March 2002 posts
The Doctor or the
"Doc" -- Aven,
15:23:34 03/01/02 Fri
Forgive a backward UK viewer, but does The Doctor in AYW equate in any way with
"Doc" from Season Five?
Probably not, but who knows? -- Traveler, 15:37:28 03/01/02 Fri
Re: The Doctor or the "Doc" -- Prancer, 17:45:06 03/01/02 Fri
It is interesting to note that in the shooting script - but not in the actual episode - a mention was
made that Sam is a doctor. Hmmm.
Re: The Doctor or the "Doc" -- cynesthesia, 22:21:09 03/01/02 Fri
In the Sam-Buffy scene, Sam refers to working in an infirmary. Not quite the same thing as what's
in the shooting script but still worth a hmmm.
[> [> [>
Re: The Doctor or the "Doc" -- Singed Cat, 07:56:36 03/02/02 Sat
In that case I can see why it was left out of the actual episode-- we're confused enough with Joel
Gray's Doc confusing the issue. Maybe Spike entered into it by that misnomer, hoping to connect
with one of "doc's" old contacts.
New Angel Thread -- That I
Spent Too Long Writing to Read the Other New Threads -- JM, 15:59:16 03/01/02 Fri
Due to a number of recent mentions of the comparative paucity of Angel posts on this board
(quantity, not quality), and the general consensus that the most fervent AtS fans are
temperamentally indisposed to initiating discussion, I’ve decided to bite the bullet and take action in
support of my fellow man . . . er, fan. In other words, I’ve decided to start a thread. Which I have
now done. . . Why I am still here talking to you?
OK, OK, that would be cheating and probably wouldn’t generate much discussion. (I’d like to add
right here that I expect every one of the posters who complained about low Angel verbiage to respond
to this post – even if just to let me know that I am objectionable and insane.)
What follows is a rather rambling arrival at a revelation that I came to today. Along with some
embarrassing admissions to how I got there. It all started out in insomnia and the world of slashfic.
For anyone not familiar with this sub-genre of fan fiction, from the minimal research I’ve done its
name derives ultimately from the slash used to separate the names of two characters, denoting a
relationship: e.g., Buffy/Angel, Willow/Tara, Riley/Forrest. Originally it was applied to any non-
canonical relationship: e.g., Spike/Willow, Buffy/Giles. Overtime, however, it has come to designate
same-sex couplings, and as an adjective, homoerotic undercurrents of the mostly male persuasion.
Since the writers of this often fairly explicit sub-genre are almost (though not entirely) exclusively
straight women, I feel it fair to equate it to the lesbian pornography aimed at an audience made up
largely of heterosexual men.
Don’t worry, I have no intention letting this post degenerate into "squick." I’m really
interested in exploring the more cerebral aspects of the topic. Output ranges from subtle erotica to
PWP (porn without plot) and from tragically well-written to smuttily formulaic. Taking myself to be
a not unrepresentative sample of the consuming population (and Hell, I’ve even written one, though
it’s not ready for publication) I feel qualified to posit a few suggestions about the source of this taste.
Posters justify their interest for reasons ranging from the classic "I agree with both of
them" to consciousness raising about a historically downtrodden minority group. I have to
admit that I am very skeptical of the latter explanation, for several reasons, the most pressing being
the blatant physical objectification that occurs in even a discussion of the topic. And also the
extended foreplay that titillating, but never confirmed, subtext provides. Personally, judging from
the extant works, the most vitalizing reasons for the existence of slash include a need to express a
certain power over men, in that this fiction puts mostly canonically het males in a position that
inspires almost irrational terror in the majority of straight men (at least in America). Another
important reason, IMO, is the dominance of the male perspective in literature. It is the model and
voice that even women are most familiar with. And finally, last, but not least, the same organic lust
that makes the fantasy of two women such a familiar staple among straight men. It’s just more
unusual because expressions of female sexuality were uncommon in literature and art until fairly
So now that I’ve attempted to elevate to the level of pop art the kind of thing that would enrage
Tipper, on with the story. Night two of unusual sleeplessness arrives and I find myself at the
HoYay! thread for "Smallville" on the formerly MightyBigTV board. And prurient
admission number two (and final) this isn’t even a show I’ve ever seen, though I like the
commercials. Anyway, for a HoYay! (short for homoeroticism Yay!) board, it often tends to the fairly
cerebral. Including a detailed discussion of the actors relative merits as thespians and evidence of
authorial intent versus player interpretation, at least ten pages of posts were devoted to a debate
about agape, eros, and philos. So I don’t consider it time completely wasted. Better than checking
the clock every eight minutes.
Anyway, one of the posters was weighing the relative merits of slashing based on actual subtext in
the show versus author whim. Which topic is relevant to the medium, since in the fandoms in
question any two male characters who have ever appeared on screen at the same time, and some who
never have, have been slashed somewhere, at least once. It’s particularly relevant to the Smallville
universe, where Michael Rosenberg, the actor who plays Lex Luther, has at least implied that the
vibe of attraction has been a deliberate choice on his part. Which will help to provide a believable
motive for the currently intense friendship between Lex and Clark inevitably devolving into bitter
rivalry. Anyway the poster maintained that she (I assume) preferred pairings supported by
deliberately inserted subtext. Which I suppose is entirely in the eye of the beholder. At least until
we get the director’s commentary on the DVD.
So this got me thinking about the Whedon-verse and uncannonical pairings and subtext. Although
every conceivable pairing from Buffy and Cordelia to Xander and Oz has been written up at some
point. I think there are only four, or at most five, pairings that actually have the support of subtext
behind them. (I am not including Tara and Willow because the subtext blossomed into text, and
risqué implied on-screen sex.) The first and foremost pairing is Faith and Buffy. Not that I’m
implying that either girl actually has lesbian tendencies, but the emotional intensity of their
relationship due to their shared burden, definitely slipped the bonds of mere friendship. And
definitely generated scenes that gave off a palpable physical heat. Best examples are the abandoned
dancing at the Bronze in "Bad Girls" and the ending of "Enemies."
Second believable relationship: Ethan and Giles. The fact that Giles' wild youth was spent indulging
in the drugs and rock ’n roll scene in London in the seventies makes it less than likely that he didn’t
experiment as recklessly with sex as he did with magic. And summoning a demon for orgies and
bacchanals with a group of five men and one woman? Plus there is a certain something to their
encounters. (And let me add that I am fully aware that there are equally convincing NoYay!
interpretations. That’s MBTV speak for denial of homoerotic subtext.) Ethan seems inexplicably
tempted by the opportunity of goading "the Ripper." Having seen Giles’s casually
ruthless side, he must have know how the encounter would end in "Halloween," and still
he insisted on drawing it out until he couldn’t stand the pain. What was he even doing in Sunnydale
in the first place, and why didn’t he leave? He couldn’t have known about Eyghon then.
And his demeanor is such that of the scorned lover. Implying an undeniable intimacy and
broadcasting the bitter taste of betrayal and an unmistakable jealousy of Buffy’s relationship with
Ripper. And on Giles’ part, there has been no one else who has so effortlessly slipped beneath his
usually chilling, even in anger, self-control. And in support of my theory I must mentioned one of the
funniest, understated scenes of the entire show. In "New Man," after Giles and Ethan
rather rapidly reestablish a caustic comradery, the writers slip in a hilarious misunderstanding. A
rather foggy Giles hears Ethan say "You know, you’re really rather attractive" and
doesn’t at first realize that the comment is directed at their waitress. He looks mostly befuddled, but
far more intrigued than disgusted. And his dawning comprehension is adorable. Plus there is one
more season-four moment that convinced me that Giles, though primarily oriented toward women, is
not entirely resistant to same-sex attraction: "Superstar." He was keeping the swimsuit
calendar under the blotter on his desk, clandestine but readily available. It goes a lot toward
explaining the vibe in that ep, an almost desperate adoration, not unlike any hopeless December-to-
May attraction, het or other.
The other two couplings lightly supported by subtext are among our vampire friends. There’s
something mildly believable about the idea that Spike and Angel and Dru and Darla at some point in
their very long shared rampage probably blurred the lines of specific couples. There’s just something
undeniably sexual about vampires. One director, discussing the book "Dracula," said
that the exchange of blood is symbolic of just about every possible sexual union.
And then there’s Lorne. See I told you long ago that this was going to be an AtS thread. Lorne has
hilariously been played for maximum, almost credibility-pushing, ambiguity. His mannerisms,
speech, music taste, and clothing are a parody of the flamingly homosexual. And his relationship
with Angel has all the trappings of attraction. Plus his description in "Over the
Rainbow" of being alone in his love and conception of music in Pylea carried so much of the
angst of the closeted and confused gay adolescent. On the other hand, meeting his mother certainly
blurred the concept of gender for his people. Plus he has revealed an unequivocal attractive to
Cordelia. My guess is that the ambiguity is a tease, but is also to create a very specific metaphor.
Lorne is a metaphor for a gay man in show business at a very specific period in time. Even his
mannerisms and tastes are somewhat dated. He represents entertainers like Elton John and
Liberacci in the seventies. Men who were flamboyantly, well, flaming, but of whom the media
establishment maintained the fiction of believable heterosexuality.
So that’s what, five? Which contemplation led me to Wesley (because all threads in my mind lead
there). Wes is a huge slashfic favorite. Not clear if it’s the fact that he’s English (which for
Americans seems to imply possibly bi) or his occasionally effeminate behavior that Cordy never fails
to mention or his frequent naked emotional vulnerability. And however much fun the fics are, and
the tongue-in-cheek remarks of the producers and actors, somehow Wesley doesn’t actually, to me at
least, come across on screen as anything but committedly heterosexual. But still there’s something. .
Which got me thinking again, about among other things, his incipient meltdown in
"Loyalty." The biggest contributing factors include the emotional trauma of the events in
"Billy" that he never dealt with but that, if you re-watch the earliest eps, has had a
subtle but noticeable impact on his demeanor ever since. In addition is his reaction to Gunn and
Fred’s romance: a barely simmering rage that can’t obscure the fact that he still cares for both of
them a great deal. But the major influence is the fear of the prophecy coming true. And it’s not just
because he fears for Connor. Although it’s clear that he cares for the baby, Holtz’s coffin line visibly
chilled him, and he has abuse issues that would make him identify with a child in danger, he is also
the one person who has been seen the least often coddling Connor, attempting to remain
dispassionate about this being whose role is unknown. No, his biggest agony is knowing the pain
this would cause Angel. And this knowledge, this burden, is pushing him into aberrant, desperate
behavior, sleeplessness, a barely sublimated death wish, and brimming hysteria. That’s a very
strong reaction regarding someone else’s suffering. What could explain it?
And then the epiphany. Wesley is in love with Angel. And no, not in a romantic, physical,
homosexual way. But in a way that is fairly common in the annals of Western literature and drama.
An overarching love, even between two same sex characters, that is deeper than friendship, deeper
than the romantic connections either character will ever experience. I think it’s possible, even not
uncommon. It’s the same way some parents describe their relationship with their newborn children.
Emotionally, though not physically, they go through the same stages as when falling in love
romantically. Nature’s way of tying you irrationally to your charges. And personal admission
absolutely final, I had a number of same-sex friendships in adolescence that could only be defined in
these terms. There was zero physical interest, but the level to which I idolized the object of my
affections and sublimated my own personality was truly frightening in retrospect. Luckily I had
recognized this aspect of my personality and the inevitable disillusionment before I entered a
genuinely romantic relationship.
I’d also maintain that Wes has fallen in love at some point with everyone on the staff, everyone in his
small circle. He’s been canonically attracted to both of the women, Fred and Cordy. In Sunnydale,
he genuinely worshipped Cordy. She was interested, yes, but somewhat casually so. And had a
score to settle with Xander. She was the only one who showed him any kindness. And
"Earshot" proved just how completely she was filling his thoughts. It’s attraction I think
that carried over to AtS, see "Pangs," Expecting." "Sanctuary,"
"Reprise," and "Epiphany." I don’t think that he’s romantically attached to
her anymore, but there’s still a deep commitment there on his part.
Once Angel took him in he developed an unnerving devotion to his hero. The devotion was partly
played for laughs. Loosening us up to allow Wes in to our hearts after losing Doyle. But it was also
painful when we realized he seriously meant everyone of those silly sentiments. His commitment is
undeniable in "The Ring," "Five by Five," and "Sanctuary." In
"I’ve Got You Under My Skin," he only loses control after the demon taunts him about
disloyalty to Angel, not even when it brings up his painful childhood. Season one makes clear that
Wesley will do anything, suffer anything, for Angel. Season three makes it clear that this is still
Season two sees him repeating the process with Gunn. Their nascent friendship grows stronger
during Angel’s absence, and I’m sure deepens in those missing scenes after Wes is released from the
hospital. His relief at Gunn’s return in "Epiphany" is only matched by that one word in
"Over the Rainbow," "Gunn." AD so clearly broadcasts relief, gratitude,
connection. Ships have been built over far less. And then there is "That Old Gang of
Mine." Wes is entirely solicitous of Gunn’s reservations about the case, and entirely trusting,
while only Angel is wary that something is wrong. The scene in Caritas where he realizes the extent
of Gunn’s betrayal conveys such wronged fury and woundedness. Although he understands and
forgives, I’m not sure the relationship ever entirely recovers. What he takes away is that the
relationship and it’s obligations meant more to him than it ever did to Gunn.
Which I don’t think is even partially true. Of all of them at AI, I think that Gunn probably cares for
Wesley the most. Almost every fight I’ve seen Gunn is instantly aware of whenever Wes loses the
upper hand and instinctively goes to his aid. In "Epiphany," his viciousness towards
Angel is largely in defense of the hurt Angel caused Wes. Just as Wes’s very rare show of temper is
in defense of Cordelia. Gunn was torn apart about what happened in "That Old Gang of
Mine," and devastated that Wes found out. He was uncharacteristically submissive during the
dressing down. And that look in "Couplet," when he realizes with so few words the depth
of the pain he’s caused Wesley. In that moment, so much could have been regained. But Wesley
retreats into dismissiveness because he can’t control his emotions anymore. And ultimately Gunn
grabs the anti-authoritarian stance he sported in "The Shroud of Rahmon." Still
"Wesley’s a good man" speaks volumes.
I also think it’s a relevant commentary on Gunn’s relationship with Fred. Multiple mentions have
been made of how much more she has in common with Wesley. Frankly, I think that from Fred’s
perspective Wes in as much her intellectual unequal as Gunn. Wes is the product of rigorous
training, she’s a natural prodigy. And her interests don’t seem to lean toward that factor anyway.
She’s more attracted to strength than anything, and she knows first hand how damaged Wesley is.
Anyway, topic, I think Gunn is attracted to her for the same reasons he’s so fond of Wesley. Not
implying HoYay! but I really think he’s drawn to the same almost goofy enthusiasm
("Eureka"), the same intellectual disconnect from the real world, and the same gentle
exterior hiding a core of steel.
On Wes’s part, although his attraction to Fred has been building at least since "Carpe
Noctem," his falling in love seems inevitable at this point. (And his despair is compounded
that he has lost both Fred and Gunn to each other.) Due to the emotional aridness of his upbringing
he’s unable to regulate his affections when he develops a connection. And painfully I think it is
largely one-sided. Yes they all care a great deal for him, but they wouldn’t let themselves slip into
madness in an attempt to save him from pain. Angel is concerned, but easily distracted. It is only in
his dream that the significance of his pain is recognized by his friends.
First response right off the bat... -- Masq, 16:19:21 03/01/02 Fri
More to come, don't worry, but:
Why do you assume the readers and writers of slash are all heterosexual members of either gender?
There are lesbian and gay fans of both shows who want, ne, need, to see a little exploration of
romance/blatant sex/near porn they can relate to.
Re: First response right off the bat... -- JM, 17:57:38 03/01/02 Fri
Oh, I'm not assuming. I've just noticed that the vast majority who've stated their preference have
been straight women. I'm aware of at least one extremely well-written slash fic writer who is a bi
woman. And I have noticed a few posters on HoYay! threads who are have stated that they are male
homosexuals, as well as a large handful of gay women who express interest in both the gay and
lesbian varieties of slashfic. And one male who maintains a reference site for those who wish to be
as accurate as possible in their depictions. (And actually now, that I think, there is definitely one
male-maintained fic site, though he exclusively focuses on one or two couples. And is obsessed, in a
humorous way, with relocating the characters to Canada. Not there is anything wrong with
I, in no way was attempting to be exclusionary, just noting some statistics that indicated an
interesting phenomemnon. And no characterization is exception proof. It just stems from the fact
that I've noticed, especially, a difference in the slash interests of the men and women who post. I'd
imagine that slash-fic written by women for women is as often off interest to gay males as a typical
lesbian porn tape from Playboy is titillating to an actual lesbian.
