April 2003 posts

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Did anyone catch USA's Helen of Troy? -- Spike Lover, 11:29:13 04/29/03 Tue

I finally saw the 2nd half last night.


They had a rape scene on there that they actually showed. I could not believe it. No parental warnings. It was only pg- 14.

I mean- it was disturbing. (The actors did a good job, but still-. I was completely not expecting that. -The implication, certainly, but actually showing it?)

I was amazed, (shocked and disturbed also) and then I got to thinking about the Shattered sex scene with B & S, and wondered why I did not find that disturbing. Maybe because it wasn't violent? Maybe because both B & S were wearing lots of clothes, (not revealing any actual skin). Maybe because I had been hoping the characters would get together for a couple of seasons?

Did anyone else see it? What did you think? I keep wondering if that might have been worthy of an R rating, 15 years ago.

[> Re: Did anyone catch USA's Helen of Troy? -- Rabel Dusk, 14:34:25 04/29/03 Tue

I thought it was a piece of dreck. It is a very risky thing to try to compete with Homer, though most of the issues and actions in the Iliad were bypassed or changed. It was an interesting choice to make Paris and Helen sympathetic figures, since the ancient Greeks certainly didn't regard them that way. Maybe the producers thought it would make the story more appealing to modern audiences. I didn't think it worked.

Also, the fights were badly done. For instance, during the duel between Paris and Menelaus, the fighters seemed to forget that they had shields and were parrying with their swords. Sword (especially the short Greek sword) = offence. Shield = defence.

By the way, there is a movie in the works called "Troy" starring Brad Pitt as Achilles. Another risky proosition.

[> Re: Did anyone catch USA's Helen of Troy? (OT ramblings) -- Bronson the curmudgeon, 15:15:28 04/29/03 Tue

I saw only the second half, which I thought was OK. I was bothered by the rape for two-and-a-half reasons:
1. It was unnecessarily graphic, even for . At least that section of the film should have had a TV-M rating.
2. It's NOT IN THE TEXT. I'm almost positive. It's not in the Iliad, the Aeneid, or Troades, or the Oresteia. I'm pretty sure it's not in Trojan Women. It might be in Helen, but I think Euripides would have mentioned it in his other plays if he'd mentioned it at all.

To be sure, there are other significant deviations from the ancient texts in the movie, but this leads me to reason

2.5 It's waaay out of character for Agamemnon. After all, it's a direct violation of the oath that obliged him to go after Helen in the first place -- he swore to defend the honor of Helen's husband. Raping Helen doesn't really fit the bill.

(If you're in a bookstore, I would suggest looking up Larry Gonick's "Cartoon History of the Universe." His synopsis of the Trojan War is pretty funny, though his dear John letter from Helen is groaningly obvious:

I love Paris in the springtime.
See you later,

[> Yes, it was spun in favor of the trojans -- frisby, 16:28:08 04/29/03 Tue

Yes, I watched and enjoyed it, and also thought the rape scene powerful and disturbing, and it caught me off guard too. Overall, though it was keeping in the general perspective wherein the Greeks (especially Agamennon and Achilles) were mainly killers and rapists (contrary to the way Homer presents the 'heroes') - but I thoroughly appreciated Clymenestra's justice (from Aeschylus), even though again adapted from the text (Troy instead of Greece, for example). If Brad Pitt plays Achilles we'll likely get the more usual heroic view. Hercules was the model for Theseus who was the model for Achilles who was the model for Alexander the Great -- some feminist literature presents them all as sexists, chauvinists, and at bottom, rapists! The key line to the movie was Agamennon's "I told you, no trade." Meaning, as a master, he takes and never bargains.

110 minutes until the show before the antepenulitimate Buffy!!!

[> Yeah I didn't like it -- MayaPapaya9, 17:00:17 04/29/03 Tue

I seriously agree with whoever said that it should not have been rated TV-14. Since when is Helen's many-times-naked butt rated TV-14. Those scenes were highly unnecessary by the way. USA is just trying to bump up their ratings. I was really annoyed that they showed the rape scene which i don't ever remember learning about in freshman year Lit. Generally I thought it was a cheap movie that was more or less a waste of my four hours.

And as for the 2004 "Troy," it also stars Orlando Bloom as Paris. Achilles might still be portrayed as evil rather than heroic if Brad Pitt (oh yum) is playing him. I think Brad is capable of more than just the hero role.

Important question about tonight's episode of "Buffy" (spoiler) -- d'Herblay, 17:41:01 04/29/03 Tue

Ok, I'm only up through the first half-hour, so this may be addressed later in the episode, but I just have to ask: can Spike even get within five miles of Gilroy, California? The entire town has a definite odor. It's like heaven.

[> But is it true in the Buffy verse? -- luna, 18:26:01 04/29/03 Tue

That vampires can't handle garlic? I can't recall any scenes where it put them off. Of course, it's been a long time since vamps were the real threat, but Buffy, etc., didn't get it out when they were defending against the UB. That might have been a great occasion for elephant garlic!

[> [> Re: But is it true in the Buffy verse? -- KKC, 19:54:35 04/29/03 Tue

Garlic has appeared in the Buffyverse before... When Angel went bad, Willow and Buffy's tense sleepover included the ritual hanging of garlic on all the windows. The same was done just after Buffy left the ruined house where she and Spike began their physical relationship, when she decided it was better to ward him off. Garlic also appears to be an essential component of the spell used to reverse a vampire invitation.

But like the cross, garlic in the Buffyverse doesn't appear to have the power that it did in folklore. Vampires can knock away crosses and bear their shape, even if it's unpleasant. I imagine that a hip, modern vampire would put up with garlic the way a human would put up with an old litter box. Or maybe they'd go to Home Depot and pick up a 3M face mask with air filters. Or wait, maybe they can just not breathe too. :)

-KKC, who's had the Angel ending spoiled for him and hopes that there's a really good explanation for it. :)

[> Even in Dracula (spoilers? empty places) -- Vickie, 21:42:11 04/29/03 Tue

Garlic was only a deterrent. They've never made it's use explicit in Buffyworld, just shown it hung up when they wanted vampires excluded.

Maybe it's like an allergy? If not too bad, Spike is just uncomfortable?

Anyway, Spike does get to Gilroy just fine. So question answered, if not the underlying issue explored.

[> i asked the same thing in chat! -- anom, 21:56:54 04/29/03 Tue

And as far as garlic's effectiveness against vampires, Angelus called it a "foul herb" (or something like that) when he came back to his father's house, but it didn't keep him out. So maybe they don't like it, but they can deal w/it if they're motivated enough.

Or maybe Liam never liked garlic in the 1st place!

I KNEW IT!!! I KNEW IT!!! (Spoilers through "Empty Places") -- Finn Mac Cool, 18:29:45 04/29/03 Tue


[> Not any more (spoiler for Empty places) -- CW, 20:31:21 04/29/03 Tue

You heard him. Wisewoman has him watching his cholesterol now. Besides in a side-by-side taste test, demosns of Clem's species prefer Bugles to kittens 4 to 1 or at least that's their story.


[> He has a soul now....ooooppps....I mean morals he has morals now...;) -- Rufus, 21:56:38 04/29/03 Tue

EVIL, EVIL preveiws!! -- Alison (feeling all spoiled and dirty now), 18:38:55 04/29/03 Tue

[> Re: EVIL, EVIL preveiws!! (vague spoilers from preview) -- goose, 19:35:32 04/29/03 Tue

nah, I think it was a good preview. it might have told me a little more information than i really wanted to know but it made me feel happy after, well at least with the Spike and Buffy stuff. That was so nice. The Wood and Faith stuff though....I don't know if it's just me, but that just seems wrong. I don't know, maybe it'll play out better in the actual episode. Guess we'll see in a week.

[> What happened, I don't get previews! -- Wolfhowl3, 19:35:51 04/29/03 Tue

[> [> Preview (preview spoiler for next weeks Buffy) -- WickedBuffy, 21:19:39 04/29/03 Tue

well... mainly coupling, with the question texted across the screen "what would you do on your last night on earth?"
It appeared these people were having sex or being intimate:

Faith and Wood (hot and nekkid)
Willow and whatshername that SIT
Anya and Xander (well, it looked like them rolling around on the floor)
and it looked like Buffy just wanted Spike to "hold her".

Peace, Freedom, and Jasmine (spoiler potential through "Sacrifice") -- RichardX1, 19:07:37 04/29/03 Tue

A while ago, someone posted a comparison to Jasmine and President George W. Bush (re: his handling of Iraq). While there are a lot of names that liberals and other critics of the President may apply to both of them, there is one thing they have called Bush that no one can rightfully call Jasmine:

The enemy of peace.

What is peace? Merriam-Webster provides the following definitions:

1 : a state of tranquillity or quiet: as a : freedom from civil disturbance b : a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom

2 : freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions

3 : harmony in personal relations

4 a : a state or period of mutual concord between governments b : a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity

Aside from the A.I. teamís little insurrection, Jasmine seems to be fulfilling definitions 1 and 3 perfectly. Definition 2 may be kind of iffy, considering her thoughts and emotions could be said to be oppressing everyone elseís; but her thoughts certainly arenít disquieting, are they (people whoíve seen the maggot-face donít count here)? Furthermore, can you really be said to be oppressed when you donít know youíre being oppressed?

But thatís neither here nor there; what do we mean when we talk about peace? From my experience, the common definitions of the word are as follows:

1. Absence of conflict or of disruption to the social order.
2. Clarity of thought and emotion (that ìinner peaceî that the new agers always talk about, likely also what Christ was talking about when he told his disciples, ìMy peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.î (John 14:27)).

Jasmineís removal of doubt and uncertainty clearly promotes the second form of peace; therefore, Iíll focus on the first.

So what causes conflict, or disruption to the social order? The first is deceptively easy to answer: an inability to achieve consensus between two or more parties. When two or more persons or groups have differing opinions or perspectives about a subject, there is conflict. When there is conflict, and neither side is willing to contemplate an alternate perspective or able to reconcile it with oneís own, the conflict remains unresolved. Now, since no human can entirely know the mind of another being, one can easily say something in an argument that oneís adversary will misinterpret. This leads to feelings of offense, which can lead a rational conflict into violence.

The second part of that first definition, disruption to the social order, is caused when the order is changed or challenged. Not all people are resistant to change, but enough are that change can be resisted with hostility.

Looking at peace, and the lack thereof, from these perspectives, one comes to two conclusions: first, freedom and individuality are the antithesis of peace (I will so get challenged on this one, and I intend to respond); second, Jasmine is actually working to promote peace among human beings by eliminating those two enemies of peaceful ìlifeî.

Oh, and donít say that Jasmineís eating of humans isnít peaceful. Yes itís inhuman, and anyone good and decent would want to stop her; but I do not think her meals are, from their perspective, suffering. I would bet that the transition from person to consumed essence is painlessóJasmineís ìvictimsî might even feel euphoric about becoming one with Jasmine in every possible manner.

[> Re: Peace, Freedom, and Jasmine (spoiler potential through "Sacrifice") -- Bronson, 20:33:12 04/29/03 Tue

"freedom and individuality are the antithesis of peace"

Have to take a shot at that one, I'm afraid. (Can't resist.) I suppose you can set up individuality and peace as being in conflict (though I think "antithetical" is still too strong a concept) IF you a) limit the meaning of "peace" to the first part of your definition and b) *limit the meaning of "peace" to the logical extreme of that definition.*

Sure, Jasmine's dittoheads are extremely peaceful. (So are the (similar) folks in Brave New World.) But does that imply that the populace of, say, current-day Norway is not at peace? Most Norwegians would be surprised to find this out. In the vernacular, "peace" obviously spans a great number of possible non-war states of a community.

On a side note, someone cleverer than me should write about the use of War terminology in Buffy (& maybe Angel) -- what conflicts are called a war, what aren't, how that changes how the characters view the situation and what actions they take.

Meant for her alone.....(Spoiler Speculation) -- Nino, 20:16:16 04/29/03 Tue

That quote in the church in "Empty Places"....in reference to the scythe from "Fray"? For some reason, with that piece of the puzzle, I feel like the "Fray" ending is even more plausible....and AGAIN I read a Joss interview about how if "Angel" is renewed, it will be totally revamped, and someone who has never watched the show can understand it. If all supernatural evil is gone (ala "Fray"), then perhaps season 5 of "Angel" will be spent finally vanquishing Wolfram and Hart before they bring back the evil...im gonna stop now, cuz i think i have posted most of this before...love responses though :)

[> Sceptic -- M., 20:27:22 04/29/03 Tue

I am sceptical that they would have this a major paradigm shift for Angel occur on Buffy, a show that airs on a different network.

Caleb and the Finale -- David Frisby, 20:31:58 04/29/03 Tue

Caleb tricks Buffy and the gang to the vineyard by saying he has something of hers (and he "then" does) and he then (tonight 7.19) plants the message in her mind to bring them there again and Buffy again takes the bait. Also, Caleb doesn't kill her when he has the chance so he must have a plan of some sort that requires her presence or whatever. The First and Caleb are through with the mortal coil and are going for a big finish. Faith is now the slayer so to speak and for sure is the leader of the gang. Was Anya speaking to Buffy (or the actress speaking to the actress) with regard to 'you were lucky'? I will admit I'm hooked and on my toes waiting for the last three episodes, and that I'm staying unspoiled, and mostly just lurking and watching this forum, etc., but also, that I'm in the dark and do not know what is going to emerge with the finale or how it is going to finally manifest as the end that goes back to the beginning. Who or what will be chosen with 7.22?

Just some weak thoughts. I'm holding out for a lot yet from both Dawn and Willow. and how whatever will Giles close with?

Nashville May 28-30 (2004) will be the thing -- buffy overall.

[> I'm hopin' Giles closes with a rousing rendition of "House of the Rising Sun"! -- WickedBuffy, 21:23:20 04/29/03 Tue

Burning Question (somewhat spoilery Empty Places) - - monsieurxander, 22:18:20 04/29/03 Tue

Where the *%&^ is Vi? All of the other potentials have been in the past couple of episodes, except for her. Did I miss her dying or something? Complications with the actress? If so, they can at least mention her being killed off in passing. Because it would bug me to no end if they never mentioned her again.

Flashback! (CWDP & Empty Places spoilers) -- Rob, 22:29:03 04/29/03 Tue

JOYCE: Things are coming, Dawn. Listen. Things are on their way. I love you. And I love Buffy. But she will not be there for you.

DAWN: What? What are you--

JOYCE: There will be choosing to be done. And when it is very bad, Buffy will not choose you. She will be against you.

I wonder if the end of "Empty Spaces" is what Joyce's prophecy referred to. And interestingly, if this is what it referred to, it has a twist, which is typical of Buffyverse prophecies--while one, by extension, could say that Buffy did not choose Dawn, by not being on her side, in the end the real one who did the choosing was Dawn.

Read it this way: I love you. And I love Buffy. But she will not be there for you. There will be choosing to be done. And when it is very bad, you will not choose her. She will be against you.

