July 2003 posts
This week's episode: "Teacher's Pet"
-- Jay, 18:43:31 07/06/03 Sun
Sorry if someone else brought most of this up, but I haven't been
able to read a whole lot of the board this past week, with Voynak
on the loose, and a nice three day weekend. God, did I need that.
But I have some thoughts on Teachers Pet.
I have a lot of mixed feeling about the episode. I feel like they
could have done it better, except, they really probably couldn't
have in the wild first year.
First off, Xander's fantasy scenes. At initial glance they seem
embarrassing and cheap compared to where this show eventually
goes only one year later. But to a 15/16 year old male, who's
finding himself in the circumstances that Xander has recently
found himself in... well, they're spot on. He's not battle forged
yet, at least not as much as he will be in just a few more episodes.
The scenes really aren't humiliating, since it's all in Xander's
head and no one else knows what the hell is in there. But it kind
of gives us a taste of the humiliation the writers are prepared
to heap upon our beloved characters, once they decide to play
it for real.
Next, it's the first episode that Xander and Willow lay eyes on
the "buff", Angel. This really doesn't mean much to
me. It seems like a token appearance, but they're trying to build
mystery to something that we all know as Buffy ancient history.
This is okay, since it pays off later in the episode "Angel".
But what kind of girly name is Angel, anyway?
First faculty member killed. Of course he would be the first one
that gave Buffy encouragement in her scholastic endeavors. And
his replacement, of course she would be attracted to Xander and
try to kill him. This is so obvious looking back, but initially,
it was the first time either situation presented itself.
Buffy and Willow teaming up against Xander's hormone driven attitude:
Perfect. This is only the fourth hour of the series, and this
character interaction has found its legs and is sprinting.
Cordy barely ranks at all in this episode, serving to find the
dead body, and to make a joke at the expense of high school counseling.
The bad girl seems pretty pedestrian for all the work that the
gang puts into figuring out who and what she is. The vampire with
a claw, what the hell was he suppose to be? Angel must have been
looking for excuses to talk to Buffy to warn her about that guy.
Male virgins being targeted by evil is kind of a sunny switch
on the horror genre. Which I believe is the target of the episode
given the Xander fantasy scenes. But I can't help but think all
of this could have been done better. It was only the fourth hour
of the series. The canon was not only not established, it was
barely in the forethought of the writers. It does serve better
continuity compared to the later upcoming "Angel" episode
considering his now known huge history with Darla. At least Flutie
survived the episode, but not for long...
[> Oh crap. I should have
posted this with Darby's thread. -- Jay, who is too impulsive,
like the buffalo, 19:03:26 07/06/03 Sun
*Out of the
Chair* - Coda for Season Seven (a.k.a. "The Endless 7.22
Review") ... Part II -- OnM, 19:07:14 07/06/03 Sun
~ ~ ~ ( Continued from Part I ) ~ ~ ~
OnM: As I had started to say a little bit earlier, one
of the high points for me this season was in the
scene near the end of Chosen where Robin Wood appears to
die as Faith is watching him. Now while I
don't think many viewers would question how genuine the look of
sadness was on her face as this occurs, I do
think that a lot of folks interpreted Wood's actions as only pretending
to die, continuing the 'season of
fakeouts' trend and getting a chance to 'surprise' Faith.
EC: Not to mention getting a little retribution for her
blowing him off earlier in Touched.
OnM: That's what it may have looked like, and I certainly
can't dispute that interpretation for certain.
There is the idea that you treat someone poorly, and then they
die shortly after that and all you can think of is
what their last encounter with of you was like, and that wasn't
the real impression you wanted to leave. But in
the shooting script, Joss uses the phrase He coughs, spasming
back to life, and she draws back her hand, as
startled as he. It makes no sense to use the words 'as startled
as he' unless he wasn't faking-- he
actually did die, at least for a moment. What Faith saw was real.
EC: So your take on this trip was?
OnM: She brought him back to life with her touch. Faith,
like Willow, has finally tapped into something
that is a very powerful and positive force. Her touch can bring
death, but it can now also bring life, and just as
Buffy's self-resurrection during the ultimate battle brought the
other Slayers around her 'back to life' and
enabled Spike's amulet to do its thing, Faith has just bent reality
in a smaller but still similar way.
EC: Without really understanding the how and all, just
like you always maintain that Buffy does. The
Matrix-y Neo thing. But doesn't Neo have an understanding
of his powers?
OnM: Well, I don't think so, at least not to date. He can
manipulate the Matrix at will, with some
limitations of course, but he couldn't always, and I don't think
he understands the mechanism, he just wills it and
it happens. I think it's a quiet little homage to The Matrix
in that in the first part of the trilogy, Neo is
dead, killed by Smith, and I mean he is dead dead. Trinity
tells him that he can't be dead, because she
knows he is The One-- and she tells him that she loves him. Neo
comes back from death, and not only that, he is
reborn with new power. Her thoughts and her touch bring him back
EC: True and all, but isn't that more of an analogy for
Buffy than Faith? Buffy has died twice, Faith
hasn't even died once yet, other than maybe psychologically.
OnM: And after Buffy's first death at the hands of the
Master, she arises and 'feels strong'. But
Prophecy Girl predates the first Matrix film by
several years, so it couldn't have been an homage
for back then. I'm not sure that it's really important anyway,
I was mostly noting the general thematic
similarities. I like the idea of a psychological death, though.
Faith certainly has experienced that, and in AtS
earlier this year, she nearly did die physically, but Angel pulled
her back from the grave that time.
EC: It's in keeping with alla them traditional mythologies,
Campbell and Faust and whathaveya. The
hero dies and is reborn with new knowledge and/or powers, yada-yada,
boom-schuka-lucka. But wouldn't this
mean that Faith is actually in love with Wood? I mean for the
homage to hold up in Faith's case.
OnM: (Faust?) I think most people would agree that
Trinity didn't know for sure that she loved
Neo until that critical moment when he died, and it came to the
surface of her mind out of her subconscious. I
agree that it's too early to tell for sure whether there's more
than friendship and good sex between these two, but
there is the potential. But that's more on the shippy side of
things, and my main point here was that for Faith,
bringing life to someone she cared about had to be an ecstatic
moment in both an emotional and a spiritual sense.
EC: But aren't you reading a lot into her reaction? Don't
you think maybe she was just plain ol' relieved
he wasn't dead, and that that's all there really was?
OnM: I don't know about that. Faith isn't the hugs'n'puppies
type, at least not yet, and she may never
be. That doesn't mean she has no deep feelings, just that she
doesn't usually expess them openly. Remember that
funny little exchange in AtS where she and Wesley say goodbye
right before she leaves for Sunnydale? She kids
Angel that he 'wanted to hug' and that Wesley is the one who knows
how to do a proper parting of the ways.
It's funny, because Faith is obviously very female, yet emotionally
she's most often stereotypically male. There's
a distance that she needs to keep, and the strong instinctual
feeling that emotions are weaknesses that can be
EC: (grins) Well they are ya know! You feel guilty, I get
drunk. Works for me!
OnM: (glares) You know, I though you were doing so well
there, what with the attempt at having a
conversation in a manner of cooperative civility and all. But,
EC: Hope springs eternal, right? What would you have done
if ME decided to kill off Faith? Or have her
return to her evil ways? Aren't you Faith shippers just like the
Spike redemptionists? Isn't it all just this desire to
prop up one's ego by thinking that if only she met the right guy,
she could be reformed? Be a good girl again?
Face it-- it isn't realistic.
OnM: It isn't common, no. Unfortunately such attempts,
no matter how well intentioned, usually fail
because you can't make someone change-- they have to want
to change, and for real, not specious
reasons. I think this is what got Dave Fury all bent about the
fan's reactions to Spike. People though he was
redeemed because he was in love with Buffy. While that was a step
in the right direction, it wasn't enough. I
don't think Spike was truly redeemed until Chosen.
EC: And now he's dead! That's a great reward for ya! Redemption
is overrated, sez me.
OnM: Granted, in the real world, that seems kinda rude.
But metaphorically as the show goes, it pretty
much had to happen. The fact of the matter is that two of the
characters who died in the finale were entities who
killed a huge number of humans in their demonic days, and did
so cheerfully. BtVS has always had a distinctly
Eastern religious/philosophical slant to it from day one, and
I think that it's a matter of karma and the cosmic
wheel turning. Anya and Spike have a ways to go before some sense
of karmic balance is restored, but they are at
least moving in a positive direction.
EC: (giggles again) Hee-hee... my karma ran over my dogma...
hee-- that always cracks me up.
OnM: (rolling eyes, then continuing) Also, as some other
astute fans have pointed out, the original ME
vamp metaphor was that vamps are representative of arrested adolescence,
and by extension unwilling to accept
the reality of mortality.
EC: Kinda like people who make clones, right?
OnM: Your existence does not extend my own. We share similar
DNA, but your mind and body are
yours, not mine. You are not me-- and I'll still die some day.
EC: (momentarily stunned): Damn! Logic... I hate logic.
Didn't expect that.
OnM: See, if you were me, you would have expected
that. Thus proving my point. Besides
which, you love logic when it supports your own point of view.
EC: (suddenly jumping up and backing away from the desk)
Ahhhh!!!! My brain!! You're gonna do a
brain transplant and take over my body! Ahhhhhhh!!!!
OnM: (bemused) Yeah, right. Like I have the skills to do
a brain transplant. Not to mention the probable
state of your liver and several other organs I really don't
wish to know the status of.
EC: (not convinced) You could hire someone! Get thee from
OnM: I thought you were an atheist? Besides, who could
I hire on my income?
EC: (calming down) Oh, yeah. Right. You are disturbingly
weak in the revenue department, that's true.
(brightens up, walks back over and sits down at the desk again)
Whatta loser. Never mind.
OnM: Are you quite sure you're through? I really need to
get this written.
EC: So then why are we talking about Spike? Spike, Spike
Spike, it's always about thee, Spike.
OnM: I was talking about Faith. Spike only came up because
of the redemption issue. What I was going
to point out was that just because genuine redemption is a rare
happenstance in the realverse, that doesn't mean
it isn't a worthy goal to strive for. That concept has always
been what ME has established as one of the
philosophical baselines of both BtVS and AtS, I would say. What
tweaks my interest in the case of both Faith
and Spike is the idea that in a way, they are perceived as being
more heroic than Buffy because of the depth of
darkness that they pulled themselves out of. Faith, in particular,
is someone I could see that way.
