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"End of Days" Revisited, with spoilers -- Darby, 10:43:31 05/18/03 Sun

I've always been convinced that my talent for taking standardized tests (which, no lie, just test how well you take standardized tests) is that I never lose the awareness that a human wrote the question and the answers, someone who knew the right answer and the possible wrong answers, who was trying to make it hard but not too hard, and in that realization there was often a clue to what the right answer was (or, in the case of New York State Biology Regents Exams, which of the wrong answers they thought was the right one - don't let High School Biology Teachers write High School Biology Exams!).

Anyway, that same background filter exists when I read, or watch a movie, or a sit-com, or a horror-love story-metaphorical-drama show. It has to be really good to pull me out of that, and even the it has to be consistent - moments of good writing in a so-so script look like just that. As by now everybody probably knows, my critical eye focuses on how well-written, for character, for plot, for underlying logic, something is.

Mutant Enemy's strength has always been the emotional side of the story, with plots designed to underscore the emotional journey. With absolutely no evidence, I suspect that of the original ME crew, Joss was interested in the emotional arcs of the characters, pulling plots together to push that story, and David Greenwalt was the one who made sure the plots were organized over the long haul, that gave more thought to a consistent mythology. Each influenced and helped round the other out, so when they became driving forces on semi-separate shows, both plots and character arcs held up. I think, though, that Joss looked to fill his staff with folks whose strength were in the emotions, while Greenwalt - who knows? When he left Angel, Joss apparently stepped in, so if the staff was too focused on plot (and it was a very plot-heavy season), Joss was there to connect emotion and message.

I'm just explaining why I think that this season, predicated as it is on a huge Good versus Evil plot, has instead provided a poor vehicle for the emotional arcs of the characters. It also followed poorly on Season 6, where Buffy's emotional distance was based upon depression, and although the ingredients - losing Giles, having to fight Willow, then Anya - were there to segue into a stand-offishness based upon her need to make the Hard Decisions. I don't feel that the transitions worked because the driving plots - Giles feels back-from-the-dead Buffy is too dependent, MagiCrack, Spurned Anya - didn't really convince many of us, they weren't entirely true to the characters. The steps and elements were there, but often didn't work or were too obviously the work of writers pulling us somewhere. This season continued the trend, and although some individual episodes shone, the plot, on both the macro and micro scale, became the Baby Step toward May of the Week, and rarely were linear at that. Points would appear and disappear, the overall Big Bad Plot was a hopeless muddle, and the emotional arc suffered. Think back over the episodes this year that best served the Buffy Is Alone and Her Friends Are Screwed Up seasonal arc, and I'll bet they were also the most tightly-plotted episodes.

Anyway, I'm trying to explain why my responses to the episodes seem largely negative: I'm looking for well-rounded scripts, like we used to get, where if things didn't make sense we'd get at least a lame explanation or a metacomment on it, where it was strongly implied that the characters lived for more than an hour each week, and where the villains had a clear agenda and some personality.

And if I get irritated, I get a bit snarky, aimed at no one in particular (I see these shows as a huge collaboration). Sorry, it's what I do.

Okay, on to the episode -

First, you gotta know that as the end of the series approaches, the writers know that every main character is going to have to be given some time to shine, and that takes up more than just the last episode. This is the Wrap-Up for the Characters Who Next Week Will Just Advance the Plot, and they worked hard to give us some of each character's flavor. Sometimes a bit too hard, in Anya's case.

Slayer and Slayerettes go boom. Buffy has an Excalibur moment (when is somebody here going to do the King Arthur treatment for this storyline?) with the Misnamed Weapon. Is there any significance that the rock-within-the-rock that the Scythe is embedded in looks like clotted blood? Here, the problem is that the "Ancient Egyptian" weapon was designed for Fray, I suspect without that backstory. The red-and-shiny-silver motif looks like 1950s sci-fi toy designs.

Has Spike ever told Buffy that the First appeared to him as Buffy? She seems surprised at It (but she might seem surprised even if she did know - it's different to experience something you've just been told about). The way SMG plays the scene, it's almost as if she can hear the First but not see it.

How the heck did Buffy know where Faith and company were, since the whole arsenal thing was worked out in her absence? There should have been a cut last week to indicate that Spike was at Casa Summers for a bit before he caught on to what had happened with Buffy - then he'd have had the information she needed later but, in the sequence as shown, did not have been able to find out. Maybe the scythe ties Buffy to the others kinda telepathically - makes sense, especially in light of other Fray stuff, but nothing is said about such a thing. And we know from a later scene that Buffy doesn't contact any of the Gang - no one's heard from her.

Ah, the Grrr! Arrgh! guy is back, with clones this time! And we have our first significant plot hole (the Buffy finding them thing is just a glitch). Multiple Ubervamps means the Seal is open, right? It means more than three are probably here or coming, right? Buffy said so. The plan: "Get ready. Time's up." And yet...

When the Ubervamp hive was shown to Buffy, it was clear from a plotting standpoint that, if/when they finally appeared, they would have to be individually more killable or taken out as a group. We've got the first, will we get the second?

Interesting that they significantly reblocked the sewer Ubervamp scene from the script, so that when Kennedy says "Up and over!" - they were supposed to be fighting the vamps while trying to get past the tunnel blockage - it made sense. In the filmed version, she still says it, but not so much with the sense anymore.

