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Read the titles carefully (Angel Odyssey 2.6-2,8) -- Tchaikovsky, 05:54:20 02/22/03 Sat

So I'm about a third of the way through Season Two. Only one mediocre episode so far, this being 'First Impressions'. All the other seven have been, without exception, splendid. This is a brilliant season so far. Just to take a touch of the sheen off this, Angel still hasn't made me cry. I'm not sure how much I empathise with the characters. But the plot-lines and thematic resonances and often marvellous direction is putting up right up there with Buffy's Season Five for me. If I were forced at gun-point to give my favourite three episodes out of the 16 which comprise Buffy 5.1-8 and Angel 2.1-8, they would be:

1) Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?
2) Family
3) Fool For Love

The latter two routinely make me cry. The first one is just mind-boggling, intelligent writing and dead-on directing. This delineates my experiences of Angel and Buffy well I think. I'll expand a bit more on this in my 'Darla' review.

2.6 Guise Will Be Guise

This is an episode where you can learn an awful lot form the title. It's basically hitting on two pretty simple and connected ideas. How do people in general differ in reality from how they portray themselves? And just who is Angel?

Coming between 'Dear Boy' and 'Darla', this episode had to be absolutely note-perfect to not be seen as out of context. 'Dear Boy' ends on one of those ultra-powerful moments you get in the Whedonverse occasionally. 'Darla' is another blinder. So to put a humourous episode in here is a risky business. Who ya gonna call? Jane Espenson.

I cannot express enough how I love Jane Espenson's writing. It is absolutely hypnotic for me to watch, time after time, for a particular reason. With the exception of Joss himself, Jane is definitely the funniest writer on the staff, and I laughed out loud several times during this episode, which is fairly unusual for me. So in her episodes there is always a sense of a rather superficial but funny plot going on, (here Wesley pretending to be Angel). This will hold the interest of most less committed viewers. But underneath there are, rather covertly, a lot of important cohesive themes going on. These might escape the attention of someone who's tuned in to watch David Boreanaz be majorly hot, but is always there simmering.

In this particular episode, I believe my case can be made by each of my three favourite funny lines.
1) The line where the faux-swaami claims 'You're deeply ambivalent', and Angel claims 'I am but I'm not'. Funny, but not redundant. This is dead-on to what Angel is thinking.
2) The, (I suspect famous) line about breaking a little blonde's heart to get over Darla. Funny, but does it throw a whole different light on the Buffy/Angel relationship? Was Buffy to an extent just a rebound from Darla? Angel's conception of the 'good' Darla?
3) The whole scene of Wesley taking command, with Angel asking sheepishly, 'Can I have my coat back?'. This is funnny, but actually shows up a slightly shifting dynamic in the group. As Angel is obsessing about Darla, Wesley has started to move more towards the centre of the group, and is gaining physical as well as psychological confidence. I really enjoyed him trying on the role of 'The Dark Hero'. Wesley sure ain't 1-D any more ;-)

Who is Angel? Of course, we see how psychology is often about common sense. The heavy is a pretty good swaami. Angel's car does represent him- a person who feels he must always put extra hardship on himself. Wesley portrays his idea of Angel, but can ultimately not stop himself coming through. And of course, the point is that Wesley is to a degree a Hero, just not a figurehead. It's not the coat that makes him powerful and impressive, it's the belief.

This episode reminded me of a right-on-the-button Shakespeare comedy. The two unrelated plot lines melt together tidily. More or less everyone is playing a game of deception. Virginia is not virginal. Her father is not over-protective but selfish. Wesley is not Angel. Angel is not the tough guy in the black suit. They are all using the idea of 'guise' to represent themselves. But at the end, nothing is really hurt, except the one relationship which had never been healthy, Virginia's with her Father. Wesley gets the girl back. Angel seems momentarily distracted, and it all ends with the crazy disjointed conversation, which reminded me very much of the four weddings in 'As You Like It'. That's right, you heard it hear first. Jane Espenson is Shakespeare doing comedy.

2.7 Darla

And Tim Minear is Shakespeare doing tragedy, mostly. I am almost starting to become a mini-heretic. You know how you sometimes you mention that a novel or a film is good, and get startled stares? I think I'm going to get some of these after contending that I might prefer Tim Minear as a writer to Joss Whedon. I still know Whedon created it, is a better director, wrote the best episode ever ('Restless'), and is the bigger deity, but compare their writing outings:
Welcome to the Hellmouth vs Sense and Sensitivity
The Harvest vs Hero
Prophecy Girl vs Somnambulist
When She Was Bad vs The Prodigal
Lie To Me vs Sanctuary
Innocence vs AYNOHYEB
Becoming 1 vs Darla

I score this 4-3 Minear. Dissent away.

Very interesting to compare this episode to 'Fool For Love' which I prefer. I think Spike's struggle is shown slightly more clearly, and Buffy's angle is slightly more interesting than Angel's, and that ultimately, there's nothing to quite match the emotional power of the three best moments: Buffy telling Spike 'You're beneath me', Spike's 'Doesn't have a death wish?' line, and the final scene of the episode. But 'Darla' runs it close, and there are some really fun directorial tricks being played with the shared scenes.

I mis-understood this episode at first, because I didn't read the title carefully. Shouldn't be hard- it's only five letters, but I thought this was a story about Angel. It's not. It's Darla's life-story. Exactly as 'Fool For Love' is Spike's life-story. And there are comparisons. Buffy is the modern character trying to understand Spike's journey. Lindsay is the modern character trying to understand Darla's journey. Both pretty much fail ultimately. Angel deep down understands Darla, and Drusilla, despite, (even even partly due to) leaving Spike understands him. Which brings the audience back to the really incredible scene of the four menaces walking together through the Chinese wreckage. The four who try to understand each other better than anyone.

A couple of irritated quibbles before I launch into another bout of praise. 'Virginia, 1609'? Mayflower 1620, anyone? Surely that should have been picked up. There was no need for it to be so early. And Drusilla saying 'OK' to Darla in 1898 seemed wrong. Interested to here anyone fill me in on when OK came into common usage.

As for the Virginia thing, it's interesting to consider if we're supposed to remember Virginia Bryce from the previous episode. Is there an oblique link being made between Darla and Virginia? Both women who shouldn't have been having sex, and have been a lot. Both women who are saved, (by Wesley and The Master respectively) but in diametrcally opposed circumstances? I'll leave that hanging.

To the good stuff. Darla's 400 year life is shown wonderfully, with all the little nuances. A lot of the cuts between 2000 and 'The Past', were done with great skill. The Master's line to Darla: 'God never did anything for you, but I will', mirrors uncannily Darla's line in 'Dear Boy' 391 years later 'God doesn't want you. I still do.' An intriguing parallel.

Darla chooses virility and joie de un-vivre over power and tradition, choosing Angelus over the Master.In doing so, she oddly prefigures Buffy's journey, choosing personal strength over the Council of Watchers and tradition. These two characters are linked. The Master has chosen Darla's name, and we see how this represents her identity crisis. Is she Darla the vampire? No. Is she the woman who she can't even find a word for? Possibly, how she would love to make it all simple again. To stop the heart beating. And as we are shown Darla casting out Angel in 1900, it becomes clear how it must end. Darla cannot stand the torment that Angel took. Angel's strength may be the flip-side of his horrible evil as a vampire. He broods for a century, but he still comes through due to an innate belief in his own value. It must end with Darla wanting to become what she has been for as long as she's had her name, and it must end with Angel casting Darla out, as Darla cast Angel out. Now they are 'soul mates', but they still cannot find their way back to each other. Despite centuries of company, Angel cannot bite Darla, just as Drusilla cannot keep Spike's interest away from Buffy. Ultimately, the selfishness and individuality of the vampires breaks them apart.

A couple of notes on the repeated scenes. Spike's complete despair about being rejected by Cecily is shown for just a couple of seconds as Angel and Darla whine at Dru. Reminds me of 'Musee de Beaux Arts'. One person's tragedy is another person's irrelevance. And where all four are walking together, Spike's leap up into the air is very important. He is the one who has killed the Slayer and won Drusilla. He is the new power in the group, as Darla is downhearted about Angelus, and Angel conflicted. When we see Dru in Spike's arms, we see how Angel's pet project has been torn away from him, and also the distance from intimacy between himself and Darla. Watching the repeated scenes, you are focussed on quite different aspects of the conversation, precisely because, as shadowkat regularly contends, you're in a different point-of-view.

Really good episode, and enjoyed learning more about Darla. For me personally, didn't quite scale the emotional heights of 'Fool For Love'.

2.8 The Shroud of Rahmon

This is the only one of the three episode titles not to give a lot away. Which is pretty much mirrored by the teaser, which leaves even the most perceptive viewer, (and certainly me), in total confusion and horror. Has Angel bitten someone? Is his slide towards evil continuing at an advanced rate?

Whether you like this episode, I suspect, is partly down to whether you enjoy narrative gimmicks. I'm a complete sucker for them. When you get the end told at the beginning, I love seing how the story contrives to return itself to the first scene, now told so that you understand it more deeply. In this particular episode, there is an acknowledged 'The Usual Suspects' feel. We see Angel set light to the shroud by pouring on oil and then dropping the flame, just as Keyser Soze does on the boat in the movie. And of course, like that film, we are supposed to be thinking, just who is the bad guy here? And we suspect everyone and everything, because we haven't been told for sure. And there's a similar ending to 'The Usual Suspects', when everything is turned on its head in a second. Because, you see, as I was totally unspoiled, I was ready to believe that a mad Angel had bitten and killed Kate Lockley. When she turned up, I was for a second totally confused. And then we see the same bite scene from a different angle, rather like in 'Darla', and it all makes sense again.

Very beautiful directing by David Grossman, and I think one of the nicest looking episodes of 'Angel' so far. I am becoming more of a visual watcher since I started listening to the Buffy DVD commentaries. Here I noticed a couple of things. The whole episode was extremely physically dark. This worked well, representing confusion, the secret underground and the darkness of Angel's journey all at the same time. And there were a lot more shots of people in profile than usual. This stumped me at first, and then I wondered whether the fact that we're not seeing them 'straight on' is the point. Grossman, like the writer Jim Kouf, is playing with perspective. As we don't see the whole character, we don't see the whole face. A lot is hidden or ambiguous as we are being told it.

So we're here really thinking about the gap between reality and imagination, between thought and action. There's a lot of non-philosophical stuff in this episode, which I tend to ignore, (not a big fan of action stories), but I took it to be showing what we do and what we'd like to do. And of course this idea is re-inforced by the final terrifying shot of Angel drinking deeply from Kate. What, deep down he'd like to do.

A couple of extra quick thoughts:
-Don't really like Cordelia's new hair. I prefer her hair long. Hey, I can be shallow too, can't I?
- I got the Al Pacino impression! Wow, I'm starting to be able to pick some of those weird American accent variations. It's always been like separating sheep from sheep for me.
-Cordelia's feminism about virgins was very funny, a wink to the fact that the idea of female empowerment is often completely lost in Angel, but is still going strong on its mother show.
-I quite liked this episode, but without the conceit, (which I can imagine others finding a little trick-sy), I could see others finding it a little tame. Certainly not quite up there with the best of the season.

I'm really starting to love this Odyssey. And thanks for all your feedback- which inevitably enriches my limited viewing abilities.


[> Cordelia's hair (all AtS seasons, but not particularly spoilery) -- Masq, 07:14:19 02/22/03 Sat


[> [> Are you counting the first season? Because I thought she looked adorable in Season 1... -- Rob, 22:02:26 02/22/03 Sat

...slightly less so with the hair in Season 2, even less in Season 3, and starting to hit an extreme low point at the end of Season 3/early Season 4.


At least it's back to brown now.


[> [> [> Yes, but -- HonorH, 22:37:22 02/22/03 Sat

1. A few of her haircuts have been less-than-spectacular, and

2. Whoever brought peroxide anywhere near her head should be shot.

I like it in the shots I've seen recently: short and dark. It's a more sophisticated look than her long hair, and it's notably *not* hideous blond which does lovely Charisma no favors.

[> [> [> [> Re: Yes, but -- Miss Edith, 05:08:43 02/23/03 Sun

I always liked her hair extensions in season 2 of Angel. I thought she looked gorgeous in the shot in the title sequence for season 2. I liked her short black hairstyle okay but it was changed quickly because apparently it looked too Rock N Roll (according to Charisma from the official casebook she was told to change it as it made her look to young and that wasn't where they were going with the character. In season 1 she was seen by Barny in Parting Gifts as in her 20s, she was drinking in bars without question. The writers wanted to push that image forward as Ats was aimed at young 20 somethings). I didn't think the short brown hair was bad either, although I have always prefered her with long hair. But the blonde do was delibarately meant to be unflattering is all I can think. It was hideous as if she went to her hairdresser and told them to think of the most unsuitable look for her they could find. It aged her badly. I miss the days of those gorgeous extensions. I always used to want hair like Charisma, she is such a classic beauty.

[> [> [> No, was only counting season 2+ -- Masq, 07:37:43 02/23/03 Sun

Remembering long-haired brunette Cordelia with fondness. *Alas*

[> [> [> [> Hey, with the DVDs, she's always around! -- Rahael, 09:29:48 02/23/03 Sun

Season 2 Cordy (up to Dear Boy now) is very stylish and has great hair. I'm all inspired fashion wise. Which is a pain because it involves getting up earlier in the morning to plan outfits. No, I'm not shallow at all, why do you ask?!

[> [> [> [> [> Me, I'm more Season 3+ Cordy -- Masq, 10:03:39 02/23/03 Sun

That is to say, wearing sweat pants and an unattractive coat and with scraggly badly-dyed hair.

Not glowing, though, so that's a plus.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Me, I'm more Season 3+ Cordy -- Rahael, 17:16:35 02/23/03 Sun

There are days when I make a real effort, you know accessorised, and everything. But I try to achieve a cosmic fashion balance by getting late on other days with 15 minutes to go, throwing on whatever is closest to hand. The results are....interesting.

[> The Virginia gaffe is slightly different from what you think; plus, the history of "OK" -- d'Herblay, 16:04:19 02/22/03 Sat

The various gaffes involved in having Darla in Virginia in 1609 have been much discussed. However, the mere existence of British colonists in the Americas is not one of them. The first British colony in what is now the U.S.A. was Roanoake, established in 1585. It didn't last, for mysterious reasons. The first permanent British colony was Jamestown, Virginia, established in 1607. (Why the pilgrims' arrival at Plymouth in 1620 should be so hallowed escapes me.) While this would seem to allow Joss some historical leeway, there weren't any women until late in 1608, there were only two, neither of them were prostitutes, there were certainly no nuns anywhere around, and a figure in a cassock would not pass through the sunlit town without suspicion -- Jamestown was proudly Catholic-free.

As for "OK," it dates back at least to 1840, but was then an Americanism.

And there's a distinction between being shallow and being sensible. Anyway, keep on the odyssey! You're doing it now as much for my enjoyment as your own!

[> [> Re: to add... -- aliera, 16:21:42 02/22/03 Sat

not to the history of course but to the appreciation for the Odyssey (cover your eyes Masq.) I haven't seen most of season two and so I'm enjoying catching up and seeing it through your eyes. Many thanks.

[> [> [> Great reviews -- yabyumpan, 16:30:06 02/22/03 Sat

I've got more to but I think my brain has had it's period of coherant thought for the time being. I'm just trying to keep this thread alive untill I can get my brain back on line ;o)

[> [> [> Cover my eyes? -- Masq, 19:49:11 02/22/03 Sat

I thought maybe I'd see spoilers when you said that, but I didn't, so now I'm puzzled.

Going back to my mantra now.

Week and a half until more Angel. Week and a half until more Angel. Week and half until Faith

[> [> [> [> Season 4 AtS futury but well-known spoilers in post above -- Masq, 20:05:40 02/22/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> Re: Cover my eyes? -- aliera, 05:14:52 02/23/03 Sun

Sorry, Masq...

The puzzling line I meant in the sense that I'm slightly embarrassed that I lost interest in Angel in season 2. I've tried to catch up by reading reviews and analyses but nothing can replace the episodes so there's this big gap in my understanding of the series. I really feel it this year because of the way the show has built on that season. Can't go into more detail than that because of TCH. I was spoiled for Buffy last season and I wanted to try to avoid that as much as possible this year. In particular, I felt that it ruined the finale eps for me. It's very difficult to do but I'm sure it will be good for my soul. *gr

[> [> [> [> [> I can send you season 2 tapes... -- Masq, 07:39:24 02/23/03 Sun

Ben might enjoy that, too.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: you have mail -- aliera, 08:12:04 02/23/03 Sun

[> [> Thanks d'H -- Tchaikovsky, 06:01:50 02/23/03 Sun

OK, that clarifies a lot about my irritations. I don't generally tend ot nipick, as others are better at it, but these just seemed a bit off. And it was an interesting thread in the archives, so thanks.

[> Just a thought, TCH... -- Rob, 22:05:27 02/22/03 Sat

When your whole Odyssey is complete, it would be really cool to see all of the reviews together. You should check if they can be posted at the ES site.


[> [> Well... -- Tchaikovsky, 06:09:16 02/23/03 Sun

The Odyssey currently runs to 16,000 words, and is all together in a Word file on my computer. So it would certainly be possible for me to put it somewhere, if anyone wants to host it! Currently planning to go through to the end of Season Three, at which point I will have pretty much caught up to my Buffy watching, (as Season Seven is yet to be released on video or shown on terrestrial TV).


[> [> [> Update: 17,277 words with new post! -- TCH, 09:16:57 02/23/03 Sun

[> Wodehouse, Yeats and Kafka (Angel Odyssey 2.9-2.11) -- Tchaikovsky, 08:26:58 02/23/03 Sun

Need to warn you brave readers of a couple of things here:
1) The three writers listed only covers 'The Trial'. Wow, there's a lot of culture-y goodness in these episodes.
2) I think I've got some of the 'Gah!' 'Wow!' 'NO!!!' 'YES!!!' 'Aaah!' 'HELP!!' s out of my system, but there's always room for a relapse
3) This particular run of three episodes is, in my opinion, as good a run as anything written by Mutant Enemy ever. Ever. I've been desperately trying to contradict myself. Almost had myself fooled with 'The Body', 'Forever' and 'Intervention', but not quite. Buffy superioristas, I am officially defecting. This programme has the same quality.

OK, so that's cleared up. Calm, calm. Here goes.

2.9 The Trial

In the long summer after my GCSEs, aged 16, I read around about 20 books in my summer vacation. All the three then-released Harry Potter books. All Jane Austen. Some silly Stephen Fry. The Grapes of Wrath. The Odyssey. Other stuff I forget for the moment. The book which took the most out of me was Franz Kafka's 'The Trial'. It's a horrible bureaucratic, claustrophobic nightmare. It's about feeling that you are guilty just for living. It's partly about living in the nightmare of the crumbling Austro-Hungarian empire, but mostly about just how hard it is to live, and how sometimes filling in forms and trying to do things by the book is just darned confusing and agonising. While watching this episode, I almost came to the conclusion that the episode title was a co-incidence. Then I remembered I was watching Angel, so it can't be.

Ultimately, the only thing I could find which links together Kafka's phantasmagoric dystopia and 'The Trial' is the sense of the arbitrary nature of the tasks, and the senselessness of the 'rules'. How come they can't restore Darla's life for a second time? No real reason; but that's the pain of life sometimes. It's not callous, it's not benevolent- it's just indifferent.

This is perfectly portrayed by having the English butler as the guide for the trials. Not because the English are indifferent and insensitive, I hasten to add, (hmmm), but because he is a perfect example of a literary archetype who is most interested in things being correct; traditional; in order. I realised it was a PG Wodehouse rip-off, and then was a touch diappointed when Angel actually called him Jeeves, because, hey, I prefer it when things are only implied. But there was a great truth in Jeeves being there, which made the surreality of the whole concept work. Now someone has to decide whether Angel or Darla is Bertie Wooster...