OnM: Don't get me wrong, I love the character of Buffy,
and she's still my favorite character if forced
to choose one. But one of the reason fans are so compelled to
attached themselves emotionally to darker souls
such as Faith or Spike is that most viewers don't see themselves
as Buffy. Even though Joss takes pains to make
Buffy Summers a flawed human being, she is still an unnatural
hero to most of us, because of her strength and
inner poetry of being.
EC: Uh-oh, look out-- New Age-y alert...
OnM: Hold on now, I'm not getting New-Agey. By 'strength
and inner poetry of being', I'm referring
to the fact that while Joss would almost certainly deny it, Buffy
is imbued with certain deity-like qualities. It's
part of what is required for the mythology to work. But we have
to figure that God must have an easier time
with the moral issues because, well-- God, you know? Big with
the eternal goodness and wisdom, right?
EC: Uhh-- right... huh?
OnM: Joss gives his god-figure a difficult time with her
life because he doesn't want us to waste our real
potential admiring a hopelessly perfect being. I generally agree,
I think it's a critical fault with most Western
religious belief that it insists that its god be perfect, all-knowing,
eternal, etc. If you want to set up a vertical
hierarchy that can be used to effectively control the masses for
political or economic purposes, then this is a truly
superb way to do it. But as I mentioned before, the Buffyverse
only borrows selected iconic elements of Western
religion, spiritually it's mostly Eastern. That's one of the several
reasons that I closed the 'official' portion of my
Chosen review with a long quote from our beloved Buddhist
poster Ryuei. And of course, I've also
stated previously how much I admire manwitch's take on the 'chakra'
concept of Buffy's spiritual advancement
through the seven seasons.
EC: Yeah, haven't heard from ol' Ryuei in a long while.
Wonder what he's up to these days, and if he's
OnM: I'm not sure it's possible to become truly un-Buffyized,
even if you really didn't like season 6 or
7, or have other dire complaints. We are what we are, tempered
by experience. I haven't been a Catholic since I
was a child, nor have I wanted to be one again, but elements of
it still affect my thinking. I expect for the
remainder of my natural life...
EC: (proudly) Un-natural in my case! Yay, me!
OnM: ...ahem... that I'll be a Buffy disciple. Buffy-ness
now permeates my view of the world.
Short of an aneurysm-- funny or otherwise-- it's part of my psyche.
EC: (nods in agreement) There are certainly worse fates.
OnM: Absolutely. And some of them become president. But
we won't go there.
EC: Oh God no, please don't. My blood alcohol level is
only like 1.2%. It's not enough.
OnM: (pondering) I wonder why Buddhists don't ever run
for president? Guess maybe it's just way too
much bad karma to balance out in future lives. Anyway, back to
EC: Are we going to talk about any other high points of
the show, or it this all about Faith?
OnM: Of course we're going to talk about other stuff. What's
your hurry? "There's another beer / There
EC: I though you wanted to get this done and all, and here
we are rambling mindlessly.
OnM: I don't think it's mindless. Reality is just strange
is all, and sometimes you go strange places. As
long as you get back OK, right?
EC: I guess. And as long as there's beer. Beer good.
OnM: So, Faith is someone that ordinary people identify
with, at least the people who have had
difficulties in their own lives that they've had to overcome,
or at least learn to live with. Hopefully, they haven't
actually killed anybody, but still... I think it's a quietly heroic
act to not give in, because frankly that really is a
hell of a lot easier. One of the things that pisses me off about
my own generation is that so many of them sold out
so easily once they slammed headfirst into adulthood. Oh yeah,
it's the 60's and it's all peace'n'love this, stop the
war that, hope for the future of humanity blahdee-blah-blah and
today they live in big gi-hugic houses in the
suburbs with their monster SUV's and vote Republican. Bleah!
EC: Uhh, you drive an SUV.
OnM: (hesitating) Yes... but... it's a really small one,
just a four cylinder. Like a long Jeep. And it's 13
years old. And my first car was a VW beetle, and I had that for
19 years. I live in the city, and my house could be
euphemistically referred to as 'quaint'.
EC: And you're proud of these things?
OnM: (pivot...) Getting off the track again here! Faith!
Faith faced up to the evil that was taking over
her soul, and she fought back. Granted, she had help, but why
shouldn't she? Buffy survived to save the world a
lot because of her friends, and because she has a solid internal
moral compass. Faith had very few friends, and a
more typically human shaky moral compass. Eventually, one friend
who did not abandon her helped her on the
path, but ultimately she made the decision to change her life
on her own, when she accepted responsibility for her
actions and committed herself to prison. To me, this is a valid
form of heroism.
EC: But then she broke out. Sorta morally ambiguous, yea?
OnM: Absolutely, typical Hollywood liberal writer types
at work. I mean, the woman killed at
least one completely innocent person, and severely injured a whole
raft of of others, including a little torture of
one special fellow for good measure. She should be locked
up for life, with no possibility of parole.
EC: And in the real world, she would be, whether she's
genuinely sorry or not. That's the law, and the
law has the history of human morality behind it, does it not?
In the real world, there are no First Evils taking over
the planet via a horde of uber-vampires who need a supernatural
Slayer to combat them. So why do we all cheer
when she breaks out?
OnM: Yeah, isn't that a hoot? But it's perfectly reasonable,
considering what I've just noted about what
actions those of us behind the 'fourth wall' tend to perceive
as heroic and the fact that we are privy to
information that in a realverse situation, we would not have.
Namely, we 'know' that Faith has made a sincere
effort to reform herself, and now she needs a way to put those
intentions to the test. Sitting there in jail proves
nothing at this point, and serves no one, with the one valid exception
that Faith has exerted the self control to do
it. As pointed out, she could have broken out of jail anytime,
easily. It's another personal growth experience that
parallels the ones that the other characters in the series have
been going through. The first six seasons have been
kind of a preparation, now the lessons that have been learned
over that time need to be applied.
EC: Like Buffy learns that the solution to dealing with
her power isn't to ignore it, or repress it, but to
spread it around to others.
OnM: Exactly. I find it delightfully ironic that Faith,
always a completely dominant individual in terms of
her past relationships with other humans, eventually finds a sort
of psychological peace in a more submissive
role. At least when it makes sense to be, when she can learn something
from it. The power-exchange thing is
more in balance for her now, and of course before it was all one-sided.
The scenes between her and Wesley on
AtS illustrated this dynamic perfectly. Here is this man, who
once was weaker then her, and she basically preyed
upon him. Now, he is clearly the one with power over her, and
again there is the wonderful irony of how that
came to be.
EC: Ahh. Guilt.
OnM: Yes, guilt. It was there even several years ago, but
of course it was stringently repressed.
Remember that scene in Five by Five where Faith is sitting
on the windowsill of the apartment where she
has been torturing Wesly, staring almost blankly out at the night,
holding a bloodied shard of broken glass, idly
handling it. She tosses the shard almost indifferently out of
the window, and it falls to the ground below and
EC: Freakin' great image, isn't it? "That's my
soul in there...", like Sting said.
OnM: Yes it is. She then goes back into the room to make
Wesley suffer some more, but we can tell it
really isn't working for her. There is no catharsis, no satisfaction.
Wesley is suffering horribly, but he is in
control, because he will not beg or plead. He is physically powerless,
yet he has power over her. She picked
Wesley because she felt he was weak, and an easy mark, and it
turns out that he's far tougher than he seems. All
of this only reinforces her subconscious feelings of inferiority--
this inept, 'poncy' Watcher is better than she is
after all. Maybe everyone is better than she is-- so it's
a good thing that Angel will be here to kill her
EC: It's the exact opposite of Buffy's superiority/inferiority
OnM: It is indeed. Buffy is superior, and has huge
trouble dealing with that fact, so much of the
time she makes herself feel inferior because to her that's the
only appropriate response to an otherwise
inappropriate ego-trip. Buffy upbraids Faith because Faith revels
in her specialness, and Faith in turn criticises
Buffy for not accepting her superiority. What Buffy doesn't understand
is that behind the arrogance is a lonely
person who perceives that the calling to Slayerdom has essentially
elevated her from something akin to common
dirt, although Buffy does eventually gain the insight in S7. To
Faith, it's just too horrifying to accept that said
calling is a cosmic mistake of some kind, but events just appear
to keep hammering that idea home.
EC: Do you fault Buffy for abandoning Faith back in the
OnM: Yes and no, but mostly no. It goes to what I was saying
earlier about Joss making his god-figure
flawed. Buffy isn't all-giving and forgiving, at some point
she gets really pissed and then compassion
definitely has it's limits. We do know that after Buffy stabbed
and possibly killed Faith that Buffy was
immediately regretful, and knew that she had gone too far. Her
motivations may have been very justifiable from
any imperical sense, but she would only have been giving Faith
what Faith wanted, in several ways, and doing so
at the expense of adhering to her own moral center. Faith said
as much long before-- "you kill me, you become
me". Of course, I think that this incident was the prequel
to the Angel/Faith conflict, where Faith's way of
dealing with her evil actions was to engender a death wish, but
not just any death-- it had to be a death at the
hands of a 'superior' being.
EC: Which makes the death a 'righteous' one to her way
OnM: And submissive in a way that only Faith could envision
it. Namely, I will fight with every
strength that is in me. If I win, the 'master' wasn't worthy of
me. If I lose, it is because I deserve to.
EC: That's perverse, ain't it?
OnM: But sensible in context. Much has been made of the
Buffy/Faith lesbian subtext over the course of
the third season, and that Faith saw Angelus not just as a threat
to humanity, but as a rival for her affections. And
Buffy accepted Angel's darkness, but yet balked at accepting Faith's.
It does seem unfair on Buffy's part.
EC: But ya know, fanfic fantasies aside, really and truly,
we have never seen any actual evidence
that Faith is bisexual, and less than that amount that Buffy is
anything but heterosexual.
OnM: I was getting to that. By the way, "less than
EC: It gets the point across, doesn't it?
OnM: (begrudungly admitting that it does) Yes, but... anyway,
as I was saying, I think that Faith
could have had thoughts like this-- on some level-- that
were directed at Buffy, and even if they only were
ever realized as a close friendship with an 'equal', it would
have made Faith happier and more secure. Faith
understands that she has a dark side, and she thinks that she
sees the same in Buffy. This is a great relief for
Faith, because if someone as standup and righteous as Buffy Summers
has darkness in her, than it can't be so
awful to possess those same traits. Buffy seems to want to be
friends, so the signs all appear good here. But as
always, hopes get dashed by circumstances.