So Spike didn't follow Buffy, but he wasn't still in the house they shared? Where the heck did he go? Was there an assignment in the note?

So it's a scythe that isn't a scythe and a traditional weapon that was used once and hidden and never used, huh?

The wounded "What?" girl/actress doesn't seem to know that she's supposed to be reacting to the Anya / Andrew conversation - she just keeps saying what? like a reaction to her wound treatment... (I can criticize the directing, can't I?)

Anya & Andrew and Buffy & Xander make plans in a nice sunlit house (Faith a crew set out at 7AM), and yet it's dark, in a town perhaps crawling with Ubervamps and only the extended Scoobies for food, by the time either gets on mission, with no guards. Giles is the only one that seems to know that sunset is a bad thing under the circumstances. Throughout the Xander-Dawn at the car and Andrew-Anya in the hospital, I was waiting for an attack, which dulled the impact of the scenes considerably. Did this bother anyone else?

The Buffy-Xander, Xander-Dawn, Giles-Willow, Buffy-Faith, Buffy-Spike scenes were a refreshing past-blast, no doubt, and made the episode very enjoyable. It's nice to see the old Commander Buffy, rather than the inexplicable Generalissima. And Giles as Willow's mentor is back - only been 20 episodes...

Unless the Buffyverse is historically very different from our world, this whole thing with Sunnydale in X-thousand BC, and folks making stuff in Egypt and putting them in North America makes the kind of sense that's - well, you know. A pagan temple would never have stood out in pre-colonial (or post-colonial) California, right-?

Nice metanarration - in the web illustration for the "Axe of Dekeron," the guy is obviously holding a scythe. Um, what kind of satellite-feed web uplink does Willow have, and I want one of her perpetual batteries for my laptop!

Sara believes that the Gang has become desensitized to violence over the years. Would chloroforming Dawn have been the centerpiece to your plan to get her out of town? A couple of days after Spike and Andrew went on a perfectly-reasonable road trip, giving you a plausible cover story? And wouldn't you threaten someone who was driving on a darkened highway with your taser first, give them a chance to turn around or at least stop before zapping them??? No time for nuance, no time!

So the First and Caleb merge to make him all Shazamy? Okay. But the First is looking to do that with everybody? So they can, what, pummel each other? Has there ever been an actual plan here, other than to give Buffy a war (and is this even a war)? The black eyes are an interesting touch. A great twist would be that this has all been about getting access to Willow again...

Ah, during the commercials. There's a distraction and a temptation. It's fun to look at the pictures and see what you recognize...the cuckoo clock! Giles' Firefly-knockoff duds! Buffy's "Get off the boy" naughty schoolgirl outfit! Various Annoying Slayerette clothes! You, too, can be a Shadowman! If you've got thousands of dollars.

A recurring theme this season (this week in the Buffy-Faith scene) is how almost everyone in the gang has killed people. Is this leading somewhere? Since we're headed for a mega-battle, it's hard to figure how it can fit in.

Ya gotta love a "Holy Hand Grenade" reference...

It is very obvious that Spike knows what "A tomb on unconsecrated ground" means - just watch JM's face - but he goes off to scout Caleb, who amazingly shows up at that tomb (through a back door, apparently). And Spike, too, with the First. I hope this all isn't connected, I hope in this case it is a plot hole that suddenly everyone knows where this place was after millenia of not.

I agree that Anya has a reson for doing what she's doing, and she could relate it in a very Anyaesque way, but her explanation to Andrew just didn't really work. It doesn't really connect her to these Scooby folks the way that it should - it's way too general when it should have echoes of everyone in the gang. And the two wacky neighbors are only so-so in an isolated dialogue.

So which came first, the Egyptian connection or a writer saying they had a chance to explain why there are pyramids in all of the Sunnydale cemeteries?

In the script, the pyramid (and shouldn't the Slayer story predate the Egyptian motif?) is supposed to be all desolate and dusty, and the Guardian "woken up" by the intrusion, but all of the lit torches don't work if that's the case - if we had seem them light as the door flew in, that would have been cool. The place is homier than Spike's crypt ever was, and it's like Ancient Buffy has just been, kinda, hangin' out or whatever. And if she is alone, and a Guardian, and in Sunnydale, isn't she the Last Guardian of the Hellmouth? Tell the truth, I've still got no idea what she was supposed to be, except for a late addition to a canon that seems to have no room or need for her. Buffy herself is the woman who overcomes the traditional patriarchal structure of the Watchers, does it help that there were women voyeurs ready to do a literal end run as well? Yeah, we're women, and we've done important things...just...not...lately...

"No, really." Hee.

Okay, Wolfram and Hart have great resources, but dropping Angel off at the pyramid at just the right time??? At least he was the Angel we know from his show - no Willowy retro pastiches.

When Buffy really gets the weapon swinging, you can hear a tone, like playing crystals. It's not in the script, but I suspect it's significant.

Chop him up, chop him up, chop him up....

Now, I'm going to do something that many folks here hate, so you may not want to read further - my suggestions for what the season should have been.