And also in The Trial there's that echo that reverberates, and that some geniuses on this board have related to Yeats' gyre. This isn't the first time in this Season of Angel we've heard, 'Things fall apart', [although I forgot to note it last time,] but it is repeated several more times, (most memorably in the wonderful Willow/Tara scene in 'Entropy'). Angel Season Two and Buffy Season Six share a theme in this sense. On a very simple level, it's about what happens when things go wrong; when things break down. This season is all about how relationships painstakingly forged, (the whole premise of Season One), can be nastily torn down by circumstances and by historical, threatening loves. An uncomfortable story, but an extremely brave one to tell on US network TV. Of course, at the end of Season Six, there's the Buffy/Giles scene, and Xander's mouth, and everything sorts itself out somewhat tidily. Because it's Buffy. Angel is such an unknown adventure for me, that anything could happen. It's not a foregone conclusion.

That concludes the extremely long-winded literary references section. Other things:
-Doug Petrie is Master of the Dramatic Act Break. I remember noticing this while watching 'As You Were'. You may hate the episode, but if you're unspoiled, there's Riley turning up, Riley being married and Spike being the Doctor, all on act breaks. Here the act breaks are Darla revealing she is dying ('Gah!!'), the valet telling Angel that Darla will die if he fails ('Huh?') and Angel being told that the third task is for him to die, ('What? NO!!!'). At least some of these are definite Petrie-isms.
-'You were just soulless bloodsucking villains. They're lawyers'. One of the truisms of the season.
- The end, where had I been standing up I would have fallen over and bumped my head on various sharp objects.

Wow. The whole theme of the episode is about becoming philosophical about death. Death needs to become an extension of life to some of our characters. We have Angel, who is ready to sacrifice himself for Darla. It is tempting to claim this is an act of supreme good and altruism. I think this is a false assertion. Angel knows full well that by saving Darla, he is saving one soul who arguably has forfeited her right to live. By saving himself, he is in turn allowing countless other people to live by saving them. This is about more than simple goodness, but an epic Shakesperian or Lean-ian love, stetched so that centuries feel like years. Angel realises that Darla, with her beating heart, is close to having what he desperately wants- what he considers a normal, human life. And he's willing to sacrifice himself for that. Because he still loves Darla. Understatedly, and arguably incorrectly, the valet (a little like Stevens in 'The Remains of The Day') comments quietly 'You played the game magnificently'.

Then we get the scene which becomes the end of the episode. An episode where I was expecting a rather beautiful, quiet ending. Darla has learnt from Angel that it is possible to reconcile oneself to death. It's not really a logical thing. She's not thinking: 'I've had 400 years', or 'I was dying from syphillis as punishment- now my punishment is complete'. It's a meditative thing, a personal thing, and a deep thing. This is the victory that Angel has one. He hasn't saved Darla's life. But, in a way, he has cured her. There are strong references to Buffy's 'Lie To Me' in this episode, and Billy Fordham. Billy wants to become a vampire to stop dying. With Angel's help, Darla has gone through this.

And then, like very politely ripping my heart out, comes the actual ending. Juliet Landau, uncredited at the beginning, is magnetic. She floats rather like The Gentlemen in 'Hush'. She is absolutely incredible, and what she represents even more so. Angel is apparently succeeding in saving another soul. After so much heartache. After constant knockbacks, like the end of 'Darla'. But he's still haunted and undermined by his past. There is absolutely nothing he can do in the present day about stopping Drusilla. But it is his fault. Because he sired Drusilla. All his best intentions with Darla are not good enough, even after 100 years of supposed pennance. Drusilla is Angel's sin. Angel has still not atoned.

Possibly my favourite ending on either show. Possibly the best Angel episode ever. Certainly a 10/10.

2.10 Reunion

Although I seemed to manage to work in about 20 allusions in the above review, the real quality of that and this episode is their pretty much straight ahead plotting. It just says- look, we have good characters, and oodles of narrative tension. Watch us play. And don't they do it well?

If I had one complaint about these two episodes, it might be that they are a little too maniacally focussing on the Darla arc. There's not a lot of breathing space. But this is pretty much commented on in the show itself. How long has it been since we saw Cordelia have a vision? Around about six episodes, which considering they were one of the most important pieces in the narrative structure jigsaw during the first season, is a long time. In order to counteract any complaints about this, Tim Minear, (or Shawn Ryan, frankly who cares?), puts in a vision at the apparently most inappropriate moment of the narrative- just as the tension about Drusilla and Darla is ratchetting up past breaking point. Of course, the writers also use it to fantastic effect. It shows a little more baldly how Angel is more interested in Darla's problems than in saving a normal life, in being the Champion he is supposed to play. And hence it is a neat foreshadowing of the very final scene, as the Gang, (they're so much less of a gang than the Scooby Gang, but that's part of the fun), slowly fall apart; as inevitably as Yeats, the crazy psychic, imagined.

Talking of crazy psychics, [hey, do I deconstruct you segues?], Drusilla is brilliant in this episode. She's so threatening- for me even more so than in the other Season Two. There is, again, a reference to 'Lie To Me', where Drusilla re-intones the Joss lines 'Run and catch/Run and catch/ The lamb is caught in the blackberry patch'. There is also a reveal of a very clever bit of foreshadowing that I completely missed. In 'Darla', after Drusilla is told off for playfully calling Darla 'grandmother', she suggests 'I could be your mummy'. I thought it was a Dru-ish bit of roleplaying insanity. Of course it's not just that. Now Dru really is Darla's mummy.

Kate has an interesting part in this episode- although since they pretty much scrapped the anthology idea after Season One, she is being used more of a plot tool than the fascinating minor character I originally loved.

The end has two more definite 'Gah!!' moments. Firstly, the absolutely chilling 'noir Angel' line 'And yet I just can't seem to care'. Of course, despite this rather stupidly being in the season promotion for Angel Season Two, it gains a huge amount more weight from both being in context, and also from being an echo of the Wilkinsian Holland Manners earlier in the episode. Interestingly, an episode too late, we find out that another character has reconciled himself to possible death- this being Lindsay. An oversite not to put this revelation into 'The Trial' I think. Anyway, this of course blurs the line. A lot hangs on just how much Dru's vamping of Darla hurt Angel. I think from how I attempted to explain it above, and the absolute fury he goes into at the start of this episode, that it was really, really deep. Angel sees himself as getting one back on cruel fate. And to direct it at the strangely inhuman Wolfram and Hart is the easiest way. Of course it's wrong, just like his back-turning on the residents of the Hyperion in 1952. It's worth noting that he still isn't directly responsible for a human death, although he clearly could have stopped many here. But it's a sin of omission. And while condemning the action of walking away, I think that the narrative is so brilliantly crafted that it is an entirely psychologically valid action for the character at this point.

Then there's the firing, which brings to a head that breaking up of hard-won 'families' that I've already mentioned.

Another groundshaking episode

2.11 Redefinition

I'm sure this one is often considered the least of the three, and I think I would argue rightly so. However, it does a startling job, and I really appreciate the ability of relative newcomer Mere Smith to make the tricky in-between periods of story telling, (she also wrote 'Untouched'), into thought-provoking, challenging scripts.

I thank Arethusa for pointing out the threefold violation going on in 'Untouched', and here the theme of the episode is, once again, right there in the title. And there are at least four separate cases of a person attempting to redefine themselves in this episode, all of which complement and contrast themselves well.

1) There's Lilah and Lindsay in Wolfram and Hart. They survived the 'massacre' in Holland's cellar purely out of their capacity to do evil, (Drusilla calls them 'good little children', further emphasising the Family idea which seems so important to her). They need to redefine themselves in Wolfram and Hart, and they do, partly with the help of the threatening President of Special Projects. It's a simple redefinition- one of a new job title and an increased importance.
2) There's Cordelia, Wesley and Gunn's redefinition. This was very important to me. I've been missing the interplay of the three, as the action concentrated wondefully but a little obsessively on one character. They break apart after Angel sacks them- from him and from each other. But when they meet up at the karaoke bar, they find themselves part of a group again with their own solace. That's why 'We Are The Champions' is a very funny, emotional and Buffy-esque moment for me. It's about staying together, and belief. But it's done with that slant on what you might do when you're desperate and drunk. Tidy. Oooh, and Lorne is actually a real lounge lizard. Took me a while to get that joke.
3) Darla is looking for redefinition with Dru. She's not The Mater's minion. She's not Angelus' lover. She's certainly not content being a bit-part player to Dru. So she contrives to take over LA. But is pushed back at least for a while.
4) And, most in focus to the episode itself, we have Angel, or at least the character that David Boreanaz is portraying, whoever that might be. Darla contends, 'It's not Angel. It's not Angelus'. This is a quite new person- dead set on a mission, fighting for his own ends not some abstract concept of good. 'Let them fight the Good Fight. Someone's gotta fight the war', he ends. The miltaristic music from Robert Kral is nicely done. The voiceover gives that suggestion of complete detachment from anything else. And Angel is now trying to become a good fighter, and a warrior able to detach himself from past emotions and their reflection on today. Just like Buffy's own struggle in her Season Two, Angel needs to be ready to kill Darla. But it's going to take a while. Will he eventually succeed? I predict two things, [NB Spec is no fun when everyone else can laugh at you, so I'm playing safe]
1) He won't win without more sacrifice. And
2) It's going to have to wait a while, because I have reached mid-Season, and now must again trade box sets with yabyumpan.

What a cliffhanger!! Wonderful stuff!! Thanks everyone for bearing with me while I tried to resist just writing gibberishes of delight. The Odyssey continues...


[> [> Right behind you -- Rahael, 09:25:35 02/23/03 Sun

Now that my dvd has been fixed. I've just watching in tandem. Just started on Dear Boy. Season 2 is excellent.

I just wanted to add something to your last post, about why Darla is pretending to be someone else. When I started rewatching, the similarity to Hitchcockian head-f***s pertrated on the hero by mysterious blondes struck me. Especially when he sees her on the promenade, passing by. Reminded me of vertigo. Also the part where it can't be the person he's thinking of because she's dead.

Wonderful stuff indeed!

[> [> [> Ah yes -- Tchaikovsky, 09:57:48 02/23/03 Sun

And what an incredible film Vertigo is! Who else would have been able/willing to do that whole insanity thing to Jimmy Stewart? I mean, this is 'It's A Wonderful Life' Jimmy Stewart! And that does make good sense. The whole aspect of Angel starting to believe he is driving himself mad. Because you do start to see people you want to see sometimes. Oddly enough, because of the relatively sparse viewings of Darla before 'Dear Boy', I was wondering for a second whether it was Darla that Angel had just attacked, or whether he'd done something similar to what Buffy did to Oz in 'What's My Line?'. 'That is one tense person'. So in a sense I became Angel. Which considering what he's doing now is a scary thought.


[> [> I was just waiting until you hit these episodes :-) -- KdS, 09:36:51 02/23/03 Sun

Very nice essay. Something you may or may not have noticed - other than the internal voiceovers, Angel does not say a word to any other character during Redefinition.

[> [> [> Wow! Total isolation. Thanks! -- Tchaikovsky, 09:47:56 02/23/03 Sun

[> [> Angel episode archs -- Masq, 09:57:15 02/23/03 Sun

I am definitely not in the Buffy "superiorista" camp and I get Very irritated with people who are. I think BtVS has more obvious metaphors, characters that are easier to like, and it has story arcs that build up slowly over the course of the season in predictable ways that allow fans to speculate about "big bads" vs. "little bads" and when the "pivotal" episode of the season's climax will start (usually around episode 17).

"Angel" on the other hand, is more difficult to grasp, and so many people don't bother. There is less light-hearted banter. The demons are "people" that have to be dealt with as complex beings, rather than metaphors to be slain. The moral ambiguity is thicker. The themes--finding family, one's place in the world, one's purpose for being here--have been more adult from day one.

And the story arcs, which more or less started in Season 2, are more, how shall I put it? "Manic-depressive". This is one thing that Angel fans enjoy that I think puzzles people who've grown too attached to the "Buffy" formula. Angel seems to drag sometimes in their estimation. Then it swings wildly and a great deal happens in the span of a few episodes, radically changing the face of the relationships on show. Not only that, but the story can turn on a dime at any time, and head in a totally different direction, rather than the linear format of Buffy, in which everything leads to the defeat of a big bad in May.

There is definitely more melodrama on "Angel" a well, more larger-than-life stories of prophecy and destiny and people at the whim of fickle "gods" and heroes going on more than metaphorical journies.

Not everyone's cup of tea. But I think there are people who jump from that to "If it's not like Buffy, it must be inferior". Grrr argh.

Speaking purely on a subjective level, I enjoy AtS better than BtVS, and it has to do with personally identifying with the characters more, with the dark mood of the series, with the more complex moral ambiguity.

[> [> [> sitting by masq and looking on admiringly... -- Ronia, 10:11:56 02/23/03 Sun

I agree, I really like them both..differently. I like best when they are pointedly not similar. Somehow it seems that the differences between the shows adds depth to my viewing enjoyment of both. It even makes me look back on Buffy S1-3 and wonder..is all of this exactly as it seems? Just what might the non-primary characters have been thinking about what was going on around them, in their *non key guy capacity*? What did Angel do on Wednesdays?

[> [> [> [> Absolutely...perspective -- Tchaikovsky, 10:21:01 02/23/03 Sun

I was shocked by the way Cordelia was portrayed for much of Season One on Angel, because she seemed so insecure. But it wasn't inconsistent writing. It was partly my not taking into account that she had had so much taken away from her at the end of Buffy's third season. But it was mostly do with the fact that we were seeing her straight on: not as a 'what Buffy might have been', not as a heartless vacuous fool and not as Xander's verbal fencing partner. We saw only one side of her: the side she exhibited to the Scoobies- which, with the exception of some moments of genuine kindness and concern, and a couple of lovely conversations with Xander while they were dating, was a negative and uninteresting side.

Now we see Cordelia from the perspective of Angel, who needs to be helped, Doyle and Wesley, who need support and validation, and Cordelia herself, who is, in Season One, an insecure penniless teenager.

So I believe a show featuring all the same characters doing all the same things might be hugely different if the focus was elsewhere. Imagine if Giles was the main character, [the show would never have been made for one thing]. A much more mature, slowish journey, with the schoolkids seeming a little irrelevant.

Just a little ramble. Feel free to ignore.


[> [> [> Agree on my limited viewing. Well delineated -- Tchaikovsky, 10:22:27 02/23/03 Sun

[> [> [> I'm in the equal just different camp. -- Rufus, 14:10:51 02/23/03 Sun

I prefer Buffy (personal preference) but watch Angel faithfully.

[> [> [> [> Same here. I love both shows to death. (well-known casting spoiler) -- Rob, 19:19:30 02/23/03 Sun

I also lean a bit on the "Buffy" side, because I'm more emotionally connected to the characters and metaphors. But I adore "Angel" also, which, on a regular basis, attains levels of such brilliance, it makes my head spin. I really don't get when people disparage one of the shows to raise the other. I thank almighty Joss that "Buffy" and "Angel" are so different. Who wants a spin-off that's just a clone of the original? It's because AtS has veered in such different directions than "Buffy" that makes both shows so wonderful. I don't even like to think of it as a "spin-off." I like thinking of them both as companion stories in the same basic universe. And I also don't buy the idea that they are in different universes now. I do not believe for one second that when Faith leaves LA and goes to Sunnydale, she will be passing through a dimensional portal, nor that the events on AtS will not affect what happens on "Buffy" or vice versa as the seasons climax.


[> [> Re: Wodehouse, Yeats and Kafka (Angel Odyssey 2.9-2.11) -- yabyumpan, 10:32:56 02/23/03 Sun

First of all, great reviews and I am SO glad you've given them such high praise. I must admit that I was slightly worried before sending them, I love S2 but i know quite a number of people didn't and actually stopped watching during S2, disgusted by Angel's behaviour. I think it's a facinating study of what it actually means to be 'Angel', of a Vampire's connection to their Sire, the aloneness that comes from being so unique, the connections of 'Family' both old and new. It also has some great, what I call "What the f*** " moments, times when, at the end of the episode you find yourself just staring at the TV screen thinking "did that just happen?".

A few thoughts: In answer to Darla's "Who was that?", I think who we're seeing when Angel locks 'his girls' in with the Lawyers is 'Liam'. Maybe not the Liam we've seen in flashbacks but Angel at his most human. He's not Angel, a champion fighting the good fight and working for redemption and he's not Angelus, just out for the pleasure of causing death and suffering. He's someone who's been pushed to breaking point and finally just snapped. It's almost a case study in psychological torture, how to do it, how it can change people. The Lawyer buffet is also a great example of 'be careful what you wish for', they'd worked for months to make him 'dark' and finally succeded. A job well done, the word 'Karma' comes to mind whenever I see that scene.

Maybe more later, I want to watch 'Alias' now :o)

[> 'Darla' (Season 3 Spoilers, TCH, avoid!) -- Rahael, 12:51:51 02/23/03 Sun

I've been having quite the marathon viewing session. Just finished watching 'Darla' and am stopping for dinner. (Also, like Yaby, I took a break to watch Alias!)

I just wanted to note one thing that struck me on viewing the ep, and that was the last scene where Darla offers Angel a baby, as a test of his character, a test which proves to be pretty decisive and shrewd.

That image, Angel and Darla standing over the baby crib, over that baby, that proves to be much more significant from the vantage point of Season 3, doesn't it? A picture of a dysfunctional family, with Angel saving the baby from Darla. And when this is repeated in S3, the significant disjuncture is that Darla saves the baby, sacrificing herself, and revealing a surprising and moving depth to the character.

[> [> Yes, but why does Darla... (season 3 spoilers) -- Masq, 14:19:31 02/23/03 Sun

sacrifice herself to save the baby? Well, there is one reason--the baby can't come out the natural way, and it will die unless she finds a way to get it out of her.

But she also knows once the baby is born, his soul with leave with him, and she will no longer "be able to love it". And she will kill it, like she wanted Angel to do to the missionaries' baby. Like she and Angelus did to Holtz' baby. So Darla kills herself to give her baby life, in more than one sense of that word.

And she also, unfortunately, bequeaths the poor kid her hair. ; )

[> [> [> Yes, that's why I find it so moving -- Rahael, 14:31:18 02/23/03 Sun

It goes beyond self sacrifice.

[> [> [> [> OT, but stlll AtS related (TCH--you don't want to come in here!) -- Rob, 19:25:25 02/23/03 Sun

Sorry to hijack this, but I was just curious what you two thought of the Pylea arc. I've heard such varying positions on it. Personally, i adored the entire 4 episodes. I thought it was one of the most fascinating, out there, awesome arcs on either show. But I kind of watched it in a bubble, on the videos, and I've heard that there was some disappointment in them when they aired. Probably a great deal had to do with the fact that this relatively light, more carefree story was airing while BtVS was going through some of its darkest episodes. Which is kind of funny, because BtVS is rarely darker than AtS.

Where do you guys fall on the Pylea episodes? I was just curious. I love the whole Oz/Wonderland/Narnia-type fantasy/fairytale by way of Monty Python type humor and imagination of this arc. And the Fred introduction! Anyone can respond, but Masq and Rah, I'm particularly curious about your thoughts.


[> [> [> [> [> Re: OT, but stlll AtS related (TCH--you don't want to come in here!) -- yabyumpan, 21:01:07 02/23/03 Sun

I loved the Pylea arc and I don't actually think it's as light as it seems. There was actually quite a lot of growth in those eps for all the characters.

Angel got to meet/become his actual demon and found that he could control it. Something he'd been battling with all season.

Wesley really stepped into the leadership role and I think cemented his confidence within it. He was able to inspire confidence in his 'troops' and give Angel the confidence he needed to take control of his demon.

Cordy had the chance to give up her visions and have the life she thought she wanted, being a princess and worshiped etc, but chose to keep the visions and the mission, even though, as we learn in S3, she was already on heavy medication even then.

Gunn made the choice between his old gang and AI. I think some people don't really think it was 'in character' for Gunn to abandone his crew but I think loosing george (I think that was his name), after also loosing his sister, shattered his confidence as a leader. I think he was also just tired of all the responsibility. He'd been doing it for a long time, trying to keep every one safe and I saw it as giving up the reins and letting himself take a back seat. Some times you just have to let go.