Buffy allows her naughty side to surface a bit under Faith's influence,
but it all comes crashing down when first
off, it soon becomes clear that Buffy keeps close rein on her
darker tendencies, far more so than Faith does, and
with far less effort. When they get caught by the police, Faith
sees this as just another fun battle to engage in, but
Buffy is humiliated, probably wondering what her mother and her
friends would think. When the two Slayers
cause the police car to crash, Faith is content to bug out while
Buffy is concerned that the police officers might
be hurt. The inferiority complex starts rising up out of the ashes
again. Finally, the straw that breaks Faith--
during a fight with some vamps, Mayor Wilkins' assistant wanders
into the fight zone and Faith accidentally stabs
him, fatally, but not before Buffy screams "Faith, NO!"
Faith was totally lost in the heat and violence of
the battle, and Buffy was not-- she instantly, instinctively realized
that the assistant was a human, and not a vamp.
Buffy is shown as the superior person again, and Faith
snaps. In her mind, it's all agonizingly true-- she
really is stupid and worthless, and there's no coming back from
it this time.
EC: (sings) Oh, oooh-oo head to toe / I'm a loser baayy-beeee
/ So why dontcha kill me
OnM: (hummm....) Oh, good one. Nice musical ref.
EC: (happy at the rare compliment) Tenk yew.
OnM: Sadly, while Beck is only commenting ironically and
humorously on the slacker mindset, Faith is
drowning in irony, Summers, and it's as fatal to her as the stake
in Alan's chest was to him.
EC: And now she wants to be punished, and Buffy goes all
Dumbledore on her. Bad move.
OnM: That's not a given, although you do have a possibly
valid point. As is the norm in the Buffyverse,
the worst monsters are those inside of ourselves. Faith desperately
wants to be forgiven for her terrible act,
which after all was an accident, but at the same time her inferiority
complex is screaming at her that she doesn't
even slightly deserve it. Buffy knew better, if it had been Buffy
instead of her, the man would still be alive. Buffy
must hate her for her carelessness and stupidity, for betraying
But Buffy doesn't hate her, she's sympathetic. She wants to help.
Smug, superior bitch... lording herelf over
EC: (getting the theme) Accept her help, what are
you, crazy? Who else will stand up for you? Who
else will understand how alone you are out there.. and out here?
OnM: (following through) It's all a front. It was
all along. Nobody gives a damn about you except
you. You're a Slayer, you're special, and now they're going to
take that away from you. She'll help
them take it away from you, and then what? Don't let her.
Do what you want, not what
EC: Yeah, First Evil talkin' there. Signature.
OnM: In spirit, if not in person. From that point on it's
a years-long messy violent trip until the bookend
appears in Touched and the FE appears in the guise of Mayor
Wilkins to tempt Faith with 'reason'
again-- and this time it fails.
EC: Except it's Wood who shows up afterward and assures
Faith that she's still worthwhile and that
she's needed. Maybe that's what Buffy and Giles should have done,
instead of the hopeful sympathy? You know,
OnM: Not sure it would have made any difference. Faith
wasn't in the right place mentally, and
Wesley's faux pas in calling the Council made it easy to tip her
the wrong way. The Council employed their usual
heavy-handed tactics, essentially forcibly abducting her. If she
was ever on the fence, that's when she jumped off
of it. She may have even felt that Giles and Buffy were all in
cahoots with Wesley. Survival instinct-- them or me,
and it's gonna be me.
EC: Hey, you ever come after my brain with a scalpel, I
ain't hangin' around for a discussion!
OnM: (sighs) I'm too old to turn evil. It's too much effort.
EC: Nonsense. It's never too late for evil! They have pills
OnM: They do not. Don't believe everything you see on the
EC: It wasn't on the Shopping Channel. It was on FOX News.
OnM: (hesitating) OK, now I'm worried. It could actually
explain some things.
~ ~ ~ ( To Be Continued ) ~ ~ ~
[> If you absolutely *must*
know... Part I of this eternal madness can be found at...
-- OnM, 19:24:06 07/06/03 Sun
Or at least it is right now. Tomorrow? The next second? Who knows.
And no, The Shadow doesn't know either, so don't be ringin' him
up and asking. Let the man enjoy his retirement! Sheesh!
Part III next week? Maybe. Depends on when the evil pills arrive.
[> [> OnM - is the whole
thing somewhere? I've only caught Parts I and II! -- Marie,
05:05:59 07/07/03 Mon
[> [> [> Uhh... there
are only two parts so far, at least for this part. -- OnM,
05:28:52 07/07/03 Mon
Do you mean the actual End of Days / Chosen ep review itself?
That would be somewhere scattered through the archives by now--
because of the length it was posted over several weeks time.
If you meant that, and you can't find it, e-mail me and I'll send
a copy to you.
[> [> We're all on to
your little game, OnM. -- Rob, 11:34:06 07/07/03 Mon
This review is never going to end. Because when it does, you and
all of us will have to accept that "Buffy" is actually
over. And that's no fun. Keep it coming...as slowly (and in as
many parts) as you need to. ;o)
Your sex revealed by your word
choice? (OT and possibly provocative) -- Vickie, 12:30:37
I'd love to see the boardizens' reactions to this:
Basically, some researchers think they have written a program
that can analyze writing and determine the author's sex at 80%
[> Not provocative by my
lights -- dub ;o), 12:43:51 07/07/03 Mon
I've been pushing the gendered brain research results for twenty
years. There are gross neurophysiological differences in the composition
of female and male brains. Why are we so surprised that those
differences are reflected in, for instance, the way we communicate?
We should be amazed that we can communicate with the opposite
sex at all!
[> [> Not the alleged
fact of the differences -- Vickie, 13:31:23 07/07/03 Mon
but the means they use to find them.
I agree with the little you've said about brain differences between
men and women, though we are still the same species and should
reasonably still be able to communicate (somewhat). I just felt
that the research seemed to be looking at trivial differences,
and I wondered if they held up in other languages.
For example, would they be analyzing the Gospel of Luke in the
[> [> [> If the research
undertaken... -- Random, 15:40:50 07/07/03 Mon
by the group established a means of detecting elements that accurately
allowed them to tell whether the text was written by a male or
female, I fail to understand the complaint. They used these "trivial"
elements, as I understood, not because they only wanted certain
elements but because these elements turned out to be the most
accurate indicators. If they chose other criteria, the chosen
elements would have to demonstrate predictive power -- if not,
they are, by definition, "trivial." The ones that work
cannot be considered "trivial," but essential, by default.
In other words, they chose their elements because they were the
ones that were distilled from the analyses of the text...and the
validity of this distillation is established in the fact that,
when applied to the algorithm, they had an 80 percent accuracy
rate. Not a rate I'd trust in, say, the next plane I happen to
board, but still better than the 50/50 that purely random guessing
would have gotten in the selected texts.
On the other hand, the other languages issue is interesting, but
I don't fault them for not doing a comprehensive study of every
language before publishing their article. They were merely establishing
a postulation and confirmation in a given case (i.e. English.)
It may prove to be the case that the cultural differences affect
the predictive powers of the algorithm in other languages. It
may not. It doesn't invalidate the significance of the fact that
they discovered differences in the language they chose. It may
be that it will be left to others who follow to continue the work
in other languages and epochs.
[> [> [> [> And
not just English... -- Darby, 11:39:21 07/08/03 Tue
...But British English. Would American, Canadian, or Australian
sources give the same accuracy?
I'm expecting it to all be a vast editorial conspiracy (one must
remember that published papers get edited to varying degrees)...
[> [> [> Re: Not the
alleged fact of the differences -- sdev, 18:26:06 07/07/03
"For example, would they be analyzing the Gospel of Luke
in the original?"
What language would that be?
[> [> [> [> Greek
-- Sophist, 19:57:22 07/07/03 Mon
[> [> I'd be wary of
this interpretation -- d'Herblay (or d'Himblay? You be the
judge), 17:57:31 07/07/03 Mon
I, like pretty much everyone else here, hasn't read this study,
just the Boston Globe's abstract, but I'd be wary of deducing
evidence of "gross neurophysiological differences" between
the brain chemistries of males and females from it. From what
I can ascertain, it seems that the conclusion can be summed up
as "men write more formally than women do": fewer personal
pronouns, more quantifiers, more hifalutin convolutions such as
"garden of roses" rather than "rose garden."
One could ascribe biological causes for these differences, but
one could as easily explain them within the realm of sociology
instead. It could be that there are biases within the educational
system that push men to write more analytically, more formally
and that encourage women to write more personally. I don't know
that this would be any more far-fetched than arguing that our
hormones effects our word choice. Now while the study's authors
claim that the gender difference is noticeable even in such neutral
realms as scientific papers, certainly one can reply that early
training will have late ramifications.
So, even if the study is borne out by further research, I'd be
reluctant to assume that the difference it claims to discover
is based in biology -- of course, I'm speaking as someone who
decided, under the influence of X-Men 2 and egalitarianism,
that my X-Factor genetic ability involves the use of semicolons.
[> [> [> Um, d'Herb?
-- dub ;o), 14:03:52 07/08/03 Tue
You know I wasn't "deducing evidence of gross neurophysiological
differences" based on this article (which I haven't
And I'm not talking so much brain chemistry as I am physiology.
I was an old-school, 1970s feminist (still am) and I think I have
a pretty clear idea of effects of culture, socialization, etc.
on gender. I can't help but conclude, though, that female/male
differences are much more than culturally determined. If anything,
my recent experiences have confirmed just how subtle and extensive
an effect any differences in brain physiology can have.
[> [> [> & just to
make it more complicated... -- anom, 21:20:46 07/08/03
...early (& maybe later) influences can affect brain structure,
so it's very hard to sort out what's genetic & what's environmental.
Finding patterns is 1 thing, interpreting them another entirely.
I saw a TV program once (probably on PBS) that showed an experiment
in which adults were asked to play w/a baby. How they played
w/the baby--the same baby boy throughout--depended on whether
he was dressed as a boy or a girl. If the adults thought he was
a boy, they encouraged more active play, w/toys. If they thought
he was a girl, they talked to "her" more. So we get
cues about how we're supposed to interact from very early. Could
that affect writing styles? I wouldn't be surprised....
[> Re: Your sex revealed
by your word choice? (OT and possibly provocative) -- Rahael,
15:50:35 07/07/03 Mon
I thought the article set the findings in a fair context - that
there are many ways this can be read.
