heart. So if Spike were to "grow a new soul" persay, there's no guarantee that it would meet the embittered being of William in the afterlife.

William didn't strike me as embittered. Angst-ridden, yes. He didn't seem to be a bad person, and so I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt. Of course, it would be equally possible for William to meet Spike in Hell!
[> [> [> Re: Souls in the Jossverse -- anom, 21:37:59 10/16/01 Tue
Plus, he said he was a good man, & according to some posters writing in another thread, his positive self-judgment could have sent him to heaven....
[> Good Question... -- RabidHarpy, 10:25:56 10/16/01 Tue
I have always considered that our "souls" were our life force - ie. when God breathed life into Adam - that "breath"/"consciousness"/"soul" is what gave his body of dust life. It is confusing for me to think of souless demons as having other than the most basic animal-like instincts. I had always considered them to have the 5 basic senses, but no real self-consciousness beyond that, yet here in the Jossverse, those demons who are closer to being human, (or once were human), display definite personalities which identify them as having full self-awareness.

The inconsistency is sometimes confusing, because some of the creatures in BtVS seem to be very primitive and instinctual - wanting only to satisfy their own desires, while others are clever and manipulative... there is obviously some sort of heirarchy. This brings to question, is there a difference between the living dead and the demonic? Are demons (like angels) in a classification separate from those who are earth-bound and willingly choose to follow the ways of evil?

(Pardon the digression...)

In my theory of the "soul", Spike would have already willingly given his to the forces of evil, (whatever they may be), and would have lost any hope of winning (through his own actions) that soul back. To my way of thinking, his life-force is gone, yet for some reason he is still very animated and self-aware. This would lead me to believe that he is different from say, a "supernatural" creature of evil because of the aspect of his previous humanity. I would like to think that humans ultimately "belong" to the Power of Good - we can choose not to follow it, but ultimately there is a chance at redemption, (in Spike's case, although he has heightened physical senses, he does not have the supernatural power to get his own soul back). It would take a supernatural intervention of some sort by a higher power to "redeem" him, but he would have to WANT to be redeemed. If he should die with no intention of redemption, he would be relegated to hell, but if somewhere in his consciousness, there was even a slight desire of redemption, this would be weighed in the final judgement of his soul.

Does this make sense? It is actually very similar to the theological ideas in Christianity - God is the ultimate good - He created angels to woship Him and keep Him company and in their free will, some chose to defy Him. Satan, or Lucifer, the "Angel of Light" is able to recruit one-third of the heavenly hosts (angels) and they are all thrown out of God's presence to dwell on earth, or on some metaphysical plane other than heaven - they become the evil Yang to God's perfect Ying. God creates man to worship Him and keep Him company and Satan tries to usurp God's authority over mankind by appealing to their free will and introducing them to options other than God's - enter sin and death. God, who threw Satan out of heaven, who indeed created him and mankind, allows Satan limited power on earth where he may attempt to influence mankind, but God retains ultimate control and power over both heaven and earth. God, in His perfection cannot abide sin. Humans in their weakness cannot obtain perfection and unity with their Creator - enter the Messiah - Jesus Christ. God sends a part of Himself to the earth in the form of a human being with miraculous powers - this human being makes the ultimate sacrifice of his blood and body to form a bridge between heaven and earth - Christ is resurrected 3 days later and becomes the intercessor who allows fallible mankind to commune with an omnipotent (all powerful) God.

Ultimately mankind belongs to God but they have the option to follow the path offered by Satan. God will judge mankind at the end of their lives, and based on the testimony of His Messiah, and, after a stipulated amount of time, will also judge Satan, (binding him and his followers - both originally "angelic" and human, to eternal hell-fire). There is a passage in the Biblical New Testament book of Revelations which indicates that God's creation - mankind - will, in the end, judge the angels (good and evil) as well - but you see the heirarchy?

Notice any similarities in the Buffy/Jossverse...?!
[> [> Re: Good Question... -- Aisha, 14:34:18 10/16/01 Tue
>I have always considered that our "souls" were our life force - ie. when God >breathed life into Adam - that "breath"/"consciousness"/"soul" is what gave >his body of dust life.

