May 2002 posts

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Angel question -- JCC, 13:54:19 05/26/02 Sun

I am doing a website on Angel and I want to put some answers to questions on it.
Angel says in Earshot that Buffy was the only person he ever loved.
Why didn't Angel love Darla?
Comments, Theories?

[> Re: Angel question -- Masq, 14:20:42 05/26/02 Sun

Angel answers that in the episode "Dear Boy". He says he couldn't love Darla because he didn't have a soul. (You can find the shooting script of this episode at psyche's website with the exact quote).

This raises the question of how Spike could love with out a soul. The best answer is that Angelus and Spike are two very different vampires. Spike was the vampire built on sensitive poet William and Angelus was the vampire built on the irresponsible, bitter cad Liam of Galway. Liam without a soul wasn't someone who loved very well, even though he found reasons to stay with Darla for 150 years.

I believe souled Angel came to love human Darla in the second season of "Angel", though. By then, he was a very different vampire than Angelus.

[> Re: Angel question -- yabyumpan, 14:28:32 05/26/02 Sun

IMO He didn't love Darla because he believes he wasn't capable of love because he didn't have a soul.
" Darla: "Oh, you bet your ass it was! There was a time, in the early years, when you would have said I was the definition of bliss! - Buffy wasn't happiness. - She was just new!"
Angel starts to laugh: "You know - you are getting awfully bent over this, Darla. (Slowly walks towards her) I couldn't feel that with you, because I didn't have a soul. - But then I got a second chance - just like you have."

from Dear Boy c/o psyche's site

I think that not having a soul had very little to do with it, look at Dru/Spike and James/Elizabeth. He didn't love Darla because it wasn't that type of relationship. It was S&M, each using the other. I think one of the reasons they stayed together so long was because together, neither of them would have to confront any complicated love issues. Both prided themselves on NOT loving, they were cruel and mean vampires who created a myth around themselves and did all they could to live up to it.

I'm sure that other people on this board with better working brains can offer more well constructed thoughts but I do find it a very interesting subject and one that I'm actually looking into for a fic I'm working on.

I guess the short answer is that he didn't love Darla because he chose not to IMHO

[> Re: Angel question -- SugarTherapy, 17:04:24 05/26/02 Sun

The reason Angel gives is that he didn't have a soul and without one you aren't capable of love. I personally think that's a load of crap that Angel made up to make himself feel better. As a souled vampire, loving an evil demon wasn't something he could deal with... especially after he met Buffy, so he just told himself he never loved her because he wasn't capable of it.

Also, I think he might've denied loving her - even as Angelus - because he didn't get a whole lot of love as a human.... Sex, yes, plenty. But sex isn't love and I suppose you could speculate that the reason Liam slept around so much was because he craved love - his father's specifically - and was trying to get from someone else because he just wasn't seeing it coming from his father. Darla was kind of his parent figure, so it's entirely possible that he avoided and denied loving her, for fear of the same rejection he saw from his father. As Darla told him, "what we once were informs all that we have become." The proof of his father's impact on his life is shown numerous occasions - his reaction the the Master when he meets him for the first time, his denial of his love for Darla, and even in the way he treats Connor.

Of course, this is only my opinion...


[> Angel and Darla -- Rufus, 20:36:00 05/26/02 Sun

We know that some vampires are capable of love. Capable of doing things out of love. It was established that Liam had problems with love before he ever became a vampire. Once Angelus was created the idea of love was a weakness to be scorned, laughed at. Darla had her own problems as she saw all men as customers who paid her for sex but never gave any emotional sustenance in return, deserted her as she was dying. Both Darla and Liam were wounded people, as undead vampires they seems to excell at destroying anything that reminded them of what they were incapable of feeling soulled or not. Angel began to understand love when he first saw Buffy, he had a soul then and had been wandering, lost in remourse for what he had done. It hasn't been an easy road for Angel because he fears love as he feels he will never deserve it. The reason he couldn't love Darla was at the time he had no soul but more importantly as a person he didn't understand and was afraid of love. As a vampire he feared it as it was the one weakness that had some power over him and Angelus being all about power and domination couldn't allow love to exist, so he compulsively destroyed it.

Can I ask a question to those who don't believe in hell? -- The Last Jack, 14:30:56 05/26/02 Sun

First of all, let me say that I am not particularlly religious; in fact it is often my view that many of the world problems are based on people taking their religion to seriously. Please believe me when I say I do not say this to offend anyone or to redicule the faith of those who read this. I have never gotten much out of religion, which is my own spiritual shortcoming, nothing more.

Okay, now that I have gotten that out of the way, I will say that I believe in the basics of the Christian religion. There is one God (who goes by many, many names), a good life is rewarded by heaven, and a bad life is punished by hell. I believe in hell as the ultimate justice for those whose sins are unforgivable. This makes me curious then about people and religious groups who don't believe in hell. Where is the justice then, if people like Hitler and Stalin not are punished for their sins?

Again, I am not trying to put down anyone's belief or anything like that, I am just genuinely curious about this aspect of faith

The Last Jack

[> Re: Can I ask a question to those who don't believe in hell? -- Alice, 14:43:40 05/26/02 Sun

Not really answering your question, but offering a perspective on hell:

As a (kind of) Christian, I was always taught that hell isn't about punishing those who had led bad lives, because God loves us all and if you you believe in God as all-loving how can you justify the existance of a firey hell. In fact if you believe God is all powerful, how can you justify a place that is out of God's reach?

I was taught that 'hell' is something we create for ourselves, that if we have led a bad life, when we meet God at the end of it we will not be able to face him. Hell isn't a fiery place full or torture and punishment, it's the absence of God - always running from him because you can't face him.

I'm not sure what I believe, but I think this view of Hell is alot easier to fit into a view of God as all-loving and forgiving.

[> [> According to Jean-Paul Sartre, Hell is other people -- Sophie, 15:15:06 05/26/02 Sun

Try reading his play "No Exit". Then apply it to the song "Hotel California" by the Eagles.

This of course, implies that Hell is now and on earth. I am not so sure that I agree with this, but it is hard to resist accepting as an answer. Most days, I subscribe to the Catholic point of view: Heaven, Limbo, Purgatory, and Hell, which doesn't answer your question, but makes my life simple - i.e., with the exception of Limbo, it's your choice and you're responsible for it.

[> [> [> Hey Buffy asked the same question -- Dochawk, 15:42:17 05/26/02 Sun

And I wonder how she would have answered at least until Giles showed up in Two to Go.

[> [> [> [> Personally... -- AngelVSAngelus, 22:19:56 05/26/02 Sun

As a fairly Agnostic person, I don't rule out the possibility of a Hell or any other number of after life planes, or the very existence of life after death in the first place. However, I am inclined to theorize that there isn't any externalized, metaphysical justice for any crimes committed here in life.
It seems to me that one doesn't avoid immoral behavior simply out of fear of punishment, metaphysical or otherwise. I would certainly hope this wouldn't be most people's reasoning.

[> A follow up to your question. -- A8, 16:28:06 05/26/02 Sun

I'm curious why you didn't ask a similar question to those who don't believe in heaven either. At any rate, to those who do believe in heaven, hell, purgatory and so forth: why is it important (or essential, for that matter) to you that these things exist? In your beliefs, are these things geographic places (if so where are they?), states of mind, planes of spiritual existence, or what? Any definition would be helpful to those of us who believe that all there is for us is here and now and then our imagination regarding all the other possibilities.

[> "They're in the bloody ground!" (S6 Finale Spoilers) -- Buffyboy, 16:38:52 05/26/02 Sun

As a long time atheist here is my answer to your question. What Hitler and Stalin and countless others have done was of course cruel, barbaric and completely unjust to say the least. They can be condemned and vilified in our historical memory and their victims can be remembered. But once there’re dead, then nothing more can happen to them. There is no justice or injustice in the universe as a whole. Nature, the cosmos, the universe or whatever you’d like to call it intends nothing and thus it is only from a human point of view that we can ever have a concept of justice. Did Stalin and Hitler then get away with something? Yes. They did in fact get away with murder and barbarity because we human being let them get away with it.

Finally, what earthly good would someone burning in hell do for us, his or her victims or just about anyone else? The usual answer: revenge—it makes us feel better. Two to Go/Grave have shown us what this desire for vengeance reaps. Would it really be a better world if Hitler had been skinned alive before he died or if he were being continually skinned alive over and over again while in Hell? Would it really make us somehow better persons for it? Here I’m reminded of the long quotation from St. Thomas (sorry about that Masq) in Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals where the blessed Saint tells us how the enjoyment of those souls in heaven will be increased by their observing the torture and torment of the souls in Hell. The “immoral “ Nietzsche of course finds this appalling. So do I. Stalin and Hitler: “There’re in the bloody ground!”

[> [> Very well said! I'd like to add... -- yuri, 17:15:12 05/26/02 Sun

to anyone who may say fear of ending up in hell is positive because it inspires people to do good, I would like to say that that is a terrible way to enforce good. People should do good because they want to, not because they're afraid of being punished if they don't. This is idealistic, and almost always people do good because it somehow benefits them, but to so blatantly teach people that they should do good so that they won't suffer seems counterproductive to me.

I am interested in Alice's perception of "hell," and though I'm not about to convert, it seems a much more believable and reconcilable situation than some actual place where you are punished for eternity.

[> Great responses, all. Thanks -- The Last Jack, 17:27:48 05/26/02 Sun

[> Re: Can I ask a question to those who don't believe in hell? -- Lyonors, 18:32:53 05/26/02 Sun

As a Pagan(and there are many kinds, so my version doesnt constitute _all_ Pagan's thoughts on the subject), I do not believe in Hell, or Satan. I believe in reincarnation, and within that, a bit of karma thrown in for good measure. I believe in the Three-fold law, that many Pagans believe in. That (in a nutshell) means that whatever energy you put forth into the world will come back to you three times-- whether good or bad energy. I also believe in a kind of "Spiritual Waiting Room" that is sometimes refered to as the "Summerland" To me, it is a spiritual place the soul goes to after death and before rebirth. This is a time to reflect on the life you led, and what kind of person you became. No vengency-hell like place, just a place of peace and reflection. There. I hope that makes sense. Its one thing to know you belive something in your head, but as soon as you try to explain it, it gets confusing!


[> Re: Can I ask a question to those who don't believe in hell? -- LeeAnn, 19:15:28 05/26/02 Sun

There is no justice. Haven't you noticed?

[> Another answer -- Sophist, 21:57:18 05/26/02 Sun

The promise (?) of Hell may encourage people to accept their fate passively here on earth, believing in some future punishment for the wrongdoer. If people recognize that this world is all there is, they may be more motivated to resist evil.

The concept of Hell also creates problems for believers. If you believe only because of fear of punishment, you may be misled; most doctrines say that such a basis for faith is insufficient. The concept can be a trap for the unsophisticated.

[> Re: Couldn't agree more with Buffyboy -- Rahael, 00:11:01 05/27/02 Mon

I just wanted to add that it was this precise question which caused my faith to waver when I was very young. (Evolutionary theory then demolished it completely.) I just could not believe in hell, and even more importantly heaven.

I just didn't understand how hell and heaven would work.

Now as a wavering Christian who really is just in love with the poetical and prose works of great Christian minds, I can only call myself this, if I don't believe in any kind of afterlife.

To my mind, Heaven and Hell exists because human beings had to invent it. I know next to nothing about Medieval Christian theology, but I am more confident about early modern Christian theologies. As the populations of Europe exploded (recovery from Black death), as people started living in large, overcrowded cities, early mortality, insanitary conditions, war, rulers starting to throw their weights around, and the sheer closeness of lots of other human beings took their toll, the conditions were set for certain elements of Christianity to become more attractive. To my mind, this was the fertile bed for the hugely divisive, apocalyptic and destructive religious wars/divisions of the early modern era. Heaven and Hell were burning questions [Hell was a burning question; Heaven a more cloudy issue -- d'H], and they were worth killing other people for. The religious imperative was all.

Hell exists because we think a whole lot of other people deserve to be there. Even now, the desire to consign entire groups of people, entire countries, faiths, religions as 'not like us' 'evil' to the dustbin of hell seems to prove irresistable. I'm always amused by how many more graphic, powerful and compelling visions of hell and judgement we have floating around, then we have of heaven.

Many posters here have pointed, in Season 6, to the theme of otherness. Buffy, Willow and Xander try to repress within themselves the idea that they are other. They focus evil outwardly, externalising it. It is here where I believe dichotomies of thought are so destructive. We start dividing up human nature, human lives into discrete categories. 'Good', 'evil'. All these people belong in hell, all these people in heaven. In fact, it is not enough that we go to heaven, it is essential to our peace of mind that we know that certain other people are going to hell. Buffy ties up her friends in the basement/hell, because that is the only way she can ensure her ascension into the heaven of the asylum. NA highlights the sterility of the idea of heaven; Dawn's plea that Buffy not kill ker because she would be good, highlights the inhumanity of those who set themselves up as a spiritual judges.

It seems to my mind far more productive to try to challenge and mitigate evil actions, to make sure that you are not the cause, than to spend time trying to decide who should go to hell and heaven.

The reason I get most depressed about the world is in fact this: by those who have faith and those without. Not so much a literal belief in heaven or hell, or redemption or damnation, but a belief in the superiority of some over the many others, because this is the common root I can see connecting the 17thC with the 20th. An excessive concern with the sin of others, and the certitude in rightness of 'me'.

[> More Questions... -- AgnosticSorcerer, 04:32:50 05/27/02 Mon

"This makes me curious then about people and religious groups who don't believe in hell. Where is the justice then, if people like Hitler and Stalin not are punished for their sins?"

-- For the most part, I am pagan, but the closest religious affiliation I would have, specifically, would be Kemetic. Kemeticism claims that the highest principle, the highest morality, and the highest spiritual duty is to live in, uphold, and maintain Ma'at (Ma'at being both a Netjeru [Goddess] of and concept of cosmic order, cosmic justice, and eternal truth). All will have their hearts [consciousness] weighed upon the scales of Ma'at by Yinepu [Anubis] and will be judged by Wesir [Osiris]. Anyone found guilty of intentionally living their lives against Ma'at will have their hearts devoured by Ammut [half-hippo, half- lion, crocodile-headed demon] and the evil will be obliterated from existence. Now, do I believe this? Time has yet to tell. For the most part, right now, I am in religious limbo.

"why is it important (or essential, for that matter) to you that these things exist? In your beliefs, are these things geographic places (if so where are they?), states of mind, planes of spiritual existence, or what?"

-- Why is it important to me that the sun exists? The Kemetic afterlife, Duat, is a place only accessible by your ethereal aspects (i.e. ba and akhu).

On a related topic, who is to say (other than Joss and ME) that vengeance is not justice? What if, in the great scheme of the universe, that justice can only be acheived through human means and what if, sometimes, that means is vengeance? Mind you, I do not believe in karma or the Three-Fold Law as I find these principles to be just as invalid as Christian Hell and Heaven (no offense intended, but this is my own personal belief).

What if justice is simply a "baneful reaction to an action upon those who acted"? In other words, what if justice is that in which, to employ a quote from _The Mummy_, "nasty little buggers [...] always get their come-uppins"?

Any thoughts?

[> Re: Can I ask a question to those who don't believe in hell? -- bookworm, 10:16:16 05/27/02 Mon

My beliefs have evolved over the years and would probably be called heresy by the old Catholic priest who taught my confirmation class. Hell is the endless, eternal absence of God, and the understanding that nothing you do will can change your fate. Hell is also your own conscience; your awareness of guilt and belief that you cannot be forgiven. That conscience will exact the last measure of penance from us, but it will also save us, even after death, by bringing us closer to God. If God is infinite love, and if love can save anyone or anything, He can save and forgive even a Hitler after death. I think everyone could eventually be saved if they were sorry enough and fully conscious of their sin. So, to make a long answer short, the evil men and women of the world will be in hell as long as they fail to understand how wrong they were, fail to feel sorry for it, AND believe they cannot be forgiven for it. They will punish themselves by their own consciences and separation from God.

[> [> this is now basic Catholic teaching. -- FriarTed, 09:56:33 05/28/02 Tue

Pope John Paul II & many modern Catholic authorities have
defined Hell as Exile from God (I would add- perhaps Exile
from God even in the Presence of God) & have suggested an even wider embrace of God to all souls than has previously been taught.

[> There isn't any justice -- vampire hunter D, 12:17:17 05/27/02 Mon

[> Another perspective (long) -- redcat, 12:58:06 05/27/02 Mon

I’ve read with interest the discussion above and would like to expand on parts of Rahael’s very important post, in which she notes that many traditional
conceptions of heaven and hell rely on the division of good from evil, in which evil, at least, is described as a discrete and separable ”thing.” This is why it has
historically, and tragically, been so easy to use the concept of evil to label people-who-are-not-us, those “others” who challenge “us” in some (economic,
political, religious, cultural) way.

Yet, as Rahael also notes, much of the “lesson” of S6, at least for the characters, has been the need to integrate the full spectrum of human possibilities, including
their shadow selves, into their fully adult self- understanding. They have each been challenged to acknowledge, accept and integrate the “bad” parts of
themselves into both their private self-conceptions and their public personas. This integration, in fact, has been the path to them being able to come into a fuller
awareness of their complex and (in each case) quite powerful true natures.

This in some ways reflects at least one thread of contemporary pagan metaphysics and is, perhaps not so surprisingly, also reflected in parts of the liberal
Christian view of heaven and hell that Alice so elegantly describes in her post above, in which hell is the state of being closed out of the presence of God by one’s
*own* sense of shame, that one literally cannot “face God.”

