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Buffy and Spike versus Spike and Harmony -- karmic justice? -- Earl Allison, 09:53:08 03/04/02 Mon

I'm probably kicking over a hornet's nest here, but I think I have the kernel of a point, and I'm going to try to elaborate.

This is more directed at those who are really angry with Buffy for her treatment of Spike, and how terrible it is -- more specifically, with the claims that Spike deserves better.

I ask; does he really?

Ignoring all the people he's killed, what about his treatment of Harmony? Sure, she's loud and annoying and shallow, but she LOVED Spike -- at least, as much as Harmony-vamp loved anyone.

Remember her in tears during "The Harsh Light of Day"? Where she was in the treasure room crying? She admitted to loving him, that she'd have GIVEN him the Gem of Amara had he but asked. What did he do? He attempted to kill her, and demanded she give up the ring once he realized she had it!

Granted, Spike never really came off like he loved Harmony -- he just used her, either for sex (when she was hiding from the Slayer, remember the "Anything, will you?" line?) or as hired help (when he tried to get the chip out of his head), but does that excuse him? I know someone will point out Spike's mantra from Season Four, "I'm EVIL, people!" -- but is that an excuse?

Spike always took great pains NOT to hurt Drusilla early on -- remember how quickly he backpedalled after his crack about Dru forgetting to feed her bird? So it's not like he's INCAPABLE of treating people with respect (Joyce comes to mind), he simply chooses not to.

He's generally treated Harmony poorly, and she did love him, at least for a time. She even indulged his really creepy sex games (although dressing up as Buffy should have been a hint for her), at least partially out of affection. Drusilla herself said that vampires can love, even if not wisely -- so Harmony, who loved him, was mistreated. She was used for sex, and otherwwise ignored or scorned. Sound familiar?

So, what goes around, comes around.

I in no way excuse Buffy from her portion of blame here (heroes aspire to better behavior, after all), but for good or for ill, Spike is reaping what he sowed in the past. Just something to think about the next time someone claims that Spike didn't deserve this treatment -- maybe he didn't, but he certainly did the same in the past.

Now, let the disemboweling commence :)

Take it and run.

[> Re: Buffy and Spike versus Spike and Harmony -- karmic justice? -- Etrangere, 10:01:20 03/04/02 Mon

Spike did treat Harmony badly most of the times, yes. I always though it was one of the most obvious evil thing he did. (because it was done so casually)
He sometimes did treat her well, playing with her at twenty question, or just tolerating her delusions.
He was also at his worse with her when Buffy was treating him the worse, or after Drusilla had treated him bad.
Don't make about justice what is about vengeance.
Or join Halfrek's side :)

[> [> Re: Buffy and Spike versus Spike and Harmony -- karmic justice? -- leslie, 12:17:55 03/04/02 Mon

On the one hand, yes, Spike treated Harmony badly. On the other hand, how could one not? She strikes me as the kind of person (whether living or dead) who is so self-involved that the only way you can get through to them is by being loudly cruel. It's completely infuriating--this kind of person (oh my am I speaking from personal experience) takes a positively passive-aggressive delight in making YOU the one who is mean and cruel and hurts their tender little feelings, and you do feel awful, but on the other hand, they won't let you get a word in edgewise until you start screaming! Yes, Harmony would have given Spike the ring if he just asked for it, but would she have heard the question? Frankly, I give Spike credit for just taking the ring, and not immediately staking her as soon as it was off her finger.

Yet at the same time, Harmony does have real feelings. That's why this kind of person makes you feel so bad for being mean to them. You really just cannot win. There's a certain power in it, too, because once you have forced someone to be mean to you, most of them will then feel guilty and try to make it up to you--they won't dump you and run for cover as they should. The fact that Spike gets sucked into this pattern seems to me another argument for him not being completely evil. He may have stuck with Dru for ages because he loved her, but you cannot make that argument for how long he put up with Harmony.

Harmony obviously assumes that providing sex for Spike is, in fact, the sum total of love--the scene where Spike has both Buffy and Drusilla tied up and Harmony shows up, inserting herself into this psychodrama, and yells "Well, you won't be getting any of THIS (pointing at her butt) any more!" just cracks me up--it is SO not the issue that is going on between the other three. (And Spike's final howl of "BLOODY WOMEN, WHY DO YOU TORMENT ME?" could pretty much be the motto of his existence.) Nonetheless, once Spike and Buffy start having sex, he starts to assume that the sex is the equivalent of emotional connection (and why not? aside from the fact that this is a commmon assumption of men, endlessly discussed in psychology journals and popular magazine articles--oh those silly men, thinking that sex is the same thing as--swoon--romance, which is what all right-thinking girls really want, sigh sigh sigh, flutter of eyelashes--I think I'm getting lost in my subordinate clauses here but I will soldier on--the fact is, for him all along, good sex = emotional connection, i.e., Dru, not-so-good sex = emotional distance, i.e, Harmony, he is having what seems to be good sex with Buffy, at least at first, therefore there must be an emotional connection, and now we can close the parenthesis). I found Buffy's comment on the increasing "ungentleness" of sex with Spike telling--it's as though, feeling her emotional defenses, he's trying to break through them physically. It really *is* the same thing as being so frustrated by Harmony's yammering that he tries to stake her.

[> [> [> Re: Buffy and Spike versus Spike and Harmony -- karmic justice? -- Etrangere, 15:52:13 03/04/02 Mon

Oh, she's "that kind of person" so, then, it's ok to treat her like shit, is it what you're saying ?
and it's her own fault if she's being treated like that because she's just annoying and self centered and she just likes to be a victim because it gives her a way to control her abuser.

er, leslie, you do realise what you're saying, right ?
Because even if it's some way true for Harmony, that she's probably so lost and not able to have a real relationship that she falls into a victim pattern everytime, even if she's so unable to feel self- respect for her own worth that she belittles others or clungs to her so-called friends (Cordy) or boyfriends (Spike) to feel this self-respect, doesn't mean she deserves that.
'cause no one deserves that.
No even "that kind of person".

[> [> [> [> Re: Buffy and Spike versus Spike and Harmony -- karmic justice? -- leslie, 16:05:02 03/04/02 Mon

No, I am saying that she is the kind of person who gains a sense of power by getting people to treat her like shit. She gets them to act against their better judgement. That is power, however misguided. She gets to feel special because she is so mistreated. She should not be encouraged in this.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Buffy and Spike versus Spike and Harmony -- karmic justice? -- Hanayashiki, 20:27:17 03/04/02 Mon

Well, that is the most screwed up explantion for why harmony deserved to be treated so badly. So, I guess anyone in a similar real world relationship is just power hungry inside. That's warped.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Buffy and Spike versus Spike and Harmony -- karmic justice? -- leslie, 21:10:34 03/04/02 Mon

Have you never known someone who always needs to be the biggest victim in the room? If so, I envy you. Have you never unintentionally hurt someone emotionally and, out of guilt, been over-nice? Now imagine someone who realizes, usually unconsciously, that accepting a certain amount of pain now means they can have payback in the form of overcompensation from the one who hurt them, down the line. Now they start pushing and pushing you to hurt them, because the more guilty you feel, the more you overcompensate, and then they start to get hooked on it. Being hurt is good, because it means that they're *sure* to get attention and love out of it. And the person who hurt them is more and more bound to them by guilt. You can never do anything right, because hey, who's the victim here? I'm not saying everyone who is in an abusive relationship is manipulating it like this, but at the same time, it happens. It's usually something that is wholly in the realm of emotional hurt, incidentally, not a question of physical abuse. And it isn't just romantic relationships, either, friends can pull this kind of number.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Harmony: manic-depressive?? -- purplegrrl, 11:59:18 03/05/02 Tue

This sort of behavior sounds a lot like a manic-depressive guy I knew in college. There was a little circle of us that he would manipulate. We'd say or do something that would upset him, then we'd apologize, then everything would be okay for a while. I eventually decided that I didn't need that much drama in my life and stopped being one of his "sock puppets."

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Harmony: manic-depressive?? -- leslie, 12:03:57 03/05/02 Tue

It occurs to me that both Harmony and Dru are people who essentially speak in a stream-of- consciousness manner, but the difference between them is that Dru, the psychic/seer, speaks the collective unconscious and Harmony speaks the personal unconscious.

[> Love's Wake and Collective Knowledge and Am I The Only One Cosumed By Spike -- Rachel, 10:53:47 03/04/02 Mon

Three things:

1. Anyone who loves anyone else leaves a trail of broken heart(s) in their wake. This includes vampires, from what I've seen. I like Harmony -- she's a campy, charming vamp. Even though Spike treated her poorly, she could have done a lot worse. Spike stays "alive," which is more than you can say for Harmony's ditzy friends. Harmony would surely have been dust by now were it not for Spike's association. (Okay, except for the time he tried to stake her.)

2. There is something palpable btwn Buffy and Spike. It's more than Riley, and even more than Angel, I would wager. How else could that pairing have so greatly touched on our ATPoBTVS collective conscious? Sometimes it's not a pretty love, but it's so deep and unusual that it cannot even be compared to Harmony/Spike.

3. Please tell me that I am not the only one who thinks Spike is one of the greatest fictional characters around. I've noticed that I don't really get involved in a lot of scenes anymore, unless they're with Spike. Doesn't matter if it shows Buffy with Spike. I'll take any Spike scene. He is not a simpleton, not inept, so very not one-dimensional. Whoever posted that It's All About Spike, you have my vote! Just about every other character has become annoying or dull in comparison.

[> Re: Buffy and Spike versus Spike and Harmony -- karmic justice? -- Simone, 12:12:30 03/04/02 Mon

Spike's behaviour towards Harmony is inexcusable - eating people is one thing, treating someone who loves you like crap is quite another (at least in my admittedly odd view of morality). But the number of times she's gone to him for help, entrusted her family to his care and took advantage of his willingness to die/do anything for her makes Buffy's behaviour towards Spike just that little bit worse.

As for this being about justice, karmic or otherwise (not that karma and the Western notion of justice are really compatible)... Does that mean that Buffy now deserves to be punished for what she did to Spike by having someone else treat her the same way?

[> [> My point was largely about Spike, but yes ... -- Earl Allison, 13:07:37 03/04/02 Mon

You have a point, Buffy should probably "pay" for what she did to Spike, as well -- of course, we fall into the vicious cycle of escalation, since Spike should now "pay" (oh, should he ever) for all the lives he's ended, the misery he's caused, and so on.

I'm not saying it's RIGHT, but more that, considering how so many have said "poor Spike," where were they when it was "poor Harmony"? Just smacked a bit of light hypocracy to me is all -- nothing major, since I KNOW they portrayed Harmony as annoying, but, if those people are really worried about how Buffy treats Spike, they should have been equally concerned about Harmony, etc.

I know it's a no-win situation, just thought it needed pointing out is all.

Take it and run.

[> [> [> Karma is a many-splendoured thing -- alcibiades, 13:18:32 03/04/02 Mon

Not to mention a year after Buffy loses the love of her life, her once in a lifetime (and Angel's once in several lifetimes), not entirely volitionally, she is happily involved with Riley and chooses him over poor Angel.

A year after Riley loses the love of his life, his once in a lifetime, not entirely volitionally, he is happily married to Sam and obviously has chosen her over poor Buffy.

Angel and Buffy, both of whom are the ones to initiate the distance are both still entangled with the one that left them.

Coincidence or karma?
Or just really shallow emotions on everyone's part?

Yeah, it's been like a year. I'm so over you. See. Hitched.

[> [> [> Re: My point was largely about Spike, but yes ... -- leslie, 14:24:47 03/04/02 Mon

Well, for me, part of the (gulp) "charm" of Harmony was that I always felt sorry for her and thought Spike was treating her like shit, but I still completely understood--oh, let's be honest, I completely empathized on an emotional, not an intellectual level--with his annoyance and frustration with her. The ironic part is probably that Harmony initially probably appealed to him as another "damaged" girl along the lines of Dru, someone whom he could protect and who would look up to him.

Actually, thinking about this far too much, Harmony was always a "vampire," in the sense of someone who sucks up your time and energy in their complete self-involvement. She is the kind of person for whom sex is the most wonderful thing in the world because--> not to get too graphic, but a man who is physically stuck inside her cannot help but listen to whatever she is yammering on about at that particular moment. And she is always talking. The only time she isn't is when there is no-one else in the room, and her body language at those times clearly indicates that the instant *anyone* is within earshot, she is going to start. The fact that we feel sorry for her at all is merely a testimony to how good she is at this passive-aggressive methodology. Yet, at the same time, the "there but for the grace of god go Cordelia and/or Buffy" comparison makes us somewhat desperate for her to finally have some kind of real epiphany. Hey, she's not dusted yet.

[> [> [> Re: My point was largely about Spike, but yes ... -- Simone, 21:00:53 03/04/02 Mon

>>I'm not saying it's RIGHT, but more that, considering how so many have said "poor Spike," where were they when it was "poor Harmony"?<<

Hey, I was there. Harmony was a twit (and undoubtedly had some karmic payback coming to her as well, after the way she treated people in high-school. If you want to look at it like that), but I totally sympathized with her when it came to her relationship with Spike. She was the one person who pretty much loved him as he was and he took all his frustrations about Buffy and Drusilla out on her. Just like Buffy's been working through her Angel/Riley issues with Spike.

I still don't think Spike "deserves" to be treated like dirt any more than Harmony did. Or than Buffy does. Yes, sometimes people need to suffer the consequence of their actions in order to learn to do better in the future. And sometimes they don't - Buffy seems to have figured it out on her own, and that's enough for me. I don't need to see her fall for some jerk who treats her like she's worthless. I honestly don't think it should be about punishment or retribution. I'm very uncomfortable with the Judaeo-Christian, "eye for an eye" type of justice.

[> [> [> [> Re: My point was largely about Spike, but yes ... -- juliaabra, 22:18:58 03/04/02 Mon

'She was the one person who pretty much loved him as he was'-- and therein lies the problem with spike and harmony. i believe that spike, while he absolutely has shown that he can love, has such a warped definition of what love is that when someone shows him true affection he has no idea how to respond but by the rejection that has always been shown him (cecily, drucilla, buffy). perhaps if harmony had been cruel to spike (not that she has the sophistication it would take to hurt spike) he would have loved her.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: My point was largely about Spike, but yes ... -- Simone, 22:37:10 03/04/02 Mon

Too true. But, you know, the same thing could be said of Buffy. They're both seriously warped when it comes to love/sex, on account of their previous experiences.

[> [> hurting the one you "love" -- purplegrrl, 12:03:42 03/05/02 Tue

***treating someone who loves you like crap is quite another***

Yes, but Spike never claimed to love Harmony -- except at her prompting. And, although Buffy may value Spike's assistance in various situations, she has never claimed to love him.

[> Heads or tails on the karma? -- Sophist, 13:12:40 03/04/02 Mon

I see Buffy's breakup with Spike as the flip side of Angel's breakup with her. Angel said he did it for Buffy's sake, though we all believed he did it in part for his own. Buffy said she did it for her own sake ("it's killing me"), though we all believe she did it in part for Spike's.