I would agree with that premise, but, of course, in the Jossverse we have demons who obviously possess a higher level of consciousness/souls. This, of course, would equate with the Islamic view of the parallel race of jinn, who would comprise what we would call "demons". They have souls and are subject to judgement. Interestingly enough, they are meant to have inhabited the earth before man was created.

Now the vampire seems to occupy a special place in the hierarchy, as they have to have a human host, as it were, so they demonic part is more like a parasite, so they seem an oddity even in the demonic realm.

>In my theory of the "soul", Spike would have already willingly given his to >the forces of evil, (whatever they may be), and would have lost any hope of >winning (through his own actions) that soul back. To my way of thinking, >his life-force is gone, yet for some reason he is still very animated and self-aware.

I'd be happier if it was the conscience which had disappeared with becoming a vampire. But Joss has made it the soul - and one that can be caught in an orb! So one would assume that the human soul leaves when the body dies and then the demon takes it over. So the whole transaction of the original soul should have come to an end - unless you view them as floating around in the ether or something.

Now this was all quite consistent until we have Spike whose chip has stopped him killing. If he now starts working for the good, and doing so voluntarily, does this mean that the demon has a chance at redemption?
Suddenly Interesting Xander -- Aquitaine, 14:36:58 10/14/01 Sun
I haven't been around for awhile so I apologise ahead of time in case what I say here has been covered elsewhere.

For the first time in 5 years I am enjoying watching the character of Xander onscreen. I have to admit, I've always secretly hoped some Big Bad would swoop down and bite his head off, like that demon in this week's episode of AtS. After watching "Bargaining" and "Afterlife", however, I am very glad he is still around. I am thrilled to see the least intellectual member of the SG prove his maturity by listening to and questioning the world and the people around him. As of yet, he hasn't exhibited many leadership skills, choosing to defer to Willow on most points, but I expect that may change if Willow and he find themselves on opposite sides of a dicey ethical question. I think that Xander's EQ could be as important as Willow's IQ when it comes to demon hunting and/or life skills.

As I have never really given Xander much thought before, I'd be interested to hear what the true-blue Xander fans out there think about the man we are being shown in Season 6 and where he might fit in the scheme of Buffy things.
[> Agreed -- Darrick, 15:09:32 10/14/01 Sun
I'm with you. Xander was never a character I enjoyed watching, but a confrontation between Willow and him will be interesting and an opportunity for NB to shine. I think the actor really deserves a chance for some good scenes. I think Xander's somewhat absolute view of morality is going to bump up hard against Willow's increasing laissez faire attitute towards magic. If he does come down hard on her, as he did with Buffy and Angel, this could drive her away from the group as Xander is her oldest friend. Should be interesting.
[> Re: Man in the Middle (speculation) -- mundusmundi, 15:13:51 10/14/01 Sun
As Xander is still more of a reaction man than a man of action (not a criticism), his status in S6 undoubtedly will hinge on what develops between the two most powerful Scoobies. If it comes down to Buffy vs. Willow for all the marbles, Xander will be put in the unfortunate, extremely dangerous, yet hugely important "middle man" position. I think we will see his loyalties put to the test, as well as a chance for his skills as an arbiter to shine. I think Malandanza commented a few months ago to the fact that it was significant Xander was chosen among all the Scoobies to join Buffy in negotiations with the Knights in "Spiral." That moment was symbolic of the respect he has earned. Right now, Xander is just a step or two behind Spike in accurately assessing the situation. The events of "Bargaining" and "Afterlife" are troubling him. He's just not sure yet what it all means or what to do.
[> I've never understood this positioning of Xander as the "heart" of the gang -- sassette, 16:01:20 10/14/01 Sun
I do think that Xander is the only one who's been willing to question Willow yet, and I respect him for that.

