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The virtue of Hope (spoilers up to Magic Bullet) -- lunasea, 11:09:41 04/17/03 Thu

Hope. It was one of my favorite Greek myths when I was younger (the others were Psyche and Orpheus). Pandora gets that beautiful box and last to leave was hope. Was it a blessing or a curse? Sometimes it seems like the only thing that gets me through the day and other times it has caused me to stay in a bad situation.

It is one of the Christian virtues, along with faith and love/charity. Before I continue, I would like to share what the Catechism of the Catholic Church is on the theological virtues and specifically hope. I will do faith on a separate post for Caleb.

1813. "The theological virtues are the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character. They inform and give life to all the moral virtues. They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children and of meriting eternal life. They are the pledge of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the faculties of the human being. There are three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity.[Cf. 1 Cor 13:13 .] "

1818. "The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men's activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity. "

Take hope out of theology and away from God and it still lives in the breasts of Man. It is faith, hope and love/charity that makes us Men worthy of being called Men. Joss has the soul as the moral compass, a simple switch that goes from good to evil. In Catholicism, that compass is the virtues.

1803. A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.

1804. "Human virtues are firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual perfections of intellect and will that govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They make possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life. The virtuous man is he who freely practices the good.
The moral virtues are acquired by human effort. They are the fruit and seed of morally good acts; they dispose all the powers of the human being for communion with divine love. "

1805. "Four virtues play a pivotal role and accordingly are called 'cardinal'; all the others are grouped around them. They are: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. 'If anyone loves righteousness, (Wisdom's) labors are virtues; for she teaches temperance and prudence, justice, and courage.'[Wis 8:7 .] These virtues are praised under other names in many passages of Scripture."

sect 1806-1809 are more specific about the Cardinal virtues.

1810. "Human virtues acquired by education, by deliberate acts and by a perseverance ever-renewed in repeated efforts are purified and elevated by divine grace. With God's help, they forge character and give facility in the practice of the good. The virtuous man is happy to practice them. "

1811. "It is not easy for man, wounded by sin, to maintain moral balance. Christ's gift of salvation offers us the grace necessary to persevere in the pursuit of the virtues. Everyone should always ask for this grace of light and strength, frequent the sacraments, cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and follow his calls to love what is good and shun evil. "

The only place I see the Buffyverse disagreeing with this is that they come from God and that divine grace elevates them. Take all the God stuff out and empower humans to act in His place and I donít see a lot of disagreement about the importance of the virtues in the Buffyverse.

This post explores the virtue of hope with regards to Jasmine. The best definition I have seen of it is hope is faith which looks forward. We canít see what is forward, so hope is a double-edged sword. In Catholic theology, this hope is in Godís promises, so there is no risk of being let down. In the secular world, hope is in secular things that can let us down. Still, it is hope that lets us take risks.

Jasmine gives LA a ìutopian wonderland.î How? We have had two episodes with her. The first was her interacting with the AI gang. The second was her interacting with the people. Sure she is casting some serious mojo on everyone, but in the Buffyverse that is a metaphor for something. In those interactions we should be able to see what that is.

Jasmine tells people what they want to hear, whether it is that their unborn child will be fine or that their mustache looks ok. In that she gives them hope. She says the one thing that Angel wants to hear most, that evil can be banished and that he will be able to be happy one day (the equivalent to the kingdom of heaven for him).

This hope is what creates the utopian wonderland that we see at the beginning of the episode. Why act in a negative manner, when you are infused with hope? The conspiracy guy still has his implants, but he doesnít care. He isnít going to act in a negative manner to protect himself from the governmentís intrusion of his privacy. He isnít worried about them hurting him. Let them listen in. He will beam them Jasmineís love.

Angel and Connor sing Mandy, but have not only changed the name of the song, but the lyrics. It is no longer about lost love and it being the singerís fault. Instead is it about the hope she has brought them. Hope has changed Angelís world. As the catechism reads ìhope responds to the aspiration to happiness.î It shows, especially with Angel, since he is the one who isnít allowed to be happy normally. There is little difference in Lorne. The change in Wesley is about as dramatic as Angel. Gunn is somewhere in the middle, where Fred used to be.

People are no longer concerned with the same things they used to be. Conspiracy guy doesnít mind his implants any more. These things that tend to consume people are because we donít have hope, so we latch onto something to try and find that hope. We may be powerless, but at least we know we are. That is something, isnít it? Angel doesnít have all the questions he used to. Those questions were his search for hope. He found it. He doesnít need them any more.

At the beginning is a very telling scene between the AI team as they are discussing Fred. Angel says that Fred gets to live until they figure out why Fred rejected Jasmineís love. As I was writing my post of faith, hope and love yesterday, I figured out that Jasmine is going to be hope without love, just as Caleb is faith without love. Not quite the all- benevolent figure I would have hoped for, but it leaves me a story to write.

The AI team is confusing hope with love. Jasmine isnít love. If she was, she couldnít eat people, let alone so cheerfully. With this action we get a contrast to Angel. Angel cannot feed, because of his soul, because of his humanity, because of love. Jasmine being able to feed shows how she is devoid of this. When Angel is infected, she has no problem turning her back on him. He is now dead to her. At least Angel checked up on Connor from time to time. Jasmine is straight hope. That is all she gives to people. Her actions seem to be love because they make people happy.

This season, both on Angel (with hope) and on Buffy (with faith) the theme is the importance of love. As JM said, the season finale is going to make us love more. Hasnít Angel and Buffy always done this? It has for me a least, especially the finales.

Jasmineís blood is the antidote to the spell she casts. Hope is an attitude. It is about happiness. It is a virtue, but it isnít real. Jasmineís blood is real. It is life. It breaks the illusion that people are under that all you need is hope. That is the important part to Jasmine and why she is so dangerous. People are confusing her gift of hope with love. Since her gift isnít infused with love, it is pretty empty. The utopia wonderland is built on only needing hope. Everything is going to be great.

What happens when things arenít great? The deaf lady wants to explode Fredís brain. Angel and company want to find her and kill her. Without love, people are willing to do anything to protect their fragile hope. The conspiracy guy asks Jasmine what she wants to do, if she wants him to stay there. He is willing to gladly die in the fire, if hope says so.

Iím still trying to figure out the reason for the Connor- Angel scene in the sewer. The only thing I can come up with is that it shows why Connor is so messed up, which we already knew. It shows how little love he received growing up. This is why Connor doesnít mind hope without love. He really doesnít know what love is. He may have it in him somewhere, as evidenced by what Darla said in ìInside Out,î but he doesnít even know what it looks like. Angelís dad may have been inadequate, but he did have a mom and he did know love with Buffy. He knows that true happiness comes from true love.

Jasmine is corporal, but not used to being so. When she does the circle to find Fred, she gets burned, like the guy who she was seeing through. It is the hand that is touching her father that receives the effects. Her biological link to what she has poured herself into. Also her motherís blood has the same effect as her own on people. Her fatherís blood probably does, too, which makes Connor immune.

Everything is connected, another theme of this season. Jasmine is linked with her biological parents. She links first with her Apostles at AI and later with her disciples all over LA. It is part of becoming corporal. Willow can do similar things. As hope removes the barriers that humans normally put up, the Apostles become in tune with the needs of the Jasminites staying at the hotel.

This is a bit more than drugs or addiction, things addressed in the Buffyverse before. It is the power of hope. It created all those Jasminites and a utopian wonderland. Canít compare to the power of love. Of these three, love is the greatest.

[> Disagree -- Anneth, 13:04:34 04/17/03 Thu

The Oxford English Dictionary defines hope thusly: "a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Archaic: a feeling of trust."

I disagree with you that Jasmine represents "hope without love" - or that she represents hope at all. Hope is the belief that, no matter how terrible things are presently, they can and will improve. It is inherently forward- thinking. What Jasmine represents is the ignorant bliss of the totally present-minded. She dos not offer hope, she overwhelms it, removes it.

[> [> What Jasmine says in Shiny Happy People -- lunasea, 13:36:43 04/17/03 Thu

When Jasmine first sees the gang she tells them that they have been "drowning in the fight and the pain." She tells them that they are going to change the world. They don't go totally present minded. They go out into the streets and kick demon butt in order to make a better tomorrow. She offers the AI team the hope that they can make a difference. Wes doesn't drop to his knees until this point.

She gives Connor the hope that he wasn't created for evil. That has been his number one issue. Instead he was the miracle Jasmine arranged.

Lorne says she was created to bring light back to the world. More hope, especially in light of what happened this season.

She gives them hope that Cordy will wake up, if they rid the world of evil.

The man who attacks her is full of fear and anger. That is what you get when you lose hope, fear and anger.

Then there is the talk with Angel outside. First part, he is afraid that he can't control himself, that he would have killed that guy if Jasmine hadn't stopped him. Angel's real fear is that he will feel happy and then Angelus will come out and play. Then he will beat up people, everybody. Jasmine gives Angel hope that this won't happen. All evil, including the evil that is in Angel, will be banished. Talk about giving Angel hope. She said the kingdom of god is possible, even for Angel, who had pretty much given up that hope this season.

Jasmine re-energizes AI not by giging them the ignorant bliss of the total present-minded. She gave them back their hope in not only a better tomorrow, but a utopian wonderland. "There will be no doubt, no worry, no fear. For you will know you cannot be beaten."

That is what Jasmine offers, that utopian wonderland. That is the future, that is hope.

Hope without love is that maggot face though.

[> [> [> Still completely disagree. (spoilers for SHP) -- Solitude1056, 17:09:50 04/17/03 Thu

Jasmine is not offering hope; she is offering definites. She tells AI that in the future, they will win all their contests. She tells Conor he's the hero he'd always secretly hoped he was, and she reassures AI that Cordy is somewhere happy and wonderful and blah blah blah. Hope would be if Jasmine promised them, "things will get better, I promise, there's a chance things aren't going to turn out half as bad as you feared." Reassurance, or assurance, or confirmation, or definites, are when you tell someone: this is GOING to happen. This is The Way Things Are Now (And Will Continue To Be).

Jasmine isn't even remotely offering hope, and Anneth is completely right that Jasmine's maneuvering to keep everyone in a present-good, future-forgeddaboutit state of mind. See, when you've got hope (meaning the odds are greater that things will 'turn out'), then you very much are forward- facing. But when you've got what, for all intents and purposes, appears to be a god-like being that's telling you that A, B, C, and D are so and will continue to be so and things are good from here on out... why bother with the future? Why worry about it, why hope for it, why stress over it? Jasmine's here, she's going to take care of everything. (This is why no one's panicking that Cordy hasn't woken up already, for instance.)

When you know the forty-freakin-second-cavalry is coming over the hill this very minute, why think about the future? Victory is assured, so hope (and anxiety, for that matter) are completely irrelevant.

[> [> [> [> Re: Still completely disagree. (spoilers for Magic Bullet) -- lunasea, 18:35:10 04/17/03 Thu

Not familiar with the Christian virtue of hope, are you?

1817. "Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. 'Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.'[Heb 10:23 .] 'The Holy Spirit . . . he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.'[Titus 3:6-7 .]"

Sounds like what you described as Jasmine doing.

Another example of hope was in Magic Bullet when Gunn asks Wesley if they will be chosen to go upstairs. Wesley answers if they are lucky. Sounds like forward thinking to me.

And Jasmine isn't taking care of anything, the gang at AI is. They are the ones killing the demons. They are the ones that are taking care of the Jasminites. They are doing this for that better tomorrow.

[> [> [> [> [> I was going to reply, and then I realized, I could care less.. -- Solitude1056, 19:37:09 04/17/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Still completely disagree. (spoilers for Magic Bullet) -- WickedBuffy, 22:08:37 04/17/03 Thu

I need to disagree, also. They are very much "in the moment" lol, which in some groups is a very desireable goal.

They believe Jasmine has taken care of everything and have given up their free will and lives and everything else to her. I don't see hope as a intregal part of this at all. They live in the moment for Jasmine and whatever Jasmine desires in that moment.

(Up until the bullet hit) Angel isn't hoping to be happy without turning into Angelus - he IS happy and he's NOT turning into Angelus. The only plotting about the future that could be going on is in Jasmines mind. (It is nice to see some beings are stronger than Angels curse, though. But that's a whole other issue - is she stronger than the curse or is Angel not really happy, it's all Jasmines spell. Which then brings up the dream when they were trying to bring Angelus back, *that* worked.)

Jasmine isn't saying "Believe in me and you will be taken care of". Her effect on people is instant with no work or hope involved. No waiting. No time to "hope" since it's become irrelevant - because Jasmine already took care of everything by the spell she casts that gives them immediate euphoria. (Was "Ecstasy" the other name Joss considered for her name when creating the character?) ;>

The bookstore owner had been obssessed and paranoid - which is about the future and what might happen. After hearing Jasmine, he wasn't. He wasn't working on being content, he was content. Present tense.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Book store guy. (spoilers for Magic Bullet) -- lunasea, 08:27:53 04/18/03 Fri

I watched Magic Bullet again last night. Jeff Bell did an amazing job at taking us into a conspiracy theorist's worst nightmare. From the opening scene to the moment Connor turned them in, everything was something a conspiracy theorist worries about (the demon was representative of big business out to get us). It was brilliant.

But the book store guy was still looking at the future. He told Fred not to worry, that Jasmine's love would reach the government. He still saw the government as MK ultra bastards. He still considered them "the man." He just had hope that the "wo-man" would change them like she had him. He is still very forward thinking.

I think the problem is that hope is typically given with words and actions. Jasmine infuses instant hope into people, so it looks like a drug. She isn't creating lotus eaters. At the beginning of Magic Bullet, people were still going about their lives. The Jasminites in the hotel aren't the only ones that are affected. Book store guy still went to his job. If it was euphoria and people felt taken care of, we would have lotus eaters.

It can't just be euphoria. If it was, Angelus would be around and Angel couldn't stop it (unless because Willow did the curse, there is no vengeance clause). It is something else that is causing that euphoria. That something is what ME is now exploring. Stopping at euphoria is like stopping at Magick as drugs last season. It misses another level of the story.

If Jasmine isn't hope, than what is she? What is she using to create the euphoria in people? What does she offer? ME doesn't just send out happy vibes. That is a metaphor for something.

As for free will, I had a thought this morning. If a guy sees a pretty girl and is willing to do things for her, does that give up his free will? Does Jasmine cast a spell that turns people into meat puppets or is it something else?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Book store guy. (spoilers for Magic Bullet) -- MaeveRigan, 08:54:27 04/18/03 Fri

Another detail that I think supports luna's theory is that the Jasminites at the hotel are being fed--with desserts. Cake, pastries, sweets. All delicious, but ultimately, empty calories. It symbolizes the ultimate "Let them eat cake!" Food that tastes good, but can't sustain, hope that feels good, but leads to either stagnation and decay (symbolized by Jasmine's maggot face seen by those who are disenchanted), or being devoured.

[> Re: The virtue of Hope (spoilers up to Magic Bullet) -- RichardX1, 19:09:12 04/17/03 Thu

It seems to me that Jasmine's version of hope is, for lack of a better term, "lazy hope". Why should we do anything? Jasmine's gonna make it all better.

True hope is being a part of the solution, rather than waiting for it to come along. Getting up and doing something, knowing that your actions will effect the changes you want/need.

When challenging the Secular Humanists, Christian speakers/writers sometimes take objection to the now-classic phrase "God helps those who help themselves," because they claim it promotes reliance on self over reliance on God. I, on the other hand, always took it to mean, "God's gonna solve your problems, but God wants you to be an active part of it, not just sit back and stagnate when God could be helping you to grow as a person." You know, the difference between expecting God to miraculously cure your cancer vs. expecting God to lead you to the best doctors and then God making sure they do what needs to be done.

I think I went off on a tangent here... my point is, hope can be a good thing, but only when you act on it instead of blindly assuming everything will fix itself.

[> [> Lazy/empty hope -- lunasea, 09:15:50 04/18/03 Fri

I agree with what you said about active hope. I was taught that God will fulfill His promises, but He does that through us, so we better do our part. Also, He will fulfill them in ways we don't expect (much as Angel's desires get met in ways he doesn't expect).

It reminds me of the joke about a man in a flood. The river behind his house is starting to creep near his house. An Army Guard person comes by to take him to safety. The man declines saying that God will look out for him. The Army guy goes away. The water begins to rise. The man climbs to his second floor. A boat comes by to take him to safety. The man declines saying that God will look out for him. The boat goes away. The water keeps rising. The man climbs on his roof. A helicopter comes by to take him to safety. The man declines saying that God will look out for him. The helicopter goes away. The water continues to rise and the man drowns. When the guy gets to heaven he asks God "Why didn't you look out for me?" God answers "I sent the Army Guard, a boat and a helicopter. What more do you want?"

