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The Glories of I, Robot, You, Jane (Buffy's Spiritual Journey 1.8) -- manwitch, 09:52:31 01/27/04 Tue

I like the episode I Robot, You Jane. I also think it is significant in the arc of season one.

In Renaissance Italy, some monks use a binding spell to trap Moloch, the Corruptor, a demon, in a book that is then locked away. Until, of course, Buffy opens the box in which it is sealed in the library at Sunnydale High. This book becomes part of a project taking place in the library: the translation of knowledge into digital format. This process brings to light one of the key conflicts of the episode, which surrounds the transformation of society implicit in such a translation of knowledge. Jenny Calendar and the techno-students argue that this technology is the way of the future. She mocks Giles's technological backwardness, his refusal to catch up with the times. But Giles is frightened by odorless knowledge, knowledge without memory, by the prospect of a world of screens and keypads, without real human interaction.

The book containing Moloch is digitally scanned, translating Moloch into "information to be absorbed." Once inside the internet, Moloch begins to spread from node to node, facelessly seducing and corrupting students who log on with his promises of love and power. Willow falls under Moloch's thrall after meeting the faceless entity in an internet chat room and begins to withdraw from her friends, raising Buffy's concern. Giles and Buffy discover that the digital demon is loose in the internet and that some plan related to it is being hatched over at the closed factory. Buffy and Xander head off to the factory while Giles must come clean to Miss Calendar to enlist her technological assistance. Much to his and our surprise, Miss Calendar knows that there is a demon in the internet. She has seen signs in the bones she has been casting. Their conflict is resolved. She does not scoff at Giles's binding spell, but helps Giles to digitize that as well, to create a virtual circle in the internet that can use the digital binding spell to capture this digital information and take it out of circulation.

When Buffy and Xander get to the factory they find that Willow has been taken there against her will to meet Moloch, who has been given shape in the form of a robot, connected digitally to everything. Willow rejects the robot for its deceit and its murderous designs. When the virtual binding spell takes effect, Moloch is bound not in the book he had occupied previously, but in his robot body, now disconnected from the internet and from the free communication of information.

As he lashes out to kill Buffy, he punches some electrical circuitry and blows himself apart. The gang gets together again and talks about their depressing history and doomed future in love.

Now, the titles of Buffy episodes are not announced in the episodes, so I don't think that what is going on in the title is necessary to understanding the episode, but I do think that in this case the title I, Robot, You Jane helps us to see the themes that the writers seem to believe were at work in the piece. Most notably in this case, there are two literary allusions at play in the title.

"I, Robot," as everybody knows, is the title of a series of science fiction stories by Isaac Asimov. Now its been twenty-plus years since I read I, Robot, but I seem to recall robots with feeling, emotion, a sense of isolation and otherness, and a self-aware consideration of why they exist and do what they do. Asimov is reputed to have sort of changed the way robots were thought about, changing them from something menacing into something comitted to human good. And Asimov explored the ideas of what happens when a robot fails to promote the human good, what is the cause? What part of the logic programmed into it has gone awry? And of course, the thing to remember about books or movies that depict robots or aliens or monsters, whether they be about Terminators or Mr. Spock or Vampires, is that there are no robots, no aliens, no monsters. No real ones. An aspect of humanity is being shown to be robotic, an aspect of humanity is being represented as alienated or alienating, an aspect of humanity is being characterized as monstrous. But it's always about human beings. So I, Robot is really asking, what happens when people start to hurt other people? Why are we separate? How are we programmed? And what part of that programming has gone wrong?

The human good is never achieved by the following of rules or instructions, no matter what they claim to promote. Human good depends ultimately on a quite illogical recognition of common humanity, on an act of faith in, or consciousness of, shared experience that shows as a revelation that our isolation, our otherness, is an illusion. When our allegiance is to rules, instructions, information, knowledge - to programming--no matter how logical or how well presented as promoting the general welfare, we become machines, someone else's tool, a robot, not a full and compassionate human being.

So Moloch is not just a demon and not just a robot. He represents something that is being characterized as demonic and corrupting, that is being characterized as a robot, as a tool of programming and intructions.

But there is also a pretty clear reference to a line from Tarzan, "Me Tarzan, You Jane." Tarzan is the story of the son of an English nobleman who is abandoned in Africa and raised by apes. He learns the language of nature and lives in harmony with it. But Europeans eventually return as the "modern" world attempts to impose itself on the primitive. In this early twentieth-century story, we find that "modern" is not better. Its his very connection to nature and its creative power that is ultimately consummated in his relationship with Jane. So we have here the theme of one way of life attempting to impose itself on another way of life, the threat that it represents, as "modern" attempts to displace "primitive" rather than coexist with it or enhance it. But here in the Buffy title, there are changes. Most noticable is that Tarzan, the human "savage" that lives in harmony with nature, is replaced, updated, by a Robot that follows programming. So here again is this idea of displacement of one order of things with another. Instead of the relationship of primitive to modern we now have the relationship of something modern to something, dare we say "post" modern? Something technologically further along on the timeline at any rate. The grammer is updated as well, to indicate a change in the function of this declaration. "Me Tarzan, You Jane," describes a relationship. Man/woman, tarzan/jane, me/you. "I robot, you jane" seems more like a classification. I and you are being named, told what we are, in the classifcations of knowledge. But it all suggests that knowledge, information, programming, is trumping human relationships. So it dovetails nicely into the I, Robot allusion itself.

And this is, of course, exactly the threat that Giles fears. A domain of technologically based knowledge that displaces human interaction. A new way of life that displaces and destroys the creative power of the old way.

If we look at this episode in the context of the Season One arc, I think it begins to become apparent how significant it is. Three considerations in particular come to mind.

First, the episode's place in the order of episodes of Season One and its thematic arc. Season One is the story of how Buffy comes to accept her spiritual destiny as the Vampire Slayer. Prior to this point, the episodes have emphasized a desire on Buffy's part to remain a child. We saw her desire a normal life and resist her spiritual responsibilities in Welcome to the Hellmouth and The Harvest. We saw a pathological desire to remain forever a child in Witch. In Never Kill a BoyÉ we saw Buffy believe she could have a normal social life, childishly thinking that her social life and her spiritual life could be separate, and we saw her completely fail to recognize the child (The Annointed One) and where it is leading her. In The Pack we saw the childish need for pier approval, and in Angel we saw the childish desire for moral absolutes and Buffy's fear of losing her mom. Everything up to this point is colored by Buffy's childish refusal of her spiritual destiny.

After I, Robot, You Jane however, she will be seeking to move on from childhood. She offers to help the adult trapped in a child's body move on to its proper domain in The Puppet Show. The Puppet, however, declines her help, telling her this is something you have to do for yourself. Again, the reference is to Buffy. She needs to help herself to move on and accept her destiny, and she's starting to recognize that. She then guides the child to face and overcome its fears in Nightmares , this time recognizing that the child needs to do the last trick himself. And it is, of course, Buffy, who needs to take the mask off of what she fears and move on. And finally, she spanks the child that refuses to grow up in Out of Mind, Out of Sight. She's had enough of the pouting and the whining. If normal is what you want, you're going to be invisible. Its time to accept the spiritual destiny that makes you unique. The stage is set for her final transformation in Prophecy Girl.

But the turning point is I, Robot, You Jane. Something happens in that episode that propels her on the road to spiritual maturation.

Secondly, every episode of the season makes some association of Buffy and childhood or uses some sort of child metaphor to make its point. What about I, Robot, You Jane? Its "child" metaphor lies in the name Moloch. Moloch is a demon to whom children are sacrificed. But in the Buffy episode Moloch is scanned as "information to be absorbed." Moloch is knowledge, or rather a relationship, and approach to knowledge, to which our children are being sacrificed. But the promises of power and knowledge that this relationship makes are accompanied by isolation, withdrawal from real human interaction, and by a crowding out of our deepest needs of spiritual fulfillment. That's why the biggest threat is to Willow, metaphorically Buffy's spirit. The worship of faceless and odorless knowledge is corrupting our spiritual possibilities. And the ultimate result of such an approach to knowledge, without attention to the world of the spirit, is a robot, a machine, run by programming, cut off from the world and incapable of creative life. The cure, what can keep our children from being corrupted and return them to health and maturity, is attention to a life of the spirit based in human interaction.

And the third thing to consider is how Moloch finally meets his end. Buffydoesn't kill him. He shortcircuits himself. And he does so not after something Buffy does, but as a result of a resolution of the conflict between Giles and Jenny Calendar. So let's consider that conflict a little more closely. It's a conflict between two approaches to knowledge, brought about by the implications of translating knowledge from one form to another. Neither is wrong. But they feel incompatible. These very topics have been addressed in one of the essential works of postmodernism.

In The Postmodern Condition, Jean-Francois Lyotard discusses "the condition of knowledge in the most highly developed societies," those societies that have moved from a manufacturing economy into an economy of information exchange. He begins with a very brief discussion of the translation of knowledge from books into digital information, a process that we see taking place before our eyes in the beginning of the episode as Giles, Calendar and company scan Giles' collection into the computer. To Lyotard (writing in the seventies), as to Giles, this process has massive implications for society. Knowledge that cannot be so digitized/quantified will be jettisoned, dropped from the knowledge base, begging the question, who will know? And its not just the knowledge, but the relationships that this knowledge implies. This transformation into an information-based society begins thereby to illuminate a disturbing truth about the relationship of knowledge to power. It has been commonly held that knowledge is something we acquire and possess that gives us power, but we begin to see that the very existence of domains of knowledge presupposes a power that is antecedent to it, a power to determine that which can be known, the order of things and the accompanying relationships. And as societies enter the Postmodern Age, moving from a manufacturing economy to an information economy, and knowledge begins this translation process, a potential struggle for that power appears on the horizon. According to Lyotard, what is at stake is nothing less than the social bond itself.

Lyotard distinguishes between two types of knowledge, one he calls "narrative" knowledge, the other "scientific" knowledge. The main distinguishing feature between the two is that they are "different language games." Narrative knowledge, according to Lyotard, is a form of play. In narrative knowledge, represented by Giles in the episode, that narrator's only competence is based on having heard the story (been an addressee) or having lived the story himself (been the hero or referent). "Thus," writes Lyotard, "the speech acts relevant to this form of knowledge are performed not only by the speaker, but also by the listener, as well as by the third party referred to." The knowledge transmitted in these narrations "determines in a single stroke what one must say in order to be heard, what one must listen to in order to speak, and what role one must play to be the object of a narrative" (p21). One's place in the society, one's relationship to the society, one's role in the society--the social bond--is realized in the telling, whether you are speaking, listening, or being talked about.

Scientific statements, according to Lyotard, are exclusively denotative, requiring competence only from the sender of the statement, not from either the addressee or the statement's referent. In contrast to narrative knowledge, the scientific statement "gains no validity from the fact of being reported." It must be continuously verifiable by the experts. Denotative in nature, scientific statements are perfectly suited for quantification and translation into digital form, but the denotative language game cannot of itself legitimate the social bond, because the only way into this social collective is as the sender of verifiable or falsifiable statements accessible to the experts. Scientific knowledge, which I believe is represented in the episode by Moloch, is therefore "no longer a direct and shared component of the bond" (p25). Scientific knowledge is related to the social bond indirectly, through the need to create "equal partners," through the building of institutions to create a class of trained (or "programmed") experts. And so is raised the issue of the relationship of the scientific institution to the society at large, a relationship that Lyotard describes as one of "mutual exteriority" (p25).

Now, please understand, this is not crazy science bashing. Lyotard's point is not that science is bad or that technology sucks and doesn't work. His concern is that scientific knowledge is so powerful, so persuasive, so aggressive in its pursuit of new domains, and yet so delimited in its rules of access that it tends to crowd out other no-less-necessary forms of knowledge, and risks thereby crowding out our humanity. This is not new. It's a basic theme of science fiction. Spock isn't an alien because his father is Vulcan, but rather because by subjugating his humanity to rules of science and logic he has alienated himself from his true nature. What do you think it means that a Terminator, destroyer of humanity, looks human on the outside but is a machine inside? Why do you think the science officer in Alien turns out to be an android? The common theme is that scientific knowledge, while useful, is not and cannot even address the source of our humanity. Not every question is a scientific one. Questions like "What should I do now?" or "Is it right for me to do this?" will never have scientific answers.

The question of the relationship of scientific institutions to the society at large is the question of legitimation: Why do we pursue this knowledge? What are the conditions of its truth? How does it progress? This discourse on legitimation has been present, according to Lyotard, at least since Plato's dialogues, which "links this question [science's legitimation] to that of sociopolitical authority from the start." I'm no philosophy student, so I will leave it to others to hash out. But Lyotard seems to have a couple of points worth emphasizing. One is that scientific knowledge must resort to narratives of the sort implicit in the three preceding questions in order to legitimate itself. So ironically, science is legitimated by a form of knowledge that is not subject to proof or verification and that it consequently rejects as no knowledge at all. These narratives tend to be the same ones that legitimate the sociopolitical authority, and the state's connection to scientific knowledge seems to have the frequent effect of turning denotative truths into prescriptive norms. (And what has Buffy wanted to this point in the season? To be normal).

It is conspicuous that Giles and Calendar debate throughout the entire episode the very issues that concern Lyotard. In the episode, narrative knowledge seems to be associated with Giles, the keeper of the books, the mystical knowledge, the myths and legends, the forms of knowledge that are not verified in a lab but are rather told and passed on. Calendar appears initially to be associated with scientific knowledge, as she teaches the new technology and extolls the creation of a new society. Giles is extremely uncomfortable with technology, specifically the computer technology that is translating his knowledge into new forms. And he expresses his concern clearly and directly. When Calendar puts it to Giles that "We are creating a new society," he responds "Yes but what kind? A society in which human interaction is obsolete?" And that is the crux of the matter. Does the computerization of society and the translation of information have to unravel the social bond? Consign it to narrow, hierarchical, exclusive institutions? Or is some solution possible in which direct access to the social bond can reassert itself in the new reality? Giles knows the treasures contained in his books, he knows that technology is not necessarily better simply because its new, and Giles is already concerned about the threat to the social bond which will soon be revealed in the guise of the corrupting demon knowledge. Moloch is the metaphor for this denotative knowledge, formerly housed in books, now being digitized, to which children are sacrificed at the altar of their schools. We are taught that this knowledge is power, that it is truth, as Moloch promises. But as the students fall under the "normative" spell of this programming, they become increasingly isolated from their social connections, just as Giles had feared. It is ultimately up to us to use knowledge, not to worship it. And this is the struggle that the episode reveals between our heroes and Moloch. And it is resolved, ultimately, in precisely the way that Lyotard would have hoped.

The three seductees, the most scientific of Ms. Calendars techno-students, begin to retreat from the social collective. That the greatest threat is to Willow is significant. Willow is, even here, a metaphor for Buffy's spirit. And as Willow becomes more apart and isolated under the weight of Moloch, we are being told once againt that following instructions or programming, giving our allegiance to knowledge rather than relationships, is killing our spirit, our creative play. But Buffy, a representative of narrative knowledge, knows something is wrong, she knows in non-quantifiable fashion--her "spider sense is tingling." And Buffy chooses to surrender neither her relationship with Willow nor the spiritual path that Willow represents. She chooses, essentially, to no longer be the child, the child that in this episode is to be sacrificed to denotative and normative programming of our society.

