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Questions and Interpretations (**Spoilers** and maybe a soap box or two) -- manwitch, 16:11:59 05/11/02 Sat

First a question: The sound cut out on my TV for the last line of the scene between Spike and Clem. Can anyone tell me what Spike said to him right before it cuts to the heist?

Now an interpretation that not everyone will or should agree with. I think it was Angel vs Angelus who asked not too long ago whether or not Buffy was postmodernist. Without going into too much detail, the answer is yes.

Because of this, there are certain things the show will never ever advocate. The show will never suggest that exclusivity or cliques for any reason, even a clique of Buffy, Xander and Willow fighting the forces of evil, are preferable to open, inclusive communities whose participation is based only on an interest and willingness to participate.

The show will also never suggest that people are static, unchanging, condemned to forever be what they once were. People can change, and they always do.

So we know that the rejection of Anya and Spike was not a good thing. I don't mean rejecting him after he assaults her in the bathroom. I mean the years worth of rejections that came before. And we know that Spike is NOT forever condemned to be evil, nor is anya. He is not the same monster that slaughtered half of Europe. Xander is wrong. The point of their demonic side is not that they are bad and will always be that way.

Sometimes its important to remember that the show is not a plot driven contrivance like ER or The West Wing, which are all well and good for what they are. Its a collection of symbols that address how we, the viewers, actually live in the world, how we might live if we could shake off everyone else's vision of who we are and what we are to be. And in that sense, Buffy is the important one.

Buffy and Spike are through. There is simply no way that this show can have her "take him back." On a visual level, he sexually assaulted her in the most intimate room of her private home. No woman ever is or should ever feel responsible for that. Doesn't matter what they wear, what they said, or what they did in the past. Period. It would be an extremely unfortunate image if she allowed him back into her life any time soon.

That said, in this case Buffy is responsible. Not for Spike's assault, but for what is going to become of him. Personally I suspect Spike will be back as the devil incarnate. He is now fueled by the fires of self-loathing that only Lucifer himself has known before him. In an effort to prove or demonstrate his love, he violated the object of that affection, and expelled himself from its grace. And he knows both that this brutal rejection is unfair and that its his fault.

But, and this is the sad part, all Spike wanted was to be with her, to be part of her struggles, to be accepted in her circle and to have her acknowledge that he was worthy of it. People will argue with that and say, no spike wanted to bring her down. But he really didn't. He wasn't trying to kill her, wasn't trying to vamp her, and was prepared even to come to the aid of Willow and Xander when Buffy wasn't preseent. He was by no means the perfect guy, but Buffy had the chance to include him, the chance to "slay" him without slaying him. And then she would have truly been the transcendent slayer. But it looks like he's going to be a monster. And I still don't think that Buffy can just kill him. For Spike to be merely dusted would render the last five years of Buffy's life meaningless. Spike is her responsibility.

I'm still not sure Buffy is in her right mind, or being honest with herself about Spike. Trust like love, is not something one earns. It is given. That's why its trust. Its a form of faith in other people. Seeing Red made clear that Buffy didn't trust Willow enough to tell her, didn't trust Xander enough to tell him, and she doesn't trust Spike. And Dawn, at the end of entropy, said I know what its like to feel you have to hide, to have secrets. This "trust" issue is about Buffy's character, not Spike's worth.

So were the eggs in the crypt the symbol of creative rejuvenation that Buffy could have had with Spike but destroyed through her own denial? Or were they the seeds of the monstrosity that Buffy's continued relationship with Spike would have produced? I just can't accept the latter. Buffy doesn't have to marry Spike. They don't have to live happily ever after. She can even kill him if necessary. But, as Captain Kirk once said, "everybody's human." And so is Spike. And Anya. When you marginalize them you define the limits of your own humanity. Buffy dropped the ball with Spike. She's had a hard time of it. She's unhappy and confused, and she is fallible. But she will definitely bear the consequences of what happened between them. Since these are the episodes where we typically get our glimpse of the following season's big bad, I can only wonder if perhaps Spike will come back as the monster of monsters.

This season has supposedly been about growing up, or actually the refusal to do so. Growing up isn't just about being responsible for your decision, but also about attempting to earn the life you desire. Everyone on the show this year is mirroring Buffy. She doesn't want this life. She didn't ask for it. She wishes it was easier or somewhere else. And so do they all. They all want it to be easier. They want the love but not the pain, not the work. But you get the life you get. That's the existentialist part. If you want something different, you better make it yourself, not just expect it to be different because you're wishing, and not just thinking you can cut corners or find some easy path, winning the lottery as it were. You do the work, and you take responsiblity for your actions, and if you're lucky then maybe you get some reward that falls far short of your original dreams. But its better because its really yours.

Buffy has waited a long time to recognize this, and she and those around her are losing their way as a result. What matters isn't that Willow has turned to the dark side, but what will Buffy do about it. Its nice and all that Warren will get the horrendous treatment he deserves without Buffy being demeaned, but the fact that Willow is lost to us really makes Warren that much more despicable. He wins even as he loses. Its Buffy's responsibility to make something good come out of that, to ensure that the moment Willow seized in Welcome to the Hellmouth wasn't the moment that destroyed her life and forfeited her future.

Oh well, a brilliant episode like that sparks a lot of thoughts, but I must now channel my sparks in the direction of the grill.

[> Great post! -- Dariel, 17:18:19 05/11/02 Sat

I'm afraid you're right about Spike's direction in season 7. The cherished belief that he would never hurt Buffy, a belief that sustained him against his dismal existence, is gone.The only thing that might save him is Buffy's forgiveness. Not saying she should forgive him; just that if he sinks back into evil, that might be the only thing to reach him.

[> [> Re: Can't answer this cause it would includes spoilers -- Rufus, 20:22:42 05/11/02 Sat

I wouldn't jump to any conclusions about how Buffy feels about Spike, or that she would be unable to forgive him.

[> Re: Questions and Interpretations (**Spoilers** and maybe a soap box or two) -- Cactus Watcher, 17:18:23 05/11/02 Sat

Clem - Hey! Come on now, Mr. Negative. You never know what's just around the corner. Things change.

Spike (sarcastically) - Yeah, they do! Ha! ...(Something occurs to him and his expression changes) If you make them!

[> Re: Questions and Interpretations (**Spoilers** and maybe a soap box or two) -- gabby, 18:58:52 05/11/02 Sat

Please, Spike doesn't have to become a monster because Buffy spurned him, that would be a immature action and one clearly of his own making and responsibility. If I get burned by someone I can get mad, stamp my feet, whatever, but coming back for revenge or to hurt that person physically and emotionally would be of my own choosing, blaming the person who hurt me for my downward personal destruction is a cop out and a poor excuse. We mostly do what we do by choice not because someone else made us.

[> Re: Questions and Interpretations (**Spoilers** and maybe a soap box or two) -- celticross, 20:40:09 05/11/02 Sat

Excellent post, manwitch, with some points raised that have helped me clarify my opinions on Buffy's behavior this season. I have not liked the way she has acted, and as many have pointed out, she has been through a great deal. But no matter how low she feels, how depressed, how disconnected from the world, she is still responsible for what she does. How we feel does not excuse how we behave. Buffy's sense of loss and isolation does not excuse her using Spike anymore than Spike's feelings for her excuse his actions in the bathroom scene. Willow's desire to keep things happy in her relationship with Tara does not excuse her use of memory spells on her lover, and Xander's fear of the future does not excuse leaving Anya at the alter. I just hope the Scoobies realize that they've all done wrong to each other.

[> Re: Questions and Interpretations (**Spoilers** and maybe a soap box or two) -- Grant, 00:04:05 05/12/02 Sun

While I agree with a lot of your post, I must disagree with its beginning. BtVS is definitely not postmodernist. Based on your argument, I'm pretty certain the only reason you felt it is postmodernist is due to a mistaken definition of postmodernism.

Postmodernism is a philosophy that says that it is impossible to distinguish which rival interpretation is the true one. Thus there no longer is any Truth, but a lot of truths, each of which is equally valid. On a purely theoretical level, this idea is somewhat interesting. It is, after all, quite easy to argue away just about any independent standard for determining the Truth one could come up with. However, once you actually think about what this doctrine actually means on a practical level it becomes a lot more difficult to support. In declaring that every viewpoint is equally valid, postmodernism also declares every viewpoint equally invalid. And you no longer have to even work to come up with the truth. I could declare that the complete works of Shakespeare are a secret code that describes oncoming Martian invasion, and according to postmodernism I would be right because there is no objective way to determine that my interpretation is incorrect.

Right after you state that BtVS is postmodernist, you write, "Because of this, there are certain things the show will never ever advocate." This is actually the exact opposite of postmodernism, which declares that everything should be advocated equally. You then write, "The show will also never suggest that people are static, unchanging, condemned to forever be what they once were. People can change, and they always do." I agree with that, and I think that the fact that you use it as evidence of postmodernism it is a good illustration of where most people get confused when it comes to that philosophy.

Postmodernism does not assert that we don't yet know what the Truth is and thus a rival interpretation might actually turn out to be the Truth. It asserts that there is no objective Truth and thus all rival interpretations are equally the truth. The idea that the world is a dynamic place where we must work to find out the Truth far predates postmodernism. Ever since the days of the Ancient Greeks we have clear evidence of humans debating over what the Truth is. And this attitude is clear in BtVS. Buffy and the other characters fight for Good against Evil, even though they aren't quite always sure of what it means to fight for Good. They have their own arguments over what is the Truth, but they never assert that there is no Truth. It doesn't matter what his motivations or that there is no objective standard, the Master was wrong in trying to open the hellmouth. Faith had a lot of bad breaks in her life, but she was wrong in going over to the dark side. The Scooby gang is open for a debate on what is Right and Good and all that, but in the end they know that there must be a Right and a Good and a Truth or else the debate is useless.

[> [> Common misconceptions: Why Buffy is Postmodern -- manwitch, 06:57:06 05/12/02 Sun

It is a common misconception about postmodernism that it argues that "there is no truth," or that "one truth is as good as another." This is absolutely not what postmodernism argues.

The "critique of truth," as it is called, which is only a fraction of what postmodernism contains and is about, argues that all truth claims are mediated through language and therefore historically and culturally contingent and indeterminate. Truth is therefore never absolute. Because the truth claim depends on words whose relationship to their referents is arbitrary and forever changing and in fact depends on other words and concepts for their meanings. In addition, any truth claim is made within a community, a community that can also be understood to be linguistically based anad that will have its own rules and criteria for making and judging truth claims. Postmodernism does not argue that there is no meaning or that there are no criteria for judging truth claims in the extremely local and impermanent human communities in which the claim is made.

Postmodernism is really a set of critiques of modern culture, critiques that are so emphatic that they suggest that the world we live in is no longer "modern." Hence the name. But it isn't simply a philosophy or a theory. Its the intellectual grounding for the left-wing opposition movement that has supplanted Marx. And its basis is in Nietzsche, and particularly his views on language and discursive processes.

So Postmodernism isn't just the set of critiques but also a set of reccomendations for how we might better live. These include value your local interpersonal relationships over the impersonal claims of grand narratives of human elevation or empowerment, such as the French Revolution Narrative or Enlightenment Narrative of human elevation through the advancement of Reason, or the Hegel Narrative of human elevation through the emancipation of the human spirit or the Marx Narrative of human elevation through the emancipation of the working subject or the Smith Narrative of the elevation of humanity through the accumulation of wealth.

The reccommendations also include creating new institutions, non-hierarchical institutions that are based not on force or authority, but on an exchange of different skills, knowledge and energy. Also oppose the monolithic authoritarian istitutions that would claim to be elevating humanity but in fact exist to monitor and narrow human experience. In art, these institutions will be represented as Government, Law Enforcement, Hospitals, Schools, the Military, The Master/Apprentice, the Patriarchal Family.

Since Postmodernism recognizes the linguistic basis of all things meaningful, it advocates using language differently. Say new things. Use language to break out of the constraints that it imposes on our conceptual and interpretive frameworks.

Postmodernism argues that scientific knowledge is simply one set of knowledge, not the set, and in fact, not the most important set. Other types of knowledge that science would not even recognize as knowledge are equally important and equally meaningful to the human experience.

Postmodernism believes that individuality is yet another monitoring tool of the forces that would dominate us. We are led to believe that we are individuals, and our individual identity becomes the "permanent record" of who we are, where we have been, made up of our test scores, certifications and whatever other paperworks have been bestowed upon us. But in reality, the postmodernists argue, our identities are interconnected. Since they are linguistically based it matters who we talk to, how we talk to them, how they talk about us, how language about ourselves travels through us and through others. Consequently Postmodernism argues for what Foucault calls "de-individualization." To take away the unit of measure that the State depends on for controlling us and recognize that identity is not static and never located in one place, to realize that identities come from complex and ever changing relationships to ourselves and to others and that we will not stay the same.

And because, as Derrida points out, the meanings of words exist outside of the words themselves, and because, as Foucault and Lyotard have argued, our identity exists outside ourselves, postmodernism vehemently rails against exclusion, and passionatley calls for the incorporation of "otherness" into ourselves. It strongly reccomends that we stop seeking what is normal, that we recognize "normalization" itself is a tool of domination that would narrow and constrain our experience, and to instead open up to the world of difference and possibility.

I think that all of these critiques and reccomendations are manifested in Buffy over and over again. More often than not, when Buffy is called to fight the Big Fight, she declines. In Prophecy Girl, she quits the Council's Mission and says screw the big prophecy. She's not part of that. It is Willow's tears, LOCAL, that bring Buffy back to the struggle. She's not doing it for the Grand Narrative, she's doing it for her freinds, to make the world theirs again. Xander makes sure that we recognize and understand this point moments later when, after Jenny says, "Aren't we forgetting something? The Apocalypse" (or something like that) and he responds "I don't care. I have to help Buffy. The point is that this is not the World Mission. This is the my loved ones mission. The show regularly illustrates opposition to the Grand Narratives in this way.

It also shows it in the undermining of the institutions of the Grand Narratives. The Master/Apprentice institution in Season 1, the institution of the Watcher's Council and its authority over her (notice that whenever Giles comes at Buffy in his "official" Watcher's Council role she undercuts him, sometimes quite literally taking his legs out from under him with a staff. But if he comes to her as a knowledgeable and loving friend, she looks up to him), the instution of the School or the College throughout the entire series, the institution of the Mayors office (Season 3), the institution of law enforcement a number of times, the institution of the military (Season 4), of the Science Laboratory (Season 4), the institution of the Hospital (Season 5), of hierarchical organized religion (in Seasons 4 and 5) and any patriarchal institution that comes within six feet of her. She rejects, demolishes or overcomes ALL of them by creating her own institution of the Scoobies, an institution that is not based on hierarchy, but on a willingness to participate and to bring what you have to the community. It is interesting to note that the only big bad Buffy faced in seasons 1-5 that was not represented by a hierarchical institution was the somewhat anarchic group of Spike, Dru and Angel. And they alone among Buffy's big bads are ALL STILL LIVING.

The shows use of language is brilliantly postmodernist, both in its use of words and in its suggestion of discursively based identities and institutions. There is a discourse to being a scooby, Tara is accutely aware of it when she is not part of it. Anya is corrected on it over and over again (normalization! uh-oh!).

The entire series is about the value of mystic and spiritual forms of knowledge, and that what we "know" to be true is not. And Science is not the answer. Season 4 makes abundantly clear that in the battle for turf between scientific knowledge and "other" knowledge, other wins. The Scientists can only create the monster Adam. They don't know what to do with him. To defeat Adam requires mystical knowledge, and, oddly enough, a spell of "de- individualization."

And of course, one of the major and continuing themes of the series is about overcoming exlusion, overcoming the state of being the outcast, including otherness and rejecting normalcy.

Buffy shows us how to do it. She shows us how to live without hierarchy, without the need to lead or the desire to be led, without being crushed by the weight of other people's knowledge and expectations, refusing to participate in institutions of domination, and yet never stepping back, never leaving the fray, never giving up.

Remember, the fight of good vs. evil sounds a bit like a Grand Narrative. There is nothing good or evil but that thinking makes it so. And as Nietzsche points out, we all have some demon in us. "Though we condmen the evils of our past, we cannot escape the fact that we spring from them." And he reminds us in an aphorism that I think is quite appropriate to Buffy, "Be careful lest in casting out your demons you cast out the best thing that's in you."

Buffy's struggle is beyond good and evil.

Its a spectacular postmodern culture crit through and through, and that's why its the best show, in my opinion, in the History of Television, and why it is significantly superior to Bonanza.

[> [> [> Truly Excellent -- Rob, you might want to use this for your site........., 08:10:51 05/12/02 Sun

[> [> [> Re: Common misconceptions: Why Buffy is Postmodern -- DEN, 08:17:59 05/12/02 Sun

An excellent analysis, convincing generally and in detail. May I add to the list of deconstructed hierarchies the one portrayed in the opening scenes of s6, when Willow's attempt to be "boss of us" in the cemetery generates comedic chaos (the last honest laugh of the season, IMO!).

[> [> [> Re: Common misconceptions: Why Buffy is Postmodern thank you excellent post -- zooey, 11:48:46 05/12/02 Sun

[> [> [> Yes.... except... -- Liz, 12:24:50 05/12/02 Sun

I agree completely about that post (or most of it I can't recall every word). I did not really have a definition of "postmodern" but I did see all of those institutions and how they were viewed by the characters and by the show itself. It was one of those things I really liked about the show.

(stands behind riot shield)
That's one of the things I find missing in the 6th season. And I really miss it. It's one of those things that subtly makes the 6th season disheartening for me.

Emma Goldman, an American anarchist philosopher and activist, was a believer in communism. Then she went to Russia to see the communist revolution, and encountered Stalinist Russia. When she expressed her horror at what Stalin was doing, he said, "Grow up."

Anarchism is for childish dreamers. This is the real world. In 3rd season we have Buffy fight her way out of an industrial factory hell with a hammer and sickle. We have her summing the place up as, "You work us until we're too old and then you just spit us out." In 6th we have Anya chirping about the tools of capitalism, and Buffy looking defeated in her Doublemeat Palace uniform, saying, "So that's why I feel like a tool." And everyone says how adults have to do the hard things and work and bring home the money, and they congratulate the show on it's maturity. Now it's real, now it's adult. And if you mourn the lost fantastical elements and humor then you're shallow, and if you mourn the lost themes then it's "Oh, grow up."

The first post of this said that Buffy was postmodern, and therefore there are certain things that it will never advocate. I don't believe that is true. Not that I think it's likely to advocate those things listed (although we seem to be headed towards both). But I think people aren't paying attention to themes anymore.

Buffy was not only not totally plot-driven, it was also not totally character-driven. It was theme-driven, and experience-driven. Ok, I'm making up words here, but I think there is a difference between experience-driven and character-driven. With the character one, you are making a coherent story surrounding what a character would do next. With the experience one, you're taking a situation that you want to explore and then you're putting your complex character into it and seeing what will happen next, what his or her previous personality will do with that situation and how he or she will come out of it afterwards. It's a different thing, and I think it leads to richer characters.

I think right now we're character-driven and a little bit plot-driven. I just think that is they're thinking right now as they write the story. And they could go like that for quite a while because they're got lots of steam built up from their developed characters. But I miss what's lost. You don't have to miss it, but it's just what I happened to like about the show. Maybe that's why some people like 6th even better than before, and some don't.

But you can't have it both ways. If you love all those things that people have labeled "postmodern", you can't tell me that they're still here.

[> [> [> [> This isn't quite the way I would have expressed it -- matching mole, 12:35:26 05/12/02 Sun

but it sums up a lot of my feeling about season 6 (although I would rank Doublemeat Palace as one of my favourite episodes of the year to date).

[> [> [> 'mazing post, thanks for making me understand a bit of what post-modernism means :) -- Etrangere, 13:41:28 05/12/02 Sun

[> [> [> Why Buffy is Not Postmodern -- Grant, 15:03:22 05/12/02 Sun

You start out by stating, “It is a common misconception about postmodernism that it argues that "there is no truth," or that "one truth is as good as another." This is absolutely not what postmodernism argues.” Unfortunately, this completely contradicts the entire rest of your argument, as even you go on to admit that this is a portion of postmodernism. This “critique of truth” is the foundation of postmodernism, and I think if you reread your post you will see that you fully admit this. It is impossible to accept the postmodernist criticism without accepting the idea that there is no Truth, and the idea that there is no Truth is itself impossible to accept.

Unfortunately for the postmodernists, science completely destroys the foundation of their argument. In science, there are objective facts that can’t be refuted by word games. Chemistry may be populated mostly with white males, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are six protons in a carbon atom. And two plus two equals four no matter how phallocentric arithmetic is. This is why postmodernism has been so vehement in its criticism of science, because science has created a logical and objective system of determining the Truth that completely undermines postmodernism.