I know my writing style (on the board at least) conforms the study's
idea of how a 'woman' would write. I'm not so sure that my essay
writing style does. You see, I am very much influenced by models
and narratives that are pretty self conscious - for example, my
use of English is highly self conscious. I sometimes have to translate
what I think in one language into another. When I write essays,
I am influenced by academic essays, and newspaper articles, because
that is one of the ways I 'learnt' English. When I was growing
up, I learnt English for 'academic' purposes. My family used it
for writing articles about politics, or essays or research papers.
When we talked about ourselves, or we were connecting emotionally,
or being funny or satirical or affectionate, we would use our
own language. In a way, I can see that when I write on the board,
I am directly translating from the narrative patterns and rythms
of my childhood speech. Imagery and ideas and concepts that are
even more resonant within a different cultural context.
So for me, the idea of 'involved' ways of writing, or writing
about things is much more complex than the study seems to suggest.
I look over this paragraph, btw and notice that it is full of
'I's, which is a big no no for me if I am writing formally.
I have no problems with the idea that men and women's brains may
differ. I just think that how this expresses itself is much more
complex, and interacts much more with environment and self-expression,
and cultural modes than it appears others seem to allow.
[> [> Re: Your sex revealed
by your word choice? (OT and possibly provocative) -- sdev,
18:40:41 07/07/03 Mon
Have to agree with Rahael and D'Herblay. In fact your point is
made specifically in the article--" When women wrote for
men's magazines, they wrote in the ''male'' style. ''It clearly
was performance,'' Tannen notes. ''It didn't matter whether the
author was male or female." Tannen says it was the context
that determined the style.
Also this program shows 'what is' not 'why it is'. To conclude
that these differences are in the brain and not the upbringing
is to take a quantum leap. Correlation in science is an iffy matter.
You cannot draw conclusions as to the origin of the correlation
merely acknowledge its existence.
Hart: Season 2 -- lunasea, 12:59:25 07/07/03 Mon
Season 1 is somewhere in the archives at this point. I thank those
who brought it back and tried to keep Voynak at bay. Analysis
of season 2 has a lot to do with the arc of the season, and not
just themes of the episodes. I will try to keep this focused on
Wolfram and Hart as much as possible. I love Wes and Cordy dearly,
but they aren't what this essay is about. Same with a lot of Darla
stuff. Lots of oodlely essay goodness in there, but for other
people and/or other essays. Season 2 is 15 pages. That's long
I'm not sure how coherent the conclusion is. I will elaborate
on it when I get to why Wolfram and Hart gave Angel the LA branch.
It is actually the point of this series of essays, to give the
background for this bizarre turn of events. With Wolfram and Hart
playing Angel's foil for all these years, what will happen now
that he runs it? How can that fit into what Angel has learned
over the years and how he has developed?
Everyone just take a minute to reflect on the glory that was season
2. Warm contented sighs should be heard across the globe now.
Now to business, Wolfram and Hart's role in each episode in Season
2. Even when AI leaves this dimension and you think that they
will get a break from their schemes, we get three books on Pylea
that say this isn't so.
[> 2.01-2.06: Establishing
Contact -- lunasea, 13:03:33 07/07/03 Mon
2.01-2.06: Establishing Contact
Last season we saw a confused and disheveled Darla being greeted
by Lilah after she was raised. In "Judgment," Darla
is out of the box and wants to see her boy. Lindsey and Lilah
are with her and why Holland prefers Lindsey is evident. Lilah
and her flair talks to Darla like she is a child. Lindsey can
see things as they are and really relates to her as a person.
This will lead to his ultimate undoing or redemption, depending
on your perspective.
The appearance is to set up what will follow this season, but
it also fits with the theme, as I would expect of absolutely every
single line in a Whedon/Greenwalt script to do. "The road
to redemption is a rocky path," better not take anything
for granted or start keeping score. Lilah comes in with her typical
style and really doesn't know how to handle the situation. She
talks to Darla like she is a child and to further illustrate how
clueless she is, when Darla says "he's here," Lilah
doesn't know who she is referring to.
But the ultimate person who is taking something for granted is
Lindsey. He is looking forward to "giving back a little"
to Angel for the loss of his hand. Instead of Darla being the
instrument that was foretold in the prophecy, she ends up leading
to Lindsey's redemption and Angel's epiphany. Darla is the flip
of the Prio Moto. Angel kills the Prio thinking he is evil and
trying to harm the woman. Lindsey bring Darla to life, thinking
she hates Angel and she will hurt him. Angel killing the Prio
Moto by mistake will help set him on the right path and Lindsey
raising Darla will set him on his. A single scene for Darla/Lindsey/Lilah,
but every scene matters.
In the next episode "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been"
there is neither Darla or Wolfram and Hart. What a tease. First
they give us a glimpse and then nothing. Then again, neither fit
the theme of this episode. Gavin will later use the hotel to make
Angel's life a pain and Lilah will come to his rescue. Cordy lives
in a haunted apartment and Angel gets 68 rooms that used to be
infested with something that feeds of emotions. That is just too
symbolic to even talk about and has nothing to do with Wolfram
and Hart, so I will refrain from doing so (hear that fingers.
Don't even think about it.) No Darla leads to lots o' Darla. "First
Impression" opens with Angel's "dream" (can we
call them that?) Still, no actual Wolfram and Hart, so I will
skip this one, too.
"Untouched"-- This masterpiece that is Mere Smith's
first outing deals with the importance of control and how that
relates to contact. What an incredibly appropriate episode to
have someone who is telekinetic (who touches without touching).
What is even more appropriate is that Bethany's powers come from
"abuse of some kind - very early on," incest. Could
we get a better set up for this season? Mere will be missed. Besides
"Untouched" there is "Redefinition," "Blood
Money," "Over the Rainbow," "Fredless,"
"Birthday," "Loyalty," "Ground State,"
"Long Day's Journey," "Calvary," and "Orpheus."
Not a bad one in the bunch and some of the best non-Minear, Greenwalt
or Whedon penned episodes. Just had to say that. Now back to business.
The contrast between how Wolfram and Hart and how Angel see control
is drawn in clear lines in this episode, except Lilah crosses
that line with a single line. Gotta love when that happens. Nothing
is a throw away in these shows. Control for Angel and Bethany
is self-control. For Wolfram and Hart and Darla, it is control
of others. Lilah crosses that line when she mentions that she
enjoys folding laundry because it is "like a zen exercise"
Holland and Lindsey don't need this sort of self-control. They
have it because of the clarity that comes from understanding the
big picture and their role in it. There is a saying in Zen. If
you want to control the ox, give him a large enough pasture. Lindsey
and Holland have a pasture the size of the world. That gives them
tremendous peace of mind.
Lilah doesn't have this. There is no Lindsey in this episode.
Angel, Bethany and Lilah are the ones that are out of control.
It is interesting that it is Holland and not Lindsey that orders
Lilah to get Bethany out because she "is currently finger-painting
all over his efforts." Lindsey would only be interested in
the big picture of what Darla is doing to Angel. Now that Holland
has Lindsey where he wants him, he is moving onto Lilah. This
will save her life later.
The purpose of contact for Wolfram and Hart is to establish control.
This is shown in many ways in the episode. The episode opens with
Lilah going through Lindsey's papers in order "to keep abreast
of his latest project." Lilah establishes contact with Bethany
in order to control her as an assassin. I like how the phrase
"pull the trigger" is used. It isn't just the effect
of triggering the weapon, as Spike was this season. It is actually
pulling that trigger. This requires contact to do. Holland only
has contact with Lilah to control her and the situation.
Knowledge is also important to this sort of control. Contact allows
us to have knowledge. The ever wise Darla tells Lilah, "There
is nothing so lovely as dreams. Everything is in them, everything
hidden. Open those chambers and you can truly understand someone
- and control them." Lilah attempts to use Bethany's past
against her. Wesley uncovers this past, so that Angel can use
it to help her. Wolfram and Hart are using Darla, Angel's past,
against him. Darla mentions what happened in Romania to try and
Control is the obvious theme to this episode, but the title and
the helpless really show it is about contact's role in control.
Lilah loses her contact with Bethany and Angel manages to save
her. Later in this season, Angel will fire AI and this will allow
him to go darker. Lots of foreshadowing in this episode (a nice
encapsulation of the Darla arc), including Bethany not killing
her father. Contact is VITAL to Angel maintaining control. It
is what establishes and maintains his world view and his heart.
That is pretty much the theme of the entire series and will be
revisited several times in specific episodes. It is so important
that it was the theme of the second episode of the series.
After such a stellar episode, which really spells out the season
for us, what could possibly follow that? Answer, Greenwalt is
the next writer on deck. Wished they could have shot the scene
for Dru's vamping that Greenwalt had written, but what they showed
was only less in comparison. Lindsey tells us just what Wolfram
and Hart want with Angel, "We don't want him dead. We want
him dark. And there is no better way to a man's dark side than
to awaken his - nastier urges, is there?" I like their plan
B in "The Trials" better. Much more interesting nastier
What does Angel dark mean? We see that in the vamping of Dru.
With Lindsey, Holland turned him into one of the steppers instead
of those that get stepped on. As Darla tells Lindsey, she can
unhinge Angel because ""I created a lot of those strengths
and weaknesses." She does this with a simple exchange near
the end of "The Prodigal." She creates an Angelus that
even though he has killed his father, still has to prove himself.
"Am I learning?" he asks her when he reveals his plan
for vamping Dru. It is this trait that even in Plan B Wolfram
and Hart will try to use to make him go dark.
Lindsey is listening in as Darla plays Mrs. Kramer. Again Wolfram
and Hart use the police in their schemes, much as they hope to
use Angel. Wolfram and Hart are not in complete control of Darla
or the situation. Darla wants her boy back. She offers to give
Angel his perfect moment of happiness again. Wolfram and Hart
could have used black magick to take Angel's soul. They don't
As we get to plan B, I will discuss what Wolfram and Hart really
want with Angel. What is this big picture that Lindsey supposedly
sees? Why should they want Angel dark WITH his soul?
After all that yummy Darla goodness, she is missing in action
in "Guise Will be Guise." We don't get any of the faces
of Wolfram and Hart, but they aren't completely missing. The episode
opens with Angel going to break into the building so that he can
get to Darla. Great Espensode, but not really a lot of stuff to
do with Wolfram and Hart, so skip it I must. Though you will have
to pardon me while I go rewatch it. BRB (why oh why does she have
to go to the Gilmore Girls? This is cause for great lamentations
involving ripped clothing)
Should I come back now? Nah. Gotta watch FFL and "Darla"
the way they are meant to be seen. This essay is going to take
[> 2.07- 2.14: Plan B
-- lunasea, 13:11:42 07/07/03 Mon
2.07- 2.14: Plan B
Now I'm back. Darla finally feels her soul. Something that someone
else might want to write about (or maybe I will later) is that
it takes both Spike and Darla a while before they feel their soul.
