April 2003 posts

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Tonight was the Spike I've been waiting two years for -- Dochawk, 23:22:03 04/15/03 Tue

Give me this Spike every episode.

Just needed to say that.

[> Re: Tonight was the Spike I've been waiting two years for -- ponygirl, 07:30:34 04/16/03 Wed

And I got my requested Faith/Spike leather pants vs. the leather duster smackdown! I'm doing my happy dance!!

[> Ditto -- deeva, 09:44:42 04/16/03 Wed

You know this is the "happiest" that I've seen him in this season. Aside from the gang meeting Caleb, the SIT's finally seeing some action and poor Xander's eye, Spike and Faith's scene was a highlight. Good dialog, great chemistry and it felt "natural" but I'm not sure that was the best word to use. *sigh* only four more to go.

[> [> Smiling -- Doug, 10:27:36 04/16/03 Wed

When was the last time we saw Spike smile? He get's a sort of leer on his vamp face while fighting occasionally; but the last time he had a human-faced smile was I think last season, either "Hells Bells" or "Entropy" (I know he smiles in Hells Bells, not sure about Entropy). So it's been a full season since he smiled, yipes.

I loved how happy both characters seemed in that scene. Not only are they both hotter than sin, but these two seem to be good for each other.

[> [> [> Re: Smiling -- leslie, 10:50:15 04/16/03 Wed

I think the last time he smiled exactly like that was in Life Serial, listening to Buffy make her "bleeeuuuggh!" noise every time she took a slug of whiskey. Which is interesting because it was the one moment when they were being buddies, she was turning to him for help, he felt confident and competent in his ability to at least entertain her, and she was certainly entertaining him. "Bleeuuugh!"

[> Also... -- Dariel, 15:13:21 04/16/03 Wed

Throughout the episode, he seemed confident, relaxed, easy on the snark. Seems like the LMPTM epiphany had a positive impact. He even got upset when Xander got hurt--something I never thought I'd see!

otday is a wrap -- Andrea, 07:00:37 04/16/03 Wed

I just wanted to say that it makes me sad to know that as we post here, they are shooting the last scenes to be shot of Buffy ever again . snif.
or so i heard last night on E!.

i Haven't seen much of this season (coz im from Colombia and here it starts on march), but i'd like to thank all of you(well almost all)who write stuff here, ause it keeps me informend.

[> Re: today is a wrap -- CW, 07:24:29 04/16/03 Wed

Most wrap parties seem like they'd be just depressing, but with Joss' obvious loyalty to his actors, the one today ought to be more like a goodbye, than a farewell. At least, we can hope we'll see some of our favorite actors again in ME work if not these characters.

So exactly what denomination is Caleb, anyway? -- luminesce, 08:17:48 04/16/03 Wed

So, he dresses like a Catholic priest and refers to parishes, but he preaches like a crazy version of a Southern Baptist or Fundamentalist preacher.

Are we supposed to assume that the disjunction is because he's evil and nuts, or are the writers just not quite clear on the differences between denominations?

Ordinarily, I'd give the writers the benefit of the doubt, but characterization has been so inconsistent this season that I'm starting to wonder....

[> Re: So exactly what denomination is Caleb, anyway? -- MaeveRigan, 08:28:21 04/16/03 Wed

Hard to say. It's very possible that the writers aren't clear on the differences between denominations, but some protestant ministers also wear clerical collars, so that doesn't necessarily prove anything.

However, the fact that Caleb seems to believe that the "story of the last supper" involves Christ's body and blood turning into wine rather than vice versa (not to mention the omission of the bread element) seems to indicate that either he failed his ordination exams, or that he really is nuts.

All in all, I'm thinking that any attempt to tie Caleb to any recognized church or denomination will be a waste of time. All the religious fundamentalists are already sufficiently outraged as it is ;-)

[> [> He's all of the above. It's an equal opportunity thing. -- dream, 08:38:15 04/16/03 Wed

Or maybe over the Hellmouth the worst of all sorts of religions come together in one person - misogyny, religiously-inspired terrorism (Watcher's Council), blood- obsessed ritualism, bad accent, tendency to talk too much.

[> [> [> Re: He's all of the above. It's an equal opportunity thing. -- Bronson, 08:49:11 04/16/03 Wed

Like Jack Nicholson in "The Shining": He's crazy *and* he's talking to evil spirits.
Good catch on the last supper thing, Maeve. Maybe the story of the last supper went out of his head about the same time that he forgot all the "not"s in the ten commandments.

[> [> Re: So exactly what denomination is Caleb, anyway? -- Dee, 08:39:47 04/16/03 Wed

As a religious fundamentalist, I was not outraged. Uncomfortable-yes. A little disappointed by the cliche of Caleb's characterization-yes. But I believe I would have felt that way had his character had been a rabbi, an eastern religious holy man, a Buddist monk, etc. I feel the point was to make people uncomfortable and make them think.

[> [> Southern Catholic -- lunasea, 09:11:49 04/16/03 Wed

It is a whole other world down here. My family doesn't go to the parish around here because of the melding of Baptist and Catholic that happens in southern Catholic churches. It is Catholic beliefs with Baptist-like ritual.

My husband and daughter go to Church on base. It is more like what we are used to.

[> [> Re: So exactly what denomination is Caleb, anyway? -- Sophie, 09:23:16 04/16/03 Wed

However, the fact that Caleb seems to believe that the "story of the last supper" involves Christ's body and blood turning into wine rather than vice versa (not to mention the omission of the bread element) seems to indicate that either he failed his ordination exams, or that he really is nuts.

The transubstantiation belief pretty much makes him Catholic. He definately failed something, though! The lack of bread is interesting to note. Seems to me (being a very slacker Catholic) that we can eat the bread/body and skip the blood/wine, and Caleb reversed this - did the wine only.


[> [> [> Re: So exactly what denomination is Caleb, anyway? -- Arethusa, 09:43:54 04/16/03 Wed

Although he is in a winery, so maybe that's why-plus the whole blood/sacrifice thing. There's also a lot of vineyard imagery in the Bible.

Numbers 20:17
Please let us pass through your country. We will not go through any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will travel along the king's highway and not turn to the right or to the left until we have passed through your territory."

Numbers 22:24
Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides.

Deuteronomy 22:9
Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled. [ 22:9 Or [ be forfeited to the sanctuary ] ]

2 Kings 18:32
until I come and take you to a land like your own, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death! "Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, 'The LORD will deliver us.'

Proverbs 24:30
I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment;

Isiah 5:7
The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

Mark 12:19
"What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.


http://bible.gospelcom.net/cgi- bin/bible?search=vineyard&SearchType=ONE_WORD&SearchWholeWor ds=&language=english&version=NIV&searchpage=4&restrict=&Star tRestrict=&EndRestrict=&SearchAsLink=


Plus the Battle Hymn of the Republic-"He hath trampled out the vineyard where the grapes of wrath are stored."

[> [> [> Re: So exactly what denomination is Caleb, anyway? -- Bronson, 09:56:59 04/16/03 Wed

I'm still mystified that Caleb got transubstantiation backwards -- Catholic or not Catholic, it's not the kind of thing you mess up. At least I think he did -- I think he talked about Christ's blood turning into wine. If the story of the last supper involved Christ slitting his wrists and turning his blood into wine, Mass would be a lot creepier than it is. Even the black masses that have been documented don't do stuff that weird.

[> [> [> [> Re: So exactly what denomination is Caleb, anyway? -- DEN, 10:31:39 04/16/03 Wed

I like the notion that he's a de facto blend of poorly digested Catholic theology and poorly processed Fundamentalist practice--which combines the two greatest nightmares of the atheist/secular community. Given the skills of the actor portraying him, Caleb has the potential to be in the first rank of Buffy villains-a truly frightening portrayal of a person who has sais "Evil, be thou my good." But I also can't help thinking that the character reflects the fact that Christian-bashing is the racism of "enlightened" secularists like the folks at ME. IF Caleb had been written as a rabbi, an imam, or a Buddhist priest, doe anyone not believe that a wave of virtuous outrage would have followed in every entertainment journal and on every posting board?

[> [> [> [> [> Re: So exactly what denomination is Caleb, anyway? -- Bronson, 10:42:53 04/16/03 Wed

I think the Bad Priest is an all-too-overdone image in American pop culture, but I wouldn't put ME on the front lines of Christian-bashing. In a lot of ways BtVS is a pretty Judeo-Christian show -- for example, I don't think they treat the Cross as some meaningless symbol that just happens to repel vampires. There are other instances, too. I think that, given that set-up, an evil priest is more disturbing than an evil Buddhist. I don't think they could have used an evil imam or an evil rabbi for reasons that have far more to do with politics than religion.

[> [> [> [> [> The folks at ME -- Arethusa, 10:50:25 04/16/03 Wed

range from atheist to "quite religious." (Whedon) Since Christianity has had an extremely large influence on American society, it's not too suprising Caleb's a Christian preacher. The view of the media/entertainment industry as a Christian-bashing bunch of secular humanists is as prejudiced as any other bias.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The folks at ME -- Dariel, 11:30:58 04/16/03 Wed

Good points, Arethusa. Even "enlightened secular types" such as myself grew up with Christianity as their religious point of reference. An evil imam or rabbi just wouldn't resonate as much. Also, all of us, religious or not, understand the desire for a belief system, the desire to believe in the father. There's something awful about a fallen "man of God" and the betrayal of trust that it implies.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Resonance (Spoilers, DG) -- Rahael, 13:53:14 04/16/03 Wed

Also, isn't there a point where the First tells the story of Eve? It fits into a narrative of the fall from Eden. Sex fits into this because sex/knowledge was bound up with the descent from Eden.

Good point about resonance - if Caleb had been made too 'other' it would be easier to dismiss him. He isn't Other. He's part of the Buffyverse, part of the 'have sex, and your boyfriend loses his soul', part of the 'why do I let him do those things to me', part of the 'have sex to punish myself' thing, part of Buffy herself, as has been pointed out so brilliantly by posters here.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Resonance (Spoilers, DG) and just plain theology -- leslie, 14:11:20 04/16/03 Wed

We're in a show about vampires and vampire slayers. Vampires drink blood; the drinking of blood is central to the whole thesis of the Buffyverse. Caleb may have gotten the wine- into-blood, blood-into-wine thing screwed up (and I believe that's deliberate--come on, he's EVIL, he turns "real" religion on its head by being evil, so he reverses the blood and wine transubstantiation!) but he's hooking the connection of wine and blood from vampires to religion. The blood and wine thing is Christian and really quite irrelevent to Judaism and Islam. You couldn't have an evil rabbi going on about blood and wine because it wouldn't mean anything to him except maybe he cut himself while he was eating dinner and it wouldn't matter unless he dripped on his cheese and broke kosher by mixing meat and dairy. It's even more pointless in Buddhist terms. Transubstantiation is a purely Christian metaphor.

Did enjoy that the opportunity was taken to add one little reference to Spike's apparently really longstanding soap opera obsession: "It's an evil vinyard." "Like Falcon Crest."

[> [> [> [> [> Re: So exactly what denomination is Caleb, anyway? -- Sophist, 10:51:17 04/16/03 Wed

IF Caleb had been written as a rabbi, an imam, or a Buddhist priest, doe anyone not believe that a wave of virtuous outrage would have followed in every entertainment journal and on every posting board?

I think Caleb had to be Christian. For one thing, the whole vampire myth relies on Christian imagery. The show has always used it. For another, ME needed the viewers to understand the references and images. That's not very likely with anything outside the Judaism or Christianity.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: So exactly what denomination is Caleb, anyway? -- Sophie, 11:29:15 04/16/03 Wed

(nit-picking warning)

I've always thought that the vampire stuff is more Catholic than just Christian. Vampire eat the body and drink the blood of their victims literally, just as Catholics eat the body and drink the blood of Jesus Christ at Mass. All the other Christians/Protestant groups don't accept that the bread and wine as being the body and blood.

(ok, I'm done picking nits.)


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> All true, besides... -- dream, 11:46:16 04/16/03 Wed

Catholics really have a lot going in the set and costume design department. Horrow movies seems to feature Catholicism a lot, which makes sense. After all, there's confessional booths and incense and candles and chalices and altar boys and all sorts of excellent cassocks and habits and then, of course, the Mass itself. And Latin! Chanting! Also, really elaborate churches. Sure, certain fundamentalist sects have snake handling and speaking in tongues, but navy blue suits just don't pack the same wallop as a nice black cassock, no?

Someone who knows more than I do might make an interesting argument about the development of the Gothic horror genre in England in 19th century and its connections with fears about the "Scarlet Lady" at that time and place. I know there were all sorts of Gothic-type stories about abuses in convents and so on... anyone know enough to actually say something on the topic?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Am not deeply knowledgable on Gothic Novels... -- Rahael, 13:45:52 04/16/03 Wed

Now if only Slain wasn't away on holiday, he'd be able to answer this!

But I have read 'Melmoth the Wanderer', which I would recommend as easily the most gripping gothic novel I've read. I couldn't put it down! I read until I got to the end, and yes indeed, it does go into lovingly masochistic detail about the tortures and hardships endured in a monastery. In fact, that's the one thing that remains in my memory from the novel (I think I was about 15 when I read it, which is scarily almost 10 years ago).

What this means re priests and the Gothic, I wouldn't venture to say. I imagine those who have read 'The Monk' would have something to contribute to your question!

Of course for me, the most amusing story involving a monk and sex in literature would be in Boccaccio's Decameron. The monk and the nun defeating the devil each night, LOL. Now didn't I see a poster wistfully hoping that the Scooby gang defeat the FE by having sex, a lot, a couple of weeks ago??

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Am not deeply knowledgable on Gothic Novels... -- matching mole, 13:55:00 04/16/03 Wed

Melmoth the Wanderer (which I read when I was slighly older than Rahael is now, over 15 years ago) is pretty virulently anti-Catholic, even beyond the details of the Spanish Inquisition which are played out over a considerable number of pages.

