April 2003 posts

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I'm special! (spoilers for Inside Out) -- pellenaka, 12:42:19 04/03/03 Thu

Am I the only on who get tired of hearing Cordelia and Connor say that?

Cordelia: You're special.
Connor: I'm special.
Cordelia: Our baby is extraordinary.
Connor: We're special.

Within 5 minutes of their talk, my sister and I kept saying 'I'm special' after each of their lines. And then Cordelia said: 'We need some special tools' and we couldn't stop laughing.


[> yup, that line cracked me up as well. -- Solitude1056, 13:00:54 04/03/03 Thu

"We need some special tools."

Maybe the thesaurus got stuck open at the same page. It could happen - it's been happening for over a season on BtVS: "I get that." "It's a thing."

[> Re: I'm special! (spoilers for Inside Out) -- MaeveRigan, 13:45:54 04/03/03 Thu

It's a line that gathers irony as it goes. Like "we shall be as gods."

[> [> Re: I'm special! (spoilers for Inside Out) -- Dannyblue, 14:40:41 04/03/03 Thu

This is something cult leaders do to condition new members. Not only the part about telling someone they're special, but repeating things over and over and over again. It might have gotten on some fans' nerves, but it served a purpose. That was to get Connor to a place where he believed it was okay to do bad things for good reasons because he and his child were special.

[> [> [> Re: Thanks for idea -- Walking Turtle, 14:56:58 04/03/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> Are you planning on starting a cult, Walking Turtle? ;) -- Arethusa, 15:00:35 04/03/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> I have lead a sheltered life - no experience with 'cults' just stupid bosses -- Walking Turtle, 15:24:50 04/03/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I have lead a sheltered life - no experience with 'cults' just stupid bosses -- Dannyblue, 16:00:11 04/03/03 Thu

When I was about 11 or 12, someone actually tried to pull me into a cult. After having this woman talk to me for two hours about this group she was in, and how great it was, and how she felt sorry for people that wouldn't get it, but she knew I'd get it because I was so smart and insightful for my age, I swear she almost had me. I look back on it and shudder.

Anyway, the things Cordy was saying to Connor, and the way she was saying them, sounded kind of familiar to me.

[> Re: I'm special! (spoilers for Inside Out) -- deeva, 15:01:02 04/03/03 Thu

I couldn't wait for them to stop saying all that stupid "special", "sweet" and all that. It was not good.

[> What about Wes-O-Vision? (spoilers IO) -- PepTech, 16:10:57 04/03/03 Thu

The Matrix effect was kinda cool the first, oh, seven or eight times they used it, but it seems to be some kind of unwritten law that all gunfire take place in slow motion. I did like the continuity of plugging Skip in the recently- torn-open-by-Angel earhole, though.

RIP, Skip, ya bastard...

[> Uh...guys? -- dub ;o), 16:46:46 04/03/03 Thu

Didn't it kinda remind you of Xander's speech to Dawn? The whole, "You're not special. You're extraordinary." thing?

Is there something we're missing here? Cordy says she and Connor are special but that their baby will be extraordinary. Could be just one of those little hints that the two shows aren't as far apart as they appear...


[> [> Re: Uh...guys? -- Tyreseus, 17:25:08 04/03/03 Thu

Of maybe just that the writers of both shows have forgotten: exceptional, magnificent, outstanding, preeminent, rare, remarkable, singular, towering, and about a gazillion other equally effective synonyms.

[> [> [> LOL -- Rahael, 00:11:23 04/04/03 Fri

Yesterday I had to remind my boss that he'd used the word "incompetence" three times on one page and give him three three different alternatives. So we used 'inadequate', 'ineptitude' and 'uselessness' in addition.

The Big Bad Parallels (Kind of Spoilery) -- Convict 430019, 13:25:44 04/03/03 Thu

The moment I saw the Big Bad's face I immediately recognized the actress as Gina Torres. The WB is notoriously famous for recycling their actors so I was not as surprised to see her as I could've been. She has not only co-starred in her own series, but has had several recurring roles on the Hercules/Xena universe and has been in a few other productions I have seen. Not to mention, she was supposed to be in Joss' "Firefly" series.

It was while researching this actress that I discovered the big bad's name--Jasmine--on IMDB.com

I tried finding some folklore on this Arabian flower, however, I could not. I was wondering if anybody with more powerful and honed resources and researching skills could list a few legends or attributes given to the flower. Maybe it would give us some insight into this new big bad Jasmine.

[> Jasmine blooms at night. -- HonorH, 15:33:17 04/03/03 Thu

Angelus made a garden of it for Dru in S2 on BtVS. Dunno if that's got anything to do with Torres' character, though.

BTW, she *was* in Joss' "Firefly" as Zoe, Capt. Mal Reynolds' second-in-command. This is a case of Joss recycling an actor, not just the WB.

[> [> Jasmine is one of many flowers regarded as being sacred.... -- Briar Rose, 17:41:36 04/03/03 Thu

It is also used to "dry up" milk flow in post partum (sp?) mothers.....Jasmine is burned/employed in many love and lust spells and used as an incense or room scent (dried, fresh or as essences/oils) to enhance psychic abilities.

But jasmine also has a down side: It is considered a slightly narcotic essence with the ability to seduce the human senses into hedonistic activities that can get out of control. It is used as an aphrodisiac in some cultures as well as in some holistic healing and aromatherapy practices.

That's off the top of my head.... I'l see what else I come up for specific cultures if the voynak doesn't eat this thread by tomorrow.*L

[> [> [> Correlations: Vishnu, Feminine, Moon. Money, Love, Psychic Visions.... -- Briar Rose, 02:20:29 04/04/03 Fri

Anyone up on Vishnu for the correlations possible between Vishnu and Jasmine the BabyGoddess? I'm not great at hindu gods and goddesses.... But would love to learn what it might have to do with the latest on AtS.

Only "night blooming" jasmine blooms at night - but that is "jasminoid officianalis" not jasminoidus odorifius whihc has many members to the horticultural family.

This is paraphrased from Chrissy Wildwood's "Aromatherapy For Lovers" (first printing):
Jasmine has undertones of fecal and sweat layered with the sweet scent of it's flowers. It is used for bringing tranquility and peace to the psyche. It is also used as an erotic stimulant and for healing psychic disturbances. It has a slightly narcotic effect on the nervous system. Good for tension headaches, depressed sexual desire and psychic healings. Should be avoided by pregnant women as it might cause problems with pregnancy.

And this was an interesting comment I found in her book: "Most people either love the scent of jasmine or hate it."

"I'm destiny-free" (spoilers through "Inside Out") -- Katrina, 16:12:56 04/03/03 Thu

The Buffyverse has always been rife with fate: prophecies, destinies, and whatnot. Now we're seeing the real dark side of fate: at least as posited by the revealed-to-be-evil, chicken-wing-eating demon Skip. (I agree with everyone who said that he shouldn't be trusted--especially at the moment they find out he's not to be trusted). Even before all the latest metaphysical goofiness: if a prophecy says Angel will become human, if Cordelia's "destiny" is to bear the visions, then where does their free will come in? What if the prophecy were to say evil will out: should they give up?

I like that this is being brought to the fore in the same episode that "Cordelia"'s sense of her specialness is brought to extremes both brutal and worthy of parody. Even the "real" Cordy had that thing about being "all superhero- ey," and Connor and Angel both have their superpowers. But now, the superbeingness of Connor and the Evilly Enhanced Cordelia is contrasted to the ordinary humanity of their victim, and their supposed superiority leads to a morally low and indefensible act. If Evil Cordy's an example of a superior being, then I'm happy to be inferior.

I wonder if this, and all the distrust/re-evaluation of the role of the PTBs, is making a comment about humanity. Angel's always had a dichotomy about his humanity. On the one hand, it's what he supposedly desires, and that will supposedly be the reward for thwarting some (this?) apocalypse. On the other hand, he already rejected humanity once before, because it's his being a vampire that gives him special powers to fight evil with. Losing the guidance of the PTBs, or at least the belief that they're watching over everything, and have chosen him for a special destiny as their champion, would put Angel much closer to the position of the regular mortals. They don't have any access to cosmic forces who can guide and advise them; they don't have their fates laid out for them in prophecy. They muddle through life, making their own decisions, and when they do good deeds, they do them in the dark, never knowing what the end result will be. However this ends, I think it will provide Angel with some insight into what he'll have to deal with if he ever does become human.

OT: I've got a job!!!!! -- HonorH, 22:40:06 04/03/03 Thu

I just signed a contract with Heritage Christian School! They're bringing me on full-time starting this fall. Pay's not terrific, but one, it's a heck of a lot better than substitute pay, and two, it's great experience. I love the school, and I can't wait to get started on planning my year. Hooray!

[> Re: OT: I've got a job!!!!! -- Angel, 22:45:39 04/03/03 Thu

Congrats! Sounds wonderful. I'd love to be a teacher....

B. just got a new job, too. Me? I'm still filling and sanding the holes in the office wall to get it ready to open, let alone run. -shrugs-

Great news, though! Wonderful. And best of luck.


[> Congratulations! -- Indri, 22:55:14 04/03/03 Thu

[> mazel tov, hh! hope it's enough money to fold @>) -- anom, 23:21:36 04/03/03 Thu

[> Re: OT: I've got a job!!!!! -- Calvin, 23:24:39 04/03/03 Thu

Congrats, this coming from someone who has been out of work for *5 months*. Hearing things like this gives me hope, a commodity in as short a supply as Xander's screen time this season.


[> Yay, you!!!!! -- LittleBit, 23:45:17 04/03/03 Thu

[> Congratulations HH -- Tchaikovsky, 23:57:46 04/03/03 Thu

But don't let Honorificus get near the students...


[> Wonderful HH! My prayer's that all of us seeking jobs be employed by June! So this is GREAT news! -- Briar Rose, 02:24:06 04/04/03 Fri

[> [> Go job-seekers, go! And congrats HH! -- ponygirl, 07:22:58 04/04/03 Fri

[> Congratulations, Honor H! -- aliera, 03:06:52 04/04/03 Fri

[> Highjacking Thread!! I got a BIG HUGE RAISE! -- neaux, 04:30:48 04/04/03 Fri


that's me with a big huge grin! a 20% increase!! Waahahaaaa!!!

and Congrats HH!!

[> Congrats - so, what level are you teaching? -- Darby, 04:54:36 04/04/03 Fri

[> Congratulations! -- CW, 05:16:24 04/04/03 Fri

[> Congratulations! -- LadyStarlight, 06:41:55 04/04/03 Fri

[> A woo and a hoo to you and neaux! -- Rob, feeling incredibly rhyme-y, 07:07:46 04/04/03 Fri

[> Re: OT: I've got a job!!!!! -- Gyrus, 08:24:36 04/04/03 Fri

Way to go! I know how much you wanted that one.

Now I'm just hoping your luck rubs off... :)

[> [> Re: Way to Go!!! -- Brian, 09:01:11 04/04/03 Fri

[> Congrats, HH! They're lucky to have you! -- MaeveRigan, 09:13:00 04/04/03 Fri

[> Congrats! Me too! -- tim, 09:13:25 04/04/03 Fri

"Searching for a job" was invented by sadistic howler monkeys who want to prove we're not the highest primates on the block after all. I've been on the market all (academic) year, and only last month found a position at a college in eastern Nebraska. (Now all that's left is that pesky dissertation...) So as one newly-employed educator, to another, my heartfelt congrats on the newfound income!


[> Congrats, HH. Now you can keep Honorificus in the splendor which she thinks she richly deserves... -- cjl, 10:14:40 04/04/03 Fri

[> [> Yeah! New clothes! -- Honorificus (Who Deserves All Splendor), 12:01:52 04/04/03 Fri

I might even persuade her into Nordy's occasionally. Oo, so many pretty things. I ought to be able to eat up her paycheck nicely!

[> That's great!! Yeah for you! -- Arethusa, 11:09:19 04/04/03 Fri

[> Fabulous! Now Honorificus has many yummy choices for lunch! -- Sara, 13:18:57 04/04/03 Fri

[> [> I wish. Would you believe they don't let demons into that school? -- Honorificus (The Unstoppable One), 19:56:57 04/04/03 Fri

Prejudiced little snobs. I'm gonna sue for discrimination if Wolfram & Hart ever gets back on its feet in this dimension.

[> Congratulations! May you be tremendously productive in your most noble profession -- Just George, 13:42:55 04/04/03 Fri

[> Congratulations and Good luck -- Celebaelin, 13:59:16 04/04/03 Fri

[> heh heh heh... bwawuuahhahahahahhah! -- MagicBone, 18:58:46 04/04/03 Fri

My master's evil plan is falling into place. First HonorH, then the arm-pit sniffing public. Bwahahahahah.

[> Thats great ! (and i got a job too..yay us!) -- Alison, 20:02:03 04/04/03 Fri

[> Congrats!! And good luck. -- shadowkat, 08:37:23 04/05/03 Sat

GREAT IDEA! (SMG as Jessica in The Movie?) (Who to tell?) -- David Frisby, 04:04:58 04/04/03 Fri

My wife had what I think is a great idea. The rescue of POW Jessica from the hands of her Iraqi torturers WILL (most likely) become a movie (whether TV or major motion), and wouldn't it be great (assuming Jessica would like SMG to play her, and given that the role could help SMG greatly now that Buffy is over) if SMG played her? I think she is a perfect fit for the role.

Have you heard how Jessica fought to the end to prevent her capture, until her rifle failed? And (whether one is pro or con the war and Bush and Saddam etc), don't you think this one story will possibly stand out (at least so far) as the best story to be remembered from this whole thing?

Given the times, I want to say it is not my intention to offend anyone with anything I'd here said. Anyway, here's the idea, tossed into the wind. Anyone know how to email it to the ears that matter?

[> Re: GREAT IDEA! (SMG as Jessica in The Movie?) (Who to tell?) -- Darby, 04:52:26 04/04/03 Fri

It could work, but that's usually the subject matter of lower-profile TV movies and she probably wouldn't be interested at this point.

But if we're casting her on the big screen, wouldn't she make a perfect Gwen Stacy in Spider-Man?

[> [> Can totally be a major motion pic. has been done before! -- Mackenzie, 06:46:33 04/04/03 Fri

I like the idea too! It doesn't have to be low budget or whatever, remember that movie about the gulf war with Meg Ryan and some other famous people? I think it was called Courage Under Fire.

[> [> Re: GREAT IDEA! (SMG as Jessica in The Movie?) (Who to tell?) -- frisby, 09:41:09 04/04/03 Fri

A major motion picture would be nice, but like you I too suspect a lower-profile tv movie is more likely, but then, I still think it might do wonders for SMG's career (even though I loved Simply Irresitible, and Harvard Man wasn't bad) with regard to showing hollywood (and all) her wondrous talents -- her foot in the "big" door so to speak.

[> another great idea for a movie -- 110v3w1110w, 09:13:24 04/04/03 Fri

how about the make a movie about the fools that let women serve near the front lines and put them in the position to become POW

[> [> Re: another great idea for a movie -- Utopia, 15:10:58 04/04/03 Fri

What about the fools who let men near the front lines to be prisoners of war? Huh? Huh?


[> [> [> Re: another great idea for a movie -- 110v3w1110w, 22:33:48 04/04/03 Fri

its different when its a woman. Why is it do you think that the iraqis kept the pretty blonde girl alive while thy killed the rest i dread to think what they did to that poor girl or what they were planing on doing, Even the iraqi that tipped our military off about her being alove and where she was being held did so because she was being tortured.

[> [> [> [> Re: another great idea for a movie -- Utopia, 23:34:19 04/04/03 Fri

Yes, they probably did unspeakable things to her. There are hundreds of stories about POW's being tortured. War is a terrible thing where lots of innocent civilians are killed. Children. Grandmothers. They are suffering on the front lines and they didn't enlist in the damn army.

I'm not saying whatever they did to her wasn't especially vicious, and I'm not saying she doesn't have my sympathy; she does. I have lots of sympathy for the poor girl, BUT I will defend her right to enlist, and her right to take the risks inherent in fighting for her country. You can't protect women by keeping them away from dangerous things as if they were very young children. ItÌs not your choice to make.

Countess Iblis (spoilers Inside Out, trailer and speculation at the end) -- lunasea, 04:41:24 04/04/03 Fri

Until the Baby is given an official name and probably after, she will be Countess Iblis to me. That is who she reminds me of. It was almost painful to watch Angel be turned into Starbuck and kneel at her feet.

From the trailer it looks like Fred will be taking the role of Apollo. What has captured my imagination the most is why her. She isn't the leading character or very strong in any way really.

My first thought was since Skip was involved in this, it had something to do with "Billy" since that is when we first met Skip. Talk about lame. The guys just can't think straight around her, but the only female character has a clue.

It had to be more than that. So I did what I often do when I get something stuck in my head like this, I took a nap. What makes Fred unique? I even puzzled it out with Hubby. His theories were what if that charm Angelus used on Fred actually worked for something or what if her trip to Pylea somehow made her immune.

Neither had any message for me. Then it hit me, Fred has something NO OTHER character in the entire Buffyverse has. She has two amazing wonderful parents. Fred has some body issues and some nerd issues, but not the same identity and love/approval issues that everyone else has. Fred is the one character that isn't looking for love and approval. THAT is why she will be immune to Countess Iblis.

The Countess looks down at Angel with a look of warmth and Angel says she is beautiful. When Angel sess Cordy up in the higher realms (where the Countess comes from) in the Axis of Pythia, Fred asks if she is beautiful. "God. - There was all this light around her. And the light seemed to be made up of - pure joy - and warmth."

(an aside was that light the Countess herself infusing every fiber of Cordy with her warmth. Did Angel witness the unknowing ÏrapeÓ of Cordy? Did we see the real Cordy bitching up in the higher realms because she was still the real Cordy? After she was fully infused, she was then returned to Earth. The memory thing could be like Angel and his soul. When going from state to state like that, it takes a while for the memories to reintegrate.)

It is that warmth, that joy, that love, that approval that every character, but Fred, is so desperately looking for. Angel is in some serious trouble, until he realizes it isn't real. Angel doesn't say "I love you" to or about Cordy. Not in his hallucinations in "Deep Down." Not when he comes back. Not the entire time he sees her before she gets her memory back. Not in his perfect day fantasy in "Awakening." It is always about "need." That is why Countess Iblis will have him wrapped around her little finger. He feels he needs what she seems to offer.

Fred doesn't. She has two parents who adore her and unconditionally love her. What can the Countess offer her that can compare to that?

Same thing with Angel. He feels he needs what she offers, but does he really? The AI team just saw Angelus and they still accept and love him. Angel and Wesley are back to being brothers. Cordy and Buffy do love him. Willow and Faith believe in him and care about him. Connor is even starting to crack.

Hopefully that will break the Countess' hold over him. In "Deep Down" it is concern for Connor that snaps Angel out of his hallucinations. In "Ground State" it is concern for Cordy. In THAW, even without his destiny, Angel manges to be motivated to save his friends.

Lately they have been setting up the bond between Wesley and Angel. After "Players" there was no need to bring up Lilah again in "Inside Out." That just cemented Wesley and Angel further. Wesley wasn't in Vegas in THAW. Angel hasn't snapped out of anything to help him yet. I think Wesley will get the big one.

Maybe it will be a chain reaction. Countess Iblis wants Fred taken care of, so she has Wesley do it. Wesley's feelings for her won't allow this and the hold over him is broken. Then the Countess wants Angel to take care of them both. Angel's feelings won't allow this and the hold over him is also broken. This is just speculation and I don't think I've been right about a single thing all season.

The lame storyline with the Countess is lame if you focus on her. I think what is important is what she uses to gain control of people and how people break that control.

[> Re: Countess Iblis (spoilers Inside Out, trailer and speculation at the end) -- Corwin of Amber, 08:50:55 04/04/03 Fri

I think you're letting the plot of one (or was it two?) episode of a forgettable space opera from 25 years ago cloud your thinking too much. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and expel it slowly while picturing a calming white light surrounding you. :)

Ok now, there really must have been something about that episode of battlestar galactica that makes you remember it. If it were simply bad, you would have forgotten about it. What was it?

[> "Who's Your Messiah Now, See?" (spoilery hints about ANGEL 4.18) -- cjl, 09:33:49 04/04/03 Fri

(Billy Crystal, imitating Edward G. Robinson in "The Ten Commandments." It never gets old.)

Been busy at work this week and helping a friend move in the evenings, so not much time to post. Typing this as I'm sorting mail at the office.

(Hmmm...."Wolfram Research." I hope they don't have a "Hart" subsidiary...)

Where was I? Oh, right, Count Iblis. Who played the Count back on Galactica, anyway? I forget.

Anyway, just wanted to say that I agree with lunasea on this. The False Messiah has been a cliche of fantasy and sci-fi for...well, forever, and you have to be careful when you do a FM plotline not to slip into the standard five-act story:

1. False Messiah arrives, promising peace, love, happiness and puppies all around.

2. Lone dissenter amongst our heroes sees the FM for what he/she/it truly is.

3. Brainwashed heroes attack our lone dissenter.

4. Lone dissenter evades capture/injury then ingeniously counteracts the FM's hold on our heroes.

5. Newly freed heroes band together to vanquish FM.

There are two ways to keep the audience from stepping out for potato chips while the writers check off the five-point plan: 1) as lunasea said, you explore the characters, and why they might follow the lovely, luminescent Jasmine or why a particular individual might be psychologically immune to her power; or 2) you flip the FM cliche itself.

Wouldn't it be interesting if Jasmine turned out to be a REAL messiah? A higher being who had the best interests of humanity at heart, who wanted to bring happiness and beauty to all the people of the world? ("Shiny, happy people" indeed.) Of course, humanity would have to follow her without question, with none of that annoying free will that's been messing things up until now. And therein would lie the dilemma: Would you be willing to exchange your free will for perfect happiness?

If anybody could tackle such a tricky philosophical issue in a TV drama format, it would be Joss and ME. Let's see what they do...

[> [> Re: "Who's Your Messiah Now, See?" (spoilery hints about ANGEL 4.18) -- lunasea, 10:30:48 04/04/03 Fri

There are two ways to keep the audience from stepping out for potato chips while the writers check off the five- point plan: 1) as lunasea said, you explore the characters, and why they might follow the lovely, luminescent Jasmine or why a particular individual might be psychologically immune to her power; or 2) you flip the FM cliche itself.

I think Joss will do both. "Shiny Happy People" will explore 1 and after the heroes break her control (and it better be quick. They can't Spikify Angel for too long), they will find out 2. I think one character will remain her servant even after he finds out what is going on. Angel will fight against "good" but not for "evil."

Now I don't think the plot is so lame. My biggest concern was how they were going to bring Angel over to Buffy after this. It all makes complete sense now. I just want to know the same thing I did about S6...


Also, how is this going to tie into the new paradigm for next season?

[> [> [> Re: "Who's Your Messiah Now, See?" (spoilery hints about ANGEL 4.18) -- mawrgwyn, 11:46:07 04/04/03 Fri

You'll have to excuse me if this doesn't follow with this thread, I have never posted to this site before, so.. Anyway, my question is, is Cordy dead. I thought Skip said it didn't matter if Angel killed her or not since she would die during labor anyway. Can anyone shed some light on this for me please.

[> [> [> [> Re: Cordy (spoilers IO) -- CW, 14:00:51 04/04/03 Fri

There was a brief shot in IO after the birth in which Cordy appears to breathe out a death rattle. But, it wouldn't be past ME to bring her back in some form, alive or dead.

[> [> I have to say I like this idea -- Doug, 11:45:40 04/05/03 Sat

What if Jasmine is genuine, what if this is what TPTB have been leading our heroes toward; using the visions and shaping events to get everybody to make the choices that would bring this about. Sounds like Jasmine is taking people back to the Garden of Eden; before eating the fruit. Ultimate happiness and peace, without all the freedom of choice and knowledge of good and evil that humanity gained when they ate the fruit.

What if this isn't like the Antichrist, but like the Second Coming instead?

[> [> ' The Ones who walk away...' -- OnM, 08:59:41 04/06/03 Sun

*** Of course, humanity would have to follow her without question, with none of that annoying free will that's been messing things up until now. And therein would lie the dilemma: Would you be willing to exchange your free will for perfect happiness? ***

My guess is that about 98 to 99% of humanity would gladly give up free will in exchange for 'paradise'.

This has always been something that puzzled me about the religious concept of heaven, at least the Western one. Do you still have free will in heaven? It would seem to me that you would not, otherwise one could choose to do evil in heaven, and what I was taught as a child essentially states that this is impossible-- God would not allow it.

The usual response I've encountered states that if you were truly eligible for life in heaven, you would not wish to do evil, but this strikes me as circular reasoning. Can you choose freely, or not?

A related tangent to this 'free will/heaven/choices' idea is outlined in Ursula LeGuin's classic short story The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, and the followup novel regarding anarchy as a viable form of 'government' in The Dispossessed.

Has anyone who has read either of these works have any comment?

[> [> [> the right-lane analogy -- Solitude1056, 10:19:20 04/06/03 Sun

Steven Gaskin said, "Christian freedom is when you're in the right-hand lane, and it's a right-turn only lane, and you have the freedom to want to turn right."

[> [> [> "Bondage with ease, rather than strenuous liberty"? -- Rahael, 12:55:21 04/06/03 Sun

Reposting an archived post because it seemed apropos:

In Areopagitica, Milton says:

ÏMany there be that complain of divine providence for suffering Adam to transgresse, foolish tongues! When God gave him reason, he gave him freedom to choose, for reason is but choosing.Ó

And man's (and woman's capacity) to reason is what will lead them to God, because:

ÏThe first of the attributes which show the inherent nature of God, is Truth Ó (De doctrina Christiana)

For Milton, God constantly presented choices, and the ultimate choice that man could make was to choose liberty, or bondage.

There could be a parallel made between the mental slavery one falls into if one gives up choice, as Connor does. Mental slavery, like Samson - who is convinced that he has been abandoned. But it is Samson who abandoned God, by choosing to be enslaved in his mind.

ÏWhich shall I first bewail,
Thy bondage or lost sight,
Prison within prison
Inseparably dark?
Thou art become (O worst imprisonment!)
The dungeon of thyself÷÷
Imprisoned now indeed Ó

In Areopagitica, Milton had argued that true virtue could only be seen under trial, that through contradiction, truth (and, thus, God) could be expressed:

ÏI cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary but slinks out of the raceÓ


Ïthat which purifies us is trial, and trial is by what is contraryÓ

This viewÌs ideal form is demonstrated in Samson Agonistes, as different and opposing ideas build into the final truth Ò liberty in spirit (Ò and God).

When Darla appears to Connor, perhaps it could be comparable to this sentiment, that 'if virtue feeble were, Heaven itself would stoop to her' (Masque performed at Ludlow Castle). The choices are there for us to make. If we are weak, help is at hand (Angel Investigations - we help the helpless), but, everyone has to make their choice, whether it's Lindsey, going back to Wolfram and Hart, or Angel in Redefinition, or in Epiphany, whether it's Gunn and Fred in Supersymmetry or Connor in Inside Out - virtue that is not exercised by the temptation of evil might be meaningless.

In the new and terrifying version of the AtSverse that Skip posits, tempting everyone to fall into despair (and thus mental slavery) there is still the presence of choice, of the exercise of our rational minds, of the path to liberty.


And to comment directly to your post, I cannot agree that so many of mankind would give up their 'free will' so easily. If one is referring to following religion as giving up free will, I cannot agree to that correlation.

Milton's formulation can be seen as contradictary to Luther's because Luther argued that man's reason will only lead him further away from God, nothing that man could himself do, would lead him to God. Milton did not believe that God could possibly have any role in 'evil'. He did not author it, or be responsible for it. Therefore man's choice is essential. For him, God was about reason, and choice. When one denies oneself choice, when one blind in Gaza 'at the mill with slaves', then one is as far from God as you can be, even if you are his 'Champion', with 'heaven gifted strength'.