You can argue all you want about the merits of postmodernisms critique of science, but I think that Alan Sokal pretty much put the issue to rest. And no matter what the postmodernists say, scientists continue to figure things out and make really cool gadgets. Sure, in the Buffyverse it is fun to see magic triumph over the abuse of science, but in the real world I have never seen David Blaine produce anything particularly useful for society. On the other hand, the only reason we can even have this conversation is because of computers, an entirely scientific invention.

The other major problem with the postmodernist doctrine/philosophy/whatever is that people want normalcy. Normalcy is not thrust upon them by an oppressive hierarchy, as postmodernism maintains, but rather assumed by the people. That is why people build communities that share a set of values and, in many cases, a hierarchy, because they know that in this community they can have the normalcy they desire. The Scooby gang is one such community. It has a normalcy, a hierarchy, and an exclusiveness, so how does it support postmodernism?

Indeed, your argument on the postmodernist nature of BtVS misses a number of important components in the series that directly refute it. Primarily, the fact that Buffy and the Scooby gang are portrayed as the heroes fighting for good is very non-postmodernist. If BtVS were truly a postmodernist show, than Buffy and the Scoobies would be seen as a force that oppresses the vampires and the demons in the interest of preserving the human hegemony over the world. They would not be fighting for Good, but rather for a conception of “good” that preserve the status quo from which they derive their power. This is obviously not the case.

Further evidence is also apparent that Buffy is far from motivated by mere local interests. You correctly point out that it is Willow that encourages Buffy to go to the Master, but you are wrong in claiming that her motivation is thus entirely local concerns about her friends. Instead, the conversation with Willow serves to remind her that she has a mission, and that she cannot turn her back on it. This is clear when Buffy goes to tell Giles that she will go face the Master. Giles has decided to “defy prophecy.” Buffy counters this not by stating that she has to do this for Willow, but by saying, “That's not how it goes. I'm the Slayer.” This is her affirming her role as the Slayer and her place in the Mission.

The end of season two is particularly strong in portraying Buffy as playing a role in a larger conflict. Whistler is the closest thing we ever get to the voice of the forces of Good, and he is actually a proponent of individualization. He asserts that there are big moments in our lives, that our lives are plot driven contrivances, in a manner of speaking, and it is our individual reactions to these moments that makes us who we are. When Buffy tells him that she is tired of fighting by herself, he responds with: “In the end, you're always by yourself. You're all you got -- That's the point.” To him, fighting the good fight is about restraint and exclusion; what you are willing to give up is a more important question than what you are willing to do.

Her climactic fight with Angel is a major continuation of these themes. When Angel has her backed into a corner, he taunts her by asking, “That's everything, huh? No weapons, no friends. No hope. Take all that away and what's left?” Buffy’s response is simply, “Me,” a clear assertion of individualization. This assertion leads Buffy to her victory in the fight, but then she is presented with a horrible choice. She must either kill her soulmate, who is essentially an innocent in this, or condemn the world to hell. She chooses the world, knowing that she has to make a huge sacrifice for the sake of the world.

After this fight, Buffy decides that living in this world and this order is too painful. So, she runs off to LA and abandons both her calling and her friends. However, she quickly comes to realize that she cannot abandon her role in life and simply escape from the world. The crucial component of this occurs in the hell dimension, where Buffy once again asserts both her identity as and individual and her place in the world. She is not just Buffy Summer, she is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and she has a mission in life and a role to play.

Two notable characters, Faith and Spike, also represent a distinctively anti-postmodern slant. Faith’s decision to ignore the rules of society and follow her own mantra of “Want, Take, Have” is the first step in her journey to the dark side. On the other hand, her redemption only occurs when she decides to willingly submit herself to society’s rules and a distinctively hierarchical institution like Justice system. Faith could easily have escaped at the end of “Sanctuary,” and she could also escape from prison after that, but her decision to accept these rules even though they are contrary to her own benefit and she could easily escape from them is the best sign that she is on the road to redemption.

Spike is another case of a character dealing with redemption. For him, redemption only began when the chip in his head forced him to accept the rules of society. This serves as the first step on his redemption, but Spike is still a long way from being redeemed. His chip has now become an obstacle to his redemption, because it is impossible to know whether he truly is willing to live by the rules and be good or whether an electronic leash in his head is making him be good and live by the rules. That seems to be the motivation behind his decision to get his chip removed. Although you have argued that he will come back the monster of monsters, I believe that the opposite will happen. I think Spike will try to prove to Buffy and the Scoobies that he can be good without the chip making him. Thus it will be his willingness to play by the rules without the chip that will serve as the next major component in Spike’s redemption, a redemption that could not occur unless Spike does follow the rules of a hierarchical society.

It seems to me that rather than postmodernism the main theme of BtVS is sacrifice. Buffy is a hero when she decides to sacrifice herself and her interests for the world and for others, such as when she went to face the Master knowing she would die, when she killed Angel to stop Acathla, or when she killed herself in order to save both the world and her sister in “The Gift.” Meanwhile, there have been many times when she has acted selfishly, and this has lead to disaster. The best example of this is in the season three episode SChoices.” Buffy decides to base her decision making on her own self interest, her desire to escape her role and go off to college, and this cause Willow to be captured. She then trades back the Box of Gavrok for Willow. The benefits of this trade have and will be debated, but the end result is that she traded the life of her friend for the lives of Larry, Harmony, and every other student or parent who died during the ascension.

Season six has also had a strong connection to this theme of sacrifice as a component of growing up. In order to grow up, Willow must forsake her connection to magic, which has become something of an addiction for her. She must restrain herself in this area and sacrifice her magic ability in a manner that goes against her own self-interest, and she must do all of this for the sake of others, like the friends her magic use was hurting and her lover Tara. Buffy, meanwhile, has tried to ignore her role in life again because life is so painful. This has lead to its share of problems, most of which seem to have been answered by her decision to leave the happiness of the Normal Againverse and take her role back in the real world. In this decision, Buffy is sacrificing her happiness to help others, but it is clearly the right decision.

I could go on with many other examples, but I have faith that I have provided enough evidence. The point is that there is a strong component of individualism in BtVS. And though the show does go after some hierarchies, it is not entirely anti-hierarchy. The Scooby gang is one hierarchy that is not seen as a bad force, and most of the components of our hierarchical society are taken as important guidelines for human actions. And the central and most constant theme in the show has been about taking your proper place in society and sacrificing yourself for the sake of that society.

So does Buffy have components that are postmodernist? Yes. But does it present an overall postmodernist vision? No. With postmodernism, you have to accept the entire theory. Being part postmodernist is like being part pregnant, it just doesn’t work that way. There are themes and occurrences in BtVS that fit with the postmodernist theme, but they are used to present a whole that is decidedly not postmodernist.

[> [> [> [> Re: Why Buffy is Not Postmodern -- Dochawk, 16:00:55 05/12/02 Sun

When I read the original post, I knew I didn't agree, but it was a gut instinct, not knowing anywhere near enough about this particular philosophy. I did know that Buffy was about choices to a much greater degree than the original author gave it. Thank You for writing this. Its excellent and makes me more comfortable.

[> [> [> [> Why science and postmodernism are closer than we might think -- Sophist, 18:37:20 05/12/02 Sun

I want to say that the posts by Grant and manwitch are both spectacularly good. I wanted to add some comments about areas in which I think the two sides are closer than may appear from these posts.

Let's start with the notion of Truth. By philosophical convention, going back to Plato, we capitalize this (or any other term such as Beauty) when we mean to designate something eternal, perfect, unchanging. A claim that there is such a thing as Truth is a claim that knowledge can be certain, perfect, complete. By contrast, truth with a small "t" means that the truth is contingent and subject to change.

It is true that postmodernism rejects the notion of Truth. So does science. Science does this because all scientific truths (note the small "t") are subject to falsification (there are other reasons too; I'm simplifying). In principle, every scientific theory or statement of fact could be disproved. As a practical matter, some statements made by science are so well established that the idea that they could be controverted is wildly implausible. But no scientist should ever claim that some truth is eternal.

Now let's talk about establishing these contingent truths. Postmodernism refers to these as socially constructed. Science says that theories and statements of fact must be subject to verification, and that the experiments to verify them must be repeatable. In other words, and in the best cases, multiple experimenters must agree on the same results. This strikes me as awfully similar to the postmodern concept of socially constructed truth. In this case, it is the community of scientists which agrees upon the "truths".

There are many areas where science and postmodernism have no overlap at all. For example, science has nothing that I know of to say about moral absolutes (e.g., adultery is a sin). It does, however, teach us to be skeptical about any claim of Truth. If postmodernism does the same that seems beneficial to me.

At bottom, however, we need to recognize that science is much less open ended than some formulations of postmodernism seem to be. Science may not be able to establish Truth or even "truth", but it certainly can disprove some statements. When it does so, all the postmodernists in the world can't reconstruct Humpty Dumpty. And I wouldn't recommend treating gravity as a socially constructed truth either.

[> [> [> [> [> Excellent post -- matching mole, 20:06:44 05/12/02 Sun

I like your use of truth and Truth. One of my problems in following these discussions is the use of language. During his posts I often having the experience of following manwitch thinking 'yeah this makes sense' and 'I'll buy that' and all of a sudden there'll be a statement that absolutely floors me usually having to do with science and truth (or Truth). If I interpret the words the way I would use them then they seem outrageous. But perhaps they're not.

For me there is only one truth (or Truth). That truth is the physical reality of the universe, the relationships between matter and energy and their constructs. Science is attempting to get at this truth. The scientific model of physical reality is tentative certainly but far more objective than any other model of the truth (in the very limited sense that I am using it) and thus, in my humble opinion vastly more likely to resemble actual physical reality than other systems of thought.

Truth in any sense that includes values or morality is a social construct (again in my opinion). Science tells us nothing about this kind of truth (which is not the same thing as saying that scientists shouldn't think about it).

[> [> [> [> Re: Why Buffy is Not Postmodern -- J, 09:14:12 05/13/02 Mon

It is impossible to accept the postmodernist criticism without accepting the idea that there is no Truth, and the idea that there is no Truth is itself impossible to accept.

Uh . . . can't agree. To argue that there is no meta- narrative Truth is not the same thing as arguing that statements have no truth value within certain situations. You're conflating the two. And your statement that science destroys critiques of truth-claims as situated has little to do with postmodernism and far more to do with some notion of empiricism as the fount of knowledge. But it's been clear for centuries that plain empiricism is a dead end -- check out Hume's critique of causation and Kant's attempts at reconciling western thought in the Critique of Pure Reason. The battle of "truth" v. "Truth" was fought long before the advent of postmodern thought.

[> [> [> [> Some follow-up, SPOILERS through Bargaining -- manwitch, 19:05:26 05/13/02 Mon

Hmmm. It comes off almost as though you don't think Buffy is postmodern.

Fine. As I said in the original post, and should have said repeatedly in the second one, this is an interpretation that not everyone will or should agree with.

But, after reading your post and the responses to it, and after re-reading mine as you suggested, I have some questions for you. They might take me a while to get to, sorry.

When you talk about Buffy, rather than the postmodernism issue, I agree with much of what you say, although not all. This is interesting to me because it suggests that postmodernism itself is the issue, rather than different views of Buffy. You and I clearly disagree about truth. My claim is that to argue for the linguistic constitution of truth is not the same as to deny truth or say that all truths are equally valuable. You seem to either refuse to accept the distinction, or perhaps feel that denying all truth is sort of the necessary reductio ad absurdum result, so the distinction is meaningless.

To you, this denial of truth is the basis of postmodernism and therefore the whole theory is problematic. I see the basis of postmodernism in its critique of language and that the other positions I described in the earlier post all arise naturally from that critique. And I don't see why one has to have the whole kit and kaboodle. Like any intellectual offering (and unlike pregnancy), one can take what works and discard what doesn't at any time.

So I guess my question is this. You've made clear why you don't think Buffy is postmodern, but I'm curious as to why its important. I recognize that its not really a fair question. It seems important to you that Buffy not be seen as postmodern. And its not just you, either. People frequently react that way to postmodernist interpretation or even just to the word itself. No one bristles at the suggestion that Buffy might be acting out the Persephone myth or that it has parallels to Middlemarch, but say its postmodernist and look out. Its just another interpretation, and it can yield some very interesting and enriching insights.

My own experience back when was that a lot of people use the lingo of postmodernism to be real cool and to make other people feel like they don't know what's going on. I personally don't care for that attitude and I try to present postmodernism in an open and inclusive way. (My apologies if I am failing to do that.) Also in my experience, postmodernism is viewed as an extremely negative philosophy. I would argue that it is in fact empowering and optimistic. I find Buffy empowering and optimistic precisely because of what I see as its postmodern bent.

As far as Buffy goes, my only real disagreement with you is that the Scoobies are exclusive or hierarchical. While they have been at times, I think that has been when they have not been at their best. I think the show made a deliberate attemtp to emphasize that in the beginning of Season 6, as DEN has described. By Willow questioning who was the leader, and by having a vote to establish it and by having a plaque to certify it, Willows approach to the scoobies is extremely different and deliberately contrasted to Buffy's model of total self-sacrifice and inclusion. This is further illustrated by Willow's position atop the tomb in the opening scenes of Bargaining, overlooking them all and giving them instructions by invading their very brains.

I certainly don't mean to say that Buffy doesn't exhibit leadership, but she rarely forces her leadership on those who do not want to participate. Again, contrast this to Willow in Bargaining.

I don't disagree at all about the idea of sacrifice or personal choice. I don't see those as incompatible with the postmodernist view I articulated. I don't believe, however, that the basis of her decision-making process is righteousness. Xander is more the voice of righteousness, and he's frequently wrong when he's being righteous. Buffy's decision making comes from love and compassion, and not just a general love and compassion for all things, but specifically for the people in her life.

Does she have a mission? Yes. Is it the same mission that the Watcher's Council laid out for her? No way. Is it the same mission the First Slayer had? Buffy sure doesn't think so. Her speech to the first slayer at the end of Restless is, to me, the perfect illustration of what Foucault calls "epistemic ruptures," a total transformation of meaning and context while the words and ostensible referents seem unchanged. Yes they are both Slayers, and yes, being the Slayer seems to mean the same thing, but they are very different. And its not just a difference in personality. Its a deliberate and sharp laceration of historical continuity. Yes she's from a long line of slayers, but its not the same thing anymore. There is no long line of Slayers like Buffy.

Anyways, take it for what you will. I am just curious as to why it sounds like a Postmodern Buffy would be demeaning to the show. My apologies if I have you wrong.

Oh, and you did say something about If Buffy was postmodernist they would oppress the vampires and secure human hegemony. I don't get that. Postmodernism tends to be anti oppression and anti-totalitarian. If Buffy were truly postmodern, they would let some of the vampires go, and even let some of them participate in Scooby-dom. Or, if they didn't, consequences would result that would demonstrate that an error was made.

I don't have the energy to go into the science question right now, and I'm sure few would have the energy to read it if I did. But to the degree that science uses language to describe its theories, methods, equipment, discoveries, communities, etc., it doesn't refute postmodernism but is rather subject to the same critique of language that everything else is. The fact that people can make a space ship or a hydrogen bomb, doesn't mean that they aren't social constuctions. Conversely, the fact that the meaning of something is socially constructed, doesn't mean it isn't real. Sometimes I think people are afraid that postmodernism means that all their furniture is about to disappear. No, it recognizes that you have a computer and that the computer does things. But it argues that the meaning of that computer, what it does, how its used, is determined by human communities (and the language they use that both constrains and empowers them) within a limited space and time. In a thousand years, the computer won't mean what it does now. Nor will gravity. The social environments in which they operate and the communities to which they apply will be different, so the reality they address will be different. Their meaning, and in large measure the reality that they address, will be socially constructed, as their meaning to us is now. Am I saying that it means we aren't really still on the planet as it hurtles through space? I don't think so.

[> [> [> can't think of the right word of praise, but... -- yuri, 17:46:12 05/12/02 Sun

it's so good to read some of your posts again. You're one of my favorite writers here, both because of your ability to explain, expound, and enlighten, and for the beautiful way you convey it all. Anyway, thanks for those posts. After those and some others on postmodernism I've read here, I think I can actually say I understand postmodernism. Well, understand is a strong word, I at least have a good idea of what people are constantly referring to when they use the word.

[> [> [> [> thanks for your very kind words -- manwitch, 05:44:50 05/14/02 Tue

[> want to read this post, but are the spoilers *past* SR? -- yuri, 15:56:21 05/12/02 Sun

[> [> Re: Nope -spoilers to SR only -- hoping, 16:05:52 05/12/02 Sun

[> Re: Questions and Interpretations (**Spoilers** and maybe a soap box or two) -- Ronia, 22:40:48 05/12/02 Sun

I enjoyed your post very much, and agreed with most of it. Just thought I'd throw a couple of ideas on the plate and see what happens when people pick at them...

Buffy seemed a tad uncomfortable in gingerbread when the townfolk started making plans w/out her, but otherwise I'd mostly agree that they have welcomed individuals on a case by case basis who wanted to pitch in.

I definately agree that Buffy shares some responsibilty for Spike's state of mind (not his actions) even minutes before "the scene"..she just keeps slamming the doors in his face, not validating his feeling, not even letting him finish a thought without interruption...ever met anyone who does this? Did you successfully repress the urge to whap them over the head with something blunt (like a tree)?

I also liked your statement about Buffy's trust issues, and I might go so far to say that they are maybe less trust issues, than control issues. Buffy has taken control of every conversation, every argument, every relationship.... except for some reason Spike...and Angel... seem not to be (in earlier years) so much affected by the world according to Buffy. It is clear that she has trusted him and others, but has she allowed them a measure of control? Not on your life. And what did they do? The resurrected her from the dead, they took her BANG and made it a whimper. She was this great icon, this supreme warrior, and now she works a Mcjob with no future and no control in sight. For a control freak like Buffy, this must be a rude awakening indeed, and not one she is likely going to forgive easily whether she is aware of it or not. I think that part of her separation from her former bud's is self protective. I'll help you, but you do not have the number for my inner man. The other thing that strikes me is that they have delivered her into pretty much the same situation that she left, none of the things afflicting her now (winces because someone is sure to come up with at least one thing..) are the result of her death. I know that none of these thoughts take into consideration the other characters developements, just focussed on Buffy tonight. Any thoughts?

On the state of Angel's mind -- RichardX1, 18:52:43 05/11/02 Sat

In one thread, someone asked how Spike would be judged if he became human and got his soul back--if we would be entitled to just blame the demon. I thought this sounded just like Angel's moral quandary, then I noticed the "became human" part, and it made me realize some things about Angel's nature...

The demon is still there. He still has that dark side, which is proud of every foul act it ever committed. Half of him still feels no guilt over his past, and that's what torments him. It's not "His soul is in charge but there's a demon inside him"--his mind is getting spiritual-emotional input from two sources (the distinction between "mind" and "soul" has been implicitly expressed since Angel visited Pylea). He's simultaneously feeling all the normal human feelings for his friends and family, while at the same time feeling the urge to torment, destroy, and devour them all.

I'd say Angel's a champion just for being able to hold his sanity (at least until the hospital incident with Wesley).

[> Re: On the state of Angel's mind -- ApplePie, 19:33:22 05/11/02 Sat

I agree with with most of what you said, up to the last point.

"I'd say Angel's a champion just for being able to hold his sanity (at least until the hospital incident with Wesley)."

The hospital incident had nothing to do with the demon inside him. The demon would have no attachment to the baby so no grief at its lost. It was the HUMAN soul that encouraged Angel to act the way he did.

Not the demon, but the man.

[> [> Re: On the state of Angel's mind -- RichardX1, 10:05:48 05/12/02 Sun

I never said the demon made him attack Wesley. I just said that he snapped. And you're right: anyone else might have done the same. I was just saying that I'm impressed it hadn't happened sooner, under some previous mental-emotional pressure.

[> Re: On the state of Angel's mind -- yabyumpan, 08:23:38 05/12/02 Sun

"I'd say Angel's a champion just for being able to hold his sanity"
I totally agree. It does seem that because he is a "champion" that there is the expectation that he will respond to situations in a way that is "morally" better than other people (i.e. see DorN thread). I see that he is a champion, partly because of the work he does but also because every second, he's having to do battle with his "inner demon". He was cursed with a soul but the demon is still there, not only does he remember all the bad stuff that he's done and feel guilty but also he must remember and feel the pleasure of doing all that stuff. As we see in "real" life and also on the show, having a soul doesn't mean you automaticly do good. He has to make an active choice all the time not to give into his demon side (i.e. the blood drinking scene with Harmony in Disharmony).
People come down very strongly on him, both characters on the show and fans on the boards when he is less than heroic or just plain screwing up, but very rarely is he given credit for the good that he does or how difficult/conflicting it must be to do the good stuff. He could just walk away, be the manpire he was in 1952 and stay in his own private cell but he chooses not to walk away, he chooses to do good. That for me is why he is a champion and hero.