I have also read The Monk but don't remember much of the detail. Certainly the monastery is not portrayed in a very flattering way.

During my gothic phase I also read 'Varney the Vampire' which I would not really recommend to anyone unless they were really into the history of vampire fiction. The latter part of the story does take place in Italy but I don't remember is Catholicism comes into it at all.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Am not deeply knowledgable on Gothic Novels... -- Rahael, 14:04:38 04/16/03 Wed

Ahhh yes, the inquisition, that's what it was. So this looks like an interesting topic for me to explore when my life gets less hectic - and it combines my two faves, European religious culture/politics and literature.

By the way, with Ded and Mole and Mundus all the board within a day of each other I feel privileged!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Gothic Novels... -- Katrina, 18:18:53 04/16/03 Wed

Actually, even though it has no direct connection, "The Monk" really plays on illusion by the forces of darkness, a big theme in this season's BtVS and AtS both. The titular monk is actually a pious guy in the beginning, although a bit full of himself and his own goodness. (Cordelia, definitely. Buffy, a little bit?) A demon tempts him by setting him up with a portrait of the Virgin Mary, but one that's really hot, so he starts getting turned on the by the painting. Then a young male monk starts following him around, and finally reveals himself as a beautiful woman who looks just like the Virgin icon he's eroticized. She tempts him on to greater evils, all the while making him believe he can do anything and get away with it, and all the while really being a demon in disguise, who's going to drag him off to hell in the end. Almost up to the end, nothing is what it seems.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Gothic Novels... -- Rahael, 01:22:05 04/17/03 Thu

Thanks for that Katrina, that was fascinating!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Sounds very Faustian -- MsGiles, 07:04:38 04/17/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Sounds very Faustian -- Katrina, always poised to talk Gothic, 08:50:21 04/17/03 Thu

Yeah. The main difference is that in the Faust scenario, the person trades off their soul knowingly (like the Mayor, purposely getting involved with the forces of darkness for his own gain). In "The Monk," like in the really fabulous old Charlotte Dacre novel "Zofloya," the forces of darkness veil themselves, playing upon the human weaknesses of their victims. So while the people know they're getting involved with something supernatural, and have opportunity to extricate themselves, the implications of doing so aren't foregrounded the way they would be in an open pact with the devil. So they get to condemn themselves of their own, uhh, free will.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> gothic continued -- MsGiles, 02:11:09 04/18/03 Fri

Ah. I think I get it. In the Faustian scenario the guy knows what he's getting into because of the contract, but in the Monk scenario he's not aware of a contract, he just thinks he's getting powerful by his own efforts? It strikes me though that Faust was fooled as well (at least in the Marlowe version which is really all I know) eg with the Helen of Troy stuff.

Mephastophilis also says when he turns up that all the conjuring and black magic doen't actually command him, he just comes because he can see Faustus using 'such means, Whereby he is in danger to be damned' ie abjuring the Trinity etc. I suppose in a sense he's being very straight with Faustus, knowing that the guy is too pleased with himself to notice. There even seems to be some implication that the contract wouldn't have been binding, and only works because Faustus goes straight from cocky certainty to abject despair without really seeing, somehow without really wanting to see, the possibility of hope. His sense of his own importance is too strong.

I see that Faustus, though, even in Marlowe, is a warning against thinking you can outsmart God, while in the literature you're speaking of it sounds more like religion itself is blamed for encouraging self-deception. Is this right?

BTW, Does Foucault's Pendulum count as a Gothic Novel? Or a post-Gothic Novel? Or is it more Post Faustian? Eco seems to be using the hubris/dabbling in the occult/ being damned theme in a wonderfully ironic way.

(Apologies if this is rubbish!)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Even more nit-picky... -- Caroline, 12:22:39 04/16/03 Wed

I have to jump in on this here.

The Catholics are not the only sect of Christianity that believes in the doctrine of transubstantiation. While this doctrine was rejected during the Reformation in the 16th century and spurred the rise of the protestant churches (whom, I believe, accept the symbolic nature of bread/body, wine/blood transformation rather than the actual although I could be wrong), the Eastern churches, which never really experienced a challenge to doctrine like the reformation, still believe in the transubstantiation, as can be seen in on any Sunday in an Orthodox church.

I think it would be very difficult to pick the denomination that Caleb was taught in. In watching Dirty Girls, in his voice-over at the end, Caleb says to the FE that the kingdom, the power and the Glory are yours, now and forever, . This sounds very similar to the words spoken by a priest in either the Catholic or Orthodox church after the saying of the Lord's Prayer. In the Orthodox churches, in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostomos which is very commonly used, it is repeated several dozen times - this phrase ends each Antiphon, several of the prayers, the dismissal etc. Caleb dresses like a Catholic or Orthodox priest but he does get the transubstatiation wrong.

But does it really matter what denomination he is? Caleb is a masculine figure who represents the current disjuncture in Buffy right now - her inability it take charge in an authoritative way, to use her resources to their best advantage. His misogyny is an expression of Buffy's own inability to marry the feminine and masculine qualities within herself to become whole. As such, I don't think that the notion is trying to pin down Caleb's denomination is useful.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> But wait, we can be even more nit-picky-ER. -- Solitude1056, 21:46:59 04/16/03 Wed

the kingdom, the power and the Glory are yours, now and forever

is also what Episcopalians say, even if they do worship Henry VIII. For that matter, many of the Protestant sects use this phrase or a varient, since it's very similar to the last lines of the Lord's Prayer - Rite I, at least. I don't know if Rite II has that big of a change. Or maybe it's Rite II I'm thinking of ("trespasses") and Rite I has the modern version (something other than trespasses). No, I'm pretty sure Rite I is the traditional version. Well, whatever, the last few lines are pretty similar.

And yes, this will be on the test.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> But the nit-pickiest would be... -- Caroline, 08:59:12 04/17/03 Thu

sticking to the religions that both believe in transubstantiation and use the words the kingdom, the power and the Glory are yours, now and forever. Or would the nit-pickiest be the religions that use the phrase and reverse the transubstantiation - like maybe an evil religion? So maybe Caleb is just his own religion?

Oh dammit, who cares!!!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> OT Fun with nitpicking & the Lord's Prayer -- Bronson, 12:50:54 04/18/03 Fri

Every time I've been to a Congregational Baptist or Lutheran church in the Northeast, I can tell who the visiting Episcopalians are because they're not used to the "forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors"; they all say "forgive us our tresspasses, as we forgive those who tresspass against us" and you can here the sibilant "essessesses" trailing away in the pause after "debts" and people glancing around to see if anyone noticed.
Like He cares.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Heh, put me down for "trespasses" -- not that He cares : ) -- Scroll, 18:17:53 04/18/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> yah, Caleb got everything backwards... -- Sophie, 11:23:34 04/16/03 Wed

except he forgot to kiss the alter.

[> Why must Caleb be denominational? (Spoilers for Dirty Girls) -- Robert, 10:51:17 04/16/03 Wed

There are plenty of churches in the United States that are not associated with any denomination (mainstream or otherwise). Some non-denominational churches ordain their pastors without seminary training. This can sometimes lead to unconventional theologies. On the other hand, I see a couple possible scenarios for Caleb.

He could have started out as a huckster preacher, working the poor southern communities. As his selfishness and sickness consumed him, he became susceptible to the First Evil -- eventually giving the First Evil his oath of allegiance.

He might have started out as an ordained pastor in a mainline denomination and morphed into what he is today. This is certainly not without precedent. Recall that Jim Jones started out as an ordained pastor in the Disciples of Christ denomination. Over the interneving years, he changed into whatever allowed him to murder a congressman and over 900 followers.

>>> So, he dresses like a Catholic priest ...

Yes, but some pastors in some protestant denominations dress similarly, so I don't think this proves anything.

>>> ... but he preaches like a crazy version of a Southern Baptist or Fundamentalist preacher.

Maybe, but I saw it more as hucksterism combined with his own sick misogyny.

>>> Are we supposed to assume that the disjunction is because he's evil and nuts, or are the writers just not quite clear on the differences between denominations?

I think that answer is that Caleb's patchwork theology is more a product of ignorance, mental illness, and hucksterism, than it is of any denomination, or combination of denominations.

[> Re: So exactly what denomination is Caleb, anyway? -- Corwin of Amber, 14:01:37 04/16/03 Wed

Anglican/Episcopal priests often dress like Catholic priests - Roman collar etc. They're in charge of parishes too, I believe, and I think they believe in transubstantiation also.

It's also possible that he's simply insane and only believes that's he's been ordained. Or maybe he just likes the look. Or he's ordained in the United Church of the First Evil. Or just possibly it's meant to build on all the publicity from the sex abuse scandal in the Church. What could be worse than a child-abusing priest? Why, a serial killer one!

[> They poured every bad thing from every religion into a blender & out came "Caleb" -- WickedBuffy, 20:55:28 04/17/03 Thu

Heart/broken (spoilers for Buffy 7.18, "Dirty Girls") -- cjl, 10:41:53 04/16/03 Wed

Repeat after me, everyone:

It's All About Buffy.

I don't know if it's been the cumulative effect of reading this board over the past two years, or whether the symbolism in BtVS has finally reached critical mass, but I saw practically everything and everyone in this episode as symbols of Buffy's internal conflict. The episode ends with Buffy walking down the main street of Sunnydale, entirely alone. No passersby at all, and it's as if she's the only person in town.

But then, maybe she's ALWAYS been the only person on this show.

Let's run down the characters and how they relate to Buffy's personal journey. (Sorry if I'm repeating material from shadowkat's post--she's so good at this kind of thing, it's hard to provide fresh insight.)

CALEB: The ultimate symbol of male oppression, as predicted in Caroline's Dark Feminine posts. But more important than Caleb's near-iconic status as the patriarchy's Dark Shadow is his role as Buffy's mirror at this particular moment of crisis. Buffy has always been confused about sex and intimate relations, confusion stemming from her relationship with Hank, and extending through to all of the Father- substitutes we've seen over seven seasons. Caleb is ME's most blatant Father-substitute, an unholy man dressed in the collar of a Catholic priest, enslaved by sexual perversions. If everything really is All About Buffy, it's no wonder he has such tremendous power: Buffy's distrust of her own sexuality, her fear of losing control to a dark part of herself gives Caleb that power.

WOOD: Oh for crying out loud, Buffy, why are you listening to this guy?! Even though Buffy shut the door on Giles and told off Robin in 7.17, she's internalized the utilitarian ethos promoted by the Watchers. Once again, Robin minimizes her capacity as a counselor, as a feeling and compassionate human being, and tells her to go home and concentrate on the Big Picture--the Mission. And Buffy nods, packs her things, and heads home. Wood here represents Buffy's misplaced priorities; she's so busy "widening her scope" that all the people in the Big Picture have faded into the background.

FAITH and SPIKE: Who is the Good Slayer and who's the Bad Slayer? If anybody is comfortable in her skin these days, it's Faith; if anybody is in denial about a billion different aspects of her life, it's Buffy--just the opposite of their roles in S3. Faith goes down to the basement (the subconscious in the Metaphorical House of Buffy), and flirts up a tornado with Nekkid Spike. The Buffster has crammed all of her erotic feelings into a corner of the basement, and when she catches Faith and Spike exploring that corner, she's obviously....Jealous? Uncomfortable? Yes and yes. But Buffy desperately needs both Faith and Spike with her; they're her examples for exploring her repressed desires. You'll note that when Caleb was tossing everybody around, it was Faith and Spike who smashed into the wine vats, getting a "Mother's Milk is Red" bath. Blood of past sins, or menstrual blood? Either one, and probably both.

XANDER: You knew I'd save him for last. Best Xander ep since "The Replacement" and Nick Brendon's best work since "Selfless." And I say that even AFTER Xander was mutilated in the last act. (Shows how desperate Xanderfans can be; we'll take de-oculation as a sign of plot progress.)

If Faith and Spike represent Buffy's repressed Eros, Xander represents the other side of Buffy's heart, the non-sexual part, the sense of empathy, of Agape. Even his "naughty" dream at the start of Act One is positive and humanizing, countering the toxic misogyny of Caleb in the teaser with a playful, humorous exploration of sexual desire. Xander's dream tells us that the Potentials are young girls, and there's a natural tendency for men to be attracted to young girls. But this doesn't get in the way of Xander seeing the girls as people; after the fantasy is over, Xander shows he's got a good grip on reality, taking care of the plumbing, and nursing the Potentials through the flu bug.

This brings us to his rallying speech, and my favorite moment of the episode. Xander, to twist a well-known phrase, is pouring Buffy's heart out here, conveying all the compassion and "Christian" love that Buffy seems unable to express. He's so in tune with everybody's sensitivities that--during this dramatic speech--he actually notices that Andrew's about to explode from pure geekiness, and takes the time to assure Mushroom Boy that the pathetic CGI creature in the recent movie WASN'T Godzilla. Priceless.

Which makes the eye gouging scene even more horrific. If Xander is Buffy's inner eye, her guiding beacon to the solution to her psychic confusion, then Caleb (her current animus or thanatos) has blinded Buffy to her true path. At the end, she walks through the streets of Sunnydale, not only alone, but in the dark.

Wow. Amazing stuff.

[> Great post! -- dream, 10:49:49 04/16/03 Wed

[> Re: Heart/broken (spoilers for Buffy 7.18, "Dirty Girls") -- HonorH, 10:56:35 04/16/03 Wed

I'm totally with you, cjl. Right now, as evidenced symbolically by Xander's eye being gouged out and literally by Buffy wondering aloud to Wood if war is really the best thing, I believe Buffy's been buying a lie. A convincing lie, one that seems to be a hard truth, but a lie nonetheless, and it only strengthens my belief that this battle won't be won by fighting. The head/heart split has never been so obvious. Buffy's doing what she needs to as a general, but somewhere along the way, she's forgotten her heart.