Buffy goes to the closed factory, a factory that in postmodern fashion has moved on from manufacturing and is now preparing for the ultimate in information exchange, to confront the robot. But Buffy doesn't defeat it. Back in the library, we find that Ms. Calendar is not what we had suspected. Lyotard had seen a solution to the postmodern condition in "giving the public access to the databanks," not shutting down science, but opening the databanks to the creative play of all language games. And we find that Ms. Calendar is prepared to do precisely that. Giles and Ms. Calendar, working together take "narrative knowledge" (the binding spell that had originally trapped Moloch in the book) and they circulate that narrative in the internet, creating a virtual social bond. Moloch is defeated in the electronic ether in the same way he was back in 1418. He is bound, separated, cut off from circulation. Turned in on himself, he short circuits. There is nowhere for his power to go. The message here is not that knowledge is bad or to be destroyed, but that knowledge is not the power. We are. But not as our self. Buffy as her self doesn't do it. Lyotard argued that as the narratives of legitimation lost their credibility (he defined postmodernism as "incredulity towards metanarratives") a new form of legitimation must be found. "Most people," he wrote, "have lost the nostalgia for the lost narrative. It in no way follows that they are reduced to barbarity. What saves them from it is their knowledge that legitimation can only spring from their own linguistic practice and communicational interaction" (p41, italics mine). It is our network of human interaction through which knowledge merely circulates that matters. And if you aren't jacked into that ..

Knowledge that isn't circulating in the human communications network, is really no knowledge at all. It's the act of human connection that matters. That's why the isolated Moloch short circuits. As Lyotard says, "A self does not amount to much, but no self is an islandÉNo one, not even the least privileged among us is ever entirely powerless over the messages that traverse and position him at the post of sender, addressee, or referent." We are, in this sense, the power that is antecedent to knowledge. We have the power to use it, to change it, or to create it anew. We exercise that power and create the social bond every time we send, receive, or are the object of a message, every time we interact with another human being. While the episode appears to be a story about Buffy fighting a demon who, released into the internet, attempts to seduce and corrupt youth, including Willow, it really turns out to be about the power and importance of social interaction. We can accept a form of knowledge in which we are individual and separate. Or we can choose to recognize that we are our communications, our interactions, our relationships.

Buffy finds, in I Robot, You, Jane, the basis for what will later be her unparallelled success and identity as the Slayer. It is here, in this episode, that the tide turns, that Buffy's personal connections begin to lead her towards her spiritual connections. And it is here that Buffy begins to follow. And, since Buffy is us, we may assume that the foundation of our success and identity also lies in our bonds to the people around us and the spiritual enrichment immanent in each.

So this episode provides the first intimation of what I think makes Buffy the Vampire Slayer a significant piece of spiritual literature. We find here a Postmodern spirituality, in which our very identity is no longer an individual trait, no longer an object of knowledge as it was for the humanism of the modern period. Our identity is an active and ever-changing set of real relationships. Again, this appears to me to be one of the most interesting and powerful aspects of Buffy's spiritual message. I have written before about Buffy's relationship to kundalini yoga, and argued that the entire series could be envisioned as one person's seated meditation. And yet Buffy seems to argue that spirituality is not to be found in ascetism. Spiritual fulfillment depends on human interaction, not silent prayer or a penitent soul. Its what we do with each other that marks our spiritual progress, not what we believe or doubt when we are alone. The engage approach to the life of the spirit.

This would have originally been part of a series of posts I was doing for "back to the beginning," charting Buffy's spiritual journey. For a variety of reasons, I haven't posted anything on it since my post on Angel. On the outside chance that I will ever continue, I will make this a part of the series.

And that means, ranking the top ten percent, up through Season 1, episode 8:

The Top Ten Percent (so far)

1. Angel
2. Never Kill a Boy on the First Date
3. I, Robot, You Jane
4. Witch
5. The Pack
6. Welcome to the Hellmouth
7. Teachers Pet
8. The Harvest


[> Re: The Glories of I, Robot, You, Jane (Buffy's Spiritual Journey 1.8) -- Sophist, 12:34:41 01/27/04 Tue

Season One is the story of how Buffy comes to accept her spiritual destiny as the Vampire Slayer. Prior to this point, the episodes have emphasized a desire on Buffy's part to remain a child. We saw her desire a normal life and resist her spiritual responsibilities in Welcome to the Hellmouth and The Harvest. We saw a pathological desire to remain forever a child in Witch. In Never Kill a Boy.... we saw Buffy believe she could have a normal social life, childishly thinking that her social life and her spiritual life could be separate, and we saw her completely fail to recognize the child (The Annointed One) and where it is leading her. In The Pack we saw the childish need for pier approval, and in Angel we saw the childish desire for moral absolutes and Buffy's fear of losing her mom. Everything up to this point is colored by Buffy's childish refusal of her spiritual destiny.

After I, Robot, You Jane however, she will be seeking to move on from childhood. She offers to help the adult trapped in a child's body move on to its proper domain in The Puppet Show. The Puppet, however, declines her help, telling her this is something you have to do for yourself. Again, the reference is to Buffy. She needs to help herself to move on and accept her destiny, and she's starting to recognize that. She then guides the child to face and overcome its fears in Nightmares , this time recognizing that the child needs to do the last trick himself. And it is, of course, Buffy, who needs to take the mask off of what she fears and move on. And finally, she spanks the child that refuses to grow up in Out of Mind, Out of Sight. She's had enough of the pouting and the whining. If normal is what you want, you're going to be invisible. Its time to accept the spiritual destiny that makes you unique. The stage is set for her final transformation in Prophecy Girl.

I agree with all of this. In fact, you were the one who pointed out this arc and enriched my understanding of S1. Thanks.

The problem I have with IRYJ is that, notwithstanding your heroic attempt, I can't fit it into this arc. Not that you haven't provided a potential solution, but more that that solution requires more effort than even I am prepared to expend to "get" the message. Instead, my brain keeps cycling back to the surface view of IRYJ, which just isn't that attractive.

[> nice encompassing post -- Deacon, 15:11:35 01/27/04 Tue

[> Something more... -- BMF, 16:32:06 01/27/04 Tue

...is at play in Moloch himself, at least I believe so. The name "Moloch" is Hebrew, and literally means "demon". As I understand it, and I am not an expert on Judaism, Moloch is also sometimes used in the singular to mean THE demon (as in Satan). From this perspective, Moloch's power as the Corruptor makes even more sense. While he is not the root of all evil, he is the master of deception, making evil appear alluring and leading people who should know better to their doom. (Notice that Willow and the other victims are markedly intelligent people. Intelligence and wisdom are not the same.) His victims, then, should be seen in a Faustian light, selling their souls for their hearts' greatest desires, only to see their hearts destroyed. This fits well into the self- and world-destructive activities Willow later engages in, activities that amount to self-actualization as self-destruction.
Moloch's Hebrew origins, I believe, are also a reflection on Willow's Jewish roots, demonstrating that she cannot escape her spiritual roots.
That's all for know.

[> [> Huh? -- Sophist, 18:57:25 01/27/04 Tue

Moloch's Hebrew origins, I believe, are also a reflection on Willow's Jewish roots, demonstrating that she cannot escape her spiritual roots.

The name "Moloch" may be Hebrew, but the ancient Jews did not worship him. How, then, could Moloch worship be a "spiritual root" for a modern Jew? And how could Moloch serve in that role for one Jew and not all others?

I think this part of your post leads to some pretty unlikely and undesirable interpretations. He hinted subtly.

[> [> Moloch in OT -- sdev, 23:02:11 01/27/04 Tue

Moloch was a Cannanite sun god to whom people sacrificed first born children. He was considered idolotrous to Jews. Willow was more likely the prohibited child sacrifice than spiritually connected.

Moloch appears in Leviticus 18:21

"You shall not present any of your children to pass in front of Moloch and do not profane the name of God. I am God."

Melech in Hebrew means king but they are different words. Both words appear in the OT and are spelled differently.

[> [> [> What I get from BMF's post is... -- manwitch, 08:13:20 01/28/04 Wed

What I think does work here is that there is a reinforcement of Willow as metaphor for spirit. Moloch as a hebrew word for satan, and an idol which is seducing Willow and drawing her attention. That says to me that it (Moloch as metaphor) is seducing Buffy away from her spiritual path. Willow is not worshipping Moloch, or if she is, it is in fact idolotrous.

I have always felt that part of why willow, Buffy's spirit, is jewish is not simply to associate it with religion, but to specifically associate it with a way of life based in community and in which that community is the living testament to this spiritual life. So again, the spirituality is anchored in action and in community, not in ascetic prayer. The community must be engaged in and function as witness to this spiritual life.

Willow ultimately recognizes Moloch as idolotrous, and Buffy's spiritual equilibrium is restored, as well as her community.

[> [> [> [> The idols of the world -- Sophist, 08:47:06 01/28/04 Wed

Francis Bacon said we were seduced by various idols. Your comment

idol which is seducing Willow and drawing her attention. That says to me that it (Moloch as metaphor) is seducing Buffy away from her spiritual path.

inspires me to suggest a simpler (oversimple?) way of rephrasing your original post.

If we ask ourselves, as you have convinced me we should throughout S1, "What is the moral lesson for Buffy/us?", then I think you have supplied the answer: Buffy should not be seduced/distracted by the idols of the modern world. It could have been television, it could have been video games, it could have been Princess Di. The point is, all of these divert Buffy from her journey and lead to self-destruction.

If I'm just slow understanding your opening post, feel free to say so. What I just said above, though, does seem a simpler way of describing a consistent theme of S1 in the context of IRYJ. Already I like the episode better.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: The idols of the world -- manwitch, 09:24:31 01/28/04 Wed

I think that's pretty much it. There's a balance of course, or perhaps a tension. It isn't that one shouldn't watch TV or be interested in Princess Di. I mean, Buffy liked the Ice-Capades. But what informs our moral decisions or guides our sense of self?

I think of Moloch, I guess, as being specifically a reference to secular idolatry. I refrained from using that word in the original post (funny because I used pretty much all the others) because criticizing the "secular" makes everyone think you've moved to the south and are trying to stop evolution from being taught in the schools. I think the concern shown in the Buffy series is that people are losing, surrendering even, the experience of the spiritual in their actual lives. Our vision of the world and of life can become so flat, so mundane. We need the mystery.

Science, I believe, sometimes gets more and more mystical and awe-inspring the more it explains. So to a degree it gets a bad rap, you know, like the police do in movies. But I think this episode was Buffy's way of saying, "we all crave 'something more,' and we all should." We can't let our spiritual lives be crowded out by all these other worldly things.

So yes. Your post is what I said, but simply shorter by three or four thousand words.

I'm glad you are liking the episode better. That will probably hold up until you happen to watch it again.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The idols of the world -- BMF, 10:19:58 01/28/04 Wed

Just to clarify, my reference to Judaism in the original post was simply something that I had found obvious since I had first seen IRYJ. I had no intention of suggesting worship of Moloch. Rather, my focus was on, as Sophist and manwitch have discussed, Moloch as a symbol of idolatry and leading people astray. That's why I also referred to Faust -Mephistopheles and Moloch share historical religious roots, and are used in the same literary sense. Moreover, like Faust, Willow is able to escape her devil's bargain.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The idols of the world -- Sophist, 10:20:19 01/28/04 Wed

Instead of "secular", how about "worldly"?

And LOL at your last line.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The idols of the world -- sdev, 19:04:43 01/28/04 Wed

I think this is an excellent analysis on an episode I usually don't like too much.

The OT has constant warnings against the Jews worshipping idols. Idols are seductive. They give shape, form and concretize spirituality and god. They give external answers to internal questions.

Computers, the internet, chat are these simple answers too? Are they a substitute for real relationships and true human connection, or for book learning with its more intensive approach? Is Willow in her longing for connection, to be understood, taking the easy way out? Is she externalizing her quest to understand and like herself? Are Willow's computer forays the same as Gile's knowledge from books?

The robot Moloch becomes is as close to human as an idol is to God. Both are false substitutes to be avoided.

[> Delicious- baying for that 'outside chance' -- Tchaikovsky, 02:31:47 01/28/04 Wed

I've loved these posts from their outset, and was disappointed to see them disappear. I like the way that there's such a reinterpretation of the episodes for me after having seen them- I feel I want to go back and look at themes I noticed and see how they link in to your arguments about the spiritual structure of the series.

Does the computerization of society and the translation of information have to unravel the social bond? Consign it to narrow, hierarchical, exclusive institutions? Or is some solution possible in which direct access to the social bond can reassert itself in the new reality?

Well, this discussion board does a lot to allay Giles' fears.


[> Fabulous stuff! -- Plin, 05:48:09 01/28/04 Wed

Pushes some of my favorite topic buttons, too, from postmodernism to knowledge theory. I wish I weren't so stupidly tied up in 18 million other things at the moment and could respond appropriately, I'd love to discuss these aspects of the series more. (Then again, it's probably best for everyone that I can't, because I can get carried away and go on at tedious length.)

Anyway, I've enjoyed the whole Spiritual Journey series a great deal, and this was one of my favorites (see "buttons", above). I'm with TCH in hoping that the outside chance becomes less outside-ish.

So this episode provides the first intimation of what I think makes Buffy the Vampire Slayer a significant piece of spiritual literature. We find here a Postmodern spirituality, in which our very identity is no longer an individual trait, no longer an object of knowledge as it was for the humanism of the modern period. Our identity is an active and ever-changing set of real relationships. Again, this appears to me to be one of the most interesting and powerful aspects of Buffy's spiritual message.

I love this part, especially because so many people seem to think that postmodernism is about isolation and alienation, when it's exactly the opposite: nothing has meaning on its own, only negotiated in relation to other people, concepts, context, etc. I absolutely agree that this is the one of the central messages of the series, and the part that speaks to me most profoundly.

Thanks again for a most excellent post.

[> [> Deja vu all over again -- manwitch, 08:30:50 02/07/04 Sat

Hey, thank you. And TCH. I should have said that weeks ago. Watched Puppet Show recently and am working on it.

Now that this has mysteriously reappeared perhaps you could throw in some of your thoughts on your favorite topic buttons. Would love to read it.

I hear Random is working on something as well.

Its very important to explore the deep well that is I, Robot, You Jane.

[> [> [> Preserving until I get a chance to... -- Random, 20:48:17 02/07/04 Sat

actually start writing. Need to rewatch the ep, I think.

[> [> [> [> Still preserving cause... -- Random, 13:32:14 02/09/04 Mon

I need time. Too busy. Sigh

[> [> [> No mystery -- Masq, 10:04:49 02/08/04 Sun

I read in another thread you and Random talking about how it had been archived and Random not getting a chance to post his reply.

I have the inside track with the Voynak demon. You want someone to wrestle it into submission?

All you have to do is ask!

[> [> [> Re: Deja vu all over again -- Plin, 16:31:59 02/09/04 Mon

Now that this has mysteriously reappeared perhaps you could throw in some of your thoughts on your favorite topic buttons. Would love to read it.

It happens to have cycled back through at another moment when I'm in a time crunch. It's the tyranny of deadlines.

But, at the risk of breaching etiquette and being just plain dull by pointing rather than engaging in fruitful discussion, a rather interesting conversation did ensue from your post elsewhere, intertwined with a couple of other discussions that were going on at the time.

Here, though, I'd really need to rewatch this episode to be able to contribute productively. Maybe if this thread can stay alive through the weekend, I can actually manage it.

[> [> [> [> Preserving -- Masq, 11:56:52 02/10/04 Tue

[> Excellent, manwitch (preserving for later response and debate) -- Random, 15:53:40 01/28/04 Wed

[> Re: The Glories of I, Robot, You, Jane (Buffy's Spiritual Journey 1.8) -- Arethusa, 09:08:20 02/07/04 Sat

I have just a couple of thoughts.

One of the things I find interesting about the episode is the stuffy (at this point), traditional librarian is the one concerned about losing the sensual aspect of books. He wants to feel and touch them, breathe them in, fill his senses with them. And it's the sensual young woman who works with computers, cold hard machines. It's an interesting part of the subversion of their relationship, echoed in the way she pursues him, instead of waiting for him to pursue her.

Its what we do with each other that marks our spiritual progress, not what we believe or doubt when we are alone. The engage approach to the life of the spirit.

This pertains to Angel too, who now has all the technology he could want, but not the connection to his team, and therefore was feeling adrift.

[> [> Preserving -- Masq, 20:52:42 02/07/04 Sat

[> The Ghost in the Machine and Human Interactions -- Random, 11:19:35 02/08/04 Sun

Just a disclaimer: I still don't much care for IRYJ. As a morality fable, it's clunky. As a narrative, it's...clunky. Anyway, this is an excellent analysis, manwitch. And one that sends the latent veteran of grad school theory wars in me into percolation. I want to address several of the peripheral issues you raised but didn't go as indepth into. (And hopefully minimize the esoterics of po-mo terminology for accessibility.)