[> [> Re: On the state of Angel's mind and the minds of the others -- VampRiley, 11:39:19 05/12/02 Sun

People come down very strongly on him, both characters on the show and fans on the boards when he is less than heroic or just plain screwing up, but very rarely is he given credit for the good that he does or how difficult/conflicting it must be to do the good stuff.

I've noticed in real life that this is often the case. Like this one time, I was watching this talk show about mothers and fathers who were not together and they were going on about how some fathers don't help to take care of their kids. This one guy on stage said he did. The audience applauded and the woman who he had the kid with kept saying how she should't give him credit for that because that is what he's supposed to do. You shouldn't be given credit for being responsible and doing what you have to do. I forget the rest of the show, but I see this very often (this was the only time on real life tv that I saw this).

Many times I see where people are doing the right thing, but they never get credit for it or even a thank you. The ones in emergency rooms take care of people who come in: they take care of them, keep them alive, sometimes having to go to extraordinary lengths to keep them with us long enough to get them to the OR. Sometimes the ER people are the ones that do the things that keep them alive. If it wasn't for them, those people would be dead. They are real life savers. And the OR people come in and patch things up. But what often happens? The OR people get pretty much all the praise for saving their life. Duties in the ER are thanked, just not all of them.

I think that deep down, everyone of them is deeply afraid of Angel. They don't give him credit for being a good guy because that's what he's supposed to do. Being a good guy is supposed to be a thankless job. It makes them feel safe around him. But when he screws up, it re-instills their fear of him and to make themselves feel like they are safe again, they come down on him. Now, granted they are his friends and friends tell it to you straight to your face. I just feel that sometimes they do it too much. Feel free to disagree.


[> [> [> Re: On the state of Angel's mind and the minds of the others -- oceloty, 01:22:47 05/13/02 Mon

I think that deep down, everyone of them is deeply afraid of Angel. They don't give him credit for being a good guy because that's what he's supposed to do. Being a good guy is supposed to be a thankless job. It makes them feel safe around him. But when he screws up, it re-instills their fear of him and to make themselves feel like they are safe again, they come down on him. Now, granted they are his friends and friends tell it to you straight to your face. I just feel that sometimes they do it too much.

Can I chime in to admire all of what you folks have said, but especially this?

In the context of the show, Angel's human soul is wrestling with a inner demon. I like the literal demon as a metaphor for the darker side of human nature, so that Angel is a walking dramatization of good vs. evil, battling inside the human heart.

In addition to everything you guys have said, I also think this metaphor could be part of the reason why people (both fictional characters and real-life viewers) are so hard on Angel. If I want to believe that people are fundmentally good and identify with Angel as symbolizing the conflict between good and evil, then it makes sense that I get upset when Angel screws up, because it symbolizes evil winning, when I want to believe it won't.

On a literal level, Angel making bad decisions can be very frightening. (Say, Forgiving.) Metaphorically, it's also scary to think, hey, maybe we're not as good as we thought. Seeing the dark heart of human nature -- that is truly disturbing, and I think that can make people flinch. Or respond irrationally (maybe unconsciously), by taking it out on poor Angel. Who, in the meantime, is doing his best not to eat us all.

[> [> [> [> "Doing his best not to eat us all" LOL! Great line! -- Scroll, 08:50:52 05/13/02 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> Aww, thanks. -- oceloty, 00:07:24 05/14/02 Tue

Hope I didn't beat that metaphor into too fine of a pulp.

Spike and Darla parallel (Spoilers up to Seeing Red) -- agent156, 20:29:19 05/11/02 Sat

After rewatching the ep "Darla" yesterday something came to me. Spike as he is in "Seeing Red" reminds me a lot of Darla, second human go.

Darla was brought back to life by Wolfram & Hart as a human. But she doesn't feel human. She may be alive and have a soul, but she still has all the memories and feelings of Darla the vampire. As she sees it her soul isn't something allowing her to live as a human, it is just something that is holding her back, keeping her from being the way she feels she should be. As long as she has it she is incapable of being a monster. So she doesn't feel human and isn't capable of being a monster. Sound familiar?

Spike is in a similar position. He has a chip that was inserted into his head against his will, just as Darla never chose, or would have chosen, to be given a soul. The chip just holds him back keeping him from acting in the way that he wishes. But it has not changed how he feels or his desires, it merely keeps him from being able to fulfill them. Just as Darla's soul hasn't changed her desires, only kept her from being able to act on them. Thus Spike doesn't feel human and he can't be a monster.

Both of them long to be back to the way that they were and for the same reason, it was easier. As a monster, there were no restraints on behavior, no remorse for actions. Everything was clear and easy. As Spike says to Clem "Everything used to be so clear. Slayer. Vampire. Vampire kills Slayer, sucks her dry, picks his teeth with her bones." Darla wants that as well. As she tells Angel, the only things to being alive are "pain and suffering and disease and death."

And interestingly enough I think both of them could learn to live as humans, if only they would allow themselves to. Darla has a head start and probably a slightly easier path to it since she already has a soul, but seeing as how it took Angel one hundred years and the intervention of Whistler to get him started to redemption it would still likely be really hard. Spike would have the harder path as he would have to make up for not having the things that a soul would provide, such as a conscience. But I think the fact that he is able to feel bad for what he did to Buffy after doing it, shows that the possibility for him to do so is there, even if extremely slim. Just because it's never been done before that we know of doesn't mean it couldn't happen. After all, don't they say that there's an exception to every rule? I'm curious though if each of their past experiences as humans affects their current choices to not attempt that path. Neither one of them exactly lived great lives and undoubtedly don't look back on them fondly.

So instead they both choose to go the same way, back to being a monster. Darla goes to Angel to try to get him to turn her and then to other vampires when he won't do it. Spike is leaving Sunnydale with the apparent intention of getting his chip removed to make him a true vampire once again. But the events following Darla being made back into a vampire led to her eventual redemption of sorts. She got to feel love and happiness through her baby, and was able to do the noble deed of sacrificing her own life so that her child would live. It seems a bit ironic that her becoming a vampire again, a very non-redeeming spot, would lead her to the redemption she didn't want back when she was in a good position to get it. Could this perhaps mean that Spike, despite having the possibility through his chip to follow the path to redemption, will be led to it or something similar by once again becoming a vampire?

[> Printing now.....get back to you later -- Rufus, 20:46:17 05/11/02 Sat

[> Great analysis, but... -- Vickie, 20:47:55 05/11/02 Sat

I really think Darla didn't choose to go back to being a vampire. My impression was that Angel had convinced her to remain human (with his support). She was just too weak and vascillating to resist Dru at all (as if she could have succeeded).

my $.02.

[> [> Re: Great analysis, but... -- agent156, 21:01:27 05/11/02 Sat

Yeah, right before she got turned she decided to stay human. I was referring to before then though when she was actively seeking out someone to turn her into a vampire. At that point she was making the same decision as Spike, to go back to being a monster.

[> Re: Spike and Darla parallel (Spoilers up to Seeing Red) -- shadowkat, 21:33:14 05/11/02 Sat

Great post btw - been thinking along similar lines. Except
i think they may go the opposite direction - make him human and possibly force him down the path Darla wasn't able to take.

I also think and this isn't a spoiler - b/c I really am spoil free after Seeing Red and the preview for next week, I think he may discover the chip is irrelevant. And what
has been happening is his choice. What he does with this information should be interesting.

He and Darla did live different lives though - he was younger than Darla when he was turned. Also he wasn't on his death bed. Another major difference is I don't believe he was living an unsavory or difficult life - we know so little. (I'm hoping ME is going to show us more in the next few episodes like they did with Angel in the whole Becoming - Amends arcs...but who can predict ME?)

This is what we do know:
1. He was a scholar and a bad poet (or so his peers believed) He prefered scholarly pursuites and poetry and romance and had no interest in violence. I think of him as a bit of a dreamer - what does Dru say "you walk in worlds
no one can imagine?"
2. He was infatuated with Cecily - notice I say infatuated, not love - Cecily clearly didn't appear to return it and he seemed to write poetry to her from afar. Now I could have misunderstood the scene, since she clearly recognizes him in OAFA - so if Halfrek is Cecily, maybe more is going on there? (Hmmm is something being planned on that score?)
3. He was close to his family and states Mother is expecting

In no way did I get the feeling he had a bad human life. Dru just happened upon him during a weak moment and seduced him.

Darla - she was a prostitute and was dying of syphilus when the Master turned her and when Drusillia did. Her life was horrible. As she states - she wasn't a good person when she was alive - if anything she was pretty bad, just like Liam, its one of the reasons she turns him. Drusilla was a good person when she was alive and goes after someone similar to what she was in nature. The BIG difference is that Drusilla doesn't drive William insane first - like Angel drives Drusilla insane. Instead she just seduces him as Darla seduces Angel. The Master turns Darla and coaches her in his evil ways. When Dru does it, she's still a bit nuts.
Also Darla resisted being turned by Dru - so it was a rape, while she gave in to the Master. Just as Dru resisted being turned by Angel and it was a rape. I think that's important
for some reason.

The names also interest me. Angel hasn't kept his human name, he got rid of it. So did Darla - we don't know what her original name was. Not so Drusilla and Spike. While Spike did change his, he still is called Willaim by Buffy on more than one occassion. Why? Also why use William and Liam = both mean protector and are variations. Does JW
just have a love of the name William?

The characters of Spike and Darla have always fascinated me because of their greyness - I can't predict them. Also they were both the truth tellers. Angel and Dru tended to be a little crazy and into dreams, while Darla and Spike were pragmatists and tended to be upfront and forthright. They also questioned their lovers - much like Anya.

I have no clear idea where they are going with Spike, just hunches which I trust, b/c well I've been right on every single thing that's happened up to now. But his character never ceases to surprise me - partly because it is a combination of Victorian gentleman and chaotic emotional
demon. He always seems to be on the verge of losing control, going off the deep end or...and so did Darla in Ats. may be right, his arc may be Darla's. It certainly sounds more reasonable to me than manwitch's prediction below which gave me a headache.

Sorry for the rambling, tis late here and I keep getting kicked off. Hope made some sense.

[> [> Re: Spike and Darla parallel (Spoilers up to Seeing Red) -- agent156, 22:37:33 05/11/02 Sat

I will concede that Spike didn't have a bad life in the same sense that Darla did, but I think to him it was still something he looks back on unfavorably. His telling Buffy in FFL that he never really felt alive until he became a vampire hints to that.

I disagree on the name thing though. Spike did change his name. He even corrects Angelus when he calls him William. He doesn't want to be associated with that name anymore. I think the fact that William has stuck around at all is in reference to the rather humanness he has even as a vampire. As evidenced by the fact that the Judge could not burn him, Angelus has no humnaity in him, and as such his name of Liam has not followed him. But Spike, as the Judge pointed out and we have indeed seen, does still have some humanity in him. Spike did not choose to still go by the name of William, it just followed him after he assumed his new persona because unlike some other vampires he kept a bit of his humanity after being turned.

As for where they're going to take Spike I don't really know either. That was just some wild speculation of mine that seemed interesting since it would continue the parallel.

And I can't believe one of the greatest posters on this board liked my post. Thanks! That atleast means it was worthwhile to do it.

[> [> [> I Fail To See How It Is Possible to.... -- AngelVSAngelus, 10:07:27 05/12/02 Sun

feel remorse for a transgression if one doesn't have a conscience. Maybe this is my own short coming, but I was under the impression that a conscience what gives one the ability to have the empathy for other people necessary to feel remorse in the first place.
The writer's have really confuzzled me with this one, and maybe I'm being rigid in doing so, but I don't accept a creature that has been explained as NOT having a conscience before feeling remorse for a dastardly deed, not even against the one he loves. Love is amoral, IMHO.
People have pointed out that while Spike blames the chip for his remorseful feelings and not going through with Buffy's violation, that isn't possible. That, to me, is inconsistancy on their part, and while I still find it interesting to watch, I also find it disconcertingly distracting. It takes me out of the element of belief that I've had for the show for years.
It took Darla infection from her child's soul to feel any remorse, and Angel a soul as well. I still stand by not soul equals good, but soul equals capacity for empathy.

[> [> Re: Spike and Darla parallel (Spoilers up to Seeing Red) -- Rufus, 23:45:16 05/11/02 Sat

The names also interest me. Angel hasn't kept his human name, he got rid of it. So did Darla - we don't know what her original name was. Not so Drusilla and Spike. While Spike did change his, he still is called Willaim by Buffy on more than one occassion. Why? Also why use William and Liam = both mean protector and are variations. Does JW
just have a love of the name William?

Angel adopted the name his sister called him when he had her invite him into his parents house after he "died". It was a perverse tribute to the sister he killed. From the Prodigal...

Dad: “Be gone, unclean thing! A demon can not enter a home where it’s not welcome. He must be invited!”

Angel: “That’s true. - But I was invited.”

Angel looks to the doorway. His father turns and sees little Kathy slumped against the wall.

Dad: “Och!”

Angel: “She thought I returned to her - an angel.”

Darla is a bit of a different story. She was a prostitute who had enough going for her to have property, but what she couldn't have was the inclusion into polite society. She may not have been what people call a "good girl" but she was attempting to survive. Makes one wonder what you call the customers who left her alone to die of syphillis?

Then we get to William, I agree that maybe his family was a bit closer, but don't you find it odd that his mother was expecting him not his family? Also his resentment of the father figure in Tabula Rasa, that assumption that he hated his father.....I considered him to be either from a family with an absent or dead father. He made a specific point of changing his station, his name, to that of the lower class Spike persona. I highly doubt William the Bloody was a name he considers a compliment, but at least Buffy called him William. I think he had a bad life in that he was rejected by all of those in his class, doomed to a solitary life, until a certain dark beauty found him. Dru was smart to keep him "sane" someone in the pair had to have an idea of what was going on.

I've found both Spike and Darla to be rather predictable because they both did things in a pattern. Angelus changed his killing style because he wanted to make an artistic kill-drain-dump has to become tedious. Spike killed for the prestige in numbers, when that tired him he resorted to killing Slayers to earn respect. He is kinda a trophy hunter of vampires. Darla tended to kill in a way similar to a hooker finding a customer, she resented men and tended to kill family units, perhaps because it was the thing she never could have in life, a family and good reputation. Even Angel knew where to look for Darla, she loved Missionaries.

It was Darla who said "what we once were informs all that we become" and she was right. The stuff from the vampires life becomes how they act out as demons. William was rejected, didn't measure up as a man, so he spends his unlife doing a version of "Look at me!" over and over again. Angelus kills purity and loving people because he resents their ability to enjoy life. Darla kills the image of what once vicimized her in life in the form of Johns and their families. Drusilla is the most unpredictable, but even she has a cause...she is attempting to rebuild the family Angelus took from her, transferring all her need to her vampire parents.

When vampires are made they lose their soul, the moral compass that once was directed to good is now pointed to evil. They feel good doing things that would have horrified them in real life, unless they were already sociopaths like Kralic, then hey!, it's just a party with more energy.

Now to redemption and Darla and Spike. One thing we have to remember is that redemption is an individual thing, there isn't only one path to it, something can happen that will turn someone in a new direction. For Darla it was the soul in her son, the soul that caused her to feel love, real love for the first time. For Spike, it could be something else, some event that is no way near the same as the soul Darla had temporary custody of. Is the chip a Jiminy Cricket to remove and squish, leaving Spike to again be a monster? Or, are the feelings Spike is following up on the need of finding a way to get Buffy to love him? Spike is feeling like nothing, he can't be either a monster or a man like he is now, he is caught between two worlds, unable to truly occupy either....his goodbye from the motorbike promised change, we can only guess how.

[> [> [> Rufus's thoughts on Spike; minor spoilers to SR, but mostly just very long and historically-minded -- (don't say i didn't warn you) - redcat, 04:57:41 05/12/02 Sun

Rufus - your perceptive comments and very enjoyable post got me thinking, so this loooong response post is partly your fault. ;)

You said: “Then we get to William, I agree that maybe his family was a bit closer, but don't you find it odd
that his mother was expecting him not his family? Also his resentment of the father figure in
Tabula Rasa, that assumption that he hated his father.....I considered him to be either from a
family with an absent or dead father. He made a specific point of changing his station, his
name, to that of the lower class Spike persona. I highly doubt William the Bloody was a name
he considers a compliment, but at least Buffy called him William. I think he had a bad life in
that he was rejected by all of those in his class, doomed to a solitary life, until a certain dark
beauty found him.”

I generally agree, and have what is actually just a small thing to add to this discussion, even
though it seems really long now that it’s all written out. It’s based on my reading of the
construction of William as a literary trope representing a certain recognizable historical
character type from the late 19th century. I know this might sound more than a bit lectury, but
I think there’s a value to injecting at least the broad outlines of the historical data into the

Especially during the last two decades of the 19th century, a cluster of British and American
social and cultural commentators, ranging from clergymen to newspaper editors to educators
and academics in the newly-emerging professions of sexology, psychology and sociology, very
publically heralded a clarion call for public panic about the supposed “softening” of the male
citizens of the two respective nations. They were worried about something generally called
neurasthenia, a condition of “social nervousness” which manifested *in men* as the linked evils
of feminization, over-culturization and bureaucratization. Many commentators blamed these
symptoms on men’s supposed over-civilization by women, others on the creeping cultural
emasculation caused by the social effects of the industrial revolution on the (white) middle
class. A whole generation of Anglo-American men were supposedly afflicted, their cultural
type being represented in popular literature, sermons, editorials and “educational” tracts as the
overly-sensitive, romantic, non-athletic poet of the genteel middle class. Visual
representations of the neurasthenic male generally portrayed him as thin, slightly stoop-
shouldered, fussily-dressed, clean-shaven, wearing glasses, carrying a book, etc. A common
linked attribute of this type of character, especially in popular dramatic and comedic
representations, was his over-identification with a (usually- widowed but always over-protective)
mother and the real or implied absence of a strong father. While there were vigorous social
arguments about the *meaning* of the neurasthenic male (and his counterpart, the frigid and
infertile neurasthenic female), the problematical and wide- spread existence of the type itself
had become generally accepted by the mid-1880s. For such a weak character, the type had a
fairly healthy life, sustaining public and academic interest throughout the rest of the 19th
century and into the early decades of the 20th, after which the trope went through a series of
minor revivals, particularly in America in the period just prior to WWI and in Britain in the inter-
war period.

Structurally, William is almost a caricature of the British middle-class model of this type. His
comment to Dru in the alley when she vamps him that his mother is waiting for him at home
confirms the typologic basis of his character. Cecily’s comment that William is “beneath her”
also reflects the ways in which this character type was thought to be a special problem of the
middle class. Particularly in Britain, the representation of the middle-class neurasthenic male
was also linked to a critique of the upward class mobility of modernity, in which these men
were seen as inappropriately using middle-class attributes (education, manners, clothing, etc.)
in an attempt to climb the social ladder into the lower rungs of the upper class. Both Cecily’s
dress and the furnishings of her drawing room, in which she rejects William, suggest that she
is from at least a slightly higher class position than his, which reiterates the tropic nature of the

Seeing William’s surface characterization as based on this common stereotypic figure helps
make sense of at least two sorts of statements that we have seen Spike make. The first is his
fondness for describing men whom he wants to characterize as emotional or weak as “nancy-
boys,” the perfect descriptor of dear, sweet, slightly pathetic and clearly virginal William
himself. The second is Spike’s assertion to Buffy that Dru had saved him “from a life of
mediocrity,” a pejorative phrase that is an almost-perfect descriptor of the neurasthenic
“condition,” and one that might well have been snidely flung at a young man like William (if he
were real and not a fictional character, that is) as he walked the streets of London in 1880.

Finally, as many posters have noted, we need to consider Spike’s construction of his vampire
identity at a class position lower than William’s original human one. Darla, Angel and Dru all
clearly seek to establish a vamp life-style at a class position higher than or equal to their
human one. However, as far as we know, none of the rest of the “family” has, as a primary
internal psychological legacy from their human self, inherited the need to establish and display
their “virility” in public ways, nor do they seek to do so in situations where weakness would also
be publically and particularly displayed. Spike does, on both counts. He not only loves the
brawl, the riot, going up against unfavorable odds and coming out the winner, but by his own
admission, he needs it. His fighting style includes a large dose of performativity, the acting-out
of being The Big Bad. He is only an efficient killer when he has to be, or when no one
important is looking (e.g., the clerk in the Magic Box, “Lover’s Walk”).

