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Why does Dru highlight (spoiler speculation request) LMPTM -- Alexandre Dumas Pere, 16:08:35 04/08/03 Tue

As William the Vamp is about to feed and turn his mother, why does Dru rub the outside of her abdomen???

The actress does this in a pronounced way.

[> I'm not going to answer your question, but . . . -- d'Herblay, 16:12:55 04/08/03 Tue

. . . I feel I've met my maker!

(Rochefort really should be here for this.)

[> Re: Why does Dru highlight (spoiler speculation request) LMPTM -- Dariel, 19:38:56 04/08/03 Tue

Because William is about to FEED on his mum.

[> [> I think it was also -- ponygirl, 07:18:47 04/09/03 Wed

Suggestive of pregnancy. Dru had just remarked that she was the other who gave birth to Spike.

Free Will and Choice (complete speculation and spoilers for all episodes-Be Warned!!!) -- Cecilia, 07:01:50 04/09/03 Wed

Free Will and Choices

I have seen a lot of speculation surrounding the "tying-in" of BtVS and Ats this year and I have come to join in the mix. I was pondering the signifigance of Spike being "ensouled" and the method for how he went about it, the actions that certain members of the AI team and the Scoobies have performed and what it will/can/does all mean in the end. It all revolves around choice.

When Willow has her discussion with the FE in the library in CwDP, the entity expresses "I'm done with the whole mortal coil...Balancing the scales thing..." (or something to that effect). Then over on AtS, we have Cordelia ascending to a higher plain (I mean, c'mon! Cordelia!!)and, if Skip is to be believed at all, it is the same dimension/level of consciousness that Buffy inhabited after her death. (Skip (re:Cordy's return)"...No one comes back from Paradise. Well, a slayer. Once")Also, we have the whole ambiguous "Yes, it really is Cordelia" thing, and I was thinking, huh??? Ok, Cordy, not exactly the person I would have pegged to be "pure" and worthy of a seat in heaven or anything, but evil, no way! Then I realized something, the balance within her is off kilter. The balance of good and evil that exists within all humans(at least according to Holland-the dead Wolfram & Hart lawyer). And that makes sense,at least in the bigger picture.

The thing that sets humans apart from demons, for the most part, is free will. Call it a soul, call it a conscience, whatever, it doesn't matter. Humans can choose to do good, humans can choose to do evil. There is that balance within. Now, the FE is done with "balance", what about the other, the opposite to the FE. Since the Buffyverse/Angelverse is aetheistic, I won't call it God, let's call it the FG(first good-or perhaps TPTB??). Surely it plays some role in balancing the scales. The term balance implies that there is an opposite.

I would postulate that the FG is as dangerous for humanity as the FE is. Afterall, lack of choice is lack of choice, right? If free will is the essence of humanity, then the lack of ability to choose evil is as dangerous to that essence as the lack of ability to choose good. Therefore, humanity needs that balance. Evil is necessary, good is necessary.

In CwDP, Joyce tells Dawn that in the end, "Buffy won't choose you. She will be against you". Here comes the complete speculation part; Jasmine (an entity born to Cordelia after descending from Paradise-ie Heaven) is the physical manifestation of Pure Goodness. The FE is still non- corporeal with no apparent plans to become corporeal. So the FG (in the form of Jasmine) can affect the mortal coil in a way that the FE cannot. Buffy's choice, her sacrifice, will be to choose evil, to enable the fight between good and evil to continue, to rebalance the scales. This, not death, is the ultimate sacrifice that Buffy can make. Without evil, humanity cannot continue. Without good, humanity cannot continue. A fitting, if somewhat twisted, ending for a hero.

For the first time ever, there are two slayers. Anything Buffy does will not affect the balance that has existed since the dawn of time. If she dies, there is still the slayer, if she lives, there is still the slayer, if she chooses evil over good, there is still the slayer. She is unique, separate and apart from the slayer line. I have thought from the very beginning (with Kendra) that there had to larger reprecussions of there being two slayers. This is it.

Similarly, I also believed that there has to be something larger to Spike being ensouled. I mean, chip or no chip, he still should not have been able to choose!!Yet he did. The signifigance of this is not that he, by choosing, caused these events to unfold, but because of the resurrection of Buffy (the first one, where Xander performed CPR) this (Spike choosing a soul) was able to happen. The balance of the scales between good and evil has been off for years. This is the event that the Floaty Multi-Eyeball Demon thingy (sorry-forget the demon's name and the episode name) told Anya and Giles about, not when the Scoobies resurrected her.

I could go on and on here. And I am sure the "theory" has more holes than swiss cheese, but it is the only thing that makes sense.

Please tell me what you think.

[> Some incoherent thoughts in response, Spoilers for Ats and BtVS to date, incl. Ats trailer -- Arethusa, 10:08:16 04/09/03 Wed

I think you make a lot of sense. Unfortunately, when I try to respond, I don't! But here are a few thoughts.

Skip refers to humans as monkeys a couple of times. In the Christopher Walken movie The Prophecy, Archangel Gabriel and many other angels become jealous when God gives people souls. Gabriel bitterly refers to humans as glorified monkeys. The angels rebel, are cast out of heaven, and man takes over earth. In the Buffyverse, demons are cast out (except for one) and man takes over the earth. Man has free will. Demons don't. Vampires eradicate free will by releasing the soul. Buffy helps two vampires have souls by helping them keep/gain free will. The whole thing centers around free will. Both forces want to eradicate it, one to create a paradise and the other to create a hell. This could be like the battle between God and the Devil. Both want to eradicate free will-God says obey me and ascend to Paradise, the Devil/Satan/Whatever says obey me and be powerful here on earth.

E!Cordy says by whose judgment does AI try to do good?-- implying who are they to decide for themselves what is good and evil?

It makes more sense for Buffy to accept all of herself to become a complete person than to give up part of herself-her slayerness-to be a complete person. To deny the negative in ourselves is to give it power. (I'm starting to prefer negative and positive over light and dark.) To accept the negative is to gain power over it, to be able to use it when necessary without it taking over. Willow, Spike, Anya, Fred and Wesley are all facing these issues, as well of course as Angel and Buffy.

The weird thing is, I can't imagine what Buffy would do regarding herself to restore balance. It's Spike and Angel, because of Buffy, who have upset the balance, by being vampires with souls. According to the rules of this cosmic game, demons don't get to have free will. Would they have to either give up their souls or become human to restore balance?

[> Curmudgeon Response -- DickBD, 11:31:43 04/09/03 Wed

Free will is not infrequently mentioned in Buffyverse. I suspect that is because the term is used in the lexicon of existentialists. In real life, it is a meaningless concept. We don't really have free will. Well, we can choose what we want--but we can't choose what it is we want. That has been provided by our inheritance and environment. That doesn't mean that we can't be accountable. (Punishing people is only justified in that it is intended to change behavior.)

Obviously, this is an aside and not a direct response to your post. I just couldn't help my curmudgeonly response to the idea of free will. (I can't help myself!)

[> [> Re: Curmudgeon Response -- Arethusa, 11:51:33 04/09/03 Wed

We are unable to overcome our impulses? We can't recognize what influences us and choose to either go with our impulses or not? We are capable of self-reflection and making choices about our behavior. If we weren't, both religions (which tell us to fight our sinful nature) and psychology (which helps us recognize what influences and drives us, to make the right choices) are as illusionary as you say free will is.

[> [> [> Re: Curmudgeon Response -- DickBD, 12:14:44 04/09/03 Wed

Well, you are talking about further influences (causes) right there. I think free will was originally a religious concept to excuse the use of hell. (i.e. "God gave us free will so that we could choose." No wonder Voltaire called free will "the means by which humankind condemns itself to hell.")

We have the illusion of free will, and I have no problem with the term "autonomous," but we act within a framework of our heredity and environment. The influences you mention are not outside that.

[> [> [> [> Isn't it more accurate to say that -- Sophist, 12:40:06 04/09/03 Wed

heredity and the environment constrain our available choices? Within those constraints, we might still have "free will". Certainly we might have "unpredictable will".

[> [> [> [> [> Still determined! -- DickBD, 14:03:34 04/09/03 Wed

I guess it is how you look at things. You are trying to find a little "wiggle room" for free will. Cetainly, we cannot accurately predict human behavior. But we can't accurately predict the weather either, but that doesn't mean that it isn't determined by various factors, some of them very difficult to measure.

I feel just as free as the rest of you, but I don't delude myself that I have free will in the way it is described. In my opinion, it is a meaningless term that has a dubious history (as an excuse to condemn people).

[> [> [> [> [> [> Won't give up my free will! -- Sara, who chooses to post today, 15:40:49 04/09/03 Wed

So you're saying that between our genetic/chemical makeup and our experiences we are hardwired to react to every situation in a specific way, even if we don't have enough knowledge of the mechanics to be able to predict that way? That makes no sense to me, any given day I can choose to react to something emotionally, and no that's not a pretty sight, pragmatically, or avoid making a decision. I can control anger, or choose to let it out based on the result I am hoping to have, I can decide that of my top 5 priorities today I will address #1 or #3 to keep everything in balance. We're not computers, in which 0 or 1 determines an outcome, and as the complexity of systems has increased even computers are becoming unpredictable and almost organic in behavior. And it's not that it's just becoming to complex for us to understand, it's actually becoming unpredicatable due to the levels of interaction, adding a random aspect to it's behavior. But we're not just random, we make choices all the time, even if that choice is to not think about our choices and thereby forcing a random element to our behavior. People don't always realize that they're making choices all the time but they are. We often can't control what the different choices available to us are, but we choose within them all the same, whether we recognize it or not.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Unpredictability -- Sophist, 16:39:35 04/09/03 Wed

Well, I agree that decisionmaking is unpredictable. I've never been sure if that is equivalent to what most people mean by the concept of free will, but I suspect it is. Maybe Darby can provide evidence of Sara's random behavior......

Are you stating determinism as a working hypothesis, or do you claim to have a proof of it?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Not random so much as unexpected, right Darby? -- Sara, who lives by logic, so long as it's my logic, 19:09:12 04/09/03 Wed

Actually, I don't think decision making is random, because that isn't my concept of free will either, more that it is deliberate. You weigh your choices and determine your priorities, but since the parameters are many and complicated, each decision is unique and an act of control.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Yes, but think about it. . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 20:12:22 04/09/03 Wed

The decision you make is based around the situation you're in and on who you are as a person. Obviously, the situation you're in isn't part of free will, so that hope is loaded on what sort of person you are. But what determines your psyche, if not your biology and your life experiences? Of course, depending on your religious beliefs, the answer may be something else. After all, Hindus believe that you can be the reincarnation of someone, and, even though you don't have their memories or their body, that you are that person. Personally, I've never really been able to understand that belief (and, as such, have been less receptive than several people I know to the New Age movement). If you do believe that a soul functions in a way similar to the Hindu soul, than it does not seem unreasonable to believe in free will, since that sort of soul is innately outside of linear thought.

Keep in mind, though, even if we don't have free will, it doesn't change anything. As others have pointed out, since it's impossible to predict human behaviour (whether you believe it's due to free will or the factors involved simply being too complicated), free will or the lack there of doesn't really effect how we relate to the world.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thinking...hmmm...still like free will -- Sara, 20:26:55 04/09/03 Wed

I'm not disagreeing that biology and life experiences make up who you are - it's just that at any given moment you can make one of untold numbers of decisions and those decisions are often not a clear choice of 'a' is good and 'b' is bad. There are often a number of reasonable options with different expected results and the selecting of one has to be free will. When we learn from our mistakes, or just from experiences is that programmed in? How we interpret our life, the stories we're told, the people we meet, is that all a mechanical event? Every choice we make shapes us, and we shape ourselves by making the choices.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Agency -- Rahael, 06:16:20 04/10/03 Thu

I'm with you, Sara. Free will isn't in my vocabulary at all, really. I tend to think of myself as an autonomous person who has agency, and at least one choice, if not many about how I react and deal with life.

This is pretty crucial to me because so much of my life in the past was so totally out of my control.

I went on feeling like I was drowning and powerless for so many years, until I realised that getting my sense of power and choice back would entail realising that I had a choice. If there weren't any choices, if it felt like there was a blank, unyielding wall in front of me, I would create a choice, somehow. So that's what I've been doing ever since.

So, as to the whole Free will debate, I'll say - I don't know. I can't know for certain whether I do indeed have choice and agency. But the most important thing for me is that I believe that I have choices. That I act as if I do. That I make things happen when I'm desperate and running out of solutions to my problems. Since I did that, I've always felt like I'm a resourceful, powerful person. I have agency in this life. And that required a couple of years of re- setting how I looked at, and reacted to life. I felt this was one of the more important 'creating a choice' things I did.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Agency (spoiler Inside Out) -- lunasea, 08:41:18 04/10/03 Thu

Since you graciously shared your experience, I will do the same. It helps show how both perspectives are just a circle (not polarities) and maybe that we aren't quite as far apart as some may think.

I think waaaaay too much, about pretty much everything. You know how when some people are just looking out into space and you ask them what they are thinking, they can answer "nothing"? I can't. The walls between my conscious and unconscious are more permeable than most, so I am aware of an awful lot. This results in a tremendous amount of self- knowledge.

I have learned that thinking and consciously choosing isn't always the best thing. Jasmine said the heart can lie. It never does. The heart knows things that my brain can't. The heart represents the unconscious thinking that comes in the form of feeling. If I trust that, I tap into something much more than conscious thought or choice. I tap into the totality of my psyche. Once I learned this, I *have* to "obey" my heart.

What if Connor had listened to his heart? He felt like he didn't have a choice, but what he didn't trust was himself and his own feelings. Because of that what made his decision was stacked a certain way. If he did trust himself and his own feelings, his decision would have been stacked a different way. Our beliefs determine our decisions.

Your belief in agency allows you to make what you consider the best decisions and more importantly make the world bearable for you. My non-belief allows me to make what I consider the best decisions and just as importantly a world view that is well expressed at the end of "Grave."

That is what is really important. Not any particular belief, but what that belief does for the believer and how this impacts how the believer impacts the world.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Agency -- Sara, 09:44:58 04/10/03 Thu

The older I get the more important it is to me to feel that I have a control in my life, even though so much of what happens to us is completely out of our control. If we can determine our own reactions to events, at least we have some power even if it's not over the events themselves. I applaud you Rahael for choosing to make the most important choice, choosing to control your life instead of letting it control you!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks Lunasea, Sara -- Rahael, 17:38:11 04/10/03 Thu

Thanks Lunasea - I agree, we come full circle - and I rarely separate my heart and mind. They speak in unison to me. And Sara, as you may know, my emotional reactions to events are seemingly uncontrollable in the sense that I hardly know how I feel until I start articulating and feeling! But after I find out, I act!

[> [> [> [> Re: Curmudgeon Response -- Corwin of Amber, 20:03:35 04/09/03 Wed

Heredity and environment are just much of an illusion as anything else. It only constrains us if let it.

[> [> Fun exercise -- lunasea, 17:41:43 04/09/03 Wed

Watch yourself make a decision and tell me how much free will you actually have.

Sit down and decide something, anything. Tell me how you made that decision. Not what went into making the decision, but what generated it. At what point did YOU make that decision (then tell me what YOU is).

I am still hoping that since "Grave" ended with The Prayer of St. Francis that is where Buffy will go, "Lord make me an instrument of your peace." When you know in your heart what is right, how can you have "free will?" You have to do what is in your heart. Did Jesus have free will? Could he have really said "Sorry Dad, don't really feel like doing that?" Nope. His love for humanity dictated his behavior.

Just because someone lacks a belief in free will doesn't mean they justify horrible things. It doesn't mean they are a robot devoid of feelings. It can also mean that they know themselves well enough to realize who they are and that they don't have a choice.

I agree, Free Will isn't real, but it is one of the most powerful illusions there is. When you get fully enlightened and know what is in your heart, you just do it. Until then, it sure looks like you have a choice. Better choose what is right.

Now I bow out. Not a discussion I like to get into. Just wanted to let you know I agree. Now I can go back to writing about the illusion, pretending it is real.

[> [> [> Here's the thing though. . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 19:37:17 04/09/03 Wed

Lack of free will is like the existence of fate. So far as we know, it's impossible to see the future or travel through time, so, whether or not fate exists, it doesn't actually affect our lives one way or the other if it exists. Likewise, whether or not free will exists, it doesn't really affect us if it does or not.

[> [> [> [> Re: Here's the thing though. . . -- lunasea, 08:20:42 04/10/03 Thu

I agree, which is why I tend to bow out of the discussion. Its "existence" isn't what is important. The *belief* in it is.

It is just another concept that motivates people. If it empowers you, great. If not believing in it empowers you, great. All these beliefs, all these philosophies just create a concept of the world that is orderly enough to function in.

[> [> Re: Curmudgeon Response -- Darby, 08:19:26 04/10/03 Thu

This is the ultimate reductionism - if we but knew how all of your genes worked and how their expression has been shaped and how every experience of your life has accumulated in you, your every conceivable choice (provided we could fully express the parameters) would be clear to us before you made it. This is the attitude of folks who think that chaos can be reduced to predictable rules (don't laugh, it's a whole discipline now!). A huge proportion of scientists have this basic worldview, although one hopes that most wouldn't take it to such an extreme.