If the Big Bad was the First, with an undercurrent of males against females, then the Council would have been a better corporeal opponent, led by Giles. Except for having an evil Scooby two years in a row. But, like Jasmine, it could have been less clearly about Evil, and more about Power and Control (which they dropped the ball with Willow on, anyway). This could have been done through an agreement between Quentin and the First (after the First's initial try to kill everybody) to remove Buffy as a threat to the Slayer line. Here, the female Guardians could have been worked in, and we wouldn't have had to have huge numbers of Slayerettes, just a few as a rebel faction. With Giles convinced (or not - he could have been on either side), this could have been more a battle like early BtVS, with metaphorical First-sent demons to represent the Gang's real demons (as they tried to do with Willow-becomes-Warren). We may still get to see our killers face their victims, but I'm not sure how that will squeeze into the UberBattle.

In the season we got, if early on we had been given an indication that Buffy felt linked, even responsible to the girls dying in her dreams, if she were more desperate to figure it out and fix it, if early on Slayerettes on simple Buffy-given assignments were killed, if she hesitated to put her friends in danger but got the less-experienced SITs killed, we'd have had a better handle on how Buffy's emotional distance this season was different from last. We got lip service about a war, but this hasn't really been a war - the Sunnydale-Office Bringers have never been a true threat, and the other threats have been individuals that the Big Guns had to take on - lost SITs were just collateral damage. No grunts-on-grunts carnage, and we needed some for that war-and-generals feel.

Hey, you can't go wrong with "This time, it's personal. There's a reason it's a classic." First and Buffy. Could have been, maybe is supposed to be, but not portrayed well.

As the Sunnydale Hellmouth becomes more important, it would have made more sense for there to have been some Native American connections to the Shadowmen. Would it have been really lame to say the First Slayer just looked African in the face paint? We've got the Shadowmen, and the Hellmouth, and now the removal of the last pure demon, and a several-thousand-mile plot hole. Even if someone explained that the Hellmouth occasionally relocates, that might make sense. And Caleb could have been an Evil Cowboy (what, he wasn't?). Yeah, an Evil Space Cowboy, or at least a Morally Ambiguous Space Cowboy...never mind.

Anybody want to try to set up a flow chart of First plot-connected declarations though the season? Nah, your head would explode.

No one believes me, but I'm really looking forward to this last hour. I absolutely don't think that everything will come close to being wrapped up, but I'm expecting it to be fun nonetheless. But it's time, for sure, to pack this puppy up, in this form at least.

[> I don't think you need to be defensive (if you were) for offering criticisms. -- Sophist, 12:58:08 05/18/03 Sun

Not to say that everyone will like criticism of a favorite moment or theme, but everyone understands that's part and parcel of the discussion here.

What I've inferred from reactions to my own posts is that the objections come when you go from criticism to conclusion. That is, saying "X was poorly handled" is accepted etiquette. Saying "X was poorly handled, therefore the show has lost its merit (or should end) is not. I'm not saying this should necessarily be the reaction (or, for that matter, that it shouldn't); I'm just describing what I have inferred.

[> Re: "End of Days" Revisited, with spoilers -- CW, 15:30:14 05/18/03 Sun

I think the insistence on making the TV show fit with Fray has cheapen the whole thing. It's not so much that I hate comics, but honestly, a lot of backstory that's been added to Buffy and Angel this year really doesn't fit with the tone of the backstory we've seen in years past. It's very difficult to go from the secret society that was the Watcher's Council to rain-of-fire in Los Angeles and not wonder where the shreds of believability went. Again it's not the Slayer story itself is believable, but rather that it gave the illusion of believablitily. When that illusion is gone you might as well be watching "Charmed."

Personally, for as little info as we got, and considering (as Darby has brought up) the damage that was done to the believability by the story the Guardian told, I'd have been happier if they'd cut the whole scene, and had Spike catch Angel kissing Buffy in the basement of Casa Summers with a poster reading "We Love Feminism!" in the background.

So far, I can't say that either the shadowmen or the guardians are the least bit relevant to the story this season on Buffy. Having an ancient hidden super weapon appear in the last three episodes really is something that should have been left to the comics.

[> [> Use of info referred to in comics, books, and video games in movies and TV -- s'kat, 20:24:42 05/18/03 Sun

I think the insistence on making the TV show fit with Fray has cheapen the whole thing. It's not so much that I hate comics, but honestly, a lot of backstory that's been added to Buffy and Angel this year really doesn't fit with the tone of the backstory we've seen in years past. It's very difficult to go from the secret society that was the Watcher's Council to rain-of-fire in Los Angeles and not wonder where the shreds of believability went. Again it's not the Slayer story itself is believable, but rather that it gave the illusion of believablitily.

This bugged me too. While the mythologist in me loved the Guardian bit and the scyther - the visual narrative critic had major problems with it. Let me try to explain why.

A current trend in pop media is to have footnoted text. This is by no means a new thing - it reminds me a bit of some fantasy online things I've seen - in which in order to understand the story you have to bop around five or six links - ie, just reading the story becomes a game or puzzle.
Not unlike the choose your own adventure books, role playing games. Prior to this trend were books like House of Leaves - which is well a puzzle, where you have to read the footnotes and pictures and everything to get the whole story or Nabokov's Pale Fire where the story literally is in the critical footnotes to the poem. In comic book world - such as the X-men to get the whole story - you may have to buy $40 worth of comics a week - because of all the cross-overs. You can't just follow it in one volume. And now we have the Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions - with a video game in between the two and a host of anime movies which you should probably purchase or see in order to get the two movies. In some ways this sounds like a marketing reps dream. How many products can I get people to buy in order to understand the story? But it is an audience's nightmare.