I wouldn't try to justify Spike's treatment of Harmony, though I did think leslie's post above made an interesting point. But if karma were the point, I'd expect Harmony herself to exact some revenge on Spike, not Buffy to do it for her.

Here's one for you though: if your theory is true, is Harmony Buffy's insect reflection?

[> [> Entirely possible -- Earl Allison, 13:27:23 03/04/02 Mon

Could be, Harmony is very much what Buffy COULD have been, had she never been called -- although she seemed to together for that. I always laugh at her "Sporedelia" comment because of it.

Still, had Buffy ever been vamped pre-calling, she might well have become a Harmony-vamp. We know little of her life at Hemery -- certainly not enough to know whether she was totally shallow (implied in the movie, but it's, you know, the MOVIE, and not the series) or still somewhat together and kind -- she didn't have to be nice to Willow, but she was.

Will really have to think on this one ...

Take it and run.

Buffy, Spike, Love and Videotape -- James Marsters Addict, 13:28:39 03/04/02 Mon

Is she really using Spike only for sex or does she have some feelings for him?

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[> Another TWIZ post above -- Sophist, 13:53:15 03/04/02 Mon

[> [> Re: So what? I've been looking for some of their stuff so I'm happy :-) -- PiperGirl, 14:22:27 03/04/02 Mon

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Addiction -- Yes I know you all hate the barely metaphor -- JM, 15:13:46 03/04/02 Mon

Not to disrupt the general Sam hate but I was thinking today about her converstaion with Willow. She probably had a very good reason for her pep talk, other than being a Mary Sue, deliberately or through writer intent. She was probably genuinely uncomfortable about any hurt she might have done to someone in a possibly fragile emotioanal state. As well as her medical background giving her some insight into the phenomena, she has some personal experience. She's married to an addict.

One's who has, hopefully, beaten his addiction, but one who went through some pretty dark, shameful behavior and cravings himself. Riley may have gotten through it by the time they met, he may not have. I'm sure that it took more than just leaving Sunnydale, since he wasn't in the greatest of places when that helicopter took off. Even if he was clean by the time they hooked up, he definitely would have had to engaged in some difficult admissions concerning the scars on neck and elbow. I'm sure that Sam understands just how important encouragement and support are.

(Plus I wonder if her influence on Willow might have been strengthen by a little attraction on Willow's part. Sam's a not unattractive woman.)

[> Re: Some Thoughts on AYW Spoilers for S4-6 to AYW. -- Age, 20:37:18 03/04/02 Mon

I think that the writers used Riley and Sam in 'AYW' to give the Scoobies some perspective. Willow clearly was concentrating on a negative self image through being an addict as opposed to her being someone who has an addictive nature and is doing something about it. Willow was creating a thing, a set identity out of the addiction without the perspective of the process she is now undertaking in her life to manage the addiction. If magic power was disempowering Willow through her reliance on it to overcome Willow the geek, the identity as addict wasn't helping much to create a new image for her. As I said in another posting, Sam and Riley as people outside the Scoobie circle, from far away, may be a metaphor for the Scoobies getting some perspective, standing back and taking another look at their lives. Riley and Sam are the agents from far away, bringing distance and light, even if that light is too perfect and somewhat patriarchal)ie just as the Scoobies are out of balance in darkness, Riley and Sam are out of balance the other way if only in their life being wonderful at the moment. People can say good things about others when their lives are wonderful; the bountiful nature of their lives gives them the happy perspective to be magnanimous. This may be even more so as Riley has had to deal with his addiction, if that is what he did.

When it comes to Buffy, she has the smell of death on her; she is killing herself through her sexual exploits with Spike. This is why the vamp didn't want to feed off of her: vamps want the blood of the living, not the dead. In the same way that Willow is taking her identity from her addiction, Buffy is taking it from her immediate life. To use the metaphor that was established back in season five, both characters(and Xander and Anya) can't see the forest for the trees.(But Riley and Sam, high up in heaven's helicopter, can bring something of a different perspective even if its unreal(an ideal) and very precarious, ie either could be dead the next mission given their type of work.)

In OAFA it was Tara who provided the role of the star from far away who comes to be the bright warm sun. She not only stands up for Willow and stops Xander and Anya from crossing a certain line, but she intervenes to cool Spike's throbbing needs. Tara is absent in 'AYW' and is replaced with Riley and Sam, the two bright suns from the jungle. In fact as I was watching Sam she reminded me of Tara.

In OAFA Tara uses phrases which seem to indicate that Spike should put his advances to Buffy on ice. We get this image of ice and warming through the metaphor of the eggs in AYW.
There seems to be a need for management here, for balance, and we see this played out in the images of last week's ep: while the dam image points to holding back the waters(a female image of power), the crab-like demon offspring(crab, water image) show how Buffy's use of Spike was not so much an exploration of her dark side, but her way of making things simple for a while, but which tended towards a loss of control. She may have gained knowledge about herself through her use of Spike, but this was not the intention, but the by-product of her suicide and resurrection, coming back in a state of bad faith(not wanting to be back) and still taking a holiday from herself(ie supposedly coming back wrong.)

The crab-like offspring were just about to get out and destroy. This is not a positive image of female power. This is power, female or otherwise, out of control. On the one hand we have female power supposedly fully under control in the dam image; and in the crab-like offspring we have it just about to be unleashed and destroy. Where's the balance? This is what's been missing all season and which seems to be heading the Scoobies further into darkness.

And I think balance/perspective is what 'AYW' was all about. Riley and Sam came across as two bright suns that descend into the Sunnydale darkness of hell to give the Scoobies perspective, to lighten the darkness a bit, to create balance through their only being of the supposed right/light side(ie they are out of balance too, part of an organization which is right, the good guys; and their lives are very bright at the moment).

As I said in another posting, Riley and Sam under orders come in to take out a demon, but their real mission is to dispel some of the dark thoughts that were beginning to overcome the Scoobies(the crab demon spawn would have gone for everyone and not just Buffy). It very well may be that Riley is patriarchal in his outlook, but whatever he is, the writer simply uses him and Sam in an operation of his own to get the job done and get out. Riley is the good soldier not only of the military, but of the writer too, ie more device than character. Riley and Sam are agents of the writer, coinciding their good fortune and their being on the side of good to bring some perspective to the Scoobies.

Buffy did not set out this season to explore her dark side. She didn't even want to be back. She was tricked into doing this, tricked into revealing to herself aspects she'd prefer not to see. When she blows up Spike's under crypt and then says goodbye to William, she is letting go of her use of him because that was the intent of her visits. But, she now has knowledge about herself that may be hard to repress. What started as trickery may lead Buffy into a need to explore darker aspects of herself.

This season has been about the very difficult process of having to let go of adolescence. This includes deconstructing certain myths about good and evil, about absolute oppositional thinking, and doing so through the revelation of a darkness within; but, it isn't a time for a somewhat suicidal young woman to explore all aspects of her dark side. That would have to come once she's accepted her role as adult, ie taken responsibility and gotten the structure and process of living managed to some extent. The danger of course is becoming trapped in the structure and process of adult responsibilities. In some sense Riley, just as he did in season four when he saved Buffy from the hellmouth of relationship despair or was the Christ figure helping to save Faith through love, saves Buffy from her attachment to the immediate process by imparting his vision of her to her, giving her pause to stand back and see herself separate from the immediate function(as Willow can now see herself not just as an addict or Xander and Anya can see themselves not just as duplicates of their relations.) As I said in another posting, Riley was needed back in season four and he was needed in AYW. He seems to have things together when he's needed.

Anyway, just another of the many posts on this subject. If nothing else, Whedon and his writers give us much fuel for our discussions.


[> [> Re: Age... his vision of her -- Tillow, 06:59:55 03/05/02 Tue

saves Buffy from her attachment to the immediate process by imparting his vision of her to her, giving her pause to stand back and see herself separate from the immediate function

First off, can you clarify>> what process and what function?

I consider myself fairly intelligent until I read your posts. Sheesh!

Anyhoo... The question is... does Buffy really need another male defining her? In her break up with Riley, she listens to Xander tell her that this is the one who she should be with, the one who never held back and runs after the hellicopter. Since she's been back she's listened to Spike tell her she's come back wrong, she belongs in the dark with him. Now Riley, who has no idea what has been going on, or what Spike has done for her or her family, tells her his vision of her and prompts her to act. I'd really like to see Buffy be able to start making decisions without a man prompting her to do so? Isn't that why Giles left?

[> [> [> visions of Buffy -- celticross, 08:33:00 03/05/02 Tue

You make an excellent point, Tillow, which got me thinking. Has any man in Buffy's life ever seen her for who she really is? For Xander in high school, she was the unattainable, too cool for me girl. For Angel, she was the pure and innocent vision of everything he wished he could be, but for the blood on his hands. For Riley, she was the tough girl with a mission, the perfect compliment to himself. Even Spike, who saw her more clearly than any other man in her life, has fallen into the trap of seeing her in only one dimension. In all of these cases, however, this is partly Buffy's own fault. She plays it cool with Xander, is the wide-eyed innocent with Angel, plays commando girl with Riley, and stops being friends with Spike the moment sex enters the equation. So if it's so easy for the men in her life to catagorize her, and so easy for Buffy to catagorize herself, it's no wonder she has no idea who she is. For one thing (about the only thing) has become clear to me this season. Buffy does not see the same Buffy we see. We see Buffy in the glory of positive and negative traits. It's obvious Buffy has no idea who's looking back at her from the mirror.

[> [> [> Re: Age... his vision of her -- Caroline, 08:58:07 03/05/02 Tue

Very good point Tillow, I do agree with Age's point about Riley shining a light for Buffy and getting her to take a new perspective on herself. That was his whole speech about the wheel turning but it doesn't change who you are. So, even though Riley himself was scarred by his experiences, even though he wasn't perfect, he could still provide some support and assistance to Buffy in her time of need. That's one way to cut this cake.

But, I maintain that on a symbolic level he operates as a patriarchal figure (and the fact that he rejoined a patriarchal institution on season 5 is indicative of this), this doesn't mean that he couldn't have a positive influence on her. Being flawed doesn't mean that you can't help another, or else the entire human race would be in trouble. Riley seems to have gone off and found a place where he fits and seems happy and more power to him. But I think what we should be quibbling about here is why Buffy gives so much validation and legitimacy to his ideas and prejudices - and I think that is because there are areas of her own feminine power that she has not explored. So in that way, I see the symbol of Riley and Sam dropping in and then ascending into heaven (see Age's post above) as a not very hopeful development for Buffy because all of her internalized patriarchal views just got solidified, all her ego barriers and defences came up and she held back the dam and destroyed the demons running around in her unconscious instead of understanding what their function is in terms of gaining a deeper understanding of herself.

I think that in the next episodes, Buffy's unconscious, which has been firmly repressed in AYW, will erupt in some way, because that's what repressed drives do. But I am starting to feel that one good thing to come out of Riley's return is to precipitate Buffy into action concerning her destructive relationship with Spike (I'd also like to say that I think we all saw this coming before Riley's return). It's obvious that the feeling or whatever it is Buffy and Spike have are still there but to continue on the path they were on would have been disastrous for both - too much projection and denial happening and not nearly enough communication for a good outcome. Buffy needs to stop being in denial, to stop repressing, to discover some sense of her repressed feminine being and power before she can make anything work in her life - jobs, relationships, whatever. As for Spike, he may be the guy that she projects a lot of stuff onto but he may or may not be the guy who's right for her when she does come to a deeper understanding of herself. Persephone may not want to spend half her time in the underworld with Hades (although, right now, I must admit that he is looking like the right partner to me).

Wesley and Riley: The Good Soldiers (mild spoilers) -- matching mole, 15:28:23 03/04/02 Mon

In the past week on the board there has been considerable discussion of the characters of Riley and Wesley in separate threads. Despite being the leader of A.I., Wesley is a solitary figure slowly cracking up under the stress of the ambiguous and dire Nyazian prophecy. He appears about to take action that may well allow the prophecy to come to pass rather than hinder it. Riley is the leader of a team as well, although we see only one other member, Sam. Unlike Wesley, Riley is confident, affable, seemingly well-balanced. His return to Sunnydale doesn’t seem to affect him at all, rather it affects Buffy. He is a catalyst rather than a reactant.

I’m going to argue that there is a considerable similarity to the two characters, as well as many differences. Some of the differences in our perceptions of Riley and Wesley have more to do with differences between the foci of BtVS and AtS than with differences in the characters themselves. First, how do AtS and BtVS differ? I was planning to write a longer post on this topic alone but got sidetracked. I’ll just present a brief synopsis here. For the first three seasons of BtVS the show was solidly grounded in Sunnydale High School. Supernatural events were low-key enough that public ignorance was within realm of believability. From the time of Mayor’s failed ascension on, public ignorance is no longer a reasonable explanation. In his thread on the Buffy canon below Darby enumerates a series of events that simply could not be explained away by wishful avoidance of reality on the part of the townsfolk. BtVS moves out of the realm of realistic exactness. The show becomes increasingly about the internal lives of the characters, and more recently largely about the internal life of Buffy alone.

In contrast AtS concerns itself with its setting. The plots feature ‘real world’ issues such as police corruption and brutality, poverty, and so on. Demons, far more so than on BtVS, are portrayed as having a series of subcultures that are somewhat integrated with human culture. Demons are much less personal metaphors on AtS than on BtVS. A wide swath of humanity appears to be aware of the existence of demons (although this awareness is certainly not on an official or universal level). I would argue that, at this point, BtVS is a show focusing more on self-discovery, on finding yourself, while AtS is a show about responsibility for others, about fitting into the bigger picture.

So how does this relate to Wesley and Riley? As I perceive the argument over Agent Finn, the arguers can be divided into two general groups. Those that see Riley primarily in symbolic terms as a patriarchal figure and those that apply a more individualist analysis to the character. I think it is the tension between these two aspects that initially made Riley interesting. However I think that Riley the individual has larger been superseded by Riley the symbol. Back to that in a moment. First some comments about Wesley. Mr. Wyndam-Price started out on BtVS as a character that primarily served to symbolize the Watcher’s Council’s arrogance and incompetence. Another patriarchial symbol. But Wesley now seems a much more complex and fully-rounded character. Part of the explanation is that Wesley’s character has developed in ways that Riley’s has not, but that’s not the whole story.

Both Riley and Wesley are originally introduced as representatives of authoritarian institutions, the military and the Council respectively. Initially both accept the moral and ‘legal’ authority of their organizations absolutely. Granted Wesley was bumbling, cowardly, and off-putting while Riley was competent, brave, and genial but both of them represent institutional authority. They are both ‘Good Soldiers’, a phrase I will return to.

What happens next? Wesley is an almost immediate and utter failure at his job. His is an external failure – he tried to be the Good Soldier but he wasn’t up to the task. So he leaves Sunnydale. As a side note – the other two ex-Sunnydalians who become regulars on AtS also leave, at the same time, for similarly external causes. Cordelia’s family is bankrupt and she must go away to earn a living. Angel realizes that he is no longer helping Buffy in her fight, his stated reason for coming to Sunnydale, but rather, their doomed relationship is distracting them both.

