April 2003 posts


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"Lies My Parents Told Me" Revisited -- Darby, 09:01:35 04/01/03 Tue

Time for another look, now, innit?

Okay, I was wrong - the trash can wasn't part of the plan, I didn't hear clearly. Never mind.

Folks have said that Robin should have realized Spike's change of heart from the times Spike saved him, but the first scene in the alley seems to be saying that having the monster who killed his mother save him (he grips the stake hard enough to draw blood and require bandaging) is making things worse.

The Giles library rant scene is another logic-for-punchline trade-off, with him rushing into a Buffy's meeting to be an idiot - and this someone who worked in a school! Must be something about being back in the school setting that makes the writers forget how to make the setting work, which is true even if it makes no sense. On top of that, the couple of times we've been shown the new library, the set dressing was racks of books, not monitors. Guess Giles in his new buffoon role is prone to wild exaggeration.

Okay, I've got to say it: the trigger is a red herring!!! It has never triggered behavior in Spike; what it triggers is the release of his demon! This vampire-with-a-soul comes with a curse of his own - the soul's influence (which is nowhere as powerful as Angel's, anyway) disappears when he vamps, and the old Spike is back, controllable only by Buffy's presence, and even then not reliably. The evidence has been accumulating throughout the season, including: the scene in the bar with Anya, his silent scene where we first learn he's killing (silent so we wouldn't realize he was regular Spike up to the attack), the attack on Andrew, the retrieval of the Exchange Demon, and here in the basement. What we have also been shown, especially in this episode in the final scene with Robin, is that the demon is not beyond his control when it is released, but it is only Buffy and Buffycentric thought, (or in that final scene the certainty that he could control himself) that gives him that control (another aspect of the old Spike).

Anatomical quibble - the optic nerve does NOT run across our foreheads! The optic nerve, done properly, would have been pretty dull unless they were going to do a Spike POV shot (but wouldn't that be interesting, especially if they decided that what a vamp sees is not quite what a human sees?). When will writers learn that less detail is better when they have no idea what they're talking about? Done now.

We get another clue that Halfrek is not Cecily, since Cecily is described as the eldest daughter of a family known to William's mum. Previous clues have Halfrek active prior to William's lifetime, but Cecily could have been one of her "pop-in" roles. That explanation becomes much more difficult if they've known Cecily for years, though.

Is the reference to "Doctor Gull" just a way to insert a historical figure, or some sort of purposeful but oblique Jack the Ripper connection?

It was kinda neat that the make-up folks hid Marsters' eyebrow scar for William. They don't always go for those little details - Buffy's bite marks are only there when someone needs to notice them, for instance.

Spike's look at Buffy - accusatorial - may explain why, when the trigger vamped him, he was willing to go after her. But this new triggered vamping tends to start very animalistically - when Spike does it himself, we get Old Spike.

Is it significant that Rona now refers to Casa Summers as "our house"?

Still think that, once it's obvious that the trigger could still be active and just after a demo of what triggered Spike can do, having Buffy unchain him is to drive the plot at the expense of the characters.

I know it violates the mythology, but doesn't it seem like a vamp ought to be able to enter their own house? Not from a magic standpoint, but more from a storyline one? I'm assuming that one of the live-in servants let Spike and Dru in, unaware that he had died. His mother didn't know, she just wondered where he had been.

Spike and Dru are obviously hot-n-heavy at first, but the Fanged Four dynamic later seems to have Spike more as the squire. At what point did Spike become the beta male, watching Angelus with both Darla and Dru, and how big an adjustment was that? Filed under Stories I'd Like to See Told...

This also confirms that Juliet Landau was purposely misplaying Dru when the First imitated her. It's hard to be sure with performances. Plus, the addition of Mummy gave JL a new twist to examine, which she did quite well.

Althought the focus has been the later incestuous pass made at William, isn't there something very much the same in his siring Mum? She even invokes the image in her own "seduction," but if anyone has discussed this, I missed it (and I haven't read everything).

I have a different take on the Giles-Buffy "training" session. I see it as purposely transparent on Giles' part - if Buffy doesn't quickly suss out what's going on, he can tell himself, it's because some part of her sees the necessity of what's being done.

Buffy: Believe me, I know how to make hard decisions!
Giles: Well, that's what we're here to find out. [Vamp's hand emerges from grave] While we work on the basics.

I'm not saying that's right, but Giles really doesn't try to hide that he's just delaying her while telling her what needs to be done while that very thing is being done. It's deceptive (but not overly so), it's pre-emptive, but it does fit their dynamic more than many people seem to think it does. And the cut lines about Giles and Ben, although I haven't read them, seem like they needed to be there, however briefly, to totally explain Giles' position.

Interesting that when William first sees risen Mum that she is a) playing the song, b) "glowing," and c) quite the Goldilocks. Is Buffy the abusive blonde who might come to love him, or just an image that he needs to move past?

Spike's Mum still loves him, I'm certain, but has a very new perspective on her role in her life. In this new dynamic, he can no longer grow up and away from her, but will be trapped in codependence forever. She, deep inside, doesn't really want that, but what she says, what she does, is all for him. It's not quite Darla's sacrifice, but it's in that neighborhood. She isn't lying, but it's not exactly her true feelings, either.

Giles: Faced with the same choice now, you'd let [Dawn] die.
Buffy: If I had to. To save the world. Yes.
There isn't much thought behind the response. On reflection, would Buffy really find she means it? Could the Buffy we know mean it?

When William stakes his vamped Mum, the look she gives him confirms, as much as anything ever has, that for whatever reason, William as a vampire is still William, and she still loved him. At least, that's what I see.

Spike now sees Buffy as removed from those around her, fighting alone, very different from the Slayer he described in Fool for Love. Is that because, like Mum, she hasn't "let him in," joined him in his life or really let him join hers? She's reminding Wood and Spike of their mothers, and each arrives at a reinforcement of that impression. Through this all, Spike has been convinced that Buffy really loves him - is that the catalyst to the realization about his own mother? The realization about his mother will certainly play back into what he believes about Buffy's feelings.

Spike at some point realizes that, to really hurt Robin back, he has to "hit" him in his only vulnerable area - his image of his mother. The question is, does Spike believe that Nikki didn't love Robin, or just does he just say it to inflict the most damage? Ah, William is surely his mother's son...

Interesting that Buffy's assertion to Wood that Spike is the strongest warrior we have reflects Lurky's calling him a legendary dark warrior.

And the moral of this story is that doting mothers can harm their children, and mothers with important careers can harm their children, that love is not enough, and the kids carry the repercussions well beyond childhood? Talk about not seeing the Big Picture!

I'm developing a real fear that a show whose mission statement was all about subtext is not examining its own closely enough. Thank you, Rahael, for making me take a deeper look myself.

[> Do I need to warn that there will be spoilers for the episode? There are. -- Darby, 09:03:37 04/01/03 Tue


[> Re: "Lies My Parents Told Me" Revisited - - lunasea, 09:39:09 04/01/03 Tue

And the moral of this story is that doting mothers can harm their children, and mothers with important careers can harm their children, that love is not enough, and the kids carry the repercussions well beyond childhood? Talk about not seeing the Big Picture!

Not what I got at all. how about childish views of our parents can harm an adult-child? I have a feeling it isn't over yet.

In the words of Joss "Oh grow up." S7 seems to be that more than S6.

[> Re: "Lies My Parents Told Me" Revisited - - CW, 09:49:10 04/01/03 Tue

Spike's Mum still loves him,... It's not quite Darla's sacrifice, but it's in that neighborhood. She isn't lying, but it's not exactly her true feelings, either.

I have to disagree with this. I think her motivation is quite different as a vamp.

We've talked many times here about the simliarites between the pre-vamp person and the vampire, but sometimes I think we've forgot the obvious differences. Before Dru was vamped she was a terrified little girl in a young woman's body. She was scared to death of any sort of moral darkness even fearing her own precognition. As a vamp she swims joyously in her visions and their darkest connotations. Spike was the proper son for a doting mother, perfect to the point of being prissy. He doesn't really change when he's sired, but once his mother rejects him he becomes the model for a rebellious teen, he rejects everything about the gentility of his former life including his accent. "Sod off" and similar crudities become a replacement for the poetry he once wanted to be his voice. Liam if anything was passive, letting his father's attitude ruin his life. Angelus became the most dominant of vampires, caring little what anyone thought of him. The same is true of Spike's mother. Before becoming a vampire there is little sign she is running William's life, instead she was passively allowing him to cling to her with an unhealthy determination. Once she's been sired, she becomes the dominant one. The fact that she choses to reject her son is more important for her son than for her. It's this rejection that finally causes the break between the human William and the vampire Spike would become. William/Spike has two mothers and two sires as well.

I think William's mother as a vampire did, in fact, loathe the emotionally needy William and everything he stood for, and it was her desire to hurt him, not a mother's love that set him on his future.

[> [> Re: "Lies My Parents Told Me" Revisited - - Darby, 10:13:26 04/01/03 Tue

You certainly could be right - the scene is ambiguous enough to be interpreted a number of ways - but let me add a couple of points which themselves could probably be as well:

Spike's mum as a vamp has been fit into the New! and Improved! Buffyverse vamp, introduced briefly in Lessons but really trotted out as Holden Webster - in this new aspect to the mythology, the vampire rises as a fairly accurate image of the person it was (plus the bloodlust), and they sort of come to a realization of their new situation. The "I hate to be cruel - oh, no I don't!" or whatever is an example. Webs' feelings about people hadn't changed, but his attitude about how to treat them had. Mum just let some of her long-repressed resentments out - loathing of an aspect of the relationship that she had had with William, but not of William himself. And it was all to a particular end.

One thing that has always been part of the vamp mythology is that the demon part of the vamp has a strong sense of survival, and any of the actors who have given it any thought (Marsters and Jeff Kober were the best) have shown that vamps recognize and fear the power of the stake. Why did Mum basically taunt William to stake her? And why CGI the reaction shot to it? I think it clearly shows a sacrifice for her son's well-being.

Well, maybe not clearly...

[> [> [> Re: "Lies My Parents Told Me" Revisited - - CW, 10:36:46 04/01/03 Tue

Why'd she goad him into staking her? My guess is that she knew she was different, but didn't realise her son was different as as well. Vampires seem to be generally susceptible to intimidation. The Master managed to keep even Angel somewhat in line through threats. But, Spike has always thumbed his nose at threats, even when it was dangerous, only backing down, for instance, when his chip made it impossible for him to fight back against Riley or Buffy. I think William's mother instantly recognized her dominance and ability to be cruel, but never thought William- turned-vamp could hurt someone he once loved as well. We've seen this kind of thinking by other vampires - Jesse toward Xander, and Angelus toward Buffy, even Holtz's daughter toward Holtz. It seems to be a common weakness in vamp thinking.

[> When does subtext become text? -- Sophist, 09:59:18 04/01/03 Tue

And the moral of this story is that doting mothers can harm their children, and mothers with important careers can harm their children, that love is not enough, and the kids carry the repercussions well beyond childhood? Talk about not seeing the Big Picture!

I'm developing a real fear that a show whose mission statement was all about subtext is not examining its own closely enough. Thank you, Rahael, for making me take a deeper look myself.


I don't think this is a new issue. There has been discussion before about the message of Surprise/Innocence -- did JW intend to scare teenage girls away from sex, or did he have a different purpose? The whole "lesbian stereotype" debate in S6 raised similar questions.

Because the show relies on metaphor, many of the epsisodes might be seen as providing mixed messages. Just to pick a random example, we could say of IRYJ that it provided a Luddite's view of the internet. And is it really ok to blow up your high school?

I don't see any reason now, after 139 episodes, to start questioning the show on this basis. Great art, almost by definition, permits multiple interpretations. It's the very existence of those multiple interpretations that allows it to appeal to a broad spectrum of viewers. If we narrowly focus on the worst possible message, we're defeating the whole purpose of watching.

[> [> Maybe it's the awareness, or lack of it. -- Darby, 10:49:59 04/01/03 Tue

When the show based plots on Buffy's first sexual experience (as well as representing other metaphorical issues), from things Joss has said, they really thought through the layers and messages, and tried to twist the plot away from easy connections. From the whole Seeing Red fiasco, it seems to no longer be the case. Maybe they've given up - folks will see what they will see, no matter what, they may have decided, so tell the story and ride the wave. It's an understandable response, but I'm not sure entirely ethical. And I suppose I should stress this - I brought it up, and I'm not entirely sure where their responsibility lies here. Just figured I'd mention it.

[> [> [> Who was it... -- KdS, 12:30:46 04/01/03 Tue

Someone a few weeks back suggested that ME are so self- confident in their liberalism, or so sheltered from opinion in more unreconstructed parts of society, that the genuinely feel that sexism, racism and homophobia have been "dealt with" and they don't need to worry about subtext. Who was it, because I think that they were on the right track?

[> [> [> [> That was me. -- Shiraz, 13:27:45 04/01/03 Tue


[> [> Very much agree -- s'kat, 10:53:13 04/01/03 Tue

Great art, almost by definition, permits multiple interpretations. It's the very existence of those multiple interpretations that allows it to appeal to a broad spectrum of viewers. If we narrowly focus on the worst possible message, we're defeating the whole purpose of watching.

I discussed this with a friend recently who gave me some very good advice, advice I actually knew before: "People will read whatever they want into something. Don't let their readings disrupt your enjoyment of the show." How true.
I wrote a story once about my brother living in San Fran, it was quirky character sketch, told entirely in his pov.
And ambiguous in some ways. People who read it came up with plot interpretations as various as:1. quirky character study about an art student, 2. someone dying of cancer, 3.the last survivor of the apocalypse. These comments during my writers workshop blew me away. And they all had more to do with the reader than with me, the writer. Let's face it - art tends to be an interactive experience.

Same thing happened with Lies. We all view it differently.
Some people came away from the episode despising Spike.
Some despising Giles. Some Wood. Some came away fascinated.
Some offended. I personally was fascinated, it was amongst my all time favorite Btvs episodes ever. The ambiguity.
The revelations. The character development? Priceless.

I think we won't have a clear idea of what the writers wanted to express until we see episode 7.22. Because Lies is merely a chapter in a story, it can't stand off by itself well. The other thing? We project our own experience on to it. This episode was so brutal in places - that it touched buttons. It was meant to.
I don't think we'll know who was right or wrong until it plays out. But to judge the episode now...before seeing the others? May be giving it short shrift. Which is why I depise these long waits between episodes. Gives us way too much time to ponder them without the next chapter clearing things up.

Also, the more I think about it...I think the next five episodes may change how we view this episode and the ones before it. I'm unspoiled. But my gut tells me...how we all viewed Lies may change soon enough.

SK

[> [> [> Our characters aren't finished "becoming" who they're meant to be -- cjl, 11:17:49 04/01/03 Tue

"I think we won't have a clear idea of what the writers wanted to express until we see episode 7.22. Because Lies is merely a chapter in a story, it can't stand off by itself well. The other thing? We project our own experience on to it. This episode was so brutal in places - that it touched buttons. It was meant to. I don't think we'll know who was right or wrong until it plays out."

Exactly. I think what's tricky about Lies My Parents Told Me is that it's shown as a "breakthrough" episode, an episode where Buffy and Spike supposedly conquer some old demons and cleanse themselves of the toxic side of a beloved parent (or substitute parent). But the "breakthrough" isn't as clear-cut as either Buffy or Spike think it is--at the end, I think they're imbued with something resembling a false sense of confidence about their independence.

Despite slamming the door in Giles' face, Buffy has clearly internalized the utilitarian side of Giles' personality; by proclaiming to Wood how My Mom Loved Me Best, Spike shows how badly he still needs that absolute devotion. And Robin- -well, as the spawn of Crowley, he's still as screwed up as ever. Do any of these characters even realize how much they've absorbed the lessons of the toxic parent?

We've got five episodes to go. At this point, I think all the Scoobies are aware of how their pasts inform the present, and the way their lives have been shaped by outside forces and their own personal weaknesses. But what none of them have figured out yet is how to approach the future in a NEW way. They're stuck in old paradigms because they're afraid of screwing up and they can't see the guideposts waiting for them, out there in the dark...

[> [> [> [> Regarding Crowley-- -- HonorH, 11:43:14 04/01/03 Tue

We may be jumping the gun on him. What we know about him is that he 1) is a Watcher, 2) took Robin in after Nikki's death instead of turning him over to child welfare authorities, and 3) trained him to be a demon fighter. We've got no real evidence that he was a "toxic" parent-- only that Robin's Nikki issues remained unresolved, which isn't that remarkable, as the memories of her he has (and no doubt clings to) are likely to be dim and even distorted.

Also, regarding Crowley's name: I was informed by a friend of mine that Crowley was also the name of the benevolent boss in the British series "The Professionals", which Joss has praised in the past. So it's not necessarily a reference to Aleister Crowley the occultist.

[> Spike and the Trigger -- Dariel, 11:04:21 04/01/03 Tue

Okay, I've got to say it: the trigger is a red herring!!! It has never triggered behavior in Spike; what it triggers is the release of his demon! This vampire-with-a-soul comes with a curse of his own - the soul's influence (which is nowhere as powerful as Angel's, anyway) disappears when he vamps, and the old Spike is back, controllable only by Buffy's presence, and even then not reliably. The evidence has been accumulating throughout the season, including: the scene in the bar with Anya, his silent scene where we first learn he's killing (silent so we wouldn't realize he was regular Spike up to the attack), the attack on Andrew, the retrieval of the Exchange Demon, and here in the basement.

Don't agree--there are many examples of this not being the case. The most obvious one is, in fact, the attack on Andrew in NLM. Here, remember, the FE-as-Spike sings his little ditty while Buffy is out of the room-she hears it. When she returns, Spike, in human face, calmly tells her nothing is going on, asks for blood, and then vamps. In Sleeper, Spike walks through crowds of people and is triggered by the harmonica player. He remains in human face and walks very boldly up to a young woman. Buffy, in fact observing this, refers to his behavior as "hunting."

As for silent Spike, think back to the scene in Sleeper when he begins to realize something is off. A memory is triggered by the pack of cigarettes he brings out of his pocket--of his blond victim from CWDP. The memory comes from one of his silent scenes, when she approaches him and places the pack on the bar.

[> [> Agree -- more evidence -- s'kat, 11:29:22 04/01/03 Tue

Dariel is right here, Darb.

Spike goes into Demon face in First Date and is in complete control and not all that bloody strong either - Buffy defeats the demon. He goes into demon face at the end of Lies and shows complete control. Even in the Bronze scene in Beneath You, he was in control - that wasn't triggered Spike, that was insane, multiple personality Spike.

When Spike is triggered, the demon is very different. It's silent. It says nothing. Since when is demon Spike quiet??
And they go out of their way to show how the trigger works.
It was never meant as a red-herring. What is meant is one of numerous devices showing how characters move past obstacles.

The trigger arc is over now. That does NOT mean however that the First doesn't have other plans for Spike. IT just means that we don't have the trigger. Or the chip.
So Spike now has probably the most free will he's had in over five seasons - no chip holding him back, no trigger forcing him forward. But he still has some serious psychological issues just like our other characters that can be used against him.

I think the trigger revealed just one of them. One that I remain unconvinced has been resolved as neatly as Spike thinks. The trigger has been resolved. But the issue hasn't.

[> [> [> Re: Agree -- more evidence -- Darby, 12:30:51 04/01/03 Tue

I did make the point that triggered Spike was different than voluntary-vamped Spike. I just think that voluntary-vamped Spike is significantly different from regular Spike, and that's where the true danger lies. And, like any modification of complex behavior, it's not always exactly the same. There is a pattern, though.

Dariel has some points about the timing - now I've got to go looking for a releaser, some critical aspect of the trigger that actually brings about the change. Hey, I'm a scientist, when conflicting evidence arises we don't change our minds (we don't actually recognize the famous "null hypothesis"), we just fine-tune our assertions and restructure the data...