What fascinates me about your analysis is that IRYJ is that much of the the apparent "conflict" is nothing more than smoke and mirrors, silicon and wood pulp. As a postmodern dictum, Lyotard's approach to social interrelationships is little more than an articulation of a common theme throughout history. Giles' objections to computers is no more silly than Jenny's snide observations about the stereotypical bookworm. Both are partaking of a very circumscribed narrative perspective. IRYJ's central point isn't the retreat from the human collective, but the subversion of human connection in any form. What Moloch offered wasn't freedom from self, but the entrapment of love. He offers the seductees (marvelous word, if not strictly proper, heh) the chance to matter to someone. While the prior personalities of the other two aren't known, we can note that Willow is a study in conflict. She has two close friends, and acceptance within that limited circle. She pines for Xander, suffering from classic unrequited love. She has recently lost a close friend in Jessie -- though Buffy supplanted him, creating a net gain/loss of zero (a coldblooded but relevant examination of the situation.) You outline Buffy's spiritual journey quite nicely, but I think that it is Willow's odyssey that fascinates me more. One of the earliest conflicts established on the series is issue of unrequited love: Xander's for Buffy, Willow's for Xander, and, in final analysis, Buffy's for Angel and vice versa -- because, while they did love each other and returned love, so it wasn't exactly unrequited,they were caught in the paradigm of the star-crossed lovers from the beginning. So we have Willow, spurned in her attempt to get love from Xander (or, rather, the sort of love she wants), displacing her desire to Malcom, who is basically her "soul-mate." It's a critical point: Xander knows her better than anyone, yet never takes the crucial spiritual step of actually becoming a "soul-mate." There is a divide, a tension that prevents her from going from "he knows me better than anyone" to "he understands me better than anyone." So Moloch seduces her by bridging that divide, aided by an understanding of the nature of the outcast paired with access to reams of factual information available to him with regards to Willow. He subverts the spiritual connection. We are becoming aware that human spirituality can be destroyed as easily as created by interaction. Recall that freeing Moloch from the book required that the words be translated through a medium. Simply reading the words isn't sufficient -- they must be read aloud. The scanning was essentially the same dynamic, the shifting the mode of communication mirroring quite nicely the shifting narratives you outline. In either case, one is essentially sharing the printed information (even if you read aloud to an empty room, you're still creating a potential sharing.) And the previously desirable communication suddenly becomes destructive, every bit as much as Xander's awareness of Willow's love, an awareness grokked from whatever subliminal or not-so-subliminal messages she sent to him, allows him to hurt her more cruelly in The Pack.

So this is indeed an allegory for postmodern spirituality conflicts, but more to the point, it's a postmodern morality fable. Hidden in the monster-of-the-week narrative is a powerful cautionary tale, giving lie to the dictum as old as the Greeks, as poetic as the Wife of Bath's omnia vicit amor, and as dangerous as any modern story of cyberstalkers and Internet-related murders. As you point out, the pitfalls of human disconnection are preyed upon by Moloch, seeking out the most vulnerable, and offering them love. What is clear is that these people not only needed love but were aware of the need. Human interaction is no longer an unannealed good. Fritz did indeed make them "all sound like crazy people." But examine his words carefully:

The printed page is obsolete. Information isn't bound up anymore. It's an entity. The only reality is
virtual. If you're not jacked in, you're not alive.

It is life he seeks, a connection. We are getting an inkling that information is not merely bits and bytes, words and concepts. It's awareness. It's being able to function in the world. Knowledge is not neutral, ever. The concept of scientific knowledge is flawed in application, if not in theory. The existence of individual will ultimately subverts it as surely as Moloch subverts the relational aspects of spirituality. Fritz berates the binding of information, but concludes on the note of how we connect to the world. In either case, it creates an artificial oligarchy of human connections. There are gatekeepers -- librarians and students, technopagans and computer geeks -- at the core of each. And socialization comes at a high price...all choose to give up or show minimal regard for other aspects of life, other means of communication. One can't really imagine either Fritz or Giles going to a kegger. What is interesting is that Jenny is somewhat of an ambiguous figure. While she openly derides traditional methods of binding information, she is not exactly divorced from the tradition. The technopagan builds her spirituality on the bones of past philosphies, copies it from the markings in the dust of old musty volumes into the digitized world. The information remains essentially the same, the discourses compatible, as witnessed by Jenny and Giles immediate understanding each other on the topic of who Moloch is. This is the legitimation you refer to. But there's irony in it only if one accepts that denotative knowledge as a concept has much value in the real world.

So in the context of IRYJ, Giles is portrayed as part of a moribund tradition, while Jenny is the spokesperson for progress. While it is fascinating that Moloch manages to transcend the boundaries, leap from parchment to wire, he is less the messenger than the message here. Consider how Giles and Willow are already blurring the lines by even scanning in the first place. It's not made explicitly clear whose idea it was (though Giles certainly introduced it 4 seasons later in "Buffy versus Dracula", showing enormous growth), it can be assumed that, for all Giles' bluster, he nevertheless sanctioned the idea. And Jenny provides the means. The almost-casual delimiting occurs with little fanfare. In empirical terms, the two data universes are overlapped, yet the equation of IRYJ concentrates on the unmerged portions of the circles. The tactileness of the knowledge belies the impersonality of it, lending it "richness", as Giles notes. He is essentially claiming that the medium here somehow transforms the message. Is "scientific knowledge" therefore a question of transmission? Does Moloch being freed from the book represent the movement from connotative to denotative knowledge? As an allegory, that has serious problems, not the least of which being the presence of motive impulse within the "knowledge" itself. As a peripheral metaphor for humanity, though, it's beautiful Per Lyotard, humans themselves are constructs of knowledge. We exist, as you point out, in the transmission. But there are still flaws here....

If the conflict of narratives melds at critical junctures, the spirituality inherent in them remains problematic. What exactly is Moloch's role here in defining the interaction? They are all dancing around the real issue: how does one circumscribe the interactions in a manner that doesn't reduce the fundamental need for communication for mere medium. After all, it's the message that matters in the end. A message without a medium is futile, but a medium without a message is purely worthless. Or, as you put it, "Knowledge that isn't circulating in the human communications network, is really no knowledge at all. It's the act of human connection that matters." It's a twist in the more traditional communication theory -- signifier, sign, signified -- that creates signs without a signifier. Let us consider the outsiders for a second: Buffy and Xander. Between them, they participate in neither knowledge narrative to an explicit degree. The scientific knowledge and the narrative knowledge are peripherals in their interactions, their narrative tradition. Buffy, as the Slayer, in particular relies on Giles and Willow to access the knowledge traditions, Is this a form of post-modern spirituality? Kendra asserts that the Slayer is required to be as studious as she is martial, learned in the narrative tradition. Does Buffy represent the transition from the old ways to the new? It is a complicated thesis. The plurality of traditions in post-modernism creates a corpus of knowledge and an array of communications possibilities that perhaps requires the corporatization of the institution. No longer is the Watchers Council looming over and providing stability and the occasional urgent answer to a question. More to the point, the WC itself is subject to the addition of the denotative knowledge. After all, denotative knowledge would free certain people -- it eschews traditional social bonds in favor of access to facts unfettered by convention. It is here that we see an inkling of how the idea of postmodern spirituality is sufficient to transform tradition. If Buffy must function in a postmodern world, she must adapt. We all do, but she has the additional burden of her quite singular heritage and her enormous responsibility.

The ghost-in-the-machine suddenly becomes transposed...the machine in the ghost, a mechanistic spirituality. He is not denotative per se. He is a gatekeeper himself, filtering the sudden array of facts through himself. Moloch depends on that, doesn't he? Consider the onus he imposes, the blind faith that translates into love regardless of the medium. In post-structuralist terms, the audience in effects redefines the object even as Moloch seduces them. Monks who would normally have known what evil they were confronted with seem unperturbed by either Moloch's appearance or his prediliction for randomly martyring his own followers. I would say that he isn't actually a corrupter of mechanistic systems (though, of course, still a corrupter of human ones.) He doesn't represent the insidious impersonalization of programming, but the pre-existing insight into the mechanistic aspects of human interactions. He can seduce Willow because of age-old insights.

Moloch the Corrupter...it's a loaded name. We first see him corrupting monks, giving the obvious impression that it is a religious corruption. Subverting the love for God in favor of a more immediate love. Basically filling an extremely important void -- proof of the existence and desires of the object of worship. For the monks, prayer was the means of communication, and the words cast into the air with no sign of whether they reached their destination. Knowledge was incomplete, unsatisfying, and faith formed an imperfect substitute. But Moloch offered them, as he offered Willow and Fritz, validation. In a sense, scientific knowledge that could be empirically verified to some extent.

Baudrillard in his "The Ecstacy of Communication" (yeah, I just had to go look it up in my books) has an interesting observation:

But once more it must be seen that...the decisive mutations of objects and of the environment in the modern era...have come from an irreversible tendency towards three things: an ever greater formal and operational abstraction of elements and functions and their homogenization on a single virtual process of functionalization; the displacement of bodily movements and efforts into electric or electronic commands, and the miniaturization, in time and space, of processes whose real scene...is that of infinitesimal memory and the screen with which they are equipped.

The rather overwritten prose aside, his cogent observation about how we communicate is directly filtered through the narrative of IRYJ. Moloch is essentially being re-anthropomorphized, eschewing the much of the power of abstraction and displacement in favor of gaining a physical body. The ghost no longer inhabits the machine -- it is the machine. The result -- separation from the network -- wasn't desired, but nevertheless seems to follow naturally from recorporealization, at least in moral terms. Why does Moloch so desperately desire the limitations of physical form again? The fact that he becomes a robot, I think, is relatively unimportant -- it is the only immediately obvious avenue available to him, and has significance primarily because of its ability to perform tactile functions. That is, touch. Physical interaction. Baudrillard explicitly describes the exact process that makes Moloch so powerful in the modern world, yet somehow deprived of the essence -- in a word, the spirituality -- of interaction. The spiritual, ironically, becomes dependent on the physical.

So what exactly is postmodern spirituality in this context? Moloch prefigures the First Evil quite clearly in retrospect -- a disembodied presence, powerful in its own right but curiously possessed of a sense of impotence because he cannot "feel" physically. Postmodern spirituality isn't simply the ethic of interaction or the indulgence of introspection. No knowledge is purely scientific -- that is the essence of spirituality, the ability to synthesize all knowledge and relationships in a crucible of sorts.

Which brings us to Lyotard and his take on the postmodern condition. I remember purchasing a couple of Lyotard's book quite a while back -- I must have been a freshman or sophomore in undergrad at the time -- and leafing through them once I got home an equal measure of awe and disgust. The Postmodern Condition was one of them, of course, being his most famous work and the only one I recognized at the tender age of 19. It was a fascinating experience, but troubling too. I wondered whether there was a practical application to his theories, and when the first boat out of town would be leaving if they ever were applied.

As quasi-Marxist philosophers go, Lyotard is less-objectionable and more insightful than some. He rejects the idea of a so-called "Grand Narrative" -- as many, but by no means all, postmodernists do -- which places him squarely in opposition to many Marxists. I think perhaps a discussion of Lyotard's approach would be highly important here. The Grand Narrative, after all, is the theory that all cultural narratives combine naturally into a central cohesive narrative that both exemplifies and defines the society/culture. The "narrative knowledge" is distinct from the actual "cultural narrative," An essential problem with his postmodern rejection of the "Grand Narrative" is that the aggregate lesser narratives are organically sublimated into default grand (lower-case) narratives. There is a subversive element at work here, one that can be seen in IRYJ. When re-watching the episode, note what I talked about earlier -- that Giles and Jenny are not talking at cross-purposes, exactly. They are, rather, failing to define the foundational aspects of their argument. They are blinded by the medium, forgetting the message. It is a weakness of post-modern theory in general, with a few exceptions (the late great Said, for instance, was sometimes able to transcend this, but not always.) To put it colloquially, they miss the forest for the trees. But this is crazy po-mo bashing ;-), so back to the point. The Grand Narrative here, I think, lies in the realization that the arbitrary divisions of secondary narratives is merely a matter of isolating aspects rather than creating a verifiable polarity. Of course, my argument depends entirely upon accepting or rejecting my logic above, so it's a fairly individual matter.

(The fascinating issue is that Moloch as a metaphor becomes akin to the modern problem of worshipping science. He demands worship, adoration, and, in being integrated into the systems, adds that particular twist to the scientific institutions.)

That's what I have so far. I'm posting and hoping for replies to which I can expound further. Also, I need to find my copy of The Postmodern Condition. Found my Eagletons and Baudrillards, but so, so many boxes of books still unopened. What do you think thus far?

[> [> Sigh...unclosed tag... -- Random, 11:21:58 02/08/04 Sun

Just closing it for the sake of the archives, mon ami.

[> [> Re: The Ghost in the Machine and Human Interactions -- Jane, 16:15:39 02/08/04 Sun

Really interesting stuff here. Don't have time right now to think deeply about it :) but I find it intriguing. I was also struck by your point that Moloch forshadows the First Evil, and gives a good reason why the First was so keen to become corporeal. Fascinating reading.

[> [> Buffy as hero/willow and xander/grand narratives -- manwitch, 05:32:27 02/09/04 Mon

Some quick points since this is going to be a busier than usual workweek for me. Forgive me if I don't flesh out all these points right away.

So far I really like what you have. Especially the Baudrillard.

Slayers are the hero, or referent, of the narrative. Buffy is currently, one might say, an adressee. Her destiny, if you will, is to recognize herself as that referent and to live her life accordingly so that she may become the hero of the narrative and become the sender of the narrative by having lived it. So to a degree I find her firmly in the narrative camp. She is not the object of scientific knowledge and will reject that honor whenever it is offered to her.

I have always believed Lyotard to be making a distinction between language games. His issue with the scientific or denotative language game is that "it demands that one language game be retained and all others be excluded." He values, by contrast, the tolerance of the narrative language games and the ease with which they communicate and even enact the the social community simply by appearing. Or what he calls, I think, the "fact of its enunciation." (might be foucault, sorry.)

So in that sense, Buffy's role, her spiritual destiny which she is pursuing/denying throughout this season, has an immediacy that objective knowledge or denotative knowledge cannot provide.

I like your thoughts on Willow and unrequited love. It comes back to Buffy again I would argue. Its a statement about Buffy that her heart, Xander, is not terribly interested in her spirit, Willow, just as Buffy is not terribly interested in her spiritual destiny. And to a degree, its the normalcy, the mundane quality of everyday knowledge, the denotations with which she is filled on a daily basis, that quash her desire for a more spiritually fulfiilling path. So I think its not only that Willow, lacking Xander's love, fills that need with Moloch, but that by showing no interest in our spiritual development we allow those spiritual potentialities to be seduced away from us, ground down by a more objective or perhaps empirical approach to the life of the spirit.

I'm using the word spiritual too much, but then you probably know that already.

I think Lyotards distinction with the narratives is the local/Grand distinction. The problem with the Grand narratives is that they are totalizing. He's okay with local narratives that legitimate themselves in the telling. The Grand narratives are trying to legitimate Scientific Knowledge through recourse to stories about the "advancement" of humanity, stories that necessarily do violence to the experience of that humanity. If one stays at the level of "local determinism," as Lyotard calls it, I'm not sure I see the need for this organic sublimation.

I think there is some Foucault at work in this episode, and I think it is saying basically the same thing that Lyotard is. Foucault explicitly switched the Knowledge/Power relationship into Power/Knowledge in his book of the same name. His point again is that knowledge is not an object that is possessed or known that gives us, in some personal way, power, but rather that "knowledge and power directly imply one another." The existence of domains of knowledge means that some exercise of power has already occurred. As I recall, this switch of the phrase happens rather noticably in the middle of the episode. I believe Moloch promises someone knowledge and power, and than it cuts to Giles saying Moloch will promise them power and knowledge. Not claiming its an allusion, but I think it supports the interpretation generally that Buffy needs to find a way to be the power that determines her spiritual story rather than defined in someone elses.