And it's not her fault. I couldn't say who I felt sorriest for by the end of the episode, but I'm thinking it was Buffy. She's bred to fight. It's inside her, right down to the marrow of her bones. It is an has always been her first instinct, and for the most part, it's worked.

But now? This foray as general was an unmitigated disaster. Two Potentials dead (thank you, Drew "Axeman" Goddard), and Xander maimed horribly. Buffy's belief in herself by the end is nil.

So what's the answer? I think it's what her heart's been crying out to do--to love, not fight. The Choosing as a Slayer is what turned Buffy into a fighter. Deeper within her is the urge to nurture and love. She's locked that away out of what she thinks is necessity, aided and abetted by the male authority figures in her life. One man, though, has been urging her to love: Xander. I dearly hope she'll listen to him now. The other way has failed. It's time to change course.

[> Re: Heart/broken (spoilers for Buffy 7.18, "Dirty Girls") -- leslie, 11:04:39 04/16/03 Wed

"Which makes the eye gouging scene even more horrific. If Xander is Buffy's inner eye, her guiding beacon to the solution to her psychic confusion, then Caleb (her current animus or thanatos) has blinded Buffy to her true path. At the end, she walks through the streets of Sunnydale, not only alone, but in the dark."

I'm with you up to here. I mean, yes, the actual eye gouging is horrific, but it's only one eye. If Xander had been completely blinded, like the Bringers, then I would say that this "blinds" Buffy to her true path, but one eye blind is so universally a symbol of a person who has both "outer" and "inner" sight that I think Xander is going to end up being the key to Buffy actually discovering her true path. And possibly this is also going to clear up some of Xander's own blind spots--his inability to see Spike or Angel as anything other than monsters, his complete cluelessness about what he really did to Anya by leaving her at the altar, his tendency to see things in black and white. The speech he gave to Dawn (the mystical Key who now seems to be little more than the receptionist at Casa Summers) about how he is the one who doesn't have any superpowers makes me think that he is going to experience some kind of mystical power and finally get a clue that there's more to it than-- well, than meets the eye.

[> [> Agree completely. -- cjl, 11:18:22 04/16/03 Wed

Shadowkat mentions below that Xander's missing eye could be metaphorically (or even literally) equated with Beljoxa's Eye. The sacrifice of a single eye ties into many ancient myths in which the eye is exchanged for inner wisdom--take Odin, for example. (But I'll leave the comparisons to the more accomplished mythologists on the board.)

[> Amazing post! -- ponygirl, 11:24:33 04/16/03 Wed

Wonderfully summed up cjl! and with extra House Metaphor goodness! Buffy was a model of repression in this episode, from her own clerical looking jacket to her constant arms protectively crossed position. Her one moment of trying to connect, to Wood, who I think she's genuinely trying to be friends with, gets turned almost immediately into another Mission statement. Don't be friendly Buffy, don't be weak, or show doubt or need, because you'll fail. So everything gets walled away. Buffy's shadow selves end up in the basement where they have a grand old time, though among the flirting the talk is all about chains, prisons, controlling dangerous impulses, and who or what is under the skin.

I agree with leslie though. Xander's injury does represent Buffy's blindness but could also point him on the way to a truer sight.

[> You could knock me over with a feather.. -- Caroline, 12:58:10 04/16/03 Wed

because I think that this is the first time any speculation I have done has been proven right. I don't think that Caleb is the ultimate symbol of male oppression. I do think that Caleb's misogyny is an expression of Buffy's inability to integrate her masculine and feminine energies right now. Buffy does tamp down her physical/sexual side at the end of S6 and Caleb is a manifestation of her internal unease with the erotic feminine. I'm a little squicked that the misogyny is coming out as a rather cliched, bible-bashing, woman- hating, fire-and-brimstone type of thing but it does the job. I personally feel that more subtlety in the writing of Caleb would have increased my enjoyment level but that's just MHO.

I think that you have a good point about Buffy and Faith - they both represent rejected or unintegrated parts of Buffy and there's a reason they're both hanging out in the basement of Buffy's house/psyche. The wine that was spilled when Faith and Spike were thrown against the vats also reminded me of mother's milk is red today. Spike and Faith have each spilled blood, each are murderers. They are covered in blood. But the fact that they get covered in blood and Buffy does not is significant. Faith and Spike have gone through the darkness, have looked at the ugly parts of themselves and have come to terms with it. Both now fight on the side of good but neither of them have lost the snark (and thank goodness Spike has regained it, I say!). Buffy has not come to terms with the blood of her darkness. She is still Persephone, looking down into the basement to visit Hades occasionally but she hasn't been through the crucible of transformation yet.

I think that the whole blood/wine thing also foreshadowed the FE's desire to have rivers of blood flowing, perhaps releasing it from the mortal coil? The FE will not bring nurturing milk, it will cause the rivers of blood to flow. Perhaps that links with Buffy's vision of the army of ubervamps - they will certainly make the rivers of blood flow. (It also reminded me of Spike wanting to bathe in the slayer's blood, do the bloody backstroke in it from OOMM)

Xander's speech was nice juxtaposed to the several speeches by Caleb and it did show his heart. But Xander also has transgressions to pay for - the Big Lie to Buffy, skipping out on Anya etc. The whole bunch of eye symbolism that has related to Xander - the patch in All the Way, the can I be blind too? in Something Blue etc - has finally and sadly manifested. But I don't see this as being detrimental to Buffy's heart deep down. With losing one eye, Xander has paid for all those transgressions. Now he will have the kind of sight that others do not have - he will have insight that others will not have (I fully agree with leslie's points here). This means something good for Buffy I think - it means that she will start valuing some of her own internal resources, particularly the resources that Wood was trying to make her reject when he fired her from her counselling job. I think this shows that she will get past Caleb and defeat him and what he represents in some way.

Just some preliminary thoughts - will have more later.

[> [> Re: You could knock me over with a feather.. -- aliera, 14:31:42 04/16/03 Wed

Caroline, I have to tell you now that the ep has finally aired that when I read your original post my first though was "oh no she's spoiled!" Then I just realized that wasn't you and I was so bowled over by your insight. Great call.

[> Great posts all round in this thread. -- Rahael, 13:54:41 04/16/03 Wed

[> Great post! Regarding Wood...(spoilers for Buffy 7.18, "Dirty Girls") -- shadowkat, 14:24:54 04/16/03 Wed

WOOD: Oh for crying out loud, Buffy, why are you listening to this guy?! Even though Buffy shut the door on Giles and told off Robin in 7.17, she's internalized the utilitarian ethos promoted by the Watchers. Once again, Robin minimizes her capacity as a counselor, as a feeling and compassionate human being, and tells her to go home and concentrate on the Big Picture--the Mission. And Buffy nods, packs her things, and heads home. Wood here represents Buffy's misplaced priorities; she's so busy "widening her scope" that all the people in the Big Picture have faded into the background.

No one seems to understand why she's still listening to him. Oddly enough I do. She desperately wants what he offered her ages ago in Lessons, she wants that Wood, the one who hired her as a counselor - who gave her other options. (She got used to their comradership, she thought they were relating. She thought she knew him. She thought he saw her as more than just the slayer - as a human, a counselor. Believe me it is very hard to let go of our allusions about people. It is almost physically painful.) She wanted that job at Sunnydale High. She enjoyed it. And with Wood, in a way, she is operating in the counselor role - telling him that she understands his pain but vengeance isn't the way out. He can't hear her of course. All he can see is his mother saying it's all about the mission. All he can see is Buffy saying the same thing. So he somewhat nastily reiterates it with calm charm. And Buffy has internalized it, because Buffy deep inside believes she can't do anything else. She can't be anything but the slayer. Wood has indirectly conveyed this to her.
You failed as counselor, you're wasting your time at it, go focus on your calling, focus on the big picture.

Wood has an interesting character arc regarding Buffy:
1. From Lessons - First Date: Wood insists on Counselor Buffy, that she move away from the violence and focus on the empathy. She resists it at times, but is pulled back towards it by Xander, Spike, Willow, and the students in episodes such as Help, Him, STSP, Selfless.

2. From First Date (which is the turning point)-Dirty Girls: Wood changes his tune, reveals he's the son of a slayer and wants Buffy to be a "slayer" like his mother not a counselor. He never saw her as anything but the slayer, the idea of her as a counselor is a joke to him and clearly just a ruse to get her at the school full time and near him. (Any indication of it being to protect the school is dropped after Dirty Girls when he fires her.) Perhaps he sees the counselor as the male role like Giles or Crowley? He certainly seeks Giles' counsel in LMPTM, not Buffy's. He literally laughs at her when she mentions maybe she's doing a great job as a counselor in First Date. He gives her his mother's emergency kit - which deals with becoming even more the slayer and less the human in get it done. In Storyteller - he doesn't trust she can get the tears to close the seal. And in LMPTM - instead of counseling the trigger away which Buffy advocates, he believes in killing Spike - the slayer view. He wants her to be the slayer here as well. Finally in Dirty Girls when she pleads to come back to work as a counselor or just a poster girl - he fires her twice - telling her in effect that she should just be the slayer - that is her duty her role.

What hits me about Giles, Wood and Crowley - is these men are being paid for counseling girls to slay. The girls are paid nothing. Nor do any of these men in any way give the girls a portion of their income. Or support them. Wood fires her. Doesn't offer her a severance package or anything like that. This has always sort of squicked me. (Maybe it's a projection?)

At any rate, I can see why she's listening to him. Another older man, authority figure, she trusted, believed in and wishes approval from. She'll never get that approval of course. But it doesn't change the want. My heart went out to her in the basement when Spike asked why she wasn't still at work and her reply that she figured she needed to focus on more important things. Just as it went out to her when Wood fired her. I was so hoping she'd quit.

I think you are right though - Wood does symbolize the slayer's mission, the old school approach. The one Buffy has long since moved past, yet finds herself confronting again. The Mission to slay vampires, to fight, to solve her problems through violent means. She'd been learning a new way and Wood has neatly pulled it away from her.

[> Fascinating post, cjl! -- deeva, 14:52:15 04/16/03 Wed

They should give James and Eliza their own show -- Yu Yu Hakusho, 11:04:39 04/16/03 Wed

Was it just me or did James and Eliza just have outstanding chemistry last night? Those two could defiantly do a show together. Since Faith is an outlaw, the could do a Buffy/Fugitive type of show, with Spike and Faith moving from place to place, seeking redemption and kicking demon butt each week.

Of course this will never happen, but you gotta admit, itís an interesting idea. They could call it Fallen Angels or Avenging Angels and put it after Angel. The WB could call it ìThe Night of Angelsî LOL

Yu Yu Hakusho (suffering from extreme boredom at work)

[> Re: They should give James and Eliza their own show -- Grace, 13:24:01 04/16/03 Wed

Oh, no! I do not get why everyone is so excited about this Spike-Faith chemistry. After all the hullabaloo about Spike getting a soul and redeeming himself for the love of Buffy, a Faith-Spike pairing seems like a complete and utter cheat.
The whole basement scene was nauseating.

[> [> They tried to give them their own show -- Clueless, 14:28:41 04/16/03 Wed

The Faith spinoff was originally gonna be Faith and Spike, but Eliza turned them down.

[> [> Re: They should give James and Eliza their own show -- Traveler, 14:32:35 04/16/03 Wed

Angel discovered life after Buffy. I imagine Spike will do the same. Just because a person is able to move on when a relationship is over doesn't mean he/she loved the person any less.

[> [> Not nauseating... -- deeva, 15:42:29 04/16/03 Wed

unless you are a shipper. Just cause he initially got a soul for Buffy because it's what she deserved, doesn't mean that everything will fall into place. Spike has stated that ever since he's been back that he's "not interested in that. Not anymore." Yes, he may still have feelings for her but he is disgusted with himself and she has kept herself a little bit away from him.

The Spike/Faith scene is just what it is, a little bit of yumminess.

who/what is caleb? -- heather galaxy, 11:34:08 04/16/03 Wed

human? demon?

is he the adam to buffy's eve? there is a perpetual question as to why all slayers are girls... what if there is a superpower line passed through men? maybe they have been corrupted, use the power for themselves, don't fight for the betterment of everyone, but for keeping themselves on top of everyone else? the ultimate patriarchy, keeping all the power for themselves, never to help others?

anyway, i want to hear everyone's theories.

[> Re: who/what is caleb? (Spoilers for DG) -- Sophist, 12:34:05 04/16/03 Wed

I was sure he implied he was Satan Hisownself. Maybe I misunderstood, since no one else has mentioned it.

[> [> "Satan is a small man" -- Masq, 13:02:58 04/16/03 Wed

He asks the Potential if the Bringers following her are Devil Worshippers, then when he calls them "his boys", he admits that they are not Devil Worshippers. Then he makes the above quote, implying, I thought, that the thing Caleb worships is much bigger, and worse, than the Judeo-Christian devil.

[> [> [> Re: "Satan is a small man" -- grrlzone, 14:03:09 04/16/03 Wed

I don't this is about Satan.

Remember Steinbeck's _East of Eden_? It is a symbolic recreation of the biblical story of Cain and Abel set in Salinas, CA. All the "good" people have names that start with "A" and the baddies are "C's", ie Adam Trask versus his wild brother Charles. Adam marries Cathy who betrays him for Charles. She gives birth to twin boys (Aron and Caleb), shoots Adam and leaves him to become a madam. Adam raises their sons the fair-haired, Aron, and the dark, clever Caleb (played by James Dean in the famous film version).When they get old enough to ask, Dad tells them that their mother dies in childbirth. The two brothers vie for their father's attention and approval but Daddy Adam has eyes only for Aron. In bitterness Caleb reveals the truth about their mother to Aron, who goes postal, joins the army and is killed in France.

It's all just a little too neat for co-inky-dink.

[> [> Don't know where that impression came from -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:30:37 04/16/03 Wed

Could you please cite specific pieces of the episode that lead to this conclusion, cause I've noticed other people who seem to feel the same way, but am having trouble seeing where they're coming from.

