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continuing on Agape (reply to s'kat) -- sdev, 23:04:22 01/20/04 Tue

Are you saying that Spike's ability to morally comprehend gained him Buffy's love but did not protect him from the stake after he got the soul? Because, I'm not sure he earned Buffy's love per se, well maybe he did. That's debatable. But I do know that he earned her protection, she refuses to kill him after he is triggered by the first to kill several people - the most people we've seen him kill on screen. Her rational is oddly reminiscent of her refusal to kill Angel when he returns intact from hell - "it wasn't you" or "you were being controlled by something else".

No, not at all. Let me rephrase.

I am not saying Spike did or did not gain Buffy's love. Simply that one prerequisite for her love was moral comprehension. Thus soulless Spike could never even have a chance, while souled Spike had a shot even if he did not ultimately succeed in gaining her love. I could really make the same statement about platonic love. Moral comprehension seemed to be a prerequisite for any form of Buffy's love. Venturing farther afield, that was probably why Buffy rejected Anya.

OTOH to remain out of Buffy's slaying sights, not to be a target, one merely had to have and exercise control over killing and harming others. Thus Clem and chipped Spike, neither of whom had moral comprehension, but had control over their harmful impulses, were spared.

But I do know that he earned her protection, she refuses to kill him after he is triggered by the first to kill several people - the most people we've seen him kill on screen. Her rational is oddly reminiscent of her refusal to kill Angel when he returns intact from hell - "it wasn't you" or "you were being controlled by something else".

Yes I think that comparison works well here.

To me, Spike fits nicely into the volitional/involitional divide in S7. When he is triggered by the First he is involitional, or better put under another's control, in this case the First. Buffy actually appears ready to kill him until Xander comes up with the trigger explanation. Once Buffy understands that Spike is not acting of his own accord, her mind changes about killing him. Instead she decides to help rescue him from the grip of the First since she believes that if left under his own control he will be good. It doesn't hurt that Spike himself demonstrates fear of himself, loathing at what he did, and a desire to chain himself to prevent further mishap. There is also that fascinating scene in Sleeper where he is about to bite her in the basement and instead he actually manages to break the grip of the First on his will and has an emotional meltdown to Buffy.

With Angelus she initially seems to spare him from an inability to execute what she knows she must do because she loved Angel and is hearbroken, not because she sees any possibility of him regaining control. That's what I got from the scene in Innocence after she defeats the Judge, and has Angelus cornered, the sprinklers are going (not relevant but a great touch of ambience) and she only manages to kick him in the groin instead of killing him. She says as much, along the lines of I just couldn't. Not yet.

Angelus: Not quittin' on me already, are ya? Come on, Buffy. You know you want it, huh?

(more fighting, Buffy gets the upper-hand)

Angelus: You can't do it. You can't kill me.

Her anger takes over and she kicks him extremely hard in the crotch. Buffy turns her back on him and walks away.

BUFFY: Give me time.

She has not made a decision as she did with Spike to spare him. She is just emotionally unable to kill him. She knows she needs to kill him because he is now the killing machine Angelus, no longer under control and no possibility of reverting to Angel in sight.

But in Becoming 1 this changes again. With the recovery of Jenny's spell the possibility, exists that Angel/us can be spared. Restoring his soul would enable Angel to regain ascendancy, in other words restore his control over the monster. At this point there is a parallel between Spike under the control of the First and Angel under the control of soulless Angelus. In both Buffy sees possibilities of reclaiming a volitional being and is therefore willing to take some risks to enable them to regain their control. To what extent the fact that Spike and Angel are also morally comprehending beings and in her affection, plays into her willingness to take risk on their behalf is hard to say.

The unsouled vampire shows no remorse - Spike chipped never showed remorse for killing people or anything. Spike soulled seems to care. LMPTM is a weird episode and contradicts certain things in Sleeper and NLM. Think about what Spike says for a moment, in each episode.

1. Sleeper - I feel everyone I killed. They haunt me.
2. NLM - Buffy: That wasn't you
Spike:There's no one else, it's me. I feel them. You have to kill me. (not exact, I'm paraphrasing)
3. LMPTM: Vampire/Slayer - that's how it works. I'm a vampire, she's a slayer - I killed her.

Three partial explanations of the contrition Spike expressed in the earlier episodes of S7 compared to his lack of contrition over Nikki in LMPTM are that he had just almost lost his life as revenge for her killing and certainly was not about to share feelings with Wood. In fact as he leaves the scene and Buffy arrives he says to her, I spared him because I killed his mother. There is some recognition there that Nikki was more than a Slayer, a challenge. He understood that he had deprived Wood of his mother even if he did not share that sense of owing him directly with Wood.

Perhaps equally important, Spike by LMPTM was no longer killing. He felt under control. Much of Spike's remorse in those earlier episodes seemed to me to be entangled with his fear that he would revert to who he had been. When he felt under control he began to look forward not backward.

A third point is the way Spike in general talks. Even in NLM he says to Buffy rather blithely for its content:

SPIKE: Meaning I have come to redefine the words pain and suffering since I fell in love with you.

BUFFY: How can you say that?

SPIKE: Apparently, I just slaughtered half of Sunnydale, pet. I'm not really worried about being polite anymore.

That's the bravado you often mention. Later in the same episode after he attacks Andrew he begs Buffy to kill him.

I discount Spike's comments about killing Slayers in FFL because at that point in time Spike does not have even the moral cognition of Season 6. He is just at the beginning of his trip.

Furthermore there is some justification for a different attitude towards killing the Slayer than ordinary people. The Slayer is more evenly matched, aware of the risks, and coming after him. I often think of that opening scene in the alley in Smashed when Buffy rescues that couple from the muggers and they flee. Why did they leave a young woman alone with those muggers? They perceived that Buffy was more than just a young helpless woman who would be the next victim. They understood she was the equal or better than those men. Just so.

As to the redemption/atonement/second chance if you conflate them I can understand. But I always understood redemption to mean some sort of wiping away of sins, or new start of the karmic clock not just getting to do things differently now as second chance implies.

I'll think on that.


[> Re: continuing on Agape (reply to s'kat) -- s'kat, 10:20:57 01/21/04 Wed

Thanks for your reply. I agree with everything above and appreciate the clarification.

As to the redemption/atonement/second chance if you conflate them I can understand. But I always understood redemption to mean some sort of wiping away of sins, or new start of the karmic clock not just getting to do things differently now as second chance implies.

This has a lot to do with the genre that ME is telling their stories within, that genre which is "noir" and includes sci-fi, horror, fantasy, mystery and western, focuses on the dual theme of redemption/second chance mythos. What's important to remember within the noir category - is that even though it discusses redemption or second chance, it doesn't always do it in the standard way, the definition can be quite broad, and more often than not the hero never achieves it. Karma often plays a hand in the proceedings as well.

Filmmakers/storytellers tend to define redemption a little more broadly and loosely than most of the people on this board. I think, and I may be wrong here, that the redemption mythos on ATS is in a way the proverbial carrot stick you can never reach, the goal you're heading towards... at least that's what it symbolizes in most noir films. Very seldom does the hero reach it, more often than not? He fails or barely comes close. It's a goal but not necessarily an obtainable one. What the hero does reach in noir is the second chance, the ability to make the attempt to redeem himself - not the actual redemption - ie. wiping away of sins. Or the actual reclamation of his life. But the opportunity to reclaim it, the chance to do so. The actual reclamation is a little boring and ends the story. Sometimes just surving is reaching that chance.

The only character we've seen in the show who has literally had their sins wiped away and been given a new start at life is Connor. And that ended Connor's story on the show more or less. Connor is an odd character - because Angel chose to redeem Connor yet Connor did nothing to deserve it nor did he even really seem to want it. Oh Connor yearned for a different life, but unlike Angel he wasn't really trying to earn one. (Don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying Connor was irredemable, I happen to believe he was. And I liked the character and found him fascinating. But the writers for whatever reason believed he wasn't redeemable which makes their choice regarding him very interesting.) Noir often will do this twist on redemption - giving the second chance to someone who the storyteller believes neither deserves it nor wants it - which harkens back to the NEw Testament or first tales of redemption, where Jesus sacrifices himself and wipes humankind's sins away metaphorically whether they want him to or not. Alfred Bester discusses the same idea in Demolished Man - where a murderer is caught and has his mind wiped and is given a new life. Is that redemption?

The mythos on redemption is sort of contradictory and a little funky, if you think too hard about it.

[> [> noir is noir -- sdev, 01:26:32 01/22/04 Thu

I never saw Angel as noir, just as having noir elements mostly in the mise en scene.

Noir to me was typified by movies like Chinatown, Blue Velvet, The Grifters, Double Indemnity and Farewell My Lovely and books by Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammet and Patricia Highsmith. I don't see the genre including sci fi, horror or fantasy unless of a particular type. Not all mystery is included either. Noir is not about redemption at all but about disillisionment. Noir ends with a sense of resignation to the perversion and corruption ever present. There is not much in the way of hope or fresh starts either, just a sense that no one can be saved. It is anti-redemptive and its heroes are anti-heroes.

I don't think thematically AtS is like that. There are flashes to be sure such as Angel's elevator descent with Holland Manners. The disillusionment in that moment, the sense of futility, typifies noir. The closest it got to that overall ethos was in the Darla arc of S2. But even there Angel has his epiphany and then rescues Kate. After that the season moves into something totally different with the Pylea arc. The Pylea arc is thematically different and also visually bright and full of sun. As you point out S4 had its redemption of Connor so I also don't think that is noir.

I do think AtS is about redemption, fresh starts or something of that ilk. So for me the comparison to noir just doesn't fit. I also agree that there is something of the Christ-like sacrifice in how Connor got his new life. Angel also tries to make that sacrifice in The Trial for Darla. Similar imagery, both visually and thematically, was used by Buffy in The Gift, Spike in Beneath You, and Spike in Chosen. For an atheist JW likes his Christian symbols. And why not. They carry immense weight and meaning with very few words.

I do agree with you here, not about noir but about AtS:

the redemption mythos on ATS is in a way the proverbial carrot stick you can never reach, the goal you're heading towards... at least that's what it symbolizes in most noir films. Very seldom does the hero reach it, more often than not? He fails or barely comes close. It's a goal but not necessarily an obtainable one. What the hero does reach in noir is the second chance, the ability to make the attempt to redeem himself - not the actual redemption - ie. wiping away of sins. Or the actual reclamation of his life. But the opportunity to reclaim it, the chance to do so.

[> [> [> Re: noir is noir -- s'kat, 07:25:28 01/22/04 Thu

I think you define noir in old school terms which is *very* narrow. Several new critics are defining it in much broader terms. One of the best noir films was Force of Evil, which strongly dealt with those themes. I studied this a bit in school and have read essays by professional film makers on it.

Check out Film Noir Reader 2 by Alain Silver and James Ursini. Also the bibliography at the end of my essay - Fatals, now available on my website at www.geocities.com/shadowkatbtvs, where I guote information from the experts in the field of film noir supporting my thesis.

You're welcome to your opinion of course, but the readings I've done regarding the genre, and my own studies strongly state otherwise. Isn't mise en scene a cinematography technique not a film category like noir is? I looked it up in the dictionary and it does state setting of scene - I've studied mise-en-scene in just about every genre there is. Noir contains mise en scene techniques. The wonder of film and television is the blending of genres. Perhaps the difficulty is in trying to categorize or define too narrowly? Art seldom permits this, since artists like to break through the barriers and not be defined.

[> [> [> [> Re: noir is noir -- sdev, 13:14:42 01/22/04 Thu

Isn't mise en scene a cinematography technique not a film category like noir is?

I was not saying that mise en scene is a genre. I said the Noir Genre utilizes a particular kind of mise en scene. More precisely mise en scene would be the setting and lighting. The Noir Genre traditionally has used a particular type of mise en scene-- city streets, seedy, dark, in the shadows, nighttime, oblique camera angles, etc. One term often used is expressionistic. AtS does seem to follow this pattern until more recently.

And I suppose I am a traditionalist, not a surprise given the list of noir I mentioned. I also studied this genre a bit though not so recently. One issue that traditionalists have with classifying more recent films (I use that term broadly as in after 1960) is the advent of color. I find that too narrow and constricted. Though some color films actually appear almost black and white to simulate that effect. Also as much as the visuals of the black and white shadowy thing created an ambience which supported noir themes, they are not as important as the themes themselves.

Themes are my uncrossable line for noir. Blade Runner is one possible example of Sci Fi Noir which is visually light but thematically in keeping with noir. More recent films might also include LA Confidential, Basic Instinct, and Fatal Attraction, even Dirty Harry. I do not see Angel as an anti-hero, but as a real hero. IMO what really puts AtS outside of noir is the redemption theme which is just not part of noir and in fact contra to the essence of disillusionment that noir embodies. From a Slayage article by Stacey Abbott which argues that Angel is a hybrid form including elements of noir:

While much of the series involves the rebuilding of a new community of similarly alienated souls (Doyle, Cordelia, Wesley, Gunn, Fred, Lorne and Kate Lockley) all of whom are damaged or in need of redemption like Angel, a theme that is not usually associated with Film Noir


I did look around after reading this essay and did not see anything to indicate that noir had been redefined. Hybrids do exist. There is also a newer category called Film Gris (Grey Film) which I saw defined as post-Noir with a happy ending.

I look forward to looking at your site. Thank you for suggesting it.

[> [> [> [> I just finished -- sdev, 22:45:02 01/22/04 Thu

reading your essay. Superb work.

I'm not sure we are that far apart. Where you say "subverts the formula" I say "not noir". The underlying analysis that redemption is not a part of the genre is the same.

continuing on 'Reaching Within' (reply to s'kat) -- Claudia, 11:30:27 01/21/04 Wed

[What people are attempting to convey is you should find a middle ground, we need others to live in this world, to interact (obviously you would concede this point since you post on a discussion board, if you didn't want to communicate outside yourself, why bother coming online? Sounds like a waste of time and a distraction from your ongoing discussion with yourself, doesn't it?)]

But that is not the message I am getting. Someone else on this forum had once pointed out that an individual needs to find some middle ground in regard to reaching out to others and being alone. He or she even posted an essay written by a historical figure on the subject. To my surprise, many disagreed with the statement and made a point on the importance and signficance in being connected to others. And again, I keep reading posts on the importance of reaching out to humanity and forming a connection . . . but never on being alone or maintaining a balance.

I'm not being argumentative. Okay, maybe I am. But I'm just questioning what others are saying. Just as they are questioning my posts.

Ethics & Power & all that (spoilers for AtS up to 'Soul Purpose') -- liz, 01:21:57 01/22/04 Thu

Now. I've run across many discussions of the Buffy&Angel approach to ethics. There is a hell of a lot to argue about it all, and it's not easy. I've heard the argument that the Good Guys are thinly disguised fascists and their only saving grace is their lack of power. It's hard to really examine that because the shows are not consistant; one minute a monster is a metaphor for a certain fear, one minute it's a metaphor for gang violence, one minute it's a real character who has to be treated as a full person. Because the statements made in the show are sometimes strictly about fear, sometimes the monsters really are just figments to destroy.

But let's try to ignore all that. Buffy and Angel are vigilante killers in a world that needs a vigilante because the legitimate forces cannot take care of things. And, in the beginning, they operate on a small scale. They simply take things as they come and try to make it better. Try to help people. They do this because that's all they can do. Buffy was a teenager trying to disguise her hidden life. Angel was a nobody detective. Neither had much power, so they easily made the decision to just do the little they could. To just save people and try to make things better, in the ways they could.

Now Angel is faced with having far too much power, and all of it destructive. Now he can say, "Let's kill them all" and it would be seriously considered. Now he has no time for helping individual people (and when he tries he's followed by an entorage) and far too many Big Picture things to think about.

And now Spike is being set up as contrast. Spike, whom Lindsey is trying to make over into Angel circa season 1. (The fallout for that will be horrific, especially the Doyle part.) Angel's just trying to do the right thing. Play by the rules. Change it from the inside. Isn't that what's considered good? Don't be a vigilante, don't make war, instead change it from the inside. And Angel is doing a lot--he saves hundreds with a signature. He does more to save lives than he ever could before.

I will have to watch the pilot of AtS again (if only to check how much of that fight was indeed the same choreography). Because somewhere in there Doyle tells him that it's not in the numbers. It doesn't matter how far ahead you are in the numbers. That's not what it means to be good. It's not what will bring Angel back from what he once was. Doyle also told him that he needs to interact more with those he saves, to help retain his humanity. It's not quite how he meant it but I think that is also lacking in Angel's life right now. Maybe dangerously so. If the people just become numbers, who knows what decisions he might make? Doyle warned him that he might start to think, with all the ones I've saved, can't I eat just one? Now he has the chance for a different kind of mistake. But I think it's essentially the same.

Unless it's not a mistake. Unless the numbers are what matter. I'd loved these shows because it kept asking that question and usually kept coming up against the numbers. But we'll see where it goes now. Now we have a confused, miserable Angel trying to play inside the system, and Spike being set up to be all the choices he's left behind. I've no idea where it will go.

But here's some interesting things:

Wes and Gunn are falling hard into working within the system. They're starting to worry me with this episode. Not in their choices, but in the way they no longer seem to consider the way they're doing things. They've made their choice, it seems.

Lindsey and Eve are apparantly trying to warp Spike in order to distract the Senior Partners from Angel. Why, I've no clue, but it does tell us that they think Angel is the champion in the prophecy. It also tells us that they think Spike's way (Angel's old way) is the true heroic path. Or they think the Senior Partners will see it that way, which is even more interesting. The Senior Partners would consider Spike's path more ethically correct, and more of a danger to them.


[> Re: Ethics & Power & all that (spoilers for AtS up to 'Soul Purpose') -- CW, 06:56:07 01/22/04 Thu

The comparisons between Angel ep 1.1 and 5.10 are so strong that we might well want to start calling this the shadowcat season. Looks like the whole idea of the arc this year is based on the famous -

"Spike does not negate Angel and Angel does not negate Spike" --shadowkat

Clearly, Angel's supposed to be worried for a while that Spike does negate him. Although that idea's pretty hard to believe if you're a fan who has hung around here at ATPo for very long, there's no reason we can't enjoy watching Angel sweat it out/find new purpose/find a way yo stop moping about this and find something new the brood about. ;o)

[> Re: Ethics & Power & all that (spoilers for AtS up to 'Soul Purpose') -- Claudia, 07:42:30 01/22/04 Thu

[Lindsey and Eve are apparantly trying to warp Spike in order to distract the Senior Partners from Angel. Why, I've no clue, but it does tell us that they think Angel is the champion in the prophecy.]

I'm not sure about this. I don't think Lindsey and Eve's actions are about them believing that Angel is the champion in the prophecy. I think it it something else. Something to do with disrupting the Senior Partners.