But, otherwise, I think he's been kind of a jerk. He got mad at Tara in "Bargaining" about the spell, when clearly Willow was the one he should have been upset with. And his attitude toward Anya is, IMHO, really appalling. He proposed to her and now won't let her announce it. And, I thought it was really sad in "After Life" when Anya was trying to wake him up and he didn't respond at all, and then the moment the phone rang (which I'm guessing he knew would be about Buffy), he sprang out of bed.

And then there was his really insensitive reaction to Spike. He leaves Spike out of the resurrection plan, and then ridicules him after he finds out. Plus, I thought Xander's justification was really telling. He said something to Spike along the lines of, "When you saw her, tell me it wasn't the happiest moment of your entire existence?", as if Spike's happiness about Buffy's being back (and, by extension, the SG's) was an adequate reason for it. I thought that, in that statement, the selfish motives of the SG could really be detected.

Anyway, I've never been on the "Xander is the heart of the gang" bandwagon. How? By callously ignoring Willow's crush for two season? By obsessing over Buffy even after it was clear that she didn't feel the same way about him? By proposing to a woman whom he clearly doesn't love as much as she loves him?

I don't know. I can understand why Xander acts the way he does, considering what we know of his background, but I have never, ever seen him as the "heart" of the gang. When it comes right down to it, Willow is far more sensitive. Spike is more in touch with other people's feelings. Anya is more compassionate. Tara is the moral center, if there is one. And Buffy has shown the greatest ability to love and forgive. I just haven't seen any evidence that Xander's got the emotional smarts, and have seen quite a lot of evidence against it.
[> [> Re: I've never understood this positioning of Xander as the "heart" of the gang -- Jen C., 17:48:19 10/14/01 Sun
I've had the feeling that when they say that Xander is the heart of the gang, that what they really mean is that he is the gang's mirror. I usually watch him to gauge the gang's emotional state...I don't know if he's been written this way in particular, or if it's the nature of Xander that he be really transparent, and thus display the inner workings of the gange.
[> [> Xander is the reminder of what it's all about...humanity... -- Rufus, 18:11:59 10/14/01 Sun
I have always liked Xander. He is human, just like all of us, no special powers, no magic, just plodding along making the best of every situation. If we judged Xander based upon only the questionable things he has done we would miss the most obvious, he has learned from his mistakes. His start in life is enough to make a person cynical or delinquent. His parents were too busy slogging it out with each other to care much about the son they ignore. In spite of not feeling loved in his family situation, Xander found a family in the Scoobies. All are misfits because of either their physical power(Buffy), or brain power(Willow), Xander is the most "normal" of the lot. He has managed to remain a loyal friend and do a little damage to demons of his own. Xander is the heart because he has learned how to exist in this world by his experiences, not because of any special power.
As for the bad things or selfishness, I just don't see it in Xander in any larger porportions than any of the other characters. Put him up next to the demons that have been in the gang and he is quite harmless. Xanders failings are failings of a person who is in the process of growing up, normal problems. I can't judge him in a bad way when he can be compared to characters such as Spike and Angel who both have faults that make Xanders seem trivial in comparison.
I like Xander, always will, don't think he gets the credit for being a nice guy(with faults)that does at least care what a hurt demon feels(Spike) and makes an attempt to at least explain the situation to them.
Evidence that Xander has smarts.....first, he's made it alive this long.....he stuck with Buffy as a friend even when she rejected him as a lover.....comes up with simple solutions the others don't think of......was able to reach a vengeance demon and turn her into a useful member of society....made Buffy feel better after The Crush(could see past the situation to tell his friend that there was nothing wrong with her).......first to figure out what Buffy went through when reborn.....is still alive to tell the tale. No one is perfect, but if Xander wasn't there in eps like Spiral, the battle would have been over at the gas station. Xander is a regular guy who is learning as he goes along, he will have moments when he isn't his best, like the rest of us. I couldn't see the show without him.
[> [> [> Re: Xander is the reminder of what it's all about...humanity... -- mundusmundi, 18:24:27 10/14/01 Sun
Yes, thank you. Conscious or unconscious citing of selective evidence makes it easy to build up or knock down just about any character, but the Jossverse is more complicated than that. There is good and bad in everyone. The good stuff is what makes us like the characters; the bad stuff is what keeps us watching. ;)