Speculation "Cordy's Baby" (Spoiler AtS S5) -- Vegeta, 11:02:59 04/01/03 Tue

I was rewatching the episodes Of Angel with Faith and a creepy, icky thought occured to me. That Cordy's baby is not spawned from Conner, but spawned from the Beast. It just seemd odd and disturbing that she kissed it and she used the line "give mama some sugar".
IMHO she only slept with Conner as a ruse for the gang and to use him for protection and info while she carried out her "evil" plans.
Ofcourse, I could be completely wrong. It's just kissing the Beast really struck me as odd for it's "master" to be doing.


Twelve Steps To Redemption: Spike (General Series Spoilers; no spec.) -- Dannyblue, 12:15:35 04/01/03 Tue

There seems to be a big debate over what Spike's attitude in LMPTM means. Is he wise to not want to dwell in the past, to move on and not brood over things he cannot change? Does this, in fact, show that--in some ways--he has gone farther than Angel in a shorter period of time?

Or has Spike demonstrated that he still has a long way to go to reach redemption?

Well, in the Jossverse, being evil seems to be something a person has to "recover" from, almost like an addict. So I've created these "Twelve Steps To Redemption" based on actual twelve step programs. They've been revised to fit the shows.

#1. I accept that I possess a darkness that can sometimes get out of my control and cause harm to others.

#2. I accept that I sometimes need help to stay on the right path.

#3. I accept that there are things I cannot change or completely make amends for. I have committed acts for which I may never--and shouldn't expect to--be forgiven.

#4. I have made a fearless moral inventory of my past deeds, and have not tried to make excuses for them.

#5. I have admitted to another person/being the exact nature of my wrongs, without making excuses for them.

#6. I am ready to lose the defects of character that lead me to commit those wrongs.

#7. I would be willing to lose the powers that allowed me to hurt others in the past.

#8. I admit that I need to make amends to everyone I have hurt, directly or indirectly.

#9. I have tried to make direct amends to those I've hurt, directly or indirectly, whenever possible.

#10. I can realize and promptly admit when I am wrong.

#11. I consciously seek to understand how I can improve myself, and keep from doing wrong again.

#12. I make an effort to help others escape the darkness I've managed to pull myself out of...even if that person has caused me pain directly or indirectly.


So, if you were using these steps to measure Spike's progress down the road to redemption, how would he do?

[> Re: Twelve Steps To Redemption: Spike (General Series Spoilers; no spec.) -- KdS, 12:44:21 04/01/03 Tue

#1. I accept that I possess a darkness that can sometimes get out of my control and cause harm to others.

Yep.

#2. I accept that I sometimes need help to stay on the right path.

Yep. Worked it out more quickly than Angel at times.

#3. I accept that there are things I cannot change or completely make amends for. I have committed acts for which I may never--and shouldn't expect to--be forgiven.

Yep.

#4. I have made a fearless moral inventory of my past deeds, and have not tried to make excuses for them.

Yep.

#5. I have admitted to another person/being the exact nature of my wrongs, without making excuses for them.

Yep. (NLM)

#6. I am ready to lose the defects of character that lead me to commit those wrongs.

To be honest, I don't think he's yet managed to work out what they are.

#7. I would be willing to lose the powers that allowed me to hurt others in the past.

Yep (again, more so than Angel). Until Buffy convinced him she still needed them.

#8. I admit that I need to make amends to everyone I have hurt, directly or indirectly.

I think Spike's problem here is working out how to. I mean, given the magnitude of what he did to people over the years, how can he even bring himself back into the survivors' lives without causing them more pain?

#9. I have tried to make direct amends to those I've hurt, directly or indirectly, whenever possible.

I'm on the fence here. Again the question, beyond expressing contrition, how is he supposed to?

#10. I can realize and promptly admit when I am wrong.

On the reports of LMPTM, no way.

#11. I consciously seek to understand how I can improve myself, and keep from doing wrong again.

Yep.

#12. I make an effort to help others escape the darkness I've managed to pull myself out of...even if that person has caused me pain directly or indirectly.

On the reports of LMPTM that I've heard, no &ú%!ing way!

Oh, most of these are also the same for Angel at the moment, although he still has problems with 2, 6 & 10 (although I think those are the hardest for anyone, regardless of past life). Given how he's dealt with Faith, Connor and (eventually) Wes, just to cover the highest- profile examples, he's a lot farther on with 12.

[> [> PS -- KdS, 12:55:57 04/01/03 Tue

And as someone who was disturbed by the apparent implications of LMPTM, I think one of the beliefs that he needs to examine and give up is the self- aggrandising and downright sinister one that killing someone gives you an insight into their deep psyche.

[> Comparintg the Big 3 to the test... -- Majin Gojira, 13:22:04 04/01/03 Tue

Let's look at our 3 redeemers. Angel, Spike and Faith.

#1. I accept that I possess a darkness that can sometimes get out of my control and cause harm to others.

Spike: Yes. (1)
Faith: Yes. (1)
Angel: Yes. (1)

#2. I accept that I sometimes need help to stay on the right path.

Spike: Yes, but recently Buffy recinded this 'right path' and told him to be brutal again...and now he is. (1)
Faith: Yes. First it was Jail. later it was Angel. (1)
Angel: Not so much that I can remember. (1)

#3. I accept that there are things I cannot change or completely make amends for. I have committed acts for which I may never--and shouldn't expect to--be forgiven.

Spike: barely. He only feels bad for Buffy. I haven't heard him say he was sorry for anything else. (.2)
Faith: Definitely (1)
Angel: Say Hi Mister Saddness. (1)

#4. I have made a fearless moral inventory of my past deeds, and have not tried to make excuses for them.

Spike: Nope. Not done. Only for Buffy. (.1)
Faith: Yes. (1)
Angel: Yes. (1)

#5. I have admitted to another person/being the exact nature of my wrongs, without making excuses for them.

Spike: Only to Buffy about Buffy. (notice the theme yet?) (.1)
Faith: Mainly to Angel, but other's are known. (.5)
Angel: All the frelling time. (1)

#6. I am ready to lose the defects of character that lead me to commit those wrongs.

Spike: Yes, he is...or he was untl Buffy told him too enhance them (1)
Faith: That's why she turned herself in. (1)
Angel: It's why he left Buffy. (1)

#7. I would be willing to lose the powers that allowed me to hurt others in the past.

Spike: Not shown, as far as I can tell. (0)
Faith: Likely (.5)
Angel: More-or-less. Considering he uses his Vampire powers for good (IWRY)(.5)

#8. I admit that I need to make amends to everyone I have hurt, directly or indirectly.

Spike: Again, Only Buffy. (.1)
Faith: The theme of 5x5 and Sanctuary (.8)
Angel: All the frelling time. (1)

#9. I have tried to make direct amends to those I've hurt, directly or indirectly, whenever possible.

Spike: Only Buffy. (.1)
Faith: If only she knew what to do...but I suspect we will see this more when we next see her. (.1)
Angel: Yep. (1)

#10. I can realize and promptly admit when I am wrong.

Spike: Yes. (1)
Faith: Yes (1)
Angel: Yes...most of the time (.9)

#11. I consciously seek to understand how I can improve myself, and keep from doing wrong again.

Spike: Yes. (1)
Faith: Yes. (1)
Angel: Yes. (1)

#12. I make an effort to help others escape the darkness I've managed to pull myself out of...even if that person has caused me pain directly or indirectly.

Spike: Not yet (0)
Faith: Not yet (0)
Angel: Faith. (1)

Final Score:
Spike: 5.6
Faith: 8.9
Angel: 11.4

Looks like no one is quite there yet. Spike's gotta get his world view out of Buffy-centric mode.

notice how his life always revolved around women? His mother, Dru, Buffy (in between Dru and Buffy he was sullen and/or Suicidal...that chip didn't help...)

Spike's moral stance hasn't improved with the combination of Buffy's influence and Soul. early this season he would have scored a little higher...now...

[> Re: Twelve Steps To Redemption: Spike (General Series Spoilers; no spec.) -- Dannyblue, 13:29:37 04/01/03 Tue

#3. I accept that there are things I cannot change or completely make amends for. I have committed acts for which I may never--and shouldn't expect to--be forgiven.

Yep.


I don't think he's accepted anything. He truly felt bad for what he did. But I think that, instead of dealing with it, he's cut himself off from the pain, and the heinousness of those acts. He's almost in denial about them. At least, that's what I got from LMPTM.

#4. I have made a fearless moral inventory of my past deeds, and have not tried to make excuses for them.

Yep.


Spike has made an excuse for his past misdeeds. As he said to Wood re: Nikki's death, "I'm a vampire. She was a Slayer." To him, end of story. Nothing about the fact that a young woman died, or the pain her loved ones, her child, felt at her loss.

Is that the way he looks at all those he killed? "I was a vampire without a soul when I did that, so..."

#7. I would be willing to lose the powers that allowed me to hurt others in the past.

Yep (again, more so than Angel). Until Buffy convinced him she still needed them.


Angel would to keep Angelus from returning. Spike would to keep from hurting Buffy, and maybe the others now. However, I actually think Spike doesn't hate his vampire nature the way Angel does. Becomming a vampire made him feel strong and vital in a way he didn't when he was still mortal. Giving that up would be harder for him.

#8. I admit that I need to make amends to everyone I have hurt, directly or indirectly.

I think Spike's problem here is working out how to. I mean, given the magnitude of what he did to people over the years, how can he even bring himself back into the survivors' lives without causing them more pain?


But it's not about whether someone you hurt would accept an apology, whether it would make up for anything, but that you understand you owe them one. Angel didn't believe apologizing to Holtz could make up for the man's loss, but he felt he had to do it because it's the least he owed the man.

#9. I have tried to make direct amends to those I've hurt, directly or indirectly, whenever possible.

I'm on the fence here. Again the question, beyond expressing contrition, how is he supposed to?


From what we've seen, Spike has only met one living, non- evil victim of his acts. And apologizing was the last thing on his mind. I don't know if ME meant to make a point of this, but by having Spike say he was sorry, then explain that he wasn't apologizing to Wood, they certainly did make his seeming lack of remorse stand out.

#11. I consciously seek to understand how I can improve myself, and keep from doing wrong again.

Yep.


This one is tricky. Like I said, I think examining past acts is hard for him. So, he deals with it by cutting himself off from that pain, writing his past misdeeds off as the acts of the soulless vampire he no longer is. And, instead of finding the strength within himself to be a better man, he almost seems to be taking Buffy's word for it that he can. She has faith in him. She believes in him. She knows he can be good. Therefore, he'll try to be all of those things for her.

[> Re: Twelve Steps To Redemption: Spike (General Series Spoilers; no spec.) -- Sophist, 13:42:21 04/01/03 Tue

Of course, those of us who believe that the vampire and the souled vampire are separate and distinct moral entities also believe there is no need to redeem acts performed as a vampire.

[> [> Re: Twelve Steps To Redemption: Spike (General Series Spoilers; no spec.) -- Dannyblue, 13:54:28 04/01/03 Tue

But isn't this like a person who does something they normally wouldn't under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

There are people who, when sober, can be as sweet and kind as William's mortal mother. But, when drunk or high, they can be as vicious and cruel as Vamp!Anne. Some might say they had no control over those acts. Yet they feel responsible for the things they did under the influence...even when they don't remember them. (Something Spike can't claim.)

[> [> [> The soul canon -- Sophist, 14:19:07 04/01/03 Tue

We've debated this endlessly here, but very briefly my view is that the presence or absence of the soul defines 2 separate and distinct moral entities. I believe that was what we were told throughout S1-2, and I'm stickin' with it. On this Board, I'd guess mine is a minority view.

Psychologically, I'm not surprised that Angel and Spike feel responsible. After all, they have the memories and emotions that accompanied the crimes they committed. We, as outsiders, can still reach a different conclusion.

[> [> [> [> agree and -- lakrids, 15:10:59 04/01/03 Tue

I don╠t know if I am part of a minority. But I agree with that a person with a soul is different entity than one whiteout. But the problem is that there is some baseline behaviours and memories, for the personality that goes again in both vampire and in the pre vampire person (human). And that makes it hard for people or even the vampire, to separate a vampire, with and without soul, from each other.
I don╠t feel that a souled vampire is any way responsible for it╠s before it got a soul. But it has to at least the minimum of empathy, with the non souled vampire former victims. To try to understand that the victims, can have a very hard time, to separate those two different entities emotionally. Angel understood that he could never build anything resembling a warm relationship with Giles and Holtz, he knew that he at most, could work for, that they didn╠t want him dead, when they saw him. Because of the deeds of angelus.

But I think it also goes the other way, if the vampire or human loses his/her soul, does it mean that the vampire former friends. Doesn╠t owe it anything morally, than to destroy before it tarnishes the memory, of the persons that there were before.

The problem with Spike is that I can╠t see, that great difference between on non soulded Spike and souled Spike. Not counting in his insane periode.
What good does it make, if Spike got the girl and a soul. If it didn╠t made him grow as a person?.


S.A.M.E

[> [> [> [> [> Re: agree and -- Sophist, 16:40:24 04/01/03 Tue

But I think it also goes the other way, if the vampire or human loses his/her soul, does it mean that the vampire former friends. Doesn╠t owe it anything morally, than to destroy before it tarnishes the memory, of the persons that there were before.

I think Buffy struggled with this issue after Innocence. I don't think she'd have the same hesitation now. Of course, we all continue to wonder why Willow doesn't just re-soul them all......

[> [> [> [> [> [> Now there's a question - -- Darby, 17:03:38 04/01/03 Tue

How did those gypsies write that spell? Does the invoker just fill in a name, or was it specific to Angelus?

If Joss' Angel comics mini-series is reliable, the spell was actually written for another vampire.

The new spin-off could be a Sunnyverse Law and Order - Faith catches them, Willow rehabilitates them.

Are Orbs of Thessala reusable?

[> Re: Twelve Steps To Redemption: Spike (General Series Spoilers; no spec.) -- lunasea, 14:21:50 04/01/03 Tue

this is great. I wrote a similar essay about Angel's path before I came here. Angel is modeled after an recovering alcoholic, so it makes sense that his path is AA's bible.

However, does Spike have to be a mini-Angel?

Would the same 12 Steps apply to say Faith? Lindsey?

[> Spike is still in denial -- lunasea, 14:30:29 04/01/03 Tue

He doesn't think that he is a threat, sans trigger. He tells Buffy that there is no way he would add to the body count. That is why the First can control him. An addict takes it one day at a time. Not Spike's thing.

Spike thinks he is in control. He hasn't even hit step one, yet. Look how he reacts when he finds out what the trigger is. Denial-man is his name.

The steps have to be done in order. You can't skip to 12 or any other number. I have a feeling Spike will take a different path.

[> I can't think of anyone in the Buffy/Angelverse... -- dms, 17:58:15 04/01/03 Tue

who's done evil who consistently follows these 12 steps. Esp. #10. Being an ME character means never having to say you're sorry. ;)

Plus, I've always thought the alcoholism/addict metaphor is Angel's, not Spike's (e.g., Angel vamps out at the sight/smell of blood; before being triggered Spike had total control over when he changed from human to vamp face). I'm not sure a 12-step program of any kind can be applied to anyone but Angel.

I think in the Jossverse, there isn't only one way for people to redeem themselves. For example, Faith and Angel feel they will always need to pay for their past sins. Others, like Spike and Willow, admit they've been evil, go through a period of cataloging their sins and then focus on doing good deeds; they deal with the now. And then there are some, like Anya, who just seem to move on without ever contemplating their past actions. This makes sense to me. I think how a character "redeems" himself/herself really depends on the individual and the circumstances.

And to be honest, I'm not sure the concept of redemption should be applied to Spike (or Willow or Anya). The redemption story is, imo, Angel's (and to a certain degree, Faith's). Does it have to be applied to Spike just because he's another souled vampire? I think Spike's story has been about growing up and becoming his own man, reconciling the man/monster dichotomy that has bothered him so much since he was chipped, and developing a true sense of identity, a true sense of self. If one has to apply concepts of redemption to Spike, I think they should be tailored to this story, not one of an evil addict who might fall off the wagon at any given moment.

[> [> with my above post in mind -- dms, 18:55:07 04/01/03 Tue

I'm speculating that Spike might become human at the end of the season. Once he reconciles man/monster and demonstrates that he can love selflessly (which is what I think his story is moving towards) he'll no longer be a vampire. IMO, his "redemption" is tied into embracing his humanity (thus reconnecting with the good man he used to be) and controlling his demon (and thus accepting his past). Angel's redemption, on the other hand, is ongoing. He's a champion; he can't yet move on from being a souled vampire and atoning for the evil he's done. Perhaps he'll never be able to.

I am NOT saying that one deserves to become human more than the other. What I am saying is that I think this spec. fits in with what I see as two completely different stories of moving beyond evil and embracing good.

[> [> [> I agree -- Indri, 22:07:23 04/01/03 Tue


[> Re: Twelve Steps To Redemption: Spike (General Series Spoilers; no spec.) -- Dannyblue, 20:12:17 04/01/03 Tue

I think these steps to redemption apply to anyone. Angel, Faith, Spike, Willow, Anya, Wesley...

Also, in real 12 step programs, you're allowed to skip steps you're not ready for and come back later. At least that's what I've been told. I might be wrong, or it might just be that particular program. Besides, this being fictional, we can take liberties.

Anyhow, when you look at it, the 12 steps are as much about letting go of denial and accepting responsibility for your actions as anything.

Take Angel. By accepting the things he did as Angelus, accepting that there's darkness in his soul, and accepting that redemption isn't about completing some magical number of tasks (if I save 10,000 people, that's 2 or 3 a day for the next 10 years, I will be redeemed) but a continuing journey, he actually was able to grow out of the need to brood 24/7. He accepts that, while he can never make up for Angelus's acts, he can try. That's all he can do.

Accepting responsibility doesn't mean beating yourself up over every bad thing you've ever done every minute of every day. By accepting, you move on. It's people who live in denial, who bottle it up and try to ignore it, who don't really move on.

Also, whether you think Spike with a soul is responsible for the acts he committed without one is almost besides the point. As human beings, we are able to feel compassion for the pain of others. We don't have to have caused it, directly or indirectly, to feel sympathetic. We don't have to have been there when tragedy struck.

I can understand Spike, without a soul, not getting this. But for him to show no compassion for the fact that he's standing there wearing the coat of a man whose mother's neck was snapped by his very hands? Then again, I'm willing to concede that almost being killed didn't really put him in the mood to show compassion for Wood's loss.

[> [> Different, not better (Spoilers through BtVS LMTPM and AtS Players -- dms, 21:19:06 04/01/03 Tue

Let me start by saying that I love both Angel and Spike, and I really appreciate the way ME is contrasting its two souled vamps. I firmly believe in Shadowkat's "Angel doesn't negate Spike, and Spike doesn't negate Angel" argument. Joss promised at the beginning of the year that Spike wouldn't be Angel 2.0, and so far he hasn't been. I couldn't be happier about that.

[quote]Take Angel. By accepting the things he did as Angelus, accepting that there's darkness in his soul, and accepting that redemption isn't about completing some magical number of tasks (if I save 10,000 people, that's 2 or 3 a day for the next 10 years, I will be redeemed) but a continuing journey, he actually was able to grow out of the need to brood 24/7. He accepts that, while he can never make up for Angelus's acts, he can try. That's all he can do.[/quote]

I don't think Angel has totally accepted the things he's done because he continues to blame his misdeeds on Angelus; he continues to deny that Angel and Angelus are the same. It's even gone so far that he's referring to Angelus in the third person. In addition, I disagree that he's completely selfless in his quest for redemption. IMO, in the back of his mind he's thinking about the shanshu prophecy. And, I also think that he enjoys being a "champion". Atoning and brooding, which I think he continues to do, are part of his personality. No matter how much he complains about having to suffer, deep down he likes being the focus of TPTB; it gives him purpose. Not to mention that it has helped him to build a family and connect with humanity.