But think, if this were true, then the basic premise of alternative universes flies out the window. If, for any eventuality, there is really only one way things can turn, then the generation of "either-or" alternates becomes an impossibility. There are no roads not traveled. And where's the fun in that?

On the other hand, that might explain a lot of the wonky aspects of how time works...

And on the other foot, Sara's free will is rarely free in the long run...

Willow's magick use and real life wicca -- Mercedes, 09:17:26 04/09/03 Wed

Ate lots of ice cream last night. Sugar rush. Couldn't sleep. Couldn't stop thinking about my theory on Willow's use of magick actually being a lot closer to the real thing than a lot of people think. So much so, I ended up writing a really long essay on it.

If you're interested, here it is:

Phew. Out of my system now.

[> Reality Check -- DickBD, 11:21:50 04/09/03 Wed

In Buffyverse, there are witches, vampires, demons, and almost everything supernatural. In my opinion, the writing, acting, and directing have made for some of the best stuff on television. But are there really witches in the traditional sense? As a long-time atheist, I view the concept of witches as one the various churches have used to prosecute women, particularly old women. There may be young girls now that call thenselves witches or wiccans, but are they any more real that Star Trek enthusiasts with their toy phasers?

Just a point, by the way, as I in no way wanted to deprecate your excellent essay.

[> [> Re: Reality Check -- leslie, 13:05:06 04/09/03 Wed

"There may be young girls now that call themselves witches or wiccans, but are they any more real than Star Trek enthusiasts with their toy phasers?"

Man, will you listen to yourself? Maybe you are the one who needs a reality check. You might as well say "are they any more real than born-again Christians who are recovering alcoholics?" Yes, there are people of all ages, genders, and races who practice Wicca as a religion--I am not one of them, but I certainly know a bunch, and given my social set, they're mostly thirty- to forty-something women and men who have doctorates. Do they practice magic with all the pyrotechnics that Willow uses? Not to my knowledge, but then, I haven't seen any Catholic priests turning matzo into flesh recently, either. They certainly believe that the magic they perform affects their lives, usually for the better. As an atheist, you may not believe in deities, but dismissing other people's religious beliefs as "silly little girl stuff," which is the subtext of your statement, is rather offensive, not only to Wiccans but to women in general.

[> [> [> Before we get too far down this road.... -- Sophist, 14:04:15 04/09/03 Wed

I don't think Dick meant there were no Wiccans. I think he was expressing skepticism about the existence of magic. Thus, a Protestant would not deny the existence of Catholics even if she doubts the doctrine of transubstantiation.

And I certainly don't think his comments were intended to be sexist. Using the same analogy as above, we would not accuse a Protestant of religious bigotry for questioning transubstantiation. Even disparaging that doctrine in harsh terms wouldn't necessarily be evidence of bigotry; people are entitled to strong opinions. Of course, discretion can be the better part of valor......

[> [> [> [> Thanks, Sophist -- DickBD, 14:17:08 04/09/03 Wed

Discreet? Me? Never! But I actually intended my comments as a defense of women. A main point was that the idea of witchcraft had been used to oppress them, kill them, for that matter. Isaac Asimov had a masterful essay on the harm the concept of "witch" had done to women, particularly old women who had lost all their friends.

As I recall, Willow met Tara at a wiccan meeting, and the impression of both of them was that these were not real witches. I agree. But I doubt that wiccans do any more harm than regular religion. Perhaps not as much.

[> [> [> [> [> some historical background -- leslie, 14:48:05 04/09/03 Wed

As it happens, I am writing a book on this subject, so the research is fresh in my mind. And probably also explains why I found the statement so offensive, although I did not think that you were being deliberately so--it just seemed that your (Freudian) slip was showing....

Whether you believe magic to be "real" or not, there have been people who have practiced what they believe to be magic basically forever. On a practical level, they practiced healing with folk medicine, using herbal remedies, for instance, in the Dark Ages before the invention of multinational pharmaceutical research labs. However, there were also people who healed by consulting with spirits, whom they encountered in trance; they also asked the spirits other questions, like fortunes, location of treasure, and who's causing this great big boil on my ass? Being such a seer/trancer--basically, an attenuated European form of a shaman--was a double-edged sword, however, because it was often believed that the only person who could cure a supernaturally induced ailment was the one who caused it, and so people often suspected that they were being played-- magical extortion, "here, I've made you sick, now pay me and I'll make it all better." So people tended to regard these seer-witches with a certain degree of suspicion.

Did they actually commune with spirits/fairies/the dead? Evidence from eyewitnesses suggests that they were at least in a trance, and often emerged from the trance with useful information and healing techniques. However, always, at the local/village level, it was believed that there were good witches and bad witches, often along the lines of "the witches in our village are good because they help us, and the witches in the next village over are bad because they covet our crops." However, the Church, in the late Middle Ages, decided that all interaction with spirits who were not accredited saints, angels, or the Virgin was heretical and constituted trafficking with the Devil. This was actually a change of opinion from the early Middle Ages, when the Church opined that spirits didn't exist, so those who consulted with or worshipped them were simply deluded (actually quite close to the skeptical stance today). With this change of opinion, the Church began prosecuting all witchcraft as heresy, and yes, there was a great deal of misogyny behind it, but contra a lot of the "Burning Times" rhetoric you may hear, while the majority of "witches" were female, there was a goodly percentage who were male. There are many explanations for what some scholars term "contagious" witch hunts (where the prosecutors keep demanding the names of other witches until practically everyone in town has been accused), many having to do with economic pressures, the tensions between Catholics and Protestants in the early Reformation period, changing social structures as traditional village life was beginning to break down under the Renaissance rise of capitalism, and so on. There's piles of books you can read and take your pick of what seems the most reasonable explanation(s) to you.

However, getting back to contemporary Wicca--when it first began to be practiced in the twentieth century, it was claimed to be an ancient organized religion that existed sub rosa after the beginning of the Christian era. Tnen, in the 1970's, historians and anthropologists began to demolish that theory (mostly associated with Margaret Murray, who was actually an Egyptologist). This is also when the "it was all an anti-feminist plot" theory of the witch hunts began to gain popularity. In the last 10-15 years, however, there has been a very interesting amalgamation of historical, anthropological, and folkloric research that suggests that the basis of modern witchcraft does have ancient roots, not as an "organized" religion, but something more along the lines of folk religious remnants of shamanism. Carlo Ginzburg is probably the most well-known of these scholars, with his books Night Battles and Ecstacies: Deciphering the Witches' Sabbath; there is also a 6-volume history of witchcraft in Europe edited by Bengt Ankerloo and Stuart Clark which I am currently plowing my way through that gives much more detailed documentation of the history of witch beliefs and practices. The insight that started this trend of research was when Carlo Ginzburg was doing research on Inquisition records in northern Italy in the early modern era and noticed that people were initially confessing to magical practices that did not conform to the Inquisition's idea of what "witchcraft" was; through the process of questioning and torture, the accused began to change their stories, but Ginzburg decided to look at the initial confessions and see if there was some underlying reality to them--and there was.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks, Leslie -- DickBD, 14:57:39 04/09/03 Wed

[> [> Re: Reality Check -- Belladonna, 14:22:47 04/09/03 Wed

"But are there really witches in the traditional sense...There may be young girls now that call thenselves witches or wiccans, but are they any more real that Star Trek enthusiasts with their toy phasers?"

I must jump in here to offer *you* a reality check. I'm going to take what you said with a grain of salt, and hope that you are just unfamiliar with the religion of Wicca. Wicca is a *real* religion, some practitioners of which refer to themselves as witches. It's recognized by the US government as a valid religion. Its members are from all age groups, classes, races, male and female. Magick is a *part* of it, but only one part. It isn't "supernatural," nor a fantasy of little girls. I've been practicing it for years, and I am not a glorified Trekkie, thank you very much. :)

[> [> [> Glorified? -- DickBD, 14:51:19 04/09/03 Wed

My point was that the wiccans were no more the witches of legend, religion, and folklore than the trekkers would be starship members. I didn't doubt that there was a religion of people who called themselves witches--just that they were really witches.

Here's a hypothetical: If the government recognized Satanism as a religion, would it make Satan real? Would it grant Satanists access to the dark powers? (And here I must confess that I very much doubt that there are many Satanists at all, real or not. For, if you really believe in all that stuff, why would you choose the losing side?)

[> [> [> [> Who says we're losing? As Christopher Wren would say, circumspice! -- d'Horrible, 15:03:35 04/09/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> Not A Satanist Here, but From What I Understood From Reading about it... -- AngelVSAngelus, 16:28:07 04/09/03 Wed

Satanists don't actually believe in the existence of any devil, but see Satan as a metaphoric figure of atheist empowerment, and hedonistic revelry in the primal impulses that make us human.
I've read a little Lavey and that's what I got out of it.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Not A Satanist Here, but From What I Understood From Reading about it... -- ASorcerousFreak, 19:11:22 04/09/03 Wed

That's LaVeyan satanism,wich is only one form of it.There are also theistic satanists.Contrary to popular belief,LaVey
Doesn't have exclusive rights to the term satanist.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks for t he info -- AngelVSAngelus, 20:19:30 04/09/03 Wed

apparently my reading on the subject was more limited than it should have been.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Aside for LaVey's "Church of Satan", the most widespread is probably. . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 20:32:05 04/09/03 Wed

The Luciferian faith. It's one that is devoted to Lucifer, seeing him as the angel that dared to defy Jehovah's command in order to give humanity the gift of knowledge. He was then cast out of Heaven and unjustly sentenced to Hell. As such, he's viewed as being an anti-authority figure who'll one day rise from Hell and challenge Jehovah, who they see as a repressive tyrant.

Personally, not a Satanist or Luciferian, but about a year ago I went through a period where I researched lots of different religions in order to form my own, so I tend to know these sorta things.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Heh... -- KdS, 02:49:30 04/10/03 Thu

Wonder if Philip Pullman's a Luciferian ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Luciferian has strong equivalencies with Gnosticism, if I recall correctly. -- Solitude1056, 09:38:59 04/10/03 Thu

Both have the notion that the "creator god" was actually the Bad Guy.

[> [> Yes there are DickBD and I am one. We don't have the fx, but it is real. -- Briar Rose, 01:05:07 04/10/03 Thu

[> [> Re: Reality Check -- Mercedes, 02:20:44 04/10/03 Thu

> But are there really witches in the traditional sense?

I'm assuming that when you say "traditional sense" you mean in the popular cultural perception of witches? In which case...no, not as such. Actual people who can can unleash these big pyrotechnical displays...that doesn't happen.

But the "traditional" version wicca has never claimed as much. Such ideas have been formed by myth and Hollywood.

Witches exist, obviously, in the sense that millions of people of various pagan faiths call themselves witches. Do they practise magick?

The real nature of magick is far more subtle, but it exists. One theory is that magick is simply science which has not been explained yet (e.g. magnetism was thought to be "supernatural" before it was properly explained). I know I have done rituals (e.g. to relieve pain, to increase confidence, to protect my household, etc) which I fully believe at least contributed to the way things work. Some people would say the effects are psychosomatic or just the result of "positive thinking" but this doesn't mean it's NOT magick. If it's redirecting any kind of energy - mental or physical - towards a particular goal, it's magick.

[> Karma? -- M., 15:47:12 04/09/03 Wed

You mention Karma as a main tenant of the Wiccan Faith, but is this not a Hindu concept? I am familiar with the ěthree fold lawî but Karma seems to be a much more involved concept. Is it simply a case of using a common word or has the Wiccan religion really incorporated an east Indian belief?

[> [> Karma/Kamma -- lunasea, 17:24:12 04/09/03 Wed

Karma is a Sanskrit word meaning Intention. In Pali it is Kamma. It is important to both Hinduism and Buddhism.

In Buddhism there are 4 types of Karma:
1. Dark with dark result
2. Bright with bright result
3. Dark and Bright with dark and bright result
4. Neither dark or bright with neither dark or bright result leading to end of karma.

One of the Four Imponderables is the results of karma. Karma isn't the complicated. Its results are. Buddhism's "goal" is to extinguish karma, thus eliminate suffering.

Many New Ageisms have appropriated the term to mean some kind of cosmic balance sheet. That isn't what it is in Buddhism. When we have certain intentions, that makes its mark, on US. It forms habits and these habits become harder and harder to break the more we do them. THAT is karma in Buddhism.

The Three-fold law which is central to Wicca is NOT KARMA. For a while there, I used to use the Pali terms, since many of the Sanskrit ones have been appropriated and the Buddhist concept has little in common with the "modern" one. People thought I was just mispelling them.

[> [> Ah...that would be a mistake. Fixed it now. Sorry. No karma in wicca (N/T) -- Mercedes, 02:29:23 04/10/03 Thu

[> Satanism, Wicca, Witchcraft and Paganism.... First - I totally disagree here Mercedes: -- Briar Rose, 02:07:29 04/10/03 Thu

In your first sentence of your second paragraph you state:

There are some Wiccans and witches (actually, the two terms mean much the same thing)

and at that point you lose the majority of your arguement for me.

They do not in any way mean "much the same thing" because Wicca is a religion thoroughly based on the teachings of Gerald Gardner. It is a religion and a theology and also incorporates many tenets that have nothing to do with the Original Earth/Pagan Religions (and there are untold multitudes!)that predate Wicca by thousands of years.

Witchcraft is not just a generic title for Wicca. Just as Druid is not a generic title for Wicca. It has been made so by the many people who follow a religion that they do not even understand the true roots of and call themselves "Wiccan" just as they have taken the term (wrongly) of "The Old Religion" to mean Wicca when Wicca didn't even exist until the early 1900s.

Even though you do make a solid arguement that all energy in the Universe is neutral and magick is only given it's ultimate form by the intent of the practitioner... And it is not only acceptable, but indeed common in some theologies of Earth Religions/Paganistic/Shamanistic practice to use animal sacrifice and other forms of what "Wiccans" percieve to be "dark magick" you are basing it on a very loose meaning of the definitions of Wicca versus Witch Craft versus so many other theolgies of many religions that aren't covered by either title.

There are over 140 recognized forms of Pagan/Earth Religion theologies right now world wide. And Wicca is only one of them. You further reduce your argument by adding in things like Sabbats and Esbats and Karma and Reincarnation in trying to affirm your arguement that Witch craft and Wicca are the same. Pardon me - but many (if not most) of the OTHER Pagan/Earth Religions do not share those same beliefs, holy days or even agree with the "Wiccan Creed" at all.

I call myself a Witch because I am NOT Wiccan and do not care to be. It's just easier to say Witch than Flint Ridge Mountain "4th" (we actually skipped one) Generation Family Tradition Hoodoo Priestess and have anyone understand what the hell-o I'm talking about.*L

I do not celebrate any of those Sabbats or Esbats. I do not technically celebrate any other "legally recognized" holidays in any religious ways either. I do not believe in "Karma" as it is layed out by any theology or the "Three Fold Law" or the whole Wiccan hard core thing against returning negative energy or protecting myself and those I love offensively. I do love magick and what some theologies consider "curses" when appropriate. I also had absolutely no problem with Willow sacrificing the deer that she called forth to give it's life in trade for Buffy's - even though it isn't my thang. I tend to use ground hamburger, since it's in my Family Tradition. Also - my theology has no differences between "black/dark" and "white/light" magick. I work from the BALANCE of my actions with the acts that they are addressing. Period. And that the energy I put out in everything will have an equal measure of balance coming back in my direction, so I'm ethical by my theology in my practices - but not impotent by any means.

Yes - I do agree with the fact that there are people who practice magick and do become dependant on it for everything. But as you said, (and this I agree with you on) that is more about the same people not understanding the magickal power of the theology that must accompany it. I would go even farther and say that in my own opinion (and that which I pass onto those who come to me for information and help/learning): You will never get the outcome you desire using any form of magick without the grounding in the theology that feeds that magickal energy. It's a symbiotic thing from my experience.... To do as ME prtrayed, is to uncover Power with no balance to handle it. And then it's not unrealistic to expect some sort of wonky outcome, just not the way ME carries on their "love/hate" relationship in the way they portray the use of magick.

And those who try to take any form of Earth/Pagan Religion and say that it's "Satanism?" Okay - stop right there.*L For one thing it's practically impossible for someone to honor and worship some diety that they do not even recognize as existing. The only persons who can actively practice Luciferian/Satanistic theology are people who believe in Christianity or other forms of religion that have an All Powerful Evil to counterbalance their All Powerful Good. And most Earth/Pagan religions simply don't have either. The majority of them have duality in their dieties and no All Powerful Anything: of the Good or of the Bad.

This is already too long - but I could surely add more line by line in your thesis. I won't, because I'm sure that where we disagree with the aspects you layed out from the use of magick in both BtVS(AtS, BTW) and The Craft, (Charmed/Practical Magic/Witches of Eastwick, etc.) are already in between the lines here with what I've already written.


[> [> re: Witchcraft and Wicca - okay I didn't know that. -- Mercedes, 02:40:23 04/10/03 Thu

> Witchcraft is not just a generic title for Wicca

Fair enough. Having never studied any other kind of pagan religion, I can't dispute that. As a wiccan, everything I've read is written by wiccans and tells you that "witch" is an antiquated term for wiccan and "witchcraft" simply means "wicca." Black and white definitions, which I expect were over-simplified for convenience. But if other religions use these terms, I apologise. Didn't know.

