August 2003 posts

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See Jane Not Suck That Bad Afterall... -- Nino, 19:43:58 08/16/03 Sat

I must say I was very nervous that "See Jane Date" would be a disaster...but it wasn't so bad after all! CC did really good, and overall it was just plain cute! I have made it no secret that I am a huge Cordy fan, but I am also a big fan of Charisma...glad to see her first post-Whedon job very least...not bad. (And yay for only one scene with Evan Marriot). The worst part of the movie was seeing CC's big brown eyes and realizing how much I was gonna miss seeing her this year on "Angel" :( Da well, best wishes to CC...I'll keep watching you, no matter what you do!

[> Agreed. see my post in response to neux 's below. -- s'kat, 19:45:07 08/16/03 Sat

[> Does this boil down to range? -- ZachsMind, 12:53:26 08/17/03 Sun

I don't have cable so haven't seen See Jane Date. However, from the website I get the indication that it's largely Charisma Carpenter playing a cross between Cordelia Chase and Sarah Jessica Parker's character from Sex In the City. A modern woman in the single dating scene. Not a very hard stretch for Carpenter, who's only (relatively) recently started the married with children game. Is that it? Is the bottom line that the writers of Angel offered Carpenter a chance to expand her ability as an actress, and Carpenter couldn't live up to their expectations?

The last two seasons of Cordelia Chase in Angel have been rough n tumble to say the least. Carpenter excels as a comedic actress. Drama is definitely not her strong suit, especially when she's being required to perform scenes that are ultimately creepy and icky. Come to think of it, I can't think of any actress who coulda pulled off the scenes between Cordy and Connor that the writers demanded. It made Sunset Boulevard look like a Saturday morning cartoon.

The writers wanted to evolve the character. Make changes to her that may have advanced the plot but were not very conducive to what made Cordelia Cordelia. It was like they were trying to rip the rug out from under Carpenter. When Carpenter sauntered down those steps in that Mae West outfit near the end of season four, I cringed. That was so far away from Cordy as to no longer be anything other than Carpenter following direction and otherwise doing what she was told to do.

She took it like a trooper, but I honestly don't think it was fair of the writers to purposefully take the character and the actress this far away from safe territory. Maybe they figured that if they could turn Willow evil they could do the same to Cordy. However, their character dynamics are incredibly different.

Or is this a testament to Hannigan's talent as opposed to Carpenter's? I bought Dark Willow, but I just couldn't buy Dark Cordy. Dark Willow offered a wealth of emotions, and left me wanting more. Dark Cordy just made me cringe and wish she'd get off the screen. Is it that Hannigan has a wider range talent-wise than Carpenter? That Hannigan can pull off corny villian lines and Carpenter can't?

Or is it that the writers on Angel gave Carpenter lemons and try as she might she could not make lemonade? And was this deliberate on the part of the writers, or was it incompetence? The writing in the end of Buffy Six seem comparable to Angel Four's last half. It's not like one set of writers were better than the other. In fact there's a lot of cross polination going on here. It's important to note that one of the best Cordy scenes of Angel Four was "Spin The Bottle" written and directed by Joss Whedon, where Carpenter gets to play Cordy as a teenager again.

The character of Cordy on Angel has filled a similar role to the core characters surrounding Buffy in many respects. Cordy's been with Angel since the beginning, since even before he got his own tv series. From a writing standpoint, she's like it or not as much a part of what defines the series as he is. Take her out, and you might as well start from scratch. At the start it was Angel, Cordy and Doyle, and when Doyle was written out in season one, Wesley awkwardly filled that void. Not that Angel has to function with the same recipe for success that Buffy did. Some would argue that Angel would do best to avoid anything remotely Buffyesque in casting and writing design. Still, you don't fix something that works.

Buffy had Xander & Willow by her side practically every single episode for seven years. They were the cornerstones of her foundation from start to finish. Angel had only Cordy in that position after Doyle's departure, and now with her gone his foundation is completely disassembled. Angel Five bears little to no resemblance to Angel One. Writing Cordy out now is as painful and dangerous as if BtVS had gone without either Willow or Xander in season five of their run. It's risky. It's empty. It's wrong. There's no promise of a payoff. It's The Howdy Doody Show without any strings.

They had to write Giles out of much of season six, and that proved to be both a blessing and a curse. The best case scenario at this point is to see similar results now for Angel Five without Cordy. The worst case scenario, I don't even wanna think about.

[> [> Yup...But... -- Nino, 15:40:51 08/17/03 Sun tempting as it is to compare Dark Willow to Evil Cordy, I don't think it is fair. When Willow went WAS Willow. Deep down, she was in there, as was proved in "Grave" when Xander finally reached her with that yellow crayon. With Evil Cordy, it most certainly was NOT really Cordy. It was a body snatcher stretch out said scenario for an ENTIRE season, in essence, to ask Charisma to abandon the character she had played for six years and become a new character, PRETENDING to be that old character, is quite a task. When Faith and Buffy did it in season 4, the reaction to the performaces was mixed (although I loved both of them). Can you imagine a Buffy spinoff where Faith and Buffy switch bodies again for some reason, and Eliza spends the entire season acting as Buffy in Faith's body? It seems ridiculous...but this is what was asked of CC (Granted, the entity which snatched her body was not an old character, so it wouldnt be so much about impersonating mannerisms, but still).

I'm not complaining be honest, I loved the Evil Cordy story line. Yeah, it was dark, twisted and at times made me wanna vom...but my years of watching Angel have led me to believe the darker the better. This show just didn't appeal to me as much in its lighter moments...maybe thats why I can only take Lorne in small doses (luckily, thats all they have given us of offense to the Lorne-lovers).

I guess what I am trying to say here is, I am not PO'd at ME for the Evil Cordy story line...wheter it worked out or not, it was daring and kept me interested. I personally, though CC was fabulous as the Big Bad. Too bad the actress wasn't around at the end of the season for some payoff after all that...BUT what does piss me off is the thought that after taking such a huge risk with Charisma, ME didn't like what they saw, and that is why she will not be returning. If, as the CC interview suggests, it truly did come from wanting the best storyline possible, I'll suck it up and move on.

I guess we may never know...but after an entire year of the real Cordy being MIA I can say that if her character is not given some serious closure, and the respect she deserves, I will not be tuning in for "Angel" season 6.

[> [> PS -- Nino, 15:43:59 08/17/03 Sun

I especially agree that Cordy is to Angel, as Willow is to Buffy...good comparison, and one I have always stood by

Report from the Trenches: "See Jane Date." -- Darby, 19:51:30 08/16/03 Sat

This movie probably read very well in script form. If you mentally convert the lines back in your head, you'll see it. Many of the scenes are almost Whedonesque in rhythm if not cleverness.

And in practice, it works. Sporadically.

Charisma Carpenter is fine.

Whoever did the music and whoever was responsible for the sound need to be released into the wild somewhere, maybe with food and water. The incessant, insipid music (think Musak without the Ritalin) leeches the energy and rhythm out of almost every early scene, but it kind of fades away halfway through so later dialogue works much better. Unfortunately, much of the dialogue sounds like it was recorded through a microphone wrapped with too many woolies. And y'know, you probably won't want to see it twice to figure out what they're saying.

The supporting cast runs the gamut from good to cringeworthy. One of the "girlfriends" (the redhead) has facial expressions very distractingly like Mercedes McNab's, but she's okay. Many familiar faces spin by for a line or two, and small bits of set decoration are soundly gnashed by some. Holly Marie Coombs is good, in what starts out looking like a stock role but becomes something interesting, but is not around that much overall. This is Charisma's show, and she carries it pretty well.

I'm trying to decide if the movie got better as it went along, or I was just pummeled into submission. I strongly suspect that anyone who isn't really curious about seeing CC in something different won't be able to last, so you may not want to inflict this on the non-Buffyistas among your friends and family.

Veering into the very shallow end, this was filmed two months after CC gave birth, and she is still carrying some of that weight (and enough dairy products - no, I can't finish that, shouldn't even have started it, sorry), but she looks good - the costumes are not universally effective, but for the most part they dress her like a pretty member shaped like a person of the actual world. You'll recognize the occasional hairstyle from her Angel faux pas period.

As the movie closed on the end, I really thought they were going to put a unique spin in, but they couldn't quite do it, although there's a bit of a twist that I didn't see coming. But you probably will now that you know there is one. Never Mind. Hey, we're not talking Sixth Sense here.

See Jane Date is airing on the ABC Family cable station - it's one of their in-house movies, so they'll rerun it a bunch, probably next weekend. Go on, kill a coupla hours! It's not American Splendor, but it does have that guy from The Bachelor in it!

[> LOL! -- s'kat, 20:09:23 08/16/03 Sat

Ah, Darby you're spoiled by BTVS. This was actually better than most made for tv movies of the week. Believe me. I've seen a few. Of course the fact that I was doing something else during it probably helped. And no, I wouldn't have watched it if it weren't for CC, although must admit halfway thru I was pleasantly surprised, I had very low expectations, like I said I've seen a few made for tv movies. (Note:The movie does not demand your complete attention - it is not sit on the edge of your couch, rewind, overanalyze fare.)

But it's an enjoyable piece of fluff. And one of the few where the lead doesn't waltz off with Mr. Perfect at the end or looks like a svelt stick figure who has been eating nothing but celery and doing push-ups for six months with her personal trainer.

And Charisma plays the part very Cordeseque.

Most of the actors? Not really note-worthy. Most are stock characters. But - the living situations/worklife/and dating experiences are fairly realistic to NYC. Far more so than
most tv movies and tv shows. Certainly more realistic than anything seen on Friends in the last five years. ;-)

So...if you take it as no more than a fluffy movie of the week? And have something do during it. You'll enjoy it.
Don't watch it the way you watch Btvs. ;-)

[> You are so right about the music -- Dead Soul, 23:46:00 08/16/03 Sat

It was dreadful and horribly distracting.

But CC was decidedly the best thing about the movie - I thought she acquitted herself quite well.

invitation of vampires -- LozzieB, 06:14:51 08/17/03 Sun

so i have been watching the first season episodes, and there is one which raises a question. Sorry i don't have the name of it - but its when the Master sends the Three after buffy and angel saves her. They run to her house and she closes the door on one of the vampires arms. How did he get his arm through the doorway with no invite? In all subsequent eps they can't get any part in at all. Just working out the kinks?

[> Re: invitation of vampires -- seven, 07:31:28 08/17/03 Sun

this has been a problem with numerous eps.

In Bothered, bewitched and bewildered in season two, Angel reaches in to Buffy's room and grabs Xander.

There are other occurances but it is mainly a plot driven mistake. technically, an univited vamp can't reach any exremity into a home but sometimes writers forget or look past it for one reason or another.

One reason could be that in the Buffyverse, Joss has made it a staple to turn old horror cliches on their head, but to do that writers must first begin scenes with that cliche, like a suprise hand grabbing someone in the kitchen. It gives the feel of a regular horror show or film but then something totally unexpected happens.

Just the price one must pay for great storytelling.
i hope this helped


[> [> From "BBB" -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:33:00 08/17/03 Sun

Angel still had an invitation to Buffy's house. He was invited in "Angel", and it wasn't revoked until "Passion".

OT: ASH - Talking to Animals -- yabyumpan, 15:20:14 08/17/03 Sun

Just flicking through channels this afternoon and spotted ASH with a bunch of animals. Turns out it's a program with his partner about dealing with psychological problems in animals. I only caught the last 5 mins. It's good to see he's keeping himself busy and intersting to see him in a non-acting capacity. Here's the blurb from the show

Talking to Animals

[> C*** the link didn't work, I'll try again -- yabyumpan, 15:24:18 08/17/03 Sun

Talking to Animals

Just Saw Freddy vs. Jason/ Wow what a movie -- Freddy, 15:24:13 08/17/03 Sun

The Fight between them was great. I don't want to give away anything so enough background on them. There just enough sex, violence, and deaths in this movie. The ending fight was great and they were totally even. You will be suprised that one is supposed of died but not really because they are both unkilliable.

[> Saw it Friday (SPOILERS) -- ApOpHiS, 17:44:03 08/17/03 Sun

Before this, the only previous experience I've had with either of the characters was Jason X, which I believe was rather far removed from the traditional horror/slasher genre. Ergo, I appreciated that the movie gave me plenty of background on the characters (ie, Jason and Freddy, the only REAL characters in the movie). Personally, I liked the movie, bad acting and all. It was like Godzilla vs. King Kong, only with sharp objects and more decapitations. Something I thought was interesting is that they made Freddy so evil that Jason was practically a good guy by the end. Homicidal tendancies aside, he was certainly the more sympathetic of the two.

[> If you haven't seen the film yet and don't want to be spoiled, don't read the above post. -- Rob, who actually liked the movie in spite of himself, 16:32:43 08/17/03 Sun

[> [> How can Rob *liking* something possibly be in *spite of himself*? -- d'Herblay, 16:38:35 08/17/03 Sun

****flirts with Rob**** (due to plan posted below) -- Rochefort, 20:00:12 08/17/03 Sun

[> I'm gonna need flowers, chocolates, and presents from ya, Roche. Then, we'll talk. -- Rob, fluttering eyelashes, 21:23:09 08/17/03 Sun

Classic Movie of the Week - August 17th 2003 - Guilty Pleasures / Buried Treasures Part III -- OnM, 20:03:15 08/17/03 Sun


Only Lara Croft would go to a Sunday school that teaches Greek myth.

............ Roger Ebert


Thatís Orff, oaf!

............ (dialog excerpt from this weekís film)


In an answer to a previous ëQuestion of the Weekí, one ATPo poster noted that s/he avoids films starring either Tom
Hanks or Julia Roberts not because these two are poor actors, but that they often seem to choose poor films to star in.
This brings up the interesting question of just what characteristics make people seek out a given film to view? For me,
bottom line, itís pretty simple-- I want to be entertained, and fortunately, Iím fairly flexible in how that can happen. The
film doesnít have to be a stunning work of great intellectual gravity, beautifully filmed and technically inventive. It can be,
but that really seldom ever happens, and if I always set my sights that high, I probably wouldnít get to see more than
one or two flicks a year.

The film can even be inept or silly if that ineptness or silliness comes about naturally, for lack of a better word. Indeed,
part of the reason for doing this whole ëguilty pleasureí trip each August is to celebrate cinemetic trips that travel roads
not only not usually taken, but that for all practical purposes are closed and marked ëdetourí.

Going back to Hanks and/or Roberts for a moment, what you might find interesting is that the presence of an actor (or
director, or even a writer or cinematographer) that I happen to fancy will cause me to actively seek out seeing a film that
otherwise I might avoid. A good example of this rule (more like a guideline) in a currently playing film is the latest in the
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider series, which has been largely panned by the majority of critics much as they did for the series
debut two years ago. Iím not just guessing about that, either-- a quick visit to shows the rather
devastating figures: The original film snagged only a pathetic 18% on the Tomatometer (tm), while the current outing
rates a somewhat improved but still intensely shabby 26%. Clearly, a large number of professional filmies despised poor
Lara and the Angelina Jolie she rode in on.

One of those was a critic who is one of my regular reads, the great Jim Berardinelli. If you donít read his reviews
regularly, you will need to keep in mind that Mr. Berardinelli is typically a very measured, even-handed reviewer,
seldom given to wild oratorical rants and such. So check this out:

Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life arrives stillborn, the misbegotten offspring of filmmakers who are so greedy that they probably wouldn't hesitate to plunder a grave or two. I would be tempted to recommend this movie as being entertainment of the "so bad you won't believe your eyes" variety if it wasn't so deadly boring. As impressive as Angelina Jolie's many physical feats may be, it takes even more stamina and fortitude to stay awake during the movie's seemingly endless two-hour running length. Once more, I feel I must make this plea: please do not throw things at the projectionist or attempt to kill the ushers. All ire should be directed at the men and women at Paramount Pictures.

The first Tomb Raider was dumb fun (...) with Angelina Jolie bringing everyone's favorite PC adventuress, Lara Croft, to life. Jolie seemed to be having fun, her father was involved (...), and the movie had a breezy energy. I enjoyed Tomb Raider, even though it defied logic and many of the laws of physics. TR: The Cradle of Life is just plain dumb. Gone is John Voight (...). Jolie shows few signs of enjoying herself. And the movie has abandoned its Indiana Jones motif in favor of a James Bond one. So Lara is now Jane Bond, on her Majesty's Secret Service, with a license to kill and some very bad music to accompany her stuntwork.

(...) At this point, it's probably moot to argue about whether The Cradle of Life is the worst action movie of the summer. I liked Bad Boys II a little less, but making the comparison is like distinguishing between a cow turd and a horse turd. And that pretty much sums it up nicely.

............ James Berardinelli


Now, Iím reading this, you see, and Iím thinking, damn, I kinda liked the first one, and was looking forward to
seeing the sequel, and... well, I dunno now. Jim and I pretty much see screen to screen most days of the week. Other
reviews Iíve read have been likewise dismissive of Lara II. Here it is summertime, the liviní is easy, (or not, but it should
be!) and whereís my next pleasantly mindless action fix gonna come from? (actually, thereís always another one, but

I had essentially given up on seeing the film, until my other main movie man finally posted his review, and, of all things...
well, read these excerpts for yourself:

I describe these details only because this kind of story amuses me, and always has, ever since those long-ago days
when I curled up on the sofa with H. Rider Haggard's She. Adventures involving the ancient, the occult and the
exotic are much superior to those involving modern cars and guns and cops. A perfect adventure should have at least
one magnificent private library somewhere in it and a butler. Also ancient crumbling temples, things that shine real bright
and cool costumes.

(...) In a summer where the special effects in movies have grown steadily more repetitive and dreary, [Cradle of
] uses imagination and exciting locations to give the movie the same kind of pulp adventure feeling we get from
the Indiana Jones movies. There's an amazing use of giant neon signs in Shanghai, an escape by parasails, a secret lab
hidden in a retail mall, a pole-vault to a helicopter, and a perfect scene where the villain, in hot pursuit of Lara, gets into an elevator and then a little brat gets on and punches all of the buttons. I've been waiting for years for that to happen.

(...) Not everybody, I observed, could play Lara Croft. Angelina Jolie can, with a straight face, a dry wit, a fierce
resolve and a British accent, which adds a certain style to the enterprise. She's all class, which is why she has friends
everywhere, ready to stash parasails on top of skyscrapers, or allow her to parachute into their Land Rovers as they
race across the African savanna.

(...) This is a better movie than the first one, more assured, more entertaining. The director is Jan de Bont, who demands a certain logic from his screenwriters, so that although the story is completely preposterous, of course, it is consistent within its own terms. I was relieved to discover I am not tired of movies like this after all. They have to be good, is the thing.