Lorne, as he said, had to go back to prove that he didn't have to go back. Fear of returning to Pylea must have always been in the back of his mind, esp as he wasn't really sure how he'd got to L.A. He conqured that fear and was able to leave with his head held high, knowing he'd really made the right choice.

And of course Fred was able to escape (physically at least) and start to rebuild her life.

The whole gang helped to bring about change in Pylea. In fact, if they were in Trek universe, they would be drummed out of the federation for breaking the 1st Directive (I think that's what it's called, been a while since I watch any Trek)

There's a whole lot more going on in the Pylea arc than light fun, it's like the whole of the season played out over 4 episodes, with clear resolutions and sharper definded roles for every one and the gang as a whole.

[> [> [> [> [> My thoughts (spoilers for end of Season 2 and beyond) -- Masq, 21:23:05 02/23/03 Sun

This is exactly one of the points I was trying to relate to TCH in my post to him above without getting spoilery about the end of Season 2.

At the time, I was really thrown by the Pylea arc. Here we have this season that is all centered around Darla. She starts out human and morally ambiguous. She becomes a vampire and evil. Angel tries to save her, first by fighting for her life and soul, then by trying to kill her as a vampire. Finally, he gives into despair and tries to lose his soul in her.

If you follow the Buffy paradigm, Darla should have been the "Big Bad" of Season 2. The season should have ended her arc and she should have been killed off or her story should have been wrapped up in some other way. It should have been all climactic, building up to episode 22.

Instead, Darla disappears altogether. The story line they've been building for 3/4ths of a season disappears. The whole gang goes to this weird dimension where this ridiculous green demon does the Dance of Joy and Cordelia parades around in a skimpy costume and gets called "princess". Angel turns into a drooling demon and meets a whacky physicist.

I was like, "Huh"?

In retrospect, this hardly seems surprising. AtS frequently takes "left turns" into wildly different directions, and this was one of the first cases of that. Other examples include pregnant Darla, the sudden appearance of the 18th-century Holtz in the 21st century, and the return of grown-up Connor. And Cordy's ascension into the Higher Dimensions and her "return".

And none of these odd twists is irrelevant to the larger story being told. The Pylea arc has resonated into Season 4. It gave us Fred, and it made Fred three-dimensional. It fleshed out Lorne and gave him lots of "dysfunctional family" jokes. It was the real start of the darker edge to Wesley. It gave us the Groosalug. And of course, it gave Joss his cameo nickname--"dancing Numfar".

So in retrospect, I like it more than I did at the time. I understand it more. I know of what I speak when I point out that some people too tied to the linear Buffy formula can't appreciate the surreal eccentric "Angel" formula. Because I was guilty of that myself at one time.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Me too -- Rahael, 02:09:21 02/24/03 Mon

Hell, I didn't even properly appreciate AtS Season 2 to start off with, so who am I to talk? It's been great rediscovering it through new (TCH's!) eyes. It's a treasure, and I think the Pylea arc is going to be much more rewarding when I get to seeing it.

(Next up - the Trial!)

And I like the way Masq puts it, "The surreal eccentric Angel formular". I'm starting to get accustomed to it. Its irregular and more unpredictable rhythms is a refreshing change. And doesn't it also kind of correlate to the perspectives of the two different shows? Angel is 200 plus years old. He must see life and time in a different way, whereas in BtVS, part of the joke was always the huge dramas and climaxes of adolescence. Both shows have a natural show endowed by the content, and that's what I like about them.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Me too -- Dannyblue, 09:12:34 02/24/03 Mon

I loved the Pylea Arc. But even while I was watching it, even though I wasn't part of the Internet fandom yet, I knew some fans weren't going to like it. I remember thinking, "In order to appreciate this, you have to see it as a mini-series that isn't really part of the season or series as a whole. It's its own seperate thing."

But that's not really the case. As someone pointed out, a lot of stuff that happened in Pylea played a huge role in what took place in season 3. Wesley being the perfect example.

In Pylea, in order to save lives, Wesley had to harden himself to the fact that some of his troupes might die. In fact, he sent some of "his men" out knowing they definately *would* die, that they *had* to die, in order for the overall strategy to succeed. He was even willing to sacrifice Angel in a way.

Angel was afraid to use his demon to fight Groo because he thought he wouldn't be able to get it back under control a second time. That he would be trapped as the demon, primal and mindless, acting on pure instinct. Wesley gave him a pep talk, convincing Angel to use the demon to fight Groo because he believed Angel could ultimately get the demon back under control; that Angel will win over the beast inside him.

But later, Wes reveals to Gunn that he really *doesn't* think Angel can regain control. But they need Angel's demon to win the fight, and Wes is willing to sacrifice Angel (or, at least, Angel's identity) for the cause.

I think Pylea shaped Wes's character, and had an effect on a lot of the things he did later in seasons 3 and 4.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Me too (Season 2-4 spoilers) -- Masq, 09:28:52 02/24/03 Mon

Agree. But I think it shaped Wesley's character in the sense that it brought out parts of his personality he already had. Wesley was in training to be a Watcher since at least his teen years (Spin the Bottle). The Watchers have always had that "the individual soldier is expendable for the larger cause" philosophy that Buffy refused to buy into.

But for Wesley, it's always been part of his philosophy. He was willing to let Willow be harmed or die at the hands of the Mayor to keep their hands on the box of Gravlok and prevent the Mayor's Ascension before it started (Choices).

Being in Pylea and being in charge brought out strategies Wesley already accepted. It showed a certain ruthlessness in his leadership skills, a willingness to "do whatever is necessary" to fight the Good fight. We see that again when he steals Angel's only child--separating parent and child--because he thinks it's the best way to save Connor. We see it again when he develops a relationship with Lilah and uses that relationship to get inside information that can help the good guys (although Lilah expects this and uses it against him). We see it when Wesley is willing to help Fred get vengeance against Prof Seidel.

Pylea gave the writers a chance to show Wesley using these strategies to their fullest because the "cow rebels" were characters the viewers weren't attached to and were therefore expendable.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Interesting... (end of s2 spoilers) -- Rob, 15:16:39 02/24/03 Mon

I probably loved Pylea on first viewing, because I was watching it while watching the fourth season, so I had more of an idea of where everyone was leading, character-wise, and what the signficance of the stories would be. Knowledge of a basic idea of what was coming probably helped me appreciate it more the first time. I can see why for most viewers it would take a while to truly appreciate it.


Seasonal Metaphor? S7 Spoilers -- Darby, 06:42:44 02/22/03 Sat

Last Season (6), touted as the "Oh, grow up!" season, took our heroes into a lot of the transitions of adulthood - work, money, settling down, being thrust into situations they weren't ready for. How much of Buffy's walk through Hell can be compared to shadowkat's or Celebaelin's experiences? Was Willow continuing on her wunderkind path, gaining too much power and responsibility but not the maturity to handle it? Xander faced a path that looked uncomfortably like his own parents' (I've been there), dealing in ways that were reflexive but probably not right, seeing the similarities but not the differences. Dawn was trying to grow up but being held back by those with control over her. Spike found himself in a dead-end rut, for which his great love was rejecting him, decided to shake up his life with a major change. Vampire re-hab.

As much as "Back to the Beginning" is supposed to be this season's theme, shouldn't our heroes' lives be continuing?

Buffy, fighting just one more battle, is changing the type of opponent but having trouble altering her approach. She has gotten a "promotion" and has many more people to be responsible for and direct, but doing so is a struggle. She continues on and on in a job that was supposed to be temporary, that she in fact gave up but couldn't get away from, and she's good at it but really, really would rather be doing something else. She'd at least like to delegate more, but she can't bring herself to do it. But it's easier blaming that on her subordinates. Given an opportunity for more power, she refuses, not wanting to take another step down a path that she feels is making her less human, less herself. She needs to find herself to ferret out, recognize her dark side before she can deal with it, which will be harder if she feeds it any more.

Spike and Dawn, and to a large extent Xander, have accepted their new roles and are trying to contribute.

Spike, after recognizing and then battling the inner demons of his vampiric nature (externalized through the FE - this has been his real trial), has achieved a certain serenity. Unlike Angel, he isn't paralyzed with guilt over his past; unlike Angel, he recognizes the power and unpredictability of his inner demon but feels that, with Buffy's help, he can control it. This may be an addiction storyline made properly metaphorical - I think we're about to see if "sobering up" for someone other than yourself is the right course. Especially when they maybe don't like the new you as much as you expected.

Dawn. As Spike is not Angel, Dawn is not Buffy. Dawn's period of rebellion, due more to being ignored than anything else, has mostly ended and she is enthusiastically pursuing this new calling of Helper to the Slayer. In weeks, she may have exceeded the contributions the core Scoobies could muster all the time they were in high school. She's fighting, she's researching, she's supporto-gal, she's doing magic. And yet she's still only barely noticed - by those around her as well as the viewers. Hers may be a metaphor for the life of a typical Slayer, working her butt off alone for little recognition.

Xander has found that the strengths that have made him valuable to the Scoobs are of real value "out there," helping him advance in his job. His is the image of the adult with success at work but making all the wrong choices personally, attracted only to demons but unable, even unwilling to alter this. And his one successful relationship, with a girl who thrust off her demon self, languishes after he sabotaged it, because he couldn't trust himself to not be a demon himself with her. He has to stop being drawn to those he feels "deserve" him. Of the group, he may be the one who feels himself more evil than he truly is - no wonder the First Evil has no interest in him.

Willow's life course has been easy, her choices made from the longest list of options, but the bumps in the road have seemed magnified for it. When faced with a major life event, the death of Tara, she couldn't deal and reacted in ways that should themselves have Major Repercussions. Her friends have been understanding to the point of brushing everything under the rug, but isn't that often the way, if you are powerful enough? People fear your power and find ways to excuse your excesses, but the power and the acts remain. Willow is frozen by a past she cannot change (although in her case, she literally tried to), and whose only amends seem to lie in wielding the same power that so corrupted her. I'm thinking that it's no accident that Willow and Oz were once linked to a barely-disguised Microsoft; both exhibit a power, one primal and one cerebral, capable of overwhelming those they deal with and ultimately with no one to answer to. Willow's path is the hardest, and the one least traveled because of that, the one to whom things have come easily but who must learn to stop catering to their own whims and direct their power to the greater good. She knows it's the right thing to do, but in this case, knowledge is not enough, and it's the power of her moral compass that is the critical power here.

And Giles, the parent who has been out of touch with the children for a while, still loves them but is no longer sure how to relate to them. He's trying to relate to them as adults, but damn it, sometimes they still just irritate him. He works at much more of a distance now, avoiding getting "hands on." Buffy continues the family business, but it's a new world and he's unsure just how much of his antiquated approach would help and how much would hurt (and he fears rejection more now that his power position has shifted). Willow, being the child most likely to repeat his own mistakes, is the one whose future he fears most but the one to whom he can most connect as an adult, as she comes to realize that he was not a complete buffoon after all. But can the children really listen? Xander is the child whose path has diverged the farthest from his own, whose world he no longer understands, but of whom he is very proud. Dawn is the child with which Giles least connects (and the disconnect runs both ways), but the one with whom he can still play the father more, even though he is no longer sure it's appropriate. Giles, the parent visiting with the adult children, is a bit lost.

Thanks to all of the "Meet the Posters" contributors - all of these life stories reminded me of how that's what Buffy is all about, in an oblique kind of way.

- Darby, hoping that this isn't just showing that anything can be made metaphorical if you squeeze hard enough.

[> I totally enjoyed reading your post. Thanks, Darby! :> -- WickedBuffy, 09:38:46 02/22/03 Sat

[> [> spoilers for *how much* of s7? or just speculation? -- anom, wary after angelina's post, 23:53:18 02/22/03 Sat

[> [> [> Just up to "First Date" - not even future spec -- Darby, 04:30:39 02/23/03 Sun

[> I think you may be onto something -- MaeveRigan, 12:50:09 02/22/03 Sat

I'm working on a theory for the season as a whole, Darby. I don't know if it's going to work out--it may be ep. 18 or later before the penny really hits the floor--but if I'm right, your post will definitely play a big part in the final product!

[> Not sure this is related but. -- Sophie, 15:48:02 02/22/03 Sat

Is Buffy now the oldest a Slayer has ever gotten? Is she the most powerful a Slayer has ever gotten?


[> [> in "doomed," buffy says... -- anom, 10:36:50 02/23/03 Sun

"Yeah, but you're an amateur - fry cook [Riley's "code" for the work they have in common, since they're talking in public] and I come from a long line of fry cooks that don't live past 25."

So some Slayers have probably gotten to at least 24. As for most powerful--I wouldn't be surprised if she is. If not right now, definitely in Primeval, w/the combo-Buffy spell!

[> Well done (Spoilers up to GiD) -- s'kat, 10:29:15 02/23/03 Sun

Regarding Xander:

Of the group, he may be the one who feels himself more evil than he truly is - no wonder the First Evil has no interest in him.

I think you finally nailed the reason the FE leaves him alone, unless of course he waves his arms at an attractive demon girl who wants a piece of the FE's action. But even then - it was Xander who pursued the girl not the other way around. (Although in his defense, she didn't look like a demon, wandering around in sunlight, perfectly safe. Buff is the only one who goes after guys who are obviously demons. LOL!)

Xander seems to think he's his father or a Harris and fears if he goes with a woman who is weaker or not a demon, he'll destroy her. Oddly enough - he wanted to reunite with Anya
when she was a vengeance demon again and has pulled back since she gave it up.

Back to FE - the First Evil seems to be more interested in those characters repressing or stating : "I'm no longer evil! I'm not evil! I used to be evil but I've changed!"
Than those characters who think they are evil and doomed.
Or it's interested in characters who used to be inherently evil and gave it up, but still get their power from an evil source:

1. Spike - the drug addict (I do think you're right on this, they are doing the addiction metaphor heavily with Spike) - who believes he gets his power from the drug.
Vampires do actually. Blood as Spike states in The Gift is what makes them powerful. Also he seems to register power in a jacket. And possibly cigarettes? Equally interesting. Reminds me of James
Dean movies. The evil sources: the jacket, the blood of humans, violence? Yet doing violence against demons can be good.

2. Willow - the power addict -who can access the power but not control it. And is terrified of what it does to her.

3. Anya - who believes she has no power now that she gave it all up.

The FE has been bugging them. It tortures and triggers and manipulates Spike. Willow - it teases and tempts. Anya it has D'Hoffryn send demons after to kill. (Assuming D'Hoffryn works for it and isn't running his own gig. Some of these demons appear to be independent contractors.)

So it leaves Xander alone. Hasn't really appeared to Buffy except when she's with the potentials. And doesn't really appear to Anya or Giles. It seems to only appear solo to those it thinks it can work in some way - those who have some potential to corrupt.

-The Potential slayers
- and possibly Dawn

Everyone else is a bystander to it's appearances.

And when it has appeared to Buffy - solo - she saw it's demonic form. Amends (the horned demon) and Bring On The Night - the spirit that hung briefly around Willow.

Interesting bad guy.

"First Date" is up at Psyche's -- Darby, 11:43:50 02/22/03 Sat

at http://www.studiesinwords.de/shooting/FirstDate.html

Some tidbits -

- There are cute Kennedy-Willow and Andrew-Anya moments at the beginning that disn't make it through.

- "Lissa" was originally "Maya." For those of you seeing Inca Mummy Girl connections. Lots of people confuse Inca and Maya. I have no idea what that means.

- Wood's weapons cabinet is described as having "no stakes" in it.

- In this version of the script, Buffy says, "Does everyone in this house think I'm in love with Spike?" No "still" in the sentence - wonder who put it there?

- Xander's was supposed to be a bowling date. Probably just easier to shoot the coffee thing. They did sacrifice a good exchange at the bowling alley, though.

- Chao-Ahn is described as speaking "Vietnamese." Maybe Giles went to Saigon rather than Shanghai (that one will get very few laughs, I know). Is Chao-Ahn a reasonable name for either place?

- The Anya blood / pizza sauce line was added later. And Buffy's attire was supposed to be much more clearly underwear, just a bra (was I the only one who figured it was just what she was wearing?). I've always suspected that SMG or someone has decided that Buffy doesn't like her belly. Or maybe SMG doesn't like her navel, which is a bit unusual.

- The flashcards were supposed to mimic the overheads in Hush. Someone didn't notice that the latter weren't stick figures.

- Did Xander check Lissa for corporeality? I didn't notice.

- They passed up Andrew's, "Hey, shooting Kennedy. Isn't that weird?"

- The script was much clearer about the First not being picked up by Willow's equipment.

- Xander was supposed to be stabbed in the chest. A quick recovery to that might have seemed less believable, I guess.

- In the car, there is no stage direction for the rearview mirror, but later in the basement it is expressly said that "ON WOOD: freezing as he realizes: WOOD - He's a vampire."

- Buffy tells Spike in the car about Wood being the son of a Slayer. Did she do that in the final version?

- They also explain Wood's earlier bloody knife - he tells Buffy that "I took out a Durrith Demon with it myself yesterday."

--- Darby, apologizing at starting another thread, but Sara's at a Broadway show and I'm evading work.

[> Is he even doing the htm for the angel stuff anymore? -- VR, 18:50:25 02/22/03 Sat

[> [> Re: the angel stuff... -- aliera, 08:17:01 02/23/03 Sun

I think there's some in htm format if you scroll down and click on season 4 transcripts. I started getting these at buffyworld and then moved to AngelvsAngelus which seems to have gone down sometime last week. I can do pdf but I'd really prefer not to...so if anyone sees Calvary up anywhere could you post?

[> Re: "First Date" is up at Psyche's -- Ylang Ylang, 22:36:06 02/22/03 Sat

*Maya* is the Hindu term for *illusion*.

[> Is her navel unusual, or is it the disliking of it that is unusual? Inquiring minds... -- Lilac, 16:12:52 02/23/03 Sun

[> [> I'm regretting this already... -- Darby, 17:37:15 02/23/03 Sun

I'm making an assumption about a perfectly innocuous feature, but acknowledging that some people - especially people whose looks are a part of their persona, or at least their careers - might see that feature as a big flaw. It seems like when women known for their beauty are asked to name their biggest flaw (men are never asked this), usually they pick something that has me going "Wha-?"

Oops - a vague disclaimer is nobody's friend (one of my favorite lines, incidentally).

Anyway, her navel has the unusual feature of kind of a surrounding crease and an extra dent, just above. Absolutely nothing major, but something someone might obsess over. And if she doesn't (and it really does seem to be a Buffy preference, since SMG will uncover her stomach when she appears elsewhere), there's no way this will work back to her, is there?

I'm in the comfortable position of having way too many flaws to obsess over any of them.

[> [> [> Re: I'm regretting this already... -- s'kat, 17:53:32 02/23/03 Sun

LOL! Ahhh Darb, she probably just thought the other outfit made her look fat. Or for that matter - the costumer just didn't have that outfit and she preferred this one?

All I know is SMG has the same clause FPJ has in his contract: No nudity whatsoever. So it is remotely possible that the bra and panties idea didn't fit the clause?
(shrug) Personally, considering the various stages of undress Marsters has had to endure - I think it's a tad unfair. Not that I'm complaining - much much prefer to see his chest than hers. ;-)

[> [> [> [> SMG has an ironclad nudity clause. -- HonorH, 21:47:59 02/23/03 Sun

JM griped about that a bit last season--they wouldn't show anything on her, and he couldn't even find a place to put his Nicotine patch.

[> [> [> [> [> It could be that... -- Darby, 05:42:08 02/24/03 Mon

...Although she did appear briefly in a bra when Faith had switched them

I have to say, I think it may be more design than clauses. It may have been self-consciousness early, when SMG was carrying what she calls "baby fat" and cleavage was the thing, but Buffy as Slayer has consistently seemed unsure / unaware of her appeal and has dressed accordingly. The strongest evidence is that she dressed much more revealingly (even showing snippets of belly) when in her relationship with Riley. I've seen this happen with girls I've gone out with - when they start to feel sexy in a relationship, they're more willing to dress that way.