Once, again, not trying to make any grand assumptions, but I've also noticed that gay male fic
intended for a gay male audience is often fairly hot and physical, while the majority of female
written slash is heavy, to the point of schmoop, on emotions. And on matching up fairly aggressively
het, butch males. Again, I'm trepidatious to make too sweeping assumptions, considering every
human is unique and himself or herself an exception to some rule somewhere. I just noticed a trend
that reverberated especially because I'm a part of it.
[> [> [>
Re: First response right off the bat... -- JM, 09:40:30 03/02/02 Sat
Well, honored Masq, I've been thinking more about what you said, and agree that I need to qualify
my assertions. In fact, since this was night number three of insomnia I spent three hours staring at
the ceiling weighing the topic.
Slashfic is by no means a monolithic universe. There are as many varying strains of emphasis as
there are variations on possible couplings. And there are definitely fic out there dealing with issues
of gay identity, being gay, and the impact a developing realization of sexual identity has on the lives
of those affected. I also admit that my perspective is probably skewed because the sampling I'm
most familiar with is the works that appeal to me the most.
My impressions thus far are that the closer works tend toward actual subtext found in the source, a
rating of PG to R, and an avoidance of intensive "shmoop," the more likely they are to
explore believable aspects of gay or bi identity. (There's a fairly good series out there about E/G's
youth that explores the emotional ramifications of being involved with someone who refuses to
commit to the obvious identity issues that a physical relationship raises, e.g., how do you deal with
someone who is ashamed of you and your relationship even though they may love you.)
My reservations about the majority of the medium being a genuine exploration of same-sex issues is
partially based on commentary I read on the reference site maintained by the afore mentioned
gentleman. Along with criticism of the physical depicitions of sex in many fics that he mentions is
what he sees as an inaccurate depiction of the relationship dynamics. His major objection is that the
male/female dichotomy is too often reinterpretted into bottom/top. His point was that it's not about
who is the "woman" in the relationship, it's that the point is there are no women in the
relationship. He also objects that there is too much crying and way too much talking. One
commentator does not a consensus make, but it got me thinking. Anyway take it for what it's
Hey JM... can I add this to Fictionary Corner? Email me! -- Liq, 16:23:24 03/01/02 Fri
Re: Hey JM... can I add this to Fictionary Corner? Email me! -- Jm, 18:04:45 03/01/02
Oh, God, yes, please, Liq, grant me immortality. I'd e-mail you but I'm not home right now. I'll
follow-up with an e-mail tomorrow. Please feel free to edit or whatever.
proof read before adding! -- pocky, 10:32:29 03/02/02 Sat
i've found a couple of spelling errors: "Lex Luthor" was misspelled, and the name of the
actor who plays Lex is Michael Rosenbaum--NOT Rosenberg. that must've been a slip from the
so yeah, always proof read!
[> [> [>
Re: proof read before adding! -- JM, 10:41:57 03/02/02 Sat
Thanks, I'm embarrassed about Lex Luthor, but I thought I might have gotten MR's name wrong. I
just couldn't double-check because my roomie was on-line. And yes, agree with the proof read. You
can't beleive the number of things that got changed before I added. There's still several mistakes
that are driving me batty. For instance, decide on Giles' or Giles's and stick with one. Oh, well, no
edit button. Anyway, thanks for reading.
Second response... (spoilery) -- Masq, 16:30:28 03/01/02 Fri
At first, I thought you were going to get into a discussion of Wesley's impending "whigging
out" next week trying to save Connor from Angel.
That is a worthy topic in itself, because, as we know, Wesley has heavy-duty father issues dealing
with abuse and they haven't been explored yet. This could be what's behind his current distrust of
Angel--the demon father.
But integrating your claim of a Wes-to-Angel attraction subtext, which now that I think about it, has
some merit (remember Wes trying to be Angel early on in AtS with the leather and the "rogue
demon hunter"?), how will this attraction/admiration play itself out against Angel "the
Re: New Angel Thread -- That I Spent Too Long Writing to Read the Other New Threads --
cynesthesia, 16:42:08 03/01/02 Fri
De-lurking to say interesting post. There was an interesting vibe in 'Loyalty' with Wesley
accompanying Angel on the visit to the doctor's office. We knew why Wesley was there, but the two
men must have seemed very parental in their attitude toward someone who was an outside
Maybe this has been mentioned before, but DG made a joking remark in reference to the ballet
episode, something like, "as if our show weren't gay enough already."
Re: New Angel Thread -- That I Spent Too Long Writing to Read the Other New Threads --
Masq, 16:56:43 03/01/02 Fri
This makes me think of how there was a gay joke on Angel in nearly every one of the early first
season episodes, usually coming from Cordelia's remarks on his (alleged) effeminate clothes or
supposed "eunuch" status, (which a real gay man is anything but) but in
"Lonely Hearts" he was trying to discover what was going on in the bar and some guy
thought he was picking up on him.
Just the writers having a little fun with the character, I suppose. And now that i think of it, those
references have never gone away. He's still called a eunuch and his taste is still called
"gay". But Angel's just a little old-fashioned, growing up as he did in the days of fops and
dandies. His complete comfort with himself and his manhood around Lorne shows he's got no hidden
anxieties about his sexuality.
[> [> [>
Re: New Angel Thread -- That I Spent Too Long Writing to Read the Other New Threads --
Apophis, 17:11:34 03/01/02 Fri
There's also the fact that Spike frequently refers to Angel as "poof" and
"peaches" (not to mention his "nancy boy hair gel"). Spike's cockney way of
insulting his grandsire or evidence of past intimacy? Or maybe Spike's just projecting...
[> [> [> [>
Angel may be comfortable with his masculinity... -- Masq, 17:16:14 03/01/02 Fri
but Spike isn't comfortable with Angel. When Spike makes fun of Angel's supposed effeminacy, it's
attempt to belittle him because Spike feels threatened by Angel. Angel is older than him, is better
schooled than him, carries out his plans more smartly than him, and got the girl to love him.
Plus Angel consistently beats the s*** out of Spike in their fights.
[> [> [> [> [>
Yeah, I've never gotten a clean vibe -- Jm, 18:13:04 03/01/02 Fri
Plus, I've yet to read a really solid Spike/Angel slashfic. The closest I've come is one's that have only
implied it. It's less that I can imagine an actual relationship than a sexually charged pile of familiar
vamps who got a little creative. OK possibly veering into bad taste. I'll stop now. You get the
Re: New Angel Thread -- That I Spent Too Long Writing to Read the Other New Threads --
yabyumpan, 17:34:52 03/01/02 Fri
interesting thread but I actually see Wes's hero worship of Angel as more of a Father/Son thing.
Angel (in AtS anyway), has looked after Wes, encouraged him, given him respect,
"allowed" him to be the boss. He took him under his wing and enabled him to blossem in
a way that his real father never did.
"No, his biggest agony is knowing the pain this would cause Angel. And this knowledge, this
burden, is pushing him into aberrant, desperate behavior, sleeplessness, a barely sublimated death
wish, and brimming hysteria. That’s a very strong reaction regarding someone else’s suffering. What
could explain it?"
I think it can be explained in that he is once again going to disappoint his "father" and in
doing so may cause his "father" to exact retribution against him.
Agian great pot but i do see it as more of a Father/Son thing
Re: New Angel Thread -- That I Spent Too Long Writing to Read the Other New Threads --
JM, 18:34:47 03/01/02 Fri
At one point I might have bought the father vibe, maybe as late as last season. Frankly
"Redefition" and the Pylea arc, as well as the discussions in "Carpe Noctum"
and "Couplet," reveals that the authority in their relationship has not remained static in
the last year. Wes is far more protective than submissive now.
Although there were subtle father-figure vibes in his deseperate appeal for Giles approval, I'm not
sure he would actively cast some one he liked as a father figure. Although still desprately desirous of
his aprpoval, Wes seems fully aware that his father is a right bastard.
Again, I don't mean to imply a sexual attraction on Wes's part, it was simply the path that led me to
the end point. Perhaps older brother is more appropriate than father-figure.
Plus I disagree about "allowing" Wes to be boss. Though Angel occassionally gives that
impression, the transition in authority was entirely due to his choices in "Reunion" and
"Epiphany." Cordy and especially Gunn have never given any indication that they would
abandon the leader they chose. And since the return from Pylea Wes has never seemed to doubt his
own authority (except briefly in "Billy" when he considered resignation).
"Overarching love" between people of the same sex has withered at the hands of
homophobia. -- yuri, 17:51:25 03/01/02 Fri
Wesley is in love with Angel. And no, not in a romantic, physical, homosexual way. But in a way
that is fairly common in the annals of Western literature and drama. An overarching love, even
between two same sex characters, that is deeper than friendship, deeper than the romantic
connections either character will ever experience.
I agree -- this form of love was common and romanticized up until homophobia really began to take
the form it has today. Many romantic tales of heroes allude to these sorts of relationships between
soldier/knight and general, or King and whatever you'd call the second-in-command to a king. (If I
was more well-read and had a better memory I'd be referencing something here.) Now we see less
and less of these relationships in fear that they may be percieved as gay.
One question - is this "overarching love" really something that happens between
two people, or does one person feel it for the other, who then feels something different in
David & Jonathan, Damon & Pythias, Gilgamesh & Enkidu -- Scroll,
18:55:10 03/01/02 Fri
I agree with JM's analysis of Wesley's overarching love for Angel. You're right in that it's not
romantic but a type of brotherly love so extreme that Wesley would put his own life over Angel's
suffering. And while I can see Season 1 Wesley looking up to Angel in a father/son way, I think he's
grown beyond that now, especially after Angel fired them in Season 2.
If you want references of philios love, think David and Jonathan from the Bible. Jonathan's father,
King Saul, ordered David to be killed on sight, but Jonathan protected David and swore to give up
his right to the throne so David could be king. It says that Jonathan "loved David as his own
Also, Damon and Pythias is a Greek story of two friends whose extreme loyalty to each other was
shown when Damon pledged his life that Pythias would return from handling his affairs to be
executed for rebelling against Dionysius, a tyrant of Syracuse. At the time set for the execution,
Pythias returned and Dionysius pardoned them both.
I think Wesley's desperation stems from his fierce desire to spare Angel the pain of killing his son.
One moment in "Loyalty" that really struck me is when Angel's talking about the hockey
sticks and how he can't wait to see who Connor is going to be. I think Wesley is definitely comparing
Angel's terrific parenting and love for Connor to his own father's lack of affection. And when Angel
says he's "so happy", you can see the palpable despair that falls over Wesley's face. He
feels that Angel really deserves to be happy, even though happiness is the one thing Angel should
never have. And when Fred compliments Wes and says he *deserves* a break for being so good and
loyal, you can almost see him thinking, *no I don't*.
Despite his reluctance to warm up to Connor, I see Wesley as the most loyal and loving in the philios
manner of all the AI gang. He loves irrationally, and he even seems to recognise it when he says to
Angel, "Love can be a terrible thing." If he didn't love Angel so much, he wouldn't be in
this quandry. And if Angel didn't love Connor so much, the possibility of Connor's death wouldn't be
[> [> [>
Anyone know the story of Gilgamesh & Enkidu? -- Scroll, 19:02:05 03/01/02
Sorry, I forgot to give a synopsis of Gilgamesh and Enkidu. I'm not really that familiar with this
story but I think it's Sumerian legend about it's first king, Gilgamesh, and a wild man that he tames,
named Enkidu. They consider themselves brothers and did everything together. I think that Enkidu
dies to save Gilgamesh but I could be wrong, I can't remember how it goes. Does anyone know?
[> [> [> [>
Re: Anyone know the story of Gilgamesh & Enkidu? -- leslie, 20:32:54 03/01/02 Fri
Gilgamesh is the king of Uruk, Enkidu is a wild man, created to be Gilgamesh's double, who is
"tamed" by a sacred prostitute. G&E fight, but then become best buds, together they
fight and kill Humbaba, a demon--Enkidu delivers the fatal blow. The goddess Ishtar makes a pass
at Gilgamesh, who rebuffs her by listing the dicey ends to which all of her lovers have come. Ishtar
sends the Bull of Heaven to kill Gilgamesh, but Enkidu kills the bull and insults Ishtar himself. The
gods decide that Enkidu is a danger to their world and kill him with a sickness. Gilgamesh,
disconsolate, goes on a long journey that leads him to Utnapishtim, the only survivor of the
worldwide flood that destroyed all life except what he had on his boat, and the ears of comparative
Biblical scholars prick up everywhere. Utnapishtim, after telling Gilgamesh that the only thing to do
about death is accept it, relents and gives him a plant that will make an old man young again,
thereby offering him eternal life, but the plant is stolen from Gilgamesh by a serpent. Biblical
scholars' ears prick up even further. By now, their ears are located somewhere around the tops of
their heads, causing auditory distortion so severe that they cannot hear any more of the story, and so
[> [> [> [> [>
ROFL! best retelling I've ever heard! -- a former theologian... Solitude1056, 20:44:45
[> [> [> [>
Re: Anyone know the story of Gilgamesh & Enkidu? -- Apophis, 20:42:25 03/01/02
Gilgamesh was king of Babylon eons ago. Enkidu was created by the gods as a wild man and foil to
Gilgamesh, who was being a rather poor king at the time. Enkidu was pure and happy in his
natural state, living with the animals as an equal. Shepherds were frightened by him, though, and
devised a plan to get rid of him. They sent a harlot into the wild to seduce him. Once he and the
harlot finished their business, Enkidu found that the animals no longer trusted him, as he had, by
sleeping with a woman, swung the pendulum from animal to civilized man. Disheartened, Enkidu
entered Babylon and got in a fight with Gilgamesh. The story gets kind of fuzzy here, for me.
Eventually, Gilgamesh and Enkidu go on a quest to find eternal life. Along the way, Enkidu is killed
protecting Gilgamesh, who is understandably distraught by this. There is quiet a bit of
"overreaching love" between the two, a fact that was remarked upon in my World
Re: "Overarching love" between people of the same sex has withered at the hands of
homophobia. -- JM, 10:09:03 03/02/02 Sat
My opinion of the disappearance of this convention is that it is a combination of the scientific
worldview replacing the Romantic and the changing gender roles in society. Science categorizes and
quantifies, limiting ambiguity. And in response to the expanded definition of acceptable female
behavior, American males at least have seemed to limit their definition of their role to one of hyper-
masculinity. Though I think that that dynamic is definitely changing, and has been drastically
changing in just the last ten years.
The role of philos in art though is not entirely vanished. I think that it is alive and well, though
sublimated, in the buddy dynamic most often found in cop partner fiction. It's no accident that most
examples also depict the protagonists in a very strained realationship with their romantic partners.
Women who can't share in this deep bond that their men have with their partners.
Most other examples, though, I feel are one sided. Certainly in the case of Wes and Angel. Angel is
fond of Wes. From the beginning he was protective. Now he is respectful, comfortable, and
completely trusting. (Which will make the perceived betrayal all the more devestating.) However,
he has nowhere near Wes's devotion. The only people who bring that out in Angel are Cordy and
Cordy, I think would put Wes a close second behind Angel and the baby. Fred, I think genuinely
cares for Wes, see her compassionate response in "Billy." But I think what was implied
in the diner scene was that she will choose Gunn over loyalty to AI and the mission too.
Gunn comes closest in matching his devotion, though I think it stems from a slightly different
source. Comradeship is very important to him, note the very personal appeal that Rondell made.
Ultimately Gunn chose AI and Wes over the people he had practically grown up with. This
relationship has taken a very serious hit though with the insertion of Fred.
[> [> [>
OT example of overarching love -- Vickie, 12:20:17 03/02/02 Sat
In "The Making of the Fellowship of the Ring," Elijah Wood and Sean Astin discuss the
relationship between Frodo and Sam in just these terms. It's interesting that so many modern
readers have seen a homoerotic subtext in that one also.