That is exactly what Jasmine's hope is lazy or empty, just like those cakes that people are eating. That is the whole point. Hope that isn't infused with love/charity is meaningless. Hope is great. It isn't a Christian virtue for nothing. However "of these three, love is the greatest." What you said isn't a tangent. It is the message.

In people where love/charity is already high, like the AI gang, they are doing things, like taking care of the Jasminites (I love that Angel, the one with the biggest heart, is the one that figured out that is what they needed to do). The "People who need people" was cute too. Life is still going on in the city. People are being nicer to each other. Ice Cream guy gave ice cream to the kids. Lorne is making sure people are entertained. Even bookstore guy is beaming up Jasmine's love to their satelites. They are designing a web site to get the message out. There are actions that are happening to make utopia a reality. Jasmine really isn't doing much of anything. AI is.

Jasmine gives people hope, period. That was something AI really needed. The dispair of Angel and Connor is what brought Jasmine into the world. AI already had the love, so that hope just mingled with the love and we get SHP where they are kicking demon butt, making a difference, being part of the solution.

But that love isn't something Jasmine can give people. People who are already lazy are coming to the hotel and are ending up snacks. They think that paying homage to Jasmine is the best thing they can do. St. Paul was writing 1 Corinthians to these sort of people.

Jasmine doesn't give people what it takes to make a real utopian wonderland, love.

The song at the beginning was great. I was raised on the Beach Boys. It isn't just about a nice happy place. The end goes:

Maybe if we think and wish an hope and pray it might come true
Baby then there wouldn't be a single thing we couldn't do
We could be married
And then we'd be happy

Wouldn't it be nice

You know it seems the more we talk about it
It only makes it worse to live without it
But let's talk about it
Wouldn't it be nice.

[> [> [> Re: Lazy/empty hope -- RichardX1, 18:19:12 04/18/03 Fri

>>It reminds me of the joke about a man in a flood. The river behind his house is starting to creep near his house. An Army Guard person comes by to take him to safety. The man declines saying that God will look out for him. The Army guy goes away. The water begins to rise. The man climbs to his second floor. A boat comes by to take him to safety. The man declines saying that God will look out for him. The boat goes away. The water keeps rising. The man climbs on his roof. A helicopter comes by to take him to safety. The man declines saying that God will look out for him. The helicopter goes away. The water continues to rise and the man drowns. When the guy gets to heaven he asks God "Why didn't you look out for me?" God answers "I sent the Army Guard, a boat and a helicopter. What more do you want?"<<

One of my all time favorite jokes! I have Lewis Grizzard telling a version of that story on CD.

[> I see it more as faith than hope -- heywhynot, 07:42:45 04/18/03 Fri

I tend to think Jasmine is about faith in her than invoking hope in others. She tells people everything will be alright, to enoy living, be shiny happy people. There is no hope in anyone because there is no more pain, no more despair. She is the anti-First. Hope requires that there is a chance you will fail but you believe you will overcome the challenges that present themselves. With Faith you know things will turn out alright in the end, you know you will overcome, everything will be alright. Those under the bliss that Jasmine offers, have faith in her to make sure they are without pain, without doubt, without despair that they are happy. The First on the other hand is about despair, pain, doubt without the chance for happiness. Both take away hope in different ways. Humans normally have both, that allows them to go on, to explore, to challenge themselves, to learn. Give into despair and people are depressed & sometimes commit suicide to escape. When one is totally blissful, one is not seeing reality and does things without thinking of the consequences because in his/her mind there are none, like going off with some strange woman blissfully, who then in turns eats you.

[> [> Not secular hope -- lunasea, 09:39:59 04/18/03 Fri

I quoted the Catechism so much because I am getting into some fairly heavy theological concepts. I will do faith when I do Caleb. In the Christian virtue of hope, there is no chance you will fail. God made a promise and He will keep His word. Hope is faith looking forward. Forward will be taken care of, because God said so. The Kingdom will be yours. This will make you happy.

Quickly put,

1814. "Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself.

1817. "Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Faith is I believe what God has said. Hope is more about the happiness those promises bring. Faith: God exists and has done/promised X. Hope: X will happen and it will make me happy.

The more I write, the more I see how Caleb and Jasmine relate to this. Caleb is faith alone, no hope, no love. Jasmine is hope alone, no love.

Jasmine makes people happy, because this is what hope does.

Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long one. Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end. St. Teresa of Avila, Exclamaciones del alma a Dios 15:3.

I am dealing with these concepts on a theological level, not Webster's or Oxford's. Perhaps that is where the disagreements are stemming from.

[> [> [> Re: Not secular hope -- heywhynot, 15:00:05 04/18/03 Fri

1817. "Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.

But the Jasmine followers do not desire happiness in any form because they are blissfully happy. Desire implies wanting something you don't have. Jasmine is delivering hapiness now. Her believers are not forward looking, the kingdom of peace has arrived. They don't question the future because it doesn't matter, they are enthralled with the bliss that they are feeling in the here and now. In the Catechism sense they have faith in Jasmine. They believe in all that Jasmine has said and in her. Nothing else matters because they are happy. Desire is gone, pain is gone, despair is gone.

[> [> I totally agree, heywhynot&whatagreatname! (still spoilerish) -- WickedBuffy, 09:58:26 04/18/03 Fri

Hope is about wanting something - "it's not here yet, but I am focused on the positive that it will be at some point." There is a kind of low-grade yearning infused in it.

Faith is right now. You have it. (Or don't have it or kinda have it.) Present tense. I've heard people say "I hope someday I will have as much faith as you do." Never heard anyone say "I faith someday I will have as much hope as you do."

Some groups believe "hope" is like wishing and try to eradicate it from their lives.

But, umm anyway ... lunasea mentioned looking for the metaphors. One that keeps popping up has to do with blood.

Jasmines blood mingled with most anyone will undo the hold she has over them. Jasmine calls the people who aren't her followers as being "infected". The whole thing sounds more like a disease than a spell. Reversed.

Jasmine's followers are the healthy ones. The others (like the AIs) are the sick ones. And it's a fatal disease. So far the disease's main symptoms include seeing Jasmine as maggotybad instead of shinyhappy. Losing the euphoria and faith. One way we know of for becoming infected is mingling her blood with your blood. There must be at least one other way - as shown by the first man who tried to destroy her. The demony issue is still up in the air, though.

But it also seems that people have to actually see or hear Jasmine in order to become a follower. As each AI saw her, they became ones. As Jasmine started her media blitz on radio and "Good Morning, LA", she was able to reach thousands more. The bookstore man told Fred he had been all messed up until he had heard Jasmine on the radio. (Have no idea about pictures in the newspapers - though television is just pictures, too. So maybe paper media works as well.)

Would a deaf AND blind person be affected? Maybe only if she touched them - though it's been hard to tell if touch transmits Jasminitus. (The deaf woman wanting to kill Fred must have seen Jasmine.)

geez, look at how long this got. anyone still reading? ;>

[> [> [> oops! Add "magic bullet" to that disease metaphor, please. -- WickedPhysician, 10:45:09 04/18/03 Fri

[> Re: The virtue of Hope (spoilers up to Magic Bullet) -- LadyStarlight, 09:22:44 04/18/03 Fri

After reading through this thread, it strikes me that the people who are affected by Jasmine are behaving much like toddlers/preschoolers -- Mommy/Daddy will make everything better and take care of me.

Not really hope, more like blind faith in a parent's abilities.

[> [> Re: The virtue of Hope (spoilers up to Magic Bullet) -- lunasea, 10:12:05 04/18/03 Fri

That isn't theological faith though. I am not using Webster's or Oxford's definitions. The whole thing revolves around 1 Corinthians 13. I am using the meanings those words have in that context.

Faith is I believe there is a Mommy and Daddy and they don't lie to me. Faith is I should do what Mommy and Daddy tell me. Hope is that if I do what Mommy and Daddy tell me, I will be happy. Faith is there is a heaven. Hope is that I will get into it and be happy then.

The Jasminites are happy. This is more than faith. Faith doesn't make one happy. It makes one obedient. "By faith man freely commits his entire self to God." The happy comes from hope. It "responds to the aspiration of happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man." That is why people are confusing Jasmine with some happy drug.

Caleb is faith alone, no love, no hope.

[> [> [> Definition of Hope varies (spoilers up to Magic Bullet) -- WickedBuffy, 10:43:01 04/18/03 Fri

For some reason, each thing you use to support the Faith/Hope idea immediately rings a little bell in my head and switches the words around to not fit that theory. ;>

"Faith is there is a heaven. Hope is that I will get into it and be happy then. "

Faith is there is a heaven. Hope is there is a heaven. Hope is that I will get into it and be happy then. Faith is that I will get into it and be happy then. "

See? I think the main difference in my thinking from yours is where you cited that hope is a sure thing. I'd never heard that before - to me hope is more wishlike. I'm pulling from a variety of more eclectic sources than you have, is all.

(PS I'm not at all doubting it says that about hope in the references you mentioned. From that specific stance, it makes more sense. Just that it's never been in my definition and is why I have been posting the points I've been posting. :>

[> [> [> [> Re: Definition of Hope varies (spoilers up to Magic Bullet) -- lunasea, 13:29:56 04/18/03 Fri

That is why I have relied heavily on the Catechism for this thread. It is a fairly deep theological concept that people tend to lump together as "faith". Doubting God is not a virtue in theology. Hope isn't going to have that as part of it in theology.

Another way to express it is: belief, motivation and action

Not so theological then.

[> A Question -- Wisewoman, 12:09:01 04/18/03 Fri

I'm curious. I accept that early on in your appreciation of BtVS you characterized Angel and Buffy as having a "perfect" love, being representations of love themselves, and having great hearts.

Now we have a season where you can interpret the guest villains on BtVS and AtS as faith and hope. Obviously this thread is an indication that there is a fair bit of opposition to your characterization of Jasmine as the representation of Christian hope, as you define it with reference to Corinthians.

Most people think of the trilogy of virtues as "faith, hope, and charity" but it's simple enough to reinterpret charity as love. That makes a neat bundle that you can relate to the chief characters in both shows at this time.

So, here's my question: Do you believe that Joss really set out to portray these characters as faith, hope, and love, according to Biblical Corinthians, or are you saying that it's a coincidence that you happened to latch on to, that serves your analysis?

If you believe that Joss has set this up deliberately, I'm curious as to why you think that.

[> [> Re: A Question -- lunasea, 14:02:55 04/18/03 Fri

First, I am not using my definitions. I have heavily relied on the Catechism for this thread. I am trying to explore these theological concepts almost from a secular view. Use the theological definitions, but remove God.

I think I have come up with another trilogy that is more secular: belief, motivation, action. Faith is the belief. Hope is the motivation. Love/Charity (pretty much synonyms in theology) is that action. That is why faith/belief and hope/motivation are nothing without love/action. The whole point of faith and hope is to get us to action.

As for whether Joss is specifically using Corinthians, I doubt it. As Lorne said, "it is the greatest story ever." Joss is telling the same story that is in The Book. The main character of the New Testament is God's love. The main character of Buffy is Buffy's heart. The main character of Angel is Angel's heart. Buffy and Angel are just the vessels that contain those hearts (much as Jasmine is the vessel for hope).

Why does Corinthians correspond to this season? Because it is 5 years after the Christian community has been set up and it is starting to fall apart. After 7 seasons, that is the part of the story that is left. What happens when the love is overwhelmed by other things? He isn't going to take his champions too far into the dark, so he creates villians to explore this.

Angel has been about motivation. He vascilates between hope and dispair. Buffy has been about belief. She vascilates between believing in her calling and rebelling against it. What brings them both back to faith and hope is love. When telling the story of love, faith and hope figure heavily.

When I read that particular chapter of Corinthians, it just resonated with me. It seemed to me to be what Joss is doing on both shows this season, put rather well and succiently. I don't think he is using it for his model, but at this point in the story, that is what he is doing. It isn't a "coincidence," more like that is where in the story he is. It is the same story.

Joss says "the story is god." If A=B, then B=A. God is the story.

Just got tired of the angry atheist contingency saying that Joss is pushing his atheist agenda. I was just showing how Joss' story is compatible with what is in the Bible. I was also trying to explore these concepts in as much depth as Joss is doing so this season. It is Christian theologians that explore these concepts, so it was Christian theologians I was using.

There is one line that people seem to split along when it comes to the show. Angel/Spike is just part of this. What it is is what is the main theme of the show. Is it about individuality or is it about love/charity? Those who appreciate the individuality component tend to be Spike fans. Those who appreciate the love part are more Angel fans, since that is what the two characters are mainly about.

I quoted this earlier "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."

Buffy and Angel are about the totality of being human, what that means and what responsibilities that entails. Some latch onto the individualism and some the love. Both are there. What resonates is up to the viewer.

We will have to see what final message Joss leaves us with to see which he thinks is the greater.

The true problem w/ Cordy: a Firefly in her belly - - Spike Lover, 11:27:10 04/17/03 Thu

Just saying that suddenly having the two mains from Firefly on Angel/ Buffy hurt my suspension of disbelief. (Jasmine is not so bad.)

Dislike the country preacher wearing the Anglican collar.

Things I liked in the newest Buffy ep:

The "Spike-Dru" moment, when Spike grabs Buff by the hand and says, "We are going!"

The conversation between Faith & Spike in basement.

Things I had questions marks about...

1) Chasing a vampire thru the graveyard? At this point?
2) Failing to tell Buff what is happening with Angel's gang?
3) Xander is NOT (imo) 'the one that sees things.' He is the one that FEELS things. The guy he wanted must have been Giles.
4) A priest with that kind of unpolished accent?

Regarding Angel:

I have new respect for Fred. Bravo.

Question marks: Not certain why they had the green demon thing in there.

General question: On Angel, they have a god that is preaching love. (Possibly scary to some of us Christians out here in viewing land.)

THen on Buff, you have Caleb the renegade priest talking about sin, original sin, and the sinfulness of women.

What are the writers saying about Christian doctrine, or are they saying anything?

Hope everyone has a nice Passover or Easter or Sunday out there.


[> Re: The true problem w/ Cordy: a Firefly in her belly -- grifter, 14:34:01 04/17/03 Thu


*1) Chasing a vampire thru the graveyard? At this point?*

Well, she still has a job to do, protecting the city, FE or not...also, what¥s she supposed to do? Sit around listening to the Potentials bicker?

*2) Failing to tell Buff what is happening with Angel's gang?*

They probably didn¥t want to spoil people who haven¥t seen Angel s4 yet. For example, here where I live, they air Buffy s7 at the same time as Angel s3...

*3) Xander is NOT (imo) 'the one that sees things.' He is the one that FEELS things. The guy he wanted must have been Giles.*

Xander himself stated that he is the one who sees things in "Potential". Giles is as blind to everything going on around him as he could be at the moment.

*4) A priest with that kind of unpolished accent?*



*I have new respect for Fred. Bravo.*

Go Fred! Finally my favorite character gets something to do again!

*Not certain why they had the green demon thing in there.*

Me neither. Didn¥t find him to funny. Though the "No monkey- business"-line made me crack.

[> Couple of things... (spoilerish) -- WickedBuffy, 21:34:51 04/17/03 Thu

"3) Xander is NOT (imo) 'the one that sees things.'"

Maybe a setup for the later scene with the eyepoking. It reminded me of when Xander was the pirate for Halloween and wore the eyepatch. Could be for future dialogue setups for Caleb and scripture quotin'. "Eye for an eye" umm that one about if your eye somethingsomething, pluck it out or whatever. (I'm mangling the Bible, sorry - there are all kinds of eye quotes, though)

"Question marks: Not certain why they had the green demon thing in there."

I thought he was there to set up future information. Such as some demons (maybe a lot?) aren't affected by Jasmine just as some humans aren't. (Talking about the non-mixed blood ones)

Also, I didn't think he was referring to Wolfram & Hart as the place he was a high level executive at. My sense it was just some demon conglomerate (you know how some demons are very organized and business-like). Maybe Jasmine coming into being has edged out other evils - like a huge hostile takeover. (Am I making this sound like it makes sense, yet?) Anyway - what about a future AIs/Unshiny Demons temporary alliance to overthrow Jasmine? Maybe demons who eat humans are invulnerable to Jasmine - which would explain Lorne. Something to do with blood. There is a very noticeable absence of demons in the hotel eating cake with the other Jasminites. Where are they all and what are they doing while this goes on?

or, the worst scenerio - Fred is still laying on the cave floor, hallucinating all the events happening after that because of the poisonous bite! :>

[> [> Re: Couple of things... (spoilerish) -- grifter, 00:55:42 04/18/03 Fri

My guess is that Jasmine can control on whom her mojo works. From her tale in SHP you can guess that she¥s not too fond of demons, so instead of making them her minions she has them killed. Lorne on the other hand is so human-like that she wants to keep him. Or she needs him for something...

