May 2003 posts

Previous May 2003  

More May 2003

Buffy as a troubled Perfectionist (spoilers up to Empty Spaces) LONG -- Mystery, 10:27:51 05/01/03 Thu

Buffy is an example of a perfectionist. The perfectionist (especially an inward one) tells herself that she's not good enough because she's not perfect, she tells herself she doesn't deserve the praise and gratitude, she doesn't deserve the happiness, she doesn't deserve to be comforted. You see this from the very beginning, when she denies she has a destiny, she complains at every turn that she can't do this. This is a result of her parents failed marriage. Like any other child of a broken home, she blames herself. If she had just been a good child, they would be to distracted to fight with each other. How can she save the world when she can't even save her parent's marriage? She tried to be the perfect high schooler. She organized dances, she had oodles of friends, she was a cheerleader, she did everything. But becoming a Slayer throws this life into chaos. Her parents now began to fight over her deliquency. She no longer has time to shop and date and cheerlead, all the things she tried to be "the best at." The Slayer made that impossible. But the part of her that wanted to do all the things to make her mother proud, to make people admire her, won't let her embrace the Slayerdom as fully as she should. You see, she's not normal enough to be a Cordelia, but she doesn't believe she's good enough to be The Slayer. She's never had training. Merrick told her he had a lot to teach her, that she was behind on everything. But as season 1 comes to a close, she begins to realize that even though she might not be able to do it, she's the Chosen One. The only person who even stands a chance. Angel is probably strong enough, but he not the Chosen One (or least he wasn't to everyone's knowledge). Someone or something picked HER for this, and they had to have picked her for a reason, yet she can't see that reason and she has to accept it as a matter of faith (not THe Slayer, the principle). So at this point, she NEEDS to be The Slayer. It's her validation. It's what makes her special. She can't be a Cordelia or a Harmony anymore, so she will be The Slayer. The Slayer in her makes her an outward perfectionist. She's the only one who can do the job. She's the only one who can make these decisions. She's the special one, not Willow, not Xander, not Giles. She's the one who killed the Master, She's the one who came back from the dead. She projected this so strongly to everyone that they even resorted to bringing her back from the dead a second time. She is The One. Yet at the same time, she has this nagging feeling she's not good enough for the job. She's confronted with Kendra, who has been trained since birth, and suddenly all her insecurities about her capability at even fufilling her destiny come to the fore. She's not as knowledgable as Kendra. Giles tells her that she didn't recieve a Slayer Handbook because he didn't think it would do her any good, Kendra snaps at her about her methods "No wonder you died." and it's true, Buffy made a mistake and it killed her and nearly destroyed the world. If it wasn't for Xander she wouldn't have lived to defeat the Master. That why she went all bratty in "When She Was Bad." she was trying to ignore the doubt that She is not a good Slayer. Yet, Kendra, who had all this knowledge and training, who should have immediately taken over as The Slayer, who had the RIGHT to, was killed, too. The training wasn't enough. So Buffy couldn't even hope for that to work. Then comes Faith. One of the biggest complaints Buffy had for both Faith AND Kendra was her belief that Giles likes them better. Kendra was shy though, awkward, she was someone Buffy could see herself being a big sister too, a mentor. Ok, maybe she's not the only Slayer anymore, but maybe she can pass her knowledge, lead this girl by the hand. Faith, on the other hand, was much more of a challenge to Buffy's view of her place in the world. Faith is confident, eager to be The Slayer. Faith takes pleasure in who she is. She embraces the aspects of the Slayer that Buffy is afraid to face. Faith, even if she wants to be lead, she wants to be protected, never will allow herself to be "weak." She is not a good little sister for Buffy. She is not someone who would look up to her (at least in Buffy's eyes). To Buffy, still reeling from sending a souled-Angel to hell, still smarting over having to get help from Spike, still hearing the way everyone yelled at her in "Dead Man's Party," Faith is a threat. Buffy complains that she's being "single white femaled" she gets all defensive when people make excuses for Faith or even goes out of their way to make Faith feel comfortable. Xander, who used to fall all over Buffy, is now drooling over Faith. Giles is impressed by Faith's enthusiam (although I wonder how tolerant of Faith's rocker attitude Giles would have been if he didn't have Buffy to prepare him for another unorthodox slayer?). Joyce is telling Buffy "Hey, you don't have to be Slayer anymore. Faith seems SO much better suited for the job than you are." Again and again, Buffy finds herself compared to her sucessors and for some reason or another, it is told to her that They'd be better than her just like Cordy is more popular, Willow's smarter, and Xander is braver. Giles and Joyce don't mean it that way, but all Buffy hears is "YOU'RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH" not matter how much effort she puts into it. Then Faith goes rogue, and all of a sudden everyone is backing her again. Yet in her mind is the seed, the doubt, the thought, "They're just settling for me because they have no other choice."
Spike was also a source of that insecurity. He's killed two Slayers. He's infamous in the Watcher Files. He comes in an taunts her. He nearly kills her a few times in season 2, but she's always rescued. By Joyce, in School Hard, she's aided by Kendra in "What's My Line Again" She wouldn't have been able to stop both Angelus and Druscilla without Spike. The only reason he doesn't try to kill her is because he struck a deal with her. Spike saved Giles' life not Buffy. Then Spike comes back, taunts her with his little comments and innuendos. He makes her doubt whether she can control her feeling for Angel, whether she might still unleash Angelus. Remember, as far as Buffy is concerned, Angelus was HER fault. Jenny's death wasn't Angelus' doing, it was HERS. When she finally confronts him about how he killed those Slayers, he claims it was because he had "One good day." And that's all it takes. The Master had "One good day" and she was dead. Druscilla had "one good day" and killed Kendra. So here comes the belief that she didn't survive this long because of her skills and strength. She survived because she was lucky. All these times that people attribute "Saving the World" to her, she had help. She wouldn't have stopped the Master if Xander didn't help. She wouldn't have stopped Angelus if Spike didn't help. She stopped the Mayor because her graduating class helped. She stopped the apocalypse in "Doomed" because Riley helped. She stopped Adam because Xander, Giles, and Willow joined her. And immediately afterwards, she is chastized by The Slayer in her that tells her she should have done it alone. In "The Body," her mind runs through different scenarios where she was in time to recesitate, but in the end, she had to accept that she couldn't save her own mother. In "Spiral" and "Weight of the World," she finally cracks. She was trying her hardest to fight a Hell God who wanted Buffy Little Sister, Buffy innocent self. Buffy claimed that Dawn is more than just her sister, she's a part of Buffy. Willow had to jolt her out of that mind-loop, where Buffy was blaming herself because for one split second She gave up. She obviously didn't give up for long. She was coming up with the plan to take the show on the road not too longer after. She fought off the Knights and stood up to the Council, she showed amazing capablity and insight, yet she beat herself up, because for one tiny moment she gave up and because of that weakness, Dawn was taken and the world was about to be destroyed. Buffy was brought back, but not to save the world. She was going to save Dawn. She told Dawn to live "for me." Because Buffy wasn't good enough to be the normal girl that she wanted Dawn to be. She wasn't good enough to be The Slayer anymore. The Powers that Be sent her back up already. She was through. She believed she couldn't do it, so she finally gave up, but along the way, she tried to go some good and close the gate Dawn and the Doctor tried to open.

Then Buffy is brought back by her friends, who because of Buffy's perfectionist ways, were convinced that only Buffy can do the job. So Buffy was taken out of the contentment of knowing she did her job. She did what every good Slayer has ever done. She sacrificed her life to save the world. She has the satisfaction of knowing Faith will take over as Slayer and Dawn will take over as the normal girl. But then she gets sucked back. She gets told, "all that you did, all you sacrificed? IT WASN'T ENOUGH. We expect more" but what more could she do? In "Once More With Feeling" she laments about just "Walking through the part." She tells her friends that it doesn't matter, as long as they're with her, she can do it. Giles tells her that "you just lie there, when you should be standing tall" and he send her off alone. In Through the Fire, she feels abandoned, lost, her belief that she is the Only One is once again reinforced. She offers herself up to Sweet in place of Dawn, and Sweet REJECTS the offer. She sings about how she's just playing a part, so it's ok if she messes up, this isn't real. Yet she's expected to play this part, without rehearsal, without a clue as to what's to come. She talks about how it's hard to be like other girls, to fit in this world. She wants a reason. She wants to know why she's living her life, what's her purpose. She can't be normal and twice already she's failed as The Slayer (because Buffy no doubt likens dying to failure, because that's how you get "fired" as the Slayer). She wants something to sing about. Spike tells her that the purpose of life is living, nothing more nothing less. So, she tries that. She lives through an apocalypse that she wasn't the savior of. Xander was the savior. Giles and Anya were the ones most effective in slowing down Willow. So she makes a new purpose, Teach Dawn.

Then it all goes to hell(mouth). She's seeing in her dreams, all these potentials getting killed. She knows that they're "like her" only they haven't been chosen yet. And for a while she's beginning to feel very helpless. She tries with all her might to save Cassie, only to have the girl die of a heart attack. She tried to talk to and help Spike only to watch helplessly as he sinks into insanity. She feels helpless because she knows he got a soul FOR her but she can't love him. She's worried that Willow, the one enemy she couldn't defeat, might be evil again. She's trying to protect Dawn from the hellmouth by giving her a cell phone, but what happens when Dawn can't get through, like in Conversations with Dead People. Everynight she watches another potential died.
We think "Selfless" is all about Anya's identity crisis. It's also about Buffy's. She once again declares to everyone "I'm THE SLAYER! This is what I do! This is why I'm alive. To kill and destroy demons." Buffy, sweetie, you are not THE Slayer anymore. The title was passed down to Faith. Or at least it should have been. You just can't let go of it, because being The Slayer is your only identity outside of Dawn.
Then suddenly, she gets her focus. The First Evil is striking, Giles and the Potentials arrive. And now Buffy is consumed with two things protecting and training the Potentials and stopping the First Evil and the Ubervamps. She THROWS herself into these roles. Yet, in her dreams, the First Slayer still appears and growls "It's not enough" and Chloe, one of the people she's sworn to protect, takes her own life. The fact that Chloe did this, wasn't the First Evil's fault, it was Buffy's. Don't you see? Buffy didn't do enough to make Chloe believe in Buffy. Buffy didn't show herself to be strong enough. Buffy did it all wrong! So she begins with her "inspirational" speeches. She trying to convince them. She trying to cheerlead them. She's trying to convince herself. She goes to see the ShadowMen, she rejects their power, and once again, she's told what she has, it will not be enough.
She's convinced herself that Spike is the only who can help her. She is once again threaten AND relieved at Faith's prescence. She's fired from her job at the school because "they don't need her," a job that is important to her because otherwise she's stuck at DoubleMeat Palace.

"Empty Places" is the culmulation of 7 years of insecurity. This is the point Buffy has been terrified of since the beginning: Everyone finally realized she's not perfect. And they all turned away from her like her father did or they've already died for the same reason Joyce did: Because Buffy couldn't save them. She's been able to save and protect people she barely knew, yet she couldn't save those closest to her, those that mattered. Jenny died. Angel was sent to hell. She tried to kill Faith. Joyce died. Dawn was taken. Tara died. Willow went evil and Buffy didn't save her. The Potentials are still dying. Worse of all, Xander, the heart of the Slayer Machine, was horribly maimed.
Everything that was said to her by Rona, Kennedy, Dawn, Anya, Giles, Xander, Wood and Willow are all the things she's been beating herself up for for the past 7 years. Those are all the weaknesses she's been trying to hide from everyone. She DID only make it this far because she was lucky, she had back up. She doesn't think she deserves to be the leader. Faith is the only one who seems to clearly see what Buffy's going through, what Buffy's feeling. Because Faith felt this failure when her Watcher, her ONLY parental figure who actually seemed to care, was killed in front of her. Faith felt this shame when she went to the darkside. But Faith got downtime in prison to figure things out. She knows that Buffy needs to recharge, she's the only who seems to still believe that Buffy is actually capable of leading, just not without some shore-leave. She's been doing what she could to lighten the load, wordlessly taking up research duty, subtly diverting Dawn, taking the girls out and connecting with them the way that Buffy hasn't had a chance to. She took the punch from Buffy because she understands. She's the one who hits it on the head when she asks Buffy if Buffy is capable of following. She's the one who finally reaches through to Buffy and seems to say "I understand where you're coming from. I understand what you're afraid of. But please listen to them, let me help you more." That's why Buffy is not angry at Faith when Faith goes after her. She knows that Faith is The Slayer, that Faith is capable. Faith just never got a chance, because Buffy's standing in the way. She tells Faith that. Faith feels the full impact of the words. She knows that Buffy isn't trying to scare or discourage her...She's reassuring Faith. Faith is capable. It's what Buffy's been afraid of since season 3. Faith and Buffy exchange a look and they KNOW. Buffy is no longer special, just as Faith has never been special, because of the shadow of Buffy. They both understand.

Perfectionism is not necessarily a bad thing, but Buffy does have to learn when to ask for help. Look at how great she and the other's did against Adam. That was the one time they focused on actually celebrating an averted apocalypse. There was no bitter-sweetness to that, just overwhelming pride in what they did. Together. Buffy has to accept that she doesn't always get to be the hero. Kind of tough for an only child (and yes, I still consider her and only child because she actually grew up WITHOUT a Dawn), but she will learn. It will be her last step in becoming an adult. Maybe she'll actually go back to college (complete with a nice scholarship from the Watcher Council Funds which are still in a bank in Switzerland. Willow can jedi the banker...:-D).

[> Well said. Everyone should read. Thanks for sharing. -- lunasea, 11:14:01 05/01/03 Thu

[> Thanks for writing this. Great stuff. -- Artemis, 12:26:40 05/01/03 Thu

[> Thank You! -- Wizard, 15:07:26 05/01/03 Thu

Now, the question is: can Buffy bounce back from this, with only (I think) three episodes to go? She needs to remember that she hasn't ever averted the apocalypse all by herself, but also that she played a major part in stopping most of them (with the noted- and given the timing, unfortunate- exception of last season's). Yes- she has been lucky. She has had back-up. One of her greatest strengths has always been in her choice of friends and companions. Compare the Xander, Willow, Cordelia, Angel and Giles of S1 to who they are now. She helped these people blossom- not caused, but helped- and look at them now. Xander is a relatively successful foreman. Willow is a confident and powerful young woman. Giles has managed to integrate the Ripper into his greater whole, and look at him now! Angel is a Champion of the PTB, and he just... well, watch his show! And Cordy- my God, look at what Cordy became! She is solely responsible for none of their blossoming, but she played an important part in it all. And it's not just limited to them. It doesn't stop there- these people have attracted more impressive people to the Scooby fold- Oz, Anya, Tara... Even more so than her her Slayer gifts, her greatest strength has perhaps been in her choice of allies. Perhaps this is part of her problem- for someone who is supposed to be so superior to everyone else, she's had other people do much of her work, which feeds into the inferiority complexes you just showed us so well, Mystery. She needs to get over this, to see the others as we see them- and to see herself as we see her. She's got the right stuff- she's got will, and determination, and heart. She just hasn't been playing to her strengths, and hasn't allowed the others to do the same. Maybe this 'special surprise' will allow her to recover enough of her confidence to help her regain her perspective. But that's just my opinion- I could be wrong.

[> Excellent post(spoilers up to Empty Spaces and some speculation) -- fresne, 17:15:26 05/01/03 Thu

Okay, thanks for writing this. It is always useful to take a step back and consider how all the characters are profoundly messed up. The concept behind the what.

It is easy to forget in the midst of Buffy's speeches and frantic push that there are emotional reasons behind them. Thus this is the series that I love. Where characters act, or act out, based on deep seated emotional currents. Dark. Hidden, but ready to drag down the unwary in the undertow.

Giles. I wonder if the emotional crack that was dealt in the Gift between Watcher and Slayer ever really healed. That Giles referenced that moment in time at the same time that he was (right or wrong) attempting to eliminate Ben/Dawn/the possible threat to this sad world, must weigh on both their subsequent actions. Not that I equate Ben/Dawn/Spike beyond their status as potential threats that Giles was prepared to eliminate. Buffy less so. It's a profound philosophical rift. And its reiteration this season seems purposeful. Its all about the war. The mission. The lines in the shifting desert.

I'll admit that I liked the episode. Not that I didn't want to Mary Sue into the text and give Ronia's arm a good twist. Or I suppose more effectively, sneeze on everyone and give them my cold. Hah, yell at each other with laryngitis why don't you! Ahem, though then I'd be obligated to give equal share in my germs to Caleb and he'd kill me and that would suck, although I'd certainly have given one for the Gipper and plus funny.

Anyway, Buffy's problem from where I sit at the table isn't that she's Queen or von or right or or strategically impaired. It's that she's the mid-level manager at that company that's laying off the employees and every time it looks like things have settled, no.

So, you scramble to do and be and make some sort of contribution, protect your people, protect yourself. Go. Go. Go. There's really no time to look at the big picture. Strategic long term thinking. Right. You're too busy trying not to feel the dread. And everyone else is doing the same thing. Morale sinks and some of the employees say whatever and just go hang out at the bar down stairs. Some are just keeping a low profile. While others create reams of projects because that may be the idea that saves everyone/themselves. Course, these ideas are so silo-ed that even if it is a good idea, it isn't because the focus is too narrow.

And here's Buffy, who I would totally agree is a perfectionist and insecure and look another round of layoffs. Damn First Evil. Frightened milling nameless Potentials. The Scoobies. Fractured and as frightened as anyone else. Bubble, bubble, boil and troubling tensions, years in the making.

Everyone gathered at Gethsemane. Dawn playing her part with an embrace. It's all so I love it so.

Time to go into the desert. Find out if Xander will get two Ravens for his one eye. If the masses that cheered you one week, will sacrifice you the next.

