March 2004 posts

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Angel: S4, Gwen, 666 Pattern (coincidence or ingenious?) -- Mike, 14:52:47 03/25/04 Thu

I happened to think about something about Angel's Fourth season and how many times Gwen appeared. First off, Gwen was only in three episodes for S4. Here's something I couldn't help notice ad began wondering if there was a 666 pattern or not in th episode lineup 1-22. If the pattern I'm about to explain has an underlying message or omen for Angel and AI or not.
You know how ther are 22 episodes per season. Gwen appeared in episodes 4.2, 4.9, and 4.16. After each Gwen appearance, 6 episodes pass by. Here's another way to put it:

4.1 - season premiere
4.2 - 1st Gwen appearance
4.3-4.8 - "6" eps thru
4.9 - 2nd Gwen appearance
4.10-4.15 - "6" eps thru
4.16 - 3rd Gwen appearance
4.17-4.22 - "6" eps thru

If Joss had an underlying message, reason, omen, for this, it could be an ingenious way of declaring Angel is heading straight to Hell. And Angel made feelings for the worst more clear this season, telling Spike much earlier that they're both going to Hell. If it's purely coincidential, that's cool too. Nevertheless, IMHO it's something extraordinary, bringing forth a 666 pattern, accident or not.


[> Re: Probably how the actresses contract was structured -- Vegeta, 12:44:49 03/26/04 Fri

Angel V.11: 'Damage' -- Liam, 02:07:46 03/26/04 Fri

This was a good, creepy episode, which would have been great if Andrew hadn't been in it. >:


1. Dana:
a. The actress was good and well cast.
b. I _loved_ her smile when Spike put on his game face. :)
c. It was suitably creepy when she was mixing Slayer talk with her torturer's.
d. Her taking off of Spike's coat before torturing him, which reminded me of Robin Wood in 'Lies My Parents Told Me'.
e. Her torturing of Spike, as he deserved it.
2. The fact that the implications of the Scoobies' slayer activation spell were dealt with, including the fact that _they_ were therefore responsible for the 4 people we saw Dana kill.
3. Eve not being around.
4. Lorne playing a full part in events. I loved his calling Eve 'Twiggy' and wanting to break her into 'little sticks', and his looking for a whip. :)
5. The only time I even tolerated Andrew was when he told Angel: 'I've got 12 slayers behind me, and not one of them has ever dated you'. Still, it would have sounded better coming from someone else.
6. The scene between Angel and Spike at the end, when the latter _finally_ began to acknowledge the evil he did: 'It's what I deserve'. Does this mean that he'll finally stop wearing the coat of the slayer he murdered?


1. Eve not being fired.
2. The Angel team not knowing about the Slayer activation spell. Surely, such powerful magic would have been noticed? Even if this was the case, why didn't Angel try and find out about Faith once he realised that Dana was a slayer?
3. Andrew: I can't stand the whining little toady. Anyone else would have been better, unless it was some elaborate plan by Giles to throw the Angel team off their guard.
a. He has stupid hair.
b. The Tolkien references, and I'm a big Tolkien fan.
c. His claim that he and Spike 'saved the world together'.
d. The exposition regarding the Slayers, which was quite unnecessary, and his pronunciation of the word 'vampire'.
e. Calling Willow a 'lesbian witch'.
f. Seeing red when he said to Wes: 'Mr. Giles may have been wrong about you'.
4. The house agent gets bothered with 'The walls scream with the blood of the innocent' but not with Lorne's appearance.
5. Still detesting Buffy. So she doesn't trust Angel, who brought the amulet. However, she can trust people like someone who nearly killed 6 billion people (Willow), and a murderer, a kidnapper and a committer of other crimes just because he's funny (Andrew).
6. Hearing that Willow and Kennedy were still together.
7. The inconsistency regarding slayer dreams: While I remember from the movie that Buffy did have dreams of her predecessors and what they did, this wasn't the case in the TV show; her dreams all appeared to be prophetic in nature.
8. The appearance of the 12 slayers at the end. Why weren't they looking for Dana? They might have stopped her killing people, which is supposed to be what slayers do.

In short, I liked the episode, as it did deal with Spike's evil deeds and the implications of the slayer activation spell; but the appearance of Andrew, of all people, brought back the memories of how bad season 7 of Buffy was.

ME speaks on Angel's future (?) -- Masq, 06:36:55 03/26/04 Fri

Bronze Beta Posts as of Fri Mar 26 07:15:02 2004

Buchanan says:
(Fri Mar 26 00:49:13 2004)

Hi, Chris Buchanan here from Mutant Enemy. Long time lurker, first time poster.

Thought it was about time (OK, it's way past time), to give all of the ANGEL fans an enormous shout out/thank you directly from Joss and all of us at Mutant Enemy.

Your kind words, support and efforts (flowers, beanie babies, postcards, mobile billboards, adverts, etc., etc.) in the weeks since the cancellation of ANGEL was announced, have been darn near overwhelming. We really, really appreciate the love.

It goes without saying here at the Bronze Beta, but I also wanted to let you all know that the Buffy/Angel-verse will never die.

While we consider the possibility of Season 6 of ANGEL as remote as the discovery of WMDs in Iraq, Mutant Enemy already has plans for more tales from the world of ANGEL. I can't comment on exactly what form they'll take, but rest assured, it's in the works.

Thanks again to all of the fans, the "Save Angel" organizations, and your efforts taken in our behalf.

You kids are the best!



[> So what exactly is Chris Buchanan hinting at here? -- cjl, 06:54:36 03/26/04 Fri

"More tales from the world of ANGEL"?

Is something, as they say, up?

A Spike spinoff? (Calm down, Masq, I'm only speculating.)

TV movies? Xbox games? Comic books? Cartoons?

Could you vague that up a bit, CB?

[> [> Lunchboxes! -- Pony, 07:43:45 03/26/04 Fri

But maybe the show of fan support has made a tv movie or mini-series a possibility? The WB may have not just been blowing smoke when they mentioned that in their cancellation announcement. Though I'm hoping ME will be able to thumb their noses at the WB and find another network.

What would be really interesting is if ME decided to break the network hold and do a straight to DVD movie, but I don't think that's going to happen.

[> [> Re: So what exactly is Chris Buchanan hinting at here? -- Masq, 08:14:55 03/26/04 Fri

A Spike spinoff? (Calm down, Masq, I'm only speculating.)

I'd watch it if he had Connor as a side-kick.

I'm betting on novelizations of potential season 6 scripts, ala the "Fray" novel Joss put out.

Of course, there is the possibility of an Angel movie or movies Joss mentioned during his Bronze post shortly after the cancellation was announced.

[> [> [> I'd watch any spinoff with Connor! -- Ixchel (delurking to express Connor-fan solidarity), 18:50:33 03/26/04 Fri

Okay, who am I kidding, I'd watch _any_ Buffy/Angel-verse spinoff.

But one with Connor (or Spike - staunch Spike-fan here) would be cause for giddy joy!

Not Very Joyful Since Cancellation News

[> [> [> [> Yeah! -- Masq, 09:15:02 03/27/04 Sat

Go Connor fans!

Not a Spike fan, but the Connor would make it palatable, like being among Angel and co has done for Spike this season.

[> [> [> [> [> Maybe we should have a rallying cry? ;) -- Ixchel (Connorites - Unite!!!), 10:04:50 03/27/04 Sat

[> [> [> Right there with you, Masq! -- Tyreseus, 19:10:25 03/26/04 Fri

How about a whole new show called "Connor"

Think we can get a "Give Connor a Show" campaign off the ground?

I miss that messed up kid.


Now an iBlog blogger!

[> [> [> [> Oooo! -- The First Naughty Virtue, 01:51:04 03/27/04 Sat

Is that your picture on the blog? [asks she of sneaky ATPo Wallpaper fame]

[> [> [> [> [> Yes it is. -- Tyreseus, 14:48:34 03/27/04 Sat

[> [> [> [> Oooh! There's a plan -- Masq, 09:19:56 03/27/04 Sat

Give Connor his own show!

Is that your blog, or is that a place for events announcements?

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Oooh! There's a plan -- Tyreseus, 16:49:37 03/27/04 Sat

Some of both. As you can tell, I'm still very new to the blogging experience and sorting our how and what I want to write about. Today's entry was a lot more personal and diary-like, I guess.

Thanks for looking at it, though.


Now an iBlog blogger

[> [> [> [> Yes! Connor the Series! -- Ixchel (humming Connor the Series theme song), 10:01:10 03/27/04 Sat

Okay, so that wouldn't be the real name, but this is something I'd love to see.

Also, I know many people don't like her, but I like Dawn, and I think she'd make a great primary sidekick for Connor.

Just a thought, while we're wishing and all...

Postcard Writing

[> [> [> [> [> Finally... people who see things MY way! -- Masq, 13:02:45 03/28/04 Sun

It's so hard to find fellow Connor freaks fans, at least ones at my level!

[> [> [> [> [> [> Me too! Me too! -- Marginal Drifter, 16:30:12 03/28/04 Sun

I love Connor...he's know...he's *Connor* man. Dawn would be a great sidekick, they'd get on so well, bitching and moaning about caregivers....

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Connor/Dawn fic -- Masq, 17:03:08 03/28/04 Sun

Connor and Dawn compare notes, circa mid-season 7/season 4:

DAWN: So hey, we got a big scary evil coming to town.

CONNOR: Yeah? So do we. Does yours have horns?

DAWN: I'm not sure yet. It just popped up all scary on the couch where my mother died.

CONNOR: Really? Ours popped up all scary on the ground where my mother died, too.

DAWN: Did you fight it? I screamed at it a lot. It was part of a spell.

CONNOR: Of course I fought it! Only, I used my bad temper and my vampire-like strength.

DAWN: You should have seen me. I told it 'That's right! Die, you bastard!' Cussing and everything!

CONNOR: I shouted, too. Except I said, 'Stay away from her!' -- her being Cordelia? You know Cordelia? -- anyway, the thing backed off and just shot up into the sky! Of course, it broke a couple of my ribs and I had blood in my mouth.

DAWN: I had blood in my mouth, too! Isn't that the grossest thing?

CONNOR: Yeah.... Say, do you get along with your dad?

DAWN: Not really. Mine never speaks to me. Well, hardly ever.

CONNOR: Mmm. Me? I never speak to him. Well, hardly ever.

DAWN: Fathers suck.

CONNOR: Well, mine sure does.


DAWN: My sister isn't really technically my sister. Or maybe sometimes I wish she wasn't. But you know, I'm not really human at all anyway. Well, I am now, but I wasn't originally.

CONNOR: Yeah, well, I am human, but my dad isn't. Neither was my mom. I mean, how in the heck did that happen?

DAWN: (brightening) Monks? It could have been monks.

CONNOR: Maybe. But at least it only took four episodes for people to find out how you got here. I've been around for more than a year now, and I still don't know. They're probably going to build a big teen-aged identity story arc over the coming season just so I can myself figure out!

DAWN: You gotta love those teen-aged identity story arcs.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Connor/Dawn fic -- Jane, 17:11:18 03/28/04 Sun

Oh, good stuff! I can just see those two crazy kids hanging out together, sharing the angst. I've always liked both Connor and Dawn. I'm just glad I'm not their parent - way too much teenaged baggage to deal with. Love to see more conversations between them (hint, hint).

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Connor/Dawn fic -- Dlgood, 20:22:01 03/28/04 Sun

Yess! Fic writing Masq. Come to the dark side...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Connor/Dawn fic -- Masq, 04:07:02 03/29/04 Mon

I wrote those a year and a half ago. If I was going to "come to the dark side", I would have by now. I was on the verge of fan fic last summer after "Home", but if that couldn't get me going, I don't think anything could.

I use up all my fic muscles on my own stuff. ; )

[> [> [> [> [> [> I ALWAYS saw it your way, Masq!!!! -- angel's nibblet, 02:08:26 03/30/04 Tue

I just didn't realise it till relatively recently ;-)

Naw, I've always had a soft spot for the Destroyer, even if it is partially because I am still a teen and occasionally angsty myself :-D and because he just looks so adorable when he smiles, hence he should smile more.