In contrast, Riley is very good at his job. He quits the Initiative because of loyalty to Buffy, if he had stuck to the straight and narrow he could have stayed with them until the end. But he didn’t. His departure is internally motivated. So both Riley and Wesley end up outside of their former institutions trying to figure out what to do with their lives.

Riley had the potential to be an interesting character along the lines of Chief Miles O’Brien on ST The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. O’Brien had sterling qualities but he was also limited – he had problems with his marriage, he had deep-seated if seldom expressed prejudices against the Cardassians. Riley is loyal and decent but he is also a man committed to a relatively simplistic, top- down authority view of the world. My experience is that this is not an uncommon situation in real life. Some of the personally nicest people I have ever met have had world-views that are in many ways diametrically opposed to mine. However this is not an avenue that was really explored in S4/5 BtVS. Riley never came to grips with the difference in his world-view and Buffy’s. Maybe he wasn’t capable of it; he didn’t have the necessary introspective capability. Maybe he didn’t need to. His institution had failed him not the other way around. He could always go find another group to join, another mission, which is what he did. Or maybe it didn’t get explored because Riley questioning his whole world-view wouldn’t have meshed with the development of the show. A Riley who hung around questioning authority (or questioning those who questioned authority) wouldn’t have fit in at all with S5/S6 BtVS. Instead we have a Riley who has a straightforward mission he never questions, and apparently boundless self-confidence even when he screws up.

Wesley had to re-invent himself. Thrown out of the Watcher’s Council there was nothing else for him to do. His new organization, Angel Investigations, was relatively chaotic and his role is organizational and theoretical. Wesley the Bad Soldier becomes Wesley the complicated General. He is creative and inhibited, a complex mixture of flaws and positive qualities. While Wesley’s relationships with the other characters on the show are interesting they in no way define who is, unlike Riley who was the boyfriend now the ex-boyfriend. Because he doesn’t see the world in simple terms anymore it is more difficult for him to take action. The emphasis on AtS on the big picture presents us with a view of Wesley that we would never see of Riley had he remained on BtVS. Riley has become increasingly symbolized on BtVS while Wesley has become de-symbolized on AtS.

‘The Good Soldier’ is a novel by Ford Maddox Ford published during WW I. The title is misleading in that, although one of the main characters is a soldier, things military are pretty much irrelevant. Instead the novel is about the shattering of innocence, discovering that years of orderly existence were actually a façade hiding something quite different. And so it is with Wesley and Riley. They lived a façade, a world of black and white. Wesley appears to have seen through that. We may never know about Riley.

I hope this makes some sort of sense.

[> Great stuff! -- Rahael, 15:49:23 03/04/02 Mon

Insightful, as always. I shall have to think more about this. On a side note, I loved 'The Good Soldier' by Ford Madox Fort. You remind me to revisit it.

[> Re: Wesley and Riley: The Good Soldiers (mild spoilers) -- JM, 16:01:18 03/04/02 Mon

Wow, mole -- may I call you that? -- I'm a champion of both characters and I could never have concieved of putting them together in the same post. Can I love you, just a little bit, I won't ever tell my guy.

My interpretation of Riley is that he's so together now is because he's come to terms with his inability to live in Buffy's world. He knows he doesn't have the strength to do what she does, redefine authority everyday in terms of her own worldview. I think it's no exaggeration, or patronization, when he tells her that she's the strongest woman he's ever known. And he's including his wife in that equation. He's acknowledged his owm limitations and found a place in the world that he fits. Not all of us are cut out to be heroes and sometimes it's important to know it.

Wes is a far more tragic figure. Although he has fully rejected the Council, it's more that they failed to live up to his internal code than that he's rejected it. In many ways he has internalized the soldier for good mentality, he just found Angel a more deserving fit. It's what gave him the strength to reject Virginia's brimming ultimatum, sacrifice lives in Pylea, be willing to offer his own life willingly. What it pushes him to next is the scary question.

[> Very Interesting -- JBone, 20:29:37 03/04/02 Mon

I especially like the comparison to Chief O'Brien. The Chief always had this quick to fight, slow to forgive mentality. I miss DS9. But if you were in a tight spot, no one, except maybe for no one, would scrap and claw more than the Chief to win and survive. I see Riley more of a cross between O'Brien and Doctor Bashir. He had the Chief's dedication and expertise and the easy touch, and inexplicable natural "talent" of Bashir. Okay, so Riley had some kind of doping and Bashir had genetic resequencing. Apples, oranges.

[> Re: Wesley and Riley: The Good Soldiers (MAJOR spoiler) -- Darby, 20:41:44 03/04/02 Mon

I never would have seen the parallels on my own.

There's evidence, too, that both have actively led their charges in adaptive directions - Wesley, obviously, but Riley by implication, since the Central American operation sounds more Scooby-like than the Initiative ever was.

So does Riley have to die now?

[> [> No! No death! Death bad. Some growth/change would be good though. -- Caroline, 15:31:34 03/05/02 Tue

[> Re: Wesley and Riley: the more things change -- manwitch, 11:02:21 03/05/02 Tue

Really good stuff. I used to think Wesley came off better, but now I think they're on a par again.

In one of the Riley/Patriarchy threads I compared the two, saying that they both made the same journey, but that Riley ultimately backslid and ended up where he began, whereas Wesley was man enough to move completely in to the gray zone.

But now I'm not so sure that's what he needed.

Wesley just has no faith.

I remember when I was getting married out in Maine, and my family was coming from Illinois. They called AAA motor club to get directions, rather than ask me, and were told to take these freaky mountain roads through Vermont and New Hampshire towards Portland. They were told it was shorter, which was what they wanted cuz they were in a hurry. I said, those roads are really beautiful, but they ain't fast. You want fast, you take the MassPike etc. etc.

Point is, having lived here for some years, I actually knew the roads and the traffic and what was fast. But they went to an "authoritative" source. (Can you tell I'm working some stuff out here?) Of course it took them forever. You can't go 80 on mountain roads. But you'll get run into a ditch if you go slower than that on the Pike. The staties flash their brights at you.

Anyways, that's what Wesley does. He calls AAA when he should know that he has the real deal right there at his fingertips. He makes this insane decision without consulting Angel, Cordelia, Giles or anyone that he KNOWS, and he trusts an anonymous book and the promptings of some evil people.

That's exactly what he did with Buffy and that's why she canned him and his council. Not because he was patriarchal, but because he didn't recognize that they had been doing it for years and knew the drill better than he did. He refused to have faith in her.

I remember Buffy saying to him, "I'm talking about watching my lover die. I don't know what you're talking about."

And here is the same Wesley. He wants to be good, but he just doesn't get it. He doesn't see where the real value in being good lies. Give Buffy the same translation of the prophecy, do you think she steals the baby for the bad guys? No, she says, "the prophecy can do what it wants. I stand by Angel."

[> [> Fred the scientist, Wesley the priest -- matching mole, 12:14:10 03/05/02 Tue

Had I known what was to transpire in Sleep Tight I might have made a few changes to my little essay. Your point about Buffy at the end reminded me of Fred's anti-prophecy rant from earlier in the season. Fred's extremely sceptical attitude towards the prophecy is befitting her status as a scientist. She wants evidence, she wants to know more so they can take effective action. Wesley is basing his decisions on the written word (with no peer review!), on authority as you say. Kind of like a cult member.

[> [> Excellent point! -- Caroline, 14:31:48 03/05/02 Tue

[> AtS and BtVS -- Oyceter, 11:22:08 03/05/02 Tue

"I would argue that, at this point, BtVS is a show focusing more on self-discovery, on finding yourself, while AtS is a show about responsibility for others, about fitting into the bigger picture."

Usually a lurker, but for some reason, this comment hit so hard that I really felt like writing...
It's going to be a bit rambly and probably repetetive, please forgive.

I haven't seen BtVS S1, but from all comments posted here and other places, it seems as though Buffy and the rest of the Scoobies (Cordelia too, once she started dating Xander, not too sure about Oz though) were all outcasts in their high school, something that appeals greatly to most people. What I find interesting is that in the later seasons, this outcast feeling almost seems to disappear -- Buffy is the very accepted leader of the Scoobies, and all of them seem to have their place. In fact, it gets to the point when in Blood Ties, Tara sympathizes with Dawn because she knows kind of how difficult it is to integrate with the Scoobies. She and Dawn are both kind-of Scoobies because of their relationships with original Scoobies, but Tara (who might just be projecting her own feelings onto Dawn) says something to the effect that the gang has been together through so much that it's very difficult for a "newbie" like her to fit in, no matter how nice they are to her.

It almost seems as though once Buffy and the gang have graduated from high school, the feeling of alienation and loneliness that (I think) almost everyone gets in school disappears, as the characters grow up and find themselves.

However, with the departure of some main characters to LA comes also the old feel of isolation -- Angel is hunting bad guys by himself, Cordelia is shut out from the Hollywood system, and later, Wesley has been kicked out of the Watcher's Council and his old life's work. Even though it isn't high school and the world is more adult in some sense than that of BtVS, I think that adultness carries its own loneliness since there is no structure like that of school semesters and vacations to follow any more. Angel and his gang seem to be more welcoming of newcomers than the Scoobies at times: Cordelia bugs Angel to add Gunn to the payroll, all of them (although Cordelia does so reluctantly) attempt to drag Fred out of her hidey-hole.

Maybe through this the shows are trying to say that only after finding your place in the world, as I think the Scoobies did a long time ago, helping Buffy save it, can you go off to find yourself, and the Angel and company are still working at carving their own little niche, helped on by Angel's epiphany of only small things mattering.

The same isolation that the AI crew faced seems to be hitting Buffy now, though...

Hrm. Doh. Anyone?


Hey, wait a minute... (**Spoilers** for AtS Season 3 up to Loyalty) -- Wisewoman, 17:05:34 03/04/02 Mon

Forgive me for being incredibly slow on the uptake, but I don't recall seeing this discussed. My apologies if it has been.

Is this right? Sahjhan is a powerful time-travel demon who has a gripe against Angel, but can't do anything about it himself. So he shops around until he finds Holtz, a human being, who has an even greater gripe against Angel and can do something about it, if he can find him. They make a deal--Sahjhan will bring Holtz forward to meet Angel in the 21st Century, and Holtz will revenge himself and Sahjhan by killing Angel (at least, that was the original plan, before Conner was born).

Well, wouldn't it make a heck of a lot more sense from Holtz's point of view to have Sahjhan transport him back in time, so that he could save his family and kill Angel (and probably Darla) at the same time? Of course, then there'd be no AtS, and no Angel for Buffy to fall in love with, and...well, you get my drift.

[> Re: Hey, wait a minute... (**Spoilers** for AtS Season 3 up to Loyalty) -- gds, 17:35:27 03/04/02 Mon

Excellent point. Obviously Sahjhan couldn't or wouldn't do that. Time travelers have different policies and capabilities on what they can do. The Star Trek’s Federation’s policy is against changing the past. The Galifreyans of Dr. Who consider themselves Lords of Time and allow themselves great leeway in changing time – but even they have rules which they claim they won’t break (though some have been guilty of MAJOR crimes in this regard). Sahjhan may have limitations on where/when he can go himself or take others or he may have ulterior motives for choosing Angel to die at a certain time.

The way I understood Holt’s arrival was not that Holtz actually traveled though time, but that he hibernated through it. Sahjhan may not be able to carry anything from one time to another – just to travel himself.

[> [> It's called a "Convenient Plot Device". -- Shiver, 20:21:55 03/04/02 Mon

[> [> [> Re: It's called a "Convenient Plot Device". -- Robert, 22:18:48 03/04/02 Mon

In science fiction, there are certain plot devices which are accepted, such as faster-than-light travel and time travel. Current theory does not allow either of them. If you want to write a story about an intersteller society, you must have faster-than-light travel or at least faster-than-light communication. Faster-than-light communication might actually be possible, given some of the new stuff on particle entanglement.

These plot devices cannot be properly justified. To disallow them in science fiction is to put too heavy a burden on the writer. The best we can hope for is good internal consistancy.

Personally, I tend not to enjoy time travel stories, because the causality issue can become too much of a mess. My favorite example of this is Robert Heinlein's novel "Time Enough for Love". The protagonist, Lazarous Long, goes back in time and screws his own mother. What does this say about Heinlein?

[> [> [> [> Re: OT - Time Enough for Love -- Brian, 03:33:04 03/05/02 Tue

It just proves that after Starship Troopers, Heinlein got bitten by the sex bug, and just had to express it, over and over again.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: OT - Time Enough for Love -- SKPE, 07:30:37 03/05/02 Tue

In a short story "ALL You Zombies" Heinlein takes that theme
to its ultimate in a story about a man/woman who through
time travel becomes his on mother father gardian and child

[> Re: Hey, wait a minute... (**Spoilers** for Loyalty and Sleep Tight) -- Robert, 22:09:06 03/04/02 Mon

>> "Well, wouldn't it make a heck of a lot more sense from Holtz's point of view to have Sahjhan transport him back in time, so that he could save his family and kill Angel (and probably Darla) at the same time?"

I'm not sure that Sahjhan is capable of that kind of time travel. Sahjhan himself seems to exist outside of time. He was insubstantial in our existance. He could not be harmed, except for possible entrapment.

Sahjhan was able to bring Holtz forward, not by some kind of H.G.Wells type of time travel. Instead, Sahjhan suspended Holtz for the time necessary, and he appeared to do it with a spell.

There is nothing in physics that prevents someone from traveling forward in time (especially once cryonics becomes practical). Traveling backward violates causality. On the other hand, this is exactly what Sahjhan does for himself. Sahjhan obviously knows about some future event that is detrimental to himself. This also violates causality.

P.S. I've just been accepted into the physics graduate program at my school. Yeah me!!!

[> [> Re: Hey, wait a minute... (**Spoilers** for Loyalty and Sleep Tight) -- Uncle Dark, 22:35:04 03/04/02 Mon

I've always wondered...

Why, exactly, does causality prevent travel back in time? It's always seemed to me to be a "ugh, my logic hurts when I think about this, so I'll say it's impossible and move on" kind of argument.

Couldn't Sahjhan's insubstantiality be a nod to the causality problem? Well, a token nod, anyway, since he can still use magic, and the causality problem (as I understand it) is as much about information as action.

[> [> [> Causality -- Robert, 08:50:49 03/05/02 Tue

>> "Why, exactly, does causality prevent travel back in time?"

Causality means simply that the cause of an effect must occur before the effect. My child cannot be born before I impregnate my wife. If my wife travels back in time, she could give birth before conception. Then, because she would still be in a pissy mood, she might insist upon contraception. Where does that leave the kid?

Merely getting information from the future, such as a prophesy, would also violate causality. Let us say, for example, that Bill Gates received a message today that the stock market would soar next month, but due to a moment of temporary insanity he dumped all his holdings, consequently crashing the market. What happens to the original message from the future?