His intention in his public performances of violence, however, is not to toy with his victims; he does not delight in their
pain as Angelus, Dru and Vamp Willow seem to. Spike simply seeks to display his own wit,
power, speed, strength and cleverness, acted out on the bodies of his victims, almost as if they
were his canvass. And he does so in the style of a working- class street-brawler. No fancy
Asian martial arts moves for Spike, no highly-sophisticated elegance, no spouting of verse or
philosophy while fists and fangs fly. Spike dusts a demon and then turns, expectantly, looking
to see who saw his theatrics, who he can brag to.

This need for the public display of strength and masculinity was also the typical 19thC male
response to being categorized as neurasthenic. Literally tens of thousands of middle-class
British and American men began taking boxing and hunting lessons and joined organized
outdoor “sports clubs” to prove they weren’t “part of the problem.” (This is also the era, of
course, of the beginning of the Boy Scouts - which perhaps explains that organization’s history
of homophobia, although not its current practice of this social disease.) Oddly enough, this
concern for public displays of “masculinity,” then, in fact encouraged the broad development of
sites for homo-social organization, behavior and activities. Men best prove that they are men,
after all, only in the presence of other men, not in the company of women.

Spike’s choice for a new persona makes sense, given the trope. Why not move up the social
ladder? It was the upper and middle classes who rejected him as William, just as it was
members of those classes who identified the “problem” of the weak man, and all too often
publically condemned and humiliated its human representatives. Further, we see Spike calling
Angel/Angelus “fop” and “foppish,” words suggesting a critique of the aristocracy as foolishly
effeminate. But while both the aristocratic/upper class and the poor certainly had their own
models of inappropriate male development (coded somewhat differently in Britain than
America), the vigor of the working class was often touted by social commentators as the most
appropriate antidote for the emasculated, over-civilized, over-educated male. This message
was mixed, though. Middle-class men were told to value becoming “hard” like the working
class (as in hard labor, hard physical exercise, hard- decision making skills, hard business
sense), but were simultaneously warned about the “evils” of the lower-class world - drink,
drugs, violence and sex – just the sort of things any sensible vampire would find pretty
exciting. Given all this, becoming the late 19thC equivalent of Sid Vicious was almost
William’s only option. Since vampires signify (at least on one level) arrested development,
perhaps it should come as no surprise that Spike retains William’s typological insecurities and
that they are embodied in his outward persona, as well as in his judgements of and
relationships with other males.

I’ve barely alluded to the sexual identity issues that are linked to the model being discussed,
but the basic outlines are clear and folks can take that wherever they need it to go.... One
thought - since Buffy, as the hero, exhibits a number of significant attributes that have been
traditionally coded as “masculine,” Spike’s relationship with her is clearly multi-valent and
complexly ambiguous. (Of course, this is true whether or not one uses this model to
understand Spike – many, many folks have discussed the nature of this ambiguity...)

I guess the reason that I’ve taken the pains to discuss this historical issue at such length here
is that I think it affects Spike’s motivations, his interior psychological processes, the way he
“came to be” who and what he is. Therefore, by extension, it should affect his actions in the
present and the future, and, hopefully, our understanding of them. Spike’s character clearly
reflects a close familiarity on the part of the writers with the historical type, its representations
in the popular literature of the day, and the contemporary debates over the resonance of this
“problematic” masculinity-type for modern American culture in particular. Spike doesn’t just
*seem* to be someone who is insecure, he *represents* that insecurity in a specifically-coded

Someone else noted on another thread (sorry, I couldn’t find it when I looked again, please
forgive me, whoever this insight originally was from) that Spike takes trophies of his best kills,
his coat being the most obvious, and was at one time fixated on killing Slayers because those
killings gained him a highly-masculinized and highly- sexualized public reputation (at least in
the demon world). All of this fits with a late Victorian man who was rescued from a life of
mediocrity by being made a vampire, and who then re-made himself into a vampire hunter of
vampire-hunters. There’s been a lot of discussion on the board lately about the relationship
between William and Spike, especially post -“that scene” in SR. I have no idea if anyone will
even read a post this long and boring, but if so, I hope it will -- just maybe -- spark a few
thoughts that might add to the general discussion of Spike/William and the show.

Thanks for reading this and sorry once again that it's so long.

a hui hou (until we meet again)

[> [> [> [> Neat! Plus, a hobbyhorse of mine . . . -- d'Herblay, 06:38:24 05/12/02 Sun

So, Spike is then Teddy Roosevelt, a weedy, bespectacled, bookish boy who grows into bustle and bluster after a diagnosis of neurasthenia, travelling out west to take the air and indulge in a little big-game hunting? I can buy it. In fact, I outright like it. In the romanticization of Spike there has been a tendency to Romanticize him as well; a tendency to latch onto William's posistion as a poet and build him into another sensitive Shelley or Keats. I wonder if William might be viewed better within his context as a Victorian poet, an embracer of blood and sweat and colonialism: a budding Kipling before Drusilla nips him.

In fact, I (basically because I wanted him to flip through Dawn's British Literature textbook and say, "That one's mine") have entertained this fantasy that Spike is really William Ernest Henley. I'm not sure if Henley was ever diagnosed as neurasthenic; his tuberculosis was more obvious. Still, from his infirmary, he did his best to convey his Victorian masculinity:

Life -- life -- let there be life!
Better a thousand times the roaring hours
When wave and wind,
Like the Arch-Murderer in flight
From the Avenger at his heel,
Storms through the desolate fastnesses
And wild waste places of the world!

Life -- give me life until the end,
That at the very top of being,
The battle-spirit shouting in my blood,
Out of the reddest hell of the fight
I may be snatched and flung
Into the everlasting lull,
The immortal, incommunicable dream.
("Space and Dread and the Dark")

Or, "Oh, God! It's been so long since I had a decent spot of violence. Really puts things in perspective."

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Neat! Plus, a hobbyhorse of mine . . . -- redcat, 13:12:43 05/12/02 Sun

William Ernest Henley!! Woo and hoo and woo again!

thanks for your comments. i've also seen the tendency to equate william/spike with the
Romantics of the earlier era, in part perhaps because spike himself seems to demand the
comparison. william's own self-conceptualization would probably seek a blurring of the line
between the Byron/Shelley/Keats image, with its inherent component of the grand gesture and
the public displays of doomed courage, over the reality of the poets' not-so-great neurasthenic
grandsons’ empire building during the late industrial/mid- colonialist era at the end of the

as have many scholars of the period, i see a direct connection between the late victorian
debate over male neurasthenia and, at least in the american case, the drive to war and
conquestive imperialism that resulted in the forceful taking of Hawai'i, Guam and the
Philippines in the Pacific, and Cuba and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean at the turn of the
century. the Brits, of course, were at the same time demonstrating their continuing control
over China during the failed Boxer rebellion, during which we see Spike kill his first Slayer.
Joss obviously had a good undergrad education at Welsley and one of the things i appreciate
most about the show is that *most* of the time, ME not only gets the history stuff right, they try
to understand the influence of specific historical issues on the characters they've created.
Spike and the gang are not just some random creations based solely on pop culture
iconographic representations of "the vampire." they are specific vampires, literally "fleshed
out" characters for whom vampirism is but one of a number of important life
experiences/processes that work complexly to provide them with conflicting motivations and
multiply-layered psychological structures -- kind of like the rest of us.

anyway, thanks again for responding. BTW, if you’re interested in this period and haven’t
already read it, a good set of essays is collected in Gail Bederman, _Manliness and
Civilization_, UP Chicago, 1995.

a hui hou,

[> [> [> [> not boring at all, highly enjoyable actually -- aurelia, 08:51:24 05/12/02 Sun

[> [> [> [> Re: Rufus's thoughts on Spike; to SR, but mostly just very long and historically-minded -- Rufus, 14:28:11 05/12/02 Sun

Especially during the last two decades of the 19th century, a cluster of British and American
social and cultural commentators, ranging from clergymen to newspaper editors to educators
and academics in the newly-emerging professions of sexology, psychology and sociology, very
publically heralded a clarion call for public panic about the supposed “softening” of the male
citizens of the two respective nations. They were worried about something generally called
neurasthenia, a condition of “social nervousness” which manifested *in men* as the linked evils
of feminization, over-culturization and bureaucratization. Many commentators blamed these
symptoms on men’s supposed over-civilization by women, others on the creeping cultural
emasculation caused by the social effects of the industrial revolution on the (white) middle
class. A whole generation of Anglo-American men were supposedly afflicted, their cultural
type being represented in popular literature, sermons, editorials and “educational” tracts as the
overly-sensitive, romantic, non-athletic poet of the genteel middle class.

When I did my original outline of William I considered what to do with Spike to make him someone you could do the unexpected with. To make him a member of the upperclass was a way out. Spike had been considered "manly" but I could see that characterization was very limiting in possibilities. What originally got me posting on any board was the fact they went with what I had come up with right down to the mother figure appearing strong in his life. This was a smart move because William became a gentle potential of the more sociopathic Spike. To make him a character made up from a character was a smart thing to do. It gave redemptionists something to look to, reference to show that Spike had been once a "good man". The rejection by Cecily was also a great addition because we got to see he was no Angelus in the woman department. It also gave him much in common with Giles who was another character who went below his station to find a persona. No mistake you see the two men on the swingset together.

From the Shooting Script of Fool for Love:


We cut to a high-society drawing room of the late nineteenth century. Young people mingle and politely flirt.


We pan across the crowd to find, sitting alone and staring longingly out the window, young WILLIAM. Spike before he was Spike. The biggest sissy imaginable. Chewing thoughtfully on the end of a pen, mumbling...

William was the biggest sissy yet.....I loved it....he was what Giles appeared to be in "Welcome to the Hellmouth", fussy, almost feminine. In season two, Giles proved to be more complicated than everyone assumed by his gentle seeming exterior. In Halloween, we found out that Giles did just what Spike did so many years previously. Giles was the Ripper. The thing with Giles was that with a bad experience with Dark Magic in "The Dark Age" he was capable of growing from that, growing up, becoming an adult. The Ripper got shoved behind spectacles, and a suit, but in Band Candy we got to see the Ripper again when he had his way with Buffy's mom over the hood of the police car. He violent tendancies were very similar to Spikes, as a more adolecent personality he had less experience that tells someone that you don't only use violence to become a man, or to solve all problems.

He looks in her eyes, begging for a chance he feels he's earned. She looks back, sincerely.

I do see you.

He holds his breath. Hope! She continues:

That's the problem. You're
nothing to me, William.
You're beneath me.

Spike takes this in as she exits. He is quiet, trying to contain his pain


Without his hat and coat, William tears down the street. Hot tears streak down his face. He rips up his poem as he stalks out the building and down the street, blinded by rage and humiliation.

He BUMPS into a GROUP of three people. A man and two women.

Bloody... watch where
you're going!

He continues down the street, ripping up the paper into smaller and smaller bits.

ANGLE ON: A dark section of street beneath a gas lamp. Spike's overcome with fatigue and humiliation. He rips the paper into smaller and smaller bits until he can rip no more.

And slowly, all the rage drains out of him.

A soothing, understanding voice comes from nowhere:

And here I wonder...

Embarrassed, Spike whirls to see who it is.

DRUSILLA. Dressed for the times. Looking at him with total love and understanding.

What possible catastrophe came
crashing down from heaven and
brought this dashing stranger...

She reaches out, gingerly wipes the last remaining tear from his face.

...To tears?

Nothing. I wish to be alone.

You've been alone too long.

What could you possibly know of me?

I've seen you. A man surrounded
by fools who cannot see his strength.
His vision. His glory. That, and
burning baby fish swimming all
'round your head.

What? Spike eyes this crazy Victorian chick suspiciously as she steps closer, curiously examining him like a cat eyeing a new breed of mouse. Her lips part...

Th-that's quite close enough.
I've heard tales of London
pickpockets. You'll not get
my purse, I tell you.

Don't need a purse.
Your wealth lies here.
(touching his heart)
And here.
(touches his head)
In the spirit and imagination.
You walk in worlds the others
can't begin to imagine.

He's flabbergasted. Hypnotized. How could she know? She steps closer. Her face near his. He's not used to this. He squirms, but can't move.

Yes... I mean, no. I mean -
Mother's expecting me.

She leans closer, whispering in his ear.

I see what you want. Something
glowing, and glistening. Something
effulgent. Do you want it?

I - yes! God, yes!

She smiles. VAMP-FACES. And BITES deeps in his neck. Spike rears his head back, new sensations coursing through him. He closes his eyes, feeling ecstasy... then some pain.

Ow. Ow! OW! Ow ow ow ow OW-WOO!

Drusilla keeps feeding, sucking on the young poet's neck, pinning him upright against the post, lit by the single light from above. Draining him, sucking him...

I included the previous exchange because it shows William to be no man of heavy labour. I don't think he was middle class he had to be high enough in station to gain entrance to such a party. His presence there was only because he was in that class, but as a nerd type he was rejected because he was for even that type eccentric.

Spike makes his way into the crowd. The Male Partygoer turns to him.

Ah, William. Favor us with your
opinion. What do you make of
this rash of disappearances
sweeping our town? Animals -
or thieves?

All eyes turn to Spike

I prefer not to think of such
dark, ugly business at all.
That's what police are for.

William was not into participating in society, he was more of a solitary type, one who was a bit of an academic snob, in that he wasn't going to get his hands dirty with "ugly business" he clearly "wouldn't" be involved in.

Of course Dru found him and took him to the never-never land of the vampire. No more books, no more having to live up to expectations, he was liberated to become a new man. But that new man came from the mind that had company in the form of the demon influence that took the potential of William changing and becoming more of a Ripper type, to a Ripper who was clearly a monster. I will say again, with age and experience, Giles was able to evolve into the watcher we know now, hiding Ripper, but using some of those strengths when needed. With Spike we perpetually see an adolecent, one that could never understand why he should find a happy medium between shy scholar and tough guy. This is because without a soul, Spike is stuck in that adolecence, still blaming others for his own weakness, still a very big danger to those around him as he is prone to act out without reason. Buffy can't love him because she simply doesn't dare. We saw that alley scene with the woman he talked himself into attacking. That to me was the signal from the writers that the soul was the thing that stood between the monster and the man. I have to wonder what would happen if Spike got a soul back? With his experience of over a hundred years, I doubt he would revert to the ponce we first saw sniffing after something he couldn't have in the form of Cecily. I think that like Giles he would be able to use the strengths of what he had once been as human and demon, leave never never land and become someone Buffy could give a serious look to.

I guess we could take a second look at all those punches to the face as the womans way of civilizing the male.:)

BTW....LOL at the idea that Buffy is a manifestation of masculinity that can make Spike feel manly, thank god she hasn't smashed his orbs..;)....heroes have such a tough job.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Rufus's thoughts -- redcat, 19:39:57 05/12/02 Sun

well, rufus, we may have to just respectfully agree to disagree. i can certainly see why you see william as upper class and i think that interpretation is valid, especially given the shooting script directions. some of the points i made earlier about the neurasthenic trope may still work within that perspective, though.

however, in re-thinking the crucial set of scenes in FFL, i still see william as somewhat outside the "high society" social order, and not just because he is a poet or sensitive or a geek. i look at his clothes and manners in relation to the others in the drawing room, cecily's statement to him, the way the visual, textual and structural cues reflect the neurasthenic model so perfectly, and i wind up saying - yep, once again ME has created ambiguity rather than certainty, leaving important factors like william's class position open to debate. so, as has been mentioned on more than one occasion, such events only confirm the truth that Joss is both God and evil.....

BTW, i always enjoy your posts, even the ones i don't completely agree with, so thanks for the great insights across a number of topics and threads. -- rc

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Rufus's thoughts -- Rufus, 20:28:52 05/12/02 Sun

in re-thinking the crucial set of scenes in FFL, i still see william as somewhat outside the "high society" social order, and not just because he is a poet or sensitive or a geek. i look at his clothes and manners in relation to the others in the drawing room, cecily's statement to him, the way the visual, textual and structural cues reflect the neurasthenic model so perfectly, and i wind up saying - yep, once again ME has created ambiguity rather than certainty, leaving important factors like william's class position open to debate

I agree it is open to interpretation, the clothing could easiliy explained as either lack of income, or just lack of style or freedom to express style. I did agree he did reflect the neurasthenic model, but he could be in a higher income and be neurasthenic. I see him as upper middle class, not anything like aristocracy, look to how he treated the butler. He asked a question one wouldn't think of to ask a servant, so is that inexperience in the drawing room, or is he so removed from everyone else because of his introverted leanings. One thing that bugged me, if his mother was expecting him....if he was ready to chuck it all to travel with Drusilla(I doubt he understood he was going to die to start that journey), could he possibly know his mother was well taken care of, or was he a selfish uncaring person?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Rufus's thoughts -- anom, 22:19:55 05/12/02 Sun

"One thing that bugged me, if his mother was expecting him....if he was ready to chuck it all to travel with Drusilla(I doubt he understood he was going to die to start that journey), could he possibly know his mother was well taken care of, or was he a selfish uncaring person?"

I doubt he was thinking in terms of traveling in the 1st place--just that she was offering something intangible (he thought) that he really wanted deep down & never thought he could have. I don't see any basis to believe he thought he'd be leaving his mother.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Rufus's thoughts -- Rufus, 00:19:41 05/13/02 Mon

I wasn't thinking about the 5 minute trip he thought he was taking....from Fool for Love

What? Spike eyes this crazy Victorian chick suspiciously as she steps closer, curiously examining him like a cat eyeing a new breed of mouse. Her lips part...

Th-that's quite close enough.
I've heard tales of London
pickpockets. You'll not get
my purse, I tell you.

Don't need a purse.
Your wealth lies here.
(touching his heart)
And here.
(touches his head)
In the spirit and imagination.
You walk in worlds the others
can't begin to imagine.

He's flabbergasted. Hypnotized. How could she know? She steps closer. Her face near his. He's not used to this. He squirms, but can't move.

Yes... I mean, no. I mean -
Mother's expecting me.

She leans closer, whispering in his ear.

I see what you want. Something
glowing, and glistening. Something
effulgent. Do you want it?

I - yes! God, yes!

She smiles. VAMP-FACES. And BITES deeps in his neck. Spike rears his head back, new sensations coursing through him. He closes his eyes, feeling ecstasy... then some pain.

Ow. Ow! OW! Ow ow ow ow OW-WOO!

Drusilla keeps feeding, sucking on the young poet's neck, pinning him upright against the post, lit by the single light from above. Draining him, sucking him...

Even as a soulless evil, vampire, he seemed to respect a mother figure, strangers are one thing, but his real mother is something else. I got the impression that he had no worries about her well being before he left forever with Dru and the family. I didn't feel he went back and killed his mother like Angelus killed his father. If his mother wasn't of high station, a son who could take care of her would be as good as killing her if he left her alone, so I thought somehow that he didn't have to fear for her well-being, be it food or lodging.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> what wasn't clear... -- anom, 11:19:10 05/13/02 Mon

...was your use of "travel":

"...if he was ready to chuck it all to travel with Drusilla...."

I didn't think William had any idea he'd be leaving his mother, either to "travel" long-term or by dying. And if "the 5-minute trip" means sex w/Dru, ...well, maybe one of the board's experts on the Victorian era can tell us if its poets would expect "effulgence" from a quick, or even not so quick, roll w/a stranger. I don't see any evidence in that scene that when William said, "yes! God, yes!" to Dru, he thought he'd never see his mother again & might be leaving her w/no means of support, only that he'd be late. And maybe not even that--he probably would have stayed longer at the party if Cecily hadn't rebuffed him, so "Mother's expecting me" might have been just an excuse.

What did he think he was saying yes to? Maybe someone who could understand the worlds he walked in, his search for effulgence...someone with whom he could transcend his mundane, "mediocre" existence. Well, he did, just not in any way he might have expected.

"Even as a soulless evil, vampire, he seemed to respect a mother figure...."

Hmm. Certainly he had a soft spot for Joyce. But I don't know if we can extend that individual case to a general respect for mothers. Did you have any additional instances in mind?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: what wasn't clear... -- Rufus, 14:36:12 05/13/02 Mon

Nope, for the instances with mothers, it was only an observation, I would have provided an exact quote if I could remember one. I think the only thing William knew at the point he died was that something was going to happen, I don't think he even knew what that was. I used the word "travel" with tongue in cheek, I should have made that clear.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Rufus's thoughts -- Ronia, 21:42:40 05/12/02 Sun

O.K. I do not posses at this hour, desire to back myself up as historically acurate, so I'm just gonna offer up a possibility that occurred to me reading these last few posts...couldn't William be both? It is interesting to me also that he mentions only his mother, and that he is an invited guest at the party, and that he doesn't seem to have a I was wondering if perhaps his mother is widowed, therefore, leaving him formerly of their class, but now somewhat beneath it due to his financial situation. I noticed as well that he was not "quite" as nicely dressed as the others, and wondered if this could be part of the culprit for his dandification...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Rufus's thoughts -- Malandanza, 10:32:18 05/13/02 Mon

...couldn't William be both?