And yet my best friend still insists on pairing me with Angel in her strange little epic fic :-S once upon a time maybe, but

[> [> [> [> [> [> What level is that, exactly? 5? -- Random, 21:55:02 03/30/04 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: What level is that, exactly? 5? -- Masq, 11:18:11 03/31/04 Wed

Yes, 5. I'm a Connor freak of level 5. Yep, that's the number.

Must be a BtVS freak of level 5 as well, since I got this little reference to "Checkpoint". ; )

Wonderfalls alert - New ep next Th April 1 after Tru Calling -- tomfool, 19:12:33 03/26/04 Fri

Fans of this struggling new series won't want to miss it on a rescheduled night next week. Looks like they're considering pairing it with Tru Calling. This would at least give it a fighting chance - the current Friday night timeslot of doom pretty much guarantees a Fox Firefly redux. Here's part of the blurb on Zap2it:

LOS ANGELES ( - "We are on next Thursday, April 1 [at 9 p.m. ET]," says Todd Holland, co-creator (with Bryan Fuller) of FOX's dramedy "Wonderfalls," "and now is the time for all good fans to come to the aid of our show. This is the moment of truth. Those ratings numbers will mean everything to us.

"FOX has seen some small portion of the light, and they're airing us as a one-time-only thing, a brand-new episode. They're doing a bit of a night switch without officially moving us, to test the waters.",1002,271|87145|1|,00.html


[> Re: Wonderfalls alert - New ep next Th April 1 after Tru Calling -- Kenny, 00:01:55 03/27/04 Sat

Hmm...if there's another episode as bad as tonight's, I'm gone.

I loved the the first two. I love non-likable Jaye. I love Mahandra, the best friend without a name (who was all-too-missing from this ep). I love the lesbian sister (also under-utilized). I love the self-absorbed characters. I don't love wayward nuns who need a message from a smooshed-face lion to get back to God or over-sentimental dead-beat dads. The show that I liked in the first two eps has no sentiment. I want the theme of the series to be that you can be self-absorbed, but that's not necessarily bad. Be self-absorbed, see the world around you, but be self-absorbed. Just don't go overboard. The previews look like it may be back on track, but...NO MORE EPISODES LIKE TONIGHT'S!!! It brought pain. It brought suffering. It brought ideas of what "Joan of Arcadia" might be like. It's why I don't like TV.

[> [> Pretty much agree -- tomfool, 08:29:29 03/27/04 Sat

Last night's episode was a big drop off for me too. It seemed so much more like a conventional show. Gone was much of the edge and the 'magic' of the NFalls setting. I guess with talking animals of unspecified origin, it's inevitable that direct religious analogies would be explored. It seemed a little too 'Touched by an Angel' to me though. One thing that gives me long-term hope is that episode 2 was actually filmed toward the end of the 13-slot filming schedule and Jaye had much more snark and attitude. Hopefully, in the Th timeslot the show will survive long enough to give it time to find its voice.

[> [> [> Kinda reminds me of the show "Nip/Tuck" -- Finn Mac Cool, 09:11:50 03/27/04 Sat

It started off as a very odd show with a tone that was humor of a very dark variety. As the season progressed, it became more and more conventional as well as more serious. Rather than feeding the body of a child molestor to a bunch of alligators after he was killed by a drug dealer they stole money from, the characters spent much more time doing relationship angst, dealing with relevant issues (priest sex scandal, addiction, a hit-in-run DUI). Then, suddenly, the last episode of the season was darkly funny again, kinda weird, and different from most dramas out there. And I'm pretty sure that it's a question of creator involvment. I did some digging and found the creator of "Nip/Tuck" had a lot of involvment in the early episodes, wrote the final episode, but kind of wasn't around in the middle. Likewise, "Wonderfalls" seems to be facing the case of having a creator with a very definite vision, but have a group of writers who prefer writing something more conventional. Unless you're able to choose your writing crew with wisdom and explicateness, or micromanage every detail, a discrepency of tone is quite likley.

(Although, I personally didn't find this episode to be bad; less good, but not bad)

[> [> We really must be watching a different show... -- Rob, 14:48:01 03/27/04 Sat

Not just you and me, but me and most of the board, who don't seem to adore Wonderfalls like I do. I'm not exactly sure what it is about it, because I have recommended it to a number of my friends and family, and they have all loved it. And it's (a) not an age thing, because their ages range from 18 to 48, and (b) not reflective of if they liked "Buffy" or not. Half of them watched "Buffy"; half didn't. We also all agreed that last night's was the best episode, due to comedy, characterization, drama. I frankly thought last night's episode was brilliant.


[> [> [> i agree...been trying to disect the issue since last night. -- gretch, 16:54:51 03/27/04 Sat

i'm distressed...only cuz i wanna share and discuss the show with people. and i'm desperate to keep good tv on the air. i wish i could pinpoint what is turning people off. perhaps high expectations? i really don't know. i too thought last night was brilliant. *frown* i don't downplay or cringe so much at people's negative response...i just wanna understand it a bit more.

[> [> [> [> Too harsh before? -- tomfool, 17:32:34 03/27/04 Sat

I may have been too hard on this ep in the above post. I still really liked it and it's better than most anything else on broadcast. It just seemed to shine a bit less than the first two eps, which I loved. Maybe I was just tired. Maybe I'm just getting used to the concept so it seemed less fresh. I was inspired to rewatch both of the first two; not so much #3. Maybe I'll watch it again and see how it hits me.

[> [> [> [> [> no no no. i don't mean to invalidate anyone's responses... -- gretch, 18:07:23 03/27/04 Sat

you weren't too harsh...i've read harsher actually...

guess i just wanted to see if it is the writing or the plot topic or that jaye was wearing too many layers...etc etc...*smile*

[> [> [> [> [> OK, didn't anyone else notice the big shout-out to Joss? (***Spoilers** WF 1.03) -- OnM, 18:35:53 03/27/04 Sat

You know, the whole major riff with the cheese, followed by the phrase "bully in the sky"?

I too thought the timing or tone or something or other was off a bit earlier in the show, and that it seemed to wander a bit compared to the first two, but it did get better towards the last act, and I confess that I enjoyed the father-daughter reunion, sentimental-ish or not, because I didn't see it coming.

Nevertheless, occasional weak moments aside, this is still the third best show on the tube at the moment, by a goodly margin. (Angel & 24 being the other two, for me anyway).

[> [> [> [> Interesting...why some like it/some don't -- s'kat, 09:03:59 03/28/04 Sun

i wish i could pinpoint what is turning people off. perhaps high expectations?

Well, I think it really does come down to subjective taste and that is impossible to pinpoint, because people's tast differs. The whole orange is sweet to one person and sour to another debate.

On the other hand, Wonderfalls does have a few quirks which I think might make it tough for people to take, quirks BTVS and ATS did not have. So here's my stab at why for what it's worth:

1. Having a Snarky/Sarcastic Heroine in The Lead

A friend and I have been debating for well over a year now if BTVS or ATS would have survived if the leads had been Cordelia, Anya or Spike - the snarky characters. Well, Wonderfalls puts our debate to the test. Watching this past week's episode, Jaye reminded me a great deal of Cordelia's character on Angel and BTVS, snarky, sometimes mean, ditzy about things - but Cordy was a supporting character. What Minear and company have done on Wonderfalls is make the Cordy snarky person - the lead. Interesting tactic. But can an audience handle it?

It's not the first time someone's done it: Seinfield is an example. So to a degree is the Simpsons and Malcolm in The Middle. The difference though is those are half-hour sitcoms. Not hour long dramedys. You are asking a "wide" audience to be sympathetic to a character who is a bit in-your face with snark.

2. Sentimental/Switches in Tone. Needing Time to Find Your Footing

Regarding KEnny, tomfool, and Finn's complaints about sentimentality, I have to laugh a bit - BTVS S1 is filled with sentimental cliche episodes, some which made me cringe and switch channels upon first viewing, it took it a while to get its footing, and many viewers, myself included didn't really take to the series until the Second Season. And regarding the God question, ahem Amends? Several viewers cringed at that episode the same way that some cringed at Wonderfalls. I didn't cringe at Wonderfalls because I felt the little glow at the end was meant as a parody of Tru Calling, but that's just me. Wonderfalls feels at times as if it is meant to be taken completely tongue in cheek as a parody of the other shows of its kind, (which may be another reason some people can't watch it - they don't like the parody?)

ATS was equally guilty of sentimental cliche episodes here and there - quite a few that I found unwatchable upon first viewing.

Wonderfalls does do something BTVS and ATS weren't guilty of, however, and that is do jarring switches in tone. This week's episodes - sudden switch to "awww" sentimentality at the end was a tad jarring to me. So much so, that I didn't take it seriously - I decided it was meant to be tongue in cheek. (I do agree with the others who stated the plot of the dead-beat dad whose a priest (which is clearly a dig at religion) and the nun who finds god through a miracle is a little cliche - but the writers sort of made fun of the cliches by showing the miracle is a broken tail-light which the heroine refused to break and somehow she left her car in drive and accidentally did it any way. ) That said, I agree the sentimental bit at the end felt off - it was like the show decided to be Joan of Arcadia for a moment.

That said, it's natural for writers to take a while to get their footing. And off-hand I can't think of many good TV shows that didn't seem a tad off in the first three or five episode. But our society has become an increasingly impatient one - we are used to "instant gratification" - we want it NOW, we're not willing to give anything a chance to gain it's footing. In the old days - most programs got at least a year to try out episodes. Now, you are lucky to get 13 episodes out or even five before you get cancelled.
TV is a tough medium to write well in.

3. The parody aspect of Wonderfalls (now I happen to love this aspect, but I can see it turning off some viewers).

Wonderfalls makes fun of religion, of mythology, of just about everything. This week's episode really made fun of it - with Jaye's comments, "I don't know if they are god or the devil, they won't say", Nun: "Why don't you just cast them out if they are the devil", Jaye: "You can do that?"
(me laughing hysterically on my couch - I've seen too many episodes of Joan of Arcadia and Tru Calling for my own good.) Last week you get the line: "Now you don't want to surround yourself with fellow narcissists because they'll take the attention of yourself". LOL! This show makes fun of self-absorbed 20 somethings (doesn't promote it, actually makes fun of it), religion, etc but it does it in a very subversive way which I *know* is not to everyone's tast.

4. POV aspect and structure

If you read TwoP's comments on it - the structure of the show is a tad jarring for some viewers. Not all the characters are developed. We get to only really be in Jaye's pov. This episode was the first time we *ever* exited her pov and jumped into someone elses - which was somewhat jarring and where things got a little sentimental.
Also the character we jumped into? Eric - wasn't fully developed. We don't know who he is. So that probably turned a few people off.

POV is another problem - normally we are stuck exclusively in Jayes and since Jaye cares about no one but Jaye, we really don't get much on the other characters - just sketches of them or enough to know what Jaye thinks about them which amounts to a sketch. This is the problem of having the lead be a self-absorbed character, snarky, and have our pov completely in her head and never outside it.
What BTVS and ATS did very well was put us in the point of view of more than one character. In Wonderfalls - they didn't do that until this week's episode and when it happened, they did it so abruptly that they jarred the audience.

It doesn't happen early in the episode, nor is it used throughout the episode, just in one section - the middle. Here we jump into the nun's, Eric's, and Jaye's to discuss religion. A tad jarring for the viewer, who has gotten used to being solely in Jaye's pov and doesn't know Eric, the priest, the Nun, or Jaye's brother whom the Nun is talking to. So the viewer is left dangling. Not a good thing to do - when all the viewer has to do is flip channels. (Now I happened to enjoy this, because it made the show more quirky and interesting - but it jarred a friend of mine who had also watched it.) You can only pull that technigue off if you give your viewer or reader clues - you can't just decide to do it.

Wonderfalls makes this mistake a lot, they will come up with some odd camera angle, or shift in tone, or shift in pov and do it in such a way that it tends to jar you a bit.
I noticed it in last week's episode as well, where I felt at times as if I was being yanked mentally back and forth across a room. Part of it is the jerky handheld camera style - which is similar to Malcolm in The Middle, and might be more than a typical viewer can handle for 43 min.