[> [> [> If that's true, grifter.... (spoilerish) -- WickedBuffy, 09:18:15 04/18/03 Fri

If that's true, then there IS a possibility that the demon faction will rise against her, dontcha think?

OT but fascinating -- OnM, 20:26:03 04/17/03 Thu

See for yourself at:


Words fail.


[> Thanks for this! -- AurraSing, 21:19:33 04/17/03 Thu

A Ukranian friend of mine introduced me to this art way back in high school. Fun and great for those with lots of patience...the colors are very intense and the eggs (raw) I made lasted for about 15 years,when an overexuberant little cousin ran into the table where they rested one Easter and wham!
I've seen eggs done in this style that were family heirlooms passed down from great-grandmothers and the attention to detail was remarkable. One of the few really fun memories I have of the pre-Easter season,since I was never too fond of Lent!!

[> [> Re: Thanks for this! -- Cactus Watcher, 06:06:21 04/18/03 Fri

A student of Ukrainian ancestry showed our Russian club in college how to make them one evening at a private home. I have no artistic talent, but even my clumsy effort came out attractive enough that I saved it. It lasted about twenty- five years.

[> Wow! But why didn't they print the actual original tale? -- WIckedBuffy, 21:38:41 04/17/03 Thu

I really would have loved to read it.

[> Re: OT but fascinating -- aliera, 08:54:57 04/18/03 Fri

OnM, aren't they beautiful...I worked with eggs one year after being inspired by pysanky but blew the eggs out and painted then shellacked them. My parents still have several, one of which was dyed with red cabbage first (a lovely violet) and then had a swirling design applied with black ink...this was the year I was in Reykjavik, so I used what was to hand. I was thinking about it again this year since we haven't done anything much to prepare...

Here's another site, with a lot more than I cut pasted:

http://www.ukrainianbookstore.com/1.0/pysankywriting/history .htm

Any Ukrainian receiving a pysanky emblazoned with a motif of the sun would know that good fortune was smiled upon him or her by the person bestowing the egg. Similarly, patters of storks, chickens, or roosters represent the fulfillment of wishes, specifically for fertility. Deer, horses, and rams are emblems for prosperity and wealth, and an endless wavy line symbolizes eternity. Love and charity are communicated on pysanky by a floral design, eternal youth by a fir tree (or any evergreen). Wolves' teeth indicate protection, and the lion, strength. Triangles, common on pysanky, stand for any trio: The elements of fire, wind, and water; mother, father, and child; or, after Christianity, the Holy Trinity. Cross-hatching and dots do not expressly have meaning but are used as design filler for border patterns. One of the most powerful symbols decorating pysanky is the circle. With no beginning and no end, the circle is regarded as impenetrable by evil, making is a potent symbol of protection. After the introduction of Christianity, pysanky often featured Christian symbols -- fish, crosses, dots (Mary's tears) and crowns of thorns.


In Carpathian Rus', where the hoary Carpathian Mountains gleam, and in Regnant [*derzhavnaya*] Rus' prior to her enslavement by a godless power, from time immemorial, during the days of Passion Week, one could hear from out of the mouths of devout women as they would go about preparing beautifully-painted, multi-coloured *"pysanky"* [Ukrainian- style Paschal eggs], the legend of the little Paschal egg.

Once upon a time, a poor peddler set off for market with a basket-full of eggs to sell. Along the way, he stumbled across a crowd, mocking a Man grown weak and staggering beneath an unbearable burden -- a wooden cross. He had been compelled to carry the cross, with which He could barely -- ever so barely -- ascend the hill whereon crucifixion upon that selfsame cross awaited Him.

Seeing the weakened Man bearing the heavy cross, the peddler left his basket at the edge of the road, and ran up to Him, in order to ease His difficult burthen. Returning to his basket, the peddler discovered that his eggs were covered- o'er with wondrous, brightly-coloured and beautifully- wrought designs.

The Man Who bore the cross was Christ; the peddler was Simon the Cyrenian (Matt. 27, 32), that is, an inhabitant of the city of Cyrene [in North Africa].

From that time on, eggs have become the symbol of the spiritual regeneration of the entire human race.

*Translated into English by G. Spruksts from the Russian text appearing in "Pravoslavnaya Rus'" ["Orthodox Rus'"], No. 7 (1556), 1/14 April 1996, p. 12. English-language translation copyright by The St. Stefan Of Perm' Guild, The Russian Cultural Heritage Society, and the Translator. All rights reserved.

http://home.merlin.mb.ca/~rfmorris/Featuring/Easter/Ukrainia nPysanky.html:

There are many legends surrounding the importance of the pysanka, or Ukrainian Easter egg. One in particular says that far away there is a very large and evil monster chained to a cliff. This monster has servants who travel the land counting how many pysanky have been made. Each year, if fewer eggs are made, the monster's chains are loosened, and there is more evil in the world. If ever there were no pysanky made, then the monster would be free to destroy the world. But in the years that pysanky are made in abundance, the monster's chains are held tight, and the powerful love and goodness that the pysanky bring is felt throughout the world, bringing peace and harmony to everyone.

[> [> Thank you, aliera! I love to hear the stories behind the beliefs. -- WickedBuffy, 10:01:27 04/18/03 Fri

[> [> Very cool! Thanks much for the extra background! :- ) -- OnM, 19:18:32 04/18/03 Fri

[> Re: OT but fascinating -- Alison, 09:54:41 04/18/03 Fri

Thank you for posting this. I have lived and traveled in Eastern Europe, and loved those eggs, but had no idea how they were made, and didn't know the legend behind them.

What does Joss have against... -- Masq, 06:45:15 04/18/03 Fri

First off, apologies for my site still being down, and chat with it. I'm still trying to get ahold of Liquidram.

Now, on to business. It's been a while since I did any work on the section of my site called "What Does Joss Have Against...", but I'm planning to update such neglected sections this summer (ah, the best laid plans...)

So I thought I'd kick that off by picking your brains. The discussion of Caleb and the stereotype or perversion of religion that he represents got me thinking about the general depiction of religion and spirituality on the shows.

So can anyone think of other examples on BtVS or AtS in which religion or spirituality were not shown in a particularly flattering light?

And, to be fair, can anyone think of examples in which religion or spirituality were shown in a flattering/fair light?


[> Beneath You -- luna, 07:18:07 04/18/03 Fri

Not quite sure where this goes, but in Beneath You, Buffy and Spike were in a church, and Spike drapes himself on a cross at the end of his sort-of soliloquy about himself.

[> Re: What does Joss have against... -- Cecilia, 07:43:10 04/18/03 Fri

I'm not real sure this qualifies but what about all the references to Wiccan spirituality? Revernce to the earth,nature that sort of thing. Really more discussed when Tara was on the show, I guess, and not the type of "church on Sundays" type of depiction of religion/spirituality, but a definite nod to it, I think.

Also many (small) references to Willow being Jewish.

[> religion -- Deacon, 07:54:40 04/18/03 Fri

In Nikki Stratrords book "Bite Me" she says:

"Many characters are defined by there spirituality, Tara is a peaceful wiccan who adheres to her religion and uses her powers only for good. Willow is jewish and who has said so on several occassions. Xander is Episcopalian. Angels has a thing for covents, and has waxed poeticly on his second season on how beautiful he thought they were. Dursilla was a devote chatholic before Angel Sired her. And most importantly the Cross, Symbol of christianity, litarly wards off evil and buffy is never seen without one"

[> Re: What does Joss have against... -- pilgrim, 08:07:55 04/18/03 Fri

What about the episode in AtS Season 1, where the boy is possessed by a demon, and Angel and Wes have to exorcise him? Angel and Wes go to a priest to work the exorcism, and we learn that the man was killed in working, successfully, an exorcism some time earlier. It appears to be a good thing, this power of the priest to rid the human body of the demon, and while it isn't only the religious who can perform the ritual (Wes, or is it Angel, dis-possesses the boy at the end of the episode), the ritual itself seems to be religious in nature. And we meet the old nun, who sees who Angel is and wishes him good luck, even if he is a vampire. Nice touch.

[> [> "I've Got You Under My Skin" - love that ep! -- Scroll, 16:13:41 04/18/03 Fri

This is one of the very few times religion is shown in a favourable light on either Buffy or Angel. While we've had some priests/nuns get eaten/killed on Buffy (I'm thinking "Pangs" and "Triangle"), IGYUMS shows the Catholic church actively fighting evil, even when faced with possible death.

And I really liked that nun. She was just so cool in the face of meeting the great Angelus, who'd once had a habit of eating nuns :) She wasn't fazed at all, she called his number when he tried to pass off as human. When I first submitted my poster profile to Masq, the nun was one of my choices as profile picture.

[> [> My question would be: What does Joss have against Wicca & Witchcraft?*L -- Briar Rose, 01:18:51 04/19/03 Sat

[> [> [> Can you expand on that, i.e., give examples from specific episodes -- Masq, 19:53:54 04/19/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> First off..... -- Briar Rose, 17:29:55 04/21/03 Mon

We have the stereotypical 'Wicked Witch' in "The Witch" where Amy's mom uses her powers to take out the cheerleaders and live her life through Amy.

Then we have the "Eagon" stereotype of Giles and Ethan bringing up a demon for amusement to their ultimate destruction. This does a good job of equating Bad children = Witches versus Good children = Christians (and in the Buffy- verse) and Watchers. While it is true that many people enter the alternative religions with no basis in how they work or ability to find balance in them, so they set off strings of really bad mojo - it is not an "always" kinda thing. Very rarely do they bring death and destruction to everyone they know.

When did Wicca become an alternate, generic term for Witchcraft? This is a big peeve of mine with the Joss-verse dictionary. I realize that it's a very perverted norm in RL as well, but I would think that someone at some time would have woken up Joss and the rest of the writers to the fact that Wicca is not the only branch of Witch craft around.

ME has always portrayed witches as being selfish, out of balance with the Universe and that each and every spell comes with a dire consequence. This is simply not true in any ideology outside of the Wiccan "Threefold Law" and even the Threefold Law has gray areas based on intent.

In Joss-verse - Magick is seen as a last resort (which is okay since it should be) and only done by someone who hasn't any other form of personal power left. This tied into the whole storyline of "poor, unempowered Willow becomes Uber- Bitch and becomes addicted to the magicks." Even Amy has been portrayed as being incapable of functioning without her powers to make up for some odd form of self-esteem issue. And that's been from her first introduction to the series, until the last we saw her taking out some vengance against Willow for out doing her in the Uber-Witch Bitch realm.

According to Joss-verse, spells are only okay when Giles uses them in a last ditch attempt at saving the world, however it has to be done with a clinical detachment that would negate the spells function in the real world. This is also shown with Angel's use of magick and the way that AtS treats magick in it's own story line.

I could go on and on! Each and every time Witch Craft and magick is brought up in the Joss-verse it is shown as dark, evil and uncontrollable and weilded by those who have issues with their own power and self-esteem. EXCEPT when it was shown with Tara.... But the whole character of Tara was still based in a woman of low self esteem and with major issues about her own power.

On the upside - the character of Tara was the first time that ME ever showed a "Good witch" character. She was able to heal and use Earth Magick to balance situations. Tara was concerned abot intent and outcome. She embodied the good sides of Wicca as well as the other branches of Witch craft. Yet even then ME slapped on that little perverseness of her almost killing the Scoobies by making them blind to deamons to save herself. It was like the old habits of portraying magick as bad and bordering on evil just had to slip in there no matter what they were saying on the whole.

Another small point of reality about magick and the roots of magick came out in the scenes with Willow and Giles at the beginning of season 7 at the coventry retreat.... But it was lost quickly as they causd Willow to lose control each and every time she tried to practice magick this season. It was back to "Magick is evil and to do magick causes evil outcomes." Yet again the need to use magick is seen as to empower the un-empowered and equates it to tying into an evil energy, which is why the FE can enter it so easily. Even the imagery of Willow going Black when she attempts any form of spell craft is alluding to magick being evil over all. We never see white light emanating from someone doing magick in the Joss-verse, it's always black, dark and unbalanced.

Overall - my only displeasure with BtVS has always been in their negation of all subjects magickal. That all magick is based in un-empowerment of the individual and in the recurring theme that all magick is based in darkness.

On a real life note that underscores my displeasure with the topic of magick/Witchcraft in the Joss-verse: It is telling to me that none of the best known and most trusted occult shops in LA have ever been consulted for reality checks by ME for either of these shows. I have asked at Psychic Eye, Panpies and Bodhi Tree as well as many other places that I am very familiar with and they have never been asked for advice, research, input, definitions, or even been contacted out of interest or courtesy by Joss, ME or anyone else known to be involved with a Mutant Enemy Production.

If they would have bothered to do any homework, they would have figured out that Witch does not in fact equate Wicca as a generality of any definition and would have known that what they were portraying Willow as was NOT Wicca nor should the term have been used so cavalierly. Willow was not Wiccan. Giles was not Wiccan. Amy was not Wiccan, nor was her Mother. Witches? Yes. But Tara and what little we saw of the Coven were the only ones who actually embodied Wiccan theology in their practice.

So not only is the continuing portrayal of magick in general out of balance and offensive, but the fact that ME has continued to denigrate Wicca in particular to the mass public is also offensive on a broader level. Even I, as a non-Wiccan Witch, have taken offence to that many times on beholf of the Wiccans out there being so maligned.

I would be happy to clarify anything, and may add to this later.

[> [> [> [> [> At risk of getting off on a tangent, (Orpheus, STSP spoilers) -- Anneth, 00:02:32 04/22/03 Tue

Each and every time Witch Craft and magick is brought up in the Joss-verse it is shown as dark, evil and uncontrollable and weilded by those who have issues with their own power and self-esteem. EXCEPT when it was shown with Tara....

I completely disagree with this statement. Yes, magic and witchcraft are often shown negatively - but not always. There are also examples of magic being used for light and goodness, beyond Tara. It seems that the implication is that magic, as such, is a neutral force and can be harnessed by anyone for either good or evil.

Magic is both a metaphore for Willow's empowerment - her growth and development as a woman - and for her human weaknesses. It's always worthwhile to take this fact into consideration when thinking about Willow and magic. Her journey revolves around her abilities, magic being the primary one. (Magic is such a basic part of her character these days that it can act without her knowledge or consent - STSP - no wonder she's concerned about it getting out of control.)

Willow has made an awful number of mistakes with magic, using it to try to control her situation, with consequences anywhere from bad to evil. (Bringing Buffy back to life, making Tara forget their fight, trying to make Buffy forget she'd been in heaven, even searching for Dawn in All the Way, searching out and killing Warren, trying to end the world... and that's just season 6!)

But she has also used it for good. Her three attempts (two successful) to reensoul Angelus. The protection spell she, Amy, and Michael try to create for Buffy's birthday, in S3. The amulets she concocts in I Only have Eyes for You. The ball of sunlight she attempts to create a few times in S5. Her attempt to magically move a vending machine to protect Tara in Hush.

You're correct in noting that most of Amy's appearances have involved her negative use of magic; however, as noted above, she did participate in the S3 protection spell.

We know almost nothing about Michael's magic-practices, beyond the S3 protection spell, so we have little way to determine what aspect of witchcraft he represented, if any.

Jenni Calendar was a self-described "techno-pagan" (or something like that; I can't remember exactly) and dabbled in witchcraft (it was she, after all, who figured out how to reensoul Angelus). Though she made mistakes, she was by no means a completely evil magic-practitioner.

Even Giles has used magic in a positive fashion. Yes, as a young man, he summoned a demon for kicks. And yes, that eventually came back to haunt him - literally. He paid for that indiscretion w/ strained relations with Jenni and the SG. More to the point, however, he used magic to "dose" Willow in an effort to save her from herself. It was not quite a last ditch effort, either; Xander's yellow crayon appeal was. Giles has also been protrayed using smaller magics positively. For instance, he attemtps to cast a truth spell on Spike (Something Blue) to learn what Spike knows about the Initiative. He calls forth some sort of oracular spirit in The Zeppo in an attempt to learn more about a dire prophecy. These are all non-negative uses of magic, and none are last-ditch efforts to end something. Nor are the spells "clinically detached from the real world" - they're responses to particular situations.