[> [> Re: Hey, wait a minute... (**Spoilers** for Loyalty and Sleep Tight) -- beekeepr, 23:14:56 03/04/02 Mon

congratulations-yay on you, indeed

[> [> Re: Hey, wait a minute... (**Spoilers** for Loyalty and Sleep Tight) -- anom, 00:11:45 03/05/02 Tue

"'Well, wouldn't it make a heck of a lot more sense from Holtz's point of view to have Sahjhan transport him back in time, so that he could save his family and kill Angel (and probably Darla) at the same time?'

I'm not sure that Sahjhan is capable of that kind of time travel. Sahjhan himself seems to exist outside of time."

As far as I can tell, there's been no evidence that he (however you spell his name) can go backwards in time. He can go between dimensions where time progresses at different rates, but nobody's ever said anything about time going in reverse in any of them.

[> [> [> Re: Hey, wait a minute... (**Spoilers** for Loyalty and Sleep Tight) -- Robert, 08:38:47 03/05/02 Tue

>> "As far as I can tell, there's been no evidence that he (however you spell his name) can go backwards in time."

Well, yes there is, though it is circumstantial. Sahjhan knows something about the future -- something that seriously worries him. He either got this by traveling from the future or by someone else traveling from the future. We will have to wait and see how this plays out.

[> [> [> [> Re: Hey, wait a minute... (**Spoilers** for Loyalty and Sleep Tight) -- anom, 11:46:28 03/05/02 Tue

"Sahjhan knows something about the future -- something that seriously worries him. He either got this by traveling from the future or by someone else traveling from the future."

Don't have time to check it now, but didn't he tell Holtz either that he could see into the future or that he had relied on prophecy to know what(ever) he does about the future? That doesn't mean he or anyone else can go there & come back. I'm not saying he can't--just that we don't know.

BTW, mazel tov on being accepted into the physics program! (I got caught up & forgot to say that in my earlier post.)

[> [> Congratulations! ;o) -- WW, 06:47:20 03/05/02 Tue

Great news! Now I know where to come with all my flaky quantum theories, lol.


[> Hmm... -- grifter, 08:05:54 03/05/02 Tue

Apart from what anom said, I´d like to add that Holtz maybe wants his revenge more then his family. He has been in a very dark place for the last couple of years (or, rather, centuries), so aybe he simply didn´t think about it because, on a subconscious level, his lust for revenge prevented him from doing so.

OMWF + also vamps/werewolves -- O'Cailleagh, 19:03:07 03/04/02 Mon

Eventually finished downloading the songs.......although it was more convenient than my original plan...what with the whole becoming Sweet's queen thing (not such a bad idea perhaps!)

So, does anyone know what might happen if a vampire were to 'vamp' a werewolf, or vice versa? Just something I've been thinking about these last coupla days...might make for an interesting ep if it were to happen....

[> Look in the archives - discussed within the last couple of weeks... -- Darby, 20:43:31 03/04/02 Mon

[> [> Re: Look in the archives - discussed within the last couple of weeks... -- O'Cailleagh, 21:55:51 03/04/02 Mon

thanx, but do you happen to remember the thread title, or the approximate date of this thread as I cannot find it.......

[> [> [> Sorry, it's dropped off the far end. -- Darby, 05:29:05 03/05/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> And someday it will be back with the February archives on Liq's site. Soon, I hope -- Masq, 14:28:19 03/05/02 Tue

D'Herblay? You out there?

SleepTight... (slight spoilers) -- Apophis, 19:21:05 03/04/02 Mon

Maybe this episode will give all those fanfic writers out there something more soul-crushing than the Angel/Cordy thing. Only a month and 11 days until we find out how much blood Wes can lose and still defend himself against an enraged vampire.

[> Re: SleepTight... (slight spoilers)-a question -- Calluna, 22:08:48 03/04/02 Mon

Does anyone else wonder if Lilah's military guys are the same as Riley's bunch? Same black uniforms. Same black SUVs. Might give some credence to the "Sam is eeeevil" theory a few threads back.

[> It occurs to me... -- Javoher, 22:13:53 03/04/02 Mon

...that if Wes had been successful Holtz wouldn't have been.

[> [> hey, look who's back! hi, jav! -- anom, 23:49:48 03/04/02 Mon

Once More With Joss (very long, essayish) -- cynesthesia, 20:06:46 03/04/02 Mon

I posted this yesterday at the BigBadBoard and just now got around to posting it here. The very speedy Benny :) posted the link yesterday (see thread below). It's essentially the same, with slight tinkering. Thanks to everyone for their comments. If you missed it, here you go...

Since AYW, I've been thinking a lot about the sense some of us have that ME just might be playing us this year. I had a maybe not so small a-ha while listening to the musical and ended up with an essay of sorts. Thought I'd throw this out to test the waters. Apologies for length and rusty essay skills.

Once More With Joss

"Joss likes to mess with people's heads." -- James Marsters

Joss wrote the musical episode not as a stand alone, but as an integral part of the S6 storyline. He used OMWF to bring characters forward to a place that would have been harder to reach through other dramatic means. It's influence looms large over the rest of the season. In many ways it's already operated as a plot template. With the recent break-up between S&B taking place in his crypt, we've likely reached the parallel moment in OMWF where Buffy runs off into the night leaving Spike standing in an open grave to ask after her "So you're not staying then?"

But there's another way in which the musical can be seen as a significant for the season and that comes from its form. Any musical relies heavily on artifice for its storytelling, counting on the audience to accept that when emotion reaches a certain intensity, characters burst into song or dance which better reveals their true emotional state than the spoken word. OMWF reinforced the convention by predicating that singing was caused by the summoning of the demon Sweet who compelled people to express their inner feelings with an intensity which could lead to self- immolation. It's the very artifice of the episode (and Sweet) that we take for granted that may provide the biggest clue yet to a puzzling season which seems to be turning everything in the Buffyverse on its head and confusing many audience expectations. In no other season have we been made so aware of how the writers choose to manipulate plot and character to their desired ends. It may be as simple and dull as clumsy, lousy storytelling or it may be something quite intentional that began with the musical.

First though, a look at Sweet. He is the crucial character in the musical yet nowhere else in the season since then have we been able to find a satisfying equivalent for him. There are many possibilities for what he represents. From a mythological perspective, he comes from the underworld (Hades) in search of a bride, much like a Pluto figure stealing Proserpine from her mother or Eurydice from Orpheus. Psychologically, he can easily represent the inner demons and flaws of the characters, their own personal Big Bads. As a dramatic type, he's Puck gone really bad. Like any effective symbol or metaphor, more than one meaning is possible and none fits exactly.

But it's his function in OMWF that most affects the nature of S6 storytelling. As demons of the week go, he's powerful. Alone among the S6 bads, he holds all the cards to a degree that Buffy can neither fight nor resist him. He's a magician, literally peeling off a smile at will, smartly dressing and redressing himself and Dawn. He pulls the invisible strings of his ventriloquist dummy henchmen. He sets the tempo, does the soft-shoe and brings the fun in. Sweet is all about showmanship and artifice. "That's entertainment," he laughs as one of his victims dances himself into a fireball. "It's showtime," he confidently says as Buffy comes to meet him. He knows "what you feel." He makes the call on "the real show-stopping number." Sweet's closest relationship is really with the audience as he cues us to keep in mind that we're watching a show, his show. He stands in for another showman -- Joss, the writer. Sweet's lyrics take on a different meaning if they're read as a sly and gleeful statement by Joss of authorial power and intention towards an audience who never imagines they too might get burned at some future point. Joss as Sweet tells us "that's what it's all about:"

Why'd you run away? Don't you like my... style?
Why don't you come and play? I guarantee a great big smile.
I come from the imagination. And I'm here strictly by your invocation.

So what do you say- Why don't we dance a while?
I'm the how to swing. I'm the twist and shout.
When you gotta sing, When you gotta let it out.
You call me and I come a-runnin'.
I turn the music on, I bring the fun in.
Now we're partyin', that's what it's all about.

'Cause I know what you feel, girl.
I know just what you feel, girl.
All these melodies, they go on too long.
Then that energy starts to come on way too strong.
All those hearts lay open- that must sting.
Plus some customers just die combusting.
That's the penalty when life is but a song.
'Cause I know what you feel, girl.
I'll make it real, girl.
I can bring whole cities to ruin
And still have time to get a soft-shoe in.
Something's cooking, I'm at the griddle.
I bought Nero his very first fiddle.
Now we're partyin'. That's what it's all about.

Once that conceptual spoonful of sugar has gone down, other things in the musical suggest that we are very much included in what's going on, that we are being or will be played. He may be unseen, but Joss's voice is heard often in OMWF speaking through the lyrics.

He pops out early on in Willow's theory that "Some kid is dreaming and we're all stuck inside his wacky Broadway nightmare." She's right, it's a nice in-joke, except we might get stuck in there with them.

Two of his creative minions even step from behind the camera to remind us of their usually unseen presence. An overjoyed David Fury is just thrilled to have gotten "the mustard out." Marti Noxon sings to a parking cop a lame and improbable excuse about a fire hydrant that seems to have moved by itself. Interesting that Joss would use his co-executive producer in the role of someone who plainly isn't telling the truth. Another tip-off that they aren't always straightforward.

Directly after Sweet's song, Giles sings "Standing in the Way" to an oblivious Buffy. In counterpoint to Sweet's unfeeling mischief, this time Joss hovers behind Giles to tell us in the tenderest possible way that the nature of the Buffyverse we've known in the past will have to give way to something unknown. The old constructs no longer work either for the show or for us:
I wish I could say the right words
To lead you through this land.
Wish I could play the father
And take you by the hand.
Wish I could stay here
But now I understand...
I'm standing in the way.

It's deeply touching and holds something of the same poignancy as Prospero's farewell speech to the magics he has relied on in the Tempest. Needless to say, Joss isn't the first wordsmith to use one of his characters to address the audience.

Most striking though is a moment in Buffy's cathartic "Life's a Song." Lyrically and visually, its pointed directly at us. She begins:
Life's a show and we all play our parts
And when the music starts, We open up our hearts
It's all right if some things come out wrong.
We'll sing a happy song

Then, the fourth wall separating audience from story is broken. We see a tightly framed close-up of SMG as Buffy looking directly into the camera, inviting us to play our parts in the life show.
And you can sing along.

Finally, Sweet reprises his song and lets us know we're all -- characters and audience alike -- in for a rough time ahead.
What a lot of fun.
You guys have been real swell.
And there's not a one
Who can say this ended well.
All those secrets you've been concealing,
Say you're happy now...
once more, with feeling.
Now I gotta run. See you all in hell!

Cynthia, comments welcome

[> Once more with Joss - a long response! -- Rahael, 03:15:10 03/05/02 Tue

I really enjoyed that Cynthia, it brought up so many great and original points about Season 6, and about Joss’ way of working in general. Forgive me if I just end up repeating your points, but its a variation on a great theme!

I’d often puzzled about Sweet’s line ‘I come from the imagination’, thinking that it must be significant without relating it to our own viewing experience. When Joss talks about the burning up of overwhelming emotions he must surely be referring to the kind of passion the show evokes from its fans, to the point where some take out newspaper ads asking for a certain couple to end up together. And then the same image takes us, as you point out, to the idea of ‘burning out’ and Joss’ publicly expressed fears about ‘big Buffy burn out’. All these melodies, they go on too long, and even the most creative imagination can end up being consumed by its own creation. Isn’t there a link here with the mystery of why it’s Xander who summons Sweet? As Xander is the character whom Joss most identifies with? The point about Sweet isn’t that he is an evil monster, he’s the great entertainer, who brings delight but also pain. In Henry V, Shakespeare calls upon the same ‘muse of fire’ to transform the ‘wooden O’ of the Globe. Xander transforms Sunnydale by summoning its creator, but he is also Joss at the same time, calling forth a monstrous hit which is now dictating his creative life.

Then there’s the whole thing about how artificiality is so stressed in the episode, more so than usual, as you point out. From ‘Dawn’s in trouble? It must be Tuesday’ to Anya’s ‘retro-pastiche number’. But there are also more subtle highlightings of this. Buffy asks why she can’t feel the fire, why her skin doesn’t crack and peel - well she’s a character – Joss can punish her again and again, make her sacrifice Angel, make her sacrifice herself, put Dawn in danger, and still, she rises from the dead! "I want to see the Slayer burn!" – how much is this related to the emotional trauma that Buffy is continuously put through? There is a real sense in which Buffy and Sweet’s face off is a character talking to the creator. "What if I kill you?" "Trust, me it won’t help". When Sweet beckons, Buffy moves closer. She appeals to him "So give me something to sing about!" and Sweet shakes his head in mock sadness. He watches Buffy dance before him, and watches Spike save her, but we all know that its still Joss pulling the strings, giving Spike his timely entrance.

As Sweet leaves the stage, he promises the characters that he will ‘see them in hell’ – but his continued presence (because Joss is always present) is signalled by songs and dancing continuing, as if to say "See – even when I leave BtVS behind, they are still dancing my dance, singing my songs!" You bring out a great point about Sweet’s minions and Joss’ minions. They too sing his songs and follow his steps.

Joss satirises the characters, himself, ME and the fans. Buffy sings ‘This isn’t real, but I just want to feel’ echoing those fans who know this isn’t depicting a reality, but demand their vicarious thrills from something which doesn’t really exist. Spike, who inspires so much fan fic lives in Joss’ and ME’s imaginations, in our imaginations and so does Buffy. Xander wanted a happy ending, but it’s all gone wrong, just like Season 6. What’s Joss’ next trick? It’s probably not going to be hugs and puppies and the Scoobies being a happy little family, making wise cracks before going to slay the latest demon. It might be hell. But I can’t wait to find out!

[> [> Thanks to both of you -- Annie, 05:27:59 03/05/02 Tue

What amazing analyses! It's fascinating that the two Joss episodes this year both operate on such a highly metanarrative level. "Waiting in the Wings", too, seems to adress the paradoxes involved in all acts of creation.

Whereas OMwF deals with the creator's omnipotence and simultaneous enslavement to his work, WitW adresses the inherent power in all "real" fictional characters to transcend their masters. Sweet and the Count are opposite sides of the same coin, one tending towards chaos and movement, the other towards beauty and order; Dionysis and Apollo, comedy and tragedy. It's also a wonderful metaphor for the contradictory desires of creative talent. The wish to keep your creation unsullied and unchanged battles the need to improve and further it.

I must admit my first response to WitW was that it was intended as a slight jab to those fans who object to the changes in the show. However, the episode is as much about the ME. BtVS and Angel are both works in progress, and must therefore be interpreted and criticized with that in mind. Unlike books and movies the fans are able to observe and comment on each stage of creation, which results in a fluid and ever-changing critiqe and appreciation. To the writers I suspect we are as much curse as blessing:)

[> [> Cynesthesia, Rahael, let's take a moment to bask in the wowness of you! Great essay, great response! -- Rob, 07:31:37 03/05/02 Tue

[> [> Wow, that explains so much... -- darrenK, 08:01:20 03/05/02 Tue

Thanks, guys. How could I have missed all that?

Huge, fiery self-recriminations...