[> [> [>
Re: "Overarching love" between people of the same sex has withered at the hands of
homophobia. -- yuri, 16:24:38 03/02/02 Sat
My opinion of the disappearance of this convention is that it is a combination of the scientific
worldview replacing the Romantic and the changing gender roles in society. Science categorizes and
quantifies, limiting ambiguity.
Interesting. Do you mean that science is the root of modern culture's desire to categorize and
quantify? I would have said that it's just human nature -- it makes things easier. But then so many
things we assume are "human nature" really aren't at all.
And in response to the expanded definition of acceptable female behavior, American males at
least have seemed to limit their definition of their role to one of hyper-masculinity.
Wow, that's very true. I actually hadn't thought of it that way. It makes sense - if women were still
where they were in the nineteenth century, there wouldn't be the sort of homophobia and
"hyper-masculinity" that we see today.
And then another question - does the type of "overarching love" that we are discussing
generally apply to males? Everyone's examples have been male... Do we see the same relationship
between women or is it something different because of the difference in gender roles?
[> [> [> [>
Re: "Overarching love" between people of the same sex has withered at the hands of
homophobia. -- John, 22:20:45 03/02/02 Sat
"Wow, that's very true. I actually hadn't thought of it that way. It makes sense - if women
were still where they were in the nineteenth century, there wouldn't be the sort of homophobia and
"hyper-masculinity" that we see today."
Did you really just say that?
I think you'll find the tendency is for homophobia to have lessened, not increased. Ideas of
masculinity have decreased in importance, and the gap between gender has been decreased. Hyper-
masculinity it an example of men trying to get back to an earlier (I'm tempted to say 'less evolved')
state, as in the 19th century homophobia was not only rife but inshrined in law. If gender roles were
the same today as they were a hundred years ago, you'd see a whole lot more homophobia.
Today's hyper-masculinity was the 19th century's norm.
Am I misinterpreting what was meant? Because I've only read the first and last posts in this thread,
so that's not at all unlikely!
[> [> [> [> [>
Re: "Overarching love" between people of the same sex has withered at the hands of
homophobia. -- JM, 05:27:39 03/03/02 Sun
I think what we were trying to get at is not that homophobia itself has grown more common -- good
point about the laws -- but that the behaviors that trigger it have changed with time. At a time
when men and women lived in more separate circles, almost, though not quite, their own
subcultures, intensive friendship and even physical contact didn't trigger homophobic
The fact that we now have a word and commonly accepted concept of what homophobia is is probably
an indication of progress. It means the topic is part of an open debate in our society and not a
shared, if negative, hidden assumption. I have no doubt that Wilde's trial would have been
conducted far differently today.
What I saw as a redefining of the acceptable expressions of masculinity, especially physical contact
and discussion of emotions, in American society was something that came about after homosexuality
became a acceptable topic for open debate in the media, and it's a trend that I think is relaxing. I'm
not an expert though, just my impressions.
[> [> [> [>
Re: "Overarching love" between people of the same sex has withered at the hands of
homophobia. -- JM, 05:40:28 03/03/02 Sun
Categorizing: I think it is part of human nature, or at least, Western European culture. Maybe the
influence of Roman legal traditions on the development of organized Christianity. What I was
thinking of was during the early part of the twentieth century, when science and technology were
becoming more prominent and complex, their influence on the culture also deepened. It seemed kind
of like a fad, scientific concepts being recklessly applied to every topic, whether or not they were
appropriate or whether people even understood the theories they were attempting to apply. The
trend just brought to the forefront our culture's desire for order and organization. (At this point I
really wish I hadn't abandoned history after graduation. I'm rapidly outpacing my ability to back up
my bizarre assumptions.)
No, I don't think the concept only applies to males, but in the time period of literature that is most
applicable, women and their point of view are very underrepresented. I'm sure that there are some
examples, but far fewer. (I do remember as a kid reading Louisa May Alcott's books and being
shocked at amount of kissing and cuddling that went on among female friends.)
might be a silly question
but... -- O'Cailleagh, 17:04:36 03/01/02 Fri
Don't you think Lorne and Sweet would make a great couple?
I dunno... -- Wisewoman, 17:55:28 03/01/02 Fri
Love them both, but they might be too similar to make a good couple--both flamboyant, talented, and
I think Lorne needs someone who can appreciate those things about him, and mostly someone he can
have fun with. That lets Angel out--way too broody, and Lorne would have to do all the work.
Actually, I think Lorne and Cordy could be a mutual-admiration-society all on their own. Not saying
it would last, but they seem to be compatible types.
Angel and Shanshu (poss
spoilers) -- yabyumpan, 17:06:35 03/01/02 Fri
Angel and Shanshu
This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while so I thought I’d bring it here for any comments
etc. I think in order for Angel to Shanshu he needs to not only avert the apocalypse and fight all
those demons etc but he needs to full integrate and accept the Demon within himself. He was
Angelus for longer than he has been Angel and much longer than he was Liam, it is very much a
part of who he is but Angel, along with most other people see Angelus as a separate identity. I think
he needs to accept and learn to appreciate what the demon has done for him before he can fully
regain his humanity. (yes I did say appreciate!) The demon within him, Angelus, has done more to
make him the man(pire) that he is today than anything else and I mean that in a positive way. Let’s
think about Liam; would Liam have been the sort of person who would "help the
hopeless", risk his life for others, even really love? Obviously it’s impossible to really say but I
would think the answer is no. Similarly, if when Angel was vamped his soul remained intact (I know,
going totally left field now but bare with me), would he be on a mission to help those helpless, I
would think it’s very unlikely. It is because of his experiences as Angelus that he wants to do good.
This isn’t discounting all the people along the way who have helped him (Whistler, Buffy, AI etc), nor
am I discounting the importance of his soul but his main push to do good, esp within AtS has been
the need for redemption, to atone for the sins of Angelus. There is also the fact that precicly because
of his demon he is able to help in ways that no one else can; his super-perceptive senses, greater
strength, the ability to leap over high fences etc, plus because of his experiences as Angelus he is
able to, many times, see into the minds of the enemy and, to some extent, predict their actions.
I found it interesting that in Guise will be Guise, even though the swami was fake, he made some
very salient points about Angel, the one that always sticks in my mind was when Angel said "I
can’t let the demon control me" and the fake swami says "you think the demon doesn’t
control you?". I think that’s a crucial point, by spending time brooding and feeling guilty about
all the terrible things Angelus did he is in a way, feeding the demon, giving him energy; in the same
way when we focus on any emotion be it love, anger, fear etc, it feeds that emotion and gives it
greater importance and presence. I think only by accepting and acknowledging the gifts that he has
because of his demon will he be free from it’s control.
One of the things I’ve liked and found interesting about this season is that he does seem to be
becoming more accepting; I was quite shocked in Heartthrob when he was talking to the gang about
Holtz, I can only remember him ever talking to people about his past as Angelus twice (to Buffy
about Drucilla and to Wes and Cordy about Penn).
I’ve read some criticism of the show saying he shouldn’t be happy, more dark and broody, working
towards redemption, what about fighting demons and saving souls etc; but the show is called Angel
the Series, not "the Redemption of Angel" or "Angel Investigations", it’s
about his journey, the journey of a very long lived and complex being. I’ve often thought who you
would end up with if Angel were zapped by the demon that zapped Xander and split him in two. I
think to say Angel/Angelus is too simplistic, Angel could not exist without Angelus IMO, he is an
integral part of who Angel is.
To go back to my original premise, I don’t think that Angel can Shanshu unless he fully integrates
and accepts his inner demon, although that may lead to an interesting paradox; if he is at peace with
his demon then that may help him to Shanshu but it may also bring Angelus out again!
OK, now I’ve tied my brain up in knots, help!
Thanks for reading
Angel a demon or a man? (possible Spoilers) -- Scroll, 19:35:42 03/01/02 Fri
I think you're right in that Angel is not a human with a demon inside, he is a demon with a human
soul. This is something he accepts about himself most of the time, though there've been a few
instances where he defends that the demon is separate from the man (most noticably in Amends). He
tells the First Evil that Angelus' deeds aren't his fault because he had no soul and no control over his
body. But Holtz doesn't see it that way because the hands that held down his wife, the body that
raped and killed her, still belong to Angel.
Wesley, Buffy, and especially Cordelia, (not so much Gunn) have always tried to separate Angel from
Angelus. One is a good man and the other is an evil monster. But Wesley's now seeing that the beast
is always within Angel and can re-emerge at any time. One thing I was never very clear on is
whether the demon is what is evil about Angel, or the man. Joss claims that the demon is drawn to
an evil star and the human soul to a good star. I think Liam's flaw was that his soul was pretty weak
to begin with, the demon took absolute control once it was gone. In Amends, Angel's fear is that his
soul won't be strong enough to resist the demon. That's why he tries to kill himself. Now we see
Wesley consider the possibility that Angel won't be able to stop himself from killing Connor.
Do you think Angel should be killed just because there is the possibility that Angelus will regain
control? Please take this and run with it... : )
Re: Angel a demon or a man? (possible Spoilers) -- yabyumpan, 02:01:32 03/02/02
Scroll: No! For many reasons but as i've just woken up i'll just go with: Wesley has been known to be
wrong about prophesies before and as Fred said "nothing is enevitable".
What happens to the threads
when they fall off the page? -- Spike Lover, 19:09:39 03/01/02 Fri
They should go into Archive # 1. -- Darby, 20:00:57 03/01/02 Fri
Classic Movie of the Week -
March 1st 2002 -- OnM, 21:04:38 03/01/02 Fri
No oppression is so heavy or lasting as that which is inflicted by the perversion and exorbitance of
............ Joseph Addison
Stripped of ethical rationalizations and philosophical pretensions, a crime is anything that a group
in power chooses to prohibit.
............ Freda Adler, Sisters in Crime, 1975
I'll be judge, I'll be jury, said cunning old Fury;
I'll try the whole cause, and condemn you to death.
............ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, 1865
No other offense has ever been visited with such severe penalties as seeking to help the
............ Clarence Darrow
The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.
............ Henry Kissinger
So when is enough, enough?
By sheer coincidence, there was an article in today’s newspaper about a senior staff member of the
Environmental Protection Agency who has resigned in frustration over what he sees as the Bush
administration’s efforts to alter a key regulation governing air pollution caused by large industrial
As part of the Clean Air Act legislation passed 30-some years ago, the change under debate is one
that would affect the requirement under current law that industries need to update pollution
controls when they make other changes in their operating facilities that act to increase the level of
air pollution they produce. In 1996, the Clinton administartion began cracking down on plants that
it said were in violation, which resulted in numerous lawsuits. The EPA was on the verge of finally
settling the suits when the decision was handed down by the White House to ‘review’ the law. Now,
many of the litigants have ‘walked away from the table’ rather than settle on the basis of laws that
may suddenly change.
On the face of it, it seems like the right and honorable thing to do-- you find yourself in what you see
as a card game with a stacked deck, with no hope of winning. You call attention to the cheating
involved, and ask that it stop. You are ignored, and the cheating not only continues but escalates in
intensity. Seeing any further involvement as pointless, you remove yourself from the situation. Soon
after departing, you notice that not only aren’t you missed, but another new player has taken your
seat, one whom you recognize as being even a bigger cheat than the other players. The game
continues, but now the stakes have increased also. Pretty soon the thieves are running the prison,
and setting their sights on the world outside the fence.
Director Oliver Stone wonders aloud about a similar circumstance on the DVD commentary track of
this week’s Classic Movie, Salvador, which was released in 1986, the same year as his
much more widely viewed film, Platoon. Despite the heaps of critical praise and Oscar noms
for Platoon, many serious flick fans site Salvador as being the more primal cinematic
venture of the two. To be sure, Platoon is a beautifully made piece of work, and deserved it’s
many accolades, but there is a rough, intense quality that Salvador radiates that the
somewhat glossier later-issue Stone carvings fail to complelely capture.
The story opens with unemployed writer/photojournalist Richard (‘Rick’) Boyle being woken by the
sound of someone banging loudly on the door of the apartment shared by he and his wife-- it’s the
landlord, angry and demanding to be paid the overdue rent. Rick’s wife, whose substantial hostility
makes it perfectly clear that this isn’t the first time that she’s been in this situation, decides that
she’s finally had enough and splits. Shortly thereafter, Rick is arrested and jailed for a huge number
of accumulated traffic violations and parking tickets. Bailed out by a friend, an ex-radio DJ (‘Dr.
Rock’, played by Jim Belushi) nearly as broke and screwed up as Rick is, the two men drive Rick’s
battered jalopy down south from California, heading across the border, supposedly for the cheap
liquor and multitudes of prostitutes to be found there. At least, this is the story Boyle paints for Dr.
Rock, but the real purpose of the ‘vacation’ is soon revealed.
In a spark of casting genius, Rick Boyle is portrayed by actor James Woods, a master of the nervous
twitch and machine-gun speech modalities. In just the first fifteen minutes of the film, Woods sets
the perfect tone for a character who is at the end of his vine without even the luxury of a tree to
crash into. The beer’n’hookers 3-hour tour gets shipwrecked in El Salvador, where Boyle hopes to
persuade his ‘contacts’ in the region to give him a gig with some actual major magazine or news
service. Dr. Rock is completely freaked, knowing full well just how dangerous this conflict-ravaged
country is, but Boyle seems to almost revel in the chaos.
Of course, Boyle is more than slightly jaded and/or disconnected with reality, a chronic condition due
partly to his extensive past experiences as a war correspondent and partly due to the regular
consumption of drugs and alchol. (A number of other reviewers of this film have made allusions to
‘gonzo’ journalist Hunter S. Thompson, and some of these parallels do in fact seem valid, although I
have not personally read Thompson’s works to any great degree.) The question remains, is this an
advantage or disadvantage in dealing with an insane situation?
If one looks at the ‘standard’ reportage being presented to the ‘respectable’ media, it would appear
that Rick Boyle has the edge. Understandably concerned for their safety at best, and just ‘punching
the clock’ at worst, few of the other press members care to get too close to the big ugly itself. Carnage
abounds, the bodies pile up, and most of the visitors from El Norte sit around the hotel for most of
the day sharing drinks and chit-chat.
Boyle finally wangles a legitimate offer, teaming up with a talented and experienced photojournalist,
John Cassady (John Savage), a reporter for Newsweek, and the two work on collecting
evidence which unfortunately supports the contention that the United States has (once again)
decided to prop up a ruthless and violent dictator, all in the name of expunging ‘communists’ from
This brief description doesn’t begin to do justice to the actual complexity of the goings-on in
Salvador. The characters who inhabit this film represent the much greater questions as to
what extent the general public can place it’s trust in govenmental entities who often shade or even
openly distort the truth to suit their own goals. While based on true events, including the real
experiences of the real Rick Boyle, director Stone makes no pretense of making a literal, factually
perfect ‘documentary’ (and confirms as such on the commentary soundtrack of the DVD). The
violence and horror are not overstated, even if some scenes suggest as much, but Stone is striving
first and foremost for a visceral impression, and he succeeds to a remarkable degree.
And what of the honest, ethical man, faced with such travesties? The ambassador to El Salvador,
Thomas Kelly (played by Michael Murphy in the film), enraged by the statements of the Reagan
administartion (specifically those by Alexander Haig) to the effect that the four Catholic nuns who
were beaten, raped and executed by right-wing thugs were ‘communist sympathizers’ and so
somehow responsible for their own deaths, resigned his position.
So who takes his place?
If I were a religious man, I would pray that our current administration has learned from history, and
so won’t doom us to repeat it. I would also pray that things will never get to the point where someone
like Oliver Stone can’t bring a film like Salvador to the screen to remind us that some truths
must remain self-evident.
E. Pluribus Cinema, Unum,
Technically, One can imagine the government's problem. This is all pretty magical stuff to them.
If I were trying to terminate the operations of a witch coven, I'd probably seize everything in sight.
How would I tell the ordinary household brooms from the getaway vehicles?
............ John Perry Barlow
Salvador is available on DVD, which was also the format of the review copy this week. The
film was released in 1986 and the running time is 2 hours and 3 minutes. The screenplay was
written by Oliver Stone and Richard Boyle. Cinematography was by Robert Richardson, with film
editing by Claire Simpson. Production design was by Bruno Rubeo. The soundtrack was originally in
monaural, but was remastered into a 5.1 surround soundtrack for the DVD release. (The original
mono soundtrack is included as an alternate on the DVD, if for any reason you are leary of the
remastered one). The DVD release sports a number of extra goodies, including a director’s
commentary track by Oliver Stone, some deleted footage, a photo stills gallery, and a documentary
short film ‘on the making of’. The commentary by Stone is alternately fascinating and annoying, as is
the man himself, and the docu/short film eerily portrays the manner in which reality and fiction
manage to cross one another repeatedly.
