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Riley seemed to perfect -- LoriAnn, 16:06:32 03/02/02 Sat

Does anyone else think that Riley seemed to be inutterably perfect: perfect confidence, perfect efficiency, perfect job, perfect wife, perfect life, perfect wisdom. Riley was always a nice guy and good at his job, but he was Capt. Cardboard, not Mr. Perfect.
I won't be surprised if we find out in the future that neither he nor his life is quite as perfect as he portrayed it during his very brief visit to Sunnydale.

[> Check out the Mary Sue thread below... -- Belladonna, 17:32:12 03/02/02 Sat

[> My God, you people are so hung on tearing down Riley. -- Hanayashik, 03:51:06 03/03/02 Sun

[> [> Re: My God, you people are so hung on tearing down Riley. -- LoriAnn, 05:28:36 03/03/02 Sun

Pointing out plot points is not the same thing as tearing down a character, and besides these are only characters in a play where each performs a function.
Watch AYW again. Riley is entirely too perfect and was not like this before. He was always a good, steady guy, but never so absolutely perfect. No one is so perfect. We might be seeing him through Buffy's eyes, which doesn't seem likely since she wasn't in every scene; we might view this as a plot device to set up something else; or we might go writer bashing, a particularly assinine activity in which, without knowing what's to come or how what the writer wrote fits into the story arc, we comment on how the writer blew it.
As far as Riley goes, the character was one of a nice, All-American, stereotypical young adult, but the storyline it was being used in was going nowhere and was aborted; the character ceased to serve a purpose in keeping with the overall direction of the story. Beside that the character now serves a much better function, that of being the incomparable image of normalcy in Buffy's head that continues to tell her that she should be a boiler plate young adult or generic ingenue instead of the unique individual she really is.
But perfection isn't normal, and in AYW, Riley, along with Sam, was just too perfect.

[> The Messenger -- Rufus, 05:30:08 03/03/02 Sun

I've been looking at all the finger pointing at Riley, how boring he is, too perfect. I think that was the point. For Buffy to understand her value it had to come from someone that looked like the poster child for perfection, heroism. I chuckled while Xander almost seemed ready to dump Anya to run off with Riley (j/k), the fact that Riley seemed so clean, so tall, everything that encompasses a dream. His visit with wife in tow seemed like a slap in the face of the stuggling Buffy, his perfect life her to remind her that she felt like a loser. He then told her the one thing that she needed to cut through all the crap to matter what has happened, how low she may feel at this time, she is still the person she always was. That is what she needed at that moment to hear. I didn't think that she would have been any happier if Riley had arrived back in Sunnydale unmarried. His purpose was to be a figure everyone respected there to tell Buffy she was more than the DmP smell. So, he doesn't like Spike, more important, he didn't kill him, and either did Buffy. When Buffy broke up with Spike, she broke up with a man, not a monster. She didn't slam the door an any further communication, just the sexual interactions they had been having. I see this as posative to both Buffy and Spike. Buffy no longer has to identify Spike as only a monster, and Spike is now free to choose what he will become monster or man. Riley was only the messenger. Love him or hate him, whatever happens to the characters will be of their own doing not his.

[> [> Re: The Messenger -- LoriAnn, 05:41:35 03/03/02 Sun

When the messenger is written in an unrealistic manner, given the rules of the universe Buffy is set in, we must question the messenger. If the messenger is incredible, what is the message?

[> [> [> Re: The Messenger -- Cactus Watcher, 06:18:33 03/03/02 Sun

I have to disagree. Riley was not written unrealistically at all. Think of what he did. He spent a considerable time driving Buffy to the dam without either telling her he was married or that the mission of the moment was to capture not kill. Hardly perfect in any sense. So why are we left with the impression that he is? Remember also the wheel of life references. Riley seems so high because Buffy has been so low. You have to understand that we essentially saw Riley through Buffy's eyes. Riley's life may indeed not be perfect, but to Buffy who has been having so much problem dealing with life, it does seem perfect. Riley has everything Buffy wants, stability, someone worth loving to love him back, a good job, real goals... I think you need to concentrate not so much on what Riley looked like as on what he said. As Rufus pointed out Riley is just a messenger. Rufus pointed out here and in her post on transformation of consciousness what's going on, but I'd also like to add that it's a matter of attitude. Sam and Riley seem larger than life in this ep. because they enjoy life. Buffy on the other hand has spent half a year dreading it. Sam and Riley are eager to head off to their next adventure, which may well get one or both of them killed. Buffy on the other hand really has just been "going through the motions." Riley is just a wake up call for Buffy. It seems as if she just might have heard it.

[> Re: Riley seemed to perfect -- SCWLC, 17:38:46 03/03/02 Sun

I always liked Riley, a near-suicidal thing to admit when you're a fervent B/A shipper like myself. The problem with Riley before had to do with his essential lack of understanding as to what drove Buffy. Riley was introduced to the world of the supernatural in his early to mid-twenties. He never really quite understood it when he was dating Buffy.

Now that he understands it he seems perfect because he's that perfect guy Buffy was trying to get all through season 4. You know, the normal guy Angel left her to find?

I personally found AYW to be an episode just dripping in irony about how Buffy, superhero, can't pull her life together, and everyone, including Riley, (who was 'supposed' to pine away after her for the rest of his life) is doing great except for her.

Mainly though, I think it was the wake-up call about how she's more than just her appearance.

Machiavelli, Ripley, and Sam (incoherent spoilers for AYW) -- manwitch, 16:55:25 03/02/02 Sat

I think we need to have a discussion of Alien/Aliens/Alien3/Alien 4 the Resurrection as well as a discussion of Machiavelli.

It was not just cute banter that the dude was talking about Machiavelli and Realpolitik.

What I do remember of Machiavelli is the question he poses of whether it is better to be feared or to be loved. And his conclusion is that it is better to be feared. If you have based your policy on being loved, the minute you fail people you will have rebellion. Hmmmm. Could this be Buffy, or perhaps Spike? Was Spike better off being feared than trying to be loved? Or is Buffy about to engender a revolt by failing the one that loved her?

Is the "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer" quote actually from Machiavelli? Whether it is or not, who does it seem to apply to in this episode? It seems to me that only Sam fits.

A dark and unjustifiable side of me says that she is Eeeeeeeeeeeeevil and will be back.

She reaches out in a false friend way to everyone in Buffy's house. To Dawn, "Oh, she looks old enough," then looks at Buffy, "if its ok with you." Appealing to Dawn's desire to be an adult and part of the scoobs and then disingenuously appealing to Buffy as authority figure. To Xander she has the answer to the wedding questions, just what he wanted to know. She appeases Buffy again, appealing to her desire to be the strong hero, "Buffy, it was good that you killed the Stromboli demon before it killed us." Then she makes the gaf with Willow, and you can see her cunningly figure out how to correct it. Eeeeeeeeeeevil. What's she up to? What does she want?

Then she chats with Buffy and basically sets her up to go to Spike. I think Sam sends Riley there, knowing full well that Spike has the eggs (she gave them to him) and that Riley will find them together.

Obviously, I have no justification for any of this. Its how I feel people.

The scene at the dam. I agree with the idea that this dam is symbolically holding back the powers of the unconscious. I don't know much about reading dreams or such, but I recall Joseph Campbell saying that "In reading these things psychologically, water represents the unconscious, and the creature in the water represents the dynamism of the unconscious. And so its here that the monster of the abyss comes to meet you." Or something like that. And I've found that it certainly works as a guide to reading imagery in sci fi and James Cameron films. There is a moment where the protagonist descends somewhere, whether its below the street (terminator) or to lower floors (Aliens) or claims in words to be so descending (Alien 3) and in each case water is present where they go or the sound of water. And that is the moment where the protagonist fully confronts the monster that they are facing. Its in that moment that the scope of the battle is revealed and faced, even though it may not be over until much later.

So, here, in buffy, we have a body of water (powers of the unconscious) being blocked by a man made barrier. Buffy and Riley descend from the top of that barrier to a platform down below, where, interestingly enough, the waters from behind the damn trickle forth through the barrier (The point where the powers of the unconscious bubble over the conscious barriers). That we are meant to notice this and not just think it a fact of their being at a dam is made clear by the fact that they land on the right side of the opening, and cross over to the left side to be attacked by the demon. They could have descended on the left side and as they landed and began to move around on the platform the demon could have charged them from the doorway. But no. They land on the other side and cross the tube with the water running out of it. To make a point that they have done this, they stop at the tube and Riley a sort of ducks his head under it in an odd way just to make sure we notice that it is there. This is the point where the monster of the abyss should come to meet them. And what happens? The demon comes charging out of the doorway, from not only right behind the outpouring of the waters of the unconscious, but from what had to be right in it. I mean, check out the architectural design. I don't know anything about dams, but that door leads STRAIGHT into a big pipe. There is no other way. That monster is coming out of that same dark place from which the waters are bubbling forth. Please watch it again and notice how odd it looks. The big pipe is right there. Where does the little doorway lead? Even if there is a real answer, symbolically this monster seems intended to be associated with the dynamism of the unconscious.

And what is this demon? He's a "breeder." That hung with me, when Riley called it that. Its a majorly loaded term anywhere that feminism is discussed, and BtVS qualifies. They don't accidentally call something a breeder. It means that somethings entire identity is reduced to its procreative aspect. But then I saw the eggs it produced.

Those are the eggs that the Aliens produce. Slight variations, yes, but clearly an allusion to Alien. Why?

Well, some of you won't believe it, but one of the main themes of all the Alien movies is the co-opting of (gendered) feminine procreative power towards the perpetuation of corrupt (gendered) male dominated institutions and the inhumane forms of knowledge that support them. Women (Ripley in particular) are "alienated" from their own feminine power to the point where procreation becomes a monstrous act that produces something totally horrendous and unrecognizable. Ultimately, to reclaim that power, the new creative act must be one of negation and abortion, as seen in Alien 4.

And here these little "alienating" gizzards are in Buffy. I haven't worked out the reading of these images yet, but I know they're there to be read. Anyone?

I think Riley, by returning to a patriarchal system (patriarch being a reference to the old testament of the Bible, Adam being THE patriarch and Genesis being the book of the patriarchs) in which the moral parameters for decision making are set external to him, has made himself what Machiavelli would call "feeble" and "easy prey to evil-minded men." Sam is eeeeeeevil. Buffy's true creative power is being threatened to be co-opted to help the system, and she is being alienated from her truest self. Her true creative power lies in the ability to slay without slaying, the ability to change vampires through love rather than killing. She turns her back on that at her peril.

So. there. I've said it. And can't support a lick of it, I know. I'm not set in what I've written here. I'm still working on it. Musing.

Anyone else have any thoughts on Machiavelli or Aliens?

ps. I thought her line about "that's you. I should have remembered" referred to him being mercenary rather than evil or idiotic.

pps. Spike is clearly not the doctor. He has no idea what Riley is talking about. You can see the total change in his character when Riley mentions the eggs and Spike realizes why he's really there and that Buffy will find out. He shows no concern whatever at Riley's presence or Rileys repeated mention of "the doctor." He thinks its about Buffy. When he finds out its about the stuff someone suckered him into putting in the crypt, he changes visibly. Guess who that someone is?

Q: what about Sam and Riley? You don't see patriarchy there do you?

A: They're married. Consider the phrase "Mrs. Finn." or consider the number of happily married couples depicted in 6 years of BtVS episodes. Or the fact that the first happily married major character is also the only major character ever seen going to church as a member of the congregation, in, oddly enough, the season that revolved around the Garden myth from the Book of Genesis ("thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee" Ge 3:16). Riley thinks he's in patriarchy heaven, but in true BtVS fashion, I think she's running the show.


[> BY GEORGE! -- Teri, 17:30:46 03/02/02 Sat

I think your on to something!
And to proove I really think so!
Brought some chairs and a tent to set up the
"Sam is eeeeevil camp" Anyone wanna join?
We could build a fire,..roast marshmellows...
(Great post as USUAL btw)

[> Re: Machiavelli, Ripley, and Sam (incoherent spoilers for AYW) -- Lilac, 18:23:33 03/02/02 Sat

"Is the "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer" quote actually from Machiavelli? Whether it is or not, who does it seem to apply to in this episode? It seems to me that only Sam fits"

Actually, I had been thinking that Buffy has been keeping her one time enemy, Spike, much closer than her friends lately.

[> [> About the Machiavelli quote -- JodithGrace, 19:34:59 03/02/02 Sat

First of all, MBA guy doesn't actually attribute the "Keep your friends close and you enemies closer" quote to Machiavelli. If you watch the scene carefully (supported by the shooting script) what he says is "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer..AND as Machiavelli do know who Machaivelli is, don't you?" So basically he interupts himself BEFORE quoting Machiavelli. The friends and enemies quote is NOT from Machiavelli, and in fact after several searches through Bartlett's quotations, etc. I haven't found out WHERE it is from.

[> [> [> Re: About the Machiavelli quote -- B Martin, 19:57:57 03/02/02 Sat

Its from the Godfather

On Outsmarting the competition...
Michael: "My father taught me many things here. He taught me, in this room, 'Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.'"

[> [> [> [> I think it's an old adage quoted in the movie. -- yez, 07:21:26 03/03/02 Sun

[> [> [> [> Its from The Godfather movie-and in Machiavelli's defense... -- Eric, 17:32:44 03/03/02 Sun

he did NOT say its better for a prince to be feared rather than loved. What he DID say was that it was better to be loved AND feared. And if a prince can't manage that, THEN he should prioritize on causing fear. Renaissance princes and mafia bosses are just lazy.

[> Re: Machiavelli, Ripley, and Sam (incoherent spoilers for AYW) -- Rob, 20:01:36 03/02/02 Sat

Not exactly sure if I think that's what the writers were going for, but that was really a brilliant brilliant, in fact, that I hope you're right. :o)

That would be an awesome plot...Sam would make a great (and very hot) villian. And she did rub me the wrong way, also, because I love Buffy so much and I'll be petty like Willow, and shoulder Willow's burden of having to be the only one who hates her. And speaking of having a hot villian, I miss having hot villians...Glory was so great, she left me wanting another awesome, hot, supervillian.

I think that we probably have seen the last of Sam, since it seemed like she was part of the plot point to wrap up the Riley story for good. But then again many times in the past, the story's swooped in a direction we never before imagined.

Maybe Willow's right. Sam's not evil, just a bitch. Heh heh. And maybe you are. Fingers crossed!


[> [> P.S. I loved your "Alien" analysis...Brilliant! -- Rob, 20:12:36 03/02/02 Sat

If you're interested in more "Alien" analysis, I read a book a few years back called, "David Thomson on 'The Alien Quartet.'" It's a very scholarly book, dissecting every shot, visual and internal symbol in the "Alien" films. It's in the Bloomsbury Movie Guide series, and really worth reading, if ya haven't.


[> Buffy, the breeder, the unconscious and realpolitik -- Caroline, 20:13:16 03/02/02 Sat

Pretty bloody fabulous post, if you ask me!

You could be onto something with the whole Sam thing but my rational mind tells me to stay out of that mindfield.

As for your theory about the eggs, allusion to the Alien movies (which I haven't seen, so can't comment on - sorry)and a metaphor for the repression of Buffy's power - you are absolutely on to something here. I've long argued that Buffy's own unconscious internalization of patriarchal norms has not allowed her to understand the depths of her feminine power. I think that she is frightened of that kind of power because the examples she has seen have been so negative and destructive - Faith as Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction, Maggie Walsh as Tiamat, Babylonian great mother usurped by her son, and Glory as Erishkigal, the rather unpleasant Sumerian goddess of the underworld. She negated everything that the Primitive told her in Restless. The full expression of feminine energy is incredibly powerful and the negative examples that Buffy has seen have also been incredibly destructive. But when she does integrate her feminine power, perhaps she will no longer express it in such a phallic way, as she currently does in her slaying?

I agree with your interpretation of water as a symbol for the unconscious and the man-made barrier of the dam as symbolic of the repression that Buffy is currently inflicting on herself. I felt As You Were has halted any kind of progression for her in terms of the exploration of her unconscious drives and, since the unconscious hates to be ignored so zealouly, it's going to strike back at Buffy in a really big way. The Suvolte 'breeder' demon is representative of a dynamic issue in the unconscious, and the killing of it by Buffy was symbolic of the repression of that particular issue. And since it was a breeder, it definitely represented something feminine and since, in mythology and from the womb we all emerge from water, it's incredibly appropriate that it took place at the dam! And those eggs are representative of the stuff and issues that will continue to breed in the unconscious after the initial repression and then erupt in a very chaotic and destructive way. Buffy can keep throwing hand grenades at these things but they're going to keep coming! The message here is that you've got to deal with the original issue because if you don't, the issue will multiply.

So Buffy has some internal demons running around in her unconscious to deal with and somehow integrate into her conscious life. At the moment it's repression-ville with some unpleasant unconscious eruption waiting to emerge. I feel that how Buffy deals with that will go hand-in-hand with dealing with Spike - basically because he is currently bearing the projection of her disinherited unconscious drives. This is where I felt the discussion of Machiavelli fitted in and the stuff about keeping your enemies closer. As the bearer of her projections, he is the enemy but he is kept close precisely because he bears her projections. Buffy dumping Spike was equivalent to killing the demon - destroy any recognition of unconscious drives. (This is why she dumped him after she admitted to herself and Riley that she was sleeping with him). So now she isn't following the Machiavellian advice but her unconscious will erupt again to spank her. And, most likely, Spike will be the agent. (no, I didn't mean that!) Just because she's not sleeping with him anymore and she dumped him doesn't mean that the projection is over.