Ask Sara about her sun dress. Wait, maybe you'd better not. Man, am I in trouble! (But believe me, she looked great. And continues to look great, but the professional / mom look has replaced the sun dresses.)

[> [> [> Re: I'm regretting this already... -- aliera, 18:50:15 02/23/03 Sun

No, no. Gave me a nice chuckle at the end of the day. This is quite OT but don't you find that your son and his friends are concerned about how they look? I was surprised by this with my son...not to mention having to fight for the bathroom in the morning and negotiate the wardrobe budget. Maybe it just that when my brother was growing up the style was the sloppier and more distressed the better.

[> [> [> Hesychatism is a major philosophical field -- Cleanthes, 21:42:39 02/23/03 Sun

It is so!

So regret not the Divine Light of the Slayer omphalos.

[> [> [> [> Hesychastism = correct spelling to nondoofuses -- Cleanthes, 21:45:55 02/23/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> I always feel like a doofus when I misspell "Hesychastism". -- HonorH, 21:49:24 02/23/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> [> You're too kind; unusual words should be spelled correctly I think. -- Cleanthes, 21:55:22 02/23/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> Wow! That's a googlewhack! -- d'Herblay, 09:31:50 02/24/03 Mon

Just one hit for "hesychastism" over at Google -- and that's to a page that no longer exists! Here's the cache. Not particularly informative, but I can always see what they have for "hesychastic."

Once Google updates their cache of this forum, of course, we're going to be the world's number one resource for -- well, navel-gazing is what I assumed from the context, but my Oxford Shorter makes no mention of the navel in its definition of Hesychast. Still, I'd like to think of myself as participating in the premier international forum on navel-gazing. (And, indeed, were James Marsters's the navel in question, we have at times been achieved that prominence.)

[> [> [> [> [> [> Unfortunately, it seems that the noun form is "hesychasm" -- d'Herblay, 09:42:00 02/24/03 Mon

So my dream of attracting a lot of, well, very quiet lurkers who don't know much about Buffy but keep expecting tips about what to do at Mt. Athos is probably unrealizable. Oh well, I'll just groove on the cosmicness of meeting a fellow Musketeer (though I thought Porthos was the man-mountain) along such an unlikely path.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Unfortunately, it seems that the noun form is "hesychasm" -- Cleanthes, 22:16:20 02/24/03 Mon

Grooving back atcha.

I think a hesychast practices hesychasm and does so as a doctrinaire believer in hesychastism. The Word Lover's Dictionary has "2. Pertaining to the Hesychasts, fourteenth-century Eastern mystics who contemplated their navels, seeing therein the Divine Light."

I used to use the word hesychast or hesychastic once in awhile in the Xena or Renee O'Connor usenet groups (she of the truly divine omphalos). This brought me to the Greek Orthodox usenet group for awhile because I deja-ed (now Google) the word to see where else it was used.

The philosophy of fungus is more fun, I guess or gusss.

[> [> [> [> Is that related to "omphaloskepsis"? -- d'Herblay, 02:07:59 02/24/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Is that related to "omphaloskepsis"? -- Cleanthes, 22:23:40 02/24/03 Mon

Yes, yes it is.

Omphalopsychite = hesychast

Omphalomancy = predicting the number of children a mother will bear by counting the knots on the umbilical cord of her first-born child.

Omphalotomy = cutting the cord.

ganch = to execute by impaling on a stake or horn. Buffy ganches many vampires.

[> [> Re: In Sarah's recent interview, -- Sang, 08:13:43 02/24/03 Mon

SMG talked about her tattoo in one of her recent interview, that she is now regretting to have tattoos on her low back. She can't reveal her low back because that Buffy doesn't have tatoo, but SMG does. Also when she puts on low jeans, she has to cover her tatoos with tapes or other things, in case she accidentally show her skin around that part.

I guess it must be around the same time that she stopped showing her skin and had tattoo on her. I also read that she hated the custume of Daphne in Scooby Doo, since she should show her bare legs. Someone says that she hates her knees and doesn't want show it other people. That I don't understand, I think those are fine.

[> [> [> Yes, this is what I've heard as well. -- CW, 10:20:46 02/24/03 Mon

Like Charisma she has tatoos which often don't go well with her part.

When we have seen Cordy from the back in a swim suit or otherwise with a bare middle, it's frequently a stand in. Once or twice, particularly in the first season of Angel her tatoo was seen.

[> [> [> [> ??????? -- KdS, 13:50:22 02/24/03 Mon

I don't think they've ever used a stand-in because the tattoo is visible in a *lot* of eps. On the Sanctuary episode guide pages they even have a little "Painted Lady" marker for every episode where CC's tattoo is visible - works out as virtually all of them since mid-S2. Maybe they gave up using the double at about that point.

I think you may be getting mixed up with the rear-view nude shot of Daphne that was reportedly included in some early trailers of Scooby-Doo and cut when they decided to aim the film at kids rather than twenty-something ironists - that was definitely shot using a body double due to SMG's aforementioned scruples.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: ??????? -- CW, 20:44:36 02/24/03 Mon

Usually when you see Charisma's tatoo, it's because her top barely just reaches her pants or skirt. She bends and you see it. When Cordy actually has her middle bare on purpose, as in the episode she was having problems as a model in a skimpy bikini, there is usually no tatoo. There are episodes you see it sometimes and sometimes don't, so they must be using a stand in.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Just from memory but... -- KdS, 04:47:05 02/25/03 Tue

I don't think they showed her from behind at all in the suntan oil scene in Belonging, or if they did she was wearing a dressing gown.

Really, *really* cool proto-Slayer vignette! -- HonorH, 12:34:09 02/22/03 Sat

This one's so cool I can't even describe it. See if you can figure out the story's big twist before the end:

Thousand-Yard Stare

[> Not bad (Spoilers for the story) -- Gyrus, 13:10:53 02/22/03 Sat

I basically liked this, but:

I was confused because we haven't seen a blind Potential, and since the story states that the character has already been in Sunnydale for a couple of weeks, I assumed she would be one who had already appeared on the show.

Why would they teach her crossbows and throwing stars? Shooting by sound alone, she'd be almost as likely to hit a friend as an enemy.

Nonetheless, I like the idea behind the story. I've wondered myself if there could have been Slayers who were handicapped, either physically or mentally.

[> [> Re: Not bad (Spoilers for the story) -- WickedBuffy, 16:27:15 02/22/03 Sat

I really liked the story and your writing style. :>

It brought up the question that always bothers me, though. Even more than who or what chooses the Potentials - "why" are those specific ones chosen over other females? and when? born to it or selected later? is that special "potential marker" planted in them or does it pop up randomly. (To be honest, yours is the first of its type I've ever read, so maybe there are stories covering those questions I have. Guess I'll do some looking around now!)

I wonder how close to possibility your story could be in Buffyverse. Thanks for writing a story that is imaginative and sent my imagination off on a tangent, too. :>

[> [> [> Okay, talk to the author, not me or Gyrus. -- HonorH, 19:12:46 02/22/03 Sat

Just redirecting you, dear. Neither of us wrote it. The author's name and email are linked at the bottom of the story, and I'm sure she'd love to hear from you.

[> [> I think the author's making up a *possible* Potential. -- HonorH, 19:14:28 02/22/03 Sat

Not one we've already seen. Given the number of girls in the Summers house who we don't know, however, one of them could be blind and we wouldn't have to know it. Nonetheless, I think the author's just going with an idea, rather than sticking to canon.

[> wow! i had to read it through again once i realized -- anom, 00:04:29 02/23/03 Sun

Musings of what is viewed but not seen. (Very vague spoilers for GID and speculation) -- Ylang Ylang, 23:59:09 02/22/03 Sat

First to give thanks to whom thanks is due:

The wonderful posts on the "Buffy leadership styles from GID" below and a commercial I saw on Nick.

Leadership Styles and Gender Identity Roles

This is not to be confused with sexual orientation, but -- debatably as always -- gender styles. Buffy's previous leadereship style was feminine. Let everyone who has something to contribute have their say, but be the one to take responsibility for the final decision. The masculine leadership style was best exemplified by Riley and the Initiative. Follow orders of the person one rung -- at least -- above on the hierarchial chart of command, and don't ask questions. Both style of leadership work, or don't, according to the context of the persons and situations.

SMG and FPJ commercial spot on Nick:

SMG and FPJ were touting something - my mind was busy -- but my attention was grabbed when I heard SMG introduce herself as FPJ and FPJ introduced himself as SMG. AT the time I just wrote it off as newlywed, glued at the insides syndrome, but just as God works in mysterious ways, so goes JW.


What is we have some soul swapping going on here?

Specific Speech Acts: (not acutal quotes)

-- Buffy to Spike: 'I haven't been anywhere near Spike lately.
-- Buffy to Spike: 'I'm not ready for you not to be here'

I'm not going to go into a long drawn-out defense of this postulate, but offer it as food for thought only.

One last comment: For Willow, Anya, Spike or Xander to openly challenge Buffy in front of all the SITs would not be the action of teamplayers or friends. Such challenges are best saved for private moments for morale sake. I thought Xander got in a rather humourous little slam though.

[> Buffy the Patriarchy Slayer working for the enemy? -- Valheru, 01:51:24 02/23/03 Sun

Both style of leadership work, or don't, according to the context of the persons and situations.

Definitely. The masculine style probably worked very well for the Initiative. It was a sprawling organization that depended on one cohesive voice to function. Imagine the mess it would have been if everyone followed their own agendas. We even get a glimpse at what that would have been like, when the chain of command fell apart after Walsh's death and Riley, Forrest, and Dr. Angleman fought to assume authority.

The Watcher's Council is another example of such a style. Quentin was (we assume) the head Watcher. All the other Watchers operated under his authority. The assigned Watchers, Giles and then Wesley, were treated as subordinate to everyone else. The Slayer was the lowest peon in the structure. Slayer obeys Watcher, Watcher obeys Council, Council obeys Quentin. Over the years, we see Buffy tear the structure apart, first by asserting herself over Giles's assumed rather than earned authority. Then, she and Giles deny the traditions of the council in "Helpless." In "Graduation Day," Buffy denies the Council itself. Finally, in "Checkpoint," Buffy strips Quentin of his last vestige of power.

One of the constant themes through the series, as many have pointed out, is that masculine institutions aren't necessarily correct--that men in a woman's world is just as relevant as a woman in men's world.

So it is strange, after all this time of breaking up male power structures and following those of the female, that Buffy would actively form a masculine "army." It's not wrong, necessarily--a Scooby-ish type organization of Potentials probably wouldn't work all that well--but I think the real problem lies in how Buffy is forcing it upon the Scooby Gang itself. When we've seen Buffy adopt masculine style with the Scoobies in the past ("When She Was Bad," "The Yoko Factor," and "Selfless," to name a few), it has always proven to be the wrong way. And now we find her attempting to use it at her toughest hour. I expect some sort of train-wreck to occur sometime soon because of this.

One last comment: For Willow, Anya, Spike or Xander to openly challenge Buffy in front of all the SITs would not be the action of teamplayers or friends. Such challenges are best saved for private moments for morale sake.

I agree. I think it showed some smart restraint on the Scoobies' part to not lash out at Buffy (especially Xander). They knew they couldn't say anything too loudly or else risk damaging the argument Buffy was trying to make to the Potentials. Which is why I thought it was rather underhanded of Buffy to attack the Scoobs as she did. It allowed her to get away with talking at the Scoobies, rather than talking to them. Again, that's the masculine hierarchy at work: one does not question a commander, one only follows orders. Not a good way for the Scoobies to interact at all.

[> [> No, that was not the point.. -- Ylang Ylang, 05:56:33 02/23/03 Sun

And not challenging a leader in front of a group of newbiews is not a "masculine" characteristic of leadership.
Outright challenge would be. That is why there is a history of duels, and fights to the death in Western history.

Please look beyond the two gender association terms to look at Buffy's current leadership style as compared to her style historically. If you cannot see a possible soul switch thing, then one would then need to ask what Joss is saying about power and leadership. Of course many know the axiom of "Absolute power corrupts absolutely."

I'm going to throw one more wrench into the bag. I believe that Buffy "died" three times. The final time was after she was shot at the end of season six, and while she was in the hospital. When Willow enters, Buffy still has a beatbeat according to the monitor heard in the background. Just before, and while Willow is removing the bullet, Buffy flatlines for just a few seconds.

There's a Kenyan demon, that looks like a tree, that is the guardian of lost souls. I'm sorry I can't remember its name, and I'm feelig a bit lazy about finding my compendium of all things demonie this morning. It lives in an underground cave. Locals don't exactly consider it to be all *evil*, but it is greatly feared and revered, and has many trickster qualities. It is even known to switch souls.

A great deal of localized folklore, from around the world, does not agree with the "Heaven Can Wait" philosohpy of souls knowing for any length of time that they are not in their previously assigned bodies. (There have been two excellent versions of this movie, the last starring Warren Beatty as an American football quarterbook whose soul is accidently taken when it was not his time to die by a rookie angel of death. An angel of death supervisor steps in then to help find Beatty's character a new body. The first one is murdered by his wife and her lover. The second body just happened to be the football teams's second string quarterback.) Actually, in "Heaven Can Wait," the protagonist's *soul* eventually forgets his other bodies when he finds one that *suits*.

When Buffy and Faith traded places, they were both aware, but that was due to science left by the mayor and not actual *magick*.

A related wrench, er, question is, "Where oh where has Angel's soul gone?" Which pod is the pea hidden under? Who lurks and broods now? Who pops in from almost nowhere when there is a baddie about? Knowing the prophecy of the vampire with a soul, where would you hide a vampire's soul knowing that the few-years'-younger Wesley could barely translate or count for that matter?

[> [> [> Now thats an interesting idea... -- Alison, 10:13:13 02/23/03 Sun

which would explain him saying Buffy before he lost his soul.

cordelia and her fighting skills -- dapne, 17:49:31 02/23/03 Sun

i really need to get something off my chest i dont think its right how there making cordy all strong and warrior like to me it just seems their trying to make her fill buffys shoes but littledo angel investigations know buffy far stronger than any ofthem shes reallycome way along in her fighting skills its something angel cant even concieve of she is also stronger than angel by far now no contest

[> Re: cordelia and her fighting skills -- Dannyblue, 08:55:13 02/24/03 Mon

They aren't trying to make Cordy fill Buffy's shoes. Cordy helps fight demons, just like Wes and Gunn do. Wes and Gunn know there way around a sword. Why on earth shouldn't Cordy? Because she's a woman?

In all honesty, I don't understand why Cordy waited as long as she did to learn to fight. As many times as she's been abducted, knocked around, etc? I think that, if I were in her shoes, I would've signed up for a martial arts class in season one. Heck, I would've done it when i was still living in Sunnydale. Maybe she could've save herself from some of the abuse she's taken over the years.

One of the things I found it hard to accept about the Scooby Gang was that, as often as they threw themselves into danger to help Buffy, they never showed an interest in learning how to more effectively protect themselves. I'm even more surprised that, since they were so determined to help, Giles didn't insist on them learning at least basic self defence.

It's only logical.

Response to aliera -- Sophist, 16:25:19 02/23/03 Sun

The shall-be-unnamed thread was archived before I could reply. Herewith some recommendations:

Stephen J. Gould: Ever Since Darwin, The Panda's Thumb, Full House.

Richard Dawkins: The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker.

Niles Eldridge: Reinventing Darwin.

Matt Ridley: The Red Queen.

Richard Lewontin: It Ain't Necessarily So.

It probably would be easiest if you read them in order of publication date -- they all tend to refer to each other and "refute" each other's position.

I like your idea for a non-fiction thread. Let's start one near the end of the week, after the next episode posts have died down a little.

[> Re:Thanks Sophist -- aliera, 18:37:18 02/23/03 Sun

This should keep me out of trouble for a bit (haha as if.)I have quite a bit of Gould around the house; he seems to show up at used book sales much to my pleasure. Most of the others are new to me and the recommendations are much appreciated. The thread might be an idea for the lull time when we're into Buffy reruns? If not then, I'll remember it for the summer. I had a few other thoughts but I'll hold off for now. It's late and I spent the afternoon working on repainting, retiling and a few other house projects (those ceilings are killers) and curling up with a good book is looking even more attractive than usual!

angel, buffy, cordy -- xanders eye, 17:16:49 02/23/03 Sun

i wanna just been to an angels soul spoiler board some poster said xander gets his eye poked out by caleb in ep 18 do you know anything about this just wanna add i am a b/a all the way c/a is just wrong aassb say buffy fans are to intence

[> Possible FUTURE spoilers above -- Rahael, 17:21:14 02/23/03 Sun

My analysis of "Get It Done" is up -- Masquerade, 21:26:04 02/23/03 Sun


[> Cool! -- Honorh, 21:43:47 02/23/03 Sun

I, too, had flashbacks to Inca Mummy Girl when thinking about this ep. They paralleled Buffy and Ampata in that episode, and this ep only strengthens the image of the sacrificial (metaphorical) virgin. Buffy's actually been a sacrifice twice: the literal virgin sacrifice in "Prophecy Girl", and the blood sacrifice in "The Gift". Interesting to think how this might play out for the rest of the season.

[> For further study -- Cactus Watcher, 06:16:37 02/24/03 Mon

Reading your analysis of this episode got me thinking about Willow and her magic again. When Willow begins the attempt to reopen the portal, she is convinced it will take awhile. But, suddenly she is hit by the magic again and begins screaming. GID seems a very late date for Willow to suddenly be swept up by the power of her own magic again. It's not an orginal thought, but I wonder if all these times that Willow has suddenly possessed, it's been by the First. The first instance I can remember was when Willow was trying to return Angel's soul. It seemed like what she was doing was a good thing, but was it perhaps an attempt by the First to make Buffy hesitate too long in sealing the vortex? I have a theory about Willow being possesed during the ritual to raise Buffy from the dead, but it won't make much sense to anyone else unless some more pieces of the puzzle are shown on the show. During GID I get the feeling Willow is possessed by the First again, and the scream was not Willow at all, but the First horrified that Buffy was getting close to a solution. Willow was trying hard to get Buffy back and would have certainly have used power from Anya and Kennedy, but I think it was the First that caused her to rip it from them. I wonder if Willow's problems with magic haven't aways been that the First has amplified Willow's magic whenever what she wanted suited the Firsts purposes; that the First was it root of the Dark Power behind Willow's magic that Giles mentioned last year.

It's also interesting to note that with Dawn helpless on the floor, the two most powerful people in the room are Anya and Kennedy. That kind of denies the Dawn-is-still-somehow-the-Key theory we still hear occaisonally.

[> Re: My analysis of "Get It Done" is up -- Gyrus, 14:16:02 02/24/03 Mon

I had always suspected that the origin of Slayers predated the formation of the CoW, and that the Watchers' claim on the Slayer line would eventually prove to be bogus. Now we have evidence to the contrary, both from "Get It Done" and from what Masquerade has told us about the Fray comics (which I haven't read) -- that Watchers or their forebears created the Slayer by infusing a girl with some sort of demonic essence.

All of this calls into question what being a Slayer really means. For all the talk of the Slayer's sacred duty, there was nothing sacred about what was done to the first Slayer -- she was chained down and violated, both physically and spiritually. Knowing that, how can Buffy hold onto her belief that she has a higher calling or destiny, when in fact she is merely the inheritor of powers obtained by such morally questionable means?

[> [> That doesn't mean it isn't a higher calling or destiny now. -- Rob, 14:39:06 02/24/03 Mon

Its origins are steeped in moral ambiguity galore, but that doesn't mean that, in the end, the creation of the Slayer didn't do a great deal of good for the world. Thus, ambiguity. What the Shadowmen originally did may not have been ethical, but to drive
the demons away, it may have been necessary.


[> [> [> Re: That doesn't mean it isn't a higher calling or destiny now. -- WickedBuffy, 21:13:42 02/24/03 Mon

It makes perfect sense to me that the shadowmen or the "shadow side of man" defiled a young girl and forced demon into her. But that seems too simple. If they had to chain her down and force it into her, how did they get her to fight demons after they unchained her? What made her suddenly be willing to do that?