I believe William was both as well, although I come at it from a different perspective. Granted, my view is most likely not historically sound, since it is based on Jane Austen novels (which predate William), but Joss is a JA fan and often doesn't worry about historical accuracy when he has a story to tell.

I see William's family as being thoroughly middle class, but with a father who made money in some trade (unworthy of the aristocracy) like the up and coming families in JA's novels. They are treated with disdain by the old landed gentry. This prejudice against new money is best seen in Emma when Augusta Hawkins becomes engaged to Mr. Elton:

What she was, must be uncertain; but who she was, might be found out; and setting aside the 10,000 pounds it did not appear that she was all Harriet's superior. She brought no name, no blood, no alliance. Miss Hawkins was the youngest daughter of a Bristol--Merchant, of course, he must be called; but, as the whole of the profits of his mercantile life appeared so very moderate, it was not unfair to guess the dignity of his line of trade had been very moderate also. Part of every winter she used to spend in Bath; but Bristol was her home, the very heart of Bristol; for though the mother and father had died some years ago, and uncle remained -- in the law line: nothing more distinctly honourable was hazarded of him, than he was in the law line; and with him the daughter had lived. Emma guessed him to be some drudge of an attorney, and too stupid to rise. And all the grandeur of the connection seemed dependent on the elder sister, who was very well married, to a gentleman in a great way, near Bristol, who kept two carriages! That was the wind-up of the history; that was the glory of Miss Hawkins.

So I see William in much the same way -- his father made money through hard work and either his father or (more likely) his mother wanted to see William become a gentleman. But While William's money may buy him admittance into the upper class, it cannot buy him acceptance. He is Jonathan trying out for the swim team. He does not belong and his actions and mannerisms reveal this. Like Miss Hawkins, he has "no name, no blood, no alliance" -- just money.

And money has always been important to Spike -- there's not much he wouldn't do for a few dollars. Even when William is accosted by Dru, William's pocket book is what concerns him.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Rufus's thoughts -- Ronia, 11:29:45 05/13/02 Mon

wow...I was thinking of JA when I wrote that...the only reason that I came to the conclusion that he was previously of their class and not working towards it are as follows...he was not dressed as nicely as the others, if I had come into money and was trying to fit into a different class system, I can't imagine not dressing the part.....his mannerisms and speech are entirely genteel, not something that you learn as an adult but are almost bred Is this way and so on....He doesn't seem to have a trade, or even to know anything about the trades of others, I can't imagine the child of a nonwealthy parentage who has worked to acheive wealth enough to admit them into another class systems private party would be that ignorant....and lastly, he was addressed very informally, which was not common at the time and so it is unlikely that he is a new aquaitance (sp?)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> requested spelling -- anom, 23:10:00 05/13/02 Mon

"...a new aquaitance (sp?)"

Close--since you ask, it's "acquaintance."

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: requested spelling -- Ronia thanks, knew that didn't look quite right, 09:29:33 05/14/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Rufus's thoughts -- Rufus, 16:21:30 05/13/02 Mon

Great Mal, now you will have people thinking of Spike in a Speedo.....I know they didn't have them in Victorian times, but who wants to be exact?

When I looked over William, I thought he had an absent father, I don't know why I got that vibe but I did. Absent or dead, and in those times the father could have been in India. When it comes to money, I thought that with his bookish looks he may be well educated which I thought back then would have cost money.....most of all I see him as a Victorian Giles.

[> [> [> [> weary of boredom, but gobbled up every word! I look forward to more - I know nothing of this subject -- yuri, 00:39:57 05/13/02 Mon

[> [> [> a quick question -- abt, 06:44:15 05/12/02 Sun

What do you think lies behind Spike's tendency to comfort crying women?

[> [> [> Re: Spike and Darla parallel (Spoilers up to Seeing Red) -- clg0107, 13:49:11 05/14/02 Tue

>> I think he had a bad life in that he was rejected by all of those in his class, doomed to a solitary life,

Actually, William wasn't of the class that he was hanging onto, and to which Cecily did belong. She makes that plain -- she could/would ever consider him courting her because he was not of the class to marry her. And that was probably part of William's worship of her -- in his heart of hearts, he knew her to be unattainable. It didn't hurt any less to have it said to his face when he got so wrapped up in his emotions that he declared himeslf. But he was of the society and knew it's rules.

As to his name following him, he now has pretentions to humanity -- he effects mannerisms like eating that are unnecessary to him as a vamp, but that he likes; and he frequently refers to himself as "a man". And the few times when Buffy has referred to him as William, it has been as a recognition of sorts of that. In AYW, it's definately as a sign of respect for the vestiges of the man in Spike that she calls him William -- kind of a sign that she recognizes that his feelings have some worth. It was how he realized that she really meant it this time.

All in the FWIW category!


[> Re: Spike and Darla parallel (Spoilers up to Seeing Red) -- Malandanza, 05:44:46 05/12/02 Sun

I would add that Angel also tried to go back to his murdering ways after his ensoulment. He tracked Darla down and tried to get the "whirlwind" back.

Having said that, I think there is a big difference between a soulless vampire and either human Darla or souled Angel. Remember, all it took was one drink of blood to erase all of Darla's moral qualms and angst. Suddenly she was back and as bad as ever. Similarly, when Angel lost his soul, Angelus was back in full force -- a century of memories where he had been wracked with guilt had no effect on him -- one sip of blood and he was back.

My guess is that if Spike gets his chip out, his first victim will erase all the "progress" he has made since the Initiative boys castrated him.

[> Is this what you and Dochawk were chatting about the other night? Great post, agent! :-) -- OnM, 21:29:55 05/12/02 Sun

Very well reasoned and written, and these were some insights that hadn't occurred to me.

Nice work!

Nemesis - Willow and Warren -- Ixchel, 21:03:48 05/11/02 Sat

Warren to Buffy: We're your arch-nemesises...nemeses. (Gone)

It seems some people have expressed the opinion that Tara's death is Willow's punishment for her resurrection of Buffy. If the Buffyverse is a world of harsh gods (the PtB?), who punish with the discernment of a venegeance demon, then this would be appropriate.


"In Greek mythology, Nemesis is the goddess of divine justice and vengeance. Her anger is directed toward human transgression of the natural, right order of things and of the arrogance causing it. Nemesis pursues the insolent and the wicked with inflexible vengeance."

Is Warren the instrument of Nemesis exacting the gods' retribution on Willow for violation of natural law (resurrecting Buffy)? This idea is congruent with the Greek idea of the PtB. Tara herself becomes (cruelly, unjustly) irrelevant, just a means of punishing Willow's hubris.

OTOH, Tara's death could be the seeming cruelty of an indifferent and random Buffyverse's cosmic balance adjustment?


[> Re: Nemesis - Willow and Warren (SPOILERS for Seeing Red) -- Robert, 21:38:56 05/11/02 Sat

Ixchel, you should label your posting as a spoiler.

>> "OTOH, Tara's death could be the seeming cruelty of an indifferent and random Buffyverse's cosmic balance adjustment?"

I actually prefer this interpretation, partly because I don't believe the BtVS universe includes the powers-that-be, as a force taking an active hand in the day-to-day operation of the universe(s).

>> "Tara herself becomes (cruelly, unjustly) irrelevant, just a means of punishing Willow's hubris."

Tara is not irrelevant. Being the instrument of righteous punishment (and poetic justice) is certainly not irrelevant. Beyond that, please recall that Tara is not wholy innocent of Buffy's resurrection. She may not bear blood on her hands as Willow does, but she did knowingly participate in the darkest magic. The other two participants (Xander and Anya) appear to have received their punishments as well.

Who received the greater punishment, Tara or Willow? If Willow comes to understand that her actions were the antecedent to Tara's death, then maybe Willow's punishment will be the greater.

[> Spoilers for Seeing Red in my above post. -- Ixchel, 22:45:25 05/11/02 Sat

[> On the side of Revenge (good spotting !) -- Etrangere, 08:27:51 05/12/02 Sun

We've got Warren, and the trio, self named Nemesis, yes, but also because his main intention is to "get back" at everyone who made him suffer. From Katrina to Buffy, passing by the guy that humiliated him when he was in high school, Warren is all about vengeance.
In OAFA, Halfrek claimed that vengeance was the same thing as justice. But if this season teach us anything it's that this is wrong. Anya learned that, contrary to Halfrek, she's not interrested anymore into fulfilling wishes, because she realised that vengeance caused only more pain to everyone.
Tara however was a symbole of forgiveness, not blind forgiveness, for she would not let herself be abused by Willow's use of magic, but she got back with her when her mind safety was safe anew with Willow.And just when she did that she was a victim from vengeance's blindness.

Before the end of the season, Buffy, Willow and Xander will have to make a choice between (or somewhere in between) vengeance and forgiveness and wonder what justice really mean.

[> [> Re: On the side of Revenge (good spotting !) SPOILERS for Entropy and SR -- manwitch, 10:42:46 05/12/02 Sun

When I see Tara come to Willow's room at the end of entropy I sense a sadness that seems almost comparable to Christ going to the cross. There is a quality of, "here it is folks, time to take it all the way to the conclusion."

Tara seems to be the willing sacrifice, come back to Willow for I don't know what reason. To give her the chance to work without the net? As a final lesson in compassion by allowing Willow to suffer the loss of Tara herself?

And what about the blood? Willow is splattered with Tara's blood, while Buffy, shot at the same moment and exhibiting nearly the same wound as Tara, bleeds out. Shadowkat has argued for Tara as a "mother" figure. Blood of the Mother? The final ingredient? Dried on Willow's hands?

I don't see Tara as simply a tool. She's far too powerful for that. Not demon witchy power like Willow has, but compasionate bodhisattva power.

No, I don't have a point. Just some thoughts.

[> [> [> Sacrificing Dawn was sacrificing Innocence - Is sacrificing Tara sacrificing Experience ? -- Ete, 13:56:22 05/12/02 Sun

[> [> [> [> Uhh, Ete? Spoiler in your subject line! -- OnM, 21:14:54 05/12/02 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> Arrrrg, sorry ! muchos apologies. When is an episode not spoiler anymore ? -- Etrangere, 03:42:50 05/13/02 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Arrrrg, sorry ! muchos apologies. When is an episode not spoiler anymore ? -- LittleBit, 05:59:14 05/13/02 Mon

Australia is only up to Gone, if that is any help.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> *** Spoiler Policy *** -- Masquerad3, 10:33:01 05/13/02 Mon

The official policy here about marking spoilers is that we put up spoiler warnings at least a week after the episode has been shown in North America. That is because not everyone sees it on Tuesday. Trying to not spoil other countries that are behind by months (UK, Australia) would be a full-time job.

That said, spoilers in subject lines that give away major plot points should be avoided in general just out of common courtesy. This is almost impossible to enforce, but I've started deleting posts that give away future spoilers (not yet aired in N. America) in the subject line.

And as Rob has recently reminded folks, it's also a good thing to say which episode a spoiler is for. This should be MANDATORY if it's an episode not yet aired in N. America.

Questions? Comments?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: *** Spoiler Policy *** -- Sophist, 13:12:29 05/13/02 Mon

Some posters are skirting the spoiler policy by comments such as "this is speculation" or "ME is going in this direction". When such comments are made by someone known to be spoiled, I think a spoiler warning is appropriate. Speculation is fine, but only if the person is really speculating.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> There used to be a thing called "Spoiler Speculations". Should be re-emphasized! -- Masq, 13:22:01 05/13/02 Mon

Spike, Willow, spoilers to Seeing Red -- abt, 06:36:51 05/12/02 Sun

How do you compare Willow's violation of Tara, and Spike's attempted violation of Buffy?

Neither of them did it to hurt their loved one, they both thought they were going to make things nice and happy, but by the method of force.

In Willow's defence, she didn't hear Tara's voice saying 'No, stop, please' like Spike did, but then again, Willow went ahead and did it a second time in Tabula Rasa, even though she knew Tara didn't want it.

[> Re: Spike, Willow, spoilers to Seeing Red -- Sloan Parker, 07:02:07 05/12/02 Sun

Here for angel and buffy scripts and for a free DVD contest! Bloody cool!

[> [> Re: Spike, Willow, spoilers to Seeing Red -- SM, 09:01:48 05/12/02 Sun

Rape, and "Jack Rolling" (gang rape) is a national disgrace in my country. It is all about power, and hatred for the "victim" or "survivor" of the violation, usually but not, always a woman. It is nothing to do with "sex". The age of the victim, here, can often be counted in months, not years, as sex with a virgin is thought to be a "cure" for AIDS. Rape can never be acceptable or excused. I am dismayed at the writer having included such a scene. BtVS is aired here at 5pm to a mostly children's viewership.

[> [> [> Good grief! -- vh, 06:55:07 05/13/02 Mon

[> [> [> Re: Spike, Willow, spoilers to Seeing Red -- maddog, 10:26:14 05/13/02 Mon

ok, first off, they write these with the US time slots in mind(8pm). If the channel that shows Buffy in your country didn't preview it and decide to put it on at a later time then it's their fault. Don't blame the writers...they didn't make that decision.

Trust and Love and Passion/SPOILERS at end for next week's preview -- alcibiades, 09:59:21 05/12/02 Sun

Buffy shut down with Riley after the Faith body switch and the fact that Riley didn't recognize that he wasn't having sex with her.

Buffy shut down with Spike over the demon eggs incident. All forward movement on disfunctional relationship squashed. It was the lack of trust that empowered her ability to keep on saying no.

But until the AR, Buffy trusted Spike with her body and to recognize her and to know her in a way she never trusted Riley, just as she trusted Riley with her mission in a way she never trusted Spike. I suppose Riley's second betrayal of leaving was also about realizing that Buffy's mission was not enough for him -- he needed his own that made him feel important, and that was a betrayal as well.

So, Spike was correct when he said, "I know you felt it when I was inside you, Buffy," but what he doesn't take into account is that the last time he was inside of her was moments before the (as yet unexplained) demon egg incident was exposed. And the very fact of that incident (still unexplained) to Buffy means -- you have now betrayed me once, therefore I can't love you. Because to Buffy, the first betrayal always leads to the second betrayal, which is just as profound or more profound than the first. In Angel's case, there were two profound betrayal's, in Riley's case, there were three betrayals, over Faith and over the
vamp-hos which led to his abrupt departure. In Spike's case, she's less inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt to begin with, and she knows absolutely that one betrayal will lead to the next. It always has in her past. So she cuts him off. And then he betrays her again anyway, her, not her
mission, in the AR scene -- a more profound betrayal than the demon eggs because it is personal. He betrays her with the thing she had trusted him with --her body.

There is a great parallel between Buffy's fight with the first slayer in Intervention, with Buffy trying to call it off again and again, and the first slayer going back on the attack. Finally the First Slayer is straddling Buffy and trying unsuccessfully to thrust the knife/stake/penis symbol into Buffy's heart, but it doesn't penetrate her -- she doesn't feel a thing. "Nothing seems to penetrate my heart" from the musical.

Is this not what Spike is doing in the AR scene? Straddling her, trying to penetrate her heart with his penis, trying to penetrate her body in order to penetrate her heart. "I know you felt it when I was inside you Buffy." But it's not effective, she can't feel a thing that way. So she kicks him off just like she kicks off the First Slayer and both Spike and the first Slayer, realizing their failure, look wounded
and perplexed and shocked.

Also, the First Slayer's black with white paint and white gauze. He's white but all in stark black.

Note Buffy's snide comment on hair care. "You might want to consider what impression you're making in the work place."

So if Spike comes back with a different dye job from his sojourn or next year which some of us have wondered, it will
have been foreshadowed in Restless as well as in Forever, i.e. Doc's comments about someone with darker hair who is human and likes dominoes looking just like him.

Spike has been echoing all season. He's going to have to learn to change the dance entirely.

PREVIEW SPEC/Spoiler for those who haven't seen it

The issue of trust and love is also the big question Buffy is going to have to face viz Willow in the next few episodes.
I think Buffy's trust issue and worldview is so black and white, that this will be the reason that she won't be able to
figure out how to deal with Willow when Willow goes round the bend, as indicated by last week's preview. "What did you do," she said in the preview, the same words she said to Spike in DT.

Buffy will try to go the same old route, "she will never learn," from the musical. But that won't be the way to solve it.

I'm still hoping that the musical template is in effect, and that Spike can deal with rescuing Buffy/saving the situation in a way that Buffy can't. Effectively, but with compassion and understanding, as foreshadowed in AL when he is the one to turn back to Willow, not Buffy in the final scene. The personality parallel between Willow and William is just too suggestive. Spike would do exactly what Willow will do if it had been Buffy who was killed thoughtlessly and for nothing as Tara was (not the same as her self-sacrifice to save the world in The Gift). If Spike can understand Willow's reaction, he might be able to deal with it.

Btw, Spike did say he was storing the demon eggs for a friend. And Clem is his friend. His only one apparently. So I'm hoping there will be Clem-Buffy time coming up which
will explain those eggs. MN did say they were tying up all the old issues in the last few episodes. And that is a black gaping hole.

[> Re: Trust and Love and Passion/SPOILERS at end for next week's preview -- shadowkat, 12:38:07 05/12/02 Sun

Excellent post - one nitpick - the scene you are describing is at the end of Buffy's dream in Restless not in Intervention.

Understand the confusion. Both feature the first slayer
and both deal with buffy's inability to deal with complex issues.

1. She sees the primal power of the slayer as wrong. And rejects her instead of finding a way to incorporate her into her being. She does the same thing with Spike.
Effectively chops off the left hand as being in Buffy's words = wrong. I can't trust this part of myself. The
darkness is wrong. At this point in her development, she hasn't quite got the knack for balance. Something her sister is attempting to give her - oddly enough by asking to help patrol in Entropy or going to visit Spike (left
hand) in his crypt and pleaing with him to go to Buffy.
Dawn (right hand or ego) sees the need for Spike (the left
hand or id) in her sister the superego's life. Buffy all season long has been jumping between the two, but I think they'd like to join together. It's an interesting metaphor
which they've gone to a lot of effort to subtly suggest over a two season arc. Not sure if they will complete it or not. But at this point it is safe to say - Buffy does not
trust or respect the left hand or slayer persona and wants
no part of it. Hence the gunshot at the end of SR.

2. Intervention is where the first slayer tells Buffy:
You are filled with love it's blinding. But you turn away from it because of the pain. The pain gives you strength. Must give into the pain. Love, Forgive, Give - and it will lead you to your gift. Which is Death.

What a lot of people including Buffy forget is relationships in life, particularly on Hellmouth are painful. People make mistakes. Horrible painful mistakes.
They hurt us. Rejecting them is not always the answer.
Remember this is the Buffyverse not our world, so mistakes tend to be a bit harsher.

Willow unlike buffy has accepted the primal left hand,
she has gone the other way. Both women are out of balance.
One - goes completely towards the left hand or dark
and the other is going completely towards the right or light
as evidenced by final scene of seeing red where Buffy is bathed in light and dressed in white and Willow is in darkness and eyes are dark. Seeing Red is into the harsh
use of light.

Spike looks like a black and white image after the bathroom
scene, even during it. A sideshow freak in Giles dream who can't participate in the a subplot

Willow is also in dark tones and in preview is drained of color, black and white - sideshow freak

Buffy is in white tons - with pastels or little color - white hero...

All three need balance. Until they do...chaos?

Sorry for the ramble. Just a few thoughts. Loved your post
by the way.

[> [> Re: Trust and Love and Passion/SPOILERS at end for next week's preview -- redcat's evil twin, 14:36:09 05/12/02 Sun

you say, "...the knack for balance. Something her sister is attempting to give her - oddly enough by asking to help patrol in Entropy or going to visit Spike (left
hand) in his crypt and pleaing with him to go to Buffy.
Dawn (right hand or ego) sees the need for Spike (the left
hand or id) in her sister the superego's life. Buffy all season long has been jumping between the two, but I think ***they'd like to join together*** [emphasis added]. It's an interesting metaphor which they've gone to a lot of effort to subtly suggest over a two season arc. Not sure if they will complete it or not."

you do realize one of the possible, if highly incestuous, logical extenions (completions) of this dawn/spike, right hand-left hand analysis, don't you? big brother-protector- first-(sexualized)-crush becomes first romanticized-fling- with-bad-boy first lover. right hand attempts to "act" and heal the center by seeking out the left hand, who responds with an "emotion"-filled but poorly-conceived trip to the dark side. or, put another way, spike returns, dawn goes to him, he seduces (?) her, which act Buffy then has to reconcile.

freudian much? (or would this be freud's revenge on jung..?)