[> [> Re: Ethics & Power & all that (spoilers for AtS up to 'Soul Purpose') -- leslie, 09:45:01 01/22/04 Thu

This is my unresolved question, though: the people Spike was saving, about whom Lindsey was having his "visions"--are these people who were in authentic danger (in which case, how did Lindsey know?) or were they all a set-up to get Spike think he was doing good (as we clearly know that Angel's peril was a set-up)?

Or, and this would be a really interesting spin, is Lindsey actually having some kind of visions? With Cordy out of action, there is clearly an opening for a Vision Guy, and it would certainly be in character for the Powers That Screw You to inflict them on Lindsey, with his history, and it would also be in character for Lindsey to say "Screw you back, I'm not going to play your game" and use the visions for his own ends. The only time we saw him "having a vision" was the one that was the obvious set-up, in but in the other cases, he claims to have had the vision in private, off screen, then fetched Spike to act on it. In any case, something has to have inspired him to return to LA and get messed up with Wolfram & Hart again, because when last seen, he just wanted to get the hell out of it all. I don't see him sitting there brooding somewhere in Appalachia over the wrongs done to him by Angel and finally gathering his minion to seek revenge.

I think where the plan is going to fall apart is with Spike himself. On the one hand, yes, the choreography of the fights was meant to replicate early Angel, but Spike himself has a completely different attitude toward those he saves. I loved his lecture to the first woman--what do you expect is going to happen wandering around dark alleys in stilletto heels? Not particularly sympathetic, but underlying it, Spike thinks that people should take responsibility for their own lives. He'll help the helpless, but he would prefer that they then do something to make themselves less helpless in the future. Angel is much more sympathetic, but underneath, he seems to regard the helpless as terminally helpless. He'll help them over and over, because they have no choice but to walk though dark alleyways and park their cars in bad parts of town.

Similarly, Angel sees himself as ultimately helpless, while Spike is more apt to try to change himself. Angel broods, and then takes action; Spike comes up with one tactic after another and keeps trying them out, rapid-fire, until one works (as we saw with his attempts to win over Buffy).

The one change we really see in Spike here, however, is that he is not flattered that someone knows about him. Hitherto, that's the surest way to his heart--his obsession with reputation.

[> [> [> Great thoughts, leslie! -- Pony, 10:12:23 01/22/04 Thu

Similarly, Angel sees himself as ultimately helpless

I think this is the problem with fatalistic thinking. Despite all the injections of existentialism and choice Angel's belief in his destiny locks him in. The helpless always need to be saved, the end of the world must be fought off, etc. he's trapped. And rather than finding some freedom in the idea of being destiny-free (personally I'd think the shanshu would be nice but I'd be relieved to see an out from that pesky having to choose between saving the world and destroying it part) Angel is floundering. Do the lives that he's saved really lose meaning simply because they weren't the means to his goal? How much was Angel relying on this destiny to validate his more questionable decisions?

[> [> [> [> Re: Great thoughts, leslie! -- Claudia, 10:23:17 01/22/04 Thu

I agree with Pony. I was impressed by your thoughts, Leslie. In fact, some of what you said had not occurred to me, while watching the episode.

[> [> [> Re: Ethics & Power & all that (spoilers for AtS up to 'Soul Purpose') -- Dlgood, 12:26:02 01/22/04 Thu

Not particularly sympathetic, but underlying it, Spike thinks that people should take responsibility for their own lives. He'll help the helpless, but he would prefer that they then do something to make themselves less helpless in the future. Angel is much more sympathetic, but underneath, he seems to regard the helpless as terminally helpless.

But there's another level to the comparison. Doyle tells Angel that he needs to care about the people he saves. IMHO, Angel doesn't seem to regard the helpless as terminally helpless at all. Witness his interactions with Melissa, Kate and Doyle in "I Fall to Pieces". That Melissa can walk away feeling empowered to never need him again, is something that makes a great impact on Angel and is very much a lesson for him.

Spike doesn't seem to feel happy for her or care about her future at all. Is he telling her to "take a cab" so that she can be safer/stronger on her own, or is it that he just doesn't want to have to save her again. There's a fine line between heroic aloofness/bravado and genuine contempt for the victim, and I'm not so sure on which side of the line Spike falls.

Lindsey, unlike Doyle, doesn't tell Spike to connect with or care about the people he saves - or to see her as a person with intrinsic worth of her own. He only tells Spike to be a bit more polite, and then offers compliments to puff up Spike's ego. It this lack of connection something significant, and perhaps a sign that Lindsey isn't exactly playing for "the good guys" or is that sort of personal connection Doyle espoused irrelevant?

[> [> [> [> Re: Ethics & Power & all that (spoilers for AtS up to 'Soul Purpose') -- Claudia, 13:29:41 01/22/04 Thu

[Spike doesn't seem to feel happy for her or care about her future at all. Is he telling her to "take a cab" so that she can be safer/stronger on her own, or is it that he just doesn't want to have to save her again. There's a fine line between heroic aloofness/bravado and genuine contempt for the victim, and I'm not so sure on which side of the line Spike falls.]

If I were him, I'd feel contempt. Because I found myself totally agreeing with Spike's rant against the woman he had saved, last night. He made perfect sense.

Just recently, I was passing by an alley, where I spotted a young twenty-something woman walking through it. Mind you, it was still broad daylight, but I could not help but wonder if she knew what she was doing, walking through an alley . . . alone.

[> [> [> [> [> Not the woman that is wrong -- lakrids, 20:04:27 01/26/04 Mon

A woman, and a man for that sake, should wear whatever he or she feels like, without being molested and raped. A society should not accept the "excuse" that the woman with here promiscuous cloth, could be blamed for leading the weak man astray. That kind of arguments leads directly to Afghanistan, where a woman should (shall) wear a burka, and if she wanted to leave her house, should she always be followed by a male family member.
A woman should could be walking through an alley...alone; it's a civil society fundamental duty to protect its members, especially in a public room.


[> [> [> [> Re: Ethics & Power & all that (spoilers for AtS up to 'Soul Purpose') -- LittleBit, 13:31:34 01/22/04 Thu

Or is it that Spike, having been an active vampire up until just a few years ago, has less patience with the carelessness of the "happy meals on legs" that make it so easy for vampires to prey on them?

At the same time, I agree that Lindsey is taking a different approach to the reason the help is given. Doyle kept telling Angel he needed to get out there and make connections. Lindsey asked Spike how he would feel if a girl got killed and he hadn't done anything about it. It'll be interesting to watch this one play out.

[> [> [> [> [> Unlike Angel, Spike doesn't need to learn how to connect -- Pip, 06:54:41 01/23/04 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> Balance -- Claudia, 08:00:35 01/23/04 Fri

Unfortunately for Spike, he tries to connect . . . too much. He tries so hard to maintain connection with someone that he usually ends up isolating himself.

Angel doesn't know how to connect. Spike does not know how to appreciate being alone, sometimes. Both vampires seem incapable of maintaining any kind of balance.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Unlike Angel, Spike doesn't need to learn how to connect -- Dlgood, 08:21:06 01/23/04 Fri

Really? How many actual friends has Spike ever had in his life? If he doesn't need to learn how to connect, then why is he alone in a strip club?

The truth. Spike needs to learn how to connect to people just as much as Angel does. To this point, Spike has generally had one incredibly intense relationship with one person at a time, while his other relationships are generally superficial. And how well has that worked for him? So yeah - I think he definitely needs to learn how to "connect" too.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I Don't Know -- Claudia, 08:49:36 01/23/04 Fri

[The truth. Spike needs to learn how to connect to people just as much as Angel does. To this point, Spike has generally had one incredibly intense relationship with one person at a time, while his other relationships are generally superficial. And how well has that worked for him? So yeah - I think he definitely needs to learn how to "connect" too.]

I don't really agree. I think that the problem with Spike is that he should try and stop trying so hard to connect with others. It seems that the harder he tries, the more he becomes isolated.

Also, the only superficial relationships Spike has ever had were with Cecily - who did not even wanted to acknowledge his presence; and Harmony - whom Spike viewed as a source of conventient sex. His relationships with Drusilla and Buffy seemed far from superficial.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I Don't Know -- Dlgood, 09:49:00 01/23/04 Fri

Also, the only superficial relationships Spike has ever had were with Cecily - who did not even wanted to acknowledge his presence; and Harmony - whom Spike viewed as a source of conventient sex. His relationships with Drusilla and Buffy seemed far from superficial.

I'm hardly speaking of romance - which happens to be the only sort of "connecting with people" Spike has ever really tried to work at.

I'm referring to relationships that Spike has with people he's not in love with. And those relationships have largely been superficial at best. In 125 years, how many times has he had a friend? A real friend. How many times has he ever been anyone else's friend? A real friend.

In many respects, he's seemed almost cripplingly anti-social, and IMHO it's this near total lack of meaningful friendship that leaves him so isolated. In no small part because he doesn't try very hard to build friendships. Heck - currently, the closest thing he has to a friend in LA is Fred, but has he shown any interest in her life?

That's the sort of "connecting" that Spike really needs. It would vastly enrich his life - as making friends and being a friend vastly improved life for Angel, Buffy, and the other Buffyverse characters.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I Don't Know -- Finn Mac Cool, 11:21:34 01/23/04 Fri

Well, there's Clem, Joyce, Dawn, to a small extent Anya, Angelus at the very beginning. Considering that our knowledge of Spike's life mainly centers around two eras (the Fanged Four years and the Sunnydale years), we're not really fit to judge Spike's social life for the hundred or so years in between. Also, you must keep in mind that, when Spike first came to Sunnydale, he was working very hard to establish himself as the boss that no one dare question, which doesn't leave a lot of room for friend making.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> And that from S4 on everybody on the demon side wanted to kill him -- KdS, 02:54:46 01/24/04 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Spike's had non-superficial relationships (plus he's a bachelor again) -- Pip, 09:58:59 01/23/04 Fri

If he doesn't need to learn how to connect, then why is he alone in a strip club?

Lemme see ... he's male and pretty heterosexual. For nearly the first time in over a century, there is no significant female in his life - so there's nobody who might give him the dreaded 'why did you want to go to a strip club, aren't I enough for you?'

[Or in the case of Buffy, the equally dreaded 'this shows what a nasty, evil, soulless being you are.' ;-) ]

The back history of Spike has him living with his mum, moving straight on to Drusilla, rebounding with Harmony within months of the final break-up with Drusilla, and then falling heavily for Buffy. As Claudia says, Spike's problem is not that he needs to learn to connect, it's that he connects too much. It may be that one of Spike's reasons for not chasing after Buffy in Harm's Way is that he too has realised that he's 'cookie dough'. He needs to try and make it on his own for a while.

His relationship with the Scoobies isn't really superficial. Willow insists that he can't be left alone to kill himself, Xander protests loudly but twice lets Spike stay at his place and Dawn seems to see him as almost a big brother until the AR (which wrecks his relationship with Dawn as well as with Buffy). Giles, when he springs his plot to kill Spike, doesn't share it with any of the other Scoobies. Because he knew they wouldn't agree to it?

Spike, in his turn, babysits, helps in patrolling, gives helpful advice. His relationship with the Scoobies isn't as close as with Buffy, but it's beyond superficial. Considering that he started off trying to kill them all, it's way beyond superficial. ;-)

Equally, the Fanged Four stuck together for nearly twenty year. That relationship was only broken up by Angelus's regaining his soul. And if you think his relationship with Angel is superficial, look again at the 'going away' scene in Harm's Way. Because to me it reads:

'Dad, I'm going out. Can I have some money?'
'Daaad! Can I take the car then?'
'All right, take the bloody car. Anything to get you out of my hair for a while!'

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Sorry, spoilers up to Soul Purpose in the above post -- Pip, 10:10:46 01/23/04 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hmmmm . . . -- Claudia, 12:32:03 01/23/04 Fri

[Equally, the Fanged Four stuck together for nearly twenty year. That relationship was only broken up by Angelus's regaining his soul. And if you think his relationship with Angel is superficial, look again at the 'going away' scene in Harm's Way. Because to me it reads:

'Dad, I'm going out. Can I have some money?'
'Daaad! Can I take the car then?'
'All right, take the bloody car. Anything to get you out of my hair for a while!']

Oh God! This is so hysterical! I loved it!

[> [> [> Re: Ethics & Power & all that (spoilers for AtS up to 'Soul Purpose') -- sdev, 14:07:09 01/22/04 Thu

Nice analysis Leslie. I especially like how you separate how the two vampires have different world views which effect their treatment of and outlook on the victims.

But I wonder if Spike was not moved by flattery and the chance to prove himself again on Angel's terms and turf. I thought that was Lindsey's bait used to successful end, albeit Spike remains skeptical. To me this tied in to his purpose for remaining and not seeking Buffy.

Spike started in ghost form, somewhat oblivious to his act of heroism in Chosen. Just reappearing at all after the big sacrifice, and reappearing in such a passive form, was demeaning to him. Then Fred points out to him that he too is a Champion. Then the Shanshu is waved in front of him which he perceives, not so much as the sought after prize, but as the confirmation of his accomplishments. Then Angel in the fight in Destiny undermines Spike's newly found confidence. Angel plants seeds of doubt by questioning both the number of sacrifices Spike has made and his motives for the sacrifices. He even questions Spike's purpose in acquiring the soul, an accomplishment Spike clearly holds dear.

My sense was Spike's decision to remain, his expressed fear of undoing Buffy's impression of his sacrifice, was his own expression of self-doubt which Lindsey utilized to further his own ends.

[> [> [> [> Re: Ethics & Power & all that (spoilers for AtS up to 'Soul Purpose') -- leslie, 14:13:18 01/22/04 Thu

Well, I think he was flattered, but what he didn't do was respond with his usual, "Oh, you've heard of me then?" accompanied by visible preening. Much more suspicious this time.

[> [> [> [> [> agreed -- sdev, 14:35:19 01/22/04 Thu

[> [> [> Helping or blaming? -- KdS, 03:17:01 01/24/04 Sat

I loved his lecture to the first woman--what do you expect is going to happen wandering around dark alleys in stilletto heels? Not particularly sympathetic, but underlying it, Spike thinks that people should take responsibility for their own lives. He'll help the helpless, but he would prefer that they then do something to make themselves less helpless in the future. Angel is much more sympathetic, but underneath, he seems to regard the helpless as terminally helpless. He'll help them over and over, because they have no choice but to walk though dark alleyways and park their cars in bad parts of town.

Reminds me of the big arguments over advice to women on how to behave IRL. Is telling people how to dress or which parts of the city to avoid giving them information on how to protect themselves, or is it telling them that it must be their fault if they get assaulted, and failing to take measures to deal with said assaults? Are people who live in the bad parts of town "terminally helpless" or are there economic and social reasons why they're stuck in the bad parts of town?

[> [> [> [> Re: Helping or blaming? -- Rahael, 05:27:08 01/24/04 Sat

Does Spike really say this? Wow!

Well as someone who got attacked walking to school anyone who suggested this wouldn't have made me very amused.

Actually I'm a woman who has no fear of walking alone in the dark, wearing stilletto heels or not. As far as I can see, if you are a young man, you have a much worse chance of being attacked (group most at risk: young, non-white men). Statistically speaking, I feel at pretty low risk and not very frightened. I used to wander (yes, in high heels too) around in Oxford at 4am. From what I heard, I was in more risk if I;d attended a party at my college anyhow.

I'm a pretty neurotic person but I do not tend to let crime frighten me all that much. Women are at more risk from people they know, than strangers. I happen to know this to my cost too.

[> [> [> [> [> Depends on the area -- Pip, 16:11:53 01/24/04 Sat

It's like all things - it depends.

There are parts of my district where I would have no fear whatsoever walking alone in the dark at 2am, with or without the high heels. And there are a couple of places where I would rather pay to travel one stop on public transport than walk there at night. A single woman walking alone there would indeed be Bloody Stupid. Actually, a single guy walking alone there would also be Bloody Stupid.

So - is a Buffyverse alley screen shorthand for 'really dangerous area'? In which case, 'take a cab' is the smart option [grin]

[> [> [> [> [> [> Actually -- Rahael, 16:48:37 01/24/04 Sat

I have this irrational fear of unlicensed cab drivers - very nervous indeed. I'd rather walk.

I guess I'm just bloody stupid ;)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Given the reputation of minicab drivers you may be safer [grin] -- Pip, 17:01:53 01/24/04 Sat

But seriously, I'm talking about an area which is genuinely dangerous at night. As in people being beaten up with baseball bats (which I witnessed), machete fights (friend witnessed) and a couple of murders (including one where it took the police the entire day to collect all the body parts).

That's what I'm thinking of when I ask if 'dark alley' is Buffyverse for 'dangerous area'. Not 'normal dark street'. ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> You have me there -- Rahael, 19:01:59 01/24/04 Sat

Most of my lack of fear of the 'dark streets' is indeed relatively speaking. I.e compared with geniune, very probably danger. And in resignation of the fact that in Britain, I have come closest to danger inside my own home and in broad daylight. So what can you do? How can you stop 'asking for it'?

Eh, this subthread was just sparked off by a whole different world-view thing re the culpability of crime-victims etc.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: You have me there -- Dlgood, 23:01:26 01/24/04 Sat

Eh, this subthread was just sparked off by a whole different world-view thing re the culpability of crime-victims etc.

IMHO, I certainly got the sense that Spike's contempt for the victim overrode his compassion for her. That he's angrier at the woman for being a victim than he is sorry for her.

There's an interesting ethical point though. To what extent is she culpable for her own victimhood - and to what extent is this simply misfortune. If it's largely her fault, then she's making work for Spike through her negligence and stupidity - and he's right to scold her. If it's largely misfortune, and she's not really culpable, then he's being unnecessarily cruel. (even if it's funny)

As Angel's "Deep Down" speech to Connor indicates - is that people should feel safe walking down that dark alley. In reality, they don't feel safe, or simply aren't safe - and that's why there are "Champions".

To me - if one is the "Champion" - then it doesn't matter whether the victim is at fault - you defend her for no other reason than that she (in this case) is the victim. Spike, to this point, has rejected that idea of the champion. He defends the woman here but one wonders - would he someone "unworthy" of defense if their victimhood was too much their own fault. Should he have to? (Assuming Spike's not just blowing smoke.)

And it's particularly interesting to analyze given Spike's own past history, both as victim and perpetrator. Should how he's viewed himself in such situations color his perspective now? And what (if anything) does his current perspective reflect about his past situations?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Sunnydale -- Rahael, 04:54:21 01/25/04 Sun

Is full of some very irresponsible people. Most of the town is 'the bad part of town'. Anyone who was responsible (especially parents!) would have moved out years ago. And yet Buffy keeps on protecting them day in day out, despite their failure to only were non-colourful clothes and not carry stakes.