In Joss-verse - Magick is seen as a last resort (which is okay since it should be) and only done by someone who hasn't any other form of personal power left.

Again I disagree. See above.

Another small point of reality about magick and the roots of magick came out in the scenes with Willow and Giles at the beginning of season 7 at the coventry retreat.... But it was lost quickly as they causd Willow to lose control each and every time she tried to practice magick this season. It was back to "Magick is evil and to do magick causes evil outcomes." Yet again the need to use magick is seen as to empower the un-empowered and equates it to tying into an evil energy, which is why the FE can enter it so easily. Even the imagery of Willow going Black when she attempts any form of spell craft is alluding to magick being evil over all. We never see white light emanating from someone doing magick in the Joss-verse, it's always black, dark and unbalanced.

You seem to forget, magic is first and foremost a metaphore in the Jossverse. Willow begins to use magic to metaphorically illustrate that she is transitioning between childhood and adulthood. She becomes physically dark at the end of S6 as a reflection of her inner darkness; magic is the artistic device used to make that transition. Her early S7 fears about using magic basically stem from her inner uncertainties and insecurities; the bugaboos she has been battling since S1. The message isn't that "magic is evil;" it's that Willow is still growing as an adult and has not yet become fully confident in herself.

On a real life note that underscores my displeasure with the topic of magick/Witchcraft in the Joss-verse: It is telling to me that none of the best known and most trusted occult shops in LA have ever been consulted for reality checks by ME for either of these shows. I have asked at Psychic Eye, Panpies and Bodhi Tree as well as many other places that I am very familiar with and they have never been asked for advice, research, input, definitions, or even been contacted out of interest or courtesy by Joss, ME or anyone else known to be involved with a Mutant Enemy Production.

Because magic is mainly a metaphore for inner growth on the show, I don't feel the writers ought to be held to blame for not having researched Wicca or Witchcraft more carefully - if they haven't, which I don't think we can conclude. To begin with, they may have researched it exhaustively, but decided that what they learned didn't square with what they wanted to protray artistically. Moreover, it says absolutly nothing that ME hasn't contacted the sources you mention. They may not have made their identities known. They may have researched Wicca and Witchcraft via other sources (eg the internet).

[> [> [> [> [> [> Probably the best solution -- Masq, 07:07:59 04/22/03 Tue

Was for them never to have used the word "Wicca" in the first place. Wicca is an Earth religion, which may or may not be associated with magic as practiced in what is called "witchcraft".

Secondly, there are many different cultural systems of magic out there in the big, wide world, and not all of them are "witchcraft". Willow practices something more akin to Renaissance Ceremonial magic, with all the latin spells and such.

[> Joss on Religion (& Lucifer / Devil / Satan) -- frisby, 08:31:08 04/18/03 Fri

Joss presents many of the world's religions in a positive light, but, only within a larger context, perhaps one that draws on the anthropological view, a context that makes all of the religions seem smaller given the 'truth' of magic and demons and the forces of darkness and the powers that be.

For example, in 4.16 Riley is dressed up nicely and on his way to church -- and unless you 'simply' identify Riley with simplicity and stupidity, and if you understand Riley in a positive light, then his church attendance expresses something positive about Christianity (not to mention the Master's awe at his own fear of the cross, etc).

On a larger scale though, the entire series is about religion -- the most religious show ever on tv, as SMG somewhat said -- all the way from The First to The Chosen One to the miracle of Amends.

Joss has a very healthy understanding of religion (generally, including spirituality, the earth, etc).

Finally, what is being said about Caleb and Jasmine here at the end of Buffy season 7 and Angel season 4, is simply magnificent, with regard to Christianity in particular. I'm as excited as can be imagining how these things will work out.

For example, it still makes a lot of sense to me to think of Cabeb as Satan and The First as Lucifer, since the aim of The First is to establish Satan as ruler of hell (that which once was the earth of humanity). This happens through the function of the Devil (itself understood as the trinity of the Beast, the False Prophet, and the Antichirst -- or -- the beast on Angel, Jasmine, and the ubervamp). Only the Chosen One can stop Satan from mounting his throne.

This mythology (as part of any religion) seems to me to be working out well.

[> [> A small refresher... -- Solitude1056, 10:51:45 04/18/03 Fri

For example, it still makes a lot of sense to me to think of Cabeb as Satan and The First as Lucifer, since the aim of The First is to establish Satan as ruler of hell (that which once was the earth of humanity). This happens through the function of the Devil (itself understood as the trinity of the Beast, the False Prophet, and the Antichirst -- or -- the beast on Angel, Jasmine, and the ubervamp). Only the Chosen One can stop Satan from mounting his throne.

I guess you missed the memo!

something about this oft-confused issue - skip down to #1 on the list of incidentals.

[> [> [> Rejoiner -- frisby, 16:23:01 04/18/03 Fri

Yes, I missed that memo. Thanks for sending me to it. And of course I assume most of the memo is correct, although in the end (as often happens with scholarship) it all turned to a cloud of dust -- we know next to nothing from any kind of scientific standard.

My approach is mythic, which is always changing and adapting. It draws on biblical tradition as well as occult figures like Crowley as well as movies and novels. I still hold to what I described earlier -- today, Lucifer becomes bad and eventually aims to become Satan. That process "is" the devil (which itself has several aspects). It can't even be understood literally if one insists on strict temporal chronology -- its more like it all happens at once but also has its own sort of time.

The buffyverse itself is an ongoing mythology, drawing from whatever source is selected and available. In the end, the main point is the relation of The First to Caleb, and for others like myself, what possible relation Jasmine might have. Another month and we'll at least begin to know.

Very interesting stuff you referred to me though. Thanks!

[> [> [> [> You're excused! In the future, though, I expect footnotes. ........... ;-) -- The Second Evil, 17:22:31 04/18/03 Fri

[> [> [> Lucifer vs. Satan vs. "Da Devil" -- RichardX1, 18:56:20 04/18/03 Fri

So Isaiah's saying that the king of Babylon will be cast down like the planet Venus. Okay...

But what of Babylon? Whenever you see it mentioned in the Bible in one of these more poetic/prophetic passages, you need to remember what Babylon meant to Israel. From their perspective, Babylon was the source of all evil. It was the center of some of the more prominent pagan worships of the time; furthermore, most of the empires that conquered Israel were connected to the city in some way or another. Therefore, "king of Babylon" most likely means "king of Evil", or to put it in Buffese, "the Big Bad".

So, "Lucifer" could very well be referring to "Evil Being #1" in this verse.

(BTW, I'm not the most learned of theological scholars, but I have some friends who can probably explain this better... and they won't demand all your worldly possessions either!)

[> [> [> [> Here, this may explain it better... -- Solitude1056, 08:34:03 04/19/03 Sat

origin of the lucifer story


[> [> [> [> [> Mithras, Canaan vs. Babylon - questions -- Celebaelin, 17:47:01 04/19/03 Sat

"Around the 17th century BC., Mesopotamian boundary stones began to carry astronomical symbols, including that of the terrifying scorpion-man... Some scholars identify this creature as the Mesopotamian antecedent of Sagittarius, the Archer. Although no one is sure that the boundary stone scorpion-man is also meant to be the Sun's bodyguard at the gate of heaven, the constellation could have evolved from the earlier imagery through its association with the Milky Way. In the second millennium B.C., when the stars of Capricornus hosted the winter-solstice Sun, Sagittarius could have been posted as the advance guard at the crossroads of the Sun's path and the Milky Way."

E. C. Krupp

Can you comment on any potential relationship between Zorastrian Mithraic festivals at the Winter Solstice and those of the Mesopotamians e.g. Shamash, Marduk, Kittu, Misharu (?Mithras? Mithras starts out as the Vedic god of light Mitra I believe)?

From ìThe Origin of the Lucifer Storyî

The original Hebrew reads "O Helel, son of Shahar." Shahar was a Babylonian god of the dawn, and Helel was his son, the morning star which we now call Venus. Shahar had a twin brother named Shalem, which was associated with dusk and the evening appearance of Venus. Jerusalem means "House of Shalem," which comes from the worship of the planet Venus as an evening star.

Iím inclined to say that my information has these deities down as Canaanite although Iím pretty hazy about the distinction between Babylon and Canaan. Was Canaan a bit later and a bit further West?


Shalim - god of dusk. "God" of sunset. The Contemplation of Day. Either a son of Asherah, or of Rohmaya.

Moloch - god of the sun. (also associated with Neregal and The Archangel Michael)

Shapshu - goddess of the sun. Also spelled Shapash (c.w. the Babylonian god Shamash C). Sun "Goddess". The Torch of the "Gods".

Shahar - god of dawn. Shachar: "Dawn". "God" of dawn. Either a son of Asherah*, or of Rohmaya. According to -ISAIAH 14: 12, He is the father of Helel (who has been erroneously identified with Satan and Lucifer) the Light- Bringer and Morning Star.

*Presumably Astaroth/Ashtoreth/Ashtoroth, to whom Solomon built a temple (2 Kings), known to the Babylonians as Ishtar and the Greeks as Astarte.

[> [> [> [> [> Yes, I read that. -- RichardX1, 21:00:37 04/19/03 Sat

[> Joss and Religion in Space -- CW, 09:14:31 04/18/03 Fri

The attitude toward religion was very mixed on during the run of Firefly. Malcolm Reynolds, the hero, had been a fervent believer, until after a heroic, but ultimately pointless battle in which most of the group he was in died. Feeling his god abandoned him in that time of need he became strongly and vocally opposed to religion. Still his would- be girlfriend admitted to praying for him, and he permitted a minister (with the title Shepherd) to be a part of his roving band. The Shepherd was an unsolved riddle himself. We learned that he had some major job with the Alliance, the current government which defeated Mal's rebels years before the events of Firefly. We know his work was of a questionable moral nature, perhaps a ruthless general or a compassionless judge, but we don't know for sure. We know he left the job and became a fervent believer, and one who always advised the use of peaceful and restrained methods, and tried very hard to be peaceful himself. But pragmatically, it was impossible in Firefly's situation. He was always harder on himself for being violent than anyone else.

The Shepherd's foil was not Mal who refused to listen to any talk of religion. Instead it was a young woman called River whose brain had been altered and damaged by government experiments. In one episode she finds the Shepherd's Bible, begins reading, decides it makes no sense. She tears out many pages to rearrange it to make better logic. The Shepherd tells her the Bible isn't about logic, but about faith. River's odd mental state usually precludes her from understanding much about what the Shepherd tells her is important about religion. But, River's blunt questions and doubts, clearly hit home on the Shepherd.

Perhaps the unaired episodes may eventually reveal a little more about this.

[> Some examples... -- Darby, 11:16:06 04/18/03 Fri

In I've Got You Under My Skin, Wes & Angel expect that a priest is needed for the exorcism and seek one in a church. The ancient nun there recognizes Angel as a vampire, but accepts that he is trying to help a possessed child (she is one of those neat 30-second characters). The priest is dead, but he had died exorcising a demon that had jumped to him and killed him. All in all, a positive story.

Buffy saved a nun and then questioned her about the life - and got to try on a wimple! (Triangle)

I Robot, You Jane - were those actual priests who did the original book-binding?

The old lady in Where the Wild Things Are was more along the lines of Caleb.

There's the stuff about Drusilla, but it's mostly peripheral.

Does Holtz pseudo-Inquisition approach count? Or the Knights of Berserkiness? Or Glory's minions? Or the Dawn-makin' monks? Or the phallus-worshipping frat boys? The Chumash spirits, or the Incan Guardian?

[> [> I would accept most of those examples at the bottom as examples, yes -- Masq, 11:29:52 04/18/03 Fri

The question is: flattering or not?

Does Holtz pseudo-Inquisition approach
The Knights of Berserkiness?
The Dawn-makin' monks?
The Chumash spirits
The Incan ritual sacrifice

[> [> Don't forget the monks who made Dawn -- lunasea, 14:14:14 04/18/03 Fri

In "Judgement" Angel lights a candle in front of a statue of the Buddha in honor of the Prio Motus good demon.

In "Guise Will Be Guise" there is the impersonation of the Zen demon.

A statue of Kwan Yin is very important to Angel's character. First she is in a glass case. She is missing when he is Angelus. S3 she is so important that Buffy/Angel interactions are blocked around her.

The placement of the Buddha and bodhisattva statues at the Magic Box.

Will do more later.

[> [> [> What statue of Kwan Yin? On "Buffy" or on "Angel"? -- Scroll, 16:19:17 04/18/03 Fri

I'm not sure I know what you're talking about, or which show you're referencing.

Agree with your other examples, though.

[> Atheists -- DickBD, 15:04:21 04/18/03 Fri

I personally think that Joss is just doing stories, making use of various mythologies, without any attempt to degrade them. Atheists may joke among themselves about religions, but it has been my experience that most of them (including myself) don't like upsetting people.

When I was a principal for many years, I noticed that some teachers violated the teacher-led prayer prohibition. If the parents didn't complain, I didn't interfere, and they never did.

Conversely, there was a principal who was always proselytizing teachers and students. One of the central administrators told him about complaints. He said he couldn't give up his evangelism, and they let him slide. (Oh, well, he probably did religion more harm than good anyway.)

Personally, I think life is more full without religion, but I'm not looking for converts, and I don't think that Joss is either. With him, it is all about the story telling, and everything is grist for his mill.

[> Interesting realization -- RichardX1, 19:04:42 04/18/03 Fri

Am I the only one who noticed that the Caleb storyline (and the beginning of AI's war on Jasmine) were aired on Holy Week?

For the three of you who know jack about Christianity, Holy Week is the week before Easter. It begins with Palm Sunday (commemorating Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem) and goes through Maundy Thursday (Christ's betrayal and trial, right?), Good Friday (Christ's execution; good for sinners needing redemption, not so much for Christ), and ending on Easter Sunday (you all know what's celebrated on that day, and it's not an oviparous rabbit).

Holy Week (and I'm sure this isn't coincidence) also seems to always overlap with Passover, the Jewish celebration of their liberation from Egyptian slavery. And for the record, the celebrated Last Supper with Jesus and his disciples was indeed a Passover ceder.

[> [> Re: Interesting realization -- O'Cailleagh, 05:06:12 04/19/03 Sat

I think the reason Holy Week and Passover tend to overlap is that the dates for both are calculated in a similar way. Easter Sunday is always the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Sping Equinox (the Pagan original!). I'm not positive, but I think Passover (also with Pagan origins) is also done this way.


[> Re: What does Joss have against... -- Kenny, 20:19:06 04/18/03 Fri

In Kate's last appearance on AtS, Angel saving her life reignited her faith (apparently Christain, based on her neckware), and that was portrayed as a good thing.

[> Re: What does Joss have against... -- Kitkat, 04:26:06 04/19/03 Sat

Without reading any of the other posts, my gut reaction to this question is that Joss has some problems with organised religion, but no problems with spirituality. There is a big difference between the two. As an example I refer to the Terry Pratchett book 'Small Gods', where an organised religion with thousands of members is shown to only have one true believer in its ranks. Over the years the members of this church have stopped believing in the god, and instead believe in the suppressive apparatus of the religion.
Joss has shown that he has problems with many patriarchal institutions, e.g. the Watcher's Council, Wolfram and Hart, and what are more patriarchal and institutionalised than western religions based on Christianity, on whom I gather Jasmine/Caleb are based (in UK, haven't seen them yet!). Jasmine seems to partly represent the way individuality and freedom of thought are consumed by institutions, and Caleb the way religion can be subverted and twisted to support violent action - like the Knights of Byzantium.
However, individual members of religions who in themselves possess some spirituality or belief are often represented in a positive light - Willow's Judaism is never criticised, and we have seen positive members of the Christian church too. Vampires are still repelled by crosses.
Joss shows spirituality in a more positive light. Individual spirituality is shown as beneficial, whether or not it is based on a recognised religion or is more what could be regarded as 'cult'. Tara is, in my opinion, one of the most spiritual people the show has represented, believing in a Wiccan ideal of interconnectedness and earthiness.
There is also, in the PTBs, some sense of a benevolent higher power watching over the characters, although they sometimes appear capricious and use their champions cruelly. This is not much different from God's treatment of his prophets, e.g. Moses who had a very hard time of it. Believing in something is not always easy.
I also wanted to comment that the essential basis of almost all major religions are two fundamental tenets: love and peace. I think that the message of Buffy re: religion is to strip away all of the institutionalised apparatus that can be abused and misused by so many people, and get back down to the basics - the desire for peace and the love that Buffy herself was filled with when she sacrificed herself in 'The Gift'. Buffy-as-Christ, however, is a whole other issue...