What is this thing that only she, presumably Buffy, can wield? I can't help but hope that it's fire, pretty, love, but that would be so last season Highlander. It might be a tree, also pretty. The sea that will finally roll back. Currents uncoiling their tow. Buffy's already wielded the hammer and the sickle. (Odd to watch Anne the same day as ES.) The stake from the tree. The sword of Jean d'Arc. Heck, perhaps attack doves from S4.

Buffy just needs some ringing silence, lift off the weight of the world, to find her heart. Of course, really it was there all along. That would be perfect.

[> [> Very nice there -- sarahie, 21:07:56 05/01/03 Thu

All I have to say is without you guys writing all this- I would never be able to know what was happening this season, thanks to my college not carrying UPN.

A very, very insightful post indeed:)

[> [> Lovely as usual fresne. -- s'kat, 22:10:08 05/01/03 Thu

[> Very insightful -- Traveler, 19:21:31 05/01/03 Thu

Bumping up Katrina's 'Why we like what we like' thread -- celticross, 12:04:13 05/01/03 Thu

...Cause there's nothing I hate worse than a thread that gets lost. :)

That said, I have to come down on the AtS side of things, for one reason only. AtS has *always* been full of ambiguous characters doing things for shady reasons, souled humans being evil, and demons who aren't so bad after all. I like that. My main problem with BtVS these days is though ambiguous characters and situations are more common than they were in the early seasons of the show, we're still expected to react to them as we did in the beginning. Though a soulless vampire can do good (albeit for selfish reasons), it doesn't really matter until he has a soul, and even then he's not really trustworthy. (how different from Angel!) Though a human, say Warren, or Willow, does terrible things, they deserve special treatment because of their souls. I can't really follow that. If there's going to be moral ambiguity presented, it should be treated as such. So I find the willingness of AtS to send its characters to dark places and then not act shocked by the consequences more satisfying from a story telling standpoint.

[> The way we were...and what we love -- Random, 14:06:17 05/01/03 Thu

A fascinating question, really. We are creatures of many influences and confluences, habit and need. I have watched this board for two years now, and have seen the changes in the collective dynamic. The philosophy has grown more complex, the attitudes toward the characters have shifted. The high-school Buffy is not the college Buffy, who, in turn, is not the post-Body/Gift Buffy. Where once there were mere metaphors and allegories, there became defining moments in the show. I disagree with Joss...I believe the first defining moments happened, in different ways, in PG and Lie to Me/The Dark Age. In PG, Buffy finally confronts not merely mortality, but true sacrifice. At that point, the show takes a dimension beyond mere teen allegory. And Lie to Me/The Dark Age were the crucial turning points in the show, the points where the universe suddenly became much darker, much more complex. Then came Innocence, and the transition was complete...the show changed for good. This board owes much to the increased complexity of the entire ME-verse.

It's been interesting to watch members of the board to the continental drift of preferences. The debates over A/B become debates over S/B. Joseph Campbell gives way to, well, everything else. Eastern mysticism waxes and wanes and waxes again. Does Spike deserve to die transists to does Anya deserve to die...and Buffy's culpability in Angelus' actions becomes Wesley's culpability for Faith's actions which becomes Willow/Xander/Tara/Anya's culpability in the rise of the FE in S7. We go from a relatively innocuous AtS S1 to a charged Despairing!Angel in S2, to the madcap antics of S3 and the cosmic questions of faith, power and religion in S4. It's terribly organic, and in the end, I suspect most of us base our preferences not merely on characters or philosophy, but on a mixture of both. If we wanted purely philosophical enjoyment, we could just grab a primer for philosophy through the ages plus a few essential texts from Nietzsche, Plato, Aquinas, Giles of Rome, Boethius, Avicenna, Kant, Sartre, Descartes, Machiavelli, Schopenhauer, Maimonides, Hume, et al, ad nausem... At their heart, these shows are about plot and character, and we come back to Angel, Cordy, Wesley, Gunn, Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles. The philosophical issues are made truly compelling because of our fondness for the characters involved. "What? Angel succumbs to despair? Yeah, yeah, whatever, that's terrible cause he really shouldn't be killing people if he wants to be a good guy...hey, let's watch "Friends" now, I hear Ross is gonna give Rachel a noogie and they're gonna explore the moral fallout by having drunken sex and doing funny things with shellfish that finally incorporates Joey into the seasonal arc." But we do care, not just because of the philosophical/moral/ethical fallout, but because of the personal ones.

Some of the oldguard of this board, ones whose posts on BtVS I much enjoyed reading, have become quite firm in their preference for AtS over BtVS, and I kinda miss their old Buffy postings. Masq herself has expressed a certain weariness with BtVS, preferring AtS. I can't blame them (though I was extraordinarily annoyed once by a certain nameless poster who implied that those of us who still preferred BtVS were intellectually and emotionally retarded in the most literal sense of the word. I gave that poster exactly the treatment he/she deserved: I ignored him/her.) And at times, these Angel fans have felt quite rightly overwhelmed by the vast amounts of BtVS-centric posting on the board...a situation that has become a little better, if not entirely so. So now we can expect a steady stream of AtS postings, and even AtS posts that inspire far more debate than the BtVS ones at times. I actually read far fewer AtS threads than BtVS ones, but I'm quite gratified that AtS has begun to get its due.

But I've never been able to place AtS over BtVS. It didn't particularly help that the characters going over to AtS were my least favorites from BtVS: Angel. Cordelia. Wesley. (And let's face it, Wesley was a first-class wiener and berk on BtVS. And I personally - just IMHO, so don't kill me! - loathed Broody!Angel every bit as much as I loved Angelus.) So AtS didn't get off to a rousing start with me. Nor did the philosophical dilemmas particularly grab me for the first season and a half. Then came Despair!Angel and I grew a little more interested. So the ghost of Manners says evil lies in all of us?, wait, not particularly original. But the entire arc raised troubling questions about the nature of the war, the responsibility of the hero, the value of allies and the dangers of the same. The second Angel closed that cellar door on the W & H lawyers, the show came unto its own. Since then, there have been dips...the Pylea arc was a lot of fun to watch, but didn't inspire nearly as much TTM in me as the aforementioned arc. But it has regrouped on that point, and Wesley has actually become a compelling character, a far cry from the nancy-boy with the emotional maturity of a blueberry scone. Sometime AtS has lost my interest. My vast apathy concerning Cordy's does she or doesn't she demonization arc can only be measured by a mile-high stack of first-edition copies of Nausea. And then the Beast comes, and I'm watching again, if only to see whether he will suddenly begin quoting "Paradise Lost."

But for me, it is still the Buffyverse. Networks change, preferences change...but this is still the universe created back in WttH when Buffy wakes up on her first day at school at Sunnydale High, cranky and tired and unaware that the school she's so trepidatious about attending is centered right above a gaping Hellmouth. Angel has carved out his niche quite well, but Buffy and her gang of misfits have held first place for me since 1997, and I've never lost my love for the show and those Scoobies I met back at Sunnydale, those fallible, funny, passionate friends. When Xander skates right under that handrail as he stares at Buffy, ending up on his back and staring up at Willow, when Giles smiles at Buffy and lays a fat-assed tome entitled Vampyres on the desk: that was the beginning of a love-affair with the show and its characters.

~Random, doing some random rambling

[> [> Re: The way we were...and what we love -- fleur-de-lis, 14:47:05 05/01/03 Thu

Loved your post...reminded me of exactly WHY I love BTVS beyond all reason, sanity, and definition. (referring to a previous post by someone else) oh please yes...we all need therapy groups after the finale!!! (sob)how will we ever survive??? a lot of us have grown up right along with Buffy...

[> Some flaws in Angel's ambiguity -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:53:18 05/01/03 Thu

Flaw 1: While it is by and large more morally ambigous, it is by far the more supportive of the "soulles vampires are evil" viewpoint. After all, there's never any question that Angelus could be anything other than totally evil, and Darla could only restrain herself from killing her own child by sharing his soul, and there are other instances, too.

Flaw 2: It has never been answered whether the good demons we so frequently see on Angel have souls or not, or if they just have different kinds of souls.

Flaw 3: It is the moral duty of the characters to kill evil demons. But, by showing that demons exist all along the spectrum of good and evil just like humans do, and by saying that good demons are not subject to death, one must wonder: why is it wrong to kill evil humans like Holland Manners or Professor Seidel, but morally right to kill any demon who commits similar acts?

Also, on another note, while great distrust was shown over Angel and Spike, even with their souls, I never got the impression the show wanted us to believe this viewpoint. Yes, both characters have a greater potential than most to become evil again (whether due to added demon influence or a trigger that sends them over to the dark side), but it's still quite clear we're supposed to sympathise with them and trust in them to do the right thing.

[>'s a funny thing, top ten lists, bottom lists, etc (sort of off and on-topic) -- sk, 22:04:38 05/01/03 Thu

Been contemplating adding my thoughts to these threads.
This post is a bit off-topic and not in direct reply to anything above, although in an odd way in reply to a ton of related posts in the archives and above.

1. What we like and Dislike
Discussing what we like and what we dislike is such a jittery/curmudgeony topic, because if you read the threads below, no matter what your opinion is on something, someone out there will have the opposite. They will watch the same episode of a tv series, read the same book, look at the same post and literally interpret it the opposite way. It's inevitable. And as annoying as it can be at times, really really reassuring, because it reiterates that we are all distinct individuals with our own tastes, thoughts and desires. We are not, thank god in my incredibly humble opinion, members of a hive or borg collective. So our tastes are thankfully bound to differ. After having said that, I admit, I like it better when people agree with me than disagree. Disagreements can get so ugly. ;-)

I think how we view a television show or a book or anything has a lot to do with our own internal psychological make-up, some of that can be explained by over-arching generalizations - like: people who like stability prefer Star Trek Next Generation and people who like discord prefer say Farscape. But mostly? I think it's more complicated than that. For instance if you were to ask me whether I preferred Angel or Btvs - well it would depend on which day of the week and which episode and my mood at the time you asked it. Not to mention seasonal arcs.

2. Ats vs. Btvs and fanboards
I love both shows right now. But for completely different reasons. Have troubles with both and been frustrated with both, also for completely different reasons. The fanboards actually annoy and enthrall me sometimes more than the tv shows since I've come online, which I find incredibly bizarre. Want to explain why a certain post, essay or interview or review I read online enrages me more or enthralls me more than what I see in the shows associated with it??

At any rate, for me at least, can't speak for anyone else, Angel currently appears to be the better written show. I'm grooving to the writing. Ats is sucking me in this season. It is also a lot of fun. The satire. The dark noir plot twists and reversals. This week's episode had me laughing out loud and grinning at the same time feeling empathy for the characters. It was so layered. It reminded me of some of the better written episodes in Season 3 and Season 2 Btvs.

OTOH this is also a week by week thing. For instance:

Dirty Girls - loved this episode
Shiny Happy People? - not so much, it was okay.

Lies My Parents Tell Me - loved it
Inside Out....okay not great

Empty Places ...okay not great
Peace Out ....Absolutely Amazing
Magic Bullet...Absolutley Amazing

See a week by week thing. Add to this my mood at the time I watch it. I was admittedly in a bad frame of mind when I watched Empty Places. Note - do not watch Empty Places when you are incredibly frustrated in your own life. If you have to choose between Empty Places and Dead Man's Party - pick the later, it at least has a somewhat cathartic and happy ending. If I'd been in a happier, less frustrated frame of mind? Might have liked it better, do not know. Peace-Out on the other hand, really cheered me up. Wonderful episode. If you are in a bad mood? I highly recommend.

While I have enjoyed Btvs this season and last season. I've found it more painful to watch. LEss enjoyable. The episodes instead of making me laugh, have often just been gut-wrenchingly painful. I can't decide if this is simply because I identify more with the characters on it or the writing? Because Angel certainly hasn't been a cakewalk for its characters.

I admit I tend to re-watch tapes of Btvs more than Ats and I'm more obessessed with the Btvs characters. As much as I love Angel, Wes, Fred, and Gunn...they don't enthrall me the way Willow, Xander, Spike, Buffy, and Giles do. I will admit that my current favorite female character on both series is Lilah, played with sexy wicked delight by Stephani Romanov. I adore her. I'm not completely clear on why.

3. Star Trek Next Generation vs. Ds9, characters vs. plot

I also admit, I'm more of a character girl than a plot girl. It's the characters that pull me in more than the plots. This is why I preferred Star Trek Next Generation to DS9. I just happened to like Picard, Beverly, Data, Riker, Weseley etc better than Quark (who annoyed me - made a much better Snyder), Sisko, Odo, Jake, Kira, and Dax. Had zip to do with plot, because I prefer the serial format to the episodic and STNG was very episodic in comparison to the DS9's more episodic mix. Also prefer dark to light, so clearly it was a character thing for me. It had zip to do with the federation or the politics, I just happened to prefer the characters. Same reason I loved Babylon 5, I happened to love three-four characters on it: Garbaldi, Ivanof, G-car, and the guy with the funny hair who became evil. I also thought the shadow/vorlon thing was cool. Farscape? Never could get into it. No clue why. The characters just didn't enthrall me.

Same goes with Angel and Buffy. I don't know why. But I just find myself identifying more with the characters on Btvs and Ats. They haunt me. Ats - I like the characters. Some I'm growing incredibly fond of. And the writing has been kick-ass this season. But the characters don't obsess me in the same way. Which may be why I've been enjoying it more? Frees me up to appreciate what's happening. Don't know.

See...taste it's a funky thing. Why there are people out there who don't like Buffy has always puzzled me. But there are quite a few. Several close friends of mine. In fact until I went online in 2001, I didn't know a soul who loved Btvs and Ats.

4. Btvs episodes, top ten, worste ten.

Every time these polls show up on the board, they intrigue me - I keep checking for consensus. And there never is any.
Inevitably someone has picked as their favorite episode someone elses least favorite. I've seen lists that had Amends in the top ten on one post. And in the bottom ten in another. Same with Storyteller. Some people place it in their top ten, others place it in their bottom ten. And when they post it in the same thread? Whoo-hoo! Watch the fireworks.

The only episodes that everyone seems to agree on are:

1. Innocence - I rarely see this mentioned in anyone's worste ten list and it is more often than not in the top ten

2. Once More With Feeling - only four times have I seen it in a worst list, most of the time it's in the top ten

3. Fool For Love - never seen it in a worst list

4. Becoming Part II - never in a worst list

5. Hush - never in a worst list

6. The Body - never in a worst list

Now this doesn't mean someone out there doesn't hate them, heck I know people who hate the whole series - I'm meeting with a few of them for drinks tomorrow. We DON'T discuss tv.
Or Btvs.

Here's the ones that consistently appear on bottom/worst lists and to my knowledge never been in someone's top ten list:

1. Teacher's Pet

2. Where The Wild Things ARe

3. Wrecked

4. I Robot You Jane

5. Bad Eggs

6. Him

7. Shadow

And now here's the ones that appear on both top ten and bottom ten lists:

1. As You Were. Yep oddly enough I've seen people list it amongst their all time favorites, top ten and people list it amongst their least favorites.

2. Amends. Yep, big spread on this baby.

3. Dead Things. Very controversial episode

4. Smashed. Also very controversial

5. Angel - yet that has appeared on both as well.

6. Restless - apparently you either get it or you don't

Now mine? I can never make up my mind long enough to stick to them. I end up with ties. And it also depends so much on my mood.

As of today? I'd probably go with Innocence, PAssion, Dopplegangerland, Consequences, Enemies, Fool for Love, Once More With Feeling, Dead Things, Restless, and Becoming Part II at the top. But I bet you money I'll change my mind tomorrow. That does not change my enjoyment of reading others lists.

Bottom ten? Bad Eggs, Ted, Teacher's Pet, Go Fish, Shadow,
Help, Some Assembly Required (seen it one too many times now), Puppet Show, I Robot You Jane, Where The Wild Things Are. And that list may change tomorrow.

So why do we like what we like? You got me. When I figure it out, I'll let you know.

Sorry not very analytical, more of a ramble to deal with a current bout of insomina.


Inner Peace (Spoilers PO, Sacrifice, Beneath You, EP) -- Anneth, 13:46:16 05/01/03 Thu

My favorite moments from last night's ep were, without a doubt, Connor's church scenes. First off, the effect of his walking up to an abandoned church or cathedral, with the doors closed and the wind whipping leaves and debris around chaotically, was beautifully dramatic. Then, of course, there was the toppled angel-statute to the left of the stairs and he stalked up them.

A fallen angel - (one that looked remarkably like the angel tombstone that framed Buffy as she wandered through a graveyard last year, in After Life) - a church empty but for two cheerful policemen and the comatose, shrouded body of the show's mother-figure, all confront Connor in the set of scenes that comprise that "act."

Like S'kat, I was reminded of the final scene in Beneath You. In BY, Buffy, the matriarch of the Buffyverse, confronts her insane former-paramour and learns that he has regained his soul. He, shirtless, finally drapes himself across an altar cross (in a position of both homage and sacrifice) and asks "can we rest?" - possibly referring to the various voices in his head, possibly referring to his relationship with god, possibly referring to his relationship with her. Undoubtedly referring to the torment his decision has netted him. Meanwhile, his being a vampire, the cross eats into his flesh and smoke curls up towards the ceiling, a mute testimony to the inherent conflict his existence presents.

(sorry for being all dramatic about the recap!)

Meanwhile, in PO, Connor, the impossible product of the union of two vampires (one of whom is also ensouled), enters a boarded-up cathedral to find, not an altar cross, but the body of his mother and lover, Cordelia. She is arranged on the dais in a fashion that is reminiscent at once of homage and of sacrifice. I didn't note any crucifixes (not surprising, being as in Sacrifice it was noted that they were to be removed from the churches) - the focal point was Cordelia's body. Connor, in what struck me as a counter-intuitive act, did not touch her or remove her shroud. He spoke to her in confidence and almost comraderie, by pouring out his rage and pain to her - but did not approach her. Which indicated to me that he still reveres her. He poured out his heart and soul to her, explaining that all he really wants is a sense of inner peace - to rest - but that the one thing that seems to offer it to every other being on the planet can't give it to him. Or won't. He doesn't know, and neither do we, really, why he was immune to Jasmine's effects.

but I'm wandering off topic - sorry.