Overall I'm very pleased where Xander's character is at this stage.
[> [> [> Thank you Rufus -- Zus, 18:39:44 10/14/01 Sun
For saying what I was disjointedly thinking, but could not articulate.
[> [> [> Re: Xander is the reminder of what it's all about...humanity... -- Aquitaine, 18:52:28 10/14/01 Sun
All your comments are very interesting. Overall, it seems you are saying that Xander's SG career is characterised by loyalty, common sense and a certain amount of tenacity/stubborness. This is precisely what I have found dull about him in the past because while these attributes are positive, they aren't very flashy and... entertaining. I know, shame on me.

I agree that Xander's growing role as mediator could expand in the future. Before Giles left, he was getting along better with him. Xander was building some kind of connection to Spike, sometimes by scorning him, sometimes not, but he was very proactive about opening up communication with him - for example, in "Intervention", Xander sought out Spike to make sure Spike didn't hurt Buffy. Xander continues to act as Anya's Tact Monitor. Lord knows he is proving to be more patient than I would be on that front! LOL. Over the years, Xander and Willow could very well have drifted apart but Xander still keeps in close contact with her. Xander and Tara seem to share a conservative streak as well as a soft spot for Willow. Finally, Xander also has a good, conventional rapport with Dawn.

I hope Xander *can* prove to be the bridge or glue that ties the SG together if needed in the future. I only hope Xander can find the strength if or when the time comes. I look forward to seeing him try.
[> [> Re: Xander as the "heart" of the gang -- OnM, 21:20:27 10/14/01 Sun

This is precisely what I have found dull about him in the past because while these attributes are positive, they aren't very flashy and... entertaining.

Jen C.:

I've had the feeling that when they say that Xander is the heart of the gang, that what they really mean is that he is the gang's mirror. I usually watch him to gauge the gang's emotional state...


And his attitude toward Anya is, IMHO, really appalling. He proposed to her and now won't let her announce it. And, I thought it was really sad in "After Life" when Anya was trying to wake him up and he didn't respond at all, and then the moment the phone rang (which I'm guessing he knew would be about Buffy), he sprang out of bed.


Xander has always been a character that I have had mixed feelings about, and I think a lot of that stems from the fact that I am a lot like him (that is, really pretty ordinary), except he’s braver and more dedicated to his friends than I am to mine! In a show that concentrates so much effort on the more ‘heroic’ members of it’s cast, it is important to have a more normal person to act as a ‘mirror’, as Jen C. elegantly puts it. What that mirror reflects isn’t always something to be admired, and therefore Xander’s actions aren’t always admirable.

Yes, he has been a jerk, on more than one occasions, but so have all of the Scoobies at one time or another, some extremely so. I think it’s natural (for us as viewers) to make allowances for Buffy, Willow, Anya, Spike and even Giles because they all have a sort of power that Xander doesn’t, and that may be exactly the point-- why shouldn’t we cut him the same slack, even if he’s boring?

As the regulars here know, I was/am a fan of Riley, and I see in Xander much of the same qualities that Riley had, and it’s no secret that Riley was perceived as ‘boring’ by a large contingent of BtVS fans. Riley had a bit more self-confidence than Xander did, but X. is growing along those lines. From this season so far, I would cite the scene where Giles and Anya were ‘fighting’ in the Magic Box, and Xander makes the comment about ‘my being the immature one here?’ or words to that effect.

Finally, as to your comments about Anya, I think the reluctance to allow Anya to announce the engagement is due to the fact that in The Gift, he assured her that everything would be alright, and that’s why he was proposing when he did. But things did not turn out all right, and I think that that has shaken his confidence greatly. He may now be afraid that because his prediction was wrong, that it is a sign that his proposal was wrong. In the normal universe, he might convince himself that this is an illogical stance to take, but in the Buffyverse, things tend to be metaphysically linked in non-logical ways.