Typical viewers put in a full day of work, are mentally tired, and want to come home and veg in front of the tv. They don't want to have to work at it. I'm different, I sort of like working at it...but a lot of people I know, don't. Wonderfalls does I think reguire a little mental work just to follow the action of the plot. Now, I happen to like that, but I can see a lot of people being annoyed by it.

Just a few guesses...

[> [> [> [> [> Question: -- Finn Mac Cool, 09:51:38 03/28/04 Sun

You said:

"BTVS S1 is filled with sentimental cliche episodes, some which made me cringe and switch channels upon first viewing, it took it a while to get its footing, and many viewers, myself included didn't really take to the series until the Second Season."

Exactly which episodes might these be?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Question: -- s'kat, 21:53:57 03/28/04 Sun

"BTVS S1 is filled with sentimental cliche episodes, some which made me cringe and switch channels upon first viewing, it took it a while to get its footing, and many viewers, myself included didn't really take to the series until the Second Season."

Exactly which episodes might these be?

(First a disclaimer, before I get attacked, if you criticize an episode of BTVS or ATS on fanboards, wait for the thread to explode, yes I know they are good episodes - I've frigging defended them myself in the past, check the archives. But they like the Wonderfalls episodes were clunky and had tone problems and cliche moments. I ignored them because the shows intrigued me and got better as they went forward. Also these were first impressions, I actually do appreciate these episodes now and consider them better than most things on TV at the moment. But they were far from perfect and did have what could be interpreted as somewhat cliche moments - moments not unlike the ones you criticize in Wonderfalls).

1. The Witch - the cliches about cheerleading and mommy wanting to be daughter were readily apparent and made me cringe on first viewing.

2. Teacher's Pet - the crush on the teacher who turns out to be a monster and eats heads? OR the hokey vampire with a hook?

3. Never Kill A Boy on The First Date - certainly had it's moments. Buffy getting all sentimental because she can't go out with a normal boy. I found it juvenile upon first viewing and watched something else. Second viewing I appreciated it more.

What else...

bits and pieces here and there, sort of similar to what you stated above about Wonderfalls actually.

Out of Sight Out of Mind - very hokey in places, with the revenge on the prom gueen motif

Nightmares - the kid being abused by the coach, many viewers have complained about that bit and how it took away from the rest of the episode (in the same way actually that you complain about the nun and dead beat dad motifs).
(I actually loved Nightmares by the way...on first viewing but even I cringed at the whole Number 16 and my coach is abusing me cliche that has haunted more than one after-school special...)

I Robot You Jane - very clunky in places. I really like it now, but when I first saw it? I was bored and found the whole robot thing really silly.

Amends - in S3, ahem, very sentimental. The snow is I'm sorry a sentimental cliche that has been in about a dozen soap operas, tv shows, and several old movies dating back to Bing Crosby's "I'm Dreaming of A White Christmas". Actually the snow scene at the end of Amends reminds me a lot of the scene at the end of Wonderfalls with nun telling Jaye it's a miracle. Another episode that reminded me of Wonderfalls is S5 Family - which falls on cliche references as well in the whole Tara's family is a bunch of rednecks who treat women like slaves.

TV falls into triteness, here and there. If I like the show, I will overlook the trite cliche or sentimentality. I've overlooked it at times on BTVS and it has surfaced in later seasons as well. S4 Where The Wild Things ARE - the central theme that kids are abused and think sex is dirty is very cliche - but the rest of the episode was interesting, so I ignored it.

It depends on the individual viewer whether or not it is seen as particularly cliche (by cliche I mean trite and overdone) and overly sentimental.

I actually found this past week's episode of Wonderfalls less cliche in places than the episode The Witch on BTVS or Amends on BTVS. But that may be because I took it as tongue in check, so didn't take the ending as seriously as some did.

YMMV of course.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> A lot of those, I didn't find sentimental -- Finn Mac Cool, 09:17:41 03/29/04 Mon

With Amy Madison, we're not really shown much of her; the focus is almost exclusively on her mother and her anger, not on Amy herself. Same goes for "Where the Wild Things Are".

As for "Teacher's Pet", there wasn't really much sentimentality involved. Some slight cringe worthiness, but not from being too sentimental. I feel the same way about "IRYJ".

I found the snowfall in "Amends" to be good sentimentality (while it's something of a cliche, I don't think I've ever seen it used to stop a suicide before). Also, "NKABOTFD" and "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" never seemed too sappy to me (course, I'm still in the teenaged years, so they may have a bit more relevance for me).

I do think "Nightmares" falls into this category, as does "Help", along with a scant few other episodes.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: A lot of those, I didn't find sentimental -- Ann, 11:04:46 03/29/04 Mon

"I don't think I've ever seen it used to stop a suicide before".

In Robert Frost's poem Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, some say a poem about potential suicide, the fellow realizes while watching snow fall that he "has miles to go before" he sleeps. He chooses not to commit suicide. "But I have promises to keep," he says, keeps him alive. He has a purpose much like Angel finds he has.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: A lot of those, I didn't find sentimental -- s'kat, 13:00:28 03/29/04 Mon

It's also been used quite a few times in this way on daytime soaps. So yep. Seen it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Over analysis? -- DickBD, 11:58:43 03/30/04 Tue

In regard to the Robert Frost poem, it may be the mindset of the reader and a bit of overanalysis to postulate the writer was contemplating suicide.

However, I always enjoy your analyses, Shadowcat, but I am a little surprised you watch daytime soaps--not that there is anything wrong with that, mind you! In any case, I must have spent my seventy-two years in a state of oblivion, as I still can't think of a surprise snow storm preventing a suicide as a cliche.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Perhaps but -- Ann, 15:38:41 03/30/04 Tue

Frost lost one older child to suicide, his wife had a heart attack and died. He had the loss of another child to a mental institution. Two other children died very young. He had bouts of depression and there is talk of a unsuccessful suicide attempt on his part. Grief was around him constantly I would imagine.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Frost's snow -- Rahael, 01:32:07 03/31/04 Wed

I made exactly that same connection between the Frost poem and Amends.

I don't know if it is intended, but it works for me, and makes the snow more interesting.......

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Frost's snow -- Ann, 06:33:56 03/31/04 Wed

The irony of the message line is interesting. Frost is a kind of snow! I guess it could be interpreted that he saves himself!
I googled and most of what is discussed is not this poem but "The Road not Taken". I guess if there are no specific claims by Frost one way or the other, it is open to interpretation. Still a nice image.

[> [> [> [> [> I pretty much agree with S'Kat.. -- Jane, 17:06:19 03/28/04 Sun

The heroine of Wonderfalls does remind me of snarky Cordelia in her self-centred BtVs phase. I guess it is harder to empathize with such a person, but I find myself liking her and hoping to see some indication that she is going to learn that it isn't just about her. Not that I want her to turn into Saint Jaye!! I enjoy that cynical self derision; I have a somewhat warped sense of humour ;).That said, I agree that the changes in POV were a bit jarring, but not enough to really bother me. I enjoyed this episode, and I think this show has some real potential. If Fox lets it develop some, anyway.

[> [> [> [> [> hey babe...good to see you... -- gretch, 20:10:19 03/28/04 Sun

would you mind if i posted this over at the wonderfalls board? it's you'd like to check it out first. but you have valid points and i think your post is an excellant read.

and psst...timmy has been posting there and i think he'd love to read this. *smooch*

[> [> [> [> [> [> Don't mind at have my permission. -- s'kat, 21:17:22 03/28/04 Sun

I'm a huge fan of Tim Minear's - he's one of the few TV writers that I check out, because I find how and what he writes interesting.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> *claps hands* fabulous. thanks so much, hon. -- gretch *off to do it now*, 05:22:19 03/29/04 Mon

[> [> [> Re: Enjoying the show more and more -- punkinpuss, 17:35:14 03/27/04 Sat

Loved last night's ep, but I've always been a big fan of subversive humor. As for being too age-specific, I don't see it. I'm 41 and I still identify with Jaye. Maybe that's because I still believe I'm 29, but that's another issue. ;-)

Everything I love on tv is considered weird! Sigh.

[> [> [> Re: We really must be watching a different show... -- Finn Mac Cool, 17:49:36 03/27/04 Sat

Perhaps it's the fact that it was less of a comedy than the premiere. Personally, I've never been too big a fan of drama all on its own. Drama requires you to really connect to the characters, and I often find the connection process either ineffectual or not worth the payoff. The reason I enjoy the dramatic pieces of "Buffy" and "Angel" is that you got to know the characters through humor, action, and fantasy/horror. By the time you realize that you're watching a drama, it's too late; you've been sucked in. "Wonderfalls" still had a quite a few funny pieces this ep, but the priest finding his daughter, the bartendeder learning to forgive his wife, and the nun losing than regaining her faith just didn't work as well for me. Of course, the emphasis of this episode was on a crisis of faith, which is something I really just have a hard time relating to. Losing my faith was actually a very freeing moment for me, and I'm content living in agnosticism until some divine or demonic act convinces me otherwise. As such, the nun's story really didn't speak to me too much (now, if she had gone happily on her way WITH her doubts still intact, I might have been more favorable).

As a disclaimer, I did still like the episode. However, if it were the first episode I'd seen, I probably wouldn't have grown attached enough to tape it on Fridays while I'm out.

[> [> [> [> *nods* dramedys are rough...hard to stick a fork in...sorta like jello...*smile* -- gretch, 18:09:49 03/27/04 Sat

ANGEL 5.22 Episode (pure spec in two versions) -- Mike, 02:34:19 03/27/04 Sat

I'm taking a major shot at what Ep 22 for this season of ANGEL might look like, how I think things will turn out personally. I'm undertaking this guess in two versions. The first version would be if it'll just be the Season Finale. The second version would be if it'll officially be the Series Finale.

The Season Finale guess would be Angel finally deciding that he will break his deal with Wolfram & Hart, regardless of what happens to Connor. His decision to leave would come about because of the aftermath of the Fang Gang taking
the deal with him (Fred's death, Lorne's destroyed mind-reading, Gunn's fall, Wesley's craziness). Everything Angel did for Connor at the expense of his friends takes its toll. And with the friends that are still remaining, Angel will really not want to lose more to death (metaphorically or physically or both). Aside from that, with this scenario for the finale, I'm thinking Angel will go back to helping the helpless but he will do it alone. In other words, once breaking the deal and fighting whatever final villian for the season could be, Angel will disappear from his friends, inluding Spike whom I'm thinking is becoming more or less his friend too. Angel will be riddled with more pain, guilt, remorse, from the tragic consequences of the deal, losing loved ones, and can't bear to be around friends anymore. Angel's self-imposed exile could be the cliffhanger. Wishful thinking for a season finale, and this theory makes sense to me. And as far as a Big Bad, this season perhaps is declaring that it is the tragic results from Angel's deal with W&H. Sorta making Angel the actual Big Bad, heroic intentions with
destructive results.

The Series Finale guess falls into the theme of Angel never giving up fighting the good fight, for as long as his unlife
lasts. If he ever shanshus he will die as a human as a reward, like how Darla felt her resurrection really meant before Drusilla turned her back to a vampire. Angel will leave Wolfram & Hart along with his friends. I'll go out on a limb and say that everyone dies in battle, some early in the ep, others during, except Angel & Spike. Therefore, Spike will fight the good fight elsewhere, perhaps Europe, while Angel remains in LA/US. Angel retains Doyle's advice anyhow, connecting with souls to save lives, save souls. I'd think the final villian (in next to final scene) will be a mere vampire like Angel's first vamp kill on-screen in the series premiere's very first scene. Oh, and the final scene will be once again like some of the first season's episode endings - Angel parched on a roof, looking down at the city, prepared for the next fight, helping the helpless.

Either way, those are my guesses for either type of finale for ANGEL. Fortunately, whatever really does happen, I'm certain as all of you are that 5.22 wil be an extremely
intense, pleasant venture as the series always is.