Okay - so. There are strong parallels between the Buffy/Spike BY church scene and the Connor/Cordelia PO cathedral scene. Buffy and Cordelia, in a sense, play the same roles to Connor and Spike. B and CC are both former lovers who "used" Connor and Spike sexually, to fulfill some inner need that was only barely apparent to the two men, and which they couldn't see past anyway, being 'blinded by love.' B and CC also served as mother-figures to S and C - Cordy having actually cared for baby Connor, and Spike with his long history of 'mother-problems' and attraction to strong-yet-needy women. Connor and Spike both confront the women in a place of worship. Neither woman really responds; it's merely their physical presences that inspire what are basically monologues - ranty ones, at that. Each monologue reveals the speaker's deeply personal motivations for his seemingly incomprehensible actions. Why would a vampire seek out his soul? Why would someone who could see Jasmine's true face, and who knows that she survives by eating people, still love and follow her? And, the answer for both men is the same - for inner peace. To try to bring some sense to the chaos of their existences. To rest. And yet, for both, the decisions they make bring not peace, but more confusion.

I loved the BY scene, and, finally, I like Connor. A lot. Maybe I'm just thick-headed, or hard-hearted, but I had a terrible time relating to him before that scene. But for him to lay his heart open as he did was... a profound and moving experience for me as a veiwer. Poor, poor Connor.

mmm - also note that Connor is some combo of souled demon (possibly vampire-demon) and man. Much like Spike, though we don't yet know the proportions for Connor. (83.2% human, 7.5% vampire, 10.3% various?) Also, I don't recall what color Cordy was wearing, but her shroud had a distinct bluish tint to it. Blue is the color traditionally associated with the Virgin Mary. The inscription from Empty Places was located in a secret room behind a statute of the Virgin Mary.

[> On that statue -- ponygirl, 14:06:32 05/01/03 Thu

Interesting points Anneth! It may have been my tv but it seemed to me that the Mary statue in EP had a greenish tinge to it, which struck me as a bit unusual. I also noticed the very deliberate framing of Spike next to the statue. Not sure what to make of that, especially since you bring up the church scene in BY. Spike as sacrifice? Spike as Mary allowing the one he loves to be sacrificed? Or just cool shot?

[> [> possibly... -- Anneth, 14:24:31 05/01/03 Thu

I also noticed the very deliberate framing of Spike next to the statue. Not sure what to make of that, especially since you bring up the church scene in BY. Spike as sacrifice? Spike as Mary allowing the one he loves to be sacrificed? Or just cool shot?

maybe the fact that he was the one to push open the door behind the statute indicates that he's ready to move past his "mother is the name for god on the lips of all children" -like reverence of Buffy and approach her as an equal? (Quote from the movie The Crow, btw.)

[> Jasmine and Conor (Spoilers PO, Sacrifice, Beneath You, EP) -- Traveler, 19:48:28 05/01/03 Thu

Conor is Jasmine's father and has the same mystic link/blood as Jasmine, just as Cordy did. This is also how he was able to kill her. (Somebody mentioned that Jasmine couldn't hurt Cordy, but maybe Cordy could hurt Jasmine. The same applied to Conor).

the appearance of Jasmine -- skeeve, 14:13:35 05/01/03 Thu

Nasty folks can look nice and really nice folks can look ugly.

This one thinks that Jasmine's true visage was not that of a rotting corpse. For one thing, the images shown always included multiple creatures, mostly maggots. Jasmine was supposedly just one creature. For another, there would seem to be only one reason for her true appearance to be humanoid, but instead of a baby, Cordelia ejected something the size of an adult human. Jasmine's size, or at least the size of her appearance, is definitely the result of mojo. Seeing Jasmine as a rotting corpse might just be a side-effect of the thrall-breaking mojo. There isn't much reason to suppose that anyone in LA ever saw her true appearance.

Situations in which different people perceive the same object, in this case Jasmine, inspire in me the following thought experiment: Let's say that one person correctly sees Jasmine's cheek as more sunken than does the other. The former touches Jasmine's cheek. What does the latter see?

BTW it would make sense for "Lilah" to be yet another impersonation by FE, but that probably will turn out not to be the case.

Did we notice the metanarration? **Spoilers** for Peace Out -- dub ;o), 16:37:02 05/01/03 Thu

The shoutouts to David Greenwalt and his short-lived series Miracles as well as to BtVS?

On the sign board outside the church (cathedral?) where Cordy was being kept:

God is Nowhere


Jasmine is the key.


[> Re: Did we notice the metanarration? **Spoilers** for Peace Out -- MaeveRigan, 17:48:20 05/01/03 Thu

Noticed it! But did it say "Jasmine is the key" or "Jasmine is the way"?

[> [> Could be my eyesight... -- dub ;o), 18:33:47 05/01/03 Thu

I thought I saw key.

[> I saw the sign **Spoilers** for Peace Out -- Vickie, 20:43:03 05/01/03 Thu

I was thinking "No, it's God is Now Here..."

Not a great show, but had potential. Should have been given a better chance.

[> [> If you want to do something about it . . . -- verdantheart, 06:38:57 05/02/03 Fri

Go to this web site. They talk a good line about giving a new program a chance, but they don't back it up (Miracles was supposed to have several weeks unmolested). Why do they even bother investing in programs when they aren't willing to give them even the smallest chance of succeeding? Rant over.

[> It was..... **Spoilers** for Peace Out -- Rufus, 02:57:47 05/02/03 Fri

Angel:'re the..

High Priest: High Priest...Guardian of the Word...heh...Caretaker of her most Blessed Temple.

Angel: Well Blessed temple's kinda empty, padre. So, where are the other true believers? Or are you just it?

High Priest: Betrayers, blasphemers, centuries of waiting for [her] return have caused most to doubt.

Angel: But not you...her faithful PR Flack.

High Priest: She is the light...she is the way

Angel: She is not coming back.

High Priest: She will. When she is through with your world.

Speculation on 'Peace Out' and the end of Angel S4... -- black_eyed_veiny, 18:07:23 05/01/03 Thu

Here is where my prodigious grey matter is prodding me.

1)The Beast attacks W&H and kills everyone but Lilah. He probes Lilah's gut with a finger, but leaves her alive for Wesley to rescue.

2) The Beast makes a weapon of his own flesh which conveniently doubles as the "magic bullet", the only thing that can kill him.

3) The Beast gives said dagger to Cordy himself, as a tribute.

4) Lilah gets all cut open to death by St. Cordelia of the Knife (no offense Alia).

The question whe sould be asking is, why THAT weapon? When the only thing the Hotel Hyperion has more of than rooms, is enchanted weaponry?

I am going to hypothesize (unspoiled mind you) that Lilah was not rescued by Wesley by chance. I am willing to bet she had some ENORMOUS juice on her side, and the Beast was simply not powerful enough to kill her. Furthermore,
St. Cordy LET ANGELUS OUT, as a diversion so she could get to Lilah, in a ritualistic fashion involving the Beastblade.

Whatever Jasmine was, she saw W&H as a threat to her take-over, and she was right. She thought she had killed Lilah but perhaps all she did free Lilah.

I am thinking that we are going learn that the PTB are "beyond good and evil" as Jasmine claimed. The Senior Partners are going to cut Angel in. He will win a kind of Humanity, but be forced to give it up, perhaps to save Connor, or to fight Connor.

just my two bits.


[> Re: Speculation on 'Peace Out' and the end of Angel S4... -- WickedBuffy, 20:22:14 05/01/03 Thu

" He will win a kind of Humanity, but be forced to give it up, perhaps to save Connor, or to fight Connor. "

If Angel and all start working for W&H, "their wishes come true" - maybe we wiil see the previous situation with Jasmine flipflop.

This time, the AI's are taken in by havng their dreams come true and work for W&H, believing they are doing good in doing so (as Connor did, and most the population of LA did with Jasmine). Playing Angels role this time, Connor will be the one to break the others free from W&H's hold.

Then it comes back again to what price for peace, (or dreams coming true or being able to stand in the sunlight without burning up) can be paid without losing an important part of their integrity or humanity.

I think Connor will be the one to save Angel, this time, and Connor will learn about his own humanity, as opposed to the part usually focuesed on - the demon in him.

[> [> Re: Speculation on 'Peace Out' and the end of Angel S4... -- 110v3w1110w, 01:35:55 05/02/03 Fri

well if there is no new series they are gonna have to wrap a lot of stuff up in just one episode or they are gonna have a lot of pissed off fans

[> [> I agree (and to add) -- RadiusRS, 02:30:27 05/02/03 Fri

I think you have hit upon something here, the seeds for a truly organic character growth for Connor that will redeem him. Kudos to you.

I just wanted to add, though, that perhaps Jasmine wasn't that worried about him because she thought he would protect Cordy from interference. And in doing so, granted him his wish. He seemed to be resting when she telepathically summoned him, and he got up and RAN out. He has accepted his fate and is rushing out after telling Cordy what he couldn't tell Jasmine, because he was still afraid of her despite loving her. By Jasmine loving Connor enough to let him go and not worrying about him, she gave him his moment of contemplation in an empty house of worship, where he finally realized why people reject love: because sometimes, they must choose to.

[> [> Re: Speculation on 'Peace Out' and the end of Angel S4... -- lunasea, 02:34:14 05/02/03 Fri

I think Angel will be put into Jasmine's place. He will have the power to make things right with his son. Will he do that? Cordy got all glowy on Connor and gave him a spiritual enema when he got back from Quor-toth. Will Angel be willing to do the same thing (or more drastic) to save Connor? If he isn't, Connor is lost. Unlike Buffy and Angel, Connor has no foundation whatsoever to get him through his dark night.

I think when it comes to WR&H, the question is going to be can Angel trust these guys. What strings will be attached? Are they manipulating him the way Jasmine manipulated Cordy? To just refuse something out of distrust is no better than to accept it out of trust. Angel (and everyone) has a serious decision to make. They can't just make it out of trust or distrust.

THAT is what choices are all about. No one thing can make them for us. We have to factor in all sorts of things. I think we are about to see the series start to explore just what things go into our decisions. Should be an interesting 3 seasons (hopefully)

Why Angelus? (Spoilers for current Ats season) -- Kate, 19:19:33 05/01/03 Thu

This has been bugging me the last day or so. Did we really ever get an explanation (yet anyway) about why infant-Jasmine-possessing-Cordelia needed Angelus free? I mean don't get me wrong, I liked having him around and I am absolutely *loving* this season of "Angel," but I don't get it. Why Angelus?

If I missed something, please let me know. I'll take theories too. ;)

Maybe an explanation is still forth coming...?

[> My theory -- Masq, 20:49:16 05/01/03 Thu

My theory is that "Cordelia" ( or Jasmine in Cordelia) wanted Angel out of the way. Well, Angel and the whole gang, really. She needed to bring her pregnancy to term without their interference. Now I suppose she could have just staked Angel, but baring that, she had a series of distractions.

The first was to make Angel jealous of Connor, to further estrange father and son. Angel kicks Connor out of the house, "Cordelia" moves in with Connor, and the Beast arranges it so that Angel sees Cordelia and Connor in bed. Angel wants them both out of his sight at this point.

So far so good, but it can't last forever. Eventually, Angel is going to want to reconnect with Connor. He's going to want to know how Cordelia is doing. Best to make him not care at all. And the only way to make Angel not care about these two people is to take his soul away. Angelus is back, Angelus is kicked out of the Hyperion, the rest of the gang is so distracted with the Beast and with Angelus, they don't pay much attention to Connor and Cordelia upstairs.

Which is good, because Cordelia is starting to show. But Angel gets his soul back. Cordelia lets him know about the pregnancy hoping she can pass it off as a "part-demon" thing, but Angel comes after her.

There's a reason Jasmine chose Connor as her protector, both in Cordelia's body and out of it. Connor is strong but can be manipulated. Angel is strong but can't. Jasmine's big "plans" for Angelus were just for him to be Angelus--uncaring, a minion she might manipulate at a distance, and ultimately, perhaps even dead at the end of Connor's stake.

[> [> Bleh! You posted the same time as I did...only better! -- BlueStem, 20:53:40 05/01/03 Thu

[> [> Re: My theory -- lunasea, 02:13:46 05/02/03 Fri

Jasmine wanted the vampire with a soul out of the way. No soul, no vampire WITH a soul. Angel was still forecasted to be a major player in the Apocalypse. If Jasmine had succeeded, there wouldn't have been another apocalypse. Her's would have been the FINAL battle between good and evil. She wasn't sure what side Angel would come down on, so best to remove the threat. One thing I liked about her interaction with Angel was the times she used his name v when she called him "vampire." Supernatural beings tend to refer to Angel as "Champion."

"not a lower being" that is what the Oracles refered to Angel as. Angel used his free will to give up all happiness and love for Buffy. That made him divine. A higher being isn't all those powers. It is the exercise of free will to do good. This time he used his free will in order to enable others to have the chance to be divine. Jasmine kicked our evolution up a few notches. Doesn't mean that we won't get there eventually on our own terms. Our fate has to be our own.

I wish they had just made it free will v paradise, instead of clouding it up with her being possibly bad. The Fang Gang is so used to seeing evil and demons that they never took two seconds to debate whether they should do this. Hopefully that will be explored next episode.

One thing I would like to see Angel realize is that he damned Buffy to being Slayer. In Jasmine's world, Buffy would have had a normal life. The high priest says "about the girl." He doesn't say which girl. It is easy to think it is Cordy, but the Buffygasm in "Awakening" and the Buffy-Angel theme in "Orpheus" show that Cordy wasn't the only girl on his mind.

[> [> [> I likes, I likes! -- RadiusRS, 02:58:09 05/02/03 Fri

Love your speculations!

Here are some of my own:

It also paralleled the High Priest calling him "Dead Thing", hurting Angel with the truth.

Love the points in the second paragraph and agree completely.

I don't think Jasmine was either Bad or Good ("There are no absolutes!"), but both Bad AND Good. In essence, a paradox: the one who is many, the divine human, the Lamb and the Lion, the Savior and the Devourer; "an impossible birth to make one possible". That makes the character so much more interesting in my opinion since it adds tension to the storyline, and any good drama student knows that tension is one of the main components of good storytelling.

I think these comments are dead on and certainly sets up his journey to "Buffy". I also think that the Angel/Cordy thing was destined to happen, since Cordy had been gunning for him since his first appearance, and that had to be resolved in a way that was natural and didn't belittle either relationship. Angel sacrificed his love for Buffy (maybe the action that first caught Jasmine's attention?) in "I Will Remember You", and he was prepared to sacrifice Cordy, but he's already lost her because she had mated with his son and gave birth to their child. There's no way Angel and Cordy can be together now because it would be incestuous or borderline incestuous, and I really don't want to see this show turn into "The Beverley Hellbillies". Now wouldn't it be funny if the whole reason the PTB allowed Jasmine to do what she did was to keep Angel away from Cordy so he wouldn't lose his soul, and yet he lost it anyway, by choice? And that by losing it he could defeat the Beast and gain insight into who the Beastmaster was?

[> [> [> lunasea - question...? -- Kate, 06:07:20 05/02/03 Fri

Where in "Orpheus" did you hear the Buffy-Angel theme? I ask because I don't remember and I'd love to go back and watch that scene.

[> [> [> [> Re: lunasea - question...? (spoiler Orpheus and Dirty Girls) -- lunasea, 06:31:26 05/02/03 Fri

When Willow is leaving. Angel is getting all sad, especially when Willow says the "B" word. I am really bad with music and it is so important to the shows. I said to my husband "they aren't playing what I think they are? They wouldn't dare!" He opened up iTunes and compared the songs (You know you are a Buffy/Angel fan when you have "Close Your Eyes" on iTunes). They were a match.

They play it again when Faith and Buffy are talking in "Dirty Girls." The music is really quiet though and hard to make out.

[> Distraction -- BlueStem, 20:50:17 05/01/03 Thu

By removing Angel and bringing Angelus, Cordy removed one of the most perceptive person around her. Cordy needed to keep her grand plan secret, so having one less good guy around definitely helps. Also, there's evidence that playing with Angel is a fancy of Cordelia. Some of that style may have been transferred even when Cordy was possessed by Jasmine.

A wild theory about caleb -- 110v3w1110w, 01:55:58 05/02/03 Fri

i was thinking about why caleb is so strong and i think maybe he is like slayer kryptonite but more than just weaken buffy he takes her strength as his own so maybe he is only strong in her presence or in the presence of a slayer or maybe not just her presence but her hatred of him while he is in her presence. if i recall the first thing caleb did was to make buffy hate him by stabbing that SIT and making sure that buffy would find out and then go to him, then when she went to find him and asked his if he had something of hers when he replied "well i do now" maybe the thing he had now was her strength so when he is away from buffy maybe he is just a regular guy with no super powers.

[> It is for her alone (spoilers Empty Places) -- lunasea, 02:26:34 05/02/03 Fri

I think that whatever it is that was at the Monastary that Caleb wants to weild is giving him some sort of supernatural power, but he can't weild it properly. It is too powerful for him to control.

Buffy is right (she is always right when she follows her instincts) that the source of his power is at the vineyard. It makes him super strong, but he can't weild it yet. He needs to do something to her in order to weild it or have her do it for him. He mentions taming her. The Eye mentioned the mystical forces around the Slayer being altered. I think all three of these things are going to tie together.

Faith was faith without love. She mirrored Buffy's journey season 3 rather well. Caleb is also Buffy mirror. Perhaps he lacks the all important soul. There have been humans in the Buffyverse without souls before. "Dirty Girls" is full of imagery that shows him to be similar to a vampire. Perhaps Caleb needs a soul to weild "it," the soul of a champion. When Caleb says "well I do now," perhaps he is refering to Buffy's soul. He was jumping the gun perhaps. If he kills her, soul is gone.

When you have lost everythng, what is left? "Me." What is me, though?