As for how to view Riley and Sam, on one level they are just a beautiful, perfect couple in so many patriarchal ways. But I do have to wonder about what is behind the beautiful facade. It seemed to me that they worked so hard to achieve that facade which made me immediately suspicious of what was actually going on underneath the surface. And Machiavelli applies here too because, in The Prince, Machiavelli basically argues that PR is everything, and you should always try to look as wonderful as you can, even while your motivation may be a base one. He says that a leader's virtues may actually lead to his downfall whereas his vices may lead to his long and successful reign. It may apply to Sam in that she is really nice to Buffy 'cos she knows that Buffy was her husband's first love and by being nice, she pre-empts any actions on Buffy's part about getting him back. And hubby thinks how fabulous she is that she is big enough to brace his ex and her friends. Good realpolitik strategy.

I also think that Spike is not the doctor but whoever the doctor is will most likely be mightily pissed off that the eggs that were so valuable to a foreign government would be destroyed and I'm sure will come seeking vengeance - a la Teeth in Tabula Rasa. Will Buffy have to come to Spike's rescue again?

[> [> Question for you on feminine power, Willow and magic -- yez, 07:30:36 03/03/02 Sun

I thought that magic was associated with feminine power on the show, at least of late -- with Willow drawing strength from it and then creating a relationship that's not defined by male-female gender roles.

Do you agree with that? If so, how do you think recent developments with Willow's addiction affect that?


[> [> [> Re: Question for you on feminine power, Willow and magic -- manwitch, 08:45:35 03/03/02 Sun

One possible angle is that in the middle ages a "witch" was someone who communed with the spiritual world, or with the supernatural world, without aid of a male mediator, such as a priest. So there's a pretty direct connetion, imagery-wise, with "witches" and the idea of "not needing men." Also, witches tend to draw on "goddess" powers, i.e. the channellers of the source of powers rather than god powers which are seen more as the manifestation of powers. I think.

I think this is one of the major problems with Willow's addiction and her bumpy relationship with Tara (not in terms of bad writing, but in terms of interesting to see how it will play out). While in principle we are all open-minded to Willow's bisexuality, how can the show ask her to reject having her own direct access to spirituality? She needs to assimilate the power, not simply give it up. Truth is her magic power is important and is valuable. Her unmediated access to that power is important.

Is Tara symbolic of that channelling power? I don't know. In some ways she is, but the show also makes a point of Willow's connection to those powers way beyond Tara. The neat/scary thing about Willow is that she needs no mediator of anykind. Her eyes go black, her head shoots up, the white light blasts down on her and stuff starts to happen. I think what she needs to learn from Tara is that the world is fine just the way it is. She doesn't need to use magic to change the natural order of things. When she realizes that, she can use magic again, if there is any need.

[> [> Re: alien movies -- manwitch, 09:26:32 03/03/02 Sun

The Alien movies are all fantastic, except for alien 4. In alien 4 the symbol set still functions nicely, but the dialogue, plot and filming are noticably weaker.

I have also read a nice essay about Aliens (the second movie) being the Persephone myth. You might actually find them pretty interesting.

Plus, Ripley is just a fantastic character.

They are, however, horrendously frightening and you will have nightmares for years after seeing them.

[> [> [> Re: alien movies -- Caroline, 16:34:33 03/03/02 Sun

I admit that the reason I haven't seen the Alien movies is precisely because of the not wanting to have nightmares for years. But I might screw my courage to the sticking place and rent them, just to see what I missed. Any essays on the topic you could point me to, including Aliens being a retelling of the Persephone myth (one of my faves, could you guess?) would be much appreciated.

[> [> [> Re: alien movies and joss -- Dochawk, 17:15:10 03/03/02 Sun

Joss wrote the original script for Aliens 4. it was then rewritten though he says alot of the dialogue is his. He got arbitrated out of a writing credit for the movie and may be a bit bitter about it. So, I wonder how much he wants to pay homag to the aliens movies.

[> [> [> [> Re: alien movies and joss -- leslie, 18:12:21 03/03/02 Sun

Or how much he wants to goddamn get that story off his chest.

[> [> Re: Buffy, demon eggs, repression, Riley..the usual suspects! -- Dyna, 13:44:53 03/03/02 Sun

"And those eggs are representative of the stuff and issues that will continue to breed in the unconscious after the initial repression and then erupt in a very chaotic and destructive way. Buffy can keep throwing hand grenades at these things but they're going to keep coming! The message here is that you've got to deal with the original issue because if you don't, the issue will multiply."

Very interesting, Caroline! Reading your comments makes me feel better about the demon-eggs plot, which at the time seemed just bizarre to me. Thinking along these new lines about what the demon eggs represent, a couple of things occurred to me:

Riley remarks that Spike "screwed up" with the eggs because he "didn't keep them frozen." If the eggs represent Buffy's unconscious issues, Riley's comment fits nicely with the recurring motifs of freezing and fire that have characterized the Buffy/Spike relationship. Buffy feels "frozen," she turns to Spike for his "fire"--the warmth of his feelings, the fire of their physical passion (beautifully symbolized in the cemetery scene in DT, where Buffy stands outside in the blue cold, while Spike inside is surrounded by candle flames.) Spike's undercrypt is a "breeding ground" where Buffy's unconcious desires, needs, whatever, are given free reign, and is the primary space where she gives herself permission to stop "keeping them frozen."

However, as Spike discovers, being the one to encourage Buffy to access her unconscious issues is a perilous undertaking, and it's liable to backfire. The demon eggs, once unfrozen, rapidly multiply and become uncontrollable. Similarly, as Buffy and Spike's relationship taps into more and more of Buffy's issues, Buffy reacts with increasing panic, and efforts to repress. "Dead Things" did a great job of showing this process in Buffy, as well as its consequences for Spike, i.e. her out-of- control beating in the alley as she projects her inner conflicts onto him.

Interesting that Riley gets the line about needing to keep these things frozen. Riley and Buffy had a relationship that was superficially "ideal," but in which almost everything was left unsaid until it was too late. Riley went to the vamp trulls when the things he was holding back (his belief that Buffy didn't love him, his feelings that he wasn't needed, that he couldn't connect with her) got so overwhelming that he needed to let them out somehow. Is Riley telling us now that in his view the mistake he made in his relationship with Buffy wasn't that they repressed things, but that they didn't keep them repressed enough? Buffy was, after all, perfectly willing to stay with him in an emotionally disconnected relationship. Riley may see his visits to the vamp trulls, rather than the repression that led to them, as the cause of the breakup. Something else he should have "kept frozen."

Now we have a "new" Riley--one who shows less strong emotion, who is never without his wife--is he a better person that the Riley who left? His life of adventure has given him a sense of purpose, and also a way of never being alone again, never having to sit still and be preyed upon by his feelings--the situation he was in when he was last in Sunnydale, and which led to his most disastrous "failure." It's interesting to look at Riley as representing a path Buffy could have taken, could still try to take to get out of her current difficulties. But, as Caroline points out, for Buffy, the path of repression and avoidance can't lead very far. What's below the surface for her is too strong, and I would argue that it wants to be found, and that Buffy wants to know herself. As long as Spike represents the path into Buffy's unconscious, I think she will continue to need him, and seek him out, though in what capacity remains to be seen.

[> [> [> Re: Buffy, demon eggs, repression, Riley..the usual suspects! -- Etrangere, 15:08:42 03/03/02 Sun

Oh... well though !

what do you think about Buffy wearing purple (Red+Blue) in the break up scene ? Don't you think it shows an aknowledgement of both her fire and ice ?

[> [> [> Really great observations...reading your responses helps me enjoy the show even more! -- Caroline, 16:41:12 03/03/02 Sun

[> [> [> Fire and ice -- Arya Stark, 20:29:25 03/03/02 Sun


Thank you for nailing the cemetary scene in DT right on the head! When I saw it, I saw the colors as cold and warmth, but labeling them fire and ice makes so much more sense and adds so much. Now that scene means so much more in terms of the whole story arc.

[> [> [> Re: Buffy, demon eggs, repression, Riley..the usual suspects! -- ponygirl, 09:10:54 03/04/02 Mon

Sometimes I want to smoke a cigarette after reading the posts on this board - they're so very satisfying! So many great points about the symbolism of the eggs and the "breeders" line. Breeders so often used as a derogatory term for straights by the gay community, is odd coming out of Riley's mouth, he being the ultimate straight boy. Then to see the eggs positioned so prominently by Spike's bed - the implication as mentioned in the prior posts that this is what Spike and Buffy's relationship has produced. Interesting too that once the eggs have hatched Riley's line is that the beasties have to be "contained", once more repressed, whereas Buffy chooses to destroy them.

[> [> Spike/Buffy's offspring -- Spike Lover, 17:53:57 03/03/02 Sun

Ok- You say that the dam is the symbolic holding back of the unconscious or unconscious desires; you say that killing the demon at the dam is symbolic of the killing of an issue (or subconscious issue.) Fine, I am going to step further and say that Buffy is THE BREEDER this season and she has been breeding with Spike.

Those eggs are symbolic of what they had been/were in the process of creating. (A good healthy relationship? A miracle half-vampire/half-slayer child? A redeemed vampire or balanced slayer? Something monstrous/Chaotic? Whatever.) She blew them up. Now the breeder has to start over.

Why would the eggs be there? Well, there are other kinds of eggs than reptilian or fish eggs. There are bird eggs as well. What do birds do? Well, in some varieties, both parents have to sit on the eggs to get them to hatch. I would say that Spike has been nursing this relationship for a long time, so he obviously is the one that has been setting them.

So what you have is a sort of premature hatching in this episode... Is this because Buffy has not done her part in setting on the eggs? Would the eggs have turned out to be monsters destroying mankind if they had actually been brought to term with the work of both parents? (symbolically speaking?)

[> Re: Machiavelli, Ripley, and Sam (incoherent spoilers for AYW) -- yez, 07:47:49 03/03/02 Sun

Great post. Very interesting mindfood.

The DMP monster also resembled the "Alien" monsters, didn't it? (Hard shell, acid- spitting...)

Re: the dribble pipe at the dam, I remember Riley doing that awkward ducking thing, and I also half noticed that Buffy didn't. Did anyone else notice that -- or maybe I'm remembering incorrectly? (I'll never make a good witness...) If that's the case, then does it show slightly more willingness on Buffy's part to engage her subconscious?

Re: friends, enemies and proximity -- I agree with the person who pointed out that by pushing Spike away, Buffy could be reactivating her enemy again, so to speak.

Also, I was thinking how, this season, it's been Buffy's friends/family that are causing the most problems, almost precisely because she has not been keeping them close. At least Willow and Dawn. And if it turns out that Xander has gotten in over his head, maybe we should add him to the list, since we really haven't seen Buffy or anyone have a serious talk with him about the big step he's taking.


[> Re: Machiavelli, Ripley, and Sam (incoherent spoilers for AYW) -- Spike Lover, 17:37:06 03/03/02 Sun

Ok, you lost me on the church going thing. Did Riley go to Church?

Re: If Riley is the patriarch Adam, then that makes Sam "Eve" and the one who for all history is blamed for screwing up Adam and the human race. Adam is the weakest man in history. Ok- I have to agree with you that there is something 'strange' about Sam. She was an exact replica of Riley (as if made out of one of the guy's ribs.)

The doctor thing was really bizarre, but Sam was the only one connected with an infirmary. Somehow, I can't see Spike trying to pass himself off as a doctor- not after everything that has happened over the last year.

Also, I do not really buy the idea that he was behind the great egg plot either- simply because if he had been, we would have been given some background of his 'reverting back to evil' in other eps. (Like we were shown the testing the chip in the alley scene.)

I can believe that it was probably a get-rich-quick scheme.

The water symbolism was interesting, though I wondered why at the time they were showing a dam when they could have easily used the park.

Why were the writers showing Buffy and Spike in such a weakened state (particularly compared to the strong as steel Finn family?)

[> [> which adam? who's eve? -- anom, 21:24:21 03/03/02 Sun

"Re: If Riley is the patriarch Adam, then that makes Sam 'Eve' and the one who for all history is blamed for screwing up Adam and the human race."

I thought Adam was Adam in that season--not sure who/what that would make Riley. But if Riley & Sam are Adam & Eve, that puts Buffy in the position of being Lilith, which has serious implications for the meaning of the eggs in the lower level of Spike's crypt. After all, Lilith was said to bear 100 children a fornicating w/demons. Hmmmm....

I suppose, given what manwitch & Caroline have said about the "breeder" concept, that Lilith could be another one of Buffy's nightmare images of what her power as a female means. (& I wrote the whole paragraph above before I made that last connection.)

Oh, & about Eve being blamed for all history for "the Fall"--that's a Xtian concept. In Genesis, the serpent, Eve, & Adam are each blamed by God for their respective parts in the sin, & all 3 are punished. I'm sure Islam has its own take on the story--can anyone fill us in on that?

impression from the promo for the wedding ;-) (spoilery if you haven't seen the promo) -- gds, 18:22:27 03/02/02 Sat

The impression I received was something like a mafia wedding. You have these powerful characters that are regularly in life and death conflict coming together for a wedding that sort of unites 2 warring factions. The war will continue, but now it could get a little more 'family' like.

I'm not much for mob pictures (believe it or not I've never seen any of the Godfather movies or Soprano episodes), but think of the possibilities. Sunnydale being the Slayer’s territory and all of the demons know they are at risk if they don’t show the proper respect there. Maybe we will learn about the territories of others. In season 4 they both fought the feds, though they were still at war with each other. Maybe we can get some ‘family’ nicknames – Spike already has his. Perhaps Willow would be ‘The Red Witch’. Spike has already given people names – e.g. Xander ‘The Bricklayer’, Dawn is ‘Platelet’ (‘The Little Bit’ doesn’t work too well here).

[> Re: impression from the promo for the wedding ;-) (spoilery if you haven't seen the promo) - - John, 18:46:38 03/02/02 Sat

I'm more interested in the reception - I really hope D'Hoffryn does come! I like the idea of a clash between the world of Buffy, and the 'real' world.

~ Slain by Buffy

[> [> Re: impression from the promo for the wedding ;-) (spoilery if you haven't seen the promo) - - vampire hunter D, 12:25:19 03/03/02 Sun

D'Hoffryn does come. He was in the promo. He's the one who geave Dawn the package that's: "Fragile?" "No, Wiggly."

[> [> [> Re: impression from the promo for the wedding ;-) (spoilery if you haven't seen the promo) - - anom, 23:14:18 03/03/02 Sun

"D'Hoffryn does come. He was in the promo."

D'Hoffryn & Willow meet again? Could be interesting...think of the possibilities!

Buffy and Denial -- Kevin, 22:02:45 03/02/02 Sat

I recently watched both Restless and Buffy vs. Dracula the same night. I've only seen them once before at the end of S4 and the beginning of S5. When I realized that both the First Slayer and Dracula used the same line, "You think you know...what's to come...what you are. You haven't even begun." I started looking at the two episodes together.

Especially throughout the Dracula episode, I noticed a constant theme throughout the dialog of Dracula making a connection with Buffy as "kindred", "killer", "the hunt" and allusions to the fact that their power had common roots. Every time, he tried to make the connection, Buffy denied the connection.

Until the very last scene. She goes to Giles and admits that there might be a connection. She wants to find out more about it, maybe control the power she might contain.

The first time I saw Dracula, I didn't make the connections with Restless. So I discounted Dracula's statements about their common origins as just his trying to manipulate her. But after hearing the same words from him and the First Slayer, I have to believe that he was telling her the truth.

I see a common thread with Buffy that continues up through AYW. She denies her connection with vampires. She goes to Giles, the Watcher (a patriarch) to find out about her power. But the Watchers came after. They're not connected to the Slayers power. They've tried to harness it and direct it for their own good (saving mankind from demons), but they came after. Giles doesn't have the answers she's looking for. By going to the Watcher for answers, she's still denying her connection to a more ancient power.

I'm not saying the power has to be "dark" as Dracula and Spike have colored it, but it is Primeval. A lot of Buffy's journey has seemed to be realizing that her power is not the civilized wielding of library books that Giles is all about. I do believe her life will get a lot simpler when she accepts what she is rather than denying it. Once she accepts it, then she'll be more at peace with herself and her life.

[> Re: Buffy and Denial -- John, 23:41:32 03/02/02 Sat

I think that's Buffy's current journey - embracing that source of her power. In the episode where Spike's telling her about the slayers he's killed he says almost the same thing as Dracula and the First; that her power is rooted in darkness, and that she's in love with darkness. I think S5 and S6 have been about Buffy coming to terms with this, and admitting that it's not just a case of Buffy contre les Vampires - she has more in common with them than she'd like to admit.

I've read an interesting essay about the link between the First Slayer, and the First Evil (thing which brought Angel back from hell in S3) - saying they're the same thing. It's possible we'll see something on that later.

[> [> Re: Buffy and Denial -- juliaabra, 01:32:09 03/03/02 Sun

john: where is that essay? i'd love to read it. thanks.

[> [> [> Re: Buffy and Denial -- vandalia, 19:14:46 03/03/02 Sun

That essay was by me way back in November. The link is here:

The First...?