Now we come to Buffy The Vampire Slayer - a television show that already has an incredibly rich text and interesting mythology to it even without the related comic books and Tales of the Slayer short stories, and Watcher Diaries,
and fanfic, and spin-off. It can more or less exist on its own without any need to look or buy these other things. That is until this year. Now all of a sudden the readers of Fray know more of what is going on than the mere television viewer. Which is odd, since Fray happens in the distant future and really should metanarrate on Buffy or require readers to watch Buffy not the other way around. Fray happened after Buffy the Vampire the Slayer. Shouldn't it build off of Btvs not Btvs build off of Fray?? Or at the very least shouldn't the two stories be completely separate?
I don't know, but it did bug me a little that in order to understand what the weapon was I'd have to purchase a comic book. The writers made a point of that in their SC interview (RKK, DGreenberg, and Espenson - stating you'll get it if you know Fray. And I went - WHAAAT??) While this could be seen on the one hand as innovative and ambitious, on the other it is also a tad irresponsible on the part of the storyteller.

I keep coming back to things I've learned from writing workshops, etc - you have to give the hearer, audience, reader a road-map, you can't expect them to read your mind or figure stuff out if you don't show them. It's wonderful to be vague and creative and want your audience to think for themselves - but there is such a thing as being too vague and too ambiguous...I was watching the PRisoner this morning - the final episode Fall-out and was struck with how incredibly ambitious this show was - it reminded me of watching a Beckett play and that's what it advertised itself as. But as ambiguous as it may have seemed - I thought the symbolism was fairly clear and it was from the get-go set up as a Beckett play, you knew what you were getting into. Btvs up until now seemed to be a story that you could understand and appreciate without ever picking up a comic book. Now...with the introduction of the weapon from Fray is that still the case? I don't know.

You could argue it is - since we are arguably in Buffy's pov and know as little about the weapon as she does. But Darby's point is well taken - Sunnydale is a small town, Buffy, Spike, Angel, and gang have wondered around it for quite some time now, above and below ground - wouldn't they have discovered this tomb? Or the Guardian or even the weapon? Wouldn't someone have? It felt contrived to me and crammed in - in order for the shows creators to have a comic book moment. I think if they were going to do this, I'd have preferred it have occurred much earlier...and with a bit more explanation.

At any has been something that's been bugging me about the episode. While I loved the psychological and mythic undertones - the plot holes and narrative quirks urked me.

Not sure any of that made much sense.

And I'm really trying to hold off until after 7.22 to do my own criticism of the season. You guys keep tempting me. ;-)


[> [> [> Oh spoilers for End of Days in above post -- sk, 20:26:34 05/18/03 Sun

[> [> [> If Buffy and Co. had run into the crypt earlier, are you sure they would have found the Guardian? -- Finn Mac Cool, 21:00:39 05/18/03 Sun

It could be that it's one of those things where, until the right time, it can't occur. Like, the Guardian can't be reawakened until the Scythe is freed.

As for the Scythe itself, there doesn't appear to be much in the way of records of it, so, until the First Evil came along, no one went looking for it, least of all the Scoobies.

The things you mentioned didn't bother me. It's not like the Scythe was unexplained; we know there are these mystical guardians that made it, that a Slayer once used it to slay the last pure demon (naturally located on the Hellmouth), and that it was buried until the day when it would be needed again and a Slayer would free it. You don't need to know Fray to understand it. Imagine for a moment that Joss Whedon wrote a comic book during the mid 1990's where a knight plunged a sword into the demon Acathla, turning him to stone and saving the world. Does Acathla's appearance previously in a comic book make its appearance and explanation in Becoming any less believable? I just have a hard time seeing the Scythe as a problem since it recieved more explantion than the Troll Hammer, the Dagon Sphere, or even Acathla got.

[> [> [> [> Or recall that in *Buffy vs. Dracula* there was the line... -- OnM, 21:21:23 05/18/03 Sun

... "Do you recall a big honkin' castle being here in Sunnydale before?" or a line to that effect spoken by Riley or Angel.

I think FMC has it right-- the tomb may not have even existed until the scythe was unearthed or revealed or removed from the stone. Magic, right?

None of this stuff bothered me either. You need to keep in mind at all times that we aren't normal viewers-- we obsess over the show and get into all these little details. I don't think the vast majority of viewers do. For example, I enjoyed Xena for most of the early years it was on, but they were incredibly, mind-numbingly sloppy in this regard compared to Buffy on even a bad day. Magic is magic and science is science-- they don't mix (although maybe you could emulsify them), and it detracts from the enjoyment of the story if you let them. I consider myself a scientist in that I accept the basic validity of the scientific method, but for a show like this one (or Lord of the Rings, or Tomb Raider or Star Wars) I shift my brain into a different gear.

I appreciate that this is easy to say and hard (or impossible) to do for others. Just mentioning what works for me.