So, just wanted to point out that Christianity has a very wide range of opinion about 'choice' and 'will'.

[> [> [> Re: ' The Ones who walk away...' (spoilers for Omelas) -- ponygirl, 15:00:25 04/06/03 Sun

Hmm, I never saw Omelas as being as much about free will as about the ends justifying the means, still a very valid topic for both series right now. For those who haven't read the story, run now and do it, it's short, haunting and possibly one of the best fantasy stories of all time -- but essentially Le Guin presents a wonderful, fullfilling society, whose entire happiness is based upon the fact that somewhere in their city a single child is tormented and in pain.

I think everyone in Omelas does have free will, their awareness of the child and their acceptance of this price of one for the many would be meaningless without the element of choice. And of course there are the ones who choose to walk away...

It's been a long time since I read The Dispossessed, but IIRC even the kind of anarchy being presented there didn't really seem to work, the main characters were in favour of it, but didn't they seem to settle into a fairly traditional family unit?

The Omelas question does haunt me though. What if we had not seen the Ben/Glory argument in season 5, where Ben knowingly decides to trade Dawn's life for his own? He had a choice, a bad choice, but there still was the element of free will in cooperating with Glory. If we had not known this, if Ben truly had been an innocent, how would Giles' actions have been seen?

[> [> [> "Innumerable force of Spirits armed -- Sophist, 18:31:07 04/06/03 Sun

That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring
His utmost power to adverse power opposed
In dubious battle on the plains of Heaven,
And shook his throne."

Yeah, Milton certainly believed that free will existed in heaven, else Satan never could have rebelled. He also considered the debate sterile:

"Others apart sat on a hill retired,
In thoughts more elevate, and reasoned high
Of providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate,
Fixed fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute,
And found no end, in wandering mazes lost.
Of good and evil much they argued then,
Of happiness and final misery,
Passion and apathy, and glory and shame,
Vain wisdom all and false philosophy."

Based on this passage, and on the general tenor of Lutheran and Calvinist thought, I'd say Milton's belief in free will rested on faith. As this passage shows, it had long been recognized that free will is logically incompatible with omniscience, to say nothing of omnipotence. Milton knew these scholastic debates and considered them traps for the faith of the believer.

I'd say that, like Milton, most Protestants believe in free will as a matter of faith and don't worry about the logic of it.

[> I love the direction this has gone in -- lunasea, 06:35:11 04/07/03 Mon

Jasmine didn't make one choice for anyone. The gods cannot take away our choices. That is why I posted the Rush song "Free Will" earlier. "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."

Angel and everyone acted like Jasmine thought they would (which is why I don't think she is evil. She couldn't understand their goodness and use it against them so well if she was). They didn't do much against their will (Angel didn't exactly want to rescue Billy)

Freedom and bondage, just perceptions. If you never want to do something those in power don't want you to, you live in total freedom. If you live in the freeest society on earth, you still have to give up something (basic social contract). If you want to do that thing, you live in bondage.

At some point, our choices are restricted. If not by others than the laws of the universe itself. Go ahead and try to choose not to die. Choose to be in two places at once (though a lot are trying to do this with the plethora of cell phones around). Choose to stay awake until the next new Buffy.

The lamb can lay down with the lion, provided the lion doesn't eat the lamb. Can the lion do this? Rights are means to things (our more perfect union). When we focus on the rights for the sake of rights, we lose that more perfect union. What are you willing to give up for that? The problem becomes in a diverse society there are many ideas of this more perfect union and they have to be balanced against each other. If actual paradise was possible, what are you willing to give up so that others can experience this.

Are you willing to be that one child that is tortured to give others this society?

My head can now stop spinning (spoiler Inside Out) -- lunasea, 08:04:47 04/04/03 Fri

Maybe some of those more familiar with Sumer-Babylonia mythology can help me fill in the blanks. I have to admit the Enuma Elish gives me a big headache (almost as big as Inside Out did, but not in a good way).

The appearance of "Angel's" Grand Spawn reminded me of Tiamat. Maybe it is time for Wesley to get his ass busy on the Scroll of Aberjian. We had Codex mentioned in "Orpheus" (hopefully setting up a cross-over) Will the Scroll hold the key to defeating AtS's big bad? "This is an ancient sacred text, not a magic eight ball." Maybe there is a reason Lorne used a magic eight ball at the end of "Players" besides comedic effect.

Back to the blanks. Doesn't Marduk have connotations with the sun? This would explain why Tiamat went after it. Could The First be Apsu? Doesn't get much more "beginning" than Sumer-Babylonia.

I will admit that I can't find my book on Mesopotamian Mythology, so I am just winging it. I hope someone can elaborate on this for me. I don't think ME is directly following any particular mythology, but I can see them using the story for symbolic purposes. Thanks

[> Re: My head can now stop spinning (spoiler Inside Out) -- Lot's Wife, 09:20:17 04/04/03 Fri

I found this info. It may help.


In Babylonian myths, Tiamat is a huge, bloated female dragon that personifies the saltwater ocean, the water of Chaos. She is also the primordial mother of all that exists, including the gods themselves. Her consort is Apsu, the personification of the freshwater abyss that lies beneath the Earth. From their union, saltwater with freshwater, the first pair of gods were born. They are Lachmu and Lachamu, parents of Ansar and Kisar, grandparents of Anu and Ea.
In the creation epic Enuma elish, written around 2000 BCE, their descendants started to irritate Tiamat and Apsu so they decided to kill their offspring. Ea discovered their plans and he managed to kill Apsu while the latter was asleep. Tiamat flew into a rage when she learned about Apsu's death and wanted to avenge her husband. She created an army of monstrous creatures, which was to be led by her new consort Kingu, who is also her son. Eventually, Tiamat was defeated by the young god Marduk, who was born in the deep freshwater sea.

Marduk cleaved her body in half, and from the upper half he created the sky and from the lower half he made the earth. From her water came forth the clouds and her tears became the source of the Tigris and the Euphratus. Kingu also perished, and from his blood Marduk created the first humans.


Literally, "bulf calf of the sun". The son of Ea, and leader of the gods. He was a fertility god, but originally a god of thunderstorms. His consort was Sarpanitu
According to Enuma Elish, an ancient epic poem of creation, Marduk defeated Tiamat and Kingu, the dragons of chaos, and thereby gained supreme power. Acknowledged as the creator of the universe and of humankind, the god of light and life, and the ruler of destinies, he rose to such eminence that he claimed 50 titles. Eventually, he was called simply Bel, meaning "Lord."


A primeval Sumero-Akkadian god who personifies the primordial abyss of sweet waters underneath the earth. He is the consort of Tiamat, the primordial abyss of salt waters of Chaos. In the later mythology of the Enuma Elish, the sweet water mingled with the bitter waters of the sea and with a third watery element, perhaps cloud, the first gods were engendered. The waters of Apsu were thought of as held immobile underground by the 'spell' of Ea in a death-like sleep, but it is also said that Ea had Apsu fallen asleep and had killed him. From the clay of Apsu man was fashioned. This appears to be a Sumerian myth, because in the Enuma Elish, Kingu's blood serves this purpose. Apsu's vizir, Mummu, was imprisioned in a house built on his body.

http://www.pantheon.org/areas/mythology/asia/mesopotamian/ar ticles.html

Newbies and an old pal ("Potential" and "Soulless" - some later spoilers) -- KdS, 08:37:59 04/04/03 Fri

Another excellent double bill. I was really looking forward to the return of Angelus, but Potential, which I expected to be a filler episode, turned out to be far better than I expected.

Potential, unfortunately, does rather bring home a problem of this season of BtVS. Being as we're all well- versed in mythology, moral philosophy, and both literary and fantasy fiction, I think we're all fairly clear that Buffy's more militaristic tendencies are going to be revealed as a problem. Unfortunately, as the plot arc is written for people slower on the uptake, who are probably cheering Buffy on right now, it means that we have to sit around for nine or ten eps of Buffy with her head shoved up her own backside, which isn't the most edifying or entertaining of spectacles. Before anyone accuses me of character bashing, I'm fully aware of the stress that Buffy's under - an incorporeal and unthumpable foe whose long term plan is still shrouded in mystery, a bunch of innocent young women to train and protect, at least two old comrades in a dangerously unstable and unpredictable mental state. A lack of clarity on the big picture is perfectly excusable, but it makes for a rather frustrating watch. The key problem, I think, comes subtly into focus in the opening speech to the potentials. There's all this business about "Decide you aren't the one who's going to die" - this individualism, this treatment of other people as potentially expendable, is I strongly feel exactly what the FE wants. Buffy's problem is that she's working on the basis that this is the same type of struggle she's been in so many times before where the enemy wants to kill everyone. Unfortunately, on this occasion death is only a side issue for the Big Bad - what it really wants to do is to ensure everybody's damnation. And that requires very different tactics in defence - if not a complete abandonment of most of the assumptions of "tactics".

What did reassure me a lot that I haven't totally misread ME over the years was the Dawn/Xander/Anya/Willow scenes when it appears that Dawn's a potential Slayer. Every time DtVS speculation has come up on the board, I've felt extremely uncomfortable with the idea, because it seems to turn Slayer status into some kind of Golden Ticket, denying all the uglier aspects of the life. To hear Anya and Willow stressing them, and seeing Dawn's discomfort with the idea even before that, reassured me a lot.

The big Xander speech caused a great deal of discussion on the board as I recall, with some people arguing that Xander was indefensibly placing his own problems over Buffy's. Personally, I didn't see any attempt to claim any kind of moral ranking - just a clear statement of the subtle differences between the feelings and challenges of the mystically Chosen combatant and the combatant driven solely by feelings of duty. (Let's clarify this - I'm not suggesting that Buffy, or Angel, or Willow aren't driven by a fealing of duty, just that in their case they know that no- one, or very few people could replace them if they decided to retire. Xander has never had that feeling of reinforcement.) What did annoy me just a little was the rather self-satisfied portrayal of Xander's astonishing powers of emotional perception, which, while I'm not as harsh on the guy as some people on the board (cough*Sophist*cough), struck me as somewhat denying the extent to which he's screwed up as well over the years.

I really do not have a problem with the Potentials-in-the- tomb business - it was four or five against one, they had to have their first real dusting sooner or later. I think the disturbance comes because after the ad break you cut very quickly to Buffy and Spike turning up in the school and it looks as if they just left the girls to it, but when you look again at the timing that isn't what necessarily happened.

More minor issues:

Very nice visual reference of Dawn climbing out of the exact same window that Buffy did in the days when she was trying to keep her Slayer status from Joyce.

It's been quoted before how Buffy's speeches are subverted in this episode so often - vampires are just animals, but she's worried about the state of one's ribs, all demons want to slaughter you, then Clem turns up for a chat.

I have to admit, I like Andrew to the point that I'm starting to see him as a microcosm of the whole point of the season (have a huge essay planned in my mind, but won't write it before 7:22 in case I'm utterly wrong.) The mushroom line was quite hilarious. However, I have more empathy with those who just find him annoying since the Dragonball Z speech - he's much less watchable if he's riffing on something which you have absolutely no clue about. (I know it's a Japanese kids' TV show, this is not a request for anyone to send me a complete concordance and plot summary). He reminded me incredibly of S1-3 Xander in the snakeskin dialogue exchange - the way he made the joke and then crumpled as he realised he'd overstepped the mark.

Now we move to Soulless, which I'm hesitating to admit was one of the funniest ME episodes I have ever seen. Maybe that puts me a bit closer to Angelus than I should be. It got to the point that I even heard Wes's line about Angelus using "the tiniest opening" as a sexually perverse double entendre. DB was quite fantastic, especially if the reports that he improvised a lot of his lines himself are correct. (A quick correction re the singing - some people on the board were suggesting that it was better than Angel's singing voice. As a vocally challenged person myself, I can string notes of the correct relative interval together and sound reasonably good a capella - it's when I have to sing in tune with an accompaniment that the results are truly horrible.)

There were complaints that Angelus was too laid back, but I think that's a misreading of Angel and Angelus as two different personalities with no continuous consciousness. As I see it, Angelus is Angel minus conscience and it seems perfectly plausible to me that Angelus would have Angel's currently more laid-back and fatalistic personality. He went berzerk last time because it was the first time he'd been Angelus again after a period as souled Angel (and as I interpret it it was the second violation of his possession by Grace in IOHEFY that really sent him over the edge). As it is now he's had more time to adjust to the fact of his goodness as Angel, he doesn't believe so much now in grand narratives and obligations to follow creeds of evil, he's just out to get as much fun in as he can before either death or resoulment. Which of course makes him very dangerous and extremely unpredictable :->

The reactions of AI were very good indeed. Wes torn between fear, the desire to show off his strength, and even something akin to fanboy adulation. Gunn uncomplicated furious, Fred equally uncomplicatedly terrified, and Connor and Cordy both eerily calm. I would *really* like to know how much of this episode was Cordy and how much Jasmine - there is something going on but I can't guess what. If the Svear had been dead for days it also seems hard to explain why Jasmine would send AI to find their bodies, unless as yab thought it was just psychological warfare and to give someone the chance to steal the soul.

However, one big plot hole for me is why the AI crew even bothered to try playing mind games on Angelus (the words "hedgehog" and "arse-kicking contest" come to mind) and didn't start straight in with the holy water, red-hot pokers, small crucifixes placed in sensitive places... Because of feelings for Angel? Come on, Wes would do it in a heartbeat, and Gunn and Fred would after five minutes of chat with Angelus. OK, it wouldn't have made for such a good ep...

And finally, whether Cordelia is good or evil or not, I cannot see the justification for the claim that she's a bad person for not letting Angelus rape and torture her to death...

[> Thanks! Keeping this alive til I can answer properly! -- Rahael, 09:54:03 04/04/03 Fri

[> Saving this baby from Voynak -- Masq, 05:21:41 04/05/03 Sat

Hey, we got more than 5 archives again! I wish they'd just give us more space on the main board!

[> Angelus (also later but not-past-now spoilers) -- Darby, 07:46:51 04/05/03 Sat

I really like your idea about this time's Angelus being a reflection of the current Angel - that first soul-removal came after almost a century of society-fringe patheticness followed by moony-eyes over a Slayer, but the demon (if it has some remnant of its own consciousness, as the dream sequence seemed to suggest) might be feeling a bit more comfortable in Angel's shoes lately and not so requiring the making of a statement. I hadn't really thought about the character development of Angelus!

[> Re: Newbies and an old pal ("Potential" and "Soulless" - some later spoilers) -- Rahael, 10:12:19 04/05/03 Sat

Okay I had a long post written up which I lost because my computer crashed. Bah!!

So, the shorter version - Liked Potential, Loved Soulless. Connor is one of the most unpredictable, complex characters I've ever seen in the MEverse.

I had the exact same reaction to finding Angelus a hoot (I always have preferred Angel to Angelus, in fact, not really into Angelus in the way others have been, prior to this!). What is AtS doing to me? It's made me fascinated with two characters I never thought about a lot - Darla and Angelus. And I snorted at the 'every opening' comment too. LOL.

A while ago I posted that it was the women of the MEverse who spoke to me. It was all about the women. Nowadays, it's almost the opposite. I don't like Cordy (and obviously not meant to), and I've never felt more disconnected from Buffy (and have the awful feeling that I'm not meant to feel this way). Still love Anya (sharp sharp knives, lol!) and Dawn is really coming into her own, oh, and Lilah - really big fan. But here are the characters I am now really really into: Angel, Connor, Gunn, Wesley, Andrew, and...Xander!! I'm really taken aback by this!

Andrew is now my entry point into BtVS (it's always been Buffy before).

[> [> Thoughts..("Potential" + all earlier episodes) -- Abby, 11:22:09 04/05/03 Sat

I'm currently trawling through archives at the moment for these episode's discussion, but I've been itching to have *actual* contribution to voy (after about 6 months of merely skipping spoler-free past the main page and archive reading) so here are some thoughts.

Buffy. Now like you I've felt beaten over the head with the commando act, however the scene with Margo at school where she regresses into 'endearingly weird' over the being mean scenario perversely thawed me somewhat to her current character. Now, on one level the trivialisation of S/B season six in one sentence made me grimace, yet that grimace morphed into a smile- when was the last time was saw comic!Buffy? I think it was that brief contrast with commando!Buffy that kept me engaged this episode.

Dawn. I think it was because there had been so much board discussion of the blood-tie SIT storyline re:her that made me think..."there's more to this one". Now what really struck me was her displaying yet again her fatalistic tendancies we saw foremost in 'Help'. She leaves the safety of the Summers' home regardless of having encountered the Harbingers, and then plunges straight into an extremely vulnerable situation. Also, when did Buffy decide Dawn did not need training to protect herself? Before the SIT's arrived Dawn was being prepared, in the name of self- defence. Big Bad around= civilians in great need of ass- kicking powers. Although I do see a capable Dawn here- nice Bunsen burner trick!

Spike. I liked that we saw a development of the contact issue: previously we saw his touching her to be uncomfortable, yet she assumed her touching him was fine. Here we see him reclaim his body, as it were, from her access. I'm also worried that the 'vamp w/ soul' semantics have not been properly explained to the SITs..I can see some conflicting examples arising (also Clem) that could become an issue in future. Where did we hear the all-important 'some creatures are monsters but not therefore 'bad''?

Finally...where has Miss Lizzie McGuire gone? Was she the dark-haired plaited one with the bad English accent? If so, I didn't recognise her.


[> [> "Connor is one of the most unpredictable, complex characters I've ever seen in the MEverse." -- Masq, 15:00:48 04/05/03 Sat

Re: Inside Out And the aggravating, heart-rending complexity just keeps on coming!

I hope that if there is a season 5 that Vincent K. gets contracted to stay on the show as a regular again. He's an amazing actor and Connor is a compelling character.

I have always related to the male characters just a little bit more than the female characters, and I think it's just because I see more of myself in the male characters--I see more of myself in Angel than in Buffy, more of myself in Giles than Willow, more of myself in Connor than Dawn, etc., etc. Never could relate to Anya at all. Fred I like, but again, not compelling.

The female characters I relate the most to are strangely enough the bad girls--Faith and Darla. Although I'm happy with them being angsty complex redeemed characters as well. The exception to this is Tara, who was never a bad girl, and who could have been very annoying with her wise-earth-woman act, but never ever was. I dug good-girl Tara, but not really in a "I can relate to her" kind of way.

[> [> [> Re: "Connor is one of the most unpredictable, complex characters I've ever seen in the MEverse." -- Abby, 10:11:28 04/06/03 Sun

I'm agreeing with the Connor-love, even at only 4.9, his interaction with Angel really has leant the episodes a certain freshness that lifts them to me. As much as the wraught adult complexities of relation is interesting, there's just something about his instinctive adolescent contribution that sparkles the storylines for me (not that his character is not wraught or complex!). But funnily enough I find Dawn just doesn't add that- probably because Buffy has never been such a dark or adult show to me, regardless of the themes covered. The tone of Angel- everything from the style of editing and direction has been so much more 'grown-up' . Which is why this little shard of childhood reaction, with all its lack of rational and intellectualising is such a contrast.
As for characters, I've never overtly identified with any of them, nor thought about it in that manner. There are characters I find far more compelling, due to acting (s6+7 Spike) and story, and I'm loving Wesley's evolution on so many different levels. Actually, I enjoyed Faith too- so there's something about a descent into darkness that is gripping to me. In terms of being similar in age, Dawnie should be up there for me, but she's not- I just can't find myself in her, we are really worlds apart in how we interact with the world. Anya is enjoyable on the level that we both seem to be speakers of what would remain unspoken. I never found myself in Buffy either, although funnily enough I read the Jung anti-self analysis religiously, yet it wasn't until my counsellor pointed out a passage for me to relate to that it just clicked- the projection issues etc.

So, unknowing of spin-off issues etc or who is to fall by the wayside in the impending apocolypses post Potential and Angelus, I want to keep seeing lots of Wesley, Connor, Spike..and please, a return for Old!Cordy

[> [> [> [> That teen-aged thing -- Masq, 12:06:03 04/06/03 Sun

The tone of Angel- everything from the style of editing and direction has been so much more 'grown-up' . Which is why this little shard of childhood reaction, with all its lack of rational and intellectualising is such a contrast.

You know, I think that a lot of what is appealing about Connor comes from this, you're right. Cordelia (and I'm talking about S 1-3 Cordy, not Evil!Cordelia) is the same age as Buffy, Xander and Willow, but on "Angel" she's always seemed a lot older, almost as old as Charisma.

And Angel, Wesley, Lilah, even Gunn and Fred are grown-ups, even if sometimes they act like petulant children.

Connor, on the other hand, IS a petulant child. Cordelia may judge him as being 18, but he is just so sheltered and naive about the ways of the world, he is just so not used to dealing with human beings--he never had any of this for 99% of his life, that he comes across as much younger than he is.

I've never been drawn to those "say it like it is" characters like Spike and Anya. They don't appeal to me. I like angsty characters who screw up a lot and stumble through life making mistakes and having to deal with the consequences, and sometimes not well. I like Angel and Faith and Connor.

Different strokes.

But YES, we need old Cordelia back. You know Evil!Cordelia did a good job sometimes of channeling her. Hopefully if there's a Season 5, Cordy will be back to her old self.

You know, after she deals with the cosmic reprecussions of letting her self be dragged into the Sturm and Drang of what's going on now!

[> [> [> [> [> Re: That teen-aged thing (AtS S3/4 spoilers) -- Rob, 13:19:10 04/06/03 Sun

"But YES, we need old Cordelia back. You know Evil!Cordelia did a good job sometimes of channeling her. Hopefully if there's a Season 5, Cordy will be back to her old self.

You know, after she deals with the cosmic reprecussions of letting her self be dragged into the Sturm and Drang of what's going on now!"

You're right. I'm really hoping that they do deal with Cordy's responsibility in her own abduction, evil-izing, etc. and don't just ignore it in the excitement of getting the old Cordy back (if they do). Because in many ways it was her hubris towards the mid-to-latter portion of the third season that lead to her being duped into the Ascension. Although she was taken advantage of and tricked, she didn't have to buy Skip's lines about her being all perfect, noble, pure, and glowy now. She took on the "St. Cordy" role by herself.


[> [> [> [> [> [> In retrospect, Rob... -- Masq, 16:45:33 04/06/03 Sun

Remember how we all hated Glowy!Cordelia, "Saint" Cordelia? In retrospect, I think we were supposed to. Now granted, the other characters didn't see her as annoying. Lorne, Angel, etc, they were praising her.

But I think the writers knew what they were doing with this. I mean, they deliberately had a scene where Cordelia tried to use her powers and couldn't (I think it was in "Benediction"). She wasn't fully responsible for clearing the hotel of sluks or giving Connor the soul colonic. She just could be manipulated into believing that she was. By Skip, if you recall.

And then there was "Calvary" where Mere Smith had Lilah call Cordelia "Saint Cordelia". It was a shout-out to fans who bitched about Cordelia's strange character direction in the end of season 3.

KdS had a post a while back where he pointed out that Cordelia herself took all the half-demon, vision-girl stuff deadly seriously. I liked KdS's post because he pointed out that Cordelia almost began to become a "Powers that Be" groupie. So loyal to her calling and her responsibility to Angel that she would turn her back on Wesley in "The Price". I mean she literally says something like that to Fred, "Angel is the only person I care about."

At the time, some of us thought this was just the writers going in a shippy direction with C&A, but in retrospect, there was no shippy place for those two characters to go. So in reality, the writers might actually have been depicting Cordelia as becoming quite obsessed with her role. They were writing her to be the kind of person who would take up Skip's offer of both demonhood AND going to the higher plane.

So I don't think the writers will forget it. I think they have it all Arc-ed out as part of Cordelia's journey. Let's just hope we have a Season 5 to watch it all play out.

O/T: Miracles has been cancelled -- dub :o(, 09:58:15 04/04/03 Fri

From Variety.com

ABC debunks 'Miracles,' drops drama
Show is 6th freshman series axed by net this season

By Michael Schneider

Apparently, ABC's "Miracles" needed one.
The Alphabet web has yanked the drama off its schedule for the
remainder of the season, opting to air repeat segs of "The Practice"
on Mondays at 10 p.m. for the time being.

ABC had high hopes for "Miracles," which stars Skeet Ulrich as a man
who investigates unexplained phenomena. Webheads premiered the show
the day after the Super Bowl and moved "The Practice" to Mondays as a
lead-in, angering that show's David E. Kelley in the process.

Even though the show was retooled from its original dark, religious
undertones, "Miracles" had trouble finding an audience from the
beginning. After six airings, it averaged a 2.5 rating/6 share among
adults 18-49 and 6.5 million viewers overall, according to Nielsen.

Cancellation was a foregone conclusion after this Monday, when the
show posted a dismal 1.8 rating in adults 18-49. [Note from dub: Couldn't be because they'd advertised it the last two weeks in a row, and then didn't show it, could it? Hmmmm?? Bleh!] "Miracles" had
declined every week since its debut (3.6/9).

Show now reps the sixth freshman drama axed by ABC this season,
following "Push, Nevada," "MDs," "That Was Then," "Dinotopia"
and "Veritas: The Quest." Of all its new hourlong scripted fare,
just "Dragnet" remains.

"Miracles" came from Touchstone TV and Spyglass Entertainment. Roger
Birnbaum, Gary Barber and David Greenwalt exec produced.
--- End forwarded message ---

[> Re: O/T: Miracles has been cancelled -- CW, 13:18:48 04/04/03 Fri

I watched about half of the last ep of Miracles then turned it off. The series wasn't developing fast enough to make it on its own.

I think it was a huge mistake to put The Practice on before instead of after Miracles. Veritas got pretty lame fast, but it was still a better lead in for Miracles. I just can't see the loyal audience of The Practice caring about Miracles. But, I can't blame The Practice (which I didn't watch) for getting me bored enough to turn Miracles off the other night.

Dragnet is much better than any of those shows, anyway. I recommend it. Have ME and its alums completely lost their touch?

[> [> Re: O/T: Miracles has been cancelled -- Alvin, 16:21:05 04/04/03 Fri

I read that they showed the episodes out of order which ruins the ME trademark of great characters and plot arcs. For instance, in the last episode Paul tells Evelyn "Say hi to Mattie for me" but Mattie is introduced in one of the missing episodes.

[> [> [> Network idiots -- Gyrus, 06:11:08 04/05/03 Sat

>I read that they showed the episodes out of order which >ruins the ME trademark of great characters and plot arcs.

I am beginning to notice a pattern in the way that networks kill off genre shows, including MIRACLES, FIREFLY, and BABYLON 5: CRUSADE. Showing eps out of order is a big part of it, as is pre-empting the show several times during its early run. (Network demands for more action were also factors in the demise of FIREFLY and CRUSADE, though that certainly doesn't seem to have been a problem with MIRACLES.) I can't imagine that ER or THE PRACTICE could have survived such treatment in their first seasons, let alone these SF shows.

I agree that MIRACLES was slow-moving, but I still thought it had potential. And the pace might have seemed faster if they had showed eps on any sort of regular basis.

[> [> [> [> Re: Network idiots -- CW, 06:22:16 04/05/03 Sat

Obviously, the networks have the contractual right to show the series in any order they please. It seems to me the studios could put an end to this playing-it-out-of-order nonsense by the simple expedient of including an episode number in the titling. That way if the network insisted on playing things out of order, it would be obvious to everyone.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Network idiots -- Dannyblue, 07:38:38 04/05/03 Sat

The problem is that there don't seem to be any people in charge at the major networks who actually like genre shows...or understand the genre audience. I have yet to see an interview from a network exec that sounds like they know a vampire from a Vulcan. (Okay, an exageration, but you get the gist.) I imagine (probably unfairly) that they are like my mother. She just doesn't get most genre entertainment. To her, it seems weird, and pointless. Why would anyone like this stuff, let alone take it seriously? Why does her child like watching shows about stuff that isn't real?