Angel/us feels it pretty damn quickly. Why? I'm not talking about
the resouling in "Becoming" or "Orpheus" but
his reaction we see in "Five-by-Five." Faith seems to
be in the same boat as Darla and Spike. Lindsey is more like Angel.
Wonder where Lilah would fit. What about Giles?
We get a very human Lindsey in this episode. He is more than just
a Jr partner at Wolfram and Hart. When we first see him and Darla,
they aren't at Wolfram and Hart. They are at her apartment, which
Wolfram and Hart has gotten for her. When he does come back to
Wolfram and Hart, he finds out that Holland expected Darla to
crack up because of her soul. This news upsets Lindsey. Holland
takes it in stride and says that things have to be accelerated.
As he is talking about Darla, he is congratulating Lindsey for
getting things ready. How much of the big picture does Lindsey
Lindsey shows several things about Wolfram and Hart. He is their
first face and shows what they do and how they operate. He also
is someone they are highly interested in and shows what they want/look
for. When and why he leaves shows where their blind spot is. He
is like Angel. Why they want him so badly is why they can't have
Lindsey helps Darla escape. The guy really does have a heart,
a nice one to go with that face of his. Holland (who is higher
than a Jr Partner, but not a senior partner. He is Executive Vice
President of Special Projects) takes Lindsey off the project.
Lindsey's concern is Darla and not the project. When this happens,
what does Lindsey do? Same thing he does in "Blind Date,"
turn to Angel.
Lindsey finds out he has been played. Plan B is actually the real
plan, though Lindsey doesn't know what Plan B is yet. (Three paragraphs
in a row starting with "Lindsey" is bad form. I can
barely tolerate two, but I really don't feel like rewording, so
deal.) Lindsey doesn't get the big picture. Just two more episodes
until Plan B is unveiled.
Lots of Darla leads to no Darla again in "The Shroud of Rahmon."
An important episode to set up Angel's character, but not to this
essay, so off to "The Trial." Have I said that Tim Minear
is my favorite Angel writer, yet? Do I really need to? I'm not
even going to attempt to list his masterpieces. He, too, will
be sorely missed, but at least he gives us a whole other series
to look forward to. Buffy goes off the air and I have to pick
up 4 new shows. What was it Joss said about what to do with that
one extra hour a week. HAH!!! Do I tape Angel so I can rewatch
it or Greenwalt's new show so I can watch Angel when it airs?
I shouldn't have to make such important decisions.
Things have been accelerated. Angel reached out to try and help
Darla and she fled. Lindsey is the one to find her. Darla doesn't
have time to adjust to her humanity. She is actually dying, and
not just in the sense that we all are. Lindsey brings her to the
office so that Holland can tell her this. Then it is up to her
what is done. Yeah right. Evil does lie.
Lindsey thinks Plan B is to get Angel to sire her. Oh boy does
he so not get it. Holland told Lindsey in "Darla" that
Angel would do what he had to do, save her soul. Lindsey is concerned
with her life, as Angel is focused on right now. Plan B involves
Angel saving Darla's soul, which he does. It is a very beautiful
moment, right up there with Buffy in "The Gift." Then
the Tim Reaper has to step in.
(an aside, the timeline leads me to wonder what Lindsey knew when.
Was he acting when he told Angel about Darla? Had Holland kept
him in the dark, again, so that he would play his role properly?
Lindsey invites Angel in on we'll call it Day 1. Same day/night
Angel faces the Trials and Darla is vamped. Day 2, Gunn gets Angel
back to the hotel. Night 2, Angel goes back to Lindsey's apartment
to find out he moved yesterday, day 1 and Dru had been visiting.
How long had Dru been there? Did Lindsey have no problem inviting
Angel in because he knew that he'd be leaving afterwards? When
did Lindsey know why Dru was being brought in?)
Plan B. They don't want Angel evil. They don't want him dark.
They want him postal. Bring Darla back, have Angel actually save
her and BAM. They don't care who Angel goes after. They want him
after someone. Wolfram and Hart have no problem using Lindsey
earlier in "Darla" and they have no problem using their
people as cannon fodder.
As magnificent as Angelus was, for 150 years they showed no interest
in him. In "The Ring," Lilah asks if Angel having a
soul gives him an edge in fighting. The response was depends on
what he is fighting for. The Senior Partners know this. This arc
will come to a head in "Epiphany" when Angel finds out
what he is fighting for. After that he will find out how this
Until then, better hold on. Angel with a soul going postal is
as much fun as Angelus ever was, though the voice overs are a
bit much. They are much better in "Passion."
What a nice family "Reunion" Wolfram and Hart arranges
for Angel. Lindsey is still attached to Darla, even as a vampire
(and talk about creepy. Humans just shouldn't be attracted to
soulless vampires). Holland wants him to form *healthy* attachments
outside of work. Of course he does. How better to control Lindsey?
Wolfram and Hart are gearing up for the war that they know is
coming. As Dru puts it, Angel is "very cross."
Even with all this going on, they still continue their rich life
styles. Holland's wife is throwing a wine tasting party. In "Guise
Will be Guise" Bryce is so evil that he is willing to sacrifice
his own daughter to increase his power. Did Holland give up his
colleagues and their families for the mission? Great start to
Angel's mail route.
Or was Holland used by the Senior Partners every bit as much as
he used Lindsey earlier? It could read either way. Holland probably
thinks, like Lilah does later, that he is protected by working
at Wolfram and Hart. He wants Dru and Darla to go on a massacre.
Why? Is he trying to fuel Angel's rage? Where did he think that
rage was going to go? Did he think that Angel would join the girls?
Big deal. Angelus is back. The Senior Partners want more than
that. Not to mention, Holland severly misjudges Darla.
Holland's reaction tends to say he was used. He has just become
one of those people that gets stepped on, instead of one who knows
how the world is. This doesn't seem to phase Lindsey. He has no
attachments to this world. Holland did. He was visibly upset when
he found out his wife was dead. He has a passion for wine. Lindsey
doesn't "mind" that he is going to die.
Before continuing, in "To Shanshu in LA" Lindsey says
"And since it is foretold that we sever all your connections"
to the PTBs. Angel's rebuttal is his usual violence and a quip.
The prophecy isn't fulfilled in that particular episode. The scroll
is also one of those connections and it is not destroyed. Can
it be said that the action Wolfram and Hart took in that episode
leads to that disconnection? Depends on your interpretation. Angel
is the one that fires his gang at the end of "Reunion."
Also, just because they were severed, doesn't mean they can't
be fixed. Buffy died in "Prophecy Girl," thus fulfilling
that prophecy. It just didn't mention that she would be revived.
Prophecy is a tricky bitch in the Buffyverse.
Things get some "Redefinition" after this. Darla and
Dru didn't eat everyone. Lindsey and Lilah are still alive. Why?
Really would be a shame to write off such wonderful characters.
ME would *never* do something like that to us. Darla figures that
with Holland gone, who she had a serious grudge against (and we
know what happens to people vampires have serious grudges against),
Lilah or Lindsey will be the next big cheese. They are alive to
"keep the line of communication open between us and Wolfram
Darla thinks just like those at Wolfram at Hart and she has her
moment of clarity, now that she no longer has a soul. "See,
Lindsey, during my stint as Wolfram and Hart's puppet, something
occurred to me. I *loathe* being used. If I recall I sent you
a fifteen-body-memo to that effect. We plan on being big players
in this town, Dru and I. - And while you can't give me what I
want, you have the things I need to get it. Money. Connections."
Wolfram and Hart is an interesting organization. The subtle and
not-so subtle plays of power is like watching ballet. Darla was
the tool, not the project. Now she is looking to be treated like
a client. Darla always was the practical one in that family.
Holland needs to be replaced and how he is shows how Wolfram and
Hart thinks. "As for your relationship to one another: your
competition has been - vicious, destructive and - healthy. We
think you keep each other on your toes. Which is why we have decided
to appoint you both - as joint acting co-vice-presidents until
such time as we see fit to - narrow it down."
After Angel sets Dru and Darla on fire, it is time to turn his
attention to Wolfram and Hart in "Blood Money." He could
just go in there and rely on his wonderful violence, but that
wouldn't be the Angel/us that we love (even redefined). He wants
to hurt them. As he puts it "The game. - It's actually kind
of fun when you know the rules. I mean, when you know - that there
aren't any. You screw with me, and you screw with me, and... you
screw with me. And now - I get to screw with you. That's gonna
be great!" "No. No. No. No. The begging - that comes
later." Darla knows what Wolfram and Hart has that gives
them power--money and connections. So does Angel and he goes after
that money first.
Rules have changed and Lindsey has no problems with Angel dying,
even though the Senior Partners still want him alive. Lindsey
still holds a major grudge against him for the loss of his hand.
He didn't mind Darla killing him, but he isn't particularly thrilled
at the idea of Angel doing it. What's the point of being a stepper/having
power, if you can't step on the guy you hate with a fiery passion?
(something Wolfram and Hart are trying to get Angel to see)
Holland in "Reunion" says that Angel is but a part of
the Senior Partner's plans and Nathan in "Blood Money"
tells Lindsey that he can't kill him because of that part. Angel
is a major player in the apocalypse, but which side is gray. The
plan is to keep that as gray as possible. To sum up how Wolfram
and Hart thinks on this matter "Until then - his growing
obsession with the two of you, the increasing possibility that
to scratch that itch, he'll go so far as to kill you... Well,
that could actually play in the firm's favor. It would be a sign
that Angel is on the path to joining our team. And as hard as
it is to lose good attorneys, well the truth is - you are both
expendable. Angel - isn't."
Nathan Hart is probably either above Holland or on par with him.
Lilah refers to him as one of her bosses at Wolfram and Hart.
He seems to know a bit more than Lilah or Lindsey and dresses
them down rather well.
After all of that, we get a bit of a break with "Happy Anniversary."
No Wolfram and Hart and no Darla, even though Angel does mention
them. Same thing with "Thin Dead Line." Angel seems
to be coming out of it, but that is just to really set up what
is coming up.
[> 2.15 - 2.16: What's the
point? -- lunasea, 13:17:11 07/07/03 Mon
2.15 - 2.16: What's the point?
Reprise/Epiphany. Only Surprise/Innocence is as powerful a one-two
punch (next would come The Body/Forever). Fitting that it revisits
the Marti/Joss masterpiece that Joss consistently lists among
his favorite episodes and favorite moments.