What do you guys think?


[> Or . . . -- d'Herblay, 22:45:25 04/29/03 Tue

. . . there will be further choosing to come! (Not that I know of any . . . do I look like Rufus?) And Joyce got cut off before she finished the sentence: I love you. And I love Buffy. But she will not be there for you. There will be choosing to be done. And when it is very bad, Buffy will not choose you. She will be against you, but really, who can blame her after the way you completely dis her in episode 19? Oh my god! I think I left my bra at the First Evil's!

[> [> [snicker] -- LittleBit, 01:05:20 04/30/03 Wed

[> [> Hmm... Very possible. Um, except for that last part...possibly. -- Rob, 06:43:06 04/30/03 Wed

[> Sort of agree. See my post above. -- s'kat, 23:04:22 04/29/03 Tue

[> Re: Flashback! (CWDP & Empty Places spoilers) -- Lucifer_Sponge, 07:07:00 04/30/03 Wed

That could be it, but I always really imagined that Joyce's prophecy refered to something huger.

What I kept wondering while watching the whole "Buffy Sucks" scene was if maybe Dawn's reaction wasn't a little encouraged by the fears that prophecy instilled within her. Sort of a, "I'll get her before she gets me" sort of thing.

Or... perhaps Buffy eventually formulates her own plan to stop the First Evil, a plan which contradicts everyone else's. Bad things will be there, and Buffy will not be on Dawn's side. If that's the case, Joyce may have even been trying to warn Dawn not to let Buffy have her own way. A "You two need to work together" message. You know... scolding from beyond the grave.

Dunno... I'm still sort of reeling from the vast levels of illogic and insanity displayed by each and every character last night.


[> [> Re: Flashback! (CWDP & Empty Places spoilers) -- Rob, 07:25:16 04/30/03 Wed

That could be it, but I always really imagined that Joyce's prophecy refered to something huger.

I don't know. I think the entire gang, including Xander, Willow, Anya, and Dawn kicking Buffy out is pretty darn huge!

What I kept wondering while watching the whole "Buffy Sucks" scene was if maybe Dawn's reaction wasn't a little encouraged by the fears that prophecy instilled within her. Sort of a, "I'll get her before she gets me" sort of thing.

I've begun to think the same thing. Check out my "Buffy, Dawn, and the Choice" post in s'kat's above thread for more of my theorizing on it.


Alone in Empty Spaces......impressions on Tonight's Btvs (Spoilers to Btvs 7.19) -- s'kat, 22:33:18 04/29/03 Tue

(The below is real title, just couldn't fit it in the subject line.)

ìNobody Loves me. Everybody Hates me. I think Iíll just go outside and eat worms.î

This was what my parents used to tell me whenever I started feeling sorry for myself. Feeling as if the world was against me. No one in my corner. That I was all alone. That no matter what I did, everyone was against me. Itís funny the times I felt the most like this, there were people in my life, but I didnít see them. I didnít feel them. I felt isolated and I would wonder what if I just disappeared, would anyone notice? Would they care?
Is there anything but empty spaces out there? Thatís the feeling you get when you feel lost and alone and unable to get help, empty and everywhere you go no matter how many people are in the room feels empty too.

Buffy probably felt a lot like that in tonightís episode. Sheís knocked out by Caleb for hours and lying in an empty school and no one notices sheís missing. From her perspective no one cares. She feels they all blame her. Sheís saved their lives for seven years, sheís lead them for seven years, she has put her own life aside for seven years, sheís died twice, was brought back to life twice, and yetÖsheís not paid. Sheís not given kudos. They donít trust her. Sheís on the outside looking in, just like she was ages ago in Welcome to The Hellmouth or when she and Faith changed places in Who Are You or when she killed Angel in Becoming. And deep down inside she aches to ask them for help, for comfort, for something ñ but doesnít dare to. Is desperately afraid to. She feels the burden of their blame. She feels at fault.

In Les Misreables ñ the musical, thereís a song called Empty Chairs at Empty Spaces ñ which is sung by Marius after his friends are all killed in a uprising he was partially in charge of. He was saved by the lead character Jean Val Jean. The song is about his guilt for being alive when they are dead, itís also about the emptiness he feels at being alone. Without them.

A little while after the credits roll, we see Buffy in the doorway of Xanderís hospital room babbling. She can barely meet Willow or Xanderís eyes. She can barely look at her two friends. She retreats as quickly as she can. Embarrassed. For the first time in a long while, she feels completely and utterly cut off from the two people in the world sheís always felt closest too. People only a few episodes back she could telepathically communicate with. Willow and Xander may feel sheís being cool or aloof or doesnít care. But we, the audience, know differently, we follow her home and watch as Dawn plies her with questions about Xander and Buffy studiously tries to ignore her. Lots of ignoring going on in this episode by the way. People are talking but no one appears to really be listening. Giles is being bugged by Andrew who keeps telling him that someone took his hotpocket and it was his and itís not that heís upset about it being gone but itís the lack of respect. Giles finally has had it and tells Andrew to shut up. Same with Dawn ñ Faith is watching Buffy as Dawn keeps asking the questions regarding Xander, catching the fact that Buffy is close to breaking into tears and tells Dawn to go work on the papers elsewhere. (An aside, the only people in this episode who appeared to listen, really listen were Faith and Spike. The two people who kept talking begging to be listened to were Dawn and Andrew. Dawn kept talking to Buffy. Andrew to Giles. Both Buffy and Giles treated them like white noise. And Andrew states clearly to Giles ñ itís the respect he wants before Giles tells him to shut up. Faith and Spike on the other hand treated Dawn and Andrew with a modicum of respect. And before you go off on it being because Andrew and Dawn represent little Faiths and SpikesÖsighÖ I think thereís more going on here. I think itís pointing out how we ignore the little thingsÖand how important they might be. The little evils, like not respecting someone, cutting someone off. Also itís pointing how both Andrew and Dawn are non-entities in the Bverse, easily ignored, their identity superimposed by the memories of those around them. Donít know, just interesting. Do with it what you will. End of aside -Back to the point.) Buffy on the verge of breaking, gets up from the table and says she has to finish picking up her things from work. She goes to work and we see her examining a framed childhood picture with her, Willow and Xander, tears in her eyes. Thatís when Caleb enters. Caleb dressed like a Priest. He even talks like a priest. And he also talks like Wood did whenever he entered. Father Caleb. Fathers. Buffy has a tough time with Fathers.

Hereís part of the scene between Buffy and Hank in Nightmares. Nightmares is the episode where everyoneís worst Nightmares come true. In this scene Hank, Buffyís Dad, informs her why he left her and her mother. Calebís words in the last two episodes for some odd reason reminded me a lot of Hankís. Actually, for that matter so has Woodís.

Hank: Gosh, you don't even see what's right in front of your face, do you? Well, big surprise there, all you ever think about is yourself. You get in trouble. You embarrass us with all the crazy stunts you pull, and do I have to go on?

Buffy: No. Please don't.

Hank: You're sullen and... rude and... you're not nearly as bright as I thought you were going to be... Hey, Buffy, let's be honest. Could you stand to live in the same house with a daughter like that?

Buffy: Why are you saying all these things? (a tear rolls down her

Hank: Because they're true. I think that's the least we owe one

She begins to sniff and cry.

Hank: You know, I don't think it's very mature, getting blubbery when I'm just trying to be honest.

Caleb says similar things to her. Tells her itís just like a woman to cry. That sheís dirty. Thatís sheís unworthy. Not those words exactly, I didnít transcribe this episode , but close enough. When Buffy tries to fight him, he grabs her by the throat and taunts her with the idea that heíll take out Xanderís other eye. Then throws her through a window.

When Buffy returns home from her horrible encounter with Caleb, beaten and bruised with what amounts to a concussion, she is greeted by Giles who seems taken aback sheís limping, but not all that concerned. Everyone else is gone. Spike has been sent off on some covert mission no one has told her about. Faith has taken the proto-slayers to the Bronze. Buffy is alone. The place is empty. Another empty place. The first the school. Now her home. This is beginning to remind me of Buffyís Restless dream where she wanders through crowded places yet is alone in them. Hunting her friends.

Earlier we see her standing sort of awkwardly at the entrance to Xanderís hospital bed, trying to talk to him, trying to look him in the eye, but she feels so guilty for what happened, so outside of it - outside of the space. And earlier still she is watching people leave the town in droves ñ leaving the space, yet crammed in it, so crammed trafficís barely moving. (Gee who knew Sunnydale was that occupied or that people were savy enough to actually leave? And they only decided to do it now? Donít know about you but I would have left three years ago.) Clem even suggests she should leave town this time around. Have to admit I was thinking the same thing. Hasnít this poor girl saved the world enough? Shouldnít she be let off the proverbial hook for once? Let Faith be the slayer for once.

The scene with the proto-slayers (who I am really beginning to detest by the way, this is not goodÖI think Iím supposed to like them, no maybe not, we are in Buffyís pov after all and seeing them through her eyes and as Faith points out Buffy barely knows their names or anything about them, so by extension neither do we, we only know the ones Buffy knows ñ the out-spoken ones, the others are a mob of faces ) and the SG and PRW (uhm question ñ are we supposed to hate Principal Wood? I canít tell. I know I canít stand him but I canít figure out if thatís because Iím supposed to or itís all projection on my part) reminded me a lot of Conservations with Dead People. Ironically everything said by Anya and Dawn was said by the dead people and Buffy in CWDP. But the flip side. It also reminded me of two other episodes, Consequences and Choices in Season 3.

Letís look at Anya and Dawnís little spiels and compare them to CwDP.

Anya: You think youíre all superior. Better than us. Youíre not. You didnít work for it. You didnít deserve it. You just got the power is all. You just happen to be luckier than us. You arenít any better than us. (Anya who has now decided to dye her hair the exact same color as Buffyís, whatís with that? Anya dear heart, donít take this the wrong way, but you look horrid as a blond. That reddish brown hair you had at the beginning of the year? That looked good. This looks baaad! ñ sorry was channeling Honorificus there for a minute.) The implication in Anyaís speech, the gal was not a vengeance demon for nothing, appears to be that Buffy is actually less than Anya and Willow and the others because she was given the power while they worked for it. (This struck me as really rather ironic and slightly hypocritical, considering all the power Willow and Anya were given at one stage and what they decided to do with it. But Iím not sure if I was meant to notice that or not.)

In Conversations With Dead People, Buffy has the following conversation with the vampire Holden Webster. (Edited for length and emphasis)

BUFFY I'm afraid. I'm afraid of falling back into the way I was last year.
I thought I was nothing. I have so much power, I didn't ask for it, I
don't deserve it...
I have friends, they do it with me -- sometimes they do it in spite of me, but they do it 'cause they're decent people. I do it 'cause I was chosen. I feel like I'm worse than anyone, honestly, I'm beneath them. My friends, my boyfriends, I feel like I'm not worthy of their love 'cause even though they love me it doesn't really mean anything because their opinions don't matter. They don't know. They haven't been through what I've been through, they're not the Slayer... I am. And sometimes I feel... this is what's so awful. (beat)I feel like I'm better than them. Superior. ÖIt makes no sense.

HOLDEN It makes every kind of sense. It just adds up to you feeling alone.

Lots going on here. Back to the whole feeling alone thing. Buffy feels alone. Cut off. Sheís felt cut off pretty much since the Gift. Possibly before that. As she even states to Holden above, Iím afraid Iím falling back into what I felt last year. Why does Buffy feel so alone? Is it because of what Anya states: you didnít deserve the power ñ you were given it? You fight this war because you were given all this power and that makes you luckier than us. We fight because we choose too. But wait, is Buffy really lucky here? Or cursed? And doesnít Buffy also choose it? Remember what Faith said to Spike in Who Are You? ìI could do anything, I could be anyone, sleep with anyoneÖ.î But instead she chooses to stay next to the gate of hell and be the slayer, because thatís her mission, anything else would be wrong. Faith doesnít choose to be the slayer. Faith chooses to do her own thing in Season 3 and 4. And Faith is alone. No friends. No one.

Now hopping over to Choices where Willow tells Buffy why sheís decided to stay in Sunnydale and not run off to Oxford.

Willow: Actually, this isn't about you. Although I'm fond, don't get me wrong, of you. The other night, you know, being captured and all, facing off with Faith. Things just, kind of, got clear. I mean, you've been fighting evil here for three years, and I've helped some, and now we're supposed to decide what we want to do with our lives. And I just realized that that's what I want to do. Fight evil, help people. I mean, I-I think it's worth doing. And I don't think you do it because you have to. It's a good fight, Buffy, and I want in.

Willow appears to get this. Buffy, Willowís noticed, has chosen to fight evil, to slay demons. Faith, Willow noticed, did not. Both are slayers. So Anya is wrong about this. Buffy chose to use her powers for good, she didnít have to. Just Anya chose to use magic to curse Olaf and to become a vengeance demon for 1100 years, she didnít have to.

But being given all this power is it really a gift as Anya and Dawn and the others believe or truly a curse? Remember how nervous Dawn got in Potential? Not really sure she wanted it? As Buffy stated to Holden, I didnít want it. I didnít ask for it. It makes me feel superior to everyone, but it also makes me feel alone, set apart. As she told Xander in Selfless ñ I have to be the one who makes these decisions, thereís no one else. I had to kill the one person I loved the most in all the world while you guys cheered on the sidelines. You think I want this? I didnít choose this. I have to do it. Yet, if she thinks about, does she have to do it? Whatís stopping her from skipping town and letting them all handle it on their own? Whatís stopped her from kicking Dawn off that Tower in the Gift? Or jumping a freight train when she was brought back to life? Or ignoring Giles in Welcome to The Hellmouth? We all saw what would have happened if Buffy ignored her calling ñ in The Wish.

Now hopping over to Faith and Buffy in Consequences where Faith tells Buffy that they are the law.

Faith: (steps closer) Buffy, I'm not gonna *see* anything. I missed the mark last night and I'm sorry about the guy. I really am! But it happens! Anyway, how many people do you think we've saved by now, thousands? And didn't you stop the world from ending? Because in my book, that puts you and me in the plus column.
Buffy: We help people! It doesn't mean we can do whatever we want.
Faith: Why not? The guy I offed was no Gandhi. I mean, we just saw he was mixed up in dirty dealings.
Buffy: Maybe, but what if he was coming to us for help?
Faith: What if he was? You're still not seeing the big picture, B. Something made us different. We're warriors. We're built to kill.
Buffy: To kill demons! But it does *not* mean that we get to pass judgment on people like we're better than everybody else!
Faith: We *are* better! (exhilarated) That's right, better. People need us to survive. In the balance, nobody's gonna cry over some random bystander who got caught in the crossfire.
Buffy: (sadly) I am.
Faith: (disdainfully) Well, that's your loss.
Buffy: Yeah, it scares me. Faith, you're hurting people. You're hurting yourself.
Faith: (approaches Buffy) But that's not it. That's not what bothers you so much. What bugs you is you know I'm right. You know in your gut we don't need the law. We*are* the law.
Buffy: No..
Faith: Yes. You know exactly what I'm about 'cause you have it in you, too.
Buffy: No, Faith, you're sick.
Faith: I've seen it, B. You've got the lust. And I'm not just talking about screwing vampires.