Really like your stuff on Baudrillard and the sensory aspect.

[> [> Still doin' that preservin' thang -- Masq, 16:01:26 02/10/04 Tue

[> [> Desperately trying to preserve for later comment... -- Plin, 05:46:53 02/11/04 Wed

[> [> [> Re: Desperately trying to preserve for later comment... -- Briar Rose (hope it helps), 10:54:29 02/11/04 Wed

[> [> [> [> The competition for board space is getting fierce... -- Masq, 11:13:29 02/11/04 Wed

I can defeat the Voynak demon if it's required, and with this being a Wednesday and all, it just might be...

Male Slayers -- Ultimate Fanboy, 00:33:24 01/29/04 Thu

Hello, everyone!

I am an avid fan of the Buffyverse since the 1992 movie and became an even more die-hard fan with the series, which, we all agree, is far superior to the movie. In fact, it's not even in the same league. I also am a fan of Buffyverse RPGs and fanfictions and I have this endeavor I would like to take up, but am having some troubles that refuse to resolve with Buffyverse canon history. Namely, a male slayer.

I would love to create a male slayer to add to the Buffyverse for fanfictions and RPGs, but creating such without tearing away at the fabric of the Buffyverse is difficult to say the least. Though I know a male slayer is sometimes seen as an affront to the very ideas behind the Slayer lineage, I would appreciate and love some suggestions from the respected and educated lot here.

I have a few ideas and I would love some commentary on them as well as any additional origins and ideas you have to provide. The originally resolved that if there was a female slayer there had to be a male slayer due to the precedent set by nature, but this was not only based on the lack of canon regarding the origin of the slayer line prior to season seven, but also based upon the false premise that the universe is comprised of dualities.

Crawling the web, I came across the idea that perhaps a male slayer was created to cause trouble in an exclusively female population vis-a-vis Smurfette. The other ideas I had thought largely on my own was that perhaps a male slayer line was an accident. Perhaps even no one knows why or how he was created and that would be a part of his story arc.

Of course, I have also been musing over the origins of a male slayer and have also come up with a few ideas. I figured that since the slayer was created in pre-history (i.e., before writing) the rituals by which the Shadowmen made the Primitive would be lost so that was not an option, plus, I'd rather not rip off the same ritual.

Perhaps I could establish that potentials are chosen before their births---before they're conceived even? If I use that, I could also establish that the Evils That Be wanted to capitalize on the slayer lineage and corrupt it, but being that the slayers would be immediately sought after by the Council, they had to go about it another route. The Evils That Be discovered one of these pre-conception potentials and through the use of black magics forced the embryo to split thus creating twins: one male and one female. Further using black magic, they would conceal the existence of this male twin and whisk him away before the Watcher Council would learn of his existence and thus, a male slayer line would be created, independent of the female slayer line.

The reason for the Evils That Be wishing a male slayer would be justified by the soul principle. I would need to establish that the human soul is a source of strength and victory for the female slayers and gives them the extra-edge they need to triumph over evil. Point in case, the First Evil and Wolfram & Hart attempted and attempt, respectively, to corrupt Angel as opposed to simply creating another vampire with a soul. Since the Evils That Be would be would most likely be uncapable of getting at the slayer line directly due to the PTB and the Watcher's Council and the general demon population seems to falter when against the slayer, it might prove beneficial to their cause to corrupt the human soul of the male slayer.

However, there is trouble with this scenario. It works under the premise that genetics and/or soul (as many cultures believe that twins share the same soul) is a factor in a slayer's power. If this is true, wouldn't Dawn be a slayer, too, if they made her directly from Buffy?

There are a few other ideas in my head, but what do you think and suggest?


[> Gender Identity in Slayerness -- HarryParachute, 03:30:51 01/29/04 Thu

I post this with a great deal of trepidation, as these ideas might be considered controversial as they touch on identity formed by your gender and so goes against at least some forms of feminisism, but I do my best to work with canon and give you some avenues to explore in search of a Male Slayer, or rather something akin to that. I say "something akin to" because a Male Slayer is, in my opinion, impossible within the Whedonverse.

To be female is a prerequisite to being a Slayer. The first Slayer was created by demonic energy contained within a girl and, through both the action and the dialogue in Buffy's encounter with the Shadow Men in "Get It Done", we learn that this is through conceiving said energy in the gross sense of the word. Males can't do that. They can't provide themselves as a fertile, nurturing vessel to be, as Buffy put it, "knocked up by demon dust" and so can't ever hope to utilize that power. They don't have the structure for it; they don't have the potential to be a Potential.

So if you want something like a male slayer, I'd say you have to capitalize on masculine tropes and explain it through male gender identity as powerfully as Slayers have become associated with femininity. The invader verses the defender, the wandering nomad and the keeper of the hearth, the warrior and the caregiver, Kronos and Gaia, Shiva and Kali/Durga/Shakti, Avalokiteshvara and Kuan-Yin, the precedents and inspiration are all there. But to make a male slayer is to rob the Slayer of its defining feature: a young, empowered woman who kicks ass, kills the monster, and saves the world, a lot.

To offer up some suggestions that might or might not be helpfull, make it something different entirely, across the board. Make him different in what gives him strength, how he operates. Give this male lineage a different name than Slayer. Something like Hunter, Stalker, Prowler, Destroyer, Guardsman, Vanguard, Judge, Duelist, Warlord, Avatar, AgentÉI dunnoÉjust throwing names out.

Here's an example on a possible difference. We often get the image and metaphor of heat and fire as the root of Buffy's power, her will to win born out of emotional investment and passion. When she gets pissed, when those she has strong links to in life are threatened or endangered, the fight turns in her favor. The male equivalent could find the well of his power in being cool-headed, self-control, a disengaged, zen-like calm with the metaphor of water and ice occasionally springing up.

Where Buffy physically fights her opponents with brute strength and fortitude, wearing down a foe with a rain of bone-crushing blows, dealing out heavy damage and shaking off the blows as they come, you could make the male counterpart a finesse fighter, landing pin-point strikes that incapacitate or kill outright (neck and throat, eyes, ears, legs, joints, nerve-endings) while moving with uncanny speed and agility. More defense than offense as he looks for vulnerabilities.

Where Buffy defies authority, the structure of rules, hierarchy and procedure, operating instead on a moral code of particularism where getting the job done is what matters, this character would instead be partial to absolutist principles and believe that in War, even in supernatural War, there are rules that are not broken. Rules of engagement. The chain of command. The honor and glory of a fair fight, face-to-face combat, and the respect for a capable enemy. All that macho guy stuff that's so associated with old-school warfare, a realm dominated by the men who were duelists or generals or such.

To go off on a tangent, part of the reason why the Slayer is a woman might be due to the fact that her primary enemies aren't humans, but Vampires. The Vampire has no mercy, no honor, no qualities that would be compatible with any sort of Warrior Code or chivalrous form of combat, so you can't afford one when fighting them. You just have to slay them without hesitation. War, to look at it in its more romantic, sporting, competitive sense and not at the brutality of it, is never solely about annihilating your enemy. It's about economics, land, avenging an insult, righting a wrong, and maybe just a little bit a pissing contest for bragging rights. All of this becomes null and void once a little something called a Machine Gun gets created, but the way war becomes something more ghastly, like genocide, is when one group stops accepting the others as "humans". When they're sub-human, or racially inferior, you kill them without reservationsÉas Buffy kills Vampires. I once read a philosophical critique of Btvs by Neal King entitled "Brownskirts: Fascism, Christianity, and the Eternal Demon" which sort of echoes these concerns...but at the crux of it a chauvinist jingo type of man might defend the position that women can't be in war against other human beings because they don't really understand that an underlying point of war is that it's a "guy thing", the ultimate competition and a right of passage for boys and men. Instead, the female soldiers will butcher both combatants and non-combatants because if they don't, their momma-rhino-protecting-her-young mindset tells them that these people they're fighting are out to kill their babies.

Of course, I don't believe that. Sure, there's a lot more guys than gals who like playing violent video games with their friends, playfighting and such, but everyone can relate to being noble and considerate even towards people you don't necessarily like, or even those you are fighting with.

That being said, maybe the iconic enemy, the Vampire to the Slayer, of this male figure could be other humans who have delved into supernatural evil. Witches. Warlocks. Necromancers. Demon Summoners. Or maybe demons that play by rules, i.e. devils. Sign with blood on the dotted line. Trickster types, deceivers, princes of lies, Djinn, what have you. In other words, the iconic enemies could be those who aren't entirely incommensurable with conduct and proper courses of action.

Dunno if this is helpful or not, and I know it sort of flew all over the place and ended up funneled into a very narrow and opinionated idea as to what this could be, but take what you want from it if it's helpful. If it isn't, it's just late-night ramblings.

[> [> Re: Gender Identity in Slayerness -- Ultimate Fanboy, 04:20:57 01/29/04 Thu

Certainly not a rambling!

That was certainly a wonderful bit and a lot to consider. I appreciate it very much.

:: Scurries off to think. ::

[> [> [> Re: Gender Identity in Slayerness -- Glenn66, 22:49:35 01/29/04 Thu

I just have the more simplistic view that the slayer is about "Girl Power" and twisting the sterotype of the girl who falls when running from the monster and gets killed. So you have a waifish 5 foot tall, 90 lb girl who can kill a demon half her size. Having a Male with slayer type powers just dosen't seem to be such a sterotype changing function. Maybe UNLESS the Male Slayer was a "Jonathan" type character, physically small, etc. ???

[> [> [> [> Re: Gender Identity in Slayerness -- Glenn66, 22:50:36 01/29/04 Thu

Make that Kill a Demon TWICE her size :D

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Gender Identity in Slayerness -- LittleBit, 12:02:52 01/30/04 Fri

Oh, good! I was a little concerned for a moment since they've established that there aren't any leprechauns in the BuffyVerse. ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> don't be so sure... -- anom, 23:09:08 02/01/04 Sun

I've got a theory that leprechauns do exist in the Buffyverse and are in fact distant descendants of the Turok-Han--whose existence, remember, Giles also discounted until it was proved otherwise.

That's right...they're really the Leprok-han!

[> [> [> [> There is another tactic -- Doug, 12:32:38 01/30/04 Fri

The male version of a slayer is a tall, fairly well muscled guy who hasn't got a violent bone in his body. Instead of getting super-strength (the stereotypically "male" powers) his power focus on healing or the spirit world (stereotypical "female" roles)

[> [> [> [> [> Re: There is another tactic -- Ultimate Fanboy, 19:09:41 01/30/04 Fri

Hm. That's an interesting way to take it.

What are some other stereotypically female roles?

[> [> [> [> [> [> There are others on this board who would know more about this -- Doug, 10:17:17 02/02/04 Mon

The other roles that I know about are the usual ones, nurturing, associtaions with nature in many cultures, in some cultures like the Norse an association with the realm of death. The idea of a spirit world is left in the realm of the effeminate in many cultures; either in women or in gay men, among the Apache almost all shamans are gay men. Some might also place the role of the trickster or manipulator in this realm, the stereotype being that men tend to be more direct and forceful, while women have to use more indirect means.

Buffy is a short, slender, young woman who posseses superantural powers in the ares of force and direct physical action; a traditionally male province. She exists in the traditional masculine areas of combat and defence.

Therefore, the male counterpart could be a tall, firly well muscled guy who posseses powers in some of the possible areas mentioned above. If he is a healer with a connection to the natural world then he wil be very different than a trickster with power over the spirits of the dead.

In any case, I'm sorry to take so long replying. Hope this is of help.

[> have you seen the Fray comic book series? -- MsGiles, 04:29:04 01/29/04 Thu

While not exactly picking up the male slayer concept, Joss does play about here with the twins idea (not saying too much, to spoil it for you). It might be worth a look, if you haven't seen it, to feed into your plans. And it's a good variant on the Buffy mythos.

[> [> Re: have you seen the Fray comic book series? -- Ultimate Fanboy, 04:52:28 01/29/04 Thu

Can I read it online or could you give me a basic run-down? I would go out and get the comic, but I am leaving for boot camp in a few days and will be gone for nine weeks. I'm trying to get my thoughts together now so I can start serious work when I return.

I would appreciate it.

[> [> [> Hah! -- Ultimate Fanboy, 05:21:00 01/29/04 Thu

Google is a wonderful tool.

Thank you for the suggestion. Now I know the twin idea has credibility in the Buffyverse!

[> to get a male Slayer -- skeeve, 09:53:18 01/29/04 Thu

Find a female Slayer with gender issues.
Take her to Willow.
Have them discuss the matter with Hecate.

To get a soulless Potential:
Start with a female fertilized egg.
Make it a Potential-to-be.
Split the egg.
Both pieces become Potentials, but only one gets the soul.

[> [> 1 out of 2 ain't bad? -- anom, 15:14:07 02/02/04 Mon

That 1st one could work, but:

"Start with a female fertilized egg.
Make it a Potential-to-be.
Split the egg.
Both pieces become Potentials, but only one gets the soul."

Identical twins are formed when a single fertilized egg divides into 2. Happens every day. I haven't heard anyone claim that only 1 twin has a soul.

[> [> [> Re: 1 out of 2 ain't bad? -- Dlgood, 19:39:21 02/02/04 Mon

I haven't heard anyone claim that only 1 twin has a soul

Except in the world of Soap Operas, wherein, if there are twins one is invariably Evil.

[> [> [> [> ha! y'know, you may be onto something! -- anom, 23:59:00 02/03/04 Tue

[> [> [> Re: 1 out of 2 ain't bad? -- skeeve, 08:48:05 02/03/04 Tue

"Identical twins are formed when a single fertilized egg divides into 2. Happens every day. I haven't heard anyone claim that only 1 twin has a soul."

Some claim that ensoulment occurs at conception.
Perhaps if Questioned, said folks would claim that the soul stretches to encompass both bodies.

Another way to get a soulless Slayer: pathenogenesis.
No conception, no soul.

[> [> [> [> Re: 1 out of 2 ain't bad? -- auroramama, 17:35:20 02/03/04 Tue

I'd argue in both cases that if the living body can be divided without harm, a soul should be at least as flexible.

Magic, on the other hand. .. Tanith Lee describes Shezael/Drezaem, twins who have half a soul each, due to the intervention of a vengeful demon. Reunited, the pair are so beautiful that even the demon gives them his blessing.


A Real Finesse Job.....Storyteller, Lies, and the comeuppance of Spike spoilers for Damage -- Rufus, 05:04:54 01/29/04 Thu

Damage is the joint effort of DeKnight and Goddard. This story proves that the here and now is flavoured by the presence of the past. The episode starts with Angel talking about not being so sure that they are in the right place, my hope that he listens to the dream self that knows he is lost. As the Gang tries to figure out what to do with Eve, it's Gunn who talks about evidence but adds....

Gunn: She's liason to the Senior Partners. You don't get to be that without serious juice. Move against her without solid proof and it could end in a long bloody fight.
Angel: Okay, fine, I think I liked you better when you just wanted to hit people.
Gunn: Rational thought....it's an aquired taste.......(he adds) Play her like she's been playing us.

Angel may have the LA branch of Wolfram and Hart but it's clear that he's no boss if he can't move against someone who tried to sent him permanently into the cabbage patch. But on to the rest of the show.

We see a medical ward where a girl has escaped and killed some people on the way. This girl is strong and perhaps possessed bringing back to mind past possession stories like I've Got you Under My Skin from season one. When Wes and Angel hear of this girl Wes is quick to....

Wes: I'll get a team together.
Angel: No, wait, I don't want to go storming in with troops until we know what we've got here. I've seen a few of these possession cases, they have to be handled very carefully, real finess job.