As to the phone? Damn thing always makes me jump when it rings in the middle of the night, and I don’t live on the hellmouth! On the other hand, I could see how he would learn how to selectively tune out Anya’s voice-- she does talk quite a bit, you know, and he was probably exhausted. I also think he does love her as much as she does him.

Just my 3 cents.

[> [> [> I was a Riley fan, too -- sassette, 07:40:05 10/16/01 Tue
And maybe that's part of what bugs me. The fact is, Riley was a good guy, but everyone jumps all over him as if he's the embodiment of all things reactionary and patriarchal because he expected more emotionally from Buffy than she was giving him.

But, people are totally willing to forgive Xander for every wrong he's done--and, since "The Freshman" and his wonderful speech to Buffy, I don't think he's done very much right--just because he was, at one time or another, the "heart" of the gang. I'm just not seeing it, even looking back at the reruns.

I guess I'm just confused by why there is this total acceptance of Xander, whereas Riley, who I think was a heck of a whole lot nicer, was met with such hostility. What is it about Xander that makes him so forgiveable, when he really hasn't shown himself to be that great of a guy in quite some time? I mean, I can count his "good" moments of the past few seasons on one hand--his speech in "The Freshman," his declaration of love to Anya in ITW, and his proposal in "The Gift." Other than that, he's come off as kind of self-righteous to me, or irritating.

It could just be my personal issues with Xander. But I think it's odd that he's so well-liked, despite being a jerk a lot of the time, when Riley was so universally disliked, despite being a damn good guy, much of the time.
[> [> [> [> Re: I was a Riley fan, too -- Andy, 10:37:25 10/16/01 Tue
I think it's a few things, although I haven't really watched season 4 since it aired so I'm mostly just going on what I remember and what I've seen others say. First, Xander's funny. The audience is going to forgive a lot if a character is making them laugh. Riley could make an occasional wisecrack but he wasn't really a funny character.

Second thing is that once Riley's relationship with Buffy really got underway, it became painfully apparent that Mark Blucas just didn't have very good chemistry with Sarah Michelle Gellar. It became even more painful whenever Gellar did have scenes with James Marsters, who's probably got more chemistry with her than anyone that's ever been on the show. So it's an actor thing, not just a character thing.

The other thing, I think, is that Xander is Xander. That is, he's actually a pretty controversial guy who has always had clear faults in his character. People like him because he strives to be a good guy in spite of his failings. Riley, OTOH, seemed to be positioned as Mr. Nice Guy from the get-go, so when it became apparent that he wasn't perfect it made it easy for the audience to turn on him.

[> [> OK. Can someone help me... -- Marie, 06:09:27 10/15/01 Mon
...reconcile the Xander I'm reading about in these recent threads, with the Xander of 'Into the Woods', because, not having seen the episodes, this is the Xander I'm remembering. Also, I'm thinking of the Anya who pushed the man she loved out of harm's way in 'The Gift', risking her own life to do so. Has Xander forgotten that? (Not that you should marry someone from gratitude, but he really loves her, going by this excerpt, so it's hard for me to understand, especially when I think with what heartfelt emotion he spoke these words!).

(Following taken from Psyche's transcripts, with thanks):

XANDER VOICEOVER: I've gotta say something...

Cut to: Anya's apartment. Anya is in her nightgown, sitting on the bed.

XANDER: 'Cause ... I don't think I've made it clear.

Anya stands up. Xander walks toward her.

XANDER: I'm in love with you.

He walks closer toward her, and she toward him.

XANDER: Powerfully, painfully in love. The things you do ... the way you think ... the way you move ... I get excited every time I'm about to see you.

They are up close now, looking at each other. Anya smiles slightly, looking a little teary.

XANDER: You make me feel like I've never felt before in my life. Like a man. (Pause. He shrugs uneasily) I just thought you might wanna know.

Anya moves up to him and they kiss.
[> [> Re: I've never understood this positioning of Xander as the "heart" of the gang -- Malandanza, 08:48:11 10/15/01 Mon
"I don't know. I can understand why Xander acts the way he does, considering what we know of his background, but I have never, ever seen him as the "heart" of the gang.