What does Faith say to PRW tonight? I was beaten up by cops, but my worst bruise is by a woman who thinks sheís the law. (The law went wonky tonight, the cops that Dawn believed wouldnít shoot them? Didnít care. We are the law they said ñ and went ahead and created havoc. When Buffy shows up, she assumes Faith is in the wrong, in a way she was, the girls are drunk and bruised, but they needed to let off steam. The events of the episode are reminiscent of Faith, Hope and Trick where Buffyís friends seem to prefer Faith to Buffy albeit briefly. Buffy is a little put-off, a little jealous, and feeling increasingly cut off and out of her depth. But the thing that stand between her and the protos is the same thing that stands between her and everyone elseÖIím the law). Something Buffy said in Selfless and in Same Time Same Place ñ Iím the law. And Faith implies to PRW that she gets why Buffy feels this way. To Faithís credit, she gets whatís going on with Buffy. She even follows Buffy out; she doesnít want the leadership role. She doesnít want to take the reigns. Sheís afraid of the power. Just as Buffy once feared it ages ago. But what Faith and no one else gets, is Buffy feels powerless right now and alone. Cut off from everyone and everything. Sort of like she felt in The Prom, where she saved the high school class from hellhounds and didnít think she had a date. They surprised Buffy that night, gave her a consolation prize ñ class protector, see we noticed they said. Tonight they also surprised her, they all turned against her, most ironically Dawn. The people she saved turned against her. And she felt their betrayal like a cold slap of water in the face. She tells them they have to be together on this. After all what canít we do, what canít we weather in this place if we are together?
Yet, as Giles notes, they obviously arenít.

Dawn tells Buffy she loves her, but she chooses Faith and that this is her house too and she wants Buffy gone. Buffy should leave and let Faith lead.

JOYCE Things are coming, Dawn. Listen. Things are on their way. I love you.
And I love Buffy. But she will not be there for you.
DAWN What? What are you--
JOYCE There will be choosing to be done. And when it is very bad, Buffy will not choose you. She will be against you.

Who did the choosing in this episode? Buffy or everyone else? Who was turned outside their own house? Who got beaten up in this episode? And who had the door shut behind them and found themselves outside the house walking alone? Dawn? After seeing this episode, I wondered what would happen, how would they feel if Buffy died for them again? Or worse, Buffy flipped out and became what the FE has been pushing her towards all along? Is there a reason we keep seeing the First Evil looking like Buffy? All Glowy and Powerful?

Caleb tells the Buffy dressed as the FE that it wonít take much more to push her to his way of thinking. Sheís almost there. Just a nudge. Later Spike and Andrew discover a plaque that a priest stated had enraged Caleb, they ask the Priest why? The plaque is in a monastery, in a shrine with the Virgin Mary near by. On the wall in the entryway is a small painting similar to the one in the church Spike had retreated to in Beneath You. Spike translates the plaque, probably part of the reason Giles sent him ñ a) he could handle himself and b) he can translate ancient languages. Giles sent Andrew for the same reason Faith sent Dawn out of the room when she kept plying Buffy with questions regarding Xander. A) GiveAndrew something to do and b) Get him out of his hair. At any rate the plaque states something along the lines of no man can wield it only she can. Apparently Caleb needs Buffy to wield something? Is that what the FE has been working towards, causing everyone to turn against Buffy? (If so, perhaps Wood is an agent of the FEís, and for that matter maybe Rona and Kennedy are too? NoÖthatís probably just wishful thinking on my part. Sigh.)

So everyone turns against poor Buffy tonight. The only one who would have stood by her, has been sent off on a mission. She feels alone. Disconnected. As Holden Webster foretold in CwDP. All alone. Just as Faith felt at the end of Consequences. What is ironic about both CwDP and Consequences, is neither woman was really cut off they just felt they were. There are people there for them, if only they have the courage to ask for help. To say, I need help please. I have no clue what Iím doing. I donít know whatís going on. Please just help me. Hard thing to do when you keep being told itís all up to you. That you arenít allowed to show weakness. That you have to save the worldÖagain.

Thatís the problem with getting something ñ like power or an award or anything someone else envies or that sets you apart, makes you unique. You feel cut off. People who donít understand your gift or history, like Anya, think you didnít deserve it, you were just lucky. Every word Anya says is a projection of Anyaís insecurities. Sheís Cordelia from season 2. They are also a projection of Buffyís. Buffy believes everything Anya said, thatís why Anya said it. Weíre all in Buffyís head, remember?

Yeah Buffy had a horrible plan. And yep she wasnít willing to listen. But if we think about it, no one has been listening to anyone lately. Theyíve been talking at each other. Reminds me of that song, Everybodyís Talking At Me by Harry Nilsen:

Everybody's talking at me.
I don't hear a word they're saying,
Only the echoes of my mind.
People stopping staring,
I can't see their faces,
Only the shadows of their eyes.

I think thatís Buffyís problem, everybody is talking at her. She canít think. They are all demanding things from her. Constantly. She has to protect them. She has to lead them. Sheís their only hope. Sheís the law. I got the feeling when she was watching Clem leave town with everyone else, she wanted to go with him. I can identify ñ when you are being pulled in fifteen directions at once, you get overwhelmed, you panic, but most importantly you start to feel alone. You seek out the empty places.

The Summerís house is the fullest itís ever been. Yet to Buffy? Itís not her home any more. Itís empty. As empty as the hallways and corridors of her dream in Restless, where sheís searching for her friends. Where are my friends? She asks The First Slayer. You are asking the wrong questions.

So what are the right ones? What does Buffy need to do to somehow re-connect? What do the others need to do? Does she need to give up the power? Share the power? Itís going to be hard for her. Buffyís nightmare has only just begun. Perhaps she might feel a little betterÖif she keeps in mind something Holden Webster told her ages ago: ìEveryone feels alone Buffy. Everyone is. î Or perhaps she might get some comfort from Jonathanís dying words to Andrew:

Jonathan: I miss my friends. I miss my enemies. I miss the people I talked
to every day. And I miss the people who never knew I existed. I miss 'em
all. I want to talk to them. You know? I wanna find out how they're doing.
I want to know what's going on in their lives.
ANDREW: Yeah? Well, you know what? They don't want to talk to you. All those
people you just mentioned -- not one of them's sitting around going, "I
wonder what Jonathan's up to right now?" Not one of them cares about you.
(Jonathan thinks about this for a while. A peacefulness washes over him. He shrugs. There's an almost Zen-like clarity about him when he says: )
JONATHAN Well I still care about them. (softly)That's why I'm here.

The ironic thing about feeling aloneÖis we never really are completely. There are people who love and care for Buffy. Two vampires who have lived over 100 years, have loved her with all their soul and undead hearts. Giles, Xander, Dawn, Willow, and even annoying Anya would give their lives for her, they certainly have time and again. They just donít trust her judgment right now. Thatís all. They are scared and feeling alone too.

Itís like the lyrics of the Stephen Sills Song, recorded by Buffalo Springfield: Stop Children Whatís That Sound? In fact I think these lyrics may convey what I felt watching this episode better than anything written above so Iíll leave you with them.

Stop Children, Whatís That Sound?

There's something happening here.
What it is ain't exactly clear.

There's a man with a gun over there,
Telling me I got to beware.
I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's going down.

There's battle lines being drawn.
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speaking their minds,
Getting so much resistance from behind.
I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's going down.

What a field day for the heat.
A thousand people in the street,
Singing songs and carrying signs,
Mostly say, ìHooray for our side.î
It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's going down.

Paranoia strikes deep:
Into your life it will creep.
It starts when you're always afraid.

You step out of line, the man come and take you away.
I think itís time we stop, hey, whatís that sound?
Everybody look whatís going down.


Agree? Disagree? Hope the rambling made some sense. It did clear my head at least and writing it released the tension. I deleted all my snarky commentsÖ.I think.

Thanks for indulging me again. Sorry for the length.

(Ps: I goggled all the songs but the one in Les Mis. Also Btvs quotes were from Psyche Transcripts)

[> Oops some uhm typos and Fruedian slips in my post above. Sorry. -- s'kat, 22:59:35 04/29/03 Tue

Hey it's almost 2 am...I claim bleary eyes as an excuse.
Particularly for the line "Buffy dressed as the FE"
which should have been FE dressed as Buffy.

[> [> Please publish! -- Matlack73, 17:39:04 04/30/03 Wed

Shadowkat, you are great. If you ever published your essays, I would buy your book.

[> [> [> Re: Please publish! -- s'kat, 21:07:09 04/30/03 Wed

Thank you. Now if only I can find a publisher who wants to publish them...sigh. . ;-)

[> Oh my god, how are you so brilliant??? -- MayaPapaya9, 23:06:17 04/29/03 Tue

Do you like, take notes while you're watching the episode? I'm so in awe. The same night the episode airs, within a few hours you're able to write this great essay which encompasses much of what I was feeling in a much more graceful way. Jealous much!! :)

I was also confused about Joyce's quote from CwDP. Buffy wasn't the one who chose to leave Dawn. Dawn actually requested her to leave. But...would Dawn have said that if she hadn't had that conversation with Joyce? Is what the ghost of her mother said to her still at the back of her mind, is that why she asked Buffy to leave? Out of all the people in the living room of their house, I thought Dawn would stick by her. You'd think she'd be grateful for everything that Buffy has done for her. I was really shocked. I think her actions were influenced by her belief that Buffy would turn on her later. We know Dawn hasn't forgotten what Joyce told her...and I know if I was her, I'd have a hard time not trusting the image of my mother when she tells me something as serious as that.

I'm glad that the previews show Spike sticking by Buffy. It kills me to see her so powerless. Her words to Faith at the end touched me so much. I love that even at the worst moments, she retains her sense of dignity and authority. I don't know, I just love the character of Buffy so much and I'm getting really emotional thinking that this seven-year journey is all gonna be over in few more weeks.


[> [> GAH!!! PREVIEW SPOILER ABOVE!!! -- Shit!, 06:30:41 04/30/03 Wed

[> [> Buffy, Dawn, and the Choice (CWDP, EP spoilers) -- Rob, 07:11:57 04/30/03 Wed

"I think her actions were influenced by her belief that Buffy would turn on her later. We know Dawn hasn't forgotten what Joyce told her...and I know if I was her, I'd have a hard time not trusting the image of my mother when she tells me something as serious as that."

I posted a little below this that perhaps Joyce's prophecy had a twist, namely that although by extension Buffy would have not "chosen" Dawn by not being on her side, the real one who did the choosing was Dawn. Dawn chose Faith over Buffy. What didn't occur to me is going one step further, that Dawn's not choosing Buffy was a reaction to Joyce's prophecy. Buffy has shown Dawn little attention or caring this year, further backing up her beliefs that Buffy will turn on her. So perhaps she "didn't choose" Buffy before Buffy could do that to her.

An interesting question is, was Joyce's prophecy never right, and did Joyce tell Dawn these words so that Dawn would do what she just did, turn on Buffy first (in this argument, Joyce was the FE, and this was done to lead to Buffy's alienation from her friends)? Or was this just a natural reaction by Dawn to Joyce's words (in this argument, Joyce is good)? And of course, was this the choice? Or does this precipitate a later choice still to be made by Buffy? So many questions to ponder...so few episodes left in which to answer them!


[> About the SIT's and other nonsense.... -- Calvin, 23:37:05 04/29/03 Tue

Shadowkat, I was thinking about something during my second viewing of the show tonight. You (along with every single person I know) seem to really, really, dislike the SIT's. I get that. However, I have started to see them as something else. And before I say this, I am extremely wary of posting things that I see as fanwanking (just wanting anything the writers to have said to make sense). And yet I can't see it as anything else.

Why do I see the SIT's as some sort of Joss Whedon-esque greek chorus? My point is this. I see the last 4 ep's as 4 long chapters of a novel. Anyone who thinks that the ideas for this ep were Drew Greenberg's alone is crazy. Joss is very clearly plotting the last four eps to say what it is he wants to say. And I can't help but think this is just the first part of that. And that the SIT's have a very large role to play in that.

To close, it's not that I hate them, or anything in the show. I am just so facinated by what Joss wants to tell us that I am skipping over any plot details that I might normally fixate upon. Hope this made sense.


[> [> Greek choruses and pov....(spoilers for Btvs 7.19) -- s'kat, 09:19:19 04/30/03 Wed

(I tried to take out the snark, but didn't quite succeed.
You should have seen my first draft... ;-))

Actually I agree with you. I think they are a pseudo greek chorus, stating all the doubts and fears in Buffy's head.
But she can't hear them. In the scene where they are dancing with Faith, reminiscent of Bad Girls, the SIT's reminded me of younger versions of Buffy. In some ways that's what they all represent. Kennedy - the part of Buffy who was friends and close to Willow and silver spoon in her mouth and leader- chic, Rona - I just want to be protected and a normal girl, I don't want to fight - chic, Amanda - I see fighting as the way to deal with my problems and why is it when I like a guy I want to hit him...So yes, they are Whedon's greek chorus - the chorus of voices in Buffy's head.

Actually the Summer's house may symbolize Buffy's head. The noise inside it. The vampire in the basement. The rogue slayer wanting to take over and be redeemed. The authority figure who needs parental approval and wants vengeance for Mommy's death. The boy with the blind faith. Etc...But its a crowded house, crammed and the windows keep getting knocked out.

Speaking of windows - Buffy got thrown through one in this episode, why?

I also agree the Whedon is running the show right now. Greenberg may have been credited, but I felt Whedon's hand throughout. And yep, we've left the stand-alone episodic format completely, the series has become chapters in a long novel, complete with cliff-hangers.

On a final note - I think the reason so many viewers dislike the SIT's is the writers want us to. They've put us in Buffy's POV. I get firm sense that this greek chorus is supposed to annoy us as much as they annoy Buffy. She isn't listening to them. I think that may be the key here - no one is listening.

[> It's like a blind leading the blind moment -- Valheru, 01:11:53 04/30/03 Wed

45 minutes into this episode, I had my finger hovering over the proverbial "5 stars!" button, just waiting for even a halfway decent ending for me to push the button. And then Buffy got an idea to go back to the vineyard...

I just don't get it. Who were these people yelling at Buffy tonight? They looked like the Scooby Gang (well, except for Xander, but half of him still looked the same). One-eye is Xander, the red-head is Willow, the old British guy is Giles, and that must be Dawn in the corner. Except when they opened their mouths, and then everyone sounded like they were under Jasmine's mind control. In the span of five minutes, all the respect the Scooby Gang had earned from me over the course of six years quickly dissipated into a puddle of "WTF?!"