I sincerely don't think Caleb is supposed to be the Devil, otherwise his references to his preacher days don't make a whole lot of sense. Then there's the fact that the First Evil is like the Jossian equivelant of the Devil, so where would there be room for Caleb in that?

My personal theory: Caleb is like Spike; he's someone who already has a great deal of mental problems that only worsened once the First Evil started adding its influence. While Caleb might once have been just a traveling priest with a penchant for killing women, the First got to him and twisted it into greater fanaticism. And, as Caleb fell into the First's following, he began to learn secrets of dark magic. We know from Mayor Wilkins that humans serving forces of evil can sometimes be endowed with great powers; for the Mayor it was immortality, for Caleb it appears to be super-strength. And thus we get Caleb today, someone who was already a psycho and is now a full blown First Evil devotee with superpowers as part of the bargain for being such a faithful servant.

So OT it's ridiculous (don't bother reading if you're not just looking for something to read) -- dream, 12:00:11 04/16/03 Wed

Forgive me, but I'm terribly bored at work today, and I'm looking for ideas. Maybe one of you creative folks is bored as well. I'm adopting a kitten tomorrow - a chocolate point Siamese boy. (I already have a seal point girl named Stella.) The boy has a very mellow, sweet personality (as compared to my loving but imperial girl.) Anyway, I'm wracking my brains for a good name. I thought something Buffy-related might be nice, as I'm adopting him in the final days, but I'm open to anything. I have only one rule - I hate giving animals non-human names - no common nouns, no Mummy Hand, no Hellmouth. Any suggestions?

[> Stanley? (Kowalski) -- Arethusa, 12:06:08 04/16/03 Wed

Or Luna. (My kids love the book Stellaluna.)

[> [> Good god, Arethusa -- dream, 12:25:47 04/16/03 Wed

Are you channeling me or something? Stella is actually Stellaluna, named so because: a) she looked like a white bat as a kitten and b) I get such a charge out of bellowing "Stell-a!" up the stairs like Marlon Brando when I want her to come down.

[> [> [> Re: Good god, Arethusa -- dub ;o), 16:07:51 04/16/03 Wed

Well, why not Marlon? Or Stella and Giles might be nice.

You could cover William, Liam, Billy, etc. by calling him Willy, but then it has British connotations, LOL!


[> Re: So OT it's ridiculous (don't bother reading if you're not just looking for something to read) -- Kenny, 12:07:10 04/16/03 Wed

Sounds like "Oz" might be fitting.

[> Re: So OT it's ridiculous (don't bother reading if you're not just looking for something to read) -- ponygirl, 12:18:23 04/16/03 Wed

Believe it or not about 12 years ago I had a grey cat named Spike - he was the successor to my other cat Slash. I was going through a punkish phase.

[> Kittens bring "Clem" to mind, and you can say you won him at cards -- Cougar, 15:04:45 04/16/03 Wed

Of course there is always "Cougar", a fine feline moniker if ever, but that is probably more suited to an Abssynian.

(Mr. Kit Fantastico ???)

[> Call him Rufus.......works for me.....<g>.....;) -- Rufus, 19:33:39 04/16/03 Wed

[> How about "Scott"? He didn't get anywhere, but he was sweet .. -- MsGiles, 06:51:20 04/17/03 Thu

[> Screw Buffy! Let's all go to www.ratemykitten.com - - oboemaboe, 19:20:09 04/17/03 Thu

Best website ever.

Dialogue worth revisiting (*7.18 inspired musings*) -- Vesica, 12:18:45 04/16/03 Wed

First, was I the only one thrilled to see Faith and Spike revisit thier amazing dialogue in "Who are You"?? For those with amnesia:

SPIKE: Gah! You know why I really hate you, Summers?

FAITH (as Buffy): I'm a stuck up tight-ass with no sense of fun?

SPIKE: Wuh-yeah, thatÖ covers a lot of itÖ

FAITH :'Cause I could do anything I want and instead I just pout and whine and feel the burden of slayerness? I
mean, I could be rich, I could be famous, I could have anything. Anyone.

Even you, Spike. I could ride you at a gallop till your legs buckled and your eyes rolled up, I've got muscles
you've never even dreamed of, I could squeeze you till you popped like warm champagne and you'd beg me to hurt
you just a little bit more and you know why I don't?

FAITH (cont'd)
(mock serious)
Because it's wrong.

To me that whole exchange points to one of the key problems with Buffy this season. She has always been the atypical Slayer. As Spike himself said in Season 2, "A Slayer with family and friends. That sure as hell wasn't in the brochure." So far, there has not been as much interplay between Buffy and her friends. She is there..but not there. Does Buffy even have feelings to hurt anymore? Buffy is showing us why there was never a show 'Niki the Vampire Slayer' - mission focused slayers, without any of the tension of balancing work and play, are no fun. This season I have felt 'locked out' of Buffy's head, completely removed from what is going on inside her. Even after some of the most brutal truthful speeches from Spike there seems to be little emotion from Buffy, only resolve....

Secondly, I love the fact Caleb seems to believe in some sort of reverse transubstantiation. This is not the first time we have blood as wine in the series or just an abnormal fixation on blood. Blood was at the heart of the last conflict between Faith and Buffy ñ as a Slayerís blood was needed to heal Angel. Buffyís blood sacrifice saved the world (again). Willow used vino de madre , the blood of an innocent, to bring Buffy back. Everytime we turn around there is some shadowy group, chalice in hand, chanting about something or other and the chalice always holds blood or wine. Maybe this only points to the Judeo- Christian fixation of most vampire lore ñ The blood is the life. But perhaps it points to a deeper theme on Buffy.

faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love ( IO & Dirty Girls) -- lunasea, 13:17:01 04/16/03 Wed

Most people are familiar with 1 Corinthians 13. ìLove is patient, love is kind...î Verses 4-8 are often taken out of context and lifted out of the Bible. Few would disagree with what it says about love. What most are unaware of is verse 1- 3 and the rest of 8-13. While watching ìDirty Girlsî I thought about 1 Corinthians 13:13, ìAnd now faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.î This morning I got out my Bibles (I prefer the NRSV for its translations and NAB for study purposes). After putting 1 Corinthians 13 back into perspective, the theme of both AtS and BtVS this season are rather obvious.

1 Corinthians 13:8-13
Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Chapters 12-14 of 1 Corinthians is all about Spiritual Gifts. Chapter 13 is about how meaningless these are without love.

1 Corithians 13 1-3
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all the mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

This is what leads to the well known passage about what love is. In 51 CE Paul established a Christian community in Corinth. This letter is written about 5 years later because the group has begun to display factionalism, as certain members were identifying themselves exclusively with individual Christian leaders and interpretting Christian teachings as a superior wisdom for the initiated few. The communityís ills were reflected in its liturgy. Chapter 13 was written to address that charisms such as ecstatic prayer, atttributed freely to the impules of the Holy Spirit, were more highly praised than works of charity. 1 Corinthians 13:13 is often translated as faith, hope and charity.

I thought a lot about Caleb last night. What exactly was Joss using him to say? I am really getting tired of people claiming Joss has an atheist agenda that he is writing into his story. He hasnít done that so far with anything. Why start now? He doesnít revere religion like some do, so it is another tool to tell his story, but I seriously doubt his story is ìreligion is badî or ìdonít believe in God.î Joss has used baptism to show positive changes (Prophecy Girl and Bring on the Night) and negative ones (Surprise and Bad Girls). He has used the Christian story to give (re)birth to his savior/champion and to show how his hero was feeling S6. Now he is using it to show something negative, but that is the same thing that Paul was talking about to the Corinthians, faith without love is nothing. Fundamentalist Christians agree with this (or they are supposed to any way. It is in The Book).

Dr Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney of the Anglican Church said something that went in my quote file a few years ago, "The obsession of our culture with individualism, human autonomy and personal rights seems insatiable. But although such individualism tries to satisfy our hunger for personal freedom, it cannot meet the equally insatiable needs of the human being for love." I don't think that Joss' story is about only individualism, human autonomy and personal rights. He is also concerned with love, perhaps even more than invidualism.

Fundamentalism isnít the problem. I know some wonderful people who consider themselves to be fundamentalist and wear the label proudly. I am tired of seeing these people insulted and I do tend to defend them. No one can trash a religion like a former practitioner, but after you get through your teen years and all that rebellion, you realize that mom and dad arenít complete idiots. No one can defend religion like a former basher.

Which brings us back to Buffy and Angel. Last season for both of them the theme was ìOh Grow Up.î They grew up in many practical ways. This season has been about growing up spiritually. This doesnít mean that they lose or abandon faith and hope. It means that these things are informed by love.

There was one particular imagery used last night that I liked. Caleb tossed both Spike and Faith into the casks of wine. When they hit, red wine poured out all over the place, like blood. When he injured Xander, again the blood flowed. Buffy was thrown into the wall. No wine, no blood. Blood is life and Buffy isnít alive, like Spike, Faith and Xander are. Why isnít Buffy alive? Because without love, she is nothing. She is dead.

Xanderís speech was great, but that isnít who Buffy has been lately. Xander is telling the Potentials to trust Buffy. Who he really needed to be talking to was Buffy herself. She doesnít trust her own heart and instincts that she displayed talking to Wood in the beginning. Xander talks about those instincts, but doesnít realize that Buffy is the one who is not listening. That is why Xander loses one of his eyes. He only saw half the picture. He loses the eye that is closest to Buffy.

Buffy and Angel have been major gongs and cymbols this season. They have been completely ineffective and have actually made things worse. So have Giles and Cordy, but they have always been. Buffy and Angel tend to save the day, by listening to their hearts. Caleb is faith, Jasmine is hope, but Buffy and Angel has always been love.

This season, they have been decidedly lacking in the love department. Buffy started out good, but even since CwDP well frankly sheís sucked at it. Angel sucked from his return and got worse, even having to go back to Angelus-land. When he is about to cut off Cordyís head, the last thing he can think to say to her is ìIím sorry.î Ok dude. Even if this isnít your most passionate love, it was still your dearest friend. Xander told Willow he loved her. Kicking out your son because you donít know how to set limits, another action severly lacking in the love department.

It isnít that the love isnít there. It saves the gang in THAW, Angel does save Connor in ìHabeas Corpsesî and when Wesley is hurting Angel reaches out to him. Angel is still love. He just supresses it. Same with Buffy. She came out of the love spell enough to save Dawn. She gave Willow her strength in STSP. When it came to the Shadowmen in ìGiDî her gut said donít give up your humanity. Her pain about what is going on is because she doesnít want to see ìdead little girls.î Her gut/heart tells her that she shouldnít be leading the girls into battle. They have this love and nothing can take it away from them short of being vamped or Angel losing his soul.

But they are acting like love is the way of children. It isnít. It is what remains when you give up childish ways. They have been slaves to faith, faith in the mission. That mission makes them nothing without love. The mission isnít wrong. It isnít bad. It just needs to be done with love. That is the way of adults.

What really struck me about 1 Corinthians 13 and why I was posting was the idea of partially v complete. My favorite line in the episode was from Giles ìIt could be a stapler.î Buffy cannot accept anything from Giles because he tends to be partially correct, which makes him partially wrong. Buffy thinks she has complete knowledge. She tells Giles that he should stay behind with the Potentials that still need a teacher. She doesnít understand that we only know in part.

Buffy does accept what Xander says as complete. It isnít. Xander should have said, ìThis is how Buffy can be. She isnít being that way right now. When she gets like that again, THEN you should trust her. Until then, she is taking the short bus to battle and we should all stay here so we donít get killed or maimed. Anyone want to make some popcorn?î

Buffy has two extremes, I know everything and I know nothing. She canít accept that we only know in part. At the beginning she thought she knew everything. At the end, she was wandering the street in doubt. Every set back to Buffy is a catastrophe, because it shakes the view that she does know everything. Every mistake shakes her world view. The way she typically recovers is to go back to I know/can do anything. Sheís had more of these moments this season (when was wrong about Spike not feeding, when she found out who the baddie was, when she got her ass kicked by the Turok- Han, when she thought she was wrong for turning down the shadow men, when she was wrong about confronting Caleb). Buffy needs to find another way to recover, a grown up way. There is more to being an adult than responsibility. It is Buffy who is the Fundamentalist. Her fundamentals are the mission.

It is just like Caleb, her faith isnít informed by love. Caleb drinks the wine, like a vampire drinks blood, but he too isnít thrown into the casks. They way he killed one Potential was a lot like how Angelus killed Jenny (great that they showed the First as Jenny at the beginning). I loved the talk about the Last Supper and what if you ordered white instead of red wine. Caleb sees himself with complete knowledge, that he understands things. He is just as partial as the rest of us.

One thing we learn in Buddhism is that enlightenment is only possible from the human realm. This can be taken literally or usually it is taken metaphorically. It is described as: The human realm is characterised by doubt and inquisitiveness and the longing for something better. We are not as absorbed by the all consuming preoccupations of the other states of being. We begin to wonder whether it is possible to relate to the world as simple, dignified human beings.

That is the adult way of looking at things that Buffy and Angel need to find. ìAnd now faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.î

[> very interesting- good post. -- Alison, 13:25:47 04/16/03 Wed

[> Re: faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love ( IO & Dirty Girls) -- Traveler, 14:29:31 04/16/03 Wed

Very good points... the first slayer told Buffy that love was her power; I've had no reason to doubt it since.

[> [> I've always found the spirit guide's words a bit more ambiguous than that -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:35:43 04/16/03 Wed

"Love is pain, the Slayer forges strength from pain."

Love, while powerful in the Buffyverse, is still sometimes good and sometimes bad.

[> [> [> Re: I've always found the spirit guide's words a bit more ambiguous than that -- MaeveRigan, 14:56:11 04/16/03 Wed

Who said anything about love not being painful? Of course it's going to be painful. It's the end! Stock up on tissues! Doesn't mean it won't be love, or that it won't be good.