[> [> [> [> Thanks for the link -- Kevin, 19:52:57 03/03/02 Sun

Thanks for the link...Really interesting thoughts about "The First" vs. "The First Slayer".

I'm new to this posting board, so I've missed out on all the great ideas you guys have already explored. I'm really enjoying this. I haven't had so much fun since my college mythology courses exploring myth and current movies, etc.

I'm going to have to roll that one around for awhile...It certainly changes how I'd view Buffy's role.

[> Re: Buffy and Denial -- Terrapin, 10:55:27 03/03/02 Sun

You raise a very important issue that I thought season six would explore more. I have even thought about this for a while. Especially when I saw Buffy vs Dracula. What I really want to know is where her powers came from, and the connection between her power and evil(if there is a connection)

However, there is another side to this as well. In Restless, the First Slayer is trying to tell Buffy that she is alone and in the dark. The first slayer tries to kill Buffy and her friends by seperating them. The first slayer thinks that Buffy should do things the way the she did things. However, Buffy is too smart for that. Buffy gives her speach how she walks, talks, doesn't sleep on bed of bones, etc... Buffy is right. She even defeats the first slayer.

Next in Buffy VS. Dracula, Buffy is faced with the most famous vampire ever. He also possesses powers of mind control that tricks his vitims into letting him bite them. His mind control powers work on Buffy, but only for a little bit. Buffy then realizes what he is doing and is able to defeat him also.

Buffy shows to be stronger than both the first slayer and Dracula, who both say that she really has no idea who she really is.

Now in season six, Buffy finds her greatest connection with Spike, who is a vampire. He tells her that she tries to be with her friends, but is only drawn to the darkness. I'm pretty sure that something in her mind tries to believe this. Again, spike is acting just like the first slayer and Dracula, by trying to make her belive that she a just a creature of the darkness, just like them. However, Buffy is strong eventually tells Spike that it is over. Now, whenther she follows through with what she says, well find out in the episodes to come.

So, could Buffy's power be linked to evil and darkness? Maybe. But I think the real challenge for Buffy is find out who she really is. Buffy is very much human with a soul, who wans to fight the good fight and make the world a better place.

[> [> Re: Buffy and Denial -- Kevin, 11:11:18 03/03/02 Sun

I'm really hoping that the writers delve into the real source of the Slayer's power and the connections to vampires. It was tantilizingly hinted at in Buffy vs. Dracula and Restless, but I don't feel like the writers have really explored it. I'm hoping they're going to get back to it soon.

I love the mythology behind the action on BtVS...I think that's why I miss Giles and the library books so much this season. He always seemed to fill in the background on this or that monster, prophecy, etc. Without him there, it seems like the monsters just appear in a vacuum without being fleshed out. I'm not sure that he can help with the Slayer origin, though.

[> [> [> Re: Buffy and Denial -- Terrapin, 12:39:06 03/03/02 Sun

I totally agree with you Kevin. Restless is probably one of my fav. episodes.(if not, my fav.)That episode really made me want to know more about who Buffy really is and how her powers affect her true self. But, I think that Buffy has to overcome her problems in this season, get her life back together, and be happy with who she is.

[> [> [> [> Re: Buffy and Denial - A couple of thoughts -- wiscoboy, 15:55:03 03/03/02 Sun

First, in retrospect to the parallel lines spoken by the 1st Slayer & Dracula: didn't Tara also speak those same lines to Buffy earlier this season(I forget whether it was in a dream or trance state)?
Secondly, you talk about whether Buffy's power is rooted in darkness. If that is true, how could it be she was pulled from Heaven back into this realm(her Hell)? Are you saying her heaven is in reality Hell?

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Buffy and Denial - A couple of thoughts -- Kevin, 17:16:10 03/03/02 Sun

In my first post I said:

"I'm not saying the power has to be "dark" as Dracula and Spike have colored it, but it is Primeval. A lot of Buffy's journey has seemed to be realizing that her power is not the civilized wielding of library books that Giles is all about. I do believe her life will get a lot simpler when she accepts what she is rather than denying it. Once she accepts it, then she'll be more at peace with herself and her life."

I don't see it as "darkness". A common source doesn't mean that the power is identical. In fact I would see it as perhaps a yin/yang sort of thing. I usually tend towards shades of grey rather absolutes of dark/light, hell/heaven, evil/good.

I'm interested in the connection...the commonalties. What's the real story of their power's origin. It's an intriguing mythology that was hinted at in those episodes that I'm wishing the writers would follow up on.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: darkness, not evil -- leslie, 18:09:26 03/03/02 Sun

Darkness is not necessarily evil. Black can be the color of death, but it's also the color of fertile earth. White is the color of purity, but also of sterility. Underground is where the dead live, but it is also where new (plant) life is generated; the womb is also dark.

Thinking along these lines, it seems that the First Slayer--and Spike--are seriously misinterpreted when their calls to the "darkness" are seen as a temptation to evil. Buffy's gift was death--a death that saved the world--but her death was also necessary for her to be reborn. The fact that it has been a difficult rebirth does not mean that it was "wrong" (this season's keyword). Likewise, one of the problems Spike seems to be dealing with is being "dark" without being "evil." Dark, he can't stop; evil, maybe, but only if he changes his point of view. Buffy has the same need for a mental shift. Well, frankly, they all do. I don't think its as much a question of mediating the dichotomies as understanding that the equations (dark=evil) are not necessarily immutable. This is myth, not math.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: darkness, not evil -- Arethusa, 19:17:38 03/03/02 Sun

This season is very interesting because Buffy's need to integrate the dark and light in her nature is one we all must go through some time in our lives. I've known people who bury themselves in slavish obedience to God (or their interpretation of God's wishes) because they could not accept their darker impulses. (This is not a criticism of religion or religious people per se.)
Others let themselves sink into an animalistic version of themselves, ignoring anything they can't eat, smoke, snort or, um, you know. Out of ignorance or moral laziness, they don't try to develop the more spiritual and altruistic side of human nature.
The other Scoobies are exploring the same issues, as other posters have stated before me.
How many series are willing to expose their main character's weaknesses, foolish moments, lusts, and faults in such depth? (Except AtS, of course.) Gotta love the Buffster, as another tv character might say.

[> [> Buffy's power linked to evil and darkness -- Spike Lover, 17:18:09 03/03/02 Sun

Sounds like you are describing Angel's powers- which is undoubtedly rooted in darkness and which he tries to wield for good.

If B's powers are also rooted in darkness- then the shows really are running parallel of each other.

[> [> [> Re: Buffy's power linked to evil and darkness -- Terrapin, 19:01:25 03/03/02 Sun

Well, I'm really not quite sure. It's just a little specualtion that has been boggling in my mind for a while. But I really hope to find out some time. It's definetely something to think about.

[> [> [> [> Re: Buffy's power linked to evil and darkness (+ possible Fray spoilage) -- O'Cailleagh, 21:35:09 03/03/02 Sun

In the postings following the essay mentioned and linked earlier in this thread, it is stated that, in the Fray comic-book, the First Slayer is not the First Evil.
It should also be remembered that vampires do have souls (I have posted this recently in another thread)..... in The Harvest, Giles says 'The books tell the last demon to leave this reality fed off a human, mixed their blood. He was a human form possessed, infected by the demon's soul.'
Vampires therefore have souls, just not human ones.
It has already been established that not all demons are 'evil' (just as not all humans are 'good').
Darkness does not equate to evil, it refers to those parts of us that are not on display to the rest of the world...the more primeval elements of our makeup.
Sorry if this doesn't make much sense, very tired.

You hurt the ones you love--or destroy the place where you love the ones you hate.(spoilers) -- Grace, 22:02:55 03/02/02 Sat

It was Buffy who chose to blow up the lower level of Spike's crypt--the place she has been running to get away from the world. Granted, it seemed a necessity in the circumstances but there was a reason why she "drop the bomb" and not Riley. (This "bomb" also foreshadowed her later "bomb" of breaking up with Spike. Again.). Buffy had commented before that Spike had decorated the place nicely and it is not too far a stretch to assume that Spike was making the place nice for her. Anyway–Buffy destroyed it and left Spike behind to rummage through the remains. Again.

[> Things the make you go hmmmm -- LeeAnn, 23:21:06 03/02/02 Sat

Things that make you go "hmmmm."

Spike breaks up the relationship between Buffy and Riley by showing Buffy Riley has been doing something bad.
Riley breaks up the relationship between Buffy and Spike by showing Buffy Spike has been doing something bad.

When Spike approaches Buffy to show her the bad, she is naked, vulnerable in the bed where she earlier had sex with Riley.
When Riley approaches Buffy to show her the bad, she is naked, vulnerable in the bed where she earlier had sex with Spike.

Buffy torches the house where Riley had been doing the bad.
Buffy bombs and burns the crypt where Spike had been doing the bad.

Spike had set Riley on the path to bad by helping convince him that Buffy needs a little monster in her man.
Did Riley set Spike on the path to the bad? Him and his doctor wife?


[> [> Re: Things the make you go hmmmm -- juliaabra, 01:29:43 03/03/02 Sun

that reminds me of those presidents kennedy/lincoln reverse similarities. good points (of a triangle) too!

Is ME making Season 6 mirror Season 5? (spoilers thru AYW) -- LeeAnn, 06:13:27 03/03/02 Sun

Let's see. Does Season 6 mirror season 5?

Spike had dreams of kissing Buffy and fighting Buffy and having sex with Buffy in Out of My Mind and in Family.
Buffy has a dream of sex and violence and Spike in Dead Things.

Spike breaks up the relationship between Buffy and Riley by showing Buffy Riley has been doing something bad.
Riley breaks up the relationship between Buffy and Spike by showing Buffy Spike has been doing something bad.

When Spike approaches Buffy to show her the bad, she is naked, vulnerable in the bed. where she had sex with Riley earlier.
When Riley approaches Buffy to show her the bad, she is naked, vulnerable in a sort of bed where she had sex with Spike earlier.

Buffy torches the house where Riley had been doing the bad.
Buffy bombs and burns the crypt where Spike had been doing the bad.

In Crush Spike's old girl friend Dru returns to remind him of happier times and try to pull him back into his old life. This involves participating in the hunt together but is ultimately unsatisfying.
In As You Were Buffy's old boyfriend Riley returns to remind her of happier times and try to pull her back into her old life. This involves participating in the hunt together but is ultimately unsatisfying.

Buffy was chained and threatened and menaced in Crush.
Spike was handcuffed in Dead Things and tormented in As We Were.

Spike allowed his old girl friend Dru to attack and insult Buffy while she was chained and not able to fight while Spike threatened her himself.
Buffy allowed her old boyfriend Riley punch and humiliate Spike while she watched or participated and Spike wasn't able to fight because of the chip. Very Crush like.

Dru offers to kill Buffy.
Riley offers to kill Spike.

If ME is mirroring then As You Were is a combination of Into the Woods and Crush.
Does this mean that Spike will next go on a trip out of town?

Poor Spikey, and us Spike shipper, I think we got some more hard times ahead of us.

[> Good points. What do you think this mirroring will lead to? -- CW, 06:33:19 03/03/02 Sun

[> [> Re: Good points. What do you think this mirroring will lead to? -- LeeAnn, 06:42:36 03/03/02 Sun

I shudder to think. Spike will have to suffer some more. Will Buffy die again?
At the very least I think the sex is over.

[> Interesting, thanks. -- yez, 07:53:56 03/03/02 Sun

[> Wonderful points! I hadn't even considered those parallels! -- Rob, 07:56:59 03/03/02 Sun

[> Great points! -- Dariel, 13:09:04 03/03/02 Sun

Very astute. Wish I could see these things, but at least there are people like you to point them out!

About Spike leaving town....I think things are heading in that direction, although it's hard to explain why. I'm sure the writers want to mess with him/Buffy/us some more, and Spike skipping town would fit the bill. Over the summer break, for maximum torture of us shippers, of course!

BTW, no spoilers here, just my thoughts.

[> Re: Is ME making Season 6 mirror Season 5? (spoilers thru AYW) -- DustyMama, 14:55:08 03/03/02 Sun

Great observation!

As a Spike fan and S/B 'shipper, I have some speculation about where this "mirroring" will lead.

I'm wondering if we'll see another ep like "Intervention," where Spike is tortured (at the hands of Warren, maybe?) Only this time, *Buffy*, as opposed to the Buffybot, will be the one insisting on saving Spike. Then, we could also get a similar scene to Intervention where the Scoobies learn that she and Spike have been sleeping together.

[> "hmmmmm." (Thanks, good notes to scribble in my mental notebook.) -- yuri, 22:20:00 03/03/02 Sun

Help with college paper, please! -- Rob, 12:14:21 03/03/02 Sun

I have to write a paper for my Advanced British Literature class on "The Canterbury Tales." In it, people tell stories to other characters, and are constantly being interrupted by the other characters, about the quality of the story.

Could that be seen as a form of metanarration, since the characters in the book are commenting on a story being told in the book, or is metanarration exclusively a reference to something external from the book that hints that the characters in the book might know they're in a book (i.e. from "Buffy," Buffy's line, "Dawn's in trouble, must be Tuesday," or Tara's grr aargh! line in "Bargaining")?


[> Re: Help with college paper, please! -- WW, 14:56:04 03/03/02 Sun

As far as I know, your latter definition is the right one, Rob. The characters would have to recognize that they were characters in a book.


[> [> Oh, well...Guess I'll have to change that word! -- Rob, 15:26:17 03/03/02 Sun

I wanted to throw in an impressive word to describe the situation, but using a big word incorrectly is very unimpressive...and really embarassing!

Thanks so much for the help! :o)


[> [> [> You want an impressive term, Rob? -- d'Herblay, 16:39:26 03/03/02 Sun

Go with "Milesian tale." Short, snappy, and almost technically accurate.

[> [> [> [> Cool, thanks! Your suggestion has inspired me to both "ooh" and "aah"! -- Rob, 17:37:29 03/03/02 Sun

FICLET Three -- Etrangere, 12:28:29 03/03/02 Sun

TITLE : Three
FEEDBACK : This is my first fic, help me improve :)
RATING : errr... G ?
NOTES : Many thanks to Lady Starlight for advices and correcting my english

Three is a bloody magic number, you know that?

Wouldn't need Red or her wicca girl to tell me that, I know. I knew even before I died, I’d been reading enough stupid pre-Raphaelite poetry for that.

It's like a plague, turning your life all around until all you can do is stare at the mess it made. Like that old wicca warning, things returning to you threefold. Just like that. Magic always has consequences. And so does doom.

So there you go, me being in love with three women in my sodding life. And every time I was broken by it. And every time I tried again, made myself a new man, started a new life, found a new role model, just for her, anything. And every time, every bloody time, a mess.

You'd think I'd learn by now, wouldn't you?

She said I was the only she could trust with it.

I guess she couldn't lay something that huge on any of her friends, but then, I wasn't a friend. I was too surprised to say anything at first, then I raged, I yelled, and I begged. God, how I begged her !

She would have none of it.

There's no way out, she told me, it's just how I was brought back, it's in the spell. We can't even wait.

Guess I should just be glad for those few months of respite, of having her back and a chance to love her and see it wasn't enough.

I wanted to tell her that the world could sod off, that they could all sod off, every bit of humanity, her friends and the Nibblet. I said nothing, because it would have been useless, and though I would be happy to see the end of the world as long as I was with her, I knew by then that having her with me only because she'd be unconscious wouldn't be what I craved. I had learnt that much with Drusilla, at least.

So in the end, I just told her the truth. "Buffy, I can't do that."

Her expression softened and she took my hand. "You have to, please, Spike. You can't...", her voice wavered, "you can't leave me alone."

I closed my eyes for just a second, just an instant to remember, then I nodded ever so slightly. She relaxed and let a sad little smile flicker across her face. "Thank you, I know it's... thank you."

Of course she knew.

The third time. It was the third time I'd helped her prevent the end of the world. I had failed her the first two times, one way or another. That was the price, for the moment I had raised my eyes from Drusilla to see her fighting against Angelus, so close to losing and yet not willing to do anything. That was the price for falling from the tower and failing to save Little Bit from Doc. 'Cause Three is a magic number, and it'll always catch you back.

I caressed her cheek and kissed her eyes and then her lips because three’s magic, for goodbye, and I killed my third Slayer.

Three is a bloody magic number, you know that?

[> Re: FICLET Three -- Chris, 14:28:34 03/03/02 Sun

Powerful and perfect just as it is. Thank you.

[> Re: FICLET Three -- Luvthistle1, 01:06:19 03/04/02 Mon

This is great! You are a very good writer. I should know, I'm a writer also. I think you have a lot of potential, and can become a great writer.

[> Loved it. -- Sophist, 10:41:45 03/04/02 Mon

"holtz" on the radio & tapes -- anom, 15:18:26 03/03/02 Sun

I unexpectedly heard a name & voice from Angel on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered: Keith Szarabajka. It was in a segment on people who read books on tape. (Some have to pay $800 to audition!) There's not much of him in it, but you get to hear his voice, & didn't someone ask how his name was pronounced? You can find out at after 9 Eastern time tonight. Unfortunately, I don't know the title of the segment, but it was the next-to-last (I think) on the program.