" What the Shadowmen originally did may not have been ethical, but to drive
the demons away, it may have been necessary."

It is so ambiguous, as Rob said - and difficult to name ethical or not from their perspective, not ours. Does the lack of Shadowwomen mentioned or involved mean something about the balance of things back then? There were females, as proved by the young girl. That the First Slayer started acting like a Slayer after being demon-dusted mean it also gave her some type of intelligence or morality or something that triggered her to even follow a higher calling or destiny? (I really don't think Joss is making any kind of gender statement really.)

ME has been piecing things together pretty intricately lately. Everything means something, even if it's meaning is a red herring. Is it the old "virginal sacrifice" story? .... only a pure, young woman would be accepted by the Powers That Be to be imbued with the special powers of the Slayer? Just speculating about that small slice of time is a whole world in itself! :>

[> [> [> [> oops! GID spoilerish in my post above! -- WickedCaughtIt, 21:21:26 02/24/03 Mon

[> [> [> Re: That doesn't mean it isn't a higher calling or destiny now. -- Gyrus, 09:27:29 02/25/03 Tue

What I meant to say was that Buffy now knows that Slayerhood is not something that comes from on high -- it's something that human beings created, and not in the most morally shiny of ways. Therefore, Buffy may no longer believe that she was "meant" to fight evil, but rather that she has simply inherited power with no particular responsibilities attached, save for the ones she ascribes to it (i.e. if she believes that "with great power comes great responsibility," regardless of the source of the power).

Maybe this is what the FE meant when it said, "It's not about right. It's not about wrong. It's about power."

[> [> "A higher power guiding us? I'm pretty sure that's not whatI meant" -- Rahael, 15:27:56 02/24/03 Mon

Doesn't it make the calling even more inspiring? That though it is rooted in darkness, it has done so much? That the humanity of the Slayers have so constantly triumphed over the demon (re Tales of the Slayer, the graphic novel).

I possess a strange sort of Christian faith, even though I don't believe in heaven, and I don't believe in a reward a the end. Were it even to be questioned or perhaps not quite what was meant (yes, the first text I ever fanwanked was the Bible), even if there were no higher power guiding us, and there was no afterlife and no heaven, my worldview, my sense of purpose in what sometimes feels a purposeless world, none of that is devalued.

It can't be. Because having integrity is worthwhile all by itself, and if nothing we do matters, than all that matters is what we do.

[> [> [> Couldn't agree more, Rahael. Well said. -- Ixchel, 10:39:30 02/25/03 Tue

"It All Comes 'Round Again": On Duality, "Becoming," and the End (well-known casting spoiler) -- cjl, 22:23:30 02/23/03 Sun

Introduction: Meet on the Ledge

Every five years, your friend cjl takes time off from his busy life, books a ticket to the Mother Country (England, that is) and spends a couple of weeks immersing himself in the folk music of the British Isles. After a couple of days in London, where I pub crawl with some old mates to quench my thirst for English cider, I travel with the rest of my group to the hills of Oxfordshire, where there's a yearly folk music festival of gargantuan proportions. The reason I go every five years (1992, 1997, and should-have-been 2002), is that the grand-daddy of all British folk-rock groups, Fairport Convention, brings together as many former members from its 35-year history as they can pack onto one stage. Along with the current line-up, you get veterans like legendary guitarist Richard Thompson, Albion Band and Steeleye Span founder Ashley Hutchings, singer Vikki Clayton (subbing for the legendary Sandy Denny), Fairport and Jethro Tull stalwarts Dave Pegg and Dave Mattacks, and many, many more. (Heck, in 1992, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin dropped in to jam.)

Why do I go to such lengths to commune with the greats of British folk music? What is it about the music that speaks to my soul? At first listen, the folk music of the British Isles doesn't seem to fit my personality at all. I'm generally a pleasant, often cheery person, but I'm also somewhat reserved and tend to keep my emotions on a even keel. British folk music is filled with passion, brutality and pain, ancient tales of vengeance and infidelity, and grand romantic love that is almost always unfulfilled. Over the course of hundreds of years, the tales have passed from word-of-mouth into legend into myth: Matty Groves, Tam Lin, John Barleycorn--all martyred to the vagaries of fate and the frailties of men. "Get the Party Started" it ain't.

But there is a raw truth, stark beauty, and strange joy in British folk that you rarely hear in the processed popular music of the 20th (and now 21st ) century; the music doesn't so much illuminate the darkness as it makes the darkness dance, pulling the crowd into the always-looming shadow of death, where the Grim Reaper taps his scythe in rhythm and does a happy jig. Each time the performers take the stage, they not only remind us of the cruel realities of life and the inevitability of death, they tell us to savor the company of friends and loved ones while we can. At the end of every Fairport Convention reunion concert in Cropredy, the members pile on stage and sing "Meet on the Ledge," the first great Richard Thompson song in what would become a decades-long career filled with great songs. "Meet on the Ledge" is wistful and foreboding to its very core, but it always ends on a note of hope: "if you really mean it," the group sings in unison, "it all comes 'round again." Death is waiting for us all, but every year we're alive to come back around to tell the tale, it's a cause for celebration.

1. Back to the Beginning

The first clue that penetrated the inert mass I so laughingly call my brain about what Joss might be planning for this season popped up at the end of "Potential." After watching Amanda get the Junior Slayer group hug, and then listening as Xander gave Dawn "The Speech," it occurred to me that we were seeing a replay of the social divisions we saw in early Season One: In the hellpits of Sunnydale High, you had the cool crowd (Cordelia Chase and her Cordettes) and you had the Freaks and Geeks crowd (Buffy, Xander, and Willow). In Season 7, we have a bit of a reversal (or perhaps an evolution): now it's Buffy and her band of Slayerettes who are the cool crowd, and Xander, Anya, Dawn, and Andrew are the power-free geeks hanging around on the outside. This was confirmed (anvil-iciously) the very next episode, when Xander, Dawn, Andrew and Anya drove out to the desert to check if Giles was the First. Anya wondered what four losers were going to do against the Ultimate Evil. I was tempted to say, "You're gonna find out soon enough, sweetie."

The theme of division within the Scoobies took a back seat during "First Date" (for me anyway), but it came back full force in "Get It Done," especially after reading a post by 3strikes on the BC&S board right after the episode. 3Strikes brought up the Scooby schism in an entirely different context, but I think he hit the nail on the head (see: Xander's Zen Carpentry metaphor). The entire season has been about our conception of DUALITY, and upcoming events will probably bring into stark relief what has been developing all year: instead of the basic quartet of past seasons (B/G/X/W), who combined to form the Scooby Gestalt in Primevil, we now have TWO SETS of Scoobies--each a mirror, or a "shadow" of the other--one "light" and one "dark."

Although I owe 3strikes and the BC&S a great deal of gratitude for providing the context, the following theoretical blather wouldn't have been possible without manwitch and his essays on Kundalini yoga and how each of the seven stages of this Buddhist discipline matches up with the seven seasons of BtVS. If you haven't read his essays (and if not, why not?), I won't go into the first six (this post would go on for years), but I will reprint a recent post about the seventh stage, in which the adept takes the final step away from the world of forms:

Undifferentiated consciousness, which is the goal of Kundalini Yoga, for example, and which is essentially Buddha consciousness or nirvana in Buddhism, is pure consciousness, indifferent to form, to polarities, to good or evil. Its the reality behind reality. When one leaves undifferentiated consciousness for differentiated consciousness, one is entering the world of differentiated forms, differentiated concepts, polarities, binary oppositions like good and evil. So in this sense, the First Evil is again a purely conceptual thing, the belief that the forms themselves, and their opinions of right and wrong, are the reality. The First Evil is the belief in its existence.

In some Buddhist and Hindu art, you will see a face, facing out, and emerging from the sides, from the ears if you will, will be two other faces in profile, one male and one female. The face in the middle is representative of the undifferentiated consciousness, the two outward facing profiles are the differentiated. male/female. Buffy can be seen in this way, as the middle face (at least it is my belief that the middle way is her ultimate goal), and Xander and Willow are the two profiles that make her up. Its not unlike how Spock and McCoy were the logical and emotional halves respectively that were merged in Kirk, making Kirk and only Kirk the one capable of running the ship. Buffy is made up of this female and male aspect, this spirit and heart. But the "Buffy Way" will be neither male nor female, but both and neither.

I think Buffy's task is to overcome the world of binary oppositions, most explicitly rendered in the conflict of good vs. evil. And again, I can't help but mention the quote from Nietzsche, "That which is done out of love takes place already beyond good and evil.

If your minds weren't blown out the back of your head when you read this, you realize how this ties in to the Scoobies' situation at the moment. Rather than working together to transcend the seemingly intractable problem of the First Evil, the expanded Scooby Gang has been divided against itself. As 3Strikes so aptly pointed out, on the one side, you have the dark side of the Scoobs, whose power is essentially vampiric or demonic in nature: Willow, whose magic drains the life force from those around her; Spike, who thrives on the blood of living beings and figuratively dons the skin of his victim in order to feel the rush; and Buffy, whose power stems from the sacrifice of that young girl so many millennia ago (and who seems to be slipping into isolation with a touch of megalomania). On the other side, you have the Scoobs who have essentially shed the dark side of their nature and have--perhaps as a result--floundered without purpose or direction: there's Xander, who has almost disappeared into the woodwork after his failure of heart in Hell's Bells; Anya, who cut herself off from her demonic past but has yet to find her destiny as a human; and a certain brunette slayer who's currently languishing in prison, and is about to go through hell in bad old L.A.

If you go along with this definition, you can line them up with the traditional roles of the Scoobies in the Buffy paradigm--and they match up perfectly:

Spike / Xander = Heart
Willow / Anya = Spirit
Buffy / Faith = Hand

And if you think I'm pulling these out of my butt, go back along S7 and see how it works. A disoriented Willow went to Anya in "Same Time, Same Place" to do the locator spell--a communion of spirit. (Anya was the one who welcomed Willow back to the Earthly plane at the end.) During the climax of "Get It Done," Willow drew the power out of the two touchstones in her life, her lover (Kennedy) and her spiritual mirror (Anya). Look how Spike and Xander interacted in "Him"; Spike was always in the background, hardly talking, but guiding Xander to the truth about the jacket in key moments. Spike was almost literally acting as Xander's shadow. In "Sleeper," Xander was asleep while Spike was playing Manchurian Candidate, and Spike was asleep while Xander was heading out to work. And--this a biggie, folks--who are the only two people whose blood activated the seal of Danzalthar and summoned a Turok-Han? (I'll get back to this later.) It's also interesting how Anya interacts with Spike. We keep thinking she's trying to relive the one-time-only sex-a-riffic table ride Spike gave her in "Entropy," but it's more like she's responding to the part of Xander she misses (the power of the heart), but finds in Spike. I expect Buffy and Faith to interact in a similar fashion.

OK, you'll give me the Heart, Spirit, and Hand--but what happened to Mind? Isn't that a key component of the quartet? Where does Giles fit into this? DOES Giles fit into this?

Sure he does.

Unfortunately, as shadowkat has pointed out, Mind is part of the problem. Look at manwitch's essay again. It's the mind that divides the universe into dualities, into opposites, concepts that hold no sway in the reality beyond reality. Mind is the bite of the apple in the Garden of Eden that creates the knowledge of Good and Evil. In Giles and Wood we have the last two representatives of the Watchers Council, pushing the same old party line that has been the rule of the universe since the days of the Shadowmen. If these two guys are going to be part of the solution, they're going to have to get rid of their preconceptions and learn to see the universe in a new way.

[> On Duality, "Becoming," and the End, Part Two (well-known casting spoiler) -- cjl, 22:37:22 02/23/03 Sun

2. "And All the Men and Women Merely Players"

So, if these are the actors and their roles, what is Joss' plan for the endgame? What is the solution to the problem of the First Evil? I don't have the whole thing blocked out yet, but I do have an interesting idea about how episode 7.22 is going to play....

Let's go back to the line-ups for the "light" and "dark" sides of the Scoobies. For a long time, I thought Joss was setting us up for a Classic Scoobs vs. New Scoobs smackdown near the end, where the New Scoobs would leap into the fray and stop the originals from accidentally sealing the victory for the First Evil. But something about the breakdown didn't fit:

Side A. Buffy, Willow, Spike, Giles
Null A. Faith, Anya, Xander, Wood

OK, Sesame Street fans, one of these things is not like the other. Which one is it?

That's right, it's Xander and Spike. But I was still convinced that Joss was going for an inversion (and the resolution) of an incident earlier in the series; so I pondered the line-ups as they were and wondered if there was any point in the series where Spike was the positive power of the heart and Xander was the Heart of Darkness. And then, I had the Giles moment: "Becoming." Spike, for the love of Drusilla, teamed up with Buffy against Angelus and helped her save the world; Xander, out of jealousy and fear, told Buffy the Lie, and wound up damaging the relationships within the group in ways we couldn't even imagine until "Selfless" in Season 7. "Becoming" is the key moment in the series, the one that changed all the rules, the one that must be revisited and replayed in reverse for the long-festering wounds of the Scoobies to heal. The roles, as I see them:

Faith = Buffy
Willow = Dru
Anya = Willow
Xander = Spike
Spike = Xander

[Who's going to take the roles of Angelus and Giles in this scenario? Haven't worked those out yet, but suggestions would be welcome. What's Buffy doing while all this is going on, you say? Where's Dawn and Andrew? I'm getting to that; but first--]

Sidebar: Why is D'Hoffryn Trying to Kill Anya?

If 7.22 is "Becoming III," as I suspect, this verifies my theories about Anya. In "Becoming II," Willow tapped into dark powers of magic for the first time, and started a slide that eventually wound up at the bottom of the "Grave." I think Anya--Willow's doppelganger in Spirit--will simultaneously help Willow achieve some form of inner peace and sense of balance and Willow is going to help Anya release her long-dormant power. Because I'm almost positive she never lost that power.

At the end of "Selfless," D'Hoffryn gave his big speech about "why go for the kill when you can go for the pain," blah blah blah, then left his former vengeance "ho" to her fate. And yet, in the very next episode, D'Hoffryn sent a demon lackey to kill Anya, and did it again in "Get It Done." So much for leaving her to her fate. I could never understand that; if he wanted Anya dead so badly, why didn't he just incinerate her in "Selfless" and get it over with?

Unless, of course, he couldn't.

When Anya came to D'Hoffryn and asked to rejoin the vengeance team after the wedding, the circumstances were far different than those in Sjornjost. Anya still loved Xander (after all, she stopped Spike from making his vengeance wish in "Entropy"), and the forces of darkness have always had a problem with Love. I don't think D'Hoffryn had control of Anyanka II the same way he had control of Halfrek and Anyanka I; oh, he could shape and channel her power, but I don't think her life was really his to give or take away. When it came to punishing his reluctant charge, D'Hoffryn, like any good con man, used misdirection to fool Anya, Xander, and Buffy. Since he had no power to make Anya go up in a puff of smoke, he decided to intimidate her by roasting Halfrek as a lesson-by-example. And since D'Hoffyrn couldn't do anything more than shape her power, that means the power is still in there, lying dormant--and Anya remains a threat to D'Hoffryn and the Powers of Darkness.

After Faith and the rest of the crew eliminate this season's versions of Angelus and Acathla, it's going to come down to Buffy to close out the First Evil and the series in general. To do it, Buffy is going to need the power she couldn't accept from the Shadowmen, a limitless source of potential energy that will dissolve the reigning dualities of BtVS and take Buffy out of the game of Good vs. Evil permanently. Please note: when I say "potential," I'm not referring to our lovely SITs, waiting for the wondrous day when the "lucky" candidate gets The Call. The Slayer line as it's currently constituted represents the old order, the order of the Watchers Council and the Shadowmen. It's a dead end. The real hope for the future and the keys to the end of the series are the two people who embody the term "potential" and all it suggests:

Andrew and Dawn.

Think about it. Aren't they amazingly similar? Dawn popped into existence at the start of S5 as "Buffy's little sister," but she's a construct, an undifferentiated ball of mystical energy given human form. Andrew popped into the picture at the start of Season 6 as "Tucker's little brother," but nobody could remember him. He's a complete and utter non-entity--and I wouldn't be surprised if he turned out to be a construct as well.

Rosalind on the BC&S board had a fascinating theory about Andrew. She noted the amazing similarities between Andrew and Tara: both of them started out as weak, near-non-entities and both developed strong same-sex attractions to powerful individuals who wanted to reshape the world in according to their emotional needs--and both have developed an attachment to Dawn. (Kind of puts Andrew's groping of Willow/Warren in "The Killer in Me" in an entirely new light, doesn't it?) In that context, I find it interesting that Buffy has referred to Andrew as a "mushroom." Mushrooms spring from the earth, and are nurtured in darkness until they reach full maturity. (Isn't that exactly what happened in S6 with Andrew and the Troika?) What if Andrew is what Joss initially intended Tara to be--an Earth spirit? What if Andrew's purpose is to be Dawn's fairy godmother, or perhaps the Yin to her Yang in the final resolution of opposites?

This could explain some of the other puzzling anomalies about Andrew and his role in S7. Why on Earth would the First Evil drag Andrew and Jonathan back from Mexico just to perform the sacrifice? The FE had Spike and Xander, and maybe a thousand other candidates in Sunnydale to work with. But if Andrew really is as important as I think he is, the logic is unassailable. The FE tried to corrupt Earth Spirit/Mushroom Boy Andrew by prodding him to kill Jonathan over a seal consecrated to Evil. So why didn't the ritual work? Was it Jonathan's chronic anemia? Don't be silly; that's another classic misdirect by the forces of darkness. As the heart of the Troika, Jonathan was a perfect candidate for sacrifice, but Andrew performed the sacrifice as an act of Love for Warren--and as I said before, the forces of darkness (and the Powers that Be, for that matter) have always had a problem with love. That also explains why the First Evil keeps putting its efforts into corrupting a supposedly inconsequential player in the game: because at a critical point in time, Andrew will help end the game once and for all.

3. It All Comes 'Round Again

So Buffy, channeling the power of the living embodiments of undifferentiated consciousness, seals the Hellmouth, and the Scoobies COLLECTIVELY "shanshu"--working together to fully realize each member's human potential, and neutralize the First Evil. (Does Spike become human? Does Buffy die or go back to heaven? Does she take the SITs--if any of them are still alive--and rebuild a new, better Watchers Council? You got me.) All of the characters on both sides of the divide realize that they carry within them an aspect of the other--each of the "light" brigade embraces a little bit of the demonic within them, and the "power" group lets in a little bit of the light. The watchword here, of course, is balance, or more accurately, transcendence--as the Scoobies finally leave the labels behind and embrace their common heritage as children of the Earth.

And as Buffy and the gang step away from the final battlefield, in a place where time and space have no more meaning than any other constructs of the mind, the Scoobies and their exploits will pass from word-of-mouth into myth into legend. Their battles, their loves, their passions, and the seemingly relentless cruelty of their world will be repeated endlessly, and each time we hear the tale, we will be reminded to look around and savor the company of our friends and loved ones while we can.

If we really mean it, it all comes 'round again.

[> [> This is printed! Ab fab post, cjl! I think it also jogged loose some info I needed right now. -- Briar Rose, 01:00:06 02/24/03 Mon

[> [> Excellent, CJL, excellent! -- Rahael, 02:33:07 02/24/03 Mon

[> [> Lovely post cjl! -- ponygirl, 08:21:50 02/24/03 Mon

[> [> Re: On Duality, "Becoming," and the End, Part Two (well-known casting spoiler) -- Malandanza, 09:09:23 02/24/03 Mon

How about First Slayer/First Evil?

[> [> [> Mal, I am so glad you brought that up.... -- cjl, 09:25:31 02/24/03 Mon

A chance for more aimless conjecture! Yee-hah!

The creation of the First Slayer may, in fact, be the bifurcation point, the bite of the Apple, the act that created and IS the First Evil.