I think the questions you pose are very pertinent by the way. It's certainly what was at the back of my mind.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Sunnydale -- Dlgood, 10:47:32 01/25/04 Sun

Most of the town is 'the bad part of town'. Anyone who was responsible would have moved out years ago.

But of course, we also know that housing and land values in Sunnydale are heavily depressed (for obvious reasons) so it's quite likely that people moved to Sunnydale because it was affordable and looked like a nice, quaint burg, but can't really afford to leave...

On the one hand, we can scold them for not leaving, and say it's their fault. Certainly, Sunnydale citizens could do more to defend themselves. And S7 would have worked 100 times better for me if we'd seen at least some random citizens looking to join the "war effort" under Buffy's banner. Whether as soldiers or civillian support.

But there's also that part where people are just trying to make it through each day, and it seems like unnecessarily piling on. And not a little smug of the hero. One has to wonder about the measure and dedication of a hero that doesn't identify with or feel compassion for those whom he saves and protects.

A lot of this, IMHO, hearkens back to William's Victorian upbringing - and the extent to which he sees himself as being a part of "the elite". Are his attempts to be "working class hero" more about his conflicts with other members of the elite class or about actual solidarity with the lower class he runs with?

In many ways, Spike really is being shown as a very "Rand" hero.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Sunnydale -- Rahael, 12:00:12 01/25/04 Sun

Can't afford to leave Sunnydale? Pshaw! They should just earn more money and leave ;)

But there's also that part where people are just trying to make it through each day, and it seems like unnecessarily piling on. And not a little smug of the hero. One has to wonder about the measure and dedication of a hero that doesn't identify with or feel compassion for those whom he saves and protects.

In a world where we do not all have 'super powers', and have to make compromises all the time (see threads above), what makes some of us heroes is precisely compassion for each other.

Anyone who despises those they claim to protect will go badly wrong - they do not value the lives of those they save, those lives will become expendable. This I think, is the point of 'City of Angel'.

Compassion & generosity and not expecting a reward or grateful thanks, and not looking down at those you deem 'weaker': those are real super powers.

Those are Buffy's superpowers.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Are we all forgetting the fact that most of the Sunnydale population lives in a state of denial? -- Finn Mac Cool, 12:29:13 01/25/04 Sun

People don't leave such an incredibly dangerous town because most of them repress all memories of the supernatural.

Also, it's possible that those who do figure it out have no reason to believe any other town in the world would be less monster infested. Unless you know about the Hellmouth or have spent some time outside Sunnydale, you wouldn't realize that your town had an unusually high demon to human ratio.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Are we all forgetting the fact that most of the Sunnydale population lives in a state of denial? -- Rahael, 15:36:06 01/25/04 Sun

They live in denial about vampires but it's a high crime area. Lots of gangs running around on pcp or whatever.

They must read enough newspapers to figure out it's slightly unusual.

Anyhow my point is not "oh stupid sunnydalers!" but that people live where they live and put up with whatever they have to put up with.

Personally, I moved continents in order to keep my life safe. But only at the very last resort. If I could have been innocuous I'd have stayed in a heartbeat, no matter the danger.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Responsibility for the crime versus responsibility for putting yourself at risk -- Pip, 02:36:26 01/25/04 Sun

this subthread was just sparked off by a whole different world-view thing re the culpability of crime-victims etc

I think it breaks down into two parts.

One, is the victim responsible for the crime ? No, absolutely not. The crime is the result of a decision by the criminal. It's their action. When I see that hoary old chestnut on tv of someone holding a gun to a victim's head and telling a third party 'do what I say, or it'll be your fault they die', I always feel like shouting 'faulty logic!' at the screen. The criminal is the one holding the gun, the criminal is the one with the decision to shoot. It doesn't matter what the third party does or doesn't do - ultimately, they are not the person who has the power.

Second part - is the victim responsible for putting themselves at risk? And the answer there is, yes, they can be. They can go out and leave a house window open, they can leave money in an unlocked drawer in a fairly public place, they can walk through an area that is known to be dangerous instead of picking a safer route or taking a cab [grin].

And if the victim has ignored a known risk, then their rescuers are entitled to feel aggrieved at their stupidity. In much the same way that Mountain Rescue will feel annoyed if they are called out to rescue someone who decided to walk the Pennine Way in jeans, trainers, no waterproof and carrying no survival bag, on a day where the forecast was 'thick fog later'. ;-)

If on the other hand, you did take the reasonable precautions ( you wore the correct equipment on the Pennine Way and only got stuck in fog because you slipped and twisted your ankle, or you walked home but carefully avoided the bad area), then a lecture is inappropriate. And insulting. You are not responsible for accidents, and you are not responsible for other people's crimes.

So it would depend on whether 'dark alley' equals 'known danger'. Walking home through the average dark street at night is not a known danger. Statistically, you're pretty safe. Walking home through a section well known for its attacks and muggings when there is an available alternative is. A rescuer would be perfectly entitled to give you a short lecture on your apparent lack of any survival instinct. ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Depends on the area -- RadiusRS, 22:36:57 01/25/04 Sun

Do you have any idea how expensive and difficult it is to hire a cab in L.A.? No wonder the poor girl was walking.

[> Re: Ethics & Power & all that (spoilers for AtS up to 'Soul Purpose') -- RadiusRS, 21:33:00 01/22/04 Thu

Lindsey and Eve are apparantly trying to warp Spike in order to distract the Senior Partners from Angel. Why, I've no clue, but it does tell us that they think Angel is the champion in the prophecy.

I definitely picked up on this too. It seems to me that part of this season's theme is examining the grey "Don't say that!" area that Team Angel's life has become. It would be interesting if Lindsey's lies and manipulations were in order to distract the Senior Partners and make them think Spike is the Shanshu Vampire, so that they would stop interfering in Angel's life, thereby assuring he's on the side of good in the end. His line about building up Spike so that the Senior Partrners believe they might be backing the wrong horse is consistent with this. It seems to me the dream parasite was directed to send certain messages to Angel, or else Eve's line at the end of the episode was intended to call attention to the way Angel's fears and insecurities were brought to the fore in his hallucinations. In the meadow in the dream, when the visions of the gang are telling Angel to let go, he says there is still too much to do, indicating that he has at least subconsciously acknowledged his stagnancy and his heart really is in it. Also, "Doyle" sending Spike to rescue Angel kind of defeats the purpose of Angel being sent into a coma (shades of Cordy here) of hallucination, doesn't it? Lindsey is definitely at odds with the Senior Partners, with whom he has a "Beyond Death" contract like Lilah and Holland, and who would kill him if they found out about his presence. This leads me to believe that maybe Lindsey wants to get out of his contract, and that will be his reward for making sure the Senior Partners take the pressure off of Angel so that he will be on the side of Good when the time comes. I think Eve is just an evil patsy. Also, in the dream sequence when the company is watching the Apocalypse, it is Fred who notices Angel is sans (without) shoes, an important detail in that it was Fred, and also in that it could be an indication of who the real Shanshu vampire is.

Wes and Gunn are falling hard into working within the system. They're starting to worry me with this episode. Not in their choices, but in the way they no longer seem to consider the way they're doing things. They've made their choice, it seems.

Ditto. Though it makes sense. Both Wes and Gunn have sold out before: Wes with Lilah (remember the signed dollar? I'll bet that could be considered a contract), and Gunn when he sold his soul for his truck . So it doesn't surprise that they are the ones who want to keep both the rune rock and the existence of Spike's new purpose from Angel. And then there's Gunn with the cat eyes and growl of course, and Wesley staking him. I'm surprised that it's Wesley advocating assassination and Gunn advocating subterfuge (with an eye on the budget) in the opening, as it seems these two have almost reversed each others' approaches. In the dissection part of the dream, Fred was kind of trying to help Angel, and she says that they shouldn't hide anything from him when they talk about Spike. Also in the dreams, it's Lorne both times who calls attention to the stain on Angel's shirt, first making the audience aware of Junior Parasite, and then Angel himself. Lorne also tries to get Angel to sing to help him find his purpose. This leads me to believe that Lorne and Fred will end up on the good side (maybe with Spike, I took the bear to represent blondie bear without being too obvious), Wes and Gunn on the bad side and Angel on the fence.

BTW, nice catch in that "numbers" reference to OrignalDoyle; it's given me a lot of food for thought.

[> [> Re: Ethics & Power & all that (spoilers for AtS up to 'Soul Purpose') -- DorianQ, 18:24:42 01/23/04 Fri

(This leads me to believe that Lorne and Fred will end up on the good side (maybe with Spike, I took the bear to represent blondie bear without being too obvious), Wes and Gunn on the bad side and Angel on the fence.)

I didn't see the exact episode in season four when it happened, but didn't Jasmine and the Beast destroy the Senior Partners' connection to the mortal dimension or something when they killed the five person Ra Tet. They were two good guys, two bad guys, and a human on the fence (I'm simplifying but like I said I haven't actually seen it) and from your description, right now the Gang seems to be in a similar state. I wouldn't consider Spike part of the gang seeing as he isn't a part of W&H and is doing his own thing with 'Doyle'. Actually, if that is what is happening, it may come down to him to pull Angel and the others out of the literal deal with the devil he made.

Also, if the Ra Tet were the Partners' connection to us, what is Eve's connection to them as their liason and is seemingly working against them? And how does the White Room fit into all this?

Actually, one thing that I noticed that kind of scared me was how much Fred reminded me of the mad scientist in Angel's dream. It got me thinking how close all of them are to snapping and 'going bad.' Then I remembered that Lorne had already went bad once already (in 'Life of the Party' another episode I missed) and Wesley snapped a little in 'Lineage' and how they haven't done any major Fred or Gunn episodes yet. They may be next in line. This season could seriously turn out to be the best ME season ever.

[> [> [> Re: Ethics & Power & all that (spoilers for AtS up to 'Soul Purpose') -- RadiusRS, 18:55:29 01/23/04 Fri

Very good catch...someone had mentioned a few months back if the Gang might be the new Ra-Tet. Now the way I understood it, when the Beast killed Mesektet (the Little Girl in the Red Dress in the White Room), it was a "two birds, one stone" kind of deal, in that he severed the Senior Partners' connection to the L.A. branch of W&H AS WELL AS getting what he needed to block out the Sun from that member of the Ra Tet. I'm pretty certain the other members of the Ra Tet had nothing to do with the Senior Partners (Season 4 episodes 8 "Habeas Corpses" and 9 "Long Day's Journey"). But I think the symmetry is definitely worth analyzing.

As far as I can tell, we have no certain indication that Eve IS the Liasion to the Senior Partners, only her word for it; I think she is just using that position to play Team Angel. If anyone has without a doubt been shown to have a connection to the Conduit to the Senior Partners, in the White Room no less, it is Gunn, who rushed up to the White Room like he was worried about his mother in "Destiny" went reality started to go haywire. Angel's hallucination when he sees Gunn with the cat's eyes seems to confirm this.

Fred was snapping quite a bit in Conviction, and I thought they were taking her towards being bitchier this season but instead she seems to have become the most self-aware and compassionate member of Team Angel. Lorne did kind of Go Bad but I feel like he really hasn't been given a hell of a lot to do so far. As for Wes and Gunn, they seem to be the most under the influence of the firm.

[> The numbers matter (spoilers for AtS up to 'Soul Purpose') -- skeeve, 08:16:46 01/27/04 Tue

To say that they don't amounts to saying that some of the deaths to which they apply don't matter.
That said, the inner workings of a person with that much power also matters.
Angel should get out more. Without the entourage.

Angel/Anya Question and What's up with Crockett and Tubbs?Spoilage. -- Hauptman, 08:04:38 01/22/04 Thu

Silly question, I feel like I should know the answer to this, but has Angel ever met Anya? I know that she was on the scene just before Sunnydale High got blowed up, but have they ever talked?

And, my two cents on last nights epi, boring, but worth it to see Eve get busted. I like that Angel is a really sharp dark night type who is occasionally a boob. This, boob/occasional dark knight thing isn't so much fun. I miss the tight knit group and hated seeing Wes and Gunn acting like lawyers confronting Spike. Maybe I am just reacting emotionally. Maybe it's briliant and will pay off, but I miss the old times. Typical fair weather fan, eh?


[> Re: Angel/Anya Question and What's up with Crockett and Tubbs?Spoilage. -- Kenny, 08:11:17 01/22/04 Thu

They were at least in each other's presence in "Pangs". I can't remember if she was one of the people asking if he was evil or not.

[> [> Re: Angel/Anya Question and What's up with Crockett and Tubbs?Spoilage. -- Mighty Mouse, 13:33:07 01/22/04 Thu

Yeah, she first met him in "Pangs." When he showed up out of nowhere, and the group thought he was evil (one of the hilarious points being him having to point out every time that "NO, he is not evil again"). Anya admired him, and commented "That's Angel? Wow, he is large and glowery" or something like that. I think I messed up the quote. Oh well. And then later on, when the Scooby Gang is desperately trying to hold off the Indian Spirits, and Anya & Willow are barely holding their own against one, Angel leaps down and simply snaps his neck, eliciting the great response from Anya - "What's he like when he IS evil?"

[> [> [> Even before that. -- shambleau, 12:36:21 01/23/04 Fri

They met in "Dopplegangland". At least, they were in the Bronze together, and Anya and Angel were both present when Vamp!Willow was sent back to her own dimension. "Pangs" is either a continuity error or you can fanwank that Anya didn't pay much attention to him and forgot that she'd seen him before.

[> [> [> [> Also... -- Masq, 15:54:49 01/23/04 Fri

She was bound to have seen him (and his tallness compared to Buffy) in "The Prom"

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Also... -- Mighty Mouse, 20:41:42 01/23/04 Fri

Yeah ... y'know, that seems like a lil' error on the part of the writers, etc. with her comments as she most definitely had encounters with him, and possibly was aware of his existence in the lovely Bizarro Sunnydale in "The Wish."

[> Eve -- Claudia, 10:27:03 01/22/04 Thu

[And, my two cents on last nights epi, boring, but worth it to see Eve get busted.]

Did Eve really get busted? Is she really a danger to the group? Or is she and Lindsey - in their own ways - trying to remind a group that they are becoming a danger to themselves?

[> [> Re: Eve -- Mighty Mouse, 13:35:32 01/22/04 Thu

I think they're very suspicious of Eve now, although they have no proof. Eve has already screwed up (unless she does know, and is working against Lindsey's plans as some have theorized) with the main plan. She was supposed to distract the group away from Spike's new "crusade," but Wesley & Gunn already went to see him. And she even reported that they were unaware AFTER we saw the scene where they confront Spike.

[> [> [> Re: Eve -- Claudia, 13:52:00 01/22/04 Thu

[I think they're very suspicious of Eve now, although they have no proof. Eve has already screwed up (unless she does know, and is working against Lindsey's plans as some have theorized) with the main plan. She was supposed to distract the group away from Spike's new "crusade," but Wesley & Gunn already went to see him. And she even reported that they were unaware AFTER we saw the scene where they confront Spike.]

Yeah, but who is the real danger? Eve? Or the AI gang?

[> [> [> [> Re: Eve -- LittleBit, 14:07:51 01/22/04 Thu

What do you think? And why?

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Eve -- Claudia, 15:27:26 01/22/04 Thu

Honestly, I don't know what Eve's real intentions are. On the surface, she may seemed to have evil intent for the Fang Gang, but her words at the end of the episode and the fact that both she and Lindsey are working against the Senior Partners, has left me in confusion. I think it's too early to assume whether her intentions are good or evil and that we will have to wait and see.

[> [> [> [> [> [> The Conundrum of Eve -- RadiusRS, 22:50:03 01/22/04 Thu

She certainly is quite a sadist: "This is going to be fun" while feeling up the box with Momma Parasite in it, and she revels in the fact that she's putting one over on Team Angel. This alone indicates to me that she has less than good intentions. Her line from Destiny, though, when she tells Fred "I'm not the bad guy", and her constant efforts at making Team Angel realize their own shortcomings and the realities of their situation at W&H (namely, that they cannot turn the firm into a force for good overnight and that compromise is necessary to use it) are both alarms for our heroes as well as well as subtle ways of making them lower there defenses and thus allow themselves to be compromised. Like you said, very confusing. Let's not forget, though, that it was she who convinced Gunn to get the upgrade, which I think everyone agrees was a pretty bad idea. And I keep wondering how she is managing to pull the wool over the Senior Partners' eyes so they aren't aware of her meddling (obviously, her line about the two Vampires with a Soul causing reality destroying havoc is a red herring, and she told the gang that They were working on it, when it was she and Lindsey who caused it so that Angel and Spike and everyone else would believe that there was a competition on for the role of Shanshu Vampire). And she also offered to have Lorne read her very early on, which means she either is something, or has something, that will prevent him from seeing her true intentions. My feeling is that Lindsey is using her, but when she finds out, she will prove to be a formidable adversary for Team Angel and for him.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The Conundrum of Eve -- Claudia, 07:48:35 01/23/04 Fri

Like I said . . . I think it is too soon to make a judgement about Eve. And considering the AI team's behavior in this episode, I am beginning to wonder who, at this point, has good or bad intentions.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Yeah but I'm just saying there are few if any sadist good guys -- RadiusRS, 18:21:31 01/23/04 Fri

[> Gunn and Wes reminds me -- luvthistle1, 23:58:15 01/22/04 Thu

of the W&H lawyer confronting Angel, when he first started AI . Now Gunn and Wes are those same people who they use to fight against. they are the "suits" Do you see the irony in that? AI use to be about helping the hopeless, now the hopeless are helpless because they can't afford them anymore. Lilah said everyone has their price. I guess W&H finally found what that was. But you know what I find more disturbing than Wes and Gunn confronting Spike? the idea that none of Angel friends actually check in on him. I know Fred called, but that all that they did. when Harmony said to "pretend " to care, she did not say " i do care" , or that we do care. nothing. so, I think they are so busy in their own life, to care about anyone else's.

Anya and Angel had met before in"Pang". she said she thought he would be taller, or something like that.

Swimming Against the Gulf Stream and other Brain Spillage (spoilers for AtS 5.10, 'Soul Purpose') -- cjl ('thank you, bear'), 12:03:41 01/22/04 Thu

Episode 10, and we're officially back from holiday.

Contrary to popular opinion, I liked "Harm's Way" (mainly because I luvs my Mercedes), but I never felt that the episode provided an interesting or coherent perspective on other aspects of the series. Despite many posts comparing Harm's dilemma-of-the-week and everyday travails to either Spike or Angel, I personally thought the comparisons were too broad and/or vague to hold up under scrutiny. In the end, 5.9 acted like a true stand-alone when it should have cut deeper. (Sort of like "Spin the Bottle" in S4.) That's OK for me, because--as I said--I luvs my Mercedes. But if you wanted "deeper," you were probably out of luck.