[> Re: "holtz" on the radio & tapes -- Peanut, 12:10:08 03/04/02 Mon

Huh - check out his entries from IMDB:

Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix (2002) (VG) (voice) .... Sgt. Peterson
We Were Soldiers (2002) .... Diplomatic Spook
"Heavy Gear: The Animated Series" (2001) TV Series (voice) .... Serge Garpenlov
"Angel" (1999/I) TV Series .... Daniel Holtz (2001-)
"Max Steel" (2000) TV Series .... Mairot/Psycho
Star Wars: Force Commander (2000) (VG) (voice) .... Dewback Trooper/Infiltrator/TIE Fighter Pilot
Escape from Monkey Island (2000) (VG) (voice) .... Reverend Rasputin

Typecast much? Military, Spy, Military, Psycho, Military, Rasputin...

Buffy and Supergirl: Coincidence? -- Apophis, 16:48:04 03/03/02 Sun

Just in case anyone didn't know, I'm a comic book geek. As such, I've had the opportunity to observe certain similarities between BtVS and comic book characters. Everyone knows about the Angel/Batman thing, but I've encountered something else. The current incarnation of Supergirl (I'm not even going to attempt to explain DC Comics continuity. Just take my word for it) and Buffy have quite a bit in common. Examples:
* both are unnatural blondes (the current Supergirl wears a wig, while SMG dyes)
* both possess enhanced strength, speed, and durability (the current Supergirl is, admittedly, stronger, tougher, and faster, but she can no longer fly or use any other Superman-esque powers)
* both have a demonic sidekick who used to be an enemy and both are developing feelings for said demon. We're all familiar with the Buffy/Spike thing. Supergirl has Buzz, a 2000 year old demon trapped in human form who speaks with a British accent. He used to lead a cult and was instrumental in Supergirl reaching her current incarnation (again, don't ask). He tried for a while to kill her, but is now bound to her, apparently by God Himself (loooong story), and suffers incredible pain/nose bleeds if he tries to escape. Lots of love/hate stuff between the two (see the current issues), and lots of straddling the line between good and evil from Buzz.
* both were chosen by a higher power. Buffy was chosen by the PTB, while Supergirl was some kind of Earth-born angel (I'm still not clear on this) who used to have conversations with God.

I have wondered about some of these coincidences (I think there's more, but I'm getting bored). Peter David, the writer of Supergirl, has stated in interviews that he watches BtVS. The Supergirl/Buzz thing started aproximately during last season, when the Buffy/Spike thing began. I'm not accusing anyone of plagerism or ideological theft, I just noticed these things.

[> Re: Buffy and Supergirl: Coincidence? -- Brian, 18:42:49 03/03/02 Sun

Peter David spoke of these similiarities in his weekly
"But I Digress" in Comic Buyer's Guide #1477, dated 3/8/02.
Basically, he was there first. Buffy was second.

[> [> Ah -- Apophis, 20:40:22 03/03/02 Sun

[> Re: Buffy and Power Girl: Coincidence? -- Darby, 10:21:08 03/04/02 Mon

'Way back in Killed By Death, I think we got a little wink to another DC super-heroine, Power Girl, who would have been around in Joss' comics-reading years (a flashback to Buffy and her cousin has the cousin, I think, pretending to be Power Girl). She was sort of an "alternative" Supergirl, with power constraints like the current Supergirl, but also well- known for being a bit shorter than your typical heroine and wearing outfits often showing cleavage, which was Buffy of S1 & S2. I don't think that it was anything more than a nod and a wink to a select slice of the audience, though.

I'd like to see Peter David take a shot at a Buffy script, though - he did some interesting things on Babylon 5, and he certainly has the right feel for the humor and dialogue.

[> [> Re: Buffy and Power Girl: Coincidence? -- O'Cailleagh, 15:56:15 03/04/02 Mon

The Powergirl thing always confused me...I couldn't tell if she was supposed to be Supergirl with a new name or not!(I didn't have regular access to American comics) And what with the way DC change their Universe every 3.74 seconds.....well it got very confusing...(Why do they do that anyway?)

You guys are gonna love this -- Benny, 17:12:25 03/03/02 Sun

Check out this post, "Once More With Joss"

Could s/he be right??

[> Well, I loved it... ;o) -- Wisewoman, 19:30:16 03/03/02 Sun

She raises some very interesting points, including the metanarration of Buffy telling us that we "can sing along." In fact, I'm hoping she's right as that would put to rest a lot of my concern about how this season is going so far. Time will tell.

[> [> Great analysis, I agree. Though it's hard to sing along if the song's off key. -- mundusmundi, 19:53:53 03/03/02 Sun

[> I choose to think that she is right. (And a small Q about other boards.) -- yuri, 22:57:15 03/03/02 Sun

The alternative is too depressing. (Meaning, I choose to think the writers intend the sort of whatever-you-want-to-call-it weirdness of this season rather than that they're messing up. I've kind of stated that already, though, so sorry to repeat.)

BTW - I don't go to any other message boards but this one, and every once in a while someone links to a good post somewhere else. Are there any other places with consistant high-quality posting? If not, are people letting the good posters know about AtPoBtVS? I feel sorry for lots of them who get only "WOW good point!" replies with no banter or flames or interesting, informed agreement.

(Not that I'm really the Queen of quality banter/flames/informed agreement, but I'm learning.)

[> [> Re: (And a small Q about other boards.) -- Etrangere, 05:30:50 03/04/02 Mon

You know, it's not because this place's name all things philosophical on BtVS that it means it's the only place where people talk about philosophies, symboles and metaphores :)
And yeah, there's often good stuffs at the Big Bad Board, Someone just re-posted a very good analysis of Spike/William's personnality that I advice you to read.

[> [> Re: I choose to think that she is right. (And a small Q about other boards.) -- grifter, 12:32:46 03/04/02 Mon

The "The Kitten, the witches and the bad wardrobe" board is a nice place if you like Willow and Tara. There´re some really good posts about them from time to time, and the episode discussions are great.

[> I thought it was just great! -- Rahael, 02:42:26 03/04/02 Mon

Now I'm off to rewatch OMWF, or at least I will when I actually finish work and all that. Lots of things to think about there.....

[> Re: You guys are gonna love this -- Caroline, 07:09:02 03/04/02 Mon

Thanks for bringing this post to our attention. A lot of people on this board have been arguing either from a psychological or mythological perspective that the Buffy/Spike interaction has not been resolved yet, so it's interesting to get an interpretation from another form that this may be the case. And how like Joss to poke fun at and play with us!

[> Re: You guys are gonna love this -- ponygirl, 08:01:14 03/04/02 Mon

Thanks for posting this! Lot of great analysis. It had always seemed to me that OMWF was very much about burnout: Buffy's emotional, the dancers' literal, and Joss' fear of creative burnout.

[> Imagine my surprise!!! -- cynesthesia, 20:17:33 03/04/02 Mon

when I got back to this board today and found this thread. Yep, that is/was me. For once I came here to post as well as lurk and I find out I'm already day-old bread ;-) Oh well, I posted it anyway.

Glad to hear that it struck a chord with others outside the BigBadBoard (which is a great place, ahem). So maybe I'm not just stuck in my own wacky Whedon nightmare. I will now resume my regularly scheduled lurking. :)


Old quotes from Whedon and Noxon that seem appropriate now -- yez, 20:18:31 03/03/02 Sun

A few quotes from The Watcher's Guide, Volume 2 that I found particularly striking in light of this season and how it's engaged me (or not). In case others are interested and haven't already read the book (which I'm really enjoying, btw -- it's well done). yez

The steering

"I believe this show will probably go on longer than I will go on with it." (323-324)

"I don't think Joss is going to stay with the show forever. I have very mixed feelings about what that means for the rest of us. Part of me thinks, 'How can we ever do this without him? How could it ever be what it is, because it is so much his vision?'" (326-327)


WG: "How about the changes from Season Three to Season Four?"

Noxon: "It felt like we were almost starting a whole new show, in a way. Buffy: The Later Years. Same core group of wonderful characters, and then their circumstances just changed entirely. Buffy without Angel, what is that? And all of them in college, what is that?

"A lot of characters we have gotten to know and people have gotten attached to -- like Faith and the Mayor -- suddenly weren't there anymore.

"I think that stuff keeps the show very fresh and alive for people. But it's also a real challenge from a writer's point of view. And I think the audience feels challenged. We've definitely gotten some response this year -- 'Why isn't everything the same?' -- and you want to say as a writer, 'Well, it's not the same because you'd be really bored if it was.' I know it's hard to understand when you're feeling the lack of something, but it has to change by its very definition. ... I feel really grateful that we haven't lost any of those 'core' characters. I still love the show ER. But when Sherrie Stringfield left, I felt something change, and it's never been the same for me." (326)

Spike's alienation

"Joss has called the Faith character Buffy's shadow self. Faith was what Buffy would have been without love and support. Without her team. A superhero isn't super unless hey have support and love just like anybody else. Those energies and those impulses can be turned to the dark side if you don't have people you care about and values you care about, and those are instilled by community." (325)

[> Oh, and Whedon / Giles parallels -- yez, 06:51:08 03/04/02 Mon

Also got me thinking how Giles left Buffy at the point when she really needed him most, and perhaps Whedon is less involved at the point when BtVS needs him most.


Exactly What It Seems - Thoughts on *As You Were* ... ( ***Spoilers*** ) -- OnM, 20:28:56 03/03/02 Sun


Nothing is ever what it seems, but everything is exactly what it is.

............ Buckaroo Banzai


Starting out by quoting a fictional character is as good a way as any to sum up my feelings about As You Were-- this episode had a number of good moments, but despite the occasional appearance of potentially deep profundity, it feels more cartoonish in ways that I an unused to seeing in the series. My expectations, which were very high going into the opening of the show last Tuesday, may have contributed to the let-down.

Being a big fan of the Riley character, I was eagerly looking forward to finally achieving a resolution of the story arc that was left hanging well over a year ago when Riley took his leave from Sunnydale- - and Buffy. That episode left many fans with seriously mixed feelings as to who was to blame for the whole messy breakup, excepting of course those clever folk who clearly saw that it (a) was entirely Buffy’s fault or (b) was entirely Riley’s fault.

OK, so no one seems to definitively agree about anything when it comes to these two. Fine with me, ambiguity is a hallmark of the Buffyverse. Certainly it isn’t a comparable situation to the relationship between Buffy and Spike, so... uhh... errr... All right, it is comparable. (Sheesh...)

There was that whole stab-him-in-the-heart-with-a-plastic-stake and then-have-a-drink-with-him scene, so we did have foreshadowing that there was going to be a parallel of some kind drawn between Spike and Riley, we just weren’t sure what kind would evolve. Then Riley goes away, the world nearly gets hell-dimensionalized, Buffy dies, the world is saved (a lot), Buffy gets resurrected/reborn, much angst ensues, Buffy eventually turns out to be ‘normal’, more angst ensues, coupled with eau de hamburger. Egad, ya’all.

So I was looking forward, and now here I am looking backward, and thinking-- huh? How did Riley turn into this incredibly perfect individual? And where did he find this incredibly perfect woman to marry? Lovably im-perfect Buffy made the perfectly accurate observation when she asked Riley if he had waited ‘until just this exact moment’ to come back into her life, because the timing of the whole thing was certainly... uhhh.... errr... perfect ??

Way too much perfection here, sorry. This review is going to be pretty doggone short this week for the simple reason that I don’t have a lot to say beyond the statement that-- once again-- I’m waiting for the remainder of the season to play out to see if this discomfiture gets resolved in a satisfactory manner. I have been reading over most of the board for the last week, and there is a serious problem when the conspiracy scenarios of the fans are more creative than those of the show’s writers.

This is especially true in light of the fact that the writer for As You Were, Doug Petrie, is one of the shining lights of the series, from a writerly standpoint. Indeed, there were many little points of light throughout the show-- the Machiavelli reference at the opening, the many clever little bon mots that made me laugh out loud at times, the parallels that did indeed play out between Spike and Riley, such as the significance of Buffy being naked when Spike comes to show her about Riley’s dalliances with the vamp hookers, mirrored by her also being naked when Riley finds her with Spike.

There was obviously effort placed into making this episode rife with little details and subtexts, yet I find it hard to get over the uncharacteristic bluntness with which the Riley/Buffy/Sam triangle played out.

The new character of ‘Sam’, in fact, is even harder to believe in terms of behavior than Riley. One of the more recent and talented contributors to our ATPo community has speculated that the answer is simply that Sam is evil, or even eeeevviiillll. I’m all for that. Nobody is that nice and understanding (well, maybe Mother Teresa, but I’ve never met her), not even Tara, who to date has been the most gracious and compassionate denizen of Hellmouth City. Since Petrie also directed the show along with performing the writing duties, I have to presume that either the actress played the role the exact way he wanted her to, or else she just couldn’t get the right reading and they gave up trying after a few takes. Were the rest of the Scoobies just so generally dumbstruck with Riley’s return that they simply didn’t notice how odd she was?

In last week’s review of Older and far Away, I ventured that the program quality seemed to suffer for being forced into the 42 minute time restriction, and I felt that even more so this week. This arc should have been granted at least a full hour, maybe even a two-parter. I mean, we take over a year and a half to build up the Riley/Buffy ‘ship, and we resolve it in a piddling 42 minutes? Either something has to happen again in the future, if not in the current season then in the next, to flesh this out more substantially. Granting the point that Buffy was supposed to use the reunion with her ex to show her that she could do better than Spike, and regain her sense of self-worth again, it wasn’t necessary that Riley and Sam have a ‘perfect’ relationship, it was only necessary that Buffy could see that they were happy with one another and not too dysfunctional.

So, I vote for the conspiracy theory (any of them) for the time being, other than maybe the Riley and Sam-bot ones. (I doubt that the Deadly Dweebs had enough background on Riley to effectively program a ‘bot, even if time permitted).

That’s about it, nothing more to say that hasn’t already been said as well or better by many others during the last week, including some very elegant (and likely accurate) deconstructions on the ‘points of light’ mentioned previously. I’m seldom at a loss for wordage, (as well ya’all know) but I am this week. Given a choice between Willow on drugs/sugar/sex/magic and James Bondy-Riley Finn and his Good Sam-aritan, let’s bring back Rack, already.

I don’t wish to end on a negative note, since one weak eppie doesn’t by any means ruin an otherwise excellent season, so I will state for the record that I did really like the scene where Riley wants to compare stories of his and Buffy’s more recent ‘adventures’, and Buffy gets that wonderful and subtle little smile on her face and points out that ‘unless Riley died’, she’d win.

Now that’s my girl.


[> Re: Exactly What It Seems - Thoughts on *As You Were* ... ( ***Spoilers*** ) -- Cactus Watcher, 21:05:26 03/03/02 Sun

As I said briefly in a reply to another post this morning, I think it is a mistake to think that Riley and Sam really are perfect. We are, in fact, seeing them though Buffy's eyes. She is the one who sees them as perfect. Take a hard look at Riley. He's scarred. He makes silly mistakes around his old girlfriend. In fact, other than it's "Buffy's town" why do they bother looking her up at all? They know the drill. These aren't monsters Sam and Riley haven't dealt with on their own before. Why? Because Sam and Riley have their own issues. Riley still wonders what it would have been like if Buffy had fallen in love with him. Why else would he not immediately tell Buffy about Sam? Sam, for all her bravado, is insecure around Buffy. How many times does she ask Buffy if she is getting in the way. Sam says it took Riley a year to get over Buffy. Look at the calender! Is he really over her, and can Sam be sure he's over her? What is the first thing she says to Buffy? 'What are you doing with my husband?' Granted they were giving each other a meaningful stare, but given Buffy's behavior lately, they could have been doing a lot worse!

The important thing to note about the episode is the 'wheel of life' references. The tarot card The Wheel depicts people at the top and people at the bottom of their luck. Buffy sees Sam and Riley as better than they are, hence that is the way we tend to see them. Just as the tarot card indicates, luck changes. But, as Riley says, Buffy, luck or no luck, is still Buffy. Things will change for her, and her break with Spike is a step in the right direction.

[> I knew it! -- Rufus, 22:04:48 03/03/02 Sun

I knew you had a secret thing for Rack.....;)

[> Re: Exactly What It Seems - Thoughts on *As You Were* ... ( ***Spoilers*** ) -- Shiver, 22:49:11 03/03/02 Sun

My theory on the perfection of Sam comes from the perspective of having gone to a function where I met the ex-girlfriend and ex-friends of my new hubby. I knew in advance quite a lot about these people, the importance that they had once had in his life, and I was determined to be on my absolute best behavior at this function. I was the sweetest, nicest, vision of perfection you could ever hope to see. All of the things about me that compliment my spouse, I brought to the fore, and purposefully swallowed any vestige of disharmony or imperfection (even though our relationship - wonderful as it is - is wrought with such difficulties on occasion). It was one weekend (reunion thingy), about 12 hours of putting forward my best face, and I pulled it off beautifully. We're so used to seeing the Buffy gang as their true selves (dysfunctional family/best friends, no need to be anything other than themselves) that we perhaps naturally expect everyone on the show to bare their soul from the first moment?

I put to you, then, that Sam was simply on her best behavior, performing the role of perfect wife, for her husband's ex-es. Not that difficult to understand, and no conspiracy theory necessary.