First there was the Earth. Then the demons. And then Humans. In the primitive state, there wasn't any Good and Evil, there was just hunter and hunted, each creature of the Earth acting in accordance with its own nature. Then the Shadowmen came along, and with the creation of the First Slayer, put the creatures of the Earth in false opposition to each other. The universe has been playing by the Shadowmen's rules ever since.

[> [> [> [> Metaphysical side-effects, good and evil, and moral relativism -- Masq, 09:42:17 02/24/03 Mon

I had similar thoughts when I was writing my episode analysis of "Get It Done". I did a little section telling the story of the creation of the First Slayer, and added in "Demons were here first" part of the story as well. I wrote it in a deliberately ambiguous way, so that you might think, reading the first paragraph, that the demons had the moral high ground--"We were here first, and you came and took over our land. We have a right to fight you and bring back the world as we used to know it."

This moral relativism--who's point of view do you take, the humans or the demons--has been a part of the shows since at least Season 4 BtVS/Season 1 AtS.

If the creation of the First Slayer instituted the human point of view--"There IS good and evil. We are Good, demons are Evil", then it very well may have had the metaphysical side-effect of creating a being that represents "Evil".

This is what has bothered me since we found out the First Evil was the Big Bad of Season 7. No, it's bothered me since "Amends". Is there such a thing as "Real" evil? Or is it a (albeit useful) concept whose definition is in the eye of the beholder? Can it be an absolute concept that isn't relative to any viewpoint?

It seems this "First Evil" could only be evil in the absolute sense if it's goal was complete obliteration of the universe. If it's goal is merely to kill the Champions of the human beings, the Slayers, then it might be the "First Good" from the demon's point of view.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Metaphysical side-effects, good and evil, and moral relativism -- s'kat, 09:58:06 02/24/03 Mon

This is what has bothered me since we found out the First Evil was the Big Bad of Season 7. No, it's bothered me since "Amends". Is there such a thing as "Real" evil? Or is it a (albeit useful) concept whose definition is in the eye of the beholder? Can it be an absolute concept that isn't relative to any viewpoint?

It seems this "First Evil" could only be evil in the absolute sense if it's goal was complete obliteration of the universe. If it's goal is merely to kill the Champions of the human beings, the Slayers, then it might be the "First Good" from the demon's point of view.

Been having the same problem, I think it's why I wasn't entirely crazy about the First Evil being the villain...at first. But CwDP more or less changed my mind.

What did it say when it spoke with Willow? That it was no longer interested in the balancing act or the whole win/lose thing. It wanted to destroy it all and do it in the most painful way possible? Then it swallows itself.

So my take is it's not really for either side - it's using the evil side to take out the champions but it's picking chaotic evil not organized - so maybe it's hope is that the chaotic will destroy the world and universe as well?

Or did I misunderstand that speech in CwDP? If it wants to take out both sides - that would link well with what's happening in Ats at the moment, right?

[> [> [> [> [> [> What is the FE? -- ponygirl, 11:00:54 02/24/03 Mon

How does a concept become sentient? Did all of the evil impulses just kind of coalesce at some point? Or was an entity given the job somehow?

I keep thinking about an exchange from Alan Moore's Promethea, an angel remarks that she feels sorry for demons -- while angels see the best in humanity, demons only see the worst. Same job, demons just got the bad end of the deal.

Sometimes I think of the FE in a similar light, that it may be seeking to topple the balance not just because it's evil but because it's suicidal. That after untold years of fulfilling a function, balancing the scales, doing it's duty, and seeing all the worst humanity has to offer, the FE just wants to be finished. And the only way to do that is to bring it all down. Kind of like DarkWillow on the grandest possible scale. Almost makes me feel sorry for the nasty little thing.

Of course I have no basis for any of the above, just rambly thoughts.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Great Insight above! -- Shiraz, 12:01:44 02/24/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> You may want to mention the other parallels between ....... -- Rufus, 16:54:03 02/24/03 Mon

Promethea and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (think the transfering of spirit from one girl to another making the result Promethea or The Slayer)....I remember David Fury mentioning the comic in the Primevil commentary.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> From David Fury, Rahael, ponygirl, -- Rufus, 03:08:43 02/25/03 Tue

Quote from David Fury from the commentary of Season Four Buffy ep "Primevil"

"Now, what happens is that in the midst the spell that Willow, Xander, and Giles is doing...Buffy is going to become sort of an Uber-Slayer, sort of something mystical.

It was partially inspired by a comic book called "Promethea" written by Alan Moore.

"Promethea" being this kind of mythical goddess, super-heroine and Joss had mentioned the character while we were breaking the story and I went out and got the comics. And I got it.....and that is sort of what she becomes." David Fury

The following were posts from Rahael, ponygirl, and Dedalus.....and you guys thought I wasn't paying attention.....;)

atpobtvs archives

"We rip things off all the time" - David Fury -- Rahael, 14:46:22 07/22/02 Mon

Just finished watching David Fury/James Contner's commentary on Primeval (much food for thought within), and in it he was talking about the Matrix effect when Willow decodes the Initiative disc. He says "we rip things off all the time, but we try to put a spin on it".

I am not at all familiar with the shows you mention, nor have I seen the promo for Firefly.

And for comics fans, the UberBuffy was based on the comic book heroine Promethea. Joss mentioned her when the story was breaking, and David Fury went out and bought some of the comics.

atpobtvs archives

Promethea, Primeval and assorted ramblings -- ponygirl, 23:18:50 07/27/02 Sat

Been having a wild weekend with volumes 1 & 2 of Alan Moore's comic book series Promethea. So many different ideas, it's a bit mind-rattling. In some ways it's a bit like reading the board - all the different myths and theories rolling around: look there's the myth of Inanna! Here's Little Red Riding Hood! Colour symbolism! Tantric sex! A history of the universe told through the Tarot! Let's just say there's a lot to think about.

Promethea had been mentioned recently by Rahael as being cited in the dvd commentary on Primeval as an influence by both David Fury and Joss. Having read some of Alan Moore's work before, and experiencing that oh too rare phenomenom known as payday, I took myself off to the comic book store to track the series down. I originally only intended to buy the first trade paperback which collects issues 1-6. Unfortunately for my bank account vol.1 a) ends on a cliff- hanger; b) is really good. So I ended up buying the quite pricey second volume in hardcover. I'll probably get vol. 3 and the subsequent issues eventually, but right now I have enough in my brain.

I'll try not to give away too many plot details of Promethea, which actually won't be too hard since Moore himself pretty much abandons the plot by the end. The man likes his exposition.

Essentially Promethea is an actual human girl in 4th century Alexandria who is taken by the gods to live in the realm of myth and imagination - the Immateria. By living in this land she herself becomes a story, a part of the collective unconscious. Occasionally people are able to tap into this idea of Promethea, and imagine her so strongly that they themselves become an incarnation of this demi-goddess or project her onto another person. Each incarnation manifests different aspects of Promethea depending on their own personality, but they are also part of a larger idea. For Promethea represents the imagination, the power of metaphor itself.

The newest incarnation, Sophie, a modern-day student, becomes Promethea in the course of researching her. In learning about her new powers, Sophie comes into contact with her predecessors and various other forces that seek to either control or free the imagination.

It was pretty fun reading this. While not a Rosetta stone for deconstructing Buffy, the Promethea series is quite similar in tone and execution. There's a strong feminist sensibility at work, a generous mix of fairy tale, myth and pop culture, and dialogue that can shift from the grandiose to the snarky within a sentence. It is quite easy why Joss would appreciate the series, and it's easy to see Promethea's direct influence on the episode Primeval.

In Primeval we see the Scoobies come together to form the SuperSlayer, each representing a different attribute: Xander the heart, Willow the spirit, Giles the mind, and Buffy the hand. The tarot is used to symbolize these different aspects. In Promethea, Sophie is instructed in the four weapons of Promethea, each embodied by one of her predecessors and symbolized by the different suits of the tarot: the cup, the sword, the pentacle and the wand.

The cup is said to represent compassion, in Primeval that would be the heart or Xander. The sword, reason and intellect - the mind, Giles. The pentacle or the coin is physical existence, manifest in Primeval as the hand and our Buffy. Finally there is the wand, in Promethea the representation of the will, and the symbol of creativity and magic - Willow most definitely.

The book puts it this way, "Four elements, four magical weapons, four essential human qualities... they're all the same thing in a way. Spirit, compassion, intellect, and physical existence. You need them all to be Promethea... or to be human."

Sophie's incarnation of Promethea is seen as combining all of these elements, creating a better version of Promethea than had gone before. However to battle her enemies Sophie calls forth these predecessors - they are both separate personas and still share the common essence of Promethea while physically distinct beings. In Primeval, the Scoobs combine their essences and identities to form the SuperSlayer within Buffy herself. They share one body, one mind, personalities subsumed into their new entity. The powers the SuperSlayer yields seem taken from Promethea as well, most particularly the idea that matter and mind are not separate, that the imagination can control reality, or rather there is no reality beyond what is imagined. Thus the SuperSlayer can change bullets into doves or detonate power cores harmlessly.

It's interesting reading these books and seeing ideas and images that have echoes in Buffy. I'm left wondering what ideas or germs of ideas stuck with Joss and grew into something completely different. It's fun to imagine how one thing led to the other, or simply coloured a perspective here and there. Among the things that stick with me is the image of Sophie's red-haired friend weeping in the dark woods overwhelmed by the pain of the entire world, much as Willow would be unable to put the world's suffering into perspective in Grave. Little Red Riding Hood pulling a machine gun out of her basket reminded me of Buffy's basket full of weapons in Fear Itself.

And then there was the completely board-related thrill I had to see the stripping of Inanna myth (so beloved of the Caroline) briefly touched upon. And I believe it was shadowkat who had mentioned the symbolism of colours in relation to Buffy and Spike. Here in Promethea was an explanation of Tantric sex complete with a colour chart. Who knows what Joss will take or leave, but it did warm my Spuffy heart to see that according to Moore the colour red representing fire and destructive passion led to the calmer more reflective green and into the gold of the chakra of the heart and the soul.

Well, this was a bit of a ramble. Don't know if any of this made sense, eventually I may be able to do a more coherent analysis. Or at least throw random and annoying Promethea references into future posts!

atpobtvs archives

Re: Slayer Origin (and Promethea) -- Dedalus, 18:34:07 08/02/01 Thu

First off, thanks to the guys on my old Fray thread that recommended Promethea. I've been buying up random issues all week, and good lord ...

"I'm Promethea. There is nothing like me. I am the Holy Splendor of the Imagination. I cannot be destroyed."

Goodness, Dedalus thought to himself, what have I got my hot little hands on?

Anyway, those Fray spoilers were awesome. I knew we'd be getting some major info down the line. That does totally jive with how the Watchers see Slayers. I think the thing about the ancient mages or whatever clearing the way for mortal animals was pretty cool, too. I was wondering how humans ever got hold of this dimension considering the proliferation of demons. Really, really big ones, too. It's telling that the Powers did not create the Slayer. And seeing how magic is sort of hereditary in Buffy, it makes sense that the Watchers would try to keep it in the family as much as possible.

Okay, so if this is just some magical force, is it like ... what? Intelligent or something? How does it choose girls? The Watchers don't seem to have much sayso in that department.

Anyway, yeah Joss. My only complaint is that the next issue of Fray is not coming until OCTOBER!

As Spike would say, "BLOODY HELL!"


Now people just may want to relook at the Shamens in Get it Done a little more closely cause they seemed to be trying to make an Uber-slayer to go up against all those Uber-vamps in Buffy's vision. My question is, did Buffy make a mistake by not taking the power or has her instinct told her exactly what she said to the Shamens...this is not the way?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Let it never be said that you don't do your research! -- ponygirl, 06:36:28 02/25/03 Tue

The comparisons to BtVS and Promethea are numerous and run both ways. The latest issue deals with the frictions of having two active Prometheas-- one, our heroine, concerned with her duty and doing the right thing, the other with a much looser approach and quite a bad girl attitude.

I also like the idea in Promethea that behind all the various personalities and powers at work there is the original Promethea, the spirit of a little girl. Makes me think that instead of the Shadowmen, Buffy should be trying to talk to the First Slayer. That there was more to that "it's not enough" than Buffy could understand.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Excellent point! -- Caroline, 08:18:07 02/25/03 Tue

Maybe Buffy needs to merge with essences of all the former slayers or the first slayer to defeat the FE? Ponygirl, you rock my mind.

And, I still believe that Buffy will somehow have to fight the FE within the hellmouth itself but that, like Inanna, she will emerge victorious (or at least I hope so). I draw this conclusion from things that Cassie said as well as the whole 'from beneath you it devours/bidet of evil' stuff.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Firsts and lasts -- ponygirl, 08:32:58 02/25/03 Tue

I keep thinking that Buffy needs to understand the First Slayer (and I don't think it's a coincindence that her title is so similar to the FE). If this unknown girl was a victim and her spirit is in some way still chained to the earth and the Slayer line then does she not need to be released? Or if the First Slayer went willingly to the Shadowmen, I think Buffy needs to understand her sacrifice and why she felt it necessary to embrace the darkness. Perhaps the First Slayer and the First Evil need to connect in some way and restore the balance. The yin and the yang. If there is darkness at the heart of slayer power could there be light at the centre of the FE's?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Metaphysical side-effects, good and evil, and moral relativism (spoilers for this season) -- VampRiley, 11:11:04 02/24/03 Mon

I believe it was the ep where the First wanted Andrew to get the gun Willow/Warren bought when it said that as long as there was evil in the world, it existed. But, since it said that it wasn't interested in keeping the balance, it could still exist with evil being active on all the other planes of existence. Reality demands balance. Polar opposites in every single thing. And there is nothing that can keep that from happening forever. Eventually, reality will win out. The First said, in CWDP, that it was tired of the mortal coil. I'd imagine it is tired of it because it can't act directly in it. Only through those that have an actual physical body. The First says "I'm done with the mortal coil." That's a pretty tall order. But, let's says the First were to get rid of the physical plane. How can it ever hope to keep it that way? From a realistic stand point, "As above, so below; as below, so above." This says, in it's suscinctness, that things that occur on the physical plane have a corresponding effect in all the planes above it and vis versa. The fact that the First is unable to work directly on the physical plane demonstrates that isn't all powerful. It has limits. So, how can an nonall powerful being, like the First, ever hope to keep the physical plane from coming back?


[> [> [> [> [> Re: Metaphysical side-effects, good and evil, and moral relativism -- aliera, 10:57:18 02/24/03 Mon

Boy, this just seems to open a whole can of worms urgh box of chocolates then. And not to close that box prematurely but, FE said "before the bang", and unless they're going to retcon it that means before life including demons was created. And yet...I have no answers here so who am I to throw chocolates?

[> [> [> [> [> [> The Worst Job in the Universe and other Metaphysical Musings -- cjl, 11:14:34 02/24/03 Mon

Whenever I see a post about the First Evil and its temper tantrum in CwDP, I recall the original "Bedazzled" (1967), starring Peter Cook as the Devil and Dudley Moore as a modern version of Faust. The Devil is the villain of the piece, of course, but Cook (who wrote the screenplay) makes him out to be an extraordinarily sympathetic character. Cast out of his original home in Paradise, he's just doing his job as the personification of Evil in the Universe, tempting people to do Bad so they have the choice to do Good. He hates his job, and all the petty annoyances he's forced to inflict on people, but this is God's plan.

It sucks, but what else can he do?

Sometimes I think this is why the First Evil is such a crankypants. It's stuck in the "personification of Evil" role, but it remembers a timeless time when it was part of something greater, something whole. Maybe all it wants is to get back home. (Reminds me of Glory that way. Hmmmm.)
To do it, though, it's going to have to undo all of creation.

Buffy, if she's going to solve this mess, might do something as simple as merge the essence of the First Slayer with the First Evil--reconciling the opposites. It'll bring the FE back in touch with what it's lost, and keep the universe intact for the rest of us to exercise Free Will.

Sounds easy enough. But I still have this nagging question: after all these eons stuck in the role of as Biggest Bad, why is the First Evil making such a fuss NOW?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The Worst Job in the Universe and other Metaphysical Musings -- Arethusa, 11:26:19 02/24/03 Mon

Because Buffy broke the rules? Twice! The first time (Amends), the FE was angry but it might have been a fluke-a once-in-a-universe occurance. But twice??
There's good, and there's evil, and they fight. Sometimes one wins, sometimes the other does, but everyone knows where they stand. Then Buffy comes along and mucks everything up by redeeming the unredeemable. The rules are gone, the center no longer holds. And if Good won't hold up to its side of the bargain, why should Evil?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The Worst Job in the Universe and other Metaphysical Musings -- Masq, 11:26:59 02/24/03 Mon

Do you think that Joss and the writers of ME sit around having philosophical discussions on what the real nature of the First Evil is, or do you think they just picked the FE as the "Big Bad" of Season 7 because they wanted to have the "biggest, baddest" Bad ever to close out the series?

I'm tempted to think it's something closer to the former. ME aren't the metaphysical nit-pickers we can be, but they do think things through. The evidence, I think, was a line of Andrew's to the First Evil in First Date:

"Are you-are you made out of the evil impulses of humans, so if everyone was unconscious at the same time, you would fade away?"

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Mind if I take a shot at answering that? -- sketchy lurker type, 11:43:04 02/24/03 Mon


Remember what the Eye of Joxer said? The First came back, the First got _tired_, because of Buffy being ressurected.

Now, look at the (super-nifty) post before this, bu the equally super-nifty cjl. Let's just say that the First Evil is tired of its job - and a very unpleasant job it is, where it has to deal with all sorts of scum in an unending war that can never be won, and never offers respite. A war whose only reward is the status quo. Let's just say that the First Evil really does want to go back to a time before duality, to a place where it felt WHOLE.

Now who does that sound like? Post-Bargaining BUFFY.

And why is the First suddenly permitted to act up on the physical plane, when surely it's power must have been constrained beforehand? (otherwise, you'd think it would have manipulated the earth into ruin long, LONG ago)

Why was it's first relatively small action restoring Angel a season after Buffy's first death?

Why is its second, far more major assault a season after Buffy's second and much more spectacular ressurection, which somehow (according to Tara) changed her very physical chemistry, and surely changed her spiritually even MORE than death at the hands of the Master?

If Good and Evil have been playing chess for all of these years, then for every move one side makes, the other gets their turn. The First gets to come back now, of all times, because BUFFY got to come back - a Buffy that was fundamentally altered. A Buffy that's diverged from the Slayer line, and irreprably altered it.

Its opposite conterpart, anchored in corporeal form. The Warrior of the People (who has and will always fight the FE, because it is the Warrior of the Demons, though of course some demons and some humans do end up switching sides). The First Slayer. The First "Good".

... and for the record, they're BOTH sick to death of their jobs. So maybe the best course of action for them would be to stop the squabbling that's become ingrained in their psyches and work together. Neither of them has to bear the burden if they both just GIVE UP and accept one another. No one has to fight.

Watch me be totally wrong now.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Oh, Geez... -- Darby, 07:12:14 02/25/03 Tue

Now the "it's because she lives" could be a statement about the continued existence of Glory?

Add 'er to the list. Buffy, Dawn, Faith, Willow, Glory...

Double hmmmmm.

[> [> [> [> [> [> no it didn't, how come everybody thinks that? -- anom, 16:53:41 02/24/03 Mon

"...FE said 'before the bang'...."

It said, "Not the bang...not the word...the true beginning." Not "before"..."not." So no retcon needed. In fact, this is entirely in accord w/the Buffyverse view of human & pre-human history, in which neither the bang nor the word was the true beginning.

But if you wanna throw chocolates, I'll stand here w/a big bucket!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: no it didn't, how come everybody thinks that? -- aliera, 05:09:58 02/25/03 Tue

Sorry anom...guess I misremembered. Thanks for the correction. :-) PS My parents are in Guilderland so if you guys do end up here (and I'm still very open to a NYC meet) I would be happy to help with transportation if needed.