[> [> [> thanks to both ckats, my brain says yum but oooh, let me digest. -- yuri, 16:21:10 05/12/02 Sun

the most kaboomy part of shadowkat's post for me was her points about Dawn, and I must say though the scenario you propose is disturbing, it would also be very intriguing. And anyway, disturbing can be interesting, evocative. I don't know how it wuold fit the season's theme of "Buffy, year one," except if you saw Spawn (ha ha) as a mirror of the B/A thang... Naaaaaw.

[> [> Very interesting, shadowkat! -- Simone, 14:56:41 05/12/02 Sun

Question: what do you think it means that Willow is Buffy's Spirit in "Primeval" and that the repressed/rejected First Slayer (which I too see as representing the same things Spike does, only in a reverse, mirror-image sort of way) attacks her by trying to strangle her, effectively taking her breath/spirit away (the word "psyche" is derived etymologically from the Greek word "psuche," which means both breath or life-force and soul or spirit - that which makes us alive and human)?

It seems like it's no coincidence that Buffy's wandering around with little "spirit" left and feeling all disconnected from life and humanity while Willow is turning to the dark side.

[> [> Symbolic meaning of Black and White.....**spoilers to include season finale** -- Rufus, 17:26:08 05/12/02 Sun

There has been a deliberate use of black and white in this season....note the bathroom scene "big white space"........From Herders dictionary of symbols....

"BLACK: A color symbolically analogous to WHITE and that similarly corresponds to the absolute; hence it can express both the abundance of life and its total emptiness. In the sense of the undifferentiatied and abysmal, it often appears as the designation of darkness, primal chaos, and death. As the color of mourning, it is closely associated with resigned pain(thus differing from the light color white, which signals hope).

As the color of the night, it shares in the symbolic complex of mother-fertility-mystery-death; black is thus also the color of fertility, mother godesses, and their priestesses(in this context it is sometimes related to symbolically to RED, the color of blood). In China, black is the color of the feminine principle, yin (see yin and
yang) and contrasts with its opposite, Yellow (or sometimes also Red), rather than with white, as in the West.

In the Spanish Court, black was for a long time the color of great dignity."

I underlined the words primal chaos because that is what takes hold of Willow. I see her situation similar to that of Giles in The Dark Age. Her lucky streak of magic gone wrong is over, and she finds out she was never in control and is paying a price for arrogance. Giles is who I keep going back to because his conversation with Willow in Flooded is so important to the happenings in seasons end.

Having Buffy back in the world
makes me feel indescribably
wonderful - but I wouldn't
congratulate you if you jumped
off a cliff and happened to survive.

That's not what I did, Giles!

You were lucky.

I wasn't lucky, I was amazing.
How would you know anyway?
You weren't even there.

(almost yelling)
If I had been I'd have bloody well
stopped you! The Magicks you
channeled are more primal and
ferocious than you can hope to
and you're lucky to
be alive, you rank, arrogant amateur.

Beat. Giles is done. Willow flatlines, total calm, staring into his eyes. Then:

You're right. The Magicks I used are
incredibly powerful. I'm incredibly powerful.

And maybe it's not such a good idea
for you to piss me off.

The two just stare at each other. Long beat. Finally, Willow relents, back to herself.

WILLOW (cont'd)
C'mon, Giles, I don't want to fight.
Let's not, okay? I'll think about
what you said, and you ... try to
be happy Buffy's back.

Giles just regards her a moment before responding.

Willows lucky streak with magic is over. Her control over a power she thinks is hers is over. Her transformation in "Villians" will be proof of that. Willow becomes the instrument of primal chaos, no longer the master.

Then there is the colour White......Herders Dictionary of Symbols....

WHITE: the colour of LIGHT, purity, and perfection. Like its opposite, BLACK, white has a special place among the colours of the spectrum (which combined yield white). It is closely associated with the absolute (both the beginning and the end, as well as their union) and consequently is used at marriages, initiations, and death rites. I is the color of mourning in Slavic lands and in Asia, for example, and occasionally at the French court.

White was the preferred color of specially selected sacrificial animals.

Priests often wear white garments to symbolize spirit and light, and the angels and the blessed in Christianity are often clothed in white for the same reason. Newly baptized Christians wear white clothing: at Christ's transfiguration his garments became "white as snow"; the white ceremonial dress of brides, postulants, and those making first communion signify innocence and virginity.

In contrast to the vital color Red, white is also the color of ghosts and specters. Sometimes the color red is associated with man and white with woman.

Willow will have to fight an internal battle of darkness over light. Her loss of Tara will leave her in such despair that she will lose sight of who she has always been. For those who have seen the pictures, Willow will be transformed becoming a black presence, hair, clothing. She will become an instrument of primal chaos. The only thing that can intervene will be another absolute influence.

One more thing, the last episode is called Grave, the thing that Willow brought Buffy back from in the season premiere, the symbolic meaning of a grave is this.....Herders Dictionary of Symbols.....

Grave: As a barrow of tumulus, it may be an allusion to Holy Mountains. The form of numerous tombs or monuments (and also urns, such as the so called house urns)refers symbolically to the idea of a dwelling (ie., house, temple,etc)for the deceased. -As a place of death but also rest, of being cared for, and of the hope of rebirth, the grave is sometimes associated psychoanalytically with both the loving and horrific aspects of the Great Mother.

[> [> [> Black and White - no spoilers -- ponygirl, 07:01:13 05/13/02 Mon

I found it intersting as well that Buffy's robe was gray, suggesting the complexity of the situation and her own motivations. It also seemed significant that Spike had left off his adolescent uniform of jeans and a t-shirt, to put on more "adult" clothes.

[> [> [> [> Re: Black and White - no spoilers -- alcibiades, 07:30:21 05/13/02 Mon

Buffy is wearing light grey as well when she is shot. She's got some culpability for not respecting Warren enough as a villain to deal with him earlier. [I watched part of OMWF over recently and I was most taken with Giles' face, regarding Buffy, as she sings "Why Should We Care?" He's astonished and dismayed at her insouciance even though he is eventually caught up in the music.]

Warren is in black in the backyard scene. It's taken him a long time to get there. He's as black as Spike was dress- code-wise in the bathroom scene and he too is trying to penetrate Buffy's heart -- which is a great irony. Not least, because he comes much closer to his goal.

[> [> [> [> Symbolic meaning of Gray -- Rufus, 16:28:32 05/13/02 Mon

From the Herders Dictionary of Symbols

Gray: Consisting equally of BLACK and WHITE, is the color of mediation and compensating justice, as well as the intermediate realms(eg.,in folk belief it is the color of the dead and spirits that walk abroad). In Christianity it is the color of the resurrection of the dead and of the cloak that Christ wears as judge at the Last Judgment.

[> Re: Trust and Love and Passion/SPOILERS at end for next week's preview -- Lyonors, 07:44:43 05/13/02 Mon

I just had an interesting thought...maybe someone else has allready had it, but I feel the need to slightly digress on a subject broached by alcibidaes:

>Buffy shut down with Riley after the Faith body switch and the fact that Riley didn't recognize that he wasn't having sex with her.<

After reading this sentence and some more a little further down in the suddenly occurred to me: In opposition to Riley's inability to tell the difference between Faith and Buffy, Spike, in Gone, could tell that the "ghostie" that was *ahem* playing with him in his crypt was Buffy....Just another thing pointing to the Spike/Riley comparison/contrast posts.


[> [> Interesting point, but... -- Isabel, 13:01:22 05/13/02 Mon

I think perhaps Spike had a few more clues than Riley had to work off of.

1) Faith was in Buffy's body. Riley was unfamiliar with magic so the fact that Buffy was acting very strangely wouldn't cause him to think, "Is this Buffy?" Plus we see Faith (in Buffy) at the Bronze drinking beer with the guys before it occurs to her to go play with Buffy's 'clean marine.' Since Riley and Buffy had been sleeping together for a short while, Riley may have assumed that Buffy's altered behavior was because she was a bit drunk.

2) With Spike, while she was invisible, Buffy was in Buffy's body. She would smell the same, kiss the same, be the same height and strength... and Spike is very familiar with the concept of magic. He thought it was a ghost until she started ripping his clothes off, then he knew.

I think an adequate test of whether Spike knows her better or not would be if Spike ever realizes that it was not Buffy coming on to him that same night in the Bronze. He obviously remembers well that whole speech that Faith said to him. "I could go anywhere, do anything, have anyone, even you, Spike."

In Gone, after Xander left, Buffy was commenting on how free she was as invisible, Spike was drinking at the bar and quietly quoted part of Faith's speech back at her, "Go anywhere, do anything..." He obviously hadn't made the realization that he hadn't heard those words from Buffy until then.

All quotes are out of my memory. Hope I didn't get them too wrong.

[> [> [> there's an easier way -- anom, 22:27:03 05/13/02 Mon

"With Spike, while she was invisible, Buffy was in Buffy's body. She would smell the same, kiss the same, be the same height and strength... and Spike is very familiar with the concept of magic. He thought it was a ghost until she started ripping his clothes off, then he knew."

All he had to do was recognize her voice: "I told you not to try to see me!" Although the shorter hair might've thrown him off just a bit.

[> [> [> [> Re: there's an easier way -- Isabel, 07:31:00 05/14/02 Tue

But she didn't speak to him until after he guessed it was her. The voice was just confirmation.

You're right about the hair...

[> [> [> [> [> Buffy's hair in Gone -- alcibiades, 09:07:32 05/14/02 Tue

Speaking of Buffy's hair in Gone, regrettably I saw the preview for Scooby Doo, and I swear she was wearing that horrible Goldilocks wig in Scooby Doo, (the one she was wearing before she cut her hair off) just died a slightly different color -- more horrible yellow, but it was the same hair style, side part, falsely bouncy.

That's She in the Spotlight, Losing Her Religion - Thoughts on *Seeing Red* ... (***Spoilers**) -- OnM, 21:08:02 05/12/02 Sun


I give my fans what they need, not what they want.

............ Joss Whedon


Accckkk! Damn! Eat sh*t and die, Whedon!

............ OnM


Oooooo.... Macbeth on acid, with lesbians. Cool!

............ Evil Clone


So I was right. Bummer.


As most of you (the board regulars, that is) already know, I generally don’t go in for obtaining any overly
detailed spoiler material, but I do on occasion read the stuff on AnGeL X’s site, since she tends to mostly
present ‘general’ spoiler stuff and not blow-by-blow descriptions of the impending action. (I always
avoid the wildfeeds, for example). So now here we are, and where do we go?

I pretty much accepted from the time I first heard the rumors that if the so-called ‘Big Scooby
Death’ turned out to be the real thing, and was not a misdirection or red herring, then the only logical
candidates were either Anya or Tara. I give great credit to the show’s various creative talents that it was a
55-45 tossup between the two, you could site several good arguments in favor of predicting the outcome
for either character. In the end, I still strongly leaned towards Tara, if for no other reason than that her
demise would hurt the most, and Joss has said before that if no one genuinely cares about the death of a
character, than what’s the point?

That’s so very true-- it’s like the ‘red shirt’ in the Trek universe. After a while, it’s almost a joke, a death
bereft of any genuine emotion. Real death is anything but a joke, and I think that the overall theme of this
season is eventually going to rock our world in a very intense way, and re-establish what I’ve felt all
along-- that this season will be one of the best in the history of the series. Not necessarily an upbeat one,
but one that may still turn out to be full and satisfying from a dramatic/writerly aspect. I was sure that if the
events detailed in this recent spoilery came to pass, that it would divide the fan base of the show, but that is
nothing new. I am making no judgements of any kind at this point until the end of episode 22, but I have
faith, if not Faith, ya know? I sympathize very strongly with those fans who ache at this potential loss, but
all is surely not lost. Go rewatch Becoming Pt. II and then Anne, if you have any doubts.
No matter how dark the night, morning light eventually returns.

OK, so I tended to predict the worst possibility when presented with a collection of them, but
unfortunately there has been ample foreshadowing for the eventuality of Tara’s death. The sad but true fact
of the situation is that this turn of events closes many of the ‘plotholes’ or ‘writing weaknesses’ that some
viewers have complained about regarding Season 6, and further is entirely consistant with the overall
theme of the season.

First, to the foreshadowing. The single biggest red herring that we’ve been presented with this season is the
idea that Willow has somehow already ‘paid for’ her use of dark magicks with the ‘addiction’ problem..
Many people, myself included, have felt that there was more to this apparently simplistic theme than has
appeared to date in the season. The main elements of foreshadowing in this regard were, first, Spike’s sad
and angry comment that ‘The trouble with magic is that there’s always a price’. This line appeared
very early on in the season, in Afterlife, if I recall, and I think many viewers have forgotten
it until now, or as mentioned above, think that the ‘addiction’ was ‘the price’, since it caused Willow to
have to renounce the use of any magic, certainly a great blow to her self-esteem.

The second major piece of foreshadowing was Gile’s extreme anger at Willow for bringing Buffy back to
life, which shocked and then angered Willow in return. Willow saw her involvement in Buffy’s return from
the dead as a matter of wresting good from the forces of darkness, and that if she was successful, then that
was the end of it. I think Giles failed to reveal something to her that he may have had personal or close
experience with-- that the ‘conventional’ penalty for returning a soul from the realm of the dead means that
another life must be sacrified in return. He may have chosen not to reveal this fact because it may not have
been a certainty, just a very high probability, and he felt that whatever ultimate destiny Willow had
set in motion, that it was something that he personally had no future control over-- Willow will either
survive or not, someone else will either die or not, ‘prophesies are tricky things’, etc.

Now if I were the forces of darkness, the life that I would claim in return would have to be the one that
would have the most impact on the spell-caster. When Willow performed the resurrection spell, it seemed
clear to me that she understood and accepted the possibility that she herself could die as a result of calling
on forces this powerful. (Question-- who was the metaphorical fawn? Did Willow see it as herself,
and therefore ‘accept’ its death if it brought Buffy back?). Willow accepted this risk because she thought
she could beat the odds and win. Suppose the metaphorical fawn was Tara? This seems obvious at this
point in time, but would Willow have taken the chance on resurrecting Buffy if she had been told that
there was a 90% chance that the price of ‘success’ would be Tara’s life?

60% chance? 20% chance? 5% chance? Any chance at all? The road to hell, indeed.

Willow is in no position at the moment to appreciate that her actions seven months ago may have doomed
Tara from the moment that she cast the resurrection spell. She will surely pursue Warren, perhaps other
members of the Troika, and make him or them ‘pay’. Warren, however, is but a tool. It is even possible
that the forces of darkness saw the potential in him and decided to nurse him along. Some viewers have
been debating technical details such as whether or not Warren’s last few shots could have formed the
correct trajectory to angle up to the bedroom and pierce Tara exactly through the heart. What would this
matter in a magical universe? If the PtB can make it snow in southern California, how much effort would
the FoD have to make to deflect the path of one single bullet that was already headed in the general
direction? In fact, Tara could have been killed if the bullet had passed through her head, or even her neck,
or even a major artery somewhere else on the body. Why the heart, and right in the center of it no less?
And why don’t the FoD arrange for Warren to take Buffy out as well? (It’s obvious that she survives the
shooting attempt, based on the scenes from the preview.)

Because in a manner that Angelus would have appreciated, this is truly an instance of ‘death as artistry’. It
isn’t enough to exact a price on Willow for her temerity in trying to produce unfettered good from dark
powers, the price has to be searingly appropo-- the death of her lover, at a time when she has just returned
into her life after a period of sorrowful seperation, from a cause easily blamed on the evil dwelling within a
‘souled’ being, Warren. Nor is that alone sufficiently cruel- - the physical agent of death isn’t magical at all,
just cold hard steel through the heart of the lover, the metaphorical residence of the soul. The blood
spatters Willow much as the blood of the fawn would have, and the circle is complete, the innocent
sacrified. Forces of darkness or no, apparently a deal is a deal-- Buffy gets to live, Tara does not.

And no, I don’t think that she will come back, although I’m not spoiled for the last two episodes (and
intend to stay that way) so I admit that (almost) anything is possible. While I love the character deeply, and
will miss her greatly, it would, IMO, seriously diminish the moral lesson ME is trying to impart if there is
an ‘easy’ out of some kind. I would like to see her appear again as a spirit guide of some sort, to either
Buffy or Willow or both. The scenes in which Tara appeared in Restless could suggest that this is a
possibility, and Tara has certainly turned out to be the most ‘spiritual’ of the Scoobies.

During last week’s review, I mentioned (mostly in passing) that there was a moment when Dawn and Buffy
were walking together in the Sunnydale Mall, and Dawn had a certain ‘Faithlike’ appearance to me
visually. The ‘essence’ of Faith-- whatever that actually is-- seems to be reappearing in the Buffyverse at
increasingly greater intervals, and maybe this is a portent of some kind for next season. In Seeing
, it appears again in yet another way, one I strongly suspect will become even more apparent in
Villians. This current story arc mirrors the Faith arc of a few seasons ago, when Faith turned to the
‘dark side’ and joined forces with Mayor Wilkins.

We should recall that Willow despised Faith, saw her as out of control, ungrateful for her ‘gifts’
and arrogantly misusing them. Now there is the supreme irony that Willow’s own ‘arrogant misuse of her
gifts’ has resulted in the death of a lover and a powerful force for good in the Buffyverse. As Faith was
about to turn away from Angel and his offer to help her seek redemption, Angel soberly remarks to her,
‘You thought that you could just touch the darkness, but it swallowed you whole’. Faith pauses,
reconsiders, relents. If Willow had informed Giles in advance about her plan to resurrect Buffy, do you
think he might have had something along those same lines of advice to present to her?

So is Willow now going to become like Faith? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. Will her rage at the cruelty of ‘the
fates’ possess her and turn her to greater darkness? This could certainly be. How will ME pull off a
resolution in just three more episodes? I have absolutely no idea, but if Faith can turn her back to the FoD,
surely Willow could do the same.

On to Warren, whom no one, including Buffy, took seriously enough as an evildoer. Suffice to say that’s a
mistake that won’t be repeated anytime soon.

The idea that Warren is responsible for Tara’s death, and an attempted if unsuccessful killing of Buffy as
well, brings up numerous possibilies, all of them logical progressions from what has happened so far this
season. In one of my episode reviews of a few months back, I commented that, IMO, Warren was
unquestionably evil. Will Warren be the ‘big bad’ of the season? Early on, we would think this unlikely, but
it is in perfect sync with the progression of the ‘big bads’ over the course of the series’ first five years. All
of the monsters of seasons one through five were either bereft of souls, or somehow sold or lost the ones
they had. From the simple vampire threats of S1 to the ‘immortal and invincible’ hellgod Glory of S5, the
power of evil has escalated, but it is still soul- less evil. In S6, we meet the next level, one
commensurate with the SG’s entry into young adulthood-- true evil in a souled being, a human, no less.

Now, I realize that many will be speculating that Willow will become the Big Bad of the season,
but I’m not sure that is entirely true, even if she does go on some kind of vengeful rampage and try to
punish or kill Warren. The reason I say this has a great deal to do with Tara, and one of her greatest
qualities-- the ability to offer forgiveness.

A short time ago in the Angelverse, we discovered that the character of Charles Gunn made a pact to the
demon Jenoff to exchange his soul for a truck. This is one of those classic ME moments where you want to
laugh and cry at the same time. On the face of it, how could someone of sound mind be willing to sell his
soul at all, let alone for a truck? But Gunn explains that a) he was able to do a lot of good and help a lot of
people with that truck, and b) he didn’t expect to ever amount to anything anyway. His decision was a
foolish one, but he meant well. In the strict sense, he made the bargain of his own free will, but should he
be held to it? The FoD would obviously say yes, but the opposite side would argue that the choice was not
truly a matter of free will, because if you feel you are of little value to the world, and act accordingly, you
may be selling yourself short. The world may have, or come to have, a very different sense of your worth.

Willow may have been foolish to make a ‘deal’ with the FoD to bring Buffy back, but she meant well. Ego
trip aside, Buffy was and is a powerful force for good in the human world. If Willow had found a way to
bring Buffy back to life that didn’t entail ‘selling her soul’, would we be having this discussion? I
don’t think so. There is a very thin line between heroism and foolishness, and Willow came down on the
wrong side of that line. Is it necessary for the penalty to be so harsh?