James Woods .... Richard Boyle
James Belushi .... Doctor Rock
Michael Murphy .... Ambassador Thomas Kelly
John Savage .... John Cassady
Elpidia Carrillo .... María
Tony Plana .... Major Max (Maximiliano Casanova)
Colby Chester .... Jack Morgan, U.S. State Dept. Analyst (CIA)
Cynthia Gibb .... Cathy Moore, Catholic Lay Worker
Will MacMillan .... Colonel Bentley Hyde, Sr. Officer MILGROUP
Valerie Wildman .... Pauline Axelrod
José Carlos Ruiz .... Archbishop Romero
Jorge Luke .... Colonel Julio Figueroa, Commander 3rd Brigade
Juan Fernández .... Army Lieutenant
Salvador Sánchez .... Human Rights Leader
Rosario Zúñiga .... Human Rights Assistant
Item the 1st--
Some other films directed by Oliver Stone: ( from the Internet Movie Database ):
Any Given Sunday (1999) / U Turn (1997) / Nixon (1995) / Natural Born Killers (1994)
Heaven & Earth (1993) / JFK (1991) / The Doors (1991) / Born on the Fourth of July
Talk Radio (1988) / Wall Street / Platoon (1986) / Salvador (1986) / The Hand (1981)
Mad Man of Martinique (1979) / Seizure (1974)
Item the 2nd--
I would like to give a big ol’ ‘thumbs up’ to, and a sincere plug for, a site that is the source of all of
these great quotes I’ve sited in the column this week. Organized by topic, and very much worth your
perusal, please visit:
The Question of the Week:
What do you think is the most affecting war film you have ever seen? Why? (The interpretation of
the word ‘affecting’ is entirely up to you).
That’s all for this week, so as always, post ‘em if you’ve got ‘em. Please don’t be afraid to start a
new thread up for your reply if the column gets rapidly stashed into the archives as it has done
in the last several weeks. (Last week’s riff barely lasted a whole day... ~sigh~). Just reference the
column in the title of the thread.
Take care, and see you next week!
Re: Classic Movie of the Week - March 1st 2002 -- matching mole, 21:33:40 03/01/02
Salvador certainly had a big impact on me and I only saw the second half of it (don't remember why
now). Thanks for the reminder and the review.
I don't watch very many war movies but of the few that I have sampled the most affecting was Jean
Renoir's The Grand Illusion. Call me a starry-eyed idealist but his portrait of the natural
comradeship of men erasing the artificial boundaries of nations at war almost made me weep or
stand up and cheer or something. It was the visual equivalent of listening to 'Imagine'.
Are you still interested in having others make attempts at movie reviews? I'd be willing to give it a
try but I don't remember what the procedure was. Could you repost it? Thanks.
Guest review info is... -- OnM, 04:58:40 03/02/02 Sat
...currently residing in archive Nr. 5. Click on the review for Feb 22nd and scroll down to the
'Miscellaneous' section of the column. Info is contained therein.
P.S. -- If it's gone from the archives before you get to it, e-mail me and I'll send the particulars to
[> [> [>
Thanks -- matching mole, 07:59:10 03/02/02 Sat
I'll be sending you a review in the next week or so. Appreciate the opportunity.
Re: Classic Movie of the Week - March 1st 2002 -- Andy, 06:24:10 03/02/02 Sat
As affecting war films go, I think my favorite is The Thin Red Line (the new version, not the original
:)). I think there are tons of great scenes in that which really get me every time I watch it. My
favorites are the bit with Elias Koteas and Nick Nolte arguing over whether Koteas should send his
men straight into the line of fire, where they would presumably all be killed, and then the scene in
which Ben Chaplin gets the letter from his wife back home. But the whole movie is full of stuff that
gets me all emotional and thoughtful about how cruel war is.
But the combat in the film isn't quite up to par with other war films, IMO. So I think most affecting
war film I've seen just in terms of the intensity of the combat itself is probably Black Hawk Down,
which I just saw a few weeks ago. Really lean, nasty movie that doesn't try to manipulate you with
too many canned "character moments" that throw you out of the realism of the film for
the sake of preaching or moralizing (it's actually almost like the polar opposite of The Thin Red Line,
now that I think about it). Just non-stop, intensely depicted combat that hits you right in the guts
over and over again. I came out of that movie feeling like I'd just gone 12 rounds with Lennox Lewis
(not that I think I could survive that long with him). Probably not for everybody but I thought it was
pretty effective :)
Re: Classic Movie of the Week - March 1st 2002 -- Wisewoman, 08:44:07 03/02/02
Gallipolli. Heroism, politics, stupidity, futility, tragedy--just about sums up war as far as I can
[> [> [>
Classic Movie of the Week - March 1st 2002 -- Fred, the obvious pseudonym, 11:16:15
"Paths of Glory," Stanley Kubrick.
[With commanders like these, who needs the enemy?]
[> [> [>
Re: Classic Movie of the Week - March 1st 2002 -- Cactus Watcher, 19:38:42 03/02/02
I agree with Wisewoman. My choice is also Gallipoli for the same reasons, plus the helplessness and
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Re: Classic Movie of the Week - March 1st 2002 -- Brian, 05:06:16 03/03/02 Sun
A third vote for Gallipoli.
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Anyone like to do a guest review on this film? -- OnM, 05:37:35 03/03/02 Sun
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gee, sounds a lot like... -- anom, 21:32:03 03/04/02 Mon
"Heroism, politics, stupidity, futility, tragedy--just about sums up war as far as I can
...No Man's Land. Well, that had a tighter focus, but it had most of those other things too. Maybe not
Re: Classic Movie of the Week - March 1st 2002 -- gds, 08:47:29 03/02/02 Sat
I'm not much on war movies though there are a few I like. My all time favorite is "From Hell
To Eternity". I saw it as a kid about 40 years ago and could never forget it. What I didn't know
until a couple of years ago is that this is based on a true story about a war hero. Some of the many
casualties of war both in real life and the movies are sanity, rationality and humanity. As someone
tried to mention a few months ago and got severely chastised for his efforts, patriotism is a scary
thing because what starts out as a fine thing: "loving your homeland" will for many
people degenerate into the evils of nationalism and racism. Gone is the principle of evaluating
individuals by what and who they are. Instead people are assigned to groups: "gooks",
"commies", "injuns", "rag-heads" etc. Once sufficiently
dehumanized they become legitimate targets for hatred and terror. Mob mentalities begin to form
and even those who object are bullied into submission both by violence, threats of violence and being
called names to incite violence like "collaborator", "injun lover" etc. All of
this and more happened to the Japanese Americans in WWII.
This movie is about a real hero named Guy Louis Gabaldon: someone who rose above all that and
was able to look at the opposition as people, not as just "the enemy", just a bunch of
"japs". In the movie, he did briefly lose touch with his humanity after his buddies were
killed in a battle, but he was able to get it back. I don’t know if that happened in real life.
Of course Hollywood itself showed a little bigotry when making this film - the real life hero was a
Mexican American. In my brief search on the net I didn’t find much on this movie, but the link
below has some info about the real life hero.
War Movies -- La Duquessa, 10:46:55 03/02/02 Sat
Breaker Morant. Starring Bryan Brown and Edward Woodward. Don't know the year or the director.
The real price of war is paid off the battlefield. Officers in the Boer War (I think--it's been a while
since I've seen the movie) are executed for war crimes...but of course it is far more complicated than
The Best Years of our Lives...Myra Loy and Frederich March, I think...1946. Won tons of Oscars and
is still affecting today, particularly when you consider its subject matter (1940s version of Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder) and the timing of its release (The war barely over).
Blackadder goes Forth--particularly the last ep. Although there is very little blood and gore, the
jokes are funny because they are painfully true and really show WWI for all its stupidity and
Paths of Glory. Kirk Douglas. MOre executions, this time of German soldiers in WWI. War is not just
hell, it's stupid, too.
A Few Good Men. Okay, I thought most of the movie was silly, but the "You can't Handle the
Truth" speech is so utterly and completely true (as 9/11 has so vividly pointed out) that I am
willing to forgive the rest of the movie.
As you might guess, I go for war movies without the blood. In Today's dead-soldiers-on-the-front-of-
World, blood has lost its punch in terms of creating a viseral horrific accident. (Brief digression: I
went to see Brotherhood of the Wolves (excellent movie) and the audience that sat through rape,
graphic attacks on women, Indian warriors kicking people in the face and other various violences
screamed in horror when the film showed an image of a pile of bloody dead wolves.) Anyway, IMHO,
blood is only the outward manifestation of the horrors of war. It's the soulkilling aspect of war that I
find truly horrible.
(Of course the closest I've gotten to a war in on CNN, so maybe if I were faced with the blood in real
life I'd feel differently...it's always easy to be an armchair pundit while someone else is in the line of
Was it RE Lee who said something along the lines of "It is a good thing war is so horrible or we
should grow too fond of it..."? I fear we have done so anyway...
Worst War Movie Ever: Saving Private Ryan...Sentimental Malarky Much, Steven?
ps. Hell is For Heroes with Steve McQueen was good too...
Not exactly a war movie -- Vickie, 12:15:32 03/02/02 Sat
Schindler's List. I don't watch the "blow 'em up" types, they're much too
I'm with you... -- Dichotomy, 15:34:47 03/02/02 Sat
Though not exactly a "war" movie, Schindler's List was an incredibly gut-wrenching
portrayal of wartime actrocities, survival of the human spirit and discovering the humanity within. I
went to see it alone and had to call someone from a payphone right outside the theater because I was
so moved. "Platoon" had a similar, but not quite as intense, effect on me when I saw it
many years ago.
"Casualties of War" with Michael J. Fox and Sean Penn was extremely heartbreaking
and disturbing because it looked at a single wartime atrocity in horrifying detail. The performance
of the actress playing the kidnapped Vietnamese girl (I'm sorry I don't remember her name) ripped
me up inside.
I saw "Salvador" on HBO many years ago, but everyone in the room was talking and
doing other things, so I missed quite a bit. However, the rape scene turned my stomach, as it should
I guess for me an affecting war movie is one I felt I needed to see, benefitted somehow from viewing
it, want others to see it, but have a hard time watching it more than once.
War Flicks (rambling) -- Eric, 18:14:15 03/03/02 Sun
Oddly enough, after years of military fascination, I can't really say I've seen any war movie that
stood out as truly great. One reason is that every war movie made is made for a specific objective.
Prior to the '90s most were made by film makers from the Vietnam era. So naturally most intended
to show war as merely stupid, gory, and for the lighter films, utterly absurd. Galapoli is one of these.
These films are great cautionary tales, but I will tell you that some wars NEED to be fought, even
with their Galipoli like aspects. Others focus on war as an action movie, like the Guns of Navarrone
or a few of the John Wayne movies. Others are not really pro war, but try to show that some wars
are justified. Saving Private Ryan was one of these. (Great first 20 minutes, sticky sentiment
afterwards.) Blackhawk Down is a great slug in the gut war film - but the book is better. I
absolutely refuse to see We Were Soldiers Once because the ads relentlessly exploit America's
current patriotic sentiment to sell it. (Just because I'm a patriot doesn't mean I approve of that
behavior). But the book is very good.
The thing is is that warfare condenses everything positive and negative about the human experience.
There is greed, stupidity, cruelty, atrocity, terror, horror, sorrow, and death. There is also courage,
self sacrifice, faith, the joy of victory, love, honor, and even a ferocious beauty to it. (Men used to
revere war because they believed that it could build inner manly virtues. Too bad they never
considered that those virtues were already in them and could be put to better use.) Its very hard for
a mere movie to catch all this.
My theory for the missing
wedding ring (Spoilers for AYW) -- Felipe,
07:03:19 03/02/02 Sat
I read a few posts down that when they showed Riley's and Sam's hands together, there was no
wedding ring. I read that maybe it was a conspiracy, or that Riley was making it all up, but I think
they don't have rings on because they are shiny, and usually, military in special operations do not
wear anything shiny, or else they might give away their position in the dark. Guns and knives are
treated with special substances to lose their shinyness, for the same reason.
Well, that's just a guess, tell me what you think.
Re: My theory for the missing wedding ring (Spoilers for AYW) -- LadyStarlight, 07:46:59 03/02/02
Also, if you're wearing a ring and it gets caught on something, you can have that finger ripped off.
(the things I retain from first aid courses....)
Also, it's hard to pick up women... -- JodithGrace, 09:12:20 03/02/02 Sat
at the DoubleMeat Palace, if you're wearing a wedding ring. Seriously, The whole "Riley's
married!" bombshell would have been a dead giveaway right from the start if he had shown up
wearing a wedding ring.
It's an essay on
"Restless". I'm also new here, be nice -- SCWLC, 14:34:51 03/02/02 Sat
Title: The Over-Analysis of "Restless"
Disclaimer: I don’t think I can even really claim the interpretation.
Rating: Uh... It’s a descriptive/analytic essay (with no real point either) G?
Summary: Read the title.
Notes: None really, all I'm going to say is that it was suggested that I post this here. Part two will be
Feedback: Please! I wanna know what people think of my insanity. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Now on
to the (dare I call it that?) essay.
Overall there are several layers to the overall meaning of the episode. The First Slayer is trying to
cripple the members of the Slayerettes who participated in the mind-melding spell done to defeat
Adam. She is doing this by having them face some of their most powerful fears. She is also trying to
get Buffy to admit that as the slayer she is alone and has to be so to be a real slayer.
The interesting thing about the fears the others face, is that they are all about identity. It makes
sense, in one way that the First Slayer is trying to explain to them that they are not the slayer, Buffy
is. Because of this the others should not be there. Before I get into the central analysis, I must state
that until what I call the rebuttals section, my interpretations are the ones the First Slayer is
attempting to foist on the Scooby gang. These dreams, as the endeavours of the First to kill and
refocus the gang are supposed to give these messages of uselessness and despair to the dreamer. I
have therefore interpreted them in that way.
In the first scene of Willow’s dream, she and Tara have a conversation about how their pet kitten
ought to have chosen a name by now. Willow says that "She will, she’s not all grown yet."
The whole discussion winds up focussing on how "They will find out . . . about you."
The conversation is a metaphor about how Willow is hiding some truth about herself from other
people. Miss Kitty, the pet kitten, is used to represent Willow. Tara’s worry about how they should
have been told her name by now, is the First Slayer saying that Willow should have told people who
she truly is by now. The issue of names has to do with the belief of many magic workers that if you
know a person’s true name then you know who they are. Willow, in saying that Miss Kitty isn’t all
grown yet, is saying that she doesn’t have to let people know who she is, because she hasn’t finished
developing her personality.
When Tara tells Willow that she’s going to have to tell the others eventually, Willow says that she
can’t because she all this homework to do. Willow is talking about the personality she holds as a
member of the slayer’s inner circle of friends. The homework is her actions as a member of the
Slayerettes When she says she doesn’t want to leave, it means she doesn’t want to leave the inner
circle. She’s safe from being discovered to be a geek there.
On another note, Joss may have wanted to have Tara double as the First Slayer in Willow’s dream as
well as Buffy’s. In this case that adds the whole spin of Willow trying to "write out" a
slayer using the first as a template. Willow is writing on "The Slayer" in general, and
Tara’s comment about how Willow knows her name takes on the extra meaning that Willow doesn’t
understand what being the Slayer is all about.
The next scene is brief and is merely a reiteration that Willow is bad at pretending to be a cool
Slayerette. Scene three, the play, represents the persona’s people put on for the sake of society,
survival, etc. Everyone there is all dressed up for the play while Willow is dressed in her regular
clothes. Buffy tells Willow that her costume is great and that no one will know the truth about her.
Willow is confused by this causing Buffy to lament that Willow is already in character, and she
should have thought of that. Buffy as the flashy "Chicago" cast member, Riley’s costume
as "Cowboy Guy," Harmony’s milkmaid outfit, and Giles as the director are there as
metaphors for the social personae of the people playing them. Buffy has always played herself as the
sophisticated valley girl to the uninformed observer, Riley is the big ox from Iowa, Harmony has
always pretended to be innocent and sweet and even when she was human she was a bitch, and
Giles does have a position of authority.