[> [> [> [> [> I had more trouble with the Winery existing than the Temple. (vague spoilers EoD) -- WickedBuffy, 21:41:43 05/18/03 Sun

Yah - I had no problem with the temple suddenly being there. Just figured it was "cloaked" until the Scythe was found by the Slayer.

For some weird reason, I had more trouble accepting there was a Winery. In the middle of a forest. Full of kegs of wine.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Evil wine -- Masq, 05:15:25 05/19/03 Mon

The other night, I had a glass of pinot noir from a bottle labeled "Santa Barbara Winery". I think it was from Caleb's private stock.

(You have heard the Sunnydale = Santa Barbara theory, right?)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Wasn't Calebs stock a thick, angry Merlot with a slice of bitter aftertaste?? -- WickedB (ok, they must not make wine, just store wine), 11:32:35 05/19/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Come to think of it, it was a little bitter... -- Masq, 13:32:53 05/19/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> In Southern California, too -- mamcu, 16:31:35 05/19/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Dracula -- CW, 22:33:30 05/18/03 Sun

But, that line is metanarration. ME was saying, "Yes, we know there is no castle in Sunnydale. But, this is Dracula. What's Dracula without a castle, without turning into a bat, a wolf, etc. Give us a break this time." We did.

The excuse this time is that Fray needs validation from the series. I don't mind ME trying to make an extra buck off Buffy. They deserve it. But, I don't think this proper use of air time. If it's needed to be a part of the Buffy series then a hint of what was coming needed to be given earlier as S'Kat says. That's something that decent story telling requires.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Exactly...regarding Troll Hammar, Dagonsphere and Acath -- s'kat, 22:55:04 05/18/03 Sun

But, that line is metanarration. ME was saying, "Yes, we know there is no castle in Sunnydale. But, this is Dracula. What's Dracula without a castle, without turning into a bat, a wolf, etc. Give us a break this time." We did.

The excuse this time is that Fray needs validation from the series. I don't mind ME trying to make an extra buck off Buffy. They deserve it. But, I don't think this proper use of air time. If it's needed to be a part of the Buffy series then a hint of what was coming needed to be given earlier as S'Kat says. That's something that decent story telling requires.


Now Finn brings up Acathla, Dagonsphere, and Troll Hammar, but all of these were tightly explained. Two of which explained earlier on.

1. Acathla - we get the info that it was sent to a museum from overseas- so no, it wasn't always in Sunnydale and it was safely out of the way. Giles provides initial info.
Then we get info from a newspaper article and via Dru.
Then Angelus provides more. And then we have Giles explain it again. Acathla made perfect sense. When it was introduced in Becoming Part I? I knew exactly what it did.
I knew blood opened it. I didn't know whose blood...but that lent suspense.

2. Dagon Sphere - we knew what the Dagon Sphere did in roughly the fourth or fifth episode of Season 5. We found out at exactly the same time we met the big bad and discovered what Dawn was. The Dagon Sphere repelled the beast or Big Bad. Not complicated. The SG gets hold of it.
In The Gift - Anya suggests using it and yep it does repel Glory briefly. Simple. Tight. Quick.

3. Troll Hammar - this is also brought up earlier, we get it in the middle part of the Season. We learn it is one of the biggest sources of the TRolls power and Buffy uses it partly to defeat Olaf. Spike tries to pick it up in Blood Ties to steal it and can barely lift it - clearly showing us it has mystical properties. By The Gift - Anya states, why not try it. It's not the only thing that is used against Glory and because it isn't - it is proven effective.

The Scythe? We've never heard of until literally End of Days. It apparently belongs to the slayer, yet the slayer has never heard of it. The Guardian has been in Sunnydale since it was created but we've never seen the Guardian. This is different than Acathla - which came from elsewhere and was sent to a musuem. Or the Troll Hammar that also came from elsewhere. OR the DagonSphere that the monks brought. The Guardian and the scythe didn't come from somewhere else...they've always been there.

Casual viewers did have troubles with it. Two friends of mine who don't analyze the show like I do and just watch it like any other show on tv - did not understand the whole Guardian/scythe deal - I had to explain it to them. So, I think it's a problem...maybe not a major one...and who knows, we haven't seen 7.22 yet - it might be explained...but at the moment? It still bugs me...on a purely narrative level not a metaphorical/mythical one (I love the metaphors and myths it shows).

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Machina ex deus? -- Valheru, 23:58:59 05/18/03 Sun

The scythe isn't the only recent plot-device-from-nowhere that ME has employed this year. Remember the Slayer bag-o'-tricks that Wood had? How fortuitous of the Scoobies to have it handed to them at the precise moment they need it by a person who they only allied with in the previous episode, not to mention the fact that Wood had kept the only artifact of Slayer inheritance to himself for 30 years. What if the world had ended 10 years ago because Robin's keepsake-from-Mom wasn't available to the Slayer? Everything turned out fine, of course, and Buffy really didn't need the bag after all, but it still came across as unbelievably fortunate.

Eleventh hour plot devices are a sure way to kill a story, unless they're done delicately. Otherwise, they just end up cheapening things. Imagine how lame the original Star Wars trilogy would be if Luke hadn't discovered the Force and gotten his first lightsaber until the last fight against Vader in RotJ. The scythe is similar: it changes the game rules too drastically, too late in the game.