I bet most of the execs at ABC didn't really get Miracles either.

Bitten or Not So Much? LMPTM shooting script up at Psyche's! -- Rob, 10:13:12 04/04/03 Fri

...before I kill you.

He grabs Wood's shirt, yanks him up and bites into him..."

So that answers that question!


[> LMPTM spoiler in above post. -- Rob, 10:14:13 04/04/03 Fri

[> I don't think so. -- Sophist, 10:59:07 04/04/03 Fri

It's clear they didn't follow the shooting script, because they deliberately left it ambiguous. I've re-watched it and there's no way to tell for sure.

[> [> Re: I don't think so. -- Darby, 11:02:48 04/04/03 Fri

Even if he had said it (I thought he had), making the threat doesn't mean that he had to do it. If I were to grab someone by the neck and declare that I was going to kill them, I think I'm allowed to not go through with it.

[> [> [> Re: I don't think so. -- Rob, 11:06:58 04/04/03 Fri

"If I were to grab someone by the neck and declare that I was going to kill them, I think I'm allowed to not go through with it."

Actually, I checked the official rules. You're not allowed. ;o)


[> [> [> [> You're talking Australian rules, Rob. In American ones, you are allowed. Plus instant replay. -- Random, 11:10:47 04/04/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> Of course you're not allowed. -- Honorificus (Who Knows All The Rules But Ignores Them), 11:51:13 04/04/03 Fri

It cuts your credibility terribly. That's the first lesson my secondary mother taught me when I was but a babe: if you make death threats, always follow through. Then she demonstrated by killing her favorite minion. I never forgot her lesson, and even thanked her for it before I did away with her years later.

[> [> [> [> [> they should film your story and air it every Christmas -- JBone - who heard that line somewhere before, 15:35:30 04/04/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> It sounds like something Bill Murray would say. -- Rochefort, 20:45:36 04/04/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> It IS something Xander said -- Masq, 15:17:02 04/05/03 Sat

[> Sorry Rob - but the posting of shooting scripts doesn't prove a thing -- Dochawk, 12:00:11 04/04/03 Fri

Unless they post a copy of the final script you can't make any judgements. Most of the time the script that psyche posts are not the final scripts. Frequently the director and their first AD are the only two people who have an actual complete copy of the script used to make the final product and even then sometimes they will shoot a scene two or more different ways and decide which way to go in the editing room. So its evidence, its not proof.

Help! - Instances of Divine Intervention on BtVS? Spoilers/Spec for BtVS & AtS- IO -- Angelina, 10:39:01 04/04/03 Fri

I am asking for help in ascertaining the presence of ÏDivine InterventionÓ in the Buffyverse. The only instance of actual Divine Intervention that I have seen on Buffy, was in Amends, when ÏsomethingÓ caused the snow to block out the sun so Angel wouldnÌt walk into the light, and thus, self destruct. I use the word ÏsomethingÓ since on Angel, reference has always been made to ÏThe Powers That Be. However, reference of a Higher Power has rarely, if ever, been used on Buffy. It has always seemed to me, that Buffy and her cohorts, used whatever methods were available to them, be it mortal or magics, but did not ever rely on a Higher Power. They have avoided each ÏEnd of the World As We Know ItÓ all on their own, through their own devices, most notably with The Power of Love, as seen in The Gift and Grave, CPR as seen in Prophecy Girl, etc. I have also thought that perhaps the Ïdream sequencesÓ between Buffy and Faith, as well as the ones involving the First Slayer, could be some form of Divine Intervention as well, since some of these ÏvisionsÓ prophesied things to come, i.e. Dawn.

Of course, I can be totally wrong about this, and would appreciate any comments from this Board, which is so well versed in Buffy Mythology.

As we have seen in the last Angel episode, Inside Out, The Powers That Be, have intervened in the Angelverse, by sending Darla to try to sway Connor into making the ÏrightÓ choice. Unfortunately, Connor did not heed DarlaÌs/TPTB pleas. (Jerk - couldnÌt help myself - hee)

Have we seen any Divine Intervention on Buffy this season? I think we might have. In Conversations with Dead People, Dawn was visited by the essence of her mother, Joyce, or by ÏsomethingÓ that was using JoyceÌs facade in order to soothe Dawn into listening to its warnings. In this instance, Joyce was not allowed to finish her warning to Dawn, and we are left with the cryptic Ïshe wonÌt choose you - in the end, Buffy will be against youÓ. Now, while that could mean exactly what it says, I feel that the warning was not completed, the FE, or whatever was intentionally blocking the appearance of Joyce, would not allow Joyce to finish. As such, I cannot be assured that what we saw was the manifestation of the FE. It could very well have been ÏDivine InterventionÓ in the form of Joyce. I am bringing this up only because of my speculation, that since Buffy and Angel seem to be mirroring each other this season, and since TPTB have seen fit to interfere in AngelÌs earthly doings during their Apocalypse, that some form of Higher Power will indeed make an appearance on Buffy to aide in their own Apocalypse (which I am thinking will be one and the same). So, does anyone have any thoughts on this, and most importantly, any evidence of past Divine Intervention in the Buffyverse? Thanks.

[> One Other Possible Instance? -- frisby, 10:49:14 04/04/03 Fri

What about the fact that a young girl is chosen or selected to be The Slayer (with the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and forces of darkness)? Is she chosen by the Powers that Be? And if so, is that divine intervention for the purpose of preventing darkness from triumphing over humanity?

[> [> Re: One Other Possible Instance? -- Dannyblue, 11:22:39 04/04/03 Fri

I always thought it was strange that, of all the potential Slayers in the world, the one who was about to move to Sunnydale, the Hellmouth (which was about to get a lot more active than it had been in the past) was the next one chosen.

Also, Angel moving to Sunnydale in the first place was "arranged" by the Higher Powers. They had Whistler dig him out of the alley, and showed him a newly called Buffy at her most vulnerable, which made him want to help her. So, he went to Sunnydale.

As we learn later, the Powers thought Angel had to be in Sunnydale to stop Acathla from sucking the world into Hell, so they created a situation that would put him in "the right place at the right time". What they didn't know, apparantly, was that Angel would lose his soul and be the one who activated Acathla in the first place.

So, while the Powers seem to see the big picture (someone is going to activate Acathla, and the vampire with a soul will somehow be involved), is it possible they miss out on the details?

[> [> Re: One Other Possible Instance? -- Dannyblue, 11:24:14 04/04/03 Fri

I always thought it was strange that, of all the possible Slayers in the world, the one who was about to move to Sunnydale, the Hellmouth (which was about to get a lot more active than it had been in the past) was the next one chosen.

[> [> [> Free Will and the PtB -- Angel, 15:46:24 04/04/03 Fri

I agree with the "missing out on the details" part. I think that the PtB, like most of the seers, can only get vague impressions of what's to come, instead of the specifics.

Could that be the free will element coming into play? If the situation is going to happen anyway but the outcome depends on particular actions of particular individuals at particular times, that could be why the details always seem to be off. Like the Butterfly Effect, the smallest changes can escalate until they change the entire meaning or outcome of the situation: just like Angel and Acathla. It was free will that brought Angel and Buffy together for the "moment of true happiness" -- that night's decisions were nothing to do with the grander scheme. (One could argue, in this case, that Jenny Calendar was an unknowing instrument of the PtB as well as Kalderash vengeance; she was trying to keep them apart, right before the chaos began....)

I'm sure there were more instances; I'm racking my brain as we speak.

[> [> [> [> Re: Divinity Not Free Will and the PtB -- Angelina, 16:09:40 04/04/03 Fri

I am not sure that divine intervention had anything to do with Buffy coming to Sunnydale, or Angel's arrival there or even Giles' for that matter. Perhaps fate it a better word, or perhaps the Watcher's Council was keeping track of Buffy's movements and kinda of "pushed" her move to Sunnydale - someone "offering" Joyce a great opportunity in Sunnydale? When I say divine I mean like "GOD." Like the purest of the pure, the maker of all things. Pure Goodness, if you will. The Powers That Be, are like you said Angel, SEERS, they are NOT God. The closest thing to an actual presence or feeling of "God" that I've seen, is the visitation of Joyce. That had all the elements of a "holy" apparition. That is what I am talking about. I wonder if "God" will make an appearance at "the end of days." Even the concept of "The Slayer" is not from God, but from Man - Shamans made the Slayer from Demons that walked the earth in the beginning of days. Again, God had nothing to do with it. It's all so very interesting. No?

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Divinity Not Free Will and the PtB -- ceej, 05:46:01 04/05/03 Sat

>....God had nothing to do with it...

I disagree. The very cocnept of God is that he is the Creator, hence he created everything, which includes the Slayer and so forth. I guess this argument is really dependent on how you view God. Did He create the universe and after that just sorta stepped back and watch it grow etc or is He always there shaping outcomes. My definition of God is a sempiternal being: He has always existed, exists now and will always exist. He ominiscient a being knows everything that is and ever will be cuz he has divine foreknowledge.

Honestly I have an issue with the concept that God has foreknowledge of everything, all the facts about somebody's life even before they are born its very incompatable with the concept of "human free will". But thats a new topic all together.

[> Questions of Divinity. -- M., 11:44:57 04/04/03 Fri

When You mention ÏAmendsÓ two other possible cases of divine intervention come to mind. In ÏBecoming IIÓ Willow seems to be possessed by something that helps to re- soul Angel. Secondly at the end of ÏFaith, Hope, and TrickÓ we have Angels miraculous return from hell. The F.E. takes credit for this in ÏAmendsÓ but there is no reason to believe this, and if it was not the doing of F.E., it may have been divine. It is significant that all of these events of possible divine intervention revolve around Angel.

Depending on how we define ÏDivineÓ intervention it is either very rare, or very common in the Buffyverse. Since Willow became a witch she has been seen any number of times calling upon higher powers (gods) and receiving aid. This is usually classified as ÏmagicÓ but it is technically she is appealing to (invoking) various deities.

[> [> Re: Questions of Divinity. -- Ceej, 06:47:54 04/05/03 Sat

>Since Willow became a witch she has been seen any number of times calling upon higher powers (gods) and receiving aid. This is usually classified as ÏmagicÓ but it is technically she is appealing to (invoking) various deities.

I agree. Also, Will's magick is a good example of how the Buffyverse is a melting pot of various religions, beliefs and lore. She's called on many Gods and higher planed beings from many cultures and beliefs. Does that then mean Osiris and Hecate do exsist?? Yes it does (in the Buffyverse). The Buffyverse is a Polytheistic universe, so "God" could most likely make a cameo.

So its hard to really point out what is what since there is no one blief system-but a melting of all. Plus, wouldn't Glory count as a divine being? Or even the newly born Jasmine... One could even go as far as arguing the FE is a divine being.

Free Will (spoilers Inside Out and Get it Done) -- lunasea, 13:10:25 04/04/03 Fri

When Faith said that she "Rolled the bones..." I immediately thought of Rush. When Connor was approached by Darla, the song "Free Will" went through my head. As Neil Peart says in "The Spirit of Radio" "The words of the profits were written on the studio wall, Concert hall."

Free Will

There are those who think that life has nothing left to chance,
A host of holy horrors to direct our aimless dance. (Lilah/WR&H)

A planet of playthings,
We dance on the strings
Of powers we cannot perceive (what did Skip say)
"The stars aren't aligned -
Or the gods are malign"
Blame is better to give than receive. (Spike)

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice. (The PTB)
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice. (Connor)
You can choose from phantom fears (the First) and kindness that can kill (Jasmine?);
I will choose a path that's clear-
I will choose Free Will.

There are those who think that they were dealt a losing hand,
The cards were stacked against them - they weren't born in Lotus-Land. (poor Angel)

All preordained-
A prisoner in chains-
A victim of venomous fate. (What happened to the First Slayer)
Kicked in the face,
You can't pray for a place
In Heaven's unearthly estate. (Can we say Buffy)

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that's clear-
I will choose Free Will.

Each of us-
A cell of awareness-
Imperfect and incomplete.
Genetic blends
With uncertain ends
On a fortune hunt that's far too fleet. (Giles and Wesley)

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that's clear-
I will choose Free Will.

[> Re: Free Will (spoilers Inside Out and Get it Done) -- LittleBit, 17:04:32 04/04/03 Fri

A planet of playthings,
We dance on the strings
Of powers we cannot perceive

This makes me think of Willow ... how she is still working to truly understand the powers she can harness, at times being used by them as much as using them; and also her earlier choices as to how she wielded that power, manipulating the lives and thoughts of others, both selfishly regarding her friends and capriciously toward others.

No Human is An island (Spoilers up Btvs LMPTM and ATs Inside Out) -- shadowkat, 14:56:13 04/04/03 Fri

Somewhat scared to post this, it may seem nuts. But here goes. It's 22 pages. Sorry. I tend to be verbose as you all know. For those who saw me briefly in chat? This was what I was trying to get out but didn't know how. ;-)

No Human is an Island, entire of itself

Before I begin, I ask for your indulgence on what is going to seem like a really odd post from me. Itís neither a review nor for that matter a character comparison and itís way too disconnected and rambling to fit the definition of academic essay. Itís an exploration of a germ of an idea or rather a theory thatís been bugging me.

This theory may or may not actually be valid. It could be a projection from stuff going on inside me. It could on the other hand be so obvious to everyone else, that Iím an idiot for not getting it before now. In other words, one of those, duh, shadowkat, where have you been moments? I have been feeling a little disconnected lately, very wired ñ due to too much sugar ñ my sister-in-law is right sugar is the root of all evil ñ and well a tad at loose ends, as if I have no control over anything and no will of my own. So perhaps this is the root of my theory. This feeling that everything is connected when I feel Iím really not?

The poet John Donne wrote: ìNo man is an island, entire of it selfe; every man is a peace of the Continent, a part of the maine; if Clod be washed away by the Sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of they friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.î

My book club recently discussed the novel Kindred. Now before you all pooh-pah the book club, itís not your ordinary book club. We donít meet so much to discuss the book as to well connect. We eat, drink wine, and discuss just about everything. We have no clear rules and often talk over one another. The book is just the means to bring us together. (Not unlike Btvs and Ats is for those of us who visit the Atpo board come to think of it.) Kindred by Octavia Butler is the story of a woman who for no clear reason is drug back through time to save the life of a horrible slave owner, who also happens to be her direct ancestor. Each time she saves his life so that she can exist, she goes through the morale dilemma of whether she should have. Wouldnít the world, not to mention the slaves have been better off if the slave owner died? Is her life so important that she should hurt others by saving him? One woman in the book club saw this as a major flaw in the book ñ why was it so important for this character to live? Why did she keep saving this bastard? After all she has no children, she isnít a genius, she isnít President nor affects either of those things directly. Wouldnít it have made more sense for her to kill this evil man or let him die than continue to exist? How selfish is that? But ñ the woman meets one of the manís slaves and that slave conveys to her that if it werenít for her and the slave ownerís continued existence ñ all the slaves would have been sold and separated from their families or killed. By keeping the slave owner alive, the character saved countless lives.

There is an old science fiction story ñ I believe written by Issac Asimov, not certain, about a man who travels back in time and makes the mistake of stepping on a butterfly. Because of this tiny action ñ when he returns to his own time and the world has completely changed, nothing is as he left it.

We all have a purpose. It may not seem important to us. We may not see ourselves as connected to each other in any way. But each moment we draw breath, type on a computer or walk out the door we are affecting the universe and all that lives within it. The mere act of writing this post and posting it on the internet ñ does affect lives and attitudes. I donít control how it does of course, all I can control is whether I write it and whether I decide to post it. I canít control who reads it and how they react to it or what they think of me or the show because of it. Am I responsible for their reactions? Only to the extent that I am responsible for the post. What I do affects others. What others do affects me. But free will and choice enter into that connection.

Now what does all this have to do with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel the Series? Well it has to do with an epiphany I had recently that flipped both shows upside down in my mind and put my finger on what was bugging me about certain characterís actions. It changed my mind about some things I wrote in both the Storyteller review and my authority essay. It may be completely wacked ñ I donít know. It could be the result of way too much sugar. Or frustration with the War, my life, etc. Then again, perhaps Iím on to something.

One last request, if I may? Iím going to ask a ton of questions and focus on parts of episodes leaving other parts out. Granted we can read whatever we want into this show and manipulate text to fit our own theories ñ so it could very well be thatís what Iím unconsciously doing here. I donít know. Thatís why Iím sharing this with you all, so maybe you can tell me? Also I need you to look at it with an open- mind, to let go of all your ships, let go of what you want to see in the shows. Let go of all of it for just a second. Just for a second. (If itís possible, Iím not sure if it is.) Itís when I did that one thing ñ that this idea came to me. It could be completely wacked. Who knows.

Comics, Movies and Btvs/Ats

This section is split in three parts: 1. Comics 2. Movies and 3.The season finales of each series all the way up to present. Focusing on the similarities between each.

I. Comics ñ the connections in the comics

In some recent posts on the board, people have been asking what Btvs has in common with the world of Marvel Comics and science fiction/fantasy adventure movies. So I began to run them through my mind. Then I started comparing Marvel to DC and thatís when something started nag at my brain.

In the Marvel Universe ñ the same story is often repeated over and over again from different angles. The story usually deals with either a reasonably good person who has been corrupted by power in some way (or an evil entity who just manipulates all the gray characters to do its will). With the best of intentions ñ they assemble a group of loyal disciples who sort of follow them without question in order to bend the world to their order. They donít think of themselves as necessarily evil, well sometimes, but generally speaking, in their point of view, they are doing good. Killing a few to save the many. The good guys who also have a lot of power, group together to try and stop this evil villain without killing it. If the villain is pure evil? Yeah they will try to kill it but like Dracula in Buffy vs. Dracula, it always comes back. So they just cut it off from everything. Whatís important to remember about Marvel heroes is they seldom are happy with all this power nor in most cases are they considered heroes. They tend to be outcastes. Their power curses them and sets them apart from others. The villain is someone who doesnít care about being an outcast and considers him or herself to be above everyone else. The group defeats the villain en mass, by combining their talents and abilities. If the villain is a human whose power corrupted it, they strip or drain the villain, if it is something other than human and irredeemable they imprison it or find a way of making it destroy itself. But their connection and love and compassion for each other is more often than not what saves the day. This is the case in all the huge crossover stories. (If you follow the Marvelverse ñ most notably: the MíKrann Crystal tale, Dark Phoenix, Ages of Apocalypse, Acts of Vengeance, the Goblin Queen, the imprisonment of Cthon in Wundergore Mountain by the Avengers, and the whole Magneto Saga.) I canít do a thorough analysis of DC comics since Iíve only read a few of them here and there. But from what I have read, DCís characters seem to embrace power more, seem to be less of social outcastes and seem to view themselves as champions, above it all.

The DC and Marvelverse characters also differ in how the characters look at power. Marvel characters often see power as a sort of burden or curse. Something they would love to reverse or overcome. The Thing in the Fantastic Four is a human who due to gamma rays has been transformed into a rock like thing. The Incredible Hulk is a scientist who while working on anger management, has been transformed by gamma rays to become a monster every time he gets furious at something. One character in the Marvelverse, Rogue, canít touch anyone without taking their life force from them, so she wears long gloves. On numerous occasions she contemplates having someone remove her powers completely but this could only happen at great cost to her life. Wolverine is a character who started out a weak, feeble boy who was always sick, and devoted to his parents. When his mutant powers kick in, he is cursed with razor sharp claws and a healing factor, he accidentally kills a man and goes insane. Later he is captured by the government and implants are placed in his head to control him. When he breaks free of these implants, he discovers he also was triggered by the government or Weapon X project to kill. When we first meet him he is wild, unreliable, smokes up a storm, and has a berzeker rage. He is like his codename Wolverine. And he is as close to immortal as a mutant can be. Born literally around the turn of the century. (See Wolverine Series called Origin). Half the time heís not sure if heís man or beast. Each of these characters feel like humanityís rejects, freaks, but they find others and team up with them. They find companionship and love. And they strive to help the humans who degrade them, because they feel connected. Killing taints their souls and makes them feel like beasts, even though all have killed and are haunted by it.

In Silver Surfer Comics ñ Marvel again, Gaea imbued all life with her essence. (Hence the connections the above characters feel.) Gaea is the Elder God who started with the world. She was accompanied by Set and Cthon. Set and Cthon turned evil. Set got killed. Cthon made it to another dimension but keeps trying to return to Gaeaís. Each time he attempts it, heroes imbued with Gaeaís strength stop him and entrap him in towers and caves ñ stuck, exiled, disconnected. He is unable to physically affect life on earth. But he can manipulate others to work his will. His purpose to break down Gaeaís connections so he can break back into her world.


II. Movies: the connections and references in the movies

Both shows have been referencing science fiction and adventure films like crazy this year. Especially Raiders of the Lost Arc, Ghostbusters, Star Wars, Last Crusade, and Wrath of Khan. Outside of the fact that these writers are movie geeks (so am I), I wondered if maybe there was more going on here?

What do all these movies have in common? Well, in each film the hero is faced with a dilemma ñ whether to destroy or to save something of major importance. Each hero also tends to win the day with a little help from his/her friends. And there is some mystical energy source that is beyond good and evil ñ it is pure power, raw - the source of all things. HmmmÖthis isnít coming out very clear. Iíll just describe each film and weíll go from there.

In Raiderís of the Lost Arc (Angel ñ Souless and Awakenings) ñ the Arc of the Covenant when opened under the right circumstances is so powerful it will disintegrate anyone who views its treasures. Indy tells his girlfriend to close her eyes, not to look at it, while its raw power literally cleanses everything on the island they are being held captive on. The Arc saves the heroes. Or rather the Arcís power does. And the power works a little bit like the Judgeís power in Innocence and Surprise ñ yet instead of destroying all that is good, it destroys all that is evil that arrogantly looks upon it. The Wrath of Gods indeed. When Indy goes after it ñ he is helped by others ñ he does not do it alone.

In Indiana Jones & Last Crusade ñ the Holy Grail provides eternal life. Indy and others search for it. This time Indy is accompanied by his father who is obsessed with finding the Grail. Indy and Dad donít get along. They are also accompanied by a traitorous blond girl, Elsa, and two old chums of Indyís. When they find the grail ñ Indy must go through several obstacles very similar in a way to the obstacles Angel goes through in Awakenings. He does it, not to get the grail for himself, but to save his fatherís life. The villain shot his Dad in order to get Indy to locate the Grail. The traitorous blond goes along with the villain until the last possible second when the villain asks her to pick the right cup, she deliberately picks the wrong one so the villain will die and Indy will succeed and get the right one back to his father. When Indy returns the cup to Dad and heals him, his father forces Indy to leave the cup behind ñ because reaching for the power within it ñ the immortality leads to certain death. The grail can never leave the citadel they found it in. You can either stay with it forever and be immortal or leave and live your life. Either be connected to humanity or stay immortal disconnected from it forever.

In Indiana Jones and Temple of Doomñ the magic stones can bring wealth and water to the village or blood and destruction depending on which Goddess is invoked ñ Shiva or Kali. (This is in the movie mythologists, not from me so donít blast me on how off Spielberg and Lucas are.) Blood of Kali drives the men insane, drives them to kill. Fire from Shiva cleanses them of this insanity. Indy goes briefly insane by being forced to drink the blood, his friend Short Round saves him by burning him, cleanses the evil from his system. Again we get the cleansing power of fire.

Star Wars (repeatedly in Btvs)ñ in Return of The Jedi, Luke manages to redeem his father, by refusing to kill him, refusing to give into the desire for vengeance and hate, instead he loves his father, sees the good in him. Darth seeing the love in his sonís eyes turns against the evil Emperor finally and sacrifices himself in destroying him. The Emperors electrical power goes through Darth and kills him.

In Ghostbusters (Btvs in Killer in Me)ñ the four heroes must join together and cross their energy streams pointing them into an evil portal in order to destroy the bad guy. Crossing the energy streams could kill them. But they must trust their connection to each other to win the day. (hmmm cleansing power of electronic energy or fire again.)

Wrath of Khan (LMPTM shooting script and briefly in episode) is the second and in my humble opinion one of the best, if not the best, of the Star Trek movies. In this movie, Khan, a superhuman, has been exiled on a horrible planet with his family and cut off from all society. He blames the deaths of his wife and daughter on Captain Kirk ñ they had been killed by worms that drilled their way into their brains, parasites. Captain Kirk exiled Khan on this planet and his wife chose to join him there. Khan blames Kirk for these deaths. Kirk is also dealing with his own son and an ex-wife who created a powerful entity called Genesis. Project Genesis recreates the big bang, literally creating a universe down to the last microcosm. Khan wants Project Genesis so he can create a new better world for himself and his children and he wants to kill Kirk in the process. To make a long story short ñ in order to defeat Khan, Kirk must work with his crew and outsmart Khan, he also must find a way of reuniting with his disgruntled adult son. Khan sets off Genesis on the Enterprise, Kirkís best friend and confidante Spock manages to contain the project long enough to get it off the ship but the resulting radiation kills him. Kirk sends Spockís body into the Genesis Project that Khan had activated and Spock set out into Space. Spock is reborn by the project and through a mind meld in the third installment of the series Search For Spock ñ becomes a new man. Kirk realizes at the end of the movie that the power of life is our connections to each other, what makes us human is the attachments we make.

All four films have either been mentioned directly in the shows or shooting scripts. There are others I could describe in detail but this would become a book.


III. Btvs and Ats. A run down of the season finales ñ this is shorthand guys. I deliberately have left stuff out. Iím just doing enough of a summary to highlight similar themes between the shows, the movies and comics above. Looking for a pattern.

1. Season 1: The Master is stuck in the hellmouth. Buffyís blood frees him. Buffy knocks out Giles and goes down to face the Master by herself. She gets bitten. Her blood frees him and kills her. But thatís not the end of it. The guy she rejected, puts his hurt feelings aside and enlists the help of the ensouled vampire he hates to save her. The guy, Xander, brings Buffy back to life. Together along with their other friends, they save the world, kill the Master, and close the hellmouth. What does Buffy do wrong? She initially goes off alone. What does Buffy do right? She made friends who love her enough to put aside their differences to bring her back to life and help save the world.

2. Season 2: Angel turns evil and attempts to open a portal to hell. Again blood opens it. This time itís Angelís. And itís on his hand. (Reminds me of Connor using the blood of an innocent victim with his hand to wake up Cordyís baby in Inside Out). Before he does this ñ he manages to separate Buffy from her friends. He wants her to be all alone. And he succeeds. She is framed for murder, expelled from school, her mother finds out sheís a slayer, and her friends are injured or being tortured because she was distracted fighting Angel but not killing him in hopes that Willow could return his soul. She is helped in her fight against Angel by a vampire and the guy who liked her ñ again. This time the vampire, Spike, approaches her and offers to help save the world. He has no soul but he feels connected enough to the human world and human things including his girlfriend (albeit a vampire), dog racing, soccer, cigarettes and well humans themselves that he is motivated to save it. He doesnít want hell on earth. Granted he also has a bone to pick with Angelus and he wants things to go back to the way they were. So Spike enables Buffy to keep her watcher alive. He helps her defeat Dru and enables her to only fight Angel not five vamps. (Angel is right she could not have taken on two vamps, Dru and Angel by herself.) But Buffy is alone in the end. Cut off. With only herself. Angel asks her what she is going to do now, who does she have left. Me, she states and stops him, sending him to hell just as Willow gives him back his soul. She kills an ensouled being that she loved. Feeling disconnected from everything and everyone, she leaves town. Goes to hell herself. Both Spike and Angel also visit hells. Spike the one where Dru forsakes him and heís cast off, disconnected. And Angel the hell dimension where heís disconnected from all humanity. All three pay for their crimes. The gang meanwhile is still connected to each other ñ fighting side by side. What did Buffy do wrong? She went to fight Angel by herself leaving her friends alone. (You never learn says Angel). What does Buffy do right? She makes a truce with Spike and accepts Xanderís help to stop Angel. She doesnít do it alone. She also accepts Willowís help. Giles is saved as a result and Angel is stopped.