[> Re: What does Joss have against... -- MaeveRigan, 08:49:02 04/21/03 Mon

One oft-cited example is Buffy's encounter with the campus evangelical in "The Freshman" who asks her "Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?" to which she replies, "Uh, you know I meant to and then I just got really busy." (4.1) Nice brush-off, Buffy.

OTOH, Joyce's funeral service in "Forever" is almost word- for-word from the Episcopal prayer book:

MINISTER: [OS] We commend to almighty God our sister, Joyce Summers, and we commit her body to the ground. Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, and dust to dust. The Lord bless her and keep her. The Lord make his face to shine upon her and be gracious to her. The Lord lift up his countenance upon her and give her peace. (http://www.studiesinwords.de/95forever.html) (edited)

However, a case can be made (and has been made in several essays on this board, in Slayage, and elsewhere) that the most "positive" representation of religion or faith is not on the explicit or literal level, but on the metaphorical level. Examples:

Buffy as Christ-figure who saves the world by dying. In "Prophecy Girl" she returns to life stronger than before, able to kill the enemy she couldn't defeat earlier. In "The Gift," she sacrifices herself again. She's resurrected physically in "Bargaining," though of course, since this is BtVS, it's not exactly a glorious resurrection and the whole season is really about other things, but if we're looking for religious metaphors, Xander may be seen as another kind of metaphorical Christ-figure in "Grave," a carpenter who is willing to lay down his life for his friend(s).

Is Joss's intent? Who knows? Nevertheless, it can be read.

[> Joss and Arthur Miller -- Anneth, 23:00:43 04/21/03 Mon

"Cleave to no faith when faith brings blood"
- Arthur Miller, The Crucible

While musing over the various representations of religion and faith on BtVS, it suddenly occured to me that both are portrayed unflatteringly when protrayed as examples of blind faith or unceasing, thoughtless devotion. It's not faith or belief alone that seem to engender this reaction; the SG have faith in Buffy, but they question her, and force her to explain herself and her decisions. Compare this to, for example, the Knights of Byzantium, who unflinchingly attempt to murder an innocent to achieve the end they've apparently been told is necessary. Glory's minions never question her orders. The same goes for all of Darby's final examples; the Chumash warriors, the Incan tomb-guardian, the Phallus- worshipping fratboys. If there are any moral absolutes in the Buffyverse, the idea that the means must justify the ends is one. We've seen over and over again that the death of an innocent is an unnacceptable means by which to accomplish an end; one cannot fight evil with evil. Faith and religion are portrayed unflatteringly when they necessitate unquestioning devotion on the part of their devotees - particularly when that devotion requires innocent blood. (Connor's "baptism" of Cordelia's belly with the blood of an innocent seems to be a particulary vivid example of this, although we won't know for certain until the Jasmine arc has fully played out.)

The Crucible, written in 1953, used the Salem witch trials as a parallel to the McCarthy era to "raise... the question of freedom of conscience." Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia. I believe that Joss' representations of religion and faith are unflattering when they portray unquestioning devotion - that is, when characters refuse to utilize their inherent freedom of choice, of conscience, and instead adhere unthinkingly and unceasingly to what their leaders or gods demand of them. (or at least what they believe is being demanded of them.)

[> [> Also worth a read is Millers essay "Tragedy and the Common Man" link inside -- Rufus, 01:17:54 04/22/03 Tue

Tragedy and the Common Man

Speculation on names and dogs - Caleb, Connor and Mandy -- Dog Lover, 07:00:50 04/18/03 Fri

I don't want to do any more speculation about Mandy - but ME has used it several times. Maybe it has something to do with DOG = GOD. Or more likely that they are inopposition. i.e. A dog's devotion to humans vs. believer's devotion to god. I doubt it is just a coincidence. There have been many other references to dogs, wolves and, of course, werewolves.

And then there was the time Oz played God in "Fear, Itself".

Also, according to http://www.behindthename.com/, Caleb means "dog" in Hebrew.

And Connor is from the Gaelic name Conchobhar which means "dog lover" or "wolf lover".


Nummies of the Beast ("Salvage" & "First Date": spoilers for later eps in post) -- KdS, 08:42:49 04/18/03 Fri

Sorry about the truly horrible pun, but given that both BtVS and AtS involved demonic romance this week, it was impossible to resist the temptation.

First Date was something of a dissatisfying episode - lots of good stuff but forgettable. Rahael came up with an interesting analogy, suggesting that the episode was reminiscent of fanfic in that the Scobbies were written in a mildly cliched manner, while the "newish" characters like Andrew and Wood got the most memorable writing. She also suggested that Spike acted as something of an energy drain in many scenes of the ep (her phraseology being considerably cruder than mine). There was an attempt at old-school Scooby-bonding of a sort that we haven't really seen for a while in the Buffy/Xander/Willow dating dialogue, with Willow reprising her role as chief Buffy/anyone-with-or- without-a-pulse shipper, but it seemed a little forced given the characters' increased ages.

We couldn't decide this week if it was deliberate or sloppy writing, but it seems disturbing that neither Buffy, Xander, or Willow have noticed the appalling state Giles has been sliding into. His rant about the pointlessness of humour and romance seemed to be a regression to S1/early-S2 Giles at his worst, but it lacked the energy or authority one would have expected at that point. While I'm certainly not an art therapist, his "flash cards" were disturbing not just for the amount of red ink, but the scratchiness and violence of the drawing. He draws a triumphant, stake-brandishing Buffy, but her stake is pouring with apparently human blood. This may or may not be an expression of his unease about the continuing S/B relationship. Personally, I think that Buffy's decision to have Spike's chip removed was one of the few really unambiguously correct ones she'd made this season - a statement of faith in self-determination over the ends- justifying-means attitude that plays into the FE's hands. (Her decisions to leave him unrestrained with no proof of whether or not the FE can still control him, however, is more questionable.)

On the up side, Andrew's developing spine in dealing with the FE was good to see. Rah suggested that Andrew's search for redemption, and his "torture" with sticky tape, may be a parody of the Spike chest-slashing earlier in the season. At any rate, the wire scene was extremely funny.

Wood's leading of Buffy into a battle strikes me as either grossly manipulative, or showing an unfortunate weakness for melodrama, or both. (Then again, a weakness for melodrama seems to turn Buffy on.) The closing scene with the FE was a very bad omen for the future, and the most powerful scene in the ep.

Not much to say anbout the Xander plot, except that it seemed a rather pointless rehash of a lot we've seen before. Someone needs to find Anya something to do other than make tactless remarks and have emotional conflict about whether she wants good or bad things to happen to him. The question of how he sent a text message while tied to a wheel is a massive plot hole. Also, I really hope it wasn't deliberate to have Buffy race over to tend a mildly-bruised Spike while Xander has just been stabbed in the stomach.

General reactions to Salvage were much more positive. I cannot see the reason for the claims after the ep was broadcast in the US that "Fury can't write Angelus". Angelus's characterisation in this ep was what I, personally, had wanted to see for a while. I've often enjoyed Fury's typical undermining of melodrama in his vamp characterisation. It may be linked to the less likable aspects of his writing, but I think Fury has always been very good at capturing what must be the sheer amusement factor in having no conscience and being able to kill most of the things you meet - Kralik in Helpless had much the same air of dark joie de vivre despite his psychosis. Having often enjoyed "goofy Angel" it's nice to see a similarly laid-back Angelus - humorous, lazy, and enjoying the sheer joy of being on the scene again. He's not close to the broody Angelus we saw in BtVS S2, but I've seen that as a reaction to the shock of his first souled period, and self-hatred over having fallen so deeply in love with Buffy. You can disagree if you like, but I see this Angelus as very close to the character we've seen in all the pre-1898 AtS flashbacks - capable of casually killing an ex-date simply because he can't be bothered to talk to her, or stabbing the Beast in the back because he felt patronised. There was also some very nice Angel(us) ambiguity in the way that he becomes so similar to Angel in his actions and manner when he switches to interrogation mode in the bar.

And the new Faith simply blew me away - self-controlled, calm, cynical, but with a clear new understanding of morality and a determination to be on the side of the angels (not to mention a new leadership ability - wonder what she got up to in the slammer to get such apparent respect from the guards). No wonder Gunn is impressed and Connor rapidly develops a massive crush. ED and AD played off each other magnificently - little explicit verbal communication but such an obvious mutual understanding. It's interesting that Anglus's interest in Faith this ep seems restricted to relatively simple violence rather than manipulation or torture. I was considering this last night and came to the conclusion that Angelus likes torturing the innocent. Faith may be good again, but she's still very far from innocent. Unfortunately, I have deep concerns about how the character might develop in BtVS - given BtVS's tendency over the last couple of seasons to stress "adulthood" as meaning settling down to a productive suburban life, and to portray "outsiderness" as self-indulgent immaturity, I'm very worried that the character will end up simply humiliated and/or turned evil again. She'd be far better staying in the more urban, bohemian Angelverse.

Wes's scene with Lilah was marvellous. I think that both Lilah's were Wes's hallucination, rather than the second well-dressed Lilah being the FE as some have suggested (there's a nice comment on Sanctuary's review of this ep suggesting that this scene might have a Six Feet Under influence). The second Lilah didn't really say anything one would expect the FE to. It's a nice piece of plotting that Lilah's words about redemption are obviously seen to bring Faith to Wes's mind.

Shorter remarks: Vincent Kartheiser was very good in this ep, especially in facial expressions (we noticed particularly after some of the criticism of his acting ability on the board recently). And the "don't give a flying slukk" line was the funniest of the ep. Fun to recognise Spice Williams, who played the Tarakan assassin disguised as a police officer in What's My Line, as the FE's assassin in the jail. I know the characters probably aren't the same person, but it would be nice if they were and she became the first non-vampire to be beaten up by three different slayers.

[> Re: Nummies of the Beast ("Salvage" & "First Date": spoilers for later eps in post) -- Abby, 10:02:18 04/18/03 Fri

In some ways I find it a bad thing that Buffy and Angel are shown together on Sky, because I rarely have the self- control to watch them seperately but you really do need to to be able to appreciate the nuances of each seperate arc. Yes, I know...I get the tapes and all my noble intentions disappear: NOW NOW NOW! :)

The dissatisfaction with First Date lingers, although we've had illustrations of multiple storylines handled magnificently (CwDP), this one just felt 'bitty'. Again, the lack of communication of an issue that *really* needs to be vocalised:
Buffy to Spike: Oh, by the way Spike, Wood is the son of the slayer you killed in NYC- he kinda wants to kill you, be careful.
Buffy to Wood: It's OK, he has a soul.
It gets annoying when it's so damn important!

I have yet to delve into archives with abandon, so I'm hoping the issues of the Chinese slayer being whisked off by a man that cannot communicate with her parents is addressed. Also, agreement on the text, and unfulfilment at Ashanti's role: who, what, why? And since when can the seal be reactivated, is it an endless source of uber-vamps?

Now, in comparison to First Date, Salvage ws just mmmmm- gorgeous. We had the return of the lovely Faith...who had been planning that escape for some time, don'tyathink? And AD is cementing his place in my heart, I loved the inner monologue. What he needed with Lila I think was black or white to cling onto, regardless of his own greyness. He wanted a direction, a marker to either embrace or repel but even his own conscience found layers of in-between in her...nicely mirrored.

But I'm sorry. Evil!Cordy: you had me, really, I was stunned by the Lila thing last week, marvellous, and the Beast interaction...great, up until
"Give mommy some sugar."
Then I was lost. He has respect- shown by the scarifice/gift and 'master'ing, so obviously she need not sexually manipulate him. :Shakes head: Too much.
And is she not risking a lot by leaving the hotel? Surely they would check on her, or at least the risk is there. Or maybe she has a nifty travel feature (explaining last week's speedy trip from hotel lobby to hallway). Or 2 persons.

"Just like riding a biker" Glad to have you back girl :)

ps- Is the wonderful portayal of Angelus reminding anyone else just how, dare I say 'dull' Angel was in comparison? I know who is more compelling for me!

[> [> I doubt Buffy knows/knew who Wood's mother was -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:12:21 04/18/03 Fri

Yes, we obsessive fans put it together in a heartbeat: Wood's mother has to be black too, she had to have been active during the 70's, given his age, was an American, and was killed by a vampire. Thus, Wood's mother must have been the second Slayer that Spike killed. However, I sincerely doubt Buffy came to that realization. For one thing, Spike never mentioned Nikki's race, so that removes one of the limiting factors. Also, let's face it, we pay a lot more attention to the details on this show (particularly when it comes to the pasts of morally ambigous characters) than most of the characters do, so it doesn't seem unbelievable to me to think that Buffy didn't make the logical leap to realizing Wood's mother was killed by Spike.

[> I have a new heroine! (Spoilers, Salvage & FD) -- Rahael, 11:50:37 04/18/03 Fri

Wow! I was never the hugest Faith fan while she was on BtVS. Her arc when she woke up and then moved over to AtS made me sit up and take notice. This time around well, she's just shot up to take over "fave female". Agree totally with your description of her, and the two eps.

Loved Salvage. Loved Andrew in FD ("So, Jonathan slash first evil" and his attempt to make the FE confess to how he was going to kill Buffy was hilarious. "Redemption is hard"!).

[> [> Re: I have a new heroine! (Spoilers, Salvage & FD and future series) -- Abby, 12:56:09 04/18/03 Fri

Lol, another moves over to the Faith-adoration side...we've been swooning here for some time!

I've spied s1 Angel videos in my local library, five by five etc. Shall be taking out for a little revisit when I return s4 Buffy vids: thought I should take a look at 'restless' again and feel the smug glow of hindsight :)

Now a Faith spin-off I could really have adored, but since from what I hear she's turned it down I'm very disappointed!

ps..a query. Are there, at all, in existance ANY unspoiled British viewers? I need to feel I'm not alone!

[> [> [> Some of the unspoiled British viewers on the board don't come around much -- Masq, 14:30:43 04/18/03 Fri

Meritaten, for example, was scared off by subject line spoilers from North American posters.

But such folks should be back more in the summer after everyone's caught up.

[> [> [> [> Re: Some of the unspoiled British viewers on the board don't come around much -- O'Cailleagh, 14:44:39 04/18/03 Fri

I was unspoiled....til I came back! I lasted a few days and then gave in......redemption is hard.


[> [> [> [> [> I say screw redemption -- VampRiley, 20:27:39 04/18/03 Fri

Continue to give in. Honor doesn't help people. Neither does pretending to be good when you aren't. So, relish in your badness. There's much fun to explore.



[> [> [> [> [> [> And I thought I was the biggest Trollop.....;) -- Rufus, 02:46:31 04/19/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> But you are, Blanche. You are! ;p -- Whatever Happened to Baby O'Cailleagh?, 05:09:13 04/19/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> You are... -- VR, 12:00:38 04/19/03 Sat

I'm just the most evil trollop whose at peace with his good and evil sides the most.

[> [> Yeah on ....(do we still have to say WKCS???)!!!! - - Masq, 13:49:35 04/18/03 Fri

Yeah on Faith!!!

I didn't like Fury's take on Angelus in "Salvage", but Faith was awesome! It's so good to see her being "The Slayer": taking charge, putting little brat-broody-boy in his place (and him kinda liking it, too), showing Gunn the respect he deserves, leading the team, working with "Watcher" Wesley, and of course, that slo-mo flippy thing she did from the pull-ups bar in the prison yard!

Yeah Faith--always my fave female character!

[> [> Faith's an "Angel" girl more than a "Buffy" girl -- Scroll, 16:02:16 04/18/03 Fri

Meaning I think she's better suited to Angel than Buffy. Faith needs to resolve her issues with Buffy and the Scoobies, then she needs to get the heck out of Sunnydale! The Hellmouth is no place for her. Even if she and Buffy can make up, I think there's too much history for them to ever be real friends. They can be comrades-in-arms but I don't seem them palling around like B/X/W do.

Considering the strong friendship between Angel and Faith, and the good Slayer/Watcher relationship between Faith and Wes, I'd say Angel Investigations could do with another employee. (Or, y'know, if she wasn't a wanted fugitive.)

I've always been fond of Faith, but like you Rah, I really felt her story come to life on Angel. The concepts of evil, guilt, forgiveness, redemption are actually explored on Angel, whereas on Buffy I feel they're constantly swept under the rug with "Oh, but I'm all better now! No worries, except I might angst a little, but not for serious now..." Too fluffy for Faith.