[> metaphor repeato-vision/long was Once More with Joss -- alcibiades, 10:50:53 03/05/02 Tue

I think Joss in his embodiment as Sweet is also attuned to the fact that there will be a lot of criticism from fans this season because of all the repeato-vision shows in the last months: shows where Buffy has minor epiphany after minor epiphany, but is unable to figure out how to transcend the problem of her life, so she keeps on using whatever comes to hand to "solve" her crisis, only to have to repeat it again and again, because she has solved nothing.

As Jonathan says in Life Serial after her first attempt: "No way. She hasn't even started yet." And I can't help but hear the echo in this of Tara as the first Slayer and Dracula telling Buffy: "You've only just begun."

This gimmick of the Troika of the repeato-vision in Life Serial has been an important plot metaphor for the state of Buffy's life. And just as in Life Serial, it is not until she gets down to the root causes and learns to solve the problem in a way that satisfies the "customer" and causes a healthy resolution that she can go on to the next problem in her life that needs solving.

Certainly Buffy hasn't solved anything by breaking up with Spike and blowing up his crypt and getting him out of her life through Riley-intervention, deus ex machina style (and if a helicopter hovering overhead is not the ultimate machine to lower the god and raise him back up then I don't know what is). In Life Serial as well Buffy, presented with a customer that keeps returning, is eventually listless because of the loop she is in (DMP), then she gets violent with the customer, but when the customer comes back in after that, Buffy finally breaks down and starts crying. And then, the next time the customer returns, she figures out a way around the problem.

In any case, it seems to me that a lot of people have become, like Buffy, increasingly angry and frustrated at the show, and Buffy's lack of development during the last several episodes. They think the show is going nowhere, that things have imploded at BTVS, that Joss really isn't doing much for the show anymore and that is beginning to show. See thread currently going on above this one on the board.

But I think Joss is well aware of the problem:

Joss as Sweet:

All these melodies, they go on too long.
Then that energy starts to come on way too strong.
All those hearts lay open- that must sting.
Plus some customers just die combusting.
That's the penalty when life is but a song.

He knows people are going to find fault with his story telling, that the melodies are going on way too long. That all this repeato vision is going to make some of his customers awfully unhappy, and he's telling the audience that pre-emptively. But then, as they say, there is always the third act. I don't imagine there will be much stagnation in that.

Here is some metadialogue from the Troika about the repeat-vision episode.

Jonathan: Mine took the longest. (All these melodies, they go on too long -- iow, Joss is basically admitting this arc is going to seem endless.)

Andrew: Only from a perspective external to the time loop (that's us by the way, watching the Buffy show repeat and repeat endlessly.) From Mr. Giles' perspective it was the shortest of all. (I gather Mr. Giles won't really think Buffy has been on her own that long when next he is called into action).

Warren: I mean it's obvious, it's not over.

In this episode, the Troika is the audience and Joss is rather making fun of us.

What do the Troika do? They watch reels from Buffy's life over and over, relentlessly analyzing it, looking for (plot)holes, looking for Buffy's weaknesses, trying to come up with any new theories about her life.

The customer in Life Serial is also a meta-commentary about the audience's reaction to Buffy.

Jonathan comments: "Buffy has to satisfy the customer with a task that resists solving". In other words, this year, Buffy is going to be trapped fighting something that isn't easily solved, like getting over her mother's death and her own resurrection. Not incidentally, Joyce's dead body is the first of the previously seen shots in Life Serial.

But the task that Joss has set himself even so is to satisfy the audience:

Look at the development of the customer's (the audience's) reactions to Buffy:

The customer comes in for a prosperity spell. Yeah, she wants a season of puppies and kittens right from the get go. Not going to happen much. She doesn't get Buffy's little joke which she finds strange and off-putting.

Customer's first response: This hand is dead. The power has gone out of it. I'm not giving you money for it. (The power has gone out of the show, out of Joss who is the mummy hand.)

Next time customer comes in, she tells Buffy: You have one (a mummy hand) and I was told I could buy it. I'm really going to have to hold you to it. I'm not leaving until I get a mummy hand.

IOW, the audience is insisting the story be told in the manner she wants it to be told.

Next time: Mummy hand strangles customer.

Warren comments on this scenario: This mummy hand has ceased to be.

Andrew: It is an ex-mummy hand.

This reaction pretty much exactly recalls many remarks I have heard recently about the show. And about what Joss is doing to it.

A few other things happen and then Buffy throws the customer out the door herself -- shades of DT, where Buffy's nature begins to repel certain segments of the audience.

The final scene goes this way:

B: I know we promised you a mummy hand. I can't get it for you. There is something wrong with it. It's defective.

C: Defective? Are you sure? There must be something you can do?

B: There is no way to get...that hand. But I can special order one. We can deliver it any where you want.

I suspect this is more or less Joss telling us that the arc of the season is going to veer at the end -- we are not going to get what we wanted, but we'll get something else delivered right where we wanted it.

The mummy hand/ like Sweet is an incarnation of Joss who consciously knows he's not making nice with the customer. He's playing hard to get, a hard to get mummy hand, just like he's writing a hard to get show.

One last thing and this is really funny.

Jonathan says: "Buffy has to satisfy the customer with a task that resists solving." And then he adds: "Maybe I should have done more, like make her kind of itchy."

Light bulb goes off.

Joss has done more, he has made Buffy kind of itchy, with an itch she has been needing Spike to scratch for episodes now, and the writers have very explicitly written Spike using that language to describe her itch. In As You Were, Buffy finally admits that she does have an itch, a point she was refusing to acknowledge to herself since about the time of Life Serial.

So it seems to me, Buffy's not going to solve that particular itch either by blowing up Spike's crypt and breaking up with him. She'll have to find a real solution in her life for that, just like she'll have to find one for her task of recovering from the depression of her mother's death and her own resurrection.

[> [> Too right! You may try posting this up in the complaining about season 6 thread. -- Caroline, 11:31:19 03/05/02 Tue

[> [> Great post! Building on the equally great ones above. -- Sophist, 12:31:21 03/05/02 Tue

[> [> WOW! Thanks to you and RAHAEL! for pushing my thinking so much further along -- cynesthesia, 15:04:46 03/05/02 Tue

[> [> Re: metaphor repeato-vision/long was Once More with Joss -- Terrapin, 16:40:18 03/05/02 Tue

Now I know why I never hated season six or gave up on it and said that it was lame. I just didn't take the easy way out.

God I love this show!!!!!!!!

[> [> Excellent! -- Rahael, 09:37:20 03/06/02 Wed

More, more please!

Nothing I can add, except that you hit upon a vague feeling I have that on one hand - fans demand realism - i.e, why can't Buffy do this or that to get herself out of this situation, why isn't Willow paying rent, why is this storyline more credible and so on. And on the other, greater artificiality is needed, more drama, more tension, more spectacular fireworks.

Your comments about Life Serial make me think that ME are addressing this by pointing out that even a 'realistic' season is artifice. We have this character Buffy who is both distant and unobtainable, but also someone we have internalised. What is shown as purported realism in art is highly artificial. It can only be a signifier of reality, a mirror held up to it.

Here we have the most mundane of subjects, Buffy trying out different jobs, but done in the most fantastical manner, with ultra-artificiality, with plenty of pointers toward the nature of the medium, television, where time can be fast forwarded or rewinded, and things can be 'repeated'.

How ironic that the concept of the construction of reality is embedded within a constructed narrative, where the very episode itself is fragmented and broken. The message and the form are united. And I think Season 6 is trying to unite form and content. It feels drearier than previous seasons? less feel good factor? Confused about where it's going? Less glamourous, characters less admirable? No cataclysms, no apocalypses and the world isn't going to end. Buffy and friends are having the 'normal' life they've craved for.

Of course I could be wrong. The writers could just be off their game. I don't think so, but I'm sure everyone on the board who is disappointed with Season 6 will only be too happy to be proved wrong. And plus, people have different tastes in art. I find the events of Season 6 emotionally and intellectually satisfying. But then I like books with a healthy dose of bittersweetness, with no real 'ending' or resolution. I see the narrative as something to be 'lived through'. But you pays your money, and you takes your choice.

[> Re: Once More With Joss (very long, essayish) -- Isabel, 16:35:14 03/05/02 Tue

"Marti Noxon sings to a parking cop a lame and improbable excuse about a fire hydrant that seems to have moved by itself. Interesting that Joss would use his co-executive producer in the role of someone who plainly isn't telling the truth. "

How do you know she isn't telling the truth? This is Sunnydale. The Hellmouth could be causing walking fire hydrants.

(Sorry, I couldn't resist.) ;-)

[> [> Uh, have you ever read any of Marti's interviews? Couldn't resist either;-) -- cynesthesia, 16:59:27 03/05/02 Tue

[> Re: Once More With Joss (very long, essayish) -- Drucilla, 10:37:27 03/06/02 Wed

Your essay in remarkable in it's absolute accuracy, by the way. I was blown away.
The Musical episode is the only one I have bothered tapeing this season. I have watched it over and over, while I have tried to forget the others episodes this season. BtVS has always reached out through the screen and grabbed me, and this season has seemed horribly distant, and now I realize why. "Once More with Feeling" is such odvious foreshadowing, I feel like a moron for not seeing it before it was pointed out. Evrything felt so disjointed this season, like the show itself had cronic depression. I don't like this season, but I do enjoy the cleverness of the illustration of the relationship between Joss and his viewers. This season has the feeling of many different stories happening simultaneously, then having one brilliant plot twist bring it home. I am waiting for Joss to pull it off. Can he do it? Once more to the breech dear friends...

Quick Thoughts on AtS *Sleep Tight* (**SPOILERS**) -- JBone, 21:31:48 03/04/02 Mon

Why isn't someone else starting this thread?

Some really quick thoughts. Loa told Wes that the vampire will devour his son. Well, as gross as it might have been, it was a red herring. Eeuuhhgghh! Feeding someone the blood of their son? That's just so wrong on so many levels. Angel said a couple of episodes ago that Holtz was a good guy. That's as ambiguous as ever. Cordy and Groo are still MIA, and I'm hoping the real reason that they are missing is to show what happens when Cordy's not in the middle of everything. Wes may be dead, I almost kind of hope he is to give the show a post-Jenny Calender (Passion) effect. And my biggest fear from earlier in the season may come to fruition. With Holtz dimension jumping with Connor, Connor just may come back as a grown person. This is the cheapest trick in the book, whether its Hercules or Xena or whatever else sci-fi show.

All that said, excellent episode. I couldn't tear my eyes away.

[> Re: Quick Thoughts on AtS *Sleep Tight* (**SPOILERS**) -- Robert, 21:56:05 03/04/02 Mon

>> "Angel said a couple of episodes ago that Holtz was a good guy. That's as ambiguous as ever."

I thought this was brilliant. I assumed that Holtz would kill Angel's son, just as Angelus had killed Holtz's children. Instead, Holtz does something as devasting, stealing Conner to raise as his own. This is certainly more merciful to Conner, especially if Holtz is a good loving father. Based upon how passionate his hate is, it shouldn't be much of a stretch that he can also be a loving parent. Even more surprising, Holtz apparently did not care whether Angel was killed or not. Angel's suffering at the loss of Conner was sufficient revenge for Holtz.

>> "This is the cheapest trick in the book, whether its Hercules or Xena or whatever else sci-fi show."

You are setting yourself up for failure. Joss is not kind to those who predict cheap tricks, without waiting to see what actually happens. Even when Joss employs cheap tricks, he finds ways to breath new life into them.

[> [> are you kidding? -- anom, 00:05:31 03/06/02 Wed

"This is certainly more merciful to Conner, especially if Holtz is a good loving father. Based upon how passionate his hate is, it shouldn't be much of a stretch that he can also be a loving parent."

Nobody as twisted as Holtz could give a child a healthy upbringing, even w/the best intentions. Even as he was promising to raise Connor as his own, he was threatening to kill him, not just right then, but if Angel ever tried to find them. He wants Connor as a pawn. He may have been a good loving father the 1st time, but I don't think he's capable of being that any more, esp. to his worst enemy's child. Whatever love he could give to Connor would be a sick kind of love.

[> [> [> Re: are you kidding? -- Robert, 13:24:34 03/06/02 Wed

>> "Nobody as twisted as Holtz could give a child a healthy upbringing, even w/the best intentions."

I think you mis-read me. Given the choice of death or an uncertain future, I'll take the uncertain future. Neither I, nor Angel, would wish death on Conner, in preference to an uncertain future with Holtz.

[> [> [> [> Re: are you kidding? -- anom, 19:53:20 03/06/02 Wed

">> 'Nobody as twisted as Holtz could give a child a healthy upbringing, even w/the best intentions.'

I think you mis-read me. Given the choice of death or an uncertain future, I'll take the uncertain future. Neither I, nor Angel, would wish death on Conner, in preference to an uncertain future with Holtz."

Of course not, but that's not the part I was responding to. You said Holtz could be a good loving father to Connor, & that's what I disagree with. Even if he could be loving in his way, I don't see any way he could be a good father, especially to Connor. Certainly, though, it's better that Connor live, even w/Holtz, rather than die.

[> Re: Quick Thoughts on AtS *Sleep Tight* (**SPOILERS**) -- Doriander, 22:09:55 03/04/02 Mon

On Holtz's ambiguity, what the hell was he up to? He builds up an army, after he found out Angel has a son. Then he has this complicit plan with Justine, where they retreat to the country and raise Connor as their own? He seemed to really care for the child. The only scenario I can think of for it to play out as revenge, is for Holtz to raise Connor in very much the same way Morgana raised Mordred.

All that said, excellent episode. I couldn't tear my eyes away.

Second that.

[> [> Re: Quick Thoughts on AtS *Sleep Tight* (**SPOILERS**) -- parakeet, 00:14:23 03/05/02 Tue

Another revenge scenario (apart from the Morgana/Mordred idea posted above)is simply that Angel took away Holtz's family, so Holtz is taking away Angel's. There would even be a certain kind of poetry to Holtz truly loving the child and caring for him as his own. While Holtz is a fanatic (and was even before Angel and Darla hurt him so horribly) that same fanaticism could lead him to taking Conner as his own and denying Angel's patrimony, without ever allowing Conner back into Angel's life (even as an enemy). This might be attributing too much wisdom to the character of Holtz, but it does make a kind of sense. While Conner couldn't fill the void of his dead family, he could provide a new outlet for the experiences Holtz was denied, and deny Angel those same experiences. Of course, leaping into "the darkest of dark dimensions" (or however it was said) puts a serious kink into this, though from Holtz's perspective at that moment he might not have felt that he had any other options.

[> [> [> Re: Quick Thoughts on AtS *Sleep Tight* (**SPOILERS**) -- parakeet, 00:27:33 03/05/02 Tue

Upon a more careful reading of the above posts, I realize that Robert basically made the same point I did. Sorry for the repetition.

[> [> [> [> Re: Quick Thoughts on AtS *Sleep Tight* (**SPOILERS**) -- Robert, 08:32:47 03/05/02 Tue

>> "Sorry for the repetition."

On the other hand, your description was more dramatic.

[> [> [> [> Re: Quick Thoughts on AtS *Sleep Tight* (**SPOILERS**) -- Robert, 08:34:30 03/05/02 Tue

>> "Sorry for the repetition."