[> [> If this isn't the intent, it SHOULD be -- Darby, 10:09:52 02/24/03 Mon

[> [> [> One suggestion (Extremely vague future spoilers, all well-known) -- Darby, 14:36:13 02/24/03 Mon

Buffy may play out as the Dark one to Faith's Light. It would set up Faith's replacement of Buffy, which seems to be a more and more likely scenario from cast spoilers. I suspect that you may have implied that, but I wasn't sure.

[> [> Truly wonderful, cjl. Thanks for such a beautifully-written, thoughtful essay. -- Resh, 11:44:05 02/24/03 Mon

And many thanks to manwitch, as well, for his posts on the seven chakras, which were extraordinary in their own right and have now helped inspire this wonderful work by cjl.

[> [> Re: On Duality, "Becoming," and the End, Part Two (well-known casting spoiler) -- lunasea, 12:00:42 02/24/03 Mon

You left off Angel. I think it is a given that he will be in the finale. If his show is to continue, what better way then for him to take the symbolic torch from Buffy by taking her role in Becoming? Faith could do it, if she does in fact get the spin-off.

Giles' role in Becoming wasn't as brain. He gives Angelus the key to Acathla and is motivation to Buffy. Whistler meets Buffy in Giles' apartment. Buffy only listened to Spike because "He's got your Watcher. Right now, he's probably torturing him." and she made it clear to Spike that he better not let Angelus kill him. "If Giles dies... she dies". Spike's first "good" action is saving Giles.

I would say that Giles' role would be played by Dawn. She is becoming more Watcherlike to be set up for it. Dawn has the key to Acathla, Acathla is Buffy. It is the mystical forces around the Slayerline that is causing the world to be sucked into hell/oblivion this time. Or is this what Restless was saying about Spike in Xander's dream?

In Becoming it wasn't Acathla that was struck by the sword to close the vertex, it was Angel. The important part in stopping the First is who is going to be Angel/us.

[> [> [> It's still in doubt..... (not-so-well-known casting spoiler) -- cjl, 12:24:02 02/24/03 Mon

...whether Angel will appear in the finale--and even if he does appear, it's not certain whether he's integral to the battle (as you said, Faith could act as Buffy in "Becoming III"). It's also possible that the FE might disguise itself as Angel in a sort of "Last Temptation of Buffy."

But for the most part, I think you're dead on. Dawn does look to be a likely substitute for Giles in the "B3" scenario (TM). Now all we have to do is figure out who's going to be Angelus...

[> [> [> [> Re: It's still in doubt..... (not-so-well-known casting spoiler) -- lunasea, 13:05:34 02/24/03 Mon

Now all we have to do is figure out who's going to be Angelus...

If Faith is going to be Buffy, then who would be as great a sacrifice to her as Angel was for Buffy to make? If it was Angel, Angelus would probably be played by Connor (thus the father would devour the son), though I don't see what that would have to do with the mystical forces around the slayer line. The problem I have with Faith playing Buffy is that no one means that much to her, with the exception of Angel maybe or even Buffy. What does Faith care about? We do have 8 episodes to set her up with.

I'm still rooting for Spike and Faith.

Angel will be integral. Can't bring over the hero and him not fight, if there is a fight. I don't think there will be. This is the only season where the premier didn't feature Buffy reclaiming her identity as Slayer. It wasn't slaying that saved the day, but Xander (heart) breaking a talisman.

Buffy's heart will save the day by doing something with those mystical forces. The whole season is there in that first episode. If Willow and Buffy would just learn their Lessons. Time is running out.

Willow's lesson is "Why aren't you in your lesson."
Buffy's is that the bag of bricks won't work.
Xander's lesson is how necessary and powerful he really is.
Spike's lesson is she will and does understand.
Dawn's lesson is that Buffy will save/choose her.
Wood's is in there too, but I really don't care enough to figure it out.

[> [> [> Um - I hope that the first casting spoiler in your message was just spec.... -- dream, 12:36:54 02/24/03 Mon

because otherwise I'm now unintentionally spoiled. I'm pretty sure the "WELL-KNOWN CASTING SPOILER" tag is meant to refer only to Faith.

[> [> [> [> More spec-y than spoilery -- ponygirl, 13:11:35 02/24/03 Mon

The head of the WB made some comment that he would allow Angel to crossover IF it was the BtVS series finale, IF Joss requested it, and IF the story justified it. He didn't specify if this applied only to Angel himself or included members of the AtS cast. I'd say that's enough if's to make it spec, it just really means that the big crossover ban could be suspended and that anything could happen in the finale.

[> [> [> [> [> Thanks! (Strangely relieved) -- dream, 13:20:00 02/24/03 Mon

[> [> [> Actually, you're wrong here. Blood=key remember? (Becoming/Gift) -- s'kat, 13:55:23 02/24/03 Mon

Giles' role in Becoming wasn't as brain. He gives Angelus the key to Acathla and is motivation to Buffy. Whistler meets Buffy in Giles' apartment. Buffy only listened to Spike because "He's got your Watcher. Right now, he's probably torturing him." and she made it clear to Spike that he better not let Angelus kill him. "If Giles dies... she dies". Spike's first "good" action is saving Giles.

You and cjl are off on this and you just made me realize it.

Giles = knowledge, so does Spike.
In Becoming - Spike and Giles get the knowledge to open Acathla. Spike keeps Giles alive, and finds the way to get him to tell Angelus how to open Acathla. You're confusing Knowledge with Key, they aren't the same.

Angelus's blood opens Acathla. Angelus' blood closes Acathla. Just like Dawn's blood opens the dimensions and Dawn's blood closes the dimensions. Buffy is faced with the choice of killing both these people who are the loves of her life. In Becoming she kills Angelus who is NOT an innocent and deserves it. In The Gift she chooses to die instead since Dawn is an innocent and she refuses to play it again.

Giles and Spike. Spike and Giles provide Buffy with the knowledge necessary to defeat Angelus. Spike and Giles provide Angelus with the knowledge necessary to open Acathla.

Giles and Spike provide the knowledge necessary to figure out the ritual in The Gift. Spike refuses to provide Glory with knowledge on the key - under torture, just as Giles refused to provide Angel with knowledge to open Acathla.
Spike gets the books so they can figure out the ritual. Spike gets the book for Dawn to figure out who she is.
Dawn has no knowledge, she just opens the dimensions with her blood - she doesn't know how. Giles does, but he doesn't know any way how to close it without killing her.
Spike provides Buffy with knowledge Giles can't in Season 5.
Spike represents - Giles' indecision and brain in Restless
and in Xander's dream is Gile's watcher in training.

So if you want to compare the Gift and Becoming in the mix?


They might substitute Andrew for Angel since he has his own show.

But remember the keys are the blood. Not knowledge.
Knowledge = the brain.

SK (first post got eaten, it was better, hope this works, gotta go.)

[> [> [> [> You mean I could be off about Spike? -- cjl (erasing and re-drawing his charts in blind panic), 14:32:22 02/24/03 Mon

I'm shocked. I'm usually so keenly aware of Spike's presence and symbolic significance in every episode....

Actually, I'm not. To be honest, I don't follow Spike as closely as I do Xander, Willow, and Anya. And to be even more honest, Spike has so many symbolic possibilities, you can go nuts trying to plug Blondie Boy into a single metaphorical interpretation.

So, Spike as Mind? The new Mind, the one better able to cope with the current circumstances than Giles? Quite possible. After all, he was the provider of knowledge in Lessons, and Xander was the instrument of that knowledge (yet another S/X link).

On the other hand, I'm not sure we can limit Dawn and whatever Andrew is to a simple (blood = Key) equation. Dawn has been research/knowledge girl this year (Dawn reads Sumerian?), and Buffy bluntly called Andrew the brains of the operation in "Get It Done." Sarcasm, perhaps. But it may be a subtle hint from ME that Andrew knows more than even he thinks he knows...

Also, As the Key, Dawn physically embodies the space between worlds, and may be the living symbol of the knowledge Buffy needs to defeat the FE--the transcending of opposites, a nullification of time and space. If 7.22 is a metanarration on, or an inversion of both "The Gift" and "Becoming" ("Unbecoming"?), Dawn is the solution, not the sacrifice this time around.

Granted, Spike could be the one who LEADS Buffy to that knowledge. But if Spike is Mind, that messes up my Spike/Xander equation...

Oh well, back to the drawing board.

[> [> [> [> [> I'm following the shifting metaphor of Spike with interest! -- Rahael, 14:47:26 02/24/03 Mon

Just a couple of thoughts from what I've seen of S7 eps so far. Spike might represent mind because he is trying to regain his sanity (the opposite movement to Giles in Restless, who loses his).

However, he could also parallel Xander because we see that he has been wounding his chest, in an effort to 'get it out'. Not his mind, (which might also make sense, because what with the voices and everything, it's understandable!), but the place where lurky places his hand, right where his heart might be.

In OMWF, Spike talks about his heart breaking, if it could only beat.

And in Him, Spike is clearly the other half of Xander, not only because they work together, successfully, but because Xander in some ways is the older, unsuccessful, dark haired, pizza delivery guy (Season 4 Xander!) and Spike is the charismatic blonde young brother. So I was definitely left thinking of Xander/Spike parallels after seeing that episode.

Now I've just gone and made things murky!

[> [> [> [> [> [> Spike is the shadow -- lunasea, 14:59:16 02/24/03 Mon

Spike relates to every character, just like every character relates to Buffy. Spike, as a vampire, is the shadow figure. They write him to show the other side of every character. He does contrast to Xander and Giles, as well as Willow, Anya, Dawn, and Buffy. He was especially written to contrast Angel/us.

Spike isn't developed to show himself so much as show the other characters off. He is a fascinating character because the shadow isn't often shown so much, but he is a reflection of those around him. He doesn't have a reflection of his own.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Very interesting point -- Rahael, 15:04:19 02/24/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> Re: You mean I could be off about Spike? -- s'kat, 16:50:48 02/24/03 Mon

I think Rah and lunasea actually make good points here, although I've been able to draw a character of Spike distinctly his own outside the other characters - so I don't think he's entirely just a shadow - the show is brillant because none of the long-term characters are that limited, they are all incredibly well-drawn. A new watcher to the show - whose seen all the past episodes now, told me that she found Anya actually to be the least developed and shadowy of the characters, the one written all over the place. Only there to emphasize Xander. So I guess depends on perspective?

My take from the writers interviews and the show - going back since Season 4, is that each character can be paralleled to the others. Heck I've managed to do it.
I've paralleled Xander/Buffy, Willow/Spike, Spike/Angel, Spike/Buffy, Giles/Tara...not hard to do.

but for the purposes of cjl's analysis?

I'm rethinking this.

Who symbolizes muscel, not just heart but steadiness, solidity and also has deep resentments towards vampires due to loss of loved one? Xander/Wood. This year Xander isn't that upset with Spike - no conflict. Wood is? Also the first date: Buffy/Wood, Xander/Lissa. Xander constructs the school - Wood opens it. So the comparison is there.

But you can also place Wood/Giles against each other.

How about Spike? We can link Spike throughout to Xander.
But going back all the way to Becoming - is Xander really the most consistent comparison?

Giles/Spike has actually been fairly consistent. Is Spike really role of heart? Or is he more information? He provides conflicting info throughout - his information helps them and tears them apart. And he is revealed to be insane in the opening of the year - while Giles is portrayed as knowledgable and intiutive. Now, Spike is together, contained, sane and Giles is fearful, frustrated, and almost was scalped.


Hmmm, could be both.

But I could form a very good argument for either Xander or Giles, but my gut says Giles. Just because of how Spike is associated in both Restless dreams: Xanders, and Giles.
At any rate...I'm confusing myself right now. So stopping.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: You mean I could be off about Spike? -- lunasea, 18:59:56 02/24/03 Mon

Before we can do any sort of comparision, first we have to set up Acathla and what it will take to keep the world from being sucked into oblivion.

Acathla is those screwed up mystical forces around the Slayer line. What will it take to save the world? That is where the fun part is. We won't know for sure until May.

We have two major things going on with Becoming. We have Angelus trying to suck the world into Hell so he doesn't have to deal with his feelings about Buffy (so we can be free) and we have Buffy having to sacrifice the thing she cares most about. If we are going to revisit this incredibly powerful moment, both things have to be present.

Can we have both things again? Someone has to side with Evil and try to destroy the world to escape and someone has to care about something so much that it is an intense sacrifice.

I can see a certain newly souled vampire siding with Evil if the object of his affection gives him the "I love you, but I can't be with a vampire" speech and then goes back to the other souled vampire. I like figuring out what would make each character go Evil. Willow was easy. I even came up with something for Angel with a soul, but that requires a lot of set up and massive cross-overs.

The First isn't done with Spike. Will ME just keep up the linear development and give all the Spike shippers what they want? (I admit I am laughing as I type that) I don't want him to go Evil because he is being controlled. It has to be as dramatic as Dark Willow. He has to go evil with a soul and of his own free will. Not everyone gets to be the hero. It is all for the good of the story.

So we set up Spike in Angelus' place (only fitting. He has been in Angel/us' shadow his entire vamp existance). He is willing to help the First so that he can be free. Whatever the First has in mind with him is bigger than offing the Potentials. I would love it to have something to do with Dawn. The link between those characters is extremely strong. Buffy only gave him a chance because of Dawn. If he is going to go evil, let him try to do something to Dawn. Let's see how Buffy feels about him then.

That would make Dawn the sword that Angelus pulls out. That is important to Becoming. The sword is what Angelus has to pull out to open the vortex, and an identical one (so we can have a really cool sword fight) was used to kill Angel to close it. It wasn't just the blood. It was a combination of the blood and the sword forged by a virtuous knight. Spike will start something using Dawn, but also by using (loving) Dawn, Buffy will stop it. Buffy is the virtuous knight that Dawn is made from. She gets to keep her role.

Now we have to assign a new character to play Whistler. His or her job will be to tell Buffy how to use the sword to defeat Acathla. S/he also has to be instrumental by trying to get Angel to be good, be somebody. S/he should be a regular Joe or Jane that has some sort of karmic debt.

I would have to give the role to Giles. At first I was thinking Xander, but it was Giles who S4 tried to get Spike to fight with the Scoobies and look for a higher purpose. Giles knows a lot about the power of love, as evidenced in "Spiral." What he says to her when he is dying will be important to defeating the First.

So who is going to play Giles, since Giles has a new role? This person has to know the key to Buffy and be tricked into giving it up. Well, not really. Spike pretty much knows the key to Buffy, so that part doesn't need to be recast. Giles was also Buffy's motivation, but with Dawn in trouble, Buffy doesn't need any more motivation. Buffy has been getting along without Giles more and more, so his role can just be eliminated.

With Giles eliminated, do we still need Dru? Not to trick or capture Giles at least. When we recast Spike we can see what motivation s/he has and if we need a Dru at all.

Xander is next. Xander told Buffy to "kick his ass." Who would want Spike's ass kicked? Xander could take his roll back, but I think Robin Wood would play it much better. The roll of Jenny Calendar would then be played by Nikki.

So what about our Witchy friend? (I really wish they would stop using witch and wicca as synonyms) What was her role? She did the spell to help, but she did something more important than that. She supported Buffy. She tried to find another way, she just wasn't fast enough. That job will go to Faith. Whatever Buffy will have to do, Faith will try to do something so Buffy doesn't have to. Faith will be completely supportive of Buffy. It will be nice to see.

Willow had another important role. She did manage to save Angel, though not in time. What better character to reach Spike than Faith? She will save him, but he won't have to die. That will be picked up later.

That leaves out Willow and Xander in the new production. That is because the new production isn't just a recasting of the old one. What about the role of Spike? We need an evil character to side with good for his own purposes. Do we even have an evil character that is remotely developed any more? Nope. No Spike. No Dru. Their parts get dropped with Giles.

So where does that leave us. We have Angelus/Spike trying to destroy the world to free himself. After this fails, the First will still be around. The Hellmouth will still be open. That is where B3 will differ from B2 and the Gift. What about Buffy's grand sacrifice? This is the series finale. No grand sacrifice called for. This is where Willow and Xander come into play. They get more important roles now, they are almost heroes in their own right and should be instrumental in the ultimate defeat of the First.

What will it ultimately take to close the vortex? love. Scoobie love and Dawn love and Angel love and Faith love and even Spike love. No sad Buffy leaving because she had to give up anything. Just lots of happy feelings.

And they lived happily ever after.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thoughts on the Whistler analogue -- KdS, 04:27:35 02/25/03 Tue

How about Andrew? Same slightly geeky persona and dress sense. He really needs to do something to make up for the killing of Jonathan.

Given that, as you say, Whistler was originally intended to be Doyle one wonders if Whistler would have been revealed to have betrayed his kin through moral laziness, and moral laziness has been the cause of all Andrew's evil acts - sitting back, going with the flow, and doing what stronger people tell him.

[> [> [> [> Re: Actually, you're wrong here. Blood=key remember? (Becoming/Gift) -- lunasea, 14:52:19 02/24/03 Mon

Good points. The parallels between Becoming and the Gift are great.

This time the blood won't be the key. Those mystical forces around the Slayer line are what the First is taking advantage of. They are what could suck the world into oblivion. I see Buffy detatching from the Slayer line somehow. It is the Slayer that is causing those disruptions, so Buffy needs to divorce herself from the Slayer. Then she can become what she is and save the day.

Blood represents life, the corporal, the mortal coil, the world of form. We are going to the world of formlessness. Somehow I don't see anyone's death being required. Simply breaking a talisman saved the day in "Lessons." No grounding bones to make her bread necessary this season. No one was actually slayed/slain (can never remember which it is) except at the beginning. That isn't typical of the premier (technically Dracula didn't die either, but she staked him twice)

If we are going to talk about knowledge, Giles had the knowledge about how to start the ritual in Becoming. He didn't know how to stop it. Whistler was required for that.

One of the keys to the comparison is Dru. Dru tricked Giles into revealing how to open the vortex. Her tactics are very similar to the ones the First is using on Spike. Giles fell for them at first and thus gave Angelus how to open Acathla (the key, his term which is why I used it, would key to the key be better?). What Spike did to Buffy's state of mind as demonstrated in CwDP (still have to find out what that date is about) could be pretty crucial to these altered mystical forces.

What is important is what Whistler told Giles. Who will play that role? What is that role? He didn't know anything himself. He just got visions from the PTB (too bad the actor was unavailable for AtS. Can you image the look on Angel's face if he found Whistler in his apartment. Doyle was great, but that scene would have been even more powerful with Whistler. I still want to know where his "curse" comes from)

This will probably be played by Giles. I am still convinced he is some sort of Sleeper for the PTB. Why else put his potential beheading in Sleeper and not Never Leave Me? He will be/has been given something he will pass onto Buffy that she will use to save the day, just like Whistler was used.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Actually, you're wrong here. Blood=key remember? (Becoming/Gift) -- s'kat, 16:29:43 02/24/03 Mon

What is important is what Whistler told Giles. Who will play that role? What is that role? He didn't know anything himself. He just got visions from the PTB (too bad the actor was unavailable for AtS. Can you image the look on Angel's face if he found Whistler in his apartment. Doyle was great, but that scene would have been even more powerful with Whistler. I still want to know where his "curse" comes from)

This will probably be played by Giles. I am still convinced he is some sort of Sleeper for the PTB. Why else put his potential beheading in Sleeper and not Never Leave Me? He will be/has been given something he will pass onto Buffy that she will use to save the day, just like Whistler was used.

I'm not convinced it will be Giles. There are at least three other options: 1) Faith, 2) Andrew and 3) Wood.
Giles seems to be off-kilter. Actually I think Giles may be the reason they end up doing the wrong thing. He's been pushing the wrong way. OTOH - isn't it interesting that Giles wasn't in Get it Done - but Wood was??

So is it possible that maybe Giles is the wild card?
Not sure. Waiting for next two episodes and more info.

One of the keys to the comparison is Dru. Dru tricked Giles into revealing how to open the vortex. Her tactics are very similar to the ones the First is using on Spike.

True...but Spike came up with the idea for Dru to trick him. Just as Spike is used in Yoko Factor as the trickster.
And in CwDP is used as trickester. Is it possible the FE used Spike to create the tailsman in Lessons? So is Spike the trickster or trigger?

And what about Faith? Another wild card.