But if 5.9 was a bubble gum milkshake of an ep, "Soul Purpose" was a hearty five-course meal of intrigue, ensemble acting, metanarration, and just plain weirdness. After nine episodes of throat clearing, the showrunners have finally thrown Spike out into the real world and presented his journey as a direct contrast to Angel's descent into the proverbial belly of the beast. James Marsters and Christian Kane looked like they were having a ball as Spike and Lindsey established a bizarro version of the Angel/Doyle relationship from S1.

It's tempting to view Spike's new role as champion of the people as the "shining path" and the Fang Gang's W&H corporate politics as "corruption," but Brent Fletcher's script deliberately avoided such polarities. Yes, Spikeypuffs is now working outside the Evil Empire, but just because you're not inside the building, doesn't mean the bad guys aren't messing with your head. Lindsey's parody of Doyle verged on cruelty at times (I could almost hear Glenn Quinn turning in his grave), and the distorted perspective called into question S1 and the origins of the series itself. (Neat bit of anti-nostalgia there.)

OTOH, we got a heaping tablespoon of corporate corruption in this episode, too, especially from the terrifying new strong-arm team of Wesley and Charles, a.k.a. Crockett and Tubbs. Out-and-out scary when they tried to "persuade" Spike to return to the W&H fold; I was reminded of many instances in previous seasons when W&H sent their flunkies to rein in Angel. But why can't Wes and Gunn see the similarities as well? They're two intelligent and reasonably self-aware individuals; surely they realize the dangers of adopting the tactics of the evil you're fighting against? But maybe they're so engrossed in the day-to-day battles that they can't see the big picture. We'll have to wait and see....

As for the man in the big chair himself--poor Angel. Heading up Wolfram and Hart must feel like swimming against the Gulf Stream. Broody Boy was still suffering from post-Destiny depression, and Eve was more than willing to help him explore his feelings. Interesting thought from Ramses2 over on the Angel's Soul board: what if Eve was subtly (if you call attaching a dream-inducing parasite to a man's chest "subtle") helping Angel by alerting him to the malaise in his soul and the possibility of betrayal from his colleagues? The idea that Lindsey and Eve are in bed together, plotting against W&H and yet working at cross-purposes adds another level of paranoia and suspicion in a season already overflowing with same.

Brief bites:

-- Superb first-time direction from David Boreanaz. Some shots were genuinely inspired. Fred looking down into Angel's empty chest cavity reminded me of nothing less than vintage Monty Python. Would love to hear DB's thoughts about duplicating some of the action shots from "City of..."

-- Hallelujah, the showrunners picked up the loose plot thread from "Lineage." Angel finally realized that Wesley's ruthless, Ends Justify the Means mentality might be a threat to him under the wrong conditions. Three episodes too late in my book, but nice to see.

-- Standalones? Bugger that--continuity runs rampant! The previously mentioned action shots from 1.1; Spike and basements; the SMG audio clips from S3 (and the accompanying goldfish); the shout out to "Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco"; cat-eyed Gunn; and, oh yes, the Blue Fairy from Pinocchio and A.I.: Artificial Intelligence! LOL!

-- Trivia: in case you didn't know, the parasite was a shout-out to a classic Alan Moore's Superman story, "For the Man Who Has Everything..."

Summary: my favorite episode of the season. The overall arc kicked in big-time, the entire cast had plenty to do, the dream sequences were appropriately frightening and surreal and I had an S2-sized lump in my throat watching Christian Kane back in action.

9.5 out of 10.


[> Dream DVD anyone? -- Nino, 13:15:35 01/22/04 Thu

Anyone else think it'd be pretty kick ass to have a DVD compilation of all the Buffy/Angel dream sequences? They could be organized chronologically or by charcacter...On 2 shows where dreams are so vital and memorable, I think this would be much more interesting than say, character DVD's which don't seem to offer any special angle other than shiny new boxes with pretty pictures of our favorite characters.

Another cool DVD (maybe they could come together) would be one of flashbacks...there could be an option to arrange them by air date or chronologically. Again, we learn so much about our characters through these flashbacks and they are often times the best episodes (Becoming, Fool For Love, Selfless, Destiny, etc.) that a DVD compilation seems in order.

Just think of all the nifty extras for a Dream/Flashback DVD. We would get a chance to look at the scenes that really shaped these shows, but often times got lost in the shuffle to story arcs and action sequences.

[> [> Re: Dream DVD anyone? -- Ames, 16:21:30 01/22/04 Thu

Love the dreams!

My top 10 BtVS dream list:

10. Spike's "drowning in footware" dream in Chosen (but we didn't get to see it!)
9. "You're going to die screaming but you won't be heard" in Hush
8. Drusilla dusting Angel in the Bronze in Surprise
7. Faith's dream in This Year's Girl
6. "You have to know what to see" in Innocence
5. "Counting down from 730" in Graduation Day 2
4. Restless - Giles' dream
3. Restless - Buffy's dream
2. Restless - Xander's dream
1. Restless - Willow's dream

[> [> [> Re: Dream DVD anyone? -- kisstara, 00:10:30 01/23/04 Fri

I hope the Buffy/Angelverse PTB is reading these ideas for DVDs. A dream sequence segment would be awesome and flashbacks fun to watch. The DVD could also contain an "unreality" segment e.g.bizarro world (not in this reality) or Buffy killing Warren's girlfriend (not real) or the FE as Joyce/mom (real lies). etc. These might be fun to group together for the existential scoobie's viewing pleasure.

[> [> Re: Dream DVD anyone? -- leslie, 14:09:53 01/22/04 Thu

I think the dreams of the Whedonverse are pretty much the best dreams I've ever seen on television or film--they actually operate like dreams (or, um, my dreams, at any rate).

Though the Fred-as-surgeon dream was fantastic for all-out surrealness ("Mmm, raisins!"), I think the one where Spike becomes a "real boy" was most telling. Angel sees the whole shanshu thing as a Disney-esque fairy tale, but he is still devastated to be the un-chosen one, taking Numero Cinco's place as the fallen-hero-turned-mail-boy. I think the shot of him standing there in his dorky shirt and too-short tie, watching everyone fawn over Spike before he turns back to the mail cart, was possibly the most heart-breaking thing I've ever seen on Angel, and there's been some stiff competition. But that really gets to the heart of his dilemma--he thinks that he doesn't believe in the prophecy and one level of his brain tries to write it off as a fairy tale, but the fairy tale comes true (complete with fairy), just not for him. He says that he doesn't believe in the prophecy, but he does believe in it--the faith he's lost is in himself as a hero. Since he was sharp enough to be able to distinguish between his dreams and the reality of Eve in his room, I hope he can remember the dreams and think about what they really mean now that he is awake.

I think that one of the potential flaws in Lindsey and Eve's Cunning Plan is that they don't really know that much about vampires as (ahem) people. The whole Wolfram & Hart mentality is to see all the supernatural beings who work for them as underlings who don't have the will to win that it takes to make it to the top. After all, except for the as-yet-to-be-determined nature of the Senior Partners and the current incumbent of the White Room, the upper echelons of W&H's LA offices have all been humans. The psychics, vamps, and other monsters are all hired muscle. The supernatural clients are beings who need to be kept out of trouble, which fosters an atittude that they are willfull children to be nannied by the firm. I think (or possibly only hope) that both Angel and Spike will prove to be much less manipulable than they are believed to be.

[> [> Re: Dream DVD anyone? -- pellenaka, 08:41:19 01/23/04 Fri

Oh, I'd love that!

Especially a Flashback DVD. I have often wanted to see them in the right order but it takes so long to find the right tapes and times.
A DVD would certainly make that easier.

[> Re: Swimming Against the Gulf Stream and other Brain Spillage (spoilers for AtS 5.10, ) -- Deacon, 17:50:15 01/22/04 Thu

I agree, some very good points here. I,ve been waiting for nine episode for them to get this season straightened away. I took awhile for them to work in the big bad of the season and get spike really doing anything. I love that the brought back Linsdy, they haven't really explained him yet and I admitt it took till the second time I watched 5.8 untill I reconized him. It was a vey long break once I did although I expected them not to explore that angle untill after the first episode back.

What I love about the return of lindsy that big bad of this season is a character that was introduced in the very first episode and the overall element will be W@H which has been a constant through out the entire series. As apposed to Buffy S.7 where you had "the first" and Caleb who was introduced at the end and not explained very well. In Angel you have lindsy and W@H which will bring the series to a full arc.

Lindsy protrail of Doyle had my head spinning I really wasn't sure what to make of that

[> More bits: You live as you dream alone -Spoilers -- Ann, 18:12:28 01/22/04 Thu

As usual, well said.

We live as we dream alone. That song just kept going through my mind.

I think that in Harm's way the writers are making us feel as the characters do. She is ditzy and so was the episode.
"Despite many posts comparing Harm's dilemma-of-the-week and everyday travails to either Spike or Angel, I personally thought the comparisons were too broad and/or vague to hold up under scrutiny. In the end, 5.9 acted like a true stand-alone when it should have cut deeper." I don't think it necessarily should have, because Harmony is not capable of "cutting deeper" therefore the episode doesn't need to be. Harmony can only reach her own level of redemption as Angel can his. This episode, Angel is in a very surreal place torn between his pain and his need to do good. To each his own redemption! When Angel was about to push the mail cart, fashion aside, it was so sad. Even his tie didn't reach his belt. Everything is gone.

I liked the dream imagery, the goldfish,(either Angel caught up in a fishbowl with everyone watching him to see is he will fulfill the prophesy or perhaps Connor's soul locked away). I also liked the rusty license plate metaphor. License to kill,refering to earlier conversation about who can and should be killed, poetic license to use these images (goldfish, bears and creatures) as the writers see fit. It may have gotten rusted the summer Angel was underwater. The juxtapositioning of Spike's meeting with "Doyle", ack I didn't see that one coming, and Angels' dreams were interesting. Fears and wishes. One was being dissected in his dreams while the other was being used and dissected by manipulation. Spike said he thought the girl in the alley was being stupid, and asking for it. But so did he. He asked for a soul, for his cup of torment. How different are they? To each his own redemption. The juxtapositioning of Angels dream and reality, Spike and the girl, Spike and Lyndsey, Eve and Lyndsey, W&H and Spikes new apartment all are showing levels of tension and revelation and continuity.

The brown bear. I found a philosophy database online today called Brown Electronic Article Review Service (BEARS) ha, ha!

And my personal favorite, the shoe metaphor continuing. He is now empty. His shoes are gone! Yeah. I will personally flog that horse for all its worth. lol.

It is interesting they used Fred be the one to empty him in the dream. The very same one that gave substance to Spike. She was so dismissive of Angel's concerns about her working on him in the dream but she was so concerned for Spike ghostiness. Interesting contrasts.

[> Re: Swimming Against the Stream (spoilers for AtS 5.10, 'Soul Purpose') -- Pony, 07:10:09 01/23/04 Fri

Being all contary here but while I adored this episode I really couldn't get into the dream sequences. It seemed to me that they were going for the goofy rather than the creepy and that there seemed to be no real progression to the scenes. They were all telling us the same thing. Loved everything else though.

[> That's insane dream of consciousness logic (spoilers for AtS 5.10, 'Soul Purpose', sorta AI) -- fresne, 17:13:31 01/23/04 Fri

Funny, when I hear shinning path, I think of the political group in Peru back in the '70s.

But speaking of swimming the gulf stream, I dreamed a dream last night and actually, that's only mildly germane in wacky dream sort of way, so anyway, the Blue Fairy. Huh, the first thing I thought about was AI and not Pinocchio, which in its way is the same thing. And in it's way not.

To sleep, perchance to dream as a real boy would. The ability to dream is the ability to slip away die. The sea that changes into ice. The ice that is pealed and hollowed of what it holds to show the boy. And his little talking bear too.

Disneyland and pink castles and apocalypse cakes and clothes.

Honky Tonk Lorne, pomade slick. Gunn so fine in his suit and tie and leopard's eyes. Angel feeling dorky in short sleeves and a tie. Five by Five. Numero Cinco. Lindsey in what looked to be Doyle's jacket. Runes painted in and on and underneath skin.

Boxes with dreams locked inside.

That dented old California license plate. If I recall correctly black and yellow was the fifties & sixties. We've been through a few color and style changes since then.

Is Angel's soul the dead goldfish, the water, or the bowl that holds them? All of the above? Take it away Mr. Bear.


Really, there's something disturbing about the sound of latex rubber gloves snapping on. Perhaps because I associate that sound with doing the dishes. Or not.

Fred and runes and basement rooms decorated in early dank dire drear hero. Have a beer. Have two stakes. Holy flashback Batman. It's like Angel. It's like Spike doing his crucifixion pose.

It is not the King of Cups birthday. He gets no cake.

It's like little burning baby fishes, dancing around the Knight of Cups head.

The Prom. Spike is taking Buffy to the Prom. Interesting. I mean it's a happy memory. Angel showed up and he and Buffy danced and it's all very, those were the best times of our the Mayor is a giant snake lives.

Except, Angel broke up with Buffy before the Prom. He didn't ask her to go. She spent the beginning of the evening fighting demon dogs. Everything was fraught and up and down and Faith went evil and Wesley stuttered and I could lend Angel the DVD if he doesn't remember.

"Helping the helpless." I'm fairly sure Angel does remember that. When the world was black and white and there were visions and you solved stuff. Hands on with gadgets.

Not billionaire Bruce Wayne with his back broken in bed. Dreaming. Superman helpless. Dreaming.

Angel dreams and there is a lazy boy and flowers and sunlight and it's kind of disturbing. Happy, happy, joy, joy, not every one loves a log.

Sometimes that log is a stake to the heart that no one wants. A dried up walnut of a thing.

The fear that there is nothing left inside. That you're a hollow cave and all used up. Not even a cave. A tunnel. And everything is getting farther and farther away. As you recede inward. And all there is the sound of that sea to which we all go.

And then we're back in Kansas. And you were there, and you were there and you were there. Well, actually, I think you were actually there.

Where we see the past from a different angle, Angel. Visions that are or are not visions. Sight. Perception. Meaning assigned to symbols and words. Runes. Night blooming jasmine. Eve. Lindsey. Doyle. Cordelia, whose father Lear couldn't perceive the meanings of things. Names. Spike. Angel. William. Liam.

The fool.

The king, who has clothes, but no shoes.

[> [> Re: That's insane dream of consciousness logic (spoilers for AtS 5.10, 'Soul Purpose', sorta AI) -- RadiusRS, 19:11:38 01/23/04 Fri

That dented old California license plate. If I recall correctly black and yellow was the fifties & sixties. We've been through a few color and style changes since then.

Actually, it was a license plate from Jalisco, a state in Mexico (as evidenced by the visible JAL and EX on the bottom (Fred's hand was covering the M)) and the year on it was '73. I've seen some of those license plates on cars here in Mexico.

Is Angel's soul the dead goldfish, the water, or the bowl that holds them? All of the above? Take it away Mr. Bear.

I thought the fish was a sole, not a goldfish, hence the double entendre.

Movies 2003 -- Claudia, 14:00:57 01/22/04 Thu


"Pirates of the Caribbean" - loved it, Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush.

"Cold Mountain" - the best of 2003, in my opinion

"X-Men 2" - better than the original

"Bad Boys 2" - also better than the original

"Return of the King" - FELLOWSHIP is much better, but this is still one of the year's best, despite flaws.


[> really? -- Nino, 16:33:45 01/23/04 Fri

I thought "Cold Mountain" was overrated...Jude Law was wonderful and Rene Zellwegger was fabulous, plus a great sex scene...but overall, didn't you feel like it tried a little to hard to be a profound Oscar contender?

...by the by, I'm going to see Big Fish tonight, anyone like it? I'll report back if nanyone cares :)

[> [> Re: Big Fish -- AngelVSAngelus, 17:26:12 01/23/04 Fri

I very much enjoyed. I won't really go into why, because its got alot to do with the themes that struck resonant chords with me and I don't want to ruin anyhting for anyone. But I thought it was prolific.

[> [> [> My Review of 'Big Fish' (Spoilers galore!) -- Rob, 22:43:53 01/23/04 Fri

I posted this a few weeks back in my LJ:

Last night, I saw Tim Burton's Big Fish, a film that is all about straying from the path. Edward Bloom, an ambitious young man from the small Southern town of Ashton, has always considered himself a big fish in a small pond. After reading an encyclopedia entry that explains how goldfish grow proportionate to the environment in which they live--meaning a fish in a small bowl stays small in size, while a fish in a large bowl can expand much further--Edward, who is confined to bed for three years due to his extreme growth (in a most amusing scene, Edward's body begins rapidly growing, while he's sitting in church, the buttons on his coat popping, his legs lengthening like time-lapse videos of maturing trees) realizes that he is not intended to stay at home but to find a place that matches his own inner greatness. At the age of 18, along with a new friend, who happens to be a giant so tall that other so-called giants hang their heads in shame for being so foolish to have called themselves giants, he takes to the road, to find his fortune. None of the adventures Edward Bloom relates to his son (and anyone who cares to sit down beside him at any given moment to hear his wild, Baron Munchausen-esque stories of encounters with witches, werewolves, mermaids and the like) are true, or are they? Now a grown adult, his son believes that his father has been lying to him his whole life and wants to know the real man, who is currently dying of cancer. The story weaves in and out from the current story of a son desperately attempting to connect to the truth behind a father he feels he never truly knew, to Edward's wondrous, magical tales of his life as a young man, how he made his fortune, how he met his first love, tales which constitute a rich, complex mythology so involving and enchanting that they take on a life and existence of their own.

Tim Burton was the perfect director for this film; it was as if the story was written for him. The modern day sections of the story are a perfect opportunity for him to demonstrate an ability most of us have not seen from him, to deal with real human emotion in depth, completely removed from fantasy trappings, while in Edward's tales, we see Burton's imagination run wild, with art direction that rivals his brilliant Sleepy Hollow and a great deal of visual humor, at times twisted, child-like, or both. If the film has any real flaw, it is in the casting of Billy Crudup, as Edward's son, Will; the usually reliable Crudup is quite stilted and uneasy in the role and unfortunately detracts a bit from the impact of the modern day scenes. Besides him, the rest of the cast is superb: Albert Finney gives a powerhouse performance as Old Edward, while Ewan McGregor blends the awestruck wonder he embodied so well in Moulin Rouge as well as a dash of the cocky leading man character he portrayed in the also-retro Down with Love, to create a powerhouse performance of his own, the best of his career to date, as Young Edward. Jessica Lange is both touching and wonderful as Edward's wife, and the unknown (at least in America) Marion Cotillard is delightful as Will's wife. Other casting coups include the always great Danny DeVito as the ringmaster of a travelling circus, with a dark secret, the hilarious and brilliant Steve Buscemi as a poet turned bank-robber, and the bewitching Helena Bonham Carter, who does double duty as a woman who is also in love with Edward Bloom, as well as a witch with a magical eye.
In the end, the message of the film is that all of Edward's fantastical stories did happen, because by telling the stories over and over, he made them so. He in fact made himself immortal. His stories are told and known by the town and family members. After spending the film trying to disprove his father's tales in order to find the real man, Will comes to the realization that the fairy tales are the real man. Edward's doctor, played by the great Robert Guillaume, who has known him and Will their entire lives, tells Will that he has the choice to believe his father's story that the day he (Will) was born, he was wrestling a gigantic fish who had stolen his wedding ring, and then got to the hospital in time to see Will literally flying out of his mother's womb and sliding down a hallway into a suprised nurse's arms, or the true story: that his father was away on business (he was a travelling salesman), and that even if he weren't, he wouldn't have been able to see the birth, anyway, because men were not allowed in delivery rooms at the time. The doctor tells him that given the choice between the two stories, he would choose the fantasy version. Edward Bloom put all of himself, all of his hopes and ambitions and dreams for himself and his son into the "silly" stories he told, and therefore he becomes his own stories and his stories become him. The stories in fact are the real Edward Bloom. By telling them, he was able to do what the spider, Charlotte, says to Wilbur, the pig, in E.B. White's classic novel, Charlotte's Web: "...I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that."