[> [> [> Re: Faith's an "Angel" girl more than a "Buffy" girl -- Abby, 07:13:50 04/19/03 Sat

It's great to know I'm not the only one battling my natural trollop instincts...only it seems my resolution is hanging on longer than you guys. I'm making up for it elsewhere in compensation 'though: 24, West Wing, Alias, Smallville, Friends you name it- if AICN and Kristin (nee Wanda) dish, I'm there! I have managed to develop a filter screen that kicks in: one mention of keywords 'buffy' and 'angel' and my eyes glaze and I start scrolling to safety. Of course there are minor accidents, but nothing to the extent of S6 where I practically wallowed in transcripts.

So what's new this time? Well, the security of a stable source for Sky tapes weekly...and well, when Giles reappeared to give Dark!Willow a good blast (2 to go I think?) it stunned me back to sanity. See, I knew he would reappear, but not how/when. And the buzz from a great surprise made me realise that you sometimes can't beat a nice good shock.

And Faith? I agree, her arc seems more at home in the cold streets and neon of Angel. As much as they pushed for darkness and cold in s6 Buffy, there will always remain the comforting glow of golden sunlight in the colour and sets, like some say- resolution arrives somewhat too quickly there. In LA, things fester, darkness will linger, and in more ways than some nifty contact lenses.

BTW, does anyone else do this: somehow 'connect' a certain series to colour? I am always really aware of it and how it overarches...one show in particular, Dawson's Creek, I got hyper-aware of the different series' colour theme- I was always analysing shots for the colour composition in costume and scenery.

[> Re: Nummies of the Beast ("Salvage" & "First Date": spoilers for later eps in post) -- yabyumpan, 19:48:56 04/18/03 Fri

First Date: I've haven't got much to say about this, it was ok 'shrug', but it did feel almost as if the characters themselves were playing characatures of themselves. Note to ME - 'Xander always dates demons' stopped being funny 2 seasons ago (or longer). I think the problem with this season is that it feels so dis-jointed, there have been some stella eps, some not so good ones and some that are ok but it doesn't feel like there's a flow, where as on AtS, since RoF it feels like being on an express train and hanging on for dear life as it hurtles through the stations with you trying figure out where you've just gone through before the next station wizzes past. I hope they remember to slow down before the end of the line otherwise we, the passengers, are going to end up in a messy heap as it screaches to a halt, trying to figure out what the hell just happened! (sorry, got carried away with the train analogy ;o) )

Anyway, on to Salvage - LOVED IT - Love this version of Angelus, cocky, smug, arrogant, focused, getting someone else (the Beast) to do his dirty work, really enjoying being free from the sap. I agree with KdS, he's very much like the pre-souled Angelus, just groovin' on the fun of being evil.
Faith darlin', I've missed you. Love the focused 'tude, loved how you accepted Cordelia's attitude as deserved but there's a bigger picture here girl so let's focus. Loved the instant respect you gave to Gunn, that's what he needs. Loved how you dealt with Connor, someone else who gets off on slayers treating him rough ;-).
Speaking of....I so adore Connor, VK is just perfect in the part. He brings out all my non-existant maternal instincts (no, not in a 'Cordy' way), or maybe it's grandmotherly instincts, he's so sweet I find I want to do that pinching the cheek thing and bake him some cookies. The small smile at the end of the scene when Faith arrives at the hotel and takes charge, the look of awe when she holds the crossbow to his thoat and asks if he's a murderer, the wonderful, bouncing gleefullness (is that a word?) as he bounds into Cordelia's room to wax lyrical about Faith, the look of..i'm not sure what.. when Cordy tells him she's pregnant. You can see the wheels turning round in his head, I'm sure Holtz gave him some sort of 'sex education', including the 'being pregnant for 9 months' rule for humans. And then Cordy giving him the 'we're connected forever' line, poor kid never stood a chance. It makes me want to wrap him up in a blanket and take him away somewhere safe. His Daddy makes me feel like that at times as well, I'm obviously just a big sap with serious 'needing to nurture and protect' issues.
I'm enjoying 'evil Cordelia' with all her campyness (loved the 'fainting'). I've got a theory that the reason she's so campy is that 'Jasmine' is being filtered through Cordy's psyche, with Cordy's brain interpreting the way 'evil' would act (if that makes sense), this is probably how 'Cordy the actress' would play being 'evil'.

All in all, this episode ROCKED! I don't normally like rating episodes but if I was going to for this one I'd crank it up to 11 :o)

Somewhat OT on Christianity, Willow, etc. but perhaps worth noting... -- Bronson, 12:33:02 04/18/03 Fri

I was musing on the Medieval-Christian threads that keep resurfacing in BtVS's text -- not surprisingly, given that it's a show about vampires. It appears mostly in the form of spells needing to be spoken in (Liturgically-pronounced) Latin, or the occasional Holy Orders of monks or knights, and now of course we have Caleb, who is more Flannery O'Connor than St. Columba but certainly likes to muse on old- time religion...
And I realized that the only Jewish character on the series turns out to be (or rather turns into) a Witch. A Readheaded And Jewish Witch, no less. I'm no historian (nor very bright, for that matter) but I'm pretty sure the Readhaired Witch and the Jewish Witch are bogeymen characters of medieval myth. (The Jewish Witch pops up in Malleus Maleficarum, for example.)

So does anyone think there was a deliberate thought here? Are Joss-&-Co. playing their own little riff on Malleus by having a benign Jewish Wicca? Or, given that Willow is a murderer, are they playing it more Medieval-style?

[> Interesting thought -- KdS, 13:28:10 04/18/03 Fri

In medieval Christianity I believe Judas Iscariot was often portrayed as being red-haired and a stereotype Jew. The stereotype Jew of European anti-Semitism right up to the 19th century was often portrayed as a redhead - odd as I don't think many real Jews do have red hair. I don't think it's deliberate casting, but it's a nice little resonance.

[> [> Could also be the old saw... -- Briar Rose, 01:14:41 04/19/03 Sat

that in Irish (and a lot of pan-European) tradition a "red haired witch commands the most powerful forces of magic." This was based on Fire Energy and relations to Fire Dieties being of a very powerful persuasion and very quick to use their power to their advantage. This theory also having to do with natural red hair being more rare than brown or black, however not as rare as blondes who always carried a mystique as well.

The Judaic connection to the Kabbalah and the legend of the Golum and other majorly magical connections to Judaism would be highly likely.... Theoretically, Jewish tradition is much more aligned to mysticism than Christianity ever has been and even though it becomes under stated in secular realms, it is at the heart of many of the strongest and oldest Judiac beliefs.

I would doubt a "Judas" connection because Joss and Company wouldn't have made her benign if in fact she was representing Judas and what Judas represents to most Christians (which is the majority of the target audience.) ME plays pretty straight with their characters, and hiding a Judas simile behind Willow's character would have been given away as the truth of the character long before now, IMO.

[> [> [> I was suggesting that they might be subverting the "Judas" stereotype -- KdS, 03:42:42 04/19/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> Could be! Maybe playing Judas as not disloyal, only working for the greater good? Please expand! -- Briar Rose, 16:01:30 04/19/03 Sat

I wasn't sure where you were going with the Judas connection. If it was changing the Judas/Willow character to being a less deceitful role? Or that Judas/Willow was deceitful by the very fact that they wanted the equal power with the leader of the group? Or a couple other aspects that I can see fit your hypothesis. In the case of AtS, it's so obvious that anyone against Jasmine is perceived as a "Judas" as Lorne so CLEARLY stated in Magic Bullet. And that leads me to:

Warning - continues to small rant below....

Okay - ME is normally not so ham handed with beating the audience over the head about where exactly they are going with a story line. So why, oh why! are they being so literal on AtS with the Jasmine=Christ=Religious Analogy story line right now?

It's really getting on my nerves,this change from treating the audience as if they are intellectual enough to GET what ME're fishing at at versus whacking us in the face with the dead fish.

[> [> [> [> [> Hmmm. Willow has some interesting attributes -- KdS, 16:28:35 04/19/03 Sat

Gay. Jewish by birth. Neopagan by implication. Red- haired, which fits in with the Judas stereotype. I'm just thinking that it's interesting that the character contains so many of the things that the Calebs of this world fear in one body. And while some posters have been arguing that Caleb represents Buffy's fear of sexuality, I really hope that Willow plays a big part in finishing him off.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Oops, read "inclination" for "implication" in the first line -- KdS, 16:30:05 04/19/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> [> Warrior Goddess -- Briar Rose, 18:09:37 04/20/03 Sun

Exactly KdS. I don't know about the Judas connection because I am awaiting further exposition and clarification on it... but looking at it from the "Caleb POV" Buffy would be the Mother Goddess cum Warrior and Willow would be the Warrior Goddess come Evil(Kali-lishious)!

It's fairly obvious from the FE/Caleb conversations that he respects Buffy for what she is and so sees that she must be destroyed. Simply because she is strong and can work against him very well.

But Willow! Now Willow (once he finds out more about her, I'm sure) would be the epitomy of everything that would push all Caleb's buttons. As you said but I'd add that she has no reason to be involved at all. No destiny, no duty, nothing but choice to keep her in the fight.

When people act from free will to battle evil, not because they "have to" as buffy does, then you have an even more formidable foe. So Caleb just might see where Willow is more of a threat than Buffy ever could be.

I am hoping that Willow plays a big role in the final conflict. Since it doesn't appear that she's signing onto Angel or a spin off, it could very well be a great way to turn the character around after last years Destructo-Willow to Willow The World Saver. And even more satisfying to watch when Caleb gets taken down by someone even more against is mindest than Buffy and the other "Dirty Girls" he so despises.

[> [> Re: Interesting thought -- anom, 21:23:13 04/20/03 Sun

"In medieval Christianity I believe Judas Iscariot was often portrayed as being red-haired and a stereotype Jew."

Portrayals of various villains as hook-nosed, Jewish-looking (& almost always shorter than the main good guys), olive- skinned or sallow if not swarthy have been around ever since, & maybe before. Think of Edward G. Robinson as Dathan in The Ten Commandments--"Dathan the Jew," yet, the only character whose Jewishness is pointed out by name even though the entire people whose story this movie tells is Jewish (OK, technically Israelite). In animated movies it's near-universal: the good leader is noble-looking, while the scheming betrayer is--well, see above for description. However, the examples I can think of generally have dark rather than red hair.

"The stereotype Jew of European anti-Semitism right up to the 19th century was often portrayed as a redhead - odd as I don't think many real Jews do have red hair."

Actually, red hair is probably more common among Jews than among most Europeans, except maybe those of Celtic descent-- or is that a stereotype too? (Hmm...were Wiccan & related beliefs also more common in that population? Could be a reason for the association of red hair w/witches.) A word meaning "red" or "reddish" is used to describe both King David & Esau, though it's not clear whether it refers to hair or skin color ("ruddy"). On the other hand, if it were really common, it probably wouldn't have been worth remarking on. Although Esau wasn't Jewish/Israelite, he was very closely related, & genes for his coloring were probably passed down to his brother's descendants.

Morlocks, Moloch and Jasmine (spoiler/Magic Bullet) -- WickedBuffy (sorry if this point was already chewed on), 12:55:24 04/18/03 Fri

Anyone notice HappyShiny people resemble the Eli in H.G. Wells's THE TIME MACHINE. And Jasmine is the Morlock? (There are so many different interpretations of the book. Please don't bite me if this isn't yours.)

Here's an excerpt from a description of the Rod Taylor movie version:

"One race, the Eli, is made up of young, very good looking, very gentle, trusting, ignorant people who have forgotten how to think for themselves, because all their needs are taken care of by the second race of monster-like people, the Morlocks, who periodically harvest them for food."

(The races names are borrowed from the Biblical Eli and Moloch-- Moloch was a demon/devil worshipped by human sacrifices.)

In the made-for-tv movie shown this year, ethical implications were pointed out. What right did George (the time traveler) have to impose his beliefs and upset the balance of the Eli/Morlock culture based on his culture? If everyone is happy about things, why upset it all? Why make life harder and more miserable? Why deHappyShineify LA? What rights and whose rights take precedence? AI's or HappyShinies?

ok, ok - so some people say ìthe book symbolizes Wells vision of the eventual result of unchecked capitalism: a neurasthenic upper class that would eventually be devoured by a proletariat driven to the depthsî

That hurt my brain to read. But, happy, carefree Eli are eaten by the Morlocks, who make the happy life possible. Sheep are eaten by whoever takes care of them. HappyShinies are eaten by Jasmine.

Anyway, the parallels are interesting. (I couldnít figure out what Eli meant. lunasea, do you have that one?)

But Moloch/Morlock sure sounds like Jasmine and her eating habits. And the dilemna brought up in THE TIME MACHINE sounds alot like this one.

(hey! I wonder if Jasmine can be killed the same way Moloch was killed? or the Morlocks? I have no idea what those were, though.)

Again, sorry if it's already been pointed out - I tried to read all the posts to make sure, but might have missed this. Have I pregroveled for forgiveness enough about this? :>

[> That was just silly. -- goldenxercenary, 20:51:09 04/18/03 Fri

[> Weena nawanna bedinna? -- Celebaelin, 11:50:34 04/19/03 Sat

It seems to me the problem is that the Eloi (sic Ch. 5 pp 45) aren't capable of voicing complex thoughts and as such can't say, that they want to be eaten. The book suggests that they are unaware that the farming process is occuring but accept the routine simply because it is all they know, only the brightest of the Eloi are beginning to fear the night (when the Morlocks come, Ch. 6 pp 52) c.w. 'The Dish of the Day' in Douglas Adams Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Ch. 17 pp 88-94).

I guess the lack of information/freewill is significant in the decision making process.

Hugo Nominations Announced - Joss gets 3 nods -- Scroll, 13:41:41 04/18/03 Fri

From Sci Fi Wire:

Nominees were announced for the 50th annual Hugo Awards, which will be awarded at Torcon 3, the 61st World Science Fiction Convention, to be held Aug. 28-Sept. 1 in Toronto. The award is named for editor Hugo Gernsback, described as "the father of magazine science fiction," and honors works from the previous year.

Also known as the Science Fiction Achievement Award, the Hugo Award is given annually by the World Science Fiction Society. The year 2003 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Hugo Awards presentation in 1953 at the 11th Worldcon, popularly known as Philcon II, in Philadelphia. A full list of nominees follows. [...]

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

ï Enterprise, "A Night in Sickbay"
ï Enterprise, "Carbon Creek"
ï Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Conversations With Dead People"
ï Firefly, "Serenity"
ï Angel, "Waiting in the Wings"


You can see a list of all the nominees at Sci Fi Wire.

As much as I liked Enterprise's "Carbon Creek", I think we're all agreed that it can't hold a candle to any of the ME nominees. I've tried to figure out which ep I think deserves the Hugo award, but I'm not sure I can decide:

1) "Conversations With Dead People" - very tightly written, intriguing overall concept, dramatic introduction of the Big Bad, terrific directing, excellent acting by everybody, lots of horror and Buffy getting smacked with a Virgin Mary.

2) "Serenity" - harsh, powerful, fantastic introduction to the complex Fireflyverse, characters that come alive in two short hours, beautiful cinematography, great design and FX, subverted clichÈs, and a captain who shoots straight from the hip.

3) "Waiting in the Wings" - excellent continuity, powerful overall metaphor, good paralleling of characters, great directing, mostly terrific acting, good design and FX, very effective character piece that also moved along the season arc. Also, we got to see the gang dressed up in their pretty, pretty formal wear :)

But I'd have to say that "Waiting in the Wings" is the weakest of the bunch. Of course, maybe my appreciation of WitW is being tainted by some issues I had with the Season 3 storyline -- something kept this ep from resonating for me. While I adore CWDP, I think I'll give "Serenity" the nod. It's the best pilot Joss has written, laid out so much for future storytelling, established character dynamics and the universe, while still telling a compelling 2-hour story.

[> I concur -- Vickie, 14:05:11 04/18/03 Fri

Much as I'd like to see BtVS AND AtS win a Hugo, Serenity sports brilliant writing, amazing performances by a cast that's already an ensemble, and was just a fabulous piece of television.

Plus, a poke in Fox's eye, for cancelling it already.

[> Conversations With Dead People -- Dochawk, 14:19:02 04/18/03 Fri

Which I consider one of the five best episodes of Buffy ever (I know I am in the minority) should have been nominated for Drew Goddard, not Joss right? Didn't Drew write it?

[> [> You're right, Drew Goddard wrote it -- Scroll, 15:18:01 04/18/03 Fri

When I said "Joss gets 3 nods", I really meant "Joss as Boss of Everybody gets 3 nods". Probably should've just said ME was nominated three times.