Holland spoke much earlier of a Harvest time, when the winners
are separated from the dead weight. Time to see just what that
means at the evil law firm. Every 75 years there is a review.
"Reprise" opens with a lot of goats, a common animal
for sacrifices. Seems the associates at Wolfram and Hart are trying
to win a few brownie points so that they are not dead.
Just a brief detour about this animal (they could have been sacrificing
anything, after all. Why goats). The following is taken from Louis
Charbonneau-Lassay's "The Bestiary of Christ." I highly
recommend it for anyone who wants to get the subtle nuances of
how the show uses animals symbolically. I will return to Wolf,
Ram and Hart when we get to Pylea.
The only chapter in the Book of Numbers that codifies several
important liturgies specifies the sacrifice of a goat before Yahweh,
on ten different occasions, not as an act of adoration or petition,
but for the remission of sins. This expiatory character, clearly
defined for each ritual sacrifice of a goat, has quite naturally
made the animal appear as a prophetic figure of the Redeemer.
According to Leviticus, Moses says that after sacrificing a bullock,
Aaron, the high priest, is to take two goats, one for Yahweh,
the Lord, and the other for Azazel, whose name means "the
prince of the demons who have been case out."
(for full ritual and what it means see Leviticus 16:15-22)
First goat gets a nice ritual sacrifice. The second one is the
Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat,
and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel,
and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon
the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a
fit man into the wilderness.
The commentators and exegetes of all times have seen in the first
of these two animals the emblem of Christ sacrifice to God his
father as ransom for the world, and in the second, the emblem
of this same Redeemer became a sort of universal receptacle of
evil, the terrible mass of human sin, which he carries away into
This symbolism will later play out in "Epiphany" and
I will get to it then. Another thing about goats that will play
into this episode
They said that in proportion to the heights they attained in
climbing the peaks, they acquired not only a greatly extended
feild of vision, but also an extraordinary increase in its power
and acuteness, to such a degree that no other creature on earth
could equal their ability to embrace with one glance the most
immense space and to distinguish perfectly all the details.
In the same way, the inner vision of the seeker becomes more penetrating
as his understanding attains higher degrees of mystery.
This will be echoed in "Reprise/Epiphany" with the Skilosh
demons. Even though the members of AI are the ones that get the
third eye, it is foreign to them and it has to be removed. Angel
has to save them. He is the only one that really gains insight
and they don't want to hear about it.
We get another nice Lilah/Lindsey exchange, showing why Holland
was interested him in the first place. We also get a nice Lindsey/Darla
exchange. Nothing that pertinent to Wolfram and Hart. More important
to Lindsey's character and eventual redemption and why Lilah becomes
the face for Wolfram and Hart next season. Angel meets with Lorne
and finds out something important. A Senior Partner is coming
in for the review. Lorne describes It as "It's evil. - It's
dark. - It's merciless."
Angel is convinced that his big, important destiny is "getting
to the Senior Partners." Lorne isn't so sure about that.
Wolfram and Hart have really succeeded in getting things all murky
with Angel. Angel goes to Denver to find out more about the Senior
Partner. "A lot of dark entities use the form of a Kleynach
to manifest because the Kleynach doesn't have to rely on being
conjured or brought forth. They can come and go as they please
with that ring."
The Senior Partner isn't a Kleynach demon. It will use that form
so that it can come to this dimension. The Band of Blacknil is
what allows it to move between dimensions. It will get it back
to the Home Office after it reviews all the scared lawyers. The
way to defeat the Kleynach is a glove from a brave and worthy
knight. Buffy had her sword and Angel has his glove.
Now for the elevator ride to Hell. We either find out a bit more
how Wolfram and Hart thinks or Holland just does a fabulous head
job on Angel. Nothing can ever be taken for granted on this show.
Point 1) what's the point. "Of course all those people you
save from that apocalypse would then have the next one to look
forward to, but, hey, it's always something, isn't it?"
Point 2) It isn't about winning. Even though Wolfram and Hart
does have an apocalypse planned (and Angel figures into those
plans) "We have no intention of doing anything so prosaic
Point 3) There is no fight. Wolfram and Hart don't have to fight.
"We - go on - no matter what. Our firm has always been here.
In one form or another. The Inquisition. The Khmer Rouge. We were
there when the very first cave man clubbed his neighbor."
Point 4) Evil is everywhere. "See, we're in the hearts and
minds of every single living being. And *that* - friend - is what's
making things so difficult for you."
Point 5) Evil is necessary. "See, the world doesn't work
in spite of evil, Angel. - It works with us. - It works because
Point 6) The Home Office is this dimension.
Point 7) People suck. "You see, if there wasn't evil in every
single one of them out there why, they wouldn't be people. - They'd
all be angels."
This is the Home Office. Whatever evil entity that used the form
of the Kleynach demon to manifest physically, is non-corporally
always here. Want to take out the Senior Partners, Angel would
have to take out all of us. The people that he has sworn to protect
are the Senior Partners. What's the point indeed.
The sacrifice. All those lawyers "Trying to score as many
brownie points as they can before daddy gets home. I got news.
Daddy? Not impressed." What impresses the bigwigs at Wolfram
and Hart? Why did Holland hand pick Lindsey? Because he had the
potential to see things as they really are. All those sacrifices,
those attempts to score brownie points, are only half-complete.
There needs to be a goat ritually sacrificed to Yahweh AND a scapegoat.
At least Lilah is concerned about the scapegoat, even if she doesn't
realize how it really works. It isn't just about scoring brownie
points. It is also about making up for past transgressions. Lilah
in "Redefinition" tries to set Lindsey up for the fall.
She is constantly worried about "our collective screw-ups."
A scapegoat has gotten a bad name. People blame their problems
on something and then in order to make themselves feel better,
they punish the scapegoat. That isn't what the ritual says. I
seriously doubt the children of Israel blamed the goat or even
Azazel for their faults. They let the scapegoat go into the wilderness.
They didn't hunt it down and then harm it in any way.
Lilah doesn't quite get it, but Angel does, or at least Tim Minear
does. Angel has a lot of sins that he has been carrying around.
He has been trying to atone for them by making "Amends."
Angel can never really atone for them. He has to let them go,
put them on a scapegoat and just let it go. In "Epiphany"
playing the role of that scapegoat is the beautiful siren that
made Angel the vampire he is today. Everyone put your hands together
for that former lady of the evening and now creature of the night,
As he tells her, "I gave you everything I had left."
After he puts everything on the head of the scapegoat, he tells
her to go and doesn't harm her. This isn't to say that Angel blames
Darla. He admits that he used to, but now he is just letting that
all go. He doesn't even hate her. "And you were the reason.
You've always been the reason. You were the thing that made me
what I am, and - I thought - if I could save you, I'd somehow
- save myself, but - but I was wrong. And when I failed...When
I *failed*, you saved me. And I have to thank you for that. There
is nothing I can do for you now, Darla. I can't even hate you."
That's how a true scapegoat works. This clean slate is what leads
to Angel's epiphany.
After he is able to get beyond his despair, he revisits what Holland
says with a clearer head.
Point 1 becomes: "It doesn't...Mean anything. In the greater
scheme or the big picture, nothing we do matters. There's no grand
plan, no big win."
Point 2 becomes: "Well, I guess I kinda - worked it out.
If there is no great glorious end to all this, if - nothing we
do matters, - then all that matters is what we do. 'cause that's
all there is. What we do, now, today. "
Point 3 becomes: "I fought for so long. For redemption, for
a reward - finally just to beat the other guy, but... I never
got it....All I wanna do is help."
Point 4 becomes: "I don't think people should suffer, as
Point 5 becomes: "Because, if there is no bigger meaning,
then the smallest act of kindness - is the greatest thing in the
Point 6 becomes: Angel going back to his gang. This might be the
Home Office, but it is also Angel Investigations.
Point 7 becomes: I don't want you to come back and work for me....I
wanna work for you."
Let's go briefly back to "The Trial," also by Minear.
In it, Angel has to face three trials in order to save Darla.
As he says in "Epiphany," "When I *failed*, you
saved me." The life that Angel saved in "The Trials"
was his own. The life that should have gone to Darla went to Angel.
He refaces those same three trials again. The first is the Ever
Ready demon that just won't stop coming. That demon is Wolfram
and Hart and when Angel locks the lawyers in the wine cellar/bomb
shelter, he fips it. The second was the crosses and holy water,
which burn vampires. Angel setting Darla and Dru flip this. The
final was facing his own death by stakes. He flips this when he
wants to lose his soul. I would love to expand on that, but it
really isn't the point of this essay. I just couldn't resist at
least mentioning it when I got to "Epiphany."
The scapegoat is released into the desert to take the sins of
Israel to Azazel, aka Lindsey. Thing is, this Azazel wants a scapegoat
of his own and not in the way the ritual is supposed to happen.
He wants someone to blame and to take things out on so he can
feel better. What would Holland or the Senior Partners have done?
Probably what Azazel is supposed to, take the sacrifice of the
children of Israel, thus relieving them of their sins (then wait
for more sin, which they know is coming). According to Holland,
Wolfram and Hart aren't interested in fighting or anything as
prosaic as winning. They know that next year a new scapegoat will
be sent to them and the year after that and the year after that.
This sort of understanding of how the world works leads them to
realize they don't have to fight, so they really don't.
Lindsey isn't in that position. What he wants isn't just coming
to him. She is sitting all the way down at the other end of the
couch. Lawyer man isn't getting her. Time to resort to his inner-demon,
his roots. He actually goes after Angel and wants him to confess.
That isn't how the ritual goes. After the goat is released, the
sins no longer belong to the children of Israel. Angel won't tell
Lindsey what he did with Darla. That is left to our dirty little
When Angel says he won't tell this to Lindsey, at first Lindsey
manages to send Angel down and goes to his truck to finish it
once and for all with a stake (Spike could tell him Lesson 1:
always keep your weapon on you). Angel already got rid of his
sins. Azazel/Lindsey has no power over him any more. He easily
But Lindsey doesn't just play Azazel, prince of demons, or Co-executive
Vice President of Special Projects. He is also a human being.
Angel feels bad for that human being, something he couldn't do
with all that sin on him Season 1. He is sorry that Darla will
never love Lindsey and that Lindsey will have to live with that.
He admits his role in Lindsey having to play Azazel, "I'm
sorry I didn't try harder to help you when you came to me,"
but he won't let all responsibility fall on himself. "I'm
sorry you made the wrong choice."