[> I like your wild theory about Caleb (Spoilers to DG) -- WickedBuffy (always love the wild ones!), 08:09:42 05/02/03 Fri

That possible- especially about the "whatever" he now has of Buffys. (Unless it was "her attention", which he also got!)

When he did face off with Buffy, he was definitely stronger than any of them. Perhaps he is getting his physical strength by feeding off her - but her physical? or her emotional? both?

Caleb does seem to love to get her angry - egging her on, mocking her by killing some SITs during her big battle plan ::koff::, and just plan psychological warfare. And kicking her a$$.

I think he has a soul, though. And is or started out, as human. (At the very least, he identifies hinmself as such.)

In Dirty Girls, he tells Holly it's really not her fault she's dirty, because she was born dirty "born without a soul." It sounded like he was referring to *all* women, (since his next remark seemed to be about a womans genitals) but maybe he was referring to the Slayer line. And he mentions later, when he plays with FE (FE morphed as beautiful girl admirer) about "our whole race can be so damnably weak... "

[> I saw the sign **Spoilers** for Peace Out -- Vickie, 20:43:03 05/01/03 Thu

I was thinking "No, it's God is Now Here..."

Not a great show, but had potential. Should have been given a better chance.

[> [> If you want to do something about it . . . -- verdantheart, 06:38:57 05/02/03 Fri

Go to this web site. They talk a good line about giving a new program a chance, but they don't back it up (Miracles was supposed to have several weeks unmolested). Why do they even bother investing in programs when they aren't willing to give them even the smallest chance of succeeding? Rant over.

[> It was..... **Spoilers** for Peace Out -- Rufus, 02:57:47 05/02/03 Fri

Angel:'re the..

High Priest: High Priest...Guardian of the Word...heh...Caretaker of her most Blessed Temple.

Angel: Well Blessed temple's kinda empty, padre. So, where are the other true believers? Or are you just it?

High Priest: Betrayers, blasphemers, centuries of waiting for [her] return have caused most to doubt.

Angel: But not you...her faithful PR Flack.

High Priest: She is the light...she is the way

Angel: She is not coming back.

High Priest: She will. When she is through with your world.

'So much easier than redemption' - Storyteller/Orpheus (no later spoilers, contains profane ranting) -- KdS, 06:15:33 05/02/03 Fri

Wow. Two episodes which both get into my top 5 for each series this year. Storyteller actually takes the No.2 position behind CwDP in my personal judgement of S7. In many ways, the same core theme echoes through both eps, as both Andrew and Faith are forced to confront their own mortality and recognise the inability of heroic death to magically cancel a lifetime of evil. Both are also filled with stereotypically post-modern themes of unreliable narration and recursive dramatisation of past actions.

Not much discussion of Andrew here - being saved for an essay on BtVS as a whole which I'm planning for after 7:22. However, I will suggest an influence which came into my mind within the first five minutes and doesn't seem to have been stated. I think Andrew's portrayal in this ep has nothing to do with Blair Witch Project, but is very much influenced by a film called To Die For which is highly recommended if you haven't seen it. The film features a remarkable performance by Nichole Kidman as a sociopathic small-town pico-celeb, desperate to become a big TV star, who arranges the murder of her annoyingly unambitious husband. The story is told by a mixture of actual dramatisations of the action, mingled with retrospective documentary-style interviews with the surviving characters, but the core of the film is a series of video diaries by Kidman's character, which gradually change their effect from humour to genuine horror as the extent of her delusion, self-justification and revision of reality becomes clear. Andrew made a certain break-through in First Date, but he still saw himself as the hero of the big story. This episode shows that consolation being stripped away as he is forced to recognise the minor role he plays in the big picture, and the true horror of his actions stripped of the pseudo-significance that allowed him to wrap them up in romantic myth.

I must say though that Andrew's sexuality was a little overdone. We had the sexual tension with Warren in the first false flashback, the fascination with Xander's workmanship contrasted with complete lack of interest in Willow and Kennedy snuggling, the mouthing of Anya's lines in her discussion with Xander, and the whole implication of the level of intimacy with Jonathan in Mexico. A selection of these would have been effective, but the whole lot seemed overloaded for something which is usually, and refreshingly, portrayed as a very minor and unimportant part of Andrew's character. One buried subtext which I noticed was one of the subtle but effective criticisms of Christianity which the people who get upset about silly surface things miss. Andrew is tempted by the FE with godhood, which has clear resonances to the words of the serpent in Genesis, "Ye shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil". Yet while innocence for Eve was an ideal state, Andrew is vulnerable to the FE's corruption because he doesn't know Good and Evil, he still judges sides by who dresses better and makes the best repartee. I have to congratulate HonorH on her precognition mid-S7 of jokingly referring to "Andrew the Sith". The false flashback of Andrew confronting Willow in Two to Go clearly shows him modelling himself on the Emperor in Return of the Jedi, evil but still the wise, powerful father figure.

Other than Andrew's trajectory, the most moving part of the episode for me was the understated sadness of the Xander/Anya scenes, as they found that what they had hoped would be a rekindling of their relationship felt more like a wake. I had been one of the people who had been hoping that they would get it together in the end, but this episode seems to end any chance of that. On the other hand, it was nice to see tham break it off naturally, rather than be parted by mystic forces or death or some other melodramatic contrivance.

Mnor issues - I felt somewhat uncomfortable with Buffy referring to the FE taking territory from her in relation to the school. As I keep saying, metaphors to warfare in the geopolitical sense are simply counter-productive. I've finally put my finger on the reason Wood/Buffy makes me uncomfortable - when Wood makes jokes with Buffy there's an edge of patronisation in his manner which really rubs me the wrong way, and which I don't want Buffy to either tolerate or not notice. Andrew's laughable claim of sexual tension between Wood and Spike has to be a jab at the more extreme element of Buffysmut writers who at times seem to be competing as to who can come up with the most unlikely couple. Finally, I didn't find Buffy's reaction to the detonation of the pupil to be implausible or reflect badly on her. After the amount of death she's seen, overstated outpourings of grief over someone she never knew would seem pointless and unnecessary dramatisation.

Moving on to Orpheus, I'll deal first with the issue some viewers had with the episode, that they felt that it portrayed Angel and Angelus as separate consciousnesses in a multiple personality sense, contradicting established continuity. I personally feel that Angelus's remarks about being inside Angel were meant to be a metaphor for his suffering when feeling Angel's memories in his unsouled state rather than suggesting that he was literally a separate personality. As for the scenes of Angel and Angelus interacting, Angel(us) has always had a tendency to dissociation when thinking about himself, and this was exaggerated as metaphors sometimes are by the fact that he was out of his head on mystic acid at the time. The problem that is more difficult to deal with is the fact that souled Angel was interacting in real time, not memory, with Angelus and Faith before Willow re-ensouled him, which raises problems as the suggestion that some part of Angel is still present in Angelus's mind when no soul is present undercuts the belief that unsouled vampires are irredeemable. My personal explanation for this is that it was a shared hallucination, and the presence of Angel was a construct of both Faith and Angelus's minds and memories.

Watching the episode confirmed the feeling I had when first reading discussion about it that there are major Helpless resonances here. This really is very close to a Cruciamentum, except that there was a clear and arguably worthwhile objective and Faith consented to the whole thing (and may have helped to conceive it). The moral qualms I still have lie in whether Faith's consent was fully informed and whether she was aware of the mental effects of the drug that she was using (the Wes/Lorne scenes suggest that Wes definitely was). I wonder how Wes and Faith would have felt if Faith's experience with the drug had been less constructive and she had survived but been left with some form of mental instability. (One big plot hole - if the drug really does force you to confront your worst fears and memories, why do both vamps and humans use it recreationally? All I can think of is the usual out of vampires - twisted.) The episode sets up an interesting contrast between Faith in her current persona and Buffy. Both have now won key victories by thinking out of the box, but in diametrically opposed ways. Buffy comes up with her oddest and best ideas because of her determination not to succumb to apparent dark fates and to avoid tragedy. By contrast, Faith wins here by her self-abasing willingness to act in ways so painful and violating that no normal person or vampire would expect them.

The portrayal of Willow was criticised by some as too light and close to her S4-5 persona. There is a difference between this ep and BtVS, but I think that it can be explained by the fact that Willow has a very clear job to do, and she isn't around anyone who really saw her at her worst and got tortured by her. On a more personal level, the contrast really brought home the aura of depression that has seemed to hang around BtVS S7 since Bring on the Night.

[Parenthetical rant - the closer we get to the end of S7 the more worried I am about it. In the S6-7 hiatus we were told that S7 would be more optimistic and about Buffy reasserting and celebrating her power. I wasn't expecting total positivity, the baggage left over from S6 had to be dealt with and it was in the early part of the season, in a very effective manner. However, all we've been seeing in the second half of the season is boring post-Spuffy pissing around, and more sledgehammer argument that Buffy can only be powerful by erasing her humanity and cutting herself off from all meaningful interaction. I think that she's meant to be wrong, but it looks like we're going to get a repeat of S5 and S6, with huge quantities of grey, repetitive and over-familiar angst ending with a rushed epiphany. It didn't have to be this way - as late as Showtime I was hoping that the second half of the season might be a real, multi-layered and multi-dimensional conflict between the Scoobies and the FE, a multi-part Restless with big fight eye candy, emotional growth and philosophical exploration of good and evil all overlaid at the same time. To invert Lewis, farther down and farther in. ME could have carried it off - just look at Promethea for what can be achieved in this vein. Right now I can see at least three potentially effective ways to attack {SPOILER} right now, some of which would involve real character development and moral statements. Instead it looks like we're going to get a fucking Plot Coupon. End of rant]

On a more cheerful note, the scene of 1970s Angel transported to Mandy set both Rah and I on wild speculation about scenes we didn't see in BtVS S3. I thought of Buffy and Angel listening to records together, one or the other white-knuckled with the strain of not revealing his/her opinions about the other's MOR/alternative music tastes. Rah had the even better idea of Angel dancing goofily to Manilow, hearing Buffy's footsteps approaching the house and with vamp speed switching off the stereo and grabbing a Sartre novel ;-)

[> Aw, I was expecting more swearing! -- ponygirl, 08:39:36 05/02/03 Fri

LOL on the Mandy scenarios! Great stuff, and personally I'd be interested in hearing your ideas for dealing with the FE.

[> [> Wasn't talking about... (LATER EP SPOILERS) -- KdS, 12:17:06 05/02/03 Fri

I wasn't talking about the FE, but Caleb (the FE has been named on Sky, so I don't replace it with a {SPOILER} any more). Firstly, there are a hell of a lot of past weapons and strategies that heven't been tried (rocket launcher, troll hammer, etc etc), but my favourite idea for clobbering Caleb involves Willow.

I'm aware of the pyschoanalytic argument that Caleb represents Buffy's fear of her own sexuality, but he strikes me as such an noxious, pathetic little scrote that Buffy shouldn't have to lower herself to deal with him - she really needs to deal with the FE on a level more elevated than ass-kicking. On the other hand, Willow epitomises so much of what Caleb and his real-life sources hate (Jewish, pagan, gay, female) that it seems too delicious not to have her be the one to take him out, and she could do it in a way that would really wrap up her arc in triumph. We've seen Willow drain spiritual power from people several times now (Rack, Buffy, Kennedy, Anya) and I'm wondering if she could drain the power from Caleb.

My plan: Caleb's out on the look out for Buffy to intimidate some more, or some random girl to disembowel, when he finds himself faced with Willow and Faith. Given their personalities, appearances and histories, I'm sure that the pair could easily provoke Caleb into assaulting them, even if he didn't do so on sight. However, as soon as he makes contact with Willow, she drains him of all the power the FE gave him. Faith then beats the crap out of him and either kills him or hands him over to the men in white coats as her conscience guides her. Meanwhile, Xander and Kennedy come out of hiding and talk Willow down while she lets the power dissipate safely, proving to herself that she can stuff herself with the chalky stuff in a good cause without going all "bored now".

Like it?

[> [> [> I like it! (EP spoilers) -- ponygirl, 13:25:41 05/02/03 Fri

In fact I picture the gang having to deal with the more physical aspects of battle like Caleb, Bringers or a stray ubervamp, leaving Buffy the problem of the FE itself.

[> [> [> [> me too! -- anom, 20:05:07 05/04/03 Sun

Especially Willow's Arc de Triomphe!

"Willow epitomises so much of what Caleb and his real-life sources hate (Jewish, pagan, gay, female) that it seems too delicious not to have her be the one to take him out, and she could do it in a way that would really wrap up her arc in triumph."

[> Interesting review, on patronization. (Spoilers Storyteller) -- s'kat, 09:22:27 05/02/03 Fri

LMAO...:On a more cheerful note, the scene of 1970s Angel transported to Mandy set both Rah and I on wild speculation about scenes we didn't see in BtVS S3. I thought of Buffy and Angel listening to records together, one or the other white-knuckled with the strain of not revealing his/her opinions about the other's MOR/alternative music tastes. Rah had the even better idea of Angel dancing goofily to Manilow, hearing Buffy's footsteps approaching the house and with vamp speed switching off the stereo and grabbing a Sartre novel ;-)

I love that. Never occurred to me. But can totally see it. Of course you are assuming someone that loves New Kids on The Block won't like Manilow. You never know. I've always found Angel's love of Manilow and Angelus' love of Opera an interesting twist.

Do wish someone would do a post on the use of music in these shows to describe character. Great essay topic.

I've finally put my finger on the reason Wood/Buffy makes me uncomfortable - when Wood makes jokes with Buffy there's an edge of patronisation in his manner which really rubs me the wrong way, and which I don't want Buffy to either tolerate or not notice.

Thank you. Yes, I think that's why I can't stomach it. The Wood/Buffy interactions in Storyteller ruined the episode for me. I'm not unconvinced I might not like it a lot better if I can somehow edit them out. Wood from the get-go has been patronizing towards Buffy and I've been struggling to put my finger on it. Now being patronized is a huge button of mine. Can't tolerate it. Particularly after having an abusive boss who used it as a weapon. Wood does too, I think. My question is why? I'm beginning to think this is deliberate on the part of the writers.

Whedon said something in an interview pre-Lessons about how he wouldn't to get back to his initial theme of the series, about a girl with tremendous power that everyone underestimates. I see that with Wood - he underestimates her power. He sees the true power being with the Watcher. Makes sense in a way. His mother being dead and being raised by her Watcher. He literally believes Buffy should report to or be watched by a guy. Also his patronizing attitude is in a way a metanarrative on The Mayor, Trick, , the Psychologist, and Snyder - all the authority figures from season 3 Btvs. Once again she is letting someone boss her around. She fell into this trap briefly in S4 with Walsh. I am beginning to think Wood is one of the obstacles Buffy has to over-come this season and that we are NOT supposed to like him. We are supposed to be a little squicked and little put-off. Yet at the same time question it and wonder why we are so put off by his behavior. Because that would be how Buffy would feel - when someone patronizes you - you tend to question yourself first. They gain power by putting you constantly in your place and when you let them? You give them power. And I think Wood is yet another metaphor for how we give away our personal power without realizing it. And how we misunderstand that power.

Not sure that made any sense.

At any rate, I enjoyed your review.


[> [> ugh..typos. -- sk, 09:26:31 05/02/03 Fri

Whedon said something in an interview pre-Lessons about how he wouldn't to get back to his initial theme of the series, about a girl with tremendous power that everyone underestimates.

It should be wanted not wouldn't. I honestly have no clue how this happens. Highly annoying.

[> [> I have an image of Buffy liking something more demanding than NKOTB -- KdS, 09:27:20 05/02/03 Fri

From the way she acts at the Bronze she seems to be into the same sort of alternative (US)/indie (UK) rock that Willow is. We do know from Living Conditions that she hates Celine Dion and Cher, who NKOTB aren't that far above in my estimation.

[> [> [> Re: I have an image of Buffy liking something more demanding than NKOTB -- s'kat, 09:31:49 05/02/03 Fri

So why all the NKOB posters on her walls? She says to Spike in Dead Things, that she should do something with her room, she thinks the NKOB posters are beginning to date her.

Of course that could have been meant as a joke. Wasn't sure.
Because I agree - she didn't seem to be the NKOB type.
More alternative.

[> [> [> [> I don't know. I'm Buffy's age, and as far as I remember... -- Rob, 09:44:42 05/02/03 Fri

...EVERY GIRL from my class in elementary school LOVED New Kids, even if it was just to gawk at them and not a love of the actual (um, I guess you could call it) music.


[> [> [> [> [> God, I'm old. -- Arethusa, 10:50:38 05/02/03 Fri

When I was in elementary school it was David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman. Connor and his hair would have fit right in.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: God, I'm old. -- Dariel, 14:19:39 05/02/03 Fri

Well, you're not the only one--I had Bobby Sherman posters all over my walls.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: God, I'm old. -- bell456, 15:57:02 05/02/03 Fri

My dad was adamant about not hanging posters on the walls, but I had friends whose taste leaned toward Tony DiFranco & the ever poplular Bay City Rollers.

How badly does that date me?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: God, I'm old. -- Rhys, 00:56:54 05/03/03 Sat

Not as badly as me. Yes, I remember David Cassidy being massively popular with girls when I was in elementary school, along with the Beach Boys and Stevie Wonder. I also recall Saturday morning cartoon versions of the Jackson Five and the Osmond Brothers, voiced by the singers.

[> [> [> [> Seems she'd be more of a Sublime listener, now. -- WickedBuffy, 12:47:33 05/02/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> Surely this is meant to be funny? -- Celebaelin, 18:04:55 05/04/03 Sun

I see it this way, I don't think Joyce 'knew' the difference so she didn't know that Buffy didn't listen to NKOB (listening to NKOB is a concept so alien to me that my first thought when I saw it, after the transposed letters LOL, was 'I'll keep an ear out for them, it might be a plug.')