Finally Andrew - what is his role in all this? He could very well be this season's Whistler. Or Wood is? Or they haven't introduced the character yet - he did after all only appear in Becoming.

Too many possibilities to be positive at this point.

This time the blood won't be the key. Those mystical forces around the Slayer line are what the First is taking advantage of. They are what could suck the world into oblivion. I see Buffy detatching from the Slayer line somehow. It is the Slayer that is causing those disruptions, so Buffy needs to divorce herself from the Slayer. Then she can become what she is and save the day.

Blood represents life, the corporal, the mortal coil, the world of form. We are going to the world of formlessness. Somehow I don't see anyone's death being required. Simply breaking a talisman saved the day in "Lessons." No grounding bones to make her bread necessary this season. No one was actually slayed/slain (can never remember which it is) except at the beginning. That isn't typical of the premier (technically Dracula didn't die either, but she staked him twice)

Yes but isn't blood still the linking factor for all of these? The Slayer line passes through blood yet not through blood, since Dawn isn't a slayer. Slayer's are linked to Vampires = through blood, yet not connected by blood.
Death is not the connecting factor - but life? Blood = life or essence of life, but...if we move past the world of forms, past the physical....then it's not blood. What?

I think you're right - it's not blood, it's spirit.
Consciousness which connects everyone and everything to each other. Blood connects them to, but it connects to the mortal coil - or does it? Blood doesn't stop flowing?
Okay I'm confusing myself now. I'll stop.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Actually, you're wrong here. Blood=key remember? (Becoming/Gift) -- lunasea, 17:39:17 02/24/03 Mon

There are at least three other options: 1) Faith, 2) Andrew and 3) Wood.

I wouldn't say it could be Faith, since she is part of the Slayer line. It has to be some Joe average outside the Slayer line with some sort of karmic debt.

Andrew would work. Wouldn't it be funny to see him get the headaches?

Wood is also tied to the Slayer line. Not sure what sort of debt he has to pay. He seems pretty upstanding.

There is a 4th option, Xander. He has a karmic debt in regards to love because of Anya. His function is Joe Everyman on the show. I can see him having or being given the crucial piece of information. We still don't really know what was going on with him during CwDP. When Evil was afoot, was Good getting their ducks in a row also? While Spike, Buffy, Willow, Andrew and Dawn were being manipulated by Evil was Good dealing with Xander and Giles?

True...but Spike came up with the idea for Dru to trick him. Just as Spike is used in Yoko Factor as the trickster.
And in CwDP is used as trickester. Is it possible the FE used Spike to create the tailsman in Lessons? So is Spike the trickster or trigger?

When I look at Spike this season, I see how his trials S6 are playing out. The first was a battle against a creature with fist of fire. That was probably the most obvious of all the demon metaphors ME has used. Spike's first baptism this season comes from not falling for the Buffy/First any more.

Did Spike create the talisman? I seriously doubt it. Not the way he was talking to Buffy about it.

And what about Faith? Another wild card.

Hopefully not too wild after she hopefully saves Angel. I think her role on BtVS will be yet another opportunity for Buffy to love, give and forgive. She will be a sexy, entertaining way for Buffy to do this. I really don't see her going evil again. Not after Five-by-Five, Sanctuary and Judgment.

I think you're right - it's not blood, it's spirit.

Or in the Buffyverse, soul, the part the demon doesn't get. It has to be interesting for an atheist to write these shows. The entire Buffyverse revolves around the soul.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Actually, you're wrong here. Blood=key remember? (Becoming/Gift) -- Just George, 18:56:00 02/24/03 Mon

s'kat: True...but Spike came up with the idea for Dru to trick him. Just as Spike is used in Yoko Factor as the trickster.
And in CwDP is used as trickester. Is it possible the FE used Spike to create the tailsman in Lessons? So is Spike the trickster or trigger?

lunasea: When I look at Spike this season, I see how his trials S6 are playing out. The first was a battle against a creature with fist of fire. That was probably the most obvious of all the demon metaphors ME has used. Spike's first baptism this season comes from not falling for the Buffy/First any more.

Did Spike create the talisman? I seriously doubt it. Not the way he was talking to Buffy about it.

I assumed that Spike made the talisman. In Lessons Spike knew exactly what the spirits were and how to defeat them. And in BY Spike told Buffy that he had dreamed of killing her. I suspect that Spike made the talisman and raised the spirits while the FE made him think he was dreaming.

-Just George

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: manifestations -- lynx, 02:41:46 02/25/03 Tue

i'm pretty sure it was a harbinger that made the talisman........

(amends - transcript from psyche)

Giles: Um, they're known as the, uh, (sits) as the Bringers o-o-or
Harbingers. They're high priests of The First. They, uh, they can
conjure spirit manifestations and set them on people, influence them,
haunt them.

[> [> A thought about Dawn -- Elz, 13:06:38 02/24/03 Mon

Very interesting ideas and great essay!

One thought, though - perhaps instead of being out of the loop (which feels wrong to me somehow) it's actually Dawn and not Wood who's the reflection of Giles. Dawn had the scene with Xander at the end of Potential, and she was in the car with Xander and Anya in TKiM. She's had a very Watcher-like role this season, doing research since STSP and, most importantly, doing the translation and reading from the book in Get it Done. (And it's even in Sumerian.) In Lessons, it's established that Dawn is the student this year - she's the Mind, but she's the mind that's learning rather than teaching. Giles is connected to the Council, the patriarchy, the old order, but Dawn is young and female, with no power but what's within herself.

Does that fit with your theory?

[> [> [> Wanting to join the party, without requisite depth -- pr10n, 15:31:40 02/24/03 Mon

Ok, I twitched at the lameness herein, but what the hey:

Does it matter if an anagram of Andrew is "reDawn"?

I have never seen an anagram comment on this board, and so I fear it/I may be passe. Still, um, linkies?

[Shut up shut up shut up! Damn voices.]

[> [> [> i like that idea -- anom, 19:10:58 02/24/03 Mon

In fact, I thought cjl was going to pair Dawn w/Giles in his amazing analysis, esp. when I read this: "...OK, you'll give me the Heart, Spirit, and Hand--but what happened to Mind? Isn't that a key component of the quartet?"

Maybe I'm to used to analyzing the show, but "key component"? OK, I had some ideas to back that up, but Elz did it better. I was mostly thinking that the research role she picked up when Willow was away had more to do w/mind than spirit.

"...she's the Mind, but she's the mind that's learning rather than teaching."

There may also be another difference: Giles, as cjl pointed out, is the mind that defines polarities, but Dawn, the key, as shadowkat conjectured, opens barriers between things that are defined as different.

And pr10n? "Andrew" is also an anagram for "Dawn-er." Don't know how meaningful that is, though, since it has a bunch of other anagrams: "warden," "warned," "war end," "wander," "re-wand," "raw den," "new rad," "ew, darn," the oddly appropriate "aw, nerd"...help, I can't stop! What have you done to me??!!

[> [> [> [> Yeah, sorry about the trip to absurdity. I'll relurk until I'm smarter. -- pr10n <-- tricky numbers prevent most anagrams, 23:12:33 02/24/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> i was joking--i hope you are! (no rip) @>) -- anom (moan, mona, oman, noam...), 23:44:32 02/24/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> Got the joke -- w/o self-deprecation, I'd have no deprecation at all :) -- pr10n (a wiser, humbler, more subtle pr10n), 07:25:59 02/25/03 Tue

[> [> Great, great essay. It rocks. -- Etrangere, 11:40:12 02/25/03 Tue

[> Great post, cjl. -- aliera...preserving the thread...., 05:17:30 02/24/03 Mon

[> One of the very best endgame specs I've read so far! But then you had me... -- OnM, 06:19:28 02/24/03 Mon

... from "Meet on the Ledge", since like you I'm a great fan of British Isles folk music-- my introduction to it was Fairport Convention's Leige and Leif album, which I sought out after hearing Tam Lin played on a Philadelphia radio folk music show.

It was one of the saddest days of my life when the magnificent Sandy Denny passed away. All of the people you mentioned are wonderful artists, but she was special to me, and remains so.

Great post cjl! Definitiely one for the printing!


[> [> Twice-told Tales -- cjl, 07:35:07 02/24/03 Mon

Thanks, OnM. Part of what I was trying to say at the end--and I'm not sure I conveyed it that well--was that Buffy and her friends will encounter the First Evil on a battlefield outside space, outside time. In some ways, the ultimate battle between the Scoobs and the forces of darkness is ALREADY the stuff of myth:

It has already happened.

It IS happening.

It will happen.

Pure "Slaughterhouse Five."

This is where the time wonkiness of the season comes in. If the final battle is in a realm where differentiated consciousness holds no sway, then terms like past, present, and future have no meaning. As we've seen in "Get It Done," events that were supposedly set in motion thousands of years ago might actually have their origins in the here and now or the day after tomorrow. Like the dreams of "Restless," time dissolves into an Eternal Now, where BUFFY's great drama of love and death is played out to the audience waiting beyond Plato's Cave....

[> [> [> Restless (GiD spoilers) -- Rahael, 07:41:43 02/24/03 Mon

I just read some really interesting comments on someone's livejournal (anniesj, if you're interested in following up).

She points out the connections to Restless. Nikki's bag, which Wood gives Buffy, is the bag that Buffy carries mud in.

When Tara hands her the Tarot card showing 'manus', Buffy refuses, and Tara tells her that she doesn't know what lies ahead, or what she will become.

The First Slayer appears as a threatening spirit all throughout the dream, and it is connected to a spell that the Scoobies did, when they achieved a kind of transcendence (Primeval).

I wonder if Buffy's speech at the end, that she doesn't lie on a bed of bones, and that she'll be a fireman after the flood will gain greater significance, considering the imagery they are drawing on? Will things that never got followed up in S5 now finally be resolved?

[> [> [> [> Wow, thanks. Live journal URL? -- aliera, 07:56:15 02/24/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Wow, thanks. Live journal URL? -- Rahael, 08:00:04 02/24/03 Mon

I actually just dropped her an email to ask whether it was okay me mentioning this here, since livejournals often function as private diaries. That's why I didn't give a direct URL.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Here's a direct link. -- Rahael, 08:57:35 02/24/03 Mon


Very good post!

[> [> [> [> Giles and Buffy's Dreams in Restless: more on mind (GiD spoilers) -- s'kat, 09:50:09 02/24/03 Mon

Thanks for the link Rah - Anniesj is one of my favorite fanfic writers, didn't know she had a lj.

Also while I'd caught quite a few of the Restless motifs, I missed the bag.

Here's some more if anyone's interested:

Giles dream picks up from where last year ended.
In Giles' dream vampires are cardboard villains, or filmed in black and white with all sorts of poses. Spike - Giles doesn't take seriously - or doesn't appear to - but Giles does follow him into the cave, leaving Buffy, his child and Olivia behind. Spike tells Giles he needs to make a decision and Giles responds he always thought Buffy should have killed him and Spike does the cruxfixion pose.

(Everyone thinks this already happened by the way...I'm not so sure - while Spike has down the cruxfixion pose - he hasn't done it in relation to Giles.)

The gnomes outside Spike's cave - of course represent the Trioka from last year, ceramic villains. Just as the vampires in the carnaval are cardboard - easily killed.

Giles does not provide Buffy with deep knowledge only patriarchial quips or old school stuff - that she laughs at and he treats her as a child, pig-tailed, wanting treats.
"This is the way it's always been between men and women"
since the dawn of time - he intone while trying to hypnotize her with a watch - she laughs at him. Later he tells her as she attempts to knock out a cardboard vampire - you forgot to drop your shoulder.

Then suddenly he sees her in a different way, her face primal, with the mud mask, and steps back...awed..."I know you"

Later he enters the cave, after passing Spike as if he were a minor annoyance, unreal in black and white, he enters the Bronze and treats Willow and Xander as the research club - telling them to just look...but he's not sure where.
He gets up on the stage to sing what he thinks is going on, give us his knowledge...but he ends up with heavy feedback.
So he follows the wire and gets scalped by The First..while looking at his watch. "You never had a watcher.."

The dream shows his loss of mind or instincts - he relies on the book-learning, the knowledge he believes is true, but is blinded to what is going on...and as result is incapacitated. The mind wants to make it all logical, break it down into categories.

This is echoed in Buffy's dream - where Riley and Adam are shown attempting to categorize the demons, put lables on them. Again the mind breaks stuff down.

In Buffy's dream she is told to wake up - not by Willow but Anya in Willow's bed. Further evidence that Anya is Willow's representative.

(Also noteworthy - Riley only shows up in Willow/Buffy dreams
and Spike only in Xander/Giles. Riley - the ideal man.
Spike - the shadow. And in Xander's dream Spike does in a way represent Xander's shadow. While in Giles - he is Giles' conscience the part telling him he is forgetting something.)

I realized last year that Season 6 and Season 7 are largely constructed from the Restless dreams - the further I go in both seasons the more the Restless imagery makes sense.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Giles and Buffy's Dreams in Restless: more on mind (GiD spoilers) -- aliera, 10:33:31 02/24/03 Mon

Which of course makes someone simple like me ask "then what happened at the end?" and will we see that played out again or will we see Buffy somehow going beyond that or see that contradicted? I'm feeling happy...I love the mystery. I'm an oddity here because I actually don't want to have it figured out before 7.22. I want it (the finale) to feel right but I want them to be a little bit ahead of me all the way. No problem there so far...sleight of hand rules! ;-)

Back to your stuff from Restless thanks for the reminders. I don't know why but I seem to have the hardest time remembering Gile's part except for the singing.

[> [> [> [> Then again -- KdS, 13:59:14 02/24/03 Mon

In several episodes before Restless Buffy carries around weapons in an identical black leather holdall to the one filled with mud in that ep. Off the top of my head I think The Prom was one of them, but I know it was a familiar bag.

Maybe a fondness for black leather holdalls goes with the Slayer spirit ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> Quite right but...... (Spoilers for Get it Done) -- Rahael, 14:40:11 02/24/03 Mon

I'm not suggesting that Restless foreshadows Season 7, but that Restless is being revisited and used again.

It's the linking imagery of a holdall which contains the mud-mask which signifies the beginnings of the Slayer. Perhaps suggesting both the primeval ooze, and also the face paint which the First Slayer is seen wearing. And in Get it Done, the holdall provides a direct pathway back to the beginning.

The rejection of the hand, the card that signifies Buffy's contribution to the Super-Buffy in Primeval in Restless, prefigures her subsequent rejection of the First Slayer, that she is more than this, more than dead bones, more than just the Slayer strength and action of the kill. I think that this is a theme which is revisited again in Get it Done. Buffy's rejection of the First Slayer, rejection of the Manus card (even from the benign source that is Tara) is also the key to her defeating the First Slayer - that Buffy transcends her beginnings.

There has always been comment (well I've always commented) on the extraordinary sound alike ness of First Evil and Primeval. Before Season 7 came along, it was just a off the cuff comment about a character who appeared in one ep of S3. But now the First Evil is back, and it seems with some kind of connection to the First Slayer, who arises from Primeval. And I think this backs up the suggestions in this thread that there is an intimate connection between the creation of the Slayer and the appearance of the First Evil.

And now I'm wondering about how the creation of Super-Buffy awoke the spirit of the First Slayer.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Quite right...... (Spoilers for Get it Done, Calvary) -- aliera, 16:33:40 02/24/03 Mon

couple of quick thoughts here...

Buffy has worn the mud the mask of the slayer but she is more than her mask. There's a bit of an empasis on seeing truly this season in both Angel and Buffy. With Angel I'm thinking in particular of the spell Cordy spoke which mentions the chimaera...chimaera nihilo. Spikes costume. Willow peeling. Angelus wearing Angel. In degera...fortis murus. Live...brave the wall?

Buffy was in search of her friends in Restless and (I think) mentions them again to the First Slayer in the conflict, and going with your last question, it was through her friends that she became the transcendant Buffy that defeated "Adam" who is interestingly another human demon hybrid. Friends family humanity highlighted but Love is the trump card?

Willow's "the Earth wants her back" takes on a different implication after the scene of the girl chained to the earth. Did Buffy break the chains in The Gift? Or in Bargaining? Or is that what this season is about? Breaking the chain of the demon/slayer cycle?

I don't discount the point about the relationship between the Slayer and the First. The First's remarks about predating the Bang could have just been hubris. Or an aspect of the mask it was wearing at the time. Or a reflection of the mask. Or all of these could be true. Beloxa's words support the connection.

The First Slayer seems to function as a catalyst an achetype a lesson rather than an actual individual. Incarnating with the trigger the lesson that Buffy needs at any given moment. Sometimes its a message that she needs to overcome rather than learn. The Restless conflict. Love is your gift in season 5. And what we have now... "it's not enough" ...what's not enough? The power of the slayer? She triggers the opportunity and the rejection of a certain type of power? Followed by the need to find a different way? I guess I tend to view conflicts with the shadow more as messages leading to needed change than anything else so this may just be me.

And lastly, just an ironic note that we've commented substantially that Buffy is not the slayer (Faith). Buffy herself has said she is more than the slayer. I'm just wondering again if our comments aren't going to become even more relevant somehow. Will she give up being a slayer? Move beyond it? I agree with the poster who said it is usually Buffy who finds the answer. That it might be Buffy herself that finds the Answer.

Gotta go...it's Ben's turn on the computer! Thanks for the post, Rah.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks for yours!! -- Rahael, 07:56:22 02/25/03 Tue

Very interesting thoughts. I'm being very cautious about the season end because I am still disturbed about some things in Season 7. Everytime I try to grasp hold of the central characters, Buffy and the First Evil, I find I'm just holding air.

I guess in Season 6 there was a natural trajectory (Buffy's metaphorical climb from the grave of depression, the twists and turns of Spuffy and Xander/Anya, the very human Troika) to follow. Before that, I just used to watch the entire season all in one go. Is it this way all the time? The confusion? I'm kind of lost. CJL's post is probably the first one that ignited in me some hope for a moving, stirring finish.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Posters...some help with Rah's ? -- aliera, 09:59:04 02/25/03 Tue

Could someone else chime in here? I don't think I'm the best person to answer this because I'm just sort of sitting back blissfully watching everything unfold right now...not to mention I'm obviously pretty clueless on the nature of the FE ;-).

Nice bio on D'H btw.

[> [> [> Re: Twice-told Tales -- aliera, 07:43:55 02/24/03 Mon

I think you did. I've read quite a bit of your stuff by now and I have to also comment (maybe needlessly but what the heck) that I really enjoyed not just the content but the actual writing. In a couple of passages in particular I actually had the sensation of music playing. This is about the highest compliment I know how to pay...OK back to the insightful posting of others! ;-)

[> [> [> [> Music and Writing -- cjl, 08:31:13 02/24/03 Mon

Writing and music have a great deal in common. There's both rhythm and melody in the flow of words on the screen and on the page, both in poetry and prose.

I often think of a great novel as a Beethoven symphony, with distinct movements around a common theme, or (if you want to use a modern example), a mammoth improvisational riff by the likes of John Coltrane, going off in a million different directions, but always returning to the central melody.

Sonnets and sonatas, iambic pentameter and five-bar blues, it's all the same to me. And I often think of an inspired piece of doggerel as a Ramones song without the feedback.


[> Interesting thoughts; and beautifully written -- Tchaikovsky, 07:55:29 02/24/03 Mon

[> [> Re: Continuing cjl's thoughts -- Riggswolfe, 20:11:29 02/24/03 Mon

I think if his Becoming III scenario holds then the one to take Angelus' place will be Buffy herself. It's been said before that other than the Mayor, one of the few people Faith ever cared for was Buffy.

I personally think we're going to discover that the First Evil is actually a part of the slayer's, that in fact, the First Evil was the demon used to make the First Slayer (hence, him having no body). I think it will come out somehow that Buffy's non-death somehow freed it to act, and it is working towards the destruction of the Slayer's as a way to finally free itself.

Things will diverge in the end from Becoming because Buffy will NOT choose Dawn (as "Giles") and she will make the wrong choice. In the end, Faith will be forced to slay Buffy.

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