[> Re: ANGEL 5.22 Episode (pure spec in two versions) -- Alistair, 13:20:29 03/27/04 Sat

It is possible that 5.21 will tie up the W&H story for good. I doubt that W&H will somehow be destroyed by Angel, as he hoped to do during season 2, but will perhaps be somehow weakened through his intervention. If the episode is a serios finale, I am hoping that somehow Angel will become human. The final battle makes Angel a key player. The final battle is the apocalyse of the Senior Partners. I cant really speculate as to what kind of crazy apocalyse they are planning, because clearly they are not among the Old Ones and their goal is not to return to Earth, but to somehow ensure the Earth's incorporation into their interdimensional empire once and for all. The corruption of all humans and champions, with an evil order rules by them. An Old Ones hellmouth like apocalyse would not work in W&H favor.

I wonder if Angel will find out that it was indeed W&H that broguht him back from hell in the first place and engineered mthe other events in his life before Jasmine stepped in and engineered some more. Their timetable seems to include many different things which we cant concieve because they arte planning dec ades ahead. Their review of their offices is every 75 years on Earth, and not even every decade or so. They dont work with just single generations, but across hundreds of them. They have always been there while the humans have been there. "Who would have thought that humans would be the most corruptable?"

The series finale might feature the beginning of the end for Earth as free of W&H. Angel steps in and it is a fight to the death. The PTB havent relaly played a role lately, except for bringing Cordy back for a day, to change things a bit. I wonder if they will be the ones who make Angel human, or if it will be anbother power, or even W&H itself, making him human as a last resort to kill him, while it is only as a human that Angel can destroy their influence on Earth.

They are in a way like the first evil, always there, unless wiped out in every dimension, but possible to weaken.

It is fascinating that Fray - the comic- speaks of a vampire slayer who rid the Earth of all demons and magic. Maybe Angel will do something like that, which wouldn't leave much room for a movie, which if created, would be truly a masterpiece I bet.

[> [> Re: ANGEL 5.22 Episode (pure spec in two versions) -- Wilhelm Wolf, 19:19:32 03/27/04 Sat

See Buffy Season 4
Big Fight in episode 21
Dream Sequences in episode 22.

~Wilhelm Wolf

[> [> [> Re: ANGEL 5.22 Episode (pure spec in two versions) -- rebecca of sunnyhell, 11:32:51 03/28/04 Sun

i hope SMG is in it

[> [> [> [> **Casting Spoilers for future AtS episodes** -- Evan, 11:58:07 03/28/04 Sun

Unfortunately, SMG won't be in any Angel episodes coming up this season. By the time she agreed to be in it, it was already too late. They'd already written/started filming the episode that she would've been in.

There's an article listed at that talks about it.

Tough Love (Giles/Glory's Minion) + several other observations -- ghady, 06:04:01 03/28/04 Sun

Recently, while watching Tough Love, i noticed a part where Giles--after finding Glory's minion--somehow manages to make the little thing cower with fear. What is that?? What did he do? All we hear is a cracking sound, then Giles says that he "changed his mind." Does anyone know what that is??

Also, a few other things:
1) How did Buffy know that "the monks made [Dawn] out of [her]?"

2) I get what Joss is trying to convey with the whole "Death is your Gift" thing, but the factthat "D and B have the same blood," and that the death of either one can close down the portal, begs the question: Can't B be considered the Key as well?? Think about it. The energy of the Key has to be stopped in order to close down the portal. Well, when B's life energy is stopped, the portal closes down as well. By simple substitution, B=the Key. Does anyone understand my logic?

3) Also, where did anyone come up w/ the info about the whole bloodletting ritual?? The Key was molded into flesh a year before the Gift, the monks were wiped out six months before that, and Doc clearly has clearly had the info in his box for a long time. How did he get that info abt the key and the blood if it had only existed for a short while? You get?? The monks certainly wouldn't have given it to him, and it couldnt have been acquired a long time ago because the Key is newly-human. Unless the monks wrote those texts eons ago, in a "what if" context.

4) Why does Dawn have to die to close the portal? Why does ANYONE have to die for that matter??!! The portals close when the blood flows no more. If i had heard that i'd have thought of two possibilities: a) the person has to HEAL and b) the peron just has to move away from the portal,, which will stop the blood from flowing in there.

5)Who the HELL is Doc? That should've been explored by the writers.. I really think he should have been dealt with in season 6, instead of Buffy having to fight those DISGUSTINGLY lame rock monsters. I mean COME ON!!! Clearly, Doc can't be killed in normal ways. So, while Willow is going bad and trying the wreak havoc, they could've made a little story about Buffy fighting Doc. More KEY references etc.. And they could've gotten Glory back too in season 6, using the pretext that "her power was too great to be destroyed.." I think that the season 6 finale is disgustingly weak.. (i heard on the commentary that they wanted to make B fight the dragon that came out at the end of S5, but they couldnt afford it.. Dammit! they should've at LEAST brought someone else from S5 back!)

6) Spike in AFRICA?? come onn!!! Where did they come up w/ the big green-eyed demon from???!!!!! It should've been DOC!!!! Buffy should have fought Glory as Willow tried to end the world, and then SPIKE SHOULD HAVE GONE TO DOC for help!!! That would have been PERFECTION (in my humble opinion)

Ok then.. I see I've rambled on for too long.. Please comment on my inquiries.. I've been thinking about these things for a LONG LONG time..


[> A few blunt answers (but don't take them too seriously!) -- CW, 07:38:46 03/28/04 Sun

-1) No one knows what Giles did. You're supposed to use your imagination about what he might have done. It's always been a trick that a reader/viewer will usually think of something more horrid or gruesome than the writer had in mind if it's not shown. The same goes for the vividness of sex scenes. What we see on the screen these days is both a conceit by the film makers that the audience has no imagination and that like eight-year-old boys, we all enjoy the shock of seeing something gruesome simply for the sadistic joy of how creepy the people around us feel about it.

1) She doesn't know it. She only knows they sent Dawn to her as a sister. If you're big into intuition it works fine. If you like hard fact, not so much fine.

2) "Death is your Gift" simply means Buffy will die willingly in place of Dawn. Yes, you are right. If it's the blood of the key that is important then Buffy is also at least theoretically the key as well. Joss was a little too literal in places in the story, and a little too vague in others to make to story logically perfect. But, I don't think he was actually interested in running for logician of the year either. ;o)

3) Propechy is alive and well in the Buffyverse.

4) Dawn had to die, because Joss said so. Frankly as it was playing out I was asking the same question, though I was sure Buffy was going to die in 'The Gift' even without spoilers. The best way to put it is that if a writer had to explain absolutely everything that might be mysterious, it would get very tiresome viewing. It's somewhat like the 4-year-old who keeps asking "Why? Why? Why?" after that question has lost all meaning. Sooner or later the answer is "Because! Now shut up!"

5) I agree. Doc was a great character. It's a shame he was disposed of so casually.

6) That's pretty much personal preferrence. When it comes to Buffy, it's Joss' personal perferences that matter in the end.

[> [> I'd just like to bring up that Giles usually uses very archaic texts -- Finn Mac Cool, 07:48:56 03/28/04 Sun

These tend to use flowery language to get across their point (just take a look at Nostradamus). The flow of blood stopping may simply be ancient lore jargon.

[> [> [> Re: I'd just like to bring up that Giles usually uses very archaic texts -- skeeve, 07:41:01 03/29/04 Mon

"These tend to use flowery language to get across their point (just take a look at Nostradamus). The flow of blood stopping may simply be ancient lore jargon."

One problem with that theory is that Giles said that the prophecy was clear, which implies that the meaning was not buried in flowers.

Another is that it doesn't explain Buffy's behaviour.
Someone looking for loopholes is going to suggest bandages and clotting agents.
She is also going to point out that killing Dawn isn't going to stop the flow of blood.
Slowing it down without stopping it implies that it would last longer, not a good thing.

The argument about killing Dawn was an example of the writers making puppets out of the characters so they could set up the choice they wanted to set up.

[> [> [> [> Do we really know all of what Giles read? -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:05:57 03/29/04 Mon

"Until the flow of blood stops" was the only direct quote. It's entirely probable that the text went on to elaborate. I kinda doubt that one, brief line was all he had to go on.

[> [> Re: A few blunt answers (but don't take them too seriously!) -- rsfayez, 09:24:18 03/28/04 Sun

Do you guys remember Buffy having to kill Angel/Anglus in "Becoming II" because according to Spike in S5 "it's all about blood".
Apparently when someone's bloood is used to open a portal, it must be used again in closing, only in uber amounts. it's always to much easier to do damage to something than repairing the damage. meh, my 2 cents anyways.

[> Re: Tough Love (Giles/Glory's Minion) + several other observations -- Evan, 09:48:56 03/28/04 Sun

I always interpreted it as the blood had to stop flowing in the veins, not into the portal. That's why the "key" had to die.

[> [> Re: Tough Love (Giles/Glory's Minion) + several other observations -- skpe, 10:12:01 03/28/04 Sun

I agree it took angels blood to open the acathala portal and his death to close it

[> Re: Tough Love (Giles/Glory's Minion) + several other observations -- heywhynot, 11:50:16 03/28/04 Sun

0) No we don't know what Giles exactly did. That wasn't the point. Giles tortured him we are left to assume. It is left up to your imagination. The point was to show that Giles is one for whom at time the ends justify the means, foreshadowing the eventual conflict Giles and Buffy have in season 7.

1) As CW pointed out intuition on Buffy's part. Given Buffy knew the monks molded the Key into human form and that form was her sister, it is not a leap to think Dawn was based (from) Buffy.

2) No Dawn is the Key given human form. Buffy and Dawn have the same blood. The blood doesn't equal the Key. Buffy had her own blood before Dawn existed, it was not changed by Dawn's arrival. The "Key energy" doesn't have to be stopped to close the portal, just the stopping of the flow, the death, of one with the blood that opened the portal. The loophole being it just had to be the death of one with the same blood as the blood used to open the portal, ie Buffy in place of Dawn.

3) Simple, the rituals were written with knowledge of what was to come. Was it the monks who wrote the ritual? Can't remember if they did or not, but that is not the point. The point is that in the Buffyverse events can be foretold. Probably the ritual did not make sense until it was revealed Dawn was the key.

4) The blood was to open, the flowing refers to the blood flowing through the person. It mirrors the events of Becoming II as referenced by others:

Whistler: (takes a swig and looks back at Buffy) Angel's the key.
(closes the fridge) His blood will open the door to Hell. Acathla opens
his big mouth, creates a vortex. Then only Angel's blood will close it.
One blow will send 'em both back to Hell. But I strongly suggest that
you get there before that happens, 'cause the faster you kill Angel, the
easier it's gonna be on you.

5) Doc is a demon worshipped Glory & was going to make sure she returned home.

[> [> What do we know about the Key's true form? -- Finn Mac Cool, 15:24:41 03/28/04 Sun

Wasn't it once referred to as living energy? Even if it wasn't, is it entirely inconceivable that it contained some substance similar to blood before the monks ever did their mojo?

[> [> [> Re: What do we know about the Key's true form? -- heywhynot, 16:43:28 03/28/04 Sun

The best we got was green living energy. Kinda figured that precluded substance beyond the sub-atomic level, but really the key was never explored which makes sense because the series was about Buffy's journey and not Dawn the Key & Her Sister Buffy who happens to be a Vampire Slayer ;)

Damage, Why We Fight, Smile Time -- KdS, 15:05:58 03/28/04 Sun

Thanks to Alieraís taping skills and Rahaelís NTSC TV, I was able to watch Damage, Why We Fight, and Smile Time today. Damage is an episode which I have been keenly anticipating for some time, but I can only describe it as a disappointing muddle, with some excellent parts, but also some very bad decisions. I was looking forward to it because of the wide reports that it grappled with the issues raised in BtVS7 by Lies My Parents Told Me, an episode whose climatic scene is still one of the most morally contemptible things that I have ever seen on television. Certainly, Damage attempts to answer the objections I, my viewing companion, and many other people raised to Lies - its apparent denial of Spikeís duty to feel guilt for his killing of Slayers, and its dubious moral equation of Slayers with vampires, to the point that many fans treated Nicki Woodsís death to be something akin to self-defence. It does, in my opinion, succeed in forcing Spike to a full appreciation of the nature of his past acts. Nobody should have watched this episode and still believed that Nicki Wood had a death wish, or that Spike killed her in noble battle. However, the portrayal of Dana muddies the moral waters in an unfortunate way, and MEís apparent attempts to deal with some of the wider questions posed by the portrayal of non-Buffy Slayers through Dana are problematic to say the least.