From Buffy s5. Fool For Love
ANGELUS: You've got me and my women hiding in the luxury of a mine shaft, all because William the Bloody likes the attention. This is not a reputation we need.
Spike takes a deep swig from a wine bottle.
SPIKE: Oh, I'm sorry. Did I sully our good name? We're vampires.
ANGELUS: All the more reason to use a certain amount of finesse.
SPIKE: Bollocks! That stuff's for the frilly cuffs-and-collars crowd. I'll take a good brawl any day.
Angelus approaches Spike menacingly.
ANGELUS: And every time you do, we become the hunted.

Strange how the past echo's into the present. Angelus mentioned finesse when arguing with Spike about how best to protect themselves. Spike is one to jump into a fight, Angel needs to use some artisanship with his manuvers. Angel is the one to find out that they are dealing with a Slayer, not before Spike gets thumped by Dana who he assumed could only be a demon. In another nod to Fool for Love Spike says to Dana.....

SPIKE: I'm sorry, love, I don't speak Chinese.

The times changed but the line remained the same. Spike is wanting to get the business of the kill out of the way to move onto the next. This attitude remained intact even after Spike's confrontation with Robin Wood, the son of Nikki the New York Slayer, Spike killed years before. Spike considered what was past remained the past and moved on forward, till now.

Spike: Killed 2 Slayers with my own hand. Think I can deal with one that's gone daft in the melon.

The hand comment would come back to haunt him by the end of this show. But before then we get to see that Andrew is the representative of the new Watchers, Giles has put together from former Sunnydale Scoobies. Andrew is there to help find Dana and give a history lesson a la Storyteller.....some things change the way he says vam--pire doesn't....

Wes: We were just about to bring everyone up to speed on Slayer Mythology.
Andrew: I'll take it from here Pryce, best they hear it from an expert (ouch to Wes reminding him that he isn't a Watcher).
Spike: All right, let the top man have a go.
Wes: Please....enlighten us.
Andrew: Gather around and attend to a most unusual tale....a tale I like to call "The Slayer of the Vam--pires". Eons ago on the dark continent, 3 wise elders decided to fight evil with a taste of its own sinistro. They took a young girl and they imbued her with the power of a demon. Thustly, the first Slayer of the Vam--pires was born. But, alas the existance of a Slayer is often brutal and short-lived. And the Primative as she was called boasted no exception. But, the Elders had foreseen this inevitability and devised a way for her power to live on.
Fred: In every generation one is chosen.
Andrew: Yes, attractive slender woman. There are many Potentials as we experts call them.
Wes: (can't resist to add his 2 cents) Hundreds, maybe thousands per generation.
Andrew: Each of them experiencing vivid dreams some say nightmares of the heroics of past slayers. But, only one can be Chosen.
Angel: That's ummm really great but we actually know all that.
Andrew: You think you know...my good man, you think you know.
Lorne: Uh, wait, so if there's only one Slayer, what is Little-Miss-Whack-your-head-off doing scampering around?
Spike: Little Sunnydale surprise.
Andrew: Six months ago, Buffy Vam--pire Slayer extrodinaire had her lesbian witch make with the beaucoup de magie. One light show later.....
Angel: All the Potentials become Slayers
Wes: An army of Slayers...brilliant stratagem. But with the Watchers Council destroyed, how will these new Slayers receive their necessary.....
Andrew: Mr. Giles and a few key Sunnydale alum have been tracking down the recently Chosen....Uh, guiding them, training them, giving them the full X-men minus the crappy 3rd act. But this Dana girl is an anomaly no one could have foreseen. Tortured, traumatized, driven insane by Yoda knows who.
Angel: And the dreams of demons and superpowers she's always had suddenly become real.
Wes: The dreams of Slayers are usually just that, dreams, but Dana's mental instability may be making them seem more real.
Andrew: My hypothesis exactly Pryce, I see Mr. Giles may have been wrong about you (yes the Blueberry scone has grown up).
Spike: Explains why that skirt was yappin at me in Chinese. Must've thought she was the Slayer I took out back in the Boxer Rebellion.
Angel: You mean the Slayer you murdered.
Spike: Well, I didn't have a soul back then didn't I?
Angel: Right, cause having one now is making such a difference.

Angel and Spike are still with the fighting over anything and everything. Each can't believe the other can or will or is even capable of real change from what they were. Spike goes off to do "Angel's former Job" and Angel tries to find where Dana is. Andrew follows Spike and is there when the Slayer takes Spike away. Dana puts a drug into Spike and he wakes up finding that he is now a victim, like the ones he hasn't thought much about once he decided to just get on with being a hero. Thing is that being a hero is more than a heroic act you have to believe in what you do. My feeling is that both Angel and Spike are being played, distracted from what they could become by Eve and Lindsey, and Angel's new living quarters in the tower of Wolfram and Hart. Neither is being very introspective as they are too busy bickering.

Spike is confronted with an insane Slayer who speaks the words of Slayers past, Slayers Spike murdered.

Dana: (in a voice not quite her own) Please don't, I have to get home to my son...to my Robin. (anyone with a doubt she loved her son can shut up now).
Spike: Oh hey! You're talkin about Nikki the Slayer I offed back in........(last words he speaks before)
Dana: Can't touch me anymore...(we see she has taken Spikes hands)
Spike: Oh god.....can't blll....mmmm
Dana: No! (slaps Spike to wake him)
Spike: I never touched you. Stop, you've got it wrong. Your brains all jumbled. I never hurt you. It wasn't me. I've done my share of bad - but - you're not one of them. It's someone else. You've got me confused with another man. Visons are mixing with your real memories. All right, I'm stuffed in your head, other slayers, other places....New York, China...
Dana: (speaks Chinese and this voice remembers Spike and he did hurt her) You killed her.
Spike: Yes, but..
Dana: You killed them both.
Spike: (whispers) That....and worse. But I was never here.
Dana: Doesn't matter.

Nikki isn't just a Slayer that Spike 'offed' she was a real person with a son who wanted revenge and found he couldn't get it as the monster Spike was just wasn't the same one who killed his mom. Spike couldn't resist a hormonally charged pissing contest and Robin did start the fight. Spike didn't learn from Robin's obvious pain, but this girl, this tortured girl with the voice of Nikki and the Chinese Slayer have painfully taught Spike a lesson in compassion. This doesn't mean that Spike should brood for the rest of his life, but he has to be more than the guy who fights for the thrill of it.
At this point Angel saves Spike and gets Dana into control, and drugged enought to handle. Spike hands have been sawed off.....no man will hurt Dana anymore because she has cut off the hands that could hurt her. Spike may say that it was another man, but he knows the truth, when speaking to this shattered girl the voices of victims past can be heard, and maybe really heard by Spike for the first time.
If anyone thinks that Spike would be the only one to have a painful revelation, Angel isn't immune.

Andrew: (steps forward to take charge of Dana surprising Angel) That's all right boys, I'll take her from here.
Angel: What?
Andrew: Totally appreciate your help on this one, big guy. Never could have found her without you. But you've got enough problems of your own to worry about.
Angel: (annoyed) Get out of the way Andrew.
Andrew: She's a Slayer, that means she's OURS.
Angel: Yeah....sorry...not how it works. Load her up, don't hesitate to tranq her if she so much as.....
Andrew blocks Angel's way...again.
Andrew: No...I don't think you heard me Angel.....(girls slowly emerge from the shadow....they are Slayers, Confident, Strong.....Heroes...they have purpose, they are not lost). Think we're just going to let you take her back to your evil stronghold? Well, as in Mexico...oh...no....we're not gonna.....let you.
Angel: She's psychotic, and I'm not turning her over to you.
Andrew: You don't have a choice. Check the viewscreen Uhura, I got 12 vam-pire Slayers behind me and not one of them has ever dated you. She's coming with us...one way of the other.
Angel: You're way out of your league. I'll just clear this with Buffy.
Andrew: (The Little Storyteller delivers the nut-cruncher of the night) Where do you think my orders came from? NEWS FLASH! Nobody in our camp trusts you anymore...NOBODY. You work FOR Wolfram and Hart. Don't fool yourself...we're not on the same side. Thank you for your help, but....ahh we got it.
Wes: So, that's it? You're just going to let him take her?
Angel: She's one of theirs, they can handle it. Besides, you heard the man, we've got enough problems of our own to worry about.

Angel has been rejected from the Good Camp, and by Buffy. What no one knows (except say, Eve) is Angel is holding to a bargain he made to make his son happy. He wounded himself and now has to find a way to heal that wound. The lie of the mindwipe isn't a good start. Angel is right about being lost, even if he can only say it in his dream. The Artist formerly known as Angelus feels the weight of his former sins but has doomed himself by now living with the enemy. This doesn't mean there isn't an escape clause....;)
At the hospital a humbled Spike can see Angel enter the room.....

Spike: Come to tap-dance (okay I threaten to tap-dance over OnM's protrate body once, once! and now everyone wants dance classes) on the patient have we Doc? I'd give you the finger but apparently I won't have th motor skills till the drugs wear off.
Angel: A lot of pain?
Spike: More than I like, but not as much as you would.....Just what I deserve.
Angel: (sighs) I didn't say that.
Spike: No.....I did. The lass thought I killed her family - and I'm supposed to what, complain, cause her's wasn't one of the hundreds of families I did kill. I'm not saying you're right, cause uh, I'm physically incapable of saying that. But, uh, for a demon, I never did think that much about the nature of evil. No. I just threw myself in. Thought it was a party. I liked the rush. I liked the crunch. Never did look back at the victims.
Angel: I couldn't take my eyes off them. I was only in it for the evil. It was everything to me. It was art. The destruction of a human being. I just would've considered Dana a masterpiece.
Spike: What happens to her?
Angel: I don't know, Andrew and the Slayers took her. Didn't trust us to help her.
Spike: Andrew double crossed us? That's a good move...hope for the little ponce yet. Though the tingling in my forearms tells me she's too far gone to help. She's on of us now...she's a monster.
Angel: She's an innocent victim.
Spike: So were we....once upon a time.
Angel: (softly) once upon a time.

I have to argue the future of Dana with Spike. Dana did what she did in a delusional series of horrific things done thinking she was protecting herself. Dana is an innocent victim, not capable of even beginning to understand what she has done. The stint in the bug-house didn't much help as that jerk-off with Dr. in front of his name only wanted to write a book about her. I'm hopeful that the character can find healing with other Slayers, in an atmosphere where at long last she can be safe. I believe the same of Spike and Angel. They have been monsters but they didn't start that way. Doesn't happen all the time, but maybe just maybe some of the characters who now orbit Wolfram and Hart will exit the situation alive, whole, and wiser from the journey through the Belly of the Beast.


[> And what happens when visions of the cruciamentum show up? -- Doug, 06:49:30 01/29/04 Thu

She's probably going to mutilate and murder everyone wearing tweed in a 5 mile radius. Giles and Andrew might want to consider changing to flannel. All in all I have to agree with Spike's analysis of Dana; she once was an innocent victim, and now she's become a monster. In future she may find her way out the same way others have. But she wasn't just trying to get Spike, she was trying to murder and mutilate anything male that came across her path. The doctor may have been planning to write a book and get rich, but all those she hurt were innocent of any crime against her (though some were most certainly guilty of a multitiude of sins against others). That to me sounds like a monster.

[> [> Re: And what happens when visions of the cruciamentum show up? -- Rufus, 07:03:37 01/29/04 Thu

I don't remember saying what she did was right, I just said that I could understand how she got to where she was. This kid was tortured at such a young age that how can we know who she would have become, or if she still can become anyone at all. I don't think that the people Dana is being sent to will do anything but try to heal her the best they can.....needless to say we are talking about folks that don't just have drugs to back them up but a whole metaphysical bag of goodies. If I think Angel and Spike can come back from being monsters (who were victims who begat victims as well) now that they have souls why should I think anything less for Dana who needs way more help but it's worth trying.

[> Parasite Eve -- neaux, 07:29:37 01/29/04 Thu

it's funny they refer to eve as Parasite Eve (which most people in the U.S. know from the Amazing parasite eve video game) but it was originally a book by Japanese Author Hideaki Sena and a crappy sci-fi movie released by ADV films.

well anyway the idea of Parasite Eve involves the use of the Mitochondrial Eve..
the idea that Some scientists believe that by tracking the mitochondrial DNA patterns through females, there is a specific woman who lived hundreds of thousands of years ago that is related to everyone presently alive

hmmm sounds like a slayer storyline eh??

[> A Life Spared -- Irene, 08:15:26 01/29/04 Thu

"Spike couldn't resist a hormonally charged pissing contest and Robin did start the fight. Spike didn't learn from Robin's obvious pain, but this girl, this tortured girl with the voice of Nikki and the Chinese Slayer have painfully taught Spike a lesson in compassion. This doesn't mean that Spike should brood for the rest of his life, but he has to be more than the guy who fights for the thrill of it."

I have a hard time agreeing with this statement. I don't think it was a matter of Spike being able to resist a pissing contest. I think that Spike was basically pissed. Unlike Dana, Robin Wood was not only sane, he had deliberately set up Spike to be murdered . . . and had conspired with Giles to deceive Buffy to achieve this goal. But if Spike was truly uncompassionate, would he had spared Robin's life, because he had killed the latter's mother? I doubt it.

This is why I have a hard time accepting Spike's fate in "Damage" as some kind of "comeuppance" for his actions in "LMPTM".

[> [> Re: A Life Spared -- Rufus, 08:56:09 01/29/04 Thu

I don't think it was a matter of Spike being able to resist a pissing contest.

I see the comeuppance more as what happens because of his tendancy to not think that much about what he has or does do. Spike can be amazingly tender to those he loves but that doesn't go that much further beyond those people. His attitude was sustained as long as he could talk about the Slayers he killed as "offed" instead of realizing that the glory of killing these women so long ago is something to mourn instead of continue to build a reputation upon. Robin did set up Spike but Spike as the waaaaaaaaay older man could have taken the high road and left well enough alone but he chose to beat Robin then insinuate his mother didn't love him. I think Spike understood things more when he heard from Dana's mouth the words of a mother who wanted to return home to her son, her Robin....and Spike took that away from her. He says it best in the part of the episode I transcribed. In seeing the flaw in himself he begins the road to becoming better than he has been and become more compassionate towards others who have suffered, and that took being in a victims shoes instead of dealing the death blow.

[> [> [> Re: A Life Spared -- Irene, 09:05:20 01/29/04 Thu

"I see the comeuppance more as what happens because of his tendancy to not think that much about what he has or does do."

But he did this throughout fourteen episodes of BtVS Season 7 and was in danger of becoming a "wimpire". What is the point of thinking too much of his past? He can't change it. On the other hand, when confronted with his past, he never denies it. What can he do? Become another brooder like Angel?

"Robin did set up Spike but Spike as the waaaaaaaaay older man could have taken the high road and left well enough alone but he chose to beat Robin then insinuate his mother didn't love him."

I'm sorry, but I REALLY disagree with this. Robin Wood should thank his lucky stars that Spike didn't kill him. I don't know if I could have restrained myself from killing the guy. You do realize, don't you, that by trying to kill Spike the way he did - Robin ended up "wronging" a vampire. And not just any vampire, but the one who killed his mother. As for taking the high road - Spike is an individual, not a saint. That's taking perfection a little too much.

Maybe Spike does have a problem with being compassionate with people at large - so do I, as a matter of fact. But that is because deep down, I have a hard time liking people in general. I don't have such problems with individuals. It's possible that Spike is the same. He cares more for the individual than humanity. Is that wrong? A lot of people would think so. I don't. It's better to be honest with oneself than pretend to be some kind of saint in order to revel in one's goodness.

[> [> [> [> Re: A Life Spared -- Rufus, 23:23:53 01/29/04 Thu

SPIKE: I prefer not to think of such dark, ugly business at all. That's what the police are for. (looks at Cecily) I prefer placing my energies into creating things of beauty.

Spike and William for that matter tend to be good on a one to one basis but that hardly makes for a hero. For this tortured, confused girl Spike has not a hell of a lot of care for.

Angel: Spike! You think this is a joke?

Spike: Only if you're the punch line.

Angel: Look, we're the last two people who should be confronting her. She's a Slayer, she has every reason to hate us, and she's unstable. In her mind there probably aren't any good vamp--pires
(snerk! the insidious influence of Andrew)Vampires...(correcting himself). She exists for one reason, to destroy creatures like us.