And I do love CWDP and it's true Goddard did an amazing job, but there's just something about "Serenity" being a pilot episode that means it had to do more than just tell a one- hour story. It had to thrust the viewer into this brand new world, define the parameters of the show, develop nine complex characters, give backstory, create tension and mystery, and just plain fun cowboy action. It just worked beautifully on every level.

[> [> Hugo nominations -- Robert, 15:27:45 04/18/03 Fri

>>> Which I consider one of the five best episodes of Buffy ever (I know I am in the minority) should have been nominated for Drew Goddard, not Joss right? Didn't Drew write it?

According to the shooting script, both Goddard and Espenson wrote Conversations With Dead People. However, I don't think it is relevant to your complaint, because I believe that the Hugo nomination is directed toward the show, not to the individual writers. The following is an extract from the webpage http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/art- main.html?2003-04/18/11.15.books.

Notice that it does not mention writers in relation to the nominations, whereas it did for novels.
Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

ïEnterprise, "A Night in Sickbay"
ïEnterprise, "Carbon Creek"
ïBuffy the Vampire Slayer, "Conversations With Dead People"
ïFirefly, "Serenity"
ïAngel, "Waiting in the Wings"

Best Novel

ïBones of the Earth by Michael Swanwick
ïHominids by Robert J. Sawyer
ïKiln People by David Brin
ïThe Scar by China Mieville
ïThe Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson

[> So much is cleared up -- Bronson, 14:22:50 04/18/03 Fri

Years ago someone told me that the Hugo awards were named for Victor Hugo, leaving me very confused as to what the author of "Les Miserables" had to do with sci-fi.
As much as I like "Serenity," I'd be tempted to give the nod to "Conversations with Dead People" because I think it was a difficult story to tell in the form of a television show, and it was done well enough that I ran into someone at my local watering hole who said (I kid you not) "Hey, I watched Buffy last night, I'd never seen it before. Seems like a really cool show. Can you fill me in on what's happened so far?"

[> [> Just heard of Hugo awards last year -- Scroll, 15:27:22 04/18/03 Fri

While I consider myself a Trekkie (or at least a Star Trek fan), I'm not really active in the fandom. I don't know much about the sci-fi community, so I'd never even heard of the Hugo award until recently. Now I know there's also something called the Saturn award which I think Joss got last year. Can't remember what catergory he won in, however.

[> [> [> Saturn Awards 2000 -- pellenaka, 04:42:08 04/19/03 Sat

Best Television Show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (both in 2000 and in 1997)

Best Supporting Actor: James Marsters (2000)

Oh, and Sarah Michelle Gellar won Best Actress in 1998 and David Borenaz won Best Actor in 1999.

Source: http://www.saturnawards.org/saturn_awards_past.html

[> If I were a Hugo voter... -- Valheru, 01:14:41 04/19/03 Sat

...I'd probably abstain on principle. The Hugo's are generally considered to be more "fanboyish" than the more "literary" Nebula Awards. Frankly, I don't think either award, either by the nature of the voting groups or the letter of the selection criteria, is very well suited to reward the true "best" sci-fi page/screen work (at least, not in the way that the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, Pulitzers, etc. do). But any award that wants to be taken credibly as a major achievement in mature masterpieces isn't going to get there by chosing "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" as Best Novel, as the Hugo's did in 2001 (I liked "Goblet," but great fantastic literature it is not). That's like picking the somewhat-great-but-mostly-just-a-lot-of-fun "Fear, Itself" for Best BtVS Season 4 Episode, to the dismay of the television masterpieces "Hush" and "Restless."

'Nuff ranting. If I were to pick from the three Mutant Enemy choices (sorry, I don't watch "Enterprise"), I'd have to pick "Serenity." It's one of the best non-auteur efforts Joss has given us. "WitW," however, is the worst of Joss's auteur forays (the others being "Hush," "Restless," "The Body," "OMWF," and a case could also be made for "Amends"). "CwDP" was very good, but what hurts it is the body of greater works on BtVS that preceed it; as wonderfully done as "CwDP" was, I actually think that ME could have done it better. Grading on a curve, between the three episodes, "WitW" gets an F, "CwDP" gets a B, and "Serenity" gets an A+.

For the time-period, though, I would have selected different ME episodes (assume that I can pick 5 instead of 3, due to my "Enterprise" deficiency). "Loyalty" or "Sleep Tight" deserve recognition for the tight weaving of the many character and seasonal plots of AtS S3, the standout performances of Keith Szbarajaka (is that even close to the correct spelling?) and Alexis Denisof, and the overall theme of "helpful betrayal" (and any episode that can do with a giant hamburger what "Loyalty" did needs an award for sheer gutty genius). Any nomination that recognizes "CwDP" should also recognize "Selfless," because those two episodes, while wildly different in theme, mood, and style, stand shoulder to shoulder in quality (and the Aud/Olaf scenes just might set a new standard for television flashback comedy, sci-fi or not). Finally, love it or hate it, "Seeing Red" needs a nomination; as a single episode, independent of what we fans may think of the character arcs, it is praise-worthy enough to warrant Hugo appreciation. I'd drop "WitW" from the ballot (grudgingly, mind you), put the others on, but in the end I'd still pick "Serenity" as the winner.

[> [> Who are Hugo voters anyway? -- MaeveRigan, 03:19:43 04/19/03 Sat

[> [> [> Hugo voters -- KdS, 03:45:53 04/19/03 Sat

They're voted for by members of the World Science Fiction Association (a fan society) and people who attend the annual Worldcon convention.

[> [> Re: If I were a Hugo voter... -- Etrangere, 09:19:00 04/20/03 Sun

>>But any award that wants to be taken credibly as a major achievement in mature masterpieces isn't going to get there by chosing "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" as Best Novel, as the Hugo's did in 2001 >>

Especially instead of A Storm of Sword by George RR Martin.

He really should have gotten it !

[> I'll tell you . . . -- verdantheart, 06:30:19 04/21/03 Mon

Seeing "A Night in Sickbay" in the nomination list doesn't add a lot of credibility to their organization . . . That was one of the worst episodes in a generally lackluster season, IMHO. If they must nominate from Enterprise, surely they can find something better than that.

Question to the board, regarding Lie to Me (spoilers for that ep) -- Vickie, 14:02:47 04/18/03 Fri

I rewatched that episode last evening, and I still cannot decide something. Why does Spike (or, possibly, Drusilla) sire Ford?

Sure, he's made a deal with them and come through on it. But he's also gotten them locked in the basement, with Buffy not locked in the basement. The outcome of the deal was Drusilla endangered and Spike embarrassed.

I keep trying to decide that Spike was going after Buffy, as Angelus might, by vamping her old friend. But does he even know how close Buffy and Ford have been? Ford just tells Spike he can deliver the Slayer. We don't have any evidence that he gets into details--in fact, we have evidence that Spike is impatient with hearing any.

Not a huge point, just a puzzle that won't go away.

[> Suggestion -- KdS, 14:12:52 04/18/03 Fri

If siring is similar to sex for vampires, maybe he just wanted to get his rocks off ;-)

[> [> Re: Suggestion -- Rob, 14:33:20 04/18/03 Fri

Trapped in the basement with him, Spike and Dru might have figured "What the hell?" and gone ahead with it. Also, remember that Ford did follow through with his part of the deal, and despite his bluster and impatience, Spike is a practical vamp. Siring a new vamp means a possible ally in the future. A human who is so eager to be sired might make a very good one.


[> [> [> Spike's nature -- luna, 19:17:38 04/19/03 Sat

We've seen enough of Spike's nature to speculate that he could have done it out of feeling for Ford's need. Even then, he wasn't without that little touch of William's sympathy.

[> If you keep welching on your deals, no one will deal with you anymore -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:38:09 04/18/03 Fri

In "What's My Line" he pays Willy for delivering Angel to him, even though he already had Angel in custody and could have killed Willy in an instant. But, if Spike had gone back on his deal with Ford and not turned him, Willy might be less eager to bargain with Spike, as would a lot of other people most likely. If you're gonna be a bad guy, you need to get the other bad guys to trust you, otherwise you lose allies.

[> I attempt an answer (spoilers for Lie to Me and Primeval) -- Robert, 14:38:45 04/18/03 Fri

>>> Why does Spike (or, possibly, Drusilla) sire Ford?

Without knowing for a fact, I'm willing to guess that Spike did the siring, and he did it as a combination of revenge and poetic justice.

Ford was unable to deliver on his part of the bargain. Yet Ford still wanted Spike to deliver on his. The obvious revenge would be to merely kill Ford. Recall that Ford hatched his little plan to achieve immortality (due to his illness). Ford was willing to sacrifice his friends (including Buffy) solely to serve his own needs.

The poetic justice is that Spike did deliver on his part of the bargain, and yet still denied Ford his immortality, because Spike knew good and well that Buffy would dust Ford. At the very moment that Ford achieved his fondest desire, he loses it all.

This is why Spike sired Ford.

This brings to mind Spike's actions in Primeval. Spike is caught in a similar situation where he is unable to deliver on his part of a bargain with Adam.

GOH! C'mon! It's not like I wasn't trying!
That's worth
something, isn't it?

I suppose. Yes. I will honor our agreement and remove your chip.
(to Forrest) Take his head off.

[> [> I agree -- CW, 17:46:34 04/18/03 Fri

[> [> That's about how I always figured it. -- OnM, 18:58:12 04/18/03 Fri

[> [> Great answer! I'm going to add that to my "Lie to Me" annotations page. -- Rob, 15:16:30 04/19/03 Sat

Playing with Elephants & Inverting the Inverted (AtS spoilers for IO, SHP, MB) -- Solitude1056, 14:30:57 04/18/03 Fri

I am not hijacking a thread, but I am pulling in comments from several other threads to start this one, rather than try and squeeze all into someone else's existing subject areas.

Okay, first off: everyone heard the one about the elephant and the four blind guys? Oh, I'm sure you have. One guy feels the tail, declares an elephant is like a snake. Another feels the leg and says an elephant is like a tree, the third one feels the tusk... you get the idea. Because no one can see the whole elephant, no one knows what the real big picture is, no one can grasp what they're dealing with - especially when they're too busy trying to fit the new, unusual beast into already existing categories. Now, for the next five minutes, do NOT think about elephants.


First, I'm seeing a great deal of "christian definitions" of various things, which is really rather amusing when you think about the fact that there's how many sects of Christianity now? This is not unlike people who only watch Buffy arguing with people who only watch Angel about which VWAS (TM) is more valid. In this analogy, there would be few people who watch both - and lest we forget, there's also the comic books, the (upcoming) BBC spin-off, and the short stories. What if people who only read comic books were to go head-to-head with people who've only seen the first five seasons of BtVS?

* vampire with a soul

Oh, and you thought 'Spike is kewl' was bad enough.

A week or so ago, I posited a theory at the bottom of a long post. Seems no one had much to contribute except for someone who's still smoking over in the corner, but whatever. If you'd had the fortitude, you'd have gotten to the bottom of the post to discover that my theory is that Joss is not telling a story that even remotely resembles Xtian myth or religion. In fact, he's inverting a two- thousand year old inversion.

Here's where the elephant comes in. We've spent the past week or two debating Xtianity - including trying to use "christian" or "religious" definitions or assumptions when the majority of the board may not necessarily agree with that assumption. The Protestants don't know catechism, the Catholics don't see the Xtian texts as literal truth, the Jews think the whole Messiah thing is a little over-rated anyway, and the Moslems have enough PR issues right now. I'd think it be common sense that perhaps, if Joss is writing a show for the average Joe, that he probably isn't going to be encouraging ME to use a specific sect's definition of any one term, because it would leave out a whole heaping of other folks who use that term, in their religious/spiritual life, in a different way.

Someone else mentioned this as related to BtVS issues, with the comment that an 'evil imam' probably wouldn't strike fear in anyone viewer's hearts, because it's not exactly a common experience. The viewers would be too busy trying to figure out what the guy is, they wouldn't know to automatically trust him as an authority figure (and therefore be betrayed when they realize he's a Bad Guy). So, we must use general, culturally-based values recognizable by The Average American Joe (the original, primary intended audience, remember).

That said...

The Average American Joe probably does not have anything in hir religion, on average, that includes God incarnating through the merger of a semi-human person and someone who exists through complete miracle. Oh, and a God that springs, full-grown from the belly of the mother, like Athena but not quite. As some other more perceptive person pointed out, The Greatest Story Ever Told - in Joss' version, that is - doesn't involve a Creator God... which is what most, if not all, of the world's religions have as the center of their focus. Even when it's a pantheon of heavenly beings, there's still a Creator (or Creators) in there somewhere, at the heart of it all. Shiva destroys and creates in turn in Southern Asia; the Thunder Birds give life to humans with lightening in Washington State. Jasmine is not a creator-being, nor does she even remotely lay claim to that position.

So right off the bat, we know this elephant is not a snake, yet because we know snakes (so to speak) better than anything else, many of us (myself included) have gone about using snakes as the best analogy. For that matter, I don't think Jasmine really fits any of the rest of our stories, for one simple reason: she confirms everything the 'rest of the world' has denied, outside of the Scooby Gang, Wolfram & Hart, and AI. The Jossverse is full of people surrounded by demons, vampires, witches, and yet these people live their lives remaining blissfully or perhaps intentionally ignorant of these close neighbors. But Jasmine comes down (or up) with a message that acknowledges and confirms these unwanted neighbors - and, we learned this past week, encourages her followers to not only acknowledge demons, vampires, etc, but to hunt them down and kill them.

So, I think if we wanted to draw a line between (any) existing religion and the storyline by Joss, we'd have to come up with a religious myth that follows the template we're seeing in Joss' metaphor. One that includes the following:

1. An immanent god who's not necessarily the Creator
2. The god's appearance is accompanied by acknowledgement of a truth the people otherwise find uncomfortable (but may have known all along)
3. The god's appearance divides society into two separate parts (i.e., good people, bad demons)
4. The god requires sacrifices even after becoming immanent

Thing is, I think Jasmine is a trickster, but I'm still not convinced that this means she, herself, would define herself as eeeevul. I know this is verging on relativistic, but that's one of the pitfalls philosophers (and theologians) have grappled with for ages when discussing evil and good. Forget the elephant, and now think about iguanas. Let's say the world is full of iguanas who have a life-span from 5 to 7 months. They're born, grow up, have babies, and die within the space of about a half-year. That means, as a human being, I will see at least one-hundred sixty generations of iguanas in the course of my lifetime. (Translated into human terms, 160 generations is about 3200 years.) From where I stand, iguanas aren't really around long enough to get much done, although I love each little idiotic iguana in its own way, if a little objectively cause I know it'll be dead in a practically the blink of an eye.

Unfortunately, I've gotta eat, and the only thing of any sustenance turns out to be... iguanas. Can I really relate to iguanas, even if I'm busy looking like a iguana myself? After all, I'm still going to be here when these iguanas' great-great-great-great-grandchildren are having babies. I can be amazed at their cultural progress, but a part of me will always be just a little separated from it, so not really seeing the iguanas as a "every life must be saved." I mean, they all kind of blend together after the ninety- seventh generation. The little ones, oh, let them burn (or let me eat them), because there's always more.

And taking a tangent from that, I do know there are religions of various shades where sacrifice to the gods (like the Incas or the Celts) was a necessary and continuing part of existence. It wasn't always a common thing, but it did happen. The god had to be appeased, fed, inseminated, whatever. In some cases, the person doing the appeasing may have been a prisoner of war, and completely unwilling. In other cases (such as we saw with the Inca Mummy Girl), the victim had to be a willing member of the society.

If Jasmine had said to the people, come with me, I can only remain here if you give your life to me... don't you think the whole place would have been beside itself, ready to drink whatever kool aid she offered? Don't you think there were enough previously unhappy, dissatisfied people that Jasmine had absolutely no need to be covert about it? She could just ask for volunteers and would probably have them by the score. And that notion, of everyone jumping up and down to end their life for a god, isn't one that occurs too many times in our world religions, except for a Jim Jones or two every now and then. Those who write the myths know that we still need some folks to keep plowing the field, making bread, and teaching kids to tie their shoelaces. Having everyone up and die just isn't always practical if you're also trying to keep a society running, and many of the world's religions have a strong dose of "how we do things in this culture" element. It's not a negative to say that many religions use their myths as a type of cultural indoctrination for young children to learn the society's patterns, so a pattern of "kill yourself right away" seems like one that wouldn't last too long. I mean, look at the Shakers, people. You go for complete celibacy, is it any surprise you end up with a bunch of celibate old people and no one new joining up? But anyway...