Now imagine this: during "Showtime", as Buffy frustrates over how hard it is to kill the Ubervamp, she (or one of the Scoobies) stumbles across a mention of some super-powerful scythe that's supposed to give the Slayer added strength. Or maybe they find a blurb somewhere about a sect of Guardian women who are supposed to aid the Slayer in the final battle. However, the Scoobies discount the idea for whatever reason (lost, too distant, rumor only, etc.). Okay, those are pretty obvious set-ups for finding the power later, but see what I'm getting at? Give us a clue that the rules can change. Instead, the rules changed unbelievably.

Or if you're going to change the rules, do it via personal strength. An example is "The Freshman", when Sunday was kicking Buffy's ass all over campus. Xander's speech and the destruction of the Class Protector umbrella caused Buffy to reach deep within herself to find the power to defeat Sunday. Or better yet, see "Becoming", when the knight's sword symbolized the inner strength Buffy gained after half a season of Angelus's attacks. The scythe, however, has not been properly set up as such a metaphor. Spike's speech in "Touched" should have set it up, but after saving the SiTs in the sewer, Buffy sort of reverts back into Insecure!Depressed!Buffy (not completely, but enough), thus negating everything the scythe is supposed to represent.

Like Darby said, the emotional resonance isn't as strong this year as usual. Normally, seizing the scythe would have been the last consolidation of Buffy's power, not the second- or fourth-to-last. You can't have this thing that says "this is symbolic of Buffy finding the inner strength capable of defeating the enemy" and then have 2 episodes of Buffy needing more strength from elsewhere. The way this thing is being plotted, it seems almost as though the message is heading toward "personal strength is great, but it's always communal power that gives you victory", which isn't a very coherent final statement about the hero's journey.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I think that IS the message -- dream, 10:53:21 05/19/03 Mon

**the message is heading toward "personal strength is great, but it's always communal power that gives you victory", which isn't a very coherent final statement about the hero's journey.**

I don't understand what's incoherent about that. It's non-traditional. It's a reading of the hero's journey that been informed by (dare I say it?) feminism, or at least some tenets of some brands of feminism. But I don't find it incoherent at all.

The Guardian tells Buffy that her weapon is indeed powerful, but "you already have weapons." That's why I don't have such a big issue with the scythe. Yeah, it was stuck in at the end is a rather sloppy way. But ultimately, I don't think it's that important. I think it's important, sure, but she does still need her other weapons - her friends. Remember, it's not just HER scythe - it's also Faith's. The sort of symbolism you're hoping for - the scythe as symbol of Buffy's strength - isn't, I think what they are going for.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Well, it's PART of the message -- Valheru, 12:08:25 05/19/03 Mon

I posted that late last night, so if there's anything incoherent, it's probably me. =)

I definitely think that the "group power" idea is a wonderful twist to traditional heroic fantasy. Usually, the group has no greater purpose than to give the hero someone to interact with throughout the story. It's the hero's saga, while the rest only exist to compliment that. With BtVS, though, while Buffy is clearly the primary hero, each Scooby is the hero of their own story. Yet one of the most important themes is how these people are able to solve their problems with the group. It's not just "Willow tries to destroy the world, but decides against it," it's how the rest of the Scoobies band together to help her through the madness. As much as "Becoming" is about Buffy vs. Angelus, and although the obvious message is, "No weapons, no friends, no hope...take all that away, and what's left? Me," the overarching theme (implied in the end, but seen clearest in "Anne" and "DMP") is not to cast aside the weapons, friends, and hope to gain that "Me." It's great to have individual power, but it's even better to have group power as well.

Ah, but here's the "but"..."End of Days" doesn't explain the theme it's trying to get. "Touched" is mostly about how Buffy regains her individual power. It begins with her homeless, purposeless, depressed, and cast out of the group. Then she finds a home. Spike gives her a purpose. Finding the scythe clears away the depression (for the first time in several episodes, she smiles when she sees it). Then, at the start of "EoD", she re-enters the group. The problem is that by doing all this, the only thing Buffy seems to get over is "Touched". Granted, she appears to have regained some of the heart that was missing all season, but that's about it. She spends the rest of "EoD" with much the same "I'm in way over my head, but I'm going to act like I know what I'm doing" attitude that got her into trouble in the first place.

I guess what I'm saying is that the scythe is set up to be a metaphor for Buffy finding her inner strength, but it does so very weakly. All it seems to do is represent her strength in battle, not her strength as a person. It doesn't bring her back (not dramatically) from the seasonlong insecurities, only the insecurities directly caused by "Empty Places". It's as though ME was barrelling toward the series resolution, but then took a detour, created a mini-arc in the three penultimate episode, and returned to the main arc at more or less the same place it left it. Take away "Empty Places", "Touched", and "End of Days", and the characters are pretty much at where they were at the end of "Dirty Girls." The only thing that really progressed was the plot, which caused some of the circumstances to change, but the emotions didn't.

And that might be what ME wanted. I'm not saying that the story is bad, per se, just that there's a perceived red herring that might not have been intended as such. Maybe the scythe's only purpose is to symbolize Buffy resolving the issues of "Touched", in which case, it works. But the scythe appeared to symbolize Buffy resolving the issues of the season, and if that was the case, then the symbolism fell apart.