3. Season 3 ñ The Mayor ñ who lords himself above everyone. He wants to Ascend. (Does this remind you of anyone else? Yep, Cordelia in Angel the Series.) The Mayor has disconnected himself from humans, is afraid of getting germs and obsessed with cleanliness. Yet he hasnít disconnected himself completely. He makes a connection with Faith, one human. This one connection to his humanity is what eventually undoes him. It is his one weakness. Buffy manages to defeat him by using that against him ñ she also gets everyone to chip in and help and she uses fire to kill him. What does Buffy do right? She uses the connections both her own and the mayorís to her advantage. What does she do wrong? She tries to kill Faith in order to save Angel. She gives into the need for vengeance. Her attack on Faith disconnects them. But the connection is not completely severed, Buffy by giving her own blood to Angel in a sense re-connects them and Faith shares the secret to the Mayorís downfall in a dream.

4. Season 4 ñ Adam is created by humans yet completely cut off from them. He forms his own cult of disciples, appealing to those beings, who feel as cut off as he does. The vampires who canít be part of the human world or truly part of the demon one. But as much as he gets the outcasts feelings, he doesnít grasp what it means to be connected. He only grasps the feeling of being disconnected and pushes for that. He doesnít grasp how Riley would find the strength to take out his own chip. And he certainly doesnít get the uberslayer Buffy becomes. He does not understand the source of their power. He canít. What does Buffy do right? She joins with her friends, allows them to aid her, and connects. She uses her connections. What did Buffy almost do wrong? She tried to do it alone and it almost backfired on her. In the true finale of the Season, Restless, the connection between the four friends is threatened by the First Slayer who enters their nightmares to disconnect them. In this episode ñ Buffy reasserts what it means to be human and what is the most important to her ñ living in the world and remaining a part of it and being with her friends. (More on this episode later).

5. Angel Season 1: Meanwhile over on Angel: Angel learns that a vampire with a soul could become human some day. Except the gang learns how far Angel is from becoming human, since Angel is not a part of the human world. He keeps himself separated from it. He wants nothing that is human outside of maybe blood. He neither eats, drinks, smokes, or desires human companionship. He is disconnected. To emphasize this ñ Darla is brought back human in a box and she couldnít be more connected to human problems and desires. Wes gets hurt because heís alone, isolated in the office at AI. The demons summoned by Wolfram and Hart ñ steal back the scroll revealing the prophecy and blow up AI. They turn Cordeliaís visions against her ñ so she is overwhelmed by everyoneís pain and suffering ñ another metaphor for feeling a deep connection. Cordy is overwhelmed by the connection. The oracles ñ which the Angel gang depend on to guide them are destroyed. They feel cut off from their calling. Angel tries to stop W&H, the bad guys, from raising Darla, by cutting off Lindseyís hand and taking back the scroll, but heís too late. (An aside: The cut off hand ironically is sewn on the next season and re-connects Lindsey to the human race ñ he was cut off before, seeing only his own needs, but getting someone elseís hand makes him feel empathy for others. So that he leaves W&H and possibly rejoins humanity.) At the end of the episode, all three main characters are cut off from their home and their calling.

6. In Season 5 ñ Btvs, The hell-god Glory is trapped in a human prison. A prison (Ben) that is ironically dedicated to saving lives and works as a resident in a hospital. While Glory sucks the cohesive energy that connects parts of the human brain to maintain her sanity, Ben calls a queller demon to suffocate the traumatized humans sheís damaged. (Note this energy may be what connects humans to their souls, which is the reason she canít suck Spikeís brain, he has no energy?) Interesting ñ the energy that Glory takes is what makes us able to connect with each other, when she sucks the energy out, the humans are all connected to her insanity, they have echoes of her in their heads. She reconnects them to her, so they become her brainless yet loyal disciples, and keep her sane. When Dawnís presence breaks down the barrier Ben and Glory, (possibly because Dawn as the key is this energy in its purest form and itís the energy that causes Glory to break apart?) Glory becomes connected to humanity in Ben/her human prison, and starts to feel compassion for Dawn. Just as Ben becomes connected to Glory and starts to feel responsible for her acts. Dawn appears in some way to reinforce the humanity in everyone she is around ñ she seems to act as a power conduit for that humanity. At least she reinforces it in Glory ñ to the extent that Glory ensures Dawn is kept far away from her. The Knights of Byzantine and later Giles ñ both wish to kill Dawn, for different reason than Glory, they wish to do it to save the world. The Knights as a preemptive strike. Giles as a last resort. This wish is what separates Buffy from her mentor. Buffy sees Dawn as her connection to humanity, as, in a sense, all of their connection to humanity. Through Dawn, she has viewed a more human side of Spike. Through Dawn, she sees her own humanity reinforced. To kill Dawn in Buffyís view may very well be akin to killing her own humanity ñ what connects her to everyone. Giles believes that the majority, the world comes first no matter the cost. Buffy sees these choices as too great. Do we sacrifice our soul, our humanity, for a greater cause? If so? What then? Do we win? She certainly didnít feel like she won in Becoming. Ironically Ben saves Giles, only to be killed by Giles. And Giles kills Ben in the same way the queller demon Ben summoned kills Gloryís victims, through suffocation. Their means of connecting with life. Giles believes if he kills Ben, Glory will cease to exist. It does not matter to Giles what good Ben could have done, all that matters is what evil Glory may still do. To Giles Ben is expendable. Buffy, on the other hand, chooses to die rather than to kill Dawn who she feels connects her to her own humanity. She closes the mystical portals or connections, Dawnís blood/life force opened with her own life force. Her death draws the others together, bonds them. Even Spike. Just as Dawnís predicament drew them all together. Each one with the exception of Giles, risks their life in a small way to save someone else. Anya dashes in front of falling brick to save Xander. Xander uses a ball bearer to save Buffy from Glory. Spike risks his life to save Dawn. Willow risks her life to save Tara. Tara risks her life to save Dawn two episodes earlier. Their human connections to one another help save the world. What did Buffy/group do wrong? Buffy cuts herself off and goes catatonic. Giles kills Ben and suggests killing Dawn. Willow tries to go after Glory alone in Tough Love. What did they do right? They worked together. They became a team. Buffy couldnít have done it by herself. Buffy gives her life so humanity can live.

7. Meanwhile over in Angel: Season 2. The Pylea arc. Angel and gang have become completely disconnected from their reality and are now in another one. In Pylea Angel thinks heís normal now and a hero. Except when he vamps out and the monster manifests entirely. He soon discovers he is even more of an outcast here, not connected to the human slaves and not connected to the demons running the place. And he is also quickly separated from his friends. Cordelia is having a similar experience. She is the princess, but completely separated from everyone, from the humans on the planet, her friends, even the demons. The only people she sees are evil monks. (Sort of similar to poor Dawn in the gift, dressed in princess robes, about to be sacrificed, and only seeing evil monks.) Lorne who dreaded returning to his home dimension, Pylea is also completely disconnected. Ironic since prior to this heíd been disconnected from his home, family and own kind. At home, he feels more like an outcaste and more disconnected than he does in Angelís world. In Pylea he is literally disconnected from his body, his friends, and his art. Wes, like Giles in The Gift, decides to send a few men to their deaths to save the many. He justifies it to Gunn, stating freedom is worth a few deaths. Gunn argues that this is too great a cost. That thereís a better way. We donít fight evil by doing it ourselves. Fred meanwhile has been hiding from the world in a cave, not unlike the cave-like walls of the books she once hid in, one of which brought her there. She finally comes out of her exile in the caves and helps Cordelia, gets caught, saved by Angel, who she in return helps reunite with his friends and together they all free the humans in that dimension. What did the group do wrong? They disconnected from one another. They did not work together. Some members placed themselves above others. Some hid. What did they do right? They began to work together. They listened to each other and as a result found the way home. Oh, one more ironic point ñ when they return, they discover Buffyís dead, theyíve been so disconnected from their own world they had no clue what was happening in it.

8. Season 6 on Btvs: Willow turns evil when Tara is taken from her. All season long, we watch as the characters slowly split off from one another. Hurt each other. Break the bonds and connections theyíd built over past seasons. They attempt to reunite, but it is almost too late and things explode in their face. Tara is shot. Spike attempts to rape Buffy and is so overwhelmed by self-loathing for what he tried to do, he leaves town. Xander leaves Anya at the altar and watches as Warren shoots Buffy. Buffy beats up Spike and all her friends and neglects Dawn. Dawn steals from everyone. Willow mind-swipes Tara and attempts to use magic for her own ends regardless of the cost, when things get out of hand she treats it as an addiction and just goes cold turkey, disconnecting herself. The Trioka are so cut off from humanity and so closeted off in their own make-believe worlds that they donít seem to realize the dire consequences of their own crimes until it is too late. Each act they do, cuts them off further. Until, ironically the one thing Andrew and Jonathan and Warren want most seems to be forever outside their grasp ñ a connection to others. To be loved and respected.
When Warren severs Willowís connection to love, Willow loses it and kills Warren. Willow severs Warrenís connection to life and in doing so almost severs her own. If there was ever an anti-vengeance arc on Btvs ñ this was it. Vengeance severs our connection to life. It connects us to death and the forces that wish to corrupt life. We see this through Willow in Grave and Two-To-Go. Her vengeance and grief has twisted her power to darkness, so that she is no longer in control, the pain is. When Giles returns ñ he gives Willow a power that reconnects her to humanity, makes it possible for her to feel humanity, but the power overwhelms her just as Cordyís visions way back in Shanshu in La overwhelmed her. As a result, Willow goes insane. She feels everything and everyone. At the same time, Spike fights to gain the spark, to regain his won connection to life, to humanity. Once he gets it, it overwhelms him, drives him slightly insane. Like Willow and Cordy, he feels everything. But in his case it is limited to everyone heís killed and everything heís done. The guilt and pain and suffering overwhelms him, and he screams in pain. Back to Willow, it is Xander who breaks through Willowís madness with his simple human plea of love, unconditional love, which reminds her of who she is and reconnects her to the human world. By the end of Grave, all the characters have been reconnected in some way to humanity - to the life force that resides in all of us. What did the gang do wrong? They split apart. They stopped confiding in each other or supporting one another. They gave into acts of vengeance and spite. They became disconnected. What does the gang do right? They reunite. They hunt the connections and reaffirm them. They forgive each other and themselves. They re-connect to life and move away from death.

9. Angel Season 3 ñ While the Buffy gang is reconnecting, the Angel gang is coming apart at the seams. (A quick aside: In case you havenít been watching Angel, there is a huge difference between the two shows. In Btvs ñ there really is no higher being who guides Buffy or helps her save the day. The only time the higher being appears is to help Angel and it doesnít really ñ it just well, a) gets him involved with Buffy (Whistler in Becoming) or b) keeps him alive by letting it snow on a hot day. Outside of those two times, we never see or experience the higher being on the Buffyverse. In Angel, the Powers that Be are referred to so often, theyíve literally become a regular character on the show. And they seem to give Angel all his direction. Angelís connection to humanity, to doing good works, seems to come partly from them. If it werenít for the powers? Well the mind boggles.) But back to the point ñ in Tomorrow, outside forces successfully break the Angel team apart. Angel ends up at the bottom of the sea courtesy of his son Connor. Cordelia ascends to some mystical realm, believing that she has finally accomplished it ñ elevated herself above everyone else, ascended. From Out of Sight, Out of Mind onwards, Cordy is the Homecoming Queen. She wants to be elevated. To ascend in white glowly splendor. Thereís only one little problem ñ she has to give up all her connections to humanity to do it. She has to give up her connection to Angel, whom she loves. While Warren severs Willowís connection to Tara, Cordelia severs her connection to Angel. She chooses the glory over her connections to life. The difference between Cordyís choice and Buffyís in Season 5ís the Gift, is Buffy chooses it to save Dawnís life, having no clue where sheíll end up. Cordelia chooses it to be a higher being. Angel likewise gets cut-off, but ironically for all the wrong reasons. He chooses to reject vengeance, to actually become involved with humanity, to admit his love for Cordelia. He believes heís finally gotten everything he wants. But his past crimes and foibles prove to be his undoing. His distrust and exile of Wes ñ makes it impossible for Wes to look into whatís going on with Cordy. His impulsive desire to hurt Holtz leads Connor to suspect him of killing Holtz. If he hadnít ignored Cordyís advice, lied to Connor and run off half-cocked to confront Holtz by himself, Holtzí may not have been able to set him up. Instead he falls right into Holtzís trap and Connor turns against him. Wes due to a combo of hubris and best intentions (that old the ends justify the means approach to life) ñ also severs his connections to the team and ends up an outcaste, his only human comfort ñ the wicked Lilah, with whom he begins a torrid romance. By the end of Angel Season 3, the entire gang is more or less disconnected. They arenít working together. They donít trust one another. And the three central members, are gone. What did the Gang do right? Angel didnít kill Holtz, he went to tell Cordy he loved her. Cordy decided to tell Angel she loved him. What did the gang do wrong? They stopped confiding in and trusting each other. They became disconnected. They let personal grudges and pride get in their way. Angel let Holtz get the better of him and manipulate him. By going after Holtz with vengeance in his heart ñ he let Holtzí vengeance take the upper hand in his relationship with his son. Just as Willow allows vengeance to take the upper hand in her relationship with Tara, tainting all her relationships as a result.

Notice an interesting pattern emerging? Btvs ñ they work together, Ats they seem to work at cross-purposes, with a few exceptions. In Btvs, Buffy wins the day by joining with others. She doesnít really do it alone. And by acting in concert with others, she honors life and renews her connection to humanity. She always acts out of love. In Ats, the characters often acts out of hubris and the need to prove themselves. Angel often goes it alone. When he does ask for their help ñ he wins the day. Angel counts on a higher power to help him ñ provide him with clues and fix things. Buffy depends on herself and her friends and doesnít really believe there is a higher power. Buffy is part of the world. Angel seems to be somewhat disconnected from it. Oh and vengeance? Very bad thing regardless of whether you are a character in a comic book, a movie or a tv show. What cleanses us tends to be mystical energy or fire, possibly the pure glowing fire of the soul, which connects us to each other?

TBC in next part assuming you're still with me. SK

[> part 2: Btvs and Ats compared, souls, and connections (spoilers:LMPTM and Inside Out) -- shadowkat, 15:02:50 04/04/03 Fri

IV. Why is no man an island? LMPTM compared to Inside Out

Okay this part somewhat rambly and has lots of questions ñ still looking for the patterns.
Getting back to that poem by John Donne. Which may in a sense by the crux of the whole thing.

ìNo man is an island, entire of it selfe; every man is a peace of the Continent, a part of the maine; if Clod be washed away by the Sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of they friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.î

Compare the comic book heroes Batman to Spiderman ñ both pretty agile guys. Both very bright. But some huge differences. Batmanís alter ego is a multimillionaire who hides out at a huge mansion, spends very little time with people or humans and operates out of a bat-cave. Any romantic involvement he has is short lived, because he canít connect to others. The closest he comes to connecting is to his ward, Robin, and to his butler Alfred. He remains apart from the world partly due to a deep-seated anger towards the people who killed his parents. Spiderman ñ gets his powers by accident. He is also an orphan. But has no memory of his parents. His uncle, who is like a father to him, is killed before his eyes and this changes him in a positive way. He realizes he must take responsibility for his powers and help others. At the same time he stays very connected to life. He is a photographer. Befriends and eventually marries model Mary Jane. His main struggle is with the power inside him and how to use it for good. There are times he wishes he never had it. One superhero is connected to the world, even if that world does not respect his alter-ego and considers his alter-ego a freak, the other superhero is not connected to the world, yet his alter-ego is in league with the police and respected.

First an examination of a few episodes from Buffy and Angel that focus on the need to connect to others, to have your own will and to feel important, not an outcast or zeppo.

1. The Zeppo S3 is about Xanderís feeling of not belonging or being weak, not a part of the group, not important. Thereís one major point in that episode that fits in with all the others, itís what it has in common with The Replacement, Go fish, The Pack, and that one element also flows through all the other episodes and is not specific to the character of Xander. What does Xander want most? And how does he try to get it? Does he get it? Also pay attention to the person (Cordelia) who calls Xander a Zeppo ñ the meaningless party ñ what if anything does this character contribute to the group? Is Cordy connected to anyone? Who is the true Zeppo in the story? Is what Cordy tells Xander what she really fears about herself?

2. Another key episode is Who Are You S4 ñ Faith in this episode is in the same place as Xander in a way. She wants something desperately but is lying to herself about it. When it hits her in the face, she gets discombobulated and changes course. What is it? What happens to Faith when Riley makes love to her? Also how does Faithís feeling of being disconnected reflect on Buffy? In the episode, Faith comments to Joyce how Buffy hasnít been around much. Giles canít tell the two have switched. Only Tara sees it, someone Buffy doesnít know and has never met ñ in fact Buffy first meets Tara while in Faithís body. Both Riley and Spike mistake Faith for Buffy. Buffy spends most of the episode outcast, disconnected from her friends, from her life. When she and Faith finally meet in the church ñ Faith beats up herself ñ hating herself for becoming so disconnected and Buffy at the end of the show is left with the bitter taste of what it felt like to be cast off from everything. To be nothing.

3. Superstar ñ what is the most ironic thing about Jonathanís actions and desires in this episode and how does it reflect Earshot and what Jonathan tells Andrew in CwDP? Why is it so sad? And what does Jonathan ironically have in common with Cordelia? Jonathan wanted to be a Scooby. He mentions this as his dream to Andrew in CwDP. Andrew goes along with it for a time. Until they stand above the seal and Jonathan tells Andrew how connected he now feels to everyone, his high school buds etc. Andrew says, somewhat cruelly, that these people donít think about Jonathan and donít care about him. They probably donít even remember him. But Jonathan doesnít care ñ he feels the connection and that is all thatís important, it makes him feel whole. Thatís when Andrew kills him and wakes up the seal. In Superstar ñ Jonathan desperately wants that connection but instead he just elevates himself above everyone and makes them his minions or loyal subjects. Heís not connected. Ironically itís not until he is standing on the seal giving his speech to Andrew that he finally feels the connection heís been hunting all along. Andrew doesnít feel it until Buffy forces him to relive Jonathanís murder and to participate in the action, not stand separate from it watching ñ when Andrew is finally in it ñ he feels connected and cries, his expression of connection and his remorse for taking out a link in that chain is what closes the seal.

4. Beneath You ñ what does Anya tell Xander in the Bronze and what does Spike tell Buffy in the Church that is similar? What one thing do they say that tells us why both characters act the way they do? What made them seek each other out in Entropy and why does Anya seek Spike out? What does this have in common with Where The Wild Things Are? Or Selfless? Or Fool For Love? What does it have in common with the Zeppo? Superstar? Out of Sight, Out of Mind? Anya tells Xander that before he dumped her she had friends connections. Now she is just connected to the demons and itís rather empty. Spike tells Buffy in the church that he sought the ìsparkî so he would fit. So that everyone could forgive and love. He would be loved. Both Anya and Spike desperately want to feel connected, they always have, even when they were human.

Moving over to Angel the Series and what it means to be connected to be human.
This is all from Angel Season 1:

1. What does the half-demon Doyle tell Angel over and over again in City of ? And how does this echo Whistlerís speech to Angel in Becoming? You have to be a part of the world ñ to understand and appreciate it. Not hide away from it. Hiding from it only isolates you and leads you to evil.
2. Why is Cordelia a victim in City of? Why does she join AI and stay with AI? What is it about AI that she needs most and had before with SG, but canít admit to herself? And what does she do wrong? She goes off alone with the nasty vampire, who offers her fame and fortune. Her desire for fame and fortune doesnít connect her, it continues to set her apart. Just as it sets apart the famous actress in Eternity who seeks out a vampire to maintain her youth. The actress is growing old, is surrounded by people, but feels completely cut off. Her only asset her looks. A reflection of who Cordy may have become.
3. What does Angel do wrong in IWARY? Angel gives up his humanity. Or his chance at it. Letting the oracles turn back time. Once again he goes with a higher powerís words. Believes them. He does not discuss his choice with anyone and as a result is disconnected from Buffy and the world at the end. Each act while seemingly good on the surface, has the price of re-enforcing Angelís choice to remain above and outside the human world. Its champion.
4. What does the visions do for and against Cordelia? What does she do wrong concerning the visions?? And how does this comment on Cordyís fatal flaw and what sheís done wrong all along? Cordyís visions give her purpose and direct the actions of the team, but they also set her apart from others. Every time she tries to make friends or relate to people outside of AI, her visions get in the way. They in a sense isolate her. At the same time they make her feel others pain. Often the visions mislead the team into doing the wrong thing. To Cordy, the visions make her feel important. She hides the pain the visions cause from the others and over time becomes increasingly dependent on what the visions reveal. When given the opportunity to let go of the visions ñ in Pylea, Cordy refuses, wishing to hold on to them. The visions ironically disconnect her.
5. What did Doyle do that was right and what did he try to convey to Cordy and Angel that both have ignored? Doyleís final act was to reconnect to the part of himself he despised, to see the humanity in the half-demons that were hiding from an evil exterminator. By seeing that humanity, he is able to sacrifice himself. Prior to this Doyle is struggling with his connection to the world. He keeps hiding from it. Doing the Angel Investigations ad forces him out of hiding. Forces him to reconnect to the world.

What happens in Lies My Parents Told Me and in Inside Out that is similar? In both episodes the characters have a sort of epiphany. In both they are told lies by people they either trust or have no reason to trust.

Skipís big reveal:
1. What did Lorne do that was wrong in Pylea and at the end of Tomorrow that gets him in trouble in House Always Wins? What is the one thing Lorne wants most? Why does Lorne empathize with Angel?
2. Why did Fred open the book? Why is she alone? Why doesnít anyone appear to miss her? And why does she stick with AI afterwards? What does she do wrong in Pylea that comments on how she got there?
3. Why does Wesley join AI? What is Wesí biggest mistake in Loyalty- Sleep Tight? What does Fred accuse him of in Forgiving?
4. Why did Gunn lose Alonna to the vampires? What does Gunn do thatís wrong? What mistake does Gunn keep making? What makes him vulnerable? What does Alonnaís death have in common with what happens in Double or Nothing? How do they resolve it? Why does the problem almost get out of hand?
5. What does Cordy do wrong with the visions? What does she do wrong in Pylea? What happens in Shanshu in LA and how does the demon turn Cordyís visions against her ñ what almost drives her mad? What causes Wes to almost die in the explosion? What mistake did Angel make? What mistake has Angel made since he got a soul?
6. What is wrong with being a champion? What does the Champion term have in common with Buffyís speech to Holden Webs in CwDP? What is it about this one thing that makes our characters vulnerable?
7. What does Connor do wrong in Tommorrow? Deep Down? Inside Out? Spin the Bottle? Orpheus? Apocalypse Nowish?
8. Why is the play Othello mentioned in Soulless? What does Angelus do in Soulless that is similar to what heís always done?
9. Why is Angel always framed outside of things? What is important about the dinner scene in Deep Down?

Back to Buffy and Lies My Parents Told Me :

1. What does Giles do wrong in Lies? IS Giles connected emotionally to anyone in this episode, outside of maybe Wood? Has Giles felt connected in any way since BoTN? Why did the gang think Giles was the first evil? Why did we? Why do Giles actions serve the FE?
2. What did Anya want in the marriage with Xander in Hellís Bells, why does she go back to vengeance? What do we learn in Selfless about Anya? What does Anya say in Lies? How do the others react?
3. What does Willow do in Lies and why?
4. Why did Spike go for a soul and not to remove the chip? Was it really just about Buffy ? Why is Spike tormented in Lies? Why does Spike let Wood live? Why doesnít Spike reveal what happened in his dream to Giles? What did Giles do that makes Spike hold back?
5. What does Spike tell Wood about Slayers that is right and that is wrong? According to the shooting script and the show ñ he first states Nikki went out every night to fight the fight to protect Wood. He states Slayers fight alone, no matter how many people around them, they are always alone. Wood wasnít the center of her world. What was the lie in that speech and more to the point it wasnít a lie to Spike, Spike believes itís the truth, why is he wrong? Why is Spike wrong about the fact that the Slayer always fights alone? (Think back to School Hard and Fool for Love.)
6. How do Giles and Xander save the world in Grave? Why use the song of St. Francis at the end? And how do Giles actions in Grave contrast with his actions in S7 and in S5? What does he do right in Grave and Lessons and wrong in Lies and The Gift?
7. Why are vengeance demons evil in these showsñ what do they do that is wrong and causes problems? Why was it important for Anya to give up being a vengeance demon and why is her statement in Lies so interesting?
8. What happens in Weight of The World? Why did it happen? And how does this reflect what is happening in Lies with Buffy?
9. What does the key do? Why didnít Buffy kill Dawn in The Gift? And why is it mentioned in Lies?
10. In Restless ñ what does Buffy tell the First Slayer? I sleep, I sneeze, I eat, I do not sleep on a bed of bones? Where are my friends?? The dreams are all connected by the cheeseman and the First Slayer. The cheeseman is harmless, asking questions relating to each characterís role, the First Slayer attempts to disrupt each characters connection to the other characters.

V. What is the whole soul thing about? Restless vs. Shanshu in LA

Both series have stated that souls provide us with three key things: 1. Moral compass or free choice (this is reiterated by both Darla in Inside Out and Buffy in Potential to Andrew) 2. Connect us to each other and the source of life (mentioned by Spike in Beneath You, Darla in Lullaby, Giles in Grave, and the FE in Lessons ñ regarding Sparky which Warren calls Jonathan when he attempts to stop Warren from hurting Buffy in Seeing Red.) 3. Gives us the ability to feel remorse and empathy for others outside of those we love.

But a soul is useless ñ if you separate yourself off from the world and operate in a cave or bubble, disconnected from life. The soulís purpose is to grant us the connection but by the same token, we have the choice whether or not to acknowledge the connection, the spark, that resides in us.

Restless and Shanshu in La aired at the same time. What do both episodes talk about?

Buffy in Restless

TARA: The Slayer does not walk in this world.
BUFFY: I walk.
(Side shot of the three of them.)
BUFFY: I talk. I shop, I sneeze. I'm gonna be a fireman when the floods
roll back.

(Shot of the First Slayer lifting her chin in anger.)
BUFFY: (offscreen) There's trees in the desert since you moved out. (The
First Slayer shakes her head) And I don't sleep on a bed of bones.
(Shot of Buffy's face.)
BUFFY: (firmly) Now give me back my friends.

While over in Angel on Shanshu in LA: Wes is discussing what is revealed in the Shanshu prophecy and why it may not work with Angel. The Shanshu Prophecy comes from a region in Africa and is about a vampire with a soul who after many trials and tribulations eventually becomes human. (The gang interprets human = redemption, but the prophecy doesnít state that exactly.)