[> [> [> [> I meant it more along these lines -- Finn Mac Cool, 15:59:35 04/16/03 Wed

Sometimes pain is good, allowing for deeper connection to the world, character building, and the ability to feel relief from the absence of pain. However, pain can also be bad; it causes unhappiness, it can spawn fear, and it can result in stunting the emotional state. Few people except for Drusilla will say that pain is always good.

Likewise, love can be both good and bad for people. Love can breed happiness, give people inspiration to live and do good, and develop deeper connections. But love can also lead to unhealthy obsession (where someone's entire life revolves around the other), sorrow (unrequited love), or even breed hatred for objects other than the object of love.

Examples of good love:

Buffy's leap of faith in "The Gift".

Spike's love for Buffy leading to his ensouling.

Willow becoming more comfortable/confident after falling in love with Oz.

Examples of bad love:

Wood's love for his mother inspiring his vendetta against Spike.

Spike's love for Buffy allowing the abusive relationship to take place.

Willow's love for Tara caused her relapse into magic abuse and evil after her death.

[> [> [> [> [> Love is pain -- lunasea, 16:37:41 04/16/03 Wed

When the Guide said that I never got the impression that It was talking about unrequitted love or obsession. Instead it is painful to see those you love in pain. People around us are in pain, so if we love them, that pain translates to us. The Slayer uses that pain to motivate her to help them. If she can't remove their pain, at least she can ease it with compassion. Cassie told Buffy "But you will" make a difference. Buffy made a difference in Cassie's last day even though she couldn't help save her life.

That is the message that is carrying through the S5-7 trilogy. Buffy pulls away from the bright fire that is her love because it hurts. It hurts because she loves people and this translates back to her. The final part is how to turn that into strength. (same thing can be said about Angel and his guilt/brooding) How can she do this? Love, give and forgive.

Still waiting for that.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Love is pain -- Alison, 16:53:52 04/16/03 Wed

While you have a point, can't it mean that love in and of itself is painful? When your love "burns brighter than fire", the flames can devour you. That kind of love is wonderful, but at the same time, that obsession and complete lack of power over your own feelings can hurt.

[> Re: faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love ( IO & Dirty Girls) -- MaeveRigan, 14:30:53 04/16/03 Wed

Now that is an analysis that makes sense. Finally. Thank you, lunasea. Of course.

And if I may add: Caleb's analysis of the Last Supper is incomplete in another way (in addition to the fact that he gets it backward, as I noted in another post). He forgets the bread, which actually represents the body. Both are essential, which leads to the Buddhist idea of enlightenment through the human realm: the essence of the gospel story is the Incarnation--divine love becoming human flesh.

So. Buffy has one more Lesson to learn. But it's the one she's always had to learn, isn't it? The one we all keep forgetting from the season 5 vision quest. Everyone remembers "Death is your gift." Turns out the really important message was always: "Love, give, forgive."

Blood in 'Dirty Girls' (spoilers 7.18) -- Walking Turtle, 13:34:14 04/16/03 Wed

Dirty Girls is full of dialog and visiual references to blood. Many of these references have already been noted in previous posts.

I may have missed it but I don't think anyone has commented on why did M.E. thru Caleb bring up the reverse the concept of transubstantiation* - changing the concept from wine/bread into Christ's blood/body to the concept from Christ's blood/??? into wine/???. In particular why joke about the choice of either red or white wine coming from the blood depending on what the guest at the Lord's Supper (Communion, Mass) wanted?

Perhaps it has something to do with the reason for transubstantiation -- the forgiveness of sins.

I think Caleb is making a statement about redemption and free-will. Or is it simply a reminder that various Christian sects killed each other over the concept of transubstantiation. Or perhaps, maybe concept of transubstantiation is another of the "Lies My Parents Told Me".

Any one wish to expand on this?

*For Catholics, Episcopalians and Lutherans -- wine/bread 'Changes'. For others wine/bread 'represents' Christ blood/body

[> see lunasea's post below on Faith, hope,.... -- Walking Turtle, 13:42:22 04/16/03 Wed

[> Technically, about that wine/blood thing... (spoilers, rant) -- Solitude1056, 13:57:34 04/16/03 Wed

Transubstantiation is turning the wine into blood during a specific ritual act called communion. It's a non-corporeal non-body part becoming the actual body part. From what I caught, Caleb* was saying that the wine offered at the Last Supper was wine and then became Christ's body, which would a) technically be what, reverse transubstantiation? and b) rather difficult if Christ was alive at the time... No wonder he didn't mention the bread; what would it have transubstantiated into - an extra toe? A few extra fingers? Although that could be handy, the next time a car repair costs an arm and a leg. Here! Have some transubstantiated parts o' me!

Also, Catholics believe in transubstantiation; Episcopalians, Lutherans, CoE/Anglicans, Calvinists, blah blah blah all predominantly believe in the representation and not the weekly (or monthly) miracle of transubstantiation in every communion service. In fact, the notion of transubstantiation was one of the big issues in Reformation movements - it struck many future Protestants as a big pagan and 'superstitious'. Ironic, eh.

"Thanksgiving, a ritual sacrifice with pie" or however Anya's quote goes.

* Caleb. Please. I nearly threw my dinner at the TV when I heard that. Bad enough that Bad Guy = Bad Southern Accent (Didn't they plan to do that with Spike? Didn't they do that already with Eve?) ... but must we also get a name that NO ONE NAMES THEIR KIDS ANYMORE? Hell, even my family stopped naming its sons with Zebediah and Zed as middle names.

ME has always had the most inventive of demons and bad guys, right down to Glory and her shoe fetish and little red dresses and big hair. Caleb, however, is not inventive. He's a boring, trite, overdone stereotype from numerous Yankee horror flicks, or any other refried joke where someone's idea of being funny is whistling the dueling banjos theme in the presence of, or shortly after talking to, someone with a southern accent.

Of course, the joke here is that Caleb's southern accent freakin' sucks - but I guess they had to turn it up to eleven or else the rest of the country, and the world, wouldn't think he's got a Southern accent. They'd just think he talks funny every now and then, but with the southern accent they're able to say, "look, mabel, it must be one of them backwoods uneducated hicks whose a product of six generations of inbreeding! I bet he's going to tell that scared potential that she's a dirty girl, and then he's going to turn out to be a bad guy, cause all inbred ignorant hill billies are psychopathic killers. I saw Deliverance!"


[> [> Real, live Calebs -- MaeveRigan, 14:48:41 04/16/03 Wed

* Caleb. Please. I nearly threw my dinner at the TV when I heard that. Bad enough that Bad Guy = Bad Southern Accent [...] but must we also get a name that NO ONE NAMES THEIR KIDS ANYMORE?

Watch it, dear Solitude1056. My cousin named her son Caleb. I'm not kidding. I don't know why, unless it has something to do with his grandfather being a professor of 19th century literature and William Godwin's novel Caleb Williams (http://www.ashton-dennis.org/year02/caleb.html), but this seems unlikely. Caleb is a charming little one-year-old, and so far shows no signs of evil, but is likely to have a definite authentic southern accent.

There's also novelist Caleb Carr (The Alienist, The Angel of Darkness,).

So, you never know.

[> [> [> Authentic is always the best kind. ;-) -- Solitude1056, 17:16:31 04/16/03 Wed

[> [> [> Re: Real, live Calebs -- Katrina, 07:00:08 04/17/03 Thu

Funny, there's lots of new Calebs here in the Midwest. Maybe it's undergoing a geographical shift. Just be glad the Buffy Caleb isn't sporting an accent from the movie "Fargo." That would offend fewer people, but it would be unbearable!

[> [> Why Caleb is Catholic and what Transubstantiation means -- lunasea, 15:24:30 04/16/03 Wed

I think they have Caleb as Southern to keep him from being the standard New England Catholic Priest. There is enough crap going on with the Church up there right now. No need to have that lumped onto Caleb or whatever else they would have named him.

They also don't want Father O'Flarety. There is another character that is Irish that has his own problems with faith that some distance between the two characters is desirable. After the season wraps up I will compare the two.

Why Catholic? Prior to 1517 what other denomination of Christianity (there were various pagan and Jewish communities, especially in Spain) was there in Europe? There are some small movements, but Catholic means "universal" for a reason (or rather Christianity called itself Catholic for a reason). Byzantium was Orthodox, but Western Europe was Catholic. Those big Gothic Cathedrals tend to be Catholic.

I doubt that the audience would get pagan symbolism, so Christianity it is. That means Catholicism, if you want the history, iconography and convuluted theology that has evolved over millenia.

Now I am going to put the Catechism's explanation of transubstantiation as explained at the Council of Trent in 1551 "the body and blood, together with he soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore the whole Christ is truly, really and substantially containted." That is what the term means.

A Catholic doesn't think if you put the host under a microscope you are going to see red blood cells. It isn't a symbol either.

St Ambrose said in De mysteriis
Be convinced that this is not what nature has formed, but what the blessing has consecrated. The power of the blessing prevails over that of nature, because by the blessing nature itself is changed...Could not Christ's word, which can make from nothing what did not exist, change existing things into what they were not before? It is no less a feat to give things their original nature than to change them.

Think of it like returning Angel's soul. It changes his nature, but the package basically remains the same.

Seeing as BtVS and AtS are interested in blood and something's nature, it would make sense for them to use Catholicism for Caleb. Since Caleb is Catholic, he is southern for the above reasons (African Catholic would have been interesting also)

[> [> [> Naw, African-American would be mirroring where Asian would have been interesting. -- Solitude1056, 17:22:01 04/16/03 Wed

Wouldn't we have jumped to immediate interpretations if "Caleb" were a tall, good looking Black man? Wearing his shirt backwards might be a spin on the stereotype if you've never met a Black priest, I suppose, but I'd think Asian might be far more of an inverted stereotype - especially if it was an Asian with a southern accent... named Caleb.

Now that might have been worth watching.

[> [> [> [> Re: Naw, African-American would be mirroring where Asian would have been interesting. -- lunasea, 17:54:01 04/16/03 Wed

Not African American. African African. It would be especially interesting because Africa is where Spike got his soul. African Catholicism is actually pretty interesting.

But then we couldn't have Nate playing him. MMMMM Nate. Yummy, Yummy. If Buffy knows what is good for her, she will show him why sex can be so much fun.

When this is all over I am going to have to do the comparision between Caleb and Angel. Caleb isn't designed off of Buffy. He is designed off of Angel (who is designed off Buffy, so as usual everything revolves around Buffy).

And how come no mention of who the Whore of Babylon really was? The board disappointed me. Where are the Ishtar comparisions? The Potentials are just Horae (great dream Xander) but Buffy is the Great Whore. Ishtar: Light of the World, Leader of Hosts, Opener of the Womb, Righteous Judge, Lawgiver, Bestower of Strength, Lady of Victory (did I miss a title?)

[> [> [> [> [> Ew - nothing with THAT hair can be yummy. -- Alison, 18:45:20 04/16/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> Second that. I hope they broke the bowl they used for that cut. -- Solitude1056, 21:32:29 04/16/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> Buffy foreshadowing -- MaeveRigan, 08:58:20 04/17/03 Thu

Nice catch, lunasea. Let's all recall the foreshadowy goodness from "Storyteller":

[Wood & Buffy at the Seal of Danzalthar]

PRINCIPAL WOOD: You've all been evil at some point, right?

BUFFY: No, that's not true. Yeah, Willow had a bad patch, but I've never been.

WOOD: [in a deep voice] Evil is what evil does and I know what you're doing.

Just like FE (and/or ME)--try to throw us off by making it appear to be the First manipulating Wood's vengeance neurosis, and as usual with Evil's words, it's not 100% truth. But there's something there.

She should also remember Joyce's words in the dream from "Bring on the Night"

"Buffy, no matter what your friends expect of you, evil is a part of us. All of us. It's natural. And no one can stop that. No one can stop nature, not even--"

Buffy may be looking in the wrong places if she's forgetting love and trying to dissociate herself from evil.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Buffy foreshadowing -- lunasea, 14:17:33 04/17/03 Thu


I was going to do a post comparing what Darla says in "Inside Out" and what Joyce said in "Bring on the Night." Maybe I did and I forgot about it. It isn't often we get to hear from conduits to the PTB. The Guide in "Intervention" was another. Same with the Oracles. What they say is what forms the Buffyverse. It is important enough that such a reliable character has to say it.

I agree with what you say. You can't fight evil. You can deal with the physical manifestations of it, but the only way to really change the world is to embrace good.

Buffy changed Spike by treating him like a man S5. Buffy changed Angel by showing him that he was more than a monster. Through this, Buffy helped Faith (Angel is actually the one that helps Faith, but he would have been dust if it wasn't for Buffy).

Buffy has saved the 3 other superheroes in the Buffyverse not by fighting them, but by caring. Buffy needs to realize the power of love. Bet it can change those mystical forces.

Buffy now has to deal with the physical manifestations of evil, but she still has to find a way to deal with the First. She can't beat it. She can just embrace love.

[> [> I don't know Sol...to my ear, his accent and demeanor kind of bring to mind... -- A8, 17:52:29 04/17/03 Thu

..some very real purveyors of evil such as Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggert, and Jim Baker. Then again, I have no idea how authentic their accents are either. Actually, the dude Caleb reminds me of most is that guy Tipton from Texas (I think he is in jail now) who used to sell prayer cloths and speak in tongues on television.

[> [> [> A poster who lives in Knoxville said Caleb's accent sounded exactly like someone from Knoxville -- Sophist, 08:20:47 04/18/03 Fri

[> And why can't it ever be a lymph ritual? -- Random, 17:14:21 04/16/03 Wed

[> [> Re: And why can't it ever be a lymph ritual? -- aliera, 19:44:57 04/16/03 Wed

Because then it would just hobble along? And be, well... lame?