The Potentials, I can understand. They're young (maybe not girls, as Buffy calls them, but not anywhere near the adults Faith seems to take them for). After months of living in a cramped house, being hunted by eyeless monks, Ubervamps, crazed priests, and an incorporeal ultimate evil, and hours of training and research, all culminating in a disastrous failed raid, it's no wonder that the Potentials would be very cranky toward Buffy. And here comes this other Slayer. She's loose, fun, and cool. She hangs out with them and doesn't talk down to them. She takes them out for a little down time, to party and dance (and even drink!) at the Bronze. Heck, she even (inadvertently) gets them into an easy fight they can win so their confidence boosts. "Hey! Why not let Faith be our leader?" I don't really blame them for that.

The problem is with the Scoobies. Did they all suddenly contract a case of troll logic?

First, look at Giles. He goes behind Buffy's back, conspires with Wood to kill Spike by forcing him into a kill- or-be-killed scenario, while at the same time tricking Buffy into a distraction to keep her from saving Spike. Then, as soon as Buffy is gone from the house, she returns to find that Giles has sent Spike on another vague mission. If he expects her to just trust him on this one, he's out of his mind. So where does he get from "You don't trust my motivations behind sending Spike to Gilroy (the Garlic Capital of the World, BTW)" to "You don't trust any of us"? Did Giles skip "Context 101" at the Council? She doesn't trust the others, true, but only their resolve, not their motives. She's worried that Willow might not be able to come through at crunch time, but at least she doesn't have to worry (much) that Willow will willingly betray her to some underhanded deal made in the shadows of a basement.

Anya...where to begin? In and of itself, her argument about worth, ability, luck, and choice is an interesting one; as s'kat points out, it's much the same one Buffy had in "CWDP". But just what purpose did it have in this conversation? Buffy isn't the leader because she's the Slayer, she's the leader because she's Buffy. Wasn't that the whole point of Faith and Kendra? To show that it's not the power that makes the Slayer, but rather the person? After all, if you compare pre-Slayer, Potential Kendra to pre-Slayer, untrained Buffy, who wouldn't pick Kendra to be the better one? Really, using Anya's argument, no one deserves power because there's always a chance that there's someone better out there to use it. I can just see her holding the strings to Slayer Succession: "Hm. I could pick that promising Kendra girl, but what if there's someone better? Who's to say that that wino down there wouldn't be a better Slayer?"

But that's not even the worst of Anya's argument. No, the worst is her conclusion. She spends all that time telling Buffy that just because she was chosen to be a hero, it doesn't make her better than them...only to decide that FAITH should lead? Huh? You can't use that argument against Buffy and then turn around and use it for Faith! I would even unhappily agree had she said that and then picked Xander or Giles or any normal human for the job; but what she did was like saying that apples aren't better than oranges because they're red, and then turning around and picking an apple out of an orange bin! It's only more appalling that she picked the bruised and blackened apple over the fresh and clean one.

Xander and Willow weren't as bad. To Willow's credit, she stood by the point she's been making to Buffy in similar cases dating back to the beginning, that sometimes Buffy's judgment isn't as great as Buffy thinks it is. More to the point, however, is that Willow's argument was the only one that addressed the actual problem. Why don't they want to go to the vineyard? Because they're afraid that it isn't as slam-dunk an idea as Buffy thinks. Not because of any resentment toward predestination or issues of trust. Willow was probably right. I just don't like the idea of Willow getting into an honest disagreement with Buffy in the middle of a headhunt because it looks like Willow is ganging up on her too.

Xander I can accept. Yes, his speech to the Potentials last episode was the complete opposite of his position here, but he gets a get-out-of-judgment-free card due to loss of eye.

The real backbreaker was Dawn. What kind of family honor is that? I understand Dawn's motivation, and given how things were shaping up, she probably made the wisest choice to separate Buffy from the pack. But to have your sister (who, BTW, would have absolutely no business in the whole affair were it not for Buffy being the Slayer in the first place) support a group of mostly-strangers, then kick you out of the house you work your ass off to keep over her head? I don't care if Buffy was saying 1+1 is 4, Dawn was way out of line. Compare her to Angel, who (before "Sacrifice") showed nothing but love toward his son despite Connor's multiple attempts to drown him, stake him, betray him, lie to and con his friends, steal his girlfriend, and ultimately give in to evil.

I've said before that I didn't think Buffy was leader material. That said, she's the only proven leader the Potentials and Scoobies have. True leaders assume leadership, they aren't given it. So if there was someone better suited in the group, where were they before? If everyone knew that the initial raid on the vineyard was a bad plan, why did they all go do it anyway? Has everyone just had these brilliant ideas for fighting the First stored in their minds, but not shared them because they weren't the leader?

The disappointment of the vineyard raid doesn't fall just to Buffy. Her plan wasn't great, okay. But Buffy had some experienced people at her side. Isn't it just as much Xander's and Giles's fault for not helping to improve the plan, rather than deride it, then finally go off and execute it anyway? Isn't Faith guilty of sussing out the trap and dismissing it? Isn't it a failing on Willow's part to not use even a little bit of her immense powers to help the raid? Aren't Faith and Spike guilty of fighting Caleb the same way Buffy "he just knocked me out" Summers did?

Buffy isn't a born leader. Isn't that more of reason for her friends to help her? Not just point out the weakness, but forge a strength from it?

The person I was proudest of tonight, strangely enough, is Buffy's successor, Faith. Faith doesn't want the job anymore than Buffy does. Buffy had friends, family, and years of experience and trust on her side. Faith has enemies, wary allies, less experience, years of evil, and a difficult struggle of redemption. Faith is Buffy's dark mirror. Yet when it came down to it, it was Buffy's friends and family who shoved her image back in her face, while Faith treated Buffy as a friend. Faith may not be the best choice to lead, either. But this one episode, together with her stints on AtS, make me believe that Faith isn't a bad choice. Maybe she can do a pretty good job. Maybe this is the break Faith needs to go to the next level, her mini version of Angel's Angel Investigations. And maybe she'll keep enough of the army alive until Buffy (hopefully) returns to lead once again. No pun intended, I'm going with faith on Faith this time. She's earned it, finally.

[> [> Did symbolism trump dramatic credibility? (Or: "Who's in charge here?") -- cjl, 10:34:59 04/30/03 Wed

"Who were these people yelling at Buffy tonight? They looked like the Scooby Gang[:] One-eye is Xander, the red-head is Willow, the old British guy is Giles, and that must be Dawn in the corner. Except when they opened their mouths, and then everyone sounded like they were under Jasmine's mind control. In the span of five minutes, all the respect the Scooby Gang had earned from me over the course of six years quickly dissipated into a puddle of 'WTF?!'"

Well said, Val. This is something that's been bothering me for a while, perhaps as far back as midway through season six.

I was talking to a friend of mine last Friday, a big Buffy fanatic--but when the topic of BtVS came up at dinner, she threw her hands up in the air and nearly knocked over my spinach linguini. "I can't STAND the series this year!" she cried in exasperation. "I don't understand what's going on with Buffy! She's not DOING anything! There's only four episodes left, and NOTHING'S HAPPENING!" I looked out of the corner of my eye, and saw her husband's head droop slightly, in a "here we go again" sort of way.

"Look," I said, trying to bring the conversation down a few decibels, "you have to see the series on more than one level. The series is about Buffy's personal journey and all the other characters and events have symbolic significance beyond the surface level of the plot." I went on to explain the symbolism of the Faith/Spike scene in "Dirty Girls" and The House as Metaphor, and my thoughts about the finale and why we have this particular Big Bad this year. She wasn't impressed. She's still pissed off that Buffy is emotionally frozen in place and it's going to take all 22 episodes to get to the freakin' point.

And you know what? I can't say I blame her. I'm the number one booster of the S7 Interior Journey, but there have been times during the year when the symbolism of an episode has trumped the series' dramatic credibility. It happened at the end of "Empty Places."

Let's review, shall we, class?

We start off with the citizenry of Sunnydale clearing out. The question has been brought up--why now? Shadowkat says she would have cleared out three years ago. (Personally, I would have bailed after Prophecy Girl.) But as we barrel towards the end of the series, and we become increasingly aware that the battlefield this year (and all the other years) is the one in Buffy's head, the external representation of society is no longer needed or relevant.
Buffy has already internalized all the lessons she's ever going to learn about authority and society from Sunnydale proper--so Sunnydale disappears. From this point on, Buffy and the Scoobs (and the Potentials) ARE society.

The only outward manifestation of external authority remaining is the Sunnydale Police department, and they're as clueless as ever. But their symbolic value here is a bit of a twist on their old role as Buffy's antagonists. When the cops raid the Bronze and drag Faith into the alley to kill her, it's almost as if BUFFY HERSELF is ordering the hit, quelling a rebellion bubbling up from the depths of her subconscious. Faith, having worked through her darkness, has valuable lessons to teach Buffy about integrating and freeing yourself from dark impulses, learning how to fully trust other people--but Buffy ain't hearing it. She's absorbed the utilitarian ethos from Giles and the Watchers-- she is the Law.

But Buffy has enormous doubts about choosing this path. She's paying an enormous price. The scene at the hospital with Willow and Xander is heartbreaking. (Aly has been melting me with her Sad Eyes since S1.) Her heart and her spirit are practically screaming at her to reconnect with her compassionate side, but Field Marshall von Buffy can't afford to show weakness. Once the troops are back together, she proposes a reprise of the vineyard assault--and all hell breaks loose.

Symbolically, the last scene is all but inevitable. The Counselor, the side she's been repressing for weeks, finally
cries out and tells the General to stuff it. Her mind is still confused (hence Giles' hissy fit) but her heart, her spirit, and the girls who she used to be or could be rise up from the recesses of her mind and kick her out of the House of Buffy. A tragedy? No. This is probably the best thing that could've happened to Buffy. Outside the rigid structure of the Metaphorical House, she'll be forced to think in new ways, and she'll no doubt come up with the answers that'll save everyone's asses. Again.

OK, the symbolism is airtight. But I have to agree with Valheru--I got the feeling that a simple disagreement about tactics was blown way out of proportion to make the point.

"To Willow's credit, she stood by the point she's been making to Buffy in similar cases dating back to the beginning, that sometimes Buffy's judgment isn't as great as Buffy thinks it is. More to the point, however, is that Willow's argument was the only one that addressed the actual problem. Why don't they want to go to the vineyard? Because they're afraid that it isn't as slam-dunk an idea as Buffy thinks. Not because of any resentment toward predestination or issues of trust."

Exactly. I understand why these other issues entered the conversation--to represent the divisions within Buffy's own psyche. But as drama, the whole confrontation seemed way overblown. If this were S2 or early S3 or even the end of S6, Giles would've stepped into the middle of room, cleaned his glasses, and--quietly and forcefully--taken charge. "Quiet, all of you! Buffy...I-I'm sorry. It's not that we don't love you, or trust you, but this is not the way to go. At least, not yet. Your theory might very well be correct. But we have to get some more information about Caleb and what he might be holding in the vineyard. Once we do, we can formulate a plan of action that doesn't involve another suicide run. Please--let's all try to calm down and consider this rationally before we say and do things we don't really mean." And that would be that.

But no, this is S7 and the bitch-fest goes on unimpeded, with Giles as Queen Bitch. Yes, he's been metaphorically beheaded (I get it), but we've never been given an explanation for his radically altered behavior in the narrative--so we have to assume. And you know what happens when you "assume."

"The real backbreaker was Dawn. What kind of family honor is that? I understand Dawn's motivation, and given how things were shaping up, she probably made the wisest choice to separate Buffy from the pack. But to have your sister (who, BTW, would have absolutely no business in the whole affair were it not for Buffy being the Slayer in the first place) support a group of mostly-strangers, then kick you out of the house you work your ass off to keep over her head? I don't care if Buffy was saying 1+1 is 4, Dawn was way out of line."

Again--symbolically, I understand why Buffy had to leave the house. But dramatically, Dawn kicking her out just didn't work.

It's a shame. This was Drew Greenberg's best script ever. I think if he and Joss just tweaked some of the details, it could've have worked on both levels. (But it didn't.)

[> [> [> Bravo cjl! -- ponygirl, 11:12:13 04/30/03 Wed

You hit all of my highlights and lowlights of the episode and with tremendous symbolic-y goodness! Take a bow!

[> [> [> Partially disagree. (EP spoilers) -- Rob, 11:22:54 04/30/03 Wed

I understand exactly where you're going with this, and I agree with you up to a point. It does seem like they did blow this way out of proportion, but the thing is, sometimes when you have a fight with someone about what, on the surface, seems pretty simple and straightforward, that argument actually is about deeper problems you have with the person. Often an argument about who spilled the milk ends up with the two people bringing up things from years before that bothered each about the other person. So I think that this tactics debate was just an excuse for all of them to bring up what they were really feeling for a long time. They all wanted to yell at Buffy for her behavior, Buffy wanted to yell at them for theirs'...and this argument ended up being the perfect time to just let everything out. I found it very realistic.


[> [> [> [> I agree -- dream, 11:45:11 04/30/03 Wed

with Rob about the bubbling over of long brewing problems. Giles WOULD have calmed everything down in an earlier season, but he's the most frustrated and alienated right now, so he certainly wouldn't take on that role. (Howeve, I agree with cjl that we haven't been given nearly enough information on Giles' state of mind to understand how he's come to this point.)

I am with cjl on Dawn - Dawn would never have kicked Buffy out, no matter how frustrated she was. Symbolically, fine; character-wise, off the mark.

Now, before I forget - what did the poor crazy fellow that was being taken away by the police say?

[> [> [> [> [> Re: I agree (Empty Places, CWDP spoilers) -- Rob, 11:57:52 04/30/03 Wed

The Dawn thing may possibly tie into Joyce's prophecy earlier in the year. In the back of her head, she has been waiting for Buffy to be against her, as per Joyce's words, and then when it seemed like Buffy was getting close to being in that state of mind, Dawn turned on Buffy before she could do the same to her. That's how I've come to see that.

Giles requires more interpretation because it's not expressly stated enough in the narrative. But I think it's similar to how he left last year. He doesn't agree with the way Buffy has been behaving and further has found all attempts to reason with her completely ignored. The reason he's in this state of mind at all I think has a lot to do with the destruction of the Watcher's Council. Even when he disagreed with it, he could still rest assured that it was still there, somewhere. It must have been an enormous blow to him. A villain that could wipe out the WC frightens him to his core, and I think the destruction of all these old values, and this institution that has helped fight demons for centuries and centuries shook him up deeply.


[> [> [> [> Valid point, Rob ("Empty Places" spoiler) -- cjl, 12:05:14 04/30/03 Wed

It does happen. BtVS has a history of minor arguments taking a wrong turn and careening off the edge of the cliff. "Dead Man's Party," anyone?)

But, on a narrative level--forget about the symbolism for a moment--with the exception of W/X and the Potentials, I couldn't reconcile the characters as they've been established with the words coming out of their mouths.