............ Roger Ebert

180 much? Iíd say so. Of course, a singular good review, or even several, wonít negate all of the bad ones, not exactly
unlike the way Spike fails to negate Angel or vice versa. A 26% Tomahto rating is still incredibly poor, but at least
one respected film critic somewhere whose head often functions like mine does think there is
something worthwhile about this film, and thatís enough for me, since I was previously inclined to see it in the
first place. So I went, and you know what? I enjoyed it and had an entertaining time. No, it isnít a work of genius, but
Iíve gotta say... I honestly do not understand the bile that has been directed its way, I truly donít. Iíll buy the DVD
when it comes out. I liked Jolieís ëJane Bondí take on the character, even though in fact I suspect that this may be one
of the things that turned many people off.

It may be unfair on my part to posit some variant of sexism in this instance, but I think the clearly harder edge Jolie
maintains here is disturbing to some who are expecting more ëfeminineí warmth from the character. (A good prior
example of trying to add this ëwarm & femmyí attribute where it clearly didnít belong was in Point of No Return,
the American remake of La Femme Nikita with Bridget Fonda in the lead role. I donít blame the actress, it is my
understanding she did exactly what she was asked to do, but that film was a failure in my estimation largely because it
lost the hard-as-nails, only looking out for #1 Nikita from the original. The whole damn point was that Nikita was
supposed to be a cold, soulless killer, and it turned out to be a major surprise that she could be redeemed after all.
Really-a-big-fluffy-bunny-Nikita-brainwashed-into-naughty-government-assassin instead? Nuh-uh-uh.

At the same time, I also have to point out that who the heck am I? Itís very easy to forget that all criticism has its limits.
This isnít to say that there is no standard to hold art up to-- the standard may be one that shifts and mutates over time,
as societyís perceptions change and evolve, but sloppy, careless work is still sloppy careless work, as long as you can
make a reasonable case that all was deliberate in that regard. There are plenty of examples where it can be impartially
proven beyond a reasonable doubt that there was little or no artistic intent driving the creation of a film, only the desire
for a fast buck, a tax writeoff, or some similar base purpose. Do understand that I have nothing against making a buck, I
try to do it myself and on rare occasions even succeed. But even a flick done low down on the quickínídirty can turn
out to have redeeming social value if there is real heart behind it or a decent sense of humor out front.

Thus we run full tilt into this weekís Classic Movie / Guilty Pleasure / Buried Treasure, a delightfully deliberately inept
production called Home Movies, released in 1979 by veteran action/ mystery/ horror-meister director
Brian De Palma. Home Movies isnít like any of De Palmaís other films, and Iím not even sure fer sure just how
much he was involved in every step of creating the film-- there have been (unconfirmed) stories that the movie was
originally a project for a group of film students that De Palma was teaching at the time, and the finished version grew out
of that beginning. But, no matter, its wild and witty weirdness is highly inviting..

Now, Mr. De Palma is an odd bird, in my mostly humble opinion. I have seen him do some really first class work over
the years, and at other times I have cringed at how he sometimes allows his ëhomagesí to vamp out into quasi-ripoffs of
the greats that came before him. Itís a very, very fine line, I want to make clear, between wanting to
acknowledge someone such as Alfred Hitchcock, and trying to be Alfred Hitchcock. Iím not accusing, because
frankly Iím not inside the manís head, I donít know what his intent really is, I only know what I see on the screen and
how I interpret it for myself.

Another occasionally troublesome aspect for me is the way that De Palma treats his female characters, who all too often
seem to either fall into either the victim or victimizer category. You can check out such classic De Palma efforts as
Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out or even Mission Impossible for evidence of this tendency. Again, itís
a matter of intent, because after all, the horror/suspense genre as a whole tends to do this-- itís one of the many reasons
why we find Joss Whedonís work so compelling by comparison to the norm, since he typically avoids or inverts this
cliche. De Palma would likely respond that he is only depicting what is obviously apparent in the society around him,
that heís a mirror of current reality , and/or drawing on the long traditions of noir and horror and not a progressive
political activist. This may be true, but for me it still takes some of the shine off of his otherwise compelling stories.

Whatever the case, there is little doubt that De Palma is a craftsman, he understands both the technical and thematic
aspects of moviemaking, and executes them to a high degree of perfectionism. Home Movies almost seems like
an anti-De Palma film in that regard, because the production values are incredibly cheesy. As I mentioned a few
paragraphs back, this is quite deliberate, since the central conceit of the movie is that we are watching a work
composed by a rank amateur, a fellow named Denis Byrd (Keith Gordon) who is attempting to redirect his aimless,
nebbishy existence and ëbecome a star in his own lifeí.

This latter phrase is the mantra of a character known only as ëThe Maestroí, played brilliantly by veteran actor Kirk
Douglas. The Maestro teaches a self-improvment course at the perfectly named ëNOW collegeí, using the techniques of
filmmaking as a vehicle, but with the results oriented almost entirely towards creating ***Stars*** out of bit players, or
worst of all, ëextrasí. Making a movie about making movies is a time-honored (and occasionally dishonored)
convention, but this is a truly inspired twist, fusing the 70ís self-help craze (has that ever really ended?) with the tabloid
inspired star-obsession antics of a significant segment of the American populace.

Douglas hams it up mercilessly here, which is exactly the style that is called for, and initially we find ourselves drawn in
by his effusive enthusiasm and the kind of basic common sense he seems to be driving at in his quirky but dynamic
presentations. For example, in a very early scene a young man in The Maestroís class is far more interested in chatting
with his girlfriend than paying attention, and soon finds himself haplessly engaged in an impromtu ëfight sceneí. The
unperceiving lad gets punched out but doesnít get angry at The Maestro because he thinks he just missed out on a cue
of some kind.

There are plenty of other similarly amusing scenes as The Maestro pops up at semi-regular intervals, lampooning not
only the Hollywood star mystique but the hand-in-glove fascination with it so many of us appear to have. Later on, even
though we donít discover any kind of a genuinely sinister backdrop to The Maestroís actions, De Palma cleverly
arranges things so that we start to question the validity of the whole ëStar in your own lifeí premise. Becoming a Star,
with a capital ëSí, seems to mean that you just trade one form of social pretense for another, hopefully more favorable
one, but itís still a facade at heart-- a prop. And you never know when the prop department wants it back.

Now back to our main protagionist Denis Byrd and his life-on-hold sitch. Denisí problem, to date, is that he doesnít
even have a facade per se, and his natural personality is one that everyone else in the world seems to pretty much
ignore. People donít dislike him, they just tend to act like he isnít in the room with them at the same time. This problem
gets summed up in a neat visual way shortly after the delightfully crude and hokey animated opening credits roll by and
the main story begins. We are in the Byrd household, and Denis is on the couch fervently making out with a girlfriend.
The ability of Denis to actually find himself in this position would seem to contradict the ënebbishí impression we see him
display later on, but alas, such is not the case. Denisí mother appears in the doorway to the living room, her face aghast
at what she is seeing. Denis untangles himself and jumps up to go after his now upset and retreating mother, and as he
begins to plead with her that things arenít what they appear to be, be find out he is way too right.

The girlfriend, who is wearing headphones and obviously grooving on the tunes emanating from them, is so into the
sound that she keeps right on ëdancingí after Denis has left her arms. It seems he was merely a friendly accessory to a
good time, not the good time itself. She continues to ignore both Denis and his mother as the two chase one another
about the house, soon to be joined by the real reason Mrs. Byrd is so torqued-- Mr Byrd, or more accurately Dr.

Dr. Byrd is an anatomist, with a sub-speciality that entails studying some selective anatomy of the human female. His
medical practice appears to mostly involve prescribing the procedures needed to get into bed with just about any
attractive babe who wanders within eyeshot, and his wife has become all too aware of it. Thus, it wasnít really Denis
and his girlfriend who upset Mrs. Byrd, although she whiningly notes that ëyou men are all alikeí. Mrs. Byrd whines quite
a lot, in fact, and has her own duplicitous methods of gaining attention when she is feeling ignored. The film is politically
incorrect enough to suggest that if you were Dr. Byrd, you might have a reason for philandering, but
since the characters are so obviously cartoonish and exaggerated, itís not openly offensive so much as just shooting for
equal opportunity displays of stupidity.

Mrs. Byrd does have deep and abiding affection for one man, though-- Denisí older brother James, played by Gerrit
Graham in a style as studiously wacked-out as Douglasí Maestro. James also ëteachesí at NOW College, in this case a
course called ëSpartaneticsí, which is intended to proclaim the glory and righteousness of all things ëmanlyí. Grahamís
character has no problem with the *Star in your own life!* concept-- his opinion of himself might be close to knowing a
nascent god when he sees one looking back at him in the mirror. Unfortunately, heís even more of a spaz than Denis,
but thankfully is oblivious to this minor detail, so we get to watch his students (or disciples?) follow him around, all
equally clueless, but just more aware of the fact that they are clueless.

Itís not hard to appreciate the juicy satire inherent in Jamesí being the member of the family people look up to, when in
fact itís all self-spin and PR. Denis seems to reluctantly accept this, as if itís simply the way of the world and something
to be dealt with as best as possible, and of course his mother constantly fawning about how wonderful and talented and
successful his brother is makes the subject unavoidable anyway.

The remaining major player in the story is a young woman named Kristina, played very sweetly by De Palmaís one time
girlfriend Nancy Allen (who starred in a number of his other films, for that matter). Kristina is Jamesí girlfriend, soon to
be wife, but only if she can pass a series of ëtestsí to prove that she is ëworthyí of him. I wonít give away all of the many
nifty details surrounding this particular arc, other than to note that the purported reason for the tests has to do with
Kristinaís... uhh, unusual past, which among other things involves a rabbit named Bunny.

Of course, Denis falls hopelessly in love with Kristina as soon as they meet, but figures he hasnít a chance in winning her
away from James, to whom she seems sincerely devoted. Fortunately, one thing you can say about Denis is that heís
quietly persistent in his ambling sort of way, and working to his long-term advantage in the romance department is the
fact that James is so agressively off-the-wall that sooner or later you just know the wall will lose him entirely. The same
is true about Dr. Byrdís flagrant philaderings-- heís so unsubtle, itís virtually only a matter of someone-- anyone--
simply making an attempt to catch him in the act, and voila! So, inspired by The Maestro to make a movie *starring*
himself, Denis decides to document getting the goods on his dad so that his mother can get a divorce. This leads to more
funny scenes with lights, cameras and occasionally even action. (There is also much sitting about in trees and taking
notes from The Divorce Detectiveís Handbook.)

Anywho, that should be enough elementary background detail to inspire yaíall to seek out this forgotten little slice of
whatever it is. Is Spartanetics the wave of the future? Will Denis become a star in his own life? Will Kristina come to
terms with the rabbit within? Is The Maestro planning a sequel?

Hey toots! Ya wanna be in show business??

Cut! Print!

E. Pluribus Cinema, Unum,



Technically, uhhh..... what F-stop was this camera on again??

Home Movies is available on DVD (but not on VHS, according to the IMDb), the review copy was on
laserdisc. The film was released in 1979 and the run time is 1 hour and 30 minutes. The original cinematic aspect ratio is
unknown, but probably is 1.85:1. The laser version I have was 1.33:1, but it may very well be a paníníscan cut, as itís
an old disc. I first saw this film on pay cable a fair number of years ago, and I think taped it on Beta.

Whole lotta writing credits here, so in alphabetical order we have Kim Ambler, Brian De Palma, Dana Edelman, Robert
Harders, Stephen Le May, Charlie Loventhal and Gloria Norris. The film was produced by Gilbert Adler, Brian De
Palma, Sam Irvin, Mark E. Rosman and Jack Temchin. The cinematography was by James L. Carter with film editing
by Corky O'Hara. Art direction was by Tom Surgel and costume design by Tina Bossidy. The original and presumably
deliberate ultra-cheesy music score was by Pino Donaggio. The original theatrical sound mix was in (surprise!) equally
cheesy monophonic splendor.

Cast overview:

Kirk Douglas .... The Maestro
Keith Gordon .... Denis Byrd
Gerrit Graham .... James Byrd
Nancy Allen .... Kristina
Mary Davenport .... Mrs. Byrd
Vincent Gardenia .... Doctor Byrd
Stephen Le May .... Matthew
Ross Barnes .... Mark
Jeff Graham .... Luke
Charlie Loventhal .... Thomas
Robert Mickles .... Andrew
Theresa Saldana .... Judy
Kari Borg .... Swedish Nurse
Loretta Tupper .... Grandma
Captain Haggerty .... Policeman
Constance Ilowitz .... Lawyer's Secretary
Kim Herbert .... Biker
Erin Lynch .... Little Girl
Jon Dawson .... Uncle Nelson
Colter Rule .... Wise Guy in Class
Symie Dahut .... Stripper
Al Maclennon .... Waiter
Tom Surgel .... Student Holding Sign
Bunny .... Himself


Department of Miscellaneous Department and the Natural Guard:

Part I:

It looks like Anya Emmanuella Jenkins may not be the only person in the world with a lapine fixation. Perhaps even
Brian De Palma has fallen prey to itís insidious nature! Check out the flick he made back in 1972, which a little quick
research shows that it was about a tap-dancing magician, played by Tommy Smothers and co-starring John Astin,
Katharine Ross and (gasp!!) Orson Welles.

De Palma has been a pretty prolific sort-- hereís a list of most of his stuff for your perusal. Critical reactions to his work
have always been mixed to at least some degree over the years that heís been directing, but another oddball little flick
you might want to check out would be Phantom of the Paradise from 1974. Of the major films from the list
below that I have actually seen (maybe about a quarter of them), Iíd have to go with Mission: Impossible as my
all-time favorite De Palma outing. Yes, the plot is incredibly convoluted and hard to follow at times, but it was a really
good effort to update the classic TV show, IMO.

Femme Fatale (2002)
Mission to Mars (2000)
Snake Eyes (1998)
Mission: Impossible (1996)
Carlito's Way (1993)
Raising Cain (1992)
Bonfire of the Vanities, The (1990)
Casualties of War (1989)
Untouchables, The (1987)
Wise Guys (1986)
Body Double (1984)
Scarface (1983)
Blow Out (1981)
Dressed to Kill (1980)
Home Movies (1979)
Fury, The (1978)
Carrie (1976)
Obsession (1976)
Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
Sisters (1973)
Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972)


Dept. of Misc. Part II:

Part II is on backorder, and should arrive either momentarily or never, we arenít quite sure. Weíll call.


Dept. of Misc Part III:

While browsing through some DVD sites earlier this week, I came upon what I thought was a genuinely bizarre quote,
and I thought Iíd like to solicit some opinion on said comment:

ìWeíll never get shows like Miami Vice released on DVD, because the rights to the songs would just cost way
too much, they (the studios) will never pay it.î

Now, that was a paraphrase, but itís an accurate one. This subject came up because supposedly, the TV show
Felicity is being released on DVD, but many of the songs that were included with the broadcast will apparently
be deleted from the DVD version, due to expense for royalties and such.

So Iím saying, HUH????? This really doesnít fit in with the usual ëQuestion of the Weekí themes, but I was so
struck odd by this idea of the Felicity or Miami Vice music ëcosting too muchí to include that I like to
say please feel free to enlighten me re: this wackiness. Is this for real? Is this a hoax? The final decline of Western

BTW, I thought the first season of Miami Vice was extremely cool, and I would love to have it on DVD, but
frankly I wouldnít buy it without the tunes. The tunes were one of the things that made it unique (at the time) and
generally they were mighty cool tunes at that. One show even used a Kate Bush excerpt, as I recall. Howís that for


Dept of Misc. Part IV:

There is no part IV, either. Arenít three parts enough? Gimme a break here!

OK, two parts, ya picky mongrels. Sheesh.


The Question of the Week:

Earlier in the review I mentioned briefly that Brian De Palma sometimes exhibits certain tendencies that I
personally find detract from his otherwise good quality work. Are there any film directors and/or writers you are
familiar with who do craftsmanlike work, but still annoy the daylights out of you for some reason or another, be it bizarre
personality quirks, odd political alliances, racist or sexist tendencies, etc. etc.?

There ya be, another week come and gone, and in all likelihood itíll do so once again. What can I say? Other, of
course, than post ëem if youíve got ëem. Why argue with success?

Mind your rabbits, and take care!


James Berardinelli excerpts Copyright (c) 2003 James Berardinelli / Reelviews
Roger Ebert excerpts Copyright (c) 2003 Roger Ebert / Chicago Sun-Times Inc.

[> Answering Part III -- d'Herblay, 23:30:57 08/17/03 Sun

It does appear that the expense of securing music rights is affecting the release of television shows on DVD. Joyce Millman brought up this very subject in
her review of the DVD of Wiseguy in Sunday's New York Times:
When this episode was first broadcast in 1987, the soundtrack swelled with the Moody Blues' "Nights in White Satin" during Vinnie and Sonny's final heart-to-heart. Their eyes ó blackened and swollen ó locked right at the line, "And I love you, oh, how I love you." It is a profound disappointment that, for contractual reasons, "Nights in White Satin" has been removed from the DVD version. In his commentary, Mr. Wahl also laments the song's absence, "because it really said it all." Especially the parts that went unsaid.
My guess is that digital rights are more expensive than analog rights because the RIAA is a mean, mad motherfucker -- um, I mean -- that's pretty much exactly what I mean. (Can anyone confirm this theory that digital rights are more expensive than analog rights by pointing to a movie which has a full soundtrack on VHS but a truncated one on DVD? Does the DCMA come into this at all? I need a black and white world cleanly divided into heroes and villains here! Though I can't believe I just made the creator of Riptide into one of the heroes.)

[> Which other De Palma films do you recommend? -- sdev, 23:49:13 08/17/03 Sun

[> [> De Palma recommendations -- cjl, 07:02:20 08/18/03 Mon

As OnM said, DePalma films have a tendency to fall into the trap of style over substance, or--even more insidious--the conceptual trope of style AS substance. Enjoying these kinds of movies depends on whether you're enough of a film geek to catch all of DePalma's tricks and "hommages" to previous movies, and whether you consider incidentals like "plot" an important part of your movie-going experience.

Nevertheless, DePalma has made some thoroughly enjoyable movies, including two certifiable camp classics:

Phantom of the Paradise (1974) - One of my all-time favorites, a cross between Phantom of the Opera and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, with the pure pop kick of both. Seventies mellow-pop icon Paul Williams steals every scene as the satanic music producer/record mogul, and his songs for the movie are pretty darn good. (If I ever start my own music label, it'll be "Death Records," just like the movie. With the dead bird as the logo.)