Wesley: "Angel's cut off. Death doesn't bother him because - there is nothing in life he wants! It's our desires that make us human."
Cordy eating her doughnut: "Angel is kind of human. - He's got a soul."
Cordy goes for another doughnut.
Wesley: "He's got a soul - but he's not a part of the world. (Gets up) He-he can never be part of the world."
Cordy: "Because he doesn't want stuff? - That's ridiculous. (Wesley takes her doughnut away from her) Hey! I want that!"
Wesley: "What connects us to life?"
Cordy: "Right now? I'm going with doughnuts."
Wesley: "What connects us to life is the simple truth that we are part of it. - We live, we grow, we change. - But Angel..."
Cordy: "Can't do any of those things. - Well, what are you saying, Wesley? - That Angel has nothing to look forward to? That he's going to go on forever, the same, in the world, but always cut off from it?"
Wesley: "Yes."
Cordy: "Well, that sucks! We've got to do something. We've got to help him."
Wesley: "I'm not sure we can."
Cordy: "What is your deal? You go around boring everyone with your musty scrolls and then you say there is nothing we can do?"
Wesley: "He is what he is."
Cordy: "He's Angel. He's good. And he helps the helpless and now - he's one of them. - Well, he's gonna have to start wanting things from life, whether he wants to or not!"
Angel comes up the elevator and Cordy and Wesley go into his office to greet him.
Angel: "Morning."
Cordy: "Morning. - Want some coffee?"
Angel: "No, thanks."
Cordy: "How about a doughnut? Chocolate..."
Angel looking through a book: "No."

The odd thing about both Restless and Shanshu ñ is Buffy is reaffirming her connection to humanity and Angel appears to be dismissing it. The writers in both episodes ask the question: what makes us human? Why do we live? What connects us to others and how does that connection make life worthwhile? It is a question that reverberates through both series.

What does it mean to be human?

What does Whistler tell Angel in Becoming, Btvs Season2? What does Gunn tell Fred in Inside Out, Ats S4? What does Darla tell Connor? Why oh why did Spike get a soul in Btvs S6?

The contrast between Spike and Angelís vampire behaviors has always struck me as odd. Spike throughout the series is portrayed as enjoying food and human companionship, heck he seeks them out even before he falls for Buffy. Angel in contrast does the opposite. Heís called on it by Faith, Whistler and Doyle. Why?

Hereís what Whistler tells Angel in Becoming Part I:

Whistler: Look, you're skin and bones
here! Butcher shops are throwing away more blood in a day than you could stand. Good blood. (they reach the far side) You lived in the world a little bit, you'd know that.

Whistler: Nobody understands me. That's my curse. (chuckles)
Whistler: Dog me. Mustard. (He watches the vendor get out the hotdog and squirt on some mustard. Angel realizes at this moment heís not a vampire because he eats.)

Angel: I just wanna be left alone. (starts away)

Whistler: Well, yeah, you've been left alone for, what, ninety years already. This isn't gonna be easy. The more you live
in this world, the more you see how apart from it you really are.

Back to Spike ñ what does Spike say in Becoming Part II and how does this contrast with Whistler and Angel in Part I?

Becoming part II ñ Spike is explaining to Buffy why he has decided to help her save the world. Whistler has made a point up to now of telling us Angel was the one prophesied to make the difference.

Spike: We like to talk big. (indicates himself) Vampires do. 'I'm going to destroy the world.' (looks at the officer) That's just tough guy talk. (steps over to the car) Strutting around with your friends over a pint of blood. (sits on the hood) The truth is, I like this world. (pulls the cigarette pack from the officer's shirt pocket) You've got... dog racing, Manchester United. (pulls one out and drops the pack on the officer) And you've got people. (exhales) Billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs. It's all right here. (lights the cigarette and takes a drag) But then someone comes along with a vision. With a real... (exhales) passion for destruction. (takes another drag and looks at Buffy) Angel could pull it off. Goodbye, Picadilly. Farewell, Leicester Bloody Square. You know what I'm saying?

What else do we see Spike do in future episodes? In Where The Wild Things Are ñ he considers helping them but talks himself out of it. Throughout Season 4 we see Spike fighting with himself ñ if you watch closely. He gets thrown out of the demon bar and set apart from demon society because he kills them now. He tries to be part of human society via the gang but isnít. He, Spike, denies that he wants to be any of part of them. Yet he keeps interacting with the gang and stays in town. What does Adam say to the vampires and to Spike? Vampires arenít part of demon world or human world. They are cut off? Why is that important? What did the chip do? Poor Spikey? Canít be a vampire or a human, where do you fit in??

The on-going joke on Btvs regarding Spike has been how he likes to eat, drink, play poker, and do all these human like activities. Spike wants coffee. He steals Xanderís money to buy a beer. He not only likes these things, heís picky about them. In Hush, we even catch him eating carrots and peanut butter at Giles apartment. In Where the Wild Things Are ñ heís grooving to the frat party, sipping beer. He canít eat a soul. Just likes the interaction. Enough that heís willing to risk the fact that the Initiative might catch him.

Spike: "No.We're out of Weetabix."
Giles: "We are out of Weetabix because you ate it all - again."
Spike: "Get some more."
Giles: "I thought vampires were supposed to eat blood."
Spike: "Yep. Well sometimes I like to
crumble up the Weetabix in the blood -
give it a little texture."


Buffy : About half a stick and a quarter cup of brandy. (To Giles.) You do have brandy, don't you?
Giles : What? Oh, yes. Um, on the bookcase.
Spike : I wouldn't say no to a brandy.

Fool For Love

You know, there quite a few American beers that are highly underrated. This unfortunately is not one of them.

since I agreed to your little proposition, we can do this my way. Wings.


Spicy buffalo wings. Order me up a plate. I'm feelin' peckish.

Up until now, I thought they were just being inconsistent making Spike have human wants and Angel apparently having none. Angel seems more vampirish with his blood cravings and super-strength and photographic memory and super-hearing and senses. Spike seems just super-human. Why? I thought it was bad writing. Now I'm wondering if I just missed something that was there all along.

What is the most ironic thing about Spikeís situation right now? Why did Spike get the soul? And what has Spike wanted that he still doesnít have? And why is that? Why did Angel leave Buffy? Why does Giles leave?What is the one thing these characters want? Yet keep slipping up on and how does this one thing make a huge difference in each apocalyptic battle they fight? How is the FE using Spike against himself and the others? What for that matter has the FE been doing with all the characters? Why did the FE tell Andrew itís not time for Spike yet ñ it tells the girls taping him that it only says what it wants them to hear? So why reveal that? How did revealing it possibly help the FE and hurt Buffy? Why did the FE tell Wood who Spike is? And why did it pick that precise moment to do it? And why didnít it send more harbringers after Giles? How is Buffy playing along with it? How are the others? What one thing have they all done wrong? What was Giles biggest mistake in BoTN ñ LMPTM? How has he played directly into the FEís hands? What did he do wrong here that fits what he did wrong in The Gift and in Bargaining and in Tabula Rasa?

Spike in Beneath You: ìAnd she will forgive him. And everyone will love and everyone will forgive.î

Anya in Lies My Parents Told Me: ìAnd forgiveness makes us human, otherwise itís just blahblahbhlaÖî

What happened in HIM, which was positive, what happened that was negative? In Him, the jacket splits the gang apart, they all go off on their own, except for two people: Spike and Xander, who work to bring the girls back together again, stop them from hurting others, and destroy the thing that is controlling them. What RJís jacket does to the SG isnít all that different from what the FE is doing to them now. They just donít see it.

Whistler: bottom line is, even if you see 'em coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come. You can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are.

Now in Inside Out:

Darla: You have a choice Connor. That is something more precious than you'll ever know.......It has to be your choice

The soul gives us the choice. Does Connor feel empathy for the innocent girl he saved from a vampire, only to sacrifice her to his own child? Can he spare her life? Which mother will he listen to, Cordelia who he obeys almost without thought or Darla who asks him to choose. Who is lying to him? And does his choice really matter? Is he nothing but a puppet?

Fred: Will it make a difference? If we are really are just pieces being moved around a board.

Gunn: Then we kick it over and start a new game......Look, monochrome can yap all he wants about no- names cosmic plan. ......The final score can't be rigged. I don't care how many players you greased. That last shot always comes up a question mark. But here's the thing......You never know when you're taking it. It could be when you're duking it out with the Legion of Doom. Or just crossing the street deciding where to have brunch. So you just treat it all like it was up to you.The World in the Balance...cause you never know when it is

The play Othello and the novel by Agathe Christie called Curtain have one thing in common, a villain that canít quite be caught. Iago. What does this villain have in common with the big bad on both shows? It works for dissension. It isolates people. It turns their strengths into weaknesses. What do the potentials, Giles and Wood state in LMPTM that contrasts with Anya, the former vengeance demonís speech and Willowís actions in Orpheus? The potentials see Spike as a threat and this causes dissension, reasons to second guess Buffy. Spike desperately wants the spark so he can fit in with everyone, become a part of them, be connected. The first isolates him through driving him insane, then with the trigger, the first uses his desires against him and twists it, so that instead of being connected to the gang, humanity, the soul separates him. Instead of helping Buffy, he inadvertently causes the gang to pull back from her. Same with Angel, instead of being brought closer to humanity, he feels more separated from it. The soul connects both vampires to humanity, but it also makes them feel how separate they are from it. Giles believes the solution is to kill Spike or have him leave. Why did Buffy ask him to stay? Why does Buffy bring Anya and Andrew in? Why does Buffy give strength to Willow? Why did Willow stop the Angel Gang from killing Angel?

The soul is what connects us to each other. The connection is the important thing. Choice comes with it. Our choices can either renew our connections or severe them.

As John Donne states: no [hu]man is an island entire of itself. When we kill or destroy life we suffer the consequences. Itís like cutting off a piece of ourselves. When we rejoin life and forgive, itís like coming home again, reasserting our life force. In the song, Iíve Got a Theory ñ from Once More With Feeling ñ the gang asks the question: What canít we face if weíre together, whatís in this place that we canít weather?

Itís the connections we have with one another, the desires we share that make us human, that make us part of the world. When we severe those connections, we are alone. Itís by reaffirming those connections through love and forgiveness that Buffy saves the day time and again. The ability to connect to the world ñ to desire what is within it ñ may be what turns a vampire human. My theory for what itís worth is that the story isnít about redemption in the moral Judeo/Christian sense of the word, its more about being human, living in this world and somehow making it work by accepting the things we canít change, changing the things we can, and having the wherewithal to know the difference. But most of all? I think itís about love and forgiveness and trust: trusting those things that connect us to each other and the world around us.

Okay ran out of steam finally. Hopefully some of that made a lick of sense. Assuming you made it all the way through. See? Bizarre essay. So what do you think? Wacked? Or Obvious? Or justÖwellÖinsane? Yep SK went around the bend?

Thanks for taking the time to read.

(Oh all quotes courtesy of Psyche Transcripts and the one from Inside Out? Courtesy of Rufus who posted it yesterday. Thanks Rufus!! )


[> [> Thanks for re-posting this SK. The first new idea I've seen on the soul debate in a long time. -- Sophist, 18:23:52 04/04/03 Fri

[> [> Re: part 2: Btvs and Ats compared, souls, and connections (spoilers:LMPTM and Inside Out) -- Just George, 18:37:46 04/04/03 Fri

A bravo performance. Lots to think about.

I agree with you that "connected" is the key word for this year, as opposed to "power", which everyone on both shows seems to think is the key word.

Here are two examples to show that Xander generally gets it (that connections to the world are important) and Cordelia, especially in BTVS S2, doesn't get it.

From "Yoko Factor" BTVS S4:

Willow: Look, Iím not the one being judgmental here. Iíll leave that territory to you and Buffy.
Buffy: Judgmental? If I was anymore open-minded about the choices you two make my whole brain would fall out!
Xander to Willow: Oh! And superior. Donít forget that. Just because youíre better than us doesnít mean that you can be all superior!

From "Ted" BTVS S2:

Cordelia: I donít get it. Buffyís the Slayer. Shouldnít she have...
Xander: What, a license to kill?
Cordelia: Well, not for fun. But sheís like this superman. Shouldnít there be different rules for her?
Willow: Sure, in a fascist society.
Cordelia: Right! Why canít we have one of those?

I also think (hope actually) that the whole idea of being a "champion" apart from the people will come back to bite Angel, Cordy, and Conner in the ass. In ME terms, Angel was setting himself up for a fall in the first episode of S4, Deep Down:

Angel: What you did to me - was unbelievable, Connor. - But then I got stuck in a hell dimension by my girlfriend one time for a hundred years, so three months under the ocean actually gave me perspective. Kind of a M. C. Esher perspective - but I did get time to think. About us, about the world. - Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. - It's harsh, and cruel. - But that's why there's us. Champions. It doesn't matter where we come from, what we've done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world was what it should be, to show it what it can be. - You're not a part of that yet. - I hope you will be. I love you, Connor. Now get out of my house.

I hated this speech in Deep Down for many reasons. The top two were Angel's unconscionable blaming of Buffy for saving the world from his evil deeds and Angel's "holier-than-thou" moralizing about being a champion. Given Angel's sins, he's got no business lecturing anyone.

I think a lot of viewers see Buffy's line from the S7 opening episode, "It's about Power," as a setup for a fall. I think that Angle's line from the S4 opening episode, " But that's why there's us. Champions." may have been a set up for a fall as well.

Thanks again for making me think.

-Just George

[> [> [> Exactly.. What Angel didn't get (Deep Down) -- s'kat, 07:19:26 04/05/03 Sat

I also think (hope actually) that the whole idea of being a "champion" apart from the people will come back to bite Angel, Cordy, and Conner in the ass. In ME terms, Angel was setting himself up for a fall in the first episode of S4, Deep Down:

Angel: What you did to me - was unbelievable, Connor. - But then I got stuck in a hell dimension by my girlfriend one time for a hundred years, so three months under the ocean actually gave me perspective. Kind of a M. C. Esher perspective - but I did get time to think. About us, about the world. - Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. - It's harsh, and cruel. - But that's why there's us. Champions. It doesn't matter where we come from, what we've done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world was what it should be, to show it what it can be. - You're not a part of that yet. - I hope you will be. I love you, Connor. Now get out of my house.

I hated this speech in Deep Down for many reasons. The top two were Angel's unconscionable blaming of Buffy for saving the world from his evil deeds and Angel's "holier-than-thou" moralizing about being a champion. Given Angel's sins, he's got no business lecturing anyone.

It's funny - Angel spends an entire summer cut off from everything - heck this happens to him twice and he misses the point.

He gives this great speech about being champions. But uh wait Angel, what was the worst thing about being in the sea or in hell? What was the meaning of your dreams? Cut off.
He's completely and utterly cut off from all human contact.
He even mentions Buffy sending him to hell - and sees it as a comparison - yet doesn't get why. He sees the comparison in regards to : two people I loved punished me for things I did by sending me elsewhere. What he doesn't see is why this felt like a punishment - the loss of connections.
We see the same thing in Orpheus with Faith and Angel and Angelus. We see Angel paying for his crime in the donut shop by literally cutting himself off from everyone.

I think that's the irony of Angel the Series. And why the writers constantly show us Angel framed outside everything. Why is he shown always outside the picture? And for that matter why in Slouching Towards Bethelhem is Cordelia the only one in most of the pictures she's looking at? She comments on herself but not really on anyone else. The other thing that always struck me as ironically amusing about the Angel episodes - is they'd rush to save someone who either didn't need saving, was getting them to do it for ulterior reasons, or that by saving they just made everything worse. (Examples include the people in PRovider, the demon Angel kills in Judgement,
what happens in Bachelor Party, That Vision Thing).

I predict that by the end of the year Angel will have literally lost everything he wants or thinks he wants. Everything. Think about what that would mean for a second.
Because that is the only way, Angel may realize what he needs to do to live.

Buffy also needs to get this, and sort of does, but in Lessons, she misses the point as well. She starts off the episode telling Dawn it's about power. While over in England, Willow who has more power than she wants, tells Giles that it's actually all about connection.

Thanks for the response! Great points in your post.


[> [> [> [> Angel gets is about as much as Willow does -- lunasea, 08:11:03 04/05/03 Sat

But that's why there's us. Champions. It doesn't matter where we come from, what we've done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world was what it should be, to show it what it can be. - You're not a part of that yet. - I hope you will be.

Angel realizes that he does have fellow Champions, the AI gang. He would include those he had his hallucinations about in that "we." He just sets that entire group aside from the world and Connor. At least he has hope that Connor will be part of the few, the proud, the Champions.

Angel's perfect day fantasy wasn't about him saving the day. It was about him doing so with the help of the two people that aren't part of that "we." Angel wouldn't have been able to raise the wall if it weren't for Wesley and Connor helped him hold it.

And I'm pretty sure the problem with hell was the eternal torment that Angel had to physically recover from that led to him loosing his identity.

Angel doesn't punish himself by cutting himself off after the donut shop. He tries to protect others by doing this.

Angel is outside of everything, just like Buffy is. Because they care so much. Most don't. What connects "normal" people disconnects these two. When they do or feel something "wrong," they care so much that we get S6 or most of Angel's life post-soul.

Willow on the other hand, gives this great speech about how everything is connected and Giles asks her one question "Why aren't you in your lesson?" Willow sees everything as connected, but she thinks she is outside that connection able to manipulate things.

Both have part of the picture, but they haven't gotten all the way yet. They will.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Angel gets is about as much as Willow does -- s'kat, 08:28:03 04/05/03 Sat

But does Angel really connect? To anyone outside of his little team?

Buffy is working as counselor at the school and tries.
Willow goes to classes. Xander goes to work.
Angel? Cordelia? Wes? In the series have these characters ever been good at connecting beyond a purely superficial level?

Also why do the writers keep concentrating on framing Angel outside of things?

I'm not bashing Angel. Really. I'm just pointing out there's an interesting theme they are doing here.
He like Buffy has a superiority complex. But unlike Buffy, Angel has always to some extent stood outside the frame.
Willow - notice is more involved with others. Consider for a moment how crowded the Summers house is. These people aren't connecting but - in previous seasons, they did.

What I find interesting about the central three characters of Wes/Cordy/Angel is all three suffer from an inability to connect with others in various ways. Wes' social ineptness was the big joke in Btvs S3 and Ats 1. Cordy was the ironic example of the popular girl who has no close friends.
Angel was always trying to connect to people, but we always see him brooding outside the picture frame. He was never a part of the group. And every time we get flashbacks of him with a soul - he's wandering around staying as far away from people as possible.

What he wants is the connection, but he doesn't know how.
He is pursuing it in DC comic superhero fashion - I know I'll be a champion, save lives, yet - does he connect (really) with anyone he saves? Does he even know them?

Look at Orpheus again - at the end Angel wants a hug. No one from his own team gives it and he can't ask for it.
Willow goes up and hugs him without thinking.

In Same Time Same Place - Willow realizes immediately what her fear made her do and at the very end of the episode, she accepts Buffy's offer of giving her strength through simple hand-holding.

Meanwhile in Grounded - Angel decides Cordy who has been disconnected from everyone and everything and is surrounded by light/joy is in a better place, so goes to Vegas in House Always Wins and what happens in that episode? Angel gets so cut off from everyone that he has to be sparked to help.

It's not that he doesn't have any connections - it's that he keeps putting himself outside them. Willow on the other hand doesn't. Willow knows her power comes from the connections.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Angel gets is about as much as Willow does -- Just George, 10:48:44 04/05/03 Sat

Maybe the idea is a combination of both issues.

ME has based 3 different series around the idea of outsiders creating an artificial family structure (BTVS, ATS, Firefly). The characters have been more or less successful in creating their artificial families (for example, more in "Family" but less in "The Yoko Factor"). In each series, the artificial families have been life lines that keep the characters sane and help make them successful.

However, even when they seem strong, these artificial families can become insular (Willow re Jenny: "Who let her in the club?"). Perhaps an important idea is that the characters need to work with both their artificial families and the wider world (BTVS: Graduation Pt II, ATS: There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb) to be sucessful and well rounded.

-Just George

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Angel gets is about as much as Willow does (spoiler Inside Out) -- lunasea, 15:48:18 04/05/03 Sat

But does Angel really connect? To anyone outside of his little team?

Can Angel connect to anyone outside of his little team? He is a VAMPIRE. That removes him from humanity. He is Sisyphus pushing his stone up hill. It isn't in the actual connection that his humanity lies, but in trying.

Spike is in denial. That is one of the foundations of his character. All those things that some say make him more human are him denying his vampirism. He isn't connecting any better than Angel does. This hits him particularly hard the beginning of S6. S7 when he has the ability for more self- reflection he does realize how disconnected he is and goes to live in the school basement. What have we seen Spike do that was exceedingly human this season?

I know I'll be a champion, save lives, yet - does he connect (really) with anyone he saves?

Just off the top of my head: Melissa (I Fall to Pieces), Cordy, Faith (Sanctuary), Bethany (Untouched), Darla (The Trials), Kate (Epiphany), Fred (Fredless), Gwen (Ground State), Wesley. Angel saves people by connecting with them. He doesn't save lives. He saves souls.

His rock is that no one can really understand him, so a deeper connection is only possible so far with Buffy. He is still a VAMPIRE. Does he even know them? How about do they really know him? He has some pretty real connections, especially wtih Faith, Kate and Darla.

Meanwhile in Grounded - Angel decides Cordy who has been disconnected from everyone and everything and is surrounded by light/joy is in a better place, so goes to Vegas in House Always Wins and what happens in that episode?

She was surrounded by light/joy. It is called Jasmine. Cordy isn't disconnected. She is becoming more connected than anyone.

In THAW, Angel loses his destiny, but is so connected to his friends that their destiny becomes his. As Lorne tells him "You were fighting for your friends' futures. The people you love are part of your destiny, and nobody can take that away, not even you." In the episode, instead of going on retreat to Tibet like he did with Buffy, he takes his two friends and heads to Vegas (Gunn's suggestion for dealing with Buffy's loss). He loses his destiny, but still remembers they are friends.

It's not that he doesn't have any connections - it's that he keeps putting himself outside them. Willow on the other hand doesn't. Willow knows her power comes from the connections.

Actually fate/circumstances is what puts him outside of them. In THAW he is disconnected for a while because he looses his destiny. I don't see how that is his fault. He tries very hard to connect with Connor. "Tomorrow" is very sweet and it is painful to watch knowing Connor is evil. Angel was going to the bluff to connect with Cordy and Jasmine stepped in (then again, Jasmine is probably the reason Cordy thought she loved Angel. Who was the reflection in the window in "Tomorrow"?) Angel and Darla were connecting and then she got vamped. Angel can't even be around Buffy.

None of this is his fault. He doesn't put himself outside of anything. Everytime he does start to really connect, the writers do something. From kiling off Tina in "City of" to taking Cordy to the higher realms, none of it has been Angel's fault.

Willow doesn't understand yet. She just doesn't have the circumstances Angel does. It is easier for her just to fall into things. They don't fall away from her. Willow still sees herself manipulating those connections, not as a part of them.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> One question -- s'kat, 19:24:46 04/05/03 Sat

How did Angel lose his soul and why?

Because he connected. He didn't lose it with Darla, because there was no connection - just sex. He connected with Buffy and lost his soul. He connected or believed he did in his dream in Awakenings and lost his soul. The irony about Angel is the soul connects him if he chooses to be connected, but once he feels the wonder of being connected, he loses the soul.

On Cordy? Jasmine is all about false connections. Angel fell for it. Read Aresthusa's post - she sees Angel pretty clearly. It's actually what I like about Angel - his problems.

As for Spike? He desperately wants to be connected but keeps getting isolated. Has 0 to do with denial.

Remember my first paragraph? "Stop shipping for a sec and look at the theme."

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> One answer, perhaps (spoilers Inside Out) -- lunasea, 09:06:10 04/07/03 Mon

I have resisted answering. To be perfectly honest, I am tired of being accused and dismissed because of shippers glasses. I didn't comment on the bulk of the essay because no one here has written about connection more than I since I've been here and my view is well known. It is rather obvious that this is part of the overall theme of the shows, obvious even in how it is written. My essay on "What is the First" (answer avidya) explains this the best, so I won't try to again. My recent essays on "Bloodlust" and "Addiction: Angel" show this theme in respect to the metaphysics of vampires.

I was only objecting to the contention that Willow gets it and Angel places himself out of things. Willow isn't in her lesson yet (as Giles points out, gotta love how one line is so important when Joss writes the script) and Angel is outside due to no fault of his own.

Connection. Nice word. What does it mean? Rather than connection, I prefer oneness (vidya) and alienation (avidya). Humanity. Another nice word. What does it mean? Lots of nice words tossed around. 5,000 word essays that attempt to convey what Joss does in 5 seconds of screen time, often with no words at all.

How did Angel lose his soul and why?

Because he loses himself. Being with Buffy is a vehicle to something greater, to that vidya. He is able to forget his past (major guilt still), the present (judge is after them), the future (what future).

Why is Angel so important to Buffy's series finale? According to Joss "because their relationship transcends everything." That isn't my shipper's blindness. That is Joss himself. I like things that transcend everything. I want them to transcend everything, including the crossed stars.

He didn't lose it with Darla, because there was no connection - just sex.

I didn't reference "Reprise/Epiphany." I referenced "The Trial." Shooting scripts aren't canon, but when they say what I see, I tend to quote them.

"And with that, her bravery runs out and the tears come. Angel holds her. He's battered and she's dying but they are together.

They're not lovers. They're two friends who care the world about each other.

Two friends who will never part until death does it for them. They soak each other in and we pull back, just the two of them together..."

If that isn't connection, I don't know what is. It isn't Angel's fault that after this Darla is vamped and that connection is severed.

Angel connects will all sorts of people. ONLY with Buffy can he transcend that connection to something more.

He connected or believed he did in his dream in Awakenings and lost his soul.

It was much more than that. With Buffy, he was able to lose himself rather easily. In his perfect day, Angel has to clean up the crap that has become his life. He can't just forget his past. He needs Cordy's acceptance of it. He can't just forget his present. He has to fix it.

Angel's perfect day is about understanding. Only after everyone understands Angel is he able to lose himself. In his perfect day, where do he and Cordy profess their love for each other? Instead she says the things he wants someone to say to him. He wants his world explained and it not to be his fault (which is why this episode is great when taken with Deep Down). He wants all his sacrifices to mean something. He wants his present to make up for his past.

There was an amazing team work present, but that is Angel's understanding of how things should work. Deep Down was Angel's view of how things do work. This is how he wishes they did. In a perfect world they would. (wonder if this will come into play in Jasmine's paradise?)

The irony about Angel is the soul connects him if he chooses to be connected, but once he feels the wonder of being connected, he loses the soul.

Actually the irony is that people think Angel "chooses" not to be connected. It isn't even the curse that prevents this. He is a VAMPIRE. As such he is removed from humanity just like all the villains and superheroes of the Marvelverse are.

Marti put it best (again not my words), "I think it's an exploration of being exceptional. I mean the whole idea of being a super-hero is the idea that you are unlike other people, and people are drawn to that, but at the same time, it makes you the otherÖsomeone that may have trouble relating. It's inherantly a lonely thing."

It is rather simplistic to say that superheroes choose to be isolated or to blame it on bad people skills or psychological issues. People who are around super heroes lives are in danger. Angel became human and this put his and Buffy's lives in more danger. Buffy tried to protect Riley. Faith even used Angel to get at Buffy. How many things have happened to the Scoobies or AI because they were either caught in the cross-fire or were targeted? That is why superheroes in the Marvelverse tend to isolate themselves.

What compounds this is how is a regular human being supposed to understand what Buffy and Angel go through? Buffy and Angel's connection is built on a mutual understanding that no other character has for either of them. I like the scene at the beginning of "The Replacement" that really shows how much Buffy is alienated from the "normal" world.

On Cordy?

Back to Cordy at the end. Ties to the perfect day and what Angel's problem is this season.

Jasmine is all about false connections.

That remains to be seen. Is she a false messiah or a real one?

Read Aresthusa's post - she sees Angel pretty clearly.