"I ate them" just seemed a little too flippant.

Two thousand years ago, there was a semi-heretical group called the Gnostics, who believed a variety of things and contradicted each other constantly, yada yada yada. One of the biggest groups, led by Valentinius, believed that the world was created by a Demiurge, a false god who was the product of an impossible birth from Sophia, the god of wisdom. The Demiurge, being an abomination of a mixture of matter and pure spirit, was thrown out of heaven. Not willing or able to recognize that his powers weren't his own (but were inherited from the First Father through his mother Sophia), he began creating the world we live in, a jealous god who refuses rivals for fear that we puny humans will realize he's only a petty shadow of the real thing.

As I summarized in my post last week:

Connor is our Demiurge.

After all, if Joss were going to tell us a story about the birth of a god, wouldn't it make sense that, being the perverted and delightfully twisted (and well-educated) person that he is, he'd pick a story that's already inverted? And then, having given us this inverted story, it's no surprise he goes and takes it a step further, asking what would a Messiah - who was truly part of this negative Demiurge - be like?

Connor's first introduction to us was as The Destroyer. He's tried to kill his father numerous times, and his foster- father had himself killed so Connor would continue to doubt his true father. Let's see, Connor also dumped his father in the ocean, had sex with his foster-mother, abducted a virgin, and whatever else. I think that's enough. Yes, there's a lot of Oedipus in Connor's story, but Oedipus doesn't go far enough, because Oedipus was - in most ways - just a regular man. That's a great deal of the tragedy, after all, that a man could rise high and fall far. Connor is not, in case we missed it the first five times, your normal human being. Connor's birth was a once-in-forever miraculous kind of happening, just as the Demiurge was a miraculous once-in-forever emission from Sophia who otherwise should have been sterile as a non-creator god.

I think what happened, when I consider what I'd think in Joss' shoes, is the first question would be: what if the Demiurge were human, had feelings, could interact and be conflicted about things? What if the demiurge were a baby- god, being thrown away as an abomination (or raised to believe that those who did the throwing were abominations in return), and forced to make his own life to replace the one of which he was deprived? How would the Demiurge Connor feel, if he were forced to compete with Angel/us (standing in for the demon Authades, one of the birth parents in some of the Demiurge myths). Or Darla, making a cameo as Sophia, goddess of wisdom. Oh, I don't think the Demiurge would take kindly to being questioned - he's been thrown away, cast out, distrusted and unwanted for too long now to listen to his elders regretting that they didn't love him well enough or long enough or hard enough.

No... the Demiurge only loves his own creation, and he's a jealous father. He doesn't want to share - so in that sense, Jasmine represents the "new world" of the Demiurge, where he plays a role, a strong leading role, rather than the unwanted cast-out in his mother-father's world. In the original version, the Demiurge was, more often than not, a bad guy, a petty child making a new world not just out of spite but also mostly simply because he could. What if the Demiurge, this time around, is bringing that new world into play but changes his mind? What would make him step away from the creator-role and rejoin the rest of the existing world/gods?

If the Demiurge, in the original stories, was evil, jealous, envious, possessive, and cruel, the expected Messiah could be either a slow-talkin, smooth-movin, peace-lovin con man, or a throwback to the Demiurge's origins, preaching the truth of the Demiurge's false pride to the Demiurge's creation. But if the Demiurge was just a lonely, scared, confused, angry, jealous, possessive, teenager, how would this inversion of the inverted change the resulting emission? What would the Messiah be like, if coming from such a Demiurge? And if this Iguana-Eating Messiah is not a force for good in the sense of our traditional world religions - that is, one that sees the followers as being protected, down to the last one unless there's a stated social contract of regular sacrifices under certain conditions - but instead is a force for division, or cruelty, or perhaps it's just one that could care less what the iguanas do so long as they don't make a lot of noise... then what does this iguana-eating evil say about our Demiurge Connor? Can we even call this story an elephant, or are we going to have to wait until Joss retires before we'll ever be able to see the whole critter?

New definition of retconning: when an elephant suddenly turns purple with green stripes and grows an extra tusk in the middle of its forehead ... and the zookeeper spends two forty-five minute lectures trying to convince you that it was like that, all along.


[> Symbols and inversions and manifestations... -- Caroline, 16:19:19 04/18/03 Fri

I gotta agree with Sol that Joss is not telling a story about Christianity. He does make use of certain symbols that have developed a specific meaning in christian religion - but that's because that's the religion and symbolism that his audience grew up with, so that kinda makes sense. In Magic Bullet he did have the demon referring to the 'Jasmaniacs and her freakin' jihad' but then I think that in recent years, jihad has come to have a particular meaning in the west, whereas in Islam 'jihad' is defined more strongly as an internal struggle rather than a vehicle for war and martyrdom.

But while Joss may use symbols like blood, crucifixion, etc, he tells us nothing about the nature of the divine. Buffy even stated in CWDP that the verdict on God's existence is out. We know something about the nature of man/demon's experience of the divine in the buffyverse - Buffy was complete in a heaven dimension, Angel suffered torments in a hell dimension, Glory is anxious to get back to her hell dimension etc. Joss tells us nothing about his metaphysical cosmology - just that the first beings on this planet were demons and that when they left, they infected a human and became a hybrid. We don't get told where the pure demons went to - perhaps to another dimension. On Angel we know that there are PTBs but everyone we have ever known about them has just been turned on its head. We thought they were one thing and now they are something else.

So Joss doesn't set up a cosmology that we can recognize from any of the myth systems that I know of, from any of the religions etc. That's kinda cool cos then he can explore good/evil etc without necessarily being embedded in a particular system that cause him to piss people off. Instead, he draws many of his themes from myth systems and religions - Hindu, Sumerian, Greek, Norse, Pagan, Christian etc - and how these themes are used in other literary works - whether it's Alan Moore, Vonnegut, Yeats, Shakespeare, etc. Many of us have posted on parallels with certain characters in the buffyverse and their experiences to those of mythic characters - Inanna, Ereshkigal, Kali, Persephone being my favourites. But others such as Herakles, Oedipus, have also been used, and literary references such as Yeat's Second Coming, Othello, Hamlet, Poe's Cask of Amontillado (I think it will be very interesting to find out who does get walled up in the hellmouth, if I am correct in my interpretation) are rife throughout both series. As are the psychological underpinnings of many of these myths. (There are also some astrological references but given the reception that astrology has received here in the past, Iíve often refrained from exploring them here.) So the show draws on many different versions of symbolic language.

Even when Joss does use specifically Christian symbols, he seems to give them a twist an uses them in such as way that they have a more universal interpretation. Jasmine is obviously some divine force that has managed to make herself material in some way. The only Christian parallel to this event that I am aware of is the birth of Christ. But I don't see too many people trying to equate Jasmine with Christ and rightly so. Christ came to sacrifice his life for the sins of man so that they may be redeemed and have eternal life. He came to spread a message. Jasmine isn't just spreading a message, she is suspending the faculty of everyone in LA to decide anything for themselves. I don't think Jasmine wants to die to save everyone - it appears she wants to feed on everyone to save herself. So, the symbol of the birth of Christ is not a good parallel - it's an inversion. It then appears that the gnostic story of the demi-urge is more fitting, as Sol argues above and very convincingly IMO. To me, the important question is what was there in the condition of LA and the gang at AI that brought about the manifestation of this demi-urge? Has the AI crew given up? Have they been fighting so hard for so long and now just long for rest?

On BtVS, we have Caleb, once a preacher and man of God whose beliefs have been perverted and twisted. (I really like Caleb, purely for the reason that he fits wonderfully into the intepretation of Buffy that I gave in my Buffy posts a few weeks back). Caleb uses the words of those faithful to God, but like Jasmine, the intent behind them is perverted. There is a point to his 'reversal' of the process of transubstantiation which has received much discussion on the board. We know that anything 'good' that is reversed becomes 'evil'. In some readings given by tarot readers, when a card appears upside-down or reversed, its meaning is negative rather than positive. So Caleb may spout words from Christian liturgy but not to glorify god ñ itís to glorify the FE, whose partner he has become. Iíve already speculated on the nature of the manifestation of FE and why it springs up in Sunnydale ñ my views on the transgressions in the slayer line that led to the FEís anger, the FE as the external manifestation of Buffyís dark feminine principle etc. Calebís relationship to the FE is that of the Other ñ heís the dark masculine principle she seems to require as a vehicle for her actions. I canít find any parallels here to Christian symbolism. If one wants to incur theological wrath, one may wish to posit that the FE is the devil/Satan/Lucifer symbol from pop Christian theology but smacks from Sol are painful so weíll have to refrain! But we have no clue about the nature of the FE existing in opposition to a ëgoodí deity, we just know that the FE has existed before the bang and the word. No idea about the opposite creator/good deity. In the absence of that complete cosmology, it is far more reasonable to go along with buffyverse lore of the demons/evil being an external manifestation of an internal process or event. I am less familiar with AtS, but I would make the assumption that the same goes. So, Joss takes a clichÈ about the southern preacher, makes him worship an evil entity and become her vehicle, all the time dressed up in a clergymanís attire and using his own twisted brand of theology to worship her. And all the girls who are not like the FE are considered evil and must be destroyed ñ thus the misogyny. Everything that Caleb spouts is reversed.

So, Jasmine and Caleb and not hope and faith, Jasmine/Fred do not find parallels in god/atheist, etc. The are external manifestations of internal struggles (a representation of jihad, if you will) that draw on many myth systems and symbols but are not representative of one particular system. Where symbols have been drawn from a particular myth system to represent them, those symbols have been twisted and reversed to make very specific points. The neutralization of the big bads will be brought about by our heroes in LA and Sunnydale winning the internal struggle. As within, so without?

[> Re: Playing with Elephants & Inverting the Inverted (AtS spoilers for IO, SHP, MB) -- d'Herblay, 16:28:02 04/18/03 Fri

Interesting post. I'm quite amenable to the idea that Joss & Co. may well be intentionally incorporating some Gnostic ideas into their work; however, I think it's probable that their idea of Gnosticism comes less from Valentius and Nag Hammadi and more from The Matrix and the "Age of Apocalypse" arc of The X-Men. I'm not too impressed with the religious scholarship of someone whose depiction of our world seems not to include the Protestant Reformation. But what the hell -- everything I know about Gnosticism comes from Philip K. Dick anyway. Indeed, it would almost be difficult for them to tell any story these days without including Gnostic notions, so pervasive are they in modern culture.

I have trouble, though, seeing Connor as the Demiurge in question. While the list of correspondences you give is pretty convincing (and to bring in another current board kerfuffle, I found it fun applying points c through g to our Commander-in-Chief), I think the central quality of the Demiurge has to be that it creates a veil of illusion over true reality and obscures it from the observer who is without gnosis. We have definitely seen a moment in each of "Shiny Happy People" and "Magic Bullet" where a veil is lifted and gnosis is achieved -- with maggots; however, there is no evidence that Connor is perpetrating this illusion (even subconsciously -- and Cordelia would be a better candidate for that), and, in fact, there is textual evidence that he is as much a victim of it as is the common, unenlightened mass that follow Jasmine to her boudoir-cum- abattoir. You'll have to help me on the ancient Gnostic myths, but I cannot think of a modern Gnostic myth (again, I'm relying on Philip K. Dick and his imitators) where the Demiurge believes its own illusion.

Another distinction between modern Gnostic myths and the current developments on Angel is found in the extent of the illusion perpetrated. To the Gnostic, the entire world is illusionary, and the actions of those affected by the illusion are done without compulsion, only under the influence of false information. Those without gnosis have what might even be considered "free will" (that's another board kerfluffle), though a sociobiologist who takes lessons in evolution from computer programmers might remind us that "garbage in, garbage out" still applies to those with free will. Jasmine's subjects strike me as lacking even this sort of confused agency.

Actually, it is interesting that an episode that takes a setting and its title from the world of conspiracy theorists might be so concerned with Gnosticism, as I view Gnosticism as sort of the ultimate conspiracy theory. (If the X- Files-ish catchphrase for Millenarianism is "Keep Watching the Skies!" then that for Gnosticism is "The Truth is Out There!" -- or, should you prefer The Firesign Theater, no strangers to pop-Gnosticism, "Everything You Know is Wrong!")

[> [> Wheaties: The Heritage of Champions! (spoilers, AtS to current) -- Solitude1056, 08:10:19 04/19/03 Sat

I have trouble, though, seeing Connor as the Demiurge... I think the central quality of the Demiurge has to be that it creates a veil of illusion over true reality and obscures it from the observer who is without gnosis.

You're right. Hmm.

I think part of the reason the Oedipus correlations bugged me was because it didn't cover Conor's miraculous birth (and pretty horrendous fosterage). But part of the problem with deconstructing a story to get at the possible mythic influences is that nothing ever fits perfectly - that is, until the author gets off hir duff and tells us exactly what had been planned. And since we've already had the debate about the fallacy of intentionality...

Anyway, in some of the Gnostic traditions, the Demiurge doesn't create the world, he just claims responsibility for it. In some ways, I think this fits Conor better than the notion of having been the "real" Creator - only in Conor's case, he has the potential of claiming public responsibility for his family's heritage. Not sure how to put it, but if "being a god" (the original story) means having the power to "create worlds" and "being Angel" means having the power to "save helpless people" then wouldn't Conor, as Angel's child, inherit the public face of "saving people"? Only in Conor's case, like the Demiurge's, he's able to publicly do so where the Unknown God/Angel must remain in the background. Angel is, after all, a vampire - and where Groo could proceed into the light, Conor can do so as well. Angel is still the Unknown Hero, nancy hair gel and all.

Gnosticism is a popular kind of thing, and you're right (and I hadn't thought about that connection) that this past century's fascination with conspiracies has definite elements of wanting to prove that the reigning accepted knowledge is bunk, and that there's something more to it. I'm still getting a kick out of Jasmine's revelation to Book Store Guy that Oswald acted alone, but it also makes me think that Joss is still inverting the inverted. In this case, though, the illusion that's supposed to be stripped away, the Messiah doesn't reverse the Demiurge's actions but instead reveals the accepted culture's 'cover' to be the actual truth. I mean, there's a flip. You'd think, removing illusion, the truth is out there!, know we finally discover that there was a second shooter - but there wasn't. The remover-of-illusions reveals no conspiracy theories, nothing really that dramatic, just the usual ordinary life we were trying to escape with our conspiracy theories in the first place.

Anyway, you're right. No one metaphor or myth will fit perfectly, from Oedipus to Moby Dick. I'm wondering if it works better if you change "god" in original to "champion," even though I honestly hate that word now and would love a complete moratorium on it. I mean, really, have we had even a single episode in the past year that doesn't use that word? Please! Someone send ME a thesaurus!


Where was I...

[> Re: Playing with Elephants & Inverting the Inverted (AtS spoilers for IO, SHP, MB) -- CW, 18:35:40 04/18/03 Fri

On the other hand, you can't blame people for seeing stories loaded with religious overtones through the filter of their religion. It bothers me when people see only Christian or whatever symbolism when the connection is tenuous, but when a person is convinced in what they believe, we can't expect the guy at the elephant's foot to declare the animal is like a snake. For instance, in Giles' dream in Restless, I see the scene where Spike spreads his arms in front of the photographers, as a typical, hollywood, here-I-am-so-love-me pose, but many people tell me it's a crucifixion pose and I know I'm not going to convince them otherwise.

Re retconning. What really disturbs me is the people who swear, after the fact, that they they knew all along that God (or the writers) intended always that the elephant would have purple and green stripes. Sometimes the faith of a fan is really aggravating.

[> [> Re: Playing with Elephants & Inverting the Inverted (AtS spoilers for IO, SHP, MB) -- Rufus, 02:30:14 04/19/03 Sat

Well, I kinda see what Joss does as making a stone soup of mythology, theology, and Marvel comics. So, I don't look at any of the imagery as literal but designed to evoke feelings. Images such as the "crucifixion scene" in Restless doesn't mean that they will be getting out the nails and a wooden cross any time soon....but didn't exclude the cross as a barbecue in Beneath You.

[> [> [> There's our quote of the week! -- Solitude1056, 08:13:52 04/19/03 Sat

...Joss [is] making a stone soup of mythology, theology, and Marvel comics.

Yeah, and we spend all our time trying to deconstruct the recipe and figure out the ingredients!

[> [> [> That's my take also. -- aliera, 09:23:28 04/19/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> Me too! -- ponygirl, 13:42:30 04/19/03 Sat

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