Like the similarly Spike-focussed Hellbound, Damage suffers most from the fact that it is a crowd-pleasing exercise in grand guignol with some moral self-examination tagged on, rather than vice-versa. Probably the worst decision is the choice to make Danaís true state a mystery for a large proportion of the episodeís opening section, tainting her with an aura of demonism for the whole episode. It is also an artistically flashy but unfortunate decision to draw such blatant visual parallels between her and Faith ñ the casting of Navi Rawat, an actor with a marked resemblance to Eliza Dushku, the opening hospital gown, the later costume highly reminiscent of Faith in her ìscruffyî rather than ìsex bombî mode. I can see why it was tempting to draw parallels with another unstable Slayer dangerously lacking control over her power. However, Faith is in many ways MEís type specimen for the ensouled human being descending into evil largely through their own failings, while Dana, more than any other human ME villain, is truly not responsible for her actions. The reminders of Spikeís past actions are buried beneath an avalanche of brutality directed at him, so that his physical pain becomes the focus of the ep.

One can argue that the fact that Spike did not himself torture Dana and murder her family is negligible, given that he himself admits he did the same and worse to others. But it continues a pattern in which Spike is only morally challenged by characters largely devoid of moral standing. I could quote Pavayne in Hellbound, and Robin Wood, whose moral standing is utterly denied in Lies and not restored in any later episode. However, it is not a case of Spike being uniquely favoured over Angel as I initially believed from my admittedly embittered perspective, so much as it is of Angel being uniquely disfavoured over MEís other sympathetic characters. When most heroic ME characters receive harsh and deserved moral criticism, it is from characters whose claim to moral voice is denied by their own actions. We have Willow upbraided in Killer in Me, in terms very similar to those used by her fan critics, but by the bitterly vengeful black magician Amy Madison. Similarly for Anya with Stewart Burns in Hellís Bells, and to an extent with DíHoffryn in Selfless. By contrast, Angelís accusers are often morally questionable, but their evil tendencies are always ascribed to the damage he himself did to them, and not allowed to reduce the credibility of their accusations ñ Dru in Whatís My Line, Penn in Somnambulist, Holtz, and Lawson in a couple of episodesí time. (The other unique exception is Faith, who is just as morally self-lacerating as Angel, but is entirely spared any confrontations with angry former victims.)

The best portion of the episode is its reflective conclusion, with Spike finally allowing himself to recognise the indefensibility of his past, even according to his own nebulous and self-serving concepts of honour. Unfortunately, it stresses the problems in Danaís characterisation, and the ominous message of the episode that those who suffer are doomed, in Angelís and Spikeís dichotomous characterisation, to be monsters or helpless victims. Danaís fate is left unclear, but although she survives, it is implied that it will be either as a victim dependent on others, or as a sympathetic monster whose power may be used for good ends but is drawn from a source of darkness and torment. The mantra of the episode is ìYou canít hurt me any moreî, but it has a dark double meaning. I am reminded of Nick Caveís superb, but deeply grim, song ìKnocking on Joeî, which has a similar mantra. Caveís ominous protagonist declares that his enemies can no longer hurt him, but it is not because he has passed beyond their reach, but because his past sufferings have burned away his capacity for emotion. The empowering resonances of Chosen are hinted at, but with an extreme lack of conviction.

Another criticism of MEís portrayal of Slayers from non-majority backgrounds has been the manner in which they are silenced ñ the Chinese Slayer, Kendra, Nicki Wood. Danaís multiple personality might have provided some faint, perverse triumph, Dana acting as a conduit for these women to regain their voices. But the voices are merely crackling, fragmentary recordings, moments of pain and fear isolated from reality, unable to interact with it, mediums in the sense of dusty wax cylinders or shellac rather than channels for spirits to reclaim their place in the mortal world. If ME intended to confront these criticisms, they entirely failed.

Back to the positive, and some more minor issues. I have to place myself with those who enjoyed Andrew in this episode, and I am strongly reminded of one of my favourite characters in TV SF, Babylon 5ís Vir Cotto. The new and improved Andrew has many of Virís characteristics ñ inarticulate, slightly inept in social conversation, but with a very shallowly core of genuine determination and competence. His resemblance to a Peter Jackson hobbit in hairstyle and costuming is very noticeable, especially in his tearful reunion with Spike, and he seems a little more comfortable with and aware of his ambiguous sexual orientation. Some commentators were very harsh on his ìbetrayalî of Angel at the close of the episode, but I did not see anything in his meetings with the regulars to suggest that any commitment of loyalty was being made ñ merely a sharing of information in recognition of a coincidence of immediate objective. Certainly, events since in the season have rendered it even more inadvisable for Dana to have been left to Wolfram & Hartís barely reconstructed medical staff. One can imagine the conversations with the management team: ìSo, Mr. Angel, you want her to stop trying to slaughter everyone. Who do you want her to be slaughtering?î And Angel is hardly appropriate as Danaís guide. He has no real understanding of psychosis, unlike Spike, and his obsession with acknowledgement of guilt and recovery from evil would not be helpful to someone unaware of the nature of her actions.

In fact, the episode is very even-handed in acknowledging the current failings of both souled vampires. We see Angelís new tendency to shy away from direct involvement with the suffering, and to rely on militaristic and legalistic procedure. We also see Spike throwing himself into violence, trying to show sensitivity until his anger gets in the way, and assuming the worst of his antagonists to avoid admitting his own faults (remember his psychoanalysis of Angelusís motivations in Damage, and the manner in which Spike frequently accuses people of his own faults).

The utter distrust of Angel by the former Scooby Gang, even if one views Andrewís claims as pompous and exaggerated, is in some ways a transparent manoeuvre to excuse a lack of crossovers. Yet it does make some character sense, given that the Scoobiesí experiences with the First Evil in S7 will have tended to confirm them in their existing orientation as firmly against utilitarian, ìnecessary thingî approaches to morality, an approach for which Angel and his friends are now virtual poster children. It is also quite believable that reports of Angelís actions may have concentrated on the morally ambiguous, rather than the positive. ìNo-one remembers the good stuffî, as Number Five lamented.

Why We Fight, by contrast, is excellent, a moral drama in which the action elements are never allowed to drown out the essential intellectual and emotional issues. Our knowledge of the subsequent development of the Initiative, explicitly acknowledged as Angelís employers in a way that slightly retcons BtVS4 (in which the organisation was portrayed as a very novel phenomenon), sheds a grimly ironic light on Lawsonís protestations of the virtue of the USA in contrast to the Third Reich. The use of Nazism is not demeaning of the real events, but highly disturbing in the contrast between the evils of which humanity is capable and the rather silly pack of vampires who the Nazis have captured ñ Spike at his most murderously shallow and clownish, the blustering Nostroyev, and the truly bizarre, comically senile, Prince of Lies. (There is also a further attempt to defuse the Nicki Wood issue by suggesting that Spike has a nervous tic of stealing clothes from his victims, reducing the trophy aspect of The Coat.) One can also note this seasonís achievement in subtly setting up subsequent episodes without channel-frightening arciness, in this case Gunnís momentary hesitation in a legal discussion early on.

The metaphor of the submarine is complex and multilayered. Partly it mirrors Wolfram & Hart in its isolation from the world and its nature as a machine for destruction captured by people who want to see themselves as a moral force, with ancient monsters lurking below the hatches. Thereís also the usual metaphor of anything subsurface as Angelís buried evil. Furthermore, there are interesting parallels to the AI group and a submarine crew, fighting evil in a morally ambiguous way, viewed as utterly beyond the pale by some (during World War One the British declared that captured submarine crew were to be summarily shot as pirates, not regarded as prisoners of war), and potentially vulnerable to the most horrible of deaths.

Lawson is quite an intriguing character. First, letís talk about his parallels. Except for Spike, Angel has a tendency to get involved with, or sire oddly similar vampires. We have Penn, James, and Lawson, all physically and mentally very similar. Theyíre all dark-haired young men, handsome in a boy-next-door way, highly intelligent, articulate, sadistic, neurotic, seeking external direction, coldly violent and eventually self-destructive in the manner of suicide by proxy. Come to think of it, apart from the vampirism, the same could apply to a certain Mr. PryceÖ

Lawsonís other most interesting aspect is the question of vampiric canon. Firstly, it re-establishes and in a way clarifies the continuing issue of time-to-rise. For those who donít recall, in Reprise it was explicitly stated that vampires rise on the evening of the first complete day-night cycle after their death. Yet Lawson seems to rise almost instantly, in the same way as, most notably, Sheila in School Hard and Blair in Helpless. Very interestingly, all of these were sired in situations where their creator needed a new minion urgently. I would now argue that there is a way of instant creation of vampires, but that this is in some way tiring or unpleasant for the sirer, so that it is only performed in situations of necessity. The even more important canon development of this episode is that Angelís soul does have an effect on vampiric siring, but a most unpleasant one. Vampires sired by souled vamps appear to be just as amoral as the average vamp in their actions, but not to gain the usual pleasure from malevolent acts. One could ascribe this to a residual soul, but it is also possible that the effect is an absence, a blocking of the normal vampires moral orientation to evil rather than a conflicting orientation to good. Holden Webster, sired by the souled Spike, showed no such problems, but it is possible that the effect is due to a mental impression, as Spike was in a morally suppressed state at the time of Websterís siring.

And finally Smile Time, a real gem and the most successful primarily comic AtS episode since Disharmony. The irony of the way in which the ìpuppetsî of the episode are the ones most in control and liberated to fulfil their nature has been widely noted, and itís getting late, so I donít have a great deal new to say. The most significant problem of this episode is the continuing sense that ME are walking the razorís edge in their portrayal of Gunn this season, in danger of making some very unfortunate implications in relation to black menís intellectual capacity and questions of racial authenticity. (Thereís something of the hazard in the references to golf in Damage, which leave one wondering whether ME are aware of the rather significant racial symbolism of golf in the USA, traditionally played by rich white men and serviced by poor black ones.) Leaving this aside, puppet Angel is hilarious and lovable, the metanarrative on MEís existence as TV creators sardonic, and even David Furyís slightly wooden acting can be explained by his characterís possessed nature. I have slight reservations on the in-character-ness of Wes in particular pushing Angel into a romantic relationship, although his sardonic remarks about the rarity of perfect happiness in relationships are very Wesleyan, and I have more than slight reservations about Fredís deeply tacky skirt, of the type my father often refers to as a ìpelmetî*. Other than that, a triumph. (And the final scene between Wes and Fred is emotionally very similar to the end of Entropy. I say no more.)

Oh, and I am astonished that ME managed to get a barely metaphorical paedophilic sex scene into prime time ;-)

*A ìpelmetî is a small border piece hiding the aesthetically unappealing point where a curtain is attached to its hooks. Hence a skirt hiding those parts whose exposure is illegal, and absolutely nothing more.


[> Re: Damage, Why We Fight, Smile Time -- Rahael, 15:42:29 03/28/04 Sun

Dana acting as a conduit for these women to regain their voices. But the voices are merely crackling, fragmentary recordings, moments of pain and fear isolated from reality, unable to interact with it, mediums in the sense of dusty wax cylinders or shellac rather than channels for spirits to reclaim their place in the mortal world.

That's just beautifully said.

And you express better than I can my disquiet. I liked Damage quite a bit more than Lies. I thought it had tons of potential - and I kept wishing for something like Untouched - an ep by ME that said so much about pain and power, and that Damage didn't come close to.

While Untouched focused on Bethany, Damage was about the Vampires, Spike and Angel. While the personification of the harm they had done is carted off, sedated, they end the episode with a discussion about regret. About 'monsters' and 'innocent victims'.