I really, really hope that the only reason Buffy enjoys having NKOB (this is earth-shakingly funny if you are a sex-obsessed British teenager, or even just very puerile) on her bedroom wall is the same one people are happy to buy and wear French Connection UK clothing. Namely that it has FCUK written on it, branding is everything (well, that and frisson). I always pictured Buffy as a kind of indie rock/gothic kinda girl (sexual tension, low to zero lighting, strobes, the sublime chill of dry ice clouds contrasting with perspiration from the dancing and the collective heat of hundreds of young bodies up to their eyeballs in hormones and newly discovered freedoms).

I hope that knob jokes are trans-atlantic but I have a suspicion that they may not be. Rather than be prudish or coy I suppose I should just say it - 'KNOB' is British slang for the glans penis.


(Worried that my reason for posting this may have something to do with my refusal to accept that anyone could actually listen to NKOB for innocent recreational purposes.)

[> [> [> [> [> LMAO!! (Spoilers for Dead Things) -- s'kat, 20:34:07 05/04/03 Sun

Actually...New Kids were never my cup of tea. But now that I know what their acronyme means in Brit slang - I can see how they may or may not have been a hit over there.

Hmmm, wonder if Joss/Deknight knew this little tidbit?
(They are the ones responsible for Dead Things where the line appears.)

Here's the line in context. Which the Brits amongst us may not have seen due to the British censors. There's a great article in Slayage 8 on this.

Buffy and Spike are lying naked under one of Spike's rugs after much heavy groaning and sexy high-jinks.

Buffy looks around her and says, "Is this a new rug?"

Spike: " But it looks different when your lying under it."

Buffy: "I like what you've done with the place, looks sort of nice for a hole in the ground."

Spike: "I think I ate a decorator once and it might have had an effect on me."

Buffy: "Makes me think that I should do something about my room. Those New Kids On the Block posters are starting to date me."

Now in the context of post-coital conversation, the idea that NKOB could have a hidden sexual connotation - is hilarously funny and makes me uhm wonder if maybe these writers have far dirtier minds than we think. ;-)


[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: NKOB gags -- Celebaelin, 21:38:27 05/04/03 Sun

Yes, the line did make it onto British screens. It would be difficult to stop I think "What's dirty about that?" (apart from the fact that they've clearly been making nekkid pretzels for the last hour or four).

[> [> Re: Interesting review, on patronization. (Spoilers Storyteller) -- anom, 22:11:35 05/04/03 Sun

"I've always found Angel's love of Manilow and Angelus' love of Opera an interesting twist."

Plus Angel has this strange uncertainty about liking Manilow. Maybe it has something to do w/its undercutting his tough image, or the way it gives a glimpse into someting deeper (about him--the music ain't!) than he's comfortable having people see. But if Angelus goes for opera, I've missed it. He whistles the Ode to Joy in Killed by Death (not that I'd remember that if I hadn't seen it in the annotation thread!), but that's from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, not an opera. Are there other examples? 'cause if not, there's no way to know how typical that is. The only other thing I remember him singing is Teddy Bears' Picnic. (Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head was when he was faking being Angel, so I don't know if it really counts for either of them...maybe it was a clue--he couldn't bring himself to sing Mandy, which Angel would have.)

Agree about the patronizing. But I don't remember--who was the psychologist in season 3?

[> [> [> Angelus and Classical Music (Passion) and Dr. Platt (Beauty and The Beasts) -- s'kat, 09:55:47 05/05/03 Mon

But if Angelus goes for opera, I've missed it. He whistles the Ode to Joy in Killed by Death (not that I'd remember that if I hadn't seen it in the annotation thread!), but that's from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, not an opera. Are there other examples?

Yes. In Passion, Angelus deliberately selects a Puccini(?)
opera song to play in the background when Giles finds Jenny in his bed, dead. Note - Giles is more of a 70/60s Brit
rock fan and is never shown listening to opera. This is purely Angelus' selection.

Angelus likes classical or older songs - we've got Angel commenting on how he loved the ballet and the music and cryed when he was soulless in Waiting in The Wings. We are shown Angelus whistling Ode to Joy.

He makes fun of the pop tunes Raindrops Falling on My head (using it at the time to prove he's Angel in Soulless)
and fun of Mandy in Orpheus, stating the concerts were worse.

So perhaps a better identifier would be Angelus and classical music?

But I don't remember--who was the psychologist in season 3?

Dr. Platt. He was the therapist/school guidance counselor that Buffy and Debbie both go to in the episode Beauty and The Beasts, he survives long enough to tell Buffy that if she lets love control her than it becomes her master and she it's dog. A concept that is described metaphorically in the Debbie/Pete relationship where Pete become a monster to win Debbie's love and with Spike later in Lover's Walk where he describes himself as "love's bitch" - a comparison he makes to Buffy and Angel who are clearly in denial but also love's bitches.

Platt was a fairly attractive African-American psyche, who spoke kindly, and sat on the edge of his desk to talk to Buffy. He also smoked. Like most of the nice adults who aren't Giles or Joyce in Btvs - Platt dies before the episode is over. His left eye is gouged out. (What is it with ME and eyes? I count at least five or six times in Season 3 and in other seasons where characters are getting their eyes taken or killed through the eyes...)

Only remember this b/c recently saw B&Beasts on FX and the whole Passion thread.


[> [> [> [> 'Injury to the eye motif'... -- KdS, 13:29:35 05/05/03 Mon

I'm not an expert on this, but eye injuries have a certain significance to comics fans which I know some people in ME are. The way I hear it Fredric Wertham (psychiatrist and 1950s moralistic anti-comic campaigner) specifically attacked the tendency of 50s horror comics to show eye injuries, considering them especially gruesome and unsuitable for kids. As a result the "injury to the eye motif" has become a sort of in-joke among comics fans and writers. Neil Gaiman suggested that one might expect a fascination with eye damage and blindness in a visual medium ,which might also apply to TV.

[> [> [> [> still a little skeptical -- anom, 19:29:33 05/05/03 Mon

Angelus seemed to have chosen "La Bohème" as a sardonic comment on Jenny's Gypsy ancestry; I don't know if it means he liked it. However, he obviously knows enough about classical music to make such an appropriate choice. But except for the ballet, most of Angelus' musical choices have had at least some sardonic content, from "La Bohème" to the "Ode to Joy" to "The Teddy Bears' Picnic."

As for Dr. Platt, I guess I didn't think of him as a psychologist. (My 1st thought was the doctor at the asylum in Normal Again, but of course that was 3 seasons later.) He also didn't seem to fit as an example of an authority figure who was patronizing. He was straightforward w/Buffy about his role, & though he didn't treat her as an equal (in that context, they weren't equals), he did treat her w/respect & didn't try to "boss her around." So I don't understand why you included him in that list.

"Only remember this b/c recently saw B&Beasts on FX and the whole Passion thread."

Heehee--that's another great thing about this board, the way it keeps what's gone around coming around & (relatively) fresh in our minds!

[> [> [> [> [> Re: still a little skeptical -- s'kat, 09:15:02 05/06/03 Tue

Angelus seemed to have chosen "La Bohème" as a sardonic comment on Jenny's Gypsy ancestry; I don't know if it means he liked it. However, he obviously knows enough about classical music to make such an appropriate choice. But except for the ballet, most of Angelus' musical choices have had at least some sardonic content, from "La Bohème" to the "Ode to Joy" to "The Teddy Bears' Picnic."

We haven't been given enough to know otherwise. Except that it is clear that Angelus despises the song Mandy. We also haven't been given enough info on Angel's tastes. Although I'm pretty sure I've heard classical music in the background when he is drawing. Vampires who've lived a long time seem to have an artistic bent. Both Angelus/Angel and
Spike are seen with drawings. But again - the writers only give us tidbits. I would however say it is safe to assume some leanings towards classical just because - 1)You don't know which song of La Boheme to select if you a)don't know opera and b) don't like it. (Most people I know, including myself, who have no fondness for opera or just a passing interest - did not recognize the song nor would have figured out that it would fit Jenny.)'d have to be into it, to have the knowledge necessary to take such a sardonic stance. Angelus could have picked any number of songs to get the same point across, the fact he picked that one is interesting.

On the Teddy Bears Picnic - old English Folksong? Not sure.
But he clearly chose it because he knew they were watching him. And you can like that song and Opera, the two forms aren't mutually exculsive.

Ballet - supports the classical interest. And from Angel, you get the feeling he's into it and very disappointed that Cordy is bored too death. (Waiting in The Wings)

So, from the information we have? It's more likely that Angelus was into classical music than pop. Going with that until they give information to the contrary.

As for Dr. Platt, I guess I didn't think of him as a psychologist. (My 1st thought was the doctor at the asylum in Normal Again, but of course that was 3 seasons later.) He also didn't seem to fit as an example of an authority figure who was patronizing. He was straightforward w/Buffy about his role, & though he didn't treat her as an equal (in that context, they weren't equals), he did treat her w/respect & didn't try to "boss her around." So I don't understand why you included him in that list.

Ah you misunderstood my intent. I was actually showing that Wood isn't a clear cut villain or clear cut good guy. He's a combo. He has a little of the psyche in him. But Dr. Platt (which is what they call him in the episode - have no clue why, it's just the character's name) is not patronizing. Wood takes the same type of lines Platt would say to Buffy and makes them patronizing. Just as Wood puts his own little twist on Trick's line that "the suite makes the man" - in Homecoming. The characters aren't the same of course. But the commentary the writers consciously or unconsciously make on past characters through Wood is interesting to note.

Not sure if that cleared it up or not. Sorry for not making it clearer.


[> [> [> [> [> [> Not a folksong - 1930s/40s novelty number -- KdS, 12:37:03 05/06/03 Tue

[> It's the 'philosophical ghost' -- Masq, 10:27:33 05/02/03 Fri

We feel like there's a ghost of the person you once were inside them -- a philosophical ghost, not an actual spirit. It is, in fact, a demon, but the demon is infused with some of the characteristics of the people that they possess (David Fury,, Feb 9, 2001).

Or as the "Life Coach" in "Disharmony" explains it, "the voice of your inner human".

All vampires carry that voice around inside of them--all the original personality traits of the human are still there inside them. VampWilliam testifies to this more than anything. He seemed virtually unchanged from his human persona, only remaking himself over into "Spike" much later. VampWillow, Angel(us), all the other vampire's we've met whose human counter parts we knew well--the original personality is still there, some of it being repressed, some of it finally getting expression.

It's why Angelus was going good at "pretending to be Angel" in Calvary when the gang attempted to re-soul him in the cage. He jumps up from their "spell" and gives them that sincere Angel-look and proceeds to give them orders and an inspiring speech.

Angelus has more of a philosophical ghost than most vampires, because he has more than the original human to contend with. He was a vampire with a soul. Angel's personality traits have long ago struggled to come through inside a vampire body. Angelus must work that much harder to keep them at bay.

Being a soulless vampire means placing emphasis on some personality traits over others--it might even be argued the vampire can't help but emphasize the dark and "evil" personality traits of the original human. They don't have the freedom to choose good.

The presence of the soul allows the selection process to work the other way--it allows the vampire to act on the "good" personality traits rather than simply "bad" ones of the original human.

[> [> Re: It's the 'philosophical ghost' -- lunasea, 12:54:35 05/02/03 Fri

Thanks for sharing this. When Angel loses his soul, he loses all his humanity. That humanity seems to come back slowly as he has to deal with his feelings about Buffy which didn't go away completely. I wouldn't say the Angel that gently brushed Buffy's hair back was devoid of humanity. He just had to keep up the act that he was.

In humans, we develop the vices as we go on. In vamps, maybe when vamped they are devoid of humanity, but can find develop it again, but it gets twisted by their nature.

[> [> [> What is a vamps 'nature'? -- WickedBuffy (just following along nodding), 17:59:59 05/03/03 Sat

[> Re: 'So much easier than redemption' - Storyteller/Orpheus -- yabyumpan, 12:48:02 05/02/03 Fri

I'm a bit wary of posting this as my opinion is diametrically opposed to most peoples (as usual!). It's going to be a bit of a rant and probably character bashing, so if that offends you, just tune out now.

I just find Andrew irritating. I was ok with that for the first half dozen eps, he was irritating in a funny sort of way but now it's got to the point where it's not funny, he's not funny and I really don't want to see a whole episode devoted to him. I think part of my problem is that he seems, for the most part, to be 'comic relief'. I can remember the days when the Scoobies were their own comic relief, always able to quip in the face of an apocalypse. Now that ability to quip appears to be locked in a jar with Wesley's sense of humour, so it's left to Andrew to bring some lightness into the episodes. For me it just feels jarring, like watching a serious play where every now and then a comic rolls on stage, does a bit of slap stick and rolls off again and it's back to the serious stuff. It may be that Andrew is there as a narrator or as a metaphor or what ever, but for me he's just one more person who's sucking up screen time from the core cast. I want more Xander and Dawn, they're the people I resonate with most this season. Sorry, but this episode is just a big shrug for me.

Loved this episode. Everything about it was perfect. Loved the cutting in the begining between Faith being taken care of and Angelus being chained up, the slow drum in itself just drew you in and started the decent into what, in the end, was both their personal hells - Angelus reliving his past as Angel, Faith seeing Angel drink and seeing the motivation that had kept her going all this time, slip away. Angel blissing out to Mandy was wonderful although I went to bed this morning with the image of Angel at a Manilow concert, lighter held high, blissed out and swaying and it kept making me giggle so much that it was ages before I could get to sleep. Connors slow walk down to the basement with PossesedCordelia's words in the back ground was chilling. Enjoyed Willow and her interactions with everyone.
I've just noticed the time and I've got to get back to work, so maybe more tomorrow, but Orpheus is definatly an ep I'll go back and watch time and again.

[> [> I often find myself agreeing with you, yab! -- Masq, 13:31:28 05/02/03 Fri

I just find Andrew irritating. I was ok with that for the first half dozen eps .....but for me he's just one more person who's sucking up screen time from the core cast.

Too much cast. I thought Andrew was a fun walk-on in "CWDP", but after that, I didn't see the point of him.

although I went to bed this morning with the image of Angel at a Manilow concert, lighter held high, blissed out and swaying and it kept making me giggle so much that it was ages before I could get to sleep.

You may or may not have heard about my marathon insomnia this Spring, but it's been going strong since February and continues to. Wednesday nights (after Angel airs) are especially bad, as I wake up in the middle of the night stewing about things that happened in a particular episode and how they will affect the show's ratings and how that may or may not lead to cancellation of the show. After "Orpheus", however, all that stewing was replaced by something even more hideous and nightmarish: the song "Mandy" playing in my head over and over again, all night long. And pretty much all day long at work, too. It was like that episode of the Star Trek the Next Generation where Counselor Troi was driven mad by a music box.

Of course, the episode "Magic Bullet" put a new wrinkle in "Mandy" that is the cause of night mares!! ; ) ; ) ; )

[> [> [> Storyteller/Orpheus (No later spoilers) -- Abby, 15:46:38 05/02/03 Fri

(well, as per usual I've had to ignore all posts with 'later ep' spoiler titles so bear with me if these things have been referenced further up with your joy of hindsight/trollop smugness)

Storyteller: Initially, with the opening, I was joyous...I don't think we've had the direct address utilised before, and Andrews pronunciation and fantasy get-up was funny. I did enjoy the (dare I say it) metanarrative it offered and it really emphasised Andrew as being 'the fans': 'Heart of the group', fanstasy fic-style spuffy etc
But an entire episode of it? I agreed completely with Buffy by the time she said 'It's a waste of time'. When the first ad break arrived I was seething, have we ever had such a pointless first act? I await the delivery of my tapes each week with anticipation, and here we are and the whole first 10 minutes seemed like a nothing! And this continued...the episode just left me feeling utterly unfulfilled.
Typing this now, fresh from the screen,I do recognise what imporant themes were covered, we had
*Xander/ Anya moving on, nicely done
*Andrew's 'redemption'/ recognition
*The fact that Wood is willing to kill Spike. Full stop.
*The fact that Buffy most-definately-likely would have stabbed Andrew had it been required.
But even the wonderful commentary of 'here's another big speech' and the rest didn't help the fact that this delivered the good in a bad package- like drinking a diet drink packed with aspartamene when you want sugar!
But honestly, it seems to me like a waste of good Buffy time...I mean, the countdown is on now: every precious moment of screentime counts!!

And compared to Orpheus! Now that is what is a worthy episode! The dumbness of Connor when faced with mad, bad sarcastic!Cordy. The alter-ego brawl! The Willow/Fred non-flirtation! The cliffhanger!

It's just week by week Buffy is slipping away, and I want every episode to be as good as the Angel that follows it for this final season. Every week I need to rewatch Angel, but not since CwDP have I done the same for Buffy.


[> [> [> [> So little time :-( -- yabyumpan, 23:23:42 05/02/03 Fri

But honestly, it seems to me like a waste of good Buffy time...I mean, the countdown is on now: every precious moment of screentime counts!!

I think this is my main problem. We're on the final leg of the final series. I've followed from episode one, loving it and hating it and being indifferent, but I've been there every step of the way. More than that, I've been with Buffy, Willow, Xander and Giles every step of the way and it's those people I want to spend my time with in these final hours (didn't that sound all melodramatic? TM would be proud!). Also with Anya and Dawn and even Spike! (he may not interest me personally, but he's been there since S2 so I can accept that he's important at the end), but what I have a problem with this season is the cast of thousands and a whole episode devoted to a character we only met last season, while characters like Xander and Dawn are pretty much MIA. Yes they're around but usually only as part of the back drop. Maybe if it wasn't the last season I wouldn't care so much but the end is nigh ;-( and I want to spend my time with old friends not an immature dweeb I hardly know and care about even less.
Andrew referenced Xander as being the Heart and maybe his lack of presence is a metaphore for the Heart not really being present this season, but I'd rather have a whole episode dropping huge avils on me, spelling that out, with Xander there but not (if you see what I mean) than a character who really contributes nothing. I didn't realise just how fundemental Xander is to the show untill I began to notice his absence. I worry that he's going to end up like Marcie :-(

Ok, not going to say any more about this. While this hasn't been a stella season so far, for the most part it's been pretty good and at times excellent but this is the first episode that's actually pissed me off.