Finding strength in a group is great. It's a very important message the show has explored. But this is a hero's journey. Buffy is the hero. The Scooby Gang can be heroic, there's nothing wrong with that, but in the end, it's All About Buffy. If she's not strong, what's the point?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hmmm -- dream, 12:30:20 05/19/03 Mon

I guess the place where we part ways is that I do see Buffy happier, stronger, more in control than she was at the beginning of Touched. I also didn't think that the scythe itself was supposed to indicate Buffy resolving all of her issues of the season. I definitely think that the bit about Faith feeling that the scythe is hers is going to be significant. Until we know how, we can't really know how the scythe plays into things, but I have a feeling that SHARING the power is going to allow Buffy to resolve the isolation issues she's had. Since the scythe was created by a group of women with magical strengths, and since Faith adn Buffy both feel that it belongs to them, I think the scythe will turn out to symbolize something to do with Buffy's connection to the whole Slayer line - the Guardians, Faith, the Potentials, possibly Dawn and Willow. That could be easily resolved in an hour. I just don't know how, exactly.

(I still don't see how Buffy's relationship with Giles can be resolved while dealing with all that, and Spike and the WKCS. That makes me terribly sad.)

Oh, this is a really unformed thought - but do you think that people who are big fans of fantasy, in which the symbolic weapon can be very important, expect more from the scythe than people who aren't big fantasy fans?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Comment on weapon's symbolism (spoilers S7) -- yez, 14:23:50 05/19/03 Mon

"do you think that people who are big fans of fantasy, in which the symbolic weapon can be very important, expect more from the scythe than people who aren't big fantasy fans?"

I'd bet that most people who've watched these eps. feel that this weapon is very important on some level, that it means a lot. It's just been built up that way (albeit kind of clumsily). Even though the Watchers and the Scoobies didn't know about it, there's obviously lore and awe surrounding it, from vague references online to inscriptions on religious walls to a centuries(?)-old guardian. And because The First was "questing" after it and guarding it (supposedly), it's a natural assumption that it's powerful.

Also, the last time we saw baddies spelunking in Sunnydale, wasn't it after the Gem of Amara -- or whatever that magical amulet was called that let vampires walk in daylight?

What it's going to mean symbolically for Buffy, though, is questionable, I think. Maybe it was just me, but I thought Buffy's creepy smile when she saw it and the whole "It feels like it belongs to me" thing was right out of The Lord of the Rings. In other words, maybe the scythe can be a corrupting force.

There's also the matter of her perception of it. We've heard time and time again that this is about power. Even when Buffy puts forth her plan to attack the vineyard again, she says that what's there must be "his power. And I say we take it from him" (paraphrased). Is this along the lines of using dark magicks to do good? A slippery slope?

Man... I have a hard time imagining how all this stuff is going to be resolved well in 40-45 minutes...

I was wondering today about the whole scythe > harvesting > "The Harvest" connection. There are a lot of similarities or echoes back to that ep., what will all the talk of vessels and symbols and entering the physical dimension. It's also a very nice circle titling the last ep. "Chosen" which sums up how the series starts, doesn't it? Very nice.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'd go with that -- dream, 06:00:22 05/20/03 Tue

that the weapon itself is powerful, but the symbolism regarding Buffy is unclear. I certainly felt the weapon was significant, but I wasn't comfortable with the sense that it was necessarily supposed to represent the end of Buffy's journey, so to speak. I like the idea that it might be corrupting, but doubt that they could work that in at this point. I'm going with the sharing thing - power only corrupts if you hold it for yourself.

Also like your comment on the Harvest/scythe connection - hadn't thought of that.

Can't speak to the Lord of the Rings stuff, because I (cough) haven't read it since fifth grade when I (cough) hated it with a fiery passion. I know it's not something I should admit to here, but the Lord of the Rings Trilogy was my first great book disappointment. You know when you're a kid and you hear all about a book and you can't wait until you're old enough to be able to read it? Or even as an adult, when you finally get around to reading a classic? You are hoping for that great experience, and usually you get it but sometimes....deep, terrible disappointment. I really disliked Lord of the Rings, and I had been so excited about it. I haven't reread it as an adult, though I've read passages, and the writing, quite frankly, hasn't wooed me in the slightest. Anyway, the whole experience set off a lifetime distaste for Tolkien-type fantasy. Not that any of this matters, just babbling.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hey, no coughing needed here -- I'm basing my entire ring theory on the movies! -- yez, 07:04:38 05/20/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Does that hatred affect "The Hobbit", too? -- Finn Mac Cool, 08:44:53 05/20/03 Tue

Because, while I'm much more ambivalent on the Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit is by far one of the best children's novels ever written.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Yup -- dream, 10:13:41 05/20/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> don't agree w/everything you say, but i love that subject line! -- anom, 13:07:13 05/19/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> We do know what the Scythe does. . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 04:39:29 05/19/03 Mon

The fight between Buffy and the three Turok-Han showed that it allows the Slayer to butt-kick much more effectively.

From what I can gather, your problem seems to be that the Scythe and the Guardian were found in Sunnydale. Well, first off, Sunnydale is on a Hellmouth, so it's the place where you're most likely to find such things. Also, we do have a good reason why they were there; the Scythe was used to kill the last pure demon, who was naturally sitting on top of the Hellmouth, and then it was buried, and the Guardian waited for it.