Warren’s greatest evil is not in killing Katrina, or even Tara, it’s that he enables the potential
moraldestruction of Willow or Buffy. You can kill an innocent person, and that is a sad event, but
killing an ideal is even worse, since the day-to-day adherence to even one single, benevolent ideal
can ultimately affect the actions of millions of people. That ME accepts this principle as gospel was plainly
evidenced at the end of last season by Buffy’s refusal to kill her sister, even to save the universe. While I
personally think that she would have done so if there was simply no other recourse, it would have meant
her own death spiritually, and for all practical purposes the end of her role as a warrior for good-- Buffy
stated as much in her conversation with Giles in the training room before her battle with Glory. I believe
that the PtB understood that she would feel this way, and honored her integrity by giving her an ‘out’,
which she willingly-- even gratefully-- accepted.

Another mid-season speculation I had was what would happen if Buffy came into the position of having to
kill Warren? The writers may have taken exactly this theme, but twisted it so that it is Willow who may kill
Warren. I now believe that this may be exactly where they are headed with the story, and it would make
perfect sense.

I personally do not think that Buffy would ever willingly kill Warren, no matter what he has done,
or how angry she might be. Further, I think that her encounter with Spike in this episode confirms that.
Buffy makes mistakes, which has always endeared her character to me, because it makes her human. But
her inherent moral core is unshakable, which is why Giles rightly called her a hero. Even though Spike has
now done what he said he would never do since openly confessing his love for Buffy-- namely hurt
-- she still will not dust him. It could be very reasonably argued that this is foolish on her
part, but it is completely consistent with Buffy’s past behavior.

We have always trusted Buffy’s moral center, that seemingly unerring inner guide that when ultimate push
comes to shove, she will make the correct choice. ( “You are full of love-- it is brighter than the fire.”
) But can Willow do the same? Certainly, in Warren’s case (and after all, he has already killed Katrina),
one could very reasonably argue that the death penalty becomes an applicable option. The only question is,
who will be the judge, jury and executioner? I suspect Buffy might beat the crap out of Warren and then
turn him over to the human authorities-- something (beatings or no) she has already done with Andrew and
Jonathan. I likewise suspect that Willow will want to kill Warren slowly and painfully, and with a passion.
If I were Warren after he finds out about Tara’s death at his hands, I think I would run like hell, or else
hope and pray that Buffy finds him first.

Speaking of running like hell, or maybe to it, we have Spike. Buffy may eventually forgive him, or at least
just write off his behavior to the fact that he is still an ‘evil, soulless thing’ but Spike isn’t looking for
forgiveness right now. Exactly what he is looking for, I’m not sure even he really knows, but I
believe he thinks that if he can only get the chip out of his head, all will be right with his world. I’m not
really going to speculate at what the next turn in the road will bring for Spike, but I am fairly sure it won’t
be what he expects. I’m not even very sure it is a subject that will come up until next season.

I do find it significant that he left his coat behind at Buffy’s house. I wonder what she will do with it? I
have also always wondered if she will ever find out that it was a ‘trophy’ from the last Slayer Spike killed,
and what her reaction would be. Is the coat foreshadowing of something, and if so, does that something
relate to Buffy, or to Spike?

As to ‘the scene’, I appreciated the realism of it, making it crystal clear that this wasn’t just another SM-ish
game the two were playing at. One thing I very much didn’t appreciate was the interminable
number of commercials that seperated the two parts of the scene. If the network insisted that the scene be
split to help diffuse the intensity of it, then ultimately there wasn’t much the writer could do except write it
the way it was eventually presented, but if this was not the case, then for shame! This part of the
story was meant to be shocking, and every time I see this trick being pulled I always flash back to a
holocaust drama several decades ago where after a horrifying shot of people being herded naked into the
gas chambers, we cut to a commercial of ‘snoopy sniffer’ hawking air freshener. Dear Lord, there are no
words to describe how sickeningly perverse that is.

There has been a lot of discussion about whether or not Spike was ‘in character’ in attempting to rape
Buffy. You could very well argue either side of this, but I’m not sure that ‘in character’ is the point to
address as it relates exclusively to Spike. It seems to me that one of the major themes of the whole season
is that people can arrive at circumstances in their lives (or un-lives) where they find themselves doing
things they never thought they were capable of doing. In the case of basically ‘good’ people like the
Scoobies, it is a question of doing evil. In the case of Spike, it is a question of doing good. So, all of the
regulars have been guilty of being ‘out of character’ this year, and for that matter many times in the years
before. Some may say that Buffy will never forgive Spike for his attempt to violate her, but Buffy has
forgiven Xander for dumping Anya, and Willow for the far more serious crime of ‘mind-raping’ not only
Tara but herself as well. (It is likely she won’t forgive Warren, but she isn’t likely to kill him in retribution,
either). If she can forgive ‘good’ people, why not Spike? He’s ‘evil’, after all, he has an ‘excuse’. Whether
she should or not is another matter, and frankly will depend on what happens when Spike returns. If he is
unencumbered evil again, I think she won’t make the same mistake she did with Angelus and give him an
opportunity to harm anyone else

Finally, on to some happier thoughts, and yes, there was reason to be happy with at least some of the
events in this week’s show. I was pleasantly surprised at what the network allowed ME to get away with in
the scenes with Willow and Tara. Marti Noxon had stated in an interview a while back that it was her goal
to eventually treat W/T just like any normal heterosexual relationship is depicted on contemporary
television, and the opening teaser and first act went a long way towards portraying just that. I especially
liked that the writer took the opportunity to tweak the more homophobic members of the television
audience by directly challenging one of their primary fears, that gay individuals are somehow out to
‘corrupt’ the youth of America (or wherever) and ‘turn them’ to a life of ‘perversion’.

So, we have Dawn suddenly realize that Willow and Tara are sleeping together again, and not only does
she not freak out, she gets all super-happy and offers to ‘go downstairs’ so they can uhh... fraternize?
(Sorry, still back at the Classic Movie and the French flag theme). Then, in the first act, Dawn watches
Willow and Tara kiss much the same way she watched Buffy and Riley kiss. This is one of those occasions
where I think that having the show on at 8:00 o’clock is a good idea, it’s just too bad the violence and
mayhem that comes later makes the case for it being on at 10:00 o’clock.

Dawn continues the maturity thing in other ways, also good to see this may be an ongoing change. Her talk
with Spike was calm and controlled and very adult, although of course it does bring up the question of
whether or not the attempted rape would have occurred without her visit inspiring Spike to ‘explain
himself’ to Buffy. Please note that I’m not blaming Dawn for that, this is just another example of
how the best intentions to do good things can backfire horrifically.

Another happy thing was to see that Jonathan has had enough, and helped Buffy to win the battle with
SuperWarren, and did it cleverly enough so as not to tip off his ‘partners’. I’m wondering if he will spend
the rest of the season in ‘the big house’, or if he will get a chance to help Buffy in some other way. Also,
the scene where Andrew does his best movie-villain speech and then promptly rocket-packs into the roof
was hilarious.

I loved the use of the color red in this episode, it was in fact the impetus for dumping the planned Classic
Movie choice I had previously picked and selecting Kieslowski’s Three Colors: Red in it’s place.
From the red sheets of passion (and ‘fraternity’, with a gender twist?) to the frightening spattering of blood
on Willow’s white shirt, it was perfectly utilized metaphorically.

This was a frightening episode, but it was a beautifully realized one. The Clone may be a little perversely
off-center in his appraisal, not overly surprising seeing how his knowledge of the fine details of
Shakespeare isn’t any better than mine, but he’s right about one thing-- he knows a good, literate tragedy
when he sees one.

Out, damned spot, yea and verily...


[> Note: Spoiler material includes scenes from *Villians* promo at end of *SR* -- OnM, 21:10:48 05/12/02 Sun

[> [> Ooooo, you said may become impure yet....;) -- Rufus, 21:47:56 05/12/02 Sun

Printing now.

[> Brilliant stuff... -- Rob, 22:58:50 05/12/02 Sun

I particularly liked what you said about Willow having, however indirectly, caused Tara's death by resurrecting Buffy. Although this was staring me in the face the whole time, I had not quite connected those dots, and this makes perfect sense that Tara can be linked to the fawn. I'm remembering now the scene in "After Life" where the demon-as- Buffy screams at Willow about killing the fawn, while Willow is next to Tara. It all makes sense now...

You also made a good point about how every character has behaved a way we never thought they would...Xander, Anya, Buffy, Spike, Willow, Tara...and that "out-of-character" is a hard judgment call. I agree. Personally, I think that the fact that a character can do something that could be perceived as "out-of-character" only makes that fictional character all the more three-dimensional and human, because real people do not fit neatly into their set character traits. Now, Buffy killing a human but showing no remorse would be out of character...Xander beating up Buffy would be out of character. Spike sexually attacking Buffy? No. I don't think so. Perhaps unexpected, almost unbelievable...But not impossible, nor out-of-character.

Anyway, I'm rambling, and I have to go to sleep. But just had to tell ya how much I loved the essay. My printer hasn't had a good workout in a few days, what with my school semester being over, so I appreciate it. ;o)


[> [> Re: Brilliant stuff... -- DEN, 06:30:44 05/13/02 Mon

Thanks for expressing in such detail ideas I'd been entertaining since the first word on a BSD. I particularly admire your interpretation of Willow's addiction as a red herring. I also agree with your point that Spike's "price to be paid" would be the life that would hurt the spell's author the most. Willow was, IMO, ready to die to restore Buffy. But if Tara becomes the stake....

I too am surprised at the relatively few posters linking Tara's death with Buffy's resurection. Again IMO, that reflects 9even for the board's secularists and atheists) the heritage of a Western Christian ethos that allows scope for repentance and redemption. The concept of an exchange of lives that you describe,with no mercy and no way out, is the product of a Jossverse that is MUCH harsher.

[> been converted! -- Off-Kilter, acolyte of OnM/ shadowkat (others too), 03:34:51 05/13/02 Mon

Worship at many altars here on this board. Your essay is great brain food and just keep eat it up. I only hope my processor is up to absorbing it all instead of making it into mash. Please keep writing.

Blood on Willow's hands all season it seems. I have a spoilery quote that would bolster that image, but I'll be good. *bad, bad, bad girl - showing your spoiler whore ways*

Keeping the faith, still enjoying the "scenic route" ME is taking us on, even if it's not the ride I thought I signed up for.

[> Great Essay -- LeeAnn, 07:19:20 05/13/02 Mon

[> Was Buffy really in heaven? -- skeeve, 09:16:12 05/13/02 Mon

If so, how would the forces of darkness have gotten her out? If Tara's death was really the price of bringing back Buffy, the setter of the price was certainly a force of darkness. It therefore follows that Buffy was somewhere from which the forces of darkness could get her. Heaven wouldn't seem to qualify. The forces of darkness would seem more likely to have plucked Buffy out of a hell dimension and edited her memory to annoy the Scoobies.

I have a suspicion Willow will be making an explicit deal with the forces of darknsss: Tara comes back for a few years, after which Willow leaves with her.

BTW why don't they ever look these things up? My recollection is that Willow did look up the thaumogenic creature that tried to kill Buffy, but only long after the spell that created it.

Masq, if Tara's death really was the price of Buffy's return, does that say something new about Osiris?

[> [> The answer to Tara will be on...... -- Rufus, 13:55:32 05/13/02 Mon

Villians, the answer is very simple and you will find it if you read any of the Wildfeeds out there.

[> [> [> Rufus, you tease! (I will not spoil, I will not spoil) -- ponygirl, 14:19:45 05/13/02 Mon

[> [> [> [> I so are a tease.......;) -- Rufus, 16:13:34 05/13/02 Mon

[> Wow! Thanks -- Vickie, 09:59:42 05/13/02 Mon

One thing you said brought up an echo: Angel soberly remarks to her, ‘You thought that you could just touch the darkness, but it swallowed you whole’.

In The Dark Age, Giles tells Buffy (regarding the demon he and his cronies had been summoning): One of us, Randall, he lost control. Eyghon took him whole.

I think it's likely Giles has a much better understanding of all of this than he has said out loud. Hope he shows up to help very soon.

[> Awesome as usual -- Liq, 10:07:19 05/13/02 Mon

[> Amazing post - agree on all the points (spoilerly speculation) -- shadowkat, 10:08:50 05/13/02 Mon

Okay - like you I'm spoiled generally not specifically.
I don't know what will happen in the next episodes - well
outside of where Spike is going and what happens to Warren
which I will not mention here - because that's not what interests me most about your post.

"Willow accepted this risk because she thought
she could beat the odds and win. Suppose the metaphorical fawn was Tara? This seems obvious at this
point in time, but would Willow have taken the chance on resurrecting Buffy if she had been told that
there was a 90% chance that the price of ‘success’ would be Tara’s life?

60% chance? 20% chance? 5% chance? Any chance at all? The road to hell, indeed."

That comment interests me because I've long held the same belief. From as far back as Restless I knew Tara was a goner, most likely due to something dealing with Willow's magics. But it never occurred to me that Willow would inadvertently trade Tara's life for anothers - not realizing what she was doing in the process (it should have, because Willow has never considered the consequences of her magic until after the fact)- until Flooded and Afterlife,
where it is clearly pointed out in three lines first
by Spike, then by Tara herself when Xander confronts her
and she says it's odd to see the sunrise from the other
side, and finally by Giles in Flooded - when he tells Willow
there was a price for what she did. Both spike and Giles
have experience on this score - Spike possibly with his ritual to heal Dru in What's My Line which puts him in a wheelchair and Giles with the Eyghorn thing as explored in The Dark Age. Two episodes that ran pretty closely together in Season 2 btw.

But back to Tara - the gun shot is interesting - she is hit in the heart and remember what Willow calls the blood?
Wine of the mother - or hearts blood? She takes it from the fawn's heart. And is criticised by the ghost in Afterlife
for this - when Tara asks what the ghost is talking about, she denies any knowledge of it.

So both Buffy and Tara are shot in the chest. Buffy lives. Tara pays price for Buffy being brought back in Bargaining. I'm not sure if Willow gets that "this is the result of the Bargain she made" immediately. What happens when
she does? Will she try to reverse what she did in Bargaining? There are a bunch of vengence demons wandering
about - will Willow attempt to sacrifice Buffy who was happier in heaven anyway for Tara? And will Buffy be willing
to do it to save everyone, Willow, Tara, Giles, Xander
and Dawn all over again? As Spike notes in NA - Buffy likes
the matyr role - she calls herself Joan in TR. And she certainly tried to do it in OMWF.

Just random speculation. Great review on episode btw - best
I've read to date and that includes ten on B C & S board
and several on other sites.

[> [> Fascinating spec, shadowkat! Can't wait to see how it compares to what happens on the show! -- Rob, 10:41:28 05/13/02 Mon

[> [> Re: Amazing post - agree on all the points (spoilerly speculation) -- Ronia, 11:13:19 05/13/02 Mon

On your speculation(?) of what willow will do...I think it an interesting and entirely possible that she may try to undo the Bargainning spell. However, Buffy no longer wants to die. She also has questioned the value of her sacrifice, something to the effect of, I gave up my life and there's an apocolypse next week anyway. It was not an ultimate sacrifice for all time, just the end yet another slayer. I wonder what all the others who have gone before her would have to say. Would they be pleased that they gave up their lives, literally and figuratively, for a world that went on as usual anyway? I think if she were looking deeply into her identity as a slayer she almost couldn't avoid the martyr=expendable. I wonder would she feel the need to rise to the occasion for willow's selfish desire to construct the world around her to suite her. I wouldn't be. I also liked that you picked up on Tara's sunrise statement. I noticed it, but couldn't put my finger on where they were going with it, in retrospect it seems kinda obvious...the other side of the sunrise

[> [> Re: Amazing post - agree on all the points (spoilerly speculation) -- Rufus, 14:12:42 05/13/02 Mon

The ingredient is called "vino de madre"....from the Transcipt of "Afterlife"...........

WILLOW: (nervous) The last spell ingredient.

XANDER: Okay, right. What is vino de madre anyway?

WILLOW: (walks over to them) Wine of the mother. Kind of ... black market stuff.

TARA: Black market, you-you didn't tell me that. You
shouldn't have gone alone, it could have been dangerous.

WILLOW: Sorry. I didn't ... I was careful.

That wasn't a ghost that spoke to Willow in Afterlife but a demon they had created by doing the spell with Buffy. Transcript from Afterlife.........

WILLOW: I'm not possessed. I-I think I figured it out. This demon, i-it's not a demon we let out. It's, it's a demon that we made.

XANDER: We made a demon? Bad us.

WILLOW: Thaumogenesis is when doing a spell actually creates a being. In this case it was like, a, a side-effect, I guess. Like a price.

DAWN: What?

WILLOW: Think of it like, the world doesn't like you getting something for free, and we asked for this huge gift. Buffy. A-and so the world said, 'fine, but if you have that, you have to take this too.' And it made the demon.

ANYA: Well, technically, that's not a price. That's a gift with purchase.

WILLOW: Well, I, I think it's out of phase with this dimension. Like, its consciousness is here, but, but its body is caught in the ether between existing and not existing.

TARA: It doesn't have a body, so it's borrowing ours. I-it borrowed Dawn and Anya...

WILLOW: Wait. Wait. Dawn. Everybody hold on. (smiles)

ANYA: What? Why are you smiling? That's inappropriate.

WILLOW: Because it's temporary.

XANDER: What is?

WILLOW: The demon. I-it's gonna dissipate. The only way for it to survive on this plane is if it were to kill the subject of the original spell.

TARA: It would live if it killed Buffy?

Everyone assumed that the demon that Willow and co. had made was the only price of the spell with Buffy. I think that Willow owes a bigger debt to the dark magics because she has tempted it so many times like in Tough Love and Something Blue. I don't think Willow understands that magic isn't like a tool to put back in a kit when she is finished using it. Giles called it "primal powers" I wonder if each time she did a spell if it didn't just take a stronger hold on her like a drug would with a junkie?

Hey! And that is Justice demon if we must keep Hallie happy with our Political Correctness.....I think anyone who is vengeful thinks they are only concerned with justice....;)

[> [> [> vengeance, er, justice demons (minor quote) -- Vickie, 15:11:24 05/13/02 Mon

"The saints want justice. The rest of us want mercy."

(can't find who said it, but seems to apply here.)

[> [> [> Re: Amazing post - agree on all the points (spoilerly speculation) -- shadowkat, 06:57:34 05/14/02 Tue

Hi Rufus - agree - just two nitpicks:

1. vino de madre is french for Wine of the mother (yep
once you learna language it never goes away, translated
it in my head and remembered translation.) Now if memory
serves - in magic rites - wine of the mother or vino de madre is consider blood from the source or heart. But it's been a while, so I can be off on that part of it.

2. it was humogensis (sp?) similar to the price in Angel,
except it was a disembodied demon or ghost because to have form it had to either possess a SG or get rid of the reason for its existence, taking that existence instead. Ghosts - are often just disembodied spirits or "demons" without solid form. But since that's not a common use of the word - I should have probably used disembodied spirit or demon.

[> [> [> [> It's not french, italian or spanish maybe (sights) -- Ete, 10:29:04 05/14/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> Ete is correct, "vino de madre" is Spanish... -- Ixchel, 11:34:55 05/14/02 Tue

But it does mean "wine of (the) mother".

I believe I checked the cc on BtVS and AtS to be sure they were using the same word and it was "thaumogenesis".

So the word would mean originating or coming into being through a miracle or magic (a thaumaturgist is a performer of miracles or a magician).

Hope this was helpful. :)


[> [> [> [> [> LOL! oh well...must watch myself -- shadowkat, 11:45:44 05/14/02 Tue

Well at least I was right on the meaning? Wine of the mother? I should get points on that, right???

Sorry - can tell very bad French major...when I was in
Mexico, I ended up combining French/English/and Spainish - it was quite amusing. (sighs)

[> [> [> [> [> [> Kat--don't want to pile on here, but it's "thaumogenesis" -- cjl, 12:11:15 05/14/02 Tue

(n.) an effect which causes creatures to come into being as a side effect of using dark magicks

Or, as Anya put it in Afterlife: "a gift with purchase."

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: OT - Franish -- Dead Soul, 12:45:14 05/14/02 Tue

I took lots of French and Latin before I ever took any Spanish and my Spanish professor would read me daily riot acts about my "Franish."

Dead Soul

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Ah, foreign language trauma... -- Ixchel, 14:56:57 05/14/02 Tue

It was the reverse with me, Dead Soul. I'd had a lot of Spanish before attempting French (to no result). My poor professor's nose would wrinkle (she actually seemed to be in pain) _every_ time I said something. :)


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I know that pained expression well -- Dead Soul, 16:06:19 05/14/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> Re: Amazing post - agree on all the points (spoilerly speculation) -- Rufus, 13:48:41 05/15/02 Wed

I added quotes directly from the transcripts, unchanged. I just found the name of the ingredient used, and with ghosts, I just thought that as ghosts are generally considered human spirits that the use of the term was confusing.