Willow tries to figure out how they can already be putting on a play on the first day of class, while
everyone around her rapidly shuffles about understanding what’s going on and where they fit in.
Riley repeating over and over that he’s "Cowboy Guy" and Willow should have gotten
there sooner to get a better role, while Harmony states that Willow had better not step on her cues
only goes to reiterate that Willow does not understand anything about the big game of real life and
that she is mistaking her role as a Slayerette for her true personality. Indeed, she is, as Harmony
puts it, steeping on everyone’s cues.
There is a gathering in the wings and Giles starts doing a backstage pep talk with his little troupe.
There is, again mention of Willow stepping on everyone’s cues, and also, the comment that
"Acting is not about behaving, it's about hiding. The audience wants to find you, strip you
naked, and eat you alive, so hide." These acting metaphors are all about the masks people
wear to avoid being eaten alive by society, or in Willow’s case, demons. Willow’s mask is considered
inappropriate by the First Slayer.
Willow, in her confusion wanders through the wings, and runs into Tara. Willow runs on about the
play, and drama class until Tara, witnessing Willow’s confusion tells her that she (Willow) doesn’t
understand yet. Tara disappears when Willow turn around, and then Willow is chased by what we
later find out is the First Slayer. At this point Willow seems to realise that she is dreaming, but does
not understand what the message of the dream is.
She’s rescued by Buffy, who demands to know why Willow is still in costume. When Willow is
confused, Buffy rips off Willows clothes revealing the geek from first season BtVS. After a failed
attempt to read a book report, Willow is attacked and has the breath (spirit) sucked out of her by the
creature that followed her, while everyone looks on in bored amusement.
The last scene is the most blunt of the scenes depicting Willow as a geek in wicca’s clothing. Buffy,
after she rips off Willow’s "costume", says "Much better," followed by
Harmony asking "Is everyone quite clear on this now?". The Play is long over and Willow
should get back to being herself.
As we enter Xander’s dream, he asks "What’s wrong with Willow?" the response he
receives is "Big faker," tying in with Willow’s dream. There is a discussion of
"Apocalypse Now", during which Xander states, somewhat desperately, that "It
gets better, I remember it gets better." Giles then says in tones of sudden enlightenment that
"Oh! I get it, it’s all about the journey isn’t it?". Thus the message that Xander is going
nowhere in life is first stated. Xander, in saying that he remembers "it" getting better is
saying that life is supposed to get better. As he heads up the stairs to go to the bathroom, Buffy
mockingly asks him whether he needs help with it, to which he responds, "Got a system."
This is , I think, the First Slayer’s way of asking if he needs help to get by in life. She’s mocking his
lack of progress.
In scene two, he has a conversation with Buffy’s mother. It smacks of an Oedipus complex, (yes I
would put it past Joss) as they discuss how everyone has gone ahead and that Xander should catch
up. When Buffy’s mother says that she’s heard people say they can catch up before, it also carries the
meaning that she’s stuck behind like Xander. She invites him to join her, and Xander says he needs
to go to the bathroom first. She says "Don’t get lost." The majority of the scene is, again,
based around the not being able to catch up with the others, but there is the first dip into the family
issue that arises later (aka Xander’s Oedipus complex over Buffy’s mother).
In the bathroom, Xander finds himself scrutinised by the Initiative, and decides to use another
bathroom. This is merely a comment on how he feels like everyone is waiting for him to to
something. The First Slayer intimates that Xander is a bug under a microscope. After some
wandering Xander finds himself in his basement. The door at the top of the stairs rattles and Xander
says "That’s not the way out." The way out of his life in the basement is not to fight
through the demons waiting at the top of the stairs.
He leaves the basement and finds his way to a park, where Giles and Spike are on the swings, and
Buffy is playing in the sandbox. Giles comments on how Spike is like a son to him, and Buffy calls
him "big brother". Not in the 1984 sense, mind, but in the family sense. Getting back to
Buffy in a moment, I shall discuss the G-man. Xander responds to Giles’ comment that Spike is like
a son to him by saying that he was into that for a while, but he’s got other stuff going on. Followed by
a shot of Xander being the ice cream truck guy. This has the first meaning that Xander was into
having Giles be his father figure at one point, his father was a jerk after all. Now he has other things
to do. Then there is the side issue that while Xander has stuff going on, it’s loser in a van selling ice
Xander then talks to Buffy who had asked him when he first arrived if he was sure it was them he
was looking for. Was he looking for this "Slayer’s Bunch", or a family. Xander asks Buffy
if she’s sure she should be playing in such a big sandbox. The sandbox then turns into a desert
behind Buffy, but when the shot moves back again, it’s just a sandbox. The message being sent to
Xander is that while Buffy’s life is a really big and scary desert to Xander, to Buffy it’s just a
sandbox. She’s the Slayer, he’s not, and he should get out now.
Buffy also has the easily interpreted comment that "I’m way ahead of you big brother."
Xander is puzzled by this comment, and yet it makes sense. When Buffy arrived in Sunnydale she
was alone, and didn’t have anyone to show her the ropes in school, or to defend her from the non
supernatural stuff. Xander became her "White Knight," see "Killed by
Death". Xander was an older brother type of person for her. She’s moved on though, and he is
still just the Xand-man of four years ago.
At the ice cream truck, Xander talks to Anya who asks him if he knows where he’s going. Then she
mentions that she thinks she’s going to get into vengeance again. As Xander exclaims that society
has rules, (and an endzone, mixing football with metaphorical dreams, bad combo) there’s giggling in
the back and Xander turns around to reprimand Tara and Willow. They apologize, saying he’s just so
interesting. Xander says he’s going places and then the girls kiss as Xander stares. Then they ask
whether he wants to join them.
Now, the question about where he’s going is obvious. The part where he’s interrupted by Willow and
Tara in the middle of his rant is about how while he’s following his rules, boundaries, and endzones,
other people are breaking taboos (Well, I suppose two lesbians making out in the back of an ice
cream truck is sort of a taboo) and going places while he’s just sort of cruising to nowhere. Anya tells
him it’s okay, she’s learned how to steer by gesturing emphatically, I suspect yet another comment
on fruitless gestures at life, she’s learned from Xander how to make meaningless movements instead
of actually steering. He can go join Willow and Tara.
So, off he goes, and winds up back in the basement. This is to emphasise that while Xander can
struggle all he wants, he will never learn how to navigate his life, and he’ll always wind up back in
the basement. The door rattles again, and Xander says "That’s not the way out." again.
This begins to suggest that maybe there is no way out. Something chases Xander to and through the
halls of Sunnydale U. It chases him to Giles, who expresses surprise that Xander isn’t with the
others. Again with the leaving behind of Xander. Giles says something in French, which has some
meaning to the effect that Xander’s friends are all ‘there’. There was some other stuff I didn’t catch.
The translated bit I’ve got indicates the being left behind theme again, and the untranslatable
French is to show Xander that even when he gets explicit instructions on how to go places they might
as well be Greek (or French as the case may be).
Anya shows up and says that Xander needs to come with her, Giles says that he told Xander that,
and they, and several students drag Xander to some potted plants and turn him upside down. His
life is beyond his control.
He finds himself in a bizarro world "Apocalypse Now". Snyder shows up and bluntly tells
Xander he’s useless on the First Slayer’s behalf. I don’t think translation is needed there. The
question is asked about where Xander is from, to which he replies "Well the basement
mostly." "Were you born there?" "Possibly". To misquote from I don’t
know what, "From the basement he shall rise, and to the basement he shall return."
Xander won’t escape the basement.
He winds up running, chased by the creature that chased Willow, past the Scooby gang, who ignore
him (he’s useless), and winds up back in the basement. He says the basement line again, then his
father bursts in. His father rants at him in what sounds like the daily ration of parental abuse,
finishing by saying that Xander hasn’t the heart, his role in the spell done in the previous episode.
His father plunges his hand into Xander’s chest, then changes into the creature. The message?
You’re just like your family, and you’ll never leave the basement, no matter how much you try.
Xander has no special skills, abilities, gifts, or anything to separate him from the trash that
comprises his family.
Giles’ dream begins with him apparently trying to hypnotise Buffy. Buffy mocks him, and he
responds by telling her it’s always been done like this. Finally she breaks out laughing. This is the
introduction of the Giles theme of guilt. Giles is to feel guilt over having hypnotised Buffy into being
something other than the Slayer. The basic notion here is that Giles tried to mould a slayer to his
liking and she mocked his methods, and went on to be a great slayer.
Next, Giles, Olivia, and Buffy are walking through an amusement park and Buffy is bouncing
around dressed like a little child, while Giles and Olivia move along more sedately, like parents who
refuse to be dragged along by a precocious youngster. Olivia is pushing an empty baby carriage. I
will from now on use pram because it’s shorter than baby carriage. This contains a simple meaning.
Giles has tried to make Buffy into his offspring, because he’s never really had any of his own. This
message is emphasized by the empty pram pushed by the current Giles love interest.
When they arrive at a ‘game’ which consists of Buffy throwing balls at a pretend vampire, Giles is
somewhat mean and when he corrects Buffy’s technique. Buffy hits the vampire the second time
around, and whirls about expecting approval. Giles tells her he doesn’t have any treats, and Buffy
pouts. Olivia says he doesn’t need to be so harsh, and Buffy gets some cotton candy. This is also
about the Watchers’ tendency, as the First sees it, to treat slaying as some sort of carnival game, not
a grim hunt.
Then the telling part of the scene occurs. Giles says "Now you’re going to get that all over your
face," Buffy turns around with a mud mask on her face, the colours turn to a photo negative,
and Giles says "I know you." Giles has taken the joy out of slaying for Buffy. He was
useful at first when it came to technique but he’s tried to turn her into something other than the
Slayer. He’s disapproving because at any moment she might turn into an uncontrolled real
The mud mask moment has a dual meaning. The obvious one is that Giles knows on some level that
the First Slayer is in his dreams. The second one is that he knows Buffy is the Slayer. When Giles
says "Now you’re going to get that all over your face, it translates to mean "Don’t enjoy
being the Slayer, you’re supposed to be my serious little puppet daughter." The First Slayer
sees Giles’ actions as an attempt to turn Buffy into a surrogate daughter with some superpowers.
Moreover, his work is taking away the savage core of what Buffy is. She’s not a person, child, or tool,
she is *The Slayer*.
The moment is interrupted by Spike gesturing and telling Giles to hurry up or he’ll miss everything.
When Giles gets inside, he sees Olivia weeping over the overturned pram, and Spike is being
photographed by a large crowd who are ooh-ing and aah-ing with each new pose. Giles demands that
people not hurry him, and Spike says that he’s hired himself out as an attraction. When Giles
responds "Sideshow freak?" Spike replies that at least it’s showbiz. While Olivia is
weeping over the fact that Giles will never have a family, (or something to that effect) The
conversation with Spike is the part that holds interest.
Giles’ mocking comment is a comment on Spike’s place in the supernatural community. He’s now a
sideshow freak, a vampire who can’t kill humans. Spike’s response cuts just as deeply, "At
least it’s showbiz". At least he’s part of that community in a way Giles can never be. When
Giles expresses confusion about what he’s supposed to be doing, Spike mocks him by asking why he
hasn’t figured it out yet with his "enormous squishy frontal lobes". When Giles says that
he still thinks Buffy should have killed Spike, Spike promptly strikes a "Jesus on the
crucifix" pose. These comments, keeping in mind that they are, in fact, a conversation with the
First Slayer, are directed to her, and when Giles says "I still think Buffy should have killed
you," he means the First Slayer. Because the dream is about Giles’ guilt over trying to kill,
change, mold, or otherwise alter the Slayer from her essence.
Giles moves onward to The Bronze. When he arrives there he starts by apologising and learns that
Xander and Willow are at "Death’s door." It’s demanded that he must have an
explanation. Then he starts to sing, and makes a big production out of telling the two on the couch
what to look for. Suddenly, his microphone fails, and Giles starts to crawl following the wire. This is
mainly about how Giles makes a show of telling people what’s going on and where to research.
Possibly even a complaint about Giles telling Willow and Xander something that they already knew.
The biggest message is, however, that things are going on all around him and he’s not needed, called
upon, and is the last to know because he no longer has all the answers. Maybe he never did.
As Giles crawls through the darkened backstage area, he fumbles after the mike wire, and comes to
a big pile of wire. Buried in the middle is the watch he was hypnotising Buffy with at the beginning
of the dream. Giles realises who is chasing him, but the thing that followed and ‘killed’ Xander and
Willow just slices his head open. As Giles "dies" he says "And I can defeat you
...with my intellect. I ...can cripple you with my thoughts. Of course, you underestimate me. You
couldn't know. You never had a Watcher."
Ultimately, what the First Slayer is saying is that all of Giles’ intellectual pursuits and efforts are
like crawling around in the dark. That the need for all that crawling stems from the
"hypnosis" Giles used on Buffy. There’s of course a double meaning at the end, when
Giles is talking about how the First Slayer underestimates him. The first is that, well, the First
Slayer underestimates the watcher. The second, is that the First Slayer, unlike Buffy, never had a
watcher, so she wasn’t crippled the way Buffy was. In the end, Giles is just a regular guy who’s
trying to manipulate the slayer to his own ends, who cripples the slayer with his presence.
We open the dream with Buffy asleep in her dorm room bed. Anya is in Willow’s bed and is pleading
with Buffy to wake up. Anya seems terrified. As Buffy refuses she rolls over, looks up, and sees a
creature chained up and hanging over her bed. In short, people plead with Buffy to wake up and
defend them from evil. Buffy is ignoring the responsibilities hanging over her head.
The next scene, with it’s vast vast numbers of interpretations, begins as Buffy sits up in bed,
startled. It’s the bed from all those dreams with Faith. Then Buffy comments that she just made that
bed with Faith, and Tara asks "For who?" Which leads to the question of whether you’ve
ever heard the adage, "You’ve made your bed, now you have to lie in it." Buffy made her
choice to BE the Slayer, now she must abide by it. Tara’s question is did she make that bed for
herself or Faith? Also one must remember that Tara was borrowed to represent the First Slayer and
the essence of slayerness. This adds the extra issue of whether Buffy made the bed for her, or her
Buffy starts to look around and asks whether her friends are there. Tara responds by telling Buffy
that she’s lost them. Buffy then says that she thinks they need her to find them. The message is
simply that Buffy’s friends can’t go where Buffy goes, or perhaps that Buffy has become careless with
them. Either way the message is that she doesn’t really need them. Buffy’s reply is that they need
Buffy looks at a clock reading 7:30 am, and mentions how late it is. Tara tells her that the clock is all
wrong and hands Buffy a tarot card reading Manus. The card that was used to represent Buffy in the
spell done to defeat Adam. This is an introduction to the notion of Buffy being separate from the rest
of the human race. Buffy shouldn’t be judging her time by the clock on the dresser because it’s all
wrong for her. She should be running her life according to her place as the slayer. Buffy responds to
this by saying she’ll never need those. Tara looks at her and essentially says that Buffy thinks she
knows what’s going on but that she doesn’t really. Buffy just frowns and repeats that she needs to
find her friends.
The scene between Tara, or the First Slayer, and Buffy is particularly fascinating because it is
essentially stating the view Buffy takes of her role as the Slayer, and compares it to the view the
First Slayer has of her calling. For Buffy, her role is that of protector and helper. She is inextricably
bound to the normal human world because her place is to preserve it while the First sees the role as
one of attack rather than defence. To her, the Slayer is a destroyer of demons, not a defender of
The scene shifts to Buffy walking down a hallway in school. She pulls over a passerby to ask where
her friends are. When he doesn’t know she lets him go and says plaintively that "They wouldn’t
just disappear." The First Slayer is again hinting at something through this moment. She is
suggesting Buffy is reaching out to the wrong people, ie/ humanity. Buffy continues a little down the
hall to see a hole in the wall, and finds her mother there. The whole of the next exchange is based
around the notion that Joyce is deliberately living in ignorance. It reaches a point where Joyce
suggests that Buffy could break her mother out, but she is abandoned as Buffy spots Xander
climbing some stairs and dashes off to catch up.
Naturally this is a combination of mockery from the First and Buffy’s guilty conscience about never
actually taking the time to get her mother out of her self-imposed ignorance. It is also about how the
people around Buffy can never understand Buffy’s world from the limited confines of their own, and
more importantly, she hasn’t the time to deal with their ignorance.