> And it is not only acceptable, but indeed common in some > theologies of Earth Religions/Paganistic/Shamanistic
> practice to use animal sacrifice and other forms of
> what "Wiccans" percieve to be "dark magick"

My point here being that Willow has always specifically defined herself as a follower of "Wicca", not any other kind of pagan religion, so again whilst accepting that I now know this doesn't apply to all "witches", it would constitute an important part of Wicca.

> You further reduce your argument by adding in things like > Sabbats and Esbats and Karma and Reincarnation in trying > to affirm your arguement that Witch craft and Wicca are
> the same

Well, no, actually, I add things like that (and I didn't mean to type "karma", that's actually a mistake) to emphasise Willow's neglect of the non-magickal side of Wicca. I wasn't trying to "argue" that witchcraft and wicca were synonyms, because I didn't know there was anything controversial in this. Now I do and I agree they aren't the same thing.

Hmm...sorry to derail your argument by agreeing with you so much. :-)

[> [> [> My use of "Arguement" was meant in a terminology of debate - So it's all good.*S* -- Briar Rose, 15:06:27 04/10/03 Thu

Different kinds of vampires (spoiler for LMPTM) -- skeeve, 09:23:17 04/09/03 Wed

It's worth noting that Spike and his mother seemed to be different kinds of vampires. They seemed to be examples of two different theories about humans becoming vampires.

His mother, seems to be the kind of vampire that Giles told Buffy about: the result of a human soul being replaced by a demon soul.
Spike, on the other hand, didn't seem to change all that much. He still liked poetry and he still loved his mother. Even without a human soul, he could love Buffy and other Summers women.

Other than than the WC version of siring, do we have any evidence of demon souls in the Buffyverse?

[> Here's one... -- Alison, 12:52:08 04/09/03 Wed

In the Harvest, the Master tells Luke "My soul is your soul".

[> two questions? -- M., 15:04:36 04/09/03 Wed

What do you mean when you say ětwo different kinds of vampireî and what do you mean when you say Spike ědidnít change that muchî? Giles descriptions of vampires did imply that they were incapable of human feelings but we have seen countless examples of vampires who love (not just Spike). The only thing we can really say is that the vampire (sans soul) seems to lack any empathy for their human victims. Our experiences with Spikeís mother after she was vamped was very limited. We know she had no feelings (other than revulsion) for her son, but we really donít know what she would have been like had she lived longer.

But we do know a great deal about Spike/William. William before he was vamped was a gentle kind man who didnít even like to think about violence ěThat's what the police are for, I prefer placing my energies into creating things of beauty.î Afterwards he took great pleasure in both the violence and the killing; and is there any evidence of Spike being interested in poetry after he became a vampire (there may be but I canít think of any).

[> [> He actually seemed to despise it. -- Finn Mac Cool, 19:53:15 04/09/03 Wed

From "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered":

Spike: Why don't you rip her lungs out? That oughta make an impression.

Angelus: Nah, lacks poetry.

Spike: Doesn't have to. What rhymes with lungs?

[> [> [> rungs tongues -- skeeve, 10:01:39 04/10/03 Thu

[> [> Re: two questions? -- skeeve, 09:38:44 04/10/03 Thu

According to Giles, vamping involves two souls: the human soul leaves and a demon soul takes up residence. The demon soul brings with it a whole new personality, wholly unrelated to the former personality.

This conflicts with much of what we have seen in the Buffyverse. The soul-as-conscience-most-vamps-have-none model seems to fit better.

All vampires need blood.
My understanding is that the over-the-top violence-lover we have come to know and love was rather different from the vamp-William we saw in the LMPTM flashback. I got the impression that it was the result of a self-improvement project possibly designed to increase his standing with other vampires. My recollection is that vamp-William was rather bothered by his mother's scathing review of his poetry. Vamp-William still liked poetry.

I suppose vamp-Anne's behaviour can be worked into the soul- as-conscience model, but Spike seemed to reject it:
"It was just the demon talking".

Does Spike know which model is correct? Do other vampires?

Suppose that Spike had not been caught up in the plans of the first evil. Would the Scoobies have noticed Spike's "shiny new soul" without being told?
Is it a shiny new soul or his old one? Does it matter?

[> [> [> Giles didn't actually say that (spoiler for "Inside Out") -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:44:49 04/10/03 Thu

"According to Giles, vamping involves two souls: the human soul leaves and a demon soul takes up residence. The demon soul brings with it a whole new personality, wholly unrelated to the former personality."

I've seen this statement used many times, and something about it always seemed off to me, and now I know why: look at this quote from the Buffy Season 1 episode, "Angel".

Giles: "A vampire isn't a person at all. (clears his throat) It may have the movements, the, the memories, even the personality of the person that it took over, but i-it's still a demon at the core, there is no halfway."

Giles never says the demon soul brings in a new personality. He specifically states that the human personality remains (or at least can remain). But, to him at least, that doesn't mean the demonic vampires isn't different from the previous human. Given this comment, it's fair to say Giles regards the essential makeup of a person not to be their personality, but something else, something more spiritual. And there are many reiligions which back up this viewpoint; I've met several Christians who believe that, in Heaven, people have their own memories and personality stripped away, but that they're still the same person. Also, the belief in essence of a person being seperate from personality is the norm in Eastern and New Age religions.

So, it really comes down to what you think is the true essence of a human being. If it is the personality, than vampires are the same person as their human predecessors, just with bloodlust and a natural tendency to do the wrong thing where they once did the right thing. But, if you believe that everyone has a spirit, unrelated to the personality, that embodies who they really are, than humans who become vampires really do pass on and a demonic spirit comes in and absorbs their psyche.

My personal religious beliefs regard someone's personality as the essence of who they really are, and that, if souls exist, they are essentially the embodiment of personality. However, the Buffyverse has different metaphysics than the real world, so I try not to let my own religious philosophy enter into thoughts and discussions of it. As such, I still see it as perfectly plausible that vampires and their former human selves are different entities, despite shared body, memories, and personality.

P.S. Does anyone think that the writers had this in mind when they had the Darla apparition say "I've got her memories, her feelings. Isn't that what makes up a person?"

[> [> [> [> what was said -- skeeve, 09:27:49 04/11/03 Fri

From masq on Doppelg”ngland:
Are vamps like their human predecessors? Joss confuses the issue more when Buffy reassures human Willow that "a vampire's personality has nothing to do with the person it was," and Angel briefly comments, "Well, actually... yeah, good point."

From Giles in The Harvest:
The books tell the last demon to leave this reality fed off a human, mixed their blood. He was a human form possessed, infected by the demon's soul. He bit another, and another, and so they walk the Earth, feeding... Killing some, mixing their blood with others to make more of their kind. Waiting for the animals to die out, and the old ones to return.

More Giles in The Harvest:
You listen to me! Jesse is dead! You have to remember that when you see him, you're not looking at your friend. You're looking at the thing that killed him.

Buffy in Lie to Me:
I got a newsflash, braintrust. That's not how it works. You die. And a demon sets up shop in your old house. It walks and talks and remembers your life but it's not you.

If most vamps have no souls at all, why are they considered demons at all? For that matter, what makes them different from zombies or the "dead" guys in The Zeppo"?

The vampire has a demon soul and a new personality theory has bugs, but so does the soul as conscience theory. Giles soul in A New Man didn't seem to affect him when he bacame a demon. Likewise the ex-human troll in Triangle.

[> [> [> [> [> Was just saying the Giles never actually said that vamps had new personalities. -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:30:10 04/11/03 Fri

He specifically said in "Angel" that the human personality does (or at least can) carry over. The two Giles quotes above refer to the vampire being a different person than the human, but not saying anything about personality (as I said above, having the same personality doesn't account for same person in all people's beliefs).

Here's my personal theory:

In the Buffyverse, everyone is made up of mind, body, and spirit.

The body is the person's physical self.

The mind is memories, personality, and intelligence.

The spirit is the way through which the world is viewed.

When someone becomes a vampire, the body remains, but is changed to allow for superstrength, bloodlust, and other vampire characteristics. There have been some indications that change in body can affect someone in the Buffyverse (with Giles's demon self and Olaf the troll, I'm assuming they were influenced by the hormones of their new body, which went along the lines of "crush, kill, destroy").

Then there is the mind. There is personality in it, but it isn't totally who we are, since it doesn't have the ability to actually care on its own. Robots like April and Ted had minds but no spirits, and as such, the most they could do was simulate the emotions they were programmed with, but couldn't acutally feel anything independently. Likewise, there was the soulless boy from Angel Season 1. He still possessed mind and personality, but no real emotional caring, whether familial connection or about right and wrong. In the siring process, I believe that the mind remains in tact.

Lastly, the spirit. While the spirit isn't our personality (that's part of the mind), it uses the mind as a medium for observing and processing the world. It is what puts emotional feeling behind personality traits, and also what causes our conscience to exist. Human spirits (souls), if seperated from mind and body, only have one unsentient instinct: do good. However, it needs a mind in order to understand which acts are good, which are evil, and how to go about performing these acts. It also needs a body in order to carry them out. The downside of this is that the body and mind influence decisions as well, creating desires which may lead counter to the spirit's intent. In order to stop these desires from gaining control, the spirit cries out and causes guilt when an evil act is performed, and rewards good acts with happiness (though this doesn't stop some people from finding desires greater than the spirit, or becoming numbed to its rewards and punishments). But there is also a different type of spirit: the demon spirit (soul). Like the human spirit, this one has only one instinct, but in this case it's: do evil. And, also like the human spirit, the demon spirit needs a mind and body to carry out this instinct, hence they possess human corpses and take over. They take the human's body and give it all of the vampire's powers and weaknesses, and they use the human's mind as their way of connecting to the world. But, because the demon spirit wants to do evil, personality traits are expressed in a different way. While the human spirit tries to bring out the best in the personality, the demon spirit tries to bring out the worst. *Note: this isn't the same as having no conscience. A totally amoral person does whatever it takes, good or evil, to fulfill it's own ends. Many vampires, on the other hand, might go out of their way to do evil acts that don't directly help them in any way, just because it's an evil thing to do. We've even seen several vampires give up their lives for the cause of evil.* *2nd Note: some vampires, like Spike and Harmony, are amoral, and don't have much draw to do evil for evil's own sake. But, just as there are human sociopaths, there are vampire sociopaths, who have suppressed their spirits' reward/punishment system. Other vampires (Holden Webbster, Angelus, etc.) have shown pleasure both in the idea and act of evil, expressing their reverse conscience.*

So, this is how I view the relation between human and vampire. You don't have to agree, but I find it reconciles most of what we've been shown and told about vampires. They are different people, from a certain standpoint, as their spirit is gone. But it still allows for vamps to retain their personalities from when they were human, though twisted to fit their "evil is good" viewpoint.

[> This is my take (longish, my bad) -- Ender, 20:32:24 04/09/03 Wed

Umm, this is long but I think it is sound.

I have a different take. What if instead William was such a good man (or nancy boy if you prefer) that the demon that took hold of him had little starting materials to work with. What if what it meant in Joss's Universe that the soul works to help one consider others and not just follow our desires unhindered, if souls work as conscience as other's have postulated.

If so, then from observing William and Spike we might surmise that truly what William desired was dinner, dancing, and the theater with Mom followed by a good shag with his "soul-mate"- someone who he belonged with. He wanted a loving family with a content life. When vamped, Spike was able to act with a confidence that William lacked and yet it was in perfect synergy with what mortal William desired.

Unfortunately for our Spike, we do not all desire the same and our conscience does not inhibit our actions based on our desires in the same fashion. William's soul inhibited what he viewed as improper behavior, impinging his will on others, violence, and rash action. He could be said not be able to do these things in good conscience (which is not to say that we never act against our consience). Unsouled, Spike now acts with impunity in the actions that his soul shied away from. William just really wanted his mother with him, a coordination of the demon and the past of the body that the demon inhabits. Anne loved her son truly, she wished William to find a good girl to shag before she died so death would come with piece of mind. But do you really think she didn't recognize bad poetry spewing from her sappy spawn? Being an aristocrat around Freud's time, Anne might be aware of the Oedipus complex. I think Anne's conscience (her soul) was such that it prohibited her from really analyzing what her relationship with her darling boy. Once Anne's soul was no longer with the living, she acted with no conscience and no consideration for her son. Anne looked at her life with out the confines of the soul and spoke her mind unconstrained.

I think that if you look you will see a pattern of this developing. Look at vampires we have known and their actions after the turn, Alonna (Gunn's sister) wants to bring her big brother over or Jesse (Xander's friend) going after (lust worthy) Cordellia. Their demon actions are for the pursuit of a something they truly desired to happen when human. I think that this is why Angel feels such responsibility for Angelus, Liam somewhere deep and dark wanted to exact a punishment on his family for their judgement of him being a bad seed and the turning of their backs on him (or at least the appearance of this). Liam's conscience kept him from acting on this desire to enact retribution of their judgement of him, but Angelus had no such qualms. In fact Angelus liked the control he got out of it, he got off on the pain because in his mind they deserved it. Fuck them for judging him. Even better, fulfill that expectation of the bad seed. Kill, murder, rape, and love ever minute. Angel knows that the nature of a person plays an integral role in the personality of the vampire. Liam has a hand in the nature of Angelus, the thirst for retribution fueled the demon to rise to levels of atrocity unknown prior. Willow/VampWillow sexual nature (just one example), ?Darla?/VampDarla disillusionment and subsequent desire for corruption show more instances of the pull of the personality.

Consider this, if you could act with out remorse what would you do? What dark desires that you have would you fulfill? Most people, I would guess, fall somewhere between Angelus and Spike, the two extremes. Angelus is a fulfillment of the Hannibal Lector potential, sadistically evil in our worst hidden impulses. Spike shows openness to what he really wanted as human, he really wanted his mother at his side in a pure sense. But his mother without consience did not fill the need that Spike wanted, so he fulfilled his mother's apparent death wish. I do believe that this event is what catalyzed the formation of Spike in his subsequent form. The realization of just what people hold back on the account of their soul was a wake-up call to Spike. I think William wore his heart on his sleeve and to an extent thought others did the same. His mother turned and showed just what dark thoughts his dear mum was capable of without that pesky soul. So Spike becomes disillusioned but also gets something else that he wanted soooo badly for so long. A pretty girl to shag. Spike saw how the world really worked for a demon and started down the path to becoming a bad-ass vampire. Ever wonder why Spike had such a thing for slayers? Maybe on some level Spike had a death wish, a want to rejoin his mother and relive the exhilaration of killing someone who is intimately connected to you. The slayer. If a mother represents life, certainly a slayer is a vampire's death given form. In Spike's mind a slayer could represent so many little connections about his staking of his own mother, desire for death, and a repetition of one of the most emotionally involved moments of his long life.
If this is the case, then the obsession with Buffy might begin to be analyzed in a more coherent manner. Consider Spike seeking out the Slayer for an emotional high reinforced as pleasure and then not being able to kill her. She is stalked, beaten, but never killed. There is something else interesting going on here, the slayer never finishes the job (or at least doesn't get the chance). Spike's obsession just feeds on itself, in the consience and sub- consience. Don't you think it bothered him that he fought Buffy so many times but never got finish in one way or another? Spike wanted a completion of his death or hers, and he never got it- only blue-balled each time. The chip just makes Spike feel impotent, unable to even pick the fight with Buffy anymore, he lets his unfulfilled feelings play out on the poor demon population. Spike becomes an antagonizing nuisance in Buffy's life (never pissing her off to the point of staking because that would just be pathetically anti-climatic) until his feelings begin find another outlet. If you can't have the violence, have the love. Now I'm not directly accusing of Spike having an Oedipal complex like his mother, but I do think that his feelings for Buffy have a relation to Anne. Spike sought slayer's for the high, and it became a pattern. Because of outside factors, this pattern of behavior was disrupted but the tendency to turn there for emotional connection stayed. She looked hot while kicking his ass and his obsession turned from the unfulfilled fight to trying to fulfill Buffy in entirely different way. Anything Spike did out of love for Buffy was really in an attempt to get something that he desired. He desired Buffy, but because of her strength she set the rules in the relationship that developed. So in order to get her, he goes to get the thing that seems to be the only real factor (in Spike's mind) distinguishing himself from Angel. Spike gets his soul because he equates this with being worthy of Buffy's love. Unfortunately a soul is trickier than a greased weasel, and gets Spike into some other tricky points.

If anyone likes this, I will write more about what I think this implies about other facets in Jossverse. If not, it was fun to write.

[> [> Well I'd love to read more, personally... -- AngelVSAngelus, 20:40:55 04/09/03 Wed

[> [> Hmm, this was interesting. If you've got more, go for it. -- Sarand, 07:05:13 04/10/03 Thu

[> [> Really interesting, I like your take on it -- ponygirl, 12:29:10 04/10/03 Thu

[> [> Really Interesting post. Thank you for writing it. -- s'kat, 15:40:27 04/11/03 Fri

One of the few I've actually printed off in awhile, next
to Sol's excellent treatise on religion.

Thank you for this...nice to see something positive and even- handed posted about Spike for a change. Also a nice twist.