Spike: Dance of Death...Eternal Struggle...Right....got it.

Angel: You will when she's staking you in the heart.

Spike: What do you want me to do? Boo Hoo cause she got tortured and driven out of her gourd? Not like we haven't done worse back in the day.

Angel: Yeah....and it's something I'm still paying for.

Spike: And you should let it go mate. It's starting to make you look old.

Spike wants to do the grand heroic act, the thing to get attention for himself, much as what he wanted to do when first a vampire, and I suspect much the same as the more quiet William. Thing is that he doesn't much care for much past himself and that is reflected in his attitude in 1880 when a murder spree is going on and later when he talks to Angel. Just like the rest in Wolfram and Hart, Spike is sort of lost. Without the direct influence and presence of Buffy, Spike has become someone who just acts out a part instead of understanding why he should.

As in Fool for Love, Angel is the one to try to bring home a reality to the more action oriented Spike....

From Fool for Love

SPIKE: (to Angelus) Yeah, you know what I prefer to being hunted? Getting caught.
ANGELUS: That's a brilliant strategy really. .. pure cunning.
SPIKE: Sod off! (laughs) Come on. When was the last time you unleashed it? All out fight in a mob, back against the wall, nothing but fists and fangs? Don't you ever get tired of fights you know you're going to win?
ANGELUS: No. A real kill. A good kill. It takes pure artistry. Without that, we're just animals.
SPIKE: Poofter!
Angelus shoves Spike and the fight is on. Angelus snaps a metal rod in half, lifts Spike up and slams him down on his back, raising the makeshift stake. Spike stops it inches from his heart and smiles up at Angelus.
SPIKE: Now you're gettin' it!
Angelus drops the rod and backs off.
ANGELUS: You can't keep this up forever. If I can't teach you, maybe someday an angry crowd will. That. .. or the Slayer.
Spike sits up, suddenly interested.
SPIKE: What's a Slayer?

Back in the day, Angelus was worried about saving the skin of his women, now Angel feels the weight of what he did while evil and makes him weary. Spike still is one who has flipped the coin, action killing humans and especially Slayers (for the status) to killing demons in an effort to be a hero. What he hasn't done is come to terms with what he has been until the end of Damage and both he and Angel make statements that show why they were monsters and why they should be doing heroic acts....

Angel: A lot of pain?
Spike: More than I like, but not as much as you would.....Just what I deserve.
Angel: (sighs) I didn't say that.
Spike: No.....I did. The lass thought I killed her family - and I'm supposed to what, complain, cause her's wasn't one of the hundreds of families I did kill. I'm not saying you're right, cause uh, I'm physically incapable of saying that. But, uh, for a demon, I never did think that much about the nature of evil. No. I just threw myself in. Thought it was a party. I liked the rush. I liked the crunch. Never did look back at the victims.
Angel: I couldn't take my eyes off them. I was only in it for the evil. It was everything to me. It was art. The destruction of a human being. I just would've considered Dana a masterpiece.
Spike: What happens to her?
Angel: I don't know, Andrew and the Slayers took her. Didn't trust us to help her.
Spike: Andrew double crossed us? That's a good move...hope for the little ponce yet. Though the tingling in my forearms tells me she's too far gone to help. She's on of us now...she's a monster.
Angel: She's an innocent victim.
Spike: So were we....once upon a time.
Angel: (softly) once upon a time.

The last scene ties up all the stuff from Fool for Love and today in a conversation where Angel finally relates to Spike in a human way, talks honestly about what they both have been. It has to be painful talking, admitting what kind of monster one has been, but what seems to be forgotten in the fan reaction is that there were victims that deserve as much sympathy as Angel and Spike get on a routine basis. You may say that Robin is lucky to be alive for trying to kill Spike but I ask, how many times has Robin casually planned the death of someone? Spike and Angel have killed enough people to fill a city, and the sympathy went to Spike for many when Robin attacked him. Robin was wrong to do what he did, but Robin was a victim who had a mother he loved taken from him. Before I can do much boo hooing for either Angel or Spike I think about the thousands and thousands of lives they shattered because they enjoyed the reaction of fear and pain from others. DeKnight and Goddard wrote an excellent episode showing us just how complicated it is when a monster dares dream becoming a hero.

[> [> [> [> [> An excellent series of comments, but I'd especially like to note this one... -- OnM, 07:33:35 01/30/04 Fri

*** Without the direct influence and presence of Buffy, Spike has become someone who just acts out a part instead of understanding why he should. ***

. .. because I feel this is just absolutely dead on, and critical to understanding this stage of the still newly-souled Spike.

One of the classic moral ambiguities which ME has been playing out since the latter portion of BtVS S7 (since Get It Done, basically) is that Buffy felt/knew that in order to win her battle against the forces of the First Evil, Spike would have to be the warrior Spike, not the warm and sensitive William. I really loved this twist because it illustrated just how Buffy genuinely understood that the Shadowmen, depite their morally offensive tactics, had an apocalypse to prevent, and making 'just a girl' into a demon was the only thing they could think of to 'get it done'. Could they have done better? Maybe. It's always easy to say after the fact, during the time when you aren't desperate to simply survive.

Doing this undoubtably helped lead to victory in the events of Chosen, but it also leaves Spike in a position to act as though his past never mattered, when in fact it does. Now, perhaps, the process that Buffy started out of dire necessity will start being undone, with Spike learning to extend his compassion beyond those he's made an emotional/spiritual connection with.

Of course, it's reasonable to assume that Buffy would want to help in this regard, but then, she thinks that Spike is dead, doesn't she?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: An excellent series of comments, but I'd especially like to note this one... -- Pip, 09:08:05 01/30/04 Fri

Of course, it's reasonable to assume that Buffy would want to help in this regard, but then, she thinks that Spike is dead, doesn't she?

Which may be (temporarily, I hope) the best thing for Spike. The ME writers have consistently portrayed him as having a other-orientated self-image, witnessed by his almost complete collapse in Lover's Walk , when Dru dumps him.

The perfect mother's boy for his mum, the perfect tough-guy vampire for Dru, the vamp-with-a-soul warrior hero for Buffy. He's almost a more grown up Andrew - like mushrooms, he absorbs the flavour of the person he loves. And he wants their approval so much that he'll change himself quite radically to get it (witness the soul).

For this season, for almost the first time, he has no significant other to approve/disapprove of what he's done. Except for Angel - and while he definitely has an emotional connection with Angel, I think Spike's already learnt the hard way not to expect his approval :-) It's probably important that 'no significant other' is because of Spike's own decision. He's chosen not to go back to Buffy.

And as long as Buffy thinks he's dead, there's no chance that she will choose to come back and 'help' him. So Spike, instead of relying on someone else to tell him what sort of person he should be, has to finally learn to decide for himself what sort of person he is. To make changes because he wants to make them, not because somebody else would prefer it if he were a different sort of person.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Well said. And isn't it interesting... -- OnM, 20:38:06 01/30/04 Fri

...the degree to which Spike tolerates Andrew? Spike, who generally doesn't suffer fools lightly?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> How can you be mean to a guy...... -- Rufus, 01:32:23 01/31/04 Sat

who calls you Gandalf the White, then sobs with joy finding you alive.......;)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: How can you be mean to a guy...... -- Doug, 07:07:40 01/31/04 Sat

Hmm, It's to bad they didn't change Spike's look slightly when he came back, as it is his clothes are still black and he's still:

Spike the Bleached

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: How can you be mean to a guy...... -- Felicia, 13:41:32 01/31/04 Sat

Is that a problem? Does Spike have to change into another "costume" to prove that he is improving as an individual?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Well, nor necessarily, but... -- Doug, 15:26:18 01/31/04 Sat

...There are some problems that can crop up. For one thing take the coat; a lot of people think that he shouldn't wear it anymore because of it's significance. Mutant Enemy was actually going to change Spike's look during S7 of BtVs, but FOX overruled Joss which is why the coat is still there.

Personally, I think it isn't the most flattering outfit on JM, some of the stuff he was wearing in Season 7 actually looked better on him.

Transforming a character's appearance to follow a change in that character's personality is nothing new. On Babylon 5, for example, both Londo and G'kar get their appearance changed repeatedly. As Londo moved from a fun-loving, clownish character to a more serious character dealing with the future of his people and a frighteneing destiny his hairstyle changed (though that was partially because it didn't look right in earlier seasons) and his clothes darkened. From a light purple coat he went to a dark purple one, and then to a black one. At that same time G'Kar's apearance changed as well; at the start of the series his costume had lots of clashing colours and ornamentations, at that point he was a rather cold (though patriotic) diplomat with some rather...adventurous tastes. As his people went to war and were defeaterd he lost all the ornaments and most of the colour, leaving him wearing simpler clothes that were brown, with a little bit of black and yellow. He also started wearing partial armor as part of his day-to-day clothes, as he made his change from schemer to religiously-inspired warrior and liberator of his people.

Now that's just two examples from one show, and in truth my original comment was intended as a bit of a joke. But when you come to think about it: Spike endured trials on quest to win back his soul, and he came back looking the same. Spike died, going out in a blaze of glory, and was ressurected from death; but he's still wearing the same clothes. And while for me this isn't a huge deal I've heard from a whole lot of people for whom it is a problem. And like I said, there are outfits that actaully look better on him (check the one from the first half of "Get it Done" for example)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Well, nor necessarily, but... -- Dee, 23:39:58 01/31/04 Sat

Transforming a character's appearance to follow a change in that character's personality is nothing new.

That's true. But it's problematic in the case of Spike, because part of the storyline is that he engaged in a series of elaborate costume changes as he went through a series of changes over the course of 130 years. And further, that the storyline was meant to say that his costume changes, for the most part, were skin deep.

On the one hand, he should change his costume to show a new state. On the other, in his case, a change of costume signifies a superficial change, rather than a real one.

So if he doesn't change the look, it seems to say he hasn't really changed, and that he's clinging to an old identity by clinging to an old image. But if he changes the look, is it yet another case of using a cosmetic change in place of an internalized change. Either way, it's going to have thematic problems for people to criticize.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Well, not necessarily, but... -- Seven, 08:21:19 02/01/04 Sun

I agree with the statement about superficial and real change. That makes sense for the character, but i feel that a "costume change" is a good metaphor and if the character really has changed, a superficial change won't usurp that. Also, Spike doesn't need to nessaserely make a huge change. Just add a little more color to his outfit. What happened to the red shirt he used to wear underneath? Or maybe (like wesely snipes in the blade movies) they could add different shades of black so that he doesn't look like a void. But my personal suggestion would be how he looks on the pictures of Season 4 buffy dvd.

Not only does he look good but it is also relevent to ATS

That color of course, is gray.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Well, not necessarily, but... -- Irene, 08:57:52 02/02/04 Mon

"I agree with the statement about superficial and real change. That makes sense for the character, but i feel that a "costume change" is a good metaphor and if the character really has changed, a superficial change won't usurp that."

So, in order for us, the audience, to take Spike's character change seriously, his costume has to change?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> No, it allows James Marsters to not look like a void on screen -- Seven, 11:37:08 02/02/04 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Not necessarily. They could change what the costume symbolises -- Pip, 12:58:51 02/03/04 Tue

If ME are stuck with Spike's usual costume for contractual reasons, they can change what the costume means to Spike. For example, instead of the duster symbolising his victory over a Slayer, they could make it something that he now wears to keep in mind that he used to be the sort of monster who killed little kids' mothers.

Same costume - but instead of a symbol of past victories, a sign of remembrance. And it keeps to the letter of the contract [grin].

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> the only point i was trying to make -- Seven, 16:51:59 02/03/04 Tue

Was that Spike is wearing all effing black!!! It's just too much. I just watched "Crush" and he was wearing some differnt clothes. Not even the same duster. It just plain doesn't make sense that he wears the same clothes all the freaken time. I thought it was ok when he was a ghost. You know, being incorporeal and all, but the man needs to change. I can't imagine how rank he must be. Even if he did wash everyday, that set of clothes must fade eventually. I highly doubt he has 12 differnt black shirts and pants. that would be just silly.

Now look. He can keep the duster. He can even keep all the clothes he has on. Just add something to it so he doesn't resemble an event horizen.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I completely agree with you -- DorianQ, 20:09:51 02/03/04 Tue

[> Re: A Real Finesse Job.....Storyteller, Lies, and the comeuppance of Spike spoilers for Damage -- anom, 23:57:19 02/03/04 Tue

Whew! Rush job's finished, so now I have time to write more than the drive-by posts I've sent up to now on this episode.

"I have to argue the future of Dana with Spike. Dana did what she did in a delusional series of horrific things done thinking she was protecting herself."

Which is very different from doing it for the purpose of hurting someone & getting enjoyment out of it, whether for the crunch or for the sheer evil of it. Is there hope for Dana? There's no way to know except to try to help her. There may be people who can't be helped, but so far we have no way to know which ones ahead of time.

There is a difference, as several posters have said, btwn. mental illness caused by genetic factors and that caused by abuse, as well as btwn. a one-time trauma & growing up in an abusive environment. Of course, while the torture had effects on Dana after it was over, losing her whole family was an ongoing trauma, & if (I don't think it's clear that she was on sedatives before she became a Slayer) she spent the next 15 years drugged in a mental hospital, that couldn't have been much help either. (BTW, I wouldn't assume Dr. Rabinaw kept her medicated all that time in order to avoid helping her get better so he could write a book about her case. For 1 thing, such books sell better [& their authors come off better] if they're about successful treatment or at least can describe some improvement. For another, a case of near-catatonia after torture probably wouldn't be worth a book; one about a near-catatonic who suddenly has "increased levels of agitation accompanied by explosive outbursts of inhuman strength" might be [& the videos were all made after Dana became a Slayer, so the whole book thing doesn't apply to the time before that].) And the only thing the nurse connects the book with is Rabinaw's not wanting people to know about the tapes. So it doesn't imply he's deliberately refraining from helping her, although keeping the info to himself may amount to denying her whatever help she might get from other mental health professionals.

I've edited articles on posttraumatic stress disorder, & it seems clear that it's far more likely to occur in people who already suffered trauma in childhood. While fiction &, in many cases, the media like to portray victims of horrific crimes as emotionally crippled for the rest of their lives, many victims can recover, as Rahael & others have pointed out. It depends in large part on their previous psychology & on their getting the necessary support (from their families, from friends, w/therapy) afterwards. We don't know anything about how Dana's family treated her, but of course they couldn't be there afterwards to try to help her through the trauma.

My 1st reaction to Andrew's taking Dana back to Slayer Central was that W&H probably had better resources for treating her than the new Slayer organization (whatever they're calling it; I didn't hear anyone actually use a name for it). Certainly the old Council didn't seem to put much stock in psychology (or to have any problem about hiring psychos for its special ops team). And the old W&H probably had an entire stable of psych expert witnesses to testify in insanity pleas for some of theur clients (sure they could be bought, but they'd still have to know their stuff, & they'd have contacts who were stronger on the treatment side). But the new versions of both organizations are doing things differently. With the apparently increased age range, some of the new Slayers may even be psychologists. And Dana is not the only damaged Slayer--there's Faith & the Slayer we saw stand up against an abuser in Chosen, & probably others. On a larger scale, it'll probably do Dana a world of good to know other Slayers, girls & women who are also learning to deal w/their new strength. It might help ground her in a way W&H's psychologists & facilities never could. Without knowing more about the new council's resources, I can't say for sure, but I'm feeling better about their taking Dana in hand than I did right after I 1st watched the ep.

A few other things:

"When Wes and Angel hear of this girl Wes is quick to....

Wes: I'll get a team together.
Angel: No, wait, I don't want to go storming in with troops until we know what we've got here. I've seen a few of these possession cases, they have to be handled very carefully, real finesse job.

Funny Wes is so quick to suggest this--he's been on some of those finesse jobs w/Angel, notably in I've Got You Under My Skin. Then again, he was hurt physically & psychologically in that case; maybe his overreaction comes out of his feeling threatened. Kinda like Dana, but only to a sane extent.