1. Giles -- Up until "Bring on the Night," Giles always empathized with Buffy's struggle to balance her Calling with something resembling a normal life. But once the Bringer's axe came down at the end of "Sleeper," I hardly recognize the guy. Where was the patient father-figure who refused to blame Buffy for her momentarily lapse of reason in "Innocence"? Where was the Giles who went all Dumbledore on Willow in "Lessons"? Where was the man who eased Buffy's tortured mind with tension-cutting laughter in "Grave"?

He's not in Sunnydale, that's for sure. Just when I thought Giles had snapped out of his temporary insanity, he hops on the rebellion bandwagon at the end, as if paying back Buffy for doubting his Boundless Wisdom. Such pettiness! Where did that come from? Was he traumatized by the loss of the Watcher's Coucil? Is he scared sh**less by the FE? Would it kill Joss to let us know what's going on in there?

2. Anya -- Anya is not stupid. Her little speech about Buffy's inflated sense of privilege made absolutely no sense, for reasons best elucidated by Valheru, above.

3. Dawn -- Considering that Dawn did everything in S6 but swipe the statue of Mayor Wilkins from Town Hall to attract Buffy's attention, the decision to kick Buffy out of the house is almost inexplicable. Since when does a 17 year-old high school sophomore tell her older sister/family breadwinner she's got to go? WTF?

But, of course, symbolically, it DOES work. Dawn is the true "potential" here--she's what Buffy could be if she unlearns everything that's holding her back, and Dawn's the part of Buffy telling her to go out, clear your mind, and come back with a new perspective. Similarly, the Anya/Buffy projection is two-way: Anya isn't just projecting her opinoins about power onto Buffy--Buffy is metaphorically projecting her own difficulties with this issue through the persona of Anya.

Again, symbolic integrity trumps dramatic credibility...

[> [> [> It's all about the journey, isn't it? Well, thanks for making me have to pee. -- Valheru, 12:28:05 04/30/03 Wed

It's a shame. This was Drew Greenberg's best script ever. I think if he and Joss just tweaked some of the details, it could've have worked on both levels. (But it didn't.)

As I said, I was ready to give this ep some major props up until "the argument." Even now, despite the horrible taste the ending left in my mouth, I still think it was a decent episode. It's just that five minute period of absurdity that ruins it.

OK, the symbolism is airtight. But I have to agree with Valheru--I got the feeling that a simple disagreement about tactics was blown way out of proportion to make the point.

Let me aside for a moment. A year and a half ago, when the idea of war with Iraq first percolated, I was pretty much behind it. "Saddam's a bad guy," I thought. "He hasn't obeyed the rules set down after the first Gulf War, he doesn't rule Iraq with the best interests of all the people in mind, and he has derided, threatened, and taunted the U.S. and the West to a point impossible to ignore. The world would be a better place with him out of the picture." But then the Bush administration started talking. Rather than just let the obvious facts stand on their own merits, it was like they were pulling ideas out of thin air or half- assed supposition. "Saddam's a terrorist." "He gassed his own people" (though at the time, Rumsfeld seemingly had no objections to shaking the guys hand and palling around with him like he was an old high school buddy). "He helps out bin Laden." "He's got weapons of mass destruction out the yinyang." After a while, all of this looked like they were grasping for straws. I started to think "Why do we need to stretch the truth so much? Isn't the proof we have enough? Maybe it's not such a good idea to go to war."

I feel like that's what the Scoobies did. Their basic argument, that Buffy isn't doing a bang-up job as leader, is entirely valid. I have been on board with that all season and was ecstatic to hear them finally realize that. But then they all started piling on with these absurd or irrelevant ideas. And so I'm thinking "Is this why they don't want Buffy to lead? Isn't it enough that she's just not a great leader? Maybe they all deserve a horrible leader."

The other thing that bothered me, which I'm glad you brought up, was the manner in which they argued. I can understand that the Scoobies had misgivings about Buffy's leadership, but what happened to personal respect? Argue in private, you idiots! By arguing in front of Wood, Faith, and the Potentials, any kind of mutual Scooby epiphany was thrown out the window. This wasn't "Becoming" or "Revelations" where honest qualms were debated hotly among friends, this was "Dead Man's Party" where they yelled at Buffy and relied upon the disapproving glare of strangers to keep her meek. It wasn't an intervention, it was an ambush.

Giles should have stepped in to calm the emotions and keep the focus on the matter at hand. For some inexplicable reason, he didn't. Willow should have tried to keep the situation from turning into a "let's bash Buffy for everything" finger-pointing, but for some inexplicable reason, she didn't. Buffy should have stood her ground, countered their feeble assaults, and forced the discussion away from "get rid of Buffy, the only one who has ever been able to actually face the Big Bads, because she has a personality flaw" and closer to "how can we best use all our assets to win", but for some inexplicable reason, she didn't. Even worse, it now appears that Buffy's superiority/inferiority complex is suddenly an inability to follow others, which is strange considering that she never seemed to have this problem before (she might have been pretty headstrong, but she was never unwilling to follow--that's always been Faith's M.O. (y'know, the new leader)).

I'm the number one booster of the S7 Interior Journey, but there have been times during the year when the symbolism of an episode has trumped the series' dramatic credibility.

Exactly. In order to get from Point A to Point B, they massacre the characters. "Don't let the plot get in the way of good characterization." The thing that makes "ES" worse, to me, is that they didn't have to massacre the characters at all to get to Point B; as things were going, they would have naturally come to Point B. Instead, they went from Point A to Points G, W, Q, S, I, P, D, and then decided to go to Point B. "It's all about the journey, isn't it?" In this case, it was all about the destination-- the car's a wreck, the passengers are all injured, and Otto Mann is the new driver, but hey, at least they got where they were going.

[> [> [> [> Re: It's all about the journey, isn't it? Well, thanks for making me have to pee. -- Traveler, 20:01:09 04/30/03 Wed

"It wasn't an intervention, it was an ambush."

It wasn't an ambush either; it was a mutiny. Buffy said "my way or the highway," to which they responded, "have a nice trip."

"she was never unwilling to follow"

Name me a single instance where Buffy has willingly followed another's lead. I don't mean simply using somebody else's idea or aid, but actually putting herself under their command for any length of time.

Furthermore, Buffy has told Giles point blank that he has nothing more to offer her. How is he going to perform an "intervention" for her? Willow and Xander are the only ones who changed their opinions this episode, and I'm sure that it's a direct result of Buffy getting Xander blinded. They are not acting out of character at all.

[> [> [> With you cjl... more of my "Why are we supposed to hate Buffy?" in this episode.... -- Briar Rose, 15:45:35 04/30/03 Wed

Until the confrontation with the SITS and Faith and the Scoobs, I was completely fine with this ep. But once they all were in one room I knew what was coming and yet again I had to wonder why ME has chosen to make Buffy the Bad guy. Why are we supposed to hate her so much?

It wasn't until we saw Buffy actually leaving after being pushed out by those she's saved so many times that I finally saw some form of SYMPATHY play being pointed to for the Buffster. But even that was too snide. It was beyond a sympathetic situation. It was more like a public flogging and I felt more pity for Buffy than sympathy.

And worse yet - why this time was it so important to PITY her? Those scenes weren't "poor puppy, you need hug..." scenes. They reduced the character to someone I PITIED, not rooted for her to turn it around. I wanted her to go find Clem and leave them all to die a horrible death without her to save them and then simply fade away to save herself anymore embarrassment and abuse.

It's all being handled so heavily that I can't give any props to Goodard and Joss at all.... If it isn't JW's intention to be this overtly dramatic and snide then hire a better WRITER who isn't so ham handed with what were supposed to be subtle emotions?

It's just appauling to me that instead of it being a question of acknowledging Buffy's strengths and good works heading into the final ep, we get alone, emotionally battered and weeping Buffy trudging off into the night.

Seeing her entirely beaten and flogged by those she cares about is almost more painful than the "Buffy Bashing" scripts that I still feel were some sort of writer's revenge on SMG.

I will never forgive Joss, Goodard or anyone in ME if they don't get with the program and give us back the Buffy we've known for at least 4 seasons before the end and with enough time for the viewers to enjoy it and get over this subversion of the integrity of the character of Buffy. They have always shown Buffy (even at her worst!) as being a loving, caring woman with people who love her and care for her in kind. But recently that's been gone. Way gone.

I'm even too upset by this last episode to make a real and cohesive post here - so forgive my lack of focus.

[> [> [> Re: Did symbolism trump dramatic credibility? (Or: "Who's in charge here?") -- Matlack73, 17:34:11 04/30/03 Wed

Right on! The dialogue was forced at the end of the episode. What was being said just didn't ring true. Even people as talented as ME can get it wrong.

[> [> [> Disagree completely (spoilers to present) -- Traveler, 19:50:19 04/30/03 Wed

This is the way civil wars happen in real life. It's always the straw that broke the camel's back, not the anvil dropped on your head. A few people always complain, but nobody listens (Anya). Then when things don't get any better, people start listening to those complaints and lodging complaints of their own (the potentials). Finally, the leader crosses some invisible line and even her most valued supporters turn against her (Willow, Xander, Dawn). This is true to life and everybody was completely in character. In this episode we saw a situation that has been building for some time finally blow up. It blew up, not because Buffy got two people killed and Xander maimed, but because of a tactical disagreement that she wouldn't back down on. The proverbial straw. With Faith there as the catalyst it was a forgone conclusion in a real life context, not just in the metaphorical sense. Personally, the thing that surprised me was not that Dawn would stand against her sister, but that she would have the guts and brains to actually kick her out.

[> [> [> [> Agree with you, Traveler (spoilers for aired eps) - - Rob, 21:22:54 04/30/03 Wed

We saw a similar confrontational scene in "Get It Done." Although Willow didn't say anything against Buffy there, you could see that she wasn't happy with what she was saying. Dawn has been worried about Buffy ever since Joyce's prophecy, and Buffy has shown her very little warmth to indicate that she shouldn't worry (the only real moment, Dawn was asleep for). Xander just had his eye gouged out, and is hearing Buffy suggest they go back to the same place, with not much more plan than she had the first time. Giles has seen Buffy slip farther and farther into darkness this year and resist his efforts to help her. Not that she should have appreciated his plot to kill Spike. But although what Giles did was wrong and stupid, he has a point about the way she's behaving. I can see also the natural progression that as all this dirty laundry started being aired and people started ganging up on Buffy, their emotions got stronger and stronger to the point that I could completely buy the "mutiny." I don't know yet whose side I'm on, if I'm supposed to have chosen a side, or not. I'll wait until the last episode to go back to the earlier eps this year and evaluate who we are "supposed" to be siding with. For now, I think we're supposed to be siding with Buffy but seeing why the others are so mad at her. That's where my brain is right now. But anyway, it sounds from your post that you're against Buffy. I'm not and I'm not so sure that kicking Buffy out was the right thing to do. If tempers hadn't flared the way they did, I would have recommended Xander, Willow, Dawn, and Anya taking Buffy aside and calmly discussing with her what happened. But that isn't how it ended up happening. I don't think Dawn is right, I don't think Buffy is right. I'm sad for all of them right now. But, IMO, the scene itself was not poorly written or illogical. It works on the literal and symbolic levels for me. Of course, that's a personal opinion thing.


[> Impressions on Impressions (Spoilers to Btvs 7.19) -- Arethusa, 08:36:23 04/30/03 Wed

Like all the fairy and folk tales that show the hero sloughing off his skin before becoming a new person, Buffy is losing everything before she makes her final transformation.

It represents the overcoming of the world of forms, and all its accompanying binary oppositions, in the complete extinguishing of the self into undifferentiated consciousness. The energies of chakra one, in which the yogi overcame his spiritless ego to begin the journey, are used to assist in the activation of chakra seven, but here the very ego to be overcome is the one activated at the first chakra, the ego that has successfully traversed all the chakras up to this point. This may provide a framework for interpreting Season Seven.

The first chakra in kundalini yoga, called the "root support," is at the base of the spine, between the anus and the genitals. This is where the kundalini serpent is sleeping. To quote Joseph Campbell on this first chakra, "when the coiled serpent rests in the first lotus center, asleep, the personality of the individual is characterized by spiritual torpor. His world is the world of unexhilarated waking consiousness; yet he clings with avidity to this uninspired existence, unwilling to let go, just hanging on" (MTLB, 111). "The first task of the yogi, then, must be to break at this level the cold dragon grip of his own spiritual lethargy and release his own Sakti" (TMI, 341). This first chakra is associated with the element earth, for its properties of solidity and resistance.
(Can I say again how brilliant that post is?)

Buffy is stuck in limbo now, unable to continue as she once did-that way of fighting isn't working for her any more-but unable to change. She wanders the Summers house and town streets, lethargic, lost, disconnected, confused. Patrolling, worrying, feeling overwhelmed. She can't continue her old patterns, but she can't see any other way to fight. Her notion of herself is inextricably intertwined with her identity as Slayer, as the law. The big sister, the centerpoint of her friends' lives, the Chosen One, the Watcher's reason for being. Now they are all gone.

"You have so much more to lose." Dinza to Angel, "Ground State."

Buffy's losing everything she ever counted on-family, friends, mentor, coworker, even the mission. "The mission's what matters," she says to Wood, but the mission ran off and left her, the pesky little bugger. Faith the Vampire Slayer has the mission now, given to her by those who needed her protection, like the Shadowmen gave the First Slayer her mission.

I think itís pointing out how we ignore the little thingsÖand how important they might be. The little evils, like not respecting someone, cutting someone off.

"Because, if there is no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness - is the greatest thing in the world." Angel to Kate, "Epiphany."

Sometimes being a hero isn't paying attention to the Big Picture-it's in the details. The hard, every day stuff.

Buffy has a tough time with Fathers.

Something else she will have to lose is her habit of seeking unsuccessful relationships and then blaming herself for their failure-punishing herself for her feelings of superiority, and the chaos slaying has brought to the lives around her. The guilt is crippling her, like Angel's cripples him. (Buffy is limping after Caleb attacks her.)

Caleb tells the Buffy dressed as the FE that it wonít take much more to push her to his way of thinking. Sheís almost there. Just a nudge.

Caleb thinks what worked for him will work for Buffy. Like the killer Caleb, she has power over life and death, and he thinks she needs only a push to wield the power he wants and she has. (Which makes me glad she didn't take the Shadowmen's offer of more power. Whatever Caleb wants can't be good.) All it took is a visit from the FE to make Caleb more than a man-he seems to think Buffy will embrace the FE like him. But sometimes less is more. And the point, I think, is not that giving up or turning down power will make Buffy less than she is, because Buffy's real power has never been her slayer strength. The power is just a weapon she uses. Her real power is in being Buffy, a strong and loving woman.

Angelus: Now that's everything, huh? No weapons... No friends... No

Buffy closes her eyes and steels herself for whatever's coming.

Angelus: Take all that away... and what's left?

Buffy: Me.