"Dirty Girls": The Semi-Evil Review -- Honorificus (Da Bomb) and HonorH (da squib), 15:35:29 04/16/03 Wed

Well, my fellow fiends, I'm absolutely delighted with the carnage and triumph of evil in this episode. So many classics, packed into one episode. Fun!

Fashion Statements
The Good
Faith! Gorgeous in leather, more gorgeous in red. Loved the outfit, the hair, the glossy black-cherry lips, and most of all, the attitude, baby! I'd share a cell with her any old day.

Spike, shirtless again. It's been too long.

Dawn's short, short skirt. The Twerp has legs. Which reminds me: wipe your mouth, Dochawk.

Buffy's hair was actually a picture this week.

Giles without a coat on. Oh, the man is fine.

Gotta hand it to Caleb: I loved the outfit. Black is slimming, and the clerical collar had that nice edge of blasphemy to it.

The absence of Anya added a full banana pie to the Non Sequitur Fashion Rating of this episode.

The Bad
Caleb's hair. It made me forget Ryan Seacrest's.

Faith was right about the Wannabes: fashion disasters, the whole lot of them. Hopefully, now that Molly's dead, we'll have seen the last of that gods-bedamned pink faux-fur coat.

Dawn's second outfit. Hated the color scheme.

Buffy's coat. Yikes!

Plot in a Nutshell
Now that that's out of the way, here's my plot synopsis: the First's minion/boyfriend Caleb comes to town to thin the herd of fashionably-challenged Potentials. In this, he succeeds, and while he's at it, he does a good, old- fashioned eyeball-gouging on Xander. Makes me all nostalgic.

Demonic Quibbles and Comments
Not always a good idea to go for the center of a tentacular mass, Xander-boy. Progenian Hydras, for example, will divide and reproduce asexually if their main body is damaged by a sharp weapon. Fire is the only way to kill 'em.

I'm absolutely certain Cal Worthington is a demon.

Body Count
A few Bringers.

Two Potentials: Chao-Anh and Molly McFakebrit

Xander's left eye

Caleb's entrance. Gotta hand it to him: he knows how to make a splash. Now, the Bible-Spouting Serial Killer may be the oldest cliche in the book, but I'm a sucker for the classics. They never go out of style.

Faith's entrance. Sooo good to see the Hot Slayer again!

Faith and Spike smoking and bonding. That, too, was hot, and then there was the expression on Buffy's face when she saw them. Fun!

Caleb and the First playing Pretend. Sounds like Good Times to me!

Two Potentials getting whacked, especially Molly and that coat of hers.

Eye-gouging! Like all classics, it just never goes out of style.

Seeing so many of the Twerps in one episode. Just when I thought they couldn't get more annoying . . .

Xander's "leg cramp" dream. Made me want to hurl.

Xander's shmoopy Buffy-worship speech. Just when I thought he couldn't get more annoying . . .

Andrew not getting killed. Again.

Burning Questions
So, what are the First and Caleb? Boyfriend and Asexual Incorporeal Beingfriend?

What is Caleb, anyway?

Was it just my delightfully perverse imagination, or was Faith seriously checking out the "woman-sized" Dawn?

Where was Anya and her atrocious fashion sense?

Will Xander ever be able to go back to carpentry now, or will he have to settle for piracy?

The Immoral of the Story
Inspirational Speeches are dangerous. You could lose an eye.

Overall Rating
Just a delightful ep all around. I give it a kumquat/kiwi split with a side of purple on the Non Sequitur Scale.

[> What's with the header, H? -- HonorH (not a squib), 15:36:33 04/16/03 Wed

[> [> You're always insisting on getting credit, so I thought I'd give you some. -- Honorificus (Who Will Own The Body Someday), 15:37:53 04/16/03 Wed

Happy now?

[> [> [> Own it? What are you subletting or something? -- devilish, who owns her host, 15:49:29 04/16/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> It's a matter of great debate. -- Honorificus (Who Wins All), 16:09:58 04/16/03 Wed

War, one might even say. I will make it decisive, but the Insipid One is surprisingly tenacious.

In your dreams, Auntie Entity.

Oh, so now you've got a color?

Matches my eyes.

Whatever. Buy me some shoes.

[> "I'm absolutely certain Cal Worthington is a demon" -- Masq, 15:51:00 04/16/03 Wed

Some of us figured that out as children/polyps/pups/guppies

[> [> Re: "I'm absolutely certain Cal Worthington is a demon" -- leslie, 16:05:36 04/16/03 Wed

My parents lived in LA in the late '50's, when my father was in the Navy. When I first came out here, I had taped something off of late night tv, complete with commercials, to send to them, and my mother's response was "My god, Cal Worthington is still alive???"

You notice he has a different "dog Spot" each time? I think he's offering them up as some kind of sacrifice, possibly to The First.

[> [> [> And his dog spot! -- The First Evil, 16:15:32 04/16/03 Wed

The man is ubiquitous, like all good evils. He popped up in the midwest, and in Houston. Poor little early-60's-L.A.- born Masq could not escape him. Or his dog spot.

I wonder if anyone has ever tried to sue him for animal mis- use???

[> Re: "Dirty Girls": The Semi-Evil Review - - Alison, 15:52:55 04/16/03 Wed

one quibble: just rewatched the battle scene, and Chao-Ahn isn't dead..some random un-named potential is.
Oh well- theres always next episode....

[> [> And I coulda sworn the second was Vi, not Molly -- Finn Mac Cool, 16:12:21 04/16/03 Wed

[> [> [> nope... it WAS Molly- but Vi seems to have picked up Chloe's disapearing trick... -- Alison, 16:14:52 04/16/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> She picked a good week for it. -- Shiraz, 13:55:34 04/17/03 Thu

[> [> [> And... -- devilish, delighting in the pain of others but not her shoes, 16:15:47 04/16/03 Wed

doesn't Rona have a broken arm. And didn;t she watch that happen with like a deer-caught-in-headlights look? Delicious.

[> [> [> I thought Vi was the one who got killed by the Turok- Hahn -- KdS, 06:03:25 04/17/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> No, that was Annabel. -- Honorificus (The Always- Correct One), 07:13:35 04/17/03 Thu

Annabel=bad accent
Vi=bad hat

See the difference?

[> [> [> [> [> Perhaps Vi=Dinner :D :D ????? -- Sophomorica, who was thoughtlessly not fed this morning, 07:51:50 04/17/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> Oh, in that case Vi has a really awful accent as well -- KdS, 07:57:38 04/17/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> Oh, no. Vi doesn't have an accent. She's American! -- Honorificus (The Truly Evil), 13:12:35 04/17/03 Thu

[> Now that's not very nice.... -- Nitz the Bloody, 16:38:03 04/16/03 Wed

>>Andrew not getting killed. Again.

What do you have against poor little Andrew? In my opinion, he's the cast's best addition since Spike got his chip....a guy who's gone beyond being the extra-geeky third man of the Nerd Trio to one of the funniest Scoobies, and the only young male of the gang whose personality can't be described as masculine...

[> [> What's wrong with Andrew, you ask? -- Honorificus (The Nerd-Eater), 17:33:32 04/16/03 Wed

Too squeamish to be evil, too loopy to be good, too fashion- challenged to look at. What's to love?

HonorH's disclaimer: The above views belong only to my Psychotic-Yet-Boring Alter-Ego. Personally, I agree with you: the little nit is fun.

[> [> [> Nerd-eater devour thyself :D -- Nitz the Bloody, 21:19:58 04/16/03 Wed

And all the things above are why I love Andrew so. But he would have looked pretty bad-ass in his black jumpsuit and leather duster without the " Deer in Headlights " expression Tom Lenk grants him...

[> Safety announcement: It's all fun and games until... -- cougar, 16:57:41 04/16/03 Wed

A good carpenter always wears saftey glasses!

as for:

"Will Xander ever be able to go back to carpentry now, or will he have to settle for piracy?"

"The Immoral of the Story
Inspirational Speeches are dangerous. You could lose an eye.'

Kudos H-Beast, on two of the most poignent lines of the season!

[> [> And do you know what it becomes then? -- Shiraz, 14:18:30 04/17/03 Thu



[> [> [> Shiver me timbers! -- cougar, 16:10:59 04/17/03 Thu

[> Re: "Dirty Girls": The Semi-Evil Review - - Sophomorica, chewing on wafers, 18:38:09 04/16/03 Wed

Was it me, or did the pillow fight bring back memories of the pillow fight in Fellini's movie "8 ‡"? Seems to me, in the part where Fellini is in that house with all his ex- lovers, there was a pillow fight. Not sure where that fits in since Xander has had only two lovers? Which begs the question, did Xander and Faith-in-Buffy's-body do it? I thought they only flirted. Speaking of Xander and women, in the scene with the two SIT's trying to make it with Xander (that is, just prior to the pillow fight), did anybody else think there should have been three women? Sort of like Dracula's three bitches?

I adored Faith in this ep!!!!!! She and Spike together with the flip-flopped good/bad roles thing was terrific. She and Spike sitting in bed together looking cute and making Buffy jealous was even better. Faith could eat Spike up, though. Yummy!

I thought Buffy looked cute this week.

Caleb. Gah. Who played him? He sounded like Gary Oldman in "The Fifth Element"? I think Sophie asked this earlier.... Sheeesh, I'll never find it in this messs...gah! You'd think someone half as intelligent as her could sort her files into folders. But no, she puts all her files ñ thousands of them, no less ñ in ONE FOLDER! Nevermind. I'll just delete a few...

Oh and, last thing, Honorie, you omitted southern accents from the bad list.

[> [> Caleb -- luna, 18:53:37 04/16/03 Wed

is Captain Mal from Firefly, Nathan Fillion. He looked A LOT better as a space cowboy. And maybe acted better too? Well, not always.

[> [> [> Re: Caleb -- Methodica, 20:27:09 04/16/03 Wed

I though he was pretty good in this ep. Not going to go on about how much im p$$$# about firyefly being canceled though.

[> [> [> [> Pretty &%^$#*(6! myself! -- luna, 06:36:56 04/17/03 Thu

[> I thought about Honorificus the minute Faith said that! -- luna, 18:45:43 04/16/03 Wed

I think ME DOES read your posts--and they should!

[> Fashion quibble -- ponygoyle, 08:36:15 04/17/03 Thu

Not meaning to question your wisdom my roguishly vogue-ish one, but you liked Dawn's skirt? Ack! As Spike points out the schoolgirl thing is done done done, even Britney put it away years ago. That and Buffy's chest-flattening complexion-sallowing jacket were enough to make me gouge out my eyes. Fortunately they grow back on commercial breaks.

My burning question: who's going to foot the cleaning bill for all those wine-soaked outfits? Red wine stains - now those are evil!

[> [> I thought it was saucy. -- Honorificus (The Saucy- And-Sweet One), 08:51:44 04/17/03 Thu

Truly, I did. Note how short the skirt was, exposing Dawn's rather shapely legs. Now, had it been Willow with her chicken legs, then I'd have gouged out my own eyes. Fortunately, it wasn't. Besides, it was worth it just for Faith scoping her out.

Wolfram: The Compound -- Kenny, 15:55:06 04/16/03 Wed

Well, I was minding my own business, studying chemistry, ignoring all things Buffy/Angel, and my textbook has to go and ruin it for me. In the chapter on transition metal chemistry it mentions a compound called Wolframite, also known as Wolfram (now known as tungsten). So of course I had to do some investigating.

From dictionary.com: a heavy gray-white metallic element. Also, generally of a brownish or grayish black color.

Gray-white, grayish black, hmmm. Could it be that Wolfram and Hart wasn't as evil as we were lead to believe? Are they more interested in balance (dagnabit, there's that word again). Were there indications early on that they were more interested in beige Angel, and not necessarily Angelus? Need season 2 on DVD now.

Sorry to interrupt the "Dirty Girls" discussion. Back to studying for me.

[> Re: Wolfram: The Compound -- Wolfhowl3, 19:29:40 04/16/03 Wed

To answer your question, Wolfram & Hart was always much more interested in extra spicy Angelus then in boring plain old Angel with soul sauce.

From their point of view, in the coming Apolicups, (I know I spelled that wrong, please forgive me), the victor would pretty much be the side that Angel was on. (or so it would seem).


[> Wolfram -- KdS, 06:06:05 04/17/03 Thu

Tungsten also has the highest melting point of any of the "classic" metals, so I think it's always been mildly associated with hellfire.

[> [> Wolfram & Hart -- Anneth, 13:29:27 04/17/03 Thu

Wolfram, and possibly also Hart, is the author of a famous legal ethics textbook.

Is it just me or... -- Alison, 16:50:52 04/16/03 Wed

is the second girl who pops up Xander's dream Shannon, the one who Caleb stabbed? Xander called her Colleen, but I thought she looked similar, at the very least.
And in that case, the dream gets all the more interesting.

[> I can't tell them apart, honestly. (spoilers for DG here & above) -- Solitude1056, 17:37:08 04/16/03 Wed

[> And they seemed to be wearing entirely too much lip gloss -- deeva, 19:15:01 04/16/03 Wed

Who wears that much going into battle? And I couldn't keep track of who they were. Too many girls.

[> [> Maybe it's Maybelline. ;o) -- Rob, 19:16:59 04/16/03 Wed

[> [> [> What's a little lip gloss--remember Buffy fighting in those short skirts? -- Dariel, 21:07:47 04/16/03 Wed

[> No-- (spoilers, Dirty Girls) -- Dyna, 08:15:58 04/17/03 Thu

That was Molly who got stabbed. (Aww, Molly! I had just gotten used to her accent and everything!) The girls Xander talked to in his initial dream were new ones whom we haven't seen before.

[> [> I may be the only one -- ponygirl, 11:14:36 04/17/03 Thu

But I actually liked Molly. I found the accent and weird fashion sense endearing. I'm going to further risk my credibility by adding that I kind of think Vi's hat is funny/cute. I know I am the only on that last point.