Scarface (1983) - Al Pacino, spewing obscenities in the most ridiculous Puerto Rican accent in the history of movies. Pacino, snorting a mountain of coke off the top of his desk. Michelle Pfeiffer, lolling around beach houses in semi-naked splendor--more skin than she would even deign to show us again. Enough machismo and testosterone and gunfire to fuel slash fics from here to infinity. Is it any wonder this tribute to good old fashioned American enterprise is a favorite of film buffs and gangstas alike?

Of course, campiness aside, DePalma did create two brilliant horror classics:

Carrie (1976) - If you've never seen it, rent it immediately. Two of best performances of the seventies, with Sissy Spacek as Carrie, and Piper Laurie as her mother. The prom night finale makes Buffy's prom night problems look like a chipped fingernail.

Sisters (1973) - Margot Kidder (pre-Superman) as a recently-separated pair of conjoined twins, one of whom seems to be going through severe separation anxiety. A great psychological suspense/horror thriller, and some of DePalma's best work in the genre before he started putting quotation marks around "psychological" and "suspense."

Also recommended: Blow Out (1981)--a ripoff of "Blow Up" and Coppola's "The Conversation," but a vintage John Travolta performance elevates the material. The Untouchables (1987)--DePalma mounts the Depression-era period piece with style and flair and Sean Connery earns his Oscar. The Fury (1978)--mmmm. Cheese.

Genre exercises (you've been warned): Femme Fatale (2002); Dressed to Kill (1980); Raising Cain (1992); Body Double (1984).

Must to avoid: Bonfire of the Vanities (1990); Wise Guys (1986).

[> [> [> Re: I would put The Fury at the top of my list -- Brian, 08:56:30 08/18/03 Mon

Great cast, action, and over the top thrills. Heck, who needs plot! (well, a logical one, anyway!)

[> [> [> My 2nd choice after MI would be *Blow Out* -- OnM, 20:14:14 08/18/03 Mon

Travolta is just incredibly good in this film, as cjl notes. Also contains some of the occasionally disturbing sexist (?) elements I mentioned in my review, depending of course on interpretation/intention. But beautifully crafted otherwise, falls clearly on the homage side as opposed to the ripoff side of the copyright coin, IMO.

[> [> [> [> Thanks for the recommendations -- sdev, 22:07:38 08/18/03 Mon

[> if you cant get Miami Vice.. -- neaux, 04:39:57 08/18/03 Mon

well I'd say the Grand Theft Auto Vice City is everyone's answer to Miami Vice. Rockstar games was able to put this video game into every household in america because of licensing all those 80's songs. The people who would put Miami Vice on DVD should recognize Rockstar's success and realize it's worth the price.

on a side note.. watched the G4 video game awards and Jenna Jamison won best female voice actress for Vice City over Alysson Hannigan in the first BTVS game.

[> Some answers/comments and that guy named Spielberg -- s'kat, 07:31:47 08/18/03 Mon

This brings up the interesting question of just what characteristics make people seek out a given film to view? For me,
bottom line, itís pretty simple-- I want to be entertained, and fortunately, Iím fairly flexible in how that can happen. The
film doesnít have to be a stunning work of great intellectual gravity, beautifully filmed and technically inventive. It can be,
but that really seldom ever happens, and if I always set my sights that high, I probably wouldnít get to see more than
one or two flicks a year.

Agree. Same here. Except I place films in categories of viewage, due to money issues more than anything else. ;-)

1. Make a point to see in the theater, no matter what
2. Would like to see in the theater, but not a necessity,
and prefer the cheaper before 5pm tickets. (NYC = $10 -$12
bucks for a movie, daytime = 5-6 $$ in Brooklyn).
3. Not worth $5, rent on video for $3.99
4. Not worth video, but if appears on tv? Watch.
5. Skip entirely

What do I look for?

what you might find interesting is that the presence of an actor (or
director, or even a writer or cinematographer) that I happen to fancy will cause me to actively seek out seeing a film that
otherwise I might avoid.

Couldn't have said it better myself. And this goes for TV as well as movies. I started watching BTVS because of ASH, I followed him over from VR5 (he was the best thing in VR5, playing a very Ripperish role). I watched Ats because of David Boreanze and Joss Whedon. And I have seen most of SMG's movies on tv or video b/c her acting in BTVS caught my attention.

Actors that I follow around who aren't big necessarily big names include but aren't limited to: Pierce Bronsan, Angelina Jolie (I like her style), Jeremy Northam, Colin Firth, Annette Bening, Harrison Ford (uo until the last five years when his movies began to bore me), Anthony Andrews (tv mostly and up until recently), Peter O'Toole,
Anthony Hopkins (ever since I saw him on stage in King Lear, although gotten a little picker recently - since he tends to pick very bad movies at times. ;-) ), Naomi Watts (haven't seen her do a dud yet)...

When it comes to movies though - I trust directors more than actors, it's the directors medium after all, not the actors, so it is the director who makes or breaks it. A director can save a picture, an actor - can hurt it but not save it with a bad director.

Directors I follow: Spike Jonze (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich), Scorscese (Godfather, Last Temptation of Christ, Taxi Driver, Age of Innocence), Todd Haines,
M. Night Shamlaman (sp?) (Sixth Sense, Unbreakable),
Peter Jackson (LoR, HEavenly Creatures), Ridely Scott, Baz Lurhman (sp?) Moulin Rouge, the dance movie can't remember name of, Ang Lee, Roman name just a few. (can't think of any female directors off hand...but I'm sure there's someone.)

Earlier in the review I mentioned briefly that Brian De Palma sometimes exhibits certain tendencies that I
personally find detract from his otherwise good quality work.

Agree on De Palma, he's at his best when he's not trying to copy Alfred Hitchcock - example of not copying: The Untouchables (my favorite - btw the whole "Lesson the First" bit from Fool for Love was stolen from De Palma's the Untouchables - kudos for figuring out where.), Carrie,
Dressed to Kill, Carlito's Way and Mission Impossible. (haven't really liked his other efforts. And Snake Eyes was a mess.

Are there any film directors and/or writers you are
familiar with who do craftsmanlike work, but still annoy the daylights out of you for some reason or another, be it bizarre
personality quirks, odd political alliances, racist or sexist tendencies, etc. etc.?

Stephen Spielberg. Great director when he does not get carried away with sentimentality or cinematic touches that are unnecessary. It's like he has to highlight or hammer us over the head with something that works beautifully as it is. This is the kid whose mother probably had to yank his art away from him before he ruined it with overkill. (hey, my mother had to do the same to me, so I know whereof I speak ;-) ).

Examples of great Spielberg efforts that he didn't hurt with overkill, all of which take place much earlier in his career. He was prevented from going overboard by budgetary demands and problems with equipment on some of them.

1. Jaws (fantastic movie, probably the shark movie to end all shark movies. What makes it brilliant is the Three MEn in the Boat scene in the middle - which would not have happened if the mechanical shark worked. Thank god for mechanical failures.)

2. Close Encounters of The Third Kind (even with all the special effects and overt sentimentality at the end, this was an amazing character study of a man's obsession.)

3. Raiders of The Lost Arc - redid the adventure yarn with panache.

4. Empire of the Sun - the best of the boy goes to war stories, the characters are kept complex and true to the nature of Ballard's novel.

5. Jurassic Park - great monster movie about animals.
(The scenes with the veloraptors make the film)

Films hurt by those annoying touches:

1. Always (the sentimentality drips from the screen)
2. Schindler's List (great film almost ruined by the touch of red in the girl with the red-coat, which was completely unnecessary and an act of the director showing off at the movie's expense).
3. The Color Purple (sentimentalized a very complex book
by Alice Walker by romanticizing the women in the film and not showing the blemishes we saw in the book)
4. Poltergiste - can we say overkill? Now this is partly Speilberg acting as producer more than director. He does the same thing in The Haunting - overdoes the gory special effects.
5. Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom (the kid, the sentimentality, and the overkill on effects).

Speilberg is one of those directors that I enjoy, but am a little annoyed by. I tend to be very selective with his films, especially the more recent ones.

Oh - I think Miami Vice was just released on DVD.


[> [> One of Spielberg's best was his first- *Duel* -- OnM, 19:17:19 08/18/03 Mon

Agree with a lot of what you said, I was in absolute awe of the way Spielberg perfectly emulated Stanley Kubrick in A.I. Artificial Intelligence, then he went and tacked on the feel-good ending. Arrgg... but I respect him anyway. A Spielberg failure is still more interesting than many director's successes.

[> [> [> Yep, in agreement -- s'kat, 21:35:29 08/18/03 Mon

"A Speilberg failure is more interesting than many director's successes".

Very true. I think it's the reason why I keep going.
And must say, I'm always entertained and often in awe.

Catch Me if You Can - was a great ride, it got a little weighed down by the father/son sentimentality, but the Tom Hanks/Leo Dicapro chemistry and relationship was very well done. Also the front credits were the best I've seen in years. Very few movies take the time to do front credits well. A flashback to the films of the early 1960s.

AI - also agree. Some parts of Artificial Intelligence were pure brillance. The creepiness of the intial scenes between the little boy robot and his mother, when he keeps surprising her. The journey with Jude Law's character.
But the ending? ugh. Although - in the ATPO archives, a wonderful ex-poster named Exegy made a great arguement for the validity of that last scene. An argument that almost got me to change my mind regarding it. I think it's in the posts regarding Robot metaphors in BTVS. Exegy's take on that final scene almost made me want to watch it again.
If and when I finally can afford a DVD player, AI may be one of the movies I buy, even with that annoying ending.

Also agree on Duel by the way, based on a Stephen King short story - it is one of the creepiest movies I've seen.

[> [> [> [> I miss Exegy too -- ponygirl, 10:45:18 08/19/03 Tue

And I do think that AI's ending could be read as either uplifting or almost unbearably creepy. One of the trademarks of later Spielberg - can't tell if he believes it anymore or if he's messing with us.

[> [> [> I may be one of the few who didn't think AI had a "feel good" ending... (AI spoils) -- Rob, 08:29:31 08/19/03 Tue

Actually, I thought it was pretty much unbearably depressing (which fit this film, which I admire a great deal, but have rewatched much less than his other films, due to the sheer bleakness)...Had the boy had his mother truly brought back to life, and they would live happily ever after, I would agree that it was "feel-good," but instead, it was just an illusion, the mother was only brought back for one day, a day which ended in his death. I personally liked the ending, just because I thought after all the turmoil he had been through the robot deserved to have a small bit of happiness.

And I may be overidentifying here, because (a) he's a robot and (b) he did finally get his wish, but the fact that he dies at the end really kills me. But I think had Spielberg actually completely taken over the story himself, that the boy and his mother would have lived at the end. The time limit was darker than we usually see from him. This is, as far as I'm concerned, the only Spielberg fantasy film that does not end happily.

Then again, this may be because, with the exception of A Clockwork Orange, I'm not a huge Kubrick fan. All too often, IMO, he values symbolism and visual style over character and plot, to the point that he becomes nearly incomprehensible at times. This is why, for me at least, 2001 fails. I am a fan of symbolism and allegory when they add layers to an already complex story, with fully three-dimensional characters; I do not however care for it when the symbols and themes are more important than anything else, to the point that one cannot enjoy or understand the story without analyzing the symbols. I get the whole evolution of man and technology theme in 2001 (also kind of dig that each letter in HAL is one down from the letters in IBM). But for a film about progress, it moves at a snail's pace and never treats its characters as anything more than the symbols that they are. The aforementioned A Clockwork Orange, on the other hand, I adore, because it is an allegory, but the characters are fully interesting, unusual, and weird in their own rights...and it has a wickedly dark sense of humor about it missing from most of his other works (except Dr. Strangelove, which I also think is overrated).

Okay, that was quite the tangent. Trying to get back on track a little, what I'm saying is that I like this film because it was Kubrick, but not too Kubrick. Spielberg's influence, I think, grounded the film, and kept it from being lost in the pretension and humorlessness that marred films like 2001 and Eyes Wide Shut.


[> [> [> [> Kubrick's very distant from his subjects. -- Arethusa, 09:04:01 08/19/03 Tue

It worked well with 2001, but not with The Shining. (I've only seen those two movies of his.) While his detachment help make the Overlook hotel creepier, it also distanced the audience from his characters. I got little idea of why Torrance went mad, didn't feel empathy for the wife, and found the little boy to be almost as creepy as the ghosts.

[> [> [> [> AI, Laura Croft, stain guardable silk (AI spoils) -- fresne, 11:27:58 08/20/03 Wed

Would it be horrendously typical of me to say that AIís end softly strikes me as both sad and uplifting.

The world is frozen. First the deluge and then the world ends in ice. And we now recede, lifted away like Jude Lawís character, crying out that we too once existed. All that remains being the childrenís childrenís children of our thoughts.

And yet, there they swarm. Digging in the coral of our bones.

Emotionally aware and desiring to connect. To find some warm oasis in the midst of the frozen heart. Mother. Even if it is a dream. An illusion. The wondering where did the ability to be come from. And by dreaming, dying, move on from the static to the eternal.

As to the Cradle of Life, well, I like a silly blow things up movie as much as the next gal, however, Iíd have to go with the splatted tomato on this one. CoLís main problem was it lacked both joie and vivre and possible some de. Well, that and Laura seemed to have more emotional chemistry with her butler than with her male lead. Although, ummmÖI did want several of Lauraís outfits. A silk jacket that can withstand that kind of wear and tear. Well, damn.

[> [> [> [> [> Hey, Laura's butler is played by Chris Barrie.... -- cjl, 12:49:06 08/20/03 Wed

Enshrined in my Hall of Fame for Greatest Genre Characters Ever for his career-making portrayal of holographic loser Arnold Rimmer on Red Dwarf. The man knows how to make you laugh; a vivid personality like Barrie's is bound to overwhelm the pretty-but-bland hunks of flesh that pass for leading men in Lara Croft movies.

[OK, Chris, you've earned your Hollywood paycheck. Now get down to Australia and shoot the Red Dwarf movie already. You're holding up everything.]

[> [> [> [> [> [> Did you mention curry? -- fresne, 14:55:58 08/20/03 Wed

Well, yes, some of my favorite bits in the first movie were his interactions with the slovenly techno geek. Which I suppose makes Laura the Cat.

However, itís not just that heís funny/vivid. Thereís this practice fight scene where Laura is just wailing on him. And at a certain point, he takes off his mask and tells her that if sheís upset, she shouldnít take it out on him. And he gives her this look.

I was just sitting there going, okay, I know thereís a whole ënuther love interest, but Laura, you have a moral imperative to seduce him right now. No, right now. Hey, youíre not seducing him. Get back there. Oh, fine! The momentís over now.

And male lead wasnít even that pretty. Sulk.

Although, tangentially saw Wasabi this weekend. While there were plot holes you could drive a truck through, Jean Reno was hilarious. And thus, fun action movie, things go boom. Thereís this scene where he plays DDR (that dance game with the flashy lights) that practically killed me. And I kept having these weird Femme Nikita crossover thoughts that were just hmmm and, oh, look heís beating people up with golf balls.

[> Woody Allen -- dub ;o), 12:41:01 08/18/03 Mon

Always loved his stuff. Always hated that he continues to cast himself as the romantic lead.

Plus, somehow the female lead always seems to end up doing her impersonation of...Woody Allen.


[> [> That's why I love Bullets over Broadway! -- Rahael, 14:25:10 08/18/03 Mon

[> Spike Lee -- Rob (with footnotes!), 13:49:55 08/18/03 Mon

Watching his films, I can tell he's a skilled, smart director, but at the same time, there seems to be not only an anger (which is okay) but a meanness underlying all of his films, and in his off-screen persona that irritates me so much that I refuse to give him any money--I will watch them on TV if they happen to be on, but I refuse to pay for them, either in the theatre or on DVD. A particular sorepoint with me is a quote he made after losing the Oscar for a documentary entitled 4 Little Girls about the 4 girls in Birmingham whose deaths were deciding factors in setting off the civil rights movement in the 60s, to The Long Way Home, a documentary about the aftermath of the Holocaust:

While I'll admit that the words themselves may not be so far off the mark (many times, the strong emotions the Holocaust stirs in people will lead them to bestow too much praise on a project, based on its Holocaust connections alone), they still should not have been said, at least not with the underlying implications of resentment towards the Jewish people for the Holocaust being seen as worse than slavery. And if this is not what he meant, it's still in poor taste. His laughable recent lawsuit that Spike TV, the new network for men, named itself after him is just the latest layer on my cake of dislike for him2. Egotistical much? Funny how none of his movies are on the programming schedule for this network. What next? Will he sue ME and Spike Jonze for using his name?


1. Merida, Kevin. Spike Lee: Holding Court The Washington Post Fri, May 1, 1998.

2. And here I thought the name "Spike TV" was just an over-obvious Freudian phallic metaphor.

[> [> Also misogyny -- ponygirl, 11:00:15 08/19/03 Tue

The portrayal of women in He Got Game made me decide that I will never see one of his movies again.

That the SpikeTV thing was such a publicity stunt on his part. I don't think you went with the nickname because it was so fresh and original, Shelton.

[> OT to OnM - Help! (Part II) -- Rahael, 14:29:33 08/18/03 Mon

This is what you get for helping me fix my troublesome DVD player last time. This time, the sound has gone - whenever I play anything on it, unless I put it to the highest volume, I can't hear anything, and even then, it's so low that you have to sit really really close and then you can *just about* hear something.

I tried disconnecting the Player from all power, taking out all the cables and wires, and leaving it for a couple of days, with no success.

I'm kinda at the point where I'm thinking of throwing in the towel and just buying a new one, but I thought I'd ask for help, just in case there's some simple way to solve this problem that I hadn't thought of doing.

(It did this once before, but the whole disconnecting thing worked a treat)

[> [> I'll give it a go... but I may need some info first. -- OnM, 20:03:05 08/18/03 Mon

How is the sound signal connected into your TV or audio system?

1. There is a stereo patch cord (with two plugs, usually red and white or red and black) directly between my DVD player and input jacks on my TV set.

2. There is a stereo patch cord just like in #1, but it goes to my stereo or surround amplifier/receiver.

3. There is a single digital cable ('SPDIF') or fiber optic ('Toslink') cable between the DVD player and my stereo or surround amplifier receiver.

4. There is a single digital cable or fiber optic cable between the DVD player and my stereo/surround amplifier receiver and also a stereo patch cable like in #2.

Best guesses without specific above info available:

*** Most DVD players send out digital audio and analog audio signals simultaneously. A very few make it either/or, selectable from either a rear panel switch or more commonly from the player's on-screen setup menu. If you are using #1 or #2 hookup as above, the player must be set to activate its analog outputs. If it uses the #3 hookup, the digital output must be active.

*** If you are using hookup #2, be sure the switch or button labeled 'TAPE MONITOR' or TAPE MONI' or similar on your stereo receiver isn't activated. This will cut off anything but the (audio cassette or similar) tape machine from playback, but at very high volumes a small amount of signal from other sources might 'leak through'. This would account for the very weak sound you are hearing. (Note: Be sure the volume is turned down before you flip this switch or any other controls, for that matter!)