[> [> Sheesh. Script quote by psyche, unattributed quotes by shadowcat -- Arethusa, 08:45:07 04/30/03 Wed

[> Re: Thanks for those rambling impressions -- really -- (Spoilers to Btvs 7.19) -- frisby, 09:35:29 04/30/03 Wed

Just a short thanks for sharing those impressions. They helped me to think considerably. I think I'm probably going to cry my eyes out before and again when this is all over.

[> [> My Impressions -- Rina, 11:06:09 04/30/03 Wed

It's funny. I had liked Robin Wood at the beginning, despite his desire for revenge against Spike. But I'm really beginning to wonder about this guy. You're right about him, Bruce. First, he convinced Giles to go behind Buffy's back and help arrange for Spike's murder. Then he convinced Buffy to make that disasterous attack against Caleb's wineyard with the Potentials, and just last night, he planted the seed of rebellion in Faith, who didn't want to take Buffy's place in the first place. I'm starting to dislike this guy.
But my sheer dislike was reserved for the Scooby Gang - Willow, Xander, Giles and especially Dawn and Anya. Frankly, I wanted to bitch-slap Anya for her words. Buffy was "lucky"? She didn't earn her position? What the hell was Anya doing during her three to four years with the Scooby Gang?

As for Dawn, she had no right to kick Buffy out of the house - especially since Buffy is part owner and her guardian. And I certainly didn't cheer when she snapped at Rona. At least Rona had a reason to be bitchy - namely a broken arm. What was Dawn's reason? Her personal insecurities?

Giles didn't really surprised him. But this was the third time he betrayed Buffy. From my point-of-view, it's over between them. I think he has betrayed her for the last time. If Whedon had any decency, Giles would not survive the last battle.

Xander had a right to feel the way he did. Somewhat. But he really can't blame Buffy for his troubles. He was the one who made the choice to follow her over six years ago. He knew what he was getting into and the possible sacrifices.

As for Willow - she seemed to be the only one who really regretted her action. I'm beginning to wonder if she is allowing Kennedy to dominate her. I hope not.

Granted, Buffy could have shown a little more emotion and empathy toward the others. But this is Buffy. She has a history of repressing her emotions. But she was right. They're an army. They turned to her to lead. Generals lead. They do not become too chummy with the troops.

I'm sure that many will be saying that perhaps Buffy deserved what she got. I don't think so. So they suffered a major defeat. It happens in war. Ever since the Giles brought the first of the Potentials to her doorstep, Buffy has made it clear that they were in a war and some might die. But apparently, no one was listening. Which is probably why they all freaked out when Buffy revealed her theory about the vineyard to the group. A similar incident had occurred during the Civil War in 1864, regarding General Ulysses Grant. And judging from what Spike and Andrew stumbled across on their trip, she might proved to be right.

Spike and Andrew - I really enjoyed the road trip. Andrew must have been in a state of rapture, being with his idol. I wonder how that last scene between Buffy and the Scoobies would have turned out if Spike had been there.

I cannot say that I had enjoyed this episode. The betrayal at the end really pissed me off. But I must admit that it was a very good one.

[> Re: Alone in Empty Spaces......impressions on Tonight's Btvs (Spoilers to Btvs 7.19) -- verdantheart, 12:31:08 04/30/03 Wed

Thanks very much.

I thought your remarks about Andrew, Dawn, and memory were particularly interesting because Dawn is someone whose past is largely a memory imposed opon the world, whereas Andrew's real past seems to have been largely forgotten by the world.


BETRAYAL!!!!!! MUTINY!!!!! -- MayaPapaya9, 22:40:07 04/29/03 Tue

My poor girl. I haven't cried at the end of a Buffy ep in a while but I was surprised at how emotional I became when one by one, everyone Buffy trusted turned their back on her. She seems so tired, so strained, so ready to break. And then she had that spark of new hope, a new plan, one that she was sure would bring them a heightened morale...and then no one would stand behind her.

Rhonda...is a first-class idiot. I have never wanted to smack a television character so badly before. (Well, Sherry Palmer on the excellent show 24 may come close.) How DARE she pass judgement on Buffy after knowing her only a few months. That girl has been annoying me for a while and tonight my feelings about her have cemented. I hope she does not survive the finale.

Dawn...I have mixed feelings about. I understand her point of view, but when she started in on Buffy, I started crying because it just seemed like the ultimate betrayal. Buffy sacrificed her life to save this whiny, immature, meddlesome girl, who I had hoped was actually growing up into someone useful in season 7, only to be let down when Buffy needed Dawn's support the most. It was so heartbreaking. But I give Dawn props for her well-deserved "Shut you mouth!" comment to Rhonda.

Xander and Willow...Oh so sad. Poor Xander. Their scene at the hospital was so touching and so incredibly sad. Xander's situation is so unfair it hurts to even think about it. However, while the loss of his eye may be Buffy's fault, do they really expect to succeed with Faith in charge? With all that history? Since when is Willow so eager to stand by the chick who tried to kill her and who she hates for sleeping with Xander? Something's not quite right there.

What is Buffy gonna do now? Is she going to try and go solo against the First? Is she going to join Clem on his road trip to Nebraska? Is she going to hide out with Spike and pretend nothing's happening? Somehow, I see her going solo. I really can't picture Buffy letting this go, giving the fight up to someone she doesn't trust like Faith. I think it was Willow who said, But do you know how to follow? No, I really don't think Buffy does know how to follow. Furthermore I don't want to see her following anybody. I'd rather see her go it alone. Or with Spike.

They're gonna come crawling back. They can't really think they're going to beat this thing without Buffy. Those stupid little girls (yes they ARE children, Faith. They are ACTING like immature whiny children.) are only following Faith because she took them out for a night. What does Faith know about leading people? Yeah, I like her and everything and I'm glad she's back, but does she really have what it takes to lead the potentials? I really doubt it.

Whew okay I need to go clear my head, because if I think about Buffy's expression at the episode's end again I think I will start bawling once more. 'Night everyone! :)


[> Oh spoilers all over for 7.19 sorry!!!!!!! -- Maya, 22:42:07 04/29/03 Tue

[> Re: BETRAYAL!!!!!! MUTINY!!!!! -- MPN, 00:17:27 04/30/03 Wed

The ones who were totally unforgivable in my mind were Willow, Dawn, Kennedy and Anya. I'm not even going to bother with Rhona just because she's so abhorrent she doesn't warrant comment.

KENNEDY MUST DIE! Now I feel better. Seriously, what is with this girl? WHY does she get to act like she's better than everyone else just because her and Willow are sleeping together? She talks about Caleb making Buffy worthless; you want worthless, sweetie? Look in the mirror. "People are dying," she says. Well yeah, but Chloe wouldn't have died if it hadn't been for you, now would she, K?

Moving right along down the line, as I recall around this time last year, Willow was practically killing all of her friends and getting ready to destroy the world. She brutally tortured and killed Warren, has yet to show the slightest hint of remorse for doing so, and now she's turning on Buffy because she's "not thinking clearly." Right, because WIllow saw everything so clearly last May after Tara died. Gotta love perspective. Buffy never turned her back on Willow; hell she didn't even kick her out of the house after the incidents in "Wrecked." Now Willow is part of the party kicking Buffy out of her own home. Grr...arggh.

Dawn, how is it your house? Have you ever done anything to pay for it? Did you slave away at the Doublemeat palace to help pay the bills? Perhaps more importantly, did you forget that the girl you threw out of the house jumped off a tower into a hell-energy pool to save YOU. God, I've always hated Dawn. Now I remember why.

And finally, Anya. Anya said Buffy is luckier than all of them. How? How is the burden of being the Slayer make a person lucky? Lucky is being handed demonic powers by a sadistic demon god named D'Hoffryn because you used a magic spell on your lover. Anya never appreciated Buffy. This episode just accentuated that fact. She's a spoiled brat.

For those of you that are just as outraged about the treatment of our heroine by her "friends" in this episode, I highly suggest you type up a rant of your own. It's actually very therapeutic. I don't get it; you can save the world time and time again, and the first time you make a mistake, everything you've ever done is cast aside. On the other side of the coin, I give props to Faith for showing that she really cared about Buffy in the end by going out after her. Faith showed real maturity by not lashing out at Buffy physically after the punch incident, and though her leading the team is simply asking for disaster, she handled herself in an admirable way regarding Buffy's departure. Xander also had good reason not to want to back Buffy's plan. I sympathized with him fully.

Still...here's hoping Spike goes medieval on the SITs next week. Hey, it could happen.

[> [> Weird. I just posted almost the exact same comments in the thread below. -- Valheru, 01:16:33 04/30/03 Wed

Oh, good God! Jasmine's real! We're all thinking with a single mind now! I love Jasmine! Bleargh!


That was even stranger. =)

[> [> Re: BETRAYAL!!!!!! MUTINY!!!!! -- Keely, 01:51:06 04/30/03 Wed

Yep, I'm on board with the hating of the SIT twits. Apparently they haven't yet comprehended the fact that the series is entitled *Buffy* the Vampire Slayer, not Faith the VS nor Willow the Witch or Giles the Watcher. She's the leader whether they like it or not.

Just because they overpowered a few policemen (hello, mere *humans* with *human* strength) doesn't mean they know squat! If they hadn't in fact taken them, it'd only have confirmed my theory that one could take any single weakly girl at random and strap the label SIT on them. Correct me if I'm wrong, but in my mindís eye all they've brought to the table so far is a whole lot of whining and complaining. Theyíre seemingly nothing but dead weight.

Presently I think Buffy should feel relieved now that she doesn't have to worry about a bunch of ungrateful, foolish, headstrong girls who were only weighing (and slowing) her down, IMO. I mean, really, they've been more of a liability to her than anything else so far. All theyíve really provided is a more substantial number with which to fight. But does the number really matter when all they manage to do is get themselves injured or killed..?

As far as Dawn is concerned, I wanted Buffy to get a little of her own back, and kick *her* skinny arse to the curb along with everyone else. That house is *not* just as much Dawn's as it is Buffy's, considering the former was a freaking key up until just two years ago. Oh, how I despise that little bratty turncoat. Honestly, I think Joyce's wording must have gotten flipped around a bit, as it was *Dawn* that didn't choose Buffy, *Dawn* who was essentially against Buffy.

Speaking of mutiny, what exactly was Anya on about? It doesn't really matter if Buffy *deserves* the power doled out to her, or if she *earned* it, all that matters is that she *has* the power. The others do not.

I have yet to see anyone else stand up and prove their power to the group. Prove what *they* can bring to their collective force. With the notable exception of Willow and Spike, that is.

With all that said, I agree that Buffy is at her best solo - it always comes down to her and her alone in the end anyway - though it would be helpful if she had Faith and Willow on her side (which eventually she probably will), but as for now she and Spike should do just fine.

And now...we come to Giles...

I'm still waiting for him to be declared evil. With the First perhaps possessing his corpse or some other such act within that realm of morbidity to give his body form. If he *isn't* evil then Joss really has some explaining to do as far as I'm concerned. After all, all Giles has done since setting foot back in Sunnydale is vocally undermine Buffy, and cause division within the ranks. He's effectively broken their circle up, and stirred suspicion and mistrust in the brief time he's been back. And tonight he actually topped himself...

No way would the real Giles ever in a million years have dismissed Buffyís intuition and challenged her leadership role publicly, let alone practically shoved her out the front door. He might not have agreed with her, but he would have realized that they *needed* her, that she was their greatest weapon and that to lose her would be the biggest mistake they could make.

And that's not even touching upon the faint glow of recognition and discomfort that visibly washed over his face, as she first relayed her epiphany about Caleb's power and its connection with the vineyard.

ëKay, Iím done ranting! And yes, it proved to be *very* therapeutic indeed!

[> [> [> Re: One more thing... -- Keely, 02:20:31 04/30/03 Wed

The SIT would also do well to remember that whenever a BtVS character appears crazy or is simply declared unworthy of trust, THAT'S when they're speaking the truth, a truth that will be invaluable to the outcome of their future.

Buffy *always* gets pressed into a corner BEFORE triumphing. It's Joss' signature move: just when you think his heroine is down and out, she rises stronger than ever before! It's a traditional Buffy pattern, and isn't about to change anytime soon.

*bops sense into SITís heads* ;)

[> Re: BETRAYAL!!!!!! MUTINY!!!!! -- Angelus, 01:17:08 04/30/03 Wed

I felt a bit sorry for Buffy because, well, she was crying and that always gets me. But they were right. They didn't tell her to leave. They told her if she couldn't work as part of the group and not leader she had to leave. Also note that she was going to do exactly what Caleb said she was going to do- lead them into a trap that would have finished them for good. The coup is what saved them. The real story now is not them crawling to her but her accepting the faults in herself. Her main fault right now is that she is running from herself and running on emotion like Faith was in season 3 while Faith is now the self-controlled one who can take a punch and not retaliate because 'other things are more important'. I think the point was that the positions of Faith and Buffy have reversed and it may be Faith that lives up to her name and helps Buffy see her faults and become the Buffy we knew.

[> It is about trust , or respect my authority -- lakrids, 05:42:47 04/30/03 Wed

I hope that my English is somewhat readable
I have heard (donít know if it is true, I am not a historian), that a lot officer died from a shoot in the back in the First World War, from not so friendly fire. That war could described be as, massing a lot soldier against the enemyís superior defensive powers. The result where understandable, for everybody else than the generals, people died in some battle in figures 100.000ís. In battles that should be the last deceive battle to end the war. But mostly it only moved the frontline a few hundred meters. This was a fact that was registered by the soldiers. A person may agree to fight and die for their country. But nobody wants his or her lives foolishly thrown away for some square meter of earth.

The Sits donít know/trust Buffy; they donít know her history of saving the world and of her kindness and loyalty to her friends. They see her as an authority/their last hope, they may respect her, in some way, because the power she behold, but she have not given them anything to show that she cares for them as individuals. So Buffy authority with the Sit, is build on respect and nothing else, and when that respect is undermined in ìDirty girlsî, Is naturally for the Sits to look for a new authority, that they could have some kind of trust in.
I donít say that Buffy was wrong in her attack on Caleb in ìDirty girlsî, the plan could perhaps been executed with much more finesse. But she used what she thought to superior force, to attack the enemy before (perhaps) it could be ready. She was wrong as we all know now, but I donít really blame her for it. I think because Buffy is good person, she acknowledges, that with the authority she has wielded, that there are also responsibilities with that authority. Therefore is she looking for a grand gesture, that could validate her authority and could some of the sacrifices that other has taken mean something. Hence the non-logical order of the attack on the vineyard. Which got shot down of her friends and the Sit, as it should have in my opinion. All this reminds me (to much), on season 4. Where we also had a Big bad and kind of boring ADAM, where there also were a scene, where Forrest and Buffy attacks Adam, which also ends badly with Forrest dead and Buffy barely escaping alive. The end scene in that episode is one big break up of the Scobby gang where Buffy also says if that if they want to be part of the team they have follow her way. Ah well if the result of the reuse, is that Caleb and the first gets defeated in episode 21 and the show ends with another Restless (my favourite episode), could I very well live with that.