[> [> [> [> [> About Andrew -- KdS, 02:54:07 05/03/03 Sat

First of all, Abby, you might find the episode more meaningful in retrospect if you read some of the topics posted immediately after the US showing of it, towards the end of the February 2003 archive.

Secondly, I think Andrew really seems to have divided people in general between those who love him and those who see him as pointless comic relief. I agree with you about some of the other new characters who have been brought in this season (Kennedy and Wood, in particular, leave me cold because it seems that the most important roles they play in the plot could have been carried out by previously developed, and popular, regular/recurring characters - going into details would mean spoilers for later eps). Andrew, on the other hand, seems important to me because he's been used to bring some very important moral and philosophical subtext that's been in BtVS from the start out into the open, but that would be a whole massive essay in itself. Again, read the Feb 2003 archive.

Regarding people's reactions to the character, it seems to me that reactions to Andrew are very much based on personal experience. If you've ever felt that particular temptation to become obsessed with a fictional world and to fantasise one's own existence, you'll be right there with him. If you've never had the slightest tendency to that particular pathology, he just seems boring and pointless.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: About Andrew -- Abby, 05:35:08 05/03/03 Sat

KdS- I always find every episode more important in retrospect with the help of the archives! But I've started to leap right in to post my intial reactions before I delve back, mainly because months of simply reading deprived me of even small amounts of actual interaction on the board- it seems if you're unspoiled in England you're deprived of a lot of the pleasure of posting until summer!

To develop what I posted- I totally agree that Andrew plays a significant role, and his acknowledgement of his crimes was vital in relation to the exploration of redemption and atonement we're seeing played out in Willow and Spike as well. It was about time we saw some development and him 'growing up' even a small amount, it's just the vehicle for this left me wanting. I felt unfulfilled, and like the S'kat reaction that I have been through already in archives, that can be just my taste of the orange and my differing values of what I want out of an episode.

I have really enjoyed his tendancy to build fictional realities as escapism, and this is coming from someone who frequently slips out of focus in a class only to phase back in an hour later completely oblivious. Having been an insatiable reader since aged 6 I spent so many years wrapping myself in other lives to ignore my own, so I do identify with Andrew who views the world through his construction of sci-fi and fantasy media. The importance of allowing yourself that escapism to briefly reject the undesirable reality, but ultimately stop yourself putting energy into that alternate life that you need to use to change your 'real' life is something I'm constantly aware of. Calling Andrew on his rewrites and editing was vital for him to 'wake up'. So in short I'm saying that having thought about it, I don't resent so much the fact that Andrew was given the screentime, it was that the episode seemed too caught up in its innovative commentary and construction: the framework was elaborate and enjoyable, but the substance was not as much as I think could have been achieved.
As for Wood and Kennedy (thanks for not spoiling), right now I'm letting them unfold. Kennedy I'm ambivalent to at the moment: enjoyed the interaction at the Bronze in Killer In Me, disliked 'maggot, while Wood has set me on edge from the start. The patronizing yet unsettlingly flirtatious authority figure gets my hackles up, and I'm waiting for development to convince me otherwise- or not.

Anyway, Thanks for your response- like I said, I'm getting stuck into archives but just wanted to articulate my intial reactions; having a wholly one-sided relationship with Voy is frustrating for me.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Very good comments. Agree. -- s'kat, 08:18:42 05/04/03 Sun

Don't know about anyone else..but I'm really glad you've come out of lurking to share. Your comments echo my own feelings regarding the season. Don't get too stuck in the archives...keep sharing.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Very good comments. Agree. -- Abby, 11:41:58 05/04/03 Sun

Wow, praise from shadowkat. That made my day!

[> [> Re: 'So much easier than redemption' - Storyteller/Orpheus -- s'kat, 19:22:23 05/02/03 Fri

I'm a bit wary of posting this as my opinion is diametrically opposed to most peoples (as usual!). It's going to be a bit of a rant and probably character bashing, so if that offends you, just tune out now.

I just find Andrew irritating. I was ok with that for the first half dozen eps, he was irritating in a funny sort of way but now it's got to the point where it's not funny, he's not funny and I really don't want to see a whole episode devoted to him.

Oddly enough, I'm one of the few who agrees with you.
If you look back in the archives, you'll see my controversial post about "Why I hated Storyteller." While over time I've seen it as having value and understand the writers desire to move away from core characters they've gotten tired of, it still did not work for me. And I feel very little desire to re-watch it. Andrew is not a character I want a whole episode devoted to and it still felt very self-indulgent on the part of the writers.

I tend to have no problems with him in small doses. But a whole episode was too much for me.

may be that Andrew is there as a narrator or as a metaphor or what ever, but for me he's just one more person who's sucking up screen time from the core cast.

That was my problem as well. I felt he was sucking up screen time from other characters, the regulars. So you aren't alone. You are part of a small not very vocal minority who just found in this instance at least the orange to be bitter rather than sweet.

Also agree on Orpheus, I enjoyed this episode. It was in a word? Fun.

[> [> [> The brilliance of 'Storyteller' -- Bimo, 21:53:39 05/02/03 Fri

Okay, I've been lurking for a while and will probably go back to lurking (Real Life problems), but: here's why I thoroughly loved and enjoyed "Storyteller":
- it was Jane Espenson at her best (wit and darkness combined)
- in the final season of BTVS, it highlighted what I consider one of the great virtues of the show - taking minor characters who start as clichés and turn them into interesting and endearing human beings; this happened to Andrew throughout the season, and this episode sums up his narrative arc in a very satisfying way
- it showed our regular characters through another viewpoint, while at the same time examing the narrative subjectivity (and I love episodes who do that, especially it seems in the show's final seasons - hence my fondness for "The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father", a Babylon 5 episode in that show's fifth and final season, which is entirely from a semi-regular villain's pov)
- it showed the increasing pressures on Buffy, her attempts to deal with them, and her self doubts, all of which are important arc-wise
- it provided a sad but gentle resolution for Xander and Anya.

"Orpheus", on the other hand? I liked it, but I could have done without the flashbacks, which didn't present anything new really and weren't nearly as interesting or tightly connected to the present-day action as the flashbacks in "Lies My Parents Told Me" later. "Storyteller" I've watched about five times now. "Orpheus" only once.

[> [> [> [> Storyteller flaws (no later spoilers) -- Abby, 02:35:32 05/03/03 Sat

Wow, I guess (like many) this episode really polarised opinion! I couldn't imagine sitting through Storyteller 5 times without throwing large/heavy/smashable objects at my TV!
Like S'kat and yaby, all of the screentime devoted to Andrew made me so frustrated and I think I figured out why:
Storyteller tried to take all of the comic relief moments that Andrew provides and string them together into a substantial episode. And it just didn't work for me. Most of his observation and narration I found witty and enjoyable in themselves: as throwaway lines or fun metanarration, and had they been slotted as sub-plot into another episode with a 'weightier'/more dramatic focus I would have been excited. His kind of humour works best when contrasted with the deeper, darker plotlines, but standing alone? Not enough to compel me. And like yaby, at this stage in the series, I want those deeper, darker, weighty dramatic plotlines. I want CwDP's that make me sit tensely on the edge of the sofa, frantically fast-forwarding the ad breaks so as not to break momentum. This week I was fast-forwarding in hope that something more real would unfold.

Into the archives I go with relish....

btw, have any UK finale meet-ups been organised? I can't bear the thought of letting the occasion go unmarked, sitting alone with my tape the next day as 7 years (more so here) of my life come to an end. I was there from day one, bbc2.

[> [> [> [> 'Orpheus' flashbacks -- KdS, 02:58:14 05/03/03 Sat

I think that the flashbacks in Orpheus were useful because they helped to bring some sense to Angel's 20th-century mental trajectory. A lot of people were unhappy with the references to holidaying in Vegas in the 50s/60s in House Always Wins because they didn't seem to fit with the guy living on the street in Becoming I. Orpheus showed that that final decline was sparked by a specific incident, in a way that was perfectly plausible.

[> [> [> [> [> Angel's past. (Spoilers to the present.) -- Dannyblue, 07:16:35 05/03/03 Sat

I have read comments people made about AYNOHYEB. After all, Angel was living the life of a homeless bum in the 90's. That doesn't gel with him living in a hotel and paying rent in the 50's.

Only, it actually does. A lot can happen in 40 years. Heck, a lot can happen in a year.

Angel spent a hundred years in what amounted to a depression. And, like some people, he seemed to go through cycles. Sometimes, he was okay enough to have minimal dealings with humans. Other times, he completely cut himself off.

I knew someone who suffered from depression. Sometimes, she was fine. She went to school. Laughed at funny movies. Had a great time bowling and playing tennis. Then, something would happen, and her mood would just crash for months at a time. That seems to be what went on with Angel. And, with him, you have a hundred years of mood changes.

Actually, Angel seemed to be more "okay" when the 70's flashback started than in any other time period. (Maybe Manilow put him in a good mood.) The incident with the murdered cashier probably sent him spiraling down once again. But I wouldn't be surprised if even this isn't what made him start living in the sewers. It might be, but there are still 20 years of possibilities to account for.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Angelus said... -- KdS, 07:58:14 05/03/03 Sat

And I don't think he'd have much reason to lie, that Angel spent the whole time after the donut shop incident living like a tramp.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Spoilers post-storyteller below! -- Abby, 10:07:20 05/03/03 Sat

My eyes luckily glaze at the mere allusion to future spoilers....a well honed natural instict.

[> [> [> Coming over to the detractors' side here -- Dariel, 09:46:36 05/03/03 Sat

I really liked Storyteller when it ran. I enjoyed it for what it was, not resenting the devotion of so much screen time to Andrew. I thought Tom Lenk's final scene was brilliant. I kind of enjoyed the episodes that featured the Potentials too, when many people hated them.

Now, with just 3 episodes to go, I've come over to the other POV. There's so much left unresolved between the core characters that I can't imagine a satisfying ending to the series. Although, killing off Andrew, Kennedy, Rona, Caleb, and Wood in the first 5 minutes of 7.20 would certainly clear up some narrative space!

[> [> [> [> Here's how they can clear it up fast.... -- WickedBuffy (specsspoilers to EP), 11:19:55 05/06/03 Tue

Minor characters die.... alot of SITs (or they run away), Wood, Caleb, Bringers.... Bu first Caleb fights buffy with his greatest power - words... and the way he tells "truth" with them.

At the climactic dramatic tearjerking scene, Buffy realizes that only she can wield the truth mightier than Caleb, and does so by spilling out all her pent up love and feelings about the other major characters. Everyone is crying and laying around physically beaten.

Then Buffy starts wielding the truth - about herself and those around her - and they look at their truths hard, also... and it slams the Hellmouth closed forever, because once you know the truth, there's no turning back.

And that scene can take about 9 minutes!

and since no one replied or commented on my post from the other day and it applies to this, I'm reposting it right here... nyyyyya

What Buffy Wields. What Caleb wields.

"Right now, Buffy seems to be only wielding her physical strength. She wants to fight, she want the SITs to fight, she is almost solely focused on brute force as the way to beat the FE. FE has led her to fall back on that aspect of herself the most - giving Buffy an UberVamp to beat on, Bringers to pummel, a vision of thousands of demons getting ready to do war.

Many previous posts have referred to her as leading an army (Scoobies and SITS), being the General - more methods that rely heavily on brute force. She refers to Willow as her "most powerful weapon". Buffy is acting as though she believes the only way to win is with fists. This tunnelvision seems to be becoming narrower and narrower. She sees it as the only option.

Though Caleb has shown himself to be physically stronger than Buffy, it doesn't seem to be his #1 focus. He doesn't flex his muscles or bare fangs, The Bringers are "his boys", not his army. Where Buffy grimaces in fierce determination as she marches in to fight, Caleb seems more nonchalant - as if this physical fighting were playground stuff and not really worth much to waste time thinking about.

Buffy is almost machinelike as she goes against FE and Caleb. Caleb guts for pleasure, it's a pleasant past-time. Throwing Buffy across the room is just punctuation for his speeches.

Caleb reveres another power. The power of words. The power of truth. Words would be the vehicle he uses to wield that power, Truth. (I guess another way to put them in relationship to each other is to say that words are the swing of the sword, and the sword is truth.)

In Dirty Girls, Caleb brings up the power of words/truth several times during his speeches. When he plays with FE (FE morphed as beautiful girl admirer):

Caleb in wine cellar: "Truth is like the sword, isn't it girl, cuts deep. The words I use gotta power to 'em. Power now, they're not just words. They're truth."

...and then later, right before he play-guts the morph,

Caleb: "...our whole race can be so damnably weak... and that's why we seek the strength, the power."

FE/girl: "... they followed you willingly, you tricked them.

Caleb: "I only told them the truth."

With those points in mind and what Spike and Andrew heard at the monastery, would it be words/truth, that only Buffy can wield? And that's what angered Caleb so much, since that's what power is to him. Now, with that information, Caleb has to wield it indirectly, he has to control Buffy (or make her a follower) in order to use the power in its ultimate form.

WIth Buffy alienated from her entire support group now, she is even more vulnerable. Not just physically, which isn't Calebs goal anyway, but emotionally also.

Buffys slow decline in handling her emotions healthily/successfully isn't leaning towards a learning curve. If anything, the closer the apocalypse gets, the more she seems to fear her feelings. (Fear from lack of understanding or being able to accept them.) And she runs towards what The Watchers had always told her was her strongest weapon, her Slayer strength.

Buffy can't get a grip on her own truths or those of the people she cares for most. Caleb's power with words would be what could subdue/turn Buffy. It's a power Buffy has lost touch with, one that she isn't using. One that she doesn't even need to be a Slayer to use.
And since the truth can have so many different sides to it, Buffy would need help from a "pro" to wield it. And the resident pro now is Caleb. The very thing Buffy has come to fear and avoid, truth about herself and her world, could be the device that opens the Hellmouth."

6's 7's and 200 in Whedonland (Angel Odyssey 4.6-4.7) -- Tchaikovsky, 07:58:47 05/02/03 Fri

Well, now; I haven't done one of these in almost a month, so this may not turn out well!

Let me say before I start out on another batch of Angel-ness that I watched my 200th episode of the Buffverse yesterday- it was 7.7- 'Conversations With Dead People'. Just like the 100th episode I watched ('The Gift'), this was wonderfully funny, tightly structured, with a feeling of foreboding. Always good to see a good episode for the big figures. I somehow doubt we'll get to 300, (that would involve Angel going to seven seasons), but I suppose I can keep my fingers crossed.

I'm currently at that time in both seasons, (Season Four Angel, Season Seven Buffy), where the Big Arc starts to unveil itself and become an issue in the foreground. Looking back over the years, the sixth episode of the season is often an interesting, funny, diversionary sidebar, before the usually very important seventh episode, (think 'Band Candy', 'Family', 'All the Way' vs 'Revelation', 'The Initiative', 'Fool For Love', 'Once More, With Feeling'). In the Buffyverse, I was a little underwhelmed by him- it felt like an episode from Season One. It had a couple of moments, and I wouldn't go as far as Rob [!], but it wasn't the greatest. 'Conversations with Dead People' was just startling, with Jonathan's speech perhaps the clincher.

Back in Angel, a similar path was followed, with 'Spin the Bottle' being a bit quirky before we turn to the business of the season in 'Apocalypse, Nowish'.

4.6- 'Spin The Bottle'

Well, let me get my reservations out of the way right at the beginning. This isn't one of my favourite Joss Whedon episodes. Apart from 'Anne', I can't immediately cal to mind a Joss script which was less engaging for me than this one. It had some fascinating direction and quirky perspectives, and from anyone else I might let it go without comment, but form Joss I might have expected a little bit more. I thought its ultimate problem was its lack of real bite in the plot. The dialogue is bound to sparkle, and the structure was interesting, and Joss does characterisation better than anyone, but the whole thing was too static. I felt stuck in the Hyperion like I feel stuck in 'A Doll's House', which can't be a good thing. Ibsen was trying to be claustrophobic, you see.

To the good stuff:

Lorne reprises his role as the narrator. It's interesting to see just how much he really is a storyteller in this episode. At times, he reminded me of Melville's Ishmael. For anyone who hasnt read Melville's vast portrait of America, 'Moby Dick' is a 600 page encyclopedia of whaling. Trust me, it's great. Anyhow, we start out from the perspective of a man aboard a ship, but by half way through, some of the scenes we're seeing could barely possibly have been seen by Ishmael, without major diversionary tactics. It's like Ishmael has become the consciousness of the author. We still hear some of his first person opinions on things throughout, but some of the scenes that play out are rather far out of his one consciousness. Here we have the same from Lorne. How is he to know about the scene of Connor saving the prostitute, or what happened while he was unconscious. We are not to believe that Whedon is being lazy here; it's all deliberate. Lorne has become the consciousness of the group, the point at which the five people whose memories have been wiped back to childhood, and the one person whose childhood has been wiped by Fate, come together into a collective consciousness. In this episode, he is just skating on the very edges of staying as one character. No longer is he simply Greenwalt, he's become something even more important.

Indeed, Lorne's role holds one of the keys to understanding this episode's cruxes. We're thinking, (Joss often draws us to this theme), about forging our families, and how they can be made strong, but are still somehow organic- shifting; breaking apart and falling back together. This family is often disparate- and with the adulthood of the characters stripped away, we are left with their early environments, highlighting the gaps between where they came from and where they now, literally and metaphorically, are standing. The Irish upstart son; the unhappy English Head Boy; the streetfighting LA crew leader; the bitchy self-obsessed May Queen; the Southern pot-head; the green monster. This might be what people see when they first tune in to the show; the outward appearance- the veneer under which the characters have so much in common. Yet with time, the adoring, never-seen audience start to understand and become interested by the little twists of development, the quirks and parallels. This is why we see Lorne 'performing' the episode. He is currently Whedon. He's the character, who, because he knows he's a character, and it's his story, can suddenly rise from being unconscious while the others fight like mooks. That we never see the audience is crucially important. There's a powerful loneliness about that final scene of the episode. The audience are gone- Lorne must take on faith that he has satisfied his auduence, with only the difficult to gauge clapping to go on. And then, when it's all over, he walks out of his stage room, totally alone, into the light of the 'real' world, to ponder what comes next. For me, Whedon again paints himself, the performer, the artist, as a lonely person.