On the other hand, your description was more dramatic.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Quick Thoughts on AtS *Sleep Tight* (**SPOILERS**) -- parakeet, 22:30:18 03/05/02 Tue

You are generous, Robert. Thank you, I think. :)

[> [> [> Re: Quick Thoughts on AtS *Sleep Tight* (**SPOILERS**) -- leslie, 10:12:16 03/05/02 Tue

While I'm not sure that this is what was on Holz's mind, Angel certainly seemed to accept that there was some justice in Holz taking Connor as a replacement for his dead family, yet another example of the atonement he has to make for his vampire years.

[> Re: Quick Thoughts on AtS *Sleep Tight* (**SPOILERS**) -- JM, 22:23:50 03/04/02 Mon

Cause it just hurts too much. I thought I was in pain when Doyle died. That was just a practice run. I'll see you in a couple of weeks. If Wes makes it.

[> [> Re: Quick Thoughts on AtS *Sleep Tight* (**SPOILERS**) -- Hauptman, 06:52:29 03/05/02 Tue

I was moved by last night's episode even thought the local WB here in Boston had technical troubles and I missed a couple minutes. I was bothered by the ending, and as someone mentioned, frightened at the possibility of Conner coming back as an adult due to the 'Dark Dimension' grove. Having grown up on Marvel comics, whenever main characters have children I can't help but think, "Okay, when are they going to turn them into an adult with parent issues?"

I think it's fairly obvious that Conner is not Sajan (sp?) or he would not have been pleased when things played out the way they did. If for example Holtz's jumping into the dimensional shift allows Conner to grow up to be Sajan, and Sajan is pissed at Angel for it, then why create the situation that leads to his becoming a time shifting demon thingy? No, there has to be some other reason for Sajan being pissed at Angel.

Wesley: I hope he isn't dead. In fact, I doubt it. But if he was going dark before, he will be hell on wheels in the future. Having your throat slashed has that affect on a person. I loved the skill and confidence Wes has demonstrated in the last few episodes. Unlike the Scoobies, who regularly get their asses kicked while they wait for Buffy to show up, the A.I. gang seems to have learned to kick ass. But I suppose Wes was well on his way to bad ass when he first joined up with Angel being a "Rogue demon hunter" and all.

What I would have liked to have seen in last night's episode would have been a showdown between Gunn and Wes a la Buffy and Faith. Wes couldn't take Angel, but I think he and Gunn are more evenly matched...though I would have bet on Wes to win. Then we could have that tortured scene where Fred is over Gunn's limp form and she says something really nasty to Wes putting the final nail in the coffin for him. That would hvae been good, though perhaps not as disturbing as when Wes put the baby down and chased Lorne. I have to admit that freaked me out. I think Lorne was really frightened of Wes and what Wes was becoming.

All in all a good episode with an exciting, but ultimately lacklustre ending.

[> [> [> "lackluster": exactly the word I used immediately afterwords, too... -- Solitude1056, 07:45:05 03/05/02 Tue

[> [> [> Re: Quick Thoughts on AtS *Sleep Tight* (**SPOILERS**) -- VampRiley, 12:01:27 03/05/02 Tue

That would hvae been good, though perhaps not as disturbing as when Wes put the baby down and chased Lorne. I have to admit that freaked me out. I think Lorne was really frightened of Wes and what Wes was becoming.

That was actually one of my favorite moments this season from either show. Wes attacking one of his own to help him protect someone. Very nice. I so want him to survive. If there is permanent damage, then he'll probably have someone do a spell, possibly like the Pocklas who attatched Lindsey's new hand.

I think it's fairly obvious that Conner is not Sajan (sp?) or he would not have been pleased when things played out the way they did. If for example Holtz's jumping into the dimensional shift allows Conner to grow up to be Sajan, and Sajan is pissed at Angel for it, then why create the situation that leads to his becoming a time shifting demon thingy? No, there has to be some other reason for Sajan being pissed at Angel.

Through most of the ep, I kept getting the feeling that Sahjhan was Connor. I kept thinking of the ST:TNG ep (I forget the name) where Worf's son travels back through time to, I think, stop him from becoming a klingon warrior or make sure he's a klingon warrior (I think the second one). If Sahjhan is really Connor, then I can see it being like this:

1) Angel had sex with Darla and she gave birth to Connor, but died in the process, like we have seen.

2) In the original timeline, Angel raised Connor with the help of his friends. Holtz was never put into suspended animation. Justine and them never attacked Angel Investigations.

3) Only Connor doesn't like the way his life has turned out. Maybe he suffered too much pain from being what he is.

4) Somehow Connor becomes a time traveling demon (Sahjhan) either being forced into it or it was of his own choosing to change the past.

5) As Angel originally raised Connor, he told his son about Holtz, Darla and everything that lead up to him existing. Taking this knowledge, he goes back in time to find Holtz and brings him to the future. Sahjhan wants Holtz to kill Angel, thereby possibly keeping Angel from doing something that ended up effecting Connor really bad. Maybe Connor feels betrayed and wants his father killed.

6) He realizes he forgot to tell Holtz that Angel is different than Angelus. His hatred of his father made him forget this small detail.

7) (Off screen of course) Sahjhan decides that since he had to go through a lot of pain in his life, he decides that it would be better for him to not have existed. Sahjhan does go from wanting Angel dead to wanting to see that Connor dies and he wants Angel to suffer.

8) Sahjhan's opening of the portal to the Quortoth, "darkest of the dark worlds" shows he's tired of waiting around. But he is surprised by Holtz taking BabyConnor through the portal, "taking care of [his] problem".

9) If this is all true, then when he didn't disappear automatically could be explained with there being a time delay for a timeline to re-write itself. Sahjhan's disappearing could be him ceasing to exist or he disappeared before the timestream realigned.

10) His "Have a good summer" could have been his way of saying that he won.

But this is all on the basis that Sahjhan can travel back and forth through time.

Think it's possible or am I thinking too much?


[> [> [> [> Re: Quick Thoughts on AtS *Sleep Tight* (**SPOILERS**) -- Masq, 13:42:09 03/05/02 Tue

I like this idea. It helps explain a lot of what has so far been unexplained (except for that sticking point, how did Connor come about in the first place). One thing that's been bugging me is why Sahjhan would bring Holtz 200 years in the future when he could have simply sent 1774 Holtz to whereever Angelus was in 1774., or to 1898 if he wanted souled Angel dead. Answer? He wanted to bring him to a time Holtz would have an effect on Connor's life somehow (although he didn't want Connor dead in the beginning, or he'd of had Holtz arrive and kill pregnant Darla).

So... something terrible happens to Connor in the old timeline that we are not aware of, yet. It turns the otherwise good, loving adult Connor into the angry, scarred Sahjhan, and has something to do with Angel's choices later in Connor's life.

6) He realizes he forgot to tell Holtz that Angel is different than Angelus. His hatred of his father made him forget this small detail.

This is unnecessary. Sahjan is obviously angry at Angel, not Angelus, so he doesn't give a poop who Holtz is angry at, as long as he goes after Angel one way or another. In fact, Holtz is a great choice, since he thinks Angel is just Angelus with a conscience, not two different people.

But this is all on the basis that Sahjhan can travel back and forth through time.

This is exactly what he does. He uses hopping to other dimensions to travel in time to whatever point he needs to be at. And he can watch this dimension at a distance as well. It's conceivable there is a crazy dimension where time runs backwards, just as there is one where it's always Wednesday.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Quick Thoughts on AtS *Sleep Tight* (**SPOILERS**) -- VampRiley, 15:08:10 03/05/02 Tue

This is unnecessary. Sahjan is obviously angry at Angel, not Angelus, so he doesn't give a poop who Holtz is angry at, as long as he goes after Angel one way or another. In fact, Holtz is a great choice, since he thinks Angel is just Angelus with a conscience, not two different people.

I just meant that Sahjan forgot to think about this detail. He plans out every detail, but like many of us, there is something small that we overlook. Something that just slips our minds. When he realizes that he didn't give Holtz that information, he realizes that he missed a tiny thing. If he had, things might have turned out just a little different. Holtz may have chosen a different tactic than the one he did at the beginning. And now he realizes that it's gonna take a little bit longer to get revenge, justice, whatever it is he's looking for.


[> Red Herring & Whistler in Becoming (Spoilers for Sleep Tight) -- Scroll, 10:03:27 03/07/02 Thu

I don't think Wesley is dead, I really don't! Greenwalt would never get rid of a regular of AD's calibre without a much bigger build up of his death. And anyway, I truly believe Gunn and Fred are gonna show up next ep and rescue poor Wes from a Kendra-a-la-Drusilla death.

As for Connor being in another dimension, I trust in Joss that he won't do the whole Xena "hey, look he's an adult now!" trick. In fact, I strongly suspect he may tease us with the possibility just to get our goats.

Despite speculations abounding about Connor being Sahjan or Groo, I really don't see either of these two to be grown-up Connor. Firstly, Connor is human. Full stop. Sahjan is clearly a demon and Groo is part demon.

The real red herring in this arc is Sahjan, who can't seem to make up his mind who he wants to kill. Angel or Connor? Or does it really not matter to him as long as he stops the two from doing whatever it is they are destined to do? Sahjan tells Lilah he's not scared of Angel, but he's clearly afraid of something Angel will do in the future. I am reminded of Whistler who recruits Angel to the Cause. Whistler is a *balancing demon* on the side of Good, bringing together people (Angel & Buffy) so that Good becomes stronger than evil. Whistler predicted that Angel had been sent to stop Acathla, but instead Angelus was the one to bring the demon forth.

Sahjan, IMHO, is a balancing demon for the side of Evil who wants to off Angel and/or Connor because of their potential for Good. But like Whistler, even a time-shifting demon like Sahjan doesn't have all the facts. He didn't know that Holtz was going to jump into the portal with Connor. He was pleased with the outcome, but he obviously doesn't know everything. We're just going to have to see how all this plays out. I wish I had a better theory about what's going to happen, but I don't. Anyone with speculations?

Very strange twisted theory - AtS spoilers for "Sleep Tight" -- Jen C., 22:36:07 03/04/02 Mon

This was inspired by JBone's post below...where the writer stated that they'd be very upset if Joss pulled a "Xena" and had Connor return fully grown......

Well, what if he already has? Angel couldn't figure out why the dimension hopping demon hated his guts (sorry, bad with demonic names) - And little bitty Connor just got Shanghai's into the "darkest dimension ever" ... I always wondered how that demon knew to show up just when Holtz would be most likely to take him up on the offer to jump forward in time to take his revenge....tell me I'm crazy, please!

[> Re: Very strange twisted theory - AtS spoilers for "Sleep Tight" -- Jimbo, 22:42:35 03/04/02 Mon

I thought the same thing - except the demon-guy seemed genuinely to want to see the tyke dead, and to be surprised when Holtz took him into the demensional rift. If he was Conner, you'd think he'd know more...

Unless... maybe he is Conner, but has no specific memories - he knows he hates Angel for "abandoning" him, but doesn't know why, or even what their true relationship is...

Hey, it could happen...

[> Re: Very strange twisted theory - AtS spoilers for "Sleep Tight" -- luvthistle1, 23:57:29 03/04/02 Mon

Very strange twist indeed. When Holtz jump into the portal, the first thing I thought about was the town of Pylea, where the "Gruselag" come from. I was thinking that maybe the Gruselag is Conner all grown up? I mean it would acount for alot of things.Like why he is so different from the parents that raise him, and him being so strong, it also can account for the rumor as to how they where going to age Conner. What I want to know is Wesley really dead? I know she (the slayer)slash his throat (poor Wes), but maybe they will get to him in enough time to save him. *maybe*...I hope...Poor Wes.

What I want to know what's with the demon band? what were they trying to do?, and Where are Cordy and Groo? why haven't they called? Anyone?

[> [> Wesley and Connor and Kendra ... oh my! (SPOLIERY SPECULATION) -- Earl Allison, 02:12:22 03/05/02 Tue

Wesley -- Forgive the cold-bloodedness here, but he'd BETTER be dead, or I'll have a serious bone to pick with someone. Although, they very, very clearly left a way for Wesley to live -- specifically mentioning an Emergency Room "a minute away." Why do I think he should be dead -- point three below ...

Connor -- Someone already speculated that Connor was Groo, and it is certainly possible. As for Connor being our time-travelling friend, if that were the case, then why would he ask Lilah for some of the blood of Angel's son, he's already got it! Admittedly, he can't GIVE it to anyone as far as I can tell, but with his ability to open portals and travel between dimensions, getting some blood to someone should be relatively easy, right?

Kendra -- What does Kendra have to do with this? She DIED from a slashed throat. Okay, her wound was delivered by an insane vampiress, but she was a SLAYER, with all those nifty recuperative powers and all -- for Wesley to pull through without a really good explanation will rub me the wrong way -- knock off poor Ms. Lawson, but leave Wesley alive? It'd just be another slap in the face to the whole Slayer thing -- heck, why DOES the world need Slayers if normal people can take vamps on so effectively (both Angel Investigations AND Holtz's minions)?

Okay, rant over. Overall, good episode, except for Lorne's convenient keening wail to disorient his opponents -- where was this skill when his club was being shot up?

Take it and run.

[> [> [> Sleep Tight and the Big Sleep (spoilers) -- mole noir in trenchcoat and matching fedora, 07:55:04 03/05/02 Tue

Last week I made the offhand remark that the current AtS plot reminded me of 'The Maltese Falcon' with Connor as the bird. After last night it reminds me of another Bogart film, 'The Big Sleep', which has such a famously convoluted plot-line that it is easy to miss rather glaring plot holes. Bogart and Bacall don't so much solve the case as survive it, getting to the bottom of the matter by elimination. This is a common theme in film noir - the hero being caught up in a web of intrigue through no fault of his own and having to struggle through it.

To me Holtz's actions don't make any sense. His plan for revenge was too complicated. Given the rather lax security around Connor he could have easily taken the baby himself with a little surveillance. It strikes me that Holtz himself didn't really know what he wanted to do, right up until the last minute. He didn't have a master plan, he was making it up as he went along.

And Wesley was a classic noir figure - not trusting anyone, keeping things to himself, not really knowing what he was going to do until just before he did it. And what about Justine - how much of her conflict with Holtz was pretence and how much was genuine? I'll bet she left the big confrontation and high-tailed it back to the park to make sure she hadn't killed Wes. Lilah didn't really seem to know what she wanted in any specific sense - just to get back at Angel.

The only figure he seemed to have something specific in mind was Sahjan and he wasn't telling. At first he wanted Angel dead and then tonight he wanted Connor dead and didn't seem to care about Angel.

So what you have is a bunch of beings who don't really know what they want, that are conflicted at some level. Holtz wants revenge on Angel but I think he really wants it to come down in a way that doesn't violate his standard of morality despite his statements to the contrary. Otherwise why the delay and overly elaborate preparation? Rather than complex schemes, everyone is trying to second guess everyone else with tragedy the outcome.