In the film's final scenes, the succession finally passes on from father to son. The dying Edward asks his son how he will die, and he is clear that he wants a story. Will makes up on the spot an elaborate tale in which his father pops out of bed, almost completely healthy, and the two of them run out of the hospital, being chased by the doctors and nurses. They make a break for the car and ride swiftly, being pursued by imaginary foes, until they arrive at a beautiful river, the banks of which are populated with every character from all of Edward's stories, all of whom have gathered to say goodbye to him. No one looks sad; no one cries. Everyone smiles at him, and he smiles back. Will dips his father into the water of the river, and Edward transforms into what he always knew he was--a big fish, and swims off into eternity. This is where the film should have ended. Unfortunately, it continues after that point; not for a long time, only three minutes or so, three minutes in which the story returns to the present day, we see Edward die in the hospital and then we see his funeral, at which Will is surprised and delighted to see that many of the people Edward spoke of are real. The giant isn't as big as he had claimed, and all of them are now gray-haired and old, but there was a root of truth. In the final scene, Will now has a son and he's telling wild stories to him about his childhood. The ending was not awful; it did not ruin the movie. However, it was unnecessary and slightly counterproductive, or at least redundant. I really wanted the film to end on Will's fantasy version of Edward's death. The entire film had been leading up to the son finally embracing his father's stories, recognizing the man for whom he truly was, and finally realizing that the stories are real. When he finally does, we don't need to see his father's less fantastical, mundane demise in the "real" world; we don't need to see his funeral. We had already seen a much more beautiful, fantastical one that was a perfect send-off for the inimitable Edward Bloom. This somber affair doesn't match the man's personality, and seeing all of his marvellous fantasies today, in the form of old relics of a past age, left me with a wistful sadness and longing that the movie could have left us as Edward did: in a bright blaze of fantastical glory. We don't need confirmation that the characters were real. We already knew they were (or that it didn't matter), nor do we need to see Will with his son. His story to his father at the end makes it clear to the audience that the storytelling tradition of the family will carry on. Luckilly, the movie itself doesn't run too long, so the extra unnecessary three minutes at the end don't detract from the greatness of the rest of the film. And the last three minutes are well done, just not how I wish the story had ended.

Besides Billy Crudup's poor performance, the film's only other true flaw, through no fault of its own, is that it isn't Lord of the Rings. I'm afraid that it might have ruined me for all other films, as if they aren't worthy if they don't detail a huge, epic battle for the fate of a world. I am sorry that I wasn't completely swept away by Big Fish, as I might have been had I not seen it so close to LotR. There is magic galore, but of the more simple, homespun, down-to-earth kind. Which isn't a bad thing. It's a truly charming, lovely movie that one day might be counted as Tim Burton's masterpiece. I just wish it hadn't been overshadowed by LotR. I look forward to seeing it when it is out on DVD, where I think I will appreciate it even more. I loved Big Fish but some day, I think I will love it more. With that said, it is definitely on my Best-of List for the year, which now stands at: (1) RotK; (2) Big Fish; (3) Kill Bill-Volume 1; (4) The Matrix Reloaded; (5) Pirates of the Caribbean; (6) X2: X-Men United


Since writing the review, I'm adding "Monster" to my list as well, btw. Amazingly powerful, disturbing, and thought-provoking film.


[> [> Rant on Miramax business philosophy inside -- DorianQ, 18:40:50 01/23/04 Fri

Most Miramax and Disney movies are like that, which is dumb because some of their best films are one that they weren't planning to push for Oscars that hard. Last year, they were going to push for 'The Shipping News' with its four Oscar nominated lead actors and Oscar nominated Screenwriter and Oscar nominated Director. They didn't put much faith in either 'The Hours', Gangs of New York', or 'Frida' because all three had very troubled and protracted production and development cycles (LOTS of cast changes; Gangs was technically 'in production for over a quarter century) and they bought 'The Pianist' after it was completely done.

Most of their films have a lot of awards pedigree before they even get into production. Their business philosophy has always seemed to be to make films that get awards first and make good films second. Granted, oftentimes good films will be made anyway, but that focus still irks me.

[> [> Wowza -- Nino, 08:53:27 01/24/04 Sat

Man..."Big Fish" rocked my world. I must say, I was under the influence of something when I saw it, so maybe that's what made it so intense for me, but it was definitly an experience. Good stuff.

[> [> [> Man, did no one like... -- AngelVSAngelus, 16:39:25 01/24/04 Sat

21 Grams or Lost In Translation? I don't see that on anyone's 2003 list, and those were two among five for my top list of last year.

[> [> [> [> Re: Man, did no one like... -- tim, 12:29:43 01/25/04 Sun

My wife and I both enjoyed Lost in Translation. I'm hoping that Bill Murray beats the odds and gets and Oscar nomination out of it--his work was subtle and profound.

Haven't seen 21 Grams.


[> Buffy alumni -- Nino, 20:12:38 01/24/04 Sat

So I'm watching "I want to marry ryan banks" cuz im a big loser and stayed in tonight, and ya'know, it reminds me a lot of..."See Jane Date." Emma (and Charisma for that matter) is giving an enjoyable performance, and the plot, although pretty predicatable thus far isn't as bad as it could be...i mean, at least Charlie didn't fall for ryan (and I'm assuming in the end she won't)...this post really has no point but to fill the commercial break, but, to my surprise ABC family movies starring ex Buffy babes...not so bad.

Wolfram and Hart year 2 reflecting on year 5 (spoilers) -- Ray, 18:18:14 01/22/04 Thu

Holland Manners: We're not interested in doing anything so prosaic as winning. We're just trying to keep the game going.

Lyndsy: Don't play their game. Make them play yours.

The serious shift in giving Angel the power of Wolfram and Hart will cause all sorts of power shifts. It'll take a long time for Angel and all of LA to settle in. In other words, the game will go on for awhile.

Is the Bear Angel's Cheese Guy? -- Ray, 18:31:43 01/22/04 Thu

Just a thought.


[> Maybe he just really likes those LaBatt's beer commercials. -- Dlgood, 20:59:51 01/22/04 Thu

[> Re: Is the Bear Angel's Cheese Guy? -- Cheryl, 07:03:38 01/23/04 Fri

That occurred to me, too. But then I thought that since the bear was getting Angel's soul (dead fish in a fish bowl) it made me think about "baring" your soul or "bearing" the weight of a soul and that the bear was either taking the weight of the soul off Angel or that Angel was literally bearing his soul in these dreams.

Did anyone else...*spoiler for Soul Purpose* -- Corwin of Amber, 20:00:42 01/22/04 Thu

expect Angel to vamp out and bite Spike in the Pinnochio part of the dream sequence when he (Spike!) turned human again?

I'm surprised ME didn't go with that. Losing control of his vamp nature is one of Angel's biggest fears, after all. Is it worse that he didn't?


[> Re: Did anyone else...*spoiler for Soul Purpose* -- Ray, 21:39:21 01/22/04 Thu

No, I think they were mainly trying to convey Angel's sense of worthlessness. And the vampire issue is on the back burner after the Angelus storyline last year.

Does anyone else have a Problem....(Spoilers- Soul Purpose) -- Artemis, 23:48:37 01/22/04 Thu

It's probably just me but I have a real problem with the scene with Angel's dream of watching Spike and Buffy. It wouldn't have been as bad if they had just used the double. I think we would have gotten the point, but I think they stepped over the line using the audio clip. It made the whole thing seem tacky.It's like they're saying we don't need you. We have you in the "can" and can do what we will with it. And I guess I feel actors have so very little control over how they are presented on televison and movies ( both a director and producers medium) that this felt like an unnecessary violation. Just so you know it's not because of some special affinity for SMG who I do like, I feel the same way about the M&M commercial using Judy Garland from the Wizard of OZ. It's sad. And I'm a little disappointed with ME. Any one else feel the same way?


[> Re: Does anyone else have a Problem....(Spoilers- Soul Purpose) -- RJA, 03:59:57 01/23/04 Fri

I see your point here, although my biggest problem is that as a viewer it took me outside of the show, it ended my suspension of dibelief for a moment. Instead of viewing it as Angel's worst case scenario and getting deeper into the storyline, I was just thinking about the logistics of getting SMG's voice in the screen. So from a creative point of view I thought it unsatisfactory and unnecessary.

[> [> Re: Does anyone else have a Problem....(Spoilers- Soul Purpose) -- MissB, 04:12:49 01/23/04 Fri

If SMG has a half-decent agent, her contract probably stipulates that she be paid for each use of her voice and image in subsequent episodes of BTVS and spin-offs.

[> [> [> Re: Payment vs control -- Artemis, 23:17:01 01/23/04 Fri

I'm sure she was paid. I was mostly referring to lack of control over ones image.

[> [> [> [> Did the appearance of Dark Willow in 'Storyteller' upset you? -- Finn Mac Cool, 10:33:31 01/24/04 Sat

After all, there ME recycled a previous performance done by Alyson Hannigan but put it in a different context. I doubt Aly really had any control over whether they could do that or not. So, if the Buffy scene in "Soul Purpose" bothered you, then the Dark Willow scenes in "Storyteller" should have as well.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Did the appearance of Dark Willow in 'Storyteller' upset you? -- Artemis, 19:50:14 01/24/04 Sat

Interesting and valid question. Forgive me if my answer lacks consistency as I am working it out in my mind too. But in answer to your question about Dark Willow, No I didn't have a problem with that. Though now when I look back at "Grave" or is it "Two to Go?" her performance lacks some of its bite because after 'Storyteller' I can't help laughing.
Let me explain a little bit of where this is coming from.
My background is in theatre and as an actress in that medium I have a great deal of control. It is one of the reasons I was never drawn to televison or movies. In television to a certain extent, the actor creates a puzzle that they have to trust will be put together in a way that respects them and the character that they create.

For all I know there might have been many instances where I've enjoyed a moment that the director put together but the actor hated. I'll never know.

However in the instance of "Angel" we are presented with a scene where SMG had no involvement in the creative process, a scene where a Faceless Woman is being Humped by Spike and SMGs voice is being attached . It just felt degrading to me.

I think I would have had an equal problem if in "Chosen" old audio clips of Boreanaz were attached to a mannequin while Buffy spoke to him.

I understand that this may not be a rational argument as much as an emotional one. but I hope it gives better insight into my perspective. Thanks for asking.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Well, theoretically, SMG could have put something in her contract forbidding such an action -- Finn Mac Cool, 20:43:04 01/24/04 Sat

However, once she signs a contract allowing them such an action, she's got no one to blame but herself (or possibly her lawyers) if an audio clip is used like it was in "Soul Purpose".

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> There's an argument for a pre-nup if ever I heard one. -- Artemis, 00:06:02 01/25/04 Sun

Of course you're right on one level. But your answer applies to so much more than just the show.

We are all ultimately responsible for what happens to us, e.g. In a marriage, in a relationship, in a job. But we trust that we won't be abused or specifically that our trust won't be abused.

The question is not whether SMG or her lawyers should have included something against this in a contract. The question is whether or not she should have had to.

I tend to be idealistic, but not naive. Okay I take that back sometimes I'm even a little naive. I put myself out there. Sometimes I just trust. And sometimes I get a little sad when I am confronted with the reality that we can't trust, that we have to keep our guard up.

I'm sure it is a lesson that many actors(as well as others) learn. So when I read that some actor won't allow this or won't appear on that I begin to wonder if maybe they've been burned in the past. Maybe they trusted too much.

The bottom line however is that if the audio clip brought me that far out of the story. Then for one person at least it didn't work. And if you think about it, it really wasn't needed to convey the essence of the story or Angels distress.

[> [> [> [> [> [> It's not the same thing.... -- Briar Rose, 15:27:16 01/26/04 Mon

I agree with Artemis in that AH and the "Dark Willow" connection were all about an actress that was still involved heavily in the creative process.

However, in "Soul..." SMG is clearly NOT involved in the creative process at all and I am having a long standing negative response to the use of BtVS/Buffy/SMG images and audios in general this season of Angel. From the first ep we have had the name of "Buffy" evoked ad nauseum and clips played again and again and again to the point where I feel that Angel has truly become nothing but an extension of BtVS in ME's mind.

Since the start of Angel the Series, there has always been a fine line between "That which beget" and "This as it stands" and the line was pretty clear: Crossovers are okay and the idea that Angel and Buffy were once a team was okay to talk about - even pursue in crossovers. But they were two completely different shows with a shared history.

Now it's become (IMO) trying to raise the ratings by treading on BtVS in ways that have no direct connection to AtS at all.

I had a suspicion that this would happen when they brought Spike over and if there were other actors "visiting", but never assumed that Buffy would become the main topic in half of the episodes this season. And it looks to become even more of a problem as the series progresses if I'm seeing the previews correctly.

Yes - they have to address the topic of Buffy where Spike and Angel are concerned. But I can't help thinking that it should be in more of a quite way; Maybe a "Postcard" with no pictures just to say, "Hi. I'm in Paris. Keep the faith." or "We both loved the same woman and probably always will. But I'm moving on as she did and let's just stop talking about it."

The specific scene that Artemis is talking about could have been done as a silent and just give a flash of a blond and Spike. The audience would have gotten it and wouldn't have had to hear SMG to get what he was emotionally responding to. And if the audience didn't get it? Well, then maybe it's better to let the incestuous connections between the two shows die a natural death and stop trying to recreate something that was supposed to end long ago once the WB and UPN stopped promoting cross overs.

[> [> Re: Does anyone else have a Problem....(Spoilers- Soul Purpose) -- Tyreseus, 16:36:10 01/23/04 Fri

I agree, RJA, about the biggest problem being that it took me out of the scene.

I found myself thinking afterward of other ways they could have accomplished the same thing and it occurs to me that in my dreams, people don't really look like they do in real life. For instance, a woman I saw on the street who reminds me of my mother BECOMES my mother in the dream - and I never question it because I know in the special dream knowledge who it is.

Ultimately, though, I wished that they had pushed the envelope much further with that dream sequence. The emotional impact of seeing Spike sleeping with Buffy when Angel cannot didn't seem to connect or have much immediacy. It's probably my least favorite scene from the episode.

[> [> [> Re: Does anyone else have a Problem....(Spoilers- Soul Purpose) -- RadiusRS, 19:04:35 01/23/04 Fri

But it is one of Angel's biggest insecurities, that Spike, even souled, can sleep with Buffy, while he can't. I thought that since the whole point of the dream sequences was to bring to the forefront Angel's insecurities and doubts, it was an important point to touch upon, especially after what Buffy did at the end of Season 7 (One part of Angel's deal was for Connor and the other for her). I thought a much more egregious thing was nary a mention of Connor, Cordy, or the mindwipe, which must be preying on Angel's soul as well.

[> Re: Does anyone else have a Problem....(Spoilers- Soul Purpose) -- neaux, 04:41:03 01/23/04 Fri

well that's one way to look at it or listen to it.

the biggest thing you fail to realize is that it WAS A DREAM.

messed up things happen in dreams. If you thought it seemed cheezy or out of place (I admit I found it off-putting)realize that pretty much anything can happen in dreams. Like listening to soundbites.

I would like to propose that it was intentional. The point was to show that many of Angel's senses were diluted or affected in some way. He couldn't HEAR properly. He couldn't SING for Lorne.

or better still, He has been so distant from Buffy that he could only remember soundbytes. That's pretty common in dreams.

if none of these rationales work for ya.. oh well.

[> [> Re: Does anyone else have a Problem....(Spoilers- Soul Purpose) -- Fenugreek, 18:52:13 01/23/04 Fri

Yeah, I agree with that. I've had dreams where people I know speak with voices I don't recognize and others where I recognize the voice but not the face of the person. And others where I hear a voice but can't see a face even though it sounds like the person is right in front of me. I distinctly remember dreams like that.

I fully agree with neaux. Messed up things do happen in dreams.

[> [> Re: The biggest thing you fail to realize..........Spoilers Soul Purpose -- Artemis, 23:40:16 01/23/04 Fri

Yeah... well duh .. I know it was a dream. I don't think I "failed to realize that".
I'm sure you didn't mean to sound condescending. However my question, which I probably didn't state clearly, had to do with the ethics of the execution of that dream. The production value not the intent of the dream itself is what I was asking about. Though I will admit that your theory that Angel had been so distant from Buffy that all he could remember is soudbytes, is an interesting take.
I'm not quite sure I buy that as their intention. It felt more like, we need to use SMGs voice to show it's Buffy. And it took me out of the scene unnecessarily.JMHO

Anyway it doesn't look like anyone else had a problem. I just thought I'd throw the question out there. Thanks for the response.

[> [> [> Re: The biggest thing you fail to realize..........Spoilers Soul Purpose -- shambleau, 12:54:08 01/24/04 Sat

Just wanted to let you know that you weren't alone in being thrown out of the episode by the lines ripped out of Buffy. But since I didn't like the episode, I suppose I should be grateful.

[> [> [> sorry art.. -- neaux, 05:06:30 01/26/04 Mon

yeah.. reading over this a couple days later my response sounds like I'm an ass. Sorry about that. >_<

but you understood my point. I need to work on me people skillz. :D

[> [> [> [> Hey , neaux don't worry about it -- Artemis, 11:04:29 01/26/04 Mon

I always worry when I type on the internet that my true intentions are misinterpreted. I'm much more a sit around and have coffee face to face kind of person. I'll bet your people skills are great.