In at least one branch of pagan metaphysics, evil is not understood as a “thing,” but rather as ignorance, as the absence of awareness of and connection to all the
processes of the universe. In most descriptions, this ignorance is at least a somewhat conscious choice, in that we choose to not look, to not pay attention, to
not be aware. Within Hawaiian epistemology, to be aware, to be connected, is called being “pono’ -- that is, the state of being in balance, in harmony with the
universe, being in a state of truth and clarity, understanding and EXPERIENCING perfect connectedness to everything and everyone in the universe. This seems
very much like, if I’m understanding Agnostic Sorcerer correctly, what Kemeticism calls “Ma’at,” and what the Navajo call “walking in beauty.” Within this
balance, both life and death, growth and decay, power and helplessness, light and dark, all are necessary and equal. Thus “evil” is really ignorance of the balance,
and “good” is a state of connected awareness within the balance. In Hawaiian metaphysics, one is pono when one realizes AND NURTURES all those people
and things with whom/which one is connected. Being pono requires that one acts with full acknowledgment of one’s “kuleana,” one’s rights and responsibilities,
as a conscious being among conscious, as well as non- sentient, beings and processes.

Similarly, in some branches of pagan metaphysics, this belief that evil is really ignorance -- i.e., selfishness, lack of connection, lack of balance – is the basis of the
understanding that we create our own hells, just as we create our own heavens, both here on earth during specific temporal lifetimes, and in whatever other
place/no-place, time/no-time precedes and follows it. Hell is therefore the small, tightly-bounded prison that we squeeze ourselves into when we put up our
walls of bigotry, hate, self-loathing and fear, when we close ourselves off to each other and the universe out of selfishness and greed, when we *forget* that we
are not only connected to the balance, we *are* the balance – and so is everyone else. In this branch of pagan theory, what we have forgotten is that we *are*
the goddess/god, that s/he is immanent in us. (In this sense, perhaps, the pagan understanding is somewhat different from Alice’s, since most pagans don’t
believe in an externalized God, as do Christians, Jews and Muslims, but in goddess/god as Immanent, always present in all things, including us.)

When we are connected, when we are “pono,” therefore, the “reward” is not eternal residency in some cloud mansion, not is it merely being in the presence of a
God who exists outside of us, but rather it is the very experience of *being* pono. That is, the "reward" is itself. The experience of being so connected, so
expansively aware, so in balance, so integrated, is in and of itself “good.” To be closed off, isolated, out of balance, can only happen when we are ignorant --
when we **choose to ignore** the good -- and that always feels bad.

I once had a stunning and awful experience of the difference between conducting one’s life based on this philosophy and living within a punishment/reward
system. Several years ago, I was on a faculty committee charged with adjudicating student misconduct against the college community. Because of the
complicated and sensitive nature of a specific case, the college brought in a lawyer to advise us on how to conduct the investigation and judgement process.
Apparently, a few years before, the college administration had “lost” a case because a faculty member had identified a witness for the defendant (in a similar
hearing) as “that big-breasted colored woman” in his (the faculty member’s) notes. The defendant had been able to get a copy of the notes and sued for
discrimination; his suspension from college was overturned and the school had to pay him, his family and the African- American woman witness big bucks over
the incident. The lawyer told us to be careful about what we wrote down, as any notes that might be considered offensive might eventually hurt the college.
Now, while that might be necessary legal advice, I remember raising my hand and suggesting that the problem was not whether or not we would write such a
thing down, but whether we would think to identify a member of the college community in such terms. I noted that such a racist and sexist attitude would not
allow us to make a fair judgement in the case before us, and that if someone felt that they were likely to have those kinds of prejudices, they should excuse
themselves from the committee. Having said this, I looked around to find a dozen disbelieving faces. Only one other person on the committee got what I was
trying to say, the rest treated me as though I was simply being naive. They saw no problem with the grand lesson of the lawyer’s story being “don’t write bad
stuff you think about people down on paper,” rather than “we should actually try to do our jobs in a fair and honest manner.” As you might suspect, I didn't last
very long in that faculty community...

But you know what? I’m much happier as a person understanding that if I keep trying to *be* good -- to be open and in balance and connected, to be aware and
compassionate and loving -- that I will probably, in that process, *do* good, rather than trying to live my life the other way around. Besides, I don’t really
know how to play the harp...

Just my two cents worth. Thanks for reading!

[> Buffyboy and yuri have the right slant,as far as I am concerned -- AurraSing, 13:32:37 05/27/02 Mon

And while I have a sneaking suspision that karma may have some play in our lives,I do not believe in hell.Or heaven,for that matter.

[> Re: Can I ask a question to those who don't believe in hell? -- anom, 22:58:05 05/27/02 Mon

I have 2 answers to this, both of which are no more than my own opinion. First, I think it's the opposite of what we usually hear: rather than that if you do bad things you'll end up in hell, it's that if you start out in hell you'll do bad things. The "hell" I'm talking about is an abusive childhood. Of course, it's not that simple, but that's the general principle. The only "justice" in it is that the society that denies it pays the price...after the kids already have.

Second, I think some of the "hell" is in our own heads. Not after we die, but here & now. I've read & heard some accounts by people who've been involved in war, & even in torture, who talk about their reactions after the 1st time they did something horrible...& the 2nd, & the 10th.... The 1st time, they can't sleep, can't eat, can't even sit still. Can't deal w/what they've done. Then they bury those feelings under drinking, smoking...drugs of one kind or another. Eventually the very acts they couldn't face become the drug, as they harden themselves by doing worse & worse things.

Being out of touch w/your deepest self is a kind of hell. If you deny what you've done to other people, you're denying a part of yourself, cutting yourself off from the most sensitive part of your psyche--from your very soul. You may be suppressing the knowledge of the pain this causes, but the pain is still real, & it affects your life. Unfortunately, it also affects others' lives.

Wish I had time to go into more detail on this idea, which is considerably more complex than I can go into right now--& on how the 2 answers are related--but I'd better post this now & hope the thread's still there when I have more time.

[> [> Re: Can I ask a question to those who don't believe in hell? -- Ronia-just keeping the thread alive, 06:58:11 05/28/02 Tue

the question is for those who don't believe in hell, I believe in hell and am therefore disqualified. However, I want to hear the rest of anom's post.

The Fine Art of Torture (Spoilers for seasons 2, 3, 4, and 6) - Long -- Sophie, 20:29:04 05/26/02 Sun

Willow's torture of Warren is significantly different from other torture scenes in BTVS in that Warren, the victim, is tortured to death. This bothered me quite a bit, and got me thinking about fine art of torture. To get a grasp on why this scene bothered me so much, I reviewed a couple of torture scenes outside the Buffyverse, then compared them to BTVS.


Many years ago, I stumbled upon the opera "Tosca" by Puccini. In the opera, Tosca and her lover are both captured by the enemy, Scarpia (not to be confused with the Italian architect, Scarpa), tortures both by placing them in separate rooms. Tosca's lover (whose name I have forgotten), is placed in one room, out of Tosca's sight, but not out of earshot (he knows Tosca is near). Tosca and Scarpia are in the second room. One of Scarpia's flunkies beats Tosca's lover while Tosca gets to listen to him scream. Scarpia stands around and enjoys Tosca's pain. (Later, Scarpia attempts to rape Tosca, and she fatally stabs him.) We see someone, Tosca, being tortured emotionally, without even being touched physically. No marks on her body afterwards for proof. This is a refinement in the art of torture, which makes legally proving the event of being tortured nearly impossible afterwards. Both Tosca and her lover resist, and both die. (Tosca commits suicide, but she would have been killed if she hadn't done the deed herself, first.)

This weekend, I watched "Le Petit Soldat" for the first time. The movie has a lengthy torture scene in it. (This was not why I watched the movie. I am trying to learn French this summer by watching movies in French. One per weekend. This was only the second, so don't ask if it is working.) The scene was really hard to ignore because we are shown everything that is done to cause Bruno pain and fear - he is threatened with being burned, drowned, suffocated, and electrocuted - while he is in a tub, handcuffed to the plumbing fixtures (they move him to the living room for the electrocution part). We see his torturers smoking cigarettes and realize that Bruno is not allowed this or any other pleasures. He cannot leave and has no control over the events. He "lets go" by mentally disengaging and passing out, but his torturers spray him with cold water to revive him. Throughout the movie, we see Bruno doing things, going places, and listening to his narration - his thoughts. We sympathize with him, and as a result, feel his pain, his fear, and his humiliation. That sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. After he escapes, he is left with nothing to prove harm - no marks on his body - the torturers were careful, the movie focuses on this detail - nothing left but a pair of handcuffs and humiliation. Bruno knows that he was setup and double- crossed. As a result of the torture, he changes his behavior.

The residual lesson is that the point of torturing someone is to humiliate them and change their future behavior, not just cause pain. Torture also gets used to illicit information from somebody who doesn't want to give the information. If you resist giving the info and endure the pain, you can brag, but if you give the info, then you're back to that humiliation thing. More humiliation if you cry or scream. Much of the mental humiliation occurs afterwards. (Now I am super-indebted to my spell-checker because I apparently can't spell "humiliation".) When you are tortured, you are forced to let someone have control over what happens to your body - a very physical and intense transgression - which becomes a sick memory that you find impossible to tell anybody afterwards. You are forced to "let go" control of everything. By passing out, you escape your body. But that is only temporary.

In the Buffyverse, we see this type of torture. Infliction of physical pain, and later emotion or mental pain/anguish. The victim of the torture is threatened with death, but allowed to live - which is important.

So let's make a list:

<> Angelus being cursed with a soul and turned into Angel - who is left to suffer for eternity mental anguish for his previous evil deeds - deeds that he cannot undo or be forgiven for.

<> Dru torturing Angel in "What's My Line", part II - Dru pours holy water on Angel while he is tied to the bedposts. Physical pain during the torture, and mental humiliation afterwards. There is a threat of death, but not as a result of the torture.

<> Angelus torturing Giles in Passion - Angel kills Jenny, who Giles loves, and then leaves Jenny's body in Giles' apartment. Here, Giles is tortured by the brutal murder of someone he loves dearly, right at the moment when the relationship was about to consummated. Giles is never touched physically, no marks, but he suffers considerable ongoing emotional pain.

<> Angelus torturing Giles in "Becoming", part II to get info - Angel threatens Giles with death and causes pain by some un-shown means. He also gets Dru to cause Giles to hallucinate and give up the info.

<> And the recent Willow torturing Warren in "Villians" - she ties him to trees, threatens him verbally with death, magickly causes him pain, then skins him, and kills him

Ok, that's enough. I omitted Angelus torturing Buffy and her friends, as it is somewhat oblique and is more like stalking. Season 3 is hazy in my mind, though I do remember something about Angel in chains. And I will skip Season 4's torture scenes with Spike chained up in Giles' tub, too. We never see any real harm come to Spike here; they even feed him.

The torture scenes in Buffy, with the exception of Willow and Warren in "Grave", follow our guides for the fine art of torture, but are prevented from being really jarring as details are removed or hidden or never mentioned. We never see what Angelus does to Giles to cause him such pain in "Becoming II". We are sheltered from clearly viewing Jenny's body in Giles' apartment. The only time the gut- wrenching after-effects of being tortured are even mentioned is in " Revelations" by Giles, when he learns that Angel has returned and Buffy wants to forgive him. Giles says

"'ve jeopardized the lives of all that you hold dear by harboring a known murderer. But sadly, I must remind you that Angel tortured me... for hours... for pleasure. You should have told me he was alive. You didn't. You have no respect for me or the job I perform",

as Giles understands the latent humiliation and anguish of being tortured.

But when Willow tortures Warren, we do get to watch and see everything. But it loses half of the point when Willow murders Warren. It also lacks the fine art of torture. Willow's torture of Warren is short and continuous. She doesn't leave and let him think about the mess that he has gotten into. Bruno was left to reflect a couple of times. Mostly he sleeps/passes out to get through. He thinks about roses, and other beautiful things to mentally escape. Warren is given no time to reflect. We also don't get to hear Warren's thoughts like we do Bruno's. Nor do we sympathize with Warren like we do with Bruno. Willow drags up a walking, talking embodiment of Katrina, who Warren killed, to scare him into regret for his actions, but the effects are lost because Katrina is dead - she cannot feel. Tosca's lover knows that Tosca can hear his screams. He knows that she feels pain upon hearing them because she hates the thought of her lover being injured. He is also humiliated by her hearing his screams. It is unmanly to scream or cry from pain. Bruno is also concerned about this even though his only witnesses are his torturers. Katrina cannot be caused pain by Warren's suffering (she probably would have enjoyed it, since she hated him) and Warren cannot be humiliated by her seeing him show fear as she is not real.


This was a pointless effort to evaluate torture in BTVS, but it bothered me. I don't know that I want to see more realistic torture scenes, but this one was just off the mark, and felt forced. It didn't accomplish anything, really. It showed Willow being cruel, proving that she had turned evil? Somehow making Warren's murder more evil? Don't know.


[> Re: The Fine Art of Torture (Spoilers for seasons 2, 3, 4, and 6) - Long -- Dochawk, 23:31:38 05/26/02 Sun

Interesting. I think Willow was just interested in causing Warren some of the pain she was feeling. You missed one and it seems like its important given everything. VampWillow torturing Angel in The Wish. It was also done just for the fun of it. But, Willow was a vamp then, but it certainly reveals some of her tendencies.

[> [> oops! -- Sophie, 06:31:19 05/27/02 Mon

And I was thinking about that the other day, too! Thanks.

[> [> [> Another scene I forgot! (Spoiler S5) -- Sophie, 15:15:34 05/27/02 Mon

This is becoming a catalogue!

Season 5 - Glory captures Spike and tortures him to get him to tell her where/who the key is - Spike doesn't squeak and takes quite a bruising.


[> More torture...mostly by Buffy -- LeeAnn, 09:53:42 05/27/02 Mon

There was the time Buffy repeatedly tortured a vampire by putting her crucifix down its throat and holding its mouth closed while smoke and strangled screams issued forth.

There was the time Giles threatened to torture Glory's minion for information.

Plus all the times Buffy beat Spike for information then beat him a little more for fun.

SPIKE: Well, speaking of dishes, to what do I owe this unpleasant- (Buffy hits him in the face) Ow! Bloody hell!
BUFFY: (grabbing his shirt) I don't have time for banter, Spike. Where's Harmony's lair?
SPIKE: Haven't seen her in months. How should I know- (Buffy hits him in the face again) Ow!
BUFFY: Where is she?
SPIKE: At least lay off the nose. (Buffy pulls back her fist) Okay! Okay! Used to have a cave in the north woods. About forty meters past the overpass construction site.

Buffy punches him in the nose again, then lets go and turns to leave.

SPIKE: Ow!! I was telling you the truth!
BUFFY: (leaving) I know.
Spike rubs his nose and glares after her.

Our girl's got a little Nazi in her. But hey, it's okay cause vampires are evil and Spike is evil and torturing evil things is okay, right?

[> [> Yet again, we drag someone down to justify Spike ... -- Earl Allison, 12:35:31 05/27/02 Mon

"Our girl's got a little Nazi in her. But hey, it's okay cause vampires are evil and Spike is evil and torturing evil things is okay, right?"

Perhaps I should answer that with this;

Sure, Spike's led a life of torture, death, and destruction. But hey, it's okay because Spike LOVES Buffy and any slip Buffy makes should be magnified a hundred-fold while ignoring anything Spike does or did that could even be CONCEIVED of as wrong, right?

LeeAnn, I get it, you love Spike, and for whatever reason, you're going to hold Buffy to a standard Spike could never reach -- at least admit your bias when you make these statements. And using "Nazi" is a poor tactic, since it invokes the same disturbing image you complain about with Spike as a potential racist ...

Yes, Buffy hit Spike, and it was wrong. Perhaps you could explain the loving attentions behind these magical post-chip Spike moments?

- Spike, upon realizing his chip might be failing, goes to the Bronze and tries to bite a girl. Now, we as viewers KNOW that Spike would feel pain from a simple punch, or even pointing a weapon at someone -- why go for a kill? Sure, Spike had to talk himself into it, but he TRIED to bite her, didn't he?

- Spike, after being told by Warren that his chip IS functioning, states something to the effect of "nothing's wrong with me, it's HER," and promptly goes off to exploit the knowledge Buffy gave him about where she was after death -- what does he do? He tells her she's a thing, that she "came back wrong," and KNOWS what it will do to her.

- Spike persists in trying to break Buffy away from her friend when it suits him -- such as in the Bronze, telling her about what her friends would think if they knew, how she belongs in the dark with him, and so on. In short, he continues to manipulate her, to torment her, and to hurt her with words, preying on and compounding her issues -- but hey, he LOVES her, so it's okay ...

- Harboring demon eggs. What's up with that? Sure, to many, "As You Were" was horribly written, but there's not a single excuse I can come up with to justify Spike's actions. Even if he was holding them to make money to give to Buffy, was that any less wrong?

- The bathroom scene, one specific piece. Buffy NEVER cried before in their twisted foreplay, NOT ONCE. Yet our perceptive, charming, beloved anti-hero presses on, despite this. Why?

You seem to have a massive blind-spot for Spike. I understand that, as I have my own favorites as well, but the amount of venom you have for Buffy is really disturbing. Why do Buffy's acts that are, shall we say, unheroic, justify your accusations against her? Especially when the bulk of her actions ARE heroic, quite unlike Spike, who has only recently done anything heroic (when he received the chip)? And yet you totally ignore anything negative Spike may have done while railing against anything Buffy does -- why?

And if abuse is so wrong -- why is it okay (or at least okay with you) for Spike to have abused and manipulated VampHarmony? Was it because it was handled comically? Or is it another double standard?

Take it and run.

[> [> [> Re: Yet again, we drag someone down to justify Spike ... -- Dochawk, 12:50:45 05/27/02 Mon

I'll add another, chaining Buffy up and threatening to kill her in Crush (post chip).

And Earl, I am not quite sure why hitting a vampire for important is torture. LA's right about this, it is different when the creature is a vampire and not a human.

[> [> [> [> Wasn't the point I was trying to make -- Earl Allison, 12:59:14 05/27/02 Mon


First off, thanks for the support :) Nice to "talk" with you again.