It's almost as if those who are subjected to unimaginable pain are somehow damaged beyond recall - those who inflict it however, can just go on working for that redemption. There's a lack of realism here from ME of what torturing and maiming other people does to you - you certainly do not emerge a darkly fascinating, well dressed quippy hero.

And of course they can't show that. They have 'souls' and no souls. Dividing lines. Spike pre-soul and post soul. Angel and Angelus. But they shouldn't dissolve the suspension of belief by attempting some kind of faux-realism about victims damaged beyond repair. If they are going to do that, they should acknowledge that Angel and Spike are not realistic depictions of those who have done the things that Angel and Spike refer to in the hospital. The evil they were in love with.

Not that I am complaining. I'm not really interested in getting invested in tortureres, murderers and rapists. It's a conceit, the vampire thing, the soul thing. Perhaps Spike's claim that "he was a victim too" finally does admit that the dividing line between Man/Vampire/Vampire with a soul is really rather blurry. That's fine too. I like ambiguity.

But Dana wasn't subtle or ambiguous. She was a caricature.

That said, I loved Why We Fight (just as much on the second time as the first) and Smile Time.

Lawson is quite an intriguing character. First, letís talk about his parallels. Except for Spike, Angel has a tendency to get involved with, or sire oddly similar vampires. We have Penn, James, and Lawson, all physically and mentally very similar. Theyíre all dark-haired young men, handsome in a boy-next-door way, highly intelligent, articulate, sadistic, neurotic, seeking external direction, coldly violent and eventually self-destructive in the manner of suicide by proxy. Come to think of it, apart from the vampirism, the same could apply to a certain Mr. PryceÖ

There's someone else that Angel 'sired' that fits that bill too.....though I don't know if Connor is coldly violent as passionately and hot temperedly violent!

[> [> Hmmm (expanding) -- KdS, 07:51:11 03/29/04 Mon

I wouldn't say that Connor is particularly articulate or reflective.

But it struck me today just how extreme a case of suicide-by-proxy Lawson is, similar to Faith in Five By Five and Anya in Selfless. Because if he'd wanted to hurt Angel he could so easily have killed Fred, Gunn and Wes, or done far worse damage to them than he did. Instead, he threatened them just seriously enough to ensure that Angel was angry and frightened enough to kill him without thinking about the alternatives - that if one vampire who had some dissatisfaction with his condition could go and get a soul, maybe another could too. I wonder what would have happened if Angel had told Lawson about Lurky?

[> [> [> Re: Hmmm (expanding) (Spoilers for 5.13 Why We Fight) -- Dlgood, 13:36:21 03/29/04 Mon

But it struck me today just how extreme a case of suicide-by-proxy Lawson is, similar to Faith in Five By Five and Anya in Selfless. Because if he'd wanted to hurt Angel he could so easily have killed Fred, Gunn and Wes, or done far worse damage to them than he did. Instead, he threatened them just seriously enough to ensure that Angel was angry and frightened enough to kill him without thinking about the alternatives

A while back, I'd posted on that very topic. (It can be found in the archives and on my LJ around the time the episode aired in the US). I found "Why we Fight" fascinating, particularly when Lawson is viewed in context with (1) Spike's presence among the scoobies, (2) Harmony's presence on Angel's team, and (3) the vast numbers of characters who have been denied their suicides and suicides-by-proxy in BtVS and AtS. I think there's a big question as to whether staking Lawson in 2004 was really the right course, or merely an expedient one - given the circumstances, Lawson's persona, and the possible alternatives.

[> Re: Damage, Why We Fight, Smile Time -- Random, 19:06:11 03/28/04 Sun

Oh lord, I cringed in mightily at that opening scene of "Smile Time"...the intimations of paedophilia were, as you say, barely metaphorical and fast approaching outright text.

I'm surprised you consider "Why We Fight" better, or more profound, than "Damage", but that's a ymmv issue...however I find your observations about how suffering affects the victims interesting. How do you view the contrast between Spike/Angel -- who are as much perpetrators as victims, at least in a strictly item analysis sense -- and Dana, who was almost pure victim...until she gained the power to lash back? I see an analogy there -- Spike and Angel, victimized by their vamping, lose their prior individuation but gain the power to lash out at the world, while Dana, victimized by the brutal kidnapper, and, arguably, by the kinesis of Slayerhood, loses her prior individuation but ultimately gains the power to lash out again. Could being invested with Slayerhood be considered analogous in some ways to being vamped?

And Lawson, as with Penn and James (albeit to a much lesser degree in the latter two cases), seems to suffer psychologically to a greater degree than the average vampire. The suggestion that Angel's soul is somehow an influence is fascinating (though it was Angelus who sired the others.) What we're looking at is the possibility that even if there is no actual transference of soul, the soul in Angel creates psychological resonances in the created being.

Interesting point about Spike being challenged primarily by people with little moral standing themselves (though I would note that the Scoobies challenged him in effect, if not in pretty little speeches, and Buffy frequently challenged his motives and actions.) It does seem to have led to a persona that is less self-reflective, if not necessarily less oriented toward moral progress.

[> [> "Power to lash back" - nice way of putting it -- KdS, 01:36:19 03/29/04 Mon

The other thing that worries me is ME's acceptance of the position (previously debunked by them with the contempt it deserves in Firefly:War Stories) that the only way to regain your volition and self-respect after being victimised is to commit violence on your assailant or some substitute for them. Which is morally questionable anyway, and not likely to be successful for anyone who isn't a superhero.

Although Spike's and Angel's claiming of the mantle of victim is a challenge to those people within the fandom who see Liam and William as morally complicit in their own sirings.

[> [> [> Re: "Power to lash back" - nice way of putting it -- Pony, 08:59:04 03/29/04 Mon

The other thing that worries me is ME's acceptance of the position (previously debunked by them with the contempt it deserves in Firefly:War Stories) that the only way to regain your volition and self-respect after being victimised is to commit violence on your assailant or some substitute for them.

Where do you see this acceptance? Honestly I wouldn't get this at all from viewing Damage, which seemed to me to be about the horror of the victim to victimizer cycle. We're meant to see the connection between the vamping of Spike and Angel and Dana's psychosis. How was Angelus' seeing only the art of pain, Spike's desire for the rush different from Dana seeing the face of her tormentor in everyone around her? I certainly don't think Dana's actions were meant to be seen in a positive light at all.

[> [> [> [> I don't know -- KdS, 11:03:49 03/29/04 Mon

It's fragmentary, and I don't have a transcript handy to quote from, but I definitely got the impression that the whole incident with Spike is shown to make Dana's mental state more controlled - the way she starts of seeing Spike torturing her, and then starts allowing herself to see the actual face of her attacker, and the repetitions of "Strong" and "You can't hurt me any more".

[> [> [> [> [> Re: I don't know -- Pony, 11:42:51 03/29/04 Mon

Well, when she does finally see Spike as he is, her response is "Doesn't matter," and when Angel tries to tell her who she is, she agrees and attacks him. I saw those actions as pretty darn negative, and when coupled with Dana's lines about her strength, it seemed to be an argument against vengenance and the indiscriminant use of violence.

It's tricky I agree, because the series is somewhat based on the idea of violence as catharsis, but I felt this episode seemed to actually be challenging that concept in an interesting way. The violence was perpetuating a cycle rather than allowing for a breakthrough to a new level.

[> [> [> Morally complicit in their own sirings? -- Random, 10:04:16 03/29/04 Mon

I don't recall ever hearing that theory before. How does it go?

And, yeah, I've never really thought about the cycle of revenge accompanies the ethic of empowerment through direct retaliation against the victimizer. In a sense, ME didn't backslide too much -- it showed (Spike's entirely valid points about his own past notwithstanding) the dangers of lashing out against the wrong person, and Dana, while Dana did find some small catharsis, she was still too badly damaged in the aftermath to consider it a victory, moral or otherwise. So it could be called a mixed result, especially given Spike's implicit acknowledgment that nothing can make up for what he did. There can be no real balance of the scales. In final analysis, perhaps that's what "Damaged" was about -- the irrevocability of the past, and the sometimes all-too-futile struggle to move past it.

[> [> [> [> Re: Morally complicit in their own sirings? -- KdS, 11:11:37 03/29/04 Mon

It does come up quite often when the "moral responsibility for unsouled crimes" issue is discussed. Basically the argument is that Liam and William both accepted some form of sinisterly phrased offer of power from Darla or Dru, and that neither of them resisted siring particularly effectively. Myself, I think that the argument is too hard on them and too optimistic about the ability of humans to resist the siring process.

[> [> [> [> [> Well, on that we agree... -- Random, 18:47:32 03/29/04 Mon

I've always been under the impression that even if either could resist -- and its not entirely clear that they had much ability to -- neither could possibly have imagined the consequences to come.

[> [> [> Re: "Power to lash back" - nice way of putting it -- nazlan, 16:27:30 03/29/04 Mon

"The other thing that worries me is ME's acceptance of the position (previously debunked by them with the contempt it deserves in Firefly:War Stories) that the only way to regain your volition and self-respect after being victimised is to commit violence on your assailant or some substitute for them."

Oh, I'm so glad you feel that way as well, because I remember being horrified when "Damage" first aired at the number of people who seemed to feel that Dana mutilating Spike was somehow an empowering action. She's right when she says she's strong. Physically, yes, she's very strong now. But she's far from empowered.

[> [> [> [> Heh -- KdS, 00:23:23 03/30/04 Tue

That may have been just because those people had been waiting impatiently for Spike to get smacked down for some time ;-)

[> [> Self-Reflective? -- Claudia, 08:08:46 03/29/04 Mon

"It does seem to have led to a persona that is less self-reflective, if not necessarily less oriented toward moral progress."

Could you explain this again, please?

[> [> [> Eh, I probably couldn't do justice to the subject -- Random, 18:36:07 03/29/04 Mon

[> Tiny addendum -- KdS, 07:55:43 03/29/04 Mon

Could the somewhat-detached-from-reality Prince have been a sub for Dru? One wonders if they wanted Dru but couldn't get JL.

[> Spike's Past - "LMPTM" -- Claudia, 08:03:58 03/29/04 Mon

"I was looking forward to it because of the wide reports that it grappled with the issues raised in BtVS7 by Lies My Parents Told Me, an episode whose climatic scene is still one of the most morally contemptible things that I have ever seen on television. Certainly, Damage attempts to answer the objections I, my viewing companion, and many other people raised to Lies - its apparent denial of Spikeís duty to feel guilt for his killing of Slayers, and its dubious moral equation of Slayers with vampires, to the point that many fans treated Nicki Woodsís death to be something akin to self-defence. It does, in my opinion, succeed in forcing Spike to a full appreciation of the nature of his past acts."

I thought this was entirely unecessary. If Spike had really lacked any guilty feelings for his past actions, he would have never been nearly undone by guilt for most of Season 7. What many fans and critics fail to realize that if Spike had truly felt any lack of remorse about his murder of Nikki Wood, he would have NEVER spared Robin Wood's life in LMPTM. Why do so many continue to forget this? And why do so many continue to feel that Spike should have apologized to Robin . . . after the latter had attempted to get revenge by using both Buffy and Giles in the process. What I'm trying to say that Spike's "cruelty" and remorlessness toward Wood had sprung from anger and a feeling of betrayal - especially since Wood had known that Spike was trying to reform. Spike should have apologized? Perhaps . . . if Wood had been more honest about confronting the vampire about Nikki's death. But now, I would say that not only should Spike apologize, he should receive an apology from Robin, as well.

[> [> Well, it doesn't exactly speak volumes for the character that he would have killed Wood -- Finn Mac Cool, 09:21:13 03/29/04 Mon

Just because someone tried to kill you doesn't give you the right to kill them as long as they no longer pose a threat. If remorse over killing Nikki was the only reason Spike held back, then I'd say, at that point, anyways, he still had some moral developing to do.