*** If your hookup is #4, be sure the stereo/surround receiver is set to either analog or digital input as appropriate for your DVD player settings.

BTW, try playing a CD in your DVD player. Do you get sound with the CD? (All DVD players can play CD's.)

Also, same recc. as last time-- temporarily hook your player into a friend's system and see if it works-- this tells you that the problem is defin. in the player or not.

[> [> [> Re: I'll give it a go... but I may need some info first. -- Rahael, 06:18:33 08/20/03 Wed

Thanks so much for this.

There is just one big cable connecting the TV and the DVD player. The sound comes from the speakers on the actual tv.

My DVD player has never played a CD! I'm not sure why that's so. I did try.

Oh, and one more thing. There is a little display on my player which showed such things as "Hello" "Play" "Goodbye" etc. That is now completely blank and never shows anything anymore.

So I'm guessing it's decided to stop functioning in a number of ways, not just sound. I'm resigned to having to purchase a new one.

[> [> [> [> Humm, yeah, the thing with the front panel display is not a good sign... -- OnM, 15:43:41 08/20/03 Wed

Did you have an electrical storm recently? Power line surges caused by lightning could certainly cause all kinds of problems, often very weird ones. (Lightning bad, DVD pretty.)

One big cable? It doesn't by any chance have a rectangular connector that is about 2 inches wide by about 1/2" high on the ends, does it? That would sound like a SCART cable, which I know has been used with some European TV gear sometimes, never caught on in the US or Japan.

Do you tune your TV to a channel to watch the DVD, or one of the video inputs? (Just curious-- I think you are right that the machine actually has an electronic problem of some kind. Unless it's still under warranty, new machines are usually so cheap it may not be worth an attempted repair.)

[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - August 17th 2003 - Guilty Pleasures / Buried Treasures Part III -- Rendyl, 15:11:22 08/18/03 Mon

I don't tend to know much about the director of any given movie. If I find I am watching certain movies with the same director I may look them up but I tend to compare the work more than the personal quirks.

I tend to think some directors some have faults that affect the movie more than others. Like Rob with Spike, I will not pay a cent to see anything Woody Allen even thinks of doing. He has right to live his life his way but I (oh so happily) have the right not to fork over money to support him. But his personal life does not seem to affect the quality of his work.

I don't know anything personal about Simon Wincer but I do know one of his faults is he sometimes does not know -when- to end a movie. His movies occassionally go on long past when they could have ended with more impact. 'Crossfire' ends well but 'Monte Walsh' goes several minutes past what would have been the strongest ending for it. ('Monte Walsh' does get kudos for having Christian Kane in it-grin-and any day Tom Selleck is in cowboy gear is a good day)

OnM, I have same problem with 'Basic' that you have with 'Cradle of Life'. I am a big John McTiernan fan but when I go to read the reviews for 'Basic' the only movie of his mentioned is 'Rollerball'. I guess his clone made 'Hunt for Red October' and 'The Thirteenth Warrior'. I liked 'Basic' enough to consider buying the DVD but the critics have hated it. (okay, okay, I would have liked a slightly different twist to the ending. I think it could have ended a little stronger but it was still a lot of fun to watch)

I also think it is lazy reviewing when they complain about the rain. :)

I haven't seen 'Cradle of Life' yet as it falls into the "s'kat list of watching" right about -matinee- or -rental- but I think I will pick it up on video once it is out with the points you made in mind.

Ren - besides, Connie Nielsen (bad accent notwithstanding) so kicks butt -

[> [> Re: John McTiernan -- OnM, 19:35:19 08/18/03 Mon

I'm a big fan of his relatively little-known film Nomads, and even made it a CMotW back on March 22nd 2002. If you didn't read it back then, it's likely still in the ATPo archives, although unfortunately not up yet at ES. (I just checked).

[> [> [> Re: John McTiernan -- Rendyl, 05:35:25 08/19/03 Tue

'Nomads' has Pierce Brosnan yes? If that is the case I have not only seen the movie I actually read your review. ;)
I did not realize it was a John McTiernan movie. I may have to hunt it down to watch again.

Some weeks I can access Voy..and some I can't. Many times I can read the messages (slowly) but can't post a reply because it moves so slowly. There are always threads I want to comment on, but most days I just have to be happy with getting to read.


Andrew vs the Master --
JBone, 20:08:58 08/17/03 Sun

Vote here

Sorry no quote, but I've been fighting my cable modem for the last half week. I'm having to rewire my connection to get it to work. The only downside is my cable tv doesn't work while I'm doing this. That is what is called service from the cable companies though. But I'm willing to sacrifice for you the voter, and especially for you the comment maker. I had started working on a tiebreaker schedule for the second round until I got sidetracked by this little glitch, but I'll be able to email the first week second round tiebreakers (dub, deeva, and Rob) sometime this week. Modem permitting.

As far as that whole fiasco with the Faith v Kennedy overvote last week. I haven't heard a peep from anyone complaining about the posted results. So it will stand.

[> Make comments here; @ the voting site; or email me... -- Jay, 20:15:22 08/17/03 Sun

and the tiebreakers this week are the same as last week. I hope I'm not confusing too many people with all of this. TCH, Diana, and MaeveRigan you're still up on deck.

[> The Master underestimates the Geek . . . -- HonorH, 21:12:19 08/17/03 Sun

While the Master busies himself violating a few of the Evil Overlord Rules, Andrew, who has the list memorized, yanks out a flamethrower and sets him ablaze mid-pontification. Case closed.

[> Re: Andrew vs the Master -- ApOpHiS, 21:51:10 08/17/03 Sun

I've never understood why everyone was so down on the Master. Conversely, I've never understood why everyone was so up on Andrew. Yeah, he had a few funny lines, but all his screen time was at the expense of much more deserving characters; thanks to Captain Comic Relief, Dawn, Xander, Anya, and Giles took the pipe during their show's swan song (yes, I know it can't all be blamed on one fictional character, but I need a scapegoat and Andrew's right here). So the Master, frustrated from being only one rung above Adam on the Classic BtVS Villains list, uses Andrew as his scapegoat. First, he uses his mesmerism powers to make Andrew walk into a wall for an hour straight. Then, he methodically shatters the little geek's Star Trek collectibles right in front of him. Next, he breaks Andrew's legs and puts him 50 feet away from a Near Mint issue of Action Comics #1 (the Master's been around for a while; he collects things); just as Andrew crawls to the treasure, the Master pulls a string and drags it just out of reach. Finally, the aged vampire shreds Andrew to ribbons, puts what's left in a blender, and sits down to a nerd smoothie.

[> The Master underestimates the Geek... -- cjl, 21:53:31 08/17/03 Sun

...and turns away, deigning Andrew too scrawny to provide even a decent snack. Emboldened by his unexpected survival and possible triumph, Andrew delivers the evil overlord speech of his dreams, which includes side mentions of Warren, Lex Luthor, Magneto, and the Shadows from Babylon 5. Annoyed by the nerdish prattle, the Master doubles back and rips Andrew's throat out.

[> I'm a sucker for the geek -- deeva, 22:48:21 08/17/03 Sun

For all the muscle & minions & master-y masterness the Master is, he's not Andrew.

Andrew has the edge of knowing that at any moment his time's up and he's ok with that. Not happy about it but he's accepted it.

That's something that the Master doesn't have. He's so sure of his success that he knows no other way. That's a big weak spot.

[> Andrew please -- Tchaikovsky, 02:15:25 08/18/03 Mon

[> [> Come on TCH -- Diana, 09:36:04 08/18/03 Mon

Anyone that hits Angelus like that AND has the confidence to let Darla just walk out like that can take care of some whiney storyteller. Forget the Puppet Master from Buffy Season 1. As with all things, he is better when he shows up on Angel.

[> [> [> The Tiebreaker Council is in disarray! -- Tchaikovsky, 04:59:04 08/19/03 Tue

I'm voting on which character I like more, which might put me in the minority, but I don't really care about who'd win a fight. Not that much anyway.

For me, Storyteller is a magnificent episode, (the third best of a Season Seven, which, while overall weak, had some real stand-outs. The Master's greatest turns are in Angel, Prophecy Girl and The Wish, (before Darla), and in each case the episodes are good because the idea's the star, ans the Master is one componenet. Meanwhile, for Storyteller to work means Andrew needs to be the idea.

And Andrew is much funnier than the Master.

As with all things, he is better when he shows up on Angel

Just wait until Andrew shows up on Angel. Like the Faith arc but with Vulcans.


[> [> [> [> Maybe we will need a showdown of our own -- Diana, 09:22:18 08/19/03 Tue

Not necessarily voting for who I think would win in a fight. That's what fan fic and retconning is for. You can make anyone win. Come on. I had Doyle legitimately beat Spike, with Angel's help of course.

I'm voting for who is the strongest character (except in the case above, in which case my reputation dictates that I MUST vote AGAINST Spike at all times). Not strong as in physically strong, but strong as in mettle. If Andrew even saw the Master, he would wet himself. I love Andrew and I hated voting against him, but brackets can be quite the bitch. In my own day, I had to debate my boyfriend several times and we took no prisoners when we debated.

The deciding factor for me was how the Master let Darla just walk out like that. The only time we saw him remotely phased was when Darla was murdered by Angel. Then he got rather upset, but he was under extreme duress. Angel was good, he was stuck in the Hellmouth for some time, the Slayer was kicking his minions' arses.

Sorry Andrew. If you had fought Spike, I could have given it to you. Otherwise, I have to be true to what I consider important. The comic relief and redemption storyline (which we've seen how many times now) just can't stand up to the pure mettle of the original big bad.

[> [> [> [> [> On that criterion, agree entirely -- Tchaikovsky, 13:23:44 08/19/03 Tue

There will never be a Diana v Tchaikovsky showdown, because Tchaikovsky would have taken Andrew's impressively lithe 'run and hide' tactic and made it clinical. You think Andrew's a coward...;-)


[> [> [> [> [> [> That's ok. I fight with feathers now -- Diana, 14:40:46 08/19/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> Quote of the week! -- Masquerade, 10:54:55 08/19/03 Tue

"Just wait until Andrew shows up on Angel. Like the Faith arc but with Vulcans. "

[> Re: Andrew vs the Master -- Celebaelin, 04:02:22 08/18/03 Mon

The taking of life is a serious matter and Andrew is going to be seriously dead with very little effort. Sometimes a little is enough of course.

[> Andrew's big chance! -- MaeveRigan, 09:07:33 08/18/03 Mon

Finally, Andrew achieves ultimate darkness! No more parading around in leather dusters and boots, masquerading as Spike. After The Master inducts him into the Order of Aurelius, Andrew knows what it is to be cool at last. Really cool, like--dead. Sometimes the memory of what it was like to be an aspiring member of Buffy's gang of good guy heroes gnaws at him, but he finds that biting a pretty victim helps--they're much easier to get, now that he's really evil and has real superpowers. Sad.

[> Andrew. Like Scherezhade, -- Arethusa, 11:11:32 08/18/03 Mon

Andrew spins his tales of Jedi Masters and winsome young princesses, until the Master is hypnotized. Andrew than turns him into a pig and takes out his butcher's knife. "That'll do, Pig!!!"

[> [> Of course, Andrew's been defeated by a pig before. -- ApOpHiS, 12:29:03 08/18/03 Mon

[> [> [> Heck, Andrew probably would be defeated by Mr. Gordo. -- Arethusa, 12:06:11 08/19/03 Tue

[> It's a draw. -- Gyrus, 21:38:35 08/18/03 Mon

I see it going down like this:

[Scene: The Master's underground lair. ANDREW, alone, prowls through the darkness with a stake.]

Andrew (muttering nervously): Show yourself, spawn of d-darkness, f-f-foul denizen of the slimy pits of- OW!

[THE MASTER springs from behind and bites deeply into ANDREW's neck. ANDREW screams, and THE MASTER releases him for a moment.]

The Master: Pathetic child. Are you so deluded that you would believe for even a moment that you could harm me?

[ANDREW clamps a hand over his bleeding neck, wincing.]

Andrew: I already have, vile creature of the Abyss!

The Master (amused): Excuse me?

[ANDREW pulls a bottle from his jacket and drops it on the ground. A greenish residue is evident on the inside.]

Andrew: Before I entered your filthy lair, I drank an entire bottle of absinthe. Which, as everyone knows, is deadly to the vampire! Ha ha!

The Master (horrified): Idiot boy! Absinthe does not kill my kind, it merely- Oh dear.

[THE MASTER runs frantically to the middle of the room, where he begins vomiting copiously into the Hellmouth.]

Andrew: Now you are helpless, spawn of evil! (Wobbling) Or, or you would be, if there weren't twelve of you...oooooh... (passes out)

[> [> LOL! Yeah, guess it would be a draw at that. -- HonorH, 22:40:21 08/18/03 Mon

Absinthe ain't too great for humans, either; if Andrew wakes up, he'll probably wish he hadn't.

[> [> [> He should have drunk a gin-and-tonic. -- Arethusa, 08:23:30 08/19/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> More like a Pernod -- KdS, 09:58:45 08/19/03 Tue

[> Late, but I already voted for Andrew -- KdS, 06:25:05 08/19/03 Tue

Since the end of S7, Andrew has changed his mind about demon summoning being entirely evil. Andrew steps in the ring and starts blowing his digeridoo. Four huge demons appear and pin the Master down. Andrew shoves the digeridoo through Bat Boy's chest. Game, set and match.

The Art of Not Being Seen... (preliminary preparations for "Out of Sight Out of Mind" discussions) -- ZachsMind, 09:36:32 08/18/03 Mon

Starting tonight or tomorrow, depending on where you are in the world, the
Back to the beginning episode for discussion will change from Nightmares to Out of Sight Out of Mind, aka the Invisible Girl episode. This post is an attempt to put everything we know thus far about the Invisible Girl episode on the table, to make it easier for each of you to pour through it at your leisure and respond with your own commentary, better informed against what has been said before this discussion. We may cover new ground or simply chew the cud of what has been digested before, but it's my hope we can do so with the full buffet spread laid out before us. ...Hmmm.. Food references leaking into my diatribing. Must be close to lunch time.

Out of Sight Out of Mind is the precursor to season one's finale, and quite an indelible tale in its own right. In preparation for this discussion, might I suggest some reference links for which some of you may be aware, and others may not. This may enable everyone to get on the same page as it were, to familiarize ourselves with what has been discussed before about this topic, and see if there's new territory to explore or new approaches to old territory for consideration.

Annotated Buffy
Buffyverse Database

If anyone can think of links to add to the above list, please feel free to provide them. We may also wish to compare other episodes in which invisibility became a plot element. For example, Xander turned invisible in Fear Itself, and Buffy was hit by the Triad with an invisibility ray in Gone. Then in season seven there was a moment where the writers purposefully echoed back to OOSOOM. Buffy (now a guidance counselor of sorts, on the other side of the desk from being a student) witnesses a girl turning invisible before her eyes, and is able to (at least temporarily) save that girl where she was unsuccessful seven years before. OOSOOM is not exactly a success. Buffy may have been able to save Cordelia and herself, but Buffy was unable to save Marcie.

Perhaps it would be interesting too to examine invisibility in scifi and horror in a more general vein. This episode was of course a modern adaptation of most every "invisible man" story that has preceded it. Just as Oz was fictionally speaking a descendant of Lon Chaney's Wolfman, and just as Darryl was a descendant of Boris Karloff's Frankenstein from a cultural reference standpoint, so too is Marcie Ross a late 20th century pond ripple stemming from Claude Rains' performance as the Invisible Man of the 1930s. It can be said that BtVS attempted to take all the classic horror stories of the past couple centuries and condense them all into a modern context. Even the Creature From the Black Lagoon gets its tip of the hat in season two's Go Fish.

[> Re: The Art of Not Being Seen... (another S7 reference) -- Vickie, 10:37:49 08/18/03 Mon

Add to the "invisible episodes" list Same Time, Same Place, where Willow becomes invisible/unhearable to the other scoobies (and vice versa).

The mechanism appears to be immaterial. In OoSOoM and in the case of the S7 high school student, the mechanism appears to be a fading away of a person who feels unseen and unimportant. With Xander, invisibility (and unhearability) was the result of a spell which made his fears manifest. In Gone, Buffy's invisibility was the result of metaphysical technology (the invisio ray gun used the mystically charged diamond). Finally, Willow's invisibility was again the unconscious result of a spell.

[> [> It's All In The Eyes... More not being seen fun.. -- ZachsMind, 11:55:39 08/18/03 Mon

Besides Marcie & the extra in s.7, and I guess you'd have to include the Triad too though only briefly, I can only recall invisibility happening to our three lead characters. Spike and Angel cast no reflection, but otherwise they've gone through existence relatively visible. Anya, Tara, Oz, and even Giles have never quite experienced invisibility quite as Buffy, Xander and Willow each have. For Buffy it was a combination of scifi technobabble and magic that caused her change through the Triad's whammo ray. For Xander & Willow it was just magic - that little demon guy for Xander and Willow's own unconscious for her. For Marcie & the other girl it was emanations from the Hellmouth making their fears of social unacceptance realized - magic again.

Buffy, Xander & Willow are a sort of triumvirate, or "troika" of their own. Interestngly, when Buffy visits the original shadowmen, the guys who sorta invented the Slayer line, she meets three of them. In modern times, Buffy is the hand, Xander the heart, and Willow the spirit. We've known this since season four (Primeval). However, absent from this is Giles (the mind). At least on the surface.

To stretch the premise a bit, Giles is the most "invisible" of the lot. In season one we think we can judge him by his cover. Tweedy. Dusty. As out of date and stuffy as his library. However, with the introduction of characters like Jenny Calendar and Ethan Rayne, we begin to get glimpses into his past and future that color him in a little and make him more visible than before, until by season four we realize he's quite complicated. In fact, although physically he hasn't changed much and his character never changes, our impression of him has changed with time. It's as if the Giles we took for granted in season one were a completely different man, while simultaneously it's apparent that's not true.

Invisibility is a more real issue with Giles in other ways as well. In The Dark Age we learn that he has four 'friends' from Oxford who he hasn't seen in years, because of an elusive demon visible only when it possesses his friends. In A New Man, Ethan Rayne opts to curse his own school chum Giles by turning him into a Fyoral demon. When people see him, Giles is unable to convince them of his human identity. Only Spike of all people is able to figure it out, and see him for what he is. In the very end, Buffy is able to determine Giles' true identity by looking at his eyes. However, it's after she's dealt him what she thinks is the killing blow.

Buffy: this thing real silver? ...You okay?
Giles: ...Embarrassed, mostly. did you know it was me?
Buffy: Your eyes. You're the only person in the world that can look _that_ annoyed with me.