[> [> [> Is this totally obvious? -- Isabel, 07:51:22 05/14/02 Tue

We've been talking about that ghost by-product of the resurrection spell in Afterlife as part of the price of the spell.

In retrospect, it seems that Anya was completely right, that it was a 'gift with purchase' and not even the slightest bit of the debt. The price (or part of it) has just been called.

(What if Tara isn't all that the Powers want?)

[> [> Thanks, kat-- coming from you that means a lot. :-) -- OnM, 21:37:41 05/13/02 Mon

I think your analyses are pretty amazing myself, you're right up there with Age and jenoff as far as I'm concerned. I always pick up some new insight from your posts, like the one just now about the 'other side of the sunrise', I had totally missed that one-- good call.

Also, I only just now got the meaning of the 'vino de madre' as 'hearts blood'-- Heart = Mother / Wine = Blood?


Now if that isn't Shakespearian, it darn well should be!

(BTW, that might be an interesting smaller project to do this summer-- we can all seek out and contribute the lines from the past 6/3 years of BtVS/Angel that Shakespeare could have written.)

Tara a goner since Restless? You may very well be right, but I certainly didn't latch on until early S6, at the times/eps I already commented on.

Be interested to hear if you have any further thoughts after reading Rahael's marvelous DVD commentary transcription above. It appears at first scan that many of us have read far more into this 'dreamscape' than Joss intended, but even in my own humble writing efforts, I know that the subconscious plays a big part-- you write one thing, then read it over, and suddenly other things jump out at you that you never consciously intended when first putting electrons to phosphor.

So are we over-analyzing Restless? I'm not sure that's possible, but we can certainly try-- somebody has to!


[> [> [> Another thought just jumped to mind re: vino de madre... -- Rob, 14:26:35 05/14/02 Tue

The "heart's blood" can also be a pun on "hart," another word for deer.


[> [> not sure about heart = mother -- anom, 15:19:40 05/14/02 Tue

"Wine of the mother - or hearts blood? She takes it from the fawn's heart."

I think the wine = blood equivalency is a lot clearer than the mother = heart one. Especially since the fawn is a baby, not a mother. Don't know if it was a female, but if it was, Willow kept it from ever being a mother. And took it away from its mother.

As far as taking the blood from the fawn's heart, I'm not so sure about that either. Not gonna check the tape now, but from what I remember, what she actually does to the fawn is off camera. We see its hind legs & its head, but not where the knife goes in. Then we see Willow's hand come back into the frame holding something bloody. But one piece of bloody tissue looks a lot like another. If Willow had cut its heart out, it would've taken longer, & her hand would've been bloody past the wrist. Not that the show is generally realistic about things medical, but I didn't assume from that scene that the bloody lump was the heart.

If I had (now that I've written that), I would've seen a parallel w/Hush & the 7 hearts. Hmmm....

[> [> [> Re: not sure about heart = mother (spoilers Villains) -- shadowkat, 11:42:36 05/15/02 Wed

Actually now that I've seen Villains - I think the whole
thing is moot, we were clearly reading way too much into it. LOL! (ME just isn't as clever as we give them credit
for...mucho disappointing.)

Nope it was simple. They could bring back Buffy because
of the mystical forces. Tara got killed by a stray bullet.
Can't get brought back because it was done by natural
or human causes. (Okay so if she got killed by a vampire, it would have been different? And if that's the case - why is Buffy killing vampires and not humans? Boy am I glad
I don't live in Jossverse - they are mean. ;-) )

[> Many thanks for your insights -- as usual -- verdantheart, 14:17:47 05/13/02 Mon

[> Re: That's She in the Spotlight, Losing Her Religion - Thoughts on *Seeing Red* ... (***Spoilers**) -- Rufus, 14:31:40 05/13/02 Mon

Oh yes...the Cross and Stake, every once in awhile I catch you when you expose yourself over there......hmmmmm that may not have sounded right..;)

In the end, I still strongly leaned towards Tara, if for no other reason than that her
demise would hurt the most, and Joss has said before that if no one genuinely cares about the death of a
character, than what’s the point?

I think you are right and Steve DeKnight also said in his interview at The Succubus Club, that no matter who Willow was going out they would have been dead. It was also an option they had since Tough Love in season five where we see that Willow would fight anyone including a God for Tara. When Joyce died in season five we first had the close call with the surgery, then the actual death in IWMTLY.

The second major piece of foreshadowing was Gile’s extreme anger at Willow for bringing Buffy back to
life, which shocked and then angered Willow in return.

With what Giles has been through in the past, Willow would have been smart to listen to him. I keep quoting that because I felt that the demon she made bringing back Buffy was too small a price. But for that spell, who knows it just may have been the specific price for bringing Buffy back. The stuff she is going through now an overall price for tempting the Primal powers with her arrogance.

I personally do not think that Buffy would ever willingly kill Warren, no matter what he has done,
or how angry she might be. Further, I think that her encounter with Spike in this episode confirms that.
Buffy makes mistakes, which has always endeared her character to me, because it makes her human.

Buffy may be human, but Giles was right when he told Ben in The Gift that she is not "one of us"....from The Gift...

GILES: Can you move?

BEN: Need a ... a minute. She could've killed me.

GILES: No she couldn't. Never. And sooner or later Glory will re-emerge, and ... make Buffy pay for that mercy. And the world with her. Buffy even knows that... (reaches into his pocket, takes out his glasses) and still she couldn't take a human life.

Shot of Ben listening.

GILES: She's a hero, you see. (Giles puts his glasses on) She's not like us.

BEN: Us?

Giles suddenly reaches down and puts his hand over Ben's nose and mouth, holding them shut. Ben struggles weakly as Giles keeps him still. Giles keeps his calm expression throughout.

Giles knows Buffy better than anyone, she has stuck by her inner self that won't allow her to step over the line, Buffy metes out judgement on demons, I can't see her killing a human unless they have crossed the line and become something other than human, or she kills in self defense or to protect others. She has a very clear stand on killing something she considers helpless.

As for Spike's trophy, I don't think Buffy knows he got it from a Slayer.....I find it more interesting that he made no attempt to retrieve it before he left town. It was left like a skin he shed.

Finally, best intentions, that is the reason Buffy can't trust Spike, even though he will act in the best intentions, he sometimes does things that prove he has no moral compass that tells him when he crosses a line. Buffy has feeling for Spike, she just doesn't dare to get too close to someone she fears she may have to kill someday.

[> Bravo! -- Talia, 23:42:18 05/13/02 Mon

Thanks, OnM. You could have put my thoughts and unconscious intuitions into words, except that your post makes much more sense than my head does. :)
One small quibble: You say that Buffy could never willingly kill Warren. I am not so sure. She could not have killed Ben last season, but Ben was not himself the Big Bad. He was a regular guy who tried very hard to stand up for good, but was pushed past his breaking point. If that breaking point was a little bit lower than we might have hoped, that alone does not make him evil. Buffy could not kill him for the sins of his body's cohabitator because he was essentially an innocent, not because he was human. In Graduation Day she tried to kill Faith, a human. She had extra reason to kill Faith--Angel needed her blood--but also extra reason not to kill her--unlike Warren, Faith had been Buffy's friend, joined by the bond of Slayerdom. Buffy certainly considers killing humans an abominable thing to do. She has changed tremendously since season 3, and quite possibly she could not make the same decisions now. But in the last few episodes Warren has proved as dangerous as Faith ever was. She certainly would rather turn him in to the police than kill, but never say never.

Of course, although I am blissfully unspoiled I suspect all of the above may be a moot point since there are more dangerous people running around than just Buffy.

[> [> Buffy, Faith, Warren -- OnM, 07:06:44 05/14/02 Tue

Ah, the trouble with quibbles!

Well, I never say never, but I don't think that Buffy has gone through all of the experiences that she has without learning some things. The Faith/Buffy battle, and Buffy's apparent willingness to kill Faith turned into a lesson for her when after finally delivering the 'death blow' to her former friend, Buffy immediately and visibly feels shock and remorse. Her expression always clearly conveyed to me a sense of 'my God, what have I done?'

Buffy realized that this act violated that 'moral core' I spoke of in the review. No matter what her issues with Faith, Faith was still a human. Buffy would only be allowed to kill Faith in good conscience if Faith has attacked her and there was no recourse. This is similar to the situation in the endgame of S5 where Buffy had to kill some of the knights in order to protect her 'family'.

Faith may have started the battle, but it was clear to the viewers and clear to Buffy in retrospect that Faith had that 'death wish' that Spike spoke about in Fool for Love. Helping a troubled person kill themselves in this way is not a moral act.

Now, was Buffy's realization of this fact 'complete' after she stabbed Faith? No, that would only come much later, after Angel intervened on Faith's behalf and Faith later committed herself to prison. But the unconscious realization was there, and that was enough at that moment. If you have any question about Faith's true intentions, just watch the scene again-- Faith virtually thanks Buffy for her 'death'. In Faith's mind, only Buffy was worthy of this 'honor'-- a sister Slayer, powerful and with the forces of good allied with her soul. If Buffy could win the battle and cause her demise, then 'God has spoken'. This same thought process was mirrored again in Faith's battle with Angel. Fortunately, Angel clearly understood Faith's motivations, and didn't give in to anger.

This is part of the elegance of ME's writing methods-- characters don't often make 'sudden' changes in the way they view the world, it happens slowly, over a course of several events, and then at some point we become aware that the viewpoint has intrinsically altered.

This is happening now with Buffy and Xander. They keep making mistakes, but they do eventually learn from them. As for Willow-- great big question mark at this moment. If the pattern is continued, someone will have to intervene and try to call Willow back from a lust for vengeance. Who will it be?

[> [> [> Re: Buffy, Faith, Warren -- Dochawk, 11:07:19 05/14/02 Tue

Once again a wonderful post, but I have something that is perhaps more than a nitpick with you. Its about Spike's comment in Fool For Love that slayers have a death wish. For some reason everyone excepts this statement blindly, yet we know that Spike interpets things selfishly and from his own dark nature (how many times this season has he done it to Buffy, ""what kind of demon are you" etc). I feel there is minimal evidence for this interpetation, slayers have a death Wish". (A different queston would be do slayers tire of their lonely existence of always fighting for their lives, but hat's not a death wish, and if so, spike already tells us Buffy is different in this regard, to the best of his knowledge). Buffy is the third slayer Spike has met (that we know of, did he lose to another slayer and run away for his life? alot of holes in that 100 years), hardly a sample to make a conclusion about in the first place.

Lets look at the deaths of the two slayers he killed, the Chinese Girl, fighting Spike during the Boxer Rebellion loses her fight (it happens to every slayer, it only takes one loss), but from what we see she fights gamely - when she dies she says "tell my mother I'm sorry"(yup those are words a suicide will use) but nothing suggests she fights anything but her best . As for Nicki, the black slayer, we do not see what allows them to change position, we lose the lights, she doesn't say anything, but she also apparantly fought well. Kendra, the only other slayer we see die, certainly doesn't give the impression of havign a death wish.

I think Spike is already trying to bring Buffy darker and seperate her from her friends. He uses the statelemt as a verbal parry, since the chip constrains him from hurting Buffy (at this point, or could he already? how could the chip know there was no intent to hurt her? he whole scene really doesn't make sense regarding his chip, but we give up on plotholes).

So Faith may have a death wish (at the point of GraduationDay I don't think she does, she is recieving the first love of her life from the Mayor), but I certainly don't think its inherent in slayers.

[> [> [> [> Good point. -- OnM, 16:51:22 05/14/02 Tue

On a purely technical/statistical basis, you are absolutely right, and also right on the basis of whether or not Spike is ultimately credible in this regard having killed only two Slayers.

However, I think it was the intention of the writer(s) to assume that Spike's impression was at least reasonable. My guess is (and this tends to be confirmed if you have read the 'Tales of the Slayer' book), that most Slayers simply don't live long enough to develop a 'death wish', they're too busy fighting and dying to think much about anything else.

However, Spike's 'logic' is credible if the Slayer did manage to live past a year or two. The First Slayer tried to explain to Buffy that she should live only in the moment of the kill. Was this because The First was basically an animal with little humanity, a killing machine, or was it because emotions could lead to loss of focus?

Spike felt that it was not possible to kill day after day, to mete out so much death, without becoming curious about what it would be like to experience. Being a vampire, Spike has already experienced death, so he may no longer feel the need to seek it out. But Buffy, on the other hand, did not, at least until this season.

Buffy has always had a conflict between her calling and her inner self. Faith had the same basic conflict, but buried it under a mixture of bravado and a genuine desire to experience the thrill of combat. It could be argued that this conflict may be primarily an artifact of contempory human culture-- Up until the last century, most humans did not have the luxury of choosing between survival and the espousal of a 'higher morality'. Few would analyse why someone was out to harm or kill them, you figure 'it's you or me, buddy', and you do what you have to.

In Restless Buffy emphatically tells the First that she is not like her, she is a child of the modern age:

I walk. I talk. I shop, I sneeze. I'm gonna be a fireman when the floods roll back. There's trees in the desert since you moved out, and I don't sleep on a bed of bones.

I do not think you can take Buffy's 'modern' perspective and not also risk succumbing to a 'death wish'. To have an understanding that the enemy is not always incontrovertably evil is to bring into question your role in bringing about their demise.

This is not to say the wish will occur, only that it is a risk. I think Buffy has not fallen prey to this, but that Faith did, and her behavior tends to confirm this. Also, just because one has a 'death wish', it doesn't need to be a conscious, active one. As George Orwell noted in his novel 1984, humans are capable of 'doublethink', accepting two contradictory ideas simultaneously. On a practical basis, one idea or the other may be the prevailing one at any given moment, but the person is inherently on a teeter-totter psychologically.

So, a part of Faith wants to die, and a part wants to live. Eventually the part that wanted to die took over, but the part that wanted to live insisted that the death had to be 'righteous', and thus that Buffy, and only Buffy, could be the instrument of that death.

The 'dance' between Buffy and Spike could be seen by Spike as similar, that the part of Buffy that wanted to die would only accept death from a worthy challenger, and whether Buffy ever saw Spike in this manner doesn't really matter, since Spike certainly did. This may have accounted for his rage at finding that she didn't seem to have a death wish.

Is this making any kind of sense? Sorry if I'm a little more rambly than usual, kind of knocking this out quick before 8:00 o'clock gets here! ;-)

In short, is Spike right on an absolute basis? No, probably not. Is Spike's argument a reasonable one, if he's talking about Slayers from the last century? I would say yes.

Great question, doc! Very thought provoking. Feel free to follow up.

[> I see all of that, but I'm just not liking it as much as I thought I would -- OtherEric, 21:23:12 05/14/02 Tue

I still think it could have been executed better. The overall ideas and story arcs are okay...but (and I can't really put my finger on it), I haven't been wowed in a big picture way this season like I have for all the others. I have really liked some episodes this season, but as a whole, the season seems okay, but not great. Maybe my expectations are too high, but it looks like we're heading to a showdown between members of the scoobies in a slayer vs. big bad type of fight and the way we've led up to it, its just not 'hitting' me like it should.

I think I feel this season the way I heard that most people felt about season 4 (which ironically enough, is probably my favorite--also, I really like Riley, who I hear like, probably only 5 other people do)----pretty good ideas, but not decent enough or well realized enough execution of those ideas.

I get to this point with most shows and things, and just didn't think Buffy would ever be something that would give me the slightest doubts--thats what feels different this season. I guess that is what really surprised or shocked me and it all sort of hit me at once after SR, though looking back, the feelings had been there all along.

I know we've got to hit rock bottom before things start to get brighter and that this is about growing up and facing life and that the magic has a price and issues with being yanked out of heaven and the wedding falling apart and everything dark that has been happening, but instead of 'breaking my heart' like its supposed to, I instead feel myself not really caring and becoming critical over small details or inconsistencies (some of the things that a lot of threads have been started about recently) in a way that I wouldn't have before when I was more invested in what was happening on the show. Somehow the fire went out of it for me this season--its had a really different tilt than what I became used to in seasons 1-5, and I haven't liked it as much. Its been a weird climax somehow, different from before. Maybe I feel like too many themes and competing elements have been introduced into one season--I don't have a lot of issue with most of the character arcs and season themes, but haven't enjoyed each of them as fully as I have the arcs and themes from seasons past, perhaps because each one feels just a little under realized or maybe deserving further exploration that there just wasn't time for do to so much going on this season. I am left feeling not drained, but instead simply empty. Not wowed like I thought another season of Buffy would wow me. I haven't changed, the show has, and I didn't expect it wouldn't since they are growing up (and it already did shift kind of when they went to college and it worked for me then), but this time, it changed into something I like, but just not as much--its suddenly (this season-not the others) something that I don't love anymore. How could this have happened? I'll still watch, and maybe fall in love with it again. But my heart was supposed to be broken, like at the end of 2, and it wasn't. I just became disinterested. All I can say is that somehow, if they were better at doing the show, it wouldn't have happened. And it happens to me for a lot of shows. One day, the writing and execution is just weaker and not as fulfilling for me. Something I eventually lose interest in- -I just thought this was one of the few things that wouldn't do that (to prove I'm not a fatalist, DBZ and SouthPark have never lust their luster or caused me a single doubt even though their are episodes not as good here and there)---but I hope I feel differently after the end of this season and the next and that somehow, I was supposed to stop caring for a little while (even if they didn't break my heart like they intended, and which I do know they succeeded in doing for many here), so that later on, I will care all the more. I still have some hope after all.

[> [> Re: I see all of that, but I'm just not liking it as much as I thought I would -- Ronia, 10:25:43 05/15/02 Wed

No, you are on to something here, I think. Other seasons have literally brought me to tears, either with laughter, or grief. Now this season has sported several good laughs (imo), but the shows that were supposed to move me...didn't. Why is this? I am still as manic as ever about watching, but sometimes, halfway through, my mind starts to wander. Something is off with the execution of the show or.......something. Any thoughts?

[> [> [> (Spoilers SR + Vs) Re: I see all of that, but I'm just not liking it as much as I thought I would -- OtherEric, 18:03:07 05/15/02 Wed

Most things eventually lose some of their power. I've noticed that a lot of the action sequences accompanying the various character and story arcs seem abbreviated to what they have been in the past. Two examples would be Warren's fight with Buffy and also his fight/running away from Willow. The action just wasn't captivating the way it has been in the past, and while I know Warren is a minor villain, he's still the most major minor villain we've had this year. The amusement park fight seemed a bit rushed, and not very dynamic--kind of forced, as if the thinking was, "we need to get a lot into this episode and we need this to lead up to Tara's death, so the fight can't go on too long" and maybe in approaching it like that, not enough creativity was interjected into it (the fight) due to lack of focus, and it was enough of a let-down that it cheapened all the trio stuff leading up to it. It really was a quick and over and not a show-down, and if it wasn't important enough to make it into such, then whats the point of doing all the things that lead up to it. It was the climax (or first of two, followed by the shooting) of the whole trio vs. scoobies arc and it didn't feel overly climactic. Same thing with Willow killing Warren. I just felt like what I was seeing was okay, but that there was more I needed that wasn't there.

A lot of this show has been fighting, but they seem to have scaled back a bit on that aspect this year. Not that I want pure hack and slash. Thats what movies like Resident Evil and Blade II are for (and bless them for it).

I think I can put it best by saying that battles with a context on a show like this are pretty boring and I don't need them, but context and story capped off by battles that are pretty boring are just as disappointing to me.

A good example would be the duel at the end of the becoming. It was just awesome, and it had so much power because of the story behind it. If the battle had been not very good, it would have made everything somewhat anti-climactic for me.

Other stuff I really liked include the Spuffy fight in the Gem of Amanara episode, Willow's duel with Glory, Angel fighting Riley due to that misunderstanding, and of course the gang's fight against Glory and the dark hobbits at the end of season 5.

The fights have either been too far and few between, not done well enough, or sometimes just misplaced in where they end up in the episodes.

I think that thats at least part of it.

[> [> [> Psychological vs. Metaphorical -- Dochawk, 18:20:37 05/15/02 Wed

I think the difference this year vs past years is that this year is about the psychological horrors of life and past years have been about the metaphorical horrors of life. But to do this, we had to be banged over the head to a much greater degree. Also to make the psychological come alive at all we had to be made to not like our favorites (or in the case of Tara like her too much). they had to go too dark. ME admitted they tried somethign different. They wouldn't admit, but I am not sure they are much happier with the results than we are.

[> [> [> [> Yeah--thanks for mentioning it. That makes a whole lot of sense. -- OtherEric, 18:27:26 05/15/02 Wed

Yes. That articulates the difference I sensed very well. As a result, the show feels like less of an escape and more grounded in real life this year. And for a fantasy based show, that feels weird to me. It just doesn't sit quite right.

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