[quote]Also, whether you think Spike with a soul is responsible for the acts he committed without one is almost besides the point. As human beings, we are able to feel compassion for the pain of others. We don't have to have caused it, directly or indirectly, to feel sympathetic. We don't have to have been there when tragedy struck.[/quote]

I actually think that Spike is totally responsible for what he did as an unsouled vampire. I do not see unsouled and souled Spike as two completely different entities. And, imo, neither does Spike. However, acknowledging that you've done terrible things does not necessarily mean that you will feel compassion, guilt or sympathy for *all* of your victims. Spike showed guilt, etc. for his triggered actions and many of his unsouled actions (as seen in BY, Sleeper, NLM). However, he has limits, and Wood pushed them. Spike took responsibility for Nikki's death; he told Buffy that he didn't kill Wood because "I killed his mother". At the same time, he didn't say her death made him feel guilty, nor did he show compassion for Wood. Does that make him a deeply flawed, complicated man who is developing his own code of honour. IMO, yes. Does that mean he is not on the path of "redemption". IMO, no.

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

Again, I think these are two different, but perfectly valid, ways for the two of them to redeem themselves.

[> [> [> Agree...here's some food for thought on the soul -- s'kat, 23:36:22 04/01/03 Tue

It's late and I should go to bed but I felt like doing a little research for you. I think you are dead on and I say that because what you state jives with some posts Rufus has made recently on Gaea and something WtP said last year.

First off: Haven't seen you before? Are you new to the board? If so, welcome.

Discussing redeemption and Spike and Angel and souls in the same post is I think dangerous. You are going to push someone's buttons. (Not you specifically, I think you actually did a good job of avoiding it.) Because people have such strong feelings about this, they tend to read souls and redemption in the Christian context as opposed to the fantasy context and that is a huge mistake. I think the problem can be summed up pretty easily - we have been misreading the whole soul thing and the show and what redemption means to these writers. I actually think you've come closest to it -- because what you state jives with Rufus' post on shipping on the trollop board - for a nonspoilery link go to the archives under my authority thread - she posted it there. Also Rufus' post on Gaea.

The writers tell us what the soul and the whole redemption thing is about. We just aren't paying attention. They tell us in Shanshu in La. In Restless. In Orpheus. In Beneath You. In LMPTM. In Lessons. But we are distracted.
We aren't listening. We keep insisting on projecting our own worldview, our own morality, our own belief system onto the story. And therein lies our mistake.

GILES: (still looking at TV) Oh, I'm beginning to understand this now. It's
all about the journey, isn't it? (RESTLESS)


Not about the end guys Ď but the path we are on and the steps we take along it. The story has never been about rewards or trophies. You don't get an end prize or reward in Whedonverse - the rewards are what come along the way.


GILES: Well, it appears she's never heard the fable about patience.
(Buffy pulls them through crowds of people. Carnival booths, colorful lights.
OLIVIA: Which one is that?
GILES: The, the one about the fox, and the, uh, less patient fox.
(More Restless, aired at the same time as Shanshu in LA)

Being on the path requires patience and endurance. Question is who are the foxes? Faith and Buffy? Spike and Angel?
Spike and buffy? All the characters?

Surprise
Angel :It-it's a legend... (Giles looks at the box) way before my
time... of a demon brought forth to rid the Earth of the plague of
humanity
... separate the righteous from the wicked... and to burn the
righteous
down. They call him the Judge.

The Judge steps out of his box. He has difficulty keeping his balance.
He points at Drusilla and Spike.

Judge: You!

Spike: (rolls over to him in Dru's defense) Ho, ho, ho. What's that,
mate?

Judge: You two stink of humanity. You share affection and jealousy.



According Angel the Judge kills anything that has a spark of humanity in it. It╠s the agent against Gaea, against life. It kills the righteous. So anything with a seed in them is burnt. Spike and Dru obviously have a seed of it in them.

Judge: This one... cannot be burnt. He is clean. (removes his hand)

Spike: Clean? You mean, he's...

Judge: There's no humanity in him. (turns and goes)

Angelus: (faces Spike) I couldn't have said it better myself.


Angelus has no spark or crack of humanity in him. Soulless, he is without the spark. Disconnected.

What does being human mean to ME? What makes us human? Our good deeds? Don╠t make me laugh. What makes us part of life? Saving people? Please.

Becoming part II

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


Shanshue in LA

Wesley: "Angel's cut off. Death doesn't bother him because - there is nothing in life he wants! It's our desires that make us human."
Cordy eating her doughnut: "Angel is kind of human. - He's got a soul."
Cordy goes for another doughnut.
Wesley: "He's got a soul - but he's not a part of the world. (Gets up) He-he can never be part of the world."
Cordy: "Because he doesn't want stuff? - That's ridiculous. (Wesley takes her doughnut away from her) Hey! I want that!"
Wesley: "What connects us to life?"
Cordy: "Right now? I'm going with doughnuts."
Wesley: "What connects us to life is the simple truth that we are part of it. - We live, we grow, we change. - But Angel..."


Brief pause here, think about this impartially for a moment.
Has Angel really changed much over the past few seasons?
How about Spike? How have they changed? Not how have they been good. How have they grown and changed? Do they look and act the same in each season? I think they both have changed. But what is important here is how.

Cordy: "Can't do any of those things. - Well, what are you saying, Wesley? - That Angel has nothing to look forward to? That he's going to go on forever, the same, in the world, but always cut off from it?"
Wesley: "Yes."
Cordy: "Well, that sucks! We've got to do something. We've got to help him."
Wesley: "I'm not sure we can."
Cordy: "What is your deal? You go around boring everyone with your musty scrolls and then you say there is nothing we can do?"
Wesley: "He is what he is."
Cordy: "He's Angel. He's good. And he helps the helpless and now - he's one of them. - Well, he's gonna have to start wanting things from life, whether he wants to or not!"
Angel comes up the elevator and Cordy and Wesley go into his office to greet him.
Angel: "Morning."
Cordy: "Morning. - Want some coffee?"
Angel: "No, thanks."
Cordy: "How about a doughnut? Chocolate..."
Angel looking through a book: "No."
Cordy: "Creamy fillings?"
Angel laughs a little as he looks at her: "No. I don't want anything.


The only time Angel is shown wanting these types of things is when he is turned human in IWARY. No other time. Yes he wants his son to be with him and he wants to be redeemed and he wants love. But it's not the same. He wants to be in sunlight. But not the same. Think about his dream in Awakenings. He wants to be the hero. Everything Angel wants he can have as a vampire, except sunlight - which wasn't really part of his happy dream. It's about what connects us.
It's hard to see...if you look at it from a right vs. wrong or selfish vs. nonselfish perspective. That's not it.

Now compare this scene to the following from Btvs. I could grab more but I got tired. The on-going joke on Btvs regarding Spike has been how he likes to eat, drink, play poker, and do all these human like activities. Spike wants coffee. He steals Xander╠s money to buy a beer. He not only likes these things, he╠s picky about them. In Hush, we even catch him eating carrots and peanut butter at Giles apartment. In Where the Wild Things Are Ď he╠s grooving to the frat party, sipping beer. He can╠t eat a soul. Just likes the interaction.


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


Pangs


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


Fool For Love

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

SPIKE
What did you want, eh? A quick demo? A blow-for-blow description you can map out and memorize? It's not about the moves, love. And since I agreed to your little proposition, we can do this my way. Wings.

BUFFY
What?

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


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

Spike is the most human vampire we╠ve ever seen. He wants to be part of the world. He wants to be connected.

Look at his speech in Beneath You and ask yourself why he wanted that soul again. Was it just because of Buffy?

¤I went to get the spark. So I would fit.Ë He tells her it╠s because of her, but I wonder if that╠s completely true. I think he wanted to fit.

Compare this to Willow╠s statement to Giles in Lessons about it all being connected to Gaea, the earth. How it╠s all rooted and the energy flows through all of us.

In Orpheus Ď Angel is avoiding human connection in the past, he feels disconnected as does Faith. Willow provides the reconnect for both of them Ď giving Angel back his soul and the hug, bringing Faith back to Sunnydale. Both needed a pep talk though, Faith had resigned herself to death and Angelus did not want the soul.

The soul is not about ¤conscienceË, it╠s about being connected to life, to humanity. Spike╠s journey has been from vampire with a ghost of humanity, to vampire who tries to get re-connected to humanity. It╠s the journey of the adolescent who feels isolated and disconnected to the man who is reconnecting with the world. Look back through the episodes. I think you╠ll see it╠s about growing up.

Just my two cents. Take it or leave it.

Again good posts dms.

SK

[> [> [> [> Oh spoilers through Orpheus Ats and Beneath You Btvs -- s'kat, 23:39:32 04/01/03 Tue

And all quotes from Psyche Transcripts.


Breaking News! ... Buffy Series Cancelled ... -- LittleChicken, 13:26:16 04/01/03 Tue

Pentagon concerned Iraq plans will be compromised if Buffy FE war plan televised.

[> Re: Breaking News! ... Buffy Series Cancelled ... - - leslie, 14:32:04 04/01/03 Tue

I didn't realize Geraldo Rivera was guest starring--a completely Un-Known Casting Spoiler?

[> Re: Breaking News! ... Buffy Series Cancelled ... - - pr10n, 15:20:21 04/01/03 Tue

This just in: Final Buffy episodes may appear on BBC2.

[> [> UPN fires Joss Whedon for intimating some Iraqis may have souls. -- Rochefort, 15:55:25 04/01/03 Tue


[> You aren't seriously suggesting... -- LittleBit, 17:43:47 04/01/03 Tue

...that there's a strategy based on Biological Warfare and the "Buffy Paradigm"!?!?

[> Update...Giles to be new "talking head" on CNN -- cougar, 18:48:42 04/01/03 Tue


[> [> Rumsfeld recruits Buffy to give troops those "inspiring" speeches of hers to "boost morale"! -- Rob, 20:17:09 04/01/03 Tue



S5: Buffy vs. Dracula question -- DL, 14:38:40 04/01/03 Tue

Hey all! I just caught Buffy vs. Dracula in syndication the other day, and I was wondering if anyone could fill me in on Dracula lore that they might have.

Especially the bug eating. I got a little confused about the bug eating.

[> Re: S5: Buffy vs. Dracula question -- gds, 15:24:13 04/01/03 Tue

See http://www.geocities.com/chefdrac/renfield.htm for an entertaining explanation

[> [> Awesome! Thank you! -- DL, 15:34:40 04/01/03 Tue


[> [> The website is based on a film not the novel -- Indri, 16:54:26 04/01/03 Tue

The website appears to be describing the plot of the 1931 Lugosi version of Dracula rather than Bram Stoker's novel. IIRC, two characters in the novel, Jonathan Harker and Renfield, are combined in the film in order to simplify the story a bit.

There's a chapter-by-chapter review of the novel here,
http://www.bookrags.com/notes/dra/index.htm

I'm afraid I've been unable to find a more concise description of the novel that gives a proper account of Renfield. But I suppose, for your purposes, that's unimportant---any character named Renfield in either film or book is as daft as a bug and eats them too. And the movie may be a more direct source of Xander's behaviour than the book anyway.

Although, you know, I do recommend reading the original. I think it's still a great read. Reading it for the first time on a Halloween during my teens it still managed to scare me.

[> [> [> Twas longing for blood, but relegated to "less exalted" prey than after he would be gifted.*S* -- Briar, 20:37:27 04/01/03 Tue



Demons or Daemons? -- Corwin of Amber, 19:02:16 04/01/03 Tue

Daemon

Demon \De"mon\, n. [F. d['e]mon, L. daemon a spirit, an evil spirit, fr. Gr. ? a divinity; of uncertain origin.] 1. (Gr. Antiq.) A spirit, or immaterial being, holding a middle place between men and deities in pagan mythology.

The demon kind is of an intermediate nature between the divine and the human. --Sydenham.

2. One's genius; a tutelary spirit or internal voice; as, the demon of Socrates. [Often written d[ae]mon.]

3. An evil spirit; a devil.


Several things have bugged me about the depiction of "demons" in the Buffyverse. Not all "demons" are creatures of unmitigated evil Several - Lorne, Clem, Doyle, Whistler - are outright good guys and others like Boone or Skip are ambiguous in the good vs evil dichotomy.

In addition, it's bothered me that theres been no depictions of angels - yes, I know how problematic a depiction of angels would be for a program like this, but it still bothered me that they hadn't depicted the polar opposite of "demons" in any fashion.

The thing is, I was looking at the term "Demon" through a Judeo-Christian lens, and what I was seeing wasn't matching the definition. But other cultures have other definitions of demons, and those seem to fit better. The Greek definition, excerpted above, seems to fit more closely what we see on the screen. Demons in the buffyverse aren't evil, they're just closer to the more metaphysical or primal aspects of reality than we are. As we've seen with Willow, having such power brings the temptation to use it - sometimes inapropriately - it's just easier for someone with those powers to fall into darkness. So demons aren't necessarily evil by nature...it's just easier for them to go that way.

So I think 'demons" in the Buffyverse would better be referred to as 'daemons', thereby removing the Judeo- Christian prejudice attached to the term 'demon'.

This obnoxious drivel was spawn by someone with very little sleep who'd had a few beers. Be gentle.

[> That's why I prefer daemon. But since I have Dyslexic Typin' Syndrome it always comes out deamons.*L -- Briar Rose, 20:32:27 04/01/03 Tue



My bizarre theory about AtS (spoiler up to Players) -- lunasea, 20:16:45 04/01/03 Tue

Shanshu: Angel does whatever he is supposed to and whammo, he gets to be human. At this point, I think he wouldn't be upset, just confused about what his purpose is.

But what is Angel supposed to do? What is Angel being groomed for?

What if his big destiny is to kill Cordy's baby and maybe Cordy and Connor? THe only reason he has to do this is the PTB plucked him out of the gutter and set him on his path. Without that, Connor never would have been made. Without that, Cordy wouldn't be involved with mystical crap. She'd be beloved actress Cordelia Chase. There would be no baby to worry about.

The irony is just too delicious. Either the PTB don't have a clue (which I can see an atheist saying) or we are here for their amusement.

Also real quick, what if Cordy was "split" when she ascended? What we have is something similar to "The Replacement"? She isn't possessed or not herself. She is like Angelus.

[> Re: My bizarre theory about AtS (spoiler up to Players) -- yabyumpan, 21:23:03 04/01/03 Tue

Without that, Cordy wouldn't be involved with mystical crap. She'd be beloved actress Cordelia Chase.

Actually, I think she would have been a snack for Russell Winters, unless the PTB are also responsable for her Father not paying taxes for like, ever.

[> Re: My bizarre theory about AtS (spoiler up to Players) -- Angel, 02:17:39 04/02/03 Wed

Since I'm here, my two cents:

You're really toying with that age-old question of fate vs. free will, here. Stumped philosophers for millennia. Was everything that's happened so far set in motion like a Rube Goldberg machine, or were there other factors at play? From the beginning, the PtB were responsible for bringing Angel to help Buffy, in the battle. Even before the grandest Apocalyptic tidings were unleashed. (In Becoming 2, even Whistler was confused about how things got so screwed up so fast; apparently, the PtB -- or those in their employ -- don't always have season tickets, either.)

But the choice to leave for LA was his, not hers or theirs -- thus setting in motion everything that followed. And that came from good old human weakness; the passion to be with the girl that he loved. So technically, you could say that everything that followed was rooted in lust? Ergh, I'm not sure that sits too well with my "higher purpose" theory. Anyway, rambling aside, they've been less than forthcoming about which aspects of things are "written", and which are just the way the dice have fallen. I mean, you've had prophecy changed, time travel, ancient vengeance, misconstrued battles, hallucinations.... maybe it's just me, but I can't quite get my head around the thought that all of those details are ALL just part of some higher plan.

Who's to say Cordelia wasn't destined for something higher from the beginning? (I know, it's hard to believe.) Who's to say.... my own personal theory echoes the one I hold true in most cases: it's fate, all right, but the outcome of fate depends on free will. The sex that made Connor might have been preordained or not, but the utter despair and the "Anti-epiphany" that both preceded and caused said encounter probably was not.

Then again, who better than the PtB to practice the mystical equivalent of reverse psychology -- I mean, when aren't the times of "I quit the mission, it's hopeless" without fail the times when one of them is then thrust into a situation that forces them to not only NOT give up, but become that much more deeply devoted to it?

Random thought. If we hadn't known that the prophecy which led to Connor's being taken by Holtz was in fact fake, I'd've harbored the fleeting thought that "The father will kill the son".... might have referred to Connor, instead.

Anyway. There are some people who are offering the theory that it's Spike, not Angel, in place of the shanshu prophecy now. (I don't believe that for a second, personally.) You're right about the irony -- but there are so many convoluted paths that have led to the place where they are.... it's almost impossible to tell.

My personal theory: Angel isn't going to make it all the way through the biggest battle. Or at least through the aftermath. Human or not, redeemed or not, there isn't going to be any "happy life", i.e., IWRY, in accordance with that prophecy. I'm getting the feeling that he's supposed to do something specific, all right; much like Buffy is the leader and "general" to the SiTs, I believe that forces will gather around Angel. But I think that when all is said and done, before the big, irreversible end is thwarted(if it is), his (human?)destiny will wind up as his own death.

Perhaps that sacrifice is what he's "being groomed for". Maybe it's something like Dawn, only less dramatic. The good of the many outweighs the.... and the such. -shrug- My 5:15 a.m. theories.


Long, tasteless, and completely off-base (Spoilers TKIM, GID, Hush) -- Calamus, 21:08:10 04/01/03 Tue

Buffy:TVS Conspiracy Theories: Noxon, Willowgate, Kennedy, and Character Assassination


I╠m bored. I think showing repeats AGAIN is part of ME╠s conspiracy to bore me to tears.

I want to return to The Killer in Me. As one of the few people in this universe and all its parallel dimensions that really likes Kennedy, Iyari Limon, and Willeeneedy, er, Willenedy, I feel a need to try and do this episode more justice than it has so far garnered.

The Smashing Pumpkins╠ appropriately-named "Disarm" gives us the title: ¤Disarm you with a smile, And leave you like they left me here, To wither in denial, The bitterness of one who's left alone, Ooh, the years burn, Ooh, the years burn, burn, burn. ¸ The killer in me is the killer in you, My love, I send this smile over to you.Ë The overall themes here seem to apply, especially my personal favorite: Denial. Good for all that ails you. Another round on me.

Perhaps the denial frosting over the sleeping princess is not just about letting go of Tara. There╠s a lot going on here. Something I haven╠t seen discussed in much detail beyond the mere reference is the link of TKIM to ¤Hush.Ë

Aside from more Xander-Spike subtext (my fave line: Xander: "He's not roaming around. He stays with me, he's gonna get tied up again."), Hush also has that whole complicated denial-lack of communication-"Let╠s get it on" thing going on.

Mere coincidence that Willow immediately heads back to the coven she abandoned after Hush? Is it simply because her subconscious knows that Tara is the key? Or is it also because she got lucky the last time she hung with the wannablessedbes and sucked in their light and love? Maybe her subconscious had better things to do than solve all her emotional problems, like get laid!

All those who fault Kennedy for having her thumb on the pulse, her eyes on the prize, and the money on her mind are forgetting the lesson Buffy unmistakably taught the SITs in ¤PotentialË- being a Slayer is all about boffing the Big Bads.

But I digress. Other episodes got mentioned in connection with GID╠s prophetic dream, but ¤HushË also has one that resonates with both GID and TKIM. In the lead-in to the dream, Professor Walsh says it╠s all about communication, "¸It's about the thoughts and experiences that we don't have a word for.Ë She orders Riley to help Buffy ╬see╠ her point. Riley says something like, "Don't worry. If I kiss you it'll make the sun go down." They kiss ¸ and it gets darker. His words literally come true, and then Buffy gets the inside skinny on the Gentlemen. And Willow is the true prophet here, "And the last twenty minutes was a revelation, just laid out everything we need to know for the final. I'd hate to have missed that." Think it╠ll have any relevance to the real finale?