Also through much of season four, Giles begins to feel more and more absent, more and more taken for granted. It's not until he's almost ready to quit at the start of season five and leave for England that Buffy sees him again - sees his value to her. That's short lived however, and a year later he's on a plane to England. Out of sight. Not out of mind. As we see at the end of season six with the words "I'd like to test that theory."

In all these variants on the theme of invisibility, an echoing theme is apparent. Each individual in the world touches on so many lives. Our very presence can be felt. Even if we think we can't be seen or are being ignored, we do take up space in the universe and our every moves causes the faintest of ripples on the pond of life. Marcie never learned that lesson. Giles did. More importantly, Buffy did.

[> [> Wasn't Willow's invisibility because of Amy's guilt hex? -- KdS, 06:26:58 08/19/03 Tue

[> [> [> Yes Willow's invisibility was due to Amy's guilt hex. (long - AMY FANS please read) -- ZachsMind, 08:23:23 08/19/03 Tue

Oh yeah you're right. I forgot.

Although that seemed like reverse engineering to me. You are right in saying that Willow's invisibility was due to Amy's guilt hex. Also Willow turning into Warren. We didn't know this until The Killer In Me though, and it felt like the writers just threw this in after the fact, but it can be used through reverse engineering to explain a lot of things that happened with Willow from late season six onward. It's hard to tell, but one can argue that even Willow turning Dark was a ramification of Amy's hex.

The more I look at Willow's character the more I think Hannigan should get with Jane Espenson and Elizabeth Allen and work up a pilot for a sitcom featuring Willow & Amy as two witches on a college campus who hate one another, but are forced to set aside their differences for some common goal. It may or may not have Iyari Limon in it. She could maybe guest star to explain Willow & Kennedy are breaking up, or they could make her a regular character depending on her schedule and projected fan reaction. I'd also want Amber Benson in the mix as a ghost that only Willow can see. Oh. And Ellen Degeneres as the Dean of the Science Department who knows absolutely nothing about science or magic but thinks Willow is really hot.

But I digress.

Both Willow and Amy certainly have reason to hate one another. Amy cursed Willow, and Willow left Amy a rat for three years, when she clearly had the power to turn her back any time after Something Blue in season four. Willow may not have known it at first, but by the time season five came around she was clearly strong enough. You can't say she forgot. Amy the rat was her constant companion. She had to feed her every day. It's not like she forgot Amy was there. Was Willow's desire to have a pet rat greater than her desire to do right by Amy? Is Amy not justified in her bitterness towards Willow?

Amy doesn't specify when she does the guilt hex, but it makes sense that Amy would have hexed Willow the day Willow shut the door on Amy and stopped being her friend. One could say the 'hex' was part of Amy's 'gift' to Willow in the Doublemeat Palace episode. It was the one time we ever actually saw Amy cast a spell directly onto Willow. However, all she said in her spellcasting was "You have the power" to Willow. The power to what? It's also possible Amy had done some of the spell before arriving. That, in order to make the hex work, the last part of it had to be directed on the hexee, but that there were also components to the spellcast which we did not see. Amy may have prepared before visiting Willow, sensing that Willow was going to write Amy out of her life with this 'going cold turkey' malarkey. That's apocryphal though. There's no definitive reason to believe "Potestas" was Amy's hex on Willow. She didn't really have motive until after Willow closed the door on her. So it's equally possible Amy's original 'gift' was sincere, but that the hex was done later.

But what was the hex? A "standard penance malediction" as Amy puts it. "The hex I cast lets the victim's subconscious pick the form of their punishment... This is not about hate. It's about power. Willow always had all the power, long before she even knew what to do with it. Just came so easy for her. The rest of usówe had to work twice as hard to be half as good." That quote's from The Killer In Me.

It is again apocryphal, but also astute to say that Amy's motivation here in season seven is clear, and echoes back to her magic power word in season six which caused Willow to get that rush. Power. Potestas doesn't mean "I give you the power." It means "you have the power." It can be argued. Amy told Willow in that spell that she had the power to punish herself. This may not even be a hex so much as a hypnotic suggestion that's mystically magnified, but since we can't go on what we haven't seen, we must assume that Amy's 'hex' took place in Doublemeat Palace and has been ongoing ever since.

Willow's hex is a curse similar to that of Angel's, only in reverse, and with much more unpredictable results. The gypsy curse gave Angelus Liam's soul, thus creating the Angel amalgamation identity, and compounding it by saying if the Liam soul is ever for a moment granted pure happiness, no longer feeling the pain of Angelus' sins, Angelus comes back and the soul is lost. Willow's hex kicks in whenever she feels guilty about something, and manifests in a myriad of ways dependent on Willow's unconscious creativity.

And it may be ongoing. She was already blaming magic, and continued to blame magic as more problems occurred. Why the witch's coven in England was unable to SEE that a hex was on Willow I don't know. You'd think powerful witches could smell that on you like bad perfume when you walked into a room.

But it is an ongoing thing, and unless Amy somehow reconciled with Willow, or Willow actively persued an alternative way of removing the hex, I'd say we'd have to assume she still has it. That Kennedy's kissing her a second time in The Killer In Me removed Willow's guilty feelings, but not the curse. The hypnotic suggestion is still there. Willow has the power to do great things and bad things, and whenever she does something even remotely selfish that causes her to feel guilty, it's gonna echo back upon her ten fold.

[> [> [> [> Is there a cannon quote that says Willow's invisibility was due to Amy's guilt hex? -- Just George, 12:52:49 08/20/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> Well, yes and no... -- ZachsMind, 13:32:29 08/21/03 Thu

Doublemeat Palace is the only time we ever see Amy cast magick directly on Willow. It's the only time she could have done it, unless she did the hex off camera some time later, in which case we've got nothing to go on canonically since it happened off camera. That would mean the writers can retroactively say it happened whenever they feel like it.

Amy said "potestas" when she zapped Willow with magic. Roughly translated from the Latin it means "you have the power." However, the power to do what? That's intentionally left vague. Willow didn't literally kick Amy out of her life until AFTER Amy put the whammy on Willow, and Amy never admitted that the whammy was a hex. She never said what it was. Just that it was "a gift" for Willow's birthday on a day when it wasn't her birthday.

She already had enough motivation: "I forgot a lot while you were failing to make me be not a rat." Amy turned herself into a rat back in the episode "Gingerbread" to avoid being burned at the stake. She did it to herself. However, she blames Willow for leaving her in a rat state for three years, and keeping her like a pet. There's a lot of bitter resentment there, kept very close to her chest.

Fast forward to s.7's The Killer In Me. Amy says, "The hex I cast lets the victim's subconscious pick the form of their punishment. It's always better than anything I can come up with. Elegant, you know? ...This is not about hate. It's about power."

Potestas. Willow had the power.

"Willow always had all the power, long before she even knew what to do with it." Is Amy talking about recently, or that she had the power a year ago? Remember that back in season three it was AMY that Xander went to for the love spell. NOT Willow. There was a time when Amy was a stronger witch than Willow was, but then she turned herself into a rat. Amy had the power, but she blew it. Then three years later she comes back from being a rat and she has nothing. Willow has the power now. Amy's fighting to catch up.

"...Just came so easy for her. The rest of usówe had to work twice as hard to be half as good. But no one cares about how hard you work." Amy uses the second person tense here, but it's fair to presume her subtext is in the first person. No one cares how hard Amy worked... "They just care about cute, sweet Willow. They don't know how weak she is." How vulnerable she is. they don't know her Achilles' heel like Amy does. Willow is wracked with guilt and insecurity. Always has been.

This last part, Amy's using as rationalization that it's okay to put and keep a hex on Willow. However, there's no certainty that this is her motivation for having done it. It's her rationalization for keeping the hex in place. "She gave in to evilóstuff worse than I can even imagineó She almost destroyed the world! And yet everyone keeps on loving her? So what's wrong with having a little fun, huh? Taking her down a peg or two?" This is a "game" to Amy. She's playing a game. I suggest that not only has Amy had a hex on Willow for a year or more, but that Amy was somehow instrumental in the summoning and control of The First Evil. Willow almost destroyed the world and she gets a slap on the wrist. If they found out what Amy has been up to, she wouldn't get such kid glove treatment and she knows it.

[> [> [> [> doubt it was that early -- anom, 18:37:58 08/20/03 Wed

"Amy doesn't specify when she does the guilt hex, but it makes sense that Amy would have hexed Willow the day Willow shut the door on Amy and stopped being her friend. One could say the 'hex' was part of Amy's 'gift' to Willow in the Doublemeat Palace episode. It was the one time we ever actually saw Amy cast a spell directly onto Willow."

From the transcript on the BUFFY vs ANGEL site, picking up where you left off: "But no one cares about how hard you work. They just care about cute, sweet Willow. They don't know how weak she is. She gave in to evil - stuff worse than I can even imagine - She almost destroyed the world! And yet everyone keeps on loving her? (in Kennedy's face) So what's wrong with having a little fun, huh? Taking her down a peg or two?"

This sounds like Amy didn't put the hex on Willow till after the end of Season 6. The required degree of resentment seems to date back to the unseen aftermath of Grave.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: doubt it was that early -- skpe, 08:23:21 08/21/03 Thu

Donít forget the power of the hell mouth itself. When willow was in England she was able to grow that flower from Patagonia with no problem but back in sunnydail even a simple locater spell turned her 'black eyed and vainy'

[> [> [> [> [> [> No guilt with the flower... -- ZachsMind, 12:04:24 08/21/03 Thu

If you go back, you'll observe that from the point we see Amy cast a spell on Willow, any time she uses magic for selfish purposes, she suffers for it. Usually by her own hand. The magic becomes more and more unwieldy and she gets more and more powerful. However, times like the flower when her magick wasn't selfish or otherwise caused Willow to feel guilty? No problems.

Guilt is the trigger. When Tara died, the blood spattered on Willow. Whether rational thought or not, Willow wished it had been her. She felt guilty that Tara had died in her bedroom, when had Willow said no the night before Tara would have been in her own home safe. Again, not rational perhaps, but Willow wasn't in a rational state of mind when it happened.

This was not a recent hex. It's a continuous thing. The quote mentioned in a previous message does sound like Amy's rationalizing that because Willow went Dark, she deserves to have someone "playing" with her. However, she would have said those same exact words had Amy been responsible (indirectly) for turning Willow Dark. Had her hex led to Willow's guilt spiraling out of control.

Remember when Anya was able to track Dark Willow because in "Two To Go" she was after vengeance, but then by the end of "Grave" she couldn't track Will anymore, because "..whatever she's feeling, it's gone way beyond simple vengeance." Willow also said just before Giles arrival that she understood now it was all about power, and Amy hexed Willow by using the latin word for power.


It's all connected. Amy's been playing Willow for almost two years. Right under our noses. Living up to the reputation of being a rat. =)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: No guilt with the flower... -- skpe, 19:23:46 08/21/03 Thu

Interesting take but I donít totally by it. I agree that guilt feelings about Tara was in the mix. But as rack said 'this girl is running on pure fury'. And I think that to some extent making willow actions the result of a Hex removes the guilt that she deserves for running amuck

[> invisible girl -- MsGiles, 09:34:05 08/19/03 Tue

some thoughts:

I noticed the darkness of this ep, the ambiguity. First there are violent attacks, the work of something evil. Then it seems that Marcie will turn out to be a victim rather than a monster .. but then she turns out to be psychopathic after all. She is a sympathetic character when we see her being ignored by Harmony and Cordelia's crowd, and in the classroom when she starts to disappear, and even when she threatens Buffy in the hideout, but doesn't attack her, it seems that she may be not all bad, but then she starts threatening Cordelia with disfigurement..

Our sympathies are swung back and forth. Cordelia, who has never seemed anything but crass, admits to weaknesses and doubts. Before this, we might even have sympathised Marcie's attack, but now we question it. Cordelia begins to soften in this episode, and become more of a rounded character. Harmony takes over the totally crass role.

Then the FBI appear. This is a sudden (rare) intrusion of the outside world into the affairs of Sunnydale. (Normally the TV only seems to show cartoons, old films or local news, and we've never heard anyone discussing current affairs, national elections, wars, or travel, I don't think. In fact, no-one seems to go on holiday abroad. When Buffy takes off to LA for the summer, it's a big shock, but she doesn't follow it up with a regular summer vacation.) It's a cynical twist to the ep, in case we thought it was pushing a simplistic moral. How, after all, do we deal with Marcie, the nice girl turned crazy by thoughtlessness? It seems that she's graduated into the big bad world outside.

[> [> Quoting the Nichol Williamson line from 'Excalibur' -- Celebaelin, 16:25:01 08/19/03 Tue

Merlin to Arthur (John Boorman version)

A dream to some, A NIGHTMARE TO OTHERS (disappears in a conspicious lack of any kind of coloured smoke)

There are obvious advantages (Would you willingly forego them? Dunno, whadya rekon?)

[> Preserving... -- M.T.V.S., 11:39:52 08/20/03 Wed

[> Rough Episode Analysis Breakdown - BttB OoMOoS ZachRamble -- ZachsMind, 14:11:31 08/20/03 Wed

The following is intended to be in keeping with Masq's organization style for her website. It's a first draft, and should be viewed as an addendum of sorts, not incorporating or replacing her words so much as adding to them. I welcome input and editorial improvements and whatnot. Perhaps if several were to add their two cents we could help Masq fill out this entry some more. Anyway, here's my notes below, for your perusal. I reserve the right to add more stuff later if something occurs to me, and make revisions as is necessary and all that blah. =)


BttB OoMOoS ZachRamble


Giles: It's a rudimentary concept that reality is shaped, even... created by our perception.
Buffy: And with the Hellmouth below us sending out mystical energy...
Giles: People perceived Marcie as invisible.. and she became so.

Interesting to point out that although the magicks of the Hellmouth caused Marcie to disappear in the perception of her peers, it was not able to make her go away entirely. Or rather, that was not in the interests of the Hellmouth to make her go away completely, but rather to cause her to experience what it would be like if the way others ignored her was taken to a mystical extreme. This brings into question the hows and whys of the Hellmouth magic itself.

Earlier in the first season it was established to be a "center of mystical energy" where magicks both good and bad tend to converge. The hellmouth works almost like a magnet, attracting "the weirdness." Though not a fully open portal, it's where the wall between Earth and demon dimensions has somehow been thinned. Because of this it radiates energy as well as attracting it. "This energy has a tendency to transform the intense feelings of people in proximity into reality." How and why though is left vague.
Buffy & her friends sat on a table that was practically beneath the hellmouth throughout season one, yet any affects of the Hellmouth to them were indirect. Surely Willow and Xander were at times ignored by their peers just as Marcie had been. It's not even known if Marcie was ever in the library for long periods, yet just being in the school was enough to turn her invisible. Why are our Scoobies immune to directly feeling the Hellmouth's effects?

Good and Evil and Moral Ambiguity

The author is perhaps arguing here that one's choice to do nothing in the face of evil, can at times be just as painful and cruel as doing the wrong thing. If we ignore something, we can perhaps make it go away in our perception, but it doesn't really go away. Marcie obviously needed help. She needed social interaction, and reinforcement to her psyche that she deserved existence. People did not offer this to her. Elsewhere in the series, Giles argues that we forgive not because one deserves it, but because they need forgiveness. The same is true for simple acknowledgement of existence. This is another common theme throughout the series. Buffy alone is charged by destiny to fight vampires. However, others choose to fight alongside her of their own volition, because to know there is evil and not try to do something about it is at times more wrong and creepy than to do one's best.

Snyder: There are no dead students here. This week. Clear back, make room, all of you.

Principal Snyder was privately aware of the evil in the world. We saw this most clearly in the episode School Hard, but it's evident here as well when reacting to student concerns, Snyder chose to hide the truth from others and pretend evils didn't exist, instead using its presence to further his own goals, like when he later did the Mayor's bidding knowing the man was somehow connected to evil. Here in this episode, with Marcie, we see someone who was not particularly evil or good before the Hellmouth turned her invisible, but because no one lifted a finger to be her friend, she deteriorated into a twisted, insane, and evil person. Is she to blame? Is the Hellmouth? Is society? Some would say that depends on your point of view.

Philosophies Represented

Hyperbolic Doubt was a philosophical banner for Rene Descartes, and is something metaphorically stretched and twisted throughout the BtVS series. Rene Descarte exagerrated emphasis on alleged truths which others took for granted. He questioned math, science, sociology, etc. Nothing was sacred. He started with the given ëcogito ergo sumí aka 'I think therefore I am' and on occasion even gave that assumption a once-over, like periodically checking the engine of a car. Descarte was uniquely suspicious of the knowledge from the senses, as well as the brain's capacity for correctly remembering sensory input. This entire episode is about questioning what one sees and what one doesn't see. Almost immediately out the gate, in the first scene of the teaser, Descarte's spirit is among us. Mitch, Cordelia's boyfriend of the moment, guesses her eye color to be blue. He's practically looking right at her when he says this. She admonishes him and admits they are hazel, then compares him to Hellen Keller. This scene almost foreshadows the entire episode. Buffy's about to meet someone who people saw but didn't notice, someone who was heard but for whom no one listened. ëCogito ergo sumí - Marcie is a living embodiment of Descarte's philosophy. She no longer exists in the eyes of her peers. They saw right through her, and the magicks of the Hellmouth turned their subjective reality into a surreal virtual reality. However, the Hellmouth could not stop Marcie from thinking or feeling, even though it could affect others' perceptions of her. She still thought, so she still was, and she still had feelings just like any other high school student.

Colloquial Use of visual sense in speech: The use of visual references is thick in this episode, but this may be coincidental, as the use of our senses to illustrate concepts is common. Phrases like I see where you're coming from or Look at it this way do not necessarily mean literally. Sometimes we use vision references to ask people to see with the heart or the mind or something other than the eyes.

Ethical Quandries

Buffy: Well, why don't you explain it? C'mon, Marcie, what are we supposed to learn?
Cordelia: Yeah, what do you wanna teach us!
Marcie: You don't get it. You're not the student. You're the lesson.

Marcie's train of thought: We learn through the course of the episode that Marcie blamed others for her predicament, choosing to exact vengeance on Harmony, Cordelia, and others for her own plight. It's easy to follow that line of thought. Naturally since she did not know the Hellmouth caused her invisibility, she wouldn't suspect it. Early in the episode we witness a classroom scene where a teacher shows to students Shakespeare's Shylock from Merchant of Venice. In this play, Shylock is an ethnic minority who suffers insulting treatment by other characters. Willow specifically says, "everyone looked down on him" echoing again the theme of how we perceive others which is intrinsic to this episode. This scene is not supposed to have anything to do with the future events, but the writer purposefully chooses Shylock because Marcie's predicament is comparatively very similar. While Shylock suffered being looked at by peers with too much unfair scrutiny, Marcie suffers from being discarded by her culture and dismissed by her peers. If you prick me, do I not bleed? If you do exactly the opposite and pretend I don't even exist, do I cease to exist at all to your perceptions?