"Spike: Killed 2 Slayers with my own hand. Think I can deal with one that's gone daft in the melon.

The hand comment would come back to haunt him by the end of this show."

Oh, yeah. Gunn's "fingers & souls still attached" also resonates. But though Spike loses his hands, his soul remains attached; in fact, he seems to get in closer touch w/it. I guess now we know what it takes to cut through (sorry) the attitude & defensiveness & get him to stop & really think about things.

"Dana: (in a voice not quite her own) Please don't, I have to get home to my son...to my Robin. (anyone with a doubt she loved her son can shut up now)."

So can anyone who still thinks Spike was right about the "Slayer death wish."

"Spike: ...She's one of us now...she's a monster.
Angel: She's an innocent victim.
Spike: So were we....once upon a time.
Angel: (softly) once upon a time.

Others have commented on the victim-to-abuser cycle--about those who don't escape it, & those who do. I want to address the labels: monster, victim. Too many people (not as many on this board, I'm glad to say) who are quick to apply these labels don't want to look at the connection btwn. them--don't want to think about how the monster got that way--& are equally quick to write off the human being inside the monster, the victim s/he was once upon a time. Does that time become as unreachable as a fairy tale? Is the fairy tale about the innocence? Or about its loss? Remember, many fairy tales in their original form are not exactly pretty. Some psychologists (notably Bettelheim) think they're a way for children to understand, to represent to themselves, some of the threatening things in their world--serving the same metaphorical function we on this board find in Buffy & Angel.

"The Artist formerly known as Angelus...."
I like it! Very nice, Rufus--not just this, the whole thing!

crossword puzzle? (spoilers for Damage) -- Miyu tVP, 10:46:04 01/29/04 Thu

Anyone solve the crossword puzzle clue at the beginning of the ep? I didn't tape it, but I think it was "In a mellifluous manner, 7 letters, ends in Y"

On another website someone propsed the answer was "Harmony", which matched the letters & ending in Y, but doesn't make any sense as far as mellifluous.

At its base, 'mellifluous' means "flows like honey." Given that later in the ep, molasses is not only a key to locating Dana & Spike, but was apparently a memorable aspect of Dana's torture as a child.. .. seems to be imporant.

As Spike says at the end, he never thought much about the nature of evil, just liked the rush. Both honey & molasses are sweet to the smell and taste, but terribly sticky - hard to wash out, hard to get out of once you're in it. Like the past, like memories, guilt, pain, evil. Like W&H and Angel's current situation. .. seemed like a good idea the start.

Anyway, what do you think is the solution to the puzzle? All I could come up with is 'sweetly'.



[> silvery? -- radioreverie, 12:23:04 01/29/04 Thu

[> I think... -- YesPlease, 14:18:19 01/29/04 Thu

Below is the dictionary entry for mellifluous. The voice and sound are mentioned a couple of times. I think you're right about it being Harmony. And, as a friend mentioned on another posting board, just a couple of scenes later, that same nurse makes specific reference to her "cousin" inside the W&H secretarial pool.

Dictionary Entries
Flowing with sweetness or honey.
Smooth and sweet: "polite and cordial, with a mellifluous, well-educated voice" (H.W. Crocker III).

[Middle English, from Late Latin mellifluus : Latin mel, mell-, honey; see melit- in Indo-European Roots + Latin -fluus, flowing; see bhleu- in Indo-European Roots.]
melálifluáousály adv.
melálifluáousáness n.

\Mel*lif"lu*ous\, a. [L. mellifluus; mel, mellis, honey (akin to Gr. ?, Goth. milip) + fluere to flow. See Mildew, Fluent, and cf. Marmalade.] Flowing as with honey; smooth; flowing sweetly or smoothly; as, a mellifluous voice. -- Mel*lif\"lu*ous*ly, adv.

adj : pleasing to the ear; "the dulcet tones of the cello" [syn: dulcet, honeyed, mellisonant, sweet]

[> [> Treacly -- Ekim Rrac, 16:41:22 01/29/04 Thu

[> [> Yep! -- MaeveRigan, 06:43:19 01/30/04 Fri

'Cause treacle is molasses! :)

[> [> Re: I think... -- Jane, 16:43:58 01/31/04 Sat

I think it's "sweetly". Wouldn't be "harmony"; that's a noun, so it would be harmoniously, which wouldn't fit. "Treacly" is another good one! Being something of a crossword fan, this is fun!

[> [> [> It's getting sticky... -- Ekim Rrac, 22:53:14 02/01/04 Sun

Falling back on Webster's New World Dictionary (College Edition) definitions, I cite :

Mellifluous: flowing sweetly and smoothly; honeyed; said of words, sounds, etc.

Certainly sounds like " sweetly" would fit here.

Yet, the etymology of molasses comes from the Portugues word for honey, too.

Molasses:( < Port. melaco ) any of various thick, dark-colored sirups, especially that produced during the refining of sugar; compare treacle.

Treacle: 1. originally, a) a remedy for poison.
b) any effective remedy
2.[British}, molasses

Treacly: like or covered with treacle; sticky.

I can't see much sweetness in this episode, but I do see a lot of stickiness, a lot of bitter-sweetness, and , I hope, some remedy to come. Perhaps the coming weeks will give us some cross-word hints.

[> Fred gave a possible answer -- Sheri, 16:55:22 01/29/04 Thu


Remember? She says that whiskey smells sweet like mollases when you cook it.

Plus it's "honey" colored and is rather flowy.

'Course, don't ask me how you can work whiskey into being an adverb. .. but it still fits nicely into the space provided, and it gives a nice detective story style clue.

[> mercury? -- Vegeta, 11:22:13 01/30/04 Fri

[> sweetly? -- YesPlease, 12:48:33 01/30/04 Fri

[> No answer but a quote: "A mellifluous voice, as I am true knight." Twelfth Night: II, iii -- Ann, 16:22:05 02/01/04 Sun

A little co-authorial punning.

Was anyone else reminded of...(spoilers for Damage & Firefly) -- Kate, 15:44:23 01/29/04 Thu

of River when watching Dana? Some of it comes from the physical appearance of the actress playing Dana, especially the long, dark, scraggley hair hanging down over her face. But I saw that same sense of disorientation to the world around her from being bombarded by too many images and emotions not her own - same as River. Although I do think Dana had a strength and weigh-y-ness to her that River didn't due to her slayer strength and powers. River came off as much more fragile, imo.

Just a thought! :)


[> I thought the same thing -- Ray, 17:24:55 01/29/04 Thu

[> Yep. Very much. -- dub ;o), 17:31:14 01/29/04 Thu

[> Yup. Totally. -- LadyStarlight, 18:01:25 01/29/04 Thu

[> Oh yeah. -- deeva, 10:30:59 01/30/04 Fri

[> Writing about insanity -River, Dru, Fred, (Spoilers for Damage) -- s'kat, 12:31:34 01/30/04 Fri

I was discussing insanity with a friend over email, specifically regarding how it is treatable and can be examined in an interesting way through fiction. But it is tough to write, since so many of us make the mistake of stereotyping or lumping it into one category - "they're nuts". And dismissing it at that point.

The thing you have to remember about mental illness is there isn't just one type.

And it effects everyone differently and to a different degree. (Yep, took a few psychology courses in my undergraduate years...not enough to be an expert so forgive the regretable errors.) Also there are a variety of approaches to handling illness. Some mental illnesses can be cured or even controlled with medication - they are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain/body, others require more severe treatment such as surgery, shock treatment. Others? They haven't figured out how to treat and can only be handled by isolating the person or keeping them from hurting others - sociopathic/psychopathic disorders fall under this category - these disorders are when the patient can't feel for others, they honestly are missing the ability to deal with people on anything other than as objects, this disorder is biological in nature and usually due to something disconnected in the brain, a missing snyaspe - Early is an example of how writers write this type of character in Whedon's Objects in Space. While still others just require lots of intensive therapy. The treatment often depends on what is causing the illness. Is it something external - an abusive situation that required the patient to cope by disassociating themselves - ie. creating multiple personalities? Is it physical? Mental illness is very hard to understand, since we still know so little about how the brain processes information or handles emotion.

The writers of ME who are hardly experts, have to their credit explored it without relying too much on clichZ or stereotypes. Again, it's hard to write because what we know about it is limited to the stereotypes pushed by our media.
We have a tendency to make generalizations (and I admit for the sake of convience I'm doing that a bit here) and judgements based on prejudices perpetuated by that same media. We assume someone who is mentally ill cannot plot, cannot analyze, cannot function, cannot change - this isn't necessarily true. It depends.

Fred - appears to be the case of insanity caused by environment. A person finds a way of coping with an insane situation. It's not chemical, it's environmental - caused by external causes, once you remove the cause and make the individual feel safe and secure - they will most likely come out of it in time without need of medication. Therapy may be enough. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - is probably the best way of explaining Fred's illness. A disorder that will cause the patient to react to stimuli that is similar to the external environment that caused the trauma. It's treatable with counseling.

River - appears to be the case of insanity caused by biological or internal means. The Alliance surgically altered River's brain - causing her to feel more intensely others emotions, her own, and everything around her. She can't filter it out. This is actually very similar to autism which is a mental disorder where the individual is overwhelmed with external data, can't filter it, without shutting down completely, coming across as somehow detached. River is different from the autistic in that she is even more hyper-aware - being telepathic. She's also a bit of an idiot savant - in that she's super-intelligent and the brain's mental processing is faster than her body's ability to cope with the information or her emotions ability to deal with it - which causes a sort of manic-depressive state, my cousin has this syndrom, super-bright but can't handle the emotions. She's out of balance. Simon helps River the same way many doctors help people with these disorders - they give them drugs to help correct the imbalance.

Drusilla - is someone who had River's telepathic abilities or rather Dana's visions as a human. She was struggling with her sanity before Angelus ever showed up. When he abused her...she was tortured by two things - his torture and her visions of what would be, which were nightmares. So she does the only thing she can do under the circumstances - a thing very similar to what Fred does - she retreats to the center of her being and allows herself to slip between future and past. Dru is a lot like a schizophrenic...she hears the voices, and accepts them as friends. To Dru, insanity has become a solace.

Dana - of the four, Dana's syndrom is caused by someone torturing her as a child which caused her to do what she had to - retreat into a catatonic state. Withdrawl completely from everything. When the slayer power woke her up - Dana exhibited what most psychologists call multiple personality disorder or disassociative personalities. Nikki, the Boxer Slayer, The Romanian Slayer, The Primitive, and Dana the child. She probably has a thousand personalities inside her - she's disassociated her pain. Each personality deals with it in a different way. MPD is treatable with a combo of medication and intensive therapy. What the therapist's does for the patient is attempt to bring the personalities together and integrate them. Dana's disorder is somewhat similar to Angel's with Angelus. It is treatable. And it's not caused by internal circumstances like River's, which are far harder to correct.
The difficulty with Dana is that she has the visions and the power - so you have to find a way of counter-acting that long enough to help her deal with the original trauma and get past it. Actually I think she's much closer to being treated than she was prior to meeting Spike and Angel, whether they intended to or not I think they may have helped her handle that original trauma and conquer the monster Walter in her head. Spike, ironically, may have helped Dana more by being her victim than he would have by capturing her and doping her up.

[> [> Re: Writing about insanity (Spoilers for Damage) -- LittleBit, 19:47:51 01/30/04 Fri

While I agree with your opening statements that there is not one type of mental illness and that it affects everyone differently and to different degrees requiring different therapeutic approaches (even for the same illness), I do have to disagree with the apparent general diagnoses ascribed for the characters.

In my opinion:

Fred had an adaptive coping mechanism while in Pylea, and recovered fairly quickly when she was back in her own dimension. The only time she came even close to a flashback was when she experienced the exact same situation in "Supersymmetry" and then it was a matter of she couldn't get the memory out of her mind. She described it as "Every time I close my eyes, I see it. Like it's happening all over again." When Fred returned here and was finally safe, she was able to allow herself to finally respond, and did go through an adjustment disorder, one which she moved through and beyond once she realized she truly was safe.

Dana had PTSD. .. she relived her trauma daily, not remembered---relived. She did not have multiple personalities. Her Slayer memories were just that...memories, not aspects of her self splintered off to help her cope. She'd been generally catatonic following the trauma until Willow's spell activated her Slayer potential. Since then she was kept on Thorazine, which dampens the frontal lobe functions, possibly prohibiting her from differentiating from her own memories, which she was reliving, and the Slayer dreams/memories which she was experiencing. Everything was in the present in her mind. She was Dana the ten year old. She was Nikki. She was Sineya. She was the Chinese Slayer. In some ways, she has PTSD for the entire line of Slayers, last to first. Her care will not only entail keeping her safe and others safe from her, but require a somewhat creative approach because of the unique nature of her problems.

Drusilla was not concerned about her sanity before she met Angel...she was dealing with a religious belief that her visions were from the devil, and was concerned for her soul, not her sanity. Having the visions disturbed her because while she had learned that they did tend to happen, she was told that her soul was in danger because of them. It was the intervention of Angel, systematically convincing her of her evil nature and affinity with the devil while at the same time viciously removing everyone of any emotional significance to her. But. .. even though she certainly has an interesting thought process, her visions remain true, and she has even developed her psychic skills to the point of limited telepathy and hypnosis. She does function in vampiric life. Quite well. If anything, she may be regressed and thus exhibiting her child-like behavior, but other than being fey she show the traits of a vampire.

River is a more difficult call. Unlike the others she was actually altered by external sources, so her mental status is not one of a usual human response, but a response to being thrust into a permanently altered state. She was gifted...with proficiencies in many areas, which brought her to the attention of the authorities---a challenging government-sponsored school. She was experimented upon. Her amygdala was stripped from her brain. Now, in the show, the amygdala is described as "a filter in your brain that keeps your feelings in check" and that River now "feels everything." She can't not feel. In studies of the amygdala, the two most common areas are autism, in which the amygdala is underdeveloped and the child becomes more withdrawn, and anxiety disorders or fear. Even when she seems to become incoherent with fear, her 'ramblings' are still on topic...e.g. the "Blue Hands." While River does indeed withdraw from others, she does clearly have a strong emotional connection to Simon. She does not have any of the signs of the "idiot-savant" being still quite brilliant and when necessary quite capable. "Super-intelligent" is the opposite of the idiot-savant who is generally incapable of learning, and has no real understanding of the area in which he is 'savant.' Her symptoms are not precisely consistent with damage to the amygdala, nor does she exhibit any defining signs of a specific psychological disorder. When Simon learns what was actually done to her, he changes the drug that she is getting, but (at least in the aired shows) it is not explained what he is changing it to, just strongly implied that the previous drug was not one that would help her. Perhaps in River's case the best thing is to realize that she has a causality that exists because of the nature of fiction and no real correlation in contemporary psychology.

[> [> [> Re: Writing about insanity (Spoilers for Damage) -- s'kat, 20:23:53 01/30/04 Fri

Thank you for the clarifications, as I stated above, no expert, so prone to general diagnosis or just grasping at the straws of memory.

While you explanation of River makes sense...I'm not sure about the others.

1. Fred - I guess it's her reversion in Supersymmetry that reminded me of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, it still does. Pylea - I'll buy isn't. But wasn't her behavior in Supersymmetry very similar to symptoms exhibited by PTSD?

2. Dana - not sure about this one. Hasn't the slayer memories brought on the different personalities? They don't live in her. Or Buffy would have different personalities as would Faith just by experiencing those memories. Aren't they her way of coping with each memory? So are you saying that she's developed multiple personalities to cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?? In which case, couldn't it be argued that with Spike she dealt with the original trauma for at least three of those personalities? I don't know, just a little confused here on terminology, I guess.

3. Dru - if I remember Becoming and Dear Boy - which granted we are in Angelus' pov not Dru's, Dru seemed to be struggling with sanity as well as fear she was evil. Or possessed. In the 1800s, visions or insanity was often considered a sign of demonic possession - something which is oddly enough commented on by Damage - where Wes, Spike and the others assume Dana is possessed by a demon. She was definitely insane before Angelus turned her - as is shown in Dear Boy. By that point she was crazy. Being turned into a vampire, made her monsterous as well. Small quibble on Dru.