I'm not stating one way or the other that torturing a vampire (or a demon) for information is wrong, at least, not here. My point was to at least attempt to show what I am seeing as a massive double-standard; that Spike can apparantly do no wrong wheras Buffy should be condemned for any negative action she takes. Or worse, that Buffy should be considered something other than the hero -- it's getting rather tiresome

Thanks for the backup, though. I did think of "Crush," but was going to leave it out.

And going out on a limb, I HOPE Spike and Buffy don't end up together -- but that's me, and not part of this thread :)

Take it and run.

[> [> [> The double standard. -- LeeAnn, 13:25:00 05/27/02 Mon

Sure, Spike's led a life of torture, death, and destruction.

He has? The only torture I remember him involved in was of Angel.

Spike, upon realizing his chip might be failing, goes to the Bronze and tries to bite a girl. Now, we as viewers KNOW that Spike would feel pain from a simple punch, or even pointing a weapon at someone -- why go for a kill? Sure, Spike had to talk himself into it, but he TRIED to bite her, didn't he?

Spike is evil. I get it. Let's kill him.

Spike, after being told by Warren that his chip IS functioning, states something to the effect of "nothing's wrong with me, it's HER," and promptly goes off to exploit the knowledge Buffy gave him about where she was after death -- what does he do? He tells her she's a thing, that she "came back wrong," and KNOWS what it will do to her.

He knows what it will do to her? So that wasn't surprise I saw on his face when she started kissing him? Or shock and amazement when she unzipped his pants and staked herself? Spike planned that, knew it would happen? God, but he's evil.

Spike persists in trying to break Buffy away from her friend when it suits him -- such as in the Bronze, telling her about what her friends would think if they knew, how she belongs in the dark with him, and so on. In short, he continues to manipulate her, to torment her, and to hurt her with words, preying on and compounding her issues -- but hey, he LOVES her, so it's okay ...

Buffy made it clear she was ashamed of her friends knowing about their relationship, made him think that her friends were standing between them so, yeah, he tried to get her to choose him instead of them. Unheard of behavior in a BF. Is there no end to how low Spike will stoop?

Harboring demon eggs

In denial about the plot hole we call the demon eggs.

The bathroom scene, one specific piece. Buffy NEVER cried before in their twisted foreplay, NOT ONCE. Yet our perceptive, charming, beloved anti-hero presses on, despite this. Why?

Because Marti Noxon was controlling his chip.
Besides he committed suicide to make amends. He's dead now. Be satisfied. Whatever comes back this fall will no more be Spike than Angel is Angelus. He's over.

the amount of venom you have for Buffy is really disturbing.

I have a minor amount of venom for Buffy. Quite minor. And nothing compared to the venom you hold for Spike. I'm just not blind to the wrong things she does. Spike is supposed to be evil so when he does evil it's no surprise. Buffy is supposed to be good so when she does something evil it's like it's being redefined as good. When Buffy tortures that makes torture okay. Then I read justifications for her torturing.

And yet you totally ignore anything negative Spike may have done while railing against anything Buffy does -- why?

Because Buffy is supposed to be the hero, and beyond that she's supposed to be the ROLE MODEL. For the hero, for the role model, to behave in these ways is far, far more disturbing than for an evil vampire, that NO ONE takes as a role model, to do the worst he can.

And if abuse is so wrong -- why is it okay (or at least okay with you) for Spike to have abused and manipulated VampHarmony? Was it because it was handled comically? Or is it another double standard?

It is definitely a double standard. There being one standard for a hero and another for evil vampires….and everyone else.

[> [> [> [> Thank you for proving my point -- Earl Allison, 13:34:09 05/27/02 Mon

You just can't let it go, can you.

You make two really big errors that pretty much nullify the rest of any potential points.
"Sure, Spike's led a life of torture, death, and destruction.

He has? The only torture I remember him involved in was of Angel."

Remember "Lover's Walk"? That he was going to torture Dru until she loved him again? Are we ignoring things that actually happened now? Did Spike NOT say that, or are you going to complain that since we didn't see it, it doesn't count?

"Harboring demon eggs

In denial about the plot hole we call the demon eggs."

No, unlike you, I watched the episode. Hey, dislike it all you want, it happened, and until and unless Joss or ME tells me it didn't happen, or clarifies the episode, he DID harbor the eggs. Denial doesn't wash here.

And, if I recall, I ADMIT that Buffy has done bad things. I have no venom for Spike, merely for the "arguments" that drag other characters down to boost Spike -- like you do.

And Buffy doing bad things makes her more REALISTIC -- if she was a do-no-wrong type, the show would have failed long ago.

Take it and run.

[> [> [> [> [> I think each of you proves the point that the other is making. -- Traveler, 16:21:35 05/27/02 Mon

Both of you obviously have a pet character and defend him/her in all circumstances. Both of you twist and/or highlight the details that suite your argument. Niether of you tries to see things from another perspective. When it comes down to it, Spike has done some incredibly evil stuff, most of which occured years ago. Buffy has also done some pretty nasty stuff, most of which occured this season. I think both of them can become worthy of forgiveness, and I think that both of them can be worthwhile "human" beings. Season 7 will tell us whether it actually happens or not. Any argument about which character is "better" will ultimately prove futile, since they are both constantly changing and redefining themsleves. Fury mentioned in an interview that the writers have played around with the idea of making Buffy a vampire. Wouldn't it be funny if Buffy lost her soul at the end of season 7, while Spike retained his? I would laugh, and I bet the same people who are defending Buffy now would continue to defend her then, and vice versa. So just let it go. I am a Spike fan, although I sympathize with Buffy, and I love a good debate, but even I am getting tired of the whole Spike vs Buffy argument.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Apologies. -- Earl Allison, 16:32:02 05/27/02 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Now I feel bad... -- Traveler, 16:44:58 05/27/02 Mon

I'm not trying to squelch all discussion about Buffy and Spike; it's just that I'm tired of the oppositional rants that have been going on forver. I would like to see more people approach BOTH characters sympathetically and realistically, rather than choosing a favorite to champion. If we talk about Spike, let's discuss him as a vampire and a man. Let's talk about what he's done in the past and how he's changed since then. What does that tell us about who he is and where he's going? The same goes for Buffy. I just want to see more well-rounded, complete discussions, rather than people recycling the same points over and over again to "prove" that their favorite character is the best.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Don't, you had every right to say what you did. -- Earl Allison, 16:51:40 05/27/02 Mon

Please don't feel bad for what you said -- I didn't mean to come across as unyielding.

For what it's worth, I don't actually champion Buffy, I'm more against the St. Spike viewpoint is all -- and certain posts here just begged to be replied to.

If I were championing anyone, it'd be Faith or Drusilla :)

But never apologize for having a view or an opinion -- I wasn't hurt, I just felt that, if my posts came off that arrogant, an apology was in order.

Again, no harm, no foul, and no offense taken.

I agree that one should take the SUM of what someone has done -- I merely see a different total in the ledger for Spike than others -- when and if I see him behave better consistently in Season Seven, I may have to amend my comments.

Thanks, and again, no apologies needed. And if you like, feel free to email me -- that's why it's there :)

Take it and run.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Shades of "Gift of the Magi"! -- Deeva, 20:06:03 05/27/02 Mon

Wouldn't it be funny if Buffy lost her soul at the end of season 7, while Spike retained his?

Now that would be interesting to watch. Spike supposedly gets his soul because it's what Buffy deserves, while Buffy loses her's (How, I wouldn't even begin to know.) That would be, to quote Angel, "a tragic farce".

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Shades of "Gift of the Magi"! -- skeeve, 08:36:10 05/28/02 Tue

Well, there are vampires in Sunnydale.
If Buffy were vamped, that would provide her friends with an interesting decision.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Thank you -- verdantheart, 07:40:56 05/31/02 Fri

Me too. I feel that Spike has been painted in a more sympathetic light than Buffy this season. However, that said, I agree that this debate is pointless. People have their opinions, and obviously, they're strong ones!

[> [> [> [> Human, all too human - Season 6's deconstruction of the hero -- Rahael, 14:56:46 05/27/02 Mon

I've always seen Buffy as an inspiration, rather than a role model.

That said, I think Season 6 really went after the idea of a 'hero', knocked it down and left it as a rubble. What is a hero? Someone with superpowers? Someone wise, compassionate and kind beyond their years? Someone who is terrified and alone but still struggles to do what's right? Who stands against the wreckful siege of battering days, trying just to remain human?

Isn't Giles a hero, ready to risk his life to save Willow, who taunts him with his uselessness? Isn't Dawn a hero, ready to jump off the platform so that her death will heal the universe? Isn't Buffy still a hero when she sobs in Dawn's lap? Isn't Xander a hero while he gives Willow everything he has, love to meet her rage? Isn't Anya a hero, standing in the wings, hidden, but risking everything to perform a counterspell?

In the Buffyverse, there are no role models, only a story. The story, in unity, can inspire us. Sol wrote a great post about Buffy being like a set of complex harmonies. The narrative comes not from one single melody, but from the harmony of everyone singing, even if the story we are being told is one about dissonance.

[> [> [> [> [> Great post. -- Earl Allison, 15:10:11 05/27/02 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> ahhhhh...... you've such a lovely way with language.. wonderful post, Rahael! -- rc, 16:06:28 05/27/02 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> Exactly! -- ponygirl, 06:51:20 05/28/02 Tue

Sigh, wonderful writing as ever Rahael. I have gone through many phases with this show where I have preferred one character over the others and it always leads to frustration. All the characters on this show will suffer, grow, triumph and fail, all have their moments in the sun and episodes in the dark. To watch the show for the story though, well, I've never been disappointed.

[> [> You've exceeded my definition of torture -- Sophie, 13:49:50 05/27/02 Mon

I don't consider fighting in the alley, with neither person restrained, to be torture. Buffy and Spike can fight and f*** mutually without it being torture. If it mutually results in one of them handcuffing the other, then it is S&M.

Spike chaining up Harmony and Buffy in the basement of his crypt - never was sure what that was about - sex? Love? Indecision? I would consider it a borderline torture scene. Spike restrains the women, but he is mostly bark and very little bite. Seems to me the chains weren't too secure, either.

As for Spike biting someone against their will in the alley, I don't consider that torture, either. Murder if the victim dies, rape if you buy the "vampire bites gets someone off" theory, and just plain rude if the vampire turns the person without giving them "the choice".

Giles threatening Glory's minion - didn't consider this one torture, either. Giles didn't tie the poor creature up, leaving him with no control of the situation. I have a hard time imaging Giles really torturing anybody. Now, Wesley, on the other hand...


[> [> [> Thank Glory.. -- LeeAnn, 14:29:59 05/27/02 Mon

True, Giles didn't torture Glory's minion, but I was afraid he was about to and was dreading it. (SLOOK: I will not betray Glorificus. I will never talk, no matter what heinous torture-) Thank Glory the minion caved.

[> [> [> [> innocent Lee Ann :) -- Etrangere, 15:12:05 05/27/02 Mon

We never saw what Giles exactly did while Willow and Anya had their back turned but someway, I don't think the hobbit just "caved".

[> [> [> [> There was a crunch... -- Arethusa, 10:28:34 05/28/02 Tue

although I can forgive Giles anything.

[> [> [> [> [> ...& a scream! -- anom, 16:59:53 05/30/02 Thu

[> [> You're all missing the biggest torture scene... -- Malandanza, 16:50:49 05/27/02 Mon

In In the Dark Spike hires Marcus, the child-eating vampire to torture Angel:

Angel opens his eyes, looks around. He's in a large room in an abandoned building. Tin roof overhead.

Now we see that he's CHAINED UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM - each arm strung out to overhead restraints.

Marcus picks up an old-fashioned phonograph needle. Places it on a record. The soothing sounds of Mozart's Symphony #41 play forth.

Angel watches. Marcus opens a battered old trunk filled with torture instruments - among them we may see a cat's paw, a breast ripper, a heretic's fork, "the pear", etc. Spike moves to Angel.

SPIKE: Marcus is an expert. Some say "artist," but I've never been comfortable with labels. He's a bloody king of torture, he is. Humans, demons, politicians, makes no difference. Rumor has it he invented several of the classics, but he won't tell me which ones. (confidential) Beneath the cool exterior, you'll find he's rather shy... except with kids. You like kids, don't you Marcus?

Not only does Spike hire this monster to do his dirty work for him, but he clearly enjoys the unfolding scene. Here are some snippets where Spike impatiently waits for the torturer to get to work or offers to help:

MARCUS: His skin...

SPIKE: Annoying, isn't it? Still attached...

SPIKE (picking up breast ripper) Do you two need to be alone or can we get on with the ouchy part?
SPIKE: Souls, fingers, toes, let's get choppin', shall we? I want me damn ring.
Marcus heads for Angel with the poker. Spike, crossing in f.g., blocks our seeing the poker go into Angel's thigh. Angel, this time, cries out in pain.

SPIKE (cont'd): Now that's music.
MARCUS: It won't be long now.

SPIKE: Well, what say I break out the needle-nose pliers and give a hand? I'll have to go in a while...

So why does Spike get let off the hook for the gruesome torture of Angel? Because he hired someone vile to do the work for him? How is that better?

As for some of the other incidents, like Buffy's "torture" of Spike when she interrogates him -- I'd hardly call that torture. Buffy did the same with Willy and Angel with Merle (although Angel's behavior eventually did go too far). She is treating Spike like every TV or movie detective treats his informants. There is a tacit understanding between these petty criminals and the authorities -- they get to go free, unprosecuted, but when the police need answers, they must provide them. The beatings provide plausible deniability for their underworld friends -- they didn't want to cooperate, the cops made them cooperate. It's not betrayal, not really. Spike has the same problem that the informants have -- hated by both sides. As long as he's useful to Buffy, he is tolerated but he needs occasional reminders that he buys the blind eye of the law with his cooperation. And in the example you cite, I think a bruised ego was worth saving Dawn's life.

The beating in the alley has also been misused by the anti- Buffy people. Spike was not Gandhi, passively resisting an unwarranted attack. Buffy was at a serious crisis in her life -- the most serious since Bad Girls -- should she hide the accident or turn herself in? She made one decision and Spike decided to make another for her. What would have been the consequences if he has accepted his advice? We saw in Bad Girls how the guilt ate away at Buffy and that was Faith's fault. How would she have handled knowing that she had killed a girl, lied about it, buried the evidence and gotten away with it? Spike's offer would have destroyed Buffy. Add to that the blackmail we subsequently saw with Spike and the sex -- how much more of a hold would he have had over Buffy with the knowledge of a murder and cover-up?

Neither Spike nor Buffy was going to back down in the alley -- it's not in their characters to do so. When Spike chose to block Buffy, the fight was inevitable. Buffy took no joy in the attack and beating had very close resemblance to the Faith vs. Buffy battle in the church. Buffy's blows and words were aimed at herself. Furthermore, Spike could have stopped the fight at any time by stepping aside instead of forcibly restraining her.

And I agree with Etrangere, Giles did do something to minion to make him talk -- we heard the crunch.

[> [> [> Were I cruel, I'd say most of Season Six was the torture scene :) Just kidding! No Kill I! -- Earl Allison, 16:54:04 05/27/02 Mon

[> [> [> Re: You're all missing the biggest torture scene... -- Sophie, 17:10:30 05/27/02 Mon

Spare me having to search all of the scripts at Psyche's (wonderful) website - but what episode was this in???? I'm sorry, I really don't remember this...


[> [> [> [> Here's the link (if my HTML code is right) -- Malandanza, 17:32:24 05/27/02 Mon

In the Dark

The torture actually begins in part two of the shooting script.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Here's the link (if my HTML code is right) -- Sophie, 17:41:08 05/27/02 Mon

Thanks - now I know why I don't remember the ep - it is from the early Angel series stuff, which was before I started watching Angel. I actually read through most of the Angel eps from seasons 1 and 2, but have never watched any of them.


[> [> [> Another biggie -- JBone, 18:06:37 05/27/02 Mon

I'd just add one more significant torture scene, which is of course, Faith's torture of Wesley on AtS in the episode 5X5.

Faith: "All these little cuts and bruises - just bring out the mother in me. (She takes his face between her hands and slaps his cheek) Come on. Now, now, don't poop out on me, damn it! Otherwise this all just going to be over too fast, and you'll be dead and I'll be - bored. - Come on, Wesley! Where is that stiff upper lip? (Get off him) Now, we've only done one of the
five basic torture groups. We've done blunt - but that still leaves sharp, cold, hot and loud. Have a preference? (Wesley looks at her and nods. Faith pulls the gag out of his mouth) Well, that great! It's always better with audience participation. - May I take your order please?"

Faith seems to break the most rules when she tortures Wesley. She is a Slayer gone bad torturing a human without powers. A human whose only crime was of inexperience and incompetence. And she's thought it through too. I had no idea that there was five basic torture groups, but it probably been established somewhere else. I remember a episode of some show, probably Star Trek (TNG or DS9?) were there were a few crew members were being held captive, and one of them is dragged back from being tortured and is asked by his crew if he talked. The part I remember for sure is his answer, "They didn't even ask a question."

[> [> [> [> Faith gets Blue Ribbon -- Scroll, 19:43:49 05/27/02 Mon

I agree that Faith's torture of Wesley is definitely the most horrendous of all torture scenes in the Buffyverse because it's done by a person with a soul who, as Slayer, is actually supposed to be dedicated to protecting the innocent. And the victim is not a vampire who has blood on his hands (souled or unsouled), but is someone who should've had the respect and loyalty of his torturer. Wesley's ability to move past Faith's torture of him, helping Angel to protect her from the cops and the Watchers Council, proves how strong he really is.

[> [> [> Re: You're all missing the biggest torture scene... -- LeeAnn, 20:38:34 05/27/02 Mon

That scene is why I'm opposed to crossovers. The Angel writers write Spike as worse than Angelus and then we Spikoholics are stuck trying to defend something that contradicts the BtVS canon (Spike: I've never been one for the pre-show.). That torture is the worse thing we've been shown Spike doing although his talking to then feeding on the Magic Shop owner was pretty chilling.