For the summary to this season, I will get into why Angel messes
up Wolfram and Hart's plan which is as Nathan Hunt says, "Which
side he's on is the gray area, and we're gonna continue making
it as gray as possible." That includes what is prophecy and
what does Wolfram and Hart want with him. Season 1 contrasted
Angel's mission to help the helpless with Wolfram and Hart's mission
to help the not helpless. Season 2 will contrast them in regards
to why they have those missions.
[> 2.18: Is that all there
is? -- lunasea, 13:24:33 07/07/03 Mon
2.18: Is that all there is?
After all that, I need a break. ME agrees and gives us "Disharmony."
It is a nice bridge to "Dead End." Both require their
own shows (not to mention are completely different tones), so
to smash them together wouldn't have worked.
"Is that all there is?" That was Lindsey's question
Season 1. Holland helped Lindsey find the answer, the wrong answer,
but any answer will stop us from questioning. Darla showed Lindsey
that there was something more. Interesting twist on Buffy/Angel.
Angel saw Buffy and more than anything wanted to protect her heart.
He finally found something he feels strongly enough about to fight
for. Season two, we see Angel try to do what is right before meeting
Buffy twice. In "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been,"
we see that his resolve in the face of a lynching just isn't strong
enough. In "Darla" we see how a tiny baby and missionaries
are enough motivation even to overcome Darla's desires. Innocence.
It is a big motivator to Angel, souled and soulless. The Lolita-like
clothes and lollipop of Buffy in "Becoming" aren't to
say anything about her chronological age. It is about her innocence.
(an aside Angelus shirtless in "Innocence" when he tears
Buffy apart in his apartment wasn't about sexuality. It is to
make the scene more intimate. It was this intimacy that caused
Angel to lose his soul in the first place and why Angel is now
lashing out. It is this intimacy that hurts Buffy so much. (I
sense another essay in there, how intimacy is shown and used in
Lindsey's button was the concept of being stepped on. When Lindsey
had no attachments, that just meant him. He accepted the power
that Holland offered him in order not to be stepped on. Lindsey
cares about Darla. When she is the one that gets stepped on, by
Wolfram and Hart and by Angel, it upsets him.
There is a big difference between Angel/Buffy and Lindsey/Darla.
Buffy also shows Angel that there are good people in the world,
people that try real hard to do the right thing. Darla doesn't
show this to Lindsey. Both awaken the man's heart, but Buffy shows
Angel what to do with that heart. After Lindsey fights Angel,
he goes back to his apartment to find Darla gone. Lindsey now
knows there is more. Where will that lead him? Angel took his
hand in "To Shanshu in LA" and smashed his artificial
one in "Epiphany."
We finally see some actual lawyering going on at Wolfram and Hart,
but Nathan Reed is more interested in Angel. Friday, they will
be "reevaluating your division." As Lilah puts it "They'll
promote one and cut the other. Around here, that's a literal cutting."
Nathan invites Lindsey into his office to talk and does his best
Holland impression on the young man. He sends Lindsey to an "appointment."
The appointment? Lindsey is getting a hand transplant. Holland
wanted Lindsey to get some healthy attachments. He is about to
get something attached, but is it healthy? At the very least it
isn't just a medical procedure. Lindsey has complete use of his
new hand and even can play the guitar again. This of course worries
Lilah. It is an expensive procedure that they wouldn't do on someone
they are about to kill. We see in the meeting with a client just
why Wolfram and Hart would pick Lindsey. He really does know how
to play the system. Lilah is relying on a handpicked or enchanted
jury and Lindsey really works things without any reliance on the
supernatural or even anything as unethical as jury tampering.
Lindsey's hand isn't so healthy after all. It keeps writing "Kill"
over and over again and freaks him out. The fun part is that he
has to work with Angel to figure out what is going on. Leave it
to Greenwalt to write something so amusing, yet dark. As Lindsey
puts it rather well, "I've got a murderous hand on me and
you're telling me to team up with the guy who cut mine off in
the first place?" The symbolism is just too good. Lindsey
is still blaming Angel for what happened. He will have to get
beyond that in order to let his own sins go off into the desert.
Holland Manners was married, had a beautiful house and indulged
in his passion, wine. Nathan Reed is also married, plus he has
a son. Even evil has attachments (a nice touch that humanizes
Joss' villains). As Wesley said back in "To Shanshu in LA,"
"It's our desires that make us human." Lilah has desires
up the wazoo. Nothing meaningful, but she has major desires, which
is why she will become the face for Wolfram and Hart next season.
Angel has been working on this, but they are meaningful desires,
like attachments to his friends, which become so strong they are
his family. Lindsey attached to Darla, but she is gone. What does
Lindsey have now? Is that all there is?
We saw Lilah rifling through Lindsey's papers and now we see Lindsey
going through Nathan's. We see Nathan's to-do list, which gives
Wolfram and Hart a bit more flavor. Interesting to find out that
his competitiveness with Lilah is stronger than his desire to
find out about his hand. He clicks on her file first. Then he
decides that he would rather find out about his hand than how
he is doing with regards to the review. His uncertainty about
his hand has given him a new perspective which is summed up wonderfully
in a rather brief scene.
The interaction between Angel and Lindsey is even better than
Lilah/Lindsey or even Darla/Lindsey. Their shared, but not shared
history is just too much. Watching Angel tell Lindsey "you
got to learn how to play with others" or "You just keep
on moping. You're good at that" was just too much. This sort
of wonderful humor in the midst of such a dark situation is what
makes Greenwalt such a genius. Luckily the current stable of writers
particularly excel at this.
A hand transplant sounds like a nice idea, until Lindsey finds
out where the hand comes from. He gets a good look at what the
firm he works for is about. "Kill" isn't about either
the hand going to kill Lindsey or it wanting to go evil or even
revenge. It is a man who is tired of being stepped on wanting
to be killed. "Kill...me...please." The transplants
still have a link to the people they are taken from. Wonder what
the eye guy had to see. I'd gouge out my eye, too.
So Lindsey gets a lesson about how the world really is. In order
for Lindsey and his firm to be able to give the steppers things,
people have to suffer, really suffer. It isn't just a world designed
for those who know how to use it. Those who use it can make it
either better, like Angel does, or worse. Holland hand picked
Lindsey because he had the potential to really see things for
what they were. In "Blind Date" Lindsey protected the
kids who could see into the heart of the matter. Lindsey has just
found that heart. What will he do?
Time for Reevaluation of Special Projects. Lilah isn't the one
they chose. She is flipping out, but Lindsey tries to calm her.
Lindsey knows that only he has what it takes, what Wolfram and
Hart wants. He doesn't want what they have to offer any more.
Is that all there is? Hell no. In a world where people get stepped
on, things happen, even to the steppers. One of those stepped
on caused Lindsey to keep writing "Kill, kill, kill."
It is an evil hand that will cause him to do things? Not really
and Lindsey knows this. What is evil is how it was obtained. "I
just can't control my evil hand." Actually, I can't control
the evil company that gave it to me and I sure as hell am not
going to stick around until you guys decide to step on me again.
He really defends Lilah. He also gives us some more flavor for
the company, warning his superiors "Can you imagine if something
were to happen to this girl and those files got back to the senior
partners? - They'd eat you alive!" Would they? Lindsey betrayed
the company in a very deep way. Those kids are very important
to the upcoming apocalypse. They wouldn't be in the Scroll of
Aberjian if they weren't. Lindsey wasn't eaten. He was promoted.
Why? Because Lindsey did what he did out of his own moral sense.
What Charlie and Nathan are doing is merely out of greed. Being
your own man, both with Lindsey and Angel, is something the Senior
Partners value. The greed illustrated by Charlie, Nathan and Toady
Lee, is not. But what about Lilah? That is where things will get
interesting next season.
The last words we hear Lindsey say to Angel are some good advice:
"The key to Wolfram and Hart: don't let them make you play
their game. - You gotta make them play yours." What Wolfram
and Hart try to do with men like Lindsey and Angel is make you
think you are playing your own game, but really you are playing
theirs. What is that game? You'll just have to wait for the season
2 summary for that. We aren't quite done with the episodes yet,
even if we do lose Lindsey (hopefully only temporarily).
[> 2.19-2.22: Pylea (someone
else want to do this one better?) -- lunasea, 13:26:27
2.19-2.22: Pylea (someone else want to do this one better?)
"Belonging," "Over the Rainbow," "Through
the Looking Glass," "There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb."
Time for a break from Wolfram and Hart. Lindsey has left (sniff
for me, glad for him). Lilah is now sole Executive VP of Special
Projects. The Pylea arc takes place in another dimension, so it
would look like no Wolfram and Hart. That is until we get to "Through
the Looking Glass." Three books, with a Wolf and Ram and
a Hart on the cover, say this isn't the case. The Home Office
may be our dimension, but it isn't the only one. Does evil really
have a home, a place it can come from and go to?
So the priests are Wolfram and Hart's Pylean branch. I think the
Pylea arc was a brilliant way for ME to handle their casting difficulties.
It was a creative way to get Angel to face the pure form of his
demon. I wonder what they would have done otherwise to get him
to do this. Fred is a great character who is quickly becoming
one of my favorites (though no one will ever displace Angel in
That said, I really don't want to go through the actions and lines
of the priests and pick them apart. Instead I will address 3 areas.
1) the symbolism of the 3 animals. 2) why Wolfram and Hart needed
to be in these episodes at all and 3) anything general the priests
let us know about Wolfram and Hart.
First the animals the firm is named after. This comes from the
same book as the stuff about the goats did. I'm only going to
include stories that are pertinent to how wolf is used in the
show. In the countries bordering the Baltic and Norwegian Seas,
the wolf is regarded as one of the Devil's henchmen and they even
bless the bullets they aim at it. It is also believed that the
wolf has a power and keenness of sight equal to the lynx. Nordic
tradition has it that the wolf, after participating in the birth
of light, must at the end of time devour the last days.
Angel moves into the Hyperion season 2. The wolf is associated
with the light that preceded full daylight. Wolf=lukos
this light=luke One of Apollo's names is Lukogenes,
"born of the wolf." Everywhere under the Hellenic sky
the animal was associated with the cult of Phoebus Apollo. In
Athens, the land surrounding the temple of Apollo, like the fleece
of an animal surrounding its body, was called Lukeion,
the "Lyceum" or school, meaning "the wolf's skin."
It was here that Aristotle taught philosophy. Holland was very
big on philosophy. He used it to manipulate both Lindsey season
1 and Angel season 2.