Buffy arrives in a room that looks like a part of the Initiative with Riley and some guy sitting at a
glass table. Buffy asks him when he got back, and Riley tells her that the debriefing went really well.
He tells her that he is now part of a plan to gain world domination, "The key element?
Coffeemakers that think." Buffy questions the wisdom of this, and then Riley responds falling
into a melodramatic pose saying, "Baby we’re the government. It’s what we do." This is a
clear point about the arrogance of human government and how they deal with things beyond their
The other guy then speaks up, saying that Buffy is uncomfortable with certain concepts. With the
attention drawn to him he says that "Aggression is a natural human tendency. Though you
[Buffy] and me [Adam] come by it another way." It is at this point the viewer recognizes the
man’s voice as the human/demon cyborg. As he says this, the creature we have seen in previous shots
briefly shadows Buffy. Buffy says that neither of them is a demon, a statement which Adam seems to
doubt. This is a fascinating moment as the First Slayer speaks using Adam as a medium through
which to give Buffy the message that she is not human, and does not belong with them. By
comparing the Slayer both to demons and to the hybridisation that comprised Adam, the First makes
very clear the point that Buffy is not a creature of nature, but of the supernatural.
The creature behind her vanishes and Riley says that she should leave because they have "A
lot of filing, giving things names." to do. Buffy asks Adam what his name was before. He
responds saying that no one can remember. Another blow to humanity and the Initiative types. They
consider filing and giving things names to be really important, and that the only reason the men are
memorable is because of Adam. No one can even remember his name.
At this point the lights vanish, replaced by emergency lighting, and sirens start sounding and a voice
says "The demons have escaped. Please run for your lives." Riley and Adam get up
indicating they’re going to build a pillow fort to hide behind while the demons attack. Buffy whispers
that she has weapons, but no one stops to listen to her. This being yet another insult to the Initiative
types with the statement that regular humans are to the Slayer what a pillow fort is to a real set of
weapons, but that they also can’t understand her.
When she kneels down to get her weapons, she finds her bag is full of mud. She moves her hands
through it briefly, then covers her face in it. The scene, as with Giles, turns to a photo negative. Then
Buffy looks up, the colours return to normal, and Riley cruelly says, "Thought you were looking
for your friends. Okay, killer...if that's the way you want it. I guess you're on your own." He
then walks off.
This is extremely interesting, not just because of the parallells between the season five episode
where Riley breaks up with Buffy, but also because of how very neatly this underlies the point the
First is making over the dichotomy between the natural and the supernatural worlds. The First is
speaking through Riley telling Buffy that she can’t go both ways. Either she is looking for her
friends, a normal life, and a picket fence, or she’s the Slayer. If she’s going to react as the slayer,
represented by the mud mask, she can’t be one of the pillow fort people. Riley calls her killer because
that is what the Slayer is. A killer of demons. If she wants it that way she is alone.
The blue emergency lighting returns to normal as Buffy stands up and walks off. As the camera view
follows her feet, the floor turns to sand, scrub and bushes appear, and we find ourselves looking at
the desert seen by both Xander and Willow. Buffy says she’s never going to find her friends there.
Tara then appears telling her that she didn’t come there for her friends. This is another repetition
that Buffy as the Slayer is a solitary creature unconnected with the rest of humanity.
A conversation between Buffy and the First follows spoken through Tara who says that someone
must speak for the First while Buffy insists that the First speak for herself. Buffy demands why she
is being followed and where her friends are, and the first refuses to answer her questions, instead
speaking through Tara to tell Buffy what the essence of the Slayer is, "I have no speech. No
name. I live in the action of death, the blood cry, the penetrating wound. I am destruction. Absolute
... alone." Buffy responds that she is not alone, and goes on to strike back at the First verbally,
saying, "I talk. I shop, I sneeze. I'm gonna be a fireman when the floods roll back. There's trees
in the desert since you moved out. And I don't sleep on a bed of bones." She demands the
return of her friends which prompts a fight between the first and current slayers.
This artistically excellent scene is very much to the point, as Buffy and the First simply tell each
other what they each believe. The First is a proponent of the solitary huntress way of being, and is a
savage uncivilised creature, but is also much more in tune with her predatory side than the modern
and civilised Buffy. The fight that breaks out between them is almost a representation of the ongoing
struggle Buffy has between herself as Buffy summers, and herself as the Slayer.
Buffy tries to get the First to stop fighting her, saying that they don’t fight for dominance like that
anymore. It doesn’t work and they go rolling down a dune. As they continue to struggle, we hear
Buffy command "Enough!". She seems to have woken up when the First grabs her and
stabs her repeatedly with a stake. Buffy then gets snarky, and in the middle of her rant about
hairstyles, wakes up.
Buffy’s attempts to rationalise with the First are, of course, futile because the warring is all the First
knows. Diplomacy, having been invented long after her death is such a foreign concept that any
attempt to do so is useless. Buffy demanding the end to the fighting is representative of her taking
mastery over her unruly savage half. The bit of the dream that occurs in Buffy’s living room is her
reiteration that she is in control of herself and being the Slayer is secondary to being Buffy
This is contradicted at the very end of the episode as Buffy passes by her bedroom door and hears
Tara’s voice telling her again that, "You think you know... what's to come ... what you are. You
haven't even begun." Casting doubt on Buffy’s belief that the First is "not the source of
Restless essay: Part two --
SCWLC, 14:45:04 03/02/02 Sat
Notes on pt 2: I have been informed that I should mention the various references to the fifth season
in this. I'm not doing that for one very important reason. I'm writing this from my notes that I wrote
within two weeks of first seeing the episode in S4. I can give a side interpretation of the S5 hints if
you bother me enough. Anyway, on with the insanity!
Tara, The Cheese Guy, and other avatars
Obviously, most of the characters in these dreams are used by the First Slayer as means of
communication between her and the dreamers. There are certain representations that are more
plainly speaking directly from and for the First. Tara acts as the voice of the First for both Willow
and Buffy, Giles receives his messages from Spike, and Xander is given his judgment through
Snyder and a man we assume to be his father.
Each of these ‘appearances’ of the First is chosen to more perfectly emphasise the point the First is
making about the dreamers. Tara is chosen to speak for the First in Willow’s case because Willow’s
dream is all about what others think of her. Tara, being Willow’s girlfriend, carries the most weight
with Willow when it comes to what people think of her. This only emphasises the point that Willow
is hiding from people, because what one is willing to tell a friend and what one is willing to tell a
lover differ significantly.
Obviously the First uses other people, most notably Buffy, to tell Willow she is lying to herself and
others. Buffy is another excellent choice because she is Willow’s best friend and privy to more than
most people about Willow. However, in terms of the most definitive voice speaking for the First, Tara
is the clearest representation.
In Xander’s dream he is told that he is useless, not going anywhere, and that he can never escape
because he is a useless layabout like the rest of his family. These messages are delivered by the two
figures most able to make these judgments, his father, using the notion of ‘it takes one to know one’,
and Principal Snyder, who is a, relatively speaking, unbiased observer. Because of their positions as
both insider and outsider, these opinions mean more to Xander as beliefs about his self and his
Anya and Joyce are also used as secondary representatives. Joyce, as another person who has been
left behind as well as being ‘useless’ when it comes to the supernaturally related issues, is another
who knows better than anyone else about Xander as the team third wheel. Anya is Xander’s
girlfriend and, like Tara, is privy to the sides of Xander’s personality which are usually not seen by
For Giles, Spike is the perfect vessel because of the situation which developed over the course of the
fourth season. As the rest of the Slayerettes began to gain in confidence, knowledge, and skill, there
was less need for Giles as the constant research maven, and instructor. It was particularly galling,
no doubt, that Buffy was relying on Spike more, and Giles less. Spike also provides a sharp contrast
between himself and Giles in they are both British, but Spike is young, (sort of) strong, exciting, and
all the things which Giles is not.
Finally, as was brought up in a previous section. Spike is truly a part of the supernatural world. He
is a vampire. An impotent one, but a vampire nonetheless. The nature of the First Slayer’s complaint
against Giles, as told through Spike, is that he is a wholly human creature who presumes to
understand what a slayer is. Her belief is that he has no concept of the essence of a slayer, and is
therefore no more than an impediment to Buffy’s development. Spike, as a member of the community
of those who hunt humans, and are in turn hunted by the Slayer has a better understanding of what
Buffy’s essence is comprised of.
In the dreams of these three Buffy is also used as a manifestation of the First, as she is a slayer and
uses the same forces that were used by the First when she was alive. Partially she shows how the
Slayer can see through the pathetic pretenders Buffy’s friends are, and also to show the ways in
which Willow, Xander and Giles are not able to exist in the same world as she does.
This comes through more strongly in Xander and Giles’ dreams than in Willow’s, where the bonds
Giles and Xander have with Buffy make her the perfect choice to speak to their insecurities. Xander
has always looked at Buffy in a romantic way, even now that he has Anya, he still sees Buffy in
much the same way he saw her that first day of school. Giles has always seen Buffy as his charge, an
almost-daughter, a student, and a fellow warrior. The First Slayer takes these views and both slams
the romantic and loving assumptions of the two, and reminds them that Buffy cannot truly be those
things to them. She is first and foremost the Slayer.
Tara’s role as speaker for the First is reprised in Buffy’s dream. Obviously Buffy cannot be used by
the First as this is Buffy’s dream, but Tara, as an outsider who is intimately connected to the world
of the supernatural, is the perfect person to use as the mouthpiece of the First Slayer. She is neutral,
but even at this time before Buffy truly knows Tara at all well, the innate wisdom Tara seems to
carry with her is evident. The First can speak through the witch without the fear of Buffy’s
knowledge of her interfering with the message, and the kindness Tara exudes from her pores only
gives the viewer the feeling that her message can be trusted.
Riley and Adam, the other central manifestations of the dream, provide Buffy with that push of the
normal human people who understand that Buffy has no place among them, and the connection that
she has the creatures she hunts. Adam, as a combination of the demons, humans and cold unfeeling
technology, has a unique perspective of the line Buffy tries to tread from day to day. Riley is a
human who understands that the slayer cannot be understood by puny human minds such as his
Buffy’s mother is a small secondary manifestation to remind Buffy that although she may have
originated in the limited world that her mother represents, she exists in a much larger area. This is
simply a focussed statement of how those closest to the slayer still cannot follow where she
The ‘Cheese Guy’ appears in all four dreams as a bizarre metaphorical summary of the message of
the dream. The cheese represents the supernatural world as it relates to Buffy and the dreamer.
Willow’s quote "I’ve made a little space for the cheese slices," has to do with how she’s
created a section of her life that has to do with magic. She isn’t a true witch, and she certainly isn’t a
slayer. She’s simply doing her time as a Slayerette as some sort of sick hobby.
Xander receives the statement that "These . . . will not protect you." This does not relate
to protecting him from being killed by monsters, it has to do with protection from becoming like the
family he was born into as opposed to the supernatural family he is now a part of. Only, he’s the only
one of his ‘family’ who has no connection to the important stuff in life, ie\ the supernatural. This
association with the supernatural world is not enough to separate him from the world of his genetic
Giles receives the statement that "I wear the cheese. It does not wear me." He is being
told that he wears his supernatural essence. He is not supernatural, he is a human with some
knowledge and some friends of the paranormal world, his tweed guy personality is him, not merely a
persona he puts on for the ignorant masses.
The reason the Cheese Guy just waves the slices at Buffy and says nothing, is because he is telling
her that she is (hem hem) the cheese. Her essence is nonhuman and paranormal. She has no
separation from the world of the supernatural as Giles Xander and Willow do.
Finally the last manifestation is the almost corporeal form the First Slayer takes. The animal we see
following Xander and Willow, the savage who attacks Giles and Buffy, and the silhouette seen in
scene after scene. She stands behind Buffy as Adam speaks with her representing the animals forces
lurking behind the valley girl face Buffy shows the world. The Slayer lurks in every corner behind
Buffy, and she stalks the others through the dreams. She is the something out there that so terrifies
Mud masks and other weirdness
There are several recurring symbols and actions in the course of the episode, and each one holds a
particular message for the dreamer. The first of these is the desert. This isn’t precisely a single
object, or rather, it is a really big object. The desert appears in Willow, Xander, and Buffy’s dreams.
This is used as a symbol of the world the Slayer does walk in ("The Slayer does not walk in this
world," The First Slayer, through Tara). While both Willow and Xander react with fear and do
not enter the desert, Buffy’s world shifts on its own from the regular human one to that of a slayer.
The desert first appears in Willow’s dream as she speaks with Tara about Miss Kitty choosing her
name. As she discusses this, and through it her reasons for being uncertain about her own identity,
(see above section on Willow’s dream for details) she moves over to the window of the room and opens
the curtain to reveal a desert. We see what we later discover is the First Slayer moving about, but at
the time she is merely an indistinct shape behind the brush. This is our first glimpse of the world of
the First. When Willow says, "It’s so bright. And there’s something out there," she
shrinks away from the sun streaming through the window. Tara, on the other hand, simply sits in
the sun and looks at Willow. This may not seem like much, but Tara, as a direct manifestation of the
First, being completely comfortable in the light, while Willow can’t look into it shows an essential
difference between the two.
In Xander’s dream, it is seen as he speaks with Buffy. She is playing in a sandbox, while Giles and
Spike are on the swings. Xander makes the comment that "It’s a pretty big sandbox," and
the camera cuts to a view of Buffy sitting in the desert saying, "I’m okay. It’s not coming for me
yet." This is much more telling than the first scene with this symbol. In this, while Xander is
hesitant about the desert, Buffy is completely comfortable. The slayer can play in her sandbox, but to
everyone else, it’s a scary desert.
Finally, it shows up in Buffy’s dream as the backdrop to her meeting with the First. It appears just
following her confrontation with Riley and Adam. The camera shifts to follow Buffy’s feet, and the
floor is gradually covered with sand, and then small shrubs begin to appear. The shot then cuts to a
more general shot to follow Buffy as she walks in the desert. When she comments that she’ll never
find her friends here, and then Tara replies that that is why Buffy came, it is a tacit admission that
the desert i the realm of the slayer where no one else can follow. It is also the pointed remark that
Buffy came there because she is the Slayer, and not one of those normal human types like Willow,
Xander or Giles.
The question of why a desert as opposed to a graveyard or some other place, is that the First Slayer
was one of the first humans ever to walk the earth. The terrain she would be familiar with is the
area and time she lived. At the time and place when she had appeared, the environment would have
been a desert, or at least very dry plains. By bringing Buffy to that environment she is trying to
reconnect the current slayer to her roots.
Xander and Willow react with fear to the desert because they aren’t meant to be there. This plane of
existence and understanding is one inhabited solely by slayers. The message given by the First
through the other symbols and metaphors is to indicate how little the two belong in Buffy’s world.
So, Xander who has always tried to protect Buffy from the world she is a part of, is told that while
Buffy is safe in that desert, he is not. Willow, on the other hand, is trying to become a part of this
unusual existence but gazes out on the desert commenting on how "It’s so bright." When
confronted by the reality she wants to be a part of, she cannot even see that world properly.
Another recurring symbol is the unmade/made up bed. This is not a symbol that appears during the
course of the episode very much. Where it has occurred is during the course of the series. This
particular metaphor is first seen in "Graduation 2". Buffy and Faith are making up a bed
as Faith tells Buffy what the Mayor’s weakness is. It appears again during "This Year’s
Girl" seemingly as a warning that Faith is coming out of her coma. The basic image in the first
two times is of the two girls making a bed together. The third time, in "Restless", Buffy
comments on how she and Faith had just finished making the bed.
This symbol has a couple of levels and, as I mentioned before, may very well relate to the old saying
"You made your bed, now you have to lie in it." That particular meaning, that they have
made their choices and now have to live with them is shown by the progression of the dreams. In the
first, they are close and working together. In the second, Buffy has stabbed Faith and is still holding
the knife. In the third appearance of this motif Buffy is alone, and looking at the work she and Faith
had done together that has been wrecked. This series of dreams culminating in the segment in
"Restless" show this progression of choices and their consequences.
Another layer has to do with what could be termed the "sisterhood of slayers." There is a
common bond between all slayers, and the action of making a bed has a certain amount of familial
connotation. It is the sort of thing, stereotypically, sisters might do together. This suggestion of
sisterly activity deliberately offsets the anger and dislike between the two, while demonstrating the
similarities between their relationship and that of siblings. Those similarities appear in the jealousy
each girl felt for the other, as well as the connection as the only people who could understand the
burden and gift of being a slayer.