[> The whole scene did not bother me at all. -- Claudia, 07:39:21 01/23/04 Fri

[> Re: Does anyone else have a Problem....(Spoilers- Soul Purpose) -- Dandy, 15:29:44 01/25/04 Sun

It bothered me. The wig was bad. The sound quality was bad. It lacked the emotional impact it could have had. I would have preferred seeing Angel 'dreaming' one of the sex scenes between Spike and Buffy that he could not possibly have seen. It would have communicated that sense of his connection to her being so strong that he knew intuitively what he could not have known realistically.

[> [> But that wouldn't... (Soul Purpose spoilers) -- Rob, 11:12:11 01/27/04 Tue

...have given us the very powerful image of Spike and Buffy having sex in Angel's bed, which is the most important part of the scene, IMO. How they completely ignore him, as if he doesn't exist.


[> [> [> I think Rob is right (Soul Purpose spoilers) -- Jane, 17:43:51 01/27/04 Tue

The implication of this scene to me is that not only is Angel afraid that Spike is supplanting him in his destiny, but also that Angel is becoming invisible to those he cares about. How much more irrelevant will he become to everyone? Talk about feeling empty!

[> [> [> [> He is doing to himself what he did to Connor! -- Ann, 11:07:27 01/28/04 Wed

He made Connor disappear and now he is doing it to himself. Guilt, guilt, guilt.

[> [> [> [> [> Oooh, good point! I like how your brain works. :) -- Rob, 13:33:20 01/28/04 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks Rob! And another unspoiled speculation for you -- Ann, 14:43:41 01/28/04 Wed

Jane's comment made me think that this silencing of Angel's wishes and desires and the uncovering of his fears is just what he did to Connor. He killed and silenced all of what was good about himself and now it is manifesting itself in his dreams. He found his "goodness" with Buffy and now even that is gone.

I have one unspoiled speculation, that Angelus is going to return only because Angel loses himself completely. No magic, no sex, no ultimate happiness brings it on, just Angel himself. That would be his greatest price that he pays. Then Spike and Angelus will battle.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Also: unspoiled speculation for you and spoilers thru last epi -- Ann, 15:45:24 01/28/04 Wed

After he returns, Angelus will be in control of W&H. Demons will be happy.

It makes me wonder if this might be what Eve and Lindsey are involved with in some way. To try to stop it or perhaps ready Spike for it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> maybe but... (more unspoiled speculation) -- DorianQ, 16:37:31 01/28/04 Wed

The whole point of Angel's curse is that it is a Curse. He is SUPPOSED to suffer. He is supposed to feel like crap and that's what he's doing himself right now, just for different reasons than originally. He's reverting back to the person that Whistler found back in that alley in Becoming. For whatever he isn't standing up anymore and he certainly doesn't feel like he's being counted. I think the only way to get him out of this state is to have a return visit from either Whistler or Cordy, the two people who most turned him into the hero he was before (sidenote: wouldn't it be the coolest for those two to just kick the crap out of "Doyle" and EVE?) and could be again. "Doyle" and EVE are trying to do the same thing for Spike, which leads me to think that Angel really is ahead of Spike on the Hero or Shanshu meter but he doesn't care. And Connor fits into this in a big way, but I'm not quite sure how yet, but all I know is that I have no idea how the season is going to turn out but it is going to be amazing.

[> Yes! I felt the same. -- Briar Rose, 15:09:27 01/26/04 Mon

[> Honestly I was more perturbed that even in Angel's dreams, Cordelia was no where to be found -- Nino, 20:20:08 01/28/04 Wed

I had in my mind, a cool little dream scene where the gang is in a graveyard dressed in black, and her mosoleum has a movie star with "Cordy" written on it, and everyone gives Angel shit for not being able to save her...I dunno, maybe Spike coulda popped out and said "I fixed her right up, she'll be out in a few" to give it some continuity...

stupid? probably...but I think a Cordy mention would have been appropriate.

'The Rescue' Revisited: Chapter 12 -- 'Counterfictions' -- cjl (so, so tired), 07:34:13 01/23/04 Fri

[Scene: a laboratory complex approximately 100 miles west of the Nevada border. A MOLOJ officer escorts HonorH and CJL down a corridor packed with armed security toward a waiting elevator. The trio strides into the elevator, then HonorH and CJL wait patiently while the MOLOJ officer punches in a code sequence on a panel built into the side wall.]

COMPUTER VOICE: Code verified. State password.

MOLOJ OFFICER: "Restless."

[The doors slide shut, and they plunge downward. One hundred feet below, the doors slide open, and HonorH and CJL are gently nudged toward what appears to be a conference room. The MOLOJ officer smiles and tips his cap.]

MOLOJ OFFICER: Last stop. Good to see you again, Mr. Chairman. Madame Chairman.

CJL: That's "ex"-Mr. Chairman, Kowalski.

KOWALSKI: Yeah. That's a shame. [Turns and walks back down the corridor. HonorH watches him disappear into the distance.]

HONORH (sighs): Too bad. I always thought Kowalski was kind of cute--in a Graham or Forrest kind of way.

CJL: You can flirt later. If we ever get out of here.

[CJL throws opens the door, and they see ROCHEFORT leaning back in a Dr. Evil-type swivel chair at the head of an enormous conference table.]

ROCHEFORT: Hi guys. Welcome to the Pleasure Dome.

[Cut to: the exterior of the complex. There are at least 40 helicopters (half of them in unmarked, conspiracy theory basic black) surrounding the lab, planted in the desert like cacti, with three more swooping in from above. About one-half are U.S. Army, another three are E.U.; two of them have the emblem of Hogwarts Academy emblazoned on the side, and two bear the proud insignia of the United Federation of Planets. KdS pokes his head out from one of the helicopters, then pulls it back in before it gets shot off.]

ANOM (v.o., from right behind him): What's going on out there?

[KdS jumps at the sound of her voice and nearly bangs his head on the roof of the helicopter.]

KdS (catching his breath): I asked you not to do that anymore.

ANOM (v.o.): Sorry. [Giggles] Is kind of fun, though.

KdS: To answer your question? It seems we've been joined by the military of at least three different continents, and representatives from shadowy and powerful cabals that you usually find in Umberto Eco novels.

SHADOWKAT (o.s.): I was afraid of this.

[They turn, expecting to find Shadowkat buried under paperwork at her desk; but she's up from behind the desk and feeding Morningstar a sugar cube.]

SHADOWKAT: So they're not really unicorns. [She strokes Morningstar's head] They're still very sweet. [Off KdS' stare] All right--the problem is, instead of the relatively controlled collective authorial voice of the original "Rescue," we've had at least six authors in this new story, all of whom have added layers of espionage plot onto what is basically a simple psychological study.

ANOM (v.o.): Which means?

SHADOWKAT: Which means the plot has grown progressively chaotic, and with all the various interlocking conspiracies running after Wohlmann's Engine, there's a good chance this fanfic is going to end with a bloody shoot out.

ANOM (v.o.): You mean like when everybody was chasing after baby Connor in ANGEL Season 3?

SHADOWKAT: This is going to be a lot messier. [Shadowkat falls silent, her mind rolling over the possibilities.] But it could be worse.

KdS: There's enough firepower collecting out there to blow up half the state. I don't see how it could be worse.

SHADOWKAT: You don't understand. Rochefort, CJL, HonorH, Ponygirl--they're not your typical spy fiction writers. After seven years of watching Buffy, they've gotten used to unconventional, even surreal plot twists. I know CJL; I know how his mind works. He gets nervous when he thinks a plot is losing focus. If he feels it's swinging too far around to "Alias" territory, I'm afraid he might do something drastic.

ANOM (v.o.; horrified): You mean--?

SHADOWKAT. Yes. A reset.

KdS: Dear god.

SHADOWKAT: Maybe it won't be necessary. And even if it happens, I think he can pull it off without ripping narrative continuity to shreds. [Pause] I hope.

KdS (looks around the helicopter): Hey--anybody seen Rah?

ANOM (v.o.): I thought she was doing aerial surveillance.

KdS: That was an hour ago. She should have been back here by now...

[Cut to: the California desert, approximately three miles east of the main complex. Rahael cuts the jet-pack's booster rockets and makes a perfect one-point landing. She ditches the pack and walks directly towards a parched-looking cactus tree. Carefully avoiding the needles, Rah bends the cactus back a few inches, and a steel door slides open in the ground next her right foot.]

[Cut to: the conference room.]

CJL (to Rochefort): What, no "mwhahahahahaha"?

ROCHEFORT: You know, I thought you had a little more imagination. I'm not the villain here.

HONORH: High-tech lair. Army of trained mercenaries. Super-secret device that will end civilization as we know it. All the standard accessories of your typical super-villain slash evil overlord.

ROCHEFORT: Look, if I were a super-villain, why would I be talking to you like this? Why not just kill both of you and implement my master plan for world conquest?

HONORH: Actually, most super-villains make a last-ditch attempt to persuade the hero to join them as rulers of the New World Order.

ROCHEFORT: Will you shut up with the James Bond references already? I'm not freakin' Ernst Blofeld, H--we're friends, and I just wanted to talk to you.

CJL: So talk.

ROCHEFORT: Guys, can't you see that I hate doing this? I hate having to drag your asses in here under armed guard. I hate screwing with your heads, and pumping you full of green glowing liquid, and chasing you around Vienna like the Keystone Kops....

CJL (glances over at HonorH, then back to Rochefort): Now that you mention it--how did you know we were in Vienna?

ROCHEFORT: Trade secret.

[Cut to: Rob's office in the Presidential Palace in Prague. Nobody home. As before, the faux bookcase on the right wall slides back, revealing the sixties-style IBM mainframe. Then, two stagehands push the facade of the mainframe off-screen, revealing Little Bit, who's sitting at a fold-out card table and typing on a laptop computer. Bit sees the camera and waves to the audience.]

[The conference room. Rochefort steers the conversation back on topic.]

ROCHEFORT: This could be so much easier for everyone if you would just...just stop fighting me on this. I can't understand why you're not jumping for joy that I'm going to bring Buffy and the rest of the gang into the real world. H, you're going to talk to Giles! CJL, you're going to meet Xander and Willow--and they're not going to be figments of Joss' imagination like in the original story. They're going to be real, flesh-and-blood human beings. Can you imagine that? Wouldn't you give anything to meet them face to face?

CJL: Depends. Can you honestly tell me you KNOW what that machine is going to do when you turn it on? Haven't we both seen enough science fiction movies to know that a machine ripping open the fabric of the universe is NOT A GOOD THING?

ROCHEFORT: I know what I'm doing.

CJL: Oh, that's comforting. Dammit, Rochefort, the Scoobies had seven good years, and they're going to stay with us for the rest of our lives! Why the hell isn't that good enough for you?

ROCHEFORT: Because they could do so much more.

[Cut to: rear view of Kowalski as he approaches the end of one of the sub-basement corridors, then turns the corner, out of our view. There's the sound of an (extremely brief) altercation, a loud 'thud,' and then silence.]

ROCHEFORT: Aren't you sick of living in the world the way it is now? Wouldn't it be great if we had Slayers, and magic, and heroes who could save the whole goddamn universe?

CJL: That's not how the world works.


HONORH: Rochefort, I sympathize with what you're trying to do here. I do. But there's a reason why Buffy and the gang always save [air quotes] 'the whole goddamn universe'--she's the hero. She has Joss writing the scripts. Even if the machine does everything you want it to do, there's nobody writing the scripts out here. Buffy could step into the real world and blow herself up on a land mine two seconds later. There's no way you can guarantee a happy ending.

ROCHEFORT: Compared to Sunnydale, the real world is going to be a breeze.

CJL: That's it. I give up. [Turns and walks back toward the door.] Do whatever you want. But you know, if you put as much effort into writing your thesis as you did into this...lunacy, you would have graduated from Harvard by now.

[CJL grabs the knob, gives it sharp twist-but the door doesn't open. He wraps both hands around the knob and rattles the door frantically, but it's locked tight.]

ROCHEFORT: I'm sorry you feel that way. I was hoping it wouldn't come to this.

[CJL and HonorH hear a loud hiss coming from the air vent on the wall directly behind (and five feet above) Rochefort. A green, glowing gas seeps from the vent and quickly fills the room.]

HONORH (to Rochefort): Well, that's bright. You're trapped in the room with us.

ROCHEFORT: Not necessarily.

[Rochefort's image crackles and wobbles, and then pops out of existence, as if someone had shut off a television set.]

ROCHEFORT (v.o.): Can't be trapped if I was never here in the first place.

[CJL and HonorH, woozy from the gas, put all their remaining strength into shoving the conference table over to the wall in a desperate attempt to reach the air vent. But before they've moved it an inch, CJL collapses against the table, and slides down to the floor. HonorH follows right behind.]

[Cut to: Sub-level 2, corridor 37. Kowalski approaches a door with an "Authorized Personnel Only" sign in a large, red letters. He enters his code on the side panel.]

COMPUTER VOICE: Code verified. State password.

KOWALSKI: "Bargaining."

[Kowalski waits for the lock to automatically disengage, then walks in. He effortlessly navigates through a maze of transformers and power relays, until he reaches a specific point near the center of the room. He slips off his back pack and carefully removes a one-pound chunk of plastic explosive. He's about to insert the fuse, when--]

VOICE (o.s.): Why, Kowalski--this is a serious breach of protocol.

[Kowalski turns to face...Rochefort, with a pistol aimed directly at Kowalski's heart.]

KOWALSKI: Sir, I can explain.

ROCHEFORT: No, I don't think you can.

KOWALSKI: I was doing a test of security procedures, and I wanted to see--

ROCHEFORT: Will you stop it? Do you think I'm buying any of this? Where's the real Kowalski? [Pause. No response.] The silent treatment. After that wonderful conversation we had in Paris.

["Kowalski" touches his "wristwatch," and his 6'3" form shimmers and shifts, shrinking down until it resolves itself into Ponygirl.]

PONYGIRL: How did you know?

ROCHEFORT: I've been expecting you for the last four hours. Didn't figure on the disguise. Nice touch.

PONYGIRL: What do you mean, you were "expecting" me?

ROCHEFORT: I knew about your plan to infiltrate the chateau. I knew you had the security codes and passwords. Once you put those two together, I knew you'd try to blow the complex from this spot. All I had to do was wait, and you'd come right to me. [Pause.] Took you long enough.

PONYGIRL: Well, it took me ten minutes to stuff Kowalski in a supply cabinet. He weighs a ton.

ROCHEFORT (smiles): You know, PG, I really enjoy our little conversations. I like the fact that you're an "in the moment" kind of person and you don't lecture me about morality and ethics--like some people around here.

PONYGIRL (ponders that for a moment): Yeah, CJL can be a real pain in the ass sometimes--but in this case, he does have a point.

ROCHEFORT (sighs): I was afraid you'd say that.

[Ponygirl hears the muffled sound of the silencer behind her, but can't react nearly in time. She yanks the tranquilizer dart out almost the second after it digs into her neck, but it's too late--the drug has already hit her bloodstream. Ponygirl crumbles to the ground, unconscious. We hold the camera on Ponygirl's body; Rochefort walks into frame, and squats down to check her pulse. A pair of white sneakers walks into frame from the opposite direction.]

FEMALE VOICE: Is she all right?

ROCHEFORT: She'll be fine. [Pause.] I can't believe it-we're finally ready to go. Two years of planning, and it's all going to come down to the next thirty minutes.

[We pan up the second figure, past the white sneakers, past the blue jeans, past the "Connor Lives!" T-shirt, until we finally see MASQ, in all her glory.]


[> 'Counterfictions' continued -- cjl, 07:51:19 01/23/04 Fri

[Ponygirl hears the muffled sound of the silencer behind her, but can't react nearly in time. She yanks the tranquilizer dart out almost the second after it digs into her neck, but it's too late--the drug has already hit her bloodstream. Ponygirl crumbles to the ground, unconscious. We hold the camera on Ponygirl's body; Rochefort walks into frame, and squats down to check her pulse. A pair of white sneakers walks into frame from the opposite direction.]

FEMALE VOICE: Is she all right?

ROCHEFORT: She'll be fine. [Pause.] I can't believe it-we're finally ready to go. Two years of planning, and it's all going to come down to the next thirty minutes.

[We pan up the second figure, past the white sneakers, past the blue jeans, past the "Connor Lives!" T-shirt, until we finally see MASQ, in all her glory.]

MASQ: It's about time. This fanfic is eating board space like a tapeworm.

ROCHEFORT: Uh, Masq? Do you still want to be part of that joyful family reunion between Angel and Connor?

MASQ (dreamily): More than anything else in the world.

ROCHEFORT: Then how about a little support over here.

MASQ: I give you enough money as it is.

ROCHEFORT: No, I mean help me pick up Ponygirl and bring her to the lab.

[Rochefort and Masq each grab an "end."]

MASQ (grumbles): Grunt work. Again.

[Cut to: an underground entrance tunnel, about three miles east of the main complex. Rahael, DARBY, SARA, D'HERBLAY, RANDOM, and 80 soldiers dressed in identical light gray Kevlar uniforms, all in the middle of a final, small-arms weapons check.]

RANDOM (to Rah): This is never going to work.

RAHAEL: Do I have to keep reminding you that this is not the storming of the Bastille? Technically speaking, Rochefort and MOLOJ are not our enemies, and we cannot afford to damage any of the vital equipment in this complex.

RANDOM: I'm sorry--but if we're going to be military commanders for a shadowy international organization dedicated to achieving ultimate power, I think we should act the part.

RAHAEL: Leadership was quite specific: non-lethal force, unless absolutely necessary.

RANDOM: Look, you know I'm not opposed to minimization of violence per se. It's just that a "non-violent" armed invasion is antithetical to the espionage genre, and I don't think it's been justified in the context of the narrative.

RAHAEL (loading her tranquilizer gun): The order stands.

RANDOM: D'Herblay, could you talk to the woman?

D'HERBLAY: As Rah goes, so goes my nation.

[Rahael makes her way up to the front of the crowd, and turns to address the unit.]

RAHAEL: Attention, please.

[The soldiers immediately fall into eight lines of ten apiece and snap to attention.]

D'HERBLAY (smiles): Damn, she's good.

RAHAEL: You all have your orders. I want a clean, fast, efficient strike with a minimum of collateral damage.

[Random magnetically attaches a small metal box to one of the complex's ubiquitous digital wall panels, waits two seconds, then watches as the overhead lights wink off in a chain reaction down the length of the tunnel. Rahael straps on her infrared goggles.]

RAHAEL: Let's move out.

[Three miles west, in the main lab. WOHLMANN is making last-minute adjustments to the Engine. CJL, HonorH, and Ponygirl-all still unconscious-are hooked up to an array of visual and auditory input devices. Electroencephalographs keep track of their brain functions. Masq almost feels seasick watching Rochefort nervously pace around the lab.

ROCHEFORT (to Wohlmann): Remember, if anything goes wrong, if any of the equipment fails while the Engine is in operation--

WOHLMANN: Emergency shut down procedures have been in place for the past six months.