I do agree that it felt rushed - that I would have liked it to be an hour long, no commercials, or perhaps a two-parter. There's enough Xanya wedding stuff going on to have filled up the rest of the time, and we could've had some sort of scene explaining to us the demon egg scheme being hatched (groan) in Spike's brain. But, on the other hand, I think it was supposed to feel rushed. Demon hunters on a secret mission are usually pressed for time, one would assume. When your ex shows up with his spouse, you aren't supposed to have a long moment alone to discuss old times. (I think it took them a while to get to the dam, though, so Buffy prob filled him in on Joyce's death and her own death during that time. At the very least, if Riley hadn't known Joyce died, he would've asked where she was when they got to the house, one would assume). So I think that it was supposed to feel rushed - but it was enough of a push to bring Buffy back around to the realization that she isn't on a very healthy track right now. And my god, what must her cholesterol be like, eating all that fast food!

[> [> Re: Exactly What It Seems - Thoughts on *As You Were* ... ( ***Spoilers*** ) -- JM, 04:45:47 03/04/02 Mon

Exactly, so glad that someone else picked up on Sam's vibe. I saw it because I've done it myself. Not saying that she's not a nice person, but she was on her best behavior. She made a deliberate decision at the damn. Her first few words seem to indicate that she was threatened and a little pissed. With a less attractive attitude the whole night could have turned out quite differently.

Riley definitely got his stuff together, but his behavior wasn't one-hundred percent perfect. I got the impression that the trip to the dam was his chance to impress Buffy and to get just a little time with her all to himself. Not for any nefarious purposes, but just to remember their best times -- which were always in the hunt -- and to show her that he's not the mess he was anymore. The mess that he still thinks she rejected.

The other sad thing that got reinforced is that Riley is better off without Buffy. (Just like some people have pointed out the Tara might be doing better without Willow.) Quitting the Iniative was the right thing to do, but quitting the military was obviously not. Riley needs the structure and discipline of the military and the adrenaline rush of his dangerous job. In retrospect his spin out in season five was as much about loosing his vocation as difficulties in his relationship with Buffy. There was no way she would be able to replace everything he turned his back on at the end of season four. Though he made a misguided and ultimately distructive attempt to reorient his life around her the way he had once lived for the mission.

[> I've got your answers *As You Were*...(***Spoilers***) -- JBone, 19:20:35 03/04/02 Mon

I never thought that I would quote characters, but here I am hoping to illustrate my point. This is from The Initiative.


Willow and Riley stand together in a corner, watching Buffy dance with a cute guy. Riley's got the glazed-over thousand-yard stare of a shell-shocked veteran.

RILEY: I can't believe it. I choked.

WILLOW: You really, really did.

RILEY: You don't understand. I'm good at things. That's what I do. Work hard, apply myself, get it done.

WILLOW: You failed extremely well.

RILEY: That's a great comfort to me.

WILLOW: You have to relax. You're not proposing --I sincerely hope -- you're just making contact. Getting a reaction. Any reaction is okay, except projectile vomiting and what are the chances of --

Well the point I'm trying to make is that Riley never failed at anything, until Buffy. Is is really such a surprise or shock that once he "got away" from Buffy and into a situation that he could excel at, that this is exactly what he does? Golden Boys do exist.

[> "Perfection" -- verdantheart, 20:30:11 03/04/02 Mon

Gung-ho, together Riley is not my idea of perfection. It seems to me that he did not have a complete idea of what was going on with the demon eggs, just enough to get his job done. You're not going to get a much reflection with Mr. Finn. Perhaps that's part of what Buffy was so wistful about. If only she could return to the days when good was good and evil was evil.

Meanwhile, is there anything we can do about the time issue? I don't think I could boycott ... I'm just being selfish, and weak ...

Spike's moral nature -- Mindtrekker, 23:09:28 03/03/02 Sun

Many seem to see Spike as returning to evil in As You Were and even see it as inconsistent with the last year in which he professes to have changed and even seems to show himself to have changed with his actions.

But I would argue that it's completely consistent because AYW does NOT portray Spike as evil. As far as we know, he has no evil intent in holding the demon eggs. He seeks money, not the end of the world or even the death of innocent people. Evil no doubt would come of his scheme but not because Spike seeks evil. Rather, he just doesn't get in its way.

Riley gave us the correct word for understanding Spike when he called him "amoral." In other words, Spike has no allegiance to the cause of either evil or good. If working for the good guys against Angelus (in seasons past) suits his purposes, he'll do that. If encouraging Buffy's dark side this season seems to be the way to bring her into his orbit, he'll do that. It's not that Spike seeks to do evil. In fact, he sometimes is well intentioned. I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that he was selling the demon eggs on the black market because he wanted to buy something for Buffy, express his love in some extravagant way like paying off her house or something. The problem with Spike is that any means would justify any ends because he has no conscious to prevent him from evil or to make him do anything about it when he sees it happening around him. He's constantly getting himself in trouble with Buffy because he makes offensive remarks about killing people, which he sees as perfectly innocent jokes because he truly doesn't know the difference between right and wrong.

"Dead Things" illustrated this perfectly when Spike's first response to Buffy's belief that she had killed an innocent was to hide the body. ( Some people I talk to seem to think Spike's response was NOT morally wrong because the death would clearly have been an accident if Buffy had been at fault. But I ask you, if you accidently kill someone with your car, should you hide the body? Do you think that basketball player who accidentally shot his chauffer was right to try to make it look like a suicide? ) Buffy's conscious makes her feel pain and regret concerning her responsibility for the girl's death. To live with herself, she must turn herself in. Spike, on the other hand, feels no responsibility for anyone.

It is the stark difference in value systems that makes it impossible for Buffy to ever love Spike.

It's a subtle distinction to make between being immoral and amoral, but it's an important one because it explains how Spike can so often switch back and forth between being a good guy or a bad guy. It also explains why he hasn't grown into a moral person that Buffy can love despite his real efforts to do so. The problem is that no matter how much he tries to take the moral path, it doesn't work because he doesn't understand it, either in his head or in his heart. The demon in him that makes him a vampire makes it impossible for him to understand.

There is clearly humanity in him. He does love. He does show loyalty, compassion, understanding, friendship. But all these things stem from his love of Buffy rather than from an abstract or general sense of morality towards all human beings. This in strong contrast to Buffy who's whole life is about protecting the good of all people, most of whom she does not know.

Even the positive things about Spike I would argue flow from his past life, the life of William, not from Spike. As Buffy says, Spike the vampire is a "thing" with no conscience and no feeling for human life. That's why, at the end of AYW, she will apologize to William but not to Spike. She will not apologize to the monster.

What's great about this storyline, is that William--I believe--became Spike precisely because he was rejected by women, or perhaps one woman in particular. Now, it's his choice to become Spike that is the CAUSE of his rejection.

What I could imagine now is a quest on Spike's part to find a way to become William again--a quest that Spike would use any means, evil or good, to fulfill.

[> I disagree, I argue Spike is merely insane by demon standards -- Charlemagne20, 00:20:27 03/04/02 Mon

Spike clearly stayed with the gang after Buffy's deathand has an affection for all the Scoobies even they would both be considerably more comfortable if they weren't wondering whether they would be safer with the others dead.

I argue demons do possess a "soul" but it is not an absense but an actual system that draws them to evil like humans are drawn to good-joss himself has confirmed this is true.

Spike is hence a crimminally insane demon as just like people such as the Trio and Mayor can be evil thus can Spike be good...but of course like most insane and evil people among humans they are still capable of some acts of Good while Spike is still capable of some acts of evil

[> Spike is evil -- change, 03:53:37 03/04/02 Mon

But I would argue that it's completely consistent because AYW does NOT portray Spike as evil. As far as we know, he has no evil intent in holding the demon eggs. He seeks money, not the end of the world or even the death of innocent people. Evil no doubt would come of his scheme but not because Spike seeks evil. Rather, he just doesn't get in its way.

So is it okay for a plastics company to pollute a town's ground water with PCB's if all they want to do is make cute little baby dolls?

Riley gave us the correct word for understanding Spike when he called him "amoral." In other words, Spike has no allegiance to the cause of either evil or good.

Being amoral is being evil. Being evil means being willing to use any means to accomplish your ends without reguard to whether or not you will hurt other people in doing so. Darkness is the absence of light. Evil is the absense of Good.

There is clearly humanity in him. He does love. He does show loyalty, compassion, understanding, friendship.

Hitler was very loyal to the people in his inner circle. He had trouble with incompetent secretaries, but couldn't bear to reprimend them or fire them. He was a vegitarian because he couldn't bear to kill animals. However, that didn't stop him from murdering 20 million people.

[> Re: Spike's moral nature -- John, 13:10:27 03/04/02 Mon

You might like to read an essay I've written on the subject:

My theory is essentially that Spike's chip has repressed the evil in him, so his moral centre is now based around his memories of being human. So essentially Spike is evil, but thinks he's good, because he evil is being repressed. As we've seen, once he thinks he can bite, then he does; the repression doesn't come from the chip, but from his reaction to it.

Because Spike can't bite, the only way he can deal with living is to revert to his pre-vampiric state. I think this is interesting, because it clearly shows how a possessing demon can be influenced by the human brain that its using.

[> [> Re: Spike's moral nature -- Rufus, 13:46:11 03/04/02 Mon

My theory is essentially that Spike's chip has repressed the evil in him, so his moral centre is now based around his memories of being human. So essentially Spike is evil, but thinks he's good, because he evil is being repressed.

I don't think the chip does anything more than to inhibit Spike from attacking a person. Of course that didn't stop him from trying to create chaos through another party, Harmony. What this has accomplished is to create strife for Spike, the type of strife that causes changes and growth(something vampires aren't known for). Instead of acting out on his impulsive need to kill, Spike was forced to reflect and struggle with his nature. The chip did some of that but his ability to love left over from the human in him did that last bit. This idea that vampires are only capable of evil has never seemed to be challenged by vampires themselves. They are so stuck in that need to create chaos they don't seem to think about a big picture and attempt to co-exist with people. But that's what curses are all about, and that's how I view the vampires creation. That last demon that left this reality, bit a human, a painful, toothy, non verbal form of a curse. That demon wanted evil to infect humanity, and what better way than to set man against himself. One thing that wasn't taken into consideration was the complexity of the mind and emotions of modern man. I feel a Spike would eventually have happened, for whatever reason.

[> [> [> Re: Spike's moral nature -- John, 15:19:52 03/04/02 Mon

Is the story of vampire creation based on something specific in BtVS, Rufus, or is it your own theory? All I can remember from the show itself is that demons once ruled the earth, but they were somehow cast out - but by that time they already intermixed with the human population.

The suggestion was that vampires are like the bastard children of humans and demons - which when you think of it is a departure from the vampirism = disease metaphor in many original myths.

[> [> [> [> Here you go..... -- Rufus, 06:05:41 03/05/02 Tue

Season one The Harvest (from Psyches Transcripts)

Giles: This world is older than any of you know. Contrary to popular mythology, it did not begin as a paradise. For untold eons demons walked the Earth. They made it their home, their... their Hell. But in time they lost their purchase on this reality. The way was made for mortal animals, for, for man. All that remains of the old ones are vestiges, certain magicks, certain creatures...

Giles: The books tell the last demon to leave this reality fed off a human, mixed their blood. He was a human form possessed, infected by the demon's soul. He bit another, and another, and so they walk the Earth, feeding... Killing some, mixing their blood with others to make more of their kind. Waiting for the animals to die out, and the old ones to return.

I see that bite from the last demon as a curse...not as specific as a direct spoken curse like the Gypsies did to Angel, but the intention is the same, the wish for evil to happen to the person or persons cursed.

curse Pronunciation Key (kûrs)
a: An appeal or prayer for evil or misfortune to befall someone or something.

b: The evil or misfortune that comes in or as if in response to such an appeal: bewailed the curse of ill health.
2. One that is accursed.
3. A source or cause of evil; a scourge: "Selfishness is the greatest curse of the human race" (William Ewart Gladstone).
4. A profane word or phrase; a swearword.
5. Ecclesiastical. A censure, ban, or anathema.
6. Slang. Menstruation. Used with the.

That last demon may not have expressed his intentions in words, but his intent was clear, he hated humanity and wanted vengeance for having to leave his home. The vampires are the result of this wish. The vampire is called both a possession and an I think we can talk in both terms in describing them. The vampire is possessed by the soul of the last demon, the result the human hybrid we see in the show.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Here you go..... -- John, 11:55:08 03/05/02 Tue

Yep, I'd agree with that. It's pretty clear that the vampirism was the last act of evil - it also seems to be suggesting that vampires are somehow preparing the way for demons to return; which would agree with events in BtVS, most notably the end of Season 2, with Angel trying to bring about Hell on Earth.

New Philosophical concept! Riley, Superman, and the stick beating fans -- Charlemagne20, 00:29:59 03/04/02 Mon

Joss clearly likes Riley and the writers keep liking Riley because he's that awwww shucks nice guy most people wanted to be in High school and college because they were percieved as perfect- on the basketball team, straight a students, respectful, and good looking

I remember two from my class.

However I question if these people are nearly so perfect in real life and also the fact that the people in Jossworld don't seem to learn that Riley is a perception of perfection not an actual being in and of himself. Superman is actually a bit more realistic than Riley because his integrity is maintained by his upbringing and lack of violating these essential concepts along with a firm respect for his equals and in some cases superiors. Superman and Wonderland are always the divergent shippers couple of DC. Riley cheats on buffy, nags on her, and is uncomfortable with her strength. Even his hitting Parker in what most people wanted to do was actually artificial and forced because we didn't see any lead up to it really from affection from Buffy.

However the writers keep bringing back Riley and defending him as what Buffy should be...

*Warning riley hate ahead*



It's weird but watching Riley I get the impression I'm surounded by the certain members of the student's union at our Christian council meeting....i'm an aspiring minister but I always feel a great deal of arrogance and elitism in their beliefs...including also hatred and flaws they tout as virtues

That's riley to me and unworthy of this show

[> Re: New Philosophical concept! Riley, Superman, and the stick beating fans -- cjc36, 02:29:14 03/04/02 Mon

I was one of about five people in the known universe who actually liked Riley (or at least had sympathy for him--coming after DB's Angel character was gonna be hell no matter WHO the next guy was). I see Riley as merely the opposite of Angel; blonde and human and basically good at heart. An innocent quality. But that isn‘t perfection, as his fall from what he knew showed.

But what could he have been?

To quote A Few Good Men, "We need him on that wall." Types like Riley are confident or arrogant. They would be useless in their role as protector/fighter if they weren’t. What intrigued me about Riley is the eventual fallout with the military he went through. He thought he knew the world, but didn't. He thought he could compete with his own fears regarding Buffy and her more powerful nature. But he couldn't. He WASN'T perfect, after all. And I loved the character more for it.

But, again, nobody after Angel was gonna be given any chance at all by the greater BtVS fandom.

I wonder what would've happened if there had been no Riley and Spike/Buffy would have been the NEXT THING. Would Spike have been accepted?

[> [> Re: New Philosophical concept! Riley, Superman, and the stick beating fans -- LeeAnn, 02:44:56 03/04/02 Mon

Riley was smug and arrogant, without empathy or humor and as deep as a puddle. What was there to like about him?

[> [> [> Wow, even more irrational Riley hatred. -- Hanayashiki, 03:26:13 03/04/02 Mon

[> [> [> Re: New Philosophical concept! Riley, Superman, and the stick beating fans -- cjc36, 04:36:11 03/04/02 Mon

QUOTE: Author: LeeAnn
Riley was smug and arrogant, without empathy or humor and as deep as a puddle. What was there to like about him?

He gained empathy from me when he realized Buffy didn't love him for real. He then started doubting himself, and that meant something for me.

As far as what was to like about him? When we first saw him, Riley was a smart, nice, polite young man who seemed willing to help new freshman women orient themselves, without any smarmy plays for sexual quid pro quo.

Yep, you're absolutely right! Nothing to like there!

[> To play Devil's Advocate -- Earl Allison, 02:41:28 03/04/02 Mon

Me defending Riley? Who'd a thunk it? Hell must have frozen over :)

Seriously, while a certain view of Riley does seem to be being shoved down the viewer's throat, Buffy has at some times been something less than a prize herself -- the difference is, we SEE the progression of her actions, reactions, and behavior.

Buffy snubs her friends, and treats them rather badly during "When She Was Bad," especially Angel and Xander. Sure, she was moving towards getting over her death at the hands of the Master, but still ...

Buffy treats Kendra rather badly overall, and shows a LOT of jealousy over Kendra'a being more studious and having a "Slayer's Handbook." She gets over it, and befriends Kendra, but hardly grieves for her (nor does anyone else) when she is killed -- of course, the same could be said for Willow and Xander in regards to Jesse, but I digress ...

Buffy's jealousy returns with a vengeance not once, but twice more -- she's initially very jealous of her mother's attentions being directed towards "Ted," even BEFORE we know anything is wrong with him. She does the same in regards to Faith -- and while I don't believe it in fact, given what we actually SEE, neither she nor the Scoobies EVER make much effort to include her -- I know part of it was necessary for the story arc, part probably due to Eliza's schedule, and part because the writers can't show us every little detail -- but it really does sometimes come off like they abandoned her, and she lived down to their worst expectations.

Buffy RUNS AWAY after Season Two -- abandoning her family and friends -- while her Mom had kicked her out, surely any of her friends would have taken her in? I know why she did it, but she did in essence abandon her friends to the Hellmouth for a few months.