[> [> I don't want to get into all this again -- KdS, 11:10:21 03/29/04 Mon

Look in the archives around the time that Lies broadcast in the UK - as I recall the topic that contains most of my points is headed "I Spit On Your Grave". The only thing that topic doesn't contain is the following conversation between Cordy and Angel in Tomorrow, which might be considered meaningful here:

Angel: "I found Holtz."
Cordy: "And?"
Angel: [with great pride] "I didn't kill him."
Cordy: [with great sarcasm] "Maybe you're growing as a person.

[> [> [> Oh, Claudia -- KdS, 11:18:12 03/29/04 Mon

Here you are

[> Squeak -- Tchaikovsky, 16:02:24 03/29/04 Mon

I've, like, totally forgotten to post A Hole in the World and Shells to Rah! Shall do so shortly, particularly since I'm really enjoying both your views on this Season, and these two are quite extraordinary- though whether extraordinary good or extraordinary awkward is a de gustibus thing.


Is the mindwipe really that important? (speculation) -- Finn Mac Cool, 15:38:19 03/28/04 Sun

I know that many people here on this board view Angel's decision to erase all memory of Connor at best as a big moral compromise and, at worst, a totally repugnant act. There has been much said of how Angel toyed with his friends' heads, violated them, etc. What I have to ask, though, is would they really mind?

It's just, a lot of people seem to think the mindwipe will become known to the other characters and that they will turn against Angel (at least temporarily) because of it. But, no matter what they do, I just can't seem to picture the rest of the Fang Gang being too upset about it. Yes, Cordelia was apalled by what Angel did and called it "mind rape", but we must remember that she, above all the other characters, values honesty. In "Killed By Death", she dismisses using tact, saying it's just a fancy way of not telling the truth, and is pissed off at Angel in "Eternity" for not telling her what he really thought of her performance. Given how much importance Cordelia puts on honesty, it only seems natural that she'd be upset about Angel decieving everyone. But really, can you honestly get a picture in your head of the others being mad about the mindwipe? What parts of their character, precisely, would make them take offense at this? Because I just can't seem to picture it. Instead, my mental movie projector generates an image of a big, emotional scene where Angel confesses the truth, and then Wesley, Gunn, and Lorne say, "oh well".


[> Re: Is the mindwipe really that important? (speculation) -- heywhynot, 16:47:21 03/28/04 Sun

Not to mention, lets face it they will remember everything. Wesley will have to deal with his betrayal of Angel and Gunn his killing of Fred's professor. Right now, they don't have access to those memories. I can see them being upset if they found out there had been a mindwipe but once they regained their old memories, they see Angel's side of things and give him the benefit of the doubt.

[> Re: Is the mindwipe really that important? (speculation) -- Anny, 18:17:20 03/28/04 Sun

How would YOU react if a part of YOUR memories had been erased?If YOU didn't remember some important facts of YOUR life?
Our memories are what make us react to the world,they shape our evolution,build our personnalities...
The mindwipe is,imo,a destruction of personnality,Angel has
destroyed their freedom.He's obliged them to evolve in a different way.Would they react to the events of this season
in the same manner if they were "whole"?
I don't think so.Cordy was right:it's a rape.A rape of your right,as a human,to make profit of your experiences and,if the characters take it lightly,then the writers are severly deluded about the gravity of Angel's actions.
When people are "forgetting" traumatizing facts about their life(childhood rapes,for instance),they do it to protect themselves,but the trauma is always there,it linger in their minds even if they are not conscious of it,it disturb their life and,without therapy,these people are forever haunted by something they cant understand.
How can Wes,Fred(OK Not!Fred,Illyria),Gunn comprehend their actions without full knowledge of what happened before the mindwipe?I,personnaly,would be very angry if I found out that someone had been playing with my mind.The same goes for Connor,the kid needed therapy and love,not this awful and easy way to resolve a terrible situation.But Angel loves easy,doesn't it?imo,that guy is a coward,he's never been able to deal in a mature way with any difficult situation.

[> [> Amen to that, Anny (my speculation) -- SS, 18:40:29 03/28/04 Sun

I just hope that is where the show is leading up to this year. That it was the meaning of this entire year.

Otherwise the writers will have missed a very important, vital point in relating with other people in this life...

But to call Angel a coward? Maybe that is too strong a word. (In a few people I know that dredges up images of 9/11 terrorists) Perhaps he is just so damaged by the big bad of last year, particularly in the way he was damaged by the big bad of last year, to be able to tell the difference.


[> [> I guess I'd be upset if someone went doing that willy-nilly -- Finn Mac Cool, 19:27:15 03/28/04 Sun

But I certainly don't want to call it bad right off the bat. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I don't think I'd be so pissed if someone did it to me. As long as it's a one time, for a good cause scenario, I don't see the problem. Especially since, if I find out about it, odds are it will be because I've regained the memories, in which case it's all been taken back, no harm.

Also, regarding the characters, what clues have you seen that they feel the same way about memories as you do?

[> [> Re: Is the mindwipe really that important? (speculation) -- Masq, 19:56:36 03/28/04 Sun

The same goes for Connor,the kid needed therapy and love,not this awful and easy way to resolve a terrible situation.But Angel loves easy,doesn't it?imo,that guy is a coward

You go! I love Angel, he's my favorite character, but he did not make the right decision in dealing with Connor in Home.

[> [> Re: Is the mindwipe really that important? (speculation) -- Anny, 20:57:36 03/28/04 Sun

No,I cant say how they will react(it's in the writer's hands,their responsibility,their job,not mine).But,IF I was in their shoes(the characters and I will talk about them as if they were real people),I would not be happy at all.They have been stripped of their free-will(Jamine anybody?).

Take this season and imagine they lived all these events with full knowledge of S4 and S3...and S2 BTW...Don't you think things would have been different?May be it would have been worse for them,who knows,but,at least,choices would have been made by people completely aware of their actions:the why,the who,the when,the because...they didn't have that possibility and they never will be able to correct things they made when they were "crippled".Unless Angel could(who knows) turn back time (with Illirya's help?),decisions were taken that are impossible to erase and they were done without all the elements necessary to comprehend them fully.
They're going to think about the desastrous events leading to Fred's death and wonder if things could have been different(Wes is going to freak,imo).How could they not even partially,put the blame on Angel's actions?
They will ALWAYS wonder:what if??
If someone you loved had been killed because decisions were taken without all the elements, knowing that,may be,it could have been avoided(If they had not taken Lilah 's offer,Fred would never have opened the sarcophageous)would you say/"Oh,well,it's fate!He did it with good intentions,we can forgive it.Let's forget about it!"
Come on!Unless you are a saint,I don't see how you could not be pissed.
What Angel did twisted everything about their destiny.
He was confused at the time of the decision and seriously screwed up and I can understand his behaviour under stress,BUT once things were settled,he never tried to
change things,he let his "friends" live in a fog.Why?
Because it was what was best for him and,I suppose that's what he thought,what was best for Connor.
After reflexion (and he had a lot of time for it),how could he not see that Connor was living a lie(a good one,may be,but a lie nonetheless) and try to find a solution which didn't need to let everybody paying for his decisions?
No!Things were going his way,why change them?
That's why I think Angel is acting selfishly and with a total disregard for the others,not because what he did in the heat of the moment,but afterward.

That's exactly what governments in dictatures do to their citizens;keep them in ignorance or lie(And in democracies too,unfortunately:see the lies about Irak,for instance),it's easier that way,you can get what you want without problems or disapproval.

[> [> [> I don't really see it as being such a violation -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:30:17 03/29/04 Mon

As I said before, I'd be upset if someone just went doing it all the time or for no reason. But removing some memories that weren't all that great to begin with as an integral part of saving someone just once, I honestly don't think I'd have a problem.

Part of it, I guess, is that I'm not really good at understanding my own motivations. A large number of my decisions seem to happen entirely at the subconscious level; I'll do things because they feel right, whether or not I understand why it's right. As such, losing a part of my memory just doesn't seem like such a big deal when my experiences only seem to make up a small portion of my decisions (which makes sense once you consider the fact that at least 75% of human behavior is determined by genetic factors).

Of course, the severity of Angel's act varies depending upon how much their memories were altered outside of Connor himself. We know they remember events which certainly wouldn't have happened without Connor's presence (Lilah/Wes, Jasmine), but a few surrounding events (the "father will kill the son" prophecy) were erased. I guess my personal view has been that almost nothing besides memories that contain Connor himself were removed, in which case their memories aren't changed that drastically. By your description of them being in a fog, I'm guessing you have a higher estimate of how much was erased. Before you say this doesn't matter, or something like that: I'm just saying it would to me.

As an example: I would be pretty pissed if someone fixed it so that I really couldn't remember almost anything from the last two years. However, if they just cut out the times I visited my grandparents, for example, I probably wouldn't be bothered too much (not that I dislike my grandparents; I just found the visits boring and I'm not particularly fond of the memories). I doubt any of the Fang Gang ever actually enjoyed their memories of Connor, and their direct interaction with him wasn't that large, so I can't see myself being too upset were I in their shoes.

Keep in mind, all of this is contingent upon a few assumptions I've made:

1) The Fang Gang's memories of the last two years are almost entirely intact, simply excluding all times when they directly interacted with Connor.

2) They would have made the same decision regarding W&H without their memories wiped (if ME was trying to indicate they wouldn't have, then I think showing them being reeled in by their tour of the law firm was definitely a mistake).

3) W&H required the Fang Gang's memories to be wiped in order for their mojo to affect Connor, and that Angel wasn't allowed to tell them afterwards.

[> [> [> [> Re: I don't really see it as being such a violation -- Anny, 04:11:50 03/30/04 Tue

Well,we're all different.Some of your arguments are solid,I'm not really in their shoes so I cant imagine their reactions... and you're right,freedom is a beautiful illusion most of the time.But I highly cherish the little freedom I(we) possess and my memories,all of them,are part of the package.I make mistakes,I made mistakes and I have some very unpleasant memories ,but I don't want them to be removed,especially against my consent,they are part of me "growing-up".

And I don't think removing Connor, without their consent, from their memories is ...fair.You are making a comparaison with a visit to relatives,but Connor is far more important in term of impact on all their lives and even if these memories are unpleasant(to say the least!),they deserve to be accounted for.
The Trial,Darla's pregnancy,Holtz and Quortoth(??),the baby,Darla's death,...
Wesley and the kidnapping,the prophecy(The father...),Angel trying to kill Wesley,Wesley the "pariah" and his relationship with Lilah,...
If we can believe Skip,Cordelia's visions and her entire destiny were twisted to prepare Jasmine's birth ...and Connor was the other half of the plan,...The whole Jasmine's story doesn't have any sense without Connor
and the W&H deal doesn't have any sense either.
Even if they would have taken the W&H deal with the memories of Connor.

OT:Well,it was a stupid decision,imo,did they really think they could do that without repercussions?Being offered the reins of a thousand years old powerful evil law firm on a platter,and they were not smelling a trap?(I would have been a little suspicious even if the big paychecks and power were tempting ...and I can be really dense sometime*g*),but it's another problem.

No,I cant imagine them and their judgement not being deeply affected by Angel's (and W&H) decision.They can't take it(the writers and the characters) lightly.
If the writers take this road or find a way to make Angel's decision appear to be a good one,then,for me,(I'm a fan of continuity and "libre arbitre"),this season is a waste.

PS:If I was the FG,I'll sue!Being part of a law firm can come in handy sometime.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: In Jossverse this is a violation -- Buffalo, 21:13:42 03/30/04 Tue

Tabula Rasa

[> [> [> [> Memory and intuition -- Plin, 01:13:27 03/31/04 Wed

A large number of my decisions seem to happen entirely at the subconscious level; I'll do things because they feel right, whether or not I understand why it's right. As such, losing a part of my memory just doesn't seem like such a big deal when my experiences only seem to make up a small portion of my decisions (which makes sense once you consider the fact that at least 75% of human behavior is determined by genetic factors).

Here, though, I think you need to distinguish between conscious and unconscious memory. We develop the skill of intuition as a result of our past experiences and learning, even if we don't retain any conscious memory of them. I don't remember ever burning my finger as a child, but I'm pretty sure that I, like most people, didn't simply do as I was told. In spite of my parents' warnings, I'm sure I must have touched something hot at some point, and discovered that was really not a good idea, and I should avoid doing it in the future whenever possible.