Might I mention some of the specifics of the episode, you ask? Oh, go on then.

But let me stay with Lorne's words for a moment. Remember at the very beginning we here him pronounce the phrase- 'It starts with a kid'. This is very muti-purpose. First off, it means that he's chosen to start his story with Connor- only to decide not to shortly afterwards. Second, this is the theme of the episode- the youth that we leave behind, the ideas that shape us in our teens, and how we develop from them. Thirdly, it is a rumbling that Lorne knows about the Beast, those red eyes under Cordelia's eyelids.

The link between storytelling and reality is routinely questioned in the episode. We have Lorne turning from talking to his audience to talking to Cordelia about his 'surefire' spell. Notice here that the narrator is fallible- it is his mistake that makes the turn of events happen. It is as if explaining the writers' necessity for complications to simple harmony- something must happen for a story to begin. We occasionally blink between different persepctives, or get them given to us. We almost get an 'Angel for Dummies' moment in the scene between Gunn, Fred and Wesley, where the events of 'Supersymmetry' come to an awkward head, and Lorne recounts each of their different perspectives. Again, he is the fluidity of movement between the characters, the ability of Whedon's wonderful direction to suddenly whizz towards each character and consider them in turn.

How does each character's amnesia help to expand their character in the present, and what do they learn? Let's forget Lorne as the golden syrup in the flapjacks for a moment, and consider the other five in turn.

Cordelia- Cordelia is the person most shrouded in mystery of course. At this point, (end of 4.7), I have no idea how to attribute what she is feeling to her actions, and know that any attempt I do make will probably be completely mistaken. Here, we see the amnesiac Cordelia, depserately worried about herself and no-one else. It is the ultimate opposite from her possible mistake in 'Tomorrow'. Here, we see her when she apparently cares about nothing but her self-image- and where her put-down to Fred is rather reminiscent of her snideness to Willow in 'Welcome to the Hellmouth'. It is a fascinating development form this Cordelia to the Cordelia who will willingly give up her very identity, and even her shot at love, for altruistic reasons- to help save the world, or just to be good. But did she go too far in the opposite direction? Was her selflessness merely amistake, when she should have enabled herself, strong and independent, to continue living as she was to help the world? What is certain is that we are supposed to compare Amnesia Cordy, Sunnydale Cordy, and our final Cordy and consider differences. It is the final Cordelia, the one who has the full story, who seems the most tired and defeated. Perhaps a rough road lies ahead, as she attempts to figure out just who she is.

Fred- Fred here is basically a rather charming High School student who also has a yearning for any marijuana she can find. It is interesting to see her drawn more towards Wesley than Gunn in this episode, although it is not as simple as to say that this means that Wesley is truly her correct match. This is a Fred of a much lighter era- before the trauma of her dimensional nightmare, before the hardening of her ways, and before her understanding about moral ambiguity. The tendency of the two towards each other seems to pre-figure a full-blown setting up of the triangel however, which leaves the show seeming rather liek a bow-tie, with the two triangle point-to-point; Angel-Cordelia-Connor, and Wesley-Fred-Gunn.

Gunn seems still to have those identity issues which began to haunt him at the start of the season. After Angel's raturn at the end of 'Deep Down' robbed him of the alpha male role, and we see his later insistences that he is 'not a sidekick', he wants a clearly defined role within the group. He quickly decides that Wesley is the brains and Angel the leader, which leads him to the dissatisifed understanding that he must be the muscle. Inside himself, Gunn knows thta he has reasoning, coolness under pressure, a generally good judgement, and emotional ties to the group that make him much more than just this. Yet it is this struggle for definition that appears to be haunting him, just as his one note of constancy, his relationship with Fred, is starting to falter.

-Wesley goes back to his campy pratfalls, and, as much as I was bored of the static character and his lack of depth at the time, playing this Wesley, with his faux martial arts skills, against the dense, complex, dark, beautifully portrayed Alexis Denisof character of Season Four is delightful. We are reminded of his introduction to the Scooby Gang way back in 'Bad Girls', and their incredulous faces then. Also form back in Season Three, there is a reference to 'Helpless', when Wesley supposes there is an analogue of the test Buffy goes through with Kralik taking place. Clever and subtle continuity from Whedon, without the feeling of newer viewers that they are being left out of something.

-This leaves Angel. We hear that he has a chip on his shoulder about the English, and his struggling with all the more modern teenagers is most funny. The most powerful moments for him though are the obvious and much less obvious references to Connor. The obvious one is in their little speech before Connor attempts to kill him, once again with the Oedipal perspective, with Cordelia, the Mother, egging him on and promising him a reward. Angel's explanations of having lost his childhood, of his freakishness, of his lack of want ot even be born, directly connects with Connor, who for the first time identifies witht the problems of his Father, and doesn't jsut use them as restirctions of his own liberty. Connor, the confused disorientated child, not only doesn't understand why his Father is acting this way, but identifies strongly with the Liam he has now met. Whether, considering what comes shortly afterwards, this momentary connection is to be sustained is quesitonable, but at least there has been some mutual perspectiv eon something- the prodigal son attempting to escape the resticting father; unhappy about what his father is (vampire/Catholic), seeking only escpae, often through women.

The second is a beautiful and I suspect deliberate little moment where Angel runs out of the Hyperion to be confronted with cars. This is just like 'A New World' with Connor, although Connor did a little better than Liam does. Yet it is this visual parallel that spoke the most to me- each character puzzled by the modern world, and just where they fit into it.

A miscellany of Any Other Business:
-'Those were some exciting products. You should think about going out to buy some of those'. Very funny; first time I can remember a character in TV referencing an advert break.
-What kind of Angel do we see when he realises that he has a vampire's natural instinct to kill? Would he have followed through on Cordelia or Fred? There's a puzzle going on about souls here- about existence and essence, determinism and free will, yet Whedon more or less skirts round the edge of it in getting Connor to the rescue.
-Just as Lrne toys with perspective, so does Whedon, as we hear once again the 'Were we in love?' question, this time the other way round. I loved that quesiton when it broke- it summed up all that te departing Cordelia left unanswered for Angel- how was he to know? When Angel asks the new Cordelia back, we hear what I suppose we must take as her genuine answer. But it will now be complicated by time and interveing experiences.

Not my favourite Whedon, but there's not a Whedon scrip; out there which doesn't merit a close analysis, and I appear to have rambled on about this one for quite long enough. So let's have a Rain of Fire...

4.7- 'Apocalypse, Nowish'

An episode that I again could have been more impressed with; it's a pretty much straight ahead arc-heavy plotting episode, with little room for breath. Things go at an incredible rate, and the viewer continues to be bombarded by information and new happenings throughout. Of course, this is absolutely deliberate. Both de Knight and the director set out to bring the feeling of foreboding and confusion from the screen to our minds- there are so many hapennings, so many harbingers and such terror that we are left hurtling along in a visceral marathon of emotion, right to the action climax of the battle with the Beast, and the character climax of Cordelia with Connor. I have to say that as a general rule, my favourite of these arc-heavy episodes are one's that delineate a theme and roll it around, eventually alighting on a general conclusion, (the genius of Minear), or episodes where the sheer quikiness of many of the events keep you perpetually in as feeling of amused distraction (the genius of Greenwalt). This I enjoyed a little less than 'Heartthrob' or 'Reunion' or one of their masterpieces, but it certainly had its moments.

-Of course, Angel is about the Old Testament. Vengeance, Fury , Redemption, Gods with short tempers, the Devil Incarnate, Blood Feuds, a giant and sometimes campy stage for the most wonderfully subversive melodrama. Hence all the harbingers- some of which seemed to strongly resembel the Ten Plagues, some the reports from that carzy John man in Revelation, worked nicely, really yanking up the tension to the nth degree. It's not enough to just have this grandiose disturbance though; in the Whedonverse the stuff going on in the foreground is usually just the metaphor for the little things with characters goign on in the background. One of the strengths of this episode is that while the action of the Beast and the disturbance in the neighbourhood is overplayed, the various relationships coming to their sticking points are underplayed, so that it is only by comparison to the apocalypse and by inspection of their meaning that we see just how integral they are to the characters' trajectories. Let me specificise [say that ten times fast]

-Gunn and Fred. This relationship is very close to breakdown, and its been portrayed perfecly. The lack of trust from Fred to Gunn was fairly inevitable after his inability to believe what she was capable of. It is not true that Fred was doing the right thing, but the solution whereby he merely shields Fred is as wrong as the one where he keeps telling her that he did the right thing. He knows she doesn't believe it, and deep down he doesn't believe it either. He is desperate to find a connection, and yet everything has been lost by denying Fred her independence in what had hitherto been a mutually co-independent relationship. Meanwhile, Wesley, the character who allowed Fred to carry out her wishes, (also probably the wrong decision, but at least not destructive of her power to choose), just watches, slowly smouldering over her. The chain which is established in 'Supersymmetry' is starting to be pulled in all directions.
-Another direction is that of Lilah and Wesley. It appears that, while Wesley has invested a little in his relationship with Lilah, it may actually be the Bad character who has invested more, thereby suggesting her climb to Good may be more likely than Wesley's slide to evil, which is very much an inversion of the usual Innocence Corrupted cliche in these liaisons. Here, we start to wonder just how much Lilah needs Wesley. We know that she has been caught napping over this latest, rival apocalypse; as have the whole of Wolfram and Hart. So as some of her job security starts to slip away, is she clinging possessively to Wesley in an attempt to re-define herself, or is she merely flirting with the idea, (like she seems to do with everything else!)? In any case, Wesley's instruction to her to keep the glasses on shows where his mind and possibly heart is at the moment, and must further anoy Lilah, who, despite not being the first to call their tryst a 'relationship', seems still to be the first to believe it.

-Then, of course, we have Cordelia, and do I smell something a little fishy going on? The scene with Angel, while painful, did not ring true to me. Perhaps it's misdirection, sloppy writing or me giving too much credit to the Cordelia of early Season Three, but I find it mroe or less impossible to believe that Cordelia, without some major, painful experiences having happenned, would tell Angel that she will always love him before claiming that the reason that she cannot establish a bond is his deeds as Angelus. I understand the argument about the past being known and the difference with the past being felt, but I'm afraid I can't swallow it. Cordelia's only objection in leaving earth with Skip was her unfinished business with Angel, so now she is back home, her sensitivity, even if not her immediate affection, should be focussed on him. There's much more to be revealed in the mystery of a certain Miss Chase.

Which leads to Connor. The identification between the two, both Peter Pan's and Alice's torn from their other worlds, and then brought back with everything changed, has been entirely believable throughout, and thus, despite a slight uneasiness, I both believed and accepted the plot twist at the end. The age difference between the two of them, whiel on screen looking like about 15 years, (Connor can't be more than 14, surely?) is for the purposes of the story only two or three. Connor's ability to charm has been mentioned. Cordelia has mentioned her fear of the apocalypse. Again, her argument about giving Connor something real to hold on to seemed faux, though- the very construction of the argument leads to the perception that sex was a fake construction built to please him in some way.

The irony of the completion of the Oedipal subtext in this episode is that it comes after Connor and Angel's closest connection to date. Connor, despite his protectiveness and possessiveness, asks Angel to do the right thing, because it's right, it's good for Cordelia, and because he has grudging trust for his Father, possibly partly catalysed by their meeting while Angel was Liam. Only days later, the trust is thrown away as Angel stands to survey the end of the world as he knows it. Fire rains down over the city's darkened skies, and his greatest friend and one-time suitor becomes the lover for his Prodigal Son. Laius is dead when Oedipus marries his wife. When the tragedy befalls Angel, his stength and consideration to Connor has enabled him to live, and start to try to form a bond with his son. Only for this to happen.

There's a nice link back to the gyre, as Cordelia says 'You make everything feel like its not spiralling apart', to Angel. The widening gyre is reaching Earth-shattering frequencies on both shows, and I am most looking forward to both continuations. My only fear- that nothing can possibly match 'Conversations With Dead People'. I remain hopeful.


[> Hooray! Preserving this thread until I can get to work -- Masq, 08:05:32 05/02/03 Fri

Been wondering what happened to you, TCH! Glad to see you didn't get munched in the Rain of Fire!

[> [> To be pretentious (and preserve the thread!)... -- Tchaikovsky, 08:23:13 05/02/03 Fri

I could say that my Odyssey has been disrupted by several Cyclopses in the past month. Firstly, that of a lovely holiday to a computer-less place. Then to the much more dangerous and unpleasant Cyclops of April exams. Then to the lovely Cyclops of a cousin's wedding, (charmer he was), and finally to the all-consuming Cyclops of a coursework deadline which, due to the previous one-eyed fiends, I had no time to do anything about until two days before. These vanquished, I have untethered my boat and, (with the help of my Athena yabyumpan), am setting out again.

Of course, shortly, I'm going to catch up with the Sky broadcasts themselves, (ie where KdS is up to- 'Storyteller' and 'Orpheus'), and then the journey will slow down almost to a halt...


[> [> [> How unspoiled are you? -- Masq, 08:59:04 05/02/03 Fri

Have you seen the eps up to Orpheus? Or are you still back on 4.7? Sorry if you answered this in your post, I haven't read it yet.

[> [> [> [> Only spoiled to 4.7- watching 4.8 tomorrow! -- Tchaikovsky, 09:06:30 05/02/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> Good! -- Masq, 09:16:25 05/02/03 Fri

One reason I enjoy your posts so much is they revisit the episodes from fresh perspective, untainted (relatively speaking) by what comes along later. I have spilled an untold number of pixels this season trying to understand and analyze the events of Season 4 from the retrospect of whatever episode I'm currently at, and it is an exhausting prospect, because you think you're wiser when perhaps you're really not.

It's nice to just go back and enjoy them for what they are.

[> [> [> [> [> You're so lucky. After 4.7, it took us about three months to get to 4.8! -- Rob, 09:52:40 05/02/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> Equally cursed and blessed, actually -- Tchaikovsky, 14:51:56 05/02/03 Fri

Well, I get to go faster, but also, I see posts like yours proclaiming 'The Best. Episode. Ever.' and then can't read them. Oh, the joys of non-satellite Britishness...


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> LOL! -- Rob, 16:23:56 05/02/03 Fri

On the bright side, you have something to look forward to!

I really can't wait for you to see that one, btw. I think it'll floor you...Of course you'll have to see all the eps leading up to it in order to be floored. And many of those are great, too. Just expect to be very surprised and very confused for a very long time to come on the show! But this is a very good season to be able to see in a short succession, just because having long breaks are torturous and incredibly frustrating this year. There isn't one episode coming up for you that will not raise more questions than it answers. Thankfully, by 4.21, it all really does start coming together!


[> Angel Odyssey 4.6-4.7--No overt spoilers, but some foreshadowing. -- Arethusa, 09:26:51 05/02/03 Fri

I think "Spin the Bottle" is, like "Conversations with Dead People", a reminder and review of the characteristics and issues of the main characters before they go into their battle with the big evil and by extension, themselves. They set up what is to follow. And I can't say any more for fear of being spoilery!

[> [> Re: Angel Odyssey 4.6-4.7--No overt spoilers, but some foreshadowing. -- Rob, 09:42:12 05/02/03 Fri

Yes, actually, reviewing "Spin the Bottle" at this point in the year, just the other day actually, I have come to appreciate it a lot more than when it originally aired.

[> [> This is where I bring in that Cordelia thing (spoilers through 'Peace Out'/Season 4, sorry TCH) -- Masq, 10:05:46 05/02/03 Fri

We are reminded in this episode of the shallow, vain Cordelia.

And at the risk of raising that controversy again about Cordelia's motives, something that, with only one episode left in the season We Still Don't Know About, I wonder what we are supposed to conclude about Season 4 Cordelia?

People have speculated that she got into the situation she is in because she let Skip flatter her. I'm Queen C, I'm a princess, I'm a "special" part-demon, I'm a Higher Being. She "allows" herself to be carried away to the Higher Dimensions to become a tool of Jasmine.

And we still don't know how much of Cordelia is Cordelia and how much is Jasmine in Apocalypse Nowish. Does she know WHY she is sleeping with Connor? I suspect she does, on some level. She knows she is supposed to bring something into the world through pregnancy. Perhaps she knows it is a PTB. Perhaps that fact is one of those things she has still forgotten at this point. But I think this is our Cordelia, with still-missing memories, being compelled from within by Jasmine perhaps, or carrying out instructions she was given in the Higher Plane.

That also explains why she gets that look on her face the morning after. She has done what she was supposed to do--impregnated herself--and now she has to deal with Connor and his feelings towards her.

But back to Queen C. I don't think she knows the Beast is part of Jasmine's package. But maybe she does. TCH comments how defeated she seems in "AN" and maybe part of it is that she knows the bad that must come with the "good" of the eventual rise of Jasmine and she is going along with it--because what choice does she have? She has "allowed" herself to become the tool of a PTB by accepting this role of "Higher Being", and now she must play the new part of Mother for Jasmine.

God, I wish Cordelia would wake up and explain what happened to her! But that would be too easy for ME.

[> [> [> That Cordy thing---Spoilers through Peace-Out. -- Arethusa, 10:41:39 05/02/03 Fri

Yes, I wrote and erased a segment on Cordy. It was Spin the Bottle that made me decide, in retrospect, that we are meant to think Cordy is somewhat to blame-otherwise why trot out her feelings of self-love and entitlement.

Also, we get some information on Fred, which is rare. She's into conspiracy theories and worried about losing her free will to alien captors. She finds the means of freeing the others from their enchantment. Yet she also enjoys blissing out on pot. And she looks beyond Lorne's scary face to the person within, trusting her instincts instead of his facade.