Let me state, I ABHOR Riley. Didn't like the character (nothing against the actor, BTW, just the character as written), didn't like the way the Initiative was handled, and while I understand that Riley was starting off in the hole coming so soon after Angel, he didn't do a lot to endear himself to me.

Riley just signifies something different than Buffy and the Scoobies, more of a hive-mind mentality in needing the rigid structure of the military to function at peak. It's not bad, merely different.

He's actually useful for a different viewpoint on things, and remember, he as a character doesn't know everything that came before like we as viewers do -- so temper the judgements with that.

While I can't condone things he did, ESPECIALLY staking vamp-Sandy after in essence setting her up, they were no more terrible than things Buffy had done -- if anything, Riley was rock-stupid to set such a quick timeframe for, basically, being forgiven or cast off. I know the story called for it, but if you're stupid enough to back someone into a corner and demand that they acquise to you, don't be too surprised when they DO lash out. That, on top of Xander's speech, really got to me. Riley made the error, and he's basically DEMANDING that Buffy let it go, or he leaves? Let me help you pack those bags, soldier :)

Actually, the worst thing he AND Buffy did, was not communicate. If, as Riley said to Xander, he really BELIEVED that Buffy didn't love him, why not TALK to her? Why didn't she ever let him into her life (I know, Angel hurt her, but still)? Both are to blame.

Take it and run.

[> Re: New Philosophical concept! Riley, Superman, and the stick beating fans -- luvthistle1, 04:01:39 03/04/02 Mon

I agree with you. Riley appears to be too perfact. But, will
a perfact person leave when he needed the most? He is very
arrogance . 1. When Buffy mom was sick, he was more concern with WHY she didn't tell him, then why her mother was sick. He pick that time to leave, instead of trying to stick around and helping her to cope. (Spike would have, did rather)so what if he found out from Spike, he did not ask her how Spike found out. He had no right to come down so hard on Buffy for being with Spike, after all she not the only one to have a thing for "vamps". I remember he had a couple of "Vamp Tramps" on the side when they were dating. She never been a normal girl, she is the slayer and she died. What is his excuse?

[> Re: New Philosophical concept! Riley, Superman, and the stick beating fans -- luvthistle1, 04:23:37 03/04/02 Mon

I agree with you. Riley appears to be too perfact. But, will
a perfact person leave, when he's needed the most? He is very arrogance . 1. When Buffy mom was sick, he was more concern with WHY she didn't tell him, then why her mother was sick. He pick that time to leave, instead of trying to stick around and helping her to cope. (Spike would have, did rather)so what if he found out from Spike, he did not ask her how Spike found out.2. He had no right to come down so hard on Buffy for being with Spike, after all she not the only one to have a thing for "vamps". I remember he had a couple of "Vamp Tramps" on the side when they were dating. She never been a normal girl, she is the slayer and she died. What is his excuse?

[> What´s up with the blind Riley-bashing Charlemagne20? -- grifter, 11:46:40 03/04/02 Mon

You posting drunk? I´m used to better stuff coming from you then moronic character-bashing.

[> [> I don't drink, it just was an ephiphany -- Charlemagne20, 12:35:32 03/04/02 Mon

The general idea was the fact that it occured to me Riley was being used as a leverage of real life against Buffy's life which is both staid, pathetic, and tragic while he's off enjoying himself. However the writers seem to me to have failed to realize that in the Buffyverse Xander, Willow, Buffy, and even Giles to an extent are normal people-or at least as normal as Riley is. His normal life of marriage and in general perfection is not in any way superior or more normal than the Scoobies. For some reason it truly grit my teeth that they misjudged their characters so completely in that particular respect.

I admit though my writing was poorly done

[> [> [> Re: What a load of cobblers! -- John, 13:01:49 03/04/02 Mon

I don't really understand what's being said here - I can't remember any instances when Riley was held up as some kind of parragon of demon slaying, or as a 'better' or 'normal' man. He's always been shown as incompetent and unable to see moral shades of grey, something which is vital in the Buffyverse. In fact I think the reverse is true; Riley represented what Buffy shouldn't be.

Riley represented cold, blind government, concerned only with moral absolutes. His journey from solider to 'anarchist' was overwhelmingly positive, and made me understand and, yes, really like the character.

I strongly dislike it when personal opinion gets in the way of discussion; I might not like some character in Buffy, but that doesn't mean I feel the need to dredge up tenuous reasons for it.

I don't like Darla, but not because she's a poorly drawn character, or incongrous to the mythology of BtVS, or AtS. I don't like her because Julie Benz annoys me, and I'm not going to invent arguable reasons for that; my dislike is purely irrational. I also don't like Anya's shoes, but I'm not about to write an essay about how Anya's shoes are damaging to the plot of the show, and are representative of how fashion is being unwisely held up as a 'better' lifestyle than demon slaying.

[> [> [> [> Throwing cobblestones -- Sophist, 13:21:32 03/04/02 Mon

I completely agree about your characterization of Riley in S4 and S5, though I never did develop any sympathy for him.
I think that characterization is part of the problem people are having now. We were clearly intended to see him as a paragon in AYW -- Buffy herself says so, and the shooting script makes it pretty obvious -- but that doesn't fit with our previous image of him. As a result, the message he was supposed to deliver to Buffy didn't work for me or for others.

There is a line between criticism and bashing that's not always easy to draw. I think I've drawn it in my discussions of AYW, but others may not agree. It is important to avoid throwing stones.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Throwing cobblestones -- Simone, 21:33:46 03/04/02 Mon

I didn't get out of AYW that *we* were expected to see Riley as a paragon. What I got was that Buffy and the SG saw him as such. But I was never one to assume that whatever B/X/W believed was unquestionably true, that the way the perceived things was always the correct one, or that their choices were always the right ones. And this season seems to be precisely about how wrong-headed, confused, immature and delusional they can be. Their perception of Riley was just one thing on a very long list of stuff they're misinterpreting.

At least that's how I see it. There's ambiguity aplenty, no doubt about that, and I suspect it's all very much intentional. ME knows what they're doing. Also, they're evil.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Throwing cobblestones -- grifter, 08:25:05 03/05/02 Tue

Not throwing stones here (well, maybe little, fluffy ones), but I think that Joss "Sweet" Whedon thinks that his viewers are all grown up now. He thinks they can differenciate between what the characters believe and what the viewers believe. He thinks we are "grown up" enough to understand that the Riley/Sam-thing wasn´t as perfect (and it clearly wasn´t, I won´t argue why now, other people have done that already)as it was percieved by the characters and only meant to show Buffy and the others their own mistakes. There just isn´t enough time to explain everything that´s going on within 42 minutes. So Joss assumes we are "grown up" enough to "get" stuff like that without him having to explain it.

It´s okay for all the Riley-haters to still hate him, but it´s ridicolous to blame it on Joss and ME. Fine, you don´t like Riley, hundreds of thousands of other viewers do, so get over it already...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Throwing cobblestones from glass houses -- Sophist, 09:00:57 03/05/02 Tue

I'm not sure there's any real disagreement here, but maybe my original post wasn't very clear.

I myself certainly did not see Riley as a paragon. I argued very forcefully in an archived post that he was not and is not.

OTOH, Buffy clearly did see him as one, and I think it also clear that we were intended to see her see him as one.

I had 2 problems with this device. The first is that because I can't see Riley as a paragon, I have a hard time seeing him as one even through Buffy's eyes. She shouldn't see him as one. The second is that I don't think the portrayal "through Buffy's eyes" was very persuasive on its own merits. I don't think she was likely to see Sam as a paragon (note Willow's initial reaction to Sam), yet she did; I don't think that Willow was likely to see Sam as a paragon, yet that's how Sam appeared when we saw her through Willow's eyes. If these are so unlikely, then why should I accept the portrayal of Riley we were intended to get "through Buffy's eyes"? And if I don't accept that, then why should I accept that Buffy will have a revelation about her mistakes (and we'd have to agree about what her mistakes were, which may not be the case) just by seeing Riley?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Throwing cobblestones from glass houses -- grifter, 10:13:55 03/05/02 Tue

If this story-line doesn´t work for you, that´s fine, I have neither the nerve nor the rethoric capabilities to try and convince you otherwise. All I am saying is that blaming ME for a a story-line you don´t get is wrong. I think all of us here agree that ME write good stories, and I´m pretty sure there was one story or one character or so for everyone which (or whom) they didn´t like. But that doesn´t make ME´s work brilliant.

Sophist, you didn´t do this and my post wasn´t directed in your direction, but rather Charlemagne´s, who basically told us earlier that ME fucked up with Riley, which just isn´t true.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Fair enough. Thanks. -- Sophist, 10:49:00 03/05/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Same here - I was only responding to Charlemane, as I haven't read your AYW analysis -- John, 12:00:13 03/05/02 Tue

Additions, Extensions to the mythology - longish. (Fray, Tales of the Slayers, AYW spoilers) -- Darby, 07:58:08 03/04/02 Mon

Figured I'd try to sneak this into the Monday-morning "lull," although Riley has kept the discussion coasting farther than usual...

For those who don't know, Joss & company have just issued two comics enterprises: Tales of the Slayers, various short stories about various slayers past and future, written by Joss and various writers from the show (and Amber Benson), and Fray, a mini-series (still in progress) about a Slayer from the semi-distant future, written by Joss. Because these are coming from Joss and the TV personnel, I'm assuming that mythology-related points are, as they say, "canonical" - i.e, they actually add to the BtVS lore officially, as the other comics and novel treatments do not.

Anyway, here are some of the points, with my reactions to them...

From a Tale of the First Slayer, it is suggested that she has been given a demon-spirit, almost the same way vampires share space. It makes her own creators fear her. Having suggested something a while back myself (remember the annoying demons guzzling beer and bitching about each other's earthly agents?), I kind of like the idea, but I would have been just as happy if it had been left more ambiguous. You could say that the shaman are only talking about what they assume has happened, but this is pretty close to the "horse's mouth," since they cast the Slayer spell. Some support for this comes from Fray, where the Slayer is being trained by a demon who quite emphatically denies being associated with the Watchers (but he is working for somebody magical, maybe demonic), who had gone quite culty and nuts. From Tales, it's also established that the Watchers are the "descendants" of the original shaman, whatever that means.

From then on, it is said in Fray, many girls are born with the Slayer's power in two aspects: the physical attributes, which Fray has had since childhood, and access to the experiences of the former Slayers (which it turns out her twin brother got), a gift that makes itself known through dreams but also in a kind of "programming" of fighting instincts. When a Slayer dies (as long as there are monsters to fight - see later paragraph), a new one is "Chosen," but what that term means is very fuzzy - I had always thought that a formerly-normal girl got imbued with the Slayer powers, but apparently not. What the heck does it mean, and how is this new Slayer "found" by the Watchers? (This does explain how potential Slayers could be found, though.) Magic, presumably. The implication here is that at any given moment, given the intense turnaround in Slayers, there are at least a dozen girls in the world with's Buffy's physical gifts. Why aren't we seeing these girls - the Kendras, the Faiths, the others-in-waiting whom Watchers haven't found or haven't been able to get to - in the Olympics? Hell, why wasn't Buffy a world-class figure skater before she was called?

It's also said that experienced vamps know the Slayer's moves, even if the Slayer is new. Since Fray has not had access to the programming, she has an advantage over the vamps she faces. Unless some sort of grapevine (but how many survive to tell the tale?) or shared consciousness (which flies in the face of any current continuity) is working, it's hard to come up with a rationale for this. But it does tie into...

Sometime in our current century a Slayer (you're left to guess who) manages to banish all demons and monsters from the Earth. By Fray's time, they're trickling back in, but I guess they would have had a lot of time to compare notes on the Slayer's techniques. They've been around our future Earth long enough to have been given an accepted slang term ("lurks," although that may be a long-standing term that has just recently included them) and some awareness from at least the street class humans (kind of like Angel's L.A.). Why it takes a longer time to get around to calling a new Slayer isn't said, but it seems a weakness - wouldn't she be called as soon as a single demon made it back, if their absence was all that prevented the process? Maybe there's a threshold effect...

I'm going to make a major criticism here - it's my feeling that Joss Whedon is a very good mythologist of a micro-level and quite poor on a macro-level. Adjustments to the mythology, throughout the series, have been made for local convenience without much thought to the effects they have on worldview.

Buffy was originally a character in "our" world, where the nasties were so low profile that some distance and some resistance to the concept could explain how they were escaping detection by the human population. That aspect became gradually too inconvenient to sustain, so some lip service (stupid police, etc) was paid to addressing it, but Willy's bar, several magic shops, demons in very public places (think of Riley's demons tearing across Central America, Mexico, and the U.S. border in As You Were!) and many high-profile apocalyptic events made it harder and harder to suspend disbelief in Buffy's public's disbelief. At one point, I forget when, it was established that Sunnydale is not on the Hellmouth, but a Hellmouth, implying several if not many. This also has led, I think, to the alternate realities that are Buffy and Angel. The current additions fit what Joss needed for Fray, but fall apart if extended to the world beyond.

Say what you will about them, but such Buffy descendants as Charmed, Dark Angel, Special Unit 2 and even The Chronicle work much harder at holding their universes together, and keep implications in mind when they introduce new ideas.

I have a very bad feeling about what this bodes for Firefly, which will require a cohesive galaxy for what could be a long term series.

[> Regarding the "Buffy" descendants... -- Rob, 08:08:28 03/04/02 Mon

For one, I think Joss has a very cohesive mythology. Sometimes he changes or adds something, but it almost always works in retrospect, even when we're not sure of it as it's happening. Also, I don't see "Charmed," "Dark Angel," "Special Unit 2," or "The Chronicle" as holding up their mythologies at all. They all seem to make up completely different rules every week to defeat whatever baddie has cropped up. I'd also like to add that both "Special Unit 2" and "The Chronicle" have both been cancelled. I believe SU2 wsa on two years, and "The Chronicle," at the end of this year, will only have had one season. Not that much time on the air to need to shift the mythology. "Buffy," however, having been on 6 years sometimes finds the need to change something, as its mythology expands.


[> [> If the Chronicle was cancelled, then how is it they are still making new episodes? -- vampire hunter D, 12:42:30 03/04/02 Mon

[> [> [> They arent' -- it ends sometime this month. -- Lilac, 13:02:17 03/04/02 Mon

[> Re: Additions, Extensions to the mythology - longish. (Fray, Tales of the Slayers, AYW spoilers) -- Earl Allison, 08:42:47 03/04/02 Mon

Wow -- really in-depth post.

I'd question an initial premise, but it's nitpicky (my complaint, not your argument) at best.

I don't consider it canon merely because Joss (or Amber or Marti ...) penned it. The comics and novels in general have been shown to have little relevance to our televised "Buffyverse." Heck, aren't they planning a "Death of Buffy" storyline in the comics right now? That alone leaves me little reason to consider anything not onscreen as canon.

Secondly, Joss has shown a willingness to alter, and sometimes outright contradict, what we have seen before as canon. The Slayers themselves are part of that. Is their power demonic in origin? Maybe, maybe not, but until it's spelled out in the series, I have my doubts (although it's certainly implied with comments from Dracula, or even the First Slayer). The written comic/novel, not seen by as many fans, is even more easy to contradict or totally ignore -- much harder with a more universally-accessible televised episode.

The powers and access-to-memories are things I have SERIOUS problems with. If Faith had her powers before being called, imagine the problems she could have caused. The point about Buffy and skating is well taken, and another reason I reject "Fray" as canonical, it falls short compared to what we've seen and heard about Slayers. The access-to-memories is even worse -- Buffy had some dreams about previous Slayers, but they were always nebulous and undefined, which made her a bit unique, as all Slayers should have been.

Until these stories, you are right, otherwise normal girls were "chosen" to become the Slayer. Magic might have narrowed down the likely candidates, but they never displayed any uber- physical ability -- hell, like I said earlier, if Faith had anything even remotely approaching Slayer abilities, I doubt her childhood would have been as gloomy, she'd have TAKEN what she wanted. -- Want. Take. Have.

To imply that fighting styles are "inherited," and that elder vampires can predict a Slayer's moves, really takes away from the "Chosen One" aspect of the Slayer -- what is she, a meat-casing for the embodiment of a spell? That's what is being implied, and like I said, it really detracts from the characters -- Buffy's not so much a hero, but the recipient of a magical transplant, one that even directs her, after a fashion.

As for the mythology -- the only possible excuse left is a spell that generally conceals the supernatural from the "mundanes" (to steal a term from Piers Anthony). A weak argument, yes, but I'm not being paid to write this, either :)

Now, I know that's not what was meant, but that does sound like the case

Take it and run.

[> [> Re: Additions, Extensions to the mythology - longish. (Fray, Tales of the Slayers, AYW spoilers) -- Rufus, 13:26:52 03/04/02 Mon

Sorry don't agree on Buffy being less than a hero if her power comes from a spell. The wording from Fray #3 is this....

It is not known when they first appeared...but the vampires were a plague. The elders of several villages met, calling for action. They invoked the strongest and most dangerous magicks they could summon, to create a power, a power that could fight the vampires. A power that the body of a girl."