Why Can't Buffy Gain Our Sympathy. See it's not just me.

[> [> [> [> Joss Controls All -- Dochawk, 10:27:01 05/28/02 Tue

They wouldn't have created the Marcus/Spike scene without Joss' approval (especailly since it covered half the episode). Same reasoning that Joss approved Spike being a vamp with a soul, despite the fact that it destroys the entire reason d'etre of Angel and his quest and prophecies.

[> [> [> [> Re: You're all missing the biggest torture scene... -- rattletrap, 13:32:58 05/28/02 Tue

"That scene is why I'm opposed to crossovers. The Angel writers write Spike as worse than Angelus and then we Spikoholics are stuck trying to defend something that contradicts the BtVS canon"

< sarcasm > And so the fact that AtS 1.3, "In the Dark" was penned by long-time BtVS writer Douglas Petrie and directed by veteran director Bruce Seth Green in no way compromises this argument. < /sarcasm > Both of these guys laid the foundation for Spike's character all the way through Seasons 2 and 3, I think it's pretty fair to say they know the character very, very, very well.

I really love Spike's character, I always have, and I'm anxious to see where his story arc is going to go. That said, the thing I love about him is that he's complex. He was unspeakably evil for 100 years, engaged in acts of brutal murder and torture rampagaing across Europe. He was mean, cruel, scrappy, and fought because he enjoyed the violence. Seeing him transformed by his inability to pursue those things and by his contact with Buffy has set up a fascinating story, made more so because the character is not static, but evolving and complex. I think it is distinictly possible that he is on a road to redemption; but I think that this road will be very long and extremely difficult with many detours and diversions. If redemption is Miami, Spike is on a two-lane somewhere outside Seattle; there's a long way left to go. I think the soul may be a step in that process.

[> [> [> [> [> Road Trips and Shallow Graves (JE interview spoilers) -- Malandanza, 15:39:49 05/28/02 Tue

"If redemption is Miami, Spike is on a two-lane somewhere outside Seattle; there's a long way left to go. I think the soul may be a step in that process."

I think one of LeeAnn's main points is that Spike isn't the one in Seattle -- that Spike is dead.

If Spike is brought back as a human, with the vampiric spirit removed, I'd have to agree that Spike is dead and what we have is a new person walking around with Spike's memories (just as Spike was a vampire walking around with William's memories). I have to say, this theory appeals to me in many ways -- especially when Dead Soul brought up that the chip may prevent Spike from killing himself (can't harm himself if he's human). Plus, imagine human Spike having to work for a living -- remember how condescending he was towards Xander and his jobs back in Season Four? There is so much potential for comedy (and poetic justice) in having him be human.

But the writers say he will be a vampire with a soul -- I'm not sure I believe them, but let's assume they aren't:

1. deliberately lying to us
2. acting on misinformation (JE may not be privy to all of MN's and JW's decisions)
3. speculating because they don't know exactly how they're going to work out the details

The problems are that they've done the soulful vampire with Angel and that a soul is not what Spike was wishing for by any stretch of the imagination. Add to that, if JM knew he his character really wanted a soul, that it was his secret desire, he would have played his character accordingly. Then there's the lack of logic -- Spike goes to demon to become evil again and the demon makes him good? Maybe -- the demon might have wanted to see Spike suffer.

So let's say the new Spike (Randy :) is a vamp with a soul, just like Angel. He's not really dead, just buried, like Angelus. Except he's not really just like Angel. Angelus was buried deep in Angel's psyche -- my guess is Spike will be buried in a shallow grave. Randy doesn't have the same ability to repress his emotions and darker impulses that Angel has -- Spike may have a great deal more influence over Randy than Angelus ever had over Angel. Just consider how easily Angelus escaped when Angel was drugged -- and think about how often we have seen Spike drinking (so cheer up, LeeAnn, Spike may be back the next time Randy decides to drink himself into a stupor).

But, in any case, Spike is not taking the roadtrip to redemption -- someone else is. William or Randy. Spike's just locked in the trunk -- and you can bet every time he gets free he's turning the car back around to the Hellmouth. Randy'll be lucky if he makes it as far as Oxnard.

All this assumes that Randy even makes it out of Africa. I've been wondering what sort of village grows up next to an evil demon. I see three distinct possibilities:

1. A Shadow Over Innsmouth type of scenario where the town has become corrupt
2. The villagers are hereditary guardians (like the KoB) who protect the innocent from the Cave Demon
3. The village is relatively new -- the cave had been in the depths of the jungle in the past, but recently the area has been claimed by humans. The village is Sunnydale in Africa, with most people in denial about the cave.

I like #1 best. The warning may have been intended to stop Spike from entering the cave without first making the appropriate supplications (an angry cave demon, disturbed for no good purpose, might take out his crankiness on the villagers). #2 falls short because the villager didn't try hard enough to stop Spike -- but maybe they are more concerned with stopping evil from leaving the cave than stopping it from entering. Whatever the truth, the villagers may have plans for William/Spike/Randy when he leaves the cave that have nothing to do with redemption.

Then again, maybe he'll just magically reappear in Sunnydale.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Anything to back this up? -- Doug the Bloody, 16:40:21 05/28/02 Tue

"Randy doesn't have the same ability to repress his emotions and darker impulses that Angel has"

Is thereany proofofthis from either shows? are you basing this on comparing Spike and Angel, Spike and Angelus, or Angel and Randy?

"But, in any case, Spike is not taking the roadtrip to redemption -- someone else is. William or Randy. Spike's just locked in the trunk -- and you can bet every time he gets free he's turning the car back around to the Hellmouth. Randy'll be lucky if he makes it as far as Oxnard."

Unless you believe what JE said about Spike actually wanting a soul. If he did even if he was de-souled by some means he would just have to either haul his arse back to Africa (and collect frequent flyer miles) or go get a gypsy curse.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Anything to back this up? -- Malandanza, 21:03:55 05/28/02 Tue

"Is there any proof of this from either shows? are you basing this on comparing Spike and Angel, Spike and Angelus, or Angel and Randy?"

I think it is abundantly clear that Spike cannot suppress his emotions the way Angelus did and Angel has. Angelus was all about control -- Spike has never been about control. The sensitive man became the sensitive vampire rarely hidden for long under his false big bag persona. How many times have we seen Spike crying? Starting in season two, he was in tears after he ended up in a wheelchair while Dru made her mad plans. In Season six he was also in tears when he found out that Xander and Willow had kept him out of the resurrection plans. How many times have we seen him turn to magic or alcohol because he couldn't suppress his feeling? We saw it first when Dru left him and it continued when he replaced his obsession for Dru with an obsession for Buffy.

His anger, likewise, is something he finds difficult to control -- he throws a tantrum in In the Dark when he loses the Gem of Amara and another in when Buffy rejects him, he stakes Harmony in a moment of uncontrollable anger, and in Normal Again just seconds after Buffy treats him like a friend by telling him of the Xander/Anya debacle, Spike throws the broken engagement in Xander's face. Spike continually acts in a way that is contrary to his own interests simply because he cannot control his emotions. The best example I can think of is this scene from Triangle:

SPIKE stands in front of his Buffy mannequin, holding a box of chocolates. He looks at the mannequin.

Um... there's, there's something I got to tell you. About showing you Riley, in that place. I didn't mean to... Anyway, I know you're feeling all betrayed... I mean, by him, not me. I was trying to help, you know. Not like I made him be there, after all! Actually did it to help you. Best intentions.

He starts pacing, now, talking animatedly with the mannequin.

SPIKE: Pretty state you'd be in, thinking things are all right while he's toddling halfway round the bend. Oh, I'll insult him if I want to! I'm the one on your side! Me! Doing you a favor! And you being dead petty about it. Me getting nothing but your hatred and venom and...!

Having worked himself into a good ol' rage, Spike starts beating the mannequin with the box of chocolate.

SPIKE: Ungrateful bitch--

Eventually he catches himself, breathes deep, calms himself down. He tries to un-crush the crushed box. He starts over.

SPIKE: Buffy. Yeah. Something I wanted to tell you...

Shooting Script

So, yeah, I'd say there's support for my theory that Spike has a hard time suppressing his emotions. As an extension of this theory, I'd say that the new Spike will be far more influenced by the old Spike than was Angel by Angelus -- assuming he's still a vampire. If he's brought back entirely human, I'd say that Spike is dead.

Unless you believe what JE said about Spike actually wanting a soul.

I don't believe that Spike wanted a soul, but I don't think it matters. Souled Spike is not the same person. But perhaps if the souled side of the personality is weak enough we'd get a reversal of the Angel/Angelus situation -- with Ran-- I mean, William buried most of the time and Spike dominant. Which could be interesting. More interesting than Angel, the Next Generation anyway.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Again, I ask... -- Doug the Bloody, 14:05:52 05/29/02 Wed

...How does this relate? Are you saying that because the demon had an impulse control problem the soul will beunable to supress the demon? Is it that one demon is stronger than the other or are you arguing that thesoul of a druynkard is better suited to controlling a vampire's urges than the soul of a poet? We have no evidence about how the RSSE (Re-Souled Spike Entity) will act, because we've yet to see him.

And with the comparisons of Spike and Angelus: Let's look at Angelus. When he lost his soul one of the first things he did was declare to the scoobies quite openly that this was so to the scoobies. After that, rather than think rationally and kill Buffy and Co. while they slept (he had invites to everyone's home except Xander's) he instead leaves pictures and dead fish around to scare them, (which gives them time to get get de-invites cast). He may have been extremely evil, but he was a self-indulgent idiot. I seen the flashbacks and heard the stories about the vaunted Angelus, but I have yet to actually see feats of self control even equalling Spike's admittedly limited command of this department. I have yet to see souless Angelus perform a feat of self-control and patience equal Spike's ruse with the wheelchair (which Angelus bought entirely)

If the evidence can be found please demonstrate it. I haven't watched seasons 1-2 of Angel:the series (no rerun scheduale where I'm from) only season 3, so if the evidence can be found in those seasons I'll have to take your word for it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Again, I ask... -- Malandanza, 08:35:11 05/30/02 Thu

"Let's look at Angelus. When he lost his soul one of the first things he did was declare to the scoobies quite openly that this was so to the scoobies. After that, rather than think rationally and kill Buffy and Co. while they slept (he had invites to everyone's home except Xander's) he instead leaves pictures and dead fish around to scare them, (which gives them time to get get de-invites cast). He may have been extremely evil, but he was a self-indulgent idiot. I seen the flashbacks and heard the stories about the vaunted Angelus, but I have yet to actually see feats of self control even equalling Spike's admittedly limited command of this department. I have yet to see souless Angelus perform a feat of self-control and patience equal Spike's ruse with the wheelchair (which Angelus bought entirely)"

In I Only Have Eyes for You, Angelus' reaction to being possessed is rather extreme:

Who is WASHING IN THE COURTYARD FOUNTAIN. SCRUBBING his face and body RAW. Spike rolls over - fascinated.

SPIKE: You might want to let up. They way when you've drawn blood - you're exfoliated.

ANGEL: (sharply) What do you know about it? I'm the one who was friggin' violated. You didn't have this thing in you.

Now Dru drifts over.

DRUSILLA: What was it, a demon?

Angel towels off. Throws his shirt on.

ANGEL: Love.

DRUSILLA: Poor Angel...

Now Angel grabs Dru.

ANGEL: Let's get out of here. I need a really vile kill before sun-up to wipe this crap out of my system.

DRUSILLA: Of course. We'll find you a nice toddler.

Now consider the restraint he showed when he first lost his soul -- after the moment of true happiness with Buffy. Why didn't he just kill her in her sleep? That would have been his first impulse. The very fact that he decides to inflict psychological torture (and he didn't just leave "pictures and dead fish" around -- remember Passions and Jenny?) upon Buffy and her friends instead of running amok and killing them argues for self-control.

In the flashbacks we have seen that originally Angelus was a great deal like Spike -- impulsive, looking for a fight, acting on his emotions. But he changed -- over time. The soul didn't miraculously change Angelus from a rash and impulsive vampire acting on his rage and emotions into a calm and collected Angel. Angelus learned from his experiences of being hounded by angry mobs because he acts without thinking. By the time Spike is on the scene, Angelus and Darla are disgusted with his rash actions which leave them hunted. We have even seen Angelus calmly betray Darla to Holtz to buy himself time -- he does not allow his affection for her to place his life at risk the way Spike allows his jealousy for Dru to control his behavior (hence the wheelchair ploy and Spike's alliance with Buffy). Angelus makes plans, he thinks before acting; thus, he is able to lure Buffy away from her friends, enabling Dru to kill Kendra and his minions to kidnap Giles in B1. In B2 we have the most telling exchange about Angelus and Spike during the Giles torture:

ANGEL: All right, that's it. Someone get the chain saw.

SPIKE: Now now. . .

He rolls in, eyeing Angel.

SPIKE: Don't let's lose our temper.

ANGEL: Keep out of it, Sit 'n' Spin.

SPIKE: You cut him up, you'll never get your answers.

ANGEL (suspiciously) Exactly when did you become so level- headed?

SPIKE: Right about the time you became so pig-headed. You have your way with him, you'll never get to destroy the world. And I don't fancy spending the next month trying to get librarian out of the carpet. There are other ways.

Both Spike and Angelus are behaving uncharacteristically in this scene -- and it's not just my interpretation, both characters recognize the fact with their "level-headed/pig- headed" remarks. Here, Angelus is acting out of anger while Spike is calm -- an inversion of the normal order.

"Are you saying that because the demon had an impulse control problem the soul will be unable to suppress the demon? Is it that one demon is stronger than the other or are you arguing that the soul of a drunkard is better suited to controlling a vampire's urges than the soul of a poet? We have no evidence about how the RSSE (Re-Souled Spike Entity) will act, because we've yet to see him."

The soul doesn't act as a lobotomy. It provides a conscience and an impulse to do good. The same basic personality is there, with the same flaws -- isn't this the message we got from Willow's transformation? Souless Willow from The Wish and Dopplegangland was just Willow without a conscience and guiding star -- this past season we have seen that VampWillow was always dormant inside of Willow. I suppose it's possible that Spike will magically transform into a calm, rational, supremely confidant being who has resolved all his insecurities and self-doubts -- a being totally unlike either William or Spike -- but I don't see how. My feeling is that the new Spike will be very similar to the old Spike -- he'll just feel bad about all the people he's killed for food and fun, all the times he's betrayed the Scoobies, and all the times he mistreated the woman he claims to have loved (acting on his base impulses). If you have evidence that the souls of poets are somehow different from the souls of drunkards, I'd like to see it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> No difference... -- Doug the Bloody, 12:28:48 05/30/02 Thu

...between the souls of poets and the souls of drunkards, I was trying to understand your thoughts and where you were coming from.

I have to disagree with you on the actions of Angelus: his cruelty was nothing but an indulgence, the rational action woul have been to wipe out threats to him first; threats like Buffy and the scoobs. By toying with them he put his desire to see pain over his survival. He lacked even the self-control of a 17 year old: Finish your homework, THEN kick back and party.

There are two viewpoints I've seen on the Angel/Angelus split. One is that Agel is Angelus with a conscience added o, the other is that the two are separate entities, Angel supresses Angelus (I believe the term you used was "locked in the trunk"). I'm uncertain which one is true, and I think that how you view the split between Angel/Angelus pretty much determines how you view the split between Spike/RSSE.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: a clarification (finale spoilers) -- Dead Soul, 16:46:23 05/28/02 Tue

Actually my (completely non-serious) theory was that Spike still has the chip, yes, to keep him from killing himself, but assuming Spike is human was not part of the (completely non-serious) theory.

My two "what ifs" were what if the chip works by sensing souls - we've never seen if it would work on Angel, and what if Spike really does want the (expletive deleted) chip out, at least consciously, whether the motivation is to prove he can be good without the chip or the be the Big Bad again. Although I can buy that at the end of the trials with all his bravado stripped away the cave demon can sense that his subconscious wants the soul.

Non-serious theories aside, I just want Spike to keep his edge, I like him bad even when its all bluff. And please, please, please, please, please, please (insert 80 more "pleases" here) don't call him Randy.

Dead Soul, Queen of the Parenthetical Clause

[> [> [> [> [> "No way compromises this argument": heee! -- Rahael, 21:29:55 05/28/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> So that's the HTML code for sarcasm. Thanks! -- mundusmundi, having a good cackle, 18:42:12 05/29/02 Wed

[> [> [> With that scene, I'd have to go with the music. -- VampRiley, 06:48:58 05/31/02 Fri

Music, like Mozart's, gives me a headache. Give me TRUSTcompany, Rob Zombie, Adema or Staind any day.


[> [> [> Re: You're all missing the biggest torture scene... -- verdantheart, 07:53:17 05/31/02 Fri

Interesting one. Spike's usually kinda bored with torture, but I think he wanted a little payback with that one. Even here, he brings in an expert, perhaps aware that he'd probably get bored eventually and simply dust Angel.

You don't think that Angelus behavior with Drusilla before Spike's eyes in S2 wasn't precisely designed to torment Spike? That was just the sort of "artistic" torture that he relished. I'm surprised no one brought this up.

[> [> [> [> Re: You're all missing the biggest torture scene... -- Sophie, 08:05:56 05/31/02 Fri

you could see it as torment - torture of a sort. I didn't include it because Spike is not restrained and is free to leave if he wishes.


[> OMG! My thread stayed alive 4 days!!!! -- Sophie, 19:52:55 05/30/02 Thu

Love vs. Irony and the final act of Grave (spoilers) -- cjc36, 07:18:34 05/27/02 Mon

Reviews of Grave have mostly been positive in regard to the conclusion: Xander getting through to Willow by reminding her of her humanity through declarations of his love for her, and Buffy realizing she wanted to live in the world, and raise Dawn into the beautiful woman she is to become. Some critics have sniffed that this act let them down. Too sappy, too sentimental, too simple.