[> [> [> Re: I may be the only one -- SugarTherapy, 11:35:25 04/17/03 Thu

I liked Molly too! She was my favorite. Why couldn't they kill Rona? I mean, um, I in no way dislike Rona... lol.. nope, not at all...

And I agree about Vi.


[> [> Re: No-- (spoilers, Dirty Girls) -- Alison, 14:32:06 04/17/03 Thu

I meant the one that was branded and stabbed in the beginning of the ep.

Happy Pesach! -- Rob (severely Seder-deprived due to bronchitis and a fever), 16:57:32 04/16/03 Wed

[> Feel better, Rob! -- Masq, 17:06:25 04/16/03 Wed

[> Re: Happy Pesach! Hope you're better soon, Rob! -- aliera, 17:10:37 04/16/03 Wed

[> Happy Pesach! -- Sara, 18:35:21 04/16/03 Wed

Just finished my Seder which went remarkably well! My matzah balls fluffed up and the eggplant mock chopped liver was a hit with my vegetarian guests. Good Yom Tov to all! Hope you feel better quickly! Are you getting a second shot at it tomorrow?

- Sara

[> [> Thanks, guys! And, yes, Sara, I should be going to one tomorrow... -- Rob, 19:13:12 04/16/03 Wed

I've been on antibiotics now for 48 hours, so with any luck I'll be well enough to go to my cousin's seder tomorrow night. But so glad to hear yours went so well!


Question concerning Dawn -- Metron, 19:41:52 04/16/03 Wed

I'm not sure if this has been covered before, and I'd appreciate a link if so, but the question that popped into my head today was - Does Dawn have a soul?

Well, she started out as energy right? So...is that energy what makes up her soul? Or was a soul called when the body was created. Or is she just a personality without a soul?

::scratches my head::

I'm think I just confused meself!

[> I think so. -- HonorH, 21:17:27 04/16/03 Wed

However she was created, Dawn is human. She doesn't act like a soulless being. ME has made it very clear that having a soul matters, and Dawn obviously has a conscience and a moral compass. Now, when that happened is a mystery. Either the Key itself was a living being--they called it "living energy", and my pet theory is that it had a kind of sentience all its own--or, by combining the Key with human DNA, it gained a human soul. How do humans get their souls, for that matter?

[> [> Maybe our DNA holds our souls, too. -- WickedBuffy, 21:42:37 04/16/03 Wed

[> [> hearts and souls -- cougar, 22:06:43 04/16/03 Wed

Well the monk called her "an innocent".

The soul could be seen as our link to the collective unconscious, which is deep in every human. But since souless Spike was able to deeply identify with the archetype of the hero, he seemed plugged in already, and he had a dream that revealed to his consious mind his love for Buffy so he was not removed from the mind of "man".

Maybe the soul he got was like the tinmans heart.

MUCH better than "Shiny Happy People" (Spoilers and Personal Opinion for Angel 4.19 "Magic Bullet") -- Finn Mac Cool, 20:33:34 04/16/03 Wed

"Magic Bullet" was a far better episode than "Shiny Happy People". While SHP tried to be funny and suspensful, "Magic Bullet" actually WAS funny and suspensful.

The Good:

The beginning (so perky! literally Laugh Out Loud!)

Lorne (even in SHP he was funny; enchantment only makes his funny bone stronger).

Jasmine leading people up to her room (creepy, icky, and with the great line "I ate them").

Paranoid guy (he was hilarious! By far the most entertaining of all the brainwashed people, "The implants are still in my head, they just don't bother me anymore" "Do you want me to stay here?").

Open mike night (LOL! Sign language girl, biker guy, and the Angel-Connor duet! LOL!)

Jasmine's minions searching out Fred (totally creepy).

The evil midget demon was weird, but funny (reminded me a little of the vamps in SHP, one of that episode's few funny moments).

Connor (the revelation about life in Quortoth was great and unexpected, as were his lines "You ruin everything!" and "Cool").

Fred's curing of Angel (excellent use of slow motion bullets).

All in all, worlds above "Shiny Happy People". On my personal scale (range Fair, Good, Very Good, Great, Excellent), I'd give "Magic Bullet" either a Very Good or a Great (compared to SHP's Fair). Here's hoping for more eps like this.

P.S. I KNEW Jasime was evil!

[> Also like to add to that... (Magic Bullet spoiler) -- Rob, 21:28:38 04/16/03 Wed

...how cool Fred's idea was to shoot Jasmine and Angel with the same bullet. One of the coolest moments on the show ever, I think.


[> [> Been there, done that... (Magic Bullet spoiler) -- CW, 22:53:06 04/16/03 Wed

We've had 'wound one to get the ultimate target on the other side' before. Don't you remember Kate killing the vampire baddy of the week by jamming a board all the way through Angel to get to the evil one's heart. Even though Kate wasn't really intent on skewering Angel, it's the same idea. Still, it was a nice visual.

[> [> [> I don't count that the same way, because... (Magic Bullet spoiler) -- Rob, 23:07:51 04/16/03 Wed

...the key thing here was the idea that in order to blend the blood, she could shoot the bullet through Jasmine and then through Angel to create the mix. It wasn't the go through one person to reach your intended target that I thought was so cool, but the fact that Fred was able to, in one motion, spill Jasmine's blood and have it enter Angel's body.


[> [> [> [> That was a VERY powerful little gun. Can one that size from that distance really do that? -- WickedNRA, 21:00:06 04/17/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> yup. & wasn't it lucky... -- anom, 11:42:04 04/18/03 Fri

...that Angel was standing behind Jasmine in a spot where Fred's bullet could go through both of them? I love how Fred figured the whole thing out, but she couldn't count on any of the AI'ers being in the right position to let her carry out her plan.

[> Re: Cartman's handpuppet was taken over by a con who poses as JLo -- Jay, 21:44:45 04/16/03 Wed

And what a premise! A con artist handpuppet steals JLo's life and career, and no one notices but JLo.

I love you Ben, you almost make me forget about tacos.

[> [> ... and Jasmine sings "Biker-flavored Kisses" -- WickedM.Damon, 22:18:32 04/16/03 Wed

[> Even before she was born...(Spoilers Magic Bullet) -- Arethusa, 08:01:29 04/17/03 Thu

she was evil. But she still seems to want people to be happy-or will we find out next week that that's a lie too, that she only wanted to be human to experience life? Or maybe she had to leave her dimension for some reason, like Glory. I'm rather sorry they had her be so overtly evil. It switches the delimma from choosing free will or individuality to choosing to live or be eaten, a much less difficult and interesting choice.

[> [> more overtness (spoilers magic bullet) -- anom, 11:30:18 04/18/03 Fri

"I'm rather sorry they had her be so overtly evil."

Me too, & actually, I'm kinda sorry they were so blatant w/the maggot-face. I'd rather they had her look just as beautiful & let Fred & the others have to figure out her evilness based on her actions or the wrongness of her mind control, or let them still perceive her visual beauty but react w/disgust to what comes across to others as her love & peace vibe. (Yes, I know--it's that vibe that causes the perception, so I suppose that couldn't work...I guess I'll let 'em get away w/it, 'cause they've done the "evil but beautiful" thing before.)

[> Best Bit . . . -- J, 08:13:12 04/18/03 Fri

. . . was Lorne singing "Freddie's Dead." I laughed for a full minute.

So, y'all STILL think Buffy is a hero? -- WickedBuffy (IMHO), 21:21:54 04/16/03 Wed

I still don't.
Less and less, in fact. Even after reading months of essays here that she "is".
Superhero, maybe - as in fantasy lit.
Hero in this reality though? No way.
Xander, yah.
If Kennedy gets back in the fray after her latest experience - she's getting close to hero in my book, too.
Fred? Gunn? ayup.
But I figure it's comparing apple to oranges anyway.
Technically - she's a superhero. Grudgingly.
I don't think she's much of a leader, which is probably why Slayers usually are loners. And why it works better that way. But having super powers doesn't necessarily mean you are automatically a great leader. (Unless one of your super powers was leadership - which Giles hasn't mentioned as a slayer trait.)

Why do I keep feeling like Buffy was an accident? ;>

[> Yep, I do. For reasons see Xander's speech in DG - - ponygirl, 07:35:11 04/17/03 Thu

[> [> and that speech was the last straw, for me. -- WickedBuffy, 20:30:51 04/17/03 Thu

Xanders speech didn't sound like it was describing Buffy to me - is sounded more like anyone else EXCEPT Buffy.

And then she cries? cause it's all about her? wow - nice she is able to show some tears about something even if it is about a speech about herself. Someone most likely has the number of times Buffy has cried (along with the number of times she's had Spike, changed her haircolor or insulted Anya.), when was the last time she cried and what was it about?

She appears to have turned the Scoobie into a cult, though, so I guess kudos to her for that.

Xander sounded like he accidentally got a piece of script from this weeks Angel - the dialogue sounded perilously close to a Shiny Person mantra.

[> Dear Gentle Viewer -- Spike Lover, 11:57:22 04/17/03 Thu

Is Buffy heroic? Does she possess heroic traits?

Like all humans, I would officially say: Yes, at times.

When things are at their worst, she is willing to sacrifice whatever to save whoever (the world who knows nothing about her and could care less.)

I would not make the argument that in every season, she has made the ultimate heroic sacrifice, but in Season 5 she did.

In Season 2, when she sent Angel to Hell after he had been re-souled, whom she desperately still loved, she did act heroically.

There are other examples.

What the writers are doing, in order to keep it interesting and so that watching Bufftvs does not turn into an episode of the A-Team, is give the character some very real flaws.

Those flaws, and I have pointed them out many times and have been attacked on the board for it, are very worrisome and unheroic. In fact, you could say that all of last season was about Buffy being unheroic- particularly with her sorry treatment of Spike.

So, now we are into season 7 and Buffy (you are correct) may be shaky on the leadership skills. Her officers are mutining among themselves, and she is barely hanging on- and the worst part of it is she does not know what is coming.

Do I think she will jump in a car and leave the wantabes with Faith and the gang and high tail it out of there? NO. I think she will stay and face the FE and death again. I think that when she finds out what it takes to put everything back in balance, even if it means her own death, then she will do it.

The whole idea of the slayer is a heroic figure. She never volunteered to be a savior; she was chosen. She can not get out of the gig alive. It will kill her. Everyone knows this. And she bravely accepts this and faces it. She complains, she rebels, she gets on her high horse, she has rebel sex, she talks down to people, but in the end, she never shirks her duty, but accepts and embraces her fate. This is heroic in my opinion.

[> [> yay! see, *you* should be writing the inspirational speeches! -- Alison, 14:36:23 04/17/03 Thu

[> [> Gentle viewer responds (spoilers through "Dirty Girls") -- Katrina, 15:35:05 04/17/03 Thu

As far as I'm concerned, Buffy can have an SM relationship with anyone and everyone and that has nothing to do with heroism. (Although this season, when she seems particularly grim and humorless, does happen to be the first season in ages when she's not getting any. Hey, I'm just the messenger, here; not drawing any conclusions). And I know what you're saying, but I also know what WickedBuffy's saying.

Of course Buffy has given her life to save the world, which is pretty much by definition wildly heroic. But she's not the great all-mighty hero she seems to think she is this season. She hasn't been saving the world single-handedly, really, ever. She's always had key support from the other characters, physically in battle, and in finding out how to defeat threats, without which she wouldn't have prevailed. It seems like Buffy the character, and the writers of the show, have forgotten all about that. For the sake of reductio ad absurdem, even Harmony -- Harmony! -- actually gave her life to help save Sunnydale from the Mayor. She didn't intend to, but she did. And there wasn't anybody to bring her back from the dead, or even find a paperweight to re-ensoul her with. So she was a hero too, without getting any credit for it.

It's odd, considering that Buffy's a fictional character, but I almost feel guilty about the way I'm reacting to her this season. When Faith made the crack about not knowing Buffy was so cool, it was a positive joy to have her there not treating Buffy with all awe and reverence. I actually felt like, thank God there's someone there to take her down a peg. (Not that it worked). What a horrible thing to think about a character that I've really loved and empathized with for a long time! But felt it I did.

What I can't figure out is whether the writers intend us to agree with the idea that Buffy's the great moral arbiter or not. The narrative seems to be showing us cracks in Buffy's "Because I say so and I'm the Slayer" attitude, but there isn't a lot of time left for her to "hug and cry and learn and grow." Personally, I'm hoping for some kind of turnaround in the last episodes, because when I started seeing the show, I thought, wow, if only this had been on when I was a teenager, low on female role models. Here were young people fighting the evils of the world with wit and style, being irreverent and fun and managing to do fabulously good deeds. Now it kind of seems like a show about a hero who's been beaten down by life and the pressure of trying to do good. And what kind of message is that to send? It might be "realistic" in one way, but in another, it's not. Everyone doesn't get beaten down by life, even a hard life.

The only thing I can think is that this season is showing us what happens when a Slayer's around too long -- as if there's a reason why they're young girls and they die young. Because when they're young, they have energy and creativity and are ready to face apocalypses with their hands on their hips (see first few seasons). But if they live too long, they get tired and jaded and become self-righteous (see last few seasons). That seems like a horrible theme to me -- but it seems like what's going on.