Oh one the reasons that the War ended, was development of Tanks that negated, in may ways, the machine gun defensive abilities. I think that Buffy needs a tank metaphorical speaking.

[> This Ep seems to bringing out a LOT of spoilers IN SUBJECT LINES! -- Darby, 05:43:14 04/30/03 Wed

[> Decimation -- Malandanza, 08:57:44 04/30/03 Wed

I'm with you on the mutiny. In fact, I'd be happy if Buffy revived the old penalty for mutiny -- decimation. Kill off one-tenth of the mutinous SiT's (starting with Kennedy) as an example to the rest. I'm not as distressed with Rona as you are, however, because I believe she's been following Kennedy's lead in this, as have many of the other SiT's.

"However, while the loss of his eye may be Buffy's fault, do they really expect to succeed with Faith in charge? With all that history? Since when is Willow so eager to stand by the chick who tried to kill her and who she hates for sleeping with Xander? Something's not quite right there."

Seven years of fighting evil and all Xander has to show for it is a gouged out eye. Two girls died in the raid, but Xander's eye is, apparently, far more important. One incident turned Xander from Buffy's biggest supporter, her loyal drummer boy inspiring the others to follow her, into one of her biggest critics. Give the Scoobies a little personal adversity and they desert Buffy immediately. Great friends. Okay, so we get the picture that Buffy is callous because she wouldn't stay and play cards with Willow and Xander (because any time a real general hears about a wounded soldier, he immediately halts all operations and calls a truce so he can spend some quality time with the wounded) but we also see Giles dressing her down for daring to leave the house while a war was one. No one was there to make decisions so, really, it's her fault that Faith took the girls out drinking and that Giles sent Andrew on a dangerous mission for no reason that makes any kind of sense (brilliant decisions, right up there with Willow's genius plan of wiring Andrew to eavesdrop on the First). In the meantime, the "big gun" takes the day off to sympathize with Xander -- but that's not an issue at all.

And I don't see any of the Scoobies being able to work with Faith. I see rule by a squabbling, indecisive committee with a nominal leader who's can't follow the count of three
plan. And I don't believe Faith will be leader in any sense of the word. A mascot, perhaps, inspiring the troops with her ability to kill things. Giles, Willow and Wood are going to be calling the shots (and Kennedy will be trying to influence Willow) and no matter how badly they mess up, no matter how many graves Wood and Xander end up adding to the Summer's garden, Buffy will be blamed. She wasn't there, she walked out because of her pride, etc.

"No, I really don't think Buffy does know how to follow. Furthermore I don't want to see her following anybody. I'd rather see her go it alone. Or with Spike."

I don't think following has led Buffy anywhere promising in the past. Faith in her own abilities is what saves her; following the plans others have prepared for her gets her betrayed (like Prophecy Girl when Giles knowingly sends her to her death, or Helpless when he drugs her). As much as I dislike Spike and despise where they seem to be going with the B/S soap opera, right now I like Spike better than the Scoobies. At least he'll stand by the woman who has devoted her life to keeping them all alive. Hopefully Andrew will as well, but he's such a weak character, he might join the victorious mutineers. Best case scenario, Faith quickly tires of the new regime and joins Buffy in exile -- then Faith, Buffy, Spike and Andrew defeat Caleb.

What this episode really highlighted for me, though, was how empty Buffy's proclamations of power and her willingness to use it have been. She got kicked out of her own house by a bunch of whining Potentials. That's power? And make no mistake, it was the Potentials (just like the last rumblings of rebellion following her) who began things. Buffy's friends followed their lead -- I doubt they would have had the courage to confront Buffy openly. And these are the people who'll be in charge.

[> Re: BETRAYAL!!!!!! MUTINY!!!!! -- Rina, 10:34:59 04/30/03 Wed

[Rhonda...is a first-class idiot. I have never wanted to smack a television character so badly before. (Well, Sherry Palmer on the excellent show 24 may come close.) How DARE she pass judgement on Buffy after knowing her only a few months. That girl has been annoying me for a while and tonight my feelings about her have cemented. I hope she does not survive the finale.]

I felt more sympathy for Rona than I did for Dawn. At least Rona had a good reason to feel bitter - a broken arm. And perhaps Xander did. What was Dawn's excuse? Her insecurites regarding her sister's love? What was the excuse for the rest of the Scoobies?

[> [> Well, Anya's been pissed with her since "Selfless" -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:32:30 04/30/03 Wed

And Wood since "Lies My Parents Told Me", and Giles has been showing signs of at least not trusting Buffy as leader since "First Date".

[> [> Re: BETRAYAL!!!!!! MUTINY!!!!! -- MayaPapaya9, 16:09:05 04/30/03 Wed

A broken arm?! Oh, poor, poor Rona. WHATEVER. Buffy's died twice, and Rona is whining over her stupid USELESS arm. At least Kennedy's been kicking some ass lately but I never see Rona do a darn thing besides whine and get herself hurt.

There will be no Super-Evil Review this week! -- Honorificus (Hell's Bridesmaid), 22:47:44 04/29/03 Tue

Oh, stop sniveling. You can go without my wisdom for a short period of time, I'm sure. Re-read some of my old reviews if the DTs get too bad.

To get back to the subject: because of my sister's upcoming (or should I say incoming?) nuptial rites and the fact that my male littermate is transporting in tomorrow, I will have no time to give this heart-warming, feel-good episode the attention it deserves. Given the theme of the episode, however, I must add that anyone who attempts to mutiny and jump aboard some other demon's Attempting-To-Be-Evil Review will find themselves missing their entrails in short order.

Before I leave, however: was Dawn not a picture with her curled hair and that red, red shirt? And Giles' sweater-- yummy!

[> As if these people care. Why do I even bother? -- Honorificus (The Truly Underrated), 10:26:46 04/30/03 Wed

[> [> Personally... -- ponygoyle, 10:56:46 04/30/03 Wed

I am reeling in despair at the loss of your review. I'm already off the diet and have emptied the fridge of minion munchables just thinking about it. And I am trying to be able to fit into my summer chainmail! How can you abandon us Honorificus! Did you not see Anya's hair??!!

[> BETRAYAL!!! and MUTINY!!!! -- cougar, 10:53:36 04/30/03 Wed

Here's hopin' your dress is radioactive!

[> Re: There will be no Super-Evil Review this week! - - MaeveRigan, 12:16:43 04/30/03 Wed

Honorificus, we will allow you to play hookey from the reviewing game JUST THIS ONCE, only if you agree to bring us super-evil reviews of both Empty Spaces and whatever the mysteriously titled episode 7.20 next week might be.

May all your demonerrific family and friends enjoy the nuptial celebrations. I devoutly hope that no juggling will be called for, and that no strangers from the future will turn up to distract the groom.

[> [> I wept and my keyboard shorted out? Mazeltov, BTW. -- pr0ng, 13:59:38 04/30/03 Wed

One persons Mission is anothers Windmill...spoilers for Empty Spaces. -- Rufus, 01:36:46 04/30/03 Wed

Tonight is the season seven version of The Yoko Factor. All the little bitches and gripes everyone had against each other, went from a simmer to a boil. And Buffy got burnt.

I have to start off by saying that though Buffy is alone, she has someone who just may find out what being really alone is like (not talking solitary confinement here)....and that would be Faith....you know the popular one. Buffy has been a leader for seven seasons, but every year there is some conflict the gang has to get over to move on to the next level and win the battle at seasons end. I have to admit Buffy contributed to her own expulsion by missing some warning signs of how helpless and fearful the potentials had become. Then enters Faith.....danger with a pinch of slutty goodness. She seems to lead a life with no regrets and no entanglments. What the potentials don't know is that she is still paying a price for her constant acting the tough.

But I'll start at the beginning of tonights episode...in the hospital with Buffy and Willow dealing with Xander. Buffy doesn't know how to deal with Xanders loss so she leaves.....and both Willow and Xander are restentful of her lack of involvment. But Buffy is thinking, thinking, thinking about what to do next.....no time for skinned knee's, peoples feelings, a friends lost eye.

Then we go to the basement......and who the hell will sit on that cot now? Anya is giving out the information she has (which I could have told them cause I saw Blade II). It isn't getting to the girls as they no longer fear the Turok Han (mainly cause they haven't seen one up close in awhile) they rightly fear the crazy preacher man. The same man who can beat up Buffy. They have seen Buffy beaten before, but when someone who looks human beats Buffy, that's another story. They don't feel all the training and learning will do them any good.

Buffy goes to the school and finds herself ready to weep over her friend when Caleb walks into the room. He starts in about women, and power.....and changing history.....like it's all a done deal. He beats Buffy up again.....then leaves her.......now if you all are paying attention.....why the hell leave the Slayer down when you can make sure she is out for good?

Buffy gets a cartoon birdy epiphany, but she goes and talks to Giles first......and then we get more Yoko Factor type pissing about. Buffy is angry Giles sent Spike away....Giles is feeling a bit taken for granted. Lost is the rapport they normally have. He then tells Buffy that Faith took the girls to the Bronze........Huh?????

At the Bronze we see the girls happy, dancing....and getting drunk (some of them at least). Amanda is one who gets a bit silly....."Buffy would never let us do this"....."You are so cool". Shit yeah....Faith looks great next to school marm, Kindergarten Cop, Buffy. Buffy gets all the crap, and Faith blows into town for the fun stuff. And I have an issue with something that Faith says to Buffy later.

I will insert a factoid....a black ribbon on a police officers badge means that a fellow officer has died. Funny, with all the hellmouthiness going on I kinda took that to mean that "justice" was dead in Sunnydale. Everyone has gone nuts, even Clem leaving town. And along with all the people left, the cops are under the influence of the hellmouth, though they don't realize this.

Faith is dancing when the cops arrive to execute their warrant (or would that be Faith) and Faith tries to flirt, I mean bluff them away. But soon it's clear that these guys quickly reveal themselves to be less than the average joes on the clock. They want to deal out some justice and Faith....well I guess she's just asking for some justice. Lucky enough she and the potentials are able to deal with the human threat, just as Buffy shows up. This is where Faith shows she doesn't get it.

Buffy understands that the girls may need to let off steam but taking them to a place where they could be and almost were trapped and getting them drunk, was plain stupid. I understand that Faith's heart was in the right place, but she wasn't paying attention to the girls as much as she was having fun. One little exception, Faith did notice that perhaps it wasn't such a good idea for Amanda to get sloshed. They are lucky that for whatever reason, Caleb and his boys didn't breeze in and finish what the cops started. And Caleb has a lot more muscle behind him.

Buffy and Faith get into an argument and Faith uses the last battle to hit Buffy over the head with. I find that comparing the battle between Caleb and the world and taking the girls out for a night of fun are a less than fair reflection of each other. Buffy had been training the girls, they went knowing it was a battle they were going into, and all measures had been taken to try to ensure everyone would get out alive. Faith took the girls out and liquored them up, and did her own thing, and lucky enough for her only a human threat showed up. Big difference between fighting humans and someone with a power equal or greater than a Slayer. Of course the cops had guns and they kill you as dead as Caleb can. Faith wasn't fair and Buffy reacted with a punch.

So, we have all these people, all with different things that piss them off......all at a meeting that ends with Buffy out and Faith in. So, who will do better.....Faith or Buffy?

Now to the part that I hope people were paying attention to. Spike and Andrew's search for the perfect flowering onion recipe. They did go to the mission and found a survivor of Caleb's attack. So, what was Caleb so pissed off about....a few simple words......

"It is not for thee." It is for her alone to wield.

So.....someone wasn't worthy......;)

Also Buffy said something worth remembering..........

Buffy: No, that's just it. We've spent all this time worrying about the seal and the Hellmouth. Why isn't Caleb guarding them? Why doesn't he have someone there protecting it? Why is he camped out at the vineyard? The bad guys always go where the power is. So, if the seal was so important to Caleb and the First, they would be there right now. They're protecting the vineyard or something at the vineyard. I say it's their power, and I say it's time we go in and take it away from them.

So connect the words on the wall that sent Caleb into an impotent rage, and what Buffy said above and what do you come up with?

With all the bickering tonight one thing was forgotten.....trust. That was most clear when Buffy said what her plan was and Giles commented that it was nothing more than "windmills". I'd understand if Buffy had been wearing a suit of armor and dragging Giles around as her Sancho.......off to fight imaginary giants.....but Buffy has a record of being right. Now all she is accused of is dreaming. The gang, the potentials have a new leader......will she be able to protect them, lead them?

[> interesting viewpoint but you might be missing the theme -- neaux, 04:36:58 04/30/03 Wed

rarely do I know what I'm talking about so feel free to ignore me. But I thought tonight's theme was about running away and escape. Is it right? I'm still not sure, but its an option that Buffy hasnt really considered.

It's the road less travelled for Buffy, but it just might be the correct path to take.

Clem tells Buffy to leave town, then leaves town.
Spike and Andrew do leave town (of course they will probably return but..)
Most of town is leaving town.
Faith offers the SIT Escape.
XAnder and Willow aren't talking strategy, they are probably playing cards.
Giles is seen sitting in the dining room doing nothing.

If the power is hers alone to Wield..

Wield means
1. To handle (a weapon or tool, for example) with skill and ease.
2. To exercise (authority or influence, for example) effectively.

Then Buffy has done both of these wrong. Lets say Buffy's power is the SITs. The SITs are her tools for battle. Has she used them with skill and ease. NO Sir.

Has Buffy exercised her authority or influence effectively? Absolutely not. Or none of the gang would have questioned her motives.

So why did the gang question her motives/ strategy? Well Buffy screwed up. She let them into a battle that was a trap. and above you stated that "Buffy has a record of being right" well after leading them into defeat and crippling her army, Buffy now has a record of being wrong.

I dont want to join the Buffy Bashing, but I think somewhere along the lines her head got clouded. Leaving town or at least the house is the best way for her to think clearly.

[> [> Re: interesting viewpoint but you might be missing the theme -- Rufus, 07:21:12 04/30/03 Wed

Actually, you are right to an extent. Running away has always been an option that many of the characters have taken at different points in the story. Buffy ran away in Anne, Willow ran away into magic season 6, Giles ran away season 6...but this year there has been some running away in the form of distraction. Faith uses her sexuality as a method of running away from how she feels about herself. Buffy decides to take off from the hospital because she can't deal with showing her feelings about what happened to Xander.

I picked one area to talk about, but that doesn't mean that you haven't picked up on something else. I can also mention that bickering is a thing that the characters last night engaged in because they couldn't face dealing with Buffy in an honest upfront way, letting their fears and frustration do the talking instead of listening to what Buffy said. Buffy said some good stuff that was ignored because the people in the room were pissed off. If I were them I'd be remembering what she had to say.

So why did the gang question her motives/ strategy? Well Buffy screwed up. She let them into a battle that was a trap. and above you stated that "Buffy has a record of being right" well after leading them into defeat and crippling her army, Buffy now has a record of being wrong.