[> [> [> [> Re: Writing about insanity (Spoilers for Damage) -- LittleBit, 00:37:48 01/31/04 Sat

Keeping in mind, once again, that this is simply how I see it:


From NIMH: Many people with PTSD repeatedly re-experience the ordeal in the form of flashback episodes, memories, nightmares, or frightening thoughts, especially when they are exposed to events or objects reminiscent of the trauma. Anniversaries of the event can also trigger symptoms. People with PTSD also experience emotional numbness and sleep disturbances, depression, anxiety, and irritability or outbursts of anger. Feelings of intense guilt are also common. Most people with PTSD try to avoid any reminders or thoughts of the ordeal. PTSD is diagnosed when symptoms last more than 1 month.

In Fred's case we saw one instance of what could be considered a flashback, and it occurred the night after she nearly experienced being sucked once again into a hell dimension. When Gunn awoke he found her talking to herself and scribbling equations on the wall. But it was a single occurrence in that case, and she never seemed to have it with any other stimulus. What we saw was the adaptive behavior she'd developed to cope with being in Pylea. She was having trouble sleeping because when she closed her eyes she'd see it, like it was happening all over again. Not necessarily the same as experiencing it as if it were happening at the time. But what makes me more suspicious that it isn't PTSD is that the sorts of things I would really expect to trigger flashbacks are things like wearing a restrictive necklace or being, well, chased by demons, and yet she takes those things in stride. What happened in "Supersymmetry" was closer to her being reminded of that time, of a memory she preferred not to recall. And once she dealt with the Professor, she seemed okay. Of course, one could make a case for her choice of how to deal with the Professor as termporary insanity, but not really PTSD.


Now, this is an opinion formed from what I observed in Dana's behavior in "Damage." She didn't seem to have any mental barriers between the Slayer memories and her own self. But what we, the audience, know is that the Slayer memories are actual memories, not personalities she's developed to cope with her trauma. She showed us Nikki, and we know who Nikki is. She showed us the Chinese Slayer and we recognized her. She was reliving them, and seemed to be reliving the last moments before they died. But the PTSD was extremely well portrayed. Every time Dana was touched or threatened by a male she began to relive her experiences as a ten year old. In her confrontations with them she used the weapon her abuser used on her. When she was confronted with Spike, the two Slayer memories that came to the front were those of Nikki and the Chinese Slayer. She grabbed a wooden stake. Again, my impression is that she was reliving those traumas as well. When she was found she was "barely functional, nearly catatonic." She was most likely started on the Thorazine when she started exhibiting the agitation and bouts of super-human strength, in order to keep her in control. However, one of the effects of the Thorazine is to depress the person's awareness of self and environment. In Dana's case this reduction of 'self' may have contributed to her inability to differentiate between herself and the Slayer memories. And it's why I think she may require a special therapuetic intervention, one tailored for her circumstances. These are circumstances that simply don't occur in the Real World.


In Drusilla's case her insanity was directly the result of Angel's tortures.

From "Becoming I"

Drusilla: Me mum says. .. I'm cursed. (exhales) My seeing things is an affront to the Lord, (inhales sharply) that only he's supposed to see anything before it happens. (inhales, sobs) But I don't mean to, Father, I swear! (inhales) I swear! (begins to cry) I try to be pure in his sight. (sobs) I don't want to be an evil thing.
Angelus: Oh, hush, child. The Lord has a plan for all creatures. Even a Devil child like you.
Drusilla: (taken aback) A Devil?
Angelus: Yes! You're a spawn of Satan. All the Hail Marys in the world aren't going to help. The Lord will use you and smite you down. He's like that.
Drusilla: (frightened) What can I do?
Angelus: Fulfill his plan, child. Be evil. Just give in.
Drusilla: No! (sobs) I want to be good. (sobs) I want to be pure.
Angelus: We all do, at first. The world doesn't work that way.

While Drusilla was definitely insane when Angelus turned her (and given the circumstance, the severity of her insanity may well have been the result of shock---they'd murdered everyone in the convent on the occasion of Drusilla taking her vows), I don't see her being concerned for her sanity in this exchange. I hear her being concerned for her soul, because her mother is telling her that the visions are a curse, and then Angelus takes it a few steps further by telling her she truly is a Devil child, a pronouncement Drusilla believes is coming from the priest. Much of her behavior after she is turned, while extreme, is not inconsistent with normal vampiric behaviors. She does however show the symptoms of regression: The backward movement of libido to an earlier mode of adaptation, often accompanied by infantile fantasies and wishes. A state that she can snap out of when she needs to, but seems to enjoy.

[> [> [> [> [> The Bestseller's in the Details......spoilers for Damage -- Rufus, 03:53:22 01/31/04 Sat

From Damage:

Dr. Rabinaw: (we see all these drawings) She was a special case. Her family was murdered in their home when she was ten. Whoever did it took Dana and tortured her for months. She was found one day naked and bleeding, wandering the streets. Barely functional nearly catatonic ever since.

Spike: Looks like she snapped out of it.

Dr. Rabinaw: Several months ago her condition changed. Increasing levels of agitation accompanied by explosive outbursts of inhuman strength.

Spike: Right...demon possession.

Dr. Rabinaw: That's ridiculous.


Angel: What isn't he telling me?

Nurse: Rabinaw videoed all his sessions.

Angel: Show me.

(We see Dana speaking different languages, straightjacketed...seems to be raving)

Nurse: And that's with the Thorazine.

Angel: These tapes are all of her?

Nurse: Most of them..yeah. Rabinaw's planning on writing a book on her. That's why he doesn't want anyone to know about these..putz.

Angel: You were the one who called Wolfram and Hart.

Nurse: My cousin's a paralegal there and told me about the big shake up, lot's of positions opening up.

Angel: Uh huh..

Nurse: So, I thought, hey...maybe if I tipped you on this I could get my feet in the door.

Angel: Oh..wait.

Nurse: They're pretty much all like that bunch of monkey gibberish.

Angel: That's Romanian.

Nurse: Oh, you understand what she's saying?

Angel: Yeah..I do.

We can't do much more than make generalizations based upon a fictional character but comparing Dru, River, and Dana is interesting.

River had a power that an external force tried to pervert for their own use. What they did was remove a part of her brain that protected her from intense feelings. She went inside herself in an attempt to stop the feelings she had and to escape the men with blue hands.

Drusilla, again someone with a power that was seen to be offensive to the people of her time. Angelus found that power something that drew him to her so he could create a masterpiece similar to Dana and River. He loved to look into the face of someone he had cause intense pain for. Dru ended up with a resident demon who perverted her former ability to love into a monster that even the other monsters were uncomfortable around, funny how the fear of the mentally ill touched even Darla.

Now, Dana...she's a very special case in that she was just a girl who had dreams that may or may not have seemed to be nightmares to her. She is the anomaly that Buffy could never have factored into the equation when she made the choice to share her power and save the world. For those who think it was a mistake look at the girls we see at the end of Damage....they are not lost, they are powerful, and seem comfortable with who they are. Dana on the other hand is a victim of torture, then a victim of a Doctor who was more interested in the Bestseller than the patient. There seemed to be observation going on but not much therapy. The Doctor lied to Angel and it was the nurse (who wasn't much more of a humanitarian than the Doc) who told Angel the truth in hopes of a foot in the door of Wolfram and Hart.

Jung believed that the blockage of the forward movement of energy is due to the inability of the dominant conscious attitude to adapt to changing circumstances. However, the unconscious contents thereby activated contain the seeds of a new progression.

Bit talked about regression but a regression can be the start of an inevitable progression. Dana at the beginning would have had enough Thorazine in her to stop an elephant. In that state she could never had sorted out her feelings or fears. Dana isn't a Multiple because the voices that Angel heard actually existed at one time as seperate people. It's the Slayers essence that every Slayer gets. It is meant to inform all Slayers of their history and their abilities but for Dana it was confusing as in her drugged state she confused her torture with the dreams of being a Slayer. When she confronted Spike she said "you killed them" she knew it wasn't her, it was them. She channeled Nikki and the Chinese Slayer because they knew Spike, he killed them. At the very least Nikki knew he was William the Bloody. I think there was a progression of a sort through the episode and it can be seen at the end when she knows that she is strong she is a Slayer. This doesn't mean we let her out to patrol any time soon but it does mean that perhaps inside the scared girl there is someone that can become more than the girl in the basement with all that pain.

[> [> [> [> [> Thank you so much for this clarification -- s'kat, 21:25:40 01/31/04 Sat

You convinced me, I can see this interpretation in the characters. It also gives me fodder for an evil fanfic I'm playing with featuring Dru.

[> [> Re: Writing about insanity -River, Dru, Fred, (Spoilers for Damage) -- sdev, 08:38:14 01/31/04 Sat

Dana appears to be schizophrenic which is treated with strong anti-psychotic drugs such as Thorazine to try to minmize the psychosis. She appears to have totally lost touch with reality and be hearing voices directing her to do things. She also seems to be in the grip of powerful paranoid delusions. People in her state can be quite dangerous to themselves and others without superpowers.

While it would be lovely to say there is a cure, in the real world there is not. Thorazine and other anti-psychotics are the only known treatment with counseling having extremely limited value for someone who is that out of touch with reality. The important thing is to keep her safe and prevent her from hurting others.

I'm not sure why so many posters here seem to be blaming the doctor for her condition. Writing a book on her did not create or worsen her condition.

[> [> [> Re: Writing about insanity -River, Dru, Fred, (Spoilers for Damage) -- Rufus, 01:07:54 02/01/04 Sun

If you watch Dana closely throughout the episode she gets a lot more clear on who she is and isn't. She seperates from the scared kid who is acting out in terror and need not to be hurt to the girl who knows that she is Dana and Spike killed them, both of them. We are in a metaphorical world and though Dana may have Post Traumatic disorder she seems to be less schizophrenic than she first appeared. The constant medication made her unable to seperate dream, memory, and Slayer essence. We wouldn't find this situation n the real world so we have to take into consideration both mental illness but something we know doesn't exist outside of fiction. I think the Doctor kept her medicated because he thought the idea of the "demon" world "ridiculous" (his reply to Spike about demon possession). I feel he was interested in the financial gain and noteriety of a patient that no one had encountered before. He couldn't properly treat a patient with something mentally and metaphysically wrong with her.

[> [> [> [> Re: Writing about insanity -River, Dru, Fred, (Spoilers for Damage) -- sdev, 19:27:35 02/01/04 Sun

"The constant medication made her unable to seperate dream, memory, and Slayer essence."

I believe it was the psychosis itself that caused that inability. That is the definition of psychosis. The medication was supposed to reduce/control the delusions and separation from reality. I did not see her as becoming more lucid.

Meds like Thorazine have horrible side effects, some permanent, but they don't cause the separation from reality. They treat it, not eliminate it.

As for PTSD, that is mild compared to what Dana exhibited. I can see the Multiple Personality, a more serious disorder often the product of childhood trauma, except the dreams were real not a division of her psyche.

Dana's illness was in her inability to distinguish dreams from reality, past from present. The dreams may have been mystical in origin but her problem of separating reality from dream was not mystical.

I thought the doctor medicated her because that is the standard treatment for psychosis and in her case she was extraordinarily dangerous.

It is posible that the dose of Thorazine had to be very high because of the Slayer constitution and strength as seen when Buffy is in Faith's body and recovers rapidly in the police car. But that same constitution would withstand the ill effects of the higher dose so that's probably a wash. But maybe not.

Is your point that Thorazine or newer anti-psychotics are never an appropriate treatment? If so why?

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Writing about insanity -River, Dru, Fred, (Spoilers for Damage) -- Rufus, 01:34:02 02/02/04 Mon

I think that Dana was being inappropriately medicated as she would be acting out because of her torture and her dreams. The Doctor could never know that her dreams have a basis in reality (at least the Buffyverse reality) and would have thought the patient was getting worse and more delusional instead of talking about something real. This means that her therapy would never fit her reality, leading to every increasing doses of medication to control symptoms instead of dealing with the problem. I also have issues with drugging up a kid from the age of 10-11 years old. How does anyone ever recover when they lose a family only to have it replaced with an institution and straight-jacket? Dana is dangerous but the Slayers/Giles/Devon Coven would have more of a chance of reaching Dana than the Doctor in Damage ever could...at least they know some of what she sees is real.

I do think she got clearer about identity by the end of the show as she could seperate herself from the Chinese and New York Slayer. She knew she was about to kill Spike a vampire not the guy who tortured her, she no longer was mixing the two. That wouldn't have happened on the drugs.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Question..., (Spoilers for Damage) -- s'kat, 09:23:34 02/02/04 Mon

I also have issues with drugging up a kid from the age of 10-11 years old. How does anyone ever recover when they lose a family only to have it replaced with an institution and straight-jacket?

Agree. But - are you sure they were drugging her? According to the dialogue in Damage, she was in a state of complete catatonia until just a few months ago, when she went nuts.
My impression was Rabinawa didn't start the drug regime until she actually woke up and went nuts. Prior to that they merely kept her comfortable and monitored her progress.
Is there something I missed? Did he mention drugging her prior to that period? I know Walter did - while he was torturing her. But my impression was Rabinawa didn't do it until she woke up and got violent.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Question..., (Spoilers for Damage) -- LittleBit, 12:04:27 02/02/04 Mon

I tend to agree. The likelihood is that she wasn't given the Thorazine until a few months ago when she got very agitated and had the bouts of superhuman strength. She was, however, very likely given a high dosage because her Slayer resiliency would let her overcome what would be considered normal dosages. The current drug treatment is why I think she didn't have a chance to integrate the Slayer memories and differentiate them from her 'self.'

I also agree with Rufus that after she missed the medication she initially seemed to see any male threat as Walter, and reacted accordingly. It's possible that when she saw Spike vamp out she had a moment (think of that smile) when suddenly the strange thoughts turned out to be reality, and she began to very slowly sort things out. As Rufus said, by the time she was getting ready to kill Spike she'd separated him from Walter, and associated him with Nikki and the Chinese Slayer.

I also believe that traditional approaches to treatment that don't take into account both the existence of demons/vampires and a collective Slayer memory would fail because the goal would be to cure Dana of her 'delusions' rather than differentiate her 'self' from the collective and integrate the collective memories.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Question..., (Spoilers for Damage) -- Rufus, 00:06:16 02/03/04 Tue

Agree. But - are you sure they were drugging her? According to the dialogue in Damage, she was in a state of complete catatonia until just a few months ago, when she went nuts.

A few things that led me to believe they had decided she was just a chronically ill patient. The pictures, there were lots and lots of pictures and every indication she had been talking about her Slayer dreams for a long time. I think that alone would have made the Dr. believe that she was more ill then she first may have presented. I think they started sedating her and then decided to continue due to her disturbing dreams of monsters. Also it was said she was "almost" catatonic, not completely. If at first she was almost catatonic there is the chance that she could be reached. I think the pictures and dreams she related would have made them think she had mental illness with less chance of recovery than the original trauma that brought her to the institution.

[> [> Not at all what you're talking about, but... -- manwitch, 05:51:30 02/01/04 Sun

S'kat, for the firt time you have made me think of Dru as a Slayer. She has prophetic visions, is wicked strong, and, as I recall, shares Buffy's birthday. What if Angel vamped her while she was still a potential? Wonder if she would be covered by Willow's spell? Buffy kept the slayer force after death. Why not Dru? Buffy kept her slayer force while her soul was being taken away by her roommate. So being soulless shouldn't be an issue either. Imagine Dru as a newly empowered Slayer.

Talk about some internal conflicts.

I love Dru. And she's still out there. Somewhere. Alone. And probably very angry. It would bring new meaning to the term "Vampire Slayer."

Just dreaming. Sorry for the interruption.

[> [> [> Interesting thought, though! np -- Kris, 07:27:42 02/01/04 Sun


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