Be interested to see more.


False Hopes, Messiahs, Scams...(spoilers for Ats 4.18) -- s'kat, 21:02:54 04/09/03 Wed

I just watched the scariest episode of Angel I've seen. I had to leave the bloody room during it. It made me squirm.
Why? You ask. What the heck?

Hmmm let's back up a bit. There's an episode of Space 1999 that I couldn't watch. Every time it came on the TV, I switched it off. I was uhm 9 or 10 at the time. Space 1999 for those of you who never heard of it, was a 1970s science fiction drama about a research station on the Moon. A horrible event separated the Moon from the Earth and sent the Space 1999 MoonBase Alpha Team off into Space. Their mission is to get back home or find a home similar to earth. The show starred Martin Landau and his wife Barbara Bain (yep Juliet Landau's parents). In the episode, I can't watch, a shuttle lands on the moon bringing a bunch of the MoonBase Alpha team's old friends from Earth. They have good news - the MoonBase Alpha Team can go home now. All is fine. Home is fine. They've drifted close to Earth. The shuttle will take them there. And everybody but Martin Landau believes them. When Martin Landau looks at these people he sees Monsters. Horrible Monsters. But no one believes Martin Landau. They think he is crazy and lock him up.
I stopped watching at that point. So have no clue what happened next. Until now, I always believed it was the monsters that scared me. Heck until I saw Star Wars, I believed Science Fiction = scary monsters. Now, I know it wasn't the monsters that made that episode difficult to watch.

False Scams, False Hopes, False Messiahs

We believe what we want to believe. A scam that tells us if we send off a 1000 resumes, we'll get a job. A prophet who tells us that we are beautiful and kind and all will be well. An ad who says if you take this drug you'll lose weight and be gorgeous in ten days. A President who tells us if we just destroy this one person, terrorism will end and we will be safe. A dictator who tells us if we eradicate the representation of evil on the planet, life will be good and we will be employed. Thousands of dollars are collected annually by false prophets who spread false hope and false dreams. And be honest, we all occassionally fall for them. It's like the false hope of the lottery. Spend 2 dollars and you'll win a million. Yeah right. But a girl or guy can dream, right? And what's wrong with dreaming? What's wrong with hope? What indeed?

Let's go back to that little filler episode called The House Always Wins. In that episode, people come to a casino to win money, money that will fund their destiny. Yet the moment they enter the contest, the game becomes rigged and they are doomed to forever play the slots looking for that false win. Have you ever wandered around a casino and seen the blank faces of the people playing the slots? Some win and leave and have fun. Others just sit there hoping for that false hope.

Angel wants that desperately. He wants to believe everything he's done has had a purpose. That there is a reward at the end. That there is meaning to all of this. That someone will come and tell him its alright, he's forgiven and will be saved. Can't blame him. I'd like to have the same thing happen. Who wouldn't?

But uhm, no that false hope, false fantasy isn't really what we think. It comes with a price. We lose our identity.
We become disciples. Like the AI gang who follows Jasmine around with silly grins on their faces. Until Fred sees the light. Question is why? Why did Fred see the light? And why does she see it when she does?

Fred is busy scrubbing a shirt that Jasmine bled on. Jasmine doesn't notice it nor does she care about the shirt. But Fred does. Fred can't get the stain out and it torments her. So she buys Jasmine a brand new shirt. She feels an incredible ache when Jasmine isn't around and goes to find her, alone with Connor. When Fred looks up at Jasmine and nervously is about to hand over the shirt - she sees a rotting face, green with maggots crawling over it, hideous, a Medusa's head. Freaking she backs away and covers her discomfort.

Not sure what she is seeing Fred hunts down a man in the psychiatric ward who saw the same thing. A man that Angel beat down when he tried to attack Jasmine. A man that Jasmine touched and burned. Fred asks this man why he saw it and says she saw it too. When Fshe asks him, he shows Fred what Jasmine did to him when she touched him - how she turned half of his face into something twisted and demonic.
He tells Fred that she was called like he was and must kill Jasmine. That she is evil. And to trust no one. That Jasmine will destroy them. And only those who have been chosen or called can see what she truly is.

So Fred goes back to the Hyperion and attempts to tell Wes and Gunn her fears. But both her old lovers turn against her and tell Jasmine. Fred threatens Lorne as a means of escaping the hotel which now is suddenly filled to the brim with loyal people. All happy and accepting of one another.

Fred is alone. Cut off. She alone sees the monster in their midst. A monster who tells the gang she'll help them eradicate evil and make everything beautiful. But if they can't see her for what she is, how will they know what they are destroying is evil?

Why did Fred get called? What is it about Fred that made her see? Did Jasmine's blood get on her? Is it because she has been isolated before? OR was it just blind luck?
Random? Like Buffy's calling is random? Or Faith's?

Now this reminds me of the movie Fraility. In this movie a man is called to slay demons. He believes his sons are also called. But one son is said to be a demon. According to the voice calling him - demons walk the earth disquised as humans and only he can see them for what they really are. It happens when he touches them. Once he does? He kills them. To the viewers eye - he is a serial killer. Until the story flips on itself and we enter his pov and are left with the question - is he right to kill the demons he sees.
Was he truly chosen?

The unreliable narrator raises it's ugly head. What do you believe. Do you believe Fred or the AI gang. IT's a theme all season on both shows - who do we believe. And in life as well. Do we believe news commentators and newspapers?
Do we believe the preacher in the pulpit or on tV? Do we believe in the words we see in religious texts? How do we trust the information fired at us on a daily basis? How do we know what is true? I learned a long time ago that truth is a manipulatable item - in the hands of a good speaker?
Anything can be proven to be true.

The False Messiah motif asks us the question. An very old one. Do we believe what we see? Do we trust our senses?
How do we know what is real? It's quite frightening if you think about it. At the age of 10, I found it downright traumatic, but I knew even at that age that following anything blindly is dangerous. No, what scared me was not the ugly monster on the screen - it was the mob that followed it. The mob of good people who went along with its every whim. Who were willing to die for that false dream that false hope. That terrified me as a child and gave me nightmares. It gives me nightmares now. Why? One name comes to mind, although I'm sure there are countless others in our history: Adolfe Hitler.

It's not the monster that scares me, you see, it's us. Because it's our hopes and dreams and fears who make the monster real and powerful. The false prophet has no power if we don't give it to them.

That's why Iago is so powerful in Othello and in Agathe Christie's Curtain. That's why Adolfe Hitler succeeded in almost ruling the world and taking out over half of humanity in the process.

The False Prophet motif is by no means a new idea. I've seen it done in just about every Science Fiction drama on Television. It was a big metaphor on Babylon 5. Perhaps there's a reason for that? When hunting the biggest baddest, scariest thing of all - who better than ourselves?

Oh - a final note - isn't it interesting that what Lorne described in his vision is exactly what Fred sees? And Yeats poem about the Second Coming - does mention an antichrist we all want to see? Or what about the name Jasmine and the scent she loves - a scent that is used in funeral homes, I dimly recall, to hide the stench of death? (I could be wrong on that - it could mean something else.)We choose what we want to see. We choose what we want to believe. That is both our greatest weakness and our greatest flaw. It's where our ability to choose turns in on itself. And that may be why I found tonight's episode almost impossible to watch.


[> Re: False Hopes, Messiahs, Scams...(spoilers for Ats 4.18) -- DEN, 21:06:58 04/09/03 Wed

Beautiful, 'kat!

[> [> agreed -- maddog, 07:21:52 04/10/03 Thu

I especially like the comment about the anti-christ at the end as I had the same notion and posted it in aother thread.

[> Ack typos aplenty! sorry! : "flaw" should be strength. -- skat, 21:29:01 04/09/03 Wed

Where is that editing demon when you need it?? sigh.

[> Any theories about "what" J is? -- Masq, 22:18:42 04/09/03 Wed

I'm collecting theories, step on up

Great post, btw, S'Kat. I'll buy that Jasmine is evil parading as good, or that she is well-intentioned but totally out of touch with the reality of what is truly good. Or...

Any theories about what she's after?

Because yes, all that blind devotion is scary. But what do you think those monsters on Space 1999 wanted with the people they lured? Love? Devotion? Worship? Dinner? Chaos? Order? Control?

This isn't some hokey Sci-fi show. It's ME...

[> [> Oh, and may I just pause to say (spoilers for next week's AtS trailer) -- Masq, 22:21:09 04/09/03 Wed


I wanted father-son togetherness, but...


Who's lame idea was it for them to sing--


Did Fury write next week's episode?

I can't even say it.

[> [> [> *Oh, Jasmine, I saw you and loved you* sung to the tune of you know what. -- deeva, humming tunelessly & unlikely to sleep now, 22:43:58 04/09/03 Wed

[> [> [> I eeeeeeked too - (spoilers for next week's AtS trailer) -- Anneth, 23:05:30 04/09/03 Wed

But not because of the duet!

I mean, really, how come she gets a third man?

(*hef hef* Just remember, Anneth, the trailers always lie. The trailers always lie. Repeat as necessary. *hef hef*)

[> [> [> [> Re: I eeeeeeked too - (spoilers for next week's AtS trailer) -- Dead Soul, 23:19:11 04/09/03 Wed

I mean, really, how come she gets a third man?

'Cause Joss thinks AA is Audrey Hepburn...except less dead.*

*from the Waiting in the Wings DVD commentary

Dead (but still lurking) Soul

[> [> [> [> "She's kinda bony for my taste, but different strokes..." -- Masq with some spoiler spec for next week, 06:13:38 04/10/03 Thu

Don't you think that basically sums up Angel's less-than- tactful opinion, coming out of the mouth of Angelus?

It's like VampAnne telling William Anne's deepest darkest thoughts that she'd never (want to) admit to in life.

I think they're just scared because they're alone in their perceptions of Jasmine. I don't think it's a new wrinkle in the turgid supernatural soap opera

[> [> [> [> [> Re: "She's kinda bony for my taste, but different strokes..." -- maddog, 07:30:08 04/10/03 Thu

Couldn't it all just be a dream? :) That would be nice.

[> [> [> Writing credit spoiler for next week's AtS and total spec -- Rob, 23:15:43 04/09/03 Wed

I read that Jeffrey Bell wrote and directed the next ep.

And you can totally mock me for saying this, but I thought the singing looked pretty funny. And ya never know, maybe Lorne will read them while they're singing and come up with some hidden message about killing Jasmine, or something.


[> [> [> Just adding to another Scary episode?? -- neaux, 04:37:44 04/10/03 Thu

When I saw that in the trailer.. I wanted to laugh but instead it was pure Horror!!

cant wait to get the beejeezes scared out of me next week.

[> [> [> Re: Oh, and may I just pause to say (spoilers for next week's AtS trailer) -- Yoda, 06:53:24 04/10/03 Thu

Masq here is a theory for you (see #2 below). These observations were made by a poster named Tess on the Angel Spoiler Board.

"Two things:

1. It seems that touching Jasmine's blood allows you to see the real her. The guy in the mental hospital got her blood on him from the vampire that injured her and Fred touched Jasmine's blood when cleaning her shirt.

2. I noticed this since I just finished watching the season 1 DVDs but doesn't the real Jasmine's face look a lot like the demon Vocah (sp?) that was brought up from the underground to raise Darla in "To Shanshu in LA". They both have the same creepy maggot infested half eaten away face. Just wondering? He was really the one that kind of started a lot of this story line after all."

[> [> [> [> I thought the same thing... -- Masq, 09:34:33 04/10/03 Thu

I noticed this since I just finished watching the season 1 DVDs but doesn't the real Jasmine's face look a lot like the demon Vocah (sp?) that was brought up from the underground to raise Darla in "To Shanshu in LA". They both have the same creepy maggot infested half eaten away face.

Although I think the similarity is just in general creepiness of the effect. Vocah was a "warrior of the underworld". My theory is that Jasmine is a "higher being" who has descended to our plane. Well-intentioned but really clueless about what it best for humankind.

OTOH, the similiarities of their appearances could mean something.

[> [> [> [> [> They were both were icky and 'eew', that's for sure -- pellenaka, 13:31:43 04/10/03 Thu

[> [> Re: Any theories about "what" J is? -- KKC, 02:00:05 04/10/03 Thu

Theories on what our new character is? I've got a disturbing one...

Maybe she really is the 'Powers That Be.' Maybe she is exactly what she has always claimed to be, one of the two primal forces in conflict on Earth before man arrived (the other presumably being the First Evil.) She's responsible for bringing Angel back from hell, for Connor's birth, for Cordelia's ascension, and for the creation of the Slayers (although granted, she's only verbally taken credit for the two in the middle.) She's been responsible for Cordelia's visions, for the intervention of Skip and Whistler, and for anything else that combats the forces aligned with the first evil.

Now here comes the disturbing part. Although Jasmine, the 'First Good' if you wish, is dedicated to fighting demons and other forces of the First Evil, that doesn't mean that she cares one bit about the survival or welfare of mankind. Man just happens to be on the side of 'good' and is therefore a tool to be used in the fight, and nothing more. This explains the actions and words of the character as we've seen in just the one episode, and it makes Jasmin just as 'evil' as her enemies. At least from the standpoint of an impartial human observer.

I understand the Sumerian creation epic works along these lines. Two forces aligned against each other fight a long and bloody battle. One side is defeated and is banished. The other side lays the groundwork for human civilization. And while the victors can be said to be the 'good guys,' there's nothing in their methods or their morality that suggests there's anything 'good' about them.

-KKC, who doesn't have an explanation for Fred's observation yet.

[> [> [> That's what I think too. -- Areethusa, 03:45:21 04/10/03 Thu

I think you're absolutely right, KKC. She is what she said she is, although she certainly didn't say much about herself. (Can you vague that up a little, Jasmine?) I'm not sure how much she's responsible for, since gods have a tendency to take credit for everything. But yeah, her concern was probably maintaining balance until she got tired of the whole good and evil thing. Just like the FE, she decided to step in and end the good-evil tug of war, to stop the suffering. Or else.

So why Fred? It might have something to do with her reaction to Jasmine and faith. We don't know what went on in the other guy's head, but bliss for Fred meant anxiety and pain. Nothing she did was good enough and without her god around constantly to give her constant reassurance she felt lost and frightened. Trying to worship made her unsatisfied. But hey, maybe it's because of Pylea or some mystical reason. Maybe it was the bleach fumes.

[> [> [> [> And why Angel (spec for next week) -- Masq, 06:21:48 04/10/03 Thu

Angel was dangerously close to having a moment of true happiness this week and he knew it. Jasmine kind of blew it off with the non-sequiter, "We'll eradicate evil", but she's promising them all bliss. And Angel is afraid of bliss.

Maybe that will wake him up.

Although I'm wondering if Fred and that guy at the restaurant who "saw" the mushy-faced Jasmine might not be the ones who were hallucinating. They both got kind of grandiose about their "mission". Maybe they're the ones who aren't seeing clearly....? Just a thought.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: And why Angel (spec for next week and spoilers for last night's ep) -- VampRiley, 06:54:16 04/10/03 Thu

Makes sense about how Fred lost the hold Jasmine had on her and I think that might wake Angel up, too. Emotionally traumatic events have a habit of screwing people up, as well as clearing the fog that's been around their brains.

Whatever Jasmine may have been "long ago", today, she's a clear and very good example as evil as order, much worse than The Master was. He wanted order and evil through fear. With The Master, you knew where you stood with him. He was very clear about what he wanted from life and from you.

Jasmine, she makes you think you really love her and want to worship her. I liked how they had the rotting flesh for what the man and Fred saw. It symbolizes just what Jasmine does. She offers peace, tranquility and getting along-ness. You can have free will, but just as long as it doesn't go against her view of things. She talks of how she's gonna make everything better. Says there's important work to be done. Yet, what she's doing is removing the free will of those that gaze upon her, turning her followers into nothing more than mindless puppets, whose bodies are devoid of any kind of "existence" beyond what she gives to them. She turns them into what Fred and that bloke saw. No life, no individual spark. Just a lifeless husk of rotting flesh. They remind me of the cops from The Thin Dead Line and the zombies that were created from the employees of W&H after the Beast killed them. Their strings are being pulled by another.

If she really is as old as she wants us to believe, then, she must know of her power to make those that look at her and hear her voice want to revere her. She said that humans were the ones who were failed because of her or their inaction, but she doesn't believe in humanity anymore. She might have at one point, but she doesn't want to take the "good with the bad".

She said to Angel to not worry about him losing his soul. That they will be eradicating all evil. Maybe she has plans of getting rid of Angel? She did say that "everything has it's season." That it was Connor's time now. Connor has some of the powers of a vampire without having to be a vampire. He may be part demon, but he isn't a vampire, like Angel.


[> [> [> I vote that she's One of them perhaps, but not all of them -- Masq, 06:16:24 04/10/03 Thu

I think there are still hands-off benevolent PTB's up there who aren't interfering like she's chosing to do.

[> [> [> [> Re: I vote that she's One of them perhaps, but not all of them -- Wolfhowl3, 06:23:55 04/10/03 Thu

Is it really so different then what the PTB have been doing for the last 4 years?

Consider what the AI team have been doing, getting Visons, going to kill what they are told to kill. I think the only real difference is Jasmian needs her ego stroked.