But of course, ¤HushË seems most important for the ╬campus WiccansË scene, because it╠s where Andrew got the idea for his funnel cake in GID. (¤You know I do an empowering lemon bundt.") And one member of the group is very perceptive about Willow╠s effect on people in s. 7: "One person's energy can suck the power from an entire circle. No offense." And another really gets what truly matters in life when apocalypse is on its way: "Ok, let's talk about the theme for the bacchanal." As does Buffy: "I'm sorry it was a bust. I know you were looking to go farther in that department." (See, connect the dots. All Willow was interested in was Tara╠s booty. That╠s why she succumbs so easily to Kennedy╠s alleged lack of charms. She gets it.) Done.

Next, Willow takes a stand on a very tired lesbian-feminist community debate: "I'd just like to float something bigger than a pencil someday¸Ë (Explain why would she fall for a very aggressive lesbian who has demonstrated proficiency with expensive phallic toys like, um, hello, crossbows?)

There╠s another very important link of ¤HushË to ¤TKIMË with the whole fairy tale angle. In Hush, Giles goes to grab a book titled "Fairy Tales" in order to figure out what╠s going on. In TKIM, Kennedy figures out that it╠s just like the fairy tales; i.e., the girl gets knocked around a lot, told to shut up and go away, having to prove her loyalty, patience, and endurance, while the guy gets to swap bodies with the witch and be the center of attention; it╠s supercreepy; and, if in doubt, kiss the girl. (Heck. Worked for Xena 1001 times.)

One last connection between ¤HushË and ¤GIDË is parallel imagery- smashing the magic box is the key & heads exploding is gratuitous grand guignol. The parallel to ¤TKIMË is the kissing- it╠s not gratuitous when Buffy does it, even to a guy who half of fandom thinks is totally annoying and lacks any chemistry with Buffy, so¸ why can╠t a lesbian get some face time even if it╠s just with some random girl and just for the heck of it? Is Kennedy really worse than Riley?

Shadowkat (sorry) said, so very perceptively, in February 2003,¤¸In Killer In Me, S7, when Willow recreates Warren's act with Kennedy - it is Warren's violence against Buffy that she recreates not the stray bullet through the window. It is the violence of Warren's anger at Buffy and through Warren her own at both Buffy and herself for letting it happen, for causing Tara's death.Ë However, this quote is so perceptive, it leads us to miss the forest for the trees!!!

People! Think about it. (The) Warren (Commission) reenacts the shooting of B:TVS╠s great symbol of liberalism, compassion, and hot illicit booty (who was also hated by some for these traits, and all that she represented) on the grassy knoll in the Summers╠ backyard!! TKIM reveals the TRUE MEANING of Kennedy╠s name!!! It╠s totally an homage to Oliver Stone╠s ¤JFK,Ë a simultaneous sly kick in the rubber parts to the ¤Lone Lesbian TheoryË (evil twin of the "Dead Lesbian Theory")and an admonition to Buffy and her fans that the Slayer did not, and should not, act alone!!! Zapruder, Zap prud-es. It╠s all connected! It eats you, starting with your bottom! (Which is also a clever reference to the 1st chakra, BTW.)

Still in doubt? Further evidence abounds, let╠s take it step by step.

It begins with an admonition not to believe everything you╠re told. (Willow╠s ¤It's just tea.Ë) Takes an abrupt turn into government conspiracies and coverups. Lingers a little too long on what the wardrobe people appear to have interpreted as ¤cool, dressy boots.Ë (You can╠t believe everything you╠re told in shooting scripts, either.)

Then this key exchange:

Willow- This is a mission?

Kennedy- Oh, yeah.

Willow- And, I guess the little paper umbrellas in the drinks are, what, a signal for... we're not on a mission, are we?

Kennedy- Hey, trust me. I told you, I have a thing.

Willow- No, this is a fun thing, I've done this thing!

Kennedy- Well, yeah, in like l954.

See!! A coded reference to Brown vs. the Board of Education, thus liberalism, thus¸ And the dialogue, like the theory laid out in ¤JFK,Ë is thought by most people to be simply unbelievable.

Kennedy continues with a clear subtextual reference to ME╠s real subject matter, ¤How long have you known?Ë And a quick coverup, ¤That you were gay?Ë Willow quickly reveals that she is not one of the initiated with her answer, ¤Wait, wait, that╠s easy? And, hey, you just assume that I'm... that I'm gay? I mean, presume much?Ë

So ME mocks Willow, and all non-believers, with the next exchange. Kennedy- ¤How long have you enjoyed having sex with women?Ë Willow- ¤Hey! What do you think, you have some kind of, like, special lesbi-dar or something?Ë Kennedy ¤Okay, you know there's a better word for that, right? ¸You really haven't been getting out there that much, have you?Ë And the tipoff- ¤It's like... it's like flirting in code.Ë

Followed by the obvious reference to Hush╠s other subtext (a ¤fairy taleË involving a team of killers, who get away with murder because they can silence the whole town, until one brave girl (Buffy/Oliver Stone) manages to scream bloody murder). ¤It's using body language and laughing at the right jokes and.. and looking into her eyes and knowing she's still whispering to you, even when she's not saying a word.Ë Seemed like just some awkward, badly written dialogue before, huh? But it just had to be said.

And Kennedy had to back off here, because we can╠t handle the truth! ¤Or if she's really hot, you just get
her drunk, see if she comes on to you.Ë That might also be a reference to Clintongate, I dunno.

Willow still just doesn╠t get it- ¤Three years ago. That's when I knew. And it wasn't women. It was woman. Just one.Ë

Kennedy sighs at Willow╠s cluelessness. ¤Lucky woman.Ë (Ignorance is bliss.)

Kennedy later makes another reference to the Lone Gunman Theory, this time more guarded. ¤I'm not so into the magic stuff. Seems like fairy tale crap to me. But it matters to you. You care about it. So it's cool.Ë

And finally gives up, ¤You know, in the spirit of air clearing¸,Ë fully giving in to the pretense that she was just trying to make out. From there on, she lets Willow complete her own investigation. Some girls always have to learn the hard way. They can╠t just, you know, see that a lone *anything* theory stinks.

ME scatters other clues throughout the episode. Amy╠s spell (¤...her spirit true, its shell a lie, we draw upon your very might... Give back the form the soul requires, see that the balance is put right.Ë)

A clever reference to Kevin Costner╠s other film, ¤The Bodyguard.Ë (Amy- ¤She's strong, and she's dealt with a lot worse, long before she ever went out and found herself a big ol' Potential Slayer bodyguard, okay?Ë)

Giles usual overarching metatextual commentary anticipating my very post, where I explain it all to you. (¤I assume there's a perfectly reasonable and not-at-all insane explanation coming, yes?Ë)

To which Anya voices the objection you all are ready to hurl at me. (¤We thought you might be non-corporeal evil.Ë)

Buffy╠s retort, ¤Ha! Government conspiracy, I knew it!Ë Remember who knows better than Giles these days¸

And of course, Amy lays out the heart of the ¤JFKË theory, ¤This isn't about hate. It's about power.Ë

ME, so-o-o-o tacky, even has Willow channel JFK, ¤You think you can just do that to me? That I'd let you get away with it?Ë

Kennedy has a moment of hope- maybe Willow does get it. ¤Do... get away with what?Ë

And she╠s right, Willow just needs some prodding:

Willow- ¤You were there, bitch, you saw it! I killed her!Ë

Kennedy- ¤You mean him.Ë

Willow shows that she finally sees through the trickery, and Kennedy can finally embrace her without hesitation.

Willow- ¤What are you doing?Ë

Kennedy- ¤Bringing you back to life.Ë

And one reminder not to believe everything you╠re told- ¤Yeah I'll make you some tea.Ë

4/1/2003- made the deadline...


Robin Wood vignette -- HonorH (the mad bard), 23:44:04 04/01/03 Tue

I blame this on you people. You got me thinking. This is the result:

Le ather

[> beautiful. just beautiful -- Vickie, 23:10:47 04/02/03 Wed



Okay. Faith, Angelus, "Orpheus", Soul Vs. Conscience, and Why Angelus Was Wrong. -- Angel, 01:53:47 04/02/03 Wed

Okay, I can't freaking help it. I'm a masochist.

But my personal preferences aside, the recent run of P--- excuse me, "Angel" episodes stared a train of thought that I just can't seem to shake. I was a week behind and only saw "Orpheus" on videotape the week after it was aired, and the concept I find myself returning to over and over the last couple days is the parallel that's always drawn between Faith and Angelus. Everybody's done it -- even Angelus, in those confrontational scenes, takes great pride in taunting her with it. They're incredibly alike, right? Killing without remorse, thriving on the power inherent in the ability to take a life, hunters.... at first glance it seems like a pretty solid analogy. But it ISN'T TRUE. That's what gets me.

Faith isn't like Angelus -- she never was. Sure, she was a killer. But Faith was always, at least somewhere deep down, ultimately redeemable. She's human, after all, and it wasn't that she didn't have a conscience; she just chose to work above and beyond it. Or outside of it, however you'd choose to phrase it. To compare Faith's motivations with Angelus, or at least what separates them from each other, you'd have to pose the question: Is someone without a human soul, a literal conscience, even remotely able to be redeemed? In any way?

Would it have been possible for Angelus, in his pre-ensouled state, to evince any caring, any remorse, or any gesture toward making amends, for lack of a better phrase, for what he's done? That raises an interesting question that could be explored through all sorts of avenues: including pathology. (Also, the definition of soul-vs-conscience-vs....)

Faith is and was, however, very much like Angel -- THAT, in my opinion, would be a more accurate, if not entirely perfect, comparison. Because -- as I've seen debated here much -- Angelus IS, as he said in "Orpheus", "Always HERE." The demon's urges don't go away simply because the vampire's got soul. (And a sudden urge to sing now overtakes me....) The bloodlust is always there; I think that, for all its relatively lame sequences, "Orpheus"' greatest point was trying to demonstrate that thoroughly. Only ensouled, he cares.

I know this part of this discussion is old hat(and as cliche as that phrase >.<), but my point is, he and Faith are exactly alike in that way, and thus share something that no other two people -- not even Buffy and Angel, despite the Slayer/Demon similarity -- could ever share.

Just like the irrepressible presence of the demon within -- in the case of Angelus, quite literally -- Faith's rememberance of the power inherent in killing will never go away, never leave her. Neither will her knowledge that she IS stronger than most humans, and that she IS, one way or another, a killer. They're both realizing -- or have realized -- the enormity of responsibility and are trying to come to terms with making the wrong things right. And how hard it is.... "The more you live in this world, the more you see how apart from it you really are."

(Anybody else notice that they made a point in "Salvage" to demonstrate Faith's lack of extra- unnecessary violence? She was strictly self-defense girl. And reluctant, at that, whereas formerly.... she thrived on it.)

So when Faith said "You're wrong, I've changed. I'm not like you," She was wrong. She never was. Misguided and skating toward the edge in a big way, but never a monster.

(I'd be willing to take bets that Faith and Angel are more alike, even than say Angel and Spike, at this point; even without the concept of fighting the good fight. Any takers?)

Hoping those thoughts are coherent. There are more, but my brain circuits are locking up and there is a kitten attacking me. Plus, it's 4:40 and almost bedtime. So I leave it to you: What do you think?

(And I do have a follow-up question for this, a direct outgrowth of this specific topic, but it's EXTREMELY subjective; more like a poll, perhaps. Let me leave it at that for now.)

[> Re: Okay. Faith, Angelus, "Orpheus", Soul Vs. Conscience, and Why Angelus Was Wrong. -- Scroll, 02:18:40 04/02/03 Wed

(Anybody else notice that they made a point in "Salvage" to demonstrate Faith's lack of extra-unnecessary violence? She was strictly self-defense girl. And reluctant, at that, whereas formerly.... she thrived on it.)

I certainly noticed it in "Release" when Faith, who once was the cut 'em up girl, became extremely uncomfortable and indignant over Wesley's interrogation techniques.

And I think you're right that Faith is much more like Angel than she'll ever be like Angelus. I'm of the opinion that a soul is necessary for redemption -- at least for humans and vampires (demons are another story, too complicated and ill- defined). Now without bashing Spike, I'd like to say that I don't think Spike, without a soul, could have ever truly reached Angel or Faith's level of understanding and remorse for the evil they've committed, or their profound decisions to make amends by doing good and living to do good. Not everybody agrees with this, I'm sure, but that's how I see the metaphysics of the Buffyverse.

(I'd be willing to take bets that Faith and Angel are more alike, even than say Angel and Spike, at this point; even without the concept of fighting the good fight. Any takers?)

Agree again. Faith is truly a product of Angel's guidance. While I think she didn't need Angel's help to "redeem" herself, he was the one who got her to stop self-destructing long enough to give her some hope. As Faith herself says, she's a Slayer being sponsored by a vampire. She takes his view that you make up for your evil by doing good, but also that the doing good is something you do for good's sake, not for your own. I think Faith really understands this. She doesn't do good because she has to; she does it because she wants to.

OTOH, Spike isn't about making amends. That's not really the point of his character, I think. Though to be fair, I have no idea what his ethics are. For fear of accidentally bashing him, I'm just going to not try to guess his ethics.

Very insightful post, Angel. Glad you came back ;)

[> [> Re: Faith, Angelus, "Orpheus", Soul Vs. Conscience, and Why Angelus Was Wrong. (More coherent....) -- Angel, 03:01:58 04/02/03 Wed

It really depends on what your definition of soul-vs- conscience is. According to Joss, for the most part, they're either the same thing entirely or rooted in the same place; so to simplify: no soul, no conscience. No guilt, no remorse. (Although one would think that this would necessitate no powerful driving emotion as well, or at least no overwhelming affection; Spike is an anomaly in many, many ways. His drunken pining over Drusilla pre-chip and pre-soul fits into no pre-established conventions. Frustrating.) It's hard to make a clear picture of a demon- inhabited body with all other emotions intact -- if warped - - only lacking a conscience, through limited examples of the people involved in limited sitations.

Darla, to use a fairly bad example, after she and Angelus had been trapped in that barn by vampire hunters, was affectionate and even, what's the word I'm looking for here.... coquettish? You'd think, from all outside appearances, that there was really something "between" them. But in the end, Darla was just as happy to bash him over the head and leave him to burn, while saving her own ahem, skin, and taking off on horseback. (One could argue that she had enough confidence in her childe's survival skills and battle "prowess" to be reasonably sure that he'd escape intact; it could also be argued that any distress on her part would have been nothing more than annoyance at losing her prize "childe" and hunter; but for now, keeping to the simplest basics seems appropriate.)

I think that, for the vampires at leat, it's a hell of a lot more complicated than they make it out to be at first glance.... and I think, swooping dashingly and directly back on-topic, that it's that way for Faith as well. In theory, one has to regret having done evil in order to desire to make up for that evil, and if you don't care about having done it in the first place, then why bother with amends? Faith didn't regret her actions because she never had to; and I think personally, the reason Faith came so close to snapping even more completely than she did was because she had never been one to get in quick immediate touch with her emotions -- good OR bad. Seems obvious, so I'm not trying to re-say what they've already exemplified: it seemed clearer in my head just a second ago....

....she had the wall between her and any "real" feeling, to keep her sane and keep her alive. Slaying -- and killing, later -- caught her because neither of them(according to her philosophy of slaying) called for any strong emotion other than "this feels good.) Want, take, have. See, fight, kill. One more dead, you're still alive -- many people, a lot of them emotionally repressed or even sociopathic(and quite a few "normal" people) -- find that they "only" feel "alive" when they're faced with a challenge.... a danger.... a near-death experience. Faith was someone who NEVER felt, and then realized she could "feel" through slaying and killing and obviously, eventually, got hooked on the feeling. She was dissociating long before anyone had any reason to suspect or understand why she was doing so.

If you wanted to, you could even say that she's different from Angelus yet again in the opposite direction -- Liam was turned only through his own drunken "innocence" and Darla's desire for him; quite against his will, he became a monster. Faith started out as someone who was trying to do the right thing maybe not out of selfless motives, but at least on the right side -- and wound up making herself "soulless" -- pushing away all conscience and remorse to continue to enjoy the feeling of power -- and avoid the feeling of pain. Now, like Angel, Faith's pain stops not by hurting but by helping; unlike his alter ego, she has the power to and did willingly reclaim her sense of conscience -- her "soul". In my opinion, Faith is the Anti-Angelus.

"Faith is truly a product of Angel's guidance." That's a great phrase. I often puzzle about what it was that made it click, really -- it wasn't just the fact that the two of them do share that bond that nobody else could ever break into. (Hence Buffy's "Sanctuary" jealousy: "I'm sorry I can't be in your club, but I've never murdered anybody." Ouch.) She had to trust him to let him in, and I think a big part of it was a first-hand demonstration of the power of forgiveness. People say you have to forgive yourself before you can begin to forgive anybody else; it's a foundation of the 12-step programs. But personally, I think that's inside-out -- to forgive yourself you have to learn how -- and by forgiving others you learn that they -- and yourself -- are human. And worthy of forgiveness. Faith tried to take his soul, to kill his ex-girlfriend, to shoot him in the back -- and he was willing, still, no matter what, to believe that there was still good in her. Just like there's good in anybody, if you're willing and patient. I think nobody, fron her mother on up, had ever given that to Faih before. And she was incredibly brave; she made the leap; she trusted him.

And helping to "save" someone, particularly for the side of good, is a deed in itself; how many people now will live because Faith, on her own path to redemption, will be there on that side to save them? How does that affect the balance?

I hold an unpopular opinion that, in some AU, perhaps, the two of them might have made a deeply dark, somewhat disturbing, but immensely compelling force of nature as a couple. (That was my related question.) There's a level of trust there that goes beyond the norm.

Btw, I don't think Spike is about making amends, either; I'm still fairly confused about what Spike's about, altogether. (I'm not into bashing, but I don't particularly like what he's become recently.) But he never DID fit the "norm" even in Joss's universe -- he's kind of a free agent. The blank card.

Oh, and just a side thought: talking about forgiveness, Wesley has surprised me, by being an absolutely shining example of such. Bittersweet irony that it was Wes carrying Faith back fron her last physical encounter with Angelus; things are beginning to come full circle, it seems.

I have got to stop here for tonight; it's almost six a.m. But thanks, Scroll. -smile- Get me talking about Faith and unorthodox redemption, I'll talk all day. Or until someone shuts me up....

-- A


Whoo-hoo! Somewhat shallow "Players" review (spoilers) -- Scroll, 01:59:04 04/02/03 Wed

Finally, finally saw "Players" tonight. Warning: I wrote this review as an entry in my LJ (just cut-and-pasted it here) and it's fairly shallow and not analytical at all. But after waiting a whole extra week to see this episode, I'm squeeing like a suckling pig and I'm not ashamed :)

* * *

My first reaction? Guh. Gunn was so fine in that suit! With the kick-ass fight scenes! And the little Japanese girl telling him off in perfect English how her daddy was gonna kill him! Hee, she was such a doll. Reminded me of a friend's little girl who, despite being a little princess, is just so darn cute you want to give her a big smooch on the cheek.

Loved that Angel accepted his actions as Angelus, but put it behind him so he could focus on the situation at hand. IMO, he only used "Angelus" in the beginning for his friends' sakes. They needed the emotional distance of being able to blame Angel's actions on Angelus.

Because I'm such a Wes-lover, I am so very pleased by his quiet, reflective yet emotional scenes tonight. Angel's apology for Lilah's death was classy and seemed to mend most of the rift between Wesley and him. And somebody needs to give AD an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor. This guy can say so much, convey so many subtle and conflicting emotions, just with his eyes alone.

(Doesn't hurt that his eyes are damn gorgeous. He is the guy who, according to Dawn me, is, quote, the hottest, deepest, smartest, funniest and having-of-the- thickest-boy-eyelashes boy in school in the Whedonverse. Unquote. Lucky Alyson...) ETA: Warned you. Yes, I'm shallow. Sue me.

Loved the very necessary Wes-Fred conversation. I had the instinct that ME wasn't going to go ahead with Wes/Fred, and this conversation proved me right. Wesley really did care for Lilah, perhaps even loved her. I know she loved him. But Fred is still rather immature when it comes to the complexities of real life, and can't seem to understand it isn't as simple as Evil Person = Hate, Good Person = Love. Lilah was evil. She was perfectly happy being evil. But she still loved Wes with all her evil little heart. Wesley is still morally ambiguous. He's quite happy being morally ambiguous, IMO. But he loved Lilah too, despite her being the enemy. (Wes/Lilah will always be my OTP. We need an AU spin-off.)