So even though we might not remember all of the experiences that contribute to our intuition, they still do play a role. Perhaps if someone really did remove all of your memories of visits to your grandparents, however dull, you might alter certain decisions of yours today that are in some way affected by the lingering traces of those experiences, even those you can no longer actively recall. They remain part of your intuitive guide, helping you determine what "feels right".

Surgically removing parts of someone's memory is essentially the same as removing parts of their identity (see Darla's words to Connor, and the extreme example of Tabula Rasa). I think it's a pretty big deal, that.

[> [> [> [> [> Yes, but, from my perspective, I wouldn't notice a difference -- Finn Mac Cool, 08:59:01 03/31/04 Wed

There wouldn't be an "if only I knew!" moment. Since what people feel seems to be the real issue here, this makes a big difference.

(Also, I do have suspicions that the Fang Gang still retains their subconscious memories, although I don't really have any support for it.)

[> [> [> [> [> [> And if they do.... -- Vickie, 10:02:02 03/31/04 Wed

Finn says:

I do have suspicions that the Fang Gang still retains their subconscious memories, although I don't really have any support for it.

I agree that this is likely. Would W&H have the skill or take the care to truly eradicate all the effects of Connor on the gang's psyches, or would they simply eliminate the memories? I would assume the latter, as it is easier and the former is tricky and uncertain.

More important, have all the effects on Connor of Holtz's kidnapping and abusive upbringing in Quartoth been completely cleaned up and eliminated? Or is all the fear, resentment, and self loathing still there under the surface with no memories to tell him why he feels that way?

It would be horrible enough to feel destructive and self-destructive, as Connor clearly did at the end of season 4, and remember events that induced those feelings. How much worse might it be if these feeling surface now, and he has no idea at all why?

Connor's return would, IMHO, be a pretty good final sequence for the show. I'm completely unspoiled, so don't fear anything but speculation here. I'd like to see him go "spoing!" and become the teen terror again. Superhuman strength pitted against a teen's adversaries with no explanation until Angel and company intervene again. Besides, we'd get to see VK do some more fine acting.

[> [> [> [> Uncertainty -- Dlgood, 07:13:26 03/31/04 Wed

Even under the most charitable of interpretations, it's still something I would be deeply conflicted about.

Because, I cannot be certain of what memories have been removed - only those that were retained. And as such, I would always be beset by the niggling fear that I were missing something critical.

Further compounded because the memory wipe was, as far as one can tell, not done on their terms, or with their consent. I'm not saying whether one person or another would understand, accept, and sympathize with Angel. But I cannot conceive of their being no resentment either.

[> Re: Is the mindwipe really that important? (speculation) -- BrianWilly, 21:49:37 03/28/04 Sun

Even though I don't think the mindwipe will be as big a deal as it seemed at first, I can't really imagine the gang just brushing it off either. If the whole thing was so inconsequential, why would Angel have erased the memories in the first place(other than the obvious assumption that he was insecure with his own decision)? He could have given Conner that nice happy life without erasing everyone's memories, in fact that's probably what most of them would have wanted...though it might lower morale a teeny bit to find out that the Boss of Us took this Wolfram and Hart gig just so that they could save Conner, not because he REALLY believed that it was right.

I see Wesley dealing with it the best out of all of them...a little shock, little drama, moving along now. After all, he wrote the book on betraying your friends for the greater good.

Gunn would probably be less understanding and a little more emotional about it, as is his right. But frankly he's got more important things to worry about at the moment, doesn't he?

I don't see Lorne taking the mindwipe very well at all. Remember, Lorne's become very sensitive to who or what plays with his mind, and he's expressed reservations about how Angel has done things in the past. He's not at his emotional best right at the moment long will he let himself be pushed around before he's had enough?

Tara: "If you don't wanna fight, you don't fight. You don't use magic to make a fight disappear."
Willy: "But I-I just wanted to make things better. Better for us."
Tara: "But you don't get to decide what is better for us, Will. We're in a relationship, we're supposed to decide together."

[> [> Re: Is the mindwipe really that important? (speculation) -- lynx, 22:07:23 03/28/04 Sun

>>>I don't see Lorne taking the mindwipe very well at all. Remember, Lorne's become very sensitive to who or what plays with his mind, and he's expressed reservations about how Angel has done things in the past. He's not at his emotional best right at the moment long will he let himself be pushed around before he's had enough?<<<

ooh.....what if THIS is the reason Lorne has had trouble reading people!? (can't believe i missed the possibility.)

[> [> I assumed their memories were altered in order to make the deal work -- Finn Mac Cool, 09:08:32 03/29/04 Mon

I figured Angel didn't want to alter his friends' memories, but that doing so was part of the changing Connor's memories package.

[> [> Dealing With the Mindwipe -- Claudia, 12:56:40 03/29/04 Mon

"I see Wesley dealing with it the best out of all of them...a little shock, little drama, moving along now. After all, he wrote the book on betraying your friends for the greater good."

I don't know. Wesley has a habit of pretending that everything is all right with the world and that he has a pretty good hold on his emotions. I think that he will pretend, not only to the others but also to himself that he could deal with Angel's actions. But his true feelings might eventually spill out . . . as is always the case with him.

[> [> Re: Is the mindwipe really that important? (speculation) -- nazlan, 16:18:15 03/29/04 Mon

"I see Wesley dealing with it the best out of all of them...After all, he wrote the book on betraying your friends for the greater good."

Yes, but if I remember correctly, Wes had never betrayed his friends' trust prior to the mistranslated prophecy which led to his taking Connor. So if Connor is gone from his mind, did he ever do those things?

[> I Don't Know -- Claudia, 12:41:45 03/29/04 Mon

I don't know how the Fang Gang will respond to the mindwipe. I don't know how ME will deal with it. However, if I were one of them, I know I would feel violated and pissed off that a close friend had done this to me.

[> Was there really a mindwipe? (spoilers if not up to date) -- Ames, 14:37:33 03/29/04 Mon

... or did we just miss the scene where Angel said:

"Connor's in a safe place. And I'll kill the first person that mentions that name or anything about him ever again. I mean it!"

The gang are just playing dumb when they pretend not to know that name.

But if there was a mindwipe, I would think the gang would indeed be angry to find out about it. Wouldn't you be angry to find out that someone you trusted had messed with your memory because they didn't trust you?

Anyway, we're mainly talking about Wes here, aren't we? Cordy wasn't mindwiped, and she's gone anyway. Looks like Fred is gone. Gunn is out of the gang, and Connor would be the least of his concerns. Lorne never wanted much to do with Connor, and he wouldn't take the lead on this issue.

[> [> Re: Was there really a mindwipe? (spoilers if not up to date) -- Dlgood, 07:22:23 03/31/04 Wed

But if there was a mindwipe, I would think the gang would indeed be angry to find out about it. Wouldn't you be angry to find out that someone you trusted had messed with your memory because they didn't trust you?

That's begging the question though, isn't it?

Even if there were a mindwipe, we still don't know the terms or details. What Angel knew and when he knew it. How much of that he had control over. Was the mindwipe even an option? Did he know in advance? Or was it a side-affect? Does he know of a way to undo the mindwipe, and does he know of potential consequences?

And if he did choose the mindwipe, then why?

IMHO, there's still so much information missing that I can't really make a judgement with any degree of confidence. Like the members of Angel's team, I missing the most pertinent details.

[> For me, it's Pointofseason important -- Tchaikovsky, 15:44:32 03/29/04 Mon

Is this thing on? Tune to concert A (440, 442 never did it for me). Cough expectantly, allow audience to quiet. Play a little self-consciously, but with a bit of joy. Wrap up. The applause. Just that moment of feeling you might be more than one little pawn-person, before you realise that the applause will stop, and the connection may be no less ephemeral than Lorne's in Spin the Bottle walking out of his empty room, or Joss Whedon's at playing to invisible television lovers and long-time flirts, like me.

And why this conceit? Since this is how I feel every time I write a post. It ain't me babe, it's a stylistic interpretation. Look at yonder poster, who explores in crystal clear terms but denies their paunch. Or another, who darts, swivels and pirouettes through adverbs to alight upon an explanation, when in real life they make set squares. We know who we are, but our posting is a performance.

How do I come to understand this performance? Through writing moralistic, unfinished plays about Catholic Vicars at age 13. By playing that clarinet and damn the cynics to a confused audience of primary parents, red, blue and yellow in their summmer shirt-sleeves. And now, equipped by old performances, I give my new ones with just a residual amount of vigour and assurance. Perhaps.

How could you undermine this, pulling the Jenga tower down? Take this sections away. Make life not make sense, quite. Dim my memories from their deliberately soft-edged Picasso to a genuine blur of non-Art. Make me not understand my memories. Stamp on my mode of being, a tower built by crazy people, and give me only that pulley down, to crying in what seems like Hell, with only my Sister's shoulder to cry on. And I don't have a sister.

Everything that has brought us here has made as what we are. Rearrange those words to change from Sartre to Aquinas in one reef knot. Everything that makes us what we are, has brought us here. Either way it doesn't matter. What the existence/essence debate takes as premise is that existence and essence are inter-twined, serpent in vine, hand in glove, and we cannot escape one. I don't know what my essence is. Coy joke about Vanilla. Memory that I've used this obfuscation once before, to Sol, last August. And how does that change the direction of this post?

The fact that it's changed it at all means that I'm a different person from what I'd be if my mind had been wiped so that nothing related to Masq ever existed. And that would make me mad.

What's more, the propogator's having a hard time bringing in that bulging net of fish which resulted from his order to throw the net over the other side. What is this self-doubt? It's new, adn it's to do with cutting off personal involvement (Numero Cinco), recklessly staying emotionally cold to family (Lawson), being a puppet because, althoguh you are capable of pulling your own strings, you don't trust yourself to make you dance the waltz and not the tarantella. Spidery dance of death. Fred's mortality comes, as Angel confides to Gunn, from him being at Wolfram and Hart. And that comes from his choice to wipe Connor's memory. He remembers all of this, intuits themes, learns about life from the whole his Memory paints. But it isn't until he deals with the Hole in the World, the lack of positioning given by losing your primary mode of orientation, that handsome androgyne, that he overcomes the slow-drowning despair. And that's why the mind-wipe ain't just a wind-screen wipe.

Or it might be why writing is rewarding. Freedom to write, rewarded with the memory of aving written, complemented but not altered by the views of others.


[> The mindwipe has endangered their lives--of course they'd be angry -- Dariel, 20:23:00 03/31/04 Wed

The Gang is working in the belly of the beast, where they need all of their wits about them. But the things they learned about themselves and each other last season have been washed away. Wes, for example, is the same old Wes. Before the mindwipe, he let his faith in prophecy trump his faith in his friend, Angel. Wouldn't Wes want to know this about himself, that he's so enthralled by prophecies, ancient languages, and magic that he doesn't always relate to the actual people around him? And doesn't the rest of the gang have a right to know this about Wes?

Also, the mindwipe has given Wes a false perception about his relationship with Angel. Angel may be, as Eve implied, waiting for Wes to betray him again.

[> [> more succinctly and more to the point -- Dariel, 20:41:26 03/31/04 Wed

The gang is in the middle of a huge struggle with Wolfram and Hart. Each of the gang really needs to decide who they can, and maybe who they cannot, trust in that struggle. However, vital information-information that might have helped them make these decisions-has been wiped from their minds. So, yes, if they find out, they'll be furious.

[> [> [> Depends how much was kept -- Finn Mac Cool, 22:12:39 03/31/04 Wed

Wes still dated Lilah. Gunn and Fred still got together. Jasmine and all the wacky stuff involved with that still happened. I personally think the actual amount of information removed from their memories has been minimal. While Wesley betraying Angel was removed, that event also had a lot of consequences which were simply the result of bad luck (Sahijan's blood plan, Justine stealing Connor, Wesley being unable to explain his side due to the throat slitting, Cordelia being away when all this happened). Perhaps, overall, that was an experience best not learned from, anyway (not arguing it should be erased, just that so much going wrong by accident probably doesn't make that event an accurate example of trustworthiness).

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