The wolf is seen as a predator, along the lines of the lion, panther
and lynx, that feeds on what it finds. Unlike the cats, it lacks
the noble aspects of these animals and Latin symbolists have the
wolf represent all sorts of vices. In Rome, it represented the
worst kind of prostitute. It has represented: anger, gluttony,
rapacity and heresy. In the parable of the Good Shepherd, the
wolf is the bad guy. Fits with Angel as Jesus rather well. Wolfram
and Hart is the prey that feeds on Angel's flock.
The next animal is a RAM, not a sheep. Important difference. Young
domestic animals, kids and lambs, and even deer were seen as pure.
The ram was a favorite religious symbol among ancient religions.
Just as Angel is the Good Shepherd, the Ram also heads his flock.
The ram fights head on which makes them symbols of courage, strength
and power. They are also symbols of fertility, abundance and good
Final animal in the trio is the hart. Just like the wolf, the
hart is associated with Apollo. Again we are dealing with an animal
that symbolizes abundance. It also is connected with fulfillment
and contentment. Like the ram, the hart is seen as a leader.
So that is our evil law firm. Not one of the animals is king of
their areas. The lion, not the wolf or deer, is considered king
of the wild animals. It is this animal that Angel has tattooed
on his back. The bull is considered king of domesticated animals,
not the sheep. The Wolf is a dangerous predator, but not like
the lion. The ram and hart are both the head of their flocks/herds.
That is area 1. I'm sure others can expand on it. Just something
Area 2, why did Wolfram and Hart need to be in these episodes
at all? Before they even go, Gavin shows up. He's almost as Toady
as Lee. How did he make it through a full season? Angel is glad
to leave this dimension in order to get away from them. In a mini-arc
that shows there's no place like home, even Wolfram and Hart have
to be represented, both here and there. Not the wonderful style
that is Lilah, but the annoyance that is Gavin that shows what
Wolfram and Hart will be reduced to next season. In a world where
things are completely polarized and things aren't what they seem,
of course you have to have Wolfram and Hart in charge, even more
so then they are on Earth. When Angel faces his actual inner-demon,
again, they have to be in the background. Of course as Groo is
trying to reconstruct his world, they have to be screwing with
Area 3, some things about the priests. On Pylea the priests have
complete control. The defining characteristic of Lorne's home
world is everything is completely polarized. They want to keep
Angel gray, but it is this grayness that causes them to lose him
(and Lindsey). Wolfram and Hart is pretty evil on Pylea, but they
are slaves to prophecy. It is this characteristic that undoes
them on Pylea, just like it undoes them on Earth. They are as
good at manipulating Groo as Holland was with Lindsey, but again
it is a woman that gets him to understand how things really are.
So that was season 2. What was the point?
[> Summary Season 2: Why
Fight? -- lunasea, 13:32:55 07/07/03 Mon
Summary Season 2: Why Fight?
Prophecy may seem like a really convenient plot device in the
Buffyverse, the ultimate Deus Ex Machina, but it is much
more than that. The first time it really plays a role in the shows
is in "Prophecy Girl."
Master: You tried. It was noble of you. You heard the prophecy
that I was about to break free and you came to stop me. But prophecies
are tricky creatures. They don't tell you everything. You're the
one that sets me free! If you hadn't come, I couldn't go. Think
That is how prophecies work in the Buffyverse. They aren't written
to predict things. They are written to make them happen. This
will be used in Season 3 of AtS to drive the arc. There is a huge
prophecy underlying the entire series, Angel is a major player
in some apocalypse and when he plays his part, he will Shanshu.
Why is this written down? If Angel is going to be a player, he
is going to be a player.
Back in "To Shanshu in LA," when Vocah finds out that
Angel has the Scroll, he says, "His connection to the Powers
That Be is complete." Lilah responds, "He hasn't had
time to make a full study of the text." The prophecy isn't
seen as some neutral prediction about what will come to pass.
It is seen as a connection to the Powers that Be. Whatever is
in there is there because the Powers want Angel to know it.
Now I know that Wesley is a bit of a selective moron, but seeing
as the Scroll is this big deal, Angel feels connected to it and
it does mention most likely him, I would get to translating the
whole thing. Have we heard word one about this being done? Knowing
that it was used for Darla's raising and AI really needs to know
about what is going on, this translating would seem rather pertinent
to season 2. When Wesley is trying to figure out what is going
on with Darla being pregnant, again since the scroll was involved
in the raising of Darla in the first place, it would be first
place I would go to. Like I said, Wesley is a selective idiot,
depending on the needs of the story.
Back to that Scroll. The children in "Blind Date" are
mentioned and according to Wesley, "They have an important
role to play. " Wolfram and Hart sent as assassin after the
children. They have no problem trying to take them out of the
game. The kids can see to the heart of the matter and there is
no way Wolfram and Hart will be able to use them. They will see
right through any of Wolfram and Hart's trickery. Angel they won't
kill. Angel doesn't have this power.
Nathan mentions prophecies, plural. The Scroll of Aberjian isn't
the only one that talks about Angel. The Scroll is what the Powers
want him to know, but there are other prophecies here. As Nathan
says "Which side he's on is the gray area, and we're gonna
continue making it as gray as possible." There are two ways
to interpret this. The first is that Angel could be on the side
of good (Powers) or evil (Senior Partners), it is just the prophecies
are unclear about this. Does this really fit with what the Scroll
of Aberjian says?
According to Wesley, "the vampire with a soul, once he fulfills
his destiny, will Shanshu. Become human. - It's his reward."
It can be debated whether this is a reward or not, but the Scroll
isn't the only thing that has mentioned Angel becoming human.
"I thought the only way for you to be made mortal was if
the Powers That Be stepped in." (IWRY) We find out that there
is another way, the blood of the Mohra demon, but whatever is
sending Doyle his visions, whether that is the more neutral PTBs
or Jasmine, has told Doyle about this grand plan, which Doyle
doesn't tell Angel about fully. To second what Doyle says, when
Angel asks point blank if the Powers that Be turned him mortal,
the Oracles respond "The Powers That Be? Did you save humanity?
Avert the Apocalypse?" Why would the Powers reward Angel
for fighting on the side of evil? Why would the Senior Partners
do this at all? If Angel is evil, why would they want to lose
this powerful asset?
This leads us to option 2. Angel's role in the apocalypse isn't
on the side of good or evil. It is a bit more gray than that.
I like the idea of not knowing what side Angel is on. Doesn't
really seem to fit our champion, though. With his soul, he can't
go completely evil. Then again, who would have thought that Willow
would go evil? What would it take for Angel to pull a Willow?
Any number of things, but Joss has already told that story. Why
Nah. Much more interesting place to go with Angel. Season 2 we
see a really gray area. The season opens with "Judgment."
Angel wants his reward and is even keeping track of his kills,
"Redemption points" so to speak. The powers send Cordy
a vision that leads him to realize this isn't the right way to
What was Plan B? As Nathan said, make Angel as gray as possible.
He could have gone totally nuts because of the dreams. He could
have gone back to some sort of whacked relationship with Darla.
He could have killed her when he first got his fangs on her. He
could have sired her when he found out she was dying. Any of these
actions would have taken Angel out of the "solidly good"
camp and made him a bit grayer. What happened REALLY made him
gray. He didn't go evil. He didn't join their camp. He tried to
demolish their camp.
That is what the Senior Partners want. Angel asks Holland, "Why
fight?" Evil is secure in the knowledge that it will always
exist. It doesn't have to fight. Season 1 Angel picked up his
mission to help the helpless. Wolfram and Hart contrasted this
by helping the not helpless. This season, we get the question
"why fight" and their contrasting answers. Prophecy
plays a key role in this.
Is there a big picture? In "Blind Date," Wesley tells
Angel in regards to the Scroll, "There is a design, Angel.
Hidden in the chaos as it may be, but - it's there - and you have
your place in it." Holland says in "Reunion" to
the assembled group, "Now it's no secret that our work is
but one small element in a much larger, greater plan - one which
the Senior Partners hope to. . ." This directly contrasts
Angel's epiphany. "In the greater scheme or the big picture,
nothing we do matters. There's no grand plan, no big win."
That is the important contrast between Wolfram and Hart and Angel
this season. Both the people at Wolfram and Hart and the priests
in Pylea are slaves to prophecy. The problem with prophecy, as
we learned over on BtVS, is that it is often incomplete. It doesn't
show the heart of the matter, just what some entity wants people
to know in order to make something happen. Wolfram and Hart wants
Angel gray. Do they even know why?
Why fight? Wolfram and Hart don't fight, but they work to make
that prophecy fit their apocalypse, just like they tried to make
Comshuck fit their designs back on Pylea. Lindsey's advice to
Angel was not to play Wolfram and Hart's game. Interesting thing
is that Wolfram and Hart are playing the game of whomever wrote
the prophecies and they are losing so far, because Angel isn't
playing the same game any more.
Prophecy is a great vehicle for the debate about determinism.
The determinists see prophecy as what will happen. Wolfram and
Hart is trying to use this to their advantage. They are taking
it for granted that X will come to pass. They are just trying
to mold X. If they can't, they will take X out of the picture,
like they tried to do with the blind children. Angel is trying
to get away from this. He wants to just help. It isn't for redemption
or a reward any more. He can't just assume that he will Shanshu.
He is just a really nice guy trying to do the best he can.
Wolfram and Hart want Angel gray. They provoke him until he fights
back, hard. They turn him into one of the steppers, as he plays
first with Darla and Dru and then with Lilah and Lindsey. Their
problem is that the core of Angel is his heart. When he finds
out his friends are in trouble, he rushes to their aid, symbolically
in Lindsey's truck. When Angel first got his soul, he wanted to
go back to Darla so badly. He thought he was willing to do anything
to attain this. He wasn't. His new soul wouldn't let him hurt
that baby. No matter how gray souled Angel gets, his soul/heart
will always keep him from going completely evil.
Same thing with Lindsey. Season 1, just like Angel drew the line
with Darla with a baby, Lindsey had to protect those children.
Season 2, seeing what Wolfram and Hart did first hand was too
much for him. Wolfram and Hart were interested in Lindsey because
he had the potential to see things as they are. When Lindsey did,
he discovered that the power he could have had just wasn't worth
it. There was more to life and he was going to discover what.
I hope they bring him back so we can see what he found.
I said earlier that Lilah is the Angelus of Wolfram and Hart.
Really she is Darla. She wants her view. Season 3 she is the face
of Wolfram and Hart and we will see how that plays out.
Here's to hoping that the thread lasts more than 5 hours before
it is Voynaked.
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