Cordelia: What did you do to my face?
Marcie: Your face. That's what this is all about, isn't it? Your beautiful face. That's what makes you shine just a little bit brighter than the rest of us. We all want what you have. To be noticed, remembered. To be seen.
Cordelia: What are you doing?
Marcie: Well, I'm fulfilling your fondest wish.
[Reveal of surgical instruments. Cordelia gasps.]
Marcie: I'm gonna give you a face no one will ever forget.

When Shylock feels wronged by Antonio and Bassanio, he demanded to remove a pound of flesh from Antonio in revenge. He rationalized this as proper and appropriate, even making it a legally binding agreement on paper. However, that made murder no less wrong. Shylock argued that society was to blame for his suffering, and he treated others cruelly because he himself felt mistreated by society, but its equally arguable that despite his environment, Shylock's faults and mistreatment of others was by his own choosing, from his mistreatment of the servant Lancelot, to his demands for his own sense of justice against Antonio. Marcie attacked those who she felt wronged her, taking the law into her own hands with her powers of invisibility. Seeing herself as above the law. Just as Shylock wanted a pound of flesh from Antonio, Marcie demanded flesh from Cordelia too. She wanted to destroy Cordelia's face. In both Shylock's case and Marcie's, there was a craving for justice. A need to settle debts and force their reality to be fair and equitable, but whether it's Venice or Sunnydale, life just doesn't work that way. Buffy operates similarly to Portia in the Shakespeare work, saving the day by outwitting Marcie, just as Portia outwits Shylock in The Merchant of Venice.


Completely unrelated but of interest. Marcie is a flautist. Buffy finds her flute along with her other affects in her cubbyhole in the school, where she's been living the past six months. Alyson Hannigan's character in the American Pie series of movies also happens by sheer coincidence to be a flute player. Her character was also largely dismissed by her peers, but by the end of the first film she becomes very important to the protagonist's future.

[> [> Why argue? And yet... -- Celebaelin, 17:08:33 08/20/03 Wed

Why are our Scoobies immune to directly feeling the Hellmouth's effects?

Because they are aware of it?

Öbecause to know there is evil and not try to do something about it is at times more wrong and creepy than to do one's best.

Depending on your definition of ëbestí.

Some would say that depends on your point of view.

And others would say that if you canít make those value judgements for yourself and still come up with the moral answer then what are you really about?

They saw right through her, and the magicks of the Hellmouth turned their subjective reality into a surreal virtual reality.

I understand it another way, they didnít ëseeí her at all even though they heard her words.

Buffy: Well, why don't you explain it? C'mon, Marcie, what are we supposed to learn?
Cordelia: Yeah, what do you wanna teach us!
Marcie: You don't get it. You're not the student. You're the lesson.

And Marcie is the example, the case in point. As I recall this dialogue sounded like contempt, or maybe reverse psychology or something ësnap out of it small stuffí doesnít always work. Thatís how I heard it anyway.

Canít quite bring myself to buy the Shylock thing but hey, what do I get?

American Pie And this other time on band campÖ

Imagine. No donít, youíll get too pervy. But still ñ if I might suggest a suitable substituteÖ

[> [> [> Re: Why argue? And yet... -- ZachsMind, 21:45:27 08/20/03 Wed

What is it about the Shylock thing that you don't get?

"I understand it another way, they didnít ëseeí her at all even though they heard her words."

Understood. However, in the flashback sequences we see that there are times when Cordy's entourage acknowledged Marcie, but in such a disapproving way as to demean her as less valid than a stray dog. So there were times when she was seen and even heard, but dismissed as irrelevant. This behavior was consistent among the school's populous, and led to the molding of Hellmouth energies to turn Marcie invisible.

This begs the question though, was there a conscious force among the hellmouth that causes these sorts of things? Hardly. If so we have no evidence that there's a man behind the hellmouth curtain orchestrating such things, unless you want to bring the First Evil into season one and I for one wouldn't wanna bother with that. It's more probable that what has happened is that Marcie's psychological reaction to the behavior of others, coupled with the dark magicks of the area, led Marcie to inadvertently doing this to herself. This is echoed again in season seven, when Willow does the same thing in "Same Time Same Place." Because of Amy's guilt hex, coupled with her own recently unleashed magicks, Willow inadvertently causes herself to be invisible to Xander, Dawn and Buffy, but she can still be seen by Anya and Spike. She doesn't do this consciously, but the magic somehow interacts with her own subconscious.

"...because to know there is evil and not try to do something about it is at times more wrong and creepy than to do one's best."

Oops. I typed that wrong. I did that whole thing while juggling other duties. Surprised it doesn't make less sense overall. I think that should read "worst." What I was trying to say was roughly this: If you are a bystander while evil is going on and do nothing to stop it, you are perhaps just as wrong as those perpetrating the evil. Allowing evil can be as cruel as executing evil acts, or orchestrating such behavior.

It's like hearing someone cry for help and not responding. Granted, there's many viable reasons why one would not respond. Say for example you are weaponless and not trained in violent confrontations. You may cause more harm than good trying to help, but I believe this episode is trying to say that there are times when reaching out and trying to help someone, reaching out to the benefit of another human being is preferable to ignoring someone in trouble. And in Marcie's case it's not like someone would have been in danger had they just paid attention to her, but everyone's ignoring her led to her becoming violent. Interestingly, in season seven the Scoobies actively try to help high school student Cassie, but she practically refuses their help, or makes it clear she knows from her premonitions that nothing they do is going to matter. The message of that episode is more distorted and vague. It's not exactly the opposite of Out of Mind Out of Sight. The Cassie Newton episode was a bittersweet one, where our Scoobies do everything they can, and Buffy does stop some demon worshippers from sacrificing Cassie, but she still dies from a stray crossbow bolt. As if fate was predetermined, and Buffy was powerless against destiny.

[> [> [> [> Re: Why argue? And yet... -- Celebaelin, 02:12:17 08/21/03 Thu

As concerns Shylock I was expressing an opinion, hopefully without sounding too critical or offensive, that I found the parallel a bit tenuous. This is not to say that the ep. wasn't written with this allusion in mind but that I find it difficult to acknowledge the similarity because of the degree of removal in the readily accessable plot. I get that there are alienation and acceptance issues in play but the same could be said of Alien Nation or Odo's arc in DS9 without an attempt to impose elements of The Merchant of Venice on those plotlines. Doubtless someone with a more precise memory than mine will point out the exact ways in which these stories are connected but I find it difficult to accept.

ME's method of homage is usually less oblique and the point about Marcie is that she is not in any way unusual or 'other' until she becomes invisible. She lacks the will to be the protagonist when there is a risk of having to face the consequences. When she acts in the knowledge of her essential invulnerability she abdicates responsibility and this means she cannot learn from the experience but only function within it. This goes some way to explaining why the wider world becomes a factor in her life.


[> [> [> [> [> Ooh.. uhm.. okay.. -- ZachsMind, 10:48:42 08/21/03 Thu

"the point about Marcie is that she is not in any way unusual or 'other' until she becomes invisible."

Not to dissolve your opinion, of course you have a right to it and I'm not saying your opinion is wrong, but I think I might be able to see why you can't grasp the comparison between Marcie and Shylock. I may be wrong, but if you can't see that Marcie WAS in fact different, socially, before she literally became invisible, that might be the crux of our dilemma here. Marcie is very much an 'other' before she's invisible. Like Shylock, she was an outcast from the popular crowd.

Shylock was a jew, and therefore in the time period of Merchant of Venice, he was a social leper. Though wealthy, non jews were the popular mainstream crowd and so nothing Shylock could do would get him into the "in crowd." In fact the only reason Antonio bothers to talk to Shylock at all is because he's got money, otherwise he badmouths the guy all the time. Doesn't this sound like someone we know? *cough* Cordelia! *cough*

This is why Shylock felt he was being mistreated by society, because people judged him on his beliefs and heritage, despite the fact that he'd proven himself successful and valid economically. Nothing he did was good enough for the popular shiny happy people of Venice, like Antonio. He was forever branded an outcast because of his upbringing and ancestry. However, Shylock made it very clear that he mattered equally to any other human. He bled like any other man. He had feelings. He deserved justice.

This is how Shylock & Marcie compare. Marcie didn't have money, like Shylock. She couldn't get Cordy to acknowledge her existence until after she turned invisible, so to further this comparison, invisibility is for Marcie what wealth was for Shylock. The only way to get the attention of the popular crowd, but both characters were unable to use their foot in the door in any useful or productive manner to achieve social climbing, and this drove them both mad.

Marcie wasn't even jewish so far as we know but in modern times that's irrelevant. It's not made clear precisely WHY Marcie was made an outcast, beyond the fact that the "in" crowd of Cordy and Harm and the others just didn't like the cut of her jib. They simply dismissed her as unimportant. Perhaps she wore the wrong clothes or said the wrong things or whatever. The reasons are as absurd as belittling someone for being black, or gay, or jew. Why Marcie was an outcast isn't what Whedon, Gable & Swyden wanted to dwell on. The point was that we human beings do this all the time. There ARE people in this world who would delineate based on eye and hair color if they could. Some people just have to categorize everything. It's stupid, but there it is.

Marcie was an outcast despite her efforts. It wasn't specifically something she did. She was helpless to change that. Just like Shylock. She felt this was unfair, and so did Shylock. Now, the DIFFERENCE here, is that in Shakespeare's play, the character is in the forefront. He's made MORE visible because of how he stands out from the crowd. He was insulted and chastized and laughed at. Because back in those days it was socially acceptable to be rude and beligerent towards others, provided everyone around you agreed that the target of your insults deserved such treatment. Today? Well, in this more politically correct time, name calling and bullying others tends to make you look worse than the target of your shame. So what we do instead is just ignore that which we don't like. We shun them. So while Shylock was the center of attention, Marcie faded out of sight.

So it's a modern retelling of Merchant of Venice, with Marcie as Shylock, Cordy as Antonio and Buffy as Portia. Venice is Sunnydale High. Again if you can't see it, you have a right to your opinion. And just be thankful I don't continue down this path and show you how Buffy & Angel's "star-crossed love" was a modern approach to Romeo & Juliet (vampires are Montagues & humans are Capulets). *smirk* Or how Dawn became Brutus to Buffy's Caesar, and Spike was Mark Antony, near the end of season seven.

[> [> [> [> [> [> What is different? -- sdev, 14:07:44 08/21/03 Thu

I think the comparison to Shylock was this. Yes, he was wronged by society, unfairly excluded, and that explains but does not justify his vengeful response. Same can be said of Marcie.

Marcie WAS in fact different, socially, before she literally became invisibleÖshe was an outcast from the popular crowd.

I agree and would take this a step further. Iím sure many people were excluded by the popular crowd. That in and of itself is not unusual. The yearbook ìhave a great summerî scene suggests that Marcie was a non-entity with more than just the Cordettes. She was figuratively invisisible to the whole school.

It is often hard to be heard in the crowd. That is also not unique, but Marcie instead of reaching out, persisting and demanding to be heard, just withdrew. In the scene with the ìdid you see his toupee?î she could have asserted herself more. She also could have chosen other friends who were less exclusionary than the Cordettes. She could have immersed herself in some interest and found others who shared her interests. Her personality traits which included shyness, thin skin, lack of confidence combined with her decision, her choice, to try to break into the popular crowd, which required the opposite traits for success, resulted in a person who was different in her aloneness.

It is not difficult to see Willow in Marcieís place. Willow was also treated as invisible by the Cordettes. But Willow never sought to belong to that superficial group, and she chose other friends who appreciated her. Also Willow had more faith in herself, especially her intelligence. Willow created a niche for herself as a smart student, she embraced the nerdiness, which is what initially drew Buffy to her.

So Marcie was who she was and made poor choices ill suited to her.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Ooh.. uhm.. okay.. -- Celebaelin, 04:05:04 08/22/03 Fri

And just be thankful I don't continue down this path and show you how Buffy & Angel's "star-crossed love" was a modern approach to Romeo & Juliet (vampires are Montagues & humans are Capulets). *smirk* Or how Dawn became Brutus to Buffy's Caesar, and Spike was Mark Antony, near the end of season seven.

Bizarrely I get all that, no problem. Spike's Mark Antony could argueably start at the beginning of season six, after Buffy's death (and ressurrection). That raises some homo-erotic comparisons with the Divine Julius and Mark Antony and parallels with the 'falling sickness' and Buffy being in some way 'wrong' but it kind of works. In your end of S7 vision is Faith then Cassius?

However from my point of view the Marcie-Shylock thing is at 180 degrees. Shylock is a conspicuous figure attracting fear, loathing, hatred and victimisation from those who don't positively need to borrow money from him. Marcie is a non-entity. Your gentle interpretation that being ignored is modern societies method of vilification is nice but sadly, I think, wrong. There are plenty of people who will go a good deal further than the cold shoulder if they take an irrational (or possibly even a rational) dislike to someone. People refuse to even acknowledge Marcie's existence to the point where the power of the Hellmouth makes her invisible. I don't think that anyone would argue that this is not offensive, or that upon occasion Marcie was ignored deliberately, but mainly people just didn't notice her, they simply weren't aware of her presence.

Our interpretations of this process move closer when you use the word 'shunned'. This implies a positive process which satisfies the Cordelia and Harmony portion (you don't talk to anyone don't think you can start with us) but allows me the room for manoeuvre that I need to claim that for the most part in this case it is not a process of victimisation of Marcie so much as avoidance of her as an unknown quantity.


[> lurking and semi-visibility -- sdev, 16:55:38 08/20/03 Wed

First, great job putting this together.

I noticed the parallel semi-invisibility of vampires, not just their lack of reflection, but Angel's ability to suddenly appear without visual notice as he does with Giles in the library. This is a recurrent motif in Season 1. Someone (Xander?) once suggests he be fitted with a bell collar. The invisibility of Marcie and the partial invisibility of vampires represent their position, or lack thereof, in human society. They exist under the radar. And while it provides certain advantages to both Marcie and Angel, hunting and stalking, it is overrated as Angel comments to Giles.

In the end, Marcie like Angel, is relegated to a hidden, subversive, and destructive part of society, an underclass.

[> [> There's a difference between invisible and 'Untouchable' -- Celebaelin, 17:30:55 08/20/03 Wed

Similarly there's a difference between 'Untouchable' and untouchable.

Invisible - ? Elvis? JC? ? Celebaelin (previously unrevealed) in sneaky mode (AD&D TM 2nd Lev MU Spell [1st Edn.], moving silently 'nyah nyah na nyah nyah')

Untouchable - Egyptian pharaohic (pharaohnic?) enbalmers

untouchable - The Teflon Don

Help Masq w/ her "Home" analysis, pt. 2: The corruption of Angel Investigations? -- Masq, 12:24:39 08/18/03 Mon

When the gang reassembles in the ex-W&H lobby to talk about their tour through the facilities, they seem ready to take up Lilah's offer. More or less.

Lorne is happy with what he's seen. Gunn (who's been having a vision quest in the White Room) tells the others he's going take the offer, whether they chose to or not. Wesley agrees with some reluctance that there is a great deal they could accomplish with the resources available in this office. Fred is the only one who still seems uncertain. Then Angel arrives and tells them he took the offer already on their behalf.

We know the extremes of love and pain that drove Angel to make a choice he flatly refused to make through out most of the episode, but what's up with the rest of them (or even Angel, for that matter)? Because it seems to me that after four years of hating everything Wolfram and Hart stands for and refusing to go along with their schemes or stoop to their methods, what they did was very...

dare I say the over-used words?

...out of character.

Like the writers desperately trying to come up with a fresh angle at the expense of character continuity.

I mean, this should really be a "hello, duh" moment that they are being manipulated. Which they realized at the beginning of the episode.

Your thoughts are welcome. But please mark Season 5 spoilers, 'cause I'm looking at this completely from an unspoiled end-of-Season 4 perspective.

[> Re: Help Masq w/ her "Home" analysis, pt. 2: The corruption of Angel Investigations? -- celticross, 13:11:26 08/18/03 Mon

I dunno, Masq...oddly enough, I seem to be one of the few AtS fans who wasn't upset by the decision made in Home. Yes, W&H has been Angel's greatest enemy, by virtue of their incredible resources. So it doesn't surprise me in the slightest that when given the chance to take control of those resources for their own purposes, the Angel gang wouldn't jump at the chance.

Is there a catch? For the sake of good story-telling, I hope so. I really hope to see the Angel gang grapple with their decision, and try to justify it, because I think there's some very rich material to work with when you're asking "Can the resources of evil truly be used for the work of good?" So really I don't think your question can be answered until the new season is underway, and we see the direction ME takes the story.

[> [> redemption -- seven, 14:13:21 08/18/03 Mon

I think that Angel taking over this division of W&H goes along with the theme of redemption that has been with Angel the series since the very beginning. Angel trying to "redeem" w&h is almost logical. This idea also works on other levels.

For one, this new season can be viewed as a jumping on point for many viewers (especially with WKCS coming along) so a reemergence of the redemption idea would go along with that.

Also, it just makes sense. The fang gang had to make a choice. Use W&H's resources to start anew with their fight to "help the helpless" (as many people forget was the original catch phrase) or stay where they are and wonder what could have been. It also makes sense that they would want to get away from the situation that they were in for the past year or so. The conditions of living that helped bring about the recent almost-apocalypse.

[> Temptation, corruption, power etc -- Corwin of Amber, 13:26:18 08/18/03 Mon

I don't think it was "out of character", it's just that we haven't really seen this side of their characters. They've never had much in the way of resources to fight the good fight - an old hotel, a seer, a vampire and some very mortal demon hunters are about it. Arrayed against the forces they fought against, thats really not much. The gang accepted hoping to use W&H's resources to do good, or possibly to corrupt W&H over to the side of good from the inside. Countercorruption? How well it works remains to be seen. I think it's telling that Gunn, the guy who sold his soul for a truck, had the most affecting experience and was the most enthusiastic about accepting. I wish we'd seen more of his vision quest/spirit walk thing. Anyone want to comment on the symbolic meaning of a black panther/jaguar? What did Gunn sell his soul for this time?

[> [> Re: Temptation, corruption, power etc -- eloise519, 20:33:21 08/19/03 Tue

There were various takes on the black panther/jaguar symbolism when "Home" aired. I discussed the historical and political references while others explored the vision quest/spirit walk angle as you mentioned. Check out the May '03 archives for the relevant posts.