She sees Angel as you do. That isn't to say which view is "clearly." I didn't respond to that post because it confused actions with feelings/motivations.

As for Spike? He desperately wants to be connected but keeps getting isolated. Has 0 to do with denial.

Spike (like Angel) is a VAMPIRE. (Don't know how many times the writers have to say that. Maybe they should have him in vamp face more.) As such, the connection he wants is impossible. He doesn't think it is. That is called denial.

Spike desperately wants to be connected, but Angel keeps putting himself outside? That sounds like shippers weakness to me. They are both vampires and as such are both outside of humanity.

Now for Cordy. This is something that has been gelling for a while and here is as good a place as anything to put it. Does Angel actually love Cordy (as in Buffy/true love)? He has yet to say it. He even stops short of saying it in "Inside Out." He doesn't even know what to refer to her as. She is his best/dearest friend, but everyone has been telling him he should have deeper feelings for her (Fred was the most annoying about this). He doesn't say "I love you" in his perfect day fantasy or any other time. When he is going to kill her he says "I'm sorry." In "Becoming" Buffy says "I love you."

The Cordy-Angel travesty starts with "Tomorrow." Lorne tells Angel "The way you feel about Cordelia is pretty much *exactly* how she feels about you." No mention about true love there. No mention of how either feel. Groo tells Cordy she loves Angel and she isn't convinced until window Cordy tells her she is (who is to say if that was Jasmine's doing. That white light does look familiar). Real Cordy doesn't say anything much. Window Cordy does all the convincing.

When Angel talks to Cordy about how they feel, he sounds as much as if he is trying to find out he feels as she does. Lorne said they felt the exact say way. Angel doesn't know how he feels. Joss does a great job with this at the beginning of "Spin The Bottle." If Angel finds out how Cordy feels, he will know how he feels.

Then we go to "Apocalpyse Nowish." Cordy is now Jasmine. Jasmine tells Angel " I love you. I always will. You know that." Now Angel knows how he feels. He feels the same way Cordy does. Jasmine sets him up for what is to follow. I don't get the impression that he ever completely buys it though.

Rufus said it very well further below. Angel's problem is living. I said on another thread that Angel's father raised a man who didn't know what it meant to be one. He is a man. He just doesn't know how he is supposed to act or even feel. This season everyone (on the show any way) is assuming that his feelings for Cordy are something they may not be. Cordy herself and Jasmine put Angel on the defensive for this. If he is going to lose his son over this, he better have some pretty strong feelings for this woman.

It is a lot like what happened in IWRY. Angel was willing to give up Buffy, so the cause better be worth it. That is what I love about Angel. He doesn't put down the choice he didn't take. He builds up the one he did.

He needs to get away from that too and just live. Don't worry about connection or being understood. No more "should's". That which we want, we push away. That which we don't want, we attract.

I also like what Just George said about finding balance. As Angel says in "Hero" "It's all the same thing. Fight the good fight - whichever way you can."

Again to quote Marti "I think that he does feel like it's sort of a meaningless void, and what matters is the struggle to find the good. And the relationships you build with people while you struggle. And in some ways you'll never find it, but the quest and the questors, and the people that you find, who are not necessarily your family, are the only thing that lends the journey meaning. I think that is his major theme. "

It isn't just about relationships, but also the struggle to find good. For Buffy and Angel that struggle to find good makes those relationships complicated and they have to find a way to deal with the alienation this causes.

On the other hand, Angel is the only character to have a moment of perfect happiness and Buffy has had a moment of perfect clarity. Both characters are alienated from normal human stuff, but have touched something that few ever do. They are disconnected, yet more connected than other characters.

That is why I love them.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> a question about true love -- pilgrim, 05:51:58 04/08/03 Tue

Do you think BtVS and AtS support the notion of "true love," which I'll define as two people who are meant to be together, who complete each other, who are soul mates--the fairy tale love that gets explored in a movie like The Princess Bride. Do the shows support the existence of true love, or undermine the notion of its existence?

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Angel gets is about as much as Willow does-Spoilers for aired episodes. -- Arethusa, 11:28:28 04/05/03 Sat

Angel doesn't punish himself by cutting himself off after the donut shop. He tries to protect others by doing this.
Doyle, TPTB's emissary, says, "Itís not all about fighting and gadgets and stuff. Itís about reaching out to people, showing them that thereís love and hope still left in the world."

Angel is outside of everything, just like Buffy is. Because they care so much. Most don't. What connects "normal" people disconnects these two. When they do or feel something "wrong," they care so much that we get S6 or most of Angel's life post-soul.

How Buffy shows she cares in Season 6:

1. Ignores Dawn's cries for attention.
2. Ignores Willow's abuse of magic and Tara.
3. Doesn't realize Xander is so afraid of hurting Anya that he leaves her to prevent it, thereby hurting her even more.
4. Uses Spike for sex, while telling him he is an evil thing.

How Angel shows how much he cares:

1. Kicks Wesley out of his life, after strangling him.
2. Kicks Connor out of his life.
3. Kicks Cordelia out of his life.
4. Refers to Gunn as the muscle.
5. Treats Lorne as a employee, not a friend.

Buffy's champion status separates her from humanity. (Which is one of the reasons why the Shadowmen's abuse of the First Slayer is so terrible-they isolate her from the rest of mankind.) Buffy, as shadowkat pointed out, is a successful champion when she doesn't separate herself from others. What does connect normal people? Loving each other, helping each other. That connects Buffy and Angel to humanity too. What separates them from humanity? Being a vampire. Being a slayer. Being champions.

Angel is deeply insecure. His father told him throughout his entire life that he was a bad, useless person. This disconnects him from the rest of humanity. He feels he's not as good as they are. Now he needs to be better than everyone else to feel good about himself. He can't just be one of the croud-he has to be special, superior. That is what sent him chasing a beautiful, wealthy woman in the alleys of his home town in the first place. As a vampire he had to be the biggest, baddest killer around, taking orders from no one. As a souled vampire he had to have the cool convertable, fancy mansion, cheerleader girlfriend. He can't just be a normal man(pire) because as a normal person he felt like a failure.

What does Angel get from being a champion? He feels good about himself. Important. Needed. But it makes him separate himself from the rest of the world, as you say. His mission is to reconnect himself to humanity, so when the time comes for him to play his part for TPTB, he'll be on the side of humanity.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Well said and much better than my response -- s'kat, 20:45:16 04/05/03 Sat

What does Angel get from being a champion? He feels good about himself. Important. Needed. But it makes him separate himself from the rest of the world, as you say. His mission is to reconnect himself to humanity, so when the time comes for him to play his part for TPTB, he'll be on the side of humanity.


But I think even more is going on here.

Part of Angel's problem is his curse. It's a great curse by the way. Brillant. What the gypsey's did is curse Angelus with a soul - with the ability to feel connected to everyone and feel what he's done and the choices that come along with it. (In that way, his soul is exactly like Spike's). But here's the catch (what makes it completely different from Spike's soul)- if Angel ever experiences a moment of true happiness he loses his soul. Well, what is a true moment of happiness? It's not sex - he got that with Darla. It's not feeling love - he got that last year more or less. No, it's more than that. It's feeling the genuine warmth that comes with a connection.

In Innocence - he and Buffy make love - they connect on a deep level both mentally and physically for the first time.
And whammo, he loses his soul. After that happens, he never connects with Buffy again. He can't. She can never trust him enough for that connection to happen and more important? He doesn't quite trust her or for that matter himself. He leaves partly because the pain of never getting that connection again is too much.

Then in Awakenings - yes we get the whole champion thing.
But something else happens in that episode. Angel feels that he has connected with the people that are the most important to him. Of course these connections are illusions - it's just a dream, but to Angel they are real.
When he makes the ultimate connection in the dream or so he believes to Cordy, he is reminded of the only other time in his entire unlife he connected on that level - Buffy and calls out that name, realizing yep, once again he's lost his soul. He and Cordy - in his dream - have a moment of pure trust, the connection of souls and bodies, and whammo, there goes Angel's soul.

Angel has a problem, besides making connections. One he is completely unaware of, so are we, come to think of it, it certainly didn't occur to me until last night while I was discussing all this with a friend. Up until then? I thought Angel is Mr. Rebell, does his own thing. Then I thought about it. I went back over every episode in both series and realized, uhm when exactly has he forged his own path? And why all the frigging PTB references for Angel and no one else? What's that really about? And yep the series turned upside down for me again and suddenly everything that's happened makes sense.

Angel hasn't forged his own path, he's let himself be led. Oh he believes his in charge and running the show? And since we are completely in his pov most of the time, so do we. But is Angel? How many times in Angel's life do the PTB intervene and tell him what to do and he follows them? And does this really happen with any other character in the Buffyverse? Really? Why does Angel need Doyle to come along with his visions to tell him to help people? Why does Cordelia have to have visions to tell him who to help? They do occassionally try to go outside of that, but a vision happens? Drop everything and go after the person in the vision. Oracles say leap? Angel leaps, until they die. Same with those prophecies, which if you think about it he's always been a sucker for.

It's so bloody ironic, because in Angel/Angelus head he would never let anyone be an authority over him - he lives to disrupt such things. He's the rebell, right? Funny thing about rebells - they can turn out to be the most ardent of followers. Sort of the whole thing about protesting too much?(now don't hurt me Angel fans - I love the guy myself...but I also adore irony and a well-written scrip arc.) Think about it - each time he becomes Angelus he does something for a higher power or trusts in one.

1. Becoming ?

-We have Whistler pulling him out of the gutter and telling him the PTB have chosen him. Then they introduce him to Buffy. Who he follows. And requires urging from Xander in Prophecy Girl to actually help. (Oh on Prophecy Girl - notice how it is Angel who gives Giles the correct Prophecy and Angel who decides Buffy is dead already b/c that's what the Prophecy says?? Xander has to literally browbeat him into helping.)

-Angelus decides to open Acthala to prove himself worthy to the hellgods. He does this whole speech about being worthy and how he has strayed but now he'll make up for it all with this one pure act. When it fails - he goes and grabs Buffy's authority figure and tortures him for the info.

2. Orpheus

-Angelus tells Faith that he has powers in high places helping him

- He gives into the voice in the prior episode because he doesn't want to be ensouled again. He acts a bit like the angry son - taking out the Master's minion.

Then of course we have Amends - where Angel thinks he should die because the FE pulled him out of hell. He only changes his mind, because it snows and the PTB decided to save him with a miracle, so of course Buffy must have been right after all. Buffy's pleas didn't change it - if they did, he might have sought shelter.
But I admit that episode is debatable, I didn't see that interpretation until well this moment, but it explains why the snowstorm always bugged me a bit, I would have preferred the two of them dart into shelter. Then, just in case, we don't see the point in that episode, we have the last three seasons of Angel where we have the visions telling Angel who to help, the oracles, the prophecies telling him what to do, and the whole Cordy has ascended to a higher place and is watching over us. Angel honestly sees himself as a champion for the PTB. They are his boss. He isn't forging his own path. In his head he has, but it's the path that PTB have laid out. That was the whole point of THAW, I think, about losing your destiny? If you forge your own and don't rely on fate or predetermination, no one can steal it. Angel relies on fate - always. Which is a dangerous thing to do when you don't know who is pulling the strings. (A point made time and again in Greenwalt's series Miracles. Also a point made by Joss Whedon in Firefly. You decide what is right and wrong and make your own way with your human connections - don't let a higher power do it.)

Buffy in contrast, seems to spit in the face of fate and make her own way. She doesn't believe in a higher power or a god necessarily. She believes in Buffy and her friends.

I've always found the mention of PTB in Angel to be odd, considering the show is created by a rabid athesist. Also the fact that they are seldom if ever mentioned on Btvs, which seems inconsistent. Actually the only two times we get much mention of PTB is when Angel is around. I kept waiting to see if the writers meant me to take it seriously.
When I realized Angel is based on noir fiction - which is all about irony and fate screwing you - I realized, whoa, this is meant to be ironic. Which means? Angel is probably in for a really really big fall pretty soon.

I think he needs to at some point, find his own way, without the constant intervention of a higher power leading him. Many of The mistakes he's made this year have been due
to his reliance on Cordy's visions and that higher power.
I'm not saying it doesn't exist per se or isn't really helpful at times, but I think Angel relies too much on it. Actually everyone in AI appears to, except for possibly Gunn and Fred. They seem to question it more somehow.
Odd that. I don't know, I could be completely off on this, but everything I've read regarding how Angel/Wes/Connor relate to the "goddess" leads me to think maybe not.

Hmmm...possibly controversial post above. Don't hurt me, just a theory. SK

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Agree, but I want to add...(Spoilers through 7.17) and perhaps going O/T -- dms, 23:27:12 04/05/03 Sat

Relative newcomer to the board. I hope I'm not stepping on anyone's toes here, but I can't resist a Spike/Angel comparison (especially because I like BOTH of them). :)

[quote]What the gypsey's did is curse Angelus with a soul - with the ability to feel connected to everyone and feel what he's done and the choices that come along with it. (In that way, his soul is exactly like Spike's).[/quote]

I think the souls have the same purpose: 1) to connect people (in this case Spike and Angel) to their humanity and 2) to give them the opportunity to emotionally develop and change (would the therapy session of LMPTM have been successful if Spike was soulless? I don't think so.)

However, how the individual becomes connected and develops differs. Angel (whose metaphor is that of an addict, imo) needs to build a family, friendship and connections with the world. Liam didn't care for anyone; Angelus had no humanity. So, Angel must connect with people. Much like Buffy, he needs to love, give, forgive. He needs to risk the pain and learn to depend on/rely on others, to trust them and allow them to make mistakes. Wesley is a good example.

Spike, on the other hand, has always been somewhat connected to humanity, whether soulless or souled. He loved his mother, even as a vampire. He loved Drusilla and Buffy. He eats, drinks and socializes with humans. He's considered himself to be a part of the world, even as a soulless demon. However, unlike Angel/Angelus he was never his own man. For most of his (un)life, he's based his decisions on what he thinks others (i.e., Dru and Buffy) have wanted. Thus, it's important that he develop his own moral code and his own sense of self and learn to exercise his free will. By becoming his own man and growing up, imo, Spike will become connected and part of the world. And this is what I thinks happened in Lies.

This is why I don't get excited about who likes Spike, who talks to him, etc. I don't think it's important that he's accepted by others; it's vital, however, that he accept himself. When he said in BY "and everyone will forgive and love..." I thought to myself, "he needs to forgive and love himself". IMO, Spike got the soul for HIMSELF, not just Buffy; and, he can only be connected to humanity once he learns to accept himself, which I think he did in Lies. I don't see souled!Spike and William as the perpetual outsider (someone craving to be part of a group but never gaining admittance). Rather, I see him (them?) as someone who has a strong sense of identity and interacts with people based on it.

In sum, the soul makes Spike/Angel feel the same thing (remorse, guilt, connection to humanity). How they deal with it differs, however. And this makes complete sense (imo) because of their different personalities as humans and soulless vampires.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Good addition and not off topic at all.. -- s'kat, 11:08:53 04/06/03 Sun

You actually solved the issue I was struggling with regarding Spike.

For most of his (un)life, he's based his decisions on what he thinks others (i.e., Dru and Buffy) have wanted. Thus, it's important that he develop his own moral code and his own sense of self and learn to exercise his free will. By becoming his own man and growing up, imo, Spike will become connected and part of the world.

Yes, that's it exactly. Spike needs to love and forgive Spike. Not worry what everyone else thinks.

Now the difference/similarity between Spike and Angel is actually rather interesting - because the truth is neither vampire/man is his own man yet, but they aren't their own men in completely different ways.

One follows the dictates of a higher being, desperately seeking that being's approval, as symbolized by the desire to be out in sunlight, or the constant reliance on miracles and signs and prophecies.

The other relies on the views of others - his mother, his lovers, his peers and seeks their approval and direction.

Both claim to be rebells, yet their rebellion and violence is out of a desire to get the attention of those whose approval they constantly seek. What they did as vampires - had everything to do with getting some outside party's approval - it just was different parties. So in that sense, neither Spike nor Angel is his own man. Neither has figured out how to make his own way without some sort of outside guidance or approval.

On LMPTM? I'm not sure that episode resolved Spike's issue about outside approval quite yet, it may have to a degree. But the fact that he makes a point of stating my mother loved me, I was the center of her world and that was the demon talking - makes he wonder if he quite gets it yet.
If Spike had told Wood - my mother loved me, but she didn't want to live her life around me and I've accepted that - now you need to accept the same thing about yours - yeah, I'd say he got it. But that's not what he said. He still needs that feeling of being adored. He still wants that approval.

But the truth is - now that I think about it - we all do.
We all want someone to tell us we are special and wonderful, we all want that validation. The trick is can we give ourselves that validation or do we have to constantly get it from an outside source? We need the connections, yes, but we also need to be able to get value from ourselves. No one can constantly give it to us - it becomes exhausting after a while. In that sense Spike's closing words to Wood about how he is his own man now and total free will and how he deals with Buffy afterwards, makes me think that he may finally be looking inside for the validation as opposed to outside for it.

Thanks for the post. I'd been trying to wrap my brain around the Spike side of it and I think you nailed it.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Agree, but I want to add...(Spoilers through 7.17) and perhaps going O/T -- Rufus, 19:42:25 04/06/03 Sun

The hardest thing for either Spike or Angel is living, not just existing. The closer either gets to real living the more they will feel the pressure of blame, regret, and plain not feeling deserving enough to go on. If the arguements we have about who deserves what are any indication, we should expect that both characters have time when they get caught in neutral as they consider their past deeds. Neither man can give back the lives they took but they have the opportunity to make sure that they don't add to the body count, in fact protect who they once hunted.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> The Powers That Screw You -- Arethusa, 06:19:23 04/06/03 Sun

You're right. It's been about rejecting false authority. Look at Fred, whose professor was a role model but tried to kill her. Connor, sucked in by Cordelia's lies and letting her think for him. Gwen, who fates made a freak until she was able to steal a gizmo that let her connect with Gunn. Cordelia, releying on TPTSY to feel valuable. Angel, counting on TPTB to help him have a purpose, be a champion. I suspect that the Jasmine episodes will lead to Angel losing faith in TPTB, maybe finding out they aren't a force for good, just a force for balance perhaps? One thing I've noticed talking to people about atheism is that very often they don't get the concept of believing in nothing for good or ill. No benevolent presence at all, no unearthly reward no matter how good you are, no superstitions. No "God will provide." No prayer, noone to turn to but yourself and the people you form connnections with on this earth. A long time ago I wrote a post about how if a person is an atheist, every minute on earth and every person you meet is infinitely important, because that's all you get. I think you're very right-as Dinza said to Angel, he has so much more to lose.
It may be controversial, but the message fits in with everything I believe. I'll be very curious to see the reactions of others if my guess is correct.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Spoilers for Angel through next promo. -- Arethusa, 06:35:16 04/06/03 Sun

And various other errors. :)
Note to self: Coffee first. Posting second.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The Powers That Screw You -- Rahael, 06:58:13 04/06/03 Sun

A very important message, Arethusa. I'd be very happy with this. And one that can be lived by even if one isn't strictly an atheist, either!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Very well said and completely agree -- s'kat, 11:27:01 04/06/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The Powers That Screw You -- Rufus, 19:55:57 04/06/03 Sun

Darla mentioned that Connor had a choice, something more precious than he could ever know. The thing is that so many people want to load their shitty choices onto others or perhaps bad childhoods, being deceived, or just dumb luck. What all the characters have to realize is that no matter how bad things are there are choices that they can either make or decide not to make that may open up new opportunities that they may never have considered before. The Powers don't screw people, people take their ability to choose and screw up themselves. So what we learn from the PTB's is that the evil guys will do things like offering candy to babies, fame, fortune, and beauty, to the older set but in the end the results aren't what were promised. The PTB's don't offer anything but a direction leaving all to decide which way to go....no candy, no promises...no guarantee of a happy ending.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Angel gets is about as much as Willow does-Spoilers for aired episodes. -- Malandanza, 07:27:15 04/06/03 Sun

Back in To Shansu in LA, Cordelia and Wesley worry that Angel is not connected -- but by the end of the episode (Season One), it is clear that he is. Here are Masq's comments on the episode from the main page:

"What makes a family? Hospital policy against non- "family" members visiting patients has always ignored the reality of human connections--marriage and genetics do not necessarily create the emotional bonds a person needs most when they are hospitalized; friendship and love alone sometimes do. Angel is not just protecting his links to the PTB's, he is defending his family. He may be outside the cycle of the living, but he is connected to the world through Cordelia and Wesley. And they feel the bond in return. This is one way Angel can garner Gunn's support-- they are both "big brothers" to people they provide for and protect."

He backslid during his Noir period, but remember that he fired the crew because he didn't want them involved in the questionable attacks he was about to begin against W&H -- and by Epiphany he was back in the group, trying his hardest to make amends (even fetching coffee for Wesley as penance). Angel's Thanksgiving fantasy in Deep Down shows just how important his connections are. Before his dream turns into a nightmare, we see his idea of a perfect day includes all those people with whom he has a personal connection -- including, and perhaps especially, Wesley. His nightmare reveals that being an outsider is what he fears most. Yet, in spite of his connections, in some ways he continues to be the outsider -- but because of issues others have with him, not his issues with them.

I think Lunasea also makes a good point when she brings up Faith -- nowhere has Angel shown an ability to connect more clearly than when he pulled her from the brink of destruction. She was so connected that she idolized Angel to an extent, breaking out of prison and journeying, like Orpheus, to hell to save him. But like Orpheus, she looks too closely at Angel during the trip and her image of him vanishes -- when she leaves LA, she doesn't even give him the hug she knows he wants.

"How Angel shows how much he cares:

1. Kicks Wesley out of his life, after strangling him.
2. Kicks Connor out of his life.
3. Kicks Cordelia out of his life.
4. Refers to Gunn as the muscle.
5. Treats Lorne as a employee, not a friend."

Connections are a two-way street. Angel can try all he wants to connect with people but if they don't want to connect with him, there
's nothing he can do to force them to like him better. So I would say that the blame goes both ways:

1. Wesley kidnaps Connor and unwittingly turns him over to Holtz to spend his childhood in a demon dimension. When Angel returns from his enforced sabbatical, he offers to Wesley that things are good between them, but Wesley rejects the proffered hand of friendship. Wesley has the connection issues, not Angel.

2. Connor locked him in a box and sunk him under the sea. Connor wants nothing to do with Angel. Connor spent the summer lying to Gunn and Fred, inhibiting their investigations while pretending to help. Angel has tried his hardest to make a connection with Connor.

3. Cordelia first cut Angel out of her life -- making it clear, when her memory returned, that his past forever cut him off from a closer relationship.

4. Gunn prides himself on his fighting skills. How is this an insult? How does it show Angel isn't connected?

5. Angel helped rescue Lorne from Vegas. That went beyond employer-employee relationships. And I'd say it's less about treating Lorne as an employee and more about treating Lorne as a member of AI.

As for your comments on Buffy, I'd remind you that Buffy was suffering from the time she was ripped out of paradise until she crawled out of the grave and none of her friends made an attempt to help her work through her depression. Instead, they piled their problems on her shoulders as well (except for Spike, who used her weakness to have himself a good day).

"What does Angel get from being a champion? He feels good about himself. Important. Needed. But it makes him separate himself from the rest of the world, as you say. His mission is to reconnect himself to humanity, so when the time comes for him to play his part for TPTB, he'll be on the side of humanity."

I feel good about myself when someone stops me and asks for directions and I am able to help them -- I would hope that saving people's lives make Angel feel good about himself. But I don't see that saving people separates Angel from humanity. Instead, it places him in personal contact with the people he saves and keeps him connected. Since Epiphany, Angel has been on the side of Humanity. Humanity is the one with the connection issues.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Angel gets is about as much as Willow does-Spoilers for aired episodes. -- Arethusa, 11:22:11 04/06/03 Sun

My post was deliberately a little simplistic, to emphesize Buffy and Angel's need to be connected to humanity. There are two sides to every encounter, and you've correctly pointed out that there are a lot of factors affecting every relationship. There are a lot of threads that come together to create each event, as Skip said, but the only one Angel can control is the thread of his own life. His behavior and his reactions to others' behaviors. Angel can either blame others for their estrangements or he can do something about it. Buffy can blame her friends for ripping her out of heaven or she can do something about it-talk to them, make them understand, ask for help.

The choices we make determine what happens to us. Vanity and pride have no place in relationships. Forgiveness makes us human, blah blah biddy blah. If there is a bigger picture (gods, fate, whatever), we have no control over it; we can only control ourselves. If there is nothing else, we still have ourselves, and that is enough. These are the lessons I see in the shows, amoung others. With absolute free will comes absolute personal responsibility.

I love the shows, I love the characters. I distrust anything designed to make me feel good about myself, or even the fictional characters I watch. Everything good in this life-love, relationships, growth, change, just living-is hard and painful at times. It isn't saving people that connects Angel to humanity-it is loving them, being with them, being a part of each others' lives. Sitting down at the table for dinner with your family, falling asleep next to your baby son, being there for your friends. Buffy knows this, even if she forgets it at times. Angel has yet to learn it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Angel -- Rahael, 12:18:02 04/06/03 Sun

But as you point out yourself, in Angel's universe, there is a higher power, something concrete, that he has to struggle against, the 'Powers that screw with you'. From Amends right up to now, Angel's story is a powerfully evocative one because it doesn't seem he has any purpose, and then he gets one, and then it seems fearfully elusive. We all search for our purposes in life - Angel is someone who struggles with two different ones - family, and 'champion'. For many years, Angel has bound the two in one 'AI', but has suffered from the inherent tensions. It makes his story richer, more complex, I don't think he has yet to learn it, he is in the process of negotiation.

Angel has that human connection in Conner (and look how powerfully it affected Darla). As Connor hammers the nail in his box, all Angel says is how much he loves Connor.

Even as early as S1, we get that wonderful final scene to an ep, where Wesley and Cordelia sit down to a meal that Angel is cooking, that he doesn't eat with them. This is a theme that is repeated in 'Deep Down'.

It is true that Angel, like the rest of us has to take responsibility over the whole of his life. It's something he understands, even has Holtz takes away his son. He tries to redeem the woman who damned him in an alley a long time ago. He keeps on trying to save Faith. Personally, I think there are few characters who takes more responsibility for his life than he does - others may disagree, but that's how he strikes me.

Angel has an imperative to help people, mostly because of what he has done in the past - and, talking about feeling good about what one has done, isn't it ironic that his curse hinges on the 'perfect moment', a perfect moment that in both instances has boiled down to human interactions. Friendship. Being there for your friends. Having sex.

And there are things that one can't control about life. I think one of the most difficult lessons I learnt was that I couldn't take responsibility for everything. In fact, life has been a series of huge uncontrollable events that have swept me along. We wait for the big moments to come along. But the moments in between, what we do then, how we act then are as crucial as how we act when the storm arrives.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Angel -- Arethusa, 13:36:14 04/06/03 Sun

I'm not absolutely sure he has to struggle against TPTB. I think that's why Gunn says what he does about kicking over the game board. If he struggles against them, he is playing the game under their rules. The only way to really be free of them is to refuse to play the game at all.

What if there is no purpose in life? What if it just is? There's something here that I haven't quite figured out yet-why does helping his family reward him, yet trying to be a champion just lead to frustration? Aren't they the same mission, in a way? I got the same feeling regarding Nikki and Robin. Being a slayer is the mission, yet raising Robin is the mission too. I keep coming back to the same thing-why do Angel's attempts to have human connections invariably fail? Either ME's just yanking us around or there is something about Angel's ideas of being a champion that is interfering with his ability to make human connections.