Having power bestowed on you is one thing, what you do with it is another. Saying that Buffy is a meat casing for a spell negates the fact that they use a live human girl to contain the most powerful magic they could summon. Slayers don't live that long, so power hasn't done that much for them in the longevity department. Having the Slayer's legacy move from Slayer to Slayer is not much different than the concept of the collective unconsciousness. Where Buffy differs from other Slayers is that she is self motivated, not influenced by Watcher bullsh*t. Giles gave her the best gift by allowing Buffy to develop her instincts enough that she could trust them instead of looking to an authority figure to give her orders. Buffy may seem directed to you, but I feel that it's her gift of compassion, that we sometimes miss because of her temperment, that has made her the powerful force that she is.

[> [> [> We agree to disagree ... -- Earl Allison, 13:36:57 03/04/02 Mon

First off, this is going to sound stoo-pid, but I'm going to say it anyway.

I hate revelations.

That's the big issue I had with "Fray," revelations.

It was the same problem I had with Marvel comics about ten years ago.

Wolverine was a popular character with a nebulous past. Well, he got so popular that people wanted to WRITE that past, and rewrite it, and rewrite it, and rewrite it, ad nauseum.

It detracted from the character, and that's quite frankly what I saw in "Fray."

I WANT the callings to be vague and nebulous, not a plan from a spell from umpteen years ago. I want the Slayer-force, for lack of a better term, to merely grant a young girl strength, resilience, and the skill to hunt vampires and their demon kin. The whole shared memories thing DOES bother me -- it's not Buffy making those moves, or thinking of them, but the Slayer(s) of generations before. Sure, it explains the fascination with medieval weapons, but it still detracts from the character, IMHO, especially if they DO have some singular item that makes them desirable to be called.

I don't deny that Buffy is strong or powerful, but "Helpless" was supposed to show us that it was Buffy, not the Slayer powers, that was the hero -- and it worked.

This writing in "Fray" takes away from that, it shows me what's behind the curtain, and I don't like what I see.

Now, that could well be me and my issue, I admit that, but that is why I feel as I do -- far better to be vague than to nail down an (IMHO) unsatifying answer.

No offense is intended to those who like this thread regarding the Slayer, it's just me.

Sorry for making people angry.

Take it and run.

[> [> [> [> Helpless and Collective Memory -- Kerri, 20:34:40 03/04/02 Mon

"I don't deny that Buffy is strong or powerful, but "Helpless" was supposed to show us that it was Buffy, not the Slayer powers, that was the hero -- and it worked."

Well if we look at Helpless in light of Fray and Tales then it wasn't just Buffy who fought in helpless- it was all collective knowledge of the slayers. Giles said she was given a muscle relaxant to dampen her powers-well that would leave her a lotl ike fray's brother.

Personally, i dont see the slayers as being controlled by the past slayers at all. The slayers live on in future slayers like mother and daughter, and seem to form subconscious memory and instincts.

But insincts are only a part of humans. Individuals' thoughts are what makes them unique-just like it is for Buffy. It is Buffy the person that makes her the hero-not her powers.

Earl-you mentioned that slayers have powers before they are called. I didn't get this from tales. I took it to mean that they had the dreams and the connection before hand-not the physical powers. Does this mean that there are some girls who have the connection but will never be the slayer b/c the pevious one hasn't died. And how are the slayers chosen? Ahhh-well that still remains unanswered.

But in the end it is always about the individual. BtVS is a myth-but the mythology is always second to the characters. The plot and mythology merely serves to enhance the Buffy's journey and that is why the show is so great.

This is why we can't see Buffy as a puppet-the show would mean nothing-decisions would mean nothing-life would mean nothing-and that has never been the message of BtVS. It's always been about choices and free will-there is no way Joss would negate that.

Sorry this is such a disjointed post. It's past my bedtime and I'm sleepy ;)

[> I think the denial of monsters, etc., is pretty established. -- yez, 09:05:19 03/04/02 Mon

Interesting -- makes me want to check these out.

Re: "Buffy was originally a character in "our" world, where the nasties were so low profile that some distance and some resistance to the concept could explain how they were escaping detection by the human population. That aspect became gradually too inconvenient to sustain, so some lip service (stupid police, etc) was paid to addressing it, but Willy's bar, several magic shops, demons in very public places... and many high-profile apocalyptic events made it harder and harder to suspend disbelief in Buffy's public's disbelief. At one point, I forget when, it was established that Sunnydale is not on the Hellmouth, but a Hellmouth, implying several if not many. This also has led, I think, to the alternate realities that are Buffy and Angel. The current additions fit what Joss needed for Fray, but fall apart if extended to the world beyond."

For me, this isn't implausible. I think people work very hard to maintain the realities they've created for themselves and tend to often not register things that are radically different. And/or they don't see what they don't expect to see. And/or they just edit out what they don't want to face.

Kind of like the blind spot we have in our vision -- your brain fills it in. Or like what happens when publications get printed with glaring typos -- your brain just reads what it knows it should. Or how car drivers don't see cyclists or bikers -- they're looking for cars.

Buffy, the Watcher's and the Scoobies also reinforce this -- they don't raise people's awareness of the problem, and actively explain away, don't they? And in AYW, in the first scene where they encounter the demon, Riley yells out to the frightened crowd something like "Parks and Wildlife agent! We have a wild bear on the loose!" So The Initiative is also trained to help maintain the appearance of order and not panic people.

And in the 3rd season, I think, in "Gingerbread," Joyce talks about how the town has had their heads in the sand and refused to confront what happens in Sunnydale.

Maybe there's also been desensitization. From the time Sunnydalers are born, they're just surrounded by bizzarro stuff that happens, and they get trained to shrug it.


[> [> Re: I think the denial of monsters, etc., is pretty established. -- Darby, 09:23:29 03/04/02 Mon

I can kinda sorta buy that, but too many stories have extended beyond Sunnydale (Riley & the government's interest, Faith's cloven-hooved Boston vamp, an apparent need for a Slayer in Cleveland, demon biker gangs, all sorts of unsavory beasties migrating to Sunnydale from somewhere) to sustain it. We've seen local and national media attention on Sunnydale on a few occasions - is our world, where killer bees generate a media feeding frenzy, so different from Buffy's, where a much more destructive track of killer demons is apparently ignored? In the world we've been shown, a group of citizens should actually understand "back up folks, it's a demon!" Demons are much more common in Sunnydale than bears ever would be!

That was my criticism - there's only a consistent mythology if you refuse to extend it beyond the city limits, maybe, and ME don't seem to be thinking new things through, and hysterical shared blindness only holds up just so far...

[> [> [> Re: I think the denial of monsters, etc., is pretty established. -- yez, 09:48:18 03/04/02 Mon

Yeah, but I think this is where the joke kicks in. I mean, I think it's supposed to be funny because it is so ridiculous.


[> [> There's also the gov't denial of it, i.e., when Riley called the demon a "bear." -- Rob, 13:29:56 03/04/02 Mon

[> One little quibble -- Rahael, 09:23:04 03/04/02 Mon

I have to say that I have no problem with an incoherent mythology, or at least a mythology which is created on the hoof.

Perhaps its my suspicion of coherent mythologies and mythmaking - by its nature they must have gaping holes and inconsistencies. If Joss were to have planned out a whole cosmos, and stuck to it all the way through the series, we would be destabilising the very message of the Buffyverse - that all changes, nothing stays the same. For Joss and ME to write to a strict blue print would deny that they as creative people wouldn't undergo changes in thinking and feeling over the years. Buffy has been very reflective and reactive as a tv programme, despite the claims that Joss has every detail planned out ahead. He might have the broad message done, but the details should be spontaneous, to keep the freshness alive.

I'm rereading the Divine Comedy at the moment - if ever the world was offered a total world vision and mythology, which has gripped our imagination, it's Dante's. But its riddled with inconsistencies and tensions. It doesn't really detract from it as an artistic endeavour. Most 'great'works aren't exempt from this, and yet they have the advantage of being put out as 'finished' products. Buffy changes all the time, even past episodes change in our eyes, when a new 'echo' is done. We will view Becoming differently now that we have seen the Gift for example.

[> [> Re: It may be just me... -- Darby, 10:02:57 03/04/02 Mon

I've always judged these kind of great stories on their ability to remain consistent within their own established rules, so that when rules get broken it really means something. The changes we all react to are changes from what we expect, based on the rules we've come to accept. Buffy does this pretty well. It's the peripheral stuff that falls short and gets distracting. Almost every time the world at large gets integrated into the Buffyverse there are logical inconsistencies.

For instance, I'll buy that the Hellmouth has drawn attention from the government and that maybe they have been able to keep such a thing secret, but once the Initiative was no more, we've got this wide-ranging international monster squad that's almost impossible to buy under the established rules unless their world is much more different from ours than we've been shown. Off-screen, it was tolerable; under the scrutiny associated with As You Were, we've got X Files- type conspiracy theories here trying to explain the apparent inconsistencies. The comics produced similar problems (I'd happily buy them as non-canonical, but that's not how geek minds - mine or, I assume, Joss' - work; maybe it's because I'm a science geek, and need both macro- and microconsistency). Heck, the Watchers' Council makes less and less real sense every time we see it!

[> [> [> But isn't the monster squad as plausible as the Initiative? -- yez, 10:28:23 03/04/02 Mon

In fact, I thought there were pretty much the same thing.

I guess it just doesn't seem farfetched -- within the Buffyverse or even reality -- that the government would have secret agencies devoted to specific problems (in this case, monsters), and would try to handle those problems while keeping the general populace in the dark. I mean, isn't it part of pop culture that the government has secret branches that work on the ET situation and keep everything confidential? Isn't that the spring that inspired "X-Files" and "Roswell"?


[> [> [> [> Re: But isn't the monster squad as plausible as the Initiative? -- Darby, 10:52:41 03/04/02 Mon

You put the Initiative under Sunnydale U (they couldn't have built it - what was it before they got there?). Okay, it's Sunnydale, stuff gets ignored, okay. I'd even believe that everybody just refuses to acknowledge what's going on to each other, but maybe they welcome the Slayer and whatever other help comes along - that actually is supported by the show...

Then, a squad of commandos flying/stomping across Costa Rica in pursuit of monsters - for over a year, mind, and more than one country for this last pursuit - and then flying off to Nepal, next door to China, for more of the same? Now you've got multiple government involvements and cover-ups to an exponential level. Not impossible, but getting harder to accept.

They're also getting expert enough that the Slayer is in danger of becoming obsolete - did she do anything positive for them in Sunnydale? But that doesn't seem to be important.

...And it's not like the "government conspiracy" arcs of the X Files weren't more and more their weakest outings - the more they extended it, the less sense it made. Can't comment on Roswell...

[> I think the latent powers and inherited memories would explain a lot. -- yez, 09:49:31 03/04/02 Mon

From Earl Allison's post (used as summary of original): "The powers and access-to- memories are things I have SERIOUS problems with. If Faith had her powers before being called, imagine the problems she could have caused. The point about Buffy and skating is well taken, and another reason I reject "Fray" as canonical, it falls short compared to what we've seen and heard about Slayers. The access-to-memories is even worse -- Buffy had some dreams about previous Slayers, but they were always nebulous and undefined, which made her a bit unique, as all Slayers should have been."

For me, that these skills would somehow be inherited -- even if Buffy may not be consciously aware of having them -- would make a lot of sense and explain a lot.

For example, they explain Buffy's ability to pull fighting moves and use weapons that she was never trained in. Case in point, I can't remember the ep. name, but it's where Buffy spots the crossbow and wants to use it, but Giles insists that she learn staff technique first. So Buffy promptly uses the staff to counter all Giles' moves and whip him, then grabs the crossbow.

And you can easily write off Buffy being unaware of her latent abilities until informed of them by just taking socialization into account. When we first meet her -- especially if you count the movie -- her social circle is airhead central, and she behaves accordingly like the frivolous girly girl she's trained herself to be.

Even in real life, when training for sports, being able to visualize yourself doing something -- running faster, jumping farther, tumbling, etc. -- is often the first step in doing it; you couldn't do it before because you didn't think it was possible.

In fact, I would think it would be more problematic to have a slayer's abilities be something that was bestowed upon them by the council. Because if someone can bestow something, someone else can take it away, so we'd have seen some big bad conjuring the magic to break the slayer spell, right?

I watched the movie a long time ago, but I seem to remember the watcher just throwing Buffy into vampire fighting and her somehow just knowing how to fight, and that being used as a way to make sure she was the slayer and also to help convince her she was, too. I know this was done a little differently in the series opener, but I can't for the life of me remember the specifics of that ep...

As far as dreams go, your point about them being nebulous supports, IMHO, the case for them. It's entirely possible that she was having them all along, but they were never more than nonsense to her, gibberish, not worth remembering, because she had no context for understanding them.

What I've never understood is why there should only be one slayer at a time. And this is where this new information breaks down for me -- if, in fact, there are multiple slayers-in-waiting at any given time and the Watchers Council knew this, why would they only want to "activate," so to speak, one slayer at a time? Wouldn't it be to their benefit to have several working at once?


[> Re: Additions, Extensions to the mythology - longish. (Fray, Tales of the Slayers, AYW spoilers) -- Robert, 12:31:22 03/04/02 Mon

This is a very nice posting. "Tales of the Slayers" and "Fray" are the first and only comics I've read, and I've enjoyed them immensely.

>> "I had always thought that a formerly-normal girl got imbued with the Slayer powers, but apparently not."

We must be careful here. We cannot extend Fray's experiences to slayers in general. Fray was called at birth. There has been no previous slayer since the early 21st century. Normally, a prospective slayer is a teenager by the time the previous slayer dies.

>> "Hell, why wasn't Buffy a world-class figure skater before she was called?"

My guess is that potential slayers don't get their strength, endurance, and rapid healing until they are called. In Fray's case, this was at birth.

Regarding you're concern about credibility of the buffyverse (and probably also the angelverse), I believe you are being a little harsh with Mr. Whedon. Ideally, Joss would have had everything written out for every season of the show before the pilot episode first began shooting. Even if this were possible, there are tremendous risks in do so.

J. Michael Straczynski was able to create an entire 5-year story arc and mythology for Babylon 5. Straczynski took an enormous risk in trying to tell a 5-year story on television. When it became unclear that the show would see a fifth season, Straczynski attempted to provide a closure to the story arc at the end of season 4. TNT then bought rights to the show Ted Turner proved he could screw up a sure thing.

To highlight the risk Straczynski took, imagine the utter outrage and disappointment, if Babylon 5 had been suddenly canceled after the 3rd season. If you don't think that could have happened, take a look at what Fox network did to Alien Nation and VR5.

Mr. Whedon took a different approach. He writes BtVS and Angel one season at a time, with the assumption that each season may be the last. This should provide good continuity within each season and some assurance that a series closure is always possible. The producers of Roswell may disagree, since UPN not only canceled the series, but canceled the last couple episodes as well. Mr. Whedon's technique does not do as well for continuity from season to season, though I am still awed that he has done this well. This is all a tremendous balancing act on the writer's part.

>> "Say what you will about them, but such Buffy descendants as Charmed, Dark Angel, Special Unit 2 and even The Chronicle work much harder at holding their universes together, and keep implications in mind when they introduce new ideas."

Since I haven't watched them, I cannot comment on Special Unit 2 or The Chronicle, except to say that I believe your comparison to be unfair, until these shows have been in production for six years. SU2 is in its 2nd season and The Chronicle is still in its first. If you viewed only 1st season episodes of BtVS, would you have the same complaints?

I've seen only about half the episodes of Charmed, so I can't make comprehensive arguments about it. In just its 3 seasons, however, Charmed has subjected the populace of San Francisco to a bewildering array of demons and other creatures. At least with San Francisco, I can understand why no one noticed. More important, the writers did not handle to the death of Prue, and subsequent appearance of Paige, very well. It is as if there was no forward planning, and thus no continuity. The appearance of Dawn on BtVS had been hinted at more than a year in advance.

Dark Angel most certainly does not maintain its continuity and credibility, and it's only in its 2nd season. The second season has brought us all kinds of new creatures (an a cyborg) not hinted in the first season, all of which are now loose on a population, which is seemingly oblivious. In addition, we have a new shadow organization (apparently in existence since very ancient times) that no one previously knew about. My wife and I do enjoy watching Dark Angel, but it is the continuity and credibility that most distracts us. BtVS explained from the first episodes why the populace does not notice the vampires and demons around them. Dark Angel did no and does not!

I think an interesting comparison would be the X-Files. This is another show for which internal consistency is important. For the first 5 seasons, I think that Chris Carter did an admirable job. After that, the quality of the mythology seemed to decline. My theory is that Mr. Carter had originally written a 5 season mythology, and that the success of the show was its undoing. Instead of bringing the myth to a reasonable closure, Fox network tried to stretch 3 or 4 more seasons out of it. The consequence is that the mythology has become muddled and distorted. At this point, I don't think they could bring a proper closure to the X-Files, even if they wanted to. I don't believe this will happen to BtVS, because Joss isn't constrained by a fixed overall story arc.

[> [> Great argument, Robert! I seem to agree with you usually, maybe b/c we have the same 1st name! LOL. -- Rob, 13:27:34 03/04/02 Mon

[> [> Re: Additions, Extensions to the mythology - longish. (Fray, Tales of the Slayers, AYW spoilers) -- Dochawk, 18:08:05 03/04/02 Mon

I agree with most of what you have to say. I disagree somewhat about Joss writing season to season. In fact, we know that in Season 3, Joss was already foreshadowing up to season 5 (when SMG's contract would expire, as well as ME contract with WB). Once Joss was assured he would be on the air for Seasons 3 - 5, he was able to have a somewhat consistent mythology in those seasons. Does anyone know if he keeps a show bible? Where he keeps all the rules of his universe in order to make an attempt at internal consistency?