ROCHEFORT: If there's a radioactive discharge from the opening of the dimensional passage--

[Wohlmann calmly walks over to the 30-inch thick wall dividing the lab from the chamber housing the heart of the Engine. He knocks twice; the wall practically absorbs the sound.]

WOHLMANN: You could explode a small atomic device in the chamber, and we would not even know it. [Pause.] Herr Rochefort-we have made all the preparations, taken every possible precaution, tested every nanochip. We are as ready as we will ever be. It is time to bring your dreams into reality.

ROCHEFORT (stops pacing): You're right.

[Rochefort takes his place next to his former teammates. He looks over at them one last time. Their faces are serene, at peace-he almost envies them. He shakes it off. Rochefort leans back, and Wohlmann attaches electrodes specially designed to feed Rochefort's brain wave output to the Engine. Wohlmann walks back to his control panel, and checks the encephalographic readings.]


WOHLMANN: Phase One complete. We are ready to enter Phase Two. [Pause.] Are you sure you don't want the anesthetic?

ROCHEFORT: I've been practicing deep meditation and lucid dreaming for 18 months. I don't need anesthetic.

WOHLMANN: In that case-sweet dreams, my friend.

[Wohlmann enters a pre-set code on his panel, and all over the complex, under the watchful eye of MOLOJ technicians, transformers roar to life. In the lab, Wohlmann's Engine hums contentedly, slowly building power, waiting for the magical conjunction of thought, space and time. Rochefort has long since slipped into a meditative trance, and now, simultaneously, four pairs of eyes flutter like hummingbird wings. Rapid eye movement. The dream state. Phase Three.]

[CJL, HonorH and ponygirl receive their pre-packaged auditory and visual stimulation: a five-minute history of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Welcome to Hellmouth, The Harvest, Angel, The Pack, I Robot, You Jane, Nightmares, Prophecy Girl. Wohlmann turns the power levels up another notch. When She Was Bad, School Hard, The Dark Age, Lie to Me, Halloween, What's My Line, Surprise, Innocence, Phases, Passion, I Only Have Eyes for You, Go Fish, Becoming. The tension melts away from Rochefort's face as he blissfully, unreservedly surrenders himself to his dream. Anne, Dead Man's Party, Faith, Hope and Trick, Band Candy, Revelations, Lovers Walk, Amends, Helpless, The Zeppo, Bad Girls, Consequences, Doppelgangland, Enemies, Earshot, Choices, The Prom, Graduation Day.]

[At the junction connecting the emergency tunnel to the main complex, Rahael, Random and their elite strike team easily subdue the MOLOJ guards. The Freshman, Living Conditions, Harsh Light of Day, Fear Itself, The Initiative, Wild at Heart, Something Blue, Pangs, Hush, Doomed, This Year's Girl, Who Are You, Sanctuary, New Moon Rising, The Yoko Factor, Primevil, Restless. The Engine rumbles as it approaches full power. The Real Me, The Replacement, Family, No Place Like Home, Fool for Love, Blood Ties, Into the Woods, Triangle, Checkpoint, The Body, Forever, Tough Love, Intervention, Spiral, The Weight of the World, The Gift. Four minds fill to overflowing with the wisdom and compassion of Rupert Giles, the courage of Xander Harris, the unquenchable spirit of Willow Rosenberg, and the indomitable will and boundless love of Buffy Anne Summers. Bargaining, Afterlife, Flooded, Once More with Feeling, Smashed, Gone, Doublemeat Palace, Dead Things, Older and Far Away, Hell's Bells, Normal Again, Entropy, Seeing Red, Villains, Two to Go, Grave. Inside the Engine chamber, the air crackles with unearthly light. Lessons, Beneath You, Same Time, Same Place, Selfless, Conversations with Dead People, Sleeper, Never Leave Me, Potential, The Killer in Me, Get it Done, Lies My Parents Told Me, Empty Places, Touched, End of Days, Chosen. System overload. The circuit breakers kick in, and the Engine powers down. With a hesitation borne of fear and awe, Wohlmann turns to check the video feed from the camera inside the chamber.]

[The chamber is empty.]


[Rochefort, awake, bolts out of his Dreaming Chair and storms over to the control panel; he snatches handfuls of printout from the electroencephalograph, practically yanking the paper rolls from their sockets.]

ROCHEFORT (almost in tears): No--this is impossible. [Scans the readouts faster and faster, nearing total breakdown] We were there. I could feel it. Four people, one mind--just like the first time. Damn it, what the hell happened?!

WOHLMANN: I do not know what happened, my friend. But first, you have to calm down and let me--

ROCHEFORT: It was the overload. The Engine cut off before we could pull them through.

WOHLMANN: No. The Engine reached full power before the system implemented the safeguards.

ROCHEFORT: Then....then we go back and try it again. We'll recheck the circuitry and see if we can amplify--

[Wohlmann grabs Rochefort by the shoulders and holds him steady.]

WOHLMANN: Herr Rochefort--I told you WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. It is more than possible that we created a gateway, but nothing passed through at this particular time. We have to thoroughly examine what was happening in the chamber during the five seconds of peak capacity, and perhaps then we can determine a proper course of action.

MASQ (o.s.): You do that.

[Rochefort and Wohlmann turn to see Masq standing in the doorway to the lab, a tranquilizer pistol in hand, flanked by FITZROY, a Blucas-lite member of Random's strike team.]

MASQ: It would be a shame if all our money and effort went to waste.

ROCHEFORT: Masq--what the hell is going on?

MASQ: Isn't it obvious? I'm protecting my investment. Well, not exactly MY investment...

[Hearing footsteps approaching from down the hall, Fitzroy whips out a miniature cassette recorder, and pushes 'play.' The recorder pipes out a tinny version of "Rule, Britannia," and TCHAIKOVSKY saunters into the room, king of all he surveys. Fitzroy clicks off the recorder, and pockets it.]

TCH: Thank you, Fitzroy. [TCH slips him a twenty-pound note; Fitzroy pockets that, too.] Good man.

[TCH gently takes hold of Masq's right hand and raises it to his lips.]

TCH: Ah, Masquerade--Dark Lady of my fearful enterprise. Beauteous captain of our ambition as we journey forth to storm the gates of heaven.

MASQ: Save it for the love poems, Head Boy.

ROCHEFORT: I can't believe this. You're selling out the greatest American anarchist organization of the past hundred years for Tchaikovsky and his British Empire elitists?! For crying out loud, the kid's twenty freakin' years old!

TCH: Rochefort, I'm amazed at your naivete. She isn't "selling you out." We've been bankrolling you and following your progress ever since your therapy session with our good Doctor Darby two years ago. [Soaks in his surroundings] And, I must say, the results are quite impressive.

ROCHEFORT: Enjoy the view. In about 45 seconds, you'll be eating California desert.

TCH: "Eating California desert." Very colorful. But if you're waiting for your highly-trained revolutionary army to come to the rescue--don't bother. They've all been properly tranquilized and tucked into bed. No, my friend, I'm afraid that MOLOJ is now down to one member. And confidentially, you should think about changing the name.

[Rahael enters, and taps TCH on the shoulder.]

RAHAEL: Darby says he's about ready.

TCH: Any movement from the Army boys outside?

RAHAEL: Not even a twitch. They can't risk a full-scale assault, so they're probably sorting options.

TCH: That won't last forever. Keep me posted.

[Rahael exits.]

TCH: Fitzroy, I believe it's time to prepare Mr. Rochefort and his associates for their first examination.

ROCHEFORT (queasy): "First" examination?

TCH: Can't leave any stone unturned. My neurological experts tell me Professor Wohlmann's device might have left a physiological "impression" in your cerebral cortex. Shouldn't take anything more than, oh, six or seven years to find out if anything unusual is going on in there.

[Fitzroy detaches CJL and HonorH from the tangle of wires and electrodes connecting them to Wohlmann's equipment. He's about to pop off the last electrode from Ponygirl's right temple when Ponygirl springs to life and wraps her legs around his neck, squeezing the air out of his windpipe. Masq fires off three tranquilizer darts, but Ponygirl whips Fitzroy's body over the table, and he takes all three darts squarely in the back. Ponygirl then catapults Fitzroy's dead weight into Masq, flattening her against the wall.]

PONYGIRL (to CJL and HonorH): MOVE!

[CJL and HonorH--yes, they were awake and "playing possum" all during TCH's speechifying--leap off their respective tables and bolt for the side entrance of the lab. Before TCH can contact his security force via walkie-talkie, Ponygirl grabs it out of his hand and crushes it under her foot. TCH, deciding discretion is the better part of valor, does an Ethan Rayne out the main entrance and quickly disappears down the corridor.]

PONYGIRL (to Rochefort): Are you all right?

ROCHEFORT: I'm fine. Relatively speaking. We've got to get out of here.

PONYGIRL: Any more escape tunnels?

ROCHEFORT: I don't think we need to escape. [Off Ponygirl's puzzled look] Follow my lead on this, OK?

PONYGIRL: What about the professor?

WOHLMANN: No need to worry. They would never harm the inventor and chief engineer of their pet project. [To Rochefort] Take care of yourself, my friend.

[Rochefort and Ponygirl race out the side entrance, catching up with CJL and HonorH near the end of the corridor. As Consortium security forces close in from three directions, the quartet disappears into a nearby stairwell, with Rochefort leading them down to the complex's subterranean levels.]

CJL: I hope you know where you're going.

ROCHEFORT: Panic room. Sub-level five.

HONORH: A panic room? That is so...late nineties.

CJL: Well, we ARE panicking.

[Rochefort, Ponygirl, CJL and HonorH burst out through the stairwell door on sub-level five. Ponygirl spin kicks a taser gun out of the hands of a startled Consortium solider, and the others practically stampede him. They hang a collective left and skid to a stop in front of an enormous steel door. Rochefort swipes a passkey through a magnetized slot, then punches in a security code.

COMPUTER VOICE: Code verified. State password.

ROCHEFORT: "Becoming."

[Inside. Ponygirl slams the door behind them with a booming, metallic echo. Rochefort rubs his hands in gleeful anticipation of revenge and switches on the bank of 16 video monitors covering the back wall.]

ROCHEFORT: Little punk thinks he's so damn smart. He doesn't even know this room exists.

[Rochefort takes a quick glance at his video screens: Professor Wohlmann, working in the lab, under guard; Random and Rahael in the conference room, discussing possible battle strategy; a squad of six Consortium soldiers winding their way down a staircase; Darby and Sara setting up in what used to be the MOLOJ infirmary.]

HONORH: Do we have an actual plan?

ROCHEFORT: You'd better believe it. [Rochefort slides back a wall panel, revealing a single row of ten switches. He goes straight down the line, his smile broadening with each flick of the switch.] Gas. I'm flooding the entire complex.

[Rochefort plops down into another Dr. Evil-type swivel chair, puts his feet up, and waits for the fun to begin outside. Seconds tick by, and-nothing much happens. Suddenly, there's a burst of static on the intercom system and the high-pitched whine of feedback.]

TCH (v.o.): Is this thing on? [Sound of a finger tapping a live microphone] Rochefort? Can you hear me? I know you can hear me.

[Rochefort flicks on the intercom.]

ROCHEFORT (wearily): I can hear you.

TCH (v.o.): Good. Let me guess--you're in some kind of "safe room," am I right?

ROCHEFORT: "Panic" room.

TCH (v.o.): Of course. And you've just activated your "fail safe" device, which doesn't seem to be working.

ROCHEFORT: It's working perfectly. You have 15 minutes to evacuate before this whole place goes up in a ball of flame.

TCH (v.o.; laughs): You didn't even hesitate. I love it. But seriously, we disconnected the gas tanks half an hour ago.

ROCHEFORT (to himself): Jesus. This is just not my day.

TCH (v.o.): Rochefort, I think it would be easier for you and your friends if you surrendered rather than have us go through the messy business of blowing up doors and maybe hurting someone in the process. This doesn't have to be any worse than it already is. We're kindred spirits, you and I, and-- [Rochefort cuts him off]

ROCHEFORT: "Kindred spirits." Sh-yeah, right.

PONYGIRL: Now what?

CJL: Any way out of here, besides the obvious?

ROCHEFORT (points to the steel door): Well, the gas should dissipate in about twenty minutes, and we can walk out that door and pick up where we left off.

CJL: Oh.

ROCHEFORT: No, not a lot of options. We have enough food and water here to hold out until they leave.

HONORH: Excuse me, did you say "leave"?

ROCHEFORT: That's what I would do. Grab Wohlmann, disassemble the Engine, take off before the Army decides to move.

PONYGIRL: They can always pick us up later. Anytime, anyplace. At their leisure.

CJL: So that's it? It's over? We're gonna be Darby's lab rats for the next seven years?!

ROCHEFORT: Hell, no.

[Rochefort rises from his chair--slowly, dramatically.]

ROCHEFORT: I don't care if TCH has Queen Elizabeth and the entire British Parliament backing up him up, we're going to beat that pretentious little twerp. But if I'm going to do this--if WE'RE going to do this--we have to do it as a team.

HONORH: Under your brilliant leadership?

ROCHEFORT: No. I've pushed you guys around enough already. I forgot that we did all those amazing things together when we listened to each other, respected each other. When I treated you like friends. [Rochefort extends his hand, palm down.] I-I know it's a little late in the game, but--all for one, and one for all?

[Ponygirl rests her palm on top of Rochefort's hand; CJL places his hand on top of hers. All three turn toward HonorH, who is visibly hesitating.]


HONORH: I'm thinking, all right? You haven't exactly engendered trust over the past 36 hours. [Pause.] But I have to admit, there are times over the past two years when I've missed you guys. [To Rochefort] Even you, you big cootie.

[HonorH places her hand on top of the pile.]

ROCHEFORT: Ladies and gentlemen--MOLOJ lives.

HONORH: We have to do something about the name.

[At that moment, a blinding flash of light from the Engine chamber blows out the camera in the lab and the corresponding monitor in the panic room. Curious and slightly frightened, Wohlmann approaches the wall separating the lab from the chamber, and presses his ear against the cold, metal surface. He hears a faint, momentary pounding on the other end--then nothing. Just as he steps back toward his control panel, the impenetrable wall buckles and then explodes outward in a shower of dust and debris. The dust clears, and there, in the lab--framed in a group action pose that David Grossman would have killed to capture on film--stand Buffy Summers, Xander Harris, Willow Rosenberg, and Rupert Giles. Welcome to the real world, gang.]

NEXT: Chapter 13 - "Entanglement"

In which asses are vigorously and joyously kicked, the espionage plotline is resolved in a alarmingly off-hand manner, MOLOJ and the Scoobies debate the nature of reality, and--just when everything is going so wonderfully right--everything goes horribly, horribly wrong.

[> [> Ha! That was great. Well worth waiting for. -- phoenix, 08:48:16 01/23/04 Fri

[> [> LOL! -- Pony, 08:50:03 01/23/04 Fri

I'm nervously singing "Don't fear the reset."

[> [> Ooooh! Bravo! Well written, sir! -- Rahael, 11:01:44 01/23/04 Fri

And not just because you write it so I make a perfect landing. I'm afraid the real life version would be more comical!

[> [> [> Your previous 'Rah as Emma Peel' comment was too good to resist..... -- cjl, 11:14:31 01/23/04 Fri

And the bit with d'H in the tunnel was my way of expressing solidarity with the multitude of Rah/d'Herblay shippers here at ATP.

[> [> [> [> Awwww, you're sweet! -- Rahael, 06:05:49 01/24/04 Sat

[> [> worth the wait indeed! rest up, now...you've earned it! -- anom, 13:55:41 01/23/04 Fri

This is great! Jigsawing it all together (couldn't have been easy, it's getting more complex all the time--I can't even tell which side I'm on! or at least whether I know what they really have in mind), meta-meta, & funny--"so goes my nation," "Blucas-lite," "does an Ethan Rayne"--LOL! (& I don't write that unless I actually did it!) And I love the ep names as passwords...any significance to which one lets you in where?

Um, one possible continuity error, though: "the gas should dissipate in about twenty minutes"? TCH says they disconnected the tanks, so...what gas?

[> [> [> On panic rooms and passwords -- cjl, 14:15:27 01/23/04 Fri

Thanks, anom. To be honest, I don't think you're on any side right now. I've classified you as part of the "commentator" group. At this point, you, KdS and S'kat are metanarrative players.

RE: Exit Strategies

Rochefort was being sarcastic/fatalistic. Unfornately for our MOLOJ quartet, the only way out of the panic room in that situation would be if the gas HAD worked and knocked out TCH's troops. Otherwise, they're stuck.

RE: Passwords

Don't want to do a DVD commentary on my own fanfic, but in the first instance, when CJL and Ponygirl take the elevator down to where Wohlmann's Engine is being assembled, they're metaphorically descending into dreamland. (Password: "Restless")

The other two passwords aren't so tightly related. At least not consciously. (Hey, but since this fanfic is partly about the concept of synchonicity, maybe someone with way too much time could analyze how the other passwords relate to their places in the narrative.)

[> [> [> [> Re: 'Don't want to do a DVD commentary on my own fanfic . . . ' -- d'Herblay, 21:22:03 01/23/04 Fri

Actually, this is a meme going around LiveJournal right now. You know, LiveJournal, where you should be.

[> [> [> [> Re: On panic rooms and passwords -- anom, humming 'which side are you on?', 20:58:37 01/25/04 Sun

"To be honest, I don't think you're on any side right now."

Oh...well, I wasn't really asking. I'm entirely willing to wait to see what happens.

"Rochefort was being sarcastic/fatalistic."

Oh again...that sarcasm font didn't come through on my browser. Or maybe I was just being dense.

"(Hey, but since this fanfic is partly about the concept of synchonicity, maybe someone with way too much time could analyze how the other passwords relate to their places in the narrative.)"

That someone is definitely not me. I was mostly trying to find out if it was worth spending any (but not way too much) time on. Thanks--now I won't!

[> [> Fascinating and deeply insightful. I have a question... -- Masq, 14:32:08 01/23/04 Fri

Where can I get that T-shirt??!!

[> [> [> RE: T-shirt question -- cjl, 14:36:44 01/23/04 Fri

The "Connor Lives!" T-shirt worn by Masq is manufactured by Consortium Enterprises of Bath, U.K. (TCH, chairman).

(Unfortunately, it's currently unavailable outside this fanfic.)

[> [> [> [> or Answer at office supply stores -- Ann, 14:52:23 01/23/04 Fri

Office supply stores carry a type of iron on paper that you can use with your printer to print off what ever you want. Most people use photos. This case "Connor Lives". Use giant font and print it off. Iron it on and you have your very own t-shirt, or hat or whatever image you can imagine.

[> [> [> [> [> Ooohhh... -- Masq, 15:26:26 01/23/04 Fri

Watch out, or soon we'll be collecting t-shirts like we do LiveJournal icons!