Hope Gunn discovered that he has always possessed the intellect and the alpha ability to lead just as the protagonists learned in the "Wizard of Oz". That would probably be too easy for the ME folks, though.

[> Out of character? Not at all... -- ZachsMind, 13:28:21 08/18/03 Mon

Out of character for Angel to say yes? Make an executive decision that insures his friends have power and influence, and also insures the safety of both Cordelia and Connor indefinitely? That they have the tools and wherewithal to finally attempt to accomplish what they've been fighting to accomplish for almost half a century? This is not out of character for Angel. In fact, Lilah is counting on Angel's character. She knows he'll say yes before he does.

Let's hit the rewind button a bit. Back in Angel's new posh offices. Lilah's making Angel an offer he's trying to refuse.

LILAH: Goodbye, Mr. Sunshine. Hello, gloomy avenger.
ANGEL: Make that goodbye. I'm not taking the job.
LILAH: It's not a job. It's an opportunity.
ANGEL: Oh, an opportunity to be part of the problem?
LILAH: If that's what you choose.

Again, W&H could care less whether it's Angel or Angelus at the wheel. They don't care if he's part of the problem or part of the solution. Granted, Angel's not quite as demanding and a bit less expensive to keep happy. What they do care about is that ultimately, he's neither.

Prophecies indicate that Angel's instrumental in one apocalypse or another - perhaps several. It's nice to have a guy like that in your back pocket. Whether he's averting them or causing them, if you stand right behind him, there's a good chance he'll either operate as your shield when the crap hits the fan, or give you a good slot in the after-existence when present existence ceases to be. Also, keep in mind Angel's averted several apocalypses already. He's got the most experience in that territory. Again, nice guy to have in your corner, especially if it's your intention to control an apocalypse and set things up so that at least once, when the dust settles, you'll finally be in charge of everything. Keep Angel around as a figure head if necessary, or subject him to sunlight when he becomes expendable. Right now though, he's either an ace in the hole or a burr in the side. All depends on how you play your cards. But how does W&H get Angel out of the deck and into their hand? Lilah has to play Angel's tune.

LILAH: think of what you could do with the resources of Wolfram & Hart at your finger tips. The difference that would make. Nothing in this world is the way it ought to be. It's harsh and it's cruel but that's why there's you, Angel. You live as if the world were as it should be. With all this you can make it that way. People don't need an unyielding champion. They need a man who knows the value of compromise and how to beat the system from inside the belly of the beast.

Now where have we heard all this before? Why does this sound familiar? The following comes from Deep Down, earlier last season. Angel's words, talking to Connor.

ANGEL: What you did to me - was unbelievable, Connor. - But then I got stuck in a hell dimension by my girlfriend one time for a hundred years, so three months under the ocean actually gave me perspective. Kind of a M. C. Esher perspective - but I did get time to think. About us, about the world. - Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. - It's harsh, and cruel. - But that's why there's us. Champions. It doesn't matter where we come from, what we've done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world was what it should be, to show it what it can be. - You're not a part of that yet. - I hope you will be. (Angel moves to stand in front of Connor) I love you, Connor. (Quietly, after a beat) Now get out of my house.

Angel saw Connor's future with him at the end of HOME. For two years, the more Angel tried to make Connor a part of his life, the more confused and frustrated and enraged Connor became, and a number of factors contributed to it which were beyond Angel's control, but ultimately it comes down Angel's presence in Connor's life that makes things increasingly worse. Connor then took the one person both men loved more than life, and put her in jeopardy. Angel saw this. Connor took hostages, took Cordelia's limp body and surrounded them with explosives. He was gonna die and he was gonna take as many people with him as he could. The pain and madness was that great. The chaos in his mind became overwhelming. The loss of humanity - the inability to feel, to live as he knew he should have a right to - impossible so long as Angel remains in the picture.

ANGEL: Son, you have to listen to me. This is about Jasmine.
CONNOR: Jasmine's gone.
ANGEL: I know. We all felt it, that perfect love... and then when we had to give it up...
CONNOR: I didn't feel anything! ..I can't feel anything. I guess I really am your son because I'm dead, too.
ANGEL: You're not dead, Connor. You're just starting your life.

But Connor was dead. Inside. Destined to give in to chaos so long as Angel tried to be the answer to his suffering. Angel had tried everything he knew, for two years, to make Connor's world better, but it just kept getting worse. For the same reason he left Buffy. For the same reason ultimately that Angel and Cordy could never be together. Everything Angel loves withers on the vine. Sometimes if you love something, you gotta set it free.

Near the end of Buffy season seven, Dawn was led to believe she was a potential slayer. However, equally convincing evidence convinced her later that this may be in error. Rather than try desperately to cling to herself as the universe's champion for selfish reasons, she selflessly and immediately passed the banner to someone who had more potential. Dawnie did this in a second. Angel had been incapable of making a similar decision. Not only was he determined to make Connor's life a happy one, but he was equally determined to be the center of that happiness, and this was an incongruent impossibility.

CONNOR: No! She knew if you found out who she really was, that you'd turn against her. And she was right. That's just what happened. People like you... (re: hostages) people like this. None of you deserved what she could give you. She
wanted to give you everything.
ANGEL: I know how that feels because I want to give you everything. I want to take back the mistakes, help you start over.
CONNOR: You can't start over.
ANGEL: We can. I mean, we can change things.
CONNOR: There's only one thing that ever changes anything and that's death. Everything else is just a lie. You can't be saved by a lie... you can't be saved at all.

Jasmine was a lie, and yet she was also A truth, from her point of view. She wanted everyone in the world to be happy, but only if she could control their every thought and move and emotion. AND if she could eat a few of them now and then to keep herself happy. This seemed completely logical and acceptable to her. Like a farmer who puts his own crops on his table to feed his family while selling the rest to the market for a profit. Jasmine would shave a few of her crop of humans off the top now and then, and keep the rest going to serve her desires. In turn she'd make them as happy as they could stand for the rest of their days. She didn't see this as evil, but a pleasing symbiotic relationship.

Angel is also a living lie. An undead creature with a conscience, trying to make right centuries of evil done in his stead. Yet he is also A truth. A champion of his own truth, from his point of view. He wants to make the world a better place, but the Powers That Be never gave him a blue print on how to accomplish this, and if they did he'd probably find flaws in it anyway, which is probably why they haven't bothered to give him one.

However, Angel can see that his truth will not set his son free. It's a truth that's left Doyle dead, Cordy in a coma, and Buffy very very far away from him. He has tried it his own way, for years, for over a century if you don't want to put too fine a point on it, to make his truth something that could improve the universe. Ever since he got his soul back. He's tried it his way. It's not working.

WESLEY: You took the deal.
ANGEL: Executive decision.
WESLEY: I didn't think you'd-
LILAH: Know a silver platter when he's handed one?

For Wolfram & Hart it's the perfect time to bring Angel and the fang gang on board. If you're playing football and you really need to win this game, and in the first quarter the opposing coach practically gives you all his plays for the game, and then his leading quarterback runs the wrong way on the playing field and gives you the game? You'll wanna give them a medal. So long as you can keep the trophy.

W&H knows an apocalypse is near. They know of several in fact. Let's say our planet right now was on a collision course with a meteor shower one hundred times the size of the sun. We're on our regular orbit and we learn that this immense cloud of comets and debris is in our path and eventually we'll orbit into the meteor shower's path. Now, we can pinpoint and detect that there's a couple hundred meteors of the thousands which have the highest potential of actually hitting us, and maybe somebody on the planet can figure out a way to deflect one or two of them but it would take a whole buttload of miracles to get all two hundred or so. We may avert one apocalypse, but there's still others - and those are the ones that we CAN see. How many apocalypses are there in Wolfram & Hart's future that aren't prophecied by insane scribes or dictated by divine providence? How many of them are just gonna happen cuz one of their clients gets uppity?

Wolfram & Hart's purpose is not exactly to serve evil, but to serve its own survival. They've been competing against Angel all these years, and now with the destruction of Jasmine, they realize that not only are they playing the same game, but they're on the same side. What's the difference? Angel operates from an altruistic and benevolent point of view. Wolfram & Hart operates from a selish and egotistic point of view. Angel doesn't really want to actually control the world. He just doesn't want evil to win. Wolfram & Hart doesn't care if it's evil or good. It just wants to be in charge.

So. Home is in character for both Angel and W&H. In fact, I think everyone's acting in character except for Gunn, but then I've never been very good at determining just what his character is.

[> Going character by character -- Finn Mac Cool, 15:03:25 08/18/03 Mon

Angel: as you already mentioned, we saw that he was in a desperate situation, and so his decision does make a fair amount of sense.

Gunn: we don't know what happened between him and the panther, but, whatever it was, it did seem to change his attitude. Until we know exactly what transpired, we can't dub his decision in character or out of character.

Wesley: for about a year and a half had been using questionable means to achieve his goals. He allied with Holtz and kidnapped Connor to save the infant's life, kept Justine locked in a closet in order to rescue Angel, aided Fred in her plan to murder Professor Seidel, and stabbed a drug junkie to force a confession out of her. With this history, it's not so unbelievable that he'd accept a deal with W&H. Plus, as he brings up, they have made deals together before, though those were one shot alliances rather than a lasting merger.

Fred: as you mention, she still seemed a little reluctant when they reconvened in the lobby. However, on her tour of W&H, she was told that the science department she'd be running wasn't specifically into evil (we even saw them seemingly helping someone through surgery). Plus, Fred's been the member of Angel Investigations most likely to go along with what everyone else wants, so, when Angel made his executive decision, her first instinct is to respect that decision.

Lorne: it's interesting to note that Lorne is at once the most vocally against W&H and the one most easily won over. Twice he says to them that W&H is pure evil and they should never join them, only to be swayed by a fancy limo and a bunch of celebrities. This doesn't really link to my next point, but it's worth bringing up that Lorne once ran Caritas, a club open to both good and evil demons, provided they did no harm while inside. He even gave readings to lots of W&H employees at one point, and was reluctant to share private info from them with Angel. So, given his history of working as a neutral party, it is feasible to see Lorne joining W&H.

[> Regarding Gunn, Fred, Wes and Lorne... -- s'kat, 15:27:03 08/18/03 Mon

Zachsmind already did a fantastic job with Angel, an analysis I pretty much agree with, so I'll discuss the other four.

I don't believe Fred, Wes, Gunn or Lorne's decisions were out of character - actually they've been building to these decisions all season long.

Wes/Lilah - Wes has been struggling with his feelings and guilt regarding Lilah all season long. We see him risk everything to save her in Habeas Corpus. And again - in
Cavalry - he brings her to what he believes is a safe haven, the Hyperion. But she's not safe. Cordy kills her.
And Wes, thinking it was Angelus - is forced to chop off her head. His discussion with Lilah - leads him to break Faith out of jail in an attempt to save both Faith and more importantly Angel's souls. He is pretty ruthless in his attempt to re-ensoul Angel. He stabs a drug attack. He breaks Faith out of jail. He allows Faith to put herself in danger. All because he holds himself responsible for Angel's predicament. (Something he sort of mentions to Willow in Orpheus.) Guilt can be a highly motivating force.
Also remember Wes has a similar "failure"/"prodigal son" complex to Angel's. Wes keeps seeking approval, he keeps seeking some sense of accomplishment. So why does he
go to W&H? Simple. Lilah. Against all odds - Lilah returns from the dead. He looks at Gunn and says..."return of a decaptated loved one", Gunn does a double-take - "loved one?" When he gets inside W&H, he isn't interested in their prophecies or info, he's interested in locating and burning Lilah's contract with the Senior Partners. If he couldn't save her in life, perhaps he can save her in death and by doing so, maybe redeem his own actions towards her, Connor, Angel, and Justine. Somewhere along the way Lilah became Wes' albatross. Lilah appreciates the action but tells Wes it's too late. Wes doesn't accept it. I suspect Wes decided to stay in the hopes of finding a way of freeing her.

Lorne - we see from the beginning, The House Always Wins, that Lorne's dream is to be rich and famous, to inter-act with show-biz types. He's a Las Vegas Lounge Singer and unhappy, partly b/c he's stuck in a cage and partly b/c he's hurting others. Although I think the gilded cage was the biggest problem. Later in Spin the Bottle - he's our
lounge act narrator. And then in Magic Bullet - he's the MC
at Open Mic Night. What W&H is offerring Lorne is the epitome of his dreams.

Fred - in Supersymmetry they set up Fred's fatal attraction to the evils of science. Fred in Supersymmetry is willing to kill via the use of science in order to exact vengeance.
And in The MAgic Bullet - she takes extreme and scientific measures to ensure Angel finds out what JAsmine is.
Fred - is a good example of science as the double-edged sword. While it can save lives, it can also destroy them.
How many scientists have sold their soul in order to discouver something new and fascinating? Also how much should we rely on "science"? Fred relies on it quite a bit - it got her out of Pylea, kept her somewhat sane there, it revealed Jasmine to Angel, and it got her recognition. By the same token - it sent her to Pylea. Her uncertainity about the offer makes sense - but so does her curiousity regarding it - and desire to take it. Fred is caught between the desire to "know" more (a la Willow) and the fear of the inherent costs.

Gunn - all season long we have Gunn whining about only being the muscel. He feels stupid in Supersymmetry. When Wes comes in and provides all this information in Apocalpyse Nowish - Gunn feels out of his element, unnecessary. It's not until Players that he actually feels of use. And the conversation he has with Gwen - pretty much sums up his feelings in a nutshell - that he's just the muscel, not smart like Wes or Fred, not super-powered like Angel, not the heart of the group like Cordelia, or empathetic like Lorne. And why do they need more muscel when they have super-vamp? The one thing Gunn is most insecure about is his intelligence.

The Black Jaguar may in a sense represent that fear/insecurity and the promise of correcting it. Becoming powerful. Successful. A force to be reckoned with. Remember this is a man who sold his soul for a truck - because the truck could help save his gang. This is a man who killed Professor Seidel so that Fred would not be burdened with it.
I think if someone offerred Gunn the opportunity to be something more than just "muscel" he'd take it. Remember in Home, he passes all these silent body guard types with this goregous female model - thinking all the while that he's just another piece of meat - a body guard, and when he enters the white room - something happens and he returns, feeling secure in that three piece suit, not out of place,
and powerful. More than just meat.

Gunn's choice was, if you think about it, very much in character.


[> Re: Help Masq w/ her "Home" analysis, pt. 2: The corruption of Angel Investigations? -- heywhynot, 16:06:16 08/18/03 Mon

I would also throw into the mix that the gang just fought a being which was implied to one of TPTB. They did end world peace in order to push their own worldview on the rest of the humanity, albeit a view in which people make their own choices but still they did impose their views onto everyone else. Fred's comments in Home after Lilah points out AI ended world peace, I think showed the gang's lingering doubts about what they did. I think this adds to why they choose to take WrH offer.

Then again, it is not about right or wrong, but about power. Who has it, who uses it and how. AI has been given even more power. They imposed their will once upon the world, will they continue to do that? Or will they keep fighting to insure people have free will?

[> Re: Help Masq w/ her "Home" analysis, pt. 2 (note: future spec inside, no spoilers) -- LadyStarlight, 17:57:32 08/18/03 Mon

Something which just occurred to me, is that ME is perfectly placed to go back to the "banality of evil" they briefly touched on in S6 Buffy.

The Fang Gang is now like a group of college grads who, having railed against the "establishment" all through college, have now joined up because "they can do more working from the inside", so to speak.

My own idea, YMMV, etc, etc.

[> [> Actually per Greenwalt, your analysis is spot on -- Diana, 12:46:32 08/19/03 Tue

[> were all of them "ready"? i think some may still have been on the fence -- anom, 18:09:44 08/18/03 Mon

"When the gang reassembles in the ex-W&H lobby to talk about their tour through the facilities, they seem ready to take up Lilah's offer. More or less."

Hmm. Didn't remember your "More or less" when I copied the following. That might be enough to cover what I have to say about it.

"WESLEY: As much as it pains me to admit it... there's probably a great deal we could accomplish with the resources available here.
FRED: I can't believe it. Are you saying we should take the deal?
ANGEL (o.s.): I already took it."

Now, I haven't watched the ep again (don't have a tape of it), but I wouldn't take Wesley's words as indicating he's made up his mind to take the offer. It could be the kind of thing you say just before listing all the reasons it would be a bad idea. But we don't get to find out for sure, because Angel steps in at that point. Wes may still have been on the fence.

Fred, as you said, doesn't seem convinced, although I'm not sure if her "I can't believe it" refers to the idea in general or to the possibility that Wes, of all people, might go for it. She might be the one to provide the strongest note of skepticism next season.

I don't know how much to attribute Gunn's decision to whatever happened in the White Room (which is probably just as ME intended it). His certainty about the decision, yes; the decision itself, not sure.

Lorne? I don't think it's just the chance to connect w/his showbiz favorites that swayed him. The idea that there's some nuance to that dark side he was concerned about ("Like Siegfried, evil. Roy, not so much. Oh, and balance? Very, very important.") may have had a lot to do w/it. Maybe he thinks he'll have a chance to influence that balance. I think he should've learned his lesson better from Vegas.

[> Temptation -- Tyreseus, 18:49:17 08/18/03 Mon

The whole deal W&H offers reminds me of the story of Jesus in the desert. I'm a bit rusty on my Christian mythology, but basically the devil comes to Jesus while he's fasting in the desert and tempts him to do various things that he wouldn't normally do.

But the AI team can't be placed on the same level as Jesus. Gunn, Fred, Lorne, Wes, Angel - they all have thier dark sides. They all have the part inside that compromises and makes deals with the devil. I see nothing out of character.

Silver platter seems like an understatement. W&H offered them the very things that would most appeal to them. Fred will head up one of the most advanced science labs in the world. Gunn seems to have found inner purpose and a sense of place in the eyes of the cat. Lorne's seemingly shallow desire to hobnob with celebrities could also be Cordelia's. Do we think Cordy (Seasons 1-2) would have hesitated a heartbeat to be reconcile her two skills? "I'm good for exactly two things: International Superstardom, or helping a vampire with a soul to rid the world of evil." (I Will Remember You")

Angel's motivations for accepting the deal seem clear. In fact, the only one who I'm having trouble with is Wesley.

For Wesley, the glimpse of unlimited academic knowledge means little anymore. He was unimpressed with the W&H library. His only goal in even accepting the tour was a chance to heroically save Lilah's soul. So best I can figure is that Wes is accepting the deal to somehow remain in contact with Lilah and possibly find a way to free her after all. Not one to turn away from challenges anymore, he could focus his energy into the single goal of freeing Lilah from eternal torment. Talk about an Orpheus storyline waiting to happen.

Curiosity or personal motives led them all to take the tour, pure human "grayness" brought them to accept the deal. They are imperfect champions who will bargain with the devil, not saviors or uncorruptible heroes.