[> [> [> I have a bad feeling that... (up to 'Peace Out' spoilers) -- Rob, 10:51:40 05/02/03 Fri

...they're not going to give us any closure on Cordy till next season.

Please let there be a fifth season!

And please let CC sign a new contract! Her journey cannot end in a coma, with no explanation as to her actions this season!

And if either of those don't come true, please reveal all this stuff next week!


[> [> [> [> It was Cordelias Choice... (speculations/spoliers up to 'Peace Out') -- WickedB - apologies if this is old. It was new stuff to me., 16:29:30 05/02/03 Fri

"It is a fascinating development from this Cordelia to the Cordelia who will willingly give up her very identity, and even her shot at love, for altruistic reasons- to help save the world, or just to be good. But did she go too far in the opposite direction? "

I hadn't thought of that explanation for why she would be part of what happens later, to right now. Cordy had already agreed to give up all she had and was, for the good of the world. Jasmine was recreating and reshaping the world to be "perfect", peace within and without. Jasmine was a PTB. In continuing her path to be in service "for the good of the world", it would be highly possible that Cordy was approached by Jasmine in the Higher Plane. Jasmine offered her the chance to be more active in making the world a better place. Cordy was either already getting bored where she was, or maybe Jasmine's offer just brought Cordy's impatience to the surface.

I don't recall if Jasmine ever lied when she was on earth - I don't think so. She most likely didn't lie to Cordy about the two of them being able to bring peace on earth - and also may not have revealed each step that would bring it about.

In the big picture, Cordy wouldn't have needed to know the specific means in order to justify the end. maybe she didn't ask. Maybe she did, but didn't see the ramifications of it that the AI's came to see. The accomplishment of world harmony and peace in itself aligned with Cordys original reason for leaving everything behind her. And, she was offered an active part in making it happen.

How much Cordy consciously took part in when she returned and how much Jasmine was allowed to drive the car isn't so important. Cordy was probably in and out of the dark on the details of the steps.

Cordy had agreed to help Jasmine, realizing that more sacrifices would probably be needed to be made to reach a "perfect world". But, it *was* going to happen. Whether Cordy agreed to Jasmines plan out of pure altruistic motives, or with a little ego thrown in at playing such an important part, didn't make any difference to the final planned outcome.

[> [> [> [> [> On Cordy and Connor (spoilers through Peace Out - Sorry to hijack, Tchai) -- Tyreseus, 06:07:34 05/03/03 Sat

All the speculation and maddeningly few answers about Cordelia's role over the past few months feel somehow irrelevent to me. Possibly, it's because I'm becoming a major Connor-phile and I really think the writers have spent this entire season maneuvering him to be front and center in Angel's world.

So, this is my thought... What if Cordelia wakes up with no memory whatesoever following her "ascention?" I love bringing up the whole redemption theme when I talk about thes characters, but imagine if Cordelia wakes up and has no memory of Season 4. No idea that she slept with Connor, got pregnant, killed Lilah, set Angelus loose, attempted to kill Lorne, killed an innocent virgin girl, gave birth to a maggot-covered goddess, and then slipped into a coma.

Well, someone would fill her in, obviously, but could she "own" her crimes? Should she have to? In my speculation, she has nothing to atone for, no need to seek redemption -- she just goes back to work as normal.

But the reason I kinda like this plot is because it leaves Connor completely alone in the evil that was done during the final days of Spring 2003. Connor usurps Angel's role as the one most in need of redemption.

And can I just add that I hope Cordelia moves back into her old apartment. I miss phantom!Dennis.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Connor-philes unite! -- Masq, 09:36:58 05/03/03 Sat

We have nothing to lose but VIncent Kartheiser not returning for another season and leaving Connor's redemption up in the air...

Which as unspoiled, enthusiastic Connor redemptionista and Angel-Connor 'shipper, I'm hoping won't happen, 'cause recent episode events have made me a bit depressed on the father-son reconciliation front.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Horrifyingly evil but only potential spoilers herein -- Masq, 16:41:50 05/03/03 Sat

Date Posted: 15:35:57 05/03/03 Sat
Author: WickedConnorgroupie & President of "Cut Those Bangs, Ltd."
Subject: errr, wait! He really *is* leaving? and why don't his lips look that pouty on the show?)
In reply to: Masq 's message, "Connor-philes unite!" on 15:35:57 05/03/03 Sat

Date Posted: 16:21:03 05/03/03 Sat
Author: Masq
Subject: I know nothing. I'm just pessimistic...
In reply to: WickedConnorgroupie & President of "Cut Those Bangs, Ltd." 's message, "errr, wait! He really *is* leaving? and why don't his lips look that pouty on the show?)" on 16:21:03 05/03/03 Sat

OK, *sob!* I read a horrifying spoiler that Vincent Kartheiser would be replaced--not supplemented, REPLACED--on the cast of AtS next season by...


Oh God! I can barely say it!

James Marsters!


But it's a rumor, OK??? I know nothing! If we pray hard, the horribleness of it will all go away....

Besides, I was so looking forward to those Spike/Connor bonding scenes.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> If they put him in a Dawson Creekish type show, I will bite.. -- WickedBuffy (vague spoilers mainly rumor rants), 17:40:26 05/03/03 Sat

er, wait I reread it and my initial shock about hearing Connor MIGHT be gone wore off as I realized the rest of the evil rumor was that Spike errr James would replace him? As Connor? Angels kid? Cordys bedfellow?

No. That is too squickicilious.

Let's be practical - even with his hair dyed mousey brown, James' wavy follicles will NEVER be able to hang and swoosh to and fro like Vinnies. And, the retro 70's look would cover up James fabulously high cheekbones - decreasing his fanbase by nearly 75%.

How would the writers even pull it off? (no fair pulling a Samantha Stevens husband or Roseannes oldest kid thing)

Send Connor to and back from another dimension again, this time a heaven dimension, which explains his sudden studly and suavely appearance change.

Reveal that all this time, Connor had been throwing his OWN kind of Happy Shiny mojo on everyone. It made us see him as a thin, broody teenager. Jasmines final demise destroys ALL H.S. mojos and Connor is revealed as a well-built, strutting 30 year old man.

Cleverly write into the script that Connor and The Artist Formerly Known as Spike had previously switched bodies and shows and even jumping networks. The act of putting his fist thru his own daughters head switched them back?

::trying hard to remember if Spike ever dallied with Darla, bringing in even more mother/son queasiness:: (Except in parts of Lousianna and Tennessee.)

Good points of the rumor to consider:

"Connor" would now appear old enough and hip enough to hit on any of the women on the show successfully.

James would continue to grace our screens.

The Angel/Cordy/Connor triangle would be mentally replaced by the Angel/Buffy/Spike triangle, leaving Cordy free from any cradlerobbing guilt.

I could no longer refer to "Connors skinny little chest" in posts and have to write "Connors washboard rippling chest".

Masq and I would no longer argue the hair thing.

He'll probably get to wear tighter clothes and even be able to borrow some of his dads thngs, (including long, billowy coats).

Connors crush on Faith and its continuous consummation episode after episode would send next years ratings thru the roof.

Well, at least my roof.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> LOL -- Masq, 19:58:56 05/03/03 Sat

Well, I guess I asked for THAT one. But no, I meant that one actor would leave and the other would become a regular in the credits in the previous one's place.

Marsters would be Spike, with all that entails, and "Vinnie" would be relegated once more to playing in B-movies as drug-addicts and satan-worshippers.

Or maybe not. Maybe his run as "Connor" on AtS will mean Mr. Kartheiser will get more meaty, artistic roles. I could see him playing the lead in an updated version of "Rebel without a Cause".

"You're... tearing me.... apart!!!"

Then again, he is eminently qualified to play the title role in "Da Doo Ron Ron: The Shaun Cassidy Story" on cable.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Here's what I know...for what it's worth (S5 spec spoilers) -- s'kat, 16:52:07 05/04/03 Sun

Don't fret, yet.

According to the fanboards:

1. a source that has the reliability metter of about a 5 on a 1-10 scale, reported that Spike would take the Connor
place in the credits as regular and VK would be in the recurring guest role. Note - he would NOT leave the show, he would just be placed in recurring slot a la ASH in this season's Btvs and Romanvof in Angel.

This rumor actually makes some sense, since the new format doesn't really work for Connor. It's less family/turgid soap melodrama and more workplace horror show according to the rumors.

2. According to James Marsters recent Con interviews, he ain't coming to Ats unless he keeps same salary and has regular status. Also he says in recent Q & A that he's pissing off his manager and has turned down two roles. What he thinks he may do in the future is get away from the Spike role and work on his band and do theater.

Now no where in this does he imply he isn't doing Ats.
But he does state time and money may make it unfeasible for him. I get this - taking a demotion in salarly and status playing same role - looks really really bad in Hollywood or any job. Sort of like a demotion. You need to avoid that.

3. WB/Fox/ME are engaged in negotiations.

According to the rumors - at least two/possibly three actors contracts are up along with WB contract:

-David Boreanze - who has just re-signed for an additional two seasons. He loves Minears pitch for next season. He also just took a small part in the next Crow movie.

- Charisma Carpenter - according to interviews, she's up in the air. She is tired of the show and wants a) sitcome and b) spend more time with her kid. So no clue about her.

- VK - don't know his contract status

4. WB just signed a deal for rights to show Angel reruns on TNT. This may be exculsive. Now, something about sub rights - they aren't that lucrative without 100 episodes.
So as far as I remember - it is in WB's best interest to renew Angel and get 5 years. They may be negotiating with Fox on sub rights - asking that reruns only be on Time Warner networks. The rerun thing is why we get repeats of Smallville/Everwood (WB owned properties) and not Angel on Sundays. If you notice - WB/Time Warner has been rerunning Dawsons on TBS, Charmed on TNT, Smallville and Everwood on WB. Angel - not, why? They didn't have subrights. According to the rumors - they do have the right to show it on TNT
starting next year and will start replaying Angel on TNT.
This is good news and indicates that Angel will most likely be renewed and may get enough money to add Marsters to the cast.

Regardless of whether Marsters gets added - I don't know about VK. His status according to the rumors I've read is not based on JM but rather on the new format. I could be wrong...often am.

At any rate, I've decided to wait until someone who counts officially comes out with this, (a la Joss Whedon, WB or fox) before I start counting on anything.
ie Angel's renewal. Marsters, Head, etc joining Angel.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks so much s'kat! -- Masq, 21:17:16 05/04/03 Sun

That makes a lot of logical sense and will quell my fears for the time being until we get some actual factoids!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'm still feeling a bit unquelled ::still reeling from those 'James plays Connor' mental images:: -- WickedBuffy, 13:35:46 05/05/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> That would be pretty scary, huh? -- Masq ; 0, 14:17:08 05/05/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> Relevant but minor spoiler for season 5 Rob -- Masq, 16:49:33 05/02/03 Fri

Tim Minear quote:

"Episode 22 of Season Four works like a pilot for Season Five. It lays out what the new configuration would be."

And Minear assures fans that configuration will include Cordelia. "Charisma (Carpenter) is still in the mix," he promises. "This is not just a culmination but a beginning."

[> [> [> [> [> Phew! Okay, calming down now. Thanks, Masq. :o) -- Rob, 17:07:07 05/02/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> Or maybe not minor, but vague -- Masq, 16:50:35 05/02/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> there *is* another possibility -- anom, 13:42:55 05/04/03 Sun

"And please let CC sign a new contract! Her journey cannot end in a coma, with no explanation as to her actions this season!"

If she doesn't sign on for the new season (may there be one!), she could guest-star for enough eps to explain what the hell she was doing in this one, & then make her exit.

[> [> [> [> [> Either way works -- Masq, 09:49:08 05/05/03 Mon

Although "Angel" without Cordelia will just seem... weird.

Plus they'll need to to buff up the estrogen brigade on the show.

[> [> [> [> [> [> agree on both counts! -- anom, 17:57:17 05/05/03 Mon

Maybe they can supplement the estrogen w/some characters from "Buffy." Despite recent study findings, hormone replacement therapy is still appropriate in some cases!

[> [> [> Re: This is where I bring in that Cordelia thing (spoilers through 'Peace Out'/Season 4, sorry TCH) -- Dannyblue, 07:50:52 05/03/03 Sat

What people seem to forget about "Tomorrow" was that Cordy didn't want to go. In fact, everything in her--her instincts and her own desires--were telling her not to go. The reason she ultimately went was she thought this was a test from the PTB. And, in order to pass the "test", she had to choose the option she wanted the least, putting the needs of others above her own wants. She basically says to Skip, "This is a test, isn't it?" And, when it comes to these kinds of tests, passing means doing what you don't want to do.

Now, I'm not saying Cordy wasn't flattered that the PTB thought she was worthy enough to be a higher being. But she didn't jump at the chance, and she didn't choose to do it because she was vain, or had an inflated ego, or thought she somehow deserved it. When you think about it, she thought she was making a sacrifice, giving up her old life in order to ascend.

[> A tummy-clutching onion from hell--layers to make you cry -- Masq, 09:49:09 05/02/03 Fri

There's so much I could say on this from the perspective of the end of the season, so much to revisit now that the arc has played itself out, but I'll refrain from that mind-boggling work.

I like your perspective here on Lorne-as-narrator. I think it's right on. At the time this episode aired, there were a lot of posts about "what time frame" stage-Lorne was speaking from. A future after the end of Season 4? some speculated, with him looking back on the events that came after "Spin the Bottle"? He talks like someone from that perspective.

But of course, that isn't it at all. Stage-Lorne isn't Lorne-the-character. The events on that stage never literally happened in the universe of the series. Lorne is Whedon, as you say, talking about his creation "Angel the Series" and his creations in it, the characters.

-'Those were some exciting products. You should think about going out to buy some of those'. Very funny; first time I can remember a character in TV referencing an advert break.

Again, more evidence for your theory that Lorne=Whedon.

Cordelia- Cordelia is the person most shrouded in mystery of course. At this point, (end of 4.7), I have no idea how to attribute what she is feeling to her actions, and know that any attempt I do make will probably be completely mistaken.

Ah, the wisdom of the semi-spoiled! Trying to understand Cordelia's motives is a nearly fruitless task, let me tell you. Maybe you could be spared the hair-pulling stomach-clenching task of trying to do so. When I watched "Tomorrow" for the first time, I thought it was the lamest thing I'd ever seen. Cordelia is a higher being? Yeah, as if. When I saw the early episodes of Season 4, I tried to understand them from a straight-forward perspective of "Why'd Cordelia do that?" and failed miserably. The last scene in "Apocalypse Nowish" is of course the ultimate case in point. Everyone on the internet boards talking about the new "Connor-Cordelia 'ship" and how could ME do that, and "how soap-operaish is that?" and "I'll never watch this show again!"

And then of course, we get AN on November 17th and we didn't get "Habeas Corpses" until January 19th, so AtS fans had two months to really broil around with what-the-heck-was-Cordelia--No I mean ME!!--thinking?!

Everything happens for a reason and ME works in mysterious ways and nothing can be interpreted in the way we typically interpret Buffyverse events. But I had no one to tell me these things back in November.

playing this Wesley, with his faux martial arts skills, against the dense, complex, dark, beautifully portrayed Alexis Denisof character of Season Four is delightful.

AD has a flair for physical comedy. You don't get to see it much because his character has gotten SoGoshDarnSerious and developed masterful swash-buckling skills, so I enjoyed this.

Of course, Angel is about the Old Testament. Vengeance, Fury , Redemption, Gods with short tempers, the Devil Incarnate, Blood Feuds, a giant and sometimes campy stage for the most wonderfully subversive melodrama.

And never forget it. Understanding this is your season 4 survival-kit.

Lilah, who, despite not being the first to call their tryst a 'relationship', seems still to be the first to believe it.

The thing I like about relationships in the Joss-verse is they are always complex and more than they seem. It isn't simply about Wesley "flirting with evil" or "going down a dark path" in his relationship with Lilah. And she isn't simply the femme fatale who will lead him to his own doom, nor is she the bad girl who he will redeem. As Wesley says in "Slouching", "It's never simple, is it?" I wondered at the time why he didn't just break up with her after what she did to Lorne, and it's not as simple as love or being corrupted or anything else.

[> That was PURE PLEASURE to read, thanks Tch! -- WickedBuffy - (great way to spend a sunny afternoon outside), 16:33:47 05/02/03 Fri

[> [> Thanks- but I want some sun too! -- TCH- wondering whether Oregon would be better than Coventry, 06:28:35 05/03/03 Sat

[> [> [> T! I'll share! Did you want some of our liquid sunshine or the intangible, warmer stuff? -- WickedSunburn ::floored someone remembered where I live::, 13:40:13 05/03/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> Actually, it's a beautifully fresh sunny day today, which will do fine -- Tchaikovsky, 07:42:25 05/04/03 Sun

Question about Empty Spaces -- dream, 08:03:48 05/02/03 Fri

Does anyone remember what the crazy guy who was being taken away by the police said? My roommate was talking to me, and I missed it. Since generally, the words of the mentally ill have meaning in the Buffyverse, I really want to know what he said.


[> Answer (spoilers for ES) -- Sophist, 08:27:18 05/02/03 Fri

He said, "From beneath you it...."

[> [> Oh. Well, score 1 for continuity, 0 for new information... -- dream, 08:43:41 05/02/03 Fri

[> [> [> Well, this season, continuity needs all the points it can get -- Rook, 15:22:03 05/02/03 Fri

[> [> I heard... -- luna, 07:52:22 05/03/03 Sat

I thought perhaps he said "From within you it devours." Is there a script anywhere that we can check? I listened twice and heard that both times, but it could well be wishful thinking. That would change the whole thing a bit, eh?

[> [> [> It might change the whole thing into a long Maalox commercial -- WickedIBS ( or 'Alien 5: The Sunnydale Years'), 16:19:41 05/03/03 Sat

[> [> [> Full quote - -- Darby, 06:29:39 05/04/03 Sun

As he's being led in, he is saying "Single step. Single step and it is upon us. It is nigh. [looks directly at Giles] From beneath you it..."

Current board | More May 2003