[> [> [> [> [> [> That's just was I was thinking lol -- Ann, 17:21:53 01/23/04 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> Note -- Ann, 06:18:46 01/24/04 Sat

When you print words for ironing they have to mirror images to be read properly on a t-shirt. Use something like the paint program and flip it.

[> [> And the intrigue just keeps on going.. -- Jane, 16:20:57 01/24/04 Sat

where it will end I have no idea!! The journey to wherever we end up has been terrific. I'm not even sure whether I'm on the side of good or evil now(don't say grayish!) I'm holding my breath for the endgame. Hope it happens soon, or I'm going to look very blueish. And, hey Nibblet, Morningstar is still here!

[> [> Very good -- Tchaikovsky, 07:55:27 01/26/04 Mon

Those plot-lines were scary and Escher like, and now all seem to just about make sense again, which is a miracle. Now if only I was as suave and Ethan Rayne-y and indeed wealthy in real life. Incidentally Ann, Christian Bale's, like, way old.


[> [> [> I was going to suggest Daniel Radcliffe in his first adult role!! -- Ann, who changes her mind frequently ; ) lol, 09:48:09 01/26/04 Mon

[> [> [> [> That would do nicely -- TCH, 02:43:45 01/27/04 Tue

[> [> This is very exciting. I have a small request. I don't know if you remember -- MsGiles, 09:20:09 01/29/04 Thu

that me and CW were left in the desert in a white van at the end of the last MOLOJ. CW is happy as a sandbug, since there are loads of cacti everywhere, but I'm getting a bit, well, restless. Do you think I could be retired to some generic English countryside where it rains a lot?



[> Pretty much how you dreamt it.... -- Rochefort, 17:43:15 01/23/04 Fri

Just more players and more helicopters.

My favorite scene was the one with Ponygirl and I. I think you nailed that. The machine and the process was just how I imagined it, too. It's amazing to me how many of my half formed fuzzy intentions you understand and develop. I patiently await chapter 13. I'm enjoying being a character reunited with my compatriots once again.

By the way, is HonorH ever gonna READ this thing let alone contribute!?


[> [> I hope HonorH is out there and enjoying the adventure... -- cjl, 22:41:40 01/23/04 Fri

But I think the "participating" stage is long past. After chapter 13, we get the finale, and the party's over.

Speaking of which (the finale, not the party), if you're not too overloaded, do you want to take us to the finish? You know how I'm ending 13, and we generally worked out how the two teams solve 13's major plot development. I think it would be appropriate if you closed out the story you started. (We could work on both chapters simultaneously. Half the workload, half the nervous breakdowns for each of us.)

Before I go back to my storyboard, I want to say that--even though we're treating this sequel in a light, beyond-borderline self-indulgent fashion--the core subject matter resonates with me and a good chunk of the board (see related, non-fiction thread below). What happens when real life becomes so overwhelming and oppressive that you can no longer draw spiritual strength from dreams and fantasy? How do you apply the lessons of heroic literature in the real world?

Espionage foofaraw aside, this fanfic is about "Rochefort's" spiritual crisis, and I think everybody can relate to it. I hope I'm conveying with some degree of empathy and believability.

[> [> [> Thanks to all for this -- Ann, 06:44:57 01/24/04 Sat

I am touched by the kindness with which you write. All of you. This occasion for humour and fan fan/fiction reveals your obvious friendship and love for the people on this board. I am grateful to have been allowed a peek and a part. This is why I love this board. Don't want to go all mushy, okay I do, but let you know that all chapters have been printed out and enjoyed repeatedly. The camaraderie that the story entails is just a beautiful depiction of relationships on this board.

The variety of threads on this board, from the angst of a twenty something poster to the birth of a healthy baby, allow us to see the expanse of life happening. Buffy allowed us to be a part of something else that comes from this board. That was her gift. The story all of you shared in writing reflects this and was an even greater gift because it was real and from the heart. And lots of fun. We can all gain strength from that!

I guess I just want to say thank you.

[> [> [> [> We're all family here -- Masq, 09:21:45 01/24/04 Sat

That's why I love this board, too.

Thanks for your warm observations!

[> [> [> [> Do you mean: 'I want to say thankyou and HOW MANY YEARS BEFORE 'RESCUE REVISTED REVISTED'!?!? -- Rochefort, 22:10:22 01/24/04 Sat

I know CJL has hopes that the final chapters of "The Rescue Revisited" will bring satisfying closure that will last a good long while. There are no plans for the forseeable future for a "The Rescue Revisted Revisited". However, CJL and I are already in contractual talks with Miramax for the movie rights on the original "Rescue". Additionally, there is a cartoon in its conceptual stages about Ponygirl as a spy in middle school, and a spin off sitcom about HonorH having to share an apartment with her wacky alter identity Honorificus who leaves the cap off the tooth paste all the time.

[> [> [> [> [> Yes on the first, perhaps on the second!! -- Ann, 04:48:42 01/25/04 Sun

Your call on the second. I, as a fan, would of course completely enjoy the series continueing. But there is no pressure being put on the artists!

I await the movie and cartoon.

Possible actors for the movie:

Cjl - James Spader, Tom Hanks, Adrian Brody
Rochefort - Daniel Day Lewis, Johnny Depp
Ponygirl - Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman
Rob - Toby Maguire, Brendan Fraser, Rob Lowe
HonorH /Honorificus - Charlize Theron
Darby - Christopher Walken, Kenneth Branagh
Masq - Linda Fiorentino,Diane Lane
Rah - Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry, Thandie Newton
Anon. - Gwyneth Paltrow
KDS-Russell Crowe
Shadowkat - Juliette Binoche
Wohlmann - Alan Rickman
Dirk - Willem Defoe

I hope I didn't forget anyone.
Note: If N. Kidman plays Ponygirl, then Thandie Newton can't play Rah. Too Flirting. If A. Brody plays Cjl then Halle Berry can't play Rah - too Academy Awards. C. Theron has proven recently she can change her appearance dramatically. G. Paltrow disappears in her roles therefore is a good choice for Anom.

Your choices??

[> [> [> [> [> [> LOL -- Rahael, 05:02:54 01/25/04 Sun

I love your list. And someone else who has seen Flirting - a film I liked a lot.

[> [> [> [> [> [> my 1st thought was, you gotta be kidding! -- anom, 22:27:51 01/25/04 Sun

...until I saw this part:

"G. Paltrow disappears in her roles therefore is a good choice for Anom."

Good point, although I don't know if she'd be willing to spend as much time offscreen as I do in this fic. But Paltrow is way too young to play me. And Lowe is way too old to play Rob...too bad to pass up the coincidence of the 1st names, though.

"C. Theron has proven recently she can change her appearance dramatically."

Yep, & how big a step can it be to go from playing "Monster" to playing a demon? @>)

"I hope I didn't forget anyone."

Well, actually...how about TCH?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: my 1st thought was, you gotta be kidding! -- Ann, 04:29:14 01/26/04 Mon

I knew I would forget someone. Sorry! Tch could be played by Christain Bale.

I figured your time offscreen would be compensated for by an another awarding winning performance. There are no "small" parts, only "small" actors! lol

[> [> [> [> [> [> Hmmm -- KdS, 23:39:08 01/25/04 Sun

So I'm a fat drunk Australian thug... ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Hmmm -- Ann, 04:34:16 01/26/04 Mon

:) I was thinking master and commander of the helicopters carrying those hopes and dreams.

[> [> [> [> [> [> OK, if we're going to do this, let's hew a little closer to reality.... -- cjl, 11:21:26 01/26/04 Mon

Based on folks I've actually met:

CJL: Danny Strong
ROB: Toby Maguire (pre-Spidey Peter Parker physique)
PONYGIRL: Renee Zellweger (circa Bridget Jones)
RAHAEL: Parminder K. Nagra
D'HERBLAY: Peter Scolari (for the dry humor)
DARBY: Philip Seymour Hoffman
SARA: Bonnie Raitt
MASQ: Janeane Garofalo (for her rapier wit)
ANOM: Sissy Spacek
WOHLMANN: Gene Wilder (circa Young Frankenstein)
DIRK: Willem Dafoe (sounds good to me)

I've never met Rochefort or HonorH. (And Shadowkat would prefer to be left out of this....)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hey, I'm the one who looks like Philip Seymour Hoffmann! -- KdS, 11:57:45 01/26/04 Mon

A younger version, though.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Well... -- Random, 11:58:25 01/26/04 Mon

Since I apparently have a cameo -- and treated a lot nicer than I've treated people in BehindtheScenes, heh -- might I suggest I be played by the Lt. Col. Kilgore aka Robert Duvall? But, you know, with longer hair?

Though when I pictured myself in the BehindtheScenes (which we will update, I promise, though I can't promise we'll be, you know, nice or anything), my mental image has always been the Eye of Sauron. Odd.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Well... -- LittleBit, 14:51:42 01/26/04 Mon

I don't just have a cameo... I am BehindTheScenes!! LOL!!! I should be happy to play myself in the cameo, in a Susan Sarandon-ish way. ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> and since when does hollywood casting hew at all closely to reality? -- anom, 12:33:40 01/26/04 Mon

Sissy Spacek, huh? On the other hand, someone once told me I sound like Geena Davis (I do not look like her), & since so far I'm mostly voice in this fanfic, maybe that's more appropriate!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I get to stay Johnny Depp then. -- Rochefort, 12:59:59 01/26/04 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> heh! -- Pony, 18:57:17 01/26/04 Mon

At least it's not Renee Zelleweger circa A Price Above Rubies ("she puts the ha! in Hasid!"). And couldn't Geena Davis play shadowkat? It's a dream cast all the way!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> For my two seconds of fame... -- angel's nibblet, 15:26:11 01/28/04 Wed

Can I be played by a teenaged Kate Winslet? Please please PLEASE :-D?

What happened to us hobbit-like women anyways?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Inquiring hobbit-like minds want to know.. -- Jane, 17:30:27 01/28/04 Wed

Are the two of us still in France? Cause if we are, I'm off to the Riviera for some sun! Oh, yeah, I could be played by Diane Keaton (she's about my age, and looks great). Although maybe she's a bit spinnier than me. LOL.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Inquiring hobbit-like minds want to know... -- angel's nibblet, 18:09:41 01/28/04 Wed

Hear hear! I think some holidaying is required. Or it would be if someone hadn't stolen my unicorn...

Wish I *did* look like Kate Winslet :-S

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Ladies....I'm planning to bring both of you back, but not until AFTER the end of story. -- cjl, 19:07:55 01/28/04 Wed

I'm sorry, but I can't be any more vague than that.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> OK, Nibblet, grab your bikini! Holiday time. -- Jane, 19:45:42 01/28/04 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Weeeeeeeeeeee! *runs gleefully into the horizon* -- angel's nibblet, 13:56:30 01/29/04 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The only way to keep you two and Anne out of the final chapters.... -- Rochefort, 00:35:30 01/29/04 Thu

is if I get shot before we can complete the story. For she today that fights with me shall BE my sister, be she ne'r so bold. This day shall gentle her condition...and gentleman like Random shall think themselves ACCURSED they were not here. And hold their manhood's CHEAP. Whilst any speak. Who fought with us. Upon St. Vigis day!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> therefore... -- Ann, 04:29:35 01/29/04 Thu

now until the end of the world, we and it shall be remembered.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: therefore... -- Jane, 15:39:24 01/29/04 Thu

Sisters in arms, we are. I'm feeling all Joan of Arc now (hopefully there won't be any burning at the stake involved!) Rochefort, we are your stalwarts standing strong. :)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I feel a song coming on! lol -- Ann, 05:08:33 01/30/04 Fri

[> [> [> Re: I hope HonorH is out there and enjoying the adventure... -- Rochefort, 22:26:33 01/24/04 Sat

Yes these are the two things that have in part made working on this exciting. 1. CJL's and some others understanding of the core crisees driving the story, though I didn't feel like I ever articulated this explicitly. 2. The energy surrounding this resulting in such wonderful contributions from everyone.


p.s. CJL, I am brainstorming the finale and I thank you for offering me the honor of bringing us home.

[> [> [> CJL re: e-mail -- Rochefort, 22:34:18 01/24/04 Sat

I misplaced your e-mail. Can you e-mail me where you're leaving me off in the course of events so that I can start writing? I know every thing that's happening, but I don't know where I pick it up.

[> [> [> I'm out here. -- HonorH, 14:17:46 01/25/04 Sun

Been housesitting, though, and haven't had access to my bookmarks. I'll start reading pronto, though.

[> [> [> [> You were going to eat quiche in the last chapter. You just made it in time. -- Rochefort, 20:29:54 01/25/04 Sun

What did you think of David's directorial debut? -- Vash the Stampede, 13:03:16 01/23/04 Fri

Aside from the fact that it looked like Spike was making love to Cousin It in the dream sequence, I thought he did a great job. What did the rest of you think?


[> Re: What did you think of David's directorial debut? -- Claudia, 14:04:01 01/23/04 Fri

I think he did a good job, although there were moments when I was confused on whether we were watching Angel's dreams, or real time.

Who's Cousin It?

[> [> He was a character... -- Vash the Stampede, 14:17:57 01/23/04 Fri

on the Addams Family. He was completely covered with hair, and I was never quite sure if he was supposed to be human, or some sort of creature.

When I watched the dream sequence with Spike in Angel's bed, it seemed to me that all there was of "Buffy" was a mop of hair. I mean did they even use a real stand in? In my experience, most women don't have their faces obscured by their hair during sex ;) They could have at least used a sheet or something to cover her face; it completely blew the illusion that that was Buffy

[> [> [> Re: He was a character... -- Sgamer82, 10:22:49 01/24/04 Sat

If anything killed the Buffy illusion for me, it was the sound clips of dialogue.

Though, I might be able to forgive that if it turns out the lines are from The Prom (since Spike & Angel were discussin the prom and Buffy in the dream).

[> [> [> [> Re: He was a character... -- deacon, 20:11:32 01/24/04 Sat

The sound clip seemed significant to me becuase it was from the end of season 3 when angel was coming to terms with why he had to leave buffy.

The one thing that I didn't like was how they covered the doubles face with hair I felt they could have done a better job with it.

[> Re: What did you think of David's directorial debut? -- TexasGirl, 14:18:52 01/23/04 Fri

Everybody's acting seemed a little bit off to me (even Alexis!), but maybe it was supposed to be that way? I couldn't tell if it was intentional or not, but it wasn't just the dream sequences that felt off.

I thought some of the cuts back and forth between Spike and "Doyle" when they were speaking were choppy too.

[> Very impressed... -- Rob, 15:11:13 01/23/04 Fri

The shots were composed beautifully, particularly the zoom out from Fred looking into the hole in Angel's chest, farther and farther into the "cave." I was very pleased with the framing and composition throughout. It showed a director who knew why certain shots work and how to use them to maximum effect, particularly a lot of the low angle shots, from Angel's in-bed perspective that made people like Fred and Eve seem larger and more intimidating as opposed to Angel's minimized and potentially-in-danger status in those scenes. References to previous episodes also showed great knowledge of his own show.


[> [> Re: Very impressed... -- Masq, 15:28:10 01/23/04 Fri

particularly the zoom out from Fred looking into the hole in Angel's chest, farther and farther into the "cave."

Or possibly a director who watches a lot of CSI....

[> [> [> One Shot In Particular Floored Me Like No Other in the Episode... -- AngelVSAngelus, 17:22:24 01/23/04 Fri

and that was the last one, Angel in the foreground framing the rest of the AI gang behind him. It was the perfect visual compliment to Eve's suggestion that he look at the group within, unless he doesn't like what he sees, and had an ominous portent of the gang's ever growing corruption.

[> [> [> [> It's good to see you on the board again, AvsA! -- Masq, 18:26:54 01/23/04 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> Thanks! -- AngelVSAngelus, 17:03:37 01/24/04 Sat

[> [> [> [> Re: One Shot In Particular Floored Me Like No Other in the Episode... -- Fenugreek, 18:44:24 01/23/04 Fri

Yes, I was very impressed with that shot as well. Did anyone else get the feeling that that image was an indication of Angel's increasing alienation from the rest of the AI gang? I felt that because of the way Angel was alone in the foreground with the rest of the gang all together in the background.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: One Shot In Particular Floored Me Like No Other in the Episode... -- alcibiades, 14:22:49 01/24/04 Sat

It's actually a fractal of a shot that has appeared two other times, once this season.

The final scenes of Just Rewards, when Spike has admitted he is being pulled into Hell has Fred standing behind him to the left, with the empty windows of emptiness behind them both.

This in turn plays off of the original shot at the end of Afterlife, after Buffy has admitted to Spike she was in Heaven and is now walking back to resume the hell of her life on earth, among her friends who dragged her here.

You can see these two shots lined up together in my post here:


The final shot in Soul Purpose has the same composition. The elevator door closing has just cut off the space before Angel, like Spike, in Just Rewards, who faces a dark window with a view to nothing at all. Angel, existentially, the most severe of the three has the sealed off elevator door in front of his face. And behind him, the windows look out onto dark empty windows stressing once again that this year is not about family, it is about inner emptiness.

And here Angel's face is not tilted slightly backward in reference to the others, the way Spike and Buffy's were. His gang is behind him, but he is not relating to them.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: One Shot In Particular Floored Me Like No Other in the Episode... -- Masq, 11:07:50 01/26/04 Mon

this year is not about family, it is about inner emptiness

Have to agree with that. I miss the feeling of family among the characters, the way they would confide in each other, or bicker, or go to great lengths to help or hinder each other. I miss their personal interactions, as opposed to the professional intereactions and isolation in their offices this season.

There's an impersonalness, a divide-and-conquerness now that I'm sure is deliberate, but unpleasant for an old fan.

[> [> [> [> [> [> See also 'The Magic Bullet' -- breidablik, 12:59:18 01/26/04 Mon

Where there is an almost identical framed shot. Just after Fred has shot Angel in the bookstore, Jasmine and Connor return to the Hyperion and reveal that Angel is lost to them.

Jasmine stands to the left of the image in close-up. Wes, Lorne and Gunn stand shoulder to shoulder in the background. The one difference? Connor, sat to the right of the image, mid-way between Jasmine and the group with his back to the viewer.

There is also an empty chair present in the centre of the shot that I always took to represent Angel..

[> [> [> [> [> It was great ME episode final shot -- RadiusRS, 22:20:40 01/25/04 Sun

[> [> Re: Very impressed... -- pellenaka, 03:54:32 01/24/04 Sat

Oh, I loved the shot of Fred looking in Angel and coming out of Angel's eye.
Not all directors can pull those kind of shot off all that well but it was beautifully done.

[> When the standard for a dream episode in the buffyvers is 'Restless' -- Deacon, 20:13:54 01/24/04 Sat

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