Dms wrote a superb post on Spike's and Angel's different ways of accepting responsibility and showing compassion. (S)he said, "The way I see it, Angel always feels guilt and compassion for his victims, but does not consistently take responsibility for their deaths. Instead, he often blames his evil deeds on his 'alter ego', Angelus. On the other hand, Spike does not consistently (or publicly) feel guilt and display compassion, but he will probably always take responsibility for his actions. Hence, Spike says "I've killed lots of people's mothers" and "I used to kill people when they annoyed me, now I don't do that" (not an exact quote, but he did say something to the same effect in GiD), while not showing anyone, except Buffy, that he feels remorse. Compare this with Angel who said in the latest AtS episode "I don't feel bad for what I've done, because it wasn't me, it was Angelus," while at the same time he showed Wesley compassion for Liliah's death (and snacking on her)."

It's immensely ironic that if he actually achieves his mission-connecting to humanity-he will lose the humanity he has. But he's not cut off from ordinary happiness, just perfect happiness. Is ME saying perfect happiness is not the point-it's a fantasy, a chimera? Happiness isn't that perfect fantasy moment, like a grand wedding, it's the days and nights of the marriage, which are often very far from perfect? I just don't know. I'm still trying to figure this all out.

Whedon said once that by just by making it through the growing up process we are all heroes. I think that through Angel he might be trying to show that a real champion is someone who helps others and maintains relationships day in and day out, no matter how difficult or unrewarding. Again, I might be missing the point or making incorrect conclusions.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Angel -- yabyumpan, 23:14:55 04/06/03 Sun

Compare this with Angel who said in the latest AtS episode "I don't feel bad for what I've done, because it wasn't me, it was Angelus," while at the same time he showed Wesley compassion for Liliah's death (and snacking on her).

I didn't see this as Angel not taking responsability but rather accepting the reality of the situation which was:
A) Angelus didn't get out because of a moment of weakness on his part but because of a joint agreement between the members of AI. They all share responsability. THey were all warned about Angelus and knew the risks.
B) It was Wesley who first suggested it and who found the method to get it done and who was very gung-ho about getting Angel to go through with it.
C) Angel in 'Inside out' was in a situation where he'd discoverd his closest friend was 'evil' and that he was probably going to have to kill her. This was not the time for guilt and brooding.

I keep coming back to the same thing-why do Angel's attempts to have human connections invariably fail?

I don't think he does fail. Let's look at the four main humans he's made long term connections with:

Cordy: I don't see his friendship with Cordy as a failure. Ignoring the present 'evilCordy' situation, I would say that the connection is very much a success. She has had a lot to do with bringing him out of permanent brood mode and starting to connect with other people.

The same with Wesley, despite what happened last year I think it's obvious that the connection is very important for both Wesley and Angel, they are both, in their own way, trying to re-connect and get back the friendship they had.

I also think his relationship with Gunn is a huge success.
It was less than 3 years ago that Gunn wanted to stake him and only a little over a year ago that Gunn was saying they couldn't be friends. Since then Gunn has spent all summer trying to find him and it has now reached the point where you have the lovely situation in the Las Vegas episode of Gunn reminding Angel several times that he's Angel's friend.

Fred: it was only because of her connection to Angel that she came out of her room at the begining of S3, even though the others had been there all summer. It took Angel's reassurance, understanding and encouragement to get her out of her room and back into the world.

I would also say that he's connected successfully with Faith, Kate and many other people over the years.

His one failure is Connor and that is not his fault. Taken from him when he was only a few months old, brought up to hate him, returns and when they start to build a connection is manipulated by Holtz and Justine and is not being manipulated by 'evilCordy'. Unless you want to take it right back and say that if he hadn't, as Angelus, killed Holtz's family then none of this would have happened, I don't see how anyone can really hold Angel at fault for not connecting to Connor.

Either ME's just yanking us around or there is something about Angel's ideas of being a champion that is interfering with his ability to make human connections.

Actually I think maybe it's the opposite, quite often it's Angel's humam connections that interferes with his being a 'champion'. One of the main gripes I've heard about Angel over the past couple of years is that he's focusing to much on personal stuff and 'forgetting the mission'. I think if you look at his actions over the past four years you can see that time and again it's his connections to those he cares about which take precedence over the mission or even over what is 'right'. It's the people around him who mean the most, not the mission, or being a champion or even his redemption.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> ooops! -- yabyumpan, 23:19:24 04/06/03 Sun

and is not being manipulated by 'evilCordy'

obviously that should read and is now being manipulated...

[> [> [> [> Re: Exactly.. What Angel didn't get (Deep Down) -- maddog, 14:11:02 04/05/03 Sat

If your Angel scenario is correct I'd certainly hope it either doesn't get canceled or that at least UPN picks it up. I'd hate to leave it that way forever.

[> [> [> [> Only connect (spoilers for ATS through Inside Out) -- oceloty, 23:29:35 04/05/03 Sat

shadowkat and Just George, thanks for some very thought- provoking posts. But (and there's always a but, right?) I'd like to offer a different take on Angel. I think he does understand the importance of and has made human connections. Yet, as much as he wants to be connected, he's struggling with the obstacles in the way.

Every current member of AI came to AI because of a connection with Angel (though their reasons for staying might be different). Angel rescued Cordy and gave her a job (and eventually a purpose). When Wesley came to LA, Angel gave him a second chance. Angel helped Gunn deal with his sister's death, rescued Fred in Pylea (and was the first one to get her to leave her room), and got Lorne to *go* to Pylea with the rest of AI. And then there's Faith, human Darla, Bethany, Lindsey, Kate, and a lot of other clients, whose lives he's touched in some important way. Personally, I find Angel's interactions with Connor so tragic, precisely because he so desparately wants them to connect, yet fate, and their own mistakes, keep them apart.

I think the events of seasons 3 and 4 have strained most of Angel's connections to the breaking point. While he does share some of the blame, I think some of the strain comes from forces beyond Angel's control -- his past coming back to haunt him (as with Holtz and Connor), or larger events. (e.g. Manipulated or not, it was Cordy's decision to leave with Skip in Tomorrow.) Connections are complicated things; sometimes (as with Wesley) they can hurt. One of Angel's biggest motivations in season 4 has been to put the AI family back together. In Deep Down, the first hallucination we was a family dinner -- which Angel fears he's destroyed. In Awakening, a big part of Angel's perfect day fantasy was reconnecting with Wes, Cordy, and Connor and involving everyone in the mission to save the world.

It doesn't matter where we come from, what we've suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be.

I interpret Angel's speech to Connor (in Deep Down) differently: He used to define his existence by the role fate, or the PTB, or whoever, had handed him. But now he's the architect of his purpose: to be as good a person as he can be, even when it's futile.

I predict that by the end of the year Angel will have literally lost everything he wants or thinks he wants. Everything.
I think in a lot of ways, he has. He lost Cordy, Connor, and Wes. He's trying to rebuild those relationships but there's every possibility he won't succeed. He's learned events around have been manipulated -- maybe he's the good guys' champion, maybe not. Take that all that away, and what's left? He was willing to kill his dearest friend, to protect the world. All the good that he's done, all the people AI has helped, and everything he's learned, good and bad, about connecting with people -- at the end of the day, nothing can take that away.

[> [> [> [> [> Great post, Oceloty -- Rahael, 06:53:12 04/06/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Only connect (spoilers for ATS through Inside Out and Trailer for nxt wk) -- Arethusa, 07:00:35 04/06/03 Sun

Why is Angel's life outside his own control? Why do his connections to others keep getting broken? Where did his obstructions come from?
When you're being manipulated, you kick over the game board, Gunn said. There is no inevitable, Fred said. Prophesies are wrong. The Powers that Be are the Powers That Screw You.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Exactly, I think that's the key -- s'kat, 11:24:01 04/06/03 Sun

Why is Angel's life outside his own control? Why do his connections to others keep getting broken? Where did his obstructions come from?
When you're being manipulated, you kick over the game board, Gunn said. There is no inevitable, Fred said. Prophesies are wrong. The Powers that Be are the Powers That Screw You.

Completely agree.

While I agree with oceloty that Angel does have connections - Arethusa is right: they keep falling apart on him. He can't quite maintain them. And he still whatever he does is shown outside the frame. His dream sequence in Deep Down is quite telling. In it he's at the head of a table with his family but the connections are an illusion - he can't get any food from them, each time he tries they pass it around him, and when he finally grabs for the glass of wine, it falls on the floor and breaks. Each member around the table slowly disappears. In visions he sees himself kill Cordy and Connor.

The problem with the champion speech and the reason it always annoyed me - is he's talking about being "chosen" by a higher power. Once again he is talking about how, we few, we chosen, fight to make the world better. Separate from the rest. Champions by the higher power.

Yet no higher power saved Angel from the sea, that was Wesley who did that. And no higher power revealed where Cordy was - Wes helped him figure it out. No higher power maintained AI, that was Gunn and Fred. These are his connections, yet he seems to take them for granted. Doesn't quite see them. Every once and a while he connects, but in his pov he is still outside the frame.

The higher power is the problem. His reliance on it over all else - is why he seems to be losing those connections, not seeing them. He keeps seeking that higher reward - and doesn't seem to realize the reward is the friends and associates he's made himself - the reward is Wes, Cordy, Fred and Gunn and Lorne. Not being a champion.

I hope that makes sense. This idea has been fermenting in my brain for a while now, but I think you're nailing it Arethusa in both this post and the one above.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Exactly, I think that's the key -- Rahael, 12:28:07 04/06/03 Sun

Everyone's suspicious, quite rightly, of Angel's champion status, mainly because AtS has always been careful to subvert it.

But what about BtVS, which for three years started of the show with this thing about the 'Chosen One'? Is Angel's more suspect because he wasn't born into it? Should we be as equally suspicious of Buffy's right to fight the vampires?

I have to disagree with you and Arethusa about Angel's connections, I think he values them very explicitly, see my reply to Arethusa above.

Yes, they keep falling apart on him, and the reason why that's so dramatic and pathos filled is precisely because the human connections are so valuable to him. I think this is another instance where the board's vision of the show and mine are worlds away.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'm voting with Rah! -- Sara, whose own connections like to disconnect, 19:18:26 04/06/03 Sun

I totally agree with you, Rahael. Angel has always found his friendships to be a critical part of his life starting with Doyle and moving on from there. We didn't see this in Buffy, because he really didn't have any true friendships - everyone other than Buffy felt some level of distrust towards. But once he connected with Doyle and Cordelia they became very significant, and he continued to have important relationships with new people in his life. Any connections that have been broken have been beyond his control, and he has fought to hold on - Doyle died, Kate blamed him for her father's death, Connor was kidnapped to a hell dimension and brought up to hate him, and Cordy was turned evil from an outside source, give the poor guy a break! None of these events have had anything to do with his interpersonal skills. This discussion has actually given me a whole new view of Angel because the show really does speak to those family relationships that somehow stop working and you may or may not know why. Sometimes they're your fault, and sometimes they're not, but always painful. Cordy turning evil - great metaphor for family dynamics! I'm going to have to think about this some more. Misery loves company, I'm already feeling better!!!!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> General Spoilers for all Angel seasons above! Sorry!!!! -- Sara, 19:20:12 04/06/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hmmm...another way of looking at connections (Spoilers to Ats InsideOut) -- s'kat, 20:42:31 04/06/03 Sun

Good points and I agree actually with what you and Rah state. Heck, feeling very disconnected in my own life right now, and it has more to do with circumstance than me per se.
We all feel that.

No...there's something else regarding connections I'm trying to get at here - I sort of mention it in my soul portion of the essay. It's about well not so much connecting with those who are our friends and we love dearly but...others outside of them.

Perhaps the best way of explaining this is using comics again? Since the writers are comic geeks?

In the DC Universe, the character of Batman reminds me a great deal of Angel. Batman has connections by the way. A small group of people who know who he is and are close to him. Robin - his ward. Alfred - the butler and the man who in some ways raised him. Cheif Gordon and Barbara Gordon. And possibly Catwoman - who he fights with most of the time.
Outside of that? Not really engaged with humanity. He tries. But his own darkness and his fears of the connections set him apart. He lives in a huge mansion set apart from others. It has numerous empty rooms. He figures out who to help through a bat signal. But outside of showing up out of nowhere and mysteriously helping people, he's not really engaged. Now you could argue he's very connected and appreciates his connections to others - after all look at his connection to Alfred, or the occassional interaction with the Justice LEague or Robin, who is like a son to him. But is he really involved? He doesn't need to work like Buffy does - he's a multi-millionaire. (And Angel appears to get money from saving people - I think, the whole financial thing on Angel has always confused me.)

Same with Angel - he is connected to Wes, Cordy, Fred and Gunn, Lorne and Connor - who all pretty much at one point or another reside in that hotel filled with empty rooms with him. But he stays away from the rest of humanity. Oh in the beginning with Doyle - he forced himself to interact and boy was it painful. He met Kate that way. But somewhere along the line he's pulled back again, relied more and more on the powers and less on the interaction. He doesn't share in human desires such as food, drink, music. He broods and focuses on vampire senses. HE reminds me a lot of Batman in his bat cave. This does not mean he doesn't appreciate the connections he has - but he doesn't live on an island with only five to six people. This is made clear partly by Willow's re-appearance and Faith's - who are brought in by Wes and Fred, not Angel. (Granted he was Angelus at the time, but why didn't he think to contact Willow or Faith with the Beast? Unless he did and we don't know about it. Remember Willow says - next time you want to bring back Angelus? Call me first?)

When I suggest Angel has difficulty with connections - I'm not talking about Wes, Cordy, Connor, Fred, Lorne and Gunn per se. I'm talking about the world. Looking outside your own little bubble. And yes, Angel is a vampire and that in of itself keeps him outside the frame.
But he also keeps himself in there. Spike in some ways interacts more with other beings and the human world and gets more pleasure from it than Angel appears to. Spike reminds me of the Marvel Universe character Wolverine, former hitman - now superhero. This character also has troubles connecting and feels isolated, he desperately wants to connect but he feels that he will only hurt others and others do annoy him at times. By the same token, he goes out to bars and drinks, interacts in brawls, smokes, eats, and spends time with people. He is separated from others due to his mutant abilities and danger - he has 12 inch razor sharp adamamine claws that pop out of his hands.
Yet he is also connected to them. The irony is interesting.
The paradox rather.

Both Angel and Spike fascinate me because they are paradoxes. Analyzing them is like unraveling an onion twisted like a pretzel. The mistakes I make are usually when I attempt to generalize or take it to an extreme.

I like what Rufus said above to dms's post and Aerustha's Post on Powers that Screw You. When these two vampires fall out of neutral and have to live daily with what they've done, they'll have to find a way of coming to terms with it.
There's no way they can undo what they've done or even really apologize for it. But they can protect those they once hunted and ensure no one else is added to the body count.

I was thinking of Pangs tonight. In it Spike and Giles say - you can't undo what you've done. Saying sorry doesn't work.
What you have to do is well find a way of living with it.
Not in those words of course. But I think it is a message that runs throughout the series - from Giles' act in Dark Age all the way through to now. Just as I think the other message is - we have to continue reaching out to others, not stay comfy in our batcaves or hyperion hotels. In a way it's what we're all doing right now on this message board - interacting. Or what we do when we go to work or go to a play or a movie or out to a restaurant or even just sitting in a park. When we stop doing that, we get caught inside our own heads and our own turgid soap operas and we forget about the world which like it or not we are connected to and do affect, regardless of what we do. And interacting with other people isn't easy, isn't safe, and isn't always comfortable. It can be painful to reach out to a stranger or meet new people. But it is important we continue to do so.

Not sure this made more sense or not.
Or if this is what the show is getting at. It's just something I think I've been sensing and I've been trying to figure out.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Outside the bubble -- Rahael, 00:35:46 04/07/03 Mon

Yes, agree SK, good points.

I'd also say that Angel's AI is a way for him to connect to people outside his family. It would be interesting to compare how much AI interact with the community they live in, compared to the Scoobies.....

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> AI's interaction vs. Scoobies or Batman vs. Spiderman -- s'kat, 09:50:11 04/07/03 Mon

It would be interesting to compare how much AI interact with the community they live in, compared to the Scoobies.....

I was actually thinking about this a lot last night and remembering something about how on one show we get a lot of comparisons of Angel to Batman and DC comics. And lots of Buffy to Spiderman. (Althought occassionally the two get reversed).

Now to be fair, we have to take in a couple of variables:
1. The Scoobies live in a small town or city, the size of say Albany, NY or maybe Cambridge England. The Angel gang live in LA which is roughly the size of London or NYC. And as many of us who have lived in huge cities vs. smaller towns know - you can feel much more isolated at times in the big city. Even though you go out - the connections can feel a little false. While in a smaller city - more often than not, most people know your name and there's only three hang- outs.
2. Angel the Series is a noir type series and it's focus is partly on disconnectedness, the dark elements of the city, and the anti-hero's journey. The idea of the dark detective solving crime and getting screwed half the time by people he saves. Very Batmanesque or Philip Marlow. The point is being disconnected and how the hero's main goal is to partly fight that and partly give in to it. Hence the reason we keep getting all these framing metaphors and visual metaphor for disconnectedness.
3. Btvs is a lighter tale about growing up. Where the point is connectedness and relying on each other and interaction and trying to deal with being an outcaste. Btvs's metaphors have webs and connecting doors and roots. It's not noir and it's the heros as opposed to anti-heros journey. Big difference.

Now to Spiderman and Batman references:

Both help the helpless. One, Batman, does it sort of as a living, he needs no money. He does it by batsignal and only interacts briefly with whomever he saves and with close associates. He occassionally comes out to interact with others but it's awkward and he has no parents to speak of.

Spiderman on the other hand, lives in small house in Queens not off in a mansion. He works as a photographer with a nasty boss and interacts with people in a Newsroom. He is dating a girl named MAry Jane, has a friend named Harry Osborn. They aren't helping him constantly, though do occassionally. He is constantly interacting with others outside of his occupation as Spiderman. Through these interactions and his job as a photographer, he saves the helpless.

Compare to Angel and Buffy.

In Angel - the AI team advertises and occassionally will intermix with demons and people at Caritas. They tend mostly to stay in Hyperion and interact with each other. Wes does have a girlfriend briefly outside the group - she lasts one season (Virginia) but she doesn't really get him to connect too much to outsiders. Cordy does a few acting engagements but her visions keep getting in the way. Eventually she gives up the acting all together. Lorne has a club, but it gets destroyed and he eventually gives up that. Gunn had a gang of friends outside the group but he eventually gives that up in This old Gang of Mine. Wes for a while has his own demon hunting gang - but these are minions not friends. And his relationship with Lilah is hardly about connecting so much as using. Angel briefly engages with Kate, but she eventually drifts away and he focuses inward again. (All of this is in keeping with standard noir style.)

Btvs - Xander gets a job as a construction worker and stays in that job making friends outside the gang and going on business meetings. HE even brings an outside friend to birthday party of Buffy's. He brings another friend to check on Buffy's pipes. We see him interacting with others in the Bronze, another bar, and in the expresso. As well as at work. Buffy works at the DMP, the SUnnydale high school, goes to college and interacts with people there, we see the gang interacting with others at the Bronze, a spring-break party and at the school. Willow goes to college - mentions outside friends, develops a long-term relationship and possibly the longest relationship with an outside person - Tara - who isn't made part of the SG until almost the end of S4. OZ has a band and outside friends. Tara has outside friends and is seen with them. Willow is even part of a Wicca group for a while. Anya interacts with Xander's friends, runs the MAgic Box, and has outside friends in the demon world. She's a bit like Lorne in this manner but seems to have more non-demon connections at least in S6, probably because she's human now. Dawn has numerous friends, Kitt, Janice, Amanda, Carlos, she mentions them off and on all the time (compare her to Connor who has none)
and she goes to school daily and in S6 is constantly spending the night at someone else's house. Spike is shown with all his demon friends playing poker, he plays poker with xander, he is shown rooming with Xander, he brings an outside friend to Buffy's party that ends up becoming friendly with the others, he is shown interacting with people at the Bronze outside the Scooby Gange and going to the Bronze to play pool etc. Giles - is shown with outside friends and associates. He works in a library with others. He has a home in Bath and mentions friends there, he is connected to the Coven. Joyce, now dead, ran an art gallery, was dating, and had outside friends.

In short the AI team seems to have 0 friends outside of AI, they don't really interact with outsiders unless it's work or saving them. They are insular. It's the nature of the series.

The SG team is heavily involved with outside people and their community, actually more so than AI. Xander is literally building both Sunnydale High and the Public Library. Buffy is working as a counselor at the school. Willow is involved in College. Giles was a librarian at the school and appears to want to become one again, not sure. Joyce ran an art gallery. For awhile Anya and Giles ran the Magic Shop and interacted a lot with the community. They really aren't that insular. Actually the show is getting rather crowded and I'm beginning to wish they were a bit more insular. Believe me - I think part of the reason I prefer Angel this season is I'm not watching 15 people on the screen at once. Think about it - in Summers house we have at least 15 potentials, the SG, Giles, Spike, Wood,
and all those outside friends who call the house for Dawn, not to mention Andrew. It has become Camp Summers.
While over on Angel we really only have the regulars and assorted nasties, with a few guest experience - who btw left AI to go to Summers. So, which group is more connected? Easy - SG. AI isn't that active outside of saving people. Again it's the difference between Batman and Spiderman. (Remember leave the shippiness at home, guys, I know it's hard but this is not a shippy topic really -it's not about whose better, it has nothing to do with that. It's just an interesting thing the writers are doing.)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> How much time do you think AI has? -- lunasea, 10:16:26 04/07/03 Mon

When do they have time to "interact" with others? The PTB tend to keep AI fairly busy.

And what are they going to talk about with others? I loved when Fred's parents showed up and the demon's head was a "movie prop."

They are connected with humanity. It is HUMANS they don't have much time for.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I think you've summed up the problem our heroes face -- ponygirl, 13:10:52 04/07/03 Mon

They are connected with humanity. It is HUMANS they don't have much time for.

Not your point I know, but it does speak to the big picture vs. the little picture debate that Buffy seems to be facing, and the discussion in IO about the value of one vs. the many, and whether the needs of the extraordinary supercede those of "lesser" people.

Is it possible to connect with humanity as a whole but not with individuals? It's a tricky balance, concentrate too much on the individual and it's impossible to make the hard choices that are sometimes necessary - Buffy's hand is stayed in Becoming, consequences be damned - but if it's all about the broad concept of humanity it's impossible to relate to individuals, people become expendable, and a little contemptible. Beneath you, to make it sound even more ominous.

Doyle put it this way: "You see this vampire, he thinks heís helping. Fighting the demons. Staying away from the humanís so as not to be tempted. Doing penance in his little - cell. But heís cut off. From every thing. From the people heís trying to help." (quote from Psyche)

I'd say both our heroes are cut off from the world. The AI team might as well be living in an empty city for all the interaction they have with Los Angeles. The more SiTs that show up the more faceless they become for Buffy. It's a tricky question, how does a champion live in the world?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks, SK, Lunasea, PG -- Rahael, 14:30:23 04/07/03 Mon

Very interesting points, especially all the stuff from comicbooks, SK. I have reading to do!!

This connecting stuff is hard isn't it? As I type this I realise I'm someone who is deeply loyal and connected to my family but who spends most of the time wishing they wouldn't interfere in my life and just leave me alone! Deeply nostalgic and loving of the community I was born in, but a return to which gives me terrible nightmares at night. Cast asea in a new world, a different culture, making connections with people from completely different perspectives on life and the world and tv shows, and doing a bit of the connecting and disconnecting and generally trying to swim rather than sink.

And maybe reach dry land pretty soon...lolol.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I think you've summed up the problem our heroes face -- lunasea, 15:07:47 04/07/03 Mon

That isn't what I meant at all. It wasn't about the creatures that make up "humanity" or "humans." It is about the feelings that make us human, what the Spirit Guide in "Intervention" calls "humanity." Angel and Buffy's concern is to fight the monsters without becoming monsters. They don't do this by "relationships" so much as staying in touch with what makes them human. (relationships can make monsters also) The relationships aren't the end. They are the means to it. Our humanity isn't desire. Isn't food. Isn't smoking. Isn't watching TV. It isn't puppies. It isn't other people. It is our ability to care/love.

What is important isn't that they are cut off, but what this does to them. They don't have time for people, but they have to find a way to keep their own humanity (Angel had to discover it, too). How does a Champion live in the world? S/he doesn't. That is the price for extraordinary. They have to find a way to live rather than just exist.

I love "Intervention." How often do we hear from something that can be considered canon rather than just the character's perception? Still waiting for it to play out this season.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> With Rah as well, see my response to Arethusa above :o) -- yabyumpan, 23:24:44 04/06/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Family dynamics -- Rahael, 00:30:51 04/07/03 Mon

Yes! My extended family dynamics are screwy to say the least, hehehehe. Even more so when I was younger and nearly the entire street was populated with various members of my extended family. There were long running fights over the most minor things that were kept up for decades. They weren't very serious but even now, my grandmother won't let them lie. Our eyes tend to glaze over when she starts on them.

And now, even among the people I love the most, things are never ever easy. Rewarding yes, but hard work. At one point, I had to walk out on everything (mentally) and assert my independence before my family started listening to me properly. Now, we have very good relationships, but conflicts had to be entered into and resolved for this.

Sometimes we tend to value surface peacefulness, with all family members keeping silent about many issues, to those conflicts being expresssed. I'm not sure one is better than the other (though the first is easier to live with in the short term) but the middle ground seems to be the happiest place to be - minor resentments let go, major problems dealt with.

But I think the point I'm trying to make is that good connections don't happen automatically, even when a great deal of love is involved. The story of connections is also one of the disconnect, the work involved in keeping those relationships going. Angelus' comment that 'there should be a play' reminds us that the family can be the crucible for tragedy.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Just one more thing. :) Spoilers for trailer for next Angel. -- Arethusa, 07:03:16 04/07/03 Mon

I don't think Angel's ability to make connections is what Whedon is getting at. I think he's trying to explore what free will means. As long Angel (and Cordy, Connor, Wes and Fred) look to outside sources for affirmation or direction, they don't fully have free will. They are depending on TPTB or parental figures or prophesies or role models to guide their behavior. And it always leads to disaster, or at least heartache. (I don't think Gunn has the same problems as the others do; he has always had noone but himself to depend on.)

All the agents of authority are being presented as suspect. D'Hoffryn, the CoW, the Shadowmen, The Powers that Be, prophesies, even Giles, who ME tried to suggest might the FE in disguise. Having Giles not touch anything so we would wonder if he was the FE was rather silly, unless you think ME is trying to tell us to suspect all authority, even the benevolent ones. Our narrators are constantly unreliable. Points of view keep shifting. Who can we rely on for guidance and authority?

Nobody but ourselves. We are all alone, we "[exist] in an unfathomable universe and the...individual... must assume ultimate responsibility for his acts of free will without any certain knowledge of what is right or wrong or good or bad ." (Mirriam Webster's definition of existentialsim, slightly abridged.)

I could be totally wrong, of course. But I think it's interesting that the next Angel seems to be about the total eradication of free will.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Autonomy, trust, companionship and authority -- Masq, 09:27:15 04/07/03 Mon

I don't think Angel's ability to make connections is what Whedon is getting at. I think he's trying to explore what free will means. As long Angel (and Cordy, Connor, Wes and Fred) look to outside sources for affirmation or direction, they don't fully have free will. They are depending on TPTB or parental figures or prophesies or role models to guide their behavior. And it always leads to disaster, or at least heartache. (I don't think Gunn has the same problems as the others do; he has always had noone but himself to depend on.)

There's a difference between separating from authority figures for the purposes of autonomy and separating from family. Sometimes family are authority figures and you need to separate when that relationship gets disfunctional. But the loner who separates from all others for the sake of his or her autonomy is in the end pretty much just lonely.