[> [> [> [> [> Re: I vote that she's One of them perhaps, but not all of them -- KKC, 14:08:17 04/10/03 Thu

Wolfie raises a good point that if Jasmine is (all of or one of) the Powers That Be, his/her methods this year are really not that much different from the past three. Sending visions to someone and guilting her into fighting evil really is a hand's breadth away from just showing up and enchanting her into doing the same.

Just to complete my earlier ramblings... If there is only one first evil, then I think just for symmetry's sake there should be only one Power That Be, or that all the powers are now encapsulated and personified in this single Jasmine being. If there is going to be fight between good and evil that will end all other conflicts, then what should happen is that BOTH should be banished from the Earth this time, leaving mankind to live based on free will and self determination alone. That ending wouldn't be possible if there are other Powers That Be still around and silently interfering.

And that's about as close as I can come to publically disagreeing with Masq without feeling silly and arrogant. :)

-KKC, watching Jacksonville slowly become Los Angeles. There's no reason for freeways in Florida to be seven stories tall.

[> [> [> [> [> [> My reasons for thinking there's more than one -- Masq, 15:58:44 04/10/03 Thu

I don't mind disagreement, after all, I am often wrong, and usually change my episode analyses to reflect new points of view and correct errors.

I think there is more than one PTB because I think that Jasmine was controlling Cordelia's actions when she killed that virgin girl last week. And another PTB (or more than one) sent Darla to whisper in Connor's other ear.

Jasmine doesn't want people to think for themselves and make up their own minds about things. She's got them all falling on their knees looking for ways to please her. The PTB's that sent Darla wanted Connor to PREVENT Jasmine's birth.

Now you can say that Darla was sent by the First Evil, or that she WAS the First Evil, but she did not follow the First's M.O. in anyway. She wanted Connor to follow what his conscience was already telling him. She wanted to empower him.

Personally, I think there is some connection between the events of BtVS and AtS, but I'm not going to try to guess what it is. On AtS, I believe there is a war going on among the PTBs about how much to interfere in human lives. They already interefere, granted, but it's a matter of degree.

We don't know which individual PTBs are responsible for which particular miraculous actions over the past four years, but there's no reason to think these entities speak or act with one voice.

Some PTB's want more intereference, for, they believe, the greater good of humankind. Some want less interference, for the value of human choice and free will. The former is Jasmine's world, the later is the world of the PTBs that sent Darla to Connor and allowed Connor to fail because his right to choose was paramount.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> For what it's worth...I agree with Masq -- s'kat, 18:42:34 04/10/03 Thu

I've read all the interesting responses to who is J threads as well as Sol's views above. And based on the information I have regarding the creators of the series?

There's probably more than one entity at work here.

Going back to H.P. Lovecraft (who I guess I need to add to my reading list - so cannot afford another book right now, sigh) and Marvel Comics : There are three entities or elder gods. One is Gaea who imbued the earth with her essence and connects all living things with it. One is Set who committed the first murder. And one is Cthon - who came up with a spell to get him and Set out of the dimension and free. Now going back to the whole Glorificus mythos - Glory was one of three gods ruling a hell-dimension, she got exiled into this one and fought to get back home. Who are our writers?

Joss Whedon - angry and rabid athesist
ME troops who wisely keep their mouths shut but my guess fall between religious-agnostic-athesist spectrum
David Greenwalt - uncertain Judeao/Christian bordering on agnostic

What do they all share in common? They are comic book and HP Lovecraft geeks. They particularly love the Marvel Universe - which in itself loves Lovecraft. (I have a friend who is into Lovecraft and has read Marvel and assures me they are connected.)

So logic dictates that we probably have three entities here: 1. First Evil (Chthon in Marvelverse) who can't take corporeal form. 2. Jasmine (either Set or something close)
OR Set could be FE and Jasmine could be Chton? No clue.
3. Gaea - the third is the earth which is a deity that does not interfer so much as just remind the characters they are connected and occasionally do miracles.

How does it break down?

1. FE - tries to sew disorder, creates vampires, pushes the big bads. It doesn't make their choices for them. It just works to persuade them to do it's bidding. Now it's bored and wants a confrontation. This thing is what tried to get Angel to kill himself, motivated all the big bads on Btvs, is trying to manipulate Spike and triggered Spike, and is behind D'Hoffryn, etc.
2. The essence that connects us, or whatever you want to call it. This is probably behind the snow storm in Amends, giving Spike a soul (although that's debatable - have no proof on this one either way), Darla's appearence to Connor, and possibly the power behind the slayer line (also debatable)
3. JAsmine - the one that may have been behind Angel's return to Buffyverse, his cursed soul (this too is debatable and far more likely to hit FE or Gaea territory??)
and Cordelia and Connor. Jasmine sort of reminds me of the Glory in this group. The one who prefered interferring and wasn't content playing Iago or just prodding here and there.
This one has probably been working on FE guy for a while now. And I'm sure, assuming Jasmine isn't FE - which I doubt, is gloating up a storm that she got corporeal first.

It's the middle essence whose into choice that the other two are probably annoyed with. And the middle one is an Elder god. Neither good nor evil.

That's what my gut tells me. I think we got three here, not two. Now I could always be proven wrong.

I have another pet theory on Connor and the shanshu prophecy deal if anyone's interested? ;-)


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Very interested.. Beans. Spill them. -- Arethusa, 19:01:28 04/10/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Okay ...regarding Connor/shanshu(future speculation for Ats) -- s'kat, 19:31:50 04/10/03 Thu

My pet theory:

Connor is the one who shanshues. Remember he's part demon.
We show him in the mirror aping Angel's vampire expression in Release or is it Salvage?? Can't remember which one.
Just as Angel did the vampire expression in Spin the Bottle.

So - what if the shanshu prophecy is about Connor? What if Connor shanshues because of Jasmine into a vampire? That would be a wonderfully ironic twist.
Then to save the world, Angel has to kill the one thing he loves most in all the world?

Think about it - this solves two prophecies in one.
1. to live you must first die? We know Wes may have read that wrong.
2. the father will kill the son. (according to Tim Minear's commentaries, this prophecy is still valid...even if Saijhan says he changed it - he may have been manipulated to change it.)We just have no clue when that was supposed to happen.
3. The parasites tell them through Fred - that the Destroyer is coming - meaning Connor?

So I'm wondering if Jasmine turns Connor into a monster, Angel has to kill him? My gut tells me that Connor may not make it to next year. (Of course this was the same silly gut who thought Fred would die in Calvery...so I could be wrong or missing a link here.)

If it does happen - it will be a motivating factor for Angel to go to SunnyD and talk to Buffy. Having to kill the one person he loved most??

And has anyone else noticed that every time Angel or Buffy consider killing someone this year they pick up a sword and its a sword that looks a great deal like the one in Becoming? (Selfless - shiny bright sword and through Anya's stomach)(Beast - sword through him in Awakenings and Release)(Cordelia - Angel tries to kill her and the baby with sword through stomach...).

Would ME kill off someone in their credits?? Would they be so cruel as to have Angel kill his son? Would they be nasty enough to have Connor be the one who shanshues but into a vampire not a human? Don't know...but I think it would be a clever bait and switch to play on the audience and a way to get rid of two pesky prophecies.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Ummmmm no. -- Rufus, 22:14:08 04/10/03 Thu

You just may be very surprised to see where Connor ends up at the end of the season...think back to the first episode.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Which first episode? Connors? Angels? Buffy's? This seasons? -- Masq, 05:28:36 04/11/03 Fri

It's obvious Connor is being set up for something big by Jasmine. She seems to prefer him over Angel, and I think it has a lot to do with Angelus, and with the fact that Connor is her creation (or usurpation), which Angel is not.

I only hope Connor survives the season (if the show survives the season!). I kinda like him.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Entering the guessing game again...;-) -- s'kat, 08:47:45 04/11/03 Fri

Well if the First episode is Deep Down?

1. Under the sea (Angel's fate in Deep Down- which is ironically fitting)
2. At W&H (Wes's fate)
3. In a mystical realm unable to talk to anyone (Cordelia's fate - equally fitting)

If first episode is City of?
Sitting at a bar getting drunk, which uh, kinda boring, but you never know.

In first episode of Buffy? Welcome to the Hellmouth? In the Hellmouth.

In the first episode of this year's buffy? In the Basement of Sunnydale high? Or the Summer's house? Uhm not logically feasible...but you never know.

My bet is it's either mystical realm or under the sea.

Thanks for the answer on the above, Ruf...


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Connor -- Rufus, 23:31:55 04/11/03 Fri

First....who says that Connor is Jasmine's creation? We only have Jasmine's word for it.

Now to Connor. He has had it rough...lousy hair, brought up in hell, and a Champion dad. But look at how he started. You could say that Jasmine and Connor had similar beginnings as having evil roots but look at it.....when Connor's soul kicked in, Darla became good, she wanted the best for her son and even started to apologize for some of her actions (the scene when her water broke in the back of the car is priceless). Darla became a person, she wasn't evil, and she was ready to die to save her son....the only good thing she ever has done. Then we have Jasmine...who may have the name of a flower but her stories stink. The reason I say this is because of what Cordy became while pregnant....she was under the influence of evil and became a passenger in her own body while whatever (beastmaster) was in control went about killing and trying to blot the sun out. The beastmaster used Cordy and Connor to give birth to himself....and I don't think the birth pains changed the result into a good thing. Connor may have a suspect background but it was the influence of his human soul that impacted everyone around him, even Darla.

Jasmine....well Jasmine is safe because of an evil act involving death just as Connor, the difference is one was a willing sacrifice out of love and one was a sacrificial murder. Now that Jasmine is here everyone is acting like they should be at an airport selling flowers and whatever path Angel should be on has been forgotten, all to worship this being who would have people thing that she is a "power that was". The end of Shiny Happy People has Fred getting out of a resturant when she sees Jasmine on TV....note that a man is walking outside and when he sees Jasmine his destination (maybe a job) is immediately forgotten as he drops to his knees....this can't be a good thing.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Oh I was suspicious of Jasmine's claims myself -- Masq, 11:42:36 04/12/03 Sat

I absolutely love the idea that Connor was conceived as a result of the life Angel was owed for being willing to sacrifice himself for Darla in the Realm of the Trials. That's metaphysically and emotionally pleasing at the same time: it explains how a vampire could get pregnant, and it means that despite Angel and Darla's attitudes at the time they had sex, Connor was actually conceived through an act of love, not an act of despair and disdain. I hope this part of what Jasmine said is true.

In my episode analysis, I hypothesize that Jasmine took advantage of Connor's miraculous conception for her own purposes, but that perhaps she didn't cause it.

She has a definite agenda for Connor above and beyond his fatherhood role, and the question for me is not whether it is good or bad, but whether it is well-intentioned or not. What intrigues me about Jasmine is that she seems to believe what she says. She did all these awful things while inside Cordelia, but in her mind, they were necessary to bring about something she sees as beneficial to humankind. I'm hoping she is a PTB that's gotten too ambitious, that has no real conception of what good and evil mean to mere mortals, and who is trying to promulgate her own conception of perfection on us in a way that can only, in the end, make our lives worse because our freedom to chose and make mistakes and be true heroes will be gone.

[> [> [> Re: Any theories about "what" J is? -- lunasea, 09:51:42 04/10/03 Thu

Not sure if Joss is going to go strictly by the Enuma Elish, but so far so good. I wouldn't say Jasmine is THE Powers that Be. It is plural. She is ONE of them. I don't think they all poured themselves into her. She is Tiamat. Apsu is still out there, along with their children and grandchildren.

Darla was sent by/allowed to come by someone. Either the First did it to prevent Jasmine's arrival or the other Powers did, because they realize that the paradise she offers is really a hell to some. It isn't their place to create paradise because that is asking them to choose among their children. Parents tend to let their kids work things out. Isn't that what we've been doing?

I think she is on the level. She does have humanity's best interest in mind and she does love us. She doesn't offer false hope. She offers HOPE period. When we start to label things true/false, good/evil in the Buffyverse, we tend to get into trouble. No black and no white in the entire verse. I am waiting for the First to do something to grey things up.

I think Jasmine wants to make a special place for the special people. Just who those special people are will factor into why some can see through her. Those people who see her as icky would be the ones to mess up Jasmine's paradise. They don't see her as a savior. Jasmine wants everyone to be special, but it just can't be that way. She can't control people. She can't take away our free will. I don't think people are enchanted, in the sense that she is putting a spell over them to do her biding. Instead they are attracted to what she is. The key to breaking that enchantment is not being attracted to that. (then again, I'm never right)

One scene that hit me most was Angel being worried about being happy. Angel has been disparaging the Powers all season. He has lost his Faith in them. Still he hung onto the belief that they had choosen Cordy to ascend because she had proven herself. The Corallary to that is if Angel was still a vampire and couldn't be happy, he hadn't proven himself to them. Daddy/Mommy didn't love him, so he didn't love them back. He still wants their love though. Jasmine doesn't offer him false hope. She offers him hope, period. She says that Mommy and Daddy do love him. I don't think she has told one lie. She isn't the Princess of Lies. That is too obvious.

It sets Angel up with a major dilema. Jasmine can rid the world of all evil, including the evil in him. She can give him everything he ever wanted. Is he willing to see Fred killed or hurt to do this? Is he willing to let the non- special people be shut out of this paradise? I am going to say no.

But Connor will be. That is why Angel's time will pass. It may be why Jasmine wanted him to be Angelus. She needed the tremendous love that is Angel's soul to grandparent her. That love created Connor in the Trials. (kudos to those who predicted that he was the life that Angel earned in "The Trials") Now that he has served his purpose, she isn't going to discard him (he will be her general as long as he wants), but she knows he will take himself out of things evenutally and fight for the status quo rather than what she offers (thus the side he picks in the Apocalypse). Jasmine understands goodness, unlike anything Buffy or Angel have faced before.

Connor is going to side with Jasmine even when he finds out what is going on. He is one of the special people and paradise is being made for him. This will set up more of a problem with Angel. Not only will he have to fight against paradise for himself and many others, but he will have to fight against his son. If Jasmine is just a False Messiah the problems aren't really there. Jasmine is offering paradise to the vast majority of humans. Is it right to prevent that because of what it does to a small percentage? Connor will side with paradise and Angel won't. Who is right? Can't be too black and white. Wouldn't be the Buffyverse.

I don't think we are seeing the typical False Messiah storyline. Jasmine is as real as it gets. If Jesus were to show up today, what do you think would happen? Peace on Earth? Yeah right. Two things would happen. The believers would beat up the non-believers, like Angel beat up that guy. The other thing is that nothing would get done. People would gather on hills to hear the Messiah speak. What would be left of civilization? People's lives would revolve around the Messiah. They wouldn't have a life any more.

Look what happened to Fred. She was isolated from Jasmine and this depressed her. The world became hard, bright and violent without her. Fred's life was devouted to Jasmine. This was symbolized by her obsession with the shirt. The guys can contribute to Jasmine by fighting and creating Jasmine's paradise. Fred can't do that. She felt she was to blame for Jasmine's injury. She felt she wasn't special. This cut her out of paradise and that is why she saw Jasmine's face as something else. (again, I tend to be wrong about things)

As for the trailer (and I like the idea. Angel should be with someone sweet, funny and smart) it is probably a way to break Jasmine's hold over him. I am sure he will be tempted to go back to her. It may be his way of affirming his commitment to the not-so-special. It will be scary to turn his back on paradise. Angel is good at convincing himself to do really scary things.

Let's just hope he figures things out quickly and he gets better wardrobe. Great to have him out of dark colors, but that shirt. GAHHHHHH!!!!

[> [> [> [> Re: Any theories about "what" J is? -- Angelus, 14:30:40 04/10/03 Thu

The only bone I have to pick is that, if we go with biblical myth, when Jesus showed up most people didn't recognize him as the messiah and refused to believe while a few did. Jasmine is the reverse of that. Almost everyone believes while a few don't. She is more a representation of what a deity becomes in a longstanding religion that is a vast organization than a representation of what happens at that core origin moment when a true messiah appears.

Going with the Jesus metaphor (and no I'm not a believer but still I'm going with the story), he says all sorts of things that people don't want to hear. He tells them their faults and he tells them the price of sacrifice they have to pay for the reward. In that sense, he isn't perfect bliss telling everyone what they want to hear and having them walking around in a euphoria. "He who follows me must pick up his cross and follow me daily." Your earthly rewards will be nothing but sweat and toil and persecution but you will be with him in paradise. "Why do you call me good? No one is good save God alone." In that respect, Jasmine reminds me more of the biblical concept of Satan, joy and peace and beauty and 'I love you' and all I want is for you to be happy and as seemingly innocent as a child on the outside. Rotten and wanting naught but absolute power on the inside.

I'm not sure on the idea that she is one of the Powers That Be. They had always been presented as a force opposing the demons, sort of God without saying God. Then again, there is no reason they cannot be a conglomeration of beings that predate humanity and the concepts of good and evil as we understand them- which would mean possibly predating the FE.

What I wonder is, where is the First Good? Then again if the FG showed up in corporeal form to fight the fight, it wouldn't be the Buffy and Angel shows anymore.