The sisterhood aspect relates to the First Slayer because she is the eldest of this collection of girls.
She holds the place of the firstborn and her feelings on the matter do, in some ways, hold a
resemblance to that of an older sister. She feels a combination of resentment at the treatment the
later slayers received in having watchers, but there is a certain smugness at her independence from
these parental figures.
The bed is trying to evoke that connection between all slayers and to give Buffy the sensation of
connection with her roots, as it were. The rumpled bed is also an attempt to bring out another layer
to the dream. In each of the dreams in which the bed is a factor something is occurring on or with the
furniture that prevents the bed from being made. In the first, there is a cat which keeps morphing
into Angel and back again, in the second Faith bleeds on the bed, and in the third the bed is
The message in these is that while Buffy and Faith have been trying to determine the exact nature
of a slayer their efforts have constantly failed. The failure is represented by the imperfectly made
bed. When Buffy comments that she and Faith had just finished making the bed she’s suggesting
that they had settled the matter of what constitutes a slayer. The First asks who they made it for,
implying that they were not making the bed for a slayer but for someone or something else.
Another symbol of importance is the mud mask. It appears in both Buffy and Giles’ dreams. The first
time we see it is in Giles’ dream as he is chastising Buffy about her ball throwing technique at the
fair. Right after Buffy is given the cotton candy as a reward for a good throw Giles says that she’s
going to get it all over her face. When the camera cuts back to her she’s wearing the mud mask.
In Buffy’s dream she puts it on when the demons escape their cells in the Initiative-like space while
Riley and Adam have run off to build a blanket fort. When the two men do this, Buffy whispers that
she has weapons and reaches into a bag which has appeared at her feet. Instead of weapons there is
mud, and Buffy, after a brief pause, smears it all over her face.
In both of these instances the mask represents the primal force of the slayer coming to the surface.
Giles’ remark that "I know you," is, in part, reference to the primal force of the First
Slayer whom he is recognising has taken Buffy’s form in his dream. In Buffy’s case she is putting on
her ‘game face’. She must shift from being Buffy Summers to being the Slayer. In both of these cases
the point being made is that Buffy is this primal force at her core, not a human.
The last issue to be raised in this section is one that may have been confusing to some people. It has
to do with actions rather than symbols. The First Slayer attacked each of the dreamers in a different
way, but there was one part of each attack that was not so much consistent as predictable. The First
Slayer tries to kill Willow by sucking her breath, Xander by ripping out his heart, Giles by cutting
open his head and taking out his brain, and Buffy by good old fashioned violence. These may seem to
be rather disparate ways to kill a person, but they all refer back to the adjoining spell of
"Primeval". Willow was ‘Spiritus’, the spirit, Xander was ‘Animus’ the heart, Giles,
‘Sophus’, or spirit, and Buffy was ‘Manus’, the hand.
Working backwards (yes there is a reason), the hand has been represented in many mythologies as
the physical, meaning the part of a person that does things. Buffy, as the person who was going to be
attacking Adam was to be the hand. She was going to be doing the things to defeat him. More than
that, however, the Slayer is a manifestation of the essence of this physical action. When the First
Slayer hands Buffy the card she is not only telling Buffy about her place, it is a comment on the lack
of purity to Buffy’s purpose. The Slayer is a creature of physical violence and such should not be
using these other qualities.
Giles was ‘Sophus’, in fact, has always been that to the group. He is the person with all of the
knowledge and mental acuity in the group. That was the main reason he was given the position of
mind in the merge. His position dictated the methods the First Slayer used to kill him, as well as all
those taunts from Spike about the Watcher’s "...enormous, squishy, frontal lobes." His
brain is ripped out because that is his strength. Even as the First Slayer is cutting up his head Giles
is still thinking that he can use his intellect to defeat her.
Now we reach Xander. ‘Animus’, or the heart. Something of a nothing role one might consider. It
could even be questioned why they even need this extra part when they have spirit, other than that
four is one of the big magic numbers. But then again, so is three. The reason is that heart and spirit
are two very different things here. Spirit does not represent emotions as the heart does but the
supernatural essence of a person. Xander has taken to role of emotion. He has always been the
blindly feeling member of the group. He has always been virtually unshakeable in his opinions once
they are set, and this emotional attachment has given him an honesty about his feelings that is not
as often seen in the others. Emotions are the most honest of these elements, and Xander's feeling
have always been transparent. More, we have seen from Buffy how important emotions are. This
leads the First to rip out the part of the body most associated with emotion, Xander’s heart.
Finally, Willow. She is the representative of supernatural power. Forces ungoverned by the mind,
emotions, or the physical world. Willow was chosen, naturally enough, because she is a witch. Her
stock in trade is these forces. The reason I have saved her for last is to answer a question that has no
doubt been posed by some. Why does the First Slayer suck away Willow’s breath? The answer has
something of a history to it. The first level is that there is no really common body part associated
with the spirit or soul that one can chop off. There is, however, a very common use of breath as a
metaphor for the spirit. Why? That dates back to the etymological history of the word spirit, which
evolved from the original Latin meaning of spiritus, which is breath or breathing. Which is why the
Latin root of respiration is ‘spir’.
So far this has covered the individual dreams, the characters in those dreams, and some of the
recurring motifs and themes. I have not given the other side of the issue. That is, in what ways the
First Slayer was right or wrong.
Willow is told by the First that she is not, and never will be anything more than the mousy little
computer geek she was when Buffy came to Sunnydale. That all of her attempts to become a witch, a
‘cool’ person, or even just someone else are in vain because she cannot escape her past. In some ways,
the First is right. Willow will never get away from her history. She was the computer geek through
most of high school, and that early lack of confidence and experience will always haunt her. On the
other hand, Willow is not the same girl she was in grade ten who fell for a demon over the internet
because she was so naive and starved for affection. Those early experiences made her stronger. She
is now a very powerful wicca, and she is part of this world Buffy lives in. However, those same
memories run the risk of having her try so hard to be the opposite of her old self that she winds up
needing to wear a mask all her life.
The message to Xander is that he will never escape his dismal life in Sunnydale. More, that he will
never be more than his redneck family. Again, those experiences as the clearly abused son of a bunch
of white trash will affect him his whole life, but he has escaped being like them through his
association with Buffy. Like Willow, he has avoided mundanity through association with Buffy. The
First Slayer is wrong about him. The friendship she so condemns did get him out of the basement.
His connection to Buffy is not one of entering her world, his connection grounds her to that of
everyone else, and that is something she needs.
Giles is a slightly more complicated issue than the first two. He has spent his whole life studying and
trying to be a part of this paranormal world Buffy inhabits. His mind has been trained and organised
specifically for this work. Unfortunately, the First Slayer is right about Giles in one important
respect. He is not, and can never be, a part of the supernatural world. He will always be on the
outside looking in at the people and things he studies and loves. Giles is an outsider to both the
human world and the supernatural. What she is wrong about is that he is invaluable because of this,
not despite it.
Finally, Buffy’s rebuttals. What makes Buffy so different from the others is that she has her own
responses to the First Slayer. Of course, it is to be noted the she is the only one the First addresses
personally, rather than through someone. True ‘Someone has to speak for her," but she is
speaking to Buffy rather than through metaphor and partially controlled dreams.
When they do speak with each other The First tells Buffy that the Slayer walks alone. Buffy’s
response is simple, "I am not alone." When she is told that "The Slayer does not
walk in this world," her dream eloquence is quite poetic.
"I walk. I talk. I shop, I sneeze. I'm gonna be a fireman when the floods roll back. There's trees
in the desert since you moved out. And I don't sleep on a bed of bones." The First Slayer has
been basing her warnings and criticism on a world that has long since disappeared. Buffy can no
longer walk alone. There are things that The First does not comprehend because her world and
Buffy’s are so separated. When Buffy demands the return of her friends, the First Slayer tries one
last ditch attempt to talk Buffy into being a merciless killer. When Buffy rebuffs her she does the
only other thing she knows how. She attacks Buffy. Again Buffy informs the First Slayer of the
changes over the millennia since the advent of humanity, "It’s over. We don’t do this
anymore." Buffy is ignored and they go rolling down the hill behind them. It isn’t until we hear
Buffy shout "Enough!" that the nightmare is over.
We see Buffy sitting up as though waking from her sleep, when she is attacked by the First Slayer a
final time. Buffy lies there for a moment staring in disbelief at the other girl who is insisting on
stabbing her, and asks if the other slayer is quite finished and then tells her that "I'm going to
ignore you, and you're going to go away." She then informs the other that the First is not the
source of her. After some snarky comments about hair, they all wake up for real.
It is this last scene that makes Buffy’s rebuttal lacklustre. Buffy is both eloquent and understanding
until the final part. With that sinking into the familiarity of her role as a valley girl, Buffy does more
than turn the tables on the First Slayer, she denies her calling as the slayer. It is one thing that
Buffy doesn’t understand until the fifth season, and that is that she is a hunter. She can’t separate
herself from "... the whole ... primal power thing."
So, the First Slayer gets the last word at the end of the episode when Buffy pauses, looking into her
bedroom, where the same bed she’s dreamt making up with Faith, and we hear the First Slayer
speaking through Tara saying, "You think you know ... what's to come ... what you are. You
haven't even begun."
Re: Restless essay: Part two -- anneth, 15:41:44 03/02/02 Sat
that was ver well done. I have only a few comments.
tara might also be said to be speaking for dawn - the first slayer does eventually speak, if not in
restless than in buffy's vision near the end of season five. so when tara explains her presence in the
dream as speaking for her who cannot speak (a primordial energy in human form, with the capacity
to wreak destruction) she can be as easily representing dawn as the first.
consider also what dawn likes/dislikes about the scoobies in the first few eps of season five: she has
a crush on xander and admires willow for her cool friends and wiccanism. she's intimidated by giles
and not sure that he likes her (being as he's an undemonstrative intellectual authority figure). these
are the facets of these characters that restless explores. there are distinct parallels between what
dawn the key and buffy/first represent and can do.
dawn's season five entrance is most explicitly presaged in giles' dream. buffy is five or six years
older than dawn, in real life. in the fair scene, buffy is dressed as a 5 year old and acts as one, while
oliva pushes an empty pram. an artificial memory is being created, but we can see through it, for
now, because dawn, its focus, doesn't exist yet.
also in that scene, note that the fake vampire young buffy "kills" is "count
drac" - the first real monster buffy kills in season five. clever... very clever...
in xander's dream, a parallel is created between spike and giles. as you noted, giles is treading a line
betweem the natural and supernatural worlds. so is spike,as season five explores in depth. spike
and giles are both vacillating between existences. giles/ripper has been at it for much longer than
the recently-neutered spike, which is why he's "training" spike to be a watcher - he's
experienced at this type of development. Spike, at giles' urging, begins to swing higher and harder,
foreshadowing his season five dillema - for the sake of a human, he tries to be a "good
man," but his instincts and experiences continually pull him in the other direction.
maybe, in the long run, spike will become a character on "ripper" and really honestly
become a watcher-in-training... who better than a vampire to train slayers?
anyway, that was fun.
This Restless stuff is marvelous. Long, but marvelous. -- manwitch, 17:46:35 03/02/02
Re: Restless essay: Part two -- John (Slain by Buffy), 18:00:06 03/02/02 Sat
Interesting, and extremely good, essay - some parts sound like they could be expanded upon with
reference to Season 5 and 6. For example the part about Xander being 'big brother' seems to me to
relate more to the way Xander supported Buffy in S5, and told her to run after Riley, than previous
Re: Restless essay: Part two -- Vickie, 22:03:27 03/02/02 Sat
Fabulous post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
I'd never try to respond to the whole. But one statement got my "dream interpretation"
"Tara's role as speaker for the First is reprised in Buffy?s dream. Obviously Buffy cannot be
used by the First as this is Buffy?s dream, but Tara, as an outsider who is intimately connected to
the world of the supernatural, is the perfect person to use as the mouthpiece of the First
One can see oneself in a dream. There can be two dreamers in a dream. It's rare, but
An interesting question is, if the First is "slayerness," and slayerness in the
Scoobs" dreams gets represented as Buffy, what does it say that slayerness is not
so represented in Buffy's dream?
In Buffy's dream, slayerness is represented as other. She could have seen herself, or simply acted as
the First in her own dream. She did not.
Buffy does not identify herself as slayerness. We knew this. The episode restates it.
In the first sequence. Tara represents the First. Tara is a voice for the First in several of the dreams.
Probably because of her connectedness, her Earth Mother wisdom, and because she is relatively
unknown to the gang at this point, she is a good image for power and mystery. It's also possible that
somehow Tara herself is (sub?)consciously involved.
Later, the First is represented by an entirely new image, one that we've glimpsed throughout the
episide, and that we take for the First herself. This image is even more other than Tara: primitive
(the script calls it The Primitive, not the First), earthy, strong, and obstinant.
My point is, these are Buffy's images. Slayerness enters her sleeping mind and these are the images
she clothes it with. What does this say about her?
She conceives slayerness as powerful and unknown, mysterious, and somehow connected to the
ancient roots of human kind. And she does not identify with it. She makes this clear at the end of her
dream (as you mention), "I don't sleep on a bed of bones." Followed by her hilarious
personal hygiene remarks.
I agree with your observation that the end of Restless is Buffy's (yet again) rejection of her slayer
heritage. Tara's voice at the very end, promising revelations regarding her nature, tells her that she
cannot refute what is clearly part of her very marrow.
Whoa....this was * good *! -- Teri, 22:51:07 03/02/02 Sat
I mean realllly good! Well worth the time it took to read...AND...you even explained the CHEESE
GUY? Now there is a man whom I thought for SURE had NO explanation..BUT! You have now since
shown me the errors of my ways! NOW when he shows up in my dreams not only can I tell him that I
know WHO he is but what he should do with the cheese!
Re: Restless essay: Part two -- Rufus, 05:09:51 03/03/02 Sun
I always like to read others take on Restless. One thing I have to mention is that the whole
motivation of the attack by the First Slayer on the Scoobies is anger. Her images, words may speak
some truths but I always remember this was one pissed off spirit that invaded Buffy's home.
So, the First Slayer gets the last word at the end of the episode when Buffy pauses, looking into
her bedroom, where the same bed she’s dreamt making up with Faith, and we hear the First Slayer
speaking through Tara saying, "You think you know ... what's to come ... what you are. You
haven't even begun."
I have to compare the words of the First Slayer in Restless to the Guide embodied in the First Slayer
FIRST SLAYER: No ... friends! Just the kill.
(Shot of Buffy watching her.)
FIRST SLAYER: We ... are ... alone!
The first slayer wasn't created for anything but to be a human shaped guard dog for humanity, only
there to be used to keep the prize safe. This makes for a rather dismal life for any of the girls chosen
to live a violent, lonely, brief life. And to think Dracula (with a basement full of babes) complained
about being alone.
Though the slayer may have been created to be "used" by others, it's clear that there is
more going on here. In Intervention, Buffy feared her inability to love, her feeling of being in neutral
while life went on about her. Giles sent her into the desert to consult the guide. Something that only
the slayer can do and she must do that alone. The question she asked got an unexpected
Open on Buffy at the fireside. Throughout the ensuing scene we see the First Slayer through the
flames, sometimes obscuring her entirely.
BUFFY: I know you. You're the first Slayer.
FIRST SLAYER: This is a form. I am the guide.
BUFFY: I have a few questions ... about being the Slayer. What about ... love? Not just boyfriend
FIRST SLAYER: You think you're losing your ability to love.
BUFFY: I-I didn't say that. (sighs) Yeah.
FIRST SLAYER: You're afraid that being the Slayer means losing your humanity.
BUFFY: Does it?
FIRST SLAYER: You are full of love. You love with all of your soul. It's brighter than the fire ...
blinding. That's why you pull away from it.
BUFFY: (surprised) I'm full of love? I'm not losing it?
FIRST SLAYER: Only if you reject it. Love is pain, and the Slayer forges strength from pain.
Love ... give ... forgive. Risk the pain. It is your nature. Love will bring you to your gift.
BUFFY: (pause) What?