For me, the sappy, sentimental-ness of these two intercut scenes made all the angst we had to go through since Bargaining I and II pay off, and wrapped the season as a hole a box and bow at past times I didn't think was possible.

My favorite of the two was Xander/Willow. He risks everything to save his best friend from the abyss. "Crayon -breaky Willow and Scary-Veiny-Willow." I loved that. And "I just wanna hang." Suddenly their past history flashed in my mind, and I saw them all the way back to WTTH, when Willow says to Buffy Xander hid her Barbie doll when they were boyfriend and girlfriend in kindergarten.

At the bluff, despite the fact that they are older, despite the fact that Dark Magick has blackened Willow's hair and soul, she still is the same character who wore floods and brought boxed lunches. And Xander - by essentially telling her that, no matter what, he loved her, always had, always will - brought her back. And, oh, yeah, saved the world.

Was this sappy? I don't think so at all. I was reminded of my favorite scene as a kid, from the classic children's book Wrinkle in Time. Meg tells her brother she loves him and breaks him from the clutches of the evil uber-brain It. Return of the Jedi has a similar end with Luke getting through to his father, Darth Vader, saving his soul at the last moment.

Anyway, this has been a long way to say this: ME got it, yet again. The emotional truth. They put the feelings on the line, and, for this fan at least, it paid off. I was dealing with a real painful lump in the throat by the credits. And whoever says it didn't work is just either not familiar with the characters, or has too much of an irony shield to let it in.

[> Re: Love vs. Irony and the final act of Grave (spoilers) -- maddog, 11:24:20 05/27/02 Mon

I think those that call it too easy are missing the point...that's exactly what it was supposed to be. Simple. No crazy magical ending. No Buffy using her superhuman strength to kick someone's ass. It was simply Xander telling his best friend that he was going to be her friend whether she was the old or new Willow. That's the beauty of it. That's what people overlook because they all want flashy and complex. Sometimes the simplest answer is the best.

[> I can feel the good in you. -- Shul, 17:40:44 05/27/02 Mon

The emperor has not driven it from you fully.

[> Re: Love vs. Irony and the final act of Grave (spoilers) -- Rhonda, 23:09:34 05/27/02 Mon

I agree with all you said and I also loved A Wrinkle In Time especially the scene you spoke of. You said you had a lump in the back of your throat-I was bawling my butt off. My eyes were swollen just about shut. To say it touched me is a major understatement.

Trial, justice and Mercy -- Rahael, 12:33:25 05/27/02 Mon

Running throughout the season finale was the idea of 'trial' – mental, physical and legal.

The idea of justice and vengeance is interwoven. Tara's death, the catalyst for the events of TTG/G was unjust, senseless and unmeant. It sends Willow on the rampage for vengeance, which she sees as justice. Her torture of Warren is a twisted version of a trial, with Willow as judge, jury and executioner. Katrina is a kind of ghostly witness. We then see her break Andrew and Jonathan out of jail, so she can finish of her search for 'justice', and in this idea of justice is the concept of mental and physical 'trial'. It is not enough for her to kill them, they must suffer, undergo physical punishment. Warren is subjected to trail; Andrew and Jonathan must be hunted and terrified.

There was another resonance for me in Willow's search for vengeance, and those were lynchings. Often, people were broken out of jail so they could be lynched. And in Anya's comment that Willow had bloodied up the forest killing Warren, there was (to me) an echo of Nina Simone's song, 'Strange fruit'. Twisted, blackened bodies hanging on trees. Blood at the roots. Scent of magnolia, and then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

The whole of season 6 is about 'emotional' trial. About choices, and about how the characters conducted themselves. At the moment of their trial, would they be found wanting? This climaxes in the finale. Buffy and Spike the two warriors, have physical trials. At the core, however, these have at their heart a moment of immense choice. I'm still not convinced that Spike knew what he was getting himself into. But it seems to me that it reflects life yet again – sometimes we make our choices, other times, we have it thrust onto us. Did Angel choose to see the young Buffy, to fall in love with her? No, he found himself unable not to.

Xander and Willow, of course have the most obvious moral and emotional trials. The final, triumphant moment Xander and Willow overcoming everything, is actually a sign of their previous failure. If Xander and communicated his love for Willow earlier, if Willow had succeeded learning from her previous 'trials' she would not be standing on a cliff about to destroy the world. Every lesson the Scoobies learn in the finale was already known to them. Throughout season 6, the Scoobies seem to know where they should be getting too, and yet, they keep getting stuck – they haven't grasped the spirit of the law. (I think it was Anya who succeeded, and who showed the most grasp of 'oh grow up'. She didn't voice these lessons, she just acted in their spirit).

I want to point to a theme of 'scarring'. Emotional scars, which seem equated to 'Experience' which ME keeps demonstrating 'on the body'. Willow showed black veins over her face. Spike's body was scarred all over during his trial. Xander's body becoming marked during his conversation with Willow. This goes back to the very beginning of the season, where the common experience of death shared by Spike and Buffy was demonstrated by their mutual wounds. I really like Age's point that becoming a demon could be equated to the process of growing up, becoming an adult, and that the scar tissue, the toughening and roughening up of your flesh equates to the necessary marks of experience.

There was another very physical theme – that of 'heart'. When the Demon gave Spike his soul, he places his hand directly over Spike's heart. Willow puts her hand into Giles's heart to reach his 'good' magic. This echoes previous episodes. Buffy reaches into Adam's heart to kill him. She reaches into the demon-in-the-basement's heart to kill it. And of course, Xander's speech about Love comes not only from his heart, but gives Willow the other powerful 'magic from the heart' which finally stops her in her tracks.

Another theme running through the finale, is Regeneration. Where the beginning of Season 6 spoke about death, the finale talked of new life. Both Spike and Buffy are underground. This not only resonates of 'hell', the basement and crypt they both keep spending their time in during Season 6, but of seeds, hibernating during winter. When Buffy crawls out she sees green everywhere. The demon's eyes are green.

And the final outcome of everyone's trial is mercy. The song at the end talks about the meeting of hatred with love, peace with discord. The search for vengeance, judgment in the Season finale is met with the gentle quality of mercy. There has been an interesting trend in season finales, to show people being most powerful when they are at their weakest. When they are emotionally strong, but physically weak. Buffy in the Gift gives away all her strength and triumphs. In this season, force cannot stop Willow, she must be stopped with pure emotion. In Primeval, Buffy turns bullets into doves. In Restless, Joss says he deliberately had a non-climactic ending. Buffy simply gets so annoyed by the First Slayer, she refuses to fight her, and wakes up. Buffy never defeats the earth monsters in Grave, they simply disappear. Her real struggle throughout Season 6 is to accept corporeality. To evade the lure of the grave, which is signified by her affair with Spike. He is her death wish personified. And this is why she feels so guilty about their relationship. Because she didn't go looking for hearts and flowers. She went looking for 'darkness and death, things which are not'. Sophist wanted me to repost somewhere, my view that Spike's journey to Africa, his tangling in the Heart of Darkness is the whole Slayer/Vamp encounter in the minature. Buffy is the one character who has been most firmly identified with Africa, who has been called 'primal'. Her power arises from a dark, old, neutral force, which is beyond good and evil....

My personal view is whatever Spike's journey, it will not involve a romantic liaison with Buffy again (or anyway, I hope not!). And the fact that he obtained his desire through physical combat, in a season finale which emphasized the importance of emotion over force, of helplessness over brute strength, seems interesting to me.

I rewatched some parts of Season 6 last night. (Staying well away from Smashed and Wrecked!) What a fabulous episode Tabula Rasa was. I can't wait to see more eps written by Kirshner. I really liked the Halloween episode. That together with Dead Things and Seeing Red means that De Knight is becoming a big favourite with me. I am also now totally converted to the idea that Diego Guitierrez is just a nom de plume for Joss Whedon. Joss with his Philip K Dick hat on.

[> Re: Trial, justice and Mercy -- redcat, 14:20:38 05/27/02 Mon

Ah, Rahael, I do love how you write and enjoy many of your insights. Now that I've finally seee the finale (!), I, too, am intrigued by, as you say, "the fact that he [Spike] obtained his desire through physical combat, in a season finale which emphasized the importance of emotion over force...." Am still thinking this through, but I think it's significant.

However, dear one, I do have one tiny correction for you. 'Strange fruit' was written by Billie Holiday, not Nina Simone. Simone did a great cover of it, but it was Billie's personal signature song.

She sang it at nearly every public performance from the year she wrote it until her death. She recorded it over and over, re-worked the phrasing and the vocal intonations; she sometimes had to fight fiercely to get it recorded and, on more than one occassion, had to fight to be able to sing it at certain venues. Her first written work on the lyrics came during a tour (she was the "colored-girl-singer" with an all-white male band) through the American South in the mid-1930s. She often spoke in interviews about the experience of being on the band's bus and driving past the bodies of several lynched Black men hanging from the trees along the road. -- Just FYI :)

[> [> Thanks for putting me right! -- Rahael, 14:36:31 05/27/02 Mon

I'm sure I've heard both versions, but the only one I've had on tape for a while was the Simone version. Now I'm eager to find Holliday's version.

[> [> Re: Spike's Day -- Brian, 14:40:47 05/27/02 Mon

Rahael, you got my thinking with that thought about Buffy's search for death leading her to Spike. It echoes Spike's words that when her death wish becomes manifest, he'll "slip in and have a real good day." Neither realized that their sexual adventure would be the result. Now they need to move on to the next level of their relationship.

[> [> [> I should have said - Spoilers for TTG/G in my post, and in this thread. -- Rahael, 14:42:20 05/27/02 Mon

[> [> Actually -- ponygirl, 17:20:18 05/27/02 Mon

Strange Fruit was written by Abel Meeropel, a Jewish schoolteacher and songwriter. Billie Holiday was definitely the most well-known singer of the song and she apparently did little to discourage the belief that she wrote it. There was a doc on this at a Jewish film festival in Toronto which I didn't catch but it sounded like an interesting story, since it also dealt with the prejudice Jews faced in the Deep South in that era as well.

[> [> The real writer of Strange Fruit. -- darrenK (being pedantic), 19:00:32 05/27/02 Mon

First off, I wanted to give a shout-out to Rahael. Haven't exchanged messages in a while, hope you're doing well. Now on with the show...

Below is info on the writer of Strange Fruit that I pulled off the internet. He was a really interesting man.

Schoolteacher, Abel Meeropol, who wrote under the pen name "Lewis Allan," did not write the song for [Billie] Holiday; several others, including Meeropol's wife, Anne, had sung it before her. And yet, so completely did Holiday come to own "Strange Fruit" that Meeropol--who is better remembered nowadays for adopting the orphaned sons of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg following their parents' execution than for his thousands of other songs and poems--spent half a lifetime, starting with the moment the song became famous, reminding people that it was really his creation, and his alone.

"I wrote 'Strange Fruit' because I hate lynching and I hate injustice and I hate the people who perpetuate it," Meeropol- -a political activist whom Margolick calls a "closet Communist"-- said in 1971. Meeropol's occasional collaborator, Earl Robinson--who himself wrote "Ballad for Americans" and "Joe Hill"--admired Meeropol's "inexhaustible ability to turn out topical lyrics." Meeropol "wrote incessantly--poems, ballads, musicals, plays--all using the nom de plume 'Lewis Allan,' the names of his two natural- born children, neither of whom survived infancy." Apart from "Strange Fruit," he is also known for his lyrics to "'The House I Live In' (a paean to tolerance co-written by Earl Robinson and sung by Frank Sinatra in a short film that won a special Oscar in 1945)."

[> [> [> thanks for the correction, ponygirl and darrenK! -- redcat, 08:38:06 05/28/02 Tue

And apologies to Rahael. Guess I got taken in by Holiday's oft-repeated story of scribbling lyrics for "SF" on the band's bus. I rechecked and you both are absolutely right. Meeropol/Allen did write the song and Holiday even sporadically acknowledged his authorship. So thanks!

[> [> [> [> another triumph for the pedants! ;) -- ponygirl, 08:54:15 05/28/02 Tue

[> [> Re: sorry for looking like a picky nerd -- zooey, 02:23:56 05/28/02 Tue

definitely billie Holiday's signature song, but she didn't write it, a poet wrote it for her (I can't rem,eber who at the moment) came up and asked her to set it to music and sing it. One of the most beautiful songs she sang.

[> Re: Trial, justice and Mercy -- Caroline, 07:13:47 05/28/02 Tue

Excellent post, as always.

I think you're right about the trial being a theme that is running through the entire season. Part of growing up is the process of being tested, of being forged in the fires, stripping away the unnecessary and getting to the core of what is most important. In this season, what has been most important is the Self, and the characters have been going through an alchemical process towards 'coniuncto', a union of the different parts of their psyche to become Self.

Each of the main characters has been stripped of something they deeply desire, and each has made a journey through the darkest recesses of their identity as a result. I think this is why the imagery of Inanna's descent to the Great Below and Persephone's abduction by Hades ring so true for me. Each of these myths is about losing parts of oneself so that one becomes transformed to something greater than one could have imagined, or even wanted. Growing up feels like that kind of process to me, Hopefully, the trials they have experienced and the scars they have borne will lead them to a greater understanding of Self.

And understanding the Self means looking past notions of oneself as good and evil and going beyond society's norms of good and evil and recognising that one is neither good nor bad, one just 'is'. And that is when the true treasure or fruit of the Self becomes evident. I think this is the stage that Buddhism speaks to - when one gets beyone attractions and repulsions, good and bad, happiness and sadness and sees all polarities and oppositions as an essential unity. I wonder what if the writers will go this far and what implications this will have for good humans and bad demons.

As for Buffy and Spike, I'm quite happy to go where the writers wish to take us - I'm indifferent to a continuation or cessation of a sexual liaison - but I also feel that it's really not the point. The point, for me, is that Spike may have been part of Buffy's journey into the underworld where she did go seeking death (like Inanna and Persephone) but, like these two goddesses, she also found a process of transformation and rebirth. And she will become something greater than she ever imagined.

Why is Drusilla the way she is? -- Earl Allison, 17:02:12 05/27/02 Mon

We know, or at least assume, that most of the behaviors and personality evidenced by a vampire is a morals-free version of their original -- where did Drusilla's come from?

We've seen that Drusilla is sadistic, murderous, has SERIOUS Oedepal issues in regards to Angel, and a rarely seen recollection of the pains she suffered before being driven mad and turned.

Is Drusilla's insane vampire personality a warped reflection of the repressions of her day? Or are many of the undesirable traits the result of Angelus' torments? Not so much true reflections of repressed traits, but new ones brought to the forefront and then warped by the demon once Drusilla was vamped?

We see that Drusilla harbors some resentment for the actions Angel committed on her and her loved ones -- it's evident in the fact that she asks to torture Angel, and in what she says while doing so in Season Two.

However, we also know that she has an intense sexual/Sire- Childe attraction to Angel, frequently shown when she calls him "Daddy," or mentions playing with him (implied sex), or her far racier comments in Angel S2 about promising to be bad if he spanks her and Darla. Some of that MIGHT be chalked up to the repressive attitudes of the day -- and Drusilla's taking Vows at the convent, but it also might be a result of her torments by Angel.

So, in a very odd way, is Drusilla the vampire at all a reflection of Drusilla the woman, or did Angel's torments warp her beyond the standards of vampirization (if there is such a word)?

Take it and run.

[> Re: Why is Drusilla the way she is? -- Bellagracelyn, 20:02:24 05/27/02 Mon

I have always wondered 'bout Drusilla myself. This doesn't answer your query but how is it that vampire Dru retained the psychic abilities of human Dru? If Dru's pure soul is in the ether, and a demon now inhabits her body with just the her memories-are psychic abilities not linked to the soul but to memory? Huh?

[> [> Dru's Psychic Abilities -- O'Cailleagh, 20:33:18 05/27/02 Mon

This is something that is probably far too convoluted to go into in detail here, but I'll give it a go!

Metaphysically speaking, we have a larger number of 'bodies' than is generally thought. these overlap and interact, and are effectively what people know as the aura.
On the 'lowest' level, we have the physical body- this comprises of our flesh, blood, bones, organs, etc. Surrounding this are other layers such as the mental/emotional bodies, the astral body, the etheric body, and the soul. The body utilised would vary depending on the type of psychic work that you were doing, i.e. telepathy/empathy would use the mental/emotional bodies, clairvoyance would use the spiritual body, and astral projection, the astral body. The soul is not used in such ways, it is the body that forms the link to, or *is* the Divine. As this seems to be the only body that is 'removed' upon becoming a vampire (to be replaced by the demon), it should have little bearing on the psychic abilities of the other bodies. Hope that cleared it up for you! One thing I don't get though is, how come vampires minds can't be read? I don't buy that 'minds not casting a reflection' thing...especially with Dru's abilities, and the fact that Spike could hear Willow's telepathic commands.

The Ballad of Railroaded Buffy / We Can Be Heroes - Thoughts on *TTG / Grave* (*Spoilers*) -- OnM, 17:38:48 05/27/02 Mon


Apologies to Andy Breckman...


Now Sunnydale Buffy was a hard-workin’ Slayer / Used to take her vamps two at a time
Everybody said she was the very finest Slayer / Ever slayed along the Sunnydale line

Her name was known from the malls in the valley / To the tippy-top of Kingman’s Bluff
And all the little girls when they were sneaking cigarettes, / They used to dream about bein’ like Buf.

Now one day Buffy was walkin’ along / And she saw a nerd stuck up in a tree
When she saw what was the matter she ran to get a ladder / And set that li’l nerd free

And Buffy said “No-- I’m not gonna do it. / I’m not gonna climb up some tree”
“This is a stupid stupid story / And no TV writer’s gonna make a fool out of me”

Uhhh... Now one day Buffy was walkin’ along / And she saw a nerd stuck up in a tree
When she saw what was the matter she ran to get a ladder / And set that li’l nerd free.

Buffy said, ‘No, I am NOT going to do it. / I’m not going to do what you said.”
“This is a stupid stupid arc, and as far as I'm concerned, / That nerd can stay there 'till he's dead."