[> [> [> A slight variation on this theory... -- Thomas the Skeptic, 10:21:33 04/10/03 Thu

I believe that Jasmine is one of the elder gods tha Giles described in "Welcome to the Hellmouth", those supremely demonic beings who ruled the world before mankind emerged (evolved?). Like in the H.P. Lovecraft mythos, they were expelled from our plane of existence and have spent every second since frantically trying to get back in (parenthetically, I also think that many tentacled whatis we saw in the burst of light in which Jasmine was "born" was a shadow of her true form, sort of like the shadows in Plato's cave). Its possible that these elder gods are "The Powers That Be" but I think the jury is still out on that. I don't think, however, that the FE is the same type of being as Jasmine. I take it at its word on this point and think that it is the evil that inheres and resides as an element of every conscious being. Thus the FE would predate even the elder gods as it would be a part of them. At some point the FE acquired independent awareness and decided it did'nt want to just be a passive observer of the world of the living but an active mover and shaker. Now, as some people have already begun to speculate, the goals of Jasmine and the FE are diametrically opposed (absolute control vs absolute annihilation) so a good old fashioned "war of the villains" could definitely be in the works. Of course, ME being ME, they could go in an entirely different direction...

[> [> Re: Any theories about "what" J is? -- Rufus, 05:22:25 04/10/03 Thu

Because yes, all that blind devotion is scary. But what do you think those monsters on Space 1999 wanted with the people they lured? Love? Devotion? Worship? Dinner? Chaos? Order? Control?

More than one of the things you have mentioned above is right.

Powers that Be....or a big old faker....it's everyone's choice on what to believe.

And on a totally shallow note.....how did Angel manage to fall onto Fred's lips in next week's promo?

[> [> New literary paradigm--could be totally wacked -- ELR, 06:45:07 04/10/03 Thu

OK--here's my theory. Testing, testing...

Forget Yeats. Or no, don't forget him, but filter him through William Blake, who wrote a very confusing little tome called The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, in which he redefines "good" and "evil" thus (and don't forget what Milton said in Areopagitica about the impossibility:

"Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human existence.

"From these contraries spring what the religious call Good and Evil. God is the passive that obeys Reason. Evil is the active springing from Energy.

"Good is Heaven. Evil is Hell."

Confused yet? Good! Or rather, fine! Blake isn't talking about "religious" categories of good and evil, heaven and hell. He's redefining them for life on earth. "I must Create a System or be enslaved by another Man's." The problem was, he still had to use existing words. (Later, he tried to overcome that problem by creating new words, confusing people even more. I won't even go there.)

Among the "Proverbs of Hell" in the Marriage is "Damn braces; Bless relaxes." We're seeing this principle at work with the night-blooming Jasmine, whose blessing of everyone around her relaxes them into unwary, "shiny, happy people" who are also--oops--virtually enslaved. Only Fred, who feels "damned" is braced enough to resist.

I'm probably getting in way over my head with Blake. Not even Blake scholars claim to fully understand Blake, and most people think he was a little loony. But he has irresistible flames of genius, nevertheless, and I think he may offer some insight here.

[> [> [> Not whacked at all - I completely agree -- Rahael, 06:51:09 04/10/03 Thu

And glad that others are thinking of Areopagitica too!

And also, in Samson Agonistes, Milton shows what choice is available to those individuals who still stand firm, who choose 'strenuous liberty' while all around them, others choose 'bondage with ease'.

But as you demonstrate Blake is certainly very relevant too, how delightful!

[> [> [> [> Re: Not whacked at all - I completely agree -- ELR, 06:54:28 04/10/03 Thu

So, Rahael, wanna co-write an essay with me?

[> [> [> [> [> Oh, I am so tempted! -- Rahael, 07:06:30 04/10/03 Thu

I actually have in mind a much longer term, over-arcing essay on Angel and Samson Agonistes which I've had in mind for a couple of years, but that can wait.

There's more to be done on Milton, Blake and what's going on currently!

Hmmm, what kind of timescale were you thinking? I'm goodish for the next week, but I disappear for real life work reasons for most of the week after (though that would in itself be handy for reading and writing.)

But I'm up for speed writing something informal quickly! (I'm not one of life's patient polishers). Email me!

I would especially welcome working on a basic argument with you and helping adding in plenty of quotey-analytical goodness to flesh it out. I'm especially up for this because I have the basic texts available at home.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Oh, please do! -- Masq, 09:42:44 04/10/03 Thu

Help me figure all this Jasmine stuff out and have some impressive Milton and those-other-guys quotes to top it off with!

Something informal and quick would suit me fine...

For quoting on my site, of course, I mean.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Oh, found the quotage... -- Masq, 09:49:49 04/10/03 Thu

"It was from out the rinde of one apple tasted, that the knowledge of good and evill as two twins cleaving together leapt forth into the World. And perhaps this is that doom which Adam fell into of knowing good and evill, that is to say of knowing good by evill. As therefore the state of man now is; what wisdome can there be to choose, what continence to forbeare without the knowledge of evill?"
-John Milton, Areopagitica

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Yeah you might want to consider how Paradise Lost fits in with the Buffyverse -- Rufus, 21:29:54 04/10/03 Thu

[> [> [> Something got lost -- ELR, 06:52:07 04/10/03 Thu

I think I meant to say:

(and don't forget what Milton said in Areopagitica about the impossibility of knowing good without knowing evil in this world)

Real life interruptions.

[> [> Re: Any theories about "what" J is? -- Yoda, 06:49:12 04/10/03 Thu

Masq here is a theory for you (see # 2 below). I pulled this over from the Angel Spoiler Board. Tess made the following observations.

"Two things:

1. It seems that touching Jasmine's blood allows you to see the real her. The guy in the mental hospital got her blood on him from the vampire that injured her and Fred touched Jasmine's blood when cleaning her shirt.

2. I noticed this since I just finished watching the season 1 DVDs but doesn't the real Jasmine's face look a lot like the demon Vocah (sp?) that was brought up from the underground to raise Darla in "To Shanshu in LA". They both have the same creepy maggot infested half eaten away face. Just wondering? He was really the one that kind of started a lot of this story line after all."

[> [> All that glitters -- Cactus Watcher, 07:35:33 04/10/03 Thu

I can't help but feel Jasmine is not one of the PTBs, but something more than a run-of-the-mill primal demon. She's been attacking evil as it exists (Wolfram & Hart, vamps demons), but for what reason? Most likey to install her own brand of evil. Right now, I'd simply have to call her a destroyer, an aspect of death itself, but that probably won't hold up.

Why can Fred tell something is wrong? Sol's theory is good, but I'm wondering if what Fred was afraid of isn't part of it. She asked the man in the mental ward if he'd been there before. He doesn't answer. The insane could see through Dawn. Fred had been insane before in Pylea, and went on a compulsive, trippy mixture of self doubt and self-loathing while cleaning the blouse, while everyone else was out fighting evil with a clear conscience. I wonder, also, why Cordy is still alive, and apparently in a coma.

[> [> [> Second Sight -- Doug, 09:53:03 04/10/03 Thu

From the BtVS 5.13 "Blood Ties"

DAWN: "The key is not directly described in any known literature, but all research indicates an energy matrix vibrating at a dimensional frequency beyond normal human perception. Only those outside reality can see the key's true nature." (shakes head) Outside reality. What's that mean?
SPIKE: Mm. Second-sight blokes, mostly. (Puts out his cigarette in an item on the shelf) Or even just your run-of- the-mill lunatics.

Remember how those who were insane could perceive Dawn as the Key, rather than the visage of a teenage girl that she is in this reality? Maybe those who are at least slightly insane, or have been in the past, can see through Jasmine's appearance in this reality and see the maggot face.

Maybe Fred should go recruit an army of LA's insane.

[> [> Re: Any theories about "what" J is? -- genivive, 17:09:51 04/10/03 Thu

Are you sure she knows what she is?

[> Great post as always, shadowkat. (spoilers AtS 4.18) -- Ixchel, 22:36:56 04/09/03 Wed

IMHO it was exposure to Jasmine's blood that enabled Fred to "see" her. I think that the vampire who attacked Jasmine transferred some of her blood into Stoler (man who tried to kill Jasmine) when he scratched him. Later Fred says she washed the bloody shirt until her fingers bled, again transferring Jasmine's blood. This reminds me of a fairytale where the human is able to see the true (and ugly) nature of the fairies when some fairy ointment gets in her eye.

A really _interesting_ episode.


[> Re: False Hopes, Messiahs, Scams...(spoilers for Ats 4.18) -- Copper, 22:46:57 04/09/03 Wed

The best liars/scam artists/false prophets are those who believe their lies. Jasmine may be so convincing because she truly believes she is here to save the world; to make it a perfect place. When she looks at herself, I imagine she sees a beautiful, caring woman and is truly puzzled by Fred's reaction.

Of course, next week could prove me wrong. My tape ended before next week's teaser began.

[> Tremendously terrific, s'kat! -- Dead Soul, 23:20:55 04/09/03 Wed

[> Trailers bad (no trailer spoiler, SHP spoiler, spec) -- skyMatrix, 23:51:10 04/09/03 Wed

Last week I caught a glimpse of Fred walking alone in the trailer, so I knew she'd be immune. So I ended up looking for it the whole way through the ep, and for much of the first half, I even believed that Fred was maybe just faking her devotion to Jasmine. So once again, this reminds me why I really should avoid those trailers (and why I do avoid spoilers). If I know that a certain thing, even a relatively minor thing, is going to happen, my enjoyment of the episode is decreased because I often spend much of it waiting for the event in the trailer to happen. When you realize that that shot of Fred alone in "Los Angeles" (boy was that ever an obvious backlot shot! It looked like Boston or something) was the last shot, and yet they had that in the trailer, you have to wonder if trailers are that different from spoilers!

As for thoughts on the episode, I think maybe they should have had Fred learn about Jasmine sooner, because that way the ep would have had a protaganist. (Despite my frustrations with the preview, I still think this is a valid problem with the ep itself.) Merely watching everyone worship Jasmine gets monotonous, for me, after a while.

I wanted to like this ep, because I like the idea, especially if she really is a "god" or a PtB. I am a Christian (albeit heretical) but I think there's a good reason why God gives us free will, even though many won't believe in God specifically because he does give us free will (i.e. he allows bad to happen). It would be fascinating if we see that there is some kind of heavenly conflict, or something like that. If Jasmine really is just a world-ending demon in disguise, this storyline will dissapoint me. They are threatening to go down a very interesting path, and I dare them to follow it to its logical completion. If anyone's read His Dark Materials they have an inkling of what I'm talking about, although this would probably be something a little different...

[> Excellent analogies and I am applauding this entire post wildly! -- Briar Rose (free will for all!), 02:13:59 04/10/03 Thu

[> Re: False Hopes, Messiahs, Scams...(spoilers for Ats 4.18) -- Celebaelin, 04:37:37 04/10/03 Thu

OK, so, absolutely no idea what's going on in AtS S4 but then again neither has anyone who's actually seen it. Wishing to be amusing rather than insulting there seems to be a preponderance of 'infinite number of mokeys' syndrome. It seems that pov is everything and if the audience aren't a witness to the big bad revealing the plot to its' minions then pretty much anything could be happening. Sounds fantastic, and if convention is being bucked to that extent who's to say that the majority aren't right and it's Fred who's wrong? Don't look for quick fixes, S5 could be spectacularly interesting (but probably quite hard work).

[> Re: False Hopes, Messiahs, Scams...(spoilers for Ats 4.18) -- Arethusa, 05:16:22 04/10/03 Thu

Oh, I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. No angst, no suffering, true devotion, heart's ease. Everyone got along, everyone was happy. All they had to do was sugjegate their will.

Power's a scary thing, and the power of fanaticsm is one of the scariest, whether it's a terrorist on the other side of the world or a president who thinks he's on a mission from God.

Good post, sk. (Although Medusa's a bit annoyed about the maggot crack.)

[> This was more of "The Dangers of Religeous Fundementalism" episode -- Majin Gojira, 05:51:45 04/10/03 Thu

People that follow blindly can be tricked into doing horrible things in the name of 'good'. That's where we get Human Sacrifices, Witch Trails and Young Earth Creationism.

The Woman can be seen as an Anti-Christ figure, it is masking it's evil as good.

So far, we've seen it do 2 things: Go after demons, Gather Followers.

Superficially, these things look to be 'good', but when we look at what's displayed, we see a powerful, mind-effecting magic that robs people of their free will and rational thought.

I'm reminded of Fundementalists in so many ways...(I have a mild thing against Fundementalist ANYTHING, so don't think I'm picking on a specific religeon. I'm cool with anything as long as you don't shove it in my face obnoxiously...and that's what 'fundies' are bread to do)

Plus, since Buffy/Angel are both Lovecraftian, we know that many of the Old Ones/Elder Gods/Etc. Don't get along.

Is the Woman Evil? Hell yeah, it's robbing the people of their free will and rational thought, bending them to it's will. Subjugating them. It's slowly taking over the world. Not with an army, not with an apocalype. But with an enchantment that promots Religeous Zealotry towards it.

[> [> Excellent, blunt, points! Very well said. -- Solitude1056, 08:35:13 04/10/03 Thu

[> [> Re: This was more of "The Dangers of Religeous Fundementalism" episode -- Rob, 08:40:13 04/10/03 Thu

"Is the Woman Evil? Hell yeah, it's robbing the people of their free will and rational thought, bending them to it's will. Subjugating them. It's slowly taking over the world. Not with an army, not with an apocalype. But with an enchantment that promots Religeous Zealotry towards it."

I agree. But do you think she would perceive herself as evil? Meaning, most other Buffyverse Big Bads--the Master, Angelus, the Mayor, Adam, Glory, the Evil Troika, Willow--knew they were evil, and revelled in it. What I'm not sure is whether Jasmine truly believes with all her heart that she's helping the world or whether she is merely putting on a facade to plot her insidious schemes.


[> [> [> Re: This was more of "The Dangers of Religeous Fundementalism" episode -- Solitude1056, 08:48:57 04/10/03 Thu

But do you think she would perceive herself as evil?

So far, I'd say: absolutely not. "We're from the Powers that Be, and we're here to help."


[> Good vs Evil, Order vs Chaos -- Corwin of Amber, 08:49:42 04/10/03 Thu

Seems everybody is reading their predjudices into this episode, judging by the snarky comments about Fundamentalism, Creationism and Pres. Bush. Unfortunately, I think y'all are jumping the gun here. We simply don't have enough information yet, especially since ME has been doing the bait-and-switch on us all season long.

The balance between good and evil,order and chaos keeps getting referenced this season on both A:TS and BTVS. I think this is a motivating factor behind the baddies on both shows. The balance has been teetering from one side to the other on both shows for years, and the higher powers , elder gods, old ones, whatever you want to call them, are trying to even it out before it tips over. Hence, you have "evil" beings snuffing out W&H and "good" beings (Cordelia) doing evil things. I haven't decided which Jasmine is yet. Perhaps she is another "good" being forced to do evil.

I haven't figured out how order vs. chaos fits into the equation yet. In Michael Moorcock's Multiverse, if either gets too much of a hold on a plane of existance, it's a bad thing. Too much order leads to a stagnant reality where nothing changes. Too much chaos means nothing can hold together long enough for anything to progress.

It's all a puppet show, from AI's point of view. They have free will...but that's already been factored into the equation.

[> [> Re: Good vs Evil, Order vs Chaos -- KKC, 14:20:23 04/10/03 Thu

"The balance has been teetering from one side to the other on both shows for years... Hence, you have "evil" beings snuffing out W&H and "good" beings (Cordelia) doing evil things. I haven't decided which Jasmine is yet. Perhaps she is another "good" being forced to do evil."

Hoo boy. It was actually a decent surprise to learn that the horned beast wasn't the instigator of the apocalypse in this season's Angel. Now you're suggesting the possibility that Jasmine herself is being manipulated by an even greater power, good or evil?

This makes for an excellent story, but not necessarily good television... It would be as if your favorite urban crime drama suddenly took a detour into California from New York so you could meet the politicians and crime bosses who influence events on the show. It's interesting, but takes us too far away from our principal characters to keep viewers.

I guess this is something that's been bothering me about Angel lately... The show is largely about Angel's journey, but the bloat of regular characters and side plots has really taken the focus away from him. The further up the chain we get in this conflict, the less interesting it may be to me because it's not about Angel any more. Although I can't think of a better excuse to have gotten the poor guy into a yellow shirt. :)

-KKC, who wears a lot of black himself and briefly pauses to reassert his masculinity after inadvertantly making a fashion observation. Okay good, I still like sports and I don't understand ice skating. :)

[> "The Bringers of Wonder" (Space: 1999 and Angel 4.18 spoilers) -- cjl, 08:56:35 04/10/03 Thu

Just thought you'd like to see this. From the Space: 1999 website (snide comments in brackets []):

"The Bringers of Wonder" (Parts I and II)
Year 2, episodes 17 and 18
written by: Terence Feely
directed by: Tom Clegg

On a routine radiation check over the nuclear waste domes, Koenig [Juliet's Dad] appears to go mad and crashes. He is rescued, and Helena [Juliet's Dad's now-ex-wife] uses a new cerebral wave machine to restore him.

Meanwhile, a Superswift from Earth arrives, led by Tony's brother, Guido. There has been a breakthrough allowing faster than light travel, so they can return the Alphans to Earth.