Buffy again met the first slayer, but found that the first slayer was only a form, and that she was in
the presence of a guide. This guide isn't pissed off like the First Slayer was in Restless....there is a
message that contradicts everything the slayer wanted for Buffy in Restless. Buffy found out that
she was full of love, not just a killer like she had thought. Yet Buffy fears the pain that love can
bring so she is left in a no win situation until she gives into her true nature. The guide never
answered the question about Buffy's humanity but opened her eyes to the key to her true potential,
her true strength. The one thing she constantly rejects, or fears. Love, because it causes her so much
pain. If a slayer is only a killer, only a guard dog to be used by others and discarded when spent,
then why would she get a message of love, give, forgive? Season six has had many people shaking
their heads trying to figure out what is up regarding Buffy and her slayer nature. There has been a
slow merging of the human and demon in Buffy's circle of friends. Buffy has had sex with the one
thing she is supposed to fight. What the hell happened to the Buffy from the platform in The Gift? I
think that we will find out that Buffy has always contained the answer to all the questions and can
only understand them when she is ready to. The message from the first slayer in Restless is one of
despair, the message from the form of the first slayer in Intervention is one of hope. It looked like
Buffy got and gave the gift of death in season five, only to find that she has come back, just like in
Life Serial to live her life until she gets it right. I think Buffy has a choice to make love or despair,
all because she has the gift of death.
Re: Restless essay: Part two(spoilers for OMTWF and AYW) -- Teri, 10:03:35 03/03/02
So glad you made the comparison between the Primal Slayers role in Restless and Intervention. I've
often thought about that scene and wanted to believe it was setting some things up for season six but
would always end up coming back to the conclusion that it was only a set up for her sacrifice for
Dawn in "The Gift". But the way you put it. The fact that Buffy has to make a choice,
love or despair makes me look again at and question a couple of things in season six if that be the
The first question being the first song in the musical. I went back and looked at it and found some
things I'd missed before. Things that explain what happened to Buffy after she jumped off that
platform in "The Gift". Copying song from transcript (found in buffyworld.com) here to
show what I noticed.
BUFFY: (verse one)
Every single night, the same arrangement
I go out and fight the fight.
Still I always feel this strange estrangement
Nothing here is real, nothing here is right.
A vampire appears from behind a gravestone, rushes at Buffy. She spins him around, continues
I've been making shows of [punch] trading blows
Just hoping no one knows [kick, grabs vampire and throws him behind her]
That I've been going through the motions
Walking through the part.
Buffy pulls a stake from her jacket pocket. The vamp attacks her from behind and she stakes him
without looking back.
BUFFY: Nothing seems to penetrate my heart.
She resumes walking and singing.
BUFFY: (verse two)
I was always brave, and kind of righteous.
Now I find I'm wavering.
We see two vampires and a demon gathered near a tree. There's a person tied to the tree. The
vampires see Buffy and attack.
Crawl out of your grave, you'll find this fight just [punches a vampire]
Doesn't mean a thing. [punches second vamp]
She ain't got that swing.
The vamp punches Buffy and she goes down. A sword is stuck in the ground beside her. She lies
there on her back. Sound of crickets chirping.
BUFFY: Thanks for noticing.
She continues lying there as the two vamps and the demon begin to do a dance.
VAMPS AND DEMON:
She does pretty well with fiends from hell
But lately we can tell [Buffy gets up and grabs the sword]
That she's just going through the motions
Going through the motions.
Buffy pulls Vamp 1 away, cuts off his head with the sword.
VAMP 2: Faking it somehow. [Buffy pushes him aside, stabs the demon]
DEMON: She's not even half the girl she- [looks down at his wound] ow.
The demon falls over. Buffy continues walking, holding the sword.
Will I stay this way forever?
Sleepwalk through my life's endeavor?
She uses the sword to cut the ropes that are tying the person to a tree. The person comes around the
tree trunk and we see it's a very good-looking man.
How can I repay-
She turns away, tosses the sword aside and continues walking.
I don't want to beeeeee...
[walks up onto a raised platform ringed by statues, stops]
Going through the motions
Losing all my drive.
I can't even see
If this is really me
And I just want to be-
Vamp 2 attacks her and she stakes him. He explodes into dust which forms an artful cloud,
obscuring Buffy from view, then clears as she sings the final word.
Kay, see, I haven't watched the musical that many times since it aired cause the music gets stuck in
my head FOR DAYS and DAYS....(am I the only one who has this problem with musical
But going back and reading the lyrics without the tune showed me that Buffy is clearly making a
statement that she still feels dead. Nothing is penetrating her heart. NOTHING.
What I found also interesting about going back to the musical transcript is the fact that the very first
scene in the teaser is Buffy tied up in Spike's dungeon and Spike saying I love you and Buffy
grimacing. Things that make you go hmmmm....why'd they put that first?
Well my reasoning would be cause at the end of the musical it's Spike's love that saves her. And it's
Spike's love that makes her claim that it makes her "Feel even though it's not real" (or
something like that)
SO I guess where the big confusion lies for me now on this topic of love with the Buffster is the final
scene in AYW...
She tells Spike, I * Can't * love you..this is killing me.
WTH? How can it save her and KILL her if his love is the only thing that makes her feel alive?
Anyone? I'm too confused to comment more!
[> [> [>
Re: Restless essay: Part two(spoilers for OMTWF and AYW) -- Doriander, 12:48:23
I think what kills her is that she's allowed herself to abuse Spike's love for her, took him up on his
offer to be her willing slave. Buffy has a conscience, she knows it's wrong, and it's gnawing her.
[> [> [> [>
Re: Restless essay: Part two(spoilers for OMTWF and AYW) -- Teri, 13:53:17 03/03/02
Yeah, I mean that was pretty obvious. She had to be honest with him and herself about her using
But if TPTB are trying to make a statement that in order for Buffy to not loose her humanity she's
going to have to accept her lot by giving into LOVE...then how is this scene and whole THING with
SPIKE really going to help that? For me it just confused it. In this scene she is WALKING AWAY
from LOVE..again. AND
I mean the whole way she walks off into the light was such a hoax for me because to me...an ending
like that warrants some sort of real huge breakthrough and step towards growth. For me..Buffy
admitting to Spike that she "cant love him" was not a step in growth of Love, Forgive,
Give. To me she just admitted she was a taker and wasn't going to take anymore. Kay so, where does
the loving, giving and forgiving begin?
Maybe it begins with herself and that I could understand but...I've yet to see that happen. In order
for the walking off into the light scene to be deserved I feel I need to see her actually making a step
IN LOVING, GIVING, Forgiving.
AND maybe now that I look back on it the scene with Spike did have some of that in it..but it wasn't
clear enough for me to see. See where I'm confused!? Arggg...
the bed, Dawn, First Slayer vs. us, and the cheeseman -- Anne, 05:28:44 03/03/02
First, thanks for posting this essay in such a timely fashion, after the rerun. I was frantic to see
someone's take on the episode, but I saw that the archives on this board don't go that far back, and
didn't know where else to look.
I'm still pretty clueless as far as formulating my own interpretation; however, there are a couple of
points that did come to mind as I read it.
First: you talk about the unmade bed with regard to Buffy, and "making your own bed and
lying in it," but the bed could equally easily be interpreted as Dawn's. Remember, in Faith's
dream in "This Year's Girl", when they are making the bed together, Buffy says
something about having to leave because "Li'l sis is coming" and Faith says something
about "so much to do before she gets here." And the last thing Tara says to Buffy after
she leaves the room with the bed in it is "Be back before dawn". Sorry, I don't have a
clever interpretation of what this means about Dawn; I'm just pointing out that some relationship is
Secondly: you make a distinction between the point of view that the First Slayer is attempting to
foist off on the dreamers, and the actual unconsciouses of the dreamers themselves. But in the end,
I'm not sure how meaningful this distinction is: remember these lines in Giles' dream:
Willow: Something is trying to kill us. It's
like some primal… some animal force.
Giles: That used to be us
Finally: apparently Joss didn't mean a dern thing by the cheese man. Buffyguide provides the
More from Joss at the Bronze: "The cheese man means nothing. He is the only thing in the
show that means nothing. I needed something like that, something that couldn't be explained,
because dreams always have that one element that is just RIDICULOUS. Thus, man of cheese. Plus
funny. (to me)"
The link to that page is below -- just scroll down to "Notes".
Thanks again for the essay.
Re: the cheeseman -- Brian, 08:00:22 03/03/02 Sun
But what I really like is that the interpretations of the Cheeseman really work. So, Joss was undone
by his subconscious.
[> [> [>
Re: the cheeseman -- Teri, 08:23:35 03/03/02 Sun
Totally agree with Brian! I know I'm harpin on the cheese man but I loved that guy and the
explanation was brilliant. I mean if you compare the cheese to being Buffy...gives a whole new
meaning the old saying....the cheese stands alone? Or at least I think it does. Course that could just
And my thinking on the Joss quote, the man's just so damn good that even when he's trying to write
with no meaning, turns out to have it anyway! Gofig...
[> [> [> [>
Skeezy Cheeses -- darrenK, 09:51:46 03/03/02 Sun
SCWLC's interpretation of cheese as representing the supernatural is consistent all the way through
to Once More With Feeling.
Xander sings that Anya "...eats these skeezy cheeses that I can't abide..."
Not only has Anya been involved with the supernatural, but she's been a vengeance demon and is
originally presented as evil in The Wish and Doppelgangland.
Even up to the present, Anya's view of what constitutes good and what constitutes evil is still way-
skewed. While humans might see most demons as evil, Anya maintains her relationships with them,
making few distinctions between humans and demons.
So if "cheese" is the supernatural, then "skeezy cheese" is supernatural
Just thought I'd throw that in.
[> [> [> [> [>
lol... good point -- Traveler, 16:41:47 03/03/02 Sun
[> [> [>
"Buffy likes Cheese" -- Kevin, 11:02:04 03/03/02 Sun
What is it with Joss and cheese? I remember Willow telling Riley that Buffy likes cheese. Then
Riley actually offers Buffy cheese. At the end of that ep Riley asks Buffy if Willow told her that he
And Willow with stinky yak cheese in her bra.
And Anya and the skeezy cheeses below...
I've never thought about the cheeseman before, because Joss did say it had no meaning, but the
interpretation of the cheeseman above certainly rang true for me too...
Re: Restless essay: Part two -- Nina, 17:24:11 03/03/02 Sun
SCWLC I am very happy you took my suggestion and posted this here! This is really an incredible
Again big thanks!
Re: Restless essay: Part two YOWZA! -- SCWLC, 17:25:22 03/03/02 Sun
I mean, whoah!
I never thought I would get this much response to the essay. The damned thing took me two years to
write, and I just didn't expect this.
I would just like to say that while I appreciate everyone's comments about how the dreams are filled
with spoilers for S5 and S6, that my intention was to go with an interpretation based on what we
knew as of the end of S4. So, although there are many references that can be traced to Dawn, several
that can be traced to Riley leaving, a couple that can tell us something about Spike's current role, I
wasn't planning on a retrospective look.
Also, although I do recognise that Joss Whedon has interviews and whatnot in which he explains
what occured according to him, I have never like reading or watching interviews. So, when I wrote
the notes for this essay, I was writing based on my own observations of the show and nothing
Anyhow, thanks for your feedback!
Anyone's theory (not about the
brontosaurus)... -- OnM, 15:14:55 03/02/02 Sat
OK, I just got this strange error message that the post I was replying to just got deleted. Huh??
This was in response to Masq asking about theories on Conner.
I have to say that despite the unlikelyhood of it, I agree with the poster (and I apologize for
forgetting his/her name, but you know who you are, right?) who thinks that Groo is Conner.
Time travel / interdimensional journeys offer many possibilities. When I get a chance, I want to dig
up the Angel eps where Groo gives some of his history to see if any of it even remotely fits.
I suspect that the season will approach it's end with Conner being transported to another dimension
and somehow eventually ends up in Pylea, but back in time. He grows to maturity in Pylea, the
Angel Band comes along and does their liberation thing, Groo eventually leaves Pylea and comes to
Groo will have to eventually die in order to set some cosmic happening on the righteous path again,
possibly avert the apocolypse. The situation is such that Angel will be in the position to cause his
death. The situ thus mirrors Buffy's choice in 'The Gift', except this time the sacrifice must take
place, and does.
So, the prophecy comes true, but it's the adult Groo Angel kills, not the infant Conner.
Good fic for someone to write!
It's called apatosaurus -- paleontologist D, 12:29:05 03/03/02 Sun
New essay: "The Demon
vs. The Rose: Magic in Buffy" -- Slain by
Buffy, 15:48:43 03/02/02 Sat
This is a new essay I've written which attempts to deal with the whole issue of magic in Buffy, from
Season 1 to 6 (spoilers up to 6.11 'Gone'), as well as to identify what I think are two clear ways of
practising magic in Buffy; natural, or demonic.
Any comments are appreciated, providing they're not of the "I don't like Season 6 so I don't
care" variety! ;)
Also I've haven't seen past 'Gone', so I'd really appreciate it if you could keep from mentioning
episodes after 6.11 - especially if they completely disprove my theory! :D
Sounds good - off to read. (Your england essay has been referenced several times recently,
fyi!) -- yuri, 16:29:30 03/02/02 Sat
Re: Sounds good - off to read. (Your england essay has been referenced several times recently,
fyi!) -- O'Cailleagh, 18:44:27 03/02/02 Sat
yes it does sound good.....are you a practitioner?
Very interesting! Addresses recent topics here. -- Darby, 08:16:49 03/03/02 Sun
I wish BtVS were that consistent. -- yez, 14:10:56 03/03/02 Sun
Nice essay. I've been wondering about the general rules for and types of magic on BtVS
You wrote: "Giles and Tara are clearly not as gifted as Willow, but part of this is surely
because they are, sensibly, limited by their ethics. For Willow, the combination of a great gift and a
lack of knowledge about the dangers of magic is dangerous. Giles and Tara have tried to warn her,
but either they have underestimated her power or overestimated her understanding of magic. When
Giles calls Willow a 'rank amateur' he means that, in her quest to be better, she has disregarded the
code of ethics Wiccans and Watchers live by."
I don't know that she's disregarded a code of ethics as much as never had one to begin with. Willow
really has never had proper guidance, and she's progressed so rapidly, that the little she has had
really hasn't been enough. As far as we know, the only groups she's been involved with have been
Amy and that other kid (as seen in "Gingerbread") and the Wiccan group in her first
college year, right? In the first case, she was with practicers who were as inexperienced as she was.
In the second case, the other groups members, excepting Tara, seemed to have had no actual interest
And another thing, IMHO, is that neither Giles nor Tara have ever really given Willow a good reason
for not using magic -- or least not one that's convinced me -- and we've heard her ask a few times.
And we've seen that many times, her use of powerful magic has been necessary in the sense that it's
helped saved lives (or souls) or helped to get the big bad. So the characters and audience members
haven't even been given a clear message that powerful magic is necessarily dangerous.
I don't know... my inclination is to think that there's just been inconsistency, especially this season,
in how magic is presented. And that would be otherwise fine, if now it didn't seem like we were
supposed to be seeing these universal kinds of rules, e.g., magic always carries a price -- it hasn't
always seemed to.
Re: I wish BtVS were that consistent. -- John, 12:25:55 03/04/02 Mon
Well, I strongly disagree about the inconsistencey; that's why I brought in earlier episodes. 'Dark
Age' is from Season Two, yet the message of the episode is quite clearly that magic is dangerous, and
has consequences: also the message of Season 6. Neither Giles nor Tara never tried to imbue Willow
with their ethical code, because they always believed she was responsible: "she of the level
head". However he had disregarded, or was blind to, her vulnerabilities.
[> [> [>
We agree about Giles, but... -- yez, 13:51:27 03/04/02 Mon
I agree we've been shown many instances when magic has been dangerous, but I think the lesson
Willow learned -- and I don't blame her -- was that magic is dangerous when it's not done properly in
the technical sense. When spells aren't executed properly, for example, or the wrong spell is chosen.
I think that's her personality -- "I can do my homework, I can learn it, I can master it, I can
execute it perfectly, trust me nothing will go wrong."
Where the inconsistencies come in, IMHO, is in the "magic *always* has its price" dept.,
because I don't think the consequences have always been apparent, if they've been there at all --
unless you count Willow's addiction. But that's a bit of a catch-22.
Or maybe you can draw the parallel to medication -- some drugs have side effects so mild as to be
unnoticeable, while some have side effects that can kill you, while others generate side effects that
take years to catch up to you. And taking the medicine (doing the magic) is essentially a cost-benefit
| More March 2002