Angel needs to be connected--to Cordelia, Connor, Wesley, all the others. He needs to look outside himself for connection, love, support, alternative points of view. This isn't a weakness, it's human, and it is a source of strength. Depending on others doesn't negate your free will. Not even a certain amount of healthy dependence on authority figures.

ME shouldn't get too extremist with its "distrust authority" stuff. It's never really so simple as "one should trust only oneself". We need to trust others, our companions in this crazy thing called life, and sometimes, we need to trust authority figures. Connor chose the wrong authority figure. But Darla doesn't just tell him to trust himself, she wanted him to trust her, to trust his father. She wants him to reconnect with his parents. Yes, in the end, Connor's choices should be his own, but a big part of his problem has been a good lack of helpful, loving authority figures this season.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Okay, two more things. -- Arethusa, 10:09:08 04/07/03 Mon

I don't mean that Angel can't or shouldn't connect with others, or that anyone should reject all authority or not trust others. I meant that his connections and trust should be based on an accurate knowledge of self and free will. Why did Connor choose to listen to Cordelia instead of Darla? Because he depended on Holtz's views of the world and his parents instead of his own. He blindly ignored the evidence before his eyes that Angel was trying to be a good man because then he'd have to rethink everything he'd ever learned from Holtz, and determine who/what was good and evil for himself. Why did Cordelia so readily believe that she had transcended earthly existance, was so good and noble that she deserved to be like a god? Becuase then she wouldn't have to keep asking herself if she was a good person. If TPTB said she's worthy, she's worthy, despite her 16-odd years of being totally self-involved and often downright cruel.

Rejecting authority and achieving total free will isn't a goal, a way to live one's life. It's one of the first steps of a journey. Only after you learn to trust yourself and live for yourself can you learn to trust others and live for others. Otherwise, you'll never know who to trust, and will just go with the authority that makes you feel good about yourself or justifies your way of life. Having to constantly question every moral decision and behavior and make a decision without a higher authority to guide you is the downside of free will, but you can't be an existentialist without it.

And now I'm repeating myself and probably boring ya'll, so I'll drop the topic.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Brava on this post! Very insightful -- Masq, 13:04:01 04/07/03 Mon

Thus Spracht Arethusa.

Always wanted to say that...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> LOL. Quote of the month? -- Rahael, 14:19:17 04/07/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Wish I could take credit, but I think someone already did this one -- Masq, 14:37:49 04/07/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Would agree very well said. -- s'kat, 16:17:44 04/07/03 Mon

And I think much closer to the point I was trying to make and didn't. Great post!

Actually all your posts on this thread have been insightful.
Thank you for making them.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Keep with the more things! -- Sara, who's just starting to get it, 21:24:51 04/07/03 Mon

Love your view on what's going on. It makes sense that this isn't about connections, because Angel keeps making new ones - Kate, Gunn, Fred, Faith, even Darla. He accepts people into his life very readily and becomes quite attached - but the authority spin, that really hits the nail right on the head as far as what's going on in the show.

Why does Connor chose Cordelia over Darla - because he wants to believe Cordelia and have her as part of his life, more than he wants to figure things out for himself. It's easier to follow her direction than it is to work out the tough stuff himself. Why does everyone in AI put blind faith in the Powers That Be, because it's an attractive world view, that lets them work really hard at being good without having to struggle with the complexities of a world without Powers That Be. This is showing that you can be brave, make sacrifices, even risk your life and yet still be copping out in the important area of moral decision making.

How strong are your personal ethics if you defer them to a person, power or belief system that doesn't have you explictly making each choice your own? It's a great question and I never would have seen it in the show if you hadn't pointed it out to me! Thanks Arethusa! You're definitely not boring me, so don't drop anything!

- Sara, who really did like evil Cordy as a metaphor for When Loved Ones Go Bad...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Just one more thing. :) Spoilers for trailer for next Angel. -- Arethusa, 07:05:16 04/07/03 Mon

I don't think Angel's ability to make connections is what Whedon is getting at. I think he's trying to explore what free will means. As long Angel (and Cordy, Connor, Wes and Fred) look to outside sources for affirmation or direction, they don't fully have free will. They are depending on TPTB or parental figures or prophesies or role models to guide their behavior. And it always leads to disaster, or at least heartache. (I don't think Gunn has the same problems as the others do; he has always had noone but himself to depend on.)

All the agents of authority are being presented as suspect. D'Hoffryn, the CoW, the Shadowmen, The Powers that Be, prophesies, even Giles, who ME tried to suggest might the FE in disguise. Having Giles not touch anything so we would wonder if he was the FE was rather silly, unless you think ME is trying to tell us to suspect all authority, even the benevolent ones. Our narrators are constantly unreliable. Points of view keep shifting. Who can we rely on for guidance and authority?

Nobody but ourselves. We are all alone, we "[exist] in an unfathomable universe and the...individual... must assume ultimate responsibility for his acts of free will without any certain knowledge of what is right or wrong or good or bad ." (Mirriam Webster's definition of existentialsim, slightly abridged.)

I could be totally wrong, of course. But I think it's interesting that the next Angel seems to be about the total eradication of free will.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> ME TOO!!! -- lunasea, 10:01:45 04/07/03 Mon

I just wish he would stop saying that he is alone in his beliefs. My head gets tired of nodding when I read his stuff usually.

One quibble We didn't see this in Buffy, because he really didn't have any true friendships - everyone other than Buffy felt some level of distrust towards.

Actually, he developed a friendship with Willow also. That is why she is the character that tells him about Buffy's death. Can you imagine Xander doing it or even Giles? Willow didn't hold the same sort of distrust of Angel or Buffy/Angel that others did. That is why "kick his ass" hurt Buffy so much. Resouling Angel helped both her friends.

Angel/Giles have a very son-in-law/father-in-law dynamic that precludes real friendship.

Cordy turning evil could be how addiction plays out in a family (keeping with the addiction theme). When a member of the family changes because of addiction, stuff happens. There was plenty of denial going on.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Um, lunasea -- KdS, 14:14:08 04/07/03 Mon

Rah's female, if she's the "he" you were talking about.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hehe, I think Lunasea was referring to Angel. -- Rahael, 14:22:43 04/07/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Or maybe me -- Rahael, 14:24:25 04/07/03 Mon

I get confused. I have a fever, and I'm androgynous today as well. Drugs! More drugs please!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Get well soon! -- KdS, 14:30:43 04/07/03 Mon

I tried to put something on your livejournal, but I got a "cannot find server" error when I tried to post it. Hope you're better by Thursday.

Stay indoors, don't try to work, take loads of paracetomol (not up to the liver-destroying level of course). One thing that works for me is soluble zinc tablets - they really do work but they have to be the soluble ones that dissolve in your mouth. Solgar Flavo-Zinc are the best, Holland & Barrett ones taste disgusting.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks! -- Rahael, 14:33:25 04/07/03 Mon

Never fear. Thursday I will be uninfectious, well and laden with pastries ;)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Take care -- lunasea, 15:13:01 04/07/03 Mon

Take care yourself. I need you to help keep me sane in chat.

I had a migraine yesterday and today, so I am doing the drug thing today, too. Probably going to do the knocked-on-my-ass thing in a minute since I need to take another pill.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Well said ... -- oceloty, 21:18:12 04/07/03 Mon

Sara, and everyone -- thanks. And please count me in for the alterna-vision. Everyone who's posted has such great thoughts (some of which I even agree with, heh), I wish I could better keep up with all the discussion.

[i]The show really does speak to those family relationships that somehow stop working and you may or may not know why. Sometimes they're your fault, and sometimes they're not, but always painful. [/i]

Personally, that's one of the things I love about ATS, the way they keep finding new territory in the "family" idea. At first they were a bunch of dysfunctional individuals who somehow formed a functional family. Then their flaws caught up with them and they were a dysfunctional family. I'm really rooting for them, hope they can put it back together.

[> [> [> [> [> [> I'm going to guess you don't have kids -- lunasea, 09:47:53 04/07/03 Mon

Nothing teaches you how little control you really have than children.

Blame Angel seems to be the new form of "Blame the Demon."

Our lives are a combination of choices we make and things we have no control about. The control we have is limited. Our power learns in the serentity prayer:

Grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Full text by Reinhold Niebuhr contains the following also:

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

It is a lot like the Prayer of St. Francis:

Lord make me an instrument of your peace

Where there is hatred,
Let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, Joy.

O Divine Master grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled
As to console;
To be understood,as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

THAT is where salvation lies in the Buffyverse.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I have three. -- Arethusa, 10:40:39 04/07/03 Mon

And they are sometimes beyond my control! But I try to teach them to think for themselves and see things clearly. An example: my daughter is having problems with a friend who picks on her at times. I didn't tell her to stop seeing the friend, whom she likes very much. But I did tell her to realize that she either needed to stand up for herself and stop the needling, or realize that her friend was sometimes cruel for reasons of her own, and not internalize the occasional insult or take it personally. It's her decision to continue to be friends or not.

But Angel's an adult, and should take ultimate control over his life. The buck stops with him. Accepting we have no control is also making a choice, after all. Instead of railing against cruel fate, we accept that there are some things we can't change, and then we are free to learn how to live with the lack of control. By choosing to accept some things, we are no longer controlled by them, since at the very least we know we voluntarily accepted the situation, instead of feeling it was forced upon us.

Do you really think an atheist is telling us to sujegate our will to God, and everything will be okay? That that is where salvation lies? If that is true, Jasmine will be the answer to everyone's prayers.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Angel doesn't let the PTB control him -- lunasea, 12:07:54 04/07/03 Mon

Reunion. They tried to prevent him from going after Darla. He didn't listen.

An atheist ended "Grave" with the Prayer of St. Francis. I wouldn't put money on anything.

By choosing to accept some things, we are no longer controlled by them, since at the very least we know we voluntarily accepted the situation, instead of feeling it was forced upon us.

That is one illusion I love. If we voluntarily accept the solution we have control over our FEELINGS not the situation. They aren't the same thing.

Various people have said that Angel doesn't have control ove various things. You are saying he should control how he feels. Not the same thing.

And we should feel our feelings. That is what they are there for.

[> [> [> [> [> even when it's futile.: EXACTLY!!!!!! -- lunasea, 09:35:23 04/07/03 Mon

Poor Sisyphus. I can't imagine finding the motivation to keep pushing that rock, but Angel does. Every time a motivation fails him, he developes a new one. It makes him a dynamic character.

I can't imagine what it is like to have done the things he has, or to have had the things done to me that have been done to him...and to still care.

[> [> [> Re: part 2: Btvs and Ats compared, souls, and connections (spoilers:LMPTM and Inside Out) -- maddog, 13:54:16 04/05/03 Sat

Now, I don't remember Angel's tone during that speech, but I don't remember it being condescending towards Buffy as much as it being a reminder that he's suffered much worse. And while I agree that if we're talking about a scorecard here Angel's done many more terrible things than Connor...but as his father I think Angel was trying to keep Connor from going down that path...and as his father I think it's his right to.

[> [> [> [> Re: part 2: Btvs and Ats compared, souls, and connections (spoilers:LMPTM and Inside Out) -- Just George, 19:37:46 04/05/03 Sat

Maddog: "Now, I don't remember Angel's tone during that speech, but I don't remember it being condescending towards Buffy as much as it being a reminder that he's suffered much worse."

At the time I did think his tone was condescending. Just a bit. A little. A tad.

Maybe I'm just sensitive where the Bufster is concerned. It is hard to get beyond 'ships and opinions about individual characters. :-)


[> [> [> [> [> Re: part 2: Btvs and Ats compared, souls, and connections (spoilers:LMPTM and Inside Out) -- lunasea, 09:45:11 04/07/03 Mon

Not condescending. Just denial about how he feels about her. He is trying so hard to forget her (that was a rotten plan). The Buffygasm of "Awakening" and the Buffy/Angel theme playing when Willow leaves in "Orpheus" shows how well that plan has been working.

Joss is never going to close the door on those two. Gotta save something to torture us (and them) with in the movie.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: part 2: Btvs and Ats compared, souls, and connections (spoilers:LMPTM and Inside Out) -- Just George, 11:43:12 04/07/03 Mon

Tone of voice is hard to read (condescension vs. denial). However, I agree with you that the B/A relationship is full of unfinished business for both characters. Closure for either character is possible. But, like you, I hope that the whole thing can be wrapped up in a big budget movie some time after both series have been completed.


[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: part 2: Btvs and Ats compared, souls, and connections (spoilers:LMPTM and Inside Out) -- yabyumpan, 12:09:47 04/07/03 Mon

Joss is never going to close the door on those two

Sadly I think you're right. For all the growth in Buffy's character over the past 7 years, for all the talk about this being a 'feminist' show, I think we're going to be left with this wonderfully strong female character stuck pinning after the 'first-love' guy she met when she was 16. I also fear that we're going to get the character of Angel, who has also gone through enormouse growth over the past 7 years, also being stuck in a love he had for a 16 year old four years ago. I fear that even though he's had his own show and his own path for the past 4 years, in the end it wil be 'all about Buffy'. I hope I'm wrong, I fear I'm not.

[> [> Brava shadowkat! -- ponygirl, 20:30:22 04/04/03 Fri

That was amazing, and, as well as cranking up my brain, your post also lifted some of my seasonal gloom about where BtVS is going. It happens every year, I fall into a bit of a funk thinking that they're never going to be able to wrap everything up, all the ideas and themes we've been discussing are going to end up forgotten. You'd think I'd learn by now - the plot may twist itself into pretzels but the emotional centre of each season might as well be a clear line.

To paraphrase Holden, inferiority or superiority, it all adds up to you feeling alone. To live above or beneath still manages to avoid living in the world. Of course Holden goes on to add that we are all alone until we die, but then he's an evil soulless thing and not to be trusted. ;)

Thanks for posting sk! Hope to comment more tomorrow!

[> [> Re: part 2: Btvs and Ats compared, souls, and connections (spoilers:LMPTM and Inside Out) -- Celebaelin, 04:22:08 04/05/03 Sat

I imagine that your questions were rhetorical, or that you assumed (incorrectly in my case) that everyone would be up to speed with you fairly quickly but in any event I'm going to suggest a quick answer to this one.

... - it [the FE] tells the girls taping him that it only says what it wants them to hear? So why reveal that? How did revealing it possibly help the FE and hurt Buffy?

Because the characters will spend time re-assessing what the FE has told them from a fresh perspective. It's told "us" (from the characters pov) that it's only told us what it wants us to hear, but it wants us to hear that. Could any solution we reach to counter the disruptive effect of the FE's interaction be predictable? Is what the FE wants to have foreknowledge of it's enemies mindset? Is any solution to the FE's challenge to perception in fact the desired outcome of the FE's mental manipulation? Is the FE lying and if so what about?

If "I" say you're ugly and no-one really likes you does that make it the truth or does it just make you worry that it might be? What if I know that when you're worried you take the phone off the hook and spend the evening biting your fingernails and eating stuff that's going to make you break out?

After that diversionary period of contemplation has been inflicted do you accept that what I said is the truth or do you know that it is a lie? Whichever way you go with that how does it make you feel about yourself and how is that going to affect your ability to function and co-operate with your allies?

It looks like I've caught IPS (Interogative Post Syndrome), you realise that this could result in the eternal thread? Oh rats there I go again.

[> [> [> Re: part 2: Btvs and Ats compared, souls, and connections (spoilers:LMPTM and Inside Out) -- s'kat, 07:32:20 04/05/03 Sat

Re: the question thing? Yeah well, you should have seen the first version of the post, 85% of it was nothing but questions - I figured people would hate me, so changed it.
Aren't you glad? ;-)

The FE is having a grand old time with our heros, breeding dissent. Heck what it tells Willow when she tries to locate it is a great clue - you're only making me stronger.

What better way to get everyone to start second-guessing themselves and breed fear - than tell them all, that hey, you know that vampire, your leader risked her life to save?
He's my ace in the hole. Or I was planning on having Andrew shoot all the girls...but hey I can do that later. There's always Spike, bwahahahah! If I was an SIT I would want Spike elsewhere. Andrew I could handle. But Spike? not so much.

The FE is the Iago villain of the Whedonverse. And it is having a grand old time.

[> [> [> [> Re: part 2: Btvs and Ats compared, souls, and connections (spoilers:LMPTM and Inside Out) -- Celebaelin, 17:48:24 04/05/03 Sat


85% of it was nothing but questions

Much like life. But ultimately isn't the FE just the monster under the bed and its' minions the real problem? Aaaarghhh, and I meant to keep away from the '?'. If this sounds lacking in consideration please remember that spoilery for me means anything after Entropy so my contribution is perforce poorly informed. That's my excuse anyway and I'm sticking to it.

[> [> [> More IPS -- pilgrim, 17:25:05 04/05/03 Sat

When, oh when are Buffy and the gang going to stop playing the FE's mind games, turn over the chessboard, and start fresh, say with kitten poker? Didn't Buffy promise us in BOTN that she was going to change the rules and take the war to the bad guys? Was she serious or just blowing smoke?

[> [> [> [> About games -- s'kat, 19:51:01 04/05/03 Sat

When, oh when are Buffy and the gang going to stop playing the FE's mind games, turn over the chessboard, and start fresh, say with kitten poker? Didn't Buffy promise us in BOTN that she was going to change the rules and take the war to the bad guys? Was she serious or just blowing smoke?

It's not an easy thing to change the game. Just watched a movie called Battle Royal today, a japanese film. The film is about a game. In the film - which takes place in the distant future - the adults have passed an act called Battle Royal. The Act is their means of handling the power of the rebellious youths who threaten them. What the act entails is randomly selecting a class of 9th graders, placing them on an island, fitted with neck collars, different weapons, and telling them to kill each other. It's a game - these are the rules: you get one weapon. You have 3 days. You must stay out of the danger zones or we will activate your collar to kill you. Only one person can win. If more than one person is alive after three days we kill you all. And if you try to deactivate or remove the collar - we kill you.

The students have several choices:

1. They can play the game by the rules, become killers and kill everyone until there is one winner. A couple of the students pick this option.

2. They can team up and try to stay alive for the three days and wait it out. Several pick this option, but their distrust of each other does them in.

3. They can opt out of the game by committing suicide. A few pick this option.

4. They can hunt a way to change the rules - by teaming together to figure out the collars, hack into the gov's computer network, and con the government. Focus on trusting one another and building on human connection. The three who do this are two lovers and a stranger that they befriend. The winners try this solution and win.

But it takes them a while to figure it out.

Buffy right now is struggling with some of the same issues that Angel is, oddly enough. What the game is about?
They both think it's all about power and being a super- hero.
It's not. Oh it has to do with power - but power isn't in Angel's ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound or fight. Power is in the ability to trust the people he has around him, to team up. Their connection to each other and their free choice is their power. Buffy needs to figure this out as well - her power is in the connections she's made with the others. Spike's power was in choosing the soul, choosing the connection. Xander's power was in choosing to be connected to others, seeing the potential in them. Anya's power was in choosing to give up the vengeance gig. Willow's power is in seeing the connections between others - she has always gotten her strength and power from those connections - she just needs to ask as opposed to demand. When we join together? We can do anything. When we are alone? very little.

In Battle Royal - the three surviors realize they won the game, 1st by not killing anyone unless forced to - they focused their energy on figuring the way out and working with others and 2nd- that they had made close friends who they could trust and experienced the love of those connections.

Buffy does sort of get this - we see it in her interactions with Spike, Xander, Anya, Willow at the beginning of the season. But she's flipping back and forth between her humanity and the slayer side of her identity - she's not entirely sure who she is yet. Also - there's the on-going tension - that we all experience - between relying on our connection to others and our need to forge our own path.
The tension between being an individual in a community.
OR being a creative genius writing and creating a story with ten other people. That is what is partly being explored here and I think it's part of the reason the board hasn't been flipped over yet. Be patient. It will.

[> [> [> [> [> thanks for a thoughtful response . . . -- pilgrim, 08:22:17 04/07/03 Mon

to a rather flippant message. I'm greatly enjoying the tension between the tantalizing moments of connection, the moments when the SG realizes and articulates that "we are stronger together" and the moments when individuals disconnect and go off on their own. I'm both wanting a resolution to the tension and not wanting it to be over. As Willie Wonka says, (paraphrase)The suspense is killing me, I hope it lasts. Thanks for your essays, btw, much goodness to chew on.

[> Re: No Human is An island (Spoilers up Btvs LMPTM and ATs Inside Out) -- Rufus, 18:49:10 04/04/03 Fri

In Silver Surfer Comics ñ Marvel again, Gaea imbued all life with her essence. (Hence the connections the above characters feel.) Gaea is the Elder God who started with the world. She was accompanied by Set and Cthon. Set and Cthon turned evil. Set got killed. Cthon made it to another dimension but keeps trying to return to Gaeaís. Each time he attempts it, heroes imbued with Gaeaís strength stop him and entrap him in towers and caves ñ stuck, exiled, disconnected. He is unable to physically affect life on earth. But he can manipulate others to work his will. His purpose to break down Gaeaís connections so he can break back into her world.

Sound familiar?...there is Gaea and her connection to life and the powers of light, then you have the First who seems to be the dark magic type like Cthon. Also consider the fact that Slayers are created using dark magics, but as the Slayer is human they still have a connection to Gaea because she is in every living thing. Can you seperate the dark from the light when it comes to magic....that is what Willow seems to be finding out this year.

[> [> Re: No Human is An island (Spoilers up Btvs LMPTM and ATs Inside Out) -- s'kat, 21:05:44 04/05/03 Sat

Thanks Rufus, trying to wrap my brain around this gem.

Sound familiar?...there is Gaea and her connection to life and the powers of light, then you have the First who seems to be the dark magic type like Cthon. Also consider the fact that Slayers are created using dark magics, but as the Slayer is human they still have a connection to Gaea because she is in every living thing. Can you seperate the dark from the light when it comes to magic....that is what Willow seems to be finding out this year.

Hmm, bear with me while I puzzel this one out. Obviously you can't separate the darkness from yourself. We all have darkness inside us. Joyce's comment to Buffy in BoTN is actually true. You can't destroy the evil in everything.
On the other hand - you can rise above or choose to not act on that evil. Not let it control you. It's not separating, so much as controlling. Choosing which side you want to listen to and how you deal with it.

We have a couple of powerful characters who have incredibly dark sides to their nature.

Spike. the vampire

Anya. the former vengeance demon

Willow. the witch

Buffy. the slayer

Spike - proves in LMPTM that he can access his darkness but control it, finally. He can use it to threaten, but stop before going all the way. He also sort of proves this in Get it Done - where he accesses it to kill the demon. What remains to be seen is really how much control he has. Whether he can stop and keep that dangerous part of himself in check, choose to be good, and a fighter at the same time. We don't the answer to that question quite yet. We don't really know where the vampire ends and William begins. (Although we can certainly speculate up a storm..;-))

Willow- proves in Get it Done - she can access dark and control it. She does a better job of proving it in Orpheus over on Angel, maybe because it's a spell she's comfortable with? She's still struggling though. She still hasn't figured out where the magic ends and Willow begins.

Anya - gave up her power or so she thinks. I think she still has it and has no clue. I think she always did. But I have no proof of this yet. For Anya - she needs to figure out who Anya is. Whether she is the dark vengeance demon?
If her only power was in vengeance? We have so little info on her - that that is a hard one.

Buffy - is pretty much in the same boat as Willow and Spike, she's not sure how much power she has and what it does to her. Where does Buffy begin and the power end?
What is stronger? The counselor or the slayer? She's been told by everyone that she's a lousey counselor and can only be a slayer. Are they right? What I like about Buffy - is she finds her own way, eventually sets her own rules and doesn't let anyone tell her who she can or should be. It's why she's 5-0 on the apocalypse chart. Perhaps what she needs to see is the light in her power and the dark and realize how with the help of others to control it? Maybe if she can spread the power around? Don't know, Spike certainly tried that when he was triggered and look what happened.

Not sure.

I know you're being good and trying not to spoil me. But if you can clarify without doing so...appreciate it. If not?
I can be patient. ;-)


[> [> [> Re: the All Power All The Time Gang (Spoilers up Btvs LMPTM and Ats Inside Out) -- Just George, 11:33:30 04/06/03 Sun

Completely speculative, one of the things I would love to see in the last couple of episodes is for the characters to trot out all of their most powerful aspects from the series:

Wild Man Fighting Spike
Black Eyed, Black Haired Super Witch Willow
Vengeance Demon Anya
All Kick Ass All The Time Faith
Even Uber-Slayer Buffy

And have it not be enough. To show that this time it's not about power.

Once the All Power All The Time Gang gets their asses kicked (and pays the price in casualties) Buffy turns the game on its head and finds another way to win. I want the Scoobies to win because they are clever and because they care, for each other and for their community.

Another part of me suspects that the finale will be "Supported by her friends Buffy" vs. "FE Buffy" in a two beings enter, one being leaves, ultimate fighting cage match to determine the fate of the Hellmouth and the world.

Either way (or both!), the geek in me wants to see all the cool special effects and great fight choreography one last time. :-)


[> [> [> A non-answer .....spoilers for Buffy -- Rufus, 19:33:09 04/06/03 Sun

In the next few episodes things just may make more sense and I have made posts about what is to come but they are way to spoilery for this board, so when we all catch up I'll post them.

[> [> [> [> Okay...can you just let me know if I'm on the right track? -- s'kat, 20:00:02 04/06/03 Sun

A yes or no answer will suffice. ;-)

(Trying to decide if the flip I did to both series works. Because it can literally be interpreted the other way.)


[> [> [> [> [> How about this....more yes than no.....;) -- Rufus, 03:56:27 04/07/03 Mon

[> Not rambling at all. Lots to digest, thanks. -- Cheryl, 19:23:40 04/04/03 Fri

I'm clueless as far as most of the comics you cited (except for Spiderman and Batman - and that's only from the movies). And it's been a long time since I've seen most of those movies, but I remember enough that it all makes sense in this context.

I've thought for a long time now that it was the connections between the characters that makes them who they are and makes BtVS and Ats as interesting and complex as they are. Not the power and who does or doesn't have it (Xander sure has done some powerful things without any supernatural gifts). Yes, there are all the metaphors, but what are the metaphors there for? When I first found this board I was a little intimidated (well, still am sometimes) by all the deep philosophical discussions and references to literature, psychology, etc. that I'm not really familiar with. But when you break it all down, doesn't it really come down to the people and their connections to each other? When that's broken, the characters are broken. They don't grow. They suffer.

S'kat, loved your post and really appreciate all of your well thought-out pieces. As I've said before, you always make me think, as Anya said, "outside the box." Thanks.

[> Re: No Human is An island (Spoilers up Btvs LMPTM and ATs Inside Out) -- gds, 19:25:33 04/04/03 Fri

The butterfly story is "A Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury. It is about safaris of dinosaur hunters. They are only allowed to travel on a strictly laid out path & only kill specifically marked dinosaurs ñ those which they already know are to die very soon. One gung-ho careless guy kills the butterfly when he steps off the path. The sound of thunder is the last sound the miscreant hears when the safari leader kills (shoots) him after returning to the changed world.

[> In the words of Ted of Bill & Ted "Dude. Whoa." -- deeva, lying down and thinking about what's it all mean, 23:34:26 04/04/03 Fri

[> Brilliant- not nutty SK. But... -- Tchaikovsky, 11:48:24 04/05/03 Sat

If it keeps you posting such quality, you can stay insecure about your posts ;-)

Thanks for this gem, (although I skated over the later Angel bits)


[> I loved this, s'kat...Thanks! -- dub ;o), 21:41:57 04/05/03 Sat

[> Thanks for reading everyone and for the replies! -- S'kat, 21:50:59 04/06/03 Sun

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