Sandra [played by the cute-as-a-button Zenia Merton] is reunited with her fiance, Peter Rockwell. There are other joyful reunions in Command Centre.

Koenig wakes after treatment and is told about the rescue by Helena. The others greet him in Command Centre, but he is shocked to see horrid monsters among the Alphans. The Alphans restrain the hysterical Koenig.

In Medical, Koenig insists the rescuers are hostile monsters.

Two rescuers, Guido and Shaw, watch the records cameraman archiving the film of the reunion. The film shows monsters. The rescuers concentrate, and the cameraman starts smashing equipment, causing a fire. Firemen put out the blaze, but the cameraman is dead.

Tony [boring second season hunk-type character played by Tony Anholt] draws the names of the first three to return to Earth. As Guido watches, he reads out Carter, Ehrlich and Bartlett.

Koenig wakes to find one of the monsters smothering him. But when Helena enters she sees Dr. Shaw examining Koenig. Shaw leaves, and Koenig argues that the cerebral wave machine protected his mind. Helena agrees to treat Maya [yummy 2nd season metamorph character, played by Catherine Schell], and when Maya sees the rescuers she now sees monsters too.

The Superswift pilot ship, with Carter, Ehrlich and Bartlett, returns to New York City on Earth.

But in reality, the pilot ship lands at the waste domes, and Alan and the others start moving equipment in spacesuits.

Koenig, Helena and Maya decide to use white noise to block the alien mind controls. They break into Command Centre, and play the white noise over the base. The aliens are now revealed.

Abruptly, the monsters disappear. [The Alphans] must now stop Alan from blowing up the waste domes.

Koenig and Maya fly after the astronauts. Koenig is lowered by harness from the Eagle in front of their moonbuggy.

Koenig fights Alan and Ehrlich, but he is outnumbered. Maya transforms into a space animal to rescue him, but Alan gets away in the moonbuggy.

In the waste domes, Alan and Bartlett set up laser beams to break into the reactor core. [In one of the funniest and most disturbing sequences of the series, we see that Alan and Bartlett think they're kicking back at the beach on Earth, riding dune buggies, laying down towels and sticking a big, garishly colored umbrella in the sand...]

On Moonbase Alpha, Helena anesthetises most of the Alphans so the aliens cannot tap their mental energy.

Koenig finds Alan and Bartlett and fights them. Alan tries to put the nuclear trigger into the waste, but Koenig eventually stops him. Without energy, the aliens die.

This brought back memories. "Space: 1999" was so incredibly bad most of the time, but occasionally, they would cut through the pomposity and cheesiness and do something interesting. "Bringers of Wonder" wasn't one of those episodes, but there was a fascinating moment at the climax when Koenig confronted one of the aliens and told it to stop screwing with his people. The alien replied, with a straight something-resembling-a-face, that the humans were happy. Truly happy. OK, granted, blowing up the waste domes would kill the Alphans in a particuarly horrible fashion while the aliens fed off the energy, but that's the breaks. The aliens could give the Alphans a lifetime of happiness just before their deaths. Wouldn't that be worth it? Needless to say, Koenig didn't see their point of view.

As for what's going with Angel/Buffy, I'm thinking we've got more of a Bab5 thing going on here than a Space: 1999 thing. Jasmine = Vorlons; FE = Shadows. Humanity would do better to toss them both out on their ear, flip over the board, and start fresh. Haven't seen SHP yet (getting the videotape tomorrow), so will comment more later....

With me, all things are possible: major freakin spoilers for whatever the latest AtS ep was called. -- Solitude1056, 23:19:43 04/09/03 Wed

Cause, like, I'm a half-sheet to the wind and could care less what the episode title was, or its number.

As for the episode? Around 8:27, EST, that was me jumping up and screaming, "take that, Mister Greenwalt!" No, I don't think Dave will be wanting back his job with the Angel writing crew again anytime soon. Well, I figured this a few seconds after the anvil smack that I paraphrased slightly as a message subject. I mean, really. Could we be just a little less subtle, Joss? Is it even possible? So I don't think we're dealing with a false messiah, actually. In fact, I think Jasmine is a creation that many people would willingly embrace as a new religion. Hell, a bunch of people followed Jim Jones straight down to kool aid, and Jasmine's a helluva far sight better looking to boot - and there's no sign yet that she's spiking the fruit punch. So she's obviously a good guy, right, as long as we overlook the fact that her copy of Messiah-hood for Dummies was missing the chapter on Appropriate Dresscode for a Messiah's Workday. I mean, really, can we look anymore faddish? A messiah should have a sense of style, granted, but not swing between being a wannbe Seventeen cover model and a higher class of palm reader. That outfit, from the post-Beatles homage party, alone is grounds for a major case arguing Jasmine as bad guy, but...

...That depends entirely on what you consider positive or negative. If you've spent your life trying to make good with your local authority, railing against your dotcom fate, or feeling empty and useless in the check-out lane at your favorite generic grocery store, you too might be more than willing to see Jasmine as a purely positive entity. And given AI's past season of turgid supernatural soap opera, I can't blame them for wanting - even for just a little bit - to have someone come along and make it all better. The only question, then, is: better by whose standards?

Anyway, that's not what I was thinking about at the end of the episode, however, although I guess it's a nifty thing to ask. I'll ask again later. In the meantime, I suspect that here I shall buy a vowel.

Gimme an I.

Err, the insanity clause rears its unusually pretty head. This is an old metaphor of Joss', isn't it - hey, didn't we see this in Into the Woods? Didn't we see this with the curds and whey guy, scaring Dawn? And didn't we see this when Tara had that two week stay in the vegetable patch?

I don't know how the guy - Stover, or John, or whatever it was - felt or what he saw or what prompted his clear seeing. Nor do I understand the chat about the spontaneous "calling" to destroy Jasmine - it's not real obvious, from what I saw at least, whether there's something driving that calling or whether it's just something defensive and instinctive in a human. It could be that the calling to attack Jasmine is more of a fight/flight mechanism, something buried deep down that says it's better to die fighting to destroy a bad thing than to let it suffer to live. Or something.

And for this reason I think it's important to note that Fred does belabor the point slightly as to whether John had previously been mentally ill, prior to seeing Jasmine. I don't think she was asking because she thought - wait, I shall rephrase. I think Fred was asking because the script told her she would be dubious of John's reliability. I think ME was asking because they wanted us to note, hm, strange similarities here. If John had a history of mental illness (a question he never answered, naturally), this could potentially be a corollary with Fred as well as a shout-out to BtVS fans from Season 5. However, I think the situation goes a little deeper than just the character's mental stability - I think the how, and the why, are equally important.

Fred's response to strong negative stimuli is withdrawal, and it's usually withdrawal into an obsessive, repetitive, nearly mindless action where there's no end in sight and the same quirky things get repeated endlessly. As long as she's reenacting whatever action, she seems to hold off the forces of collapse. Her repeated washings of Jasmine's shirt reminded me of the same frantic, desperate scribblings of her first return and shortly after finding doctor what's-his- face had given her the portal vacation on purpose. It took this sudden sinking into her 'crazy' behavior to prompt her awareness of hurting when Jasmine was absent, and it seems to be that this awareness of her hurting in some way led to her awareness of Jasmine's skanky facial wiggling.

So perhaps Joss' theme continues unabated - crazy people, insane people, those we consider marginalized by their inability to interact in a common, consistent reality, can at the same time be prophetically aware of the true nature of things. This would certainly hold true to the continued extremo true messiah crap, where peace love and happiness occur because everyone gets along.

Oh, and by the way: Jasmine, as a name and as a flower, means 'sweet and amiable'. I know this because my housemate's daughter is named Jasmine, and she's anything but. (Teenagers. Can't shoot them, can't shoot them.)

Where was I.

Oh, right. Everyone gets along, because we all agree that this is what we should do, this is where we are going, we have an agreement on our common reality. But the crazy folks, the independent people, the free thinking others, aren't always so quick to automatically accept authority. Who was it, earlier this week, rejected "question authority" as Joss' secret mantra, and instead posited "You are your own authority" as the true message? Right on, you perceptive person whose name just now escaped me.

(I am now a whole sheet to the wind. I have an excuse.)

When Fred goes through her phases of scribbling on walls, she's attempting to be her own authority. By that I mean, she's trying to figure it out on her own. Everything around her said, you are trapped in Pylea, but her scribbling was her way of attempting to take back and change that reality that she didn't want to accept, by trying to impose her own sense of order and justice on the chaos of the unwelcome reality - if she could figure it out, she could fix it. When she was trying to cope with the realization about the portal-giving bad doctor, she again scribbled, again trying to rationalize, compartmentalize, organize her reality into something she could control and manage. As far as I'm concerned, scrubbing a shirt until your own hands bleed is definitely one way of taking "make something just so" to the extreme. Fred wanted the shirt clean; she felt the reality should be that the shirt should come clean, and her own worth hinged somehow on this. Cleaning the shirt, therefore, was her way of trying to control the situation, to make it her own and bend it to her will - to turn the bloody-shirt situation into a clean-shirt situation. It didn't work, however, and somewhere in there, amidst her attempts to take responsibility for what she perceived as the consequence of her actions, something turned a corner. Between the left of center perspective from the obsessive organizing actions, and the will to force, to make, to do something just so, Fred was able to see a different point of view.

Then the questions become: why would she see a negative side of Jasmine? And does this negative side negate Jasmine's otherwise (at least so far) peaceful and benevolent message?

First, Fred sees a negative side of Jasmine because - at the point when she sees Jasmine's wriggly face - she's still in a mode of self-awareness, of claiming responsibility, of trying to do something about her actions, of trying to change things, on her own initiative. Each of these traits could also describe a free thinker, an independent soul, just as much as it could describe an obsessive-compulsive physics skinny like Fred. Jasmine has consistently preached (and I use that word on purpose) a doctrine of sitting back, accepting the way things are now, of allowing the crunchy goodness to happen on its own time. What do-something action the gang gets, it gets at her invitation, following her lead. Jasmine's position is that one shouldn't actively do things so much as feel peace, love, happiness and let her do the hard thinking. All the puny mortals have to do is worship.

Fred, however, doesn't worship. She actively takes on responsibility, tries to change things to fit with what she wants (where Jasmine specifically told her not to bother), and as a result, she sees badness in Jasmine's leadership where others see only goodness, because they want that leadership. They want to follow, but it's not that they're bad people where Fred is the lone good person. It's simply that Fred was the first person to try to actively impact her world despite Jasmine's exhortation to not worry, be happy, and do what Jasmine says. In that contrast, Jasmine is a negative because she would enforce nonaction where, for Fred, the positive is action. If Fred's concept of Life is vitality and self-affirming choice, then Jasmine would naturally be presented as Rotting Death, as her self- denying non-choice is the opposite of Fred's concept of Life.

(It's not clear whether Fred continues to see Jasmine as Rotting Maggot Woman, or whether ME opted to let us guess that visual rather than deal with the special effects for every instance of Fred's POV of Jasmine.)

Second, I don't think Fred's perception negates Jasmine's message at this point in time. Based on what I've seen so far, I've only my own awareness to go on that says that free will, and making one's own choices based on one's own actions and responsibilities, is far more positive than letting someone else tell you what to do - no matter how much they may have your "best interests" at heart. To use an analogy on my mind thanks to current events, I would see a new benevolent government not elected by the populace to be little improvement over any former oppressive government. The government's benevolence doesn't change the fact that the populace still has no say in the matter - and I was culturally raised to believe it's better to have a true say in a bad government than no say in an otherwise beneficial government. I mean, hell, even totalitarian government have their good days. Jumping to the devil's advocate position, I'd also have to add that the fact that a few dissidents aren't in line doesn't necessarily mean the governments in question automatically fall in the category of absolute evil. It's just the way it is that I, as a product of my culture, will be dancing with the dissidents rather than praying with the good citizens of Jasmine-land.

As for the evidence backing up my Fred theories this week, I think Angel provided our contrasting storyline. Spoiler, from next-episode teaser, in white font: which may be why we see that Angel is the next one to figure out there's another side to the Jasmine shindig. When he goes outside to brood (of course), Jasmine rebukes him gently for worrying about it. Don't worry, be happy, yada yada yada. Notice that he doesn't say to himself, I shall continue to worry about this, because it is important to me, and I should do something about this myself. Nope. Angel says - with a bit of perfectly understandable relief - that he's willing to believe Jasmine's reassurances. Of course, it probably helps that she affirms his value by calling him her 'general,' but whatever. Point is that Angel stood at the brink of thinking something wasn't right with his perception of reality (the get-happy risk), and was brooding about how to fix it or make it better. Jasmine's interception meant that he no longer needed to brood, because she would take care of it. Angel opted to continue following Jasmine, where Fred - purely by dint of personality and lucky circumstance - happened to be the one to try and act on her perceptions regardless of Jasmine's assurances.

Hmm, hmm, it's almost 2am. My, how time flies when you're pondering the comeuppance of Elvis fans.

[> Re: all things: major freakin spoilers for whatever the latest AtS ep was called. -- Arethusa, 04:13:55 04/10/03 Thu

That was me, with the quote. I watched most of this episode wth my mouth open, shocked and delighted with the lack of subtlety, the clear correlation between Jasmine and her followers and organized religion. I'd like to say more on that later, after I see the episode again.

It was so great how everyone was still so very much themselves, just really really happy. Angel still had to brood-and you're probably right that the "chosen" are those who have something in them that isn't satisfied by perfect happiness. Angel has been wary and distrustful of "perfect happiness" for so long that he might not be able to stay in that mood for long. Fred's been kicked in the pants by fate too. Her life torn from her for five years. Slavery instead of royalty. Remember Fred's remark about how Cordy's there for five minutes and becomes a princess, while she's a slave for five years. After a few years of terrible suffering, some start to question the idea of an all- powerful and benevolent god.

[> Re: Who are the chosen? - spoilers & speculations - - keriann, 05:22:22 04/10/03 Thu

While watching this episode, I believed it was the mental instability of Fred and (maybe) John that allowed them to see Jasmine as the evil that she (presumably) is. However, a friend brought up an interesting point - both Fred and John came in contact with Jasmine's blood. John was attacked by the same vampire that scratched Jasmine, and Fred - of course - was washing the blood out of her shirt. What is the potential for this contact to bring about some immunity to her enchantment?

[> [> Purification and the Tro-Clan prophecy (Spoilers, aired BtVS and AtS eps) -- Rahael, 05:34:44 04/10/03 Thu

Usual disclaimers about not having seen the eppy etc, but the blood thing is a good point because it would tie in with the imagery in BtVS re the importance of blood to the Big Bad.

Also, on a different point re Fred and the shirt-washing, didn't the Tro Clan prophecy say something about Purification? Was Fred's compulsive efforts to clean the shirt a metaphor for a theme to come?

And, the wildfeed informs me that Jasmine's true visage had maggots involved. Maggots of course signify death...

[> [> [> Re: Purification and the Tro-Clan prophecy (Spoilers, aired BtVS and AtS eps) -- Solitude1056, 08:23:14 04/10/03 Thu

Maggots of course signify death...

Yes, hence the Fred-perspective = Life vs. No-choice = death, at least it'd be death to anyone who considers "choosing for hirself" to be a requirement for living.

[> KABOOM!!!! cos this post freakin' deserves it. -- Caroline, 11:10:05 04/10/03 Thu

This deconstruction is spot-on. Maybe you should get drunk more often? I'd love to see what you can do when you are three sheets to the wind!

I admit that the only parts of the ep I really enjoyed were Fred-inspired. I was a bit bored by the Jasmine action because, to me, it was such a predictable and rather pedantic exploration of the dangers of fundamentalism and how seductive it can be to let someone else make it all better and I was wondering when the kool-aid was gonna show up.

But the real crunchy goodness was Fred - her zeal to make amends for not protecting Jasmine resulted in her release from the enchantment. She was true to herself and therefore won herself back. ME appears to be exploring many of the same themes this season in both shows: that in the end we are who we are, that in a world where events happen to us we have the capacity to shape them through our own behaviour.

And like you, I am also glad to see this new slant to the PTB. A huge chunk of the reason I stopped watching Angel was the rather large reliance the show placed on the 'good' PTB and their machinations and interference in the mortal realm. There is a reason why Amends is my most hated Buffy episode philosophically and AtS continued from there. So, despite the fact that dramatically this ep was a bit of a low for me after Inside Out, I welcome the change in direction.

[> [> Heh, even if I missed... -- Solitude1056, 11:31:50 04/10/03 Thu

The rather duh element of "it's always got to be blood," in terms of Fred's and John's recognition of a different view of Jasmine. (Not willing to say yet which is right or wrong, per se, however.) In some ways, blood is an ongoing theme, thanks to the metaphor of vampires and blood as sex, blood as life-force and vitality, and blood as portal-whammies. I suppose one could say that "ME says contact with Jasmine's blood will wake up so-and-so," but I think the alternate version equally holds, if we add the caveat that somehow, being in touch with Jasmine's true "life-force" is what opens the doors to seeing something other than the glamour.