Hopefully Fred will learn something from Wes/Lilah. Like, say, emotional maturity. Of course, Jenny-O says it much more eloquently than I ever could. ETA: the link is to Jenny-O's excellent Fred analysis, in her LiveJournal.

Ha! Skanky Cordelia, you been played, girlfriend! Loved that Angel figured it all out. Loved Lorne singing his spell; that's just the kind of quirky detail Angel is so good at throwing out. Poor Connor, I predict great angst in your future. Magic 8 ball agrees with me.

Gunn, baby, you're back! And you have chemistry again! After half a season of not liking you, I've regained the Gunn- love. To be fair, my heart started softening as soon as you (wisely) broke up with Fred, but this ep brought you home for good. You're a quick thinker. A smart guy (see: broke up with Fred). A good man who loves doing good. Not just muscle, damnit. And James Bond has nothing on you, gorgeous, especially in that suit!

I like Gunn/Gwen. (Gwunn?) They have chemistry, they work well together, and Gwen actually notices and appreciates Gunn's many excellent qualities. I've never felt Gwen stepped over the line to being a full-fledged Mary Sue but she came close in "Long Day's Journey". Fortunately, this ep fleshed her out enough, gave her vulnerability that wasn't implausible or nausea-inducing, made her sympathetic yet realistic enough to keep her from ever achieving full Mary Sue status. Also? HOT.

Found it interesting that her slut-bomb attire was really her way of being defiant in the face of a truly sad plight - - never being able to touch, always cut off from humanity. No wonder she and Angel got along so well. But I think I like her better with Gunn. The fact that she'd killed him (temporarily) kinda makes it even more meaningful that Gunn is her first. He quite bravely touches her, and it's almost a forgiveness. Or a healing. Hmm, puts a whole new meaning to "a laying on of hands" ;)

Gunn/Gwen won't ever be OTP material, IMHO. But they'll likely end up good friends, and better people for having known each other. That's always a plus.


On the whole? So good, so very, very good.

*sigh*

So very happy with Angel. But why can't Buffy be this good? ETA: was going to cut this last line, but decided not. I don't mean any real harm by it. JMHO.

* * *

Hmm. Told you it was shallow. But still giddy from a mighty fine ep. Hopefully SPACE is showing "Inside Out" on Thursday, I don't think I could stand another week's wait for my next Angel fix.

~ Scroll


A Buffy Bumble joins¸(Angel Odyssey 4.1) -- Tchaikovsky, 01:59:41 04/02/03 Wed

My fairy godmother, (or Angelmother?) yabyumpan has been kind enough not only to provide me with tapes of the beginning of the fourth Season of Angel, but also, (and very excitingly for me, as I╠ve seen no new Buffy in six months), of the final (sob) Season of Buffy. Following is a fairly sedate ramble about different expectations and viewing and writing experiences. Please feel free to cut to the chase.

By the time of ╬Tomorrow╠, the combined might of the second and third Seasons of Angel had impacted so much on me as to make it impossible for me to say which one I loved more. Not only that they were shows of the same writing and directorial quality, (which for me is indisputable), but that I was emotionally and viscerally as involved in Angel as Buffy. For me, the trinity which have kept me going through recent Buffy, whose characters really fascinate me, are Dawn, Buffy and Giles. The centrepiece character, the apparently innocent character, and the more mature character. The characters and their actors intrigue me. By the end of the third Season of Angel, there was a similar trio: Angel the centre-piece, Wesley the apparent wisdom, though sliding off in a surprising direction, and Fred, the new adjustment to the fold. So I thought to myself; what would be fun, in a shallow way, would be to compare these Seasons, and now I am able to, which is lovely.

I therefore steal KdS╠ format, and will only review one Angel episode at a time, pairing it with the corresponding Buffy episode. The Angel episode will go first for three reasons. I expect it to be a better read because the Buffy reviews will be from watching on not only a spoiled basis, but heavily influenced by other people╠s reactions, which I read with interest last year. The Angel Odyssey starts from the beginning and will one day be complete, whereas the Bumble starts on just one Season, without the momentum of the previous six. Finally, I personally am finding the forward momentum of Angel more compelling than Buffy at the moment, partly because I don╠t know what╠s about to happen.

4.1- ╬Deep Down╠

This is a wonderful episode from Steven DeKnight. He supplied two of my four favourite episodes from Season Six of Buffy, (╬Dead Things╠, and ╬Seeing Red╠), but their brooding painful style was obviously considered perfect for Angel, so he took a promotion and immediately got to write a Season premiere. It remains in the tradition of excellent openers. I tend to think that Buffy openers, while sometimes fine, are very rarely excellent, whereas Angel has the knack of starting off wonderfully

The teaser is ingenious. We see the abundance of the food round the table, (comparable to that elegant seen way back in ╬Parting Gifts╠), and all the characters back together. It becomes manifestly clear that unless this is to be an episode in flashback, this opening cannot be real. It╠s too perfect, and the stories of at least Wesley, Cordelia, Angel and Lorne, as well as the reactions of Connor, are too obviously different from the events of ╬Tomorrow╠. Before long we have realised that this is Angel╠s perfect situation, and it soon sours. Not only are we seeing into Angel╠s psyche, there is also a playfully exaggerated romanticism about this scene and Angel╠s later dreams, as if the writing staff are gently playing with the fans who wanted a simple happy ending to the third Season.

The other dreams start to reveal a trend. We see the ╬alternate╠ Angel/Cordelia scene, where they do meet at the rocks, and declare their love. We also see a scene where Angel and Connor sort out their differences. In each case, the dream is desirable until something happens which appears to be attributable to Angel- the food turns to blood or he snaps Connor╠s neck. He has an intense feeling of guilt, (who would guess?) that everything that has gone wrong has been his fault- that these paradisal places are only false due to his inadequacy. Each time, he wakes up under water in terror at the end of the dream. Yet the end of the dreams are clearly not real either. Angel dreams of the best case scenario, is petrified by the worst case scenario, and must really deal with a world somewhere in between- the world of the final scene, where his lines are as brilliant as anything since ╬Epiphany╠.

Back to these later. Some other thoughts:

-Kartheiser has an uncanny knack of taking on Angel╠s facial expressions. The way he had the youthgul glee over his vamp- killing with Fred and Gunn reminded me very much of Angel╠s goofier persona. His self-mutilation, in an attempt to show that he had been hurt by the vampire and had no choice but to kill her, was very similar to Angel╠s grim determination.

-We have t a mini-family being set up between Fred, Gunn and Connor. This setting, however, brings out unexpected traits in each of the three of them. Gunn becomes the despairing Father, unable to comprehend just why Connor acts like he does. Fred, in one of the most affecting and shocking scenes of the episode, plays the sweet mother before turning into the betrayed comrade. I think that it is clear that ╬deep down╠, there is a lot of residual anger and passion in Fred which, rather like an early Willow, she hides under the surface. Whether this dimension of her character will be explored in the ensuing melee of excitement is still to be seen. As for Connor, he attempts to play the rebellious but good child, but is actually something much darker- the double agent. His feeling of disorientation, of always havig to lie, of never being sure quite who his family is, is an excellent metaphor for the trials of adolescence, and a rather less obvious metaphor than ╬Blood Ties╠ for the identity crisis that is adoption.

-Wesley briefly gets called Ahab. How fitting is this aside? Clearly the obvious allusion is that he is on his boat, but further we have this idea of monomaniacal searching of the ocean for Angel╠s box. Quite what inspires Wesley╠s search is open for discussion. It is not as clear as him wanting to be forgiven. If that were the case, then he would have stayed in the Hyperion after returning Angel to AI. His mission seems to be as solitary as ever, and he once again hurtfully excludes AI by not explaining his leads and his plans. The question of whether the ends justify the means is harder to fathom. While Fred and Gunn are floundering hopelessly, with a mole in their midst, Wesley kidnaps the double-dealing Justine and makes her talk. In doing so, he rescues Angel from his captivity, trading one person╠s freedom for another. Or so it might seem. In reality, Justine╠s cage is an apt metaphor for Holtz, serving his angry vendetta until the last, and even past his death. Although Justine realised she had chosen the wrong man back in ╬Forgiving╠, she still felt chained to doing what is right. Despite Wesley forcibly keeping Justine as his slave, (some might say fairly light vengeance for a cutthroat, particularly comparing Wesley to Holtz), he still allows her the opportunity of setting herself free. Whether this is sensible or right is questionable. Whether keeping her in a cage is right is also questionable, but looking just at Justine, it becomes clear that she is always the pawn. She needed to be rescued from sheer despair after her sister╠s death, and Hotlz allowed her to be; replacing it with a vacuous respect for his authority which kept her as imprisoned as Wesley╠s bard. By the time she is on the boat, she is so conditioned to playing the drone that she can be stopped from using the wrench even by an illogical threat from Wesley. If Wesley were unconscious, Justine╠s bucket would be irrelevant. But it╠s not about logic- it╠s about power.

Lilah is an interesting comparison to Justine in this episode. Initially, we see Lilah apparently controlling Wesley, and Justine being controlled by him. But this is not it at all. In the last three episodes of Season Three, the seduction by the femme fatale was never quite right. We didn╠t see Wesley entirely iunder Lilah╠s snare- it always seemed sizzlingly mutual. Here we see that the control that we expected, Lilah slowly corrupting Wesley, is actually switched- Wesley is keeping his most pertinent actions and emotions from Lilah. But while Lilah is the puppet in this section of their relationship, she is still fiercely certain that she is slowly wearing him down towards evil, and his removal of self-determination of Justine is perhaps testament to this. And while Justine, reliant only on Holtz╠ approval, now has a broken, empty life to start from again, Lilah╠s situation is much different. For while, a little unbeknown to her, she has become as helpless as her mother in controlling Wesley, the side which makes her think she is her mother╠s opposite, and will never be the dithering dependant fool that she sees in her Mother╠s eyes, is still functioning well. In Wolfram and Hart, she has consistently shown herself to be more stylishly evil than the scared Linwood, and his death seemed as likely as it was graphic, (reminding me a little of the Polanski version of ╬Macbeth╠ with that shot of the severed head rolling back onto the screen).

-The apparently monomaniacal Wesley is in reality a much more deeply complex character than the iconic Ahab ever was. Instead of again denying Justine her freedom, he himself seeks a little atonement for his sins, in letting Angel drink form him. What he expects this to achieve is extremely moot. As can be seen from his speedy leaving of the hotel, it is not re-integration, at least yet. I personally cannot believe that Wesley simply wants Angel to owe his life to him, to see if that changes the balance of the scales. Can I believe that it is a truly selfless act? Perhaps, in some twisted way, Wesley sees his giving of blood to Angel as an analogue to Wesley╠s initiation into AI- the action that Angel took which allowed him to turn form a faux Rogue Demon Hunter to a real one. Perhaps it will all be explained later. The beauty of the density of the DeKnight script is that all the actions in this episode are ambiguous and more complicated than they first seem. The motivations seem deeply twisted and complex.

-This leaves the beautiful final scene between Angel and Connor. This is almost transcendant writing- really wonderful- and one of those feats that Angel does so often- intimidating Connor enough to make him believe Angel is a threat- like he did to Bethany in ╬Untouched after being run through with a metal stake. It╠s one of those staring contests, a force of will to see who really has the power. Angel does. Connor still, shakily, sits down. He takes all the explanation that his Father gives him. He answers truthfully about Cordelia, and he finally leaves the hotel. Fred and Gunn, our everymen, look in with awe at this story.

-Meanwhile, Cordelia has decided that being a shiny star is ╬so boring╠. It╠s a nice ME-ian touch to end an enthralling show with such anti-climax, and it supports the whole theory that Cordelia╠s choice to lose a part of her humanity was wrong.

This episode is about what people deserve. Wesley claims ╬we all get what we deserve╠. Linwood, the not-quite-evil enough, gets beheaded for being an inadequate boss. Angel seems mostly unruffled by his MC Esher perspective. Justine reaps her just desserts more obviously than the rest- mostly because the act of revenge is enacted by the hypothesis maker- Wesley. I do not believe we are expected to believe what Wesley says is gospel, or that it doesn╠t have some aspect of truth running through it. What I do know for certain is that this was a stellar episode, even before that final scene.

A Buffy Bumble- 7.1- ╬Lessons╠

The style of this will be slightly different, as I am spoiled, and so a long meditation on the purport of the Istanbul scene would be silly. I╠ll just pick out a few salient points which I haven╠t seen discussed at quite the same angle as I took them, and hopefully not bore or recycle too much.

-Joss Whedon has the knack of coining supreme lines. He can just do it. Here, we are given two crucial and oft-repeated lines, the ╬It╠s All About Power╠ line, (yes, as Buffy/First says it, it is very Nietzschean), and Willow╠s ╬Everything╠s Connected╠ line. I think another line which fell behind these two a little was the ╬It╠s always real╠ line, which Buffy explains to Dawn in their graveyeard scene, and Dawn says about the zombies later on. It╠s a clue to the First Evil- although it may be incorporeal, its effect is real. Anyone who saw Spike╠s scenes at the end as his hallucination should have been extremely wary of this line- the hints right there that this is not just newly-ensoulled nuttiness.

-The episode is directed nicely, if not superlative-ly, by David Grossman, in one of his more average efforts. I completely changed my mind on the Whedon directed Westbury scenes though. Let╠s clear one thing up. As I look out of my bedroom window, as I╠m doing now, I can see Westbury, in fair Wiltshire. This is darned exciting for me, as all the action usually takes place in California, which for me may as well be the moon. Now the scenery is dead-on, but the thing I objected to from seeing some of the screen-caps for the episode was the campiness of Giles riding up on a horse- and the lack of any houses or anything industrial. This may be rural England- but it ain╠t 1500. I now retract that feeling. Because, as I really should know by now, Whedon╠s show is all about doing ridiculous stuff with complete unfaltering belief and no self-consciousness. And he pulls it off- largely because of the really perfect interactions between Willow and Giles. I love the tones of their voices- so mellow and quiet- so incredibly different form the Willow╠s bombastic end to last Season. The ╬I just want to be Willow╠ line is perfect. And finally, the sense of disorientation, of framing as we pull back through the door violently in the second scene, is beautifully done.

-Michelle Trachtenberg plays Dawn with a little more self- confidence than I╠d been expecting. Her speech to the class about herself is lovely, (particularly the Britney Spears lines), and the way that this then falls apart when Buffy comes in and does ╬embarassing Mom╠ is wonderful. Dawn appears to think a little quicker than Buffy in a similar situation, coming up with the bee excuse.

-We go out through one opening (the door in England) at the end of Act Two, and in through another, the hole in the school in the next. Everything╠s connected, and it seems to come from deep down.

-There╠s a lot of circling going on in the direction for this episode. The camera seems to be always spiralling one way or another. It reminded me of the discussions about the Gyre in Yeats. This Season seems to be spiralling in towards its climax, a climax which certainly has links to its beginnings, but also is new.

-This brings me to my take on the theme of this episode, which is of initiation overseen. It╠s obvious that we are expected to see Dawn as the worried new schoolgirl, but this comes at the whole High School experience in a completely different way. Buffy oversees Dawn╠s new start, as indeed Wood helps Buffy into a new job. Simultaneously, we have the overseeing of Willow by Giles, and the overseeing of Anya by D╠Hoffryn. Yet these aren╠t as clear cut as we might like to believe them. Usually the figures set to help you are portrayed on the screen as wise and undoubtable, like Alec Guiness in ╬Star Wars╠. Something much more interesting is going on here. None of the mentors are portrayed as reliable. Buffy spoils Dawn╠s credibility just as she is starting to build up a little rapport from the class. Giles mumbles the highly suspicious line ╬We are all the same deep down, no matter how much we may appear to have changed╠. I don╠t accept that we are supposed to take this at face value- although we cut in the next scene to Xander, who looks ╬unconscionably spiffy╠, but actually looks a little nervous as he walks into the Summers╠ residence. In this case, we are expected to believe Giles╠ sentiment. Finally, we have Anya, being told by D╠Hoffryn to exact a more nasty vengeance, and also that there is something evil a-brewing. Clearly, although D╠Hoffryn is right to identify Anya╠s weakness as a demon, we are clearly not meant to believe that her intentions are right, because we know Anya is not a demon deep down.

Ultimately we are told that discovering who we are is not about being given answers in ╬Lessons╠, or even being given advice by mentors, but a process of self-identification and confidence. Finally, of course, we are left with that startling scene in the basement, and we see Spike, with no help whatsoever in learning his lessons, being tortured. Although Whedon has established that self-growth is the only way to do it- when you are really on your own, there╠s a real difficulty in recovering. While teaching may be too simplistic, support may be essential.

Above this, there╠s a very clever setting of tone done. We back out of the intriguing but sometimes alienating flavour of Season Six. Season Seven appears to be very light- light new High School- Buffy in white, the sun-bathed lighting in England- but there╠s a foreboding cutting underneath the new perkiness, which comes over nicely, and is emphasised by that Istanbul scene- possibly the most inexplicable start to a Buffy Season ever.

Didn╠t enjoy this half as much as ╬Deep Down╠, partly because I already knew it like the back of my hand, but am still looking forward to both Seasons.

Thanks for reading.

TCH

[> Wow, great stuff TCH! -- Scroll, 02:51:28 04/02/03 Wed

Just wanted to comment on Wesley-Justine and Wesley- Lilah.

By the time she is on the boat, she is so conditioned to playing the drone that she can be stopped from using the wrench even by an illogical threat from Wesley. If Wesley were unconscious, Justine╠s bucket would be irrelevant. But it╠s not about logic- it╠s about power.

At first I thought the same way: that Wesley had broken her. But now I don't think he ever really did. She wasn't some cowed hostage, so fearful of her captor's wrath that she would do anything he said. Heck, she picked up the wrench. She talked back, snarked at Wesley in the grand tradition of the strong, b*tchy females on Angel (Cordy, Lilah, Kate). I think she was only testing him. She wanted Wes to take control. She wanted someone to tell her what to do.

When somebody is on the course of self-destruction, she'll cling to any strong force (Holtz, then Wes) who has enough authority and control to stay her course. I see Wesley's treatment of Justine to be a darker reflection of Angel's mentoring of Faith in "Consequences". (And can we take a moment to marvel at anything being darker than Angel and Faith?) Angel chains Faith up, pushes her to see herself. The consequences of her actions. The destruction that lies ahead if she doesn't change her path. This is why Wesley's last words to Justine are so insightful. Justine made herself into a slave. Now she's helped Wesley partly undo the awful thing she did -- deceiving Connor and helping him sink Angel into the ocean. Now she has the chance to free herself for real.

And of course Justine acts as Wesley's demon. She's that voice in the back of his mind telling him he's bad, that he'll never be forgiven, that his friends won't take him back, that Angel will turn on him again. If Wes has power over Justine, she has power over him in return. That's why he doesn't gag her on the boat. Wesley uses Justine as a cage around his own emotions, his own existence. She's the steel reinforcing the bars.

Here we see that the control that we expected, Lilah slowly corrupting Wesley, is actually switched- Wesley is keeping his most pertinent actions and emotions from Lilah. But while Lilah is the puppet in this section of their relationship, she is still fiercely certain that she is slowly wearing him down towards evil, and his removal of self-determination of Justine is perhaps testament to this.

You know what's funny though? Lilah doesn't seem all that happy about Wesley's apparent coldness towards his former friends. End of Season 3, she was positively gleeful that she was "wearing him down towards evil". But the bedroom scene and Lilah's quick defence of Wesley to Linwood both seem to suggest that corrupting Wes isn't really her agenda anymore. It's not something she's really working towards.

The beauty of the density of the DeKnight script is that all the actions in this episode are ambiguous and more complicated than they first seem. The motivations seem deeply twisted and complex.

Absolutely. DeKnight's style is perfect for Angel, which is a darker, more adult show than Buffy.