I haven't been a Xander fan. His lie in Season 2. His sanctimonious behavior at the interventions and other times when he's confronted Buffy in anger. His petty jealousy (first with Angel/Buffy, then Oz/Willow -- the girl he never wanted, and, finally, Wesley/Cordelia -- the girl his discarded). His willingness to place himself in danger to "save" Buffy (who probably would have handled the situations better if she didn't have to worry about rescuing her friend). However, Xander has changed a great deal since season 1 and now, I believe, has more of a right to being called "the heart" of the group than the other Scoobies.

When it comes right down to it, Willow is far more sensitive.
Hypersensitive. And sensitive about things of no importance. Her behavior in the Thanksgiving episode was typical -- more concerned that the wrongs inflicted upon the Chumash be righted than in the welfare of her friends. In her big argument with Tara, Willow became distressed over Tara's use of diction. Percy calls her "captain of the nerd squad" and that concerns her more than the oncoming apocalypse. Buffy hangs out with Faith and Willow cries herself to sleep. And on and on...

Add to that an inherent dishonesty -- dishonesty to herself, to her friends and to her most intimate associates.

Spike is more in touch with other people's feelings.
Maybe. He certainly has "remarkable perspicacity" (thank you JA for that phrase), but uses his insights selfishly -- to undermine Angel & Buffy's attempts at platonic friendship (in his "Love's Bitch" speech), to break apart the Scoobies (in The Yoko Factor"), to destroy Riley and to worm his way into Buffy's life (by being Joyce's coffee friend and Dawn's pal). Granted, things are changing this season. I think Spike is beginning to take Xander's place in Buffy's life.

Anya is more compassionate. Tara is the moral center, if there is one.
Neither were really Scoobies at the time of the Super Slayer ritual and I have my doubts that the Scoobies will ever be more than the core group: Xander, Willow & Giles. Others come and go (Oz & Cordelia) -- if Willow and Tara broke up, or Xander and Anya did, can you imagine either Tara or Anya remaining part of the group?

And Buffy has shown the greatest ability to love and forgive. I just haven't seen any evidence that Xander's got the emotional smarts, and have seen quite a lot of evidence against it.

True. But he has his moments of great empathy. This scene is from The Freshman (and Marie posted a great scene from Into the Woods):

XANDER: The point is, you're Buffy!
BUFFY: Yeah, sure, in high school I was Buffy...
XANDER: And what, in college you're Betty Louise?
BUFFY: Yes, I'm Betty Louise Plotnik of Blue Falls Missouri. Or I might as well be.
XANDER: Buffy, I've been through some fairly dark times in my life. Faced some scary things, among them the kitchen of the fabulous "Ladies Night" club. Let me tell you something. When it's dark and I'm all alone, and I'm scared or freaking out or whatever, I always think, "What would Buffy do?"
You're my hero.

I guess it depends what you mean by the "heart" of the group. This pep talk certainly "heartens" Buffy and enables her to face Sunday. I think that if Buffy ends up estranged from Xander because of the resurrection ritual, she will have a rougher time.
[> [> Re: I've never understood this positioning of Xander as the "heart" of the gang -- Whisper2AScream, 12:35:43 10/16/01 Tue
He got mad at Tara because since she was a witch, and also involved with the spell. She knew more about the spell than any of them other than Willow. It was more like "Ok, you know something bad was going to happen, why didn't you stop her?" Not to mention, that they both hid from him and Anya what else the spell would entail, specifically Willow being tested. Any time somebody he cares about is in danger, he's going to react.