[> [> [> Story arcs -- Robert, 21:12:30 03/04/02 Mon

>> " I disagree somewhat about Joss writing season to season. In fact, we know that in Season 3, Joss was already foreshadowing up to season 5"

True! I agree with this. I was referring to something different, though my writing wasn't up to communicating it. Most TV shows have no story arc other than a general outline of the series and characters. To contrast this, Joss starts each new season of Angel and BtVS with a comprehensive story arc. In addition, he is thinking ahead (apparently 2 or more seasons). We know this for a fact, based upon various interviews with cast and writers. This allows him to cleverly drop hints of things to come, far in the future.

This is not the same as having a tightly integrated multi-year story arc. J. Michael Straczynski did write a brilliant 5-year story arc for Babylon 5. This could also be a source of aggravation, because many things were hinted at in the first season that we didn't come to understand till the 4th or 5th.

>> "Does anyone know if he keeps a show bible?"

Yes he does! I just don't know if he wrote it down or not. For all I know, he keeps it entirely in his head.

[> Re: Additions, Extensions to the mythology - longish. (Fray, Tales of the Slayers, AYW spoilers) -- leslie, 16:00:51 03/04/02 Mon

"I'm going to make a major criticism here - it's my feeling that Joss Whedon is a very good mythologist of a micro-level and quite poor on a macro-level. Adjustments to the mythology, throughout the series, have been made for local convenience without much thought to the effects they have on worldview."

In truth, and I have studied many mythologies, this is a criticism of ALL mythologies. Do not be misled by the fact that the major religions of the current age are "religions of the book" which means not only a reliance on the New and/or Old Testament and/or the Koran, but more importantly, religions perpetuated by writing, which maintains much more consistency than oral tradition. (I will not get into a discussion of the Bhagavad Gita unless I am absolutely forced to, but I have some points there, too.)

Just as a case in point, we usually learn "Greek mythology" as a consistent, pan-Greek system of narrative. Artemis is Artemis is Artemis. But when you look closely and ask just a few simple questions, it quickly becomes clear that the Athenian version of Artemis is different than the Taurian Artemis. There are versions of stories of the Iliad in which Iphegneia is not killed by Agamemnon but is whisked away by Artemis at the last minute and transported to Taurus, where she becomes herself the priestess in a human-sacrificial cult of Artemis. Is Iphegenia victim or victimizer? Depends, literally, on where you're standing and who's telling the story. The belief in a monumental Greek mythology, which was held by scholars up to the middle of the twentieth century, has broken down over the last fifty years to a much greater understanding of, and interest in, local diversity.

And even the myths of a single locale may be multiple. Anotehr case in point, the Irish Dindseanchas, or "lore of places," collections of etiological myths explaining why places are named what they are named. Usually, what happens is one story is narrated, with a punchline that turns the name of the place into essentially a pun on the event that happened there. But very often, this story is followed by the ominous statement, "Or..." and then we're off on another story, completely unrelated to the first, which "explains" the place name just as believably. Sometimes this goes on for pages. The Irish compilers of these tales were quite evidently NOT interested in consistency--they were interested in completeness. What counted was collecting every story there was, and the hell with consistency. There isn't even any commentary to the effect of "this is probably the right explanation, but here are some others just in case." The right explanation is merely the one that is right for the immediate need. Take your pick.

[> [> Re: Additions, Extensions to the mythology - longish. (Fray, Tales of the Slayers, AYW spoilers) -- Darby, 20:30:46 03/04/02 Mon

I'm taking a more comtemporary view of mythology than this. In stuff that gets added to by various generations over centuries, you're going to get inconsistencies. In a story imagined essentially by one person, you shouldn't.

Someone mentioned Babylon 5; there you've got an extensive mythology that acts as a consistent template for details, and that's the sort of myth construction I mean. If you look at the Narnia books, Heinlein's works, even Moorcock's incredibly complex Multiverse, there's a there there that exists in support of the current story and any stories you care to tell. The reason I compared Buffy to some of the other programs is that I see a greater attempt in the other shows to adhere to an established world (or a "bible" - thanks, Dochawk) and not break the rules arbitrarily without even acknowledging that there are rules, something that started on Buffy somewhere about season 3 (so the criticisms that the other shows haven't been around long enough is a valid one, I admit). I haven't seen anything on Dark Angel that seriously breaks their own rules (even though they have no idea what they're talking about biologically), although the mythology is certainly being extended, maybe not in a good way but not contradictorially.

Look at the Star Trek universe: a plethora of shows exist in a set of circumstances that everyone has become familiar with - the rules can be broken, but not without at least an attempt to explain why (and even something like "sorry, no budget or technology available to the show then" is acceptable). Yes, I know that such rules can become too constraining, but that's when the imagination really gets taxed and incredible stories arise, as when Alan Moore reimagined super-heroes in the 80's, or even when ME realized that a musical episode needed to be explained within the confines of the Buffyverse. But I'm curious to know why vampire bites kill some people in seconds and others over the course of days, and "it suited the scenes" isn't really acceptable.

Man, I'm really starting to sound anal retentive, aren't I? I'm not - I love a good tale "outside of the box"; I just need to know where the box is to fully appreciate it!

Oh, one more thing - I don't see anything in Fray to indicate that she was Chosen at birth, and one detail to dispute it: it is said that Slayers have continued to be born right along, but none have been Chosen until now, the period of the story when Fray is what, around Buffy's age? If the choosing was to have been done when Fray was born, there would have been potential Slayers of the proper age then to be Chosen, and the spell does seek out teenage girls (that sounds kinda dicey, doesn't it?).

Okay, I'll try to shut up now.

[> [> [> Consistancy -- Robert, 21:43:46 03/04/02 Mon

>> "Look at the Star Trek universe: a plethora of shows exist in a set of circumstances that everyone has become familiar with - the rules can be broken, but not without at least an attempt to explain why"

Darby, I am at a loss. I thought I understood your complaint, but apparently I don't. How can you compare BtVS to the Star Trek franchise on the basis of consistancy?

I have watched every episode of ST:TOS, ST:TNG, ST:DS9, and most of ST:VOY. I saw only the first few eposides of Enterprise. Each succeding show seemed to repudiate all previous shows. Enterprise is the prime example of this. Within each show there is a serious lack of quality control. Go back and watch ST:TOS in order and compare the 3rd season to the seasons 1 and 2. Compare season 7 of ST:TNG to the previous seasons. ST:DS9 saw a major shift in tone once the threat of the shape shifters was identified.

There are also major shifts in the design of the characters. For the most part, these are reasonable growths of the characters. Some are not. Compare Data from ST:Generations to that of the ST:TNG series. The whole sense of the nature of the Federation and Star Fleet changes from show to show. In ST:TNG, the Federation is based upon an economy without currency. In ST:DS9, cash is omnipresent (especially in Quark's bar). In ST:VOY, the economy is based upon replicator rations, which in this case is perfectly understandable.

Don't take this to mean that I didn't like Star Trek. Until the later half of ST:VOY, I enjoyed it very much, especially when it was the only game in town. ST:TOS and ST:TNG were absolutely ground breaking. If not for them, Joss Whedon would still be writing movie scripts, which would subsequently be butchered. The Star Trek franchise is also unfortunately an example of poor internal consistancy. This leads me back to my original concern.

What is it about BtVS that leads to such strong pronouncements of poor internal consistancy? You have named several shows which I believe to be far more inconsistant, but you didn't name Babylon 5 or X-Files. Rhetorical question: is my working definition completely different than yours?

[> [> [> [> Defining consistency as world-building. -- Darby, 07:52:40 03/05/02 Tue

Maybe the definitions do differ (and I might have answered some of this in another response below).

The thing about Star Trek is that, beyond changes that can be directly linked to budgetary issues (make-up changing the appearance of species or even individuals being a big part of that), much of the apparent inconsistencies really aren't. How much of a currency-based economy exists on a ship at sea? Ah, but a port is a different matter. Deep Space Nine was a way to show that what we saw of the galaxy in previous series wasn't everything that was there, but the roots existed - ST:TNG introduced the Ferengi (who, admittedly, changed a bit over time, but ST always takes a while to develop both characters and cultures - another root of inconsistency that I'll accept) whose existence really made no sense in a totally currency-free society. And there were times when we saw Star Fleet from a new perspective that negated not the facts established, but the perceptions. The U.S. went through the same arc in the 1960s. And the current anti-Vulcan sentiment on Enterprise hooks rather interestingly into some of the attitudes displayed toward Spock on ST:TOS, especially when you take into account the time gap between them.

What I've been talking about is the rules of how a fictional world works, something that forms the backdrop; I'm not talking about the stories themselves except when, for the sake of doing something interesting, they break the rules arbitrarily.

I'll give you an example from ST:TNG. One episode "established" that warp drive was extremely harmful to the environment, and should be curtailed if not totally abandoned. It made for an interesting ecology metaphor, but it totally changed the ground rules for the show! -And, I must add, is one of the few "revelatory" episodes (something that adds substantially to the canon) to be absolutely ignored afterward. But every once in a while I remember it and wince.

Buffy (but rarely Angel, that I've noticed - Greenwalt must be better at this than Joss) has a habit of throwing minor plot points around that imply major changes and/or ignore established show "facts." Take something as simple as Buffy's money woes - when these were discussed a while back, how many posters came up with points already established on the show that would preclude such problems? Just one example: Buffy got Giles reinstated with the Watchers with all back pay - she couldn't swing a substantial salary for herself?? Hell, I'm thinking that she could get Spike appointed as her Watcher if she pushed the issue! ...Well, we needed her destitute to swing this story arc - that's fine for rationale, but weak overall storytelling in a show that develops continuous storylines that build on the established mythology. It's not that hard to do it right, especially for a roomful of geeks that apparently poke fun at similar problems from Star Wars.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Defining consistency as world-building. -- Robert, 09:06:20 03/05/02 Tue

>> "... One episode "established" that warp drive was extremely harmful to the environment, and should be curtailed if not totally abandoned. "

Yes, I remember that episode well. It was one of the 7th season episodes. It was a total disaster on the part of the producer. I have no problem with constructing an ecology metaphor. The problem is that if warp drive (ie. faster-than-light travel) were abandoned, then civilization would fall. It was a ludicrous theme to stick in the Star Trek canon, because it would invalidate the entire franchise.

>> "... has a habit of throwing minor plot points around that imply major changes and/or ignore established show "facts."

Okay, I think I'm beginning to understand. The only response I can give is to say that, for whatever reason, these issues didn't really bother me. You do raise a legitimate point, which raises other questions. How did other slayers (who didn't have families) eat and keep a roof over their heads? If the watcher's council supported them, why aren't they supporting Buffy? If the council knew she needed money, would they give it to her? Would she accept it? ... many others!

[> Re: Additions, Extensions to the mythology - longish. (Fray, Tales of the Slayers, AYW spoilers) -- cjc36, 06:50:08 03/05/02 Tue

Author: Darby
....Buffy was originally a character in "our" world, where the nasties were so low profile that some distance and some resistance to the concept could explain how they were escaping detection by the human population. That aspect became gradually too inconvenient to sustain, so some lip service (stupid police, etc) was paid to addressing it, but Willy's bar, several magic shops, demons in very public places (think of Riley's demons tearing across Central America, Mexico, and the U.S. border in As You Were!) and many high-profile apocalyptic events made it harder and harder to suspend disbelief in Buffy's public's disbelief. .... The current additions fit what Joss needed for Fray, but fall apart if extended to the world beyond.

Say what you will about them, but such Buffy descendants as Charmed, Dark Angel, Special Unit 2 and even The Chronicle work much harder at holding their universes together, and keep implications in mind when they introduce new ideas.

I have a very bad feeling about what this bodes for Firefly, which will require a cohesive galaxy for what could be a long term series.

Darby, very cool observations on the Jossverse. What you said got me thinking about some quotes I've seen or read from the writers. To paraphrase, We make this stuff up to serve the emotional story. Marti Noxon said something close to this on some online clip regarding fretting about demon research and so forth, and JW says to her, We make it up. Additionally, in the commentary track to the US DVD version of WTTH, Joss says that the WB suits really liked the concept of the Hellmouth, and from his tone I got the impression they liked it more than he did at the begining stage.

When a show starts, writers don't know how long it will last. So they make up the universe they think they'll need, then go on and add to it from there as story requires. This is not really a bad thing. It's just the way it works. Straczynski's Babylon 5 is the one rare excption, at least in US television, where a bible was made solidly and in a 5 year breakdown.

But what inconsistencies exist in BtVS/A:TS universe I can usually forgive--unlike, say, The X-Files. For the reason that when Joss and Co. make gaffs, they do it because they need to bend the pre- established milieu rules to get at a deeper part of character-- as in the One Girl in Each Generation rule being violated to show Buffy in a crisis of identity in WML 1 and 2. Lesser shows make character's motivations jump through circles and over flames to stretch wackier and wackier plot threads way past the breaking point of suspended disbelief. (Files, I'm talkin' to you!)

But, again, let me say great post on the rules that have been broken. Who knows how long these things will stay cannon as the universe becomes more and more of a 'franchase'.

[> Does the World Matter? -- matching mole, 13:14:51 03/05/02 Tue

I've found this thread to be extremely interesting and I've been struggling to figure out how to contribute to it. My thoughts are mostly not about BtVS or AtS but rather on the general issue.

Internal self-consistency is something that is taught to aspiring fiction writers in classes and in books. If you set your novel in Phoenix don't have the characters wear jackets in the summertime. If your film is set in the 1950s don't have a car with an eight-track player in it. It is even more strongly emphasized when teaching the writing of fantasy and science fiction. Figure out the way things work and stick with it is put forward as a mantra to be chanted. I bet there is probably a considerable body of instructional material on how to build a consistent and believable universe.

Probably the minds of many of you have now flashed to a stereotypical portrayal of Star Trek fans pointing out how some minute detail in season three of TNG is contradicted by some other minute detail in season four of Voyager. But I think there is an actual philosophical reason for this emphasis in internal self-consistency in world-creating. Science Fiction (sf) was described, a long time ago, as the literature of ideas. Most ideas are validated or invalidated by their contexts and therefore the context of traditional sf is a big deal.

A short story I recently read by Avram Davidson illustrates my point nicely (sorry I don't remember the title). It is an alternative history in which Frederick, Prince of Wales (son of George II) takes up residence in the American colonies and lives to an old age rather than dying young. The center of power in the burgeoning British Empire shifts from the Old World to the New where the court relocates after the death of George II. The story ends with the Revolutionary War occuring in Britain rather than in America. The feelings and perceptions of Frederick or any other character are irrelevant to the story beyond explaining his motivations for staying in America. But the historical position of Frederick and how that might affect the future is key. The story succeeds or fails based on the believability and consistency of Davidson's world.

Of course not all sf is idea-based. But a lot of it is devoted to the idea the the world matters. Computers exist and they affect our lives. Advertising exists and it affects our lives. A lot of science fiction, maybe even most of it, is dedicated to the proposition that it is interesting to try and explore the external effects of these phenomenon (how do computers shape our whole society) rather than just the internal, perceptual effects (how do computers make me feel?). I have read/heard more than one sf author criticize comtemporary mainstream literature for being too introspective, too focused on the little picture. They want to paint the big canvas. And the type of picture they want to paint demands internal consistency.

Now we come to the harder part, at least for me. What I've heard called meta-fictions. Television series, groups of related television series, comic books, series of novels that are all set in the same science fictional or fantasy world. These elaborate, sprawling, cumbersome worlds appear to be fascinating to a lot of people, myself included. And I'm not sure why. I was an avid reader of Marvel Comics in my teens and a big part of the appeal was that all the stories were part of one big picture. But if you asked me why that was appealing I don't think I could have told you. It can lead to interesting stories, as Darby pointed out but it can also constrain the author from telling certain stories. I think it harkens back to the same source - consistency in fiction often increases the impact because it matches the consistency people see/long for in the real world.

Internal self-consistency in the Sunnydale-verse does not seem to be important to ME and perhaps understandably so given the increased focus on the internal worlds of the characters over the past couple of seasons.

[> [> Playing tennis with the net down -- Sophist, 14:14:59 03/05/02 Tue

Poets face a dilemma: do they follow "rules" of meter, rhyme, etc., or do they ignore those rules in favor of blank verse? Is blank verse itself a "rule"?

Rules both constrain and create the conditions for creativity. If I take a slab of cement and erect a net at each end, I can play roller hockey. If I move the net to the middle, I lose the ability to play roller hockey. I gain the ability to play tennis. If I raise the net, I'm no longer playing tennis, I'm playing badminton.

I think the issue of consistency involves analogous trade-offs. If we insist on perfect consistency, we lose the opportunity for a more complete exploration of issues. If we allow too much inconsistency, we find ourselves giving up tennis for badminton or roller hockey.

An artist must choose. If h/she maintains perfect internal consistency, the tennis fans will stay loyal, but the roller hockey and badminton fans go elsewhere. Sometimes it is possible to create a meta- narrative which explains and reconciles seeming inconsistencies. More often, however, the artist must sacrifice internal consistency in order to display the full artistic vision. Fans of each individual sport may protest, but if the vision is there, something entirely new and wonderful can appear.

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