I don't see how Buffy is the only one responsible for what happened at the winery. She was following some of Woods advice to give the potentials some experience, she planned the assault in a way that used the strongest people in the front line. What no one could have predicted was a man who had the power of a Slayer or more to enter the scene. Buffy only knew that there was a nut burning people...none of the Bringers have had superhuman powers, the First isn't corporeal....so, what exactly would you have done differently? Finding out your true power is a process that Buffy has gone through for seven seasons. The gang has been led into a trap before...that's why they are called traps cause they work. Buffy has a way of being right when it counts, when the big battle is about to happen. Doesn't mean she hasn't screwed up in some ways before that happens. It's easy to bash Buffy because she is the one held up as leader. She is the one that people look to for all the decisions and then crap all over if she is wrong. Faith on the other hand has been elevated to leader status after a stint in jail for being a murderer, she has a history of running away from anything she doesn't like be it men or battles. It's only just now she decided to get into helping the good side. I have to wonder what the gang is thinking when they trash the one who has helped keep them alive through apocalypse after apocalypse. I agree that some time to herself just may be what Buffy needs, I wonder what the gang will do with her gone?

[> [> [> Buffy's empty places -- Caroline, 07:42:46 04/30/03 Wed

I agree with a lot of what you are saying Rufus. I would also like to add some comments about Buffy's behaviour last night. Buffy was definitely living in fear. She has somehow managed to unlearn the lessons she taught Kendra in S2 - that her emotions are 'total assets'. She is so concerned about protecting these girls and fufilling her mission that she cannot afford to get to close to them in case she fails and they die. She wants to protect them so much that she feels the only way to do her job is to distance herself emotionally from them. In the process, she has emotionally distanced herself from Giles, Xander and Willow, representing her mind, heart and spirit respectively. Giles is hurt by her lack of trust in him, Xander is hurt by Buffy's lack of emotional support after losing his eye (witness the difference between Willow and Buffy's responses at the hospital) and Willow seems to not know what is going on inside Buffy. The distance from her 3 friends represent her distance from these functions within herself. Buffy's 'hand' or her instincts about the next step to take may be correct - Caleb may indeed be hiding something from her (perhaps the thing that only 'she' can wield?) but Buffy went about it all wrong and it led to just the outcome she did not want - her own emotional distance and rejection from the SG led to their rejection of her.

What was even more interesting is that Spike is not there - he is her 'Other', the one that she admits that she trusts the most and relies on - and this means that he could not help her access her fears. Buffy needs to pull together her heart/mind/spirit along with her hand functions internally. Buffy can't find a way to get out of her fears right now - she is caught in a cycle that will just create further distrust and emotional distance with the SG. She is caught in the confusion of her own dark emotions and perhaps she needs to see herself through Spike's eyes (the joining of the masculine and feminine archetypes) to fill her empty places and have the emotional fortitude to continue the fight.

[> [> [> [> Agree almost completely -- dream, 08:39:56 04/30/03 Wed

Although I would say of all of them, Willow seems to understand the best what's going on inside Buffy. Buffy can't see it, though, and has barely talked to her since - well, since the end of Get It Done, I guess.

[> [> [> [> Beautifully put, Caro! -- Anneth, 12:21:01 05/01/03 Thu

Sigh. I just lost the entire message I'd typed out.

well, my point was, another empty place in Empty Places was Buffy herself; after being rejected by her mind, heart, and spirit - as well as her emotions (Dawn) she has been reduced to a mere vessel. Might contact with Spike "fill" her emptiness, as you suggest, or emphasize it to her further detriment? I suspect the former, but considering how her relationship with him sputtered along last year, it's not entirely impossible or even improbable that ME will do that again - Buffy will turn to Spike out of inner need and discover that, agian - he offers only "cold comfort."

[> [> [> How I interpreted Dawn's actions -- neaux, 08:33:55 04/30/03 Wed

more great points Rufus.. and I do believe both of us are probably just going different aspects of the ep.

And I agree there was some trashing, bashing on Buffy in her home.. but the way I interpreted Dawn's statements were not banishing Buffy from the summer's house.. but more of a "Clean up your Act" before coming back statement. I think Dawn knows that Buffy has the power, but that Buffy is clearly unfocused and clouded in her judgement and doesnt know how to wield her power properly. Dawn wants Buffy to leave in order for her to find herself again.. just like you said she did in "Anne".

[> [> [> Why Buffy is responsible. (spoilers to the present) -- Traveler, 20:19:43 04/30/03 Wed

"I don't see how Buffy is the only one responsible for what happened at the winery."

Answer: because Buffy was the leader. Even though there was some argument, everybody did exactly what she told them told them too, and they suffered terrible consequences as a result. She made the decisions and she is responsible for them.

Yeah, Buffy couldn't have known that there was an uber baddy waiting for them. But that's because she didn't check, as Giles suggested. You can't argue that she made the right decision, because she didn't. The right decision is the decision that works. You can't even argue that she made the best decision, because Giles' method would have been better than hers. No, she just plain screwed up. It happens to the best of leaders, but smart ones will admitt to it and change their plans accordingly. Buffy didn't and got ousted as a result. Pretty fair I'd say.

[> [> [> [> How was she supposed to check? -- Finn Mac Cool, 21:18:15 04/30/03 Wed

We already saw research on Caleb failed, and scouting out the vinyard would still have put someone at risk of ambush/capture/death. And, even if the scout had gotten away scott free, all he would've seen is a human looking guy dressed as a preacher, which the injured potential already told them.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: How was she supposed to check? -- Traveler, 09:42:27 05/01/03 Thu

Oh, it's true that following Giles' advice wouldn't have allowed them to beat Caleb right then. However, it would have kept 2 of the potentials from dying and Xander wouldn't be blind. Giles' advice was good, even if it wouldn't have immediately produced tangeble results. Besides which, the main point of my post was that Buffy is responsible for what happened, not that she should have done what Giles said.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: How was she supposed to check? -- Malandanza, 12:30:31 05/01/03 Thu

"Oh, it's true that following Giles' advice wouldn't have allowed them to beat Caleb right then. However, it would have kept 2 of the potentials from dying and Xander wouldn't be blind. Giles' advice was good, even if it wouldn't have immediately produced tangible results. Besides which, the main point of my post was that Buffy is responsible for what happened, not that she should have done what Giles said."

Buffy doesn't have a conscript army -- every person on the raid was there of their own free will. Granted, some were convinced by Xander's rousing speech, but they chose to be there (or, in some cases perhaps, failed to exercise their free will to refuse out of cowardice). Xander especially has no business complaining. For seven years he has followed Buffy and had she told him to stay home, he would have refused. Buffy's plan was sound -- given that her intelligence operative have failed her time and time again - - based on the information she had. It was a better plan than many others that have succeeded in the past. In fact, her planning kept the casualties light -- her reserves came in and prevented a complete massacre. The raid was successful to some degree -- Buffy now knows more about Caleb and his strength than all the research that Giles and Willow have done has uncovered to date (when Giles and Willow can even be bothered to help -- after all, there are so many more important things to do, like plot Spike's death or spending quality time with Kennedy).

So, two Potential killed during the raid. Compare with the previous plan of sitting around and doing nothing -- two Potentials dead.

As for Giles' advice -- it is in direct opposition to his "be a general" speech the previous episode.

GILES Takes more than rousing speeches to lead, Buffy. If you're going to be a general, you need to make the proper decisions, regardless of cost.

So Buffy takes his advice and gets attacked for doing so.

Finally, I'd say that, rightly or wrongly, Buffy does believe she is responsible. For everything -- the dead girls (all four of them) as well as Xander's eye. This is lost in all the comparisons to Buffy and the WC -- Quentin wouldn't have lost a single moment's sleep of four dead protoslayers, let alone an eye. Giles hasn't shown any regrets for killing Ben or trying to persuade Buffy to kill Dawn. Wesley's never shown any regret for his questionable willingness to sacrifice others for the greater good. Only Buffy has. She's willing to make the sacrifices if she has to, but she is in no way callous about the results. And unlike the WC, she's always risking her own life in the front ranks along with the lives of those who have chosen to accompany her.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Great post. Exactly right. -- Sophist, 13:24:50 05/01/03 Thu

[> [> [> Why Buffy is responsible. (spoilers to the present) -- Traveler, 20:22:08 04/30/03 Wed

"I don't see how Buffy is the only one responsible for what happened at the winery."

Answer: because Buffy was the leader. Even though there was some argument, everybody did exactly what she told them told them too, and they suffered terrible consequences as a result. She made the decisions and she is responsible for them.

Yeah, Buffy couldn't have known that there was an uber baddy waiting for them. But that's because she didn't check, as Giles suggested. You can't argue that she made the right decision, because she didn't. The right decision is the decision that works. You can't even argue that she made the best decision, because Giles' method would have been better than hers. No, she just plain screwed up. It happens to the best of leaders, but smart ones will admitt to it and change their plans accordingly. Buffy didn't and got ousted as a result. Pretty fair I'd say.

[> Re: One persons Mission is anothers Windmill...spoilers for Empty Spaces. -- CW, 08:35:22 04/30/03 Wed

It's interesting that this episode has thrown everyone here so much. It's as if the fans are putting a lot more emotion into this than even the characters, and the characters aren't exactly stoic. Have to say good work ME.

Everyone seems to be getting bits and pieces of what's going on, but I'm surprised that no one is putting it all together. Even Earl's "God, I hate this, but I can't make myself turn it off," post shows some real insight, in places. To be honest I still don't know the details of what's going to happen, but everypassing show tells me I've been right all along, about what has to happen concerning the big picture.

Since I don't really know the details, that's what I'll talk about. Rufus calls this the season's Yoko Factor. It's is. But, more accurately it's the season's Dead Man's party. I think S'kat misinterpreted the way Buffy was acting in Xander's hospital room. It isn't what Buffy was feeling. It's what S'kat would feel if she were in her place. People were howling last week that Buffy was a horrible general, this week people are howling because she got sacked without pity like a bad general would be. Buffy's real problem is that she has the world to think about, but she keeps forgetting that the world is made up of inidividuals, whose needs are just as real as hers. That's what Deadman's Party was about. Yes, the weight of the world was on her shoulders in Becoming I and II. At the end, I felt like Buffy had done a perfectly understandable thing by running away. But, that's how Buffy and I felt not how someone in the position of Xander, Willow and even Joyce would feel. Buffy risked her life in Prophecy Girl, not to save the world as an abstraction, but because Willow and every real person in her world needed her to. What Buffy did in The Gift was not save the world. Allowing Dawn to sacrifice herself would have done that nicely. All Buffy did was save Dawn. Faith's point about Buffy not knowing the SIT's names is telling. With Buffy it's always been personal. This year she's finally understood it doesn't have to be that way. Just as in "When She was Bad" and "Anne" Buffy can shut out the personal part of world and still fight, but she losses what she's fighting for. As someone else has already posted, Buffy needs this time away from generalship. She needs to get out of her self-involvement and detachment and to remember her love for the world of individuals she's fighting for.

[> [> Yes, and... -- dream, 09:06:27 04/30/03 Wed

Again, she needs to get some rest. She's way out of balance in more ways than one. She needs to get in touch with the part of herself that loves fiercely - she also needs to get in touch with the intuitive side of herself, the Slayer who has prophetic dreams, not just the Slayer who has brute strength. She may be partly right about the vineyard, thought rushing in madly seems, well, mad - but it's telling to me that she figured out the signficance of the vineyard when she was knocked out. And Faith, again, tells her she needs a "siesta." Joyce said she couldn't beat this thing if she doesn't rest. My (unspoiled) guess? Next week we'll see her spend some quality time with Spike, get some sleep, and dream her way into some insights. Then we'll see her (maybe in the next episode) rejoin the forces with some very new ideas. Of course, I've pretty much never been right about anything, so who knows.

[> [> Re: One persons Mission is anothers Windmill...spoilers for Empty Spaces. -- ponygirl, 09:15:34 04/30/03 Wed

Much agree-age, I think Buffy is too lost in the big picture and is going against her nature which is to find the personal. Conversely she's also making every failure and setback and doubt a reflection on her.

I think we are also seeing a discussion on different types of leadership. Can one trust people enough to make their own decisions, even if you strongly believe they are mistaken? Or do you keep the responsibility/power to yourself, making those you lead like children? I don't want to sound overly harsh on Buffy because I believe she has the right idea in going back to the cellar but the wrong method, and also I have no doubt that Buffy will come through in the end. But I do think that she is facing the true test of any leader - can her power be shared? Can she step aside? It's what separates the democracies from the dictatorships, that sense of trust. It's also what allows parents to let go of their children.

[> [> [> wow! very well said. -- neaux, 10:32:20 04/30/03 Wed

[> [> [> Yay, I agree! -- Traveler, 20:26:33 04/30/03 Wed

I just wanted to post this so people would know that I don't just disagree with people out of habit :)

[> [> Very well said -- Shiraz, 07:59:24 05/01/03 Thu

OT -- I Wrote A Poem, KIND Of Relevant, And I'd Like To Share It With You Guys.... -- Angel, 02:43:47 04/30/03 Wed

....something in my life at present inspired this. I can't think of any people I'd rather have tell me if it's any good at all, and so here i am wasting your bandwidth.... -waits for storm of stones-

What price,
for what I've done, and does
it balance?
(in human terms)
the trail of bodies, left
the Scourge, and where
does it lie? This moment
of human
I haven't killed, and so perhaps
not a corpse, but maybe
somewhere lesser on the scale?
The smallest bone? Of a hand
Raised for pleading mercy from fanged
Perhaps an eyelid,
too slow to blot out
the creeping blood.
Not the shattered neck, but the curve
that gave it life before?
Sweat to bleed, and bleed to dust
In the endless struggle to redeem;
Trips unnumbered below, and which
Acre of unscarred skin
must be marked, to pay this debt?
Palms raised in supplication, bound
to burning cross, to writhe
the names of the unholy ones,
slaughtered children
and violated mothers.
Hell become a second home
--you think I'd learn. But
brought to life
for reasons undiscernable yet, always
guessing, always wrong, some things
only happen on the surface.
And 'why am I here'? The coin's two sides
are both the same---
A moment's regret
For eternity's loss.
Try to be perfect....
try to be human.
Try to be clean.

[> FWIW I really liked it - I admire anyone who can write poetry, as I just can't. -- Helen, 03:00:46 04/30/03 Wed

[> Interesting, Angel...thanks for sharing. Unfortunately, I can't tell you... -- Random, 08:22:41 04/30/03 Wed

...if it's any good at all. I can only offer a critique Which you may not want -- I can be constructively, if brutally, straightforward when critiquing poems...I've been critiquing such things for a long time now. But thanks again for posting it. You might have picked a better time if you didn't want to get archived quickly, though...last night's Buffy will set off a firestorm of debate, and tonight's Angel may do the same.

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