[> [> Wes, Fred and Powerlessness -- Arethusa, 09:09:10 08/19/03 Tue

Wes has already faced W&H's attempt to corrupt him, and probably feels he can defend himself from their machinations. He's made a conscious decision to be on the side of good, and may feel he's been innoculated. Also, W&H, and only W&H, now have the accumulated knowledge of the Watcher's Council. He probably isn't tempted to join them for the knowledge, but will not want them to be the only ones who have it.

Fred has already started being corrupted and I expect it to continue. Her fears make her vulnerable, and she is acccustomed to turning to technology to solve problems.

Ai just spent the better part of a year nearly powerless and under constant manipulation. Perhaps they feel that their usefulness has become too limited by their powerlessness.

[> [> [> very good points, esp. about wes -- anom, 11:03:57 08/20/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> thanks! -- Arethusa, 12:22:15 08/20/03 Wed

[> Wolfram and Hart as the Belly of the Beast -- Rufus, 23:42:23 08/18/03 Mon

Season four started with a dream of familial happiness that was not to be for Angel. Everyone was at a table and a meal was enjoyed. Angel ultimately couldn't enjoy that meal becasue in fact he wasn't there, the whole thing an illusion. When he was brought from the water, Angel spoke to Connor about champions....

From Deep Down...........

Angel: "What you did to me - was unbelievable, Connor. - But then I got stuck in a hell dimension by my girlfriend one time for a hundred years, so three months under the ocean actually gave me perspective. Kind of a M. C. Esher perspective - but I did get time to think. About us, about the world. - Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. - It's harsh, and cruel. - But that's why there's us. Champions. It doesn't matter where we come from, what we've done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world was what it should be, to show it what it can be. - You're not a part of that yet. - I hope you will be. (Angel moves to stand in front of Connor) I love you, Connor. (Quietly, after a beat) Now get out of my house."

Angel spoke of champions and making a difference, just before he casts his son from his home. The rest of the season was one trial after another to the point that Angel won for the world "free will", then taking it from his son in a sacrificial moment where Angel loses all chances of that family he could only dream of so far below. In the first episode Angel had cast Connor from his home, in Home he casts him from his life and the memories of others, all so his son could enjoy the dinner scenario Angel had dreamed of. So, what was there left to do? And season five got set up in a way that was a shift from the comfortable Hyperion to the "belly of the beast" or Wolfram and Hart. Lilah offered Angel a deal using a variation of his own words from Deep Down on him.

From Home....

LILAH: Again, your choice. Think of what you can do with the resources of Wolfram & Hart at your fingertips, the difference that would make. Nothing in this world is the way it ought to be. It's harsh, and it's cruel, but that's why there's you, Angel. You live as if the world were as it should be. With all this, you can make it that way. People don't need an unyielding champion. They need a man who knows the value of compromise and how to beat the system from inside the belly of the beast.

Not only Angel has been given this choice, everyone of the gang is tempted with everything they could want. How much compromise will become comfortable as the gang goes from what they once knew to a new reality where things are not always as they seem.

From The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell

Moyers: What's the mythological significance of the belly?

Campbell: The belly is the dark place where digestion takes place and new energy is created. The story of Jonah in the whale is an example of a mythic theme that is practically universal, of the hero going into a fish's belly and ultimately coming out again transformed.

How can one go into the dark of the unknown and not be somehow transformed. Angel won back the free will for all and season five is going to revolve around what each member does with that free will. Each member of AI got an opportunity to further themselves in ways that they didn't consider before because of the surroundings (The Hyperion)they existed in before. It's a big temptation to be given power or the chance to see themselves become what they only could be in a dream. All are descending into the belly of the beast and all will be transformed. Will the transformation be what they expected or will they succumb to the temptation of an easy life? Lilah offered Angel a deal he couldn't refuse and I wonder what the price will be and just how many will pay more than they expected.

[> [> Re: Symbolic meaning of Belly. -- Rufus, 23:54:27 08/18/03 Mon

The symbolic meaning of the "belly"

Belly: In the West symbolic of gross appetite; in the Orient a seat of life. The belly of the whale, monster, or big fish is equated with Hell, Sheol and Hades, the descent to the underworld; cosmic night; the embryonic state of being; death and rebirth; regression to the womb and being born again; returning to the premanifest; the end of time; acquiring esoteric or sacred knowledge in initiatory death and resurrection. The hero, emerging from this state, has often lost his hair, symbolizing the hairlessness of the newborn. In Alchemy the darkness of the belly is the transforming laboratory. The fat belly of the Chinese god of wealth and the hindu Ganesha is gluttony, hence prosperity. The belly is also a vital center. In Japan the belly is regarded as the center of the body, Hara, the seat of life, hence Harakiri, to strike at the life-center. An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols by J.C. Cooper

[> [> Re: Wolfram and Hart as the Belly of the Beast -- eloise519, 19:58:39 08/19/03 Tue

Beautifully said, Rufus.

I agree: "season five is going to revolve around what each member does with that free will."

For underdog champions like AI, the fight against all powerful evil is clearcut. What happens when the champions gain the resources of the powerful? Must evil and corruption always follow power? Conventional wisdom tells us that it will. I'm hoping that the JossVerse will continue to surprise me with the choices these champions make and the actions they take.

I would rather see them transformed by the experience and not by any Jasminesque enchantment -- just a little concerned about Gunn.

[> [> [> agree -- Seven, 20:13:45 08/19/03 Tue

Gunn may have some serious big bad potential.

He is the most eager for power and therefore likely the most succeptible to the evils that follow.

I like this mention that the AI team has always been without the power and have still always come out on top. So now that they are "the man" will they be brought down? Is this W&H's plan?

[> [> [> [> Could be the man's plan -- how will they deal? -- eloise519, 20:41:37 08/19/03 Tue

[> [> side q.: how did lilah know... -- anom, 10:33:41 08/20/03 Wed

...what Angel had said to Connor? No one else was there when he said it except Fred & Gunn. They certainly wouldn't have told W&H about it. Connor did go to W&H for help finding out who/what he is, but Lilah tried to have Security grab him for dissection, & he didn't stick around to give any info, voluntarity or otherwise. Yet Lilah quotes Angel almost word for word. If something like this had happened on "Buffy" last season, I might've attributed it to the First, which can be pretty much anywhere & seems to be able to know what anyone who's dead, or undead, knows & would have no compunction about working w/W&H if that would further its goals. But the First isn't a factor on Angel.

The only other possibility I can think of is that W&H went back & re-planted the bugs in the Hyperion...but that seems unlikely. They'd have been ahead of AI more if they'd been able to overhear them throughout the season; besides, the gang would be more on guard against any such move after the 1st time. So how did Lilah know?

[> [> [> Possible Answer -- Tyreseus, 20:57:46 08/20/03 Wed

Well, there's the obvious answer that Lilah is dead now and probably privvy to a great deal more information than living folk (for example - Darla when she visited Connor).

But I also think it might be a mistake to assume The First isn't a factor on Angel, or that it isn't going to become a factor on Angel. The Sunnydale team may have stopped its army of ubervamps, but does that mean we think the First is done with it's crazy plots of ending the balance? It's certainly a storyline that could cross over now that there's only one show. (Although, many of us might be horrified to learn that the "first taunter" is making another attempt at credible big bad status)

[> [> [> [> possible...but likely? -- anom, 16:27:48 08/22/03 Fri

"Well, there's the obvious answer that Lilah is dead now and probably privvy to a great deal more information than living folk (for example - Darla when she visited Connor)."

Did Darla know what was going on w/Connor simply because she was dead? She talked about knowing him so deeply because they'd shared his soul while she was pregnant w/him. I'm not sure there's anything in either series that supports that someone who appears after they're dead has access to more info than when they were alive, except about their own particular afterlife, if any (Buffy & Lilah, yes; Darla brought back by W&H, apparently no). I can't think of a time (which doesn't mean there hasn't been one) when a dead character's additional knowledge can't be attributed to not really being the dead person (e.g., being the FE instead) or to not really being there (e.g., Joyce's appearances to Buffy in Bring On the Night). Darla tells Connor: "The Powers have sent me to give you a message." So her knowledge could come from the Powers rather than just from being dead. Or she could be a figment of Connor's imagination; after all, no one else sees her, unlike Lilah. Speaking of whom, is there some specific source--like the Powers in Darla's case--for her knowledge in Home of what Angel said in Deep Down?

On the other hand, I agree w/what you say about the possibility of the First's becoming a factor on "Angel." All of it. @>)

[> Fallen heroes? -- AurraSing, 10:02:57 08/19/03 Tue

Looking back at the past two seasons of BtVS,it became clear to me that the writers felt the one way to explore more of the characters was to look at their darker sides-could it be that the new season of AtS will be a case of "let's see if temptation can pull the heroes down"?

Admittedly we already saw much in season 4 of the Fang Gang's darker side,what with Wesley's liason with Lilah,the reasons behind the crumbling of the Fred/Gunn relationship and the like.......but we still were seeing our heroes as "heroes" because they generally stayed true to themselves and their fight against evil overall. However by aligning themselves with Wolfram + Hart could it be that the heroes will slowly slip towards the darker side,much like Willow and Buffy did?

[> Personal ideas -- KdS, 11:49:03 08/19/03 Tue

Angel's motives are too obvious to go into. Gunn, we can only speculate on until we find out what exactly happened between him and the Black Cat. Wes - undoubtedly the hope of doing an Orpheus with Lilah had a lot to do with it.

More generally I think the major factors are:

Cynicism and disappointment in the PTB - even if the AI crew don't believe Skip's more extreme claims, they now know that individual PTB can go very bad, and the others didn't seem to do anything much to warn humanity or stop Jasmine. Moreover, the utter lack of worldly reward, and indeed the worldly torment, received for doing the PTB's business has to rankle eventually.

Overconfidence - they just saw through and took out a rogue deity (Jasmine was far from omnipotent or omniscient, but she was more powerful than Glory who was described as a god).

And Lorne's decision is the most logical of all - his morals have always been a little different from the members of AI proper. He's scrupulous in his own actions, but professionally he seems to take a view very similar to that of a British lawyer, or a physician. He's always seemed to believe that his gifts oblige him to do his best for anyone who comes to him for aid, whatever his moral judgement of them (see various demons in his Caritas period, but especially Harmony, the W & H juniors, the compulsive cannibal in Slouching). I'm not surprised he has no trouble going on the W & H payroll, especially if he's promised that Angel's going to be in charge.

[> [> Who is more powerful, Jasmine or Glory? -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:55:18 08/19/03 Tue

Both did seem to be incredibly strong (we can't be sure how strong Jasmine was before her name was uttered, since her strength seemed to be declining after that). However, Jasmine possessed truly phenomenal psychic powers, able to entrance anyone who so much as looked at her. On the other hand, Glory also possessed incredible speed, plus she was invulnerable (Jasmine, despite her strength, could be hurt, though she did seem capable of taking more damage than most and healing it rather quickly). So, who is more powerful?

I guess it depends on what you want them to do. For example, suppose you have a human being and a peregrine falcon. Ask them to race each other, and the falcon will win. Ask them to fight each other to the death, and the human will win. Likewise, with Glory and Jasmine, there are two different measurements: who is more capable of dominating the world, and who would win in a fight between them. Jasmine would certainly win, I feel, when it comes to world domination. However, I think Glory would win in an actual smackdown fight, given her invulnerability and enhanced speed (I'm presuming here that Jasmine's mind control wouldn't work on a god like Glory, and that Glory doesn't spontaneously turn into Ben in the middle of the fight).

[> [> [> Re: Who is more powerful, Jasmine or Glory? -- eloise519, 20:52:05 08/19/03 Tue

Yes, different powers -- also they had different motivations: Glory wanted to go back home and Jasmine wanted to make this world her home.

[> Re: Help Masq w/ her "Home" analysis, pt. 2: The corruption of Angel Investigations? --
Kenny, 17:07:26 08/19/03 Tue

Since everyone's doing character-by-character, and I'm just a sucker for peer pressure, here goes.

Gunn: He's already teamed up with the "dark" side (Angel) once, because it promised bigger and better. And that worked out, more or less. Angel even went evil. If he managed to keep his morals intact through that, I can seem him being cocky enough to believe he can do it with W&H.

Lorne: Others have pretty much said it. Karitas. Demons. Divas.

Wes and Fred: At this point, I'm inclined to believe they're sticking around solely because of Angel. If Lorne and Gunn were the only ones to accept, I bet those two would have said "sayanara". Both of them are sticking around to watch Angel's back.

[> Re: Help Masq w/ her "Home" analysis, pt. 2: The corruption of Angel Investigations? -- Mijane, 08:58:51 08/20/03 Wed

Hello - I've lurked on this site for a number of years, and I'm a fan of All Things Philosophical. I've been thinking about the turn of events with Angel as well. I think it's potentially very exciting, but it leaves me feeling a bit queasy.

I don't actually think it's out of character for all of them to have taken the deal. To me it's comparable to Buffy's behavior after being ripped out of heaven. AI had a rough year...they were split apart, they got pummelled fighting the beast, they were saved by Jasmine, then ripped out of her group mind and on the lam, and then Angel in particular had to face being unable to save his son. So I think it's entirely believable that they would be so punch drunk they could see the shift to using W&H as necessary and beneficial.

What I worry about is if the writers actually do decide to portray W&H as a morally neutral entity that could just be transferred unproblematically to the good guys. I hope AI has a moment when they have to deal with the dark side of what they have done, and make a moral choice.

Thanks for a fun, informative board, I'll be reading during the upcoming season.

[> [> It might depend on the degree of control they're given -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:48:59 08/20/03 Wed

If Angel and Co. are given complete control of the LA branch (no interference by the Senior Partners or members of the old Wolfram & Hart), then I don't see how it would be an inherently dark choice. However, if they aren't given complete control, if there are certain guidelines they have to go by in order to keep the deal (certain clients they're required to care for, or employees they must keep on, or having to ask permission from the Senior Partners), then it probably won't be all hunky-dory.

[> [> [> Only time will tell how genuine the presentation was -- Tyreseus, 21:12:29 08/20/03 Wed

I'm certainly not suggesting that we believe Lilah's word as gospel truth, but the transcript says:

(chuckles) "Just the L.A. Branch." (stands, irritated) Hi, from another dimension, what the hell does that mean?

Means we give. You win. We're moving out. The senior partners are ceding this territory to you, and to prove it, they want to give you controlling interest in our L.A. Office. You get the building, assets, personnel, letterhead, paper clips, all of it. It's yours to do with as you see fit.

But there is no Los Angeles office of Wolfram & Hart. The beast destroyed it.

Oh, it's back, restaffed and zombie-free. We're bigger, better, and shinier than ever, and we want to give it to you.

You want to give us your evil law firm? We ain't lawyers.

Or evil. (beat) Currently.

(stands) What we're offering you is a turnkey, state-of-the-art, multi-tasking operation. What you do with it, well, (crosses her arms) that's up to you.

It sounds to me like AI could walk in, fire everyone, rehire people and the senior partners would be okay with it. Of course, it's not likely that the AI team would have the resources or even wisdom to do such a things, but still. I think the senior partners are counting on the AI team to sort of forget that the agency is founded on principals of evil.

[> Let's remember that we don't know the deal Angel made. -- RadiusRS, 00:14:59 08/21/03 Thu

I thought the final scene of the season brought the whole thing full circle, so therefore, the ideas and events in Home have to be considered in the context of the season as a whole. It seemed to me that Angel finally figured out this season that he can't have his angelcake and eat it, too. I think he realized that part of his problem is his unwillingness to compromise and go all the way, that he is goal oriented to the point of getting tunnel vision (remember how far he went to get Connor back in Season 3, and how many times he's been willing to sacrifice himself to save someone?). With the return of Angelus this season, the AI gang accomplished a whole lot more and learned a lot more about the Big Bad than without, with him actually destroying The Beast (remember how everyone assumed it had been Faith who delivered the deathblow?) I think Angelus also realized that, despite his evil, he really isn't much of a villain trapped inside Angel. Lilah also gave them an important lead due to her clever research despite losing everything, which is one of the main reasons she was killed IMHO, because she showed that even with nothing she could still accomplish a hell of a lot. Think about it, Jasmine not only severed their connection to TPTB by co-opting Cordy and messing up Lorne, she also eliminated any connection to the Senior Partners, essentially forcing the Gang to make their own decisions without higher guidance! In Orpheus, I think this schism was addressed and resolved to a degree, at least internally for Angel. Remember how quick he was to forgive Jasmine, and offer her a hand as an ally? That's not exactly the Angel of the past seven years, and a welcome evolution for the character. And Jasmine herself personified the lack of difference between The Black and The White, how evil and good sometimes perpetuate each other as well as themselves, and how actions in the service of one often lead to benefits for the other. The W&H deal comes with strings attached (they're lawyers after all), but I doubt they were behind the whole Jasmine ordeal (though maybe TPTB and the Senior Partners WANTED Jasmine out of the picture? hmmm....). Therefore, their goal is more likely to get Angel and his gang where they can keep an eye on them (keep your friends close and your enemies closer) and therefore be able to take whatever they do and make the most out of the AI gang's actions that are in their favor. Corruption is therefore a given. Angel goes along knowing this, but anxious to see if he can get a glimpse behind the curtain. When Connor is presented to him, he realizes that W&H, though probably not the cause of the situation, still has him by the balls, and always will one way or another because they have the resources and lack of scruples to make the best out of any situation they are in. I'm sure they expected Angel to wear the Anti-Ubervamp amulet, and their plans were frustrated by the fact that Buffy chose to give it to Spike, therefore forcing W&H to alter their plan of attack.

But the key to Angel's growth, his greatest quality, and the lesson he was shown to have learned is that he's realized that compromising doesn't mean just compromising one's self, but also making the other side compromise as well, getting them to play on his terms. Now for dramatic reasons, we were never shown what Angel's deal was (it helped keep the suspense as to Connor's fate until the last scene). I believe this will be explored next season, as I believe that Angel's deal would include protecting the AI gang, giving them a loophole to escape W&H if they choose to do so, perhaps at the expense of his own salvation (and therefore a true act of contrition and sacrifice).

But I believe that it is their actions and choices that will determine whether, and how deeply, the gang will be corrupted. Angel kinda put them in the Lion's Mouth by accepting the deal (though they all apparently came to the limo of their own free will, with the humans the last three to exit the Hyperion), but they will decide how much they will give in to temptation, and how far down the throat of the Beast they are willing to go. So I don't think Angel necessarily damned them, they will tie their own nooses themselves, which is exactly what W&H wants, for isn't it more evil when you convince people to join you of their own free will?

[> [> Hmmm..interesting, very interesting.. -- jane, 21:05:14 08/21/03 Thu

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