This episode is about what people deserve. Wesley claims ╬we all get what we deserve╠. Linwood, the not-quite-evil enough, gets beheaded for being an inadequate boss. Angel seems mostly unruffled by his MC Esher perspective. Justine reaps her just desserts more obviously than the rest- mostly because the act of revenge is enacted by the hypothesis maker- Wesley. I do not believe we are expected to believe what Wesley says is gospel, or that it doesn╠t have some aspect of truth running through it. What I do know for certain is that this was a stellar episode, even before that final scene.

My exact feelings when I saw this episode. One of the reasons I love Angel just a little more than Buffy is that nothing is ever simple. Everything has layers and layers of meanings, and more layers on top of that just for the hell of it. Because that's just how the world works. Or at least, the Angelverse. ;)

[> [> Good points -- Tchaikovsky, 23:47:33 04/02/03 Wed

I think she was only testing him. She wanted Wes to take control. She wanted someone to tell her what to do.
That makes a lot of sense

And of course Justine acts as Wesley's demon. She's that voice in the back of his mind telling him he's bad, that he'll never be forgiven, that his friends won't take him back, that Angel will turn on him again. If Wes has power over Justine, she has power over him in return. That's why he doesn't gag her on the boat. Wesley uses Justine as a cage around his own emotions, his own existence. She's the steel reinforcing the bars.

And I hadn't thought of that angle at all- but yes, the relationship is symbiotic- that's why Justine is on the boat at all, despite having given Welsey all the information he needs.

One of the reasons I love Angel just a little more than Buffy is that nothing is ever simple. Everything has layers and layers of meanings, and more layers on top of that just for the hell of it. Because that's just how the world works. Or at least, the Angelverse.

Just for the moment- I'm with you.

TCH

[> Read Halfrek for D'Hoffryn -- TCH, 23:38:29 04/02/03 Wed


[> Sparks, Fire and Electricity (Odyssey 4.2; Bumble 7.2) -- Tchaikovsky, 02:19:33 04/03/03 Thu

My favourite show seems to be changing on an almost daily basis at the moment. I think I preferred the tightly plotted and interwoven ╬Beneath You╠ to the moderate ╬Ground State╠, if only by a whisker.

4.2- ╬Ground State╠

Not one of my favourite Mere Smith episodes, but the opening was electric in more ways than one. I enjoyed the way that the director/editors used a much more jaded palette for the 1980╠s story, almost as if we now remember that era by the less vibrant colours that were on our TV screens at the time. It also suggested a lighter, less angsty little story, perhaps one of friendship and integration into a new school. Yet by this stage, more than nine seasons through my watching of these shows, it╠s manifestly clear that it isn╠t going to last for long. We get the boy attempting to make friends with the horribly isolated Gwen, only for disaster to ensue. Interesting that the toy car sums up the loss of the innocence of the girl here- another twisted clich╗. When we Gwen again, it is to all intents and purposes an entirely different character we see- someone basking in self- confidence and power. We see her destruction of the owner╠s watch as her being self-empowered, if in a slightly reckless way. Yet in reality, with a twist, we have something quite different. Gwen may appear to be ruthless and in control, but underneath there╠s still the vulnerability of the little girl who nobody with whom nobody was allowed to play.

Themes of this episode are the balance between portrayal and reality, between normality and freakishness, between humanity and the old Mission. A key to this comes in perhaps the funniest line of the episode, the suit saying, ╬No, we had the tuna casserole on Tuesday evening╠. There╠s a black humour to this, while ostensibly finishing his job gassing two human beings, he is considering the normal things which he╠ll do when he comes home from work. As well as the mundanity of evil, we have the gap between his freakish work and normal home life. Other freaks in this episode are of course Gwen, Angel and Cordelia. The three have had their freakshness thrust upon them with various amounts of passivity however. Gwen is at one end of the spectrum, the innocent child who had no idea of her power, who then became necessarily exterior to real life, on the outside looking in. This, I believe, has something to do with her dismissive but slightly yearning questioning to Angel about whether he is getting the access for a girl. Later there╠s the line: ╬It must be for a girl, since you╠re so bad at stealing stuff. Beneath the tough, cynical exterior, there╠s the girl whose only connection with humanity, the boy with the frazzled car, ended up dead. She╠s fascinated to know how other people can live normally. Equally, however, she denies herself the possibility of some aspects of normality, of humanity, herself. She has insulated herself both literally and metaphorically- literally with the gloves and so on, metaphorically from believing she needs to act as the human she really is. Angel can teach her this lesson, as he explains while saving the suit from frying at her hands. She does not have the right to act as she pleases, regardless of the hand life has dealt her.

This realisation has hit Angel after 100 years of brooding, another 100 in a hell dimension, and those few months under the sea. He has vastly more experience than Gwen, but also it is easier for him to come to his understanding. Because he was faintly complicit in his own freakishness. It is not that he understood what would befall him in that alleyway in 1753, but he did not precisely turn away from it- he didn╠t run from the enigmatic stranger. Things changed; Angel never was and still isn╠t human- and in his vampire days, he took no special privileges from other vampires. But since he got his soul back, largely from the crucial intervention of Whistler, he has understood that being a freak, an (almost) unique ensoulled vampire, does not entitle him to act outside convention, does not absolve him of responsibility, does not allow him to leave people to be worn down by a demon in the Hyperion. He is able to understand that he must use what unusual quirks he has to try to be a kind of a man, if without a certain humanity. Yet, as Gwen has that humanity, how much easier is it for her to understand how she can still be part of society. I have a degree of faith that Angel╠s suggestions to Gwen will not fall on deaf ears, and that she has the possibility of using her powers for Good.

Of course, Good ain╠t that black and white in this show, as we╠ve seen with Angel and Wesley, and as we are now seeing with Cordelia. Interestingly enough, Angel lets his believe in Fate and the Powers that Be overturn his decision on Gwen here. For while he makes it quite clear to Gwen that abnormality is not an excuse to isolate oneself, to allow oneself privilege, he decides the opposite for Cordelia. This partly because he understands that Cordelia is doing something right, and also because he is confused as to whether his need for Cordelia is selfish. Yet, hitting on the theme of the episode, it again appears that Cordelia╠s decision to not only embrace her freakishness but to leave her humanity behind is wrong. She wants out.

This leaves good old Fred. It is interesting to chart her rise, and I am really glad that it has not been ignored. Because, as time has gone on, she has been made to bear more and more of the responsibility. After losing Wesley, she became research girl. Once Cordelia and Angel disappeared, it became necessary for her to become a head of decision- making and the charming supportive girl to the alpha male (then Gunn) as well. When she loses Connor, realising that he is not the good son, and then momentarily Gunn, she has had the whole of that new family stripped away from her, and she goes past breaking point. She has become the normal girl in the abnormal environment, and it appears that her humanity might just harm her. Yet we see twice that this is not the case- Fred is emotionally honest and open enough to explain to Gunn why she is so mad , and Gunn is has the reciprocal understanding to let the outburst go. So we end up with the end of the episodem with Fred and Gunn and Angel apparently together. Yet the camerawork is not unequivocal. Instead of seeing all three in one shot, we patiently pan round to see each individually, particularly taking a long time to find Fred at the end. Despite their unity in losing Cordelia, their reactions are somehow separate to each of their journey.

Not one of my favourites- a little too action thriller for my tastes, but Mere Smith always delivers something thoguht- provoking as well.

7.2- ╬Beneath You╠

I like Doug Petrie╠s episode a lot, and, with the exception of the almost universally panned ╬As You Were╠, where he let his Riley-worship get in the way of his usual evil genius plotting, there╠s always some great scenes. Here of course, the really memorable wonderful scene is the Whedon penned one for Spike and Buffy in the Church at the end, which rivals the Angel/Connor scene in ╬Deep Down╠. What I really loved about the scene was the way that Spike╠s dialogue was so dense. Those people familiar with the Lady Macbeth scene in Act Five, Scene One of her husband╠s play will know the way that seeming insanity has each thread strictly attached to an idea. Here we have exactly the same thing: Spike, sometimes speaking as the old Spike with his bravado, sometimes as the confused William, sometimes as some new, more honest yet hurting amalgam, [maybe not the most accurate word], sharing all sorts of different thoughts, feelings and despairs. A few lines stuck out for me. There╠s the metanarration on ╬Spike, have you lost your mind?╠ ╬Well, yeah. Where have you bee all evening?╠, showing that the developed sense of irony of the old Spike is still in there somewhere. There╠s the repeated ╬You wanted it╠ line, first believing that Buffy wanted him to get a soul, then that God did- some kind of a Christian God that William may have understood. Of course, behind Spike╠s ideas it isn╠t quite Buffy or God. Spike is still acting aspart of Buffy╠s story- which is not quite healthy. She has been his all- consuming life ever since ╬Fool For Love╠, and possibly before. William would like to believe that God exists- and acts as the poet pretending to be Tyndale with lines like ╬And all shall forgive and love╠. He wants his story to tie in with the Bible. Yet ultimately it is neither God nor Buffy who needed a soul- it is Spike, to ╬be the kind of man who would never¸-to be a kind of man╠. The cross still burns him- religious redemption is not his aim, though more simple fairy tale redemption maybe. Buffy, while conflicted, shocked and deeply compassionate, can not offer him everything now- cannot offer him forgiveness for all he has done. When he realises this he changes his plea from Buffy to the Heavens, only to burn and ultimately ask ╬Can we rest now?╠ Isn╠t this desperate need for a soul, to be somehow Good, enough to allow him some peace of mind. Of course, the answer is no. He must forge a new character now. Not the blue-shirted William, full of diplomacy and sappy honesty and dignity. As is contended; ╬When did you become Champion of the people?╠ Spike can never be Angel, just as the unsoulled Spike was never Angelus. Not the old Spike who argues that ╬Big Bad is back╠, being clothed in the persona like a leather duster, only to be horrified to kill Ronnie, while doing the right thing. It is a tragic twist- but an important and necessary one. Because while Spike is happy fighting the worm, and appears to have the upper hand, it is only his (partly false) realisation of the consequences of that persona, (he hurts a man while his chip fires still in his brain), that gets him to the insane but actually healthier state he as reached in the Church- questioning everything.

While Spike is the glorious enigma of the episode, and Marsters╠ acting is, as many have said, as good as any winner of an Oscar since perhaps Daniel Day-Lewis for ╬My Left Foot╠, there is plenty more stuff bubbling along happily in this episode. This is part of the reason we have Nancy, also a stand-in for ╬the New Viewer╠. She gawps in sheer disbelief at the complexity of the back-story, and we realise that people who have not seem the previous couple of Seasons would be as lost as a penguin in Tanzania, with all the relationship strife. Out of the situation where everyone has slept with everyone else, (except Xander and Spike, hehe), we get several intriguing parallels and groupings:
-There╠s the lovely bubbly conversation between the new family, Xander Dad, Buffy Mom, Dawn Kiddy in the car. It╠s this kind of thing I missed in some of Season Six- the ability to be light-hearted before the danger. Buffy╠s trump card of Dawn╠s adventures in ╬All the Way╠, especially with Dawn╠s reaction, is wonderful
-There╠s the Anya/Spike parallel. Both mouth ╬From beneath you, it devours╠. Both have the demon part in them, and it confuses both of them to the extent of doubting exactly which parts of them are real. They end up fighting of course, neither quite sure what they are fighting for, but ultimately, Spike fighting to hide his possibility of redemption, his soul, and Anya, post embellishing the wishes of Nancy, fighting to show she is the real Anyanka, not just the kind of demon who turns people French. Both are fighting to be considered what they╠re actually not, but something worse.
-The little Xander/Nancy relationship works as a kind of shadow for Buffy/Spike. Xander becomes Nancy╠s Hero, as Buffy has for Spike. Nancy starts to attempt to lead Xander on, but ultimately Xander╠s concerns about the Mission dwarf any romantic ideas, (incidentally, the ╬At least I was dating then╠ is a bit of a case of rose-tinted spectacles. There was only Cordelia and that somewhat-less-than-a-date with Faith. Xander shows concern for Nancy, but ultimately cannot consummate this relationship.
-There╠s the wonderful Giles/Willow scenes again. Like Spike and Anya, Willow really can be a good person, but is ensnared by her past evil, and needs to trust herself before her friends can trust her, just as Giles says. Their shadows out of the door against the countryside is very beautiful directing- the problems of the personal set against the beauty of the natural- and of course these pastoral scenes complement neatly the beginning of Willow╠s slide into darkness in ╬Bargainin╠g where she guiltily but brutally killed the faun. Here we see her attempting to recover from the dalliances that ensued.

A couple of semantic clear ups that people were worried about at the time but are now abundantly clear. Spike╠s kjust the three of us╠ line in ╬Lessons╠ is clearly supposed to mean William, Spike and the First. He doesn╠t mean Buffy, whom he is introducing to the precedings, or the zombies. Here the lines ╬You. Him. And It- the thing beneath you╠ refers to Buffy, (and then William╠s Victorian idea of God as he looks up), then William (the poet who is ╬him╠) and finally the First, the thing tormenting him in the basement. It╠s notable that the episode title references back to ╬Fool For Love╠, but here is used somewhat differently. Of course, the worm is the decoy of ╬From beneath you, it devours╠. Interesting that the thing beneath is the hole, the earth with teeth, the ╬vagina dentum╠ , whereas the worm once again looks like a giant penis; this time with teeth. Sexual imagery to hint at the mis-lead.

I was interested to see Dawn╠s scene about setting Spike on fire, which was played entirely straight, with no revealing intonations. We must take this threat at face value.

Great episode. Now a new Espenson, which I always enjoy.

TCH- scurrying off to watch ╬Same Time, Same Place╠ and ╬The House Always Wins╠.

[> [> The psychedelic journey that is Season 4 (no specific season 4 spoilers) -- Masq, 13:31:17 04/03/03 Thu

I've been thinking a lot about Season 4 lately, as we in North America get into the climax of the Season. I had some thoughts to share with you TCH to light your Odyssey.

Right around a television show's mid-life, and I do hope this is AtS's mid-life, a show starts to get restless with itself and begins to break its own rules.

We saw this with BtVS Season 4--no traditional "Big Bad", really, unless you want to count Adam. But Adam was an experiment by the at worst morally ambiguous Initiative. The Initiative confused fans who had gotten used to a traditional formula of little bad, big bad, black and white.

Likewise with Season 4 of Angel. The rules that became so clearly laid out in Seasons 2 and 3--of arcless episodes interspersed with intense arcy episode pairings featuring our heroes stumbling blindly in a war that was as much against their inner doubts as it was the Gray foes they were fighting--this is not Season 4's way.

Season 4 is full of that arcy goodness we have come to love on AtS, but it is an arc on hyper-drive. It is also an intense ride that forever rises and never seems to "peak" in those episode pairings we've come to expect (Reprise/Epiphany, Loyalty/Sleep Tight). This is a season that raises more questions than it answers, that has characters doing things you don't expect them to, that takes chances with the story line all over the place.

And all I can say, indeed, all I can still hope is, in the words of one of the Season's notable baddies, "Everything happens for a reason."

If you sit back and ride the wave without expectation based on the formulas of previous seasons, it's a hell of a ride.

[> [> [> I guess Season 4 is mid-life -- Tchaikovsky, 00:06:00 04/04/03 Fri

A show like Angel or Buffy seems to have a natural length of about seven Seasons, like the Star Trek franchises. Which is why I'm not all that disappointed to see Buffy ending, but it doesn't seem time to end Angel yet.

I tend to enjoy formulae being subverted, so I'm sure I will enjoy this Season- one major difference for me will be the fact that as the season hasn't even finished in the US yet, the Odyssey will be spread out over several months rather than a couple of weeks, (the idea of continuing regardless and getting to 4.22 before it airs in America amuses me, but sadly it just isn't possible). Incidentally, I'm going on holiday a week today, so I plan to finish my current batch of tapes, (to 4.5/7.5) by then, leaving a break while I have a holiday and then revise madly for some April exams.

TCH

[> [> [> [> Re: I guess Season 4 is mid-life -- Masq, 09:15:19 04/04/03 Fri

Yes, I hope this is Angel's mid-life and not it's early grave. What a depressing thought! Sometimes I really hate the popularity contest that is network television.

I wonder how seeing the shows slowly over the course of several months will effect your Odyssey musings. One advantage you had was seeing them in fairly quick succession. Of course, that meant a bit of scrambling for us Odyssey fans. Between work and my website and my life, I sometimes headed to the board thinking, "Oh! I forgot to do my Odyssey homework last night!" That is, rewatch the episodes you no doubt would be posting on that day. Now, mind you, I've seen these episodes dozens of times and analyzed them to death, and yet I still do better reading your reviews if I've seen them fresh.

I've been sprucing up my episode analyses for your consultation, TCH, although they are sometimes unenlightening. Alas, that is a built-in hazard of Season 4 viewage.

Enjoy the eps!

[> [> [> [> [> Ack! its not it's -- Masq, who does value good grammar, 09:25:41 04/04/03 Fri


[> My galley, charged with forgetfulness (Spoilers, Deep Down) -- Rahael, 02:37:15 04/03/03 Thu

My galley, charged with forgetfulness,
Thorough sharp seas in winter nights doth pass
'Tween rock and rock; and eke mine enemy, alas,
That is my lord, steereth with cruelness;
And every oar a thought in readiness,
As though that death were light in such a case.
An endless wind doth tear the sail apace
Of forced sighs and trusty fearfulness.
A rain of tears, a cloud of dark disdain,
Hath done the wearied cords great hinderance;
Wreathed with error and eke with ignorance.
The stars be hid that led me to this pain;
Drowned is reason that should me consort,
And I remain despairing of the port.


Thomas Wyatt.

This was the poem that leapt to my mind when I saw Wesley on that boat, searching for Angel!! A wonderful image. Other great stuff, Wesley feeding Angel. Self sacrificial. Nourishing. Reminding us of the dinner table which has so many echoes - of family, of abundance and togetherness, and of betrayal too. The Last Supper. Lilah called Wesley Judas last season.

Great review TCH! More later as I'm posting on the run. I thought Deep Down was a fabulous ep.

Oh, and the last image in Provider, of Angel and Cordy in bed, and Cordy talking about the boat they were going to buy......seems to resonate more now, since the link is the idea of family, the ideal even, and how far we can fall between ideal and the painful reality.

[> Saving this thread from the evil voynok demon -- Masq, 08:46:02 04/03/03 Thu


[> [> Voynok seems hungry today -- Tchaikovsky, 08:52:29 04/03/03 Thu

There are some other good and unnaturally short threads in Archive One at the moment- don't suppose you fancy bringing some of them back Masq? Just don't invoke Osiris and go all dark and veiny- and no snakes ;-)

TCH

[> [> [> Oy, I tried -- Masq, 09:04:28 04/03/03 Thu

I did a forum re-build, which generally hoists all the transported threads back to the main board. But it didn't even bring yours back, TCH. I had to do that myself.

I think since this upgrade that Voy has given us even less main index Kb than we had before. I will take nominations for a new home for ATPo discussions.


Ramblings on Spike, mothers, Slayers, and authoritative female figures -- Oyceter, 22:43:10 04/02/03 Wed

These are my ramblings on Spike, mothers, Slayers, and female authority figures...

Wood points out (for the third time?) in the beginning of the episode just how much Buffy reminds him of his mother, just as Spike says in FFL that Nikki was the Slayer most like Buffy. He then talks to Wood about his mother loving him, yes, but not enough to give up the mission, which seems to me more like projection. Perhaps he believes that Buffy may love him, or could have allowed herself to love him, if it were not for her mission -- i.e. he's a vampire and she's a Slayer, she can never let go of that. And if he can't have Buffy's love, at least he tells himself that his own mother loved him. Does this mean Spike also sees Buffy as a mother figure? Perhaps he does because she's a protector, which he emphasizes when he tells her to go look after Dawn. Or perhaps he might because he sees her as a kind of shelter against the people in the world who want to put him down -- note the small smirk he gives to Giles as he follows Buffy up the stairs. Buffy is the mother of the potentials in a way; she trains them and tries to teach them about the world. Yet, like Nikki, she's a mother who sees the mission as something that is as important as the safety of her adopted children. In fact, Buffy goes further than Nikki, telling Giles that she's willing to sacrifice anyone for the mission, including Dawn, whose surrogate mother and blood mother she is. Yet, perhaps at the same time, Spike is also trying to equate Buffy with his own mother, someone who was cruel to him because of a demon inside of her, or, in Buffy's case, perhaps because of the demon of depression. In the end, though, to Spike, his mother did love him, and perhaps he hopes that in the end, despite the mission and the Slayer-fights-alone ethos Buffy has, Buffy too will love him and pass off the previous abuse as a "demonic" force.