The massacre of demon muscians really bothered me. Not so much for Angel's bloodthirsty rage but for Wesley's rather offhand comment that killing them was the only thing you could do. Especially as we hadn't been told of anything bad that they'd done, or were likely to do in the future that just didn't seem to jive with what we've seen in the Angelverse. Perhaps it was all a mistake, reflecting both Wesley's and Angel's states of mind but I think if that was the case then Gunn/Lorne/Fred might have protested a bit.

Lorne's singing seemed inconsistent to me as well.

mole lights a cigarette and fades into the night to look for a cheap hotel room to hole up in until the next episode

[> [> [> [> Re: And tries to sleep in the glare of harsh neon lights and shrill drunken laughter -- Brian, 08:37:19 03/05/02 Tue

I thought that the Demons were corrupting other musicians and turning them into demons like themselves. Therefore, they were evil and needed to be destroyed. (Nevermind the quality of their music)

[> [> [> [> [> Until awakened by pounding on the door -- matching mole, 10:59:49 03/05/02 Tue

I perceived that I as a side-effect rather than something that was done intentionally. Who knows?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: and realizes that Phil Noir is making new demands -- Brian, 11:06:06 03/05/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> demon musicians -- yuri, 21:45:22 03/05/02 Tue

I too assumed it was a side effect. I thought that whole fight scene was very weird, and it didn't even seem like they were going to have a real throw down until Angel went all Connor's-blood-crazy on em. Did it slightly stun anyone else when Fred finally shot one? And then Gunn was like "huh, okay then I guess we'll kill them all." (That's how I remember it, unfortunately did not record so can't go back and review.)

It was another one of those how-demonic-is-demonic-enough-to-kill moments. I mean, pretending they were someone/thing else to get play? I dunno...

(However, that woman's demonic outburst was really damn scary - it actually made me jump - and if she was infected by those demons, does that mean that they kill babies or whatever she said?)

[> Re: Very strange twisted theory - AtS spoilers for "Sleep Tight" -- yez, 11:39:47 03/05/02 Tue

I'd been thinking along these lines myself, of Sahjan (sp?) potentially being Connor. Connor being hauled off into a hell/demon dimension might support that -- except for Sahjan seeming kind of pleased with that outcome, which would seem to rule it out.

But nods to other posters about Gru being Connor. Maybe Cordy dressing him up in Angel's clothes and cutting his hair to look like Angel's was a big clue.

I was also confused about why all the attention suddenly shifted from killing Angel to killing/saving Connor. I mean, earlier, it was all about everybody wanting to get their hands on Connor, but that seemed to die down. Funny that.

And yeah, it would be really stupid if Wes didn't die from that slash -- though I doubt he will. It seems that if it was bad enough to make him almost immediately loose consciousness, that would suggest a rapid loss of blood and drop of blood pressure, right? Even if the ER was one-minute away, it seems highly unlikely he'd survive, especially considering that Justine is a trained killer and didn't seem to be making a hesitant slash.


[> [> about that emergency room... (spoilers for sleep tight) -- Solitude1056, 14:31:12 03/05/02 Tue

Gotta remember that just because Scene II happens after Scene I doesn't mean that Scene II follows chronologically from Scene I... Let's see if I remember this right:

Holtz appears, big fight, Holtz strolls off. Afterwards, Angel & crew figure out what's going on, where's the baby, what Wesley is up to, etc etc. Cut to Wesley, who's sneaking out with the baby and suitcase in hand. Whole Justine hurt-bird nonsense, Wesley gets injured, Justine zooms off. And the important question is: where are the "meanwhile, back at the O.K. corrall..." indicators because it's possible that when Angel heads off to track down Holtz at his digs and comes across Lilah and the goons, it's at the same time that Gunn and Fred are heading towards Wesley's - which means that even though we didn't see it, Gunn and Fred could feasibly have been pulling up only a second after the camera left Wesley.

Further, I didn't see a whole boatload o' blood on Wesley (although I don't know if WB would've nixed that for gruesome points) but it seemed likely to me that he sank down on the ground not because he was passing out but because he knew he'd failed. He couldn't exactly run after Justine as she sped off in his car, the child was lost, and he was helpless to do anything about it - just as helpless as he's been all along, despite his attempts to rail against an unjust universe. King Lear, screaming at the storm, and finally collapsing in defeat - yeah, that's Wesley.

Ahem. Anyway, it's possible that the chronology of the episode is such that Gunn and Fred are arriving any moment now. On the other hand, it's possible they'll drive right by once they see his car is gone... who knows. Five weeks til we find out!

[> [> but of course there's the possibility that she didn't <i>want</I> -- yuri, 21:50:45 03/05/02 Tue

to kill him. (Spoiler? I don't know, I figure don't take chances in subject lines.) If she's a well trained killer I'm sure she has the skill and knowhow to unfatally wound a person. (I don't know anything about necks slicing open and the chances of living, so excuse me if it really is just impossible.)

[> [> [> okay so html doesn't work in subject lines. Live and learn. -- yuri, 21:51:56 03/05/02 Tue

[> [> [> neck wound (somewhat gruesome and Sleep Tight spoiler) -- matching mole, 09:27:24 03/06/02 Wed

I'm no expert on medicine but I did teach human anatomy labs in the distant past so I'm allowing myself to speculate on Wesley's injury.

The throat contains two pairs of major blood vessels, right and left carotid arteries which carry blood into the head and right and left jugular veins which drain blood from the head.

A serious wound to a carotid artery is highly likely to be fatal, and I would think almost certain if you are alone like Wesley. Loss of blood supply to the brain is pretty much instantaneous. However the arteries are deeper in the neck than the veins and thus less likely to be injured. An injury to a vein is less devastating because the blood supply to the brain is not directly cut off and the loss of blood will be slower due to the reduced pressure in the veins relative to the arteries. If the vein was completely severed then Wesley is probably a goner but if it was nicked then he may be able to stave off blood loss by applying pressure. I am speculating, don't really have any medical information that I'm drawing on, just basic anatomy and physiology.

Possibly she only cut through more superficial blood vessels but I am sceptical that such a wound would have caused him to collapse so quickly although it would explain the small amount of blood. Maybe it was shock?

Where do we go from here? -- Cactus Watcher, 05:57:55 03/05/02 Tue

That was the music question at the end of OMWF. Unfortunately, the answer for the Buffy series has been a resounding nowhere. If you look at where the gang was then and when it is now, you can tell there has been about two eps. worth of real story in the last eight. Nothing important has happened to Xander and Anya. Dawn's big punishment for being caught stealing was apparently a moment of embarrassment. Willow realizes she was doing too much magic, and her quarrel with Tara is cooling down. Buffy had a fling with Spike, and now not only realizes that wasn't a good idea, but has taken steps to end it. Pardon me, while I yawn.

Every year, the Buffy series bogs down about this time. But, this year it's been especially bad because the action aspect of the show has been toned down to the point that the fights are almost gratuitous. Clearly, conquering one's inner demons is what ME has meant by growing up, this year. But, unfortunately, real adults don't necessarily conquer their inner demons.

I hate to say it, but I think Buffy, the series, is in serious trouble. It was an extremely bad sign this past week that so many intelligent people on this board missed the "hit 'em over the head with it" symbol of Riley being scarred, that so many people missed the point that Sam as much as told Buffy, Riley wasn't over her when they got married, that so many people took the whole Riley- Sam business at face value.

Because of conflicts with basketball games I won't be able to see at least five new eps. in a row of Buffy at their regular time on Tuesday. Last week in Buffy's usual time slot, I watched the new show 'Watching Ellie.' and an ep. of Frasier, a series I haven't watched in years. 'Watching Ellie,' despite the flaw of every man in town inexplicably fawning over the same woman was pretty good. Being Buffyless again tonight, I'll probably watch it again. But, the ep of Frasier, reminded me why I quit watching that show. It was stale, nothing of any importance has happened in years. They are still making the same jokes about the same situations. Obviously, there are plenty of people willing to put up with this. Frasier has been on all these years, and popular to boot. It just isn't something I want to watch anymore.

I've liked Buffy all along, because it was a show worth thinking about. Right now, it just isn't worth it... The bright side to all this is that last year I was ready to give up on Angel for much the same reasons. This year Angel has been well worth watching. I sincerely hope Buffy turns around soon...

[> Re: Where do we go from here? -- Rahael, 07:47:11 03/05/02 Tue

I must admit that I'm growing troubled too. I'm loving Season 6, and in fact thinking about it more than any previous season. Now it could be due to the fact that this is the first Buffy season I've 'watched with the board', since I only caught the tail end of commentary on Season 5 when I started lurking last June.

But more and more of the regulars are growing disenchanted. I too have stopped watching Frasier, so I know exactly what you're referring too. But I still remember the wow factor late last year when I got to view Bargaining, After life, OMWF, Tabula Rasa and so on, one after another. Season 6 is resonating with me. Dead Things which I saw in the US, I thought was very powerful. I managed to download bits and pieces of OaFA, and I liked what I saw of that too.

I'm less worried about Buffy than by the fact that my opinion is diverging from those of so many I respect! I can't quite put my finger on why this season is splitting opinion so much. I loved Season 4 too. Perhaps I should just admit that I am an uncritical fan, waiting eagerly for the latest output from ME.

[> Has the novelty worn thin? -- Rachel (Rahael's "C" namesake), 08:24:57 03/05/02 Tue

Orphaned family trying to raise the kid(s) in the parent's old homestead? Been there, done that on Party of Five. Group of twentysomethings trying to find their purpose in life whilst conducting various interesting romances? Been there, done that on any FOX/WB show. Transition from "The Truth is Out There" thought-provoking eps to "Will They Hook Up?" Been there, done that on X-Files. (Okay, I'm not against Nekkid(!)Spike at all. Ever.)

BtVS was incredibly intriguing when it portrayed a teenager fighting enormously scary monsters at night while navigating high school by day. This is what hooked me on the show. I am wistful for those days. I remain a loyal fan, though, because BtVS is atypical of the rest of the twentysomething shows. It's a "Friends" for those of us who like a little monster in our TV, as Spike might put it.

Here's what I hope: Right now we're on the far end of the orbit around the center of the Buffyverse. The rest of this season will pull us back to center. Extraneous characters will bite the dust, Buffy will be more Slayer less mommy, we'll once again sit foward to watch the show. And Spike will generally be made to walk around without a shirt.

[> Maybe we've been spoiled? -- Wisewoman, 08:28:04 03/05/02 Tue

Your post got me thinking, CW, especially the mention of Frasier, which used to be a good TV show, but a TV show, nonetheless. I realized I've never thought of BtVS that way. It was more than that. Perhaps now it's become just "a good TV show," still better than the run-of-the-mill fare, but no longer in a different category altogether?

The inconsistencies, the plotholes, that apparent character stagnation, are all worrisome, but not enough that I'm ready to stop watching. I have to say, even if it sounds elitist, my belief is that the difference this season is owing to the lack of time Joss has available to spend on his "flagship." The ME staff consists of great writers, directors, and producers. Joss is not just a great writer, director, and producer, he's a f***ing genius. And he spoiled us good.

Still optimistic about a turn-around before season's end, but there's no Joss in the future of season 6, so...


[> [> No spoilers in the above post--different kind of spoiled ;o) -- dubdub, 08:38:06 03/05/02 Tue

[> Re: Where do we go from here? -- desultory, 08:52:31 03/05/02 Tue

I'll bite (since I'm obviously not intelligent :) - what does Riley's scar signify?


[> [> How many good characters on Buffy and Angel have scars? -- CW, 11:35:45 03/05/02 Tue

Despite all the battling, stabbing, slashing, impaling and broken bones, virtually nobody bad or good gets scarred. One big exception was Kakistos, who obviously had a momentous run-in with Faith. We've seen all sorts of nasty things happen to the Scoobies and yet everything seemingly heals prefectly. Then Riley shows up, not with an itty-bitty scar on his arm, or even on that shoulder he dug into once-upon-a-time, but a big nasty one right down his face. Is this an accident? Hardly. Is it something a viewer can quickly overlook? Obviously. Especially, if you didn't like the ep. or were too annoyed at how perfect Sam and Riley seem. What do scars mean? Injuries, serious difficulties, lives that aren't 'perfect' maybe? Reflections of deeper wounds inside maybe? Was Riley 'scarred' by what happened between him and Buffy? Maybe. Has Riley's life with Sam been one jolly romp after another? Not jolly likely.

Riley and Sam clearly have had some bad times. Even if you don't take Sam's words to Buffy absolutely literally, Riley has not been over Buffy very long. How would you feel if you were certain the person you'd just married was still deeply in love with an old flame? Things obviously have gotten better for Sam and Riley.

Buffy is clearly having bad times, now. If you just plain don't like last ep. (and believe me that's valid!) you are not going to make the connection that Riley and Sam were having bad times not so long ago. Riley's scars mean that not just the Slayer's life sometimes "sucks beyond the telling of it." If things can get better for Riley, they can get better for Buffy as well.

[> [> [> Re: How many good characters on Buffy and Angel have scars? -- Herself, 12:35:41 03/05/02 Tue

Buffy does sport a scar on her neck from Angel's bite at the end of season 3, although they haven't shone this to us
in a while. Parker saw it.

[> [> [> [> Re: How many good characters on Buffy and Angel have scars? -- CW, 12:50:32 03/05/02 Tue

Yes, and like all good scars on Buffy and Angel, we only see it when we're supposed to be reminded of it. And what does Buffy's 'sometimes' scar signify? Not hard to puzzle out, is it?

[> [> [> [> [> Another scar -- Malandanza, 15:55:42 03/05/02 Tue

Another scar -- Buffy from the wishworld, giving further support to your idea that scars are the outward manifestation of inner (spiritual) damage.

But I don't think this season is as bad as you suggested in your initial post -- certainly, it got off to a great start (Buffy dragged out of Heaven but her friends, trying to cope, then abandoned by Giles at the same time she was forced to relive the Paradise Lost experience because of Willow's amnesia spell). Sex with Spike was bad for Buffy, but a believable development -- and seems to have been an escape rather than addiction (so drugs as escape is an okay metaphor for the B/S relationship). More importantly, I think this latest episode has laid the groundwork for an interesting debate -- whether soulless creatures (like Spike) are irredeemable -- Buffy and Riley both suggest that Spike cannot be redeemed -- like Spike has insisted all along, he's a monster.

Additionally, the Warren and Jonathan's reactions to the accidental death of Katrina seem to be revisiting the Faith/Buffy accidental killing. Both Warren and Faith were fully committed to the want/take/have lifestyle and Jonathan and Buffy were along for the ride (and enjoying themselves). I have wondered what would have happened with Buffy had she not told Giles the truth -- how she would have handled the guilt. With Jonathan, I think we will find out.

As for the Sam and Riley dynamic, I think you are absolutely correct -- the relationship is far from picture perfect. But I think it will get better now that Riley has some closure. In particular, I think Riley has been carrying around an enormous amount of guilt for the failed relationship between himself and Buffy -- he failed her twice: once with Faith (not his fault, but he believes it is) and once with the vamps (and allowing Spike as Iago to help him destroy the relationship). His flight from Sunnydale had less to do with demands for forgiveness and more to do with the shame he felt and the conviction that Buffy would never accept him again (he already believed that she didn't love him -- even when the relationship was going well).