I said, "Wait a minute, Buf, you can't argue with me. / For God's sake, I just made him up!
I got keyboard under hand, I want you up in that tree, / And I want that nerd unstuck!"

And Buf said, "No! I hate schlock! / I’m not gonna slack for no hack!
Why don't you have me save some handsome Groosalugg, / Metaphorically tied to a railroad track?"

I said, "Well, the gender-reversal is clever, agreed, / But right now I want you up in that tree.
I'm the writer, goddamn; I give the fans what they need, / And you're supposed to listen to me."

Listen to you? Why should I listen to you? / You should be listening to me instead.”
“I'm a Post-Modern Superwoman, and if I were real, / I could separate your neck from your head!”

“Why, you ungrateful bitch!” I cried, "You've pushed me too far! / I'll show you I can do as I please.”
Just then an earthquake came and shook the whole terrain / And brought poor young Buf to her knees.

And then a mudslide slid and everything got hid, / And Buf was almost buried apace.
And then a big ugly Quellor from an asteroid landed / And slimed Buffy S. on the face.

“I got keys under hand! I can do what I want! / I'm a bright new young writer on the rise.”
“So get your ass up that tree, or I swear you ain't gonna / Get out of this season alive.”

She said, “You don't scare me. / You may be funny, but you don't scare me.”
“And if you don't leave me alone, I'm gonna tell everybody / Where you stole this parody.”

But before she could speak, her voice was hushed, / And she could not make a sound.
Then she jumped on top of me and she grabbed me by the throat / And she pulled me to the ground.

And then she kicked me in the stomach and punched me in the face real hard
And I think she almost broke my nose.
Just then a glowing dimensional portal came out of nowhere and enveloped her in it’s mystical energies
And killed her instantly.

Well, the nerd came down from the tree, / Ate some pizza, went to sleep for the night.
Buffy Summers is survived by a vamp and several small Scoobies. / Dear God, I love to write.


Uhhh... Mr. Smarty-Pants Writer... Seems you forgot about one little thing...

Oh sh*t... it’s Darth Rosenberg...


Buffy: I guess I wasn’t ready before. It took a long time for that feeling to go away. The feeling
that I wasn’t really here. It was like... when I clawed my way out of that grave... I left something behind. I
just... (much longer pause) I don’t understand why I’m back.

Giles: (kindly) You have a calling.

Buffy: But it was my time, Giles. Someone would have taken my place. (very long pause)
So why?

Giles does not respond. He looks pensively distracted, unable to present any logical reason.

Buffy: Right.


Moments like the scene above are one of the many reasons why Buffy the Vampire Slayer still
stands head and shoulders above just about any other past or present television drama. Sarah and Tony
Head were absolutely perfect in this scene, just as they were in the one that mirrors it exactly one year ago
in The Gift, when Buffy and Giles talk about the coming apocalypse, and how many others they
fought to defeat before, how they always were triumphant in the end.

Buffy is running largely in warrior mode, because her thoughts are so dark that she can’t bear to let the
human side have dominance. She is angry at Giles for suggesting that it may be necessary to kill Dawn,
although she realizes that he is very likely right. She calms somewhat after talking quietly with him, as he
puts himself into ‘father mode’, allowing her a sounding board for her inner anguish. He allows her space,
and he allows her to do things her way, even if that way is counter to his beliefs. He respects and trusts his
‘daughter’, and she gains a sense of that. She gathers the resolve to do what must be done.

Many fans have asked the question, what does Joss Whedon have against fathers? It’s a completely valid
question, seeing as how often throughout the course of the series he and many of the other writers who
write in his image have left the viewing audience with the clear impression that fathers are somehow
morally corrupt and abusive at best, outright evil at worst. Well, the man’s entitled to convey his
impressions of the world, good or bad, but if there is one thing that I believe that Joss has made abundantly
clear, it’s that his ideal of a father figure is represented by the character of Rupert Giles.

This ideal image, strangely (or perhaps not so) is not of a perfect person. Giles has flaws, some benign,
some occasionally more glaring. One flaw he does not harbor is the open admiration and love he expresses
for his ‘daughter’ and her friends.



[Interior; Giles’ apartment; night. Camera angle - A pocket watch swings before us, catching the light. We
hear voices, far off and echoey.]

Giles: You have to stop thinking. Let it wash over you.

Buffy: (amused) You don’t think it’s a little old fashioned?

Giles: This is the way men and women have behaved since the beginning, before time.

[Camera angle - Giles and Buffy. We are as far from them as we can be, they are a tableau within the
arpartment, all the furniture gone except the chair Buffy sits in, primly, erect.]

Giles: (in voice-over): Now look into the light.

[Camera closes on - Buffy, as the light gambols about her eyes, and she laughs, playfully.]


In Grave, there is no residual anger to dissipate before a connection is made. Buffy is overjoyed to
see Giles again, and the feeling is obviously mutual.

You’ve cut your hair.

Willow is (temporarily) trapped in a binding spell, and Buffy and Giles retreat to the training room behind
the Magic Box storefront. This time there is no hesitation when Giles asks to be filled in on ‘what’s gone
wrong’-- Buffy spills it out quickly and concisely, including the most humiliating confession of all-- her
sexual relations with Spike.

We wait, anticipating a baleful look, a critical, disappointed glance. Instead, yet another high point of the
entire series comes when Giles laughs, not cruelly, but gleefully at the inherent absurdity of it all. Buffy
looks momentarily bewildered, then starts to giggle, then also can no longer contain herself. A season’s
worth of high angst brought to earth in a matter of less than a minute. Buffy has regained her perspective
and her sense of proportion. The spiritual healing process that began in Normal Again is now nearly
complete. There is just a few small remaining acts necessary to complete the long journey and bring our
heroine to full awareness, and those will come very soon.

I’m not going to spend much time on Two to Go, since while it’s certainly necessary, it’s largely a
connective episode, much as Villians was. Willow continues her vengeful rampage, as I expected,
now with non-Warren folks as the targets. On the surface, the three endseason eps would seem to be all
about Willow, and superficially they are. I think that what has gotten lost in the midst of the attention paid
to the emergence of the S6 ‘real’ big bad is that this story is still primarily about Buffy. It is a
glorious irony to end all BtVS ironies that as a paramount personal moment in the entirety of the life story
of Buffy Summers comes to the fore, that Buffy herself is not the active element in reaching that
moment. It strikes me that she is instead somewhat analogous to the concept of ‘The Fifth Element’, a
focal point that enables other ‘elements’ to achieve power and determination of their own spiritual selves.


Buffy: Now give me back my friends.

The Primitive is defeated. Buffy wakes up. Buffy’s friends come back to her. Did Buffy make this possible?
Yes. Did Buffy do it single-handedly? Never. In each and every year for the past 6 years, Buffy triumphs
because of her friends, and her love for them, and they for her. In year one, she defeats the Master because
Xander revives her after the Master has brought about her ‘prophesied’ death. In year two, Willow saves
her (albeit with a horrible price) by restoring Angel’s soul and thus preventing him from destroying her
(and the rest of the world). In year three, the motif changes as the entire high school-- many of whom
‘don’t know you very well’-- bands together under Buffy’s leadership to defeat Mayor Wilkins, and
coincidentally both literally and figuratively end the ‘High School Years’

Now, the ‘College Years’ begin. In year four, the Scoobies ‘seperate’ and then ultimately come together to
create an ‘uber-Buffy’ capable of defeating the man-demon- machine hybrid Adam. The key to his defeat is
an idea suggested by Xander, mirroring year one of the High School Years. In year five, Buffy fights-- and
defeats-- a god. Willow is again the ‘big gun’, her magical abilities acting to put Glory ‘on the ropes’,
retrieve Tara’s mind, and also restoring the Buffybot, a point seemingly trivial at the time, but key to the
beginning of the events of year six. Buffy dies of course, but dies a very inspiring, righteous, warrior’s
death. (Buffy, therefore, has every right to ask why she was returned to the land of the living.)

In year six, there are no other external monsters to defeat. Where do you go after conquering a god? It’s
the junior year of the College Years. The realization dawns that soon the ‘schooling’ process will be over,
and then it’s time to ‘make your way in the world’. It’s also become very painfully evident that doing so
might not be all that easy. It is natural to want things to stay the way they always were-- we fight, we win.
Now the idea that we might not win is rearing it’s ugly self. This makes a fertile breeding ground
for insecurities, and lacking external leadership or suffienct self-awareness/confidence, they multiply with
all due speed.

Willow returns Buffy to life, but Buffy seems unappreciative. Xander offers to marry Anya, but now
hesitates, and at length disengages from the plan. Giles feels his presence is inhibiting the maturing of his
charges by making them, especially Buffy, excessively dependent on him, and leaves Sunnydale. Dawn is
whiny and erratic in her behavior, a reflection of her older sister’s listlessness and lack of genuine focus.
Buffy is hurt worst of all, feeling cheated of her just reward for serving her calling, although she never
freely chose it. Nothing she can do, no matter how ‘passionate’, restores her sense of purpose.

But now she laughs at herself. In one of those strange and synchronistic happenings that pervade the
Buffyverse, Giles returns at exactly the right moment. Had he returned even a short time before,
Buffy would not have been ready to accept the absurdity that the perspective of higher self-awareness has
now made clear to her. The needs of the moment are no less pressing, to be sure, but it isn’t ‘the end of the
world’-- it’s just another difficult problem to solve, and she is the Slayer, The Chosen One. She can handle

In the Buffyverse, nothing ever gets better before it gets worse; generally much, much worse. The final
episode follows this pattern, as did the entire season. Willow escapes from Giles’ binding spell (as we knew
she would). Having already killed Warren, terrorized Andrew and Jonathan, killed Rack, threatened to turn
Dawn back into an energy ball, threw Buffy’s weaknesses in her face and subsequently ‘kicked every
square inch of her ass’, Willow has ascended the ranks, from the pathetic losers of the geek chorus up
through Dawn and then Buffy, and now there is only one person left to put down, to pile all of her anger
and self-loathing onto-- Giles, the father figure, the ‘Watcher’, the source of wisdom and guidance. She
appears to succeed, and as the final coup, takes his ‘borrowed magicks’ to use for her own ends.

The power is overwhelming, but the magic, as do all serious magicks, comes with a price. The price puts
Willow in ‘contact’ with the minds of the world’s inhabitants, in a scenario reminiscent of both Cordy’s
ordeal at the end of A:tS season one and Buffy’s in Earshot. Willow feels the pain and despair of all
those souls, and unlike Buffy and Cordy, her ingestion of all the dark forces from the books and powers
stolen from Rack does not direct her to want to end the pain by making the lives of those souls better, but
by ending all of the lives so that the suffering will eternally stop.

This ‘logic’ is fully in keeping with Willow’s personality as we have seen it expressed throughout the entire
last six years. Willow doesn’t carry Buffy’s understanding (aided by the warrior part of her nature) that
pain can be transitory, that sometimes you have to work through it and just be accepting that it will
eventually pass. Willow needs to stop the pain, now, and at last she has the power to do so (or
thinks she does). She is perfectly willing to include herself in the destruction that will stop the pain, which
makes her even more immune to embracing reason. (In Villains: ‘I’m not coming back’.)

So the crucial moment is finally at hand, and again mirroring the events of The Gift, the night has
ended and the sun is rising, but despite the new day apocalypse appears nigh. Willow conjures the
appearance of a ‘satanic temple’ on a high bluff overlooking Sunnydale, and is going to pull the mystic
forces from the Earth itself and redirect them through a demonic visage and turn the world into a cinder.
Buffy and Dawn are trapped in a hole in the Earth, and are being beset by monsters that emerge from the
ground and seemed to be composed of soil and roots. Willow remarks that she was responsible for
bringing Buffy up out of the earth, and now she has returned her to it, back to where Buffy supposedly
longs to be. She says that Buffy is a warrior, and should go out fighting, thus providing her with the ‘earth
monsters’ to battle.

This is another of those transcendent moments that ME always manages to pull out of the creative
wellspring. On the one hand, Willow is currently mistaken about what Buffy really wants, but at one time
she would not have been, Buffy has even said to Giles just a short while earlier in this same episode that
‘she doesn’t know why she is here, it was her time’ to die one year ago. On the other hand, Buffy needs
just two more small pushes to make her journey to ‘adulthood’ complete, and if Willow had not acted to
place Buffy in her current dire situation, Buffy may not have made those last small but imperative jumps.

First, something of staggering importance to the entire series that Buffy says is nearly buried in some
overlapping dialog, which I think was deliberate on ME’s part. Willow is chanting, conjuring her
earth-destroying spell. Buffy is speaking to Dawn while they are trapped down in the pit. Dawn is trying to
remind Buffy that Giles has said ‘no supernatural power can stop her, the Slayer cannot stop her’, referring
to Willow, of course. Buffy replies, angrily, that:

“I have to try. I’m not going to just sit here while Willow incinerates something that I have chosen to

Whoa! I have chosen. Stop and think here now... Buffy has always done her duty,
sacrificed herself if need be, answered the call. All well and good, and frankly as much as we should
expect, in all reasonableness. Slayerhood is a horrendous and deadly burden to place upon anyone. Who
would willingly choose it? Buffy has never chosen to be a Slayer, in fact has often lamented that
she didn’t ask for it, didn’t want it.

Willow may never be the same after this season, but neither will Buffy. Buffy has now chosen to be
a Slayer, of her own free will

Second, I’ll excerpt a section from the end of my review of Wrecked, in the late fall of last year:

(One remaining, tiny, shift in space finds us...)

In the next room over, Dawn is dreaming, walking down a dark street late at might, feeling strangely free
of fear in spite of the ominous surroundings. An odd internal sensation, like a spine-tingle, but not quite,
causes her to stop and look around her. Suddenly, a tall, powerful looking vampire jumps from a fire
escape down right in front of her, fangs bared, bloodlust glaring from it’s cold, dark eyes. Without missing
a beat, she kicks it powerfully in the abdomen, knocking it flying to the hard cement. In a matter of
seconds she jumps and straddles it, her arm swinging up and just as blindingly fast plunging down, impaling
the creature through the heart, watching it turn to dry bones and then dust beneath her. She stands, feeling
an immense sense of satisfaction, and strangely, hunger. The dreamscape bleeds and shifts, and she is
opening the door of a refrigerator. As she sits down at the kitchen table with a bowl of ice cream and a
very large glass of milk, she feels her body tremble in a not unpleasant way, and thinks, God, what a
rush that was...

(The Phantoms depart, and we fade to black.)

Now, as usual, I guessed some things correctly, and many other things incorrectly about what would
happen in this years’s season finale. (One of the occasional cases where being wrong is often better than
being right, since few things are more boring than predicability in art). One thing I am able to rightfully pat
myself on the back about is that Buffy is finally recognizing that Dawn is no longer a helpless child, but has
‘power’ of her own to learn to accept and deal with. Buffy has not only accepted the gift that her mother
bequeathed her in Normal Again, the sense of self- confidence, but now she has integrated the gift
that Giles has given her, a sense of confidence in the abilities and future independence of her
metaphorical and (nearly) literal ‘child’, Dawn.

As Giles told Buffy that he still ‘respected and had confidence in her’ in the wake of Buffy’s ‘loss of
innocence’ to Angel during season two, Buffy symbolically does the same to Dawn by handing her the
sword and asking for her help in Grave. Buffy is ‘looking into the light’ and ‘letting it wash over
her’ here. The light is the light of the future, the light at the end of the tunnel. All along this past season,
Buffy has feared the light, thought it was an oncoming train. Convinced that she would never feel her soul
comforted by heaven again, Buffy has falsely assumed that no light or heat will ever warm her, she
‘touches the fire, and it freezes me’.

The reaction of Dawn is telling-- this is the moment she has been waiting for, the moment to prove that she
is her own person, that she can step up to the challenges presented to her and succeed. Her sister, who has
been nothing but well-intentioned in trying to ‘protect’ her, has nonetheless undermined her sense of self.
Now in this moment, one of supreme importance, life and death itself, her sister does not offer to ‘die to
protect her’, but asks for her help in conquering the evil at hand. Dawn proves up to the task, and the look
of astonishment on Buffy’s face after Dawn slays the root- creature is priceless. Willow may succeed in
ending the world, but if she does, these two young women will die as equals.

Willow almost does succeed, but then the only person who could logically stop her-- at least obvious in
retrospect, I admit I didn’t see it coming-- steps into the fray. Also in retrospect, it makes perfect
sense that Xander would be the last person to face Dark Willow and the most likely person to succeed.

“Ohh, no. You may be a hopped-up uber-witch, but this carpenter can still drywall you into the next

Ah, the carpenter reference. Xander as Christ? Maybe, maybe not. A few seasons back there was a lot of
speculation that predicted an upcoming ‘Big Scooby Death’ and that Xander was the most likely candidate
for same. Much of the reasoning applied towards that conclusion related to portents and foreshadowings
that dropped Christ-reference clues in Xander’s direction. Of course, nothing came of that during the
actual season, but we all know ME plans far, far ahead. On the other hand, he managed to step right smack
in front of what should have been a helleacios amount of energy, and it just stopped cold. Powers?
Something power-wise is going on here, no doubt. Buffy appears to not be the only Scooby who
can alter reality by will alone.

It really doesn’t matter, what does is that Buffy doesn’t save the day, Xander does. This season sees Buffy
in her future, ‘Senior Year’ role as not just a lone warrior, but as a true leader who allows others around
her to claim their own gifts and powers, even if those powers serve in a humble fashion most of the time.
Moments will come and go, and sometimes anyone can be a hero, if they have the right inspiration. Buffy
has inspired many other people in her time as Slayer, both directly and indirectly. When Buffy succeeds,
others around her do also. When Buffy becomes a better person, so do her friends and family. The reverse
is equally true. Xander may have saved the world en masse, but Buffy has saved herself, and so can go on
to help others ‘see the light’.