So maybe Spike's entire speech to Wood wasn't about Wood at all, but more Spike trying to reconcile his own fears about his worthiness of love. He may also be trying to reconcile his own simultaneous fear and desire for authoritative female figures like his mother, Dru (mother of another life) and Buffy. Perhaps this is why he has a thing for Slayers? Maybe he needs to hunt these people who can harm him and who are always female. And perhaps this is why he bonded with Joyce so well... she was a female authority figure, yet she did not have real power over him, so she was in a sense safe. Same with Dawn, the mini-Buffy. There's a lack of sexual tension between his encounters with Dawn and Joyce that might stem from the idea of a female authority made safe -- both Dawn and Joyce are related to Buffy, giving them a sort of aura of authority, yet neither of them can truly beat him in a fight, making them safe. His mother was also part of this category, completely safe because he thought she adored him, yet she turned dangerous and grew teeth (hee, sorry). Cecily too is stuck in the mix -- Cecily has power over William because she seems to be more socially accepted than he is, and she uses that power against him, just as Buffy does. Dru is also at times fearsome, as Spike can take care of her but not keep her faithful to him. Harmony, on the other hand, doesn't have the aura of authority that might attract Spike to women, causing him to entirely disregard her.

And to make this less All About Spike, I don't think Buffy's general-esque attitude and assumption of the authoritative side of the mother is going to end well. She said before that you can't do evil to fight evil, and I think that may be the theme here. While killing Spike may not be evil because he is a threat, it may also be evil because it's not giving an ensouled being a chance to live up to his potential. Furthermore, Buffy goes farther and says she's willing to kill Dawn. Anya draws the parallels to Selfless too, where Buffy was all too willing to grab power and declare herself the law. While here Buffy is being more compassionate to Spike, she still isn't to anyone else, which I think is the problem. I mean, didn't the First Slayer or some power looking like the First tell her that her love was so strong it frightened her? Still think Buffy needs to harness that. I think Buffy might have realized this at the end too. She's been parroting Giles' words about leading armies back at him all night, but finally, she shuts the door in his face and says she's learned all she can from him. Maybe she's seen that his method isn't right for her, esp. upon looking at an injured Dawn.

And a thought completely out of the blue: maybe Buffy needs to not be the scary, authoritative mother that vampire!Spike's mum was (and that Joyce often was with her) and instead be human!Spike's mum and free her loving, compassionate side instead.

[> Sorry! Spoilers for Buffy up to Lies My Parents Told Me -- Oyceter, 22:44:21 04/02/03 Wed


[> Quick point about Joyce -- Traveler, 23:27:49 04/02/03 Wed

Perhaps Buffy may to some degree resemble Drusilla, Spike's adopted "mother," but Joyce was much more like his real mother. Her death must have reminded him very strongly of his own mother's illness. It hindsight, it's not surprising at all that he treated her well, even though he didn't have a soul.

[> Oyceter!! Great to see you posting! -- Rahael, 23:53:50 04/02/03 Wed

And now this whole not posting on Buffy just looks impolite. Argh! So I'll leave it at good work. Post more, lurk less!

[> [> Agree, glad to see you! -- Scroll, 00:32:29 04/03/03 Thu

Will post more tomorrow after my exam. Just preserving the thread until I can get back!

[> Welcome, Oyceter! -- Masqy The Voynak Slayer, 13:09:07 04/03/03 Thu


[> Nikki, Robin and Spike (and welcome Oyceter) -- Caroline, 13:44:35 04/03/03 Thu

Thanks for bringing this topic up Oyceter. I had written a post several days ago about Nikki, Robin and Spike but the board went doen but now your thread is a good place to put it. I agree with the point you make that Spike's speech to Wood was about him, not necssarily about Nikki and Robin, as you will see:

Nikki, Robin and Spike in FFL and LMPTM

I have been very disturbed by the discussions of Nikki and Robin Wood since the airing of LMPTM. There has been all sorts of discussion on what constitutes a good mother, as well as a great deal of opinion, treated as fact, that Nikki did not love her son or that she put the mission before him and that she indeed did have a death wish. I find these interpretations really stretch what we have seen on the screen.

We have seen Nikki in 2 episodes: FFL and LMPTM. (I don╠t count the time she appeared as the First Ď ╬cos it╠s not her). In FFL, we see have from Spike╠s perspective only, in the second, we see her from Spike╠s and Robin╠s perspective. This really gives us very little information to play with. Can we really glean from this what type of mother she was and whether she really wanted to end her life?

In FFL, we see the fight scene in the subway. We know what Spike tells us. Nikki has a touch of Buffy╠s fighting style. She was ╬cunning, resourceful....and hot╠. Spike is really enjoying the dance. He tells us that the slayer wakes up every day wondering if this is the day that she will die, that the slayer is in love with it. ╬Death is your art╠ and the slayer wants to know what it feels like to be dead. We see that Nikki is holding Spike down, the lights go out and the positions are reversed and Spike snaps her neck. What does this tell us?

Right now, it tells me a whole lot more about Spike. He talks about that ╬look of peace╠. The same look of peace that his mother had on her face just after he staked her. Spike╠s monologue here tells me a whole lot more about his situation with his mother than it does about Nikki. In a previous post on Spike in LMPTM I talk about how Spike has repressed the dark mother within, including his own actions in killing the dark mother. The only way that he can nullify the pain of the introjected dark mother, the pain of his own worthlessness and inferiority, is to destroy the embodiments of the dark mother Ď to Spike that is the slayer. All we see of Nikki is that Spike was a vamp who got the better of her this time, just like that nameless vamp nearly got the better of Buffy. We aren╠t given enough background on Nikki to know whether Spike╠s interpretation was correct. Spike clearly equates sex and death (as does Buffy, so maybe that╠s why they are a good fit for each other╠s projections) and he clearly gets off on the dance, but we really can╠t glean anything more from Nikki.

In LMPTM, we have several more scenes with Nikki and Robin, told from Spike╠s as well as Robin╠s perspective. Spike fights with Nikki, compliments her on her fighting skills, her coat and her hotness. She seems to display the typical slayer attitude towards vampires Ď disgust. She doesn╠t appear to be enjoying the dance the way Spike is. Then we discover that a young Robin is with her, he knocks over a trash can at a crucial moment, allowing her to break Spike╠s hold and continue fighting. Spike and Nikki declare a stalemate and Robin comes out of hiding. He wants to go home but they can╠t, it╠s not longer safe there, she will take him to Crowley╠s (her watcher) but he wants to stay with his mother. Nikki tells Robin she loves him but her mission is important and she has to work it.

This scene is a little more complex Ď we get Nikki speaking to Spike and Robin, even though it is still from their perspective, not hers. From this scene, it is apparent that she dislikes vampires and wants to kill Spike. Their home is no longer safe but we don╠t know why. Maybe Spike knows where she lives or there are other baddies after her but this is pure speculation. She is obviously on the run and wants to keep her child safe. We don╠t know why they are in the park at night, maybe on their way to Crowley╠s when Spike finds her (again, speculation). It is obvious that Spike has been pursuing her for a while. A slayer without the kind of backup that Buffy has will obviously have a harder time holding out against the bad guys Ď Buffy would be dead at the end of S1 if Xander wasn╠t around with the handy CPR.

Now to Robin╠s perspective. Nikki wants to get Robin to Crowley╠s home where she thinks he will be safe but he wants to stay with her. Here we see Nikki loves her child, has taught him some tactics to help keep them both safe and that she wants to get him out of the game right now by sending him to Crowley. The safest interpretation I can find here is that even though she is the slayer, she cannot hope to protect him from every evil in the world, no parent can protect their child so fully and completely. Robin rejects the idea of going to Crowley, he wants to be with his mother. How natural Ď he loves his mother and wants her attention as any child does. That doesn╠t mean that she has denied him for her mission Ď she has managed to keep both of them alive in the time that she has been a slayer. She has tried to make motherhood and a career work. And single motherhood at that (since Robin was not subsequently raised by his father but his watcher). Nikki is starting to sound more and more heroic to me all the time. Anyone who knows a single mother trying to work, whether she is a single mother through the death of a spouse, divorce or other reasons, knows what a struggle it is, how difficult it is and how you can feel pulled in so many directions at the same time. We╠ve seen a little of this in Buffy╠s attempt to keep things together after her mother╠s death. While motherhood is indeed a very special role that a woman can take on, a woman is not just a mother. There are other parts to her identity that she must express. Many woman have a vocation that they must continue or suffer from great unhappiness for not fulfilling their potential. Some must continue in their work while being mothers for material necessity. A mother must balance her own needs with those of her child. A mother will never be able to fulfill a child╠s every need, but one of the things that she can teach a child by her own example is how to grow and become your own person and fulfill your potential. I thought Nikki was doing that with Robin. (We see the consequences of a mother who devotes herself completely to her child Ď that again is not necessarily healthy).

But Nikki was stopped from being with her child because of Spike╠s ╬ one good day╠. Not from her death wish. The death wish was Spike╠s and later Buffy╠s. But just because the hurt child within Spike wanted to kill the dark mother and her external manifestations does not mean that the slayers he killed wanted to die. And certainly not Nikki, who had her son to live for. Spike may have been right about himself (his 'killing' wish) and Buffy (her death wish). We just don╠t have enough evidence to suggest that Nikki had a death wish.

[> [> Effin Brilliant Caroline, Thank you -- Shiraz, 22:37:34 04/03/03 Thu


[> [> [> What Shiraz said! As per usual! -- Rahael, 23:56:14 04/03/03 Thu


[> [> "Good mothers": maybe there's a middle ground -- Dariel, 19:03:17 04/04/03 Fri

First of all, I want to say this: Being a so-called "bad mother" is not the worst thing in the world. It's not a war crime. Most of the time, bad mothering results in some unhappyness, perhaps a lot of psychotherapy, and not much worse.

If I think about what a child needs from its mother/parents, then I might say that Nikki was not a very good mother/parent for Robin. She really could not give him her full attention because she had a job that was all-consuming. What Robin needed, like any other child, was a mother/parent who was available to him, nurturing, and ALIVE. Wasn't what he got, unfortunately.

This is not an indictment of working women, or of Nikki. Nikki was part of a system that's, well, kind of whacked. She couldn't quit, 'cause the Council would probably kill her. And her conscience probably, coupled with her knowledge, wouldn't let her quit anyway--how could it? Think of how hard it would be to say "I'm going to choose my child, and ignore what happens to all of those other children/people in the world." Not to mention the fact that if she quit, the vampires might just have overrun New York and got her son anyway.

On BtVS, as in RL, the world does not make it easy to be a good mother/parent, or, to phrase it in a less incendiary way, to give your child what s/he needs. It doesn't always matter what you want, what kind of person you are, how hard you try. Most women in this world don't have a choice--they must work to make ends meet. Same with fathers.

[> [> There are a few flaws in your logic -- Traveler, 22:45:58 04/06/03 Sun

First of all, you base a lot of your argument on the assumption that Spike is projecting. Maybe he is, but maybe he isn't. While he has been spectacularly wrong in the past, Spike is often dead on target in reading people's motivations, and he really does have more experience with slayers than anybody else we've seen in the Buffy universe.

"That doesn╠t mean that she has denied him for her mission Ď she has managed to keep both of them alive in the time that she has been a slayer."

So, she dragged her child into the middle of a war, but she managed to keep him alive, so she must be a good mother. I'm deliberately being harsh to make my point; maybe Nikki didn't have a choice about fighting vampires, but if she did, then she put her child's life in danger rather than stop.

"She has tried to make motherhood and a career work."

Ok, I can't emphasize this enough. Slaying is NOT a career. ME has made this point to us over and over again. Nikki was in no way better able to provide for Robin as a Slayer. In fact, we don't even know if Nikki was working at a real job or not. For all we know, friends and family were providing for her and Robin.

"a woman is not just a mother. There are other parts to her identity that she must express."

Certainly, but how many mothers cling to an identity that puts their child in physical danger?

"she can teach a child by her own example is how to grow and become your own person and fulfill your potential."

We didn't see Nikki teach Robin anything but how to hide.

"But Nikki was stopped from being with her child because of Spike╠s ╬ one good day╠. Not from her death wish."

We really don't know this. It would be helpful to know if Spike found her on the subway, or if she sought him out there. Considering that he nearly killed her in their first fight, seeking him out afterwards would seem pretty suicidal to me.

I do agree though that we don't have enough evidence to be sure that Nikki had a death wish. Then again, it hasn't been disproven either.

[> [> Can I be your "yes" girl? -- Scroll, 17:52:05 04/03/03 Thu

Cuz, word. I agree with everything you just said.

In LMPTM, we have several more scenes with Nikki and Robin, told from Spike╠s as well as Robin╠s perspective.

Since this whole season has been about perspectives, I think we need to be careful what kind of conclusions we draw about Nikki. We never see her objectively; our view is always filtered through Spike and Wood, not the most objective of narrators.

Nikki is starting to sound more and more heroic to me all the time. Anyone who knows a single mother trying to work, whether she is a single mother through the death of a spouse, divorce or other reasons, knows what a struggle it is, how difficult it is and how you can feel pulled in so many directions at the same time.

I think I would feel very, very uncomfortable about Buffy if I believed that Joss and ME were trying to tell us that a mother who works and also takes care of her children was some how a "bad mother who didn't love her kids". I would not be watching Buffy if I believed Joss was saying a good mother is a woman who gives up the mission for the sake of her children. This is why I don't consider Buffy's death in "The Gift" to be an outright suicide. It's not even an implied suicide. Her death was merely the fulfillment of her mission, and if she found some measure of peace and transcendence in that fulfillment, I'm certainly not going to begrudge her that. (Heck, I think the world would be a much better place if everyone could find peace and fulfillment.)

And I don't think Nikki's death can be paralleled with Buffy's. First of all, Buffy freely gave her life to save Dawn and to save the world. We know this because we saw the realisation dawn in her eyes (no pun intended), and we saw her choose to leap off the tower.

Nikki, on the other hand, was killed by a vampire. We only have Spike's assertation that Nikki "wanted it", and Spike is not the most reliable of narrators. When I watch FFL, I see Nikki's struggle, her defiance, her outrage at a monster who, if she were to walk away from her mission, would go on slaughtering innocents. Clearly my view of this scene is not universal; I'm sure plenty of people agree with Spike that Nikki had a death wish. But again, this season is about different perspectives.

But I think Caroline is right in that we simply don't have enough information on Nikki to judge her state of mind in that subway scene. We don't know her background other than she was a black woman living in New York, a mother of a 4- year-old son, and a Slayer who wouldn't give up on the mission. Hopefully her story isn't over just yet.

[> [> [> Can I be yours? -- Rahael, 01:53:46 04/04/03 Fri

I'll say it again - your posts here are consistently excellent. Wordy wordy wordy word!

[> [> [> [> awww! *blushing prettily* -- Scroll, 03:19:56 04/04/03 Fri

And I think it goes without saying (but I'm gonna say it anyway) that I simply adore your posts. Especially the poetry ones. For an English major, I really don't take enough time to savour poetry, so it's always such a treat to read your posts and find these gems all over the place!

[> [> [> Wanting it -- Malandanza, 07:48:56 04/04/03 Fri

"Nikki, on the other hand, was killed by a vampire. We only have Spike's assertion that Nikki "wanted it", and Spike is not the most reliable of narrators."

I think people have been making too much of Spike's assertion that Nikki wanted to die. If we believe Spike and his apologists, he was really just doing her a favor, right? It was more like an assisted suicide than a serial killer stalking and murdering his quarry.

One of the biggest problems for the apologists is that the death wish fits Spike much better than the slayers -- he's a vampire who deliberately seeks to fight the Slayer in personal combat. If we use Spike logic, then there was nothing wrong with Wood trying to kill Spike. Spike wanted to die (even this season, post soul Spike has asked Buffy to kill him) so Wood would have just been fulfilling his wish. Spike needs to rest -- a century of murder and mayhem is taking it's toll on poor, sensitive William. Think how much happier he'd be if he were dead.

Do these comments sound convincing? I didn't think so -- and the "she wanted it" comments about the slayers are even less convincing.

In the battle between Spike and Wood, let's assume that Spike is the hero and Wood the villain. Wood tells Spike he goes through life causing damage and never stopping to consider the effects on others -- Spike quips that he's "not one for self-reflection". I'd say Wood's comments are right on target. Spike hasn't shown a willingness or ability to empathize with other people. He does what he wants and worries about consequences only after the fact and only if they have some kind of negative impact on himself. Which, if we say Wood is the bad guy, is consistent with the remarkable insights that come from being bad guy. There is no reason to take what Wood say at anything less than face value -- it is consistent with everything we've seen about Spike (especially last season).

Anyway, I didn't see LMPTM as an episode that defended Spike. If anything, it made him less sympathetic - - newly souled Spike set out to deliberately hurt the man he had wronged back in his little bad days. The new Spike isn't that much different from the old. Still delusional, still rationalizing his past crimes, still wearing the trophy he stripped from the Slayer.

The recent re-run, Sleeper, was, I think, chosen for a reason. In the beginning, we have Anya talking about serial killers and how they like to keep grisly trophies of their victims, like scalps or necklaces of teeth. In LMPTM, we saw that both Spike and Wood are aware that the coat is just such a trophy. And yet Spike keeps wearing it.

Darby had a post a few days ago about the trigger separating Spike into the man and the demon, but in Sleeper, we see triggered Spike is rational -- not the unreasoning animal we would expect if he were pure demon. He is lucid and is persuasive enough to go out and seduce several young women (and a couple of guys, if Holden was real), kill them and bury them in the basement of a house in which he somehow managed to wrangle an invitation. In rewatching the episode, I found Spike's final comments to the First interesting:

SPIKE: I don't know. Please, I don't remember. Don't make me remember.
(called to empty space)
Make it so I forget again! I did what you wanted!


Now, I don't believe that Spike was any more responsible for acts committed by his body when the First was in control than was Buffy for the acts committed by Faith during the soul switch. However, it does appear that there was some sort of free will involved in surrendering to the First -- a deal with the devil. Spike wanted to forget about all those past crimes and the First was willing to help out -- for a small price. A trade -- peace of mind for a piece of Spike's mind. A deal made under extreme pressure and no more subject to censure than capitulation made under torture, but he does seem to be conscious of more of the First's machinations than he has shared with Buffy.

[> [> [> [> Really nice idea -- KdS, 08:30:11 04/04/03 Fri

That Spike deliberately did a deal with the FE before the start of the season - twisted, but quite plausible given Spike's personality.

And let me repeat what I said in a quick response in another thread - the most disturbing part of it all for me is that Spike feels killing someone gives you knowledge of their innermost feelings.

[> [> [> [> [> Insight into the victim (Spoilers for LMPTM) -- Sophist, 10:07:05 04/04/03 Fri

the most disturbing part of it all for me is that Spike feels killing someone gives you knowledge of their innermost feelings

There are 2 different "insights" at issue here: "she wanted to die" (FFL) and "she didn't love you enough" (LMPTM). I think it's important to distinguish them.

LMPTM does involve "insight", but not into anyone Spike killed. I don't see Spike as claiming insight into Nikki when he taunted Wood in LMPTM. He was claiming insight into Wood. That is, he was voicing what he suspected were Wood's innermost fears -- that his mother abandoned him for "the mission".