His attitude to Anya, well, he cares about her. But he's got good reason to wait. Things are in flux, especially after Buffy died. Everybody was probably in mourning for some time, and even three months later, the wounds were still pretty fresh. And now with Buffy back, things still haven't got straightened out yet. Wedding announcements would just be bad timing. I forget where I heard this, but here's a quote: "Good news can wait, and bad news will refuse to leave." He wants to wait for when things are settled down. Plus, part of his asking at the time, was a bit impulsive. He was scared, and afraid the world might be ending. He's never been one for acting rationally during such times. He might now, be reconsidering the proposal. Remember, he's coming from a background where he grew up listening to his own parents bicker and fight all the time. Can make anybody commitment-shy. He's probably worried that the two of them will end up like his parents, and he wants to prevent that. As for her trying to wake him, he might also be a deep sleeper. I know when I fall asleep, it takes a lot to wake me up again, and even then, waking's slow. But a phone ringing's like a bucket of ice water being thrown on someone, kind of hard _not_ to wake up then.

As for being insensitive to Spike, keep in mind, Xander's always been 'vampires=bad' boat, going all the way back to Jesse being vamped. Seeing one of your best friends turn into a monster, and then want to kill you, can really tramautize a person. Xander's never been one to forgive and forget things easily. He takes betrayal very seriously. When Angel was back, and Buffy was cozying up to him, he got angry, because he thought she had turned on them all. Spike's treated them badly in the past, including his alliance with Adam, post-chip and all, and Xander feels he needs a very long time to reconcile that. Hence, he still doesn't trust him, and for good reason. Plus, he was making a point to Spike. Spike's saying how wrong it is, and Xander's simply pointing out to him, yeah it's wrong, but don't act like you wouldn't consider it. You wanted her back as much as we did.

He is the heart of the group for a multiple reasons, already listed here. As Rufus stated, he's the human part of the group, a representative of who they're fighting for, and keeping them grounded in reality. Their link to humanity. He has a keen mind that makes intuitive leaps of logic unlike the rest of the group. His idea for "Super Slayer;" his idea for using a rocket launcher against the Judge; his strategy, and organizing ground troops against the Mayor; and more recently, the first to realize why Buffy was acting like a cornered animal after she rose. (Her nightmare was being buried alive, and she had just had to climb from out of her own coffin. Enough to terrorize anyone.) His humor lightens them, and keeps them from going insane against the chaos around them. I once likened him to the element of fire, which represents creativity and emotion. Also stalwartness, loyalty, and bravery. He doesn't think so much as he feels. He does care deeply for those close to him, hence he gets angry when he thinks they might be hurting themselves or others. And when he's hurt, he tends to hide it with a joke or smile. He's afraid of being hurt, and wants to make himself invulnerable. Especially because he knows in more ways than one, he's the most vulnerable of them all.
[> [> [> very well put! -- Solitude1056, 12:41:46 10/16/01 Tue
[> [> [> Xander Coeur de Lion? -- Humanitas, 15:21:36 10/16/01 Tue
Xander's the heart of the group because the heart symbolizes bravery, and this is one brave fella.

Xander is the guy who, at one time or another, has literally saved both Buffy's and Willow's lives. It is not unknown for him to step directly into danger's path to save one of the girls, even way back when he still thought of himself as "a scared guy with a rock." As early as "Welcome to the Hellmouth," we see him boldly, stupidly, following Buffy into the vampires' lair in an effort to save Jesse. He is exceptionally brave in "Inca Mummy Girl," saving first Ampata, then Willow.

OK, you say, "but what has Xander done for me lately?" Well, how 'bout standing up to Razor in "Bargaining?" He knew without any question that he was gonna get his butt kicked, but he looked that demon right in the eye and said of his axe, "All the better to cut you down to size with, grandma." 'Course, he then proceeded to blow it with the "Man-witch" line, but hey, unsuccessful bravery is still bravery, right?

Sure, his behavior is not always exemplary. Like most guys who lead with their hearts, rather than their heads, he doesn't always think things through, and he can be pretty judgemental. Nevertheless, as the lone "normal guy" on the show, he goes toe-to-toe with the monsters, takes his beating, and comes back for more, because he knows he has to at least try to protect the folks he cares about.
[> Btw, Welcome back, Aquitaine! Wonderful to see you here again! -- OnM, 21:26:15 10/14/01 Sun
[> [> Thanks OnM : ) -- Aquitaine, 09:29:55 10/15/01 Mon

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