[> [> [> "Re: The Progressively Changing Message" or "Buffy on Adult Life Suckage" -- AngelVSAngelus, 16:17:43 04/17/03 Thu

Its interesting to see where the two differently motivated roads of the two shows converge, Angel from the older end of the spectrum backward and Buffy from younger forward.
I've had a sensation building since after season four that REALLY culminated in season six and might offer insight into the biggest reason (because heavy handedness and loss of metaphoric ambiguity were others) that I didn't like last year: darkness. Despair. Hopeless feelings, insurmountable odds that just keep on coming, tawdry relationships that aren't based on love and only hurt. I've known from the beginning that the show was about growing up, and I DID grow up with these characters, having been at the end of middle school when they were freshmen.
Now I'm twenty, and things are actually looking 'light-at- the-end-of-the-tunnel'ish, but I've had a LONG period of darkness that involves all the elements I just described, and I guess it just hits too far home that they progressively delve into more jaded, cynical, beaten-and- hardened territory. I feel like the dynamic idealism/optimism/activism vibe and action that I had going on a couple of years ago has been slowly and surely whittled down and obliterated by everything from geopolitics as they stand today to my cold (read: emotionless), deceitful and manipulative ex girlfriend temporarily making me hate a friend (by lying to me about his having raped her), sleeping with my other friend, and taking my friendship completely and totally for granted.
I don't know... I suppose this middling rave is TRYING to say darkness I don't mind, but when the show offers no hope, when the show brings its characters to a point of total entropy resulting from mundane things of everyday life, it becomes a little too personal. I STILL love the show. But that love is tainted by a grim disposition I always find myself feeling after having seen an episode. I sit and I simultaneously think about their and my high school days of lighter (but still dark and painful)times, though I'd rather not travel back to them.
For some reason, with Angel its different. I think its because its been consistantly so grim from the very beginning.

[> [> [> Agree with you completely, Katrina -- Rahael, 17:24:57 04/17/03 Thu

[> [> [> Wind beneath her wings? (spoilers through "Dirty Girls") -- Sophist, 17:25:29 04/17/03 Thu

But she's not the great all-mighty hero she seems to think she is this season.

I don't agree that Buffy thinks this. Giles is the one who has pushed this "it's all on you Buffy" attitude. I'd be curious what passages you have in mind when you say Buffy is the one with this attitude.

She hasn't been saving the world single-handedly, really, ever. She's always had key support from the other characters, physically in battle, and in finding out how to defeat threats, without which she wouldn't have prevailed. It seems like Buffy the character, and the writers of the show, have forgotten all about that.

I can't imagine Buffy would deny this. She certainly has shown that she continues to rely on her friends. In DG alone, she expressly told Wood that she wanted him on her side and told Willow (yet again) how much she relied on her to protect those who weren't ready yet. She relied on both Willow and Xander at the key moment in Showtime, called Xander for help in Lessons, etc. Far from forgetting about her friends, I think Buffy is desperate to have them do more (Get it Done).

What I can't figure out is whether the writers intend us to agree with the idea that Buffy's the great moral arbiter or not.

I personally don't understand the argument here. As a practical matter, Buffy was right in Selfless: she is the law. No one else can decide for her. I will note that when the WC existed, an argument could have been made for separating 2 functions. The WC could decide what to do and the slayer could carry out the orders. In the absence of the WC, Buffy has no choice but to make these calls herself. And I haven't noticed a great cry to bring back the WC.....

Now it kind of seems like a show about a hero who's been beaten down by life and the pressure of trying to do good. And what kind of message is that to send? It might be "realistic" in one way, but in another, it's not. Everyone doesn't get beaten down by life, even a hard life.

I think it's premature to say that this is the message. After all, what would have been the message of S2 if the season had ended after Passion? Of S5 after Spiral? Every season so far has taken the characters to the depths before they learn the relevant lesson. Whatever the lesson is to be in S7, it hasn't happened yet.

The following 2 comments seem inconsistent to me:

What a horrible thing to think about a character that I've really loved and empathized with for a long time!

But if they live too long, they get tired and jaded and become self-righteous (see last few seasons).

We've seen many episodes in S7 involving compassionate Buffy. LMPTM ended with such a scene. So did Showtime. So did STSP. She has many times shown compassion to Spike (far too many for some viewers). It strikes me as fairly remarkable that she can show such compassion despite being forced to carry most of the fighting burden all by herself.

[> [> [> [> Great comments. Totally agree -- Artemis, 18:43:49 04/17/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> about Spike - is it compassion or codependence? -- WickedAdler (I vote the latter), 20:50:22 04/17/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> Agree...very well said! -- s'kat, 22:36:18 04/17/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> Another perspective (possible spoilers through DG) -- MaeveRigan, 12:07:48 04/18/03 Fri

Regarding the troubling state of Buffy's character, consider this possibility: Seasons 6 and 7 may be conceived as a single long arc with the "Oh, grow up" theme announced for season 6 still in effect.

The usual pattern for a BtVS season is that in the first one or two episodes Buffy feels a little out-of-sync with the slayer-ness and/or with the Scoobies, but everything's fine by episode two. Classic examples: 4.1 "The Freshman", or 3.1 "Anne"/3.2 "Dead Man's Party, or 2.1 "When She Was Bad." You get the idea. Season 6, painful as it was, was like one long first episode--it took that long for Buffy to begin to reconnect with the reality of her life and mission.

In 6.11 "Gone" Buffy finally realizes that she doesn't want to be dead again (halfway through the season). In 6.17 "Normal Again" she rejects a fantasy world where she could be "normal" and chooses to save her friends. And finally, in 6.22 "Grave," she's gained enough perspective to be able to laugh at herself with Giles, and to weep for joy at the prospect of living on in the world that had seemed so "cold, bright and hard" to her at first.

This is the oversimplified version, of course.

But if season 6 represents the process Buffy usually goes through in one or two episodes in a "normal" BtVS season, then it makes sense that season seven would be the remainder of that "oh, grow up" arc, not just for Buffy, but for all of the Scoobies (including Spike). They spent season six fighting their "inner" demons or vices, represented by the all-too-human Troika of Nerd-doom, and now they're learning to use their virtues?


[> [> [> [> You said everything I wanted to, and probably said it better :) -- SugarTherapy, 13:51:08 04/18/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> one point in dispute -- norms, 15:51:48 04/20/03 Sun

Sophist wrote:
As a practical matter, Buffy was right in Selfless: she is the law

No, she is the law enforcer, the law comes from the whole "protect and serve" angle, the only "law" demons must follow is don't threaten humanity, with a certain amount of leeway because when you think about it any life on this planet can have a determental(sp?) influence on any other.

"I am the law" is not a statement you here from anyone with a good hold on reality, it's a statement you might get from a corrupt cop who takes no responiblity for anyone but themself, who is using the powers granted to them for thier own gratification instead of there intended purpose of protection the community.

Now that I think about it that sums Buffy up pretty good dosen't it. ;)

[> [> [> [> [> ayup - it sums her up pretty well, Norms!! -- WickedBuffy, 18:32:26 04/20/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> In a word, no. -- Sophist, 19:13:07 04/20/03 Sun

No, she is the law enforcer, the law comes from the whole "protect and serve" angle, the only "law" demons must follow is don't threaten humanity, with a certain amount of leeway

Assuming you've stated the law correctly (and I think your summary is incomplete), you've left out the key point: it's Buffy who decides the "leeway". She, and she alone, has to make the interpretations that constitute the practical enforcement of the law.

It's no different than the US Constitution. Yeah, it's there in writing. But as a practical matter the law is what the Supreme Court says it is because that's what gets enforced.

[> [> [> [> Wonderful responses, Sophist! -- Rob, 07:21:18 04/21/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> I'm working on my honorary pompom merit badge. -- Sophist, 08:30:39 04/21/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> And you may just get it, too! -- Rob, 11:07:58 04/21/03 Mon

You earn major, major points for your Kennedy-loveage. Even I'm not a good enough fan to do that! Although, keep in mind, minor points will have to be deducted from your overall score for your sixth-season reservations. lol

Again, though, really great responses. Exactly what I would have liked to have said...if I actually had the patience to start defending Buffy again. I wanted to, but I've done it so many times before, I usually just ignore anti-Buffy (the character) posts now, because it takes too much effort to come up with good examples to back up your arguments. But you did! And I completely agree with you. I think Buffy, as the Slayer and guardian of the Hellmouth, has more than earned the right to not always be in a happy, chipper mood while defending the world from unspeakable evil and torment!

[> [> [> I agree 110% with all that, Katrina. -- WickedEcho, 20:45:24 04/17/03 Thu

[> [> [> Or maybe when an actress has been the star of a tv show for too long? -- Spike Lover, 11:29:27 04/18/03 Fri

[> [> [> Or maybe it's all about getting to that age-- -- Silky, 17:22:59 04/18/03 Fri

and maybe I am the only one who felt this-- of about 21-22 when the identity crisis years are ending and the reality that life isn't going to turn out to be so great and easy just because you are 'grown up' and the reality that responsibility for your life is all yours and it is a shock and a weight at first. Then, we adjust and get on with it.

But life, and people and events, *can* eventually beat you down - even if it takes another 30 years...

[> [> [> She will be a hero though, by the end. -- manwitch, 21:24:55 04/19/03 Sat

But the season's not over. How you feel about Buffy now is not how you're going to end up feeling about her. We're in the middle. I think the writers intend you to feel this way. The season has an arc to it, and in that story, Buffy must overcome her ego. So the writers must first emphasize and articulate the problem that ego is.

Buffy is not at her best right now. And we are supposed to feel uncomfortable with it and unsure of what she's doing.

But in a couple of weeks, she will figuer it out, that her ego is the problem, that she is not the law, that she is not even the chosen one. The First Evil will ultimately be defeated by a mind boggling act of selflessness, love and compassion. And it will be the most heroic thing Buffy has ever done.

Well, now you know my opinion anyways.

[> [> [> [> Re: She will be a hero though, by the end. -- aliera, 05:32:15 04/20/03 Sun

Agree. The feeling right now does remind me a bit of the lead in to the Gift, in a smaller way the lead in to Becoming, but Buffy was smaller then(in their minutae much different of course). There's that same feeling of being overwhelmed by events after a series of such which can either crush the hero(s) or push them to find something more.

[> [> [> [> [> We all can be heros, in the end. :> -- WickedBuffy, 14:16:06 04/20/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> Good point -- Spike Lover, 11:54:42 04/21/03 Mon

"She is not even the Chosen One."

Good point. Her time may be over. She may just be a 'holder oner'.

[> [> Scoobies Plus are heroic figures, also. -- WickedEqualOpportunityArguer, 20:43:16 04/17/03 Thu

"I think she will stay and face the FE and death again. I think that when she finds out what it takes to put everything back in balance, even if it means her own death, then she will do it."

So would Xander and Willow and GIles. Maybe even more. It's not just Buffy.

"The whole idea of the slayer is a heroic figure. She never volunteered to be a savior; she was chosen."

Superhero. And the other Scoobies weren't even chosen, they volunteer over and over again. They all know that most of them won't make it, they admit it outloud - and they accept it and haven't abandoned ship. They don't complain as much, they don't rebel as much, (umm, I don't understand what type of sex a person has to do with this discussion though, LOL)

(Umm about shirking "her duty" - who is defining what her duty is? She refused the demon infusion, which the Shadowmen said was her duty to take.)

I'm not saying Buffy isn't a superhero - I'm wondering why the absence of recognition.equal time for the other heros.

[> [> [> I apologize -- Spike Lover, 12:21:19 04/18/03 Fri

I have focused my heroic arguement too narrowly. I agree. The SG HAVE VOLUNTEERED. They have risked their lives. And many of them do not have 'super-powers'.

They have their gifts and talents and they have willingly joined the fight. That is heroic. (I like this because even Spike is included in this definition.)

Again, the culmination of Season 5.

And perhaps Season 6 showcased what a 'regular Joe' could do that a superhero could not.

I suppose, I should stop here, but I will say, that the SG can always walk away ( or run). But the slayer can not. (See Faith in prison and recent ep with Faith in Angel.)

Anyway, I apologize.


P.S. I don't care what kind of sex anyone has on BTVS, but I wish Spike were having more right now. :)

[> [> [> [> Yer 5 by 5 in my book, ILS! -- WickedBuffy, 21:07:03 04/18/03 Fri

[> Letters to and from Gentle Viewer -- Vesica, 05:46:05 04/21/03 Mon

Is Buffy heroic?
I too would have to answer Yes but this question is missing the main point. Are Buffyís heroic quandaries interesting?? Her killing Angel ñ yes, there were so many issues about love and loss here that this was an amazing plot line. Her sacrificing herself to save the world (again) ñ fascinating to see how she struggled to define her new role as sister and protector in a non-Slayer sense.

The only thing I can think is that this season is showing us what happens when a Slayer's around too long -- as if there's a reason why they're young girls and they die young.
The past two seasons have also given us glimpses of why Buffy is so unusual as Slayers go. Bad guys have commented time and again, even the Watcherís Council made a point of pondering Buffy and her friends . No other Slayer had a normal life and a Slayerís duty to balance. But as the seasons have gone on these two roles have gotten more and more unbalanced. Last season (S6) was the ëReal life is scarier than any monster seasoní. My fellow twentysomethings and I were like ëWe know adulthood sucksÖWhy Is Joss torturing us like this??í. After we weaned ourselves off the Prozac we realized that Buffy focusing entirely on the human/life problems is really boring.

This season (S7) I am quickly realizing that a slayer whoís ëall about the missioní is really boring too. I am among the bloodthirsty throng waiting for Buffy to get taken down a notch or 8. Yes, she knows her death is immanent. But does she have to act dead now, acting as if emotions are something that happens to someone elseÖ.Yes we have had a bit of emoting here and there but it never rings true for me. It seems Buffy is reacting to some version of events that are happening entirely inside her own head and that her motivations and feelings are not meant for the eyes of us devotees glued to our screens.

[> [> If she really senses that this is the end for her... -- Spike Lover, 12:04:31 04/21/03 Mon

Wouldn't she be out there living it up? Shouldn't the tension of 'waiting' for the gunfight at high noon be weighing on her? Shouldn't she be acting out? Drinking heavy, riding Spike? Perhaps fighting desperately with her friends, Watcher, and sister, and Spike to get more emotional distance (they say people do this when they know a big exit is coming.)

I get the sense that she thinks that everyone else may die, but damn it, she will still make it thru. I don't know. As usual, I have a hard time pinpointing exactly how she feels.

(I really hope Wesley shows up w/ Angel to resolve the season. I think I really need some 'ends justify the means', and by the way, I am really, REALLY missing Lilah. I need my bad girl sex fix.)

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