The opposite is the case in FFL. This does involve someone Spike killed, but does not involve "insight". He drew a conclusion based on evidence that he actually saw: he had lost the fight, then somehow ended up on top. That's a deduction. It differs from "insight" (which I treat as synonymous with "intuition") because it's based on actual evidence. His deduction is plausible, though it may not be true.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Great point! -- ponygirl, 10:52:42 04/04/03 Fri


[> [> [> [> [> [> The two issues -- KdS, 13:47:13 04/04/03 Fri

Unfortunately, Season 5 is the only one I don't have on video, so I'm arguing from memory of FFL. Now as I recall it, what we saw was Spike kneeling over Nikki, then the car passes over a gap in the live rail, the lights go out, and when they come on again the positions are reversed. Now whether the Spike/Nikki/Robin plot line was planned at that point or not, we have no idea what happened in those seconds, and whether Spike's FFL conclusion that Nikki had a subconscious or conscious death wish was justified or not.

Now this doesn't really affect my main point of concern, which is that while the authors may have intended Spike's claim that Nikki didn't love Robin to have been conscious bull to taunt Robin (as you say above), a disturbing number of people seem to have read it as Spike in his role as teller of painful truths, with all the very unpleasant connotations about the responsibilities of motherhood that that implies. As it'll be a few weeks until I see the episode, I want to believe that the authors do mean Spike to have been simply taunting Wood. However, if he genuinely believes that killing is an act intimate enough to grant the ability to see that deeply into Nikki's mind, whether or not the authors intend him to be correct in that belief, it sheds in my view a very unpleasant light on his character.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Damn, please read "Nikki kneeling over Spike" -- KdS, 13:48:27 04/04/03 Fri


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The two issues -- Sophist, 14:12:58 04/04/03 Fri

if he genuinely believes that killing is an act intimate enough to grant the ability to see that deeply into Nikki's mind, whether or not the authors intend him to be correct in that belief, it sheds in my view a very unpleasant light on his character.

I agree. IF. But there's a third possibility as well (yours being one, mine being two): that Spike thinks he has insight into Nikki but not for the reason you suggest. Spike may believe he has insight into people generally, not just her, not just slayers, and not because he kills them, but just because he believes himself innately good at it.

Truth is, we all do believe this of ourselves at some level. Anya pretends that she knows why Buffy behaves like she does with Spike, though I can't imagine anyone less likely to have insight into Buffy than Anya. Xander (cough, gasp, gag) believes it of himself. Doesn't mean we're right or that Spike is right.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The two issues--don't think you need to be so concerned (spoilers for LMPTM) -- Dyna, 15:42:32 04/04/03 Fri

"As it'll be a few weeks until I see the episode, I want to believe that the authors do mean Spike to have been simply taunting Wood. However, if he genuinely believes that killing is an act intimate enough to grant the ability to see that deeply into Nikki's mind, whether or not the authors intend him to be correct in that belief, it sheds in my view a very unpleasant light on his character."

I'm not sure why you have this as an either/or situation-- that if Spike isn't clearly just taunting Wood it can only mean he is claiming intimate personal knowledge of Nikki based on having killed her--but if you are worried about the latter being the case, I think you can rest easy on that score. There's nothing stated or implied here to indicate that Spike is claiming that he has superior insight into anyone because of having killed them. Spike's claim is to have some insight into slayers in general, which he then uses to speculate about Nikki--speculation that, judging from Wood's reaction, feels "true" enough to him.

I think it's important to note that what Spike says to Wood about slayers doesn't have anything to do with his experiences fighting or killing them--unlike his "death wish" observation in FFL, for instance. What Spike expresses here is insight about what slayers are like to those close to them, who love them and want to be loved by them. These are not insights Spike gained from his brief contacts with Nikki or the Chinese slayer. These are about Buffy, and Spike's feelings about Buffy. Whether you find his tone "taunting" or not, I felt it was clear that Spike believes what he is saying--he is not simply making things up to torture Wood with. I really felt that at this point in the scene it was no longer about Wood or Nikki, rather that Spike's words are a way of showing us what he believes about Buffy: frustration with her emotional distance, lack of hope for a future with her, anger at her unwillingness to accept him as a "partner" in her mission, etc. In a sense I think the real "epiphany" in this scene may not be Spike realizing that his mother loved him, but him finally giving voice to the realization that Buffy doesn't, and probably can't. Whether this is because she's the slayer or not, again, isn't as important as the fact that he believes that's the reason.

I clipped the exchange from the shooting script to help illustrate what I mean. I believe this is exactly as the dialog was delivered in the episode also:

WOOD
You took my childhood...
(punch)
...when you took her from me.
(punch)
She was all I had. She was my world.

SPIKE
You weren't hers. Doesn't it piss
you off?

Wood hesitates, wincing at that. Then comes at Spike again.

WOOD
Shut up. You didn't know her.

Spike ducks a swing, then pummels Wood, who's beaten to his knees.

SPIKE
I know Slayers. No matter how many
people they got around them, they
fight alone. Life of The Chosen One.
Rest of us be damned. Your mum was
no different.

A weary and beaten Wood looks at Spike, with desperate defiance.

WOOD
She... She loved me.

SPIKE
So she said, I expect. Not enough to
quit, though, was it? Not enough to
walk away. For you.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I agree...I think you are right here. (LMPTM and Seeing Red spoilers) -- s'kat, 22:06:04 04/05/03 Sat

I think you are right here. I've been noticing in the episodes that the writers like to have the characters say things that are actually projections of themselves.

If you look at past episodes, particularly the relationship between Xander and Cordelia - you see it. Half the things Cordelia says to Xander, make more sense when you realize they are a projection of her own fears and desires.

The same with Spike. Half the things Spike says seem to say more about who he is and his fears and desires and less about the other person. He, for a while, took Cordelia's role as the guy who insults everyone, the snarky character.
And like Cordelia and most people who through out snarky comments - the comments are projections of themselves.
Xander's comments are another example of this.

Also, the writers love to use Freudian slips. So there's a lot of that going on as well here.

I think, when you watch LMPTM you have to remember that Nikki and Wood aren't important characters to the narrative, they are plot devices. Used for a specific purpose. Recurring characters often are. Wood is in LMPTM to reveal things about Spike to Spike and to us the audience. We only get enough info about Wood for us to learn something new about Spike. So with that in mind?
Spike is in a sense projecting himself on to Wood. It's not Wood, Spike is fighting with in that episode, it is Spike.
In a good portion of the episode, Spike isn't even aware of Wood's presence, when he is? I still don't think he's focused on Wood. Wood is the writers' means to get Spike to face his issues regarding slayers. And boy does he have them. Particularly with Buffy. In fact his speech to Wood is incredibly similar to his speech to Clem in Seeing Red.

I can't go grab the dialogue so this is from memory and isn't exact:

Spike: What have I done? Why didn't I do it? What has she done to me?

Clem: what, you mean the slayer?

Spike: It's not supposed to be like this. Vampire kills slayer. Drinks her blood. Picks his teeth with her bones. I've killed two slayers...but with Buffy...

Also note at the end - when Buffy shows up, Spike pulls back from her. He stays long enough to tell her that he didn't kill Wood, but he doesn't apologize and he doesn't explain what happened or why he was tempted to kill Wood.

Spike: I gave him a pass. On account of I killed his mum.

Buffy: Oh god..

Spike: But if he comes at me again, so much as looks at me funny, I swear I'll kill him.

He leaves without waiting for an answer. He did not explain himself to her. He did not chat. He does not let her touch him. Nor does he wait to see what she does. That is interesting, because up until now? He usually has.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Really nice idea -- auroramama, 14:30:49 04/04/03 Fri

>> - the most disturbing part of it all for me is that Spike feels killing someone gives you knowledge of their innermost
feelings.<<

No, he thinks that fighting a fellow warrior gives you some knowledge of what they're feeling. He doesn't say he knows what that interior decorator was feeling, and he certainly pronounces on Buffy without succeeding in killing her. He's often wrong about Buffy, and he may have been wrong about Nikki, but his belief isn't as unreasonable as all that.

I'm not a fighter. Fighting me would tell someone very little about me, because any subtleties would be lost in the common reactions of a human being to a novel and terrifying situation. But we've watched Buffy fight (and die) for seven years now. Does anyone contend that those fights didn't convey a great deal about her feelings, inner and outer?

I think this thread is making too much of Spike's contentions in FFL in a different way. He never claimed that Nikki was seeking assistance in suicide -- that she had determined not to go on. He was talking to Buffy, who had just been injured in a fight that shouldn't have ruffled her hair, and who wanted to survive. We know from his actions around that time that he wanted Buffy to survive, too. Hence his forceful lesson: in a fight for your life, all it takes is one mistake or one moment of doubt. He believes that Nikki died because, for that one necessary moment, she wavered in her determination to live, and he was there to take advantage of it. He's not nice about it -- the spitefulness of hopeless love and the savage frustration of not being able to fight are in it too -- but to me it seems that he's warning Buffy not to let it happen to her.

auroramama

[> [> [> [> [> [> Was he warning her? -- AngelVSAngelus, 16:20:15 04/04/03 Fri

because his suggestion that, when she happened to slip up, when she had that moment of lapse of determination to survive, "you know I'll be there to have myself a good day," kind of makes it seem the other way to me. Spike was torn in that period, as he's remained since, really, and he seemed to simultaneously want to kill her and love her. That wacky ambivalence again.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Was he warning her? -- auroramama, 07:28:33 04/05/03 Sat

I agree that he got pretty convincingly caught up in the idea of killing Buffy! I can't say I'm sure just what he was feeling; I'm pretty certain *he* wasn't sure.

In any event he would have wanted Buffy to believe he was motivated entirely by wanting to kill her, with telling her about it serving as a substitute until he could have the real thing. He wasn't ready to confess his other feelings (and he's a lot more convincing in FFL than he was with Riley and the "scent of the prey".) If he'd offered advice as someone concerned for her well-being, she wouldn't have believed a word of it; allowing her to believe she'd extracted information from an enemy was the best way to make her think it might be true. Not knowing quite what he felt himself, and riding the ambivalence from moment to moment, he could pretend anything to himself and anything to her -- not necessarily the same thing.

I don't think Spike's difficulty in distinguishing loving and killing sheds an unpleasant light on his character only because *we already knew that*. A vampire is perfectly capable of lovingly killing someone she loves -- note his chagrin at Drusilla's neglecting to do so in Lovers' Walk. Spike has been a vampire for a hundred years, and his habits of thought, feeling, and speech reflect this.

In the end the ambivalence can only be resolved in action. Spike chooses not to kill Buffy in FFL. He saves her in OMWF. Every time, no matter what goes on in his often muddled head, he chooses not to act out the desire to kill.

Does this strike me as a good foundation for a relationship? Nope. Vampires bad. Souled vampires sometimes bad. But then, so are Slayers. My thanks to whoever paraphrased Gandalf about "dangerous" beings. IIRC, Gandalf went on to say, "You are beset by dangers, because you yourself are dangerous, in your own way." Really, it's amazing any of us find partners.

auroramama

[> [> Re: Nikki, Robin and Spike (and welcome Oyceter) -- Oyceter, 21:42:45 04/03/03 Thu

Wrote a long post in reply, but Voynak ate it =(. So here's a shorter version:

First, thanks everyone for the welcome, and thanks Masq for vanquishing the Voynak beastie!

I also very much agree as to the difficulty in knowing anything about Nikki or her motives, and especially in trusting Spike, who can be extremely unreliable.

I personally have been drawing some parallels between the Nikki-Robin and Buffy-Dawn relationship and how they illustrate the act of motherhood. After the death of her own mother, Buffy tries to be a surrogate mother to Dawn and begins to being extremely overprotective in Tough Love, an attitude which carries on through season six. She is trying to protect Dawn from the ugliness of her world, from the demons and the vampires and the creatures who will harm Dawn. Yet, even when Buffy is actively trying to do this, she cannot prevent them from getting to Dawn, just as Nikki probably couldn't prevent evil from finding her and Robin. Furthermore, in Grave, Buffy realizes that she doesn't want to protect Dawn from the world. She wants to show Dawn the world, which means not only the flowers and happiness of that morning, but also the darkness and the night. She carries through with that promise in Lessons, keeping Dawn safe not by hiding her away from the dark side of the world, but rather, by teaching Dawn to defend herself. In a sense, Buffy has brought Dawn into her own world, one of uncertainty and danger -- a grownup world. Like most parents, she has realized that she can't possibly keep Dawn safe all the time, no matter what, and that eventually, she will have to let Dawn go out into the world. And the best way to do that is not to blind her, but to give her the tools to deal with the world.

What does this have to do with Nikki and Robin? While Nikki probably did not intend to do this for Robin, seeing as how limited her choices were -- no Scooby Gang babysitters, no support -- and seeing as how Robin was only around four or so, she did want him safe. Buffy wanted Dawn safe as well. But sometimes, parents cannot keep their children safe, although they try. I would also argue that Buffy and Nikki were trying to keep their children safe in another way, by not abandoning the mission. Their mission as a Slayer was to make the world safer and better, and drawn out, that means for Robin and Dawn too.

Like Scroll says below, Buffy (and by extension, Nikki, who is equated with Buffy by both Wood and Spike) cannot simply be the compassionate mother who shields her child from the world. She has to integrate her Slayer side as well, and in a sense, I think she can do that specifically by not abandoning the mission but by helping Dawn understand the mission and understand why it is so important. Not only that, but she also brings Dawn into her own life by enabling her to underestand the mission.

[> [> [> Great comparison, Oyceter -- Rahael, 23:54:57 04/03/03 Thu


[> [> [> Great posts Oyceter, Caroline and Scroll! -- ponygirl, 08:13:16 04/04/03 Fri


[> [> [> Re: Nikki, Robin and Spike (and welcome Oyceter) -- Traveler, 22:20:52 04/06/03 Sun

You're ignoring a major point here... one of the themes clearly illustrated in this episode is the idea of sacrificing people we love for a greater good. Giles told Buffy to sacrifice Spike. Buffy said that she would sacrifice Dawn. Spike implies that Nikki sacrificed her child's happiness. We really do not know Nikki's motivations, or why "the mission" was so important to her. Her reasons could have nothing to do with Robin at all. Certainly, Buffy made it quite clear that Robin is expendable. So was Nikki really like Buffy?

[> [> [> Re: Nikki, Robin and Spike (and welcome Oyceter) -- Traveler, 22:21:54 04/06/03 Sun

You're ignoring a major point here... one of the themes clearly illustrated in this episode is the idea of sacrificing people we love for a greater good. Giles told Buffy to sacrifice Spike. Buffy said that she would sacrifice Dawn. Spike implies that Nikki sacrificed her child's happiness. We really do not know Nikki's motivations, or why "the mission" was so important to her. Her reasons could have nothing to do with Robin at all. Certainly, Buffy made it quite clear that Robin is expendable. So was Nikki really like Buffy?

[> About Buffy the Mother (spoilers up to LMPTM) -- Scroll, 17:32:17 04/03/03 Thu

So maybe Spike's entire speech to Wood wasn't about Wood at all, but more Spike trying to reconcile his own fears about his worthiness of love.

Totally agree. I'm going to post something under Caroline's analysis to expand on this.

Harmony, on the other hand, doesn't have the aura of authority that might attract Spike to women, causing him to entirely disregard her.

Hmm, this is a very interesting point! Never thought of it that way before. Poor Harm!

And a thought completely out of the blue: maybe Buffy needs to not be the scary, authoritative mother that vampire!Spike's mum was (and that Joyce often was with her) and instead be human!Spike's mum and free her loving, compassionate side instead.

I see what you're trying to say, but want to come at it from a different angle.

From everything we've seen this season, I view Buffy as struggling to integrate the "scary, authoritative" mother and the "loving, compassionate" mother. She's been trying to figure out how to deal with both sides of her nature, but instead of striking a working balance, she's been swinging wildly from one extreme to the other. Consider her hard, militaristic, and almost superior attitude to her "troops" in "Get It Done". Then compare that with her muddled attitude in dealing with Spike in "Lies My Parents Told Me".

Ever since Buffy freed Spike from the First, she has swung from being a Spike apologist, purposefully blind to the danger he poses (and yes, he was a danger, and no, she wasn't always around to keep an eye on him). She goes from demanding that Spike get back that killer edge to protesting that he's changed and has a soul and is a new man.

I think what Buffy needs in order to defeat the First is to fully integrate her compassion and her authority. She needs both as a Slayer, and as a human being. Compare Buffy's (mostly) even-handed approach to danger in "Lessons" and "Same Time, Same Place" with her nearly bipolar (could be using the wrong term here, too extreme?) personality in "Get It Done" and "LMPTM".

Like Xander said, it's a trade-off. Power and control. Compassion and authority. It's about striking the right balance.

Great post, Oyceter! Glad to see it back on the board :)

[> [> Who's the dearest Mommie? -- Sophist, 09:33:12 04/04/03 Fri

I think Caroline was rightly careful in her post to emphasize the fact that we simply don't have enough information about Nikki to judge her either as a mother or as a slayer. There is evidence pointing both ways. I wouldn't accept Spike's word at face value, but I wouldn't put Nikki on a pedastal. We just don't know.

We do know, though, that Buffy is not "bi-polar". Nor is she "muddled", "swinging wildly from one extreme to another", or a "Spike apologist". We can be very sure that Buffy is a fine "mother" without comparing her to others.

As I've said before, her treatment of Spike is perfectly consistent with her treatment of Anya and Willow. Spike poses a danger? Of course he does. Putting on my Andrew hat for a moment, such claims remind me of Frodo's complaint to Gandalf that X was dangerous. Gandalf replied, paraphrasing, "Of course he's dangerous. Anyone with power is dangerous. I am myself more dangerous than anyone you will ever meet."

Danger is the other side of power (or ability, if we go with the metaphor here). Danger is power/ability misused. The only people who are not dangerous are those who are helpless. The solution is not to eliminate the power or destroy the holder. The solution is to direct the power for good.

Spike's situation is exactly the same as Willow's and exactly the same as Anya's and, for that matter, exactly the same as Wood's. Every one of them has both a trigger -- something that can cause them to lose control completely -- and the power to do harm. There is no more justification for chaining up Spike than there is for chaining up Anya, Willow, Wood, or Andrew. (Personally, I'd gag Xander as long as we're chaining up everyone else.)

Buffy is not ignoring Spike's danger any more than she "ignored" Angel's. She is trying to direct his power. She's doing the same with both Willow and Anya (not much success with the latter yet). Demanding that he use the power he has is not at all inconsistent with understanding that Spike is a different person now that he has a soul. The soul gives Spike the same thing that Willow needs: control of the power.

The fact that Buffy uses different methods at different times does not make her inconsistent and it doesn't mean she needs to "integrate" herself. It means that different tactics are necessary under different circumstances. She may not have found the precise note yet, but she's working at it. The work would be a lot easier if her "friends" would work with her instead of against her.

[> [> [> Free will and the trigger -- Malandanza, 09:13:02 04/06/03 Sun

"Spike's situation is exactly the same as Willow's and exactly the same as Anya's and, for that matter, exactly the same as Wood's. Every one of them has both a trigger -- something that can cause them to lose control completely -- and the power to do harm. There is no more justification for chaining up Spike than there is for chaining up Anya, Willow, Wood, or Andrew. (Personally, I'd gag Xander as long as we're chaining up everyone else.)"

Not "exactly" the same -- Spike's trigger seems to rob him of his free will. Willow, Anya and Wood all had the ability to choose in spite of the triggers. The emotional distress made it more difficult for them to make the right choices, but they did have choices.

And they did tie up Andrew -- rope was enough for him because he doesn't have vampire strength.

Maybe they could just gag Xander during important meetings, the way they (initially) only chained up Spike when Buffy wasn't around to watch him.

Buffy was ready to kill Anyanka, not just confine her (how would you confine a vengeance demon anyway? she could just file that flight plan with D'Hoffryn and teleport out), but once Anyanka lost her powers, there were no safety reasons to chain Anya up.

"The work would be a lot easier if her "friends" would work with her instead of against her."

I couldn't agree more.

[> [> [> Great post agree. -- s'kat, 11:43:27 04/06/03 Sun


[> [> [> Very well said -- Caroline, 17:24:45 04/06/03 Sun


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