But I think the point underneath that is that blood isn't enough. Fred, upon seeing Jasmine's other face, didn't immediately think she had to kill it. And there's also the question of what she would've done had she not seen someone else respond with disgust towards Jasmine. It's entirely possible that she would've seen her vision of Jasmine as her own failure - it's only her awareness of another negative response that prompts her to come up with a cover story and go seeking more information. And even then, she doesn't automatically jump to the assumption that such a vision indicates she's called to do anything about it. Fred continues with the self-determination, deciding for herself to seek information, measure the source of that info, observe, get a second opinion (even if that turned out badly) and go from there. At all points she was attempting to intelligently and coherently manage her own destiny, which is more than I can say for John's sudden knife- grabbing attack on Jasmine. All he lacked was a little froth at the mouth, frankly.

On the other hand, I was expecting Fred to whine to herself in her best pub school brit voice, "don't touch that, that's pure eeeevul!"


[> [> [> Buffy vs. Dracula -- Rufus, 22:18:09 04/10/03 Thu

Remember that when Buffy tasted Dracula's blood she gained knowledge about herself, not the darkness that Dracula assumed she'd be anxious to join him in.

[> Agree. Good analysis of Fred. -- s'kat, 19:43:28 04/10/03 Thu

She's amazing......you'll go crazy.......spoilers for Angel "Shiny happy people" -- Rufus, 02:35:11 04/10/03 Thu

Nuts, just the word I was looking for. Seems everyone is having a St Theresa reaction to Jasmine....well to be honest she has no name and didn't till the end of the show but I gotta call her something. Gina Torres, she is one good looking woman...and hell Connor got to skip potty training just like his dad did without his kid going to a hell dimension. But who the hell is Jasmine......so we get a history lesson straight from the deities mouth (depending on how you see her with or without blood and worms).......

Jasmine: I can't tell you how good it is to be back.

Wes: Back? Then you've been here before?

Jasmine: Yes, in the beginning before the time of man, Great Beings walked the Earth. Untold power emanated from all quarters. The seeds of what would become known as good an evil. But the shadows stretched and became darkness....and the malevolent among us grew stronger. The earth became a demon realm. Those of us who had the will to resist left this place...But we remained ever watchful.

Gunn: You're a power that was?

Jasmine: But then something new emerged from deep inside the Earth. Neither demon or god.

Wes: Man

Jasmine: And it seemed for a time that through this new race a balance might be restored.

Fred: I guess we really let you down.

Jasmine: But you didn't. It was we who failed you. We became little more than observers. I could no longer bear to just watch all the suffering. I had to find a way back. But first I needed a miracle, so I arranged one....through you Angel, through Darla, that is where my parentage began. Two vampires, creatures once human corrupted by darkness. And you with a soul.....a miracle already.

Angel: But how?

Jasmine: Through Lorne.

Lorne: Huh????

Jasmine: The day Lorne sent Angel and human Darla into the trials to earn a new chance at life.

Angel: I failed

Jasmine: No...you earned that life....and there it is (looks to Connor). All these events unfolded that I might reenter this physical plane. I know there's been Chaos.

Wes: All the events we've witnessed these past months all the madness...it was birth pains.

Jasmine: But the storm has passed.

Lorne: And here comes the sun.

Angel: And Cordelia...will she wake up?

Jasmine: If we take hold of the world strip away the thorns, win the battle...then yes, I think she will.

Fred: How do we do that?

Jasmine: One evil at a time......much damage has been done in my name. There are demons forces of hate all over this city.

Fred: We're going to destroy them.

Jasmine: We're going to change the world.

Angel: Finally.

Everyone is happy, happy, happy.....like the folks in Buffy when under the love spell in Him....who cares that they were ready to screw over their friends and relatives to get what they wanted. Everyone (on ATS) was too quick to put a death sentence on Fred, too quick to call her evil. So, I think that Connor was right....."she's amazing.....you'll go crazy".

Something quick to think about......"not the bang, not the word"...that quote about the beginning from Lessons.....and think....this Jasmine has no name........really?

Oh and one more.....here we go again with the mission.

[> Crowds. -- neaux, 04:53:18 04/10/03 Thu

Well if you've watched the Simpsons religiously you know every other episode the town turns into an angry mob and tries to lynch one of the Simpson's members for some zany reason.

Will Ats take this route? Right now everyone is happy. Crowds of happy people (which I find terribly disturbing). Either the extras in the episode were really bad actors or the extras were really good actors acting really really happy. Either way it made for one creepy episode.

So I ask you all, how long till the thousands of LA's finest turn into hordes of evil / Angry mob. Jasmine actually stops the AI crew from chasing Fred. Her reason is that her minions.. ahem I mean followers will be her eyes. Will her followers eventually become her evil doers??

[> Eradicate all evil...spoilers for Angel "Shiny happy people" -- Rufus, 05:11:45 04/10/03 Thu

Now onto another quote from the show....

Angel: If I get too happy...allow myself to feel what I'm feeling...Angelus might...

Jasmine: I know, but soon none of that will matter...evil will be bannished by the deeds we will do Angel. Even the evil inside of you, that too will be gone...all that will be left is the beauty.

Angel: Eradicate all evil..

Jasmine: Yes.

Angel: Is that even possible? We've been fighting for so long.

Jasmine: I know I've seen it all. It's why I've come back. You're my General I have faith in you.

Now, what exactly will evil look like, act like, be? With everyone acting like they are sleepwalking in some dream world, who will choose the ones who are evil? We have seen Wes turn Fred in to Jasmine...have seen everyone act in ways that are very unlike them....all after seeing Jasmine....she even seems to work over the airwaves..but the result is the same..real living stops and worship begins. Jasmine wants to change the world, what would her ideal world look like?

[> [> Disturbing scene...spoilers for Angel "Shiny happy people" and future specs -- random lurker, 08:35:32 04/10/03 Thu

IMHO I thought that this was the most disturbing scence of the entire episode. What exactly did Jasmine mean when she said "eradicate all evil"? And Angel's question of whether that was even possible is extremely valid. This whole scene gave me a very quesy feeling.

In ATS - Season 2 Reprise - Angel learned that the "home office" was earth:

Holland: "Welcome to the home office."
Angel: "This isn't..."
Holland: "Well, you know it is. - You know *that* better than anyone. Things you've seen. Things you've, well - done. You see, if there wasn't evil in every single one of them out there (Angel watches as some people in the plaza start yelling at each other) why, they wouldn't be people. - They'd all be angels."

So, if to be human you have to have evil inside you, how can anyone be safe from Jasmine if she wants to rid the world of evil. Which again raises the question of who decides who is evil and who isn't. To me, when I heard Jasmine's plan, the first thing that came to mind was that she wanted to remove all humans from the world. There is no such thing as a Utopia - where everyone is happy and evil doesn't exist. Again in Reprise, Holland told Angel:

Holland: "See, the world doesn't work in spite of evil, Angel. - It works with us. - It works because of us."

To really have peace on earth, the world has to be empty. So maybe Jasmine's ultimate plan is to rid the world of both humans and demons, so that she and others of her kind can live on Earth without any danger to themselves. (isn't that why they really left in the first place?)

Anyway, those are just my thoughts - could be wrong.

[> [> [> Unless of course humanity, instead of being removed, becomes angels. -- Finn Mac Cool, 09:17:00 04/10/03 Thu

Theoretically in the Buffyverse there could exist creatures that don't want to harm anyone and derive happiness just from living and helping others. This doesn't mean being someone else's slave, though, or being brainwashed, as long as they willingly made the change.

Of course, this is likely not possible. But, if it was possible, it would certainly be worth doing.

[> [> [> [> Well, ideally -- Masq, 11:41:07 04/10/03 Thu

Theoretically in the Buffyverse there could exist creatures that don't want to harm anyone and derive happiness just from living and helping others.

I know you're talking about some sort of supernatural creatures like angels, small "a", but just food for thought- -

We already know who such creatures are, Finn. They're Champions. Buffy, Angel, etc. Since they are only human (mostly), they have their faults and sometimes they end up hurting people. I don't think they intend to in their right minds, but sometimes they do. But they still more or less fall under the category you're talking about. They just want to help, and they do so because they chose to. Buffy could have hung up her Slayer shingle the minute Kendra appeared. Angel could have stayed in his bat-cave brooding when Doyle appeared.

They didn't.

[> [> [> [> [> I'd call them about as close to angels as humans can get without metaphysical transformation -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:15:24 04/10/03 Thu

What I was thinking of when I said that were beings that didn't even feel tempted to be evil. We've seen before that Buffy and Angel have hurt others even though they know it's wrong and don't see much good coming from it (trying to kill Wesley, using Spike). However, when I described angels, I guess I had a sort of "pure good" ideal in mind, something that no human (or vampire) could ever hope to reach; the sort of person that no halfway entertaining TV show could be made about since they would always refuse, without even any internal conflict, even the slightest wrong doing. But, I do agree, Champions, as we've seen them on Buffy and Angel, are far closer to this impossible ideal than most people on the planet.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Why Jasmine must be stopped!! -- Masq, 15:03:42 04/10/03 Thu

the sort of person that no halfway entertaining TV show could be made about since they would always refuse, without even any internal conflict, even the slightest wrong doing

I had this exact thought last night. "Hey, everyone's happy! But it sure makes for boring story-telling."

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'm with Masq: Why Jasmine must be stopped!! And on a more theological bent... -- Briar Rose, 15:51:44 04/10/03 Thu

Many of the world's religions are based in the philosophy that the universe is supported by a complicated construct of checks and balances.

If it were indeed possible to "iradicate all evil" then it would cause the much needed balance pertaining to the universal laws of order to loose the equilibrium to hold itself together.

There is such a thing as 'Killing with kindness' and this would appear to be Jasmine's agenda: That her ultimate goal is to reclaim earth for those "First Beings" that (as we have seen in BtVS & AtS before), are neither good or evil at their core - they simply are.

Now the logical next argument is that "Humankind is imperfect while the First Beings (TPTB) are not." Yet we also got a clue from Jasmine that the Powers That Were are not good nor bad in actuality, they just are because they also make what we would see as mistakes; not taking an active role in the doings on earth.... So in the instance of taking out humankind, daemon kind and all other kinds, the First would be taking Earth through yet another change that isn't necessarily good or bad. It just is.

On days when I watch the news and see how messed up some of the world population is (yes that includes all nations), I think that it's time for the Jasmines of this world to come forward and end the mess we've made of the planet and ourselves. On days when I am loving the feel of sun on my face and wind in my hair? Well then I could care less what a PTB thinks and would become a Sovell (what's his name?) or Fred and be the first in line to take out Miz Annointed and Annoying One.*L

But as there is no light without darkness and no sadness without happiness to balance them, so there can be no good without evil to balance it. And I doubt that ME would go the "it's all shades of gray and no matter on what the intent is, 'cause there IS no active intent in energy in it's natural state..."

The one thing that ME has always stuck to theologically is that there is no "one way" to look at anything in the Joss- verse. The Vampire can be a Champion or a Scourge (even if they are not souled!) The Slayer can be a Sacred Chalice for the Powers of Good and yet hold an Evil Source.

So whatever is going to happen I hypothesize that Jasmine will soon be shown to lack the true diachotomy that the theology of the Joss-verse requires and will be stopped.

Of course, we will be left wondering if it was the "Right" thing to do when it happens... But it wouldn't be an ME production without that ethical and moral dilema to be faced at the end of the campaign.~w~ "The battle's done.... and we kinda won?... so we'll sound our victory cheer. Where do we go from here?"

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I'm with Masq: Why Jasmine must be stopped!! And on a more theological bent... -- lunasea, 16:15:23 04/10/03 Thu

I think Jasmine will offer a specific paradise for the special people. Angel will have to decide between that and what humans can manage to put together themselves without any divine aid. Angel has to stop Jasmine because it is a profound statement of hope about the potential of humanity. It says we don't have to resort to what Jasmine is offering. We will get to an even better place without her.

Things may be grey in the Buffyverse, but do they always have to be? Are we moving towards a better tomorrow? Angel and Buffy have changed how many people/demons, giving them hope and making them better people? Change happens one person at a time. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. It started with Cordy, Kate, Melissa, Doyle, Ryan's family, a bunch of unnamed demons held against their will and forced to fight, Rebecca, Wesley, Faith, Gunn, Judy, Denver, Darla, Lindsey, Fred, Lorne, Connor, Gwen. All those people changed forever by Angel. Not to mention, Buffy. Buffy and Angel are what they are because of each other.

Angel can tell Jasmine to shove it. We don't need her.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Why Jasmine must be stopped!! -- Rufus, 20:13:16 04/10/03 Thu

Things will start to get way more exciting soon.....but while we are waiting look at the reaction people have to Jasmine...they seem to forget all about their life, thinking that everything they were is meaningless....and they hurt when they aren't around Jasmine....and the murder rate went through the roof....til it leveled off...hmmmm wonder why that happened?

Listen to what Jasmine says.....but look at what she and everyone around her does...cause religion has been used over the years to kill more people than just about anything I know. If you don't belong you are the other....and all the lovey dovey words don't apply to the other....right now demons are the other...what happens when the demon becomes us?

[> [> Disturbing scene...spoilers for Angel "Shiny happy people" and future specs -- random lurker, 09:10:16 04/10/03 Thu

IMHO I thought that this was the most disturbing scence of the entire episode. What exactly did Jasmine mean when she said "eradicate all evil"? And Angel's question of whether that was even possible is extremely valid. This whole scene gave me a very quesy feeling.

In ATS - Season 2 Reprise - Angel learned that the "home office" was earth:

Holland: "Welcome to the home office."
Angel: "This isn't..."
Holland: "Well, you know it is. - You know *that* better than anyone. Things you've seen. Things you've, well - done. You see, if there wasn't evil in every single one of them out there (Angel watches as some people in the plaza start yelling at each other) why, they wouldn't be people. - They'd all be angels."

So, if to be human you have to have evil inside you, how can anyone be safe from Jasmine if she wants to rid the world of evil. Which again raises the question of who decides who is evil and who isn't. To me, when I heard Jasmine's plan, the first thing that came to mind was that she wanted to remove all humans from the world.

There is no such thing as a Utopia - where everyone is happy and there is no such thing as evil. Again in Reprise, Holland told Angel:

Holland: "See, the world doesn't work in spite of evil, Angel. - It works with us. - It works because of us."

To really have peace on earth, the world has to be empty. So maybe Jasmine's ultimate plan is to rid the world of both humans and demons, so that she and others of her kind can live on Earth without any danger to themselves. (isn't that why they really left in the first place?)

Anyway, those are just my thoughts - could be wrong.

[> [> connections btwn. the shows, dissension in the ranks? (spoilers for shp, recent buffy eps) -- anom, 16:14:15 04/11/03 Fri

No way can I keep up w/all the posts on the new ep, so I hope I'm not repeating someone else. [Plus Voy wouldn't let me post it last night, so there's that much more chance someone already said the same stuff. But I'm just relieved that all my attempts didn't get through even though I got "could not connect" notices. There'd be a dozen repeat posts!]

"Jasmine: ...evil will be banished by the deeds we will do, Angel. Even the evil inside of you, that too will be gone...all that will be left is the beauty.

Angel: Eradicate all evil....

Jasmine: Yes.

Angel: Is that even possible?"

Does this sound like the other side of what we've been hearing on "Buffy?" About "You can never defeat evil. It's always been here. It's in all of us." But Jasmine says it can be eradicated, even the evil inside us...even inside a Champion.

"Jasmine: ...You're my General. I have faith in you."

Couldn't help noticing 2 rather loaded words in this quote: "general" & "faith." Who else is being called a general? Buffy. Where is Faith (not Jasmine's faith) headed? Buffy. What if just as Buffy is finally ready to try an approach that doesn't depend on getting rid of all evil, Angel & co. show up saying that's just what we need to do, & see--we've been doing it? Maybe Faith vs. "faith" will play a crucial role. I think someone on this board suggested the casts of the 2 shows are going to end up fighting it out (under their respective generals?) for the fate of the world...maybe that's what's being set up here. However, the trailer for next week's "Angel" looked as though that may not be what happens (won't get any more specific than that).

I also wonder if Jasmine is sowing dissension in her closest followers even as she preaches peace & love. She calls Angel her general but tells Connor he's her new champion. I didn't tape it, but she seemed to imply he's to supplant his father- -or has already. And is it possible she set Fred up to have to leave the fold? Why did she take her aside during the fight in the bowling alley? Sometime during that conversation, did something happen (other than Fred's contact w/her blood, as keriann mentioned--or maybe that was it, although it didn't seem planned) that suggested to Fred that Jasmine wasn't what she seemed?

Now I'm sorry I didn't tape it. I'd like to look for instances when Jasmine told the others things that could divide them from each other. I remember things that could be taken >1 way (like "Everything is going to change"), but nothing else that seemed like that kind of setup. (What I'd really like would be for Lorne to hear her sing! Would it be like reading amnesiac!Cordelia all over again?)

[> Re: She's amazing......you'll go crazy.......spoilers for Angel "Shiny happy people" -- maddog, 06:56:17 04/10/03 Thu

Not to bring religion into this but she reminds me of what that anti-christ is supposed to be like...not a love at first sight thing like this, but very much loved by the masses as they preach peace to the world....all the while making it impossible for everyone to depend on anyone but them....so in the end they have total control(or think they do at least).

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