The season opened with Buffy crawling out of the earth into the darkness, fearing she was in hell. The
season ended with Buffy crawling out of the earth into the light, seeing that heaven was all around her. She
walks forward from the edge of the pit, face alive and radiant with joy. Dawn walks up behind her, and the
camera angle pivots slightly in much the same subtle way it did when Buffy seemed to momentarily gain
the stone wings of the angel in the graveyard last fall. As the pivot completes, Dawn is shown standing to
the front of Buffy, even though she is technically still behind her distance-wise. The child that is the future,
standing tall and unafraid. As they walk off towards the gloriously scenic view of the valley, Dawn has her
arm around her sister’s back, but still walks slightly ahead. Then they are side by side. Past is prologue.

So, as I remarked much earlier, this is still Buffy’s story. It’s just that Buffy’s story is everyone’s story--
her ‘child’s’, her friend’s, even us.

At the end of Becoming Part II, Joss chose to use a Sarah McLauchlin song as an emotional conveyance
for the season’s ending moments. He chose to use one again in the conclusion of Grave, a
wonderful choice not only because of the literal appropriateness of the words, but because the song
represents the conclusion of this very significant part of the long Hero’s Journey, a return from uncertainty
into enlightenment, as the former denoted a departure from innocence into uncertainty.

I’ll end this essay, and this season, with another hopeful tune that still understands that hope involves
struggle, and that the struggle never ends.


I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
We can beat them, just for one day
We can be Heroes, just for one day

And you, you can be mean / And I, I'll drink all the time
'Cos we're lovers, and that is a fact / Yes we're lovers, and that is that
Though nothing, will keep us together / We could steal time, just for one day
We can be Heroes, for ever and ever
What d'you say?

I, I can remember / Standing, by the wall
And the guns, shot above our heads / And we kissed, as though nothing could fall
And the shame, was on the other side
Oh we can beat them, for ever and ever
Then we could be Heroes, just for one day

We're nothing, and nothing will help us
Maybe we're lying, then you better not stay
But we could be safer, just for one day
We could be Heroes
Just for one day

............ David Bowie


Oh, yeah, then there’s Spike. Howzabout that soul thing, huh? Far out.



[> OnM, as always ... Kaboom! -- julia, 19:57:59 05/27/02 Mon

[> Re: The Ballad of Railroaded Buffy / We Can Be Heroes - Thoughts on *TTG / Grave* (*Spoilers*) -- JBone, 20:06:23 05/27/02 Mon

First of all, brilliant and complete analysis, even more so than usual.

"I have to try. I'm not going to just sit here while Willow incinerates something that I have chosen to protect".

I heard and saw this the first time I watched the episode for a split second, but since it was as you said "buried", I glossed over it. But you are right, this was huge. It signals a change in her view of her calling. Shortly after Giles reminds her that it is a calling that she answers.

[> A Masterpiece _ Congrats OnM -- Dochawk, 20:28:51 05/27/02 Mon

[> Re: The Ballad of Railroaded Buffy / We Can Be Heroes - Thoughts on *TTG / Grave* (*Spoilers*) -- Dochawk, 20:30:46 05/27/02 Mon

And you got Spike's contribution just right! This is what I have been saying forever, that this is Buffy's story and all else is nice but incidental.

[> [> Thanks, Doc! I was hoping I didn't go overboard on the Spikeage ... ;-) -- OnM, 05:02:44 05/28/02 Tue

'Incidental' might be just a little excessive, but, yeah, I really wanted to concentrate on Buffy, especially since the writers structured things to make it look like all the action was elsewhere.

None of the Scoobies-- and for that matter Cordy, Angel, Riley, the Sunnydale High Class of '99, even the wayward Jonathan-- would be where they are today without Buffy. Buffy enables the heroism within the ordinary human, which in the long run is just as important as the more showy apocalypse-ending stuff.

Not to mention that a living hero, albeit a flawed one, is still a better role-model than a dead one whose human nature gets buried along with them. History books provide the safety of distance, many times a good thing, other times not.

Glad you liked my ramble. Thanks!

[> Wowza! Beatiful post, OnM! -- Scroll, 20:43:18 05/27/02 Mon

I especially like your take on Dawn as the next generation. In "Tabula Rasa", Giles tells Buffy that he'd taught her all she needs to know about slaying, and Joyce had taught her all she needs to know about life. Buffy has always been able to apply her Slayer knowledge to herself, and after "Grave" she's finally ready to apply all she knows about life from Joyce. And I think Buffy is also ready to teach these two things to Dawn. I can't wait to see how ME runs with this. To misquote Tara, everything is turning out so bright. : )

Oh, and Spike has a soul. Neat-o.

[> ROFL... and clap!clap!clap! -- Lonesome Sundown, 20:45:28 05/27/02 Mon

[> [> 'A little song, a little dance, a little philosophy down the pants' -- OnM, 19:21:03 05/28/02 Tue

[> Ahh, jeez... you guys spoil me rotten! Thanks! :-) :-) :-) -- OnM, 05:08:37 05/28/02 Tue

[> Running out of superlatives - that was super freakin' cool! -- ponygirl, 06:39:58 05/28/02 Tue

[> That was some wicked good, OnM. Many thanks for the read! :) -- SingedCat, 09:11:07 05/28/02 Tue

[> Damn, that was good! ;o) -- dubdub, 09:36:45 05/28/02 Tue

[> [> And, low in cholesterol and saturated fats, too! ;- ) -- OnM, 19:34:18 05/28/02 Tue

(Almost said 'low in saturated Spikeage', but decided I've kicked the Spike enough for one l'il essay. Don't wanna be mean. Mesa likee Spike!)

Now, if I can only get the ones for 'Normal Again' and 'Hells Bells' completed, someday...

20 down, 2 to go...


[> Re: Excellent job, OnM! -- Dedalus, 10:02:06 05/28/02 Tue

[> Poof! There goes my printer! Awesome, OnM! -- Rob, 10:26:51 05/28/02 Tue

[> Re: The Ballad of Railroaded Buffy / We Can Be Heroes - Thoughts on *TTG / Grave* (*Spoilers*) -- Exegy *in awe of OnM*, 10:45:44 05/28/02 Tue

Woah, great post! Wonderfully written!

And nice catch on the "I have chosen" line. I think that statement illustrates the choice Buffy makes in NA. The brilliance of NA lies in the fact that both 'verses are real for Buffy. She must shape her destiny by choosing one or the other. She could have selected the life of a "normal girl," and then the Asylumverse would have become her reality. But she turns her back on that option, thus denying the reality of the Asylumverse and reaffirming her existence as the Slayer. Her duty is not thrust upon her; she accepts it willingly. She returns to the world in order to protect her friends (just as Aeneas returns to the world for his nation), but I don't think she returns out of a joy for living in the world. That realization comes in Grave.

Thrust into the bottom of a pit, Buffy finally rediscovers her joy for life. She finds that she really wants to live in the world, because the world can be a beautiful place. She communicates her epiphany to Dawn; the younger Summers doesn't need to be protected from a harsh, cruel life; she can be shown a world that is beautiful and wonderful to live in. It's as if Buffy is telling herself this message. She doesn't need to bury her emotions from the trauma of life. No, she can show herself to the world, because life is what one makes of it (she determines her own reality). By emerging from the grave with Dawn, it's as if she has brought back up with her the part that she left behind. She is finally intact and ready to communicate her experience to others.

For that's the next stage of the hero's journey--spreading one's inner realization to others. I expect next season to be much more upbeat as Buffy's joy is reflected in her friends. Willow will recover, Xander and Anya will work through their issues, and Dawn will come into her own. Of course, new difficulties will emerge, but I expect the conflicts to be mostly external. I think the Scoobies were brought through the dark of the woods this season; maybe next season they will approach the wood of earthly paradise. As Dante would say, experiencing one's sins and purging oneself of them (working through one's issues) is all a part of the journey to fully realizing oneself.

Thanks for reading! *back to work I go, sigh*

[> [> Great Post OnM and Exegy -- Kerri, 12:33:37 05/28/02 Tue

Great review as always OnM...I'm glad that you put the emphasis back on Buffy and not on Spike....great essay and great insights.

Same to you Exegy....enlightening discussion of the hero's journey.

I liked the line "I chose" and while burried in the action it really does seem important both as a reflection of the past (in that Buffy despite complaining has always had a choice) and the future (in Buffy's choice to live, love the world, and embrace her calling as a slayer and mother).

[> [> Thanks, Exegy. I've been enjoying your posts also-- keep 'em coming! ... :-) -- OnM, 19:03:08 05/28/02 Tue

Dunno if it'll be all 'shiny happy' time next season, but certainly it has to be lighter than this past year! I kind of expected all along that the Aprilbot 'darkness before the dawn' quotage from last season meant more than just the events of The Gift.

Going to be very interesting to watch the season over as they rerun the eps this summer. Just finished watching Bargaining Pt I a short while ago-- the benefit of foresight is rather handy, you know? Things you see now have a very different reading in many cases.

Speaking of 'witch', I noticed how deftly AH played Willow during the pre-resurrection sequences. It's still very hard to determine just how much is arrogance and how much is simple unassuaged grief over Buffy's death. There is some very righteous pain involved there, no doubt about it. Not hard at all to see how Willow could easily convince herself that this was the only possible course of action to take.

Still say the fawn is Tara, BTW. I also liked how Grave left this possible angle in ambiguous form, neither affirming or denying the possibility.

[> [> [> "Shiny happy" time? In Whedon's world? Never!! -- Exegy, 20:46:10 05/28/02 Tue

I expect next season to present a lot of challenges for the Scoobs (the fallout from this season must be addressed), and I think that a major Big Bad will confront them as they regroup. It's going to be interesting.

And I enjoy the pain, so I say keep it coming. But lay off the depression--have the Scoobs face their challenges with a sense of hope. A lot of fans will like them better (I've liked them this year, if only because I know how it feels to have your rose-colored glasses buried under several tons of dirt).

Oh, and I agree with you about Willow. She needs to believe that Buffy is suffering in an unspeakable hell dimension; she needs to justify bringing Buffy back to herself. She can't admit the possibility that she may be wrong. I believe that Willow convinces herself (and Tara and Xander and-- well, Anya kinda goes with Xander) of the necessity of her actions. She wants her friend back, and so in her mind she creates the situation where Buffy needs to be brought back. It's all about the loss that Willow feels, but she needs to make it so that it's about Buffy's suffering. Which shows that Willow does care about others, even though she reacts out of her own grief. This all makes the situation rather twisted; it's hard to place full blame on Willow if she doesn't know what she is doing. From her POV, she's just rying to "fix" things (but to her liking).

And I think that last sentence illustrates one of the problems with Willow. She wants to make the world a "shiny happy" place. A world where the pain goes poof! And that world doesn't exist. The pain keeps on coming and coming, and eventually you have to deal with it yourself. You can't just make it disappear. And you can't just destroy the world because there is pain in it. (The "make it go poof!" mentality sure comes a long way!) That's not the answer.

The answer is to live in the world and deal with the pain. And if you deal with the pain, you can realize that the world has its joys, too. It can be a beautiful place. You just have to open yourself up to its beauty, risking the sorrows so that you can truly feel the wonders. A full experience of life, indeed.

Thanks for reading. OnM, you are such a good writer--I am humbled before your praise. I always look forward to your posts, and for you to say the same about mine means a lot. Thank you again!

[> [> [> [> Spoilers for finale above, I keep forgetting -- Exegy *slightly abashed*, 20:49:54 05/28/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> Re: "Shiny happy" time? In Whedon's world? Never!! (S6 Spoilers) -- Jane's Addiction, 21:32:06 05/29/02 Wed

In complete agreement with your take on Willow. This helps illustrate what is so endearingly human about her. She has this huge amount of compassion for the suffering of others, but she can be transference girl. Whose pain is she trying to ease? Whose problem does she need to 'fix"? So many of her mistakes seem to be rooted in her inability to give herself time to simply recognize her pain for what it is and process it instead of struggling desperately for a way to fix it. That unconscious pattern certainly seems to be repeated in the season finale.

I don't mean to suggest that she bears no responsibility for her actions, simply that her actions were a heartbreakingly human response to a devastating loss. Her fury, a desperate if unconscious attempt to hold closed the door to a drowning swell of sorrow.

I mentioned in a post here a few days back that - if you were to look at the show's three central characters as a representation of the human psyche (The Scooby Psyche?) - Willow would clearly be the Id, running purely on emotional impulses. Again, the message becomes balance. For the 'Scoobies' to truly heal their emotional wounds and deal with the day to day work of adulthood, won't we need to see the group's Id confront her most irrational urges and deep seated fears, see them for what they are, and finally deal with them in an adult manner?

I suspect season 7 will be quite a journey for Willow, as we see her finally make the difficult transition to adulthood (with all the pain and pathos that implies). Also looking forward to even more complex, nuanced performances by AH, who consistently manages to make Willow one of the show's most likable and interesting characters.

Ooh, and the fawn was Tara? Interesting. I remember my initial response being that maybe the fawn was simply supposed to represent Willow sacrificing her own innocence for what she saw as the greater good of bringing her friend back.

[> [> [> [> [> Thank you. Agree with your further discussion of Willow. Nicely put. -- Exegy, 08:24:39 05/30/02 Thu

[> [> [> if you're right about the fawn (spoilers for s6)... -- anom, 20:03:26 05/29/02 Wed

"Still say the fawn is Tara, BTW. I also liked how Grave left this possible angle in ambiguous form, neither affirming or denying the possibility." would you say Willow's invocation "Blessed one, know your calling" applies to Tara? It could be said that the fawn came forth to an appointed death--certainly to one w/a purpose; I don't see how the same could be said of Tara. The fawn's death helped bring Buffy back to life, something everyone involved wanted (well, except Buffy...), even if the reality didn't match their expectations. Tara's death set Willow on a path that nearly destroyed everything. Maybe it's an other-side-of-the-coin situation, but otherwise I don't see it. I'm not saying you're wrong, just that I don't get it.

I wish I had time to address all the points you, Exegy, & others have brought up in your thought-provoking posts. Right now all I can do is make brief forays around the edges. With a split weekend away coming up, it'll only get harder to keep up, let alone contribute.

[> [> [> [> Again, this is completely speculation, but... -- OnM, 07:00:27 05/30/02 Thu

*** It could be said that the fawn came forth to an appointed death--certainly to one w/a purpose; I don't see how the same could be said of Tara. The fawn's death helped bring Buffy back to life, something everyone involved wanted (well, except Buffy...), even if the reality didn't match their expectations. ***

... if you need a 'purpose' (and I admit, they are rather nice to have! ;-), first consider why the PTB would have brought back Angel, then made it snow in Amends, put Faith on the dark path and then had her eventually repent, not to mention resurrecting Buffy from death several times.

Perhaps it was predestined that Tara was to die. I've speculated before that she may have even known this subconsciously (also note that she is the one that appears as the 'interpreter' for the First in Restless, and also gives the now-famous "You have no idea who you are, what you are to become" speech to Buffy in the very end of the ep. All of these things harken strongly of some kind of predestination, a malleable one, methinks-- free will and all-- but predestination nonetheless.

For example, if Buffy was saved to bring about the setting of Angel (or maybe even Faith or Spike) on a course of action as a warrior for good, Willow may have an eventual destiny that requires that she beat the magic 'addiction'/power hunger weakness so that she could use her phenomenal powers wisely for genuine good in future (think Ripper/Giles for precedence). Sadly, the only way that this could occur is for someone near and dear to her to die. It could have been Oz, it happened to be Tara. It is a bitter lesson but Willow will eventually learn from it. Perhaps there was no other way for her to learn.

Thus the Question-- why give Willow all that power, then throw it away? At the moment, this is my answer.

Speculation all, nothing confirmed, just suggested by past events.

[> [> [> [> [> Yes, agree that this is where ME & Joss were going with Willow (Spoilers) -- Exegy, 08:52:16 05/30/02 Thu

I think that if Oz had remained, the writers would have taken him away as well. It's about Willow's journey in the end. Not that Oz and Tara aren't wonderful characters (and a testament to ME's ability to create fictional beings that we can care about so much), but Willow remains more central to the narrative. And she has to deal with her power issues, and the only way she can do this is by owning up to her full potential to abuse power.

She needs to finally accept the pain; she can't have Tara (or Oz) still around, offering the possibility of a salve to her psyche. She needs to fill the holes in her self-esteem herself (Xander's intervention tells Willow that she has been a good friend and loveable person all along; now she just has to realize his words herself).

A hard journey lies ahead for Willow. She must learn to love herself and use her powers (magickal or technological) wisely. My current guess is that her magickal abilities are restrained (Giles mentions that the Devon Coven has worked out a way to do this). I think that Willow and Giles will be in England when the season opens, working on a way to find her center and harness her abilities (reminds me of the balancing energies scene in Dopplegangland). This is probably how Willow spends her summer, trying to come to terms with herself (with help from friends).

Ooh, wouldn't it be cool if the whole Scooby Gang were to visit Willow in England? For once everyone wouldn't be stuck in Sunnydale! And maybe Spike would be there, too, trying to make something of himself now that he has a soul. All wishful thinking on my part, I readily admit, but it would be fun to see everyone in England (and I'm sure the actors wouldn't mind the experience, either).

[> [> [> [> [> [> making sense of what you said (future spoilers ? ) -- dochawk, 18:51:04 05/30/02 Thu

E assume from what you said that you know that at least a few of the actors are going to England to film. i don't think they are all going though. And I agree, whomever Willow happened tolove at the time would have been killed. You've done a nice job talking about her journey.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thank you, Dochawk (Spoilers) -- Exegy, 19:38:39 05/30/02 Thu

I've heard that several scenes will be shot in England at the opening of the season. I'm assuming that Giles and Willow are the most logical candidates for a change of scenery (Giles and the Devon Coven perhaps trying to help Willow control and balance her energies). As for the other Scoobies popping up in Devonshire--that's just some wishful thinking on my part, as I've said.