[> Completely and respectfully disagree (spoilers for season 6) -- Caroline, 09:15:55 03/05/02 Tue

I've always loved Buffy. However, season 6 has been, for me, superlative. Previous seasons have operated rather fabulously in terms of metaphor, myth and pschology but this season has been outstanding. It was the strongest season start ever from Bargaining to Tabula Rasa with a little inconsistency from Smashed onwards (my beef is the Willow addiction thing - the ball got dropped here. And I'm still confused about the timeline in Wrecked!). But in psychological terms, I'm still finding it very believable and well-written and acted. People don't go through something difficult and then become immediately cured the next episode. I find this amazingly, painfully real. Buffy is suffering the consequences of a whole bunch of stuff that she's trying to work her way through. As are several of her friends and possibly Xander and Anya if ME maintains its track record of ensuring the maximum pain for everyone.

As for this Board, there are people on here who provoke (in a good way) and inspire me. So maybe I don't get every symbol or metaphor - I can turn here and read everyone else and be inspired. There are posters here who have different strengths in analysis and interpretation and view the show through a different prism to me and I find that valuable.

[> [> Ditto -- Sophist, 10:03:24 03/05/02 Tue

While I don't agree with every detail of Caroline's post, I'm there on S6 overall. There are things I don't like -- the addiction metaphor, AYW -- but I think it's well up to the standards of previous years.

One reason for my enjoyment is this Board. I get so much more out of the show from the discussions here than I ever did trying to puzzle things out on my own. Even the most serious criticisms make me think more about the episodes.

But I still don't get the scar on Riley's face. Is a scar just a scar?

[> [> [> Look at it as an imperfection in perfection that makes it perfect -- Brian, 11:03:12 03/05/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> LOL -- Sophist, 12:20:59 03/05/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> Re: Look at it as an imperfection in perfection that makes it perfect -- Rufus, 12:24:03 03/05/02 Tue

That scar, that scar that is proof of imperfection that is missed by those only capable of seeing a perfect Riley. It reminded me that they haven't grown up that much. Riley turned Xander, and Buffy into insecure children. Buffy felt like a klutz, Xander was fixated on Rileys wedding. Willow was reminded that she was a junkie. I kind of thought that Riley made them long for days that were simpler, they had an idea of where they were going or not going. They had been less touched by tragedy. There was no mention of Joyce that I remembered, or of Buffy's demise. Riley may have seemed perfect, but he no longer was part of the gang. His only purpose seemed to be to get them to think in a different way than they did before he showed up at the DMP. No one questioned Rileys scar because they were too busy worried about their own scars, they hoped didn't show, to this man that was the subject of some hero worship and wishful thinking. He was the last tie to the childish past that had to be severed. Buffy is on her own, but at least he reminded her of who she really is and that's not just a slayer, or the smell.

[> [> [> [> [> So what you're saying is -- Sophist, 13:02:45 03/05/02 Tue

that the writers intended for the SG to see Riley and Sam as having perfect lives, but that the scar is a signal to us in the audience that this is not the case? Hmmm. Seems like a big burden to carry for a small scar.

I still am not getting it, though. If we're supposed to see that Riley is not perfect, doesn't that undercut our acceptance of the SG view that we see in AYW? Why would the SG see him in such a favorable light when all he did was re-join the Initiative?

I know the SG saw R/Sam as wonderful. I know the writers intended us to see them doing so. I just can't understand why or how this was plausible within the logic of previous episodes or basic psychology.

Breathing normally now.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: So what you're saying is -- Rufus, 15:51:05 03/05/02 Tue

The Initiative is no longer, it's destroyed and it's existance has been expunged by the government. The Initiative was Maggie Walsh and she is dead. I'm not sure what the Army was up to, but it's not modifying demons anymore.

The scar, it's a reminder that if you look closely, no one is perfect, the perception of perfection was Buffy's and Xanders. Riley is no different than he was before, a boy with toys and a mission, one that no longer includes Sunnydale. His contribution was to tell Buffy that his perception of her is unchanged, she is still a strong woman. Because she admires Riley, she listened. It happens all the time, someone will listen to someone removed from their life, instead of those closest to them. Riley only reminded her of who she is under all that insecurity.

I didn't see either Sam or Riley as perfect. There were plenty of hints that they weren't...we just didn't have enough time to see anything more than the facade.

[> [> Re: Completely and respectfully disagree (spoilers for season 6) -- Shabidoo, 15:56:01 03/06/02 Wed

"People don't go through something difficult and then become immediately cured the next episode. I find this amazingly, painfully real."

I totally agree. BtVS has had the main character suffering from major depression for a year (since Joyce's death). It is so anti all TV rules that I marvel at the storyline's bravery. It warms my television-hating heart to see a show that is willing to be very dark for the long haul. The extended darkness is necessary to depict Buffy's responses to her sucky life in a way that is true to her character. The series requires a realistic patience in the viewer which few shows do. It may be painful to watch but it is real.

Similarly, I love the depictions of what some posters would call mundane moments--Buffy vs. Housework, Buffy vs. Doublemeat Palace. I love when any work of art shows a character doing work and dealing with work. Work (after sleep and, maybe, waiting in line) occupies the majority of nearly everyone's adult lives and deserves to be addressed by art. Most shows, even those set in a workplace, rarely show characters actually doing work or dealing with the psychological consequences of having an unfulfilling job.

Anyway, Buffy has always had to cope with less titillating responsibilities than slaying. Showing Buffy dreading the dishes is really not that different from showing her dreading the SATs. She just has adult responsibilities to juggle with the slaying instead of adolescent ones.

[> what about s7? -- abby, 11:04:54 03/05/02 Tue

Something I've been wondering is...what can they do in s7?
s1- the master...bad vamp
s2- angel/angelus...more bad vamp action
s3- faith / the mayor...human evil
s4- the gvt...
s5- a god
s6- 'inner demons'

What storylines do you see evolving? I guess it hinges on the BSD but I really don't know how much more of 'victim buffy' I can put up with. Is there going to be a 'big bad'? What kind of form could they take?

(and I bet now theyre regretting using Dracula up in one epi!)

[> [> Re: what about s7? -- neaux, 13:11:13 03/05/02 Tue

I'll say it again.. because I'm silly..

season 7 should be Buffy vs the Devil

[> [> [> Re: what about s7? (+ possible vague hints at spoilage) -- O'Cailleagh, 18:41:22 03/05/02 Tue

s7 should not be Buffy v the devil. It wouldn't be at all consistant with the Buffyverse mythology (or JW's atheism).
Although much mention has been made of Hell, we are always told that this is just the common name for a myriad of Demon dimensions, and there has been little to no mention made of a devil/Satan figure. The closest we've gotten to that would be Glory, or the First Evil.
If we are going to see Willow become evil (as has been hinted at and now seemingly forgotten) I think she should be the Big Bad of s7. Anyone fancy a VampWitchWillow?.....
Actually, thinking on it (sudden inspiration!) some of the spoilers on the Trollop board could pave the way for this....I won't say what they are for fear of offending anyone, but I'll tell you they were recent ones if ya wanna check them out yourselves!

[> [> [> [> Devils -- neaux, 10:42:02 03/06/02 Wed

ok.. maybe not Buffy versus THE Devil.. but it could be just a regular Devil.. like the Tasmanian Devil or the Duke Blue Devils (damn Jason Williams!)

but just a minor devil would still work I think..

[> [> [> Re: what about s7? (+ possible vague hints at spoilage) -- O'Cailleagh, 18:47:01 03/05/02 Tue

s7 should not be Buffy v the devil. It wouldn't be at all consistant with the Buffyverse mythology (or JW's atheism).
I would not be comfortable with that scenario either. As a Pagan, its nice to watch an 'Occult- orientated' show that doesn't constantly refer to a Judeo-Christian mythological system (helps with the believing what's going on thing).Although much mention has been made of Hell, we are always told that this is just the common name for a myriad of Demon dimensions, and there has been little to no mention made of a devil/Satan figure (There is also little mention of God/Yahweh-in the Buffyverse they are the PTB). The closest we've gotten to that would be Glory, or the First Evil.
If we are going to see Willow become evil (as has been hinted at and now seemingly forgotten) I think she should be the Big Bad of s7. Anyone fancy a VampWitchWillow?.....
Actually, thinking on it (sudden inspiration!) some of the spoilers on the Trollop board could pave the way for this....I won't say what they are for fear of offending anyone, but I'll tell you they were recent ones if ya wanna check them out yourselves!

[> [> [> [> Re: what about s7? (+ possible vague hints at spoilage) -- O'Cailleagh, 18:49:27 03/05/02 Tue

Whoops.wrong button or something...sorry.

[> [> Re: what about s7? -- Goji3, 16:19:35 03/05/02 Tue

Monster wise...they have limited options for something that could hold out for a full season. Many for a few eps, but only a few for the long haul...

One thing I can think of is a monster Buffy CAN'T and WON'T defeat. A 'Kaiju'(Giant Japanese Monster in the classic Godzilla Mold) in the classic tradition. A Walking Natural Disaster, all she can do is pick up the peices...but then that's more Victim Buffy...

hmm...wait a's almost always been about 'victim Buffy'. S2 she was victemized by Angel, and in Season 3/4 by Faith, Season 5 was Joyce's Cancer, just to name a few.

As for the arc breakdown...I see it like this...

S1 - The set up: Villain is Mcguffin aka the Master
S2 - Dangers of Early sex and Stalker boyfreinds: Villain is Angelus. a more potent anti-sex warning than an STD!
S3 - Leaving authority behind for the first time and taking responsiblity for ones actions: Villains are Mayor (Authority) and Faith (The Girl who won't let go of comforting Father Figure)
S4 - College Seperating Old freinds: Villain is the Government Fraternety House AKA the Initiative
S5 - Family, how it was left behind in college, and how important Family is: Villain is Mcguffin AKA Glory
S6 - About the Demons inside you, taking responsibility again, total seperation from Guiding figures, first time out on their own: Villain is the Geek Triotica - More people who will not grow up. (and people wonder why there are so many Faith-Warren connections being made!)
S7 - ...
A)Things we can't control, forces of Nature - Villain is Mcguffin
B)People who come to change/replace your beliefs, force you into stuff you don't want - Villain is an Invader of some kind, be they cults, terrorists or aliens :p
C) ...

That's all I can think of right about now...

[> Half full vs. half empty -- matching mole, 11:44:01 03/05/02 Tue

When I started watching BtVS I perceived it primarily as a satire on high school. I've noticed that a number of posters have at one time or another stated that they intially didn't watch the show because it sounded silly. Silly was fine with me, especially if it was silly and clever which it was. Kind of like Frasier and there was a definitely a lot of the same kind of appeal to both shows back then. Great dialog, clever stories, that's what drew me in to both BtVS and Frasier.

Frasier has stayed much the same over the years both in terms of content and style. Even if they had been able to maintain the energy and enthusiasm of the early years the impact of the show was bound to dwindle. How many different episodes can you watch in which Frasier messes up yet another relationship, no matter how cleverly written, and still be affected by it?

From seasons 1 through 5 BtVS changed considerably in content but stayed relatively stylistically constant. Season 6 has seen a dramatic change in both content and style. I will admit that I find that the stylistic changes do affect my enjoyment of the show on one level. As Solitude (I think) remarked a few weeks ago, I really miss hearing the distinctive voices of the main characters. In AYW there is nothing wrong with Willow's lines to Buffy about Sam. They seem like reasonable things to say, they don't sound stupid or awkward. But they don't sound like Willow, there's none of her characteristic patterns of speech or inflection. Similarly with Xander and Anya - they could be any young couple about to be married.

However I do find the content changes to be very intriguing. In the past I never found the 'hero's journey' aspect of the show all that interesting but season 6 has kindled in me a stronger interest in Buffy the character than I've ever had before. Are the stylistic changes a necessary consequence of the content changes or are they an indication of a decline in the quality of writing/direction/production? I have no idea.

[> [> I think season 6 is a message from Joss.... -- Caroline, 14:14:12 03/05/02 Tue

I think that Joss is doing what you call the stylistic changes intentionally. Because they are growing up and changing. For example there's still a few bits here and there of old Willow but she's going through something pretty major, a period of change, confusion, adjustment, growth etc. That's certainly enough to explain why someone's 'voice' would change or that they would say different things or behave in a different way. (I think that good and successful examples of this are Cordelia and Wesley on Angel) And it's an example of style fitting and mirroring content. Maybe Joss is trying to tell us to grow up with them too, in terms of the perspective we have of the show. I think that alcibiades' post further down in the 'Once More with Joss' thread is an excellent explanation of what Joss is trying to say to us in season 6. And I think that this goes hand-in-hand with the content changes you've mentioned, which I agree are excellent.

[> [> [> I agree that -- cynesthesia, 14:41:50 03/05/02 Tue

"Maybe Joss is trying to tell us to grow up with them too"

Part of growing up, eg. learning to think for yourself, comes from questioning authority and assumptions and not taking things at face value. ME can give us their apparent version of what something means, but we don't necessarily have to buy it. A case in point being the ridiculously perfect Riley Finns. The audience is balking at all the things that don't add up and at being asked to override their own instincts concerning the story. IMHO, most people's instincts are pretty good and worth paying attention to. All those doubts and inconsistencies are leading us to question what we're being given in terms of the story, intentionally, I think.

ME may have something in common with Spike though, they're not very good liars. ;)

[> Re: Where do we go from here? -- Terrapin, 16:08:56 03/05/02 Tue

I would also have to disagree with you CW. I find that this season really has me thinking so much. Which is also positive. Season six has such a different tone and style. That's why I like it so much. Especially the Buffy and Spike fling/relationship. I went from hating Spike to liking him, to excepting him. Right now I'm still not sure how I feel about him. I'm so damn eager to see where they go with his character now that Buffy SAYS she is dumping him. That will be very interesting.

As for Buffy, well first I really felt that she should just grow up and get on with her life. Then the alley sex scene in DMP made me feel for her. And it made me look back on the other episodes and see the path that she had chosen and I began to understand. And right now I'm happy that she at least admitted what she did and is ready to move on.

As for Dawn, well I think they still need to spend more time with her character. I don't think that a simple talk with Buffy can exuse her behavior or even fix it. But we still have more new eps to come.

I have faith in the show and am excited about tonight's episode. Buffy is still the best show on TV. Nothing else, I think, can really compare.

[> Re: Where do we go from here? -- Aven, 07:22:57 03/06/02 Wed

My whole bitch with S6 so far is that the characterisation which has been one of the glories of BtVS, has now become inconsistent rather than evolving, and there has been much revisiting of old themes. Take Warren's killing of Katrina for instance. In S5 Warren became disillusioned with his sexbot because it was so predictable, and the very reason he wanted Katrina so much. S6 has turned this on its head, and since there is no integrated theme to the show, this has to have been done for dramatic reasons rather than contributing to the overall scenario. Also, I have mentioned before that I find the reversal in Spike's character less than convincing this time round.

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