But I'd guess that the actors would like to shoot in England (budget allowing).

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Thank you, Dochawk (Spoilers) -- Dochawk, 21:35:01 05/30/02 Thu

there is also the speculation that Amber will show up on Ripper (which is about Giles and Ghosts supposedly) as a friendly ghost. (like phantom dennis but not so phantom?)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Spoilers and speculation -- SpikeMom, 21:50:55 05/30/02 Thu

I like this idea of Willow going to England to learn to control her magic from the Wisewomen of the Devon coven. It parallels nicely with Oz's journey to Tibet/Nepal to seek guidance from the Holymen in controlling the Wolf within himself. BTW there's a new paperback just out telling the story of Oz's journey and experiences during this time frame. Don't have the title handy but I'm sure it can be easily found on Amazon.
I am also rooting for Tara to come back as a ghost/spirit guide on either BtVS or Ripper. Her role in Restless was definatly a forshadowing.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Ooh, good parallel! I like that! I would like to see some change of scenery, also. -- OnM, 04:37:57 05/31/02 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> making sense of what you said (future spoilers ? ) -- dochawk, 18:52:57 05/30/02 Thu

E assume from what you said that you know that at least a few of the actors are going to England to film. i don't think they are all going though. And I agree, whomever Willow happened tolove at the time would have been killed. You've done a nice job talking about her journey.

[> Didn't she choose once before? (spoilers for season 3) -- dochawk, 12:49:27 05/28/02 Tue

Didn't Buffy choose once before. In Anne, Buffy has sucessfully built a life for herself. NOt a very worthwhile one, but she had a job a place to live. She could have turned her back on Lily. She had denied who she was for 3 months. But, Buffy choose to help. Eventually she made the choice to return to being the slayer. But in Dead Man's party, her right to that choice was totally negated by Joyce and Xander (Xander's 2nd worst moment in my opinion, only surpassed by the lie that lead to this situation) and to a lesser extent Willow. Only Giles understood what had happened and why Buffy needed to be allowed to make the choice herself. I think that the actions of Joyce and Xander in this episode contributed mightily to Buffy's questioning of her slayerness and 4 year descent into a living hell.

[> [> Re: Didn't she choose once before? (spoilers for season 3) -- Lonesome Sundown, 15:16:49 05/28/02 Tue

Got to rush. but quickly...

In Anne Buffy found that she couldn't escape her destiny even if she tried. In The Gift she chose of her own free will to save the world.

[> [> Ya know, that was something that always bugged me. -- OnM, 18:49:00 05/28/02 Tue

And in fact it reminds me of where Wesley is in A:tS right now. All of his supposed 'family' assumes the worst of him, despite all evidence of his previous loyalty, and kicks him out without even letting him have a chance to explain why he took the actions that he did. If the explanation turns out to be bigus, that's one thing, but to not even extend the courtesy of asking? Some 'family'.

While not applied to the same extreme degree with Buffy when she returned home after the events in Anne, I really felt that they weren't giving her much credit for maybe having a good reason to leave Sunnydale. It seemed to be more about how her friends felt than concern for her. Presumptuous, ya know?

[> Existentialism, anyone? -- warped, 15:53:20 05/28/02 Tue

Actually, I don't know what you'd call it. But it's something. My two favorite moments in the S6 finale:

1) the Giles and Buffy laugh-fest over the more soapy plot points of the season.

Buffy gets it. Finally. You don't mull, mope, and lose hope when you make mistakes. You laugh at them, learn, and move on. That's what adults do. (That's what Giles did anyway and I think he's a great adult figure for Buffy. God, I missed him.)

2) Buffy telling Giles she doesn't understand why she was brought back.

I agreed with her- it really was her time when she sacrificed her life for Dawn. So why? Yes, because of Willow. But really, in the cosmic scheme of things, what was the purpose? Willow just seemed to unbalance the forces of nature instead of rectifying them as she thought she would. Is this existentialism? Growing up? Realising that there is no logical purpose to events in human life? That we can't control any of it? Giles couldn't come up with a reason. Buffy's resurrection is, well, absurd. I like to think so in the vein of Camus' The Stranger or even the intrigue in Candide's Voltaire. Tara dying, Spike's AR, Xander leaving Anya, plus everything else Buffy recapped for Giles seems also another account of the absurd happening in everyday life. Isn't that why Giles laughs? Gone, it seems, are the prophecies and "destiny" concepts we saw in the previous seasons. OnM brilliantly points out that Buffy says to Dawn that she chooses to protect the world. If Willow was acting childishly at the beginning of the season by thinking she could control the world and Bring Buffy Back, than is the grown up view the one that says we are ultimately powerless in the world (except when backed up by our friends) ?

And then you have the whole Sartre "Hell is people" thing. I think I saw that brought up here before.

So that's my theory. Did anyone else see the existentialism (or whatever; the absurd, the shedding of institution, etc.) in these scenes? Or can someone elucidate what I'm trying to say...'cause, heh, that would be helpful...


(Small nitpick with the Giles/Buffy dialogue-can someone explain to me why Buffy said someone would replace her? Did she mean as a slayer? Faith's in jail. Did she or the writers forget the one-replacement-a-slayer rule?)

[> [> Re: Existentialism, anyone? -- Sophie, 18:46:59 05/28/02 Tue

Uh, that was me who wrote about “hell is other people”.

The roots of the Existentialism philosophy is the “chicken/egg” thing – which came first? The essence (idea) of mankind or the existence of mankind? The Existentialists decided that man existed before the idea (if that makes sense!) or that man’s existence is more important than the idea of mankind. Mostly I have read the Existentialist philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and a little Albert Camus.

Existentialists basically believe that you are responsible for every action that you take and the direct and indirect actions/consequences. Period. Under no circumstances can you be excused. (You can be forgiven, of course.) Existentialists also believe that you decide who you are – you define yourself, your beliefs, and if you let anyone re- define you/these beliefs, then you are acting in “bad faith”. I, personally, agree with the basics, but I find them a little strict in reality if you want to truly love another human being or be loved by another human being, and/or have a sharing experience in the relationship. I thought Sartre was too extreme, and Camus too depressing.

I’ve always wondered what happens if you cross quantum physics with existentialism… But nevermind.

Below is excerpted from a post that I posted mid-April regarding “Normal Again” and Buffy’s need to know what is real. The philosopher, Schopenhauer, was not an Existentialist as he was dead by the time the movement really got started.

“First, the concept of Continuity of existence. I’m thinking this was Schopenhauer, but I could be just dillusional. The idea being that I cannot prove that somebody or something exists when I cannot see or touch it. For example, I “know” that my Mom still exists despite the fact that she is in Tucson and I am in NYC and I cannot see or touch her.

And second, in “Nausea” by Sartre, his main character Roquentin stabs his hand with a knife (or scissors or something) because he can no longer accept that he exists without solid proof. The pain he feels from the stab wounds are a proof of sorts of his existence.”

So to answer your question:

Willow takes Warren to task for his responsibility in murdering Tara despite the fact the he did not intend to kill Tara. So Tara’s death was an indirect result of Warren’s action to shoot Buffy. We will have to wait until next season to see if Willow is held responsible for her torture and murder of Warren.

Obviously applying all this to Spike will result in another moody, brooding vamp, which I hope to not see happen. Angel was awesome, but he was also enough.


[> [> [> Isn't Sol using one of Sartre's books as a doorstop?...;) -- Rufus, 00:36:38 05/29/02 Wed

Mostly I have read the Existentialist philosophers Jean- Paul Sartre and a little Albert Camus.

I've read a bit of each guy and both had some worthwhile things to say. My problem is with the fact that some of these guys have a different way of saying the same word. I like someone who gets to the point instead of making me wish bloody vengeance upon them for rambling on so.....;)

Buffy had to get on with living instead of spinning her wheels trying to figure out why she is here. First she tried to play hookey, and then she was more content to think she was nuts. Life went on around her and her distress over her situation just kept her out of the living of life, enjoying it while she can, cause we all die. I'm glad at the end of Grave she finally took the weight of the world off her shoulders and had a look around and found life can be good.

[> [> Perhaps that is the reason she is brought back -- Dochawk, 19:02:52 05/28/02 Tue

Perhaps Buffy is brought back because there is no active slayer. Yes, Faith is alive, but she's in jail and unless the demons come to her aint much she can do. So the world needs an active slayer, and Buffy is the most qualified.

[> [> 'Replace her?' ..... Yeah, wondered about that too. -- OnM, 19:46:53 05/28/02 Tue

Some possibilities...

1) Buffy doesn't know that she only gets one replacement per death.

2) Buffy assumed that Faith would be sprung from jail by the council, assuming she's 'rehabbed' enough.

3) Buffy is thinking long-term, like after Faith expires.

4) Buffy assumes that someone non-Slayery will take her place, like the Scoobies (which in fact, they did).

5) Buffy somehow knows that Dawn will become a Slayer without actually 'knowing' it-- Freudian slippage, or somesuch.

6) Before someone complains about #5, is it possible that Dawn, being made from 'Summer's blood', specifically Buffy's, could sort of 'bypass' the normal 'calling' process? I.e., she is already a Slayer, she doesn't need to be 'called'. Think clone analogies, or mitichlorians or whatever the hell they are.

"The Primitive is strong in this one..."

Dunno. Good question there, warped.


[> [> Re: Existentialism, anyone? - yes please (Spoilers for all aired eps (North American) for AtS, BtVS) -- Rahael, 21:16:37 05/28/02 Tue

I'm very persuaded that even right back to Prophecy Girl, we've seen that the Buffyverse is governed not by fate, destiny or prophecy, but, just as our universe, governed by chance, by accident, by cruel irony.

Buffy's pain at trying to understand why a 16 year old girl had to die. Tara's accidental and meaningless death. Faith happening to run down the alley, expecting to meet a Vamp just as Finch turned the corner.

In fact, all my posts assume that this is the case. And that all action in such a universe become inherently more meaningful. Prophecy, authority, those structures which seem to say "there is authority and power and order at work here" - all those are challenged consistently. The prophecy which leads Wesley astray in AtS was made up by Sajhan. The Prophecy in PG was actually necessary to make Buffy free the master. The Watcher's Council don't have a clue about anything.

The biggest exponents of the "Hell is other people" line is Glory - her words to Dawn about everyone in the world being so miserable, they are trying to get off it - and Willow, in TTG/Grave. All she senses is the utter pain in the world.

So when people talk of journeys, paths to redemptions, what people wanted, what they recieve, I remember Giles' lines "Her path's unbeaten, and it's all uphill".

[> [> [> Re: Existentialism, anyone? - yes please (Spoilers for all aired eps (North American) for AtS, BtVS) -- redcat, 11:14:53 05/29/02 Wed

While I’m generally a myth-junkie and revel in the Hero’s Journey aspects of the Jossverse, I think you are at least partially right, Rahael, when
you argue that, “even right back to Prophecy Girl, we've seen that the Buffyverse is governed not by fate, destiny or prophecy, but, just as our
universe, governed by chance, by accident, by cruel irony.” Reading the Buffy-text as a philosophical discussion, I think it’s clear that Whedon
is fascinated by the narrative possibilities of existentialist questions. And in support of your argument, I would point out that Buffy’s “choice” of
her Slayer-hood begins not in “The Grave,” but in “Prophecy Girl,” when she *chooses* to fight the Master, even believing, as she does at the
time, that her choice will thus fulfill a prophecy. (Sorry, OnM, this is the only part of your fabulous post that started this thread with which I’ve a
real quibble.)

However, I would argue that even in *our* universe, there’s some pretty significant interplay between “chance” and “fate,” and that the link
between them is usually “choice.” We are, after all, each born into a specific historical moment, in a particular type of body (sexed, colored,
sized), to specific parents in a unique culture or set of cultural conditions, operating at a specific place on the planet. We inherit not only DNA
but the human history of our direct ancestors and our entire species. While each individual’s particular “givens” are rarely changeable (a 6thC
Chinese peasant woman really can not choose to reinvent herself as a 21stC Wall Street broker), we do have some options in terms of affecting
the social meanings assigned to some of those components – i.e., we can fight racism, be part of the active redefinition of gender, struggle
against colonialist appropriations of our cultures, fight hegemony, etc. But we must still act within at least some of the “fated” parts of our lives.
As the moral of existentialism notes, how we choose to act does matter, whether we live in a cruelly ironic universe or a world where identity
seems assigned at birth. In other words, while a Wall Street broker may find that she cannot become a 6thC Chinese peasant either, she CAN
engage in contemporary business practices that encourage self-sufficiency among peasant agriculturalists world-wide - - or not. Her choice will
make a difference, both to her and to others, EVEN IF she is hit and killed by a taxi on the same day she makes that choice.

Further, I would argue that it is at least part of Joss’s philosophy in BtVS that making choices based on only one aspect of what he has defined
as the necessary four parts of the greater self – Hand, Mind, Spirit and Heart – will result in bad choices. This is why I’m not convinced that
Joss is, in fact, completely sold on the existential perspective. Classic existentialism, like much Western philosophy, epistemologically
assumes the hierarchical separation of mind from body, with mind the dominant partner. The assumption by Sartre’s character in “Nausea” that
physical pain proves existence is based on such a division (see Sophie’s post, above) ( i.e., the mind can “know” what the body experiences,
but the reverse is not understood as also true). What Buffy and crew seem to be learning, especially in S5 & S6, is that such division is both
limiting and dangerous. Buffy’s path, as Rahael notes, is “unbeaten, and it's all uphill.” But she doesn’t travel it alone, none of us do, and
Joss seems intent on reminding us (or perhaps himself?) of that.

Speaking of Joss’s intentions, I agree that, at least earlier in the series, he directed us to the existentialist philosophers. We actually see Angel
reading Sartre's "Nausea" in an early ep (sorry, don't remember which one but the book's title is clearly visible). I think it quite possible that
Angel is *supposed* to be seen as acting within some sort of existentialist narrative, especially given his famous speech to Fred in AtS that
(paraphrasing here) ‘what we do is all that matters.’ However, three years later in AYW -- when the story has evolved and we're about to see
another, far less philosophical, vampire get a soul -- we see Spike reading a book in the scene in his crypt when B storms in and says, "Tell me
that you love me." But did anyone see that book's title? (If so, please post - thanks!) That mis-en-scene struck me as odd at the time. We're
used to seeing Spike watch TV, and are often allowed to identify what's playing. It seems to be exceptionally significant, for example, that Clem
is watching "Meet John Doe" in Spike’s crypt when Buffy and Dawn find out that he is gone. While the movie may certainly be read as raising
existentialist questions and the crypt scene therefore may possibly act in a similar way to Angel’s scene reading Sartre, I wonder if such an
interpretation might be creating either a more limited or a more grand sub-text than the (movie) text supports. Frank Capra’s “Meet John Doe”
is a complex and multi-layered tale of political corruption and human greed (if a bit on the cheesy side - I’m not one of those who think it’s
Capra’s best work), but I don’t think even Capra would argue that it’s in the same league as Sartre’s “Nausea”; more importantly, the film’s basic
over-text is not concerned with Sartre’s questions, but with issues grounded in a critique of American political and social life. I suspect that
Joss is going to be pushing the existentialist envelope with his characters in S7, perhaps especially with Spike, but I’m not so sure that he is still
as enamored with the narrative possibilities that the emotional despair often associated with existentialism brings. If the darkness of S6 can be
read as representing his exploration of the existential dilemma, then his (at this point, provisional) answer seems to refute the wisdom that “hell
is other people” by quietly proclaiming (and from a cliff top, no less) that heaven is, as well.

But Rahael, as I've said before, I do so love how you write and even more how you think, so even when we disagree as we do today, I send you my hearty thanks!


[> [> [> [> Actually, I think I agree with you! -- Rahael, 16:26:53 05/29/02 Wed

It seems to me, that throughout the seasons, for Buffy, for ME and for the viewers, we see this conflict of who we are, and our encounter with the universe.

Do we have something within us, a special purpose, duties, to offer others, and the world? or is it totally random?

You are certainly right that in the Buffyverse there is a central place for real meaning. Buffy is the Slayer, a special position. Dawn is the Key. All the Scoobies have something special within them. I don't know if I'm an existentialist or not! I certainly believe, as Joss does, in agency, in our ability to shape our lives in significant ways.

I really like your point that Joss likes playing around with narrative possibilities. And that he is a consumer of all good narrative stories floating around.

A major argument against a existential Buffyuniverse is 'Amends', and also Angel saving Kate's life in an ep last season. I think that Joss just goes with the best dramatic possibility.

I love when I get such disagreement, Redcat!! The best thing about this board is the opportunity to discuss and change your views.

[> [> Credit where credit's due...thanks to Sophie for the Sartre reference -- warped, 23:22:18 05/28/02 Tue

Thanks guys, you helped clear up some stuff. I've always had trouble grasping the fundamental concept of existentialism, perhaps because it is so broad. (Don't get me wrong- I love it all. Nietzsche's a personal fav.) I've taken the classes, read the books, but it's not something I'm an expert on. I just reread "No Exit" the other day and that's probably why I'm on this existentialism kick. But then it's pretty much ubiquitous in Buffy... :::smiles:::

Nice meeting you all

[> [> i wondered once before... -- anom, 17:25:44 05/30/02 Thu an open-ended kinda way, months ago during a discussion of the writers' explanation of why Buffy wouldn't be replaced (only the most recent Slayer's death calls the next), if the characters realized that was the case. I think Buffy's question answers mine.

"(Small nitpick with the Giles/Buffy dialogue-can someone explain to me why Buffy said someone would replace her? Did she mean as a slayer? Faith's in jail. Did she or the writers forget the one-replacement-a-slayer rule?)"

I think the characters never knew it. After all, the rule never came into play before the 1st (maybe the 2nd!) time Buffy died. So unless it's addressed in prophecy (think we'll see that sometime?), who's going to tell them?

[> Lovely! Thanks for the wrap up. -- Tillow, 11:16:33 05/29/02 Wed

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