Now, you mention the Scythe not being foreshadowed. There was some foreshadowing with Caleb, though. His "something of yours" line, as well as his reason for staying at the vineyard, plus there was the plaque saying "It is not for thee; it is for her alone to weild." Granted, all of this is in the last five episodes, but I'm honestly not understanding why you feel the Scythe needs to be mentioned before it appears.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: We do know what the Scythe does. . . -- CW, 05:57:21 05/19/03 Mon

I'm honestly not understanding why you feel the Scythe needs to be mentioned before it appears.

That's an excellent question. The answer is that in our western civilization well-thought-out stories that stay the longest in our memories are the ones that are constructed that way. Tha Iliad starts by telling us that Achilles' bitterness was the root of much misery. The Odyssey starts, by telling us Odysseus traveled far, and though he tried to save them he lost all his companions. Even those plays from antiquity which end with a literal deus ex machina which have survived to this day are the ones in which the action before the ending is all set up with an understanding of the characters, before their actions draw them into the crucial conflicts. The oldest story we know is that of Gilgamesh, an ancient king who is wild uncontrollable and generally a bad person, until he makes a friend, after adventures together this friend dies, which gives Gilgamesh a new perspective on life. If Gilgamesh meets his friend five lines before the death, the world forgets the story thousands of years ago. Buffy has been a story worth remembering, maybe not thousands of years, but at least for our life times. We have enough trouble with folks who think Buffy is teenage throw-away stories without the ME people partially proving them right. Comic books are written with things appearing out of no where to save the day. Fine literature isn't. Joss has the talent to make TV fine literature, but he just hasn't made the consistant effort to do it yet.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The narrative problem... -- Corwin of Amber, 08:08:49 05/19/03 Mon

The problem I have with the introduction of the "scythe" is that it seems unearned.

In one brand of fantasy/heroic/epic fiction, you have the hero and the villian. In general the hero attempts to defeat the villian early on and fails, sometimes pitifully. After he/she recovers, the hero has to figure out what he/she needs to defeat the villian and then it's a race against time to retrieve it and make it back in time to defeat the villian.

What do you think of a story where after the initial defeat, a magic sword drops out of the sky and impales the ground before the hero, with a note attached that says, "Use me!"

That's what happened here. Buffy had nothing at all to do with the scythe until it was discovered out of the blue. I would have enjoyed the season much more if Giles had found a reference to it somewhere, and most of the season was spent jumping through hoops to find it. But thats just me.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Not just you! ;o) -- CW, 08:18:38 05/19/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The narrative problem... -- Arethusa, 09:27:47 05/19/03 Mon

It would have been cool if the scythe showed up in any of Buffy's prophetic dreams, but I can live with the Sword in the Stone method.

What do you think of a story where after the initial defeat, a magic sword drops out of the sky and impales the ground before the hero, with a note attached that says, "Use me!"

Hee. I think of Time Bandits, when the little boy dropped out of the sky onto Agammemnon's(?) enemy.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The scythe didn't drop out of the sky. -- yez, 11:18:04 05/19/03 Mon

And Buffy doesn't just find it coincidentally.

I know we've been led to believe that The First is trying to keep Buffy from the scythe. But as many problems as I've had with the storylines this season, I just cannot believe that the writing would be so sloppy that this would be the case. I'm holding out hope that tomorrow we'll learn that The First *needed* Buffy to have the scythe for some reason. Nothing makes any sense, otherwise.

I mean, it is "not for thee but for her alone"? Then why does it seem that anyone can pick it up? Buffy absolutely can't get her mitts on the scythe so let's just alert her to our presence, invite her to where we're working, and chisel the weapon out of where it's buried -- even though she previously had no clue?

ME may have gotten a little sloppy, but this has to be intentional -- it can't be just sloppiness and desperation. I guess all I'm trying to say is I think they deserve more credit.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The scythe didn't drop out of the sky (spoilers for, um, what was the ep before "touched"?) -- anom, 16:38:11 05/19/03 Mon

"I mean, it is 'not for thee but for her alone'? Then why does it seem that anyone can pick it up?"

It doesn't, or at least I don't see why it does to you. When Caleb said he can get to Buffy before she can pry the weapon out of solid stone, I figured he meant he hadn't been able to (or we would've seen him with it, right? but it's not for him to wield) & didn't expect Buffy to be able to w/out at least some difficulty.

"I'm holding out hope that tomorrow we'll learn that The First *needed* Buffy to have the scythe for some reason."

Well, maybe that's why Caleb told Buffy when he beat her up at the school that he was looking forward to "taming" her (bleaghhh!). That way she could wield the Scythe & he & the FE could control how she used it. Not gonna happen, of course.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I saw a whole aisle of those exact same Scythes at K-Mart today! -- WickedBuffy (speculatin' on the use of the ugly thang), 17:49:19 05/19/03 Mon

I'm speculating with my unspoiled head that the Scythe is the Key to opening the Hellmouth and has the power to close, it too.

Of course, it will need blood - but specifically, who's?

(Oh, the replica scythes were in the aisle with all the bbq tools. I guess you can cut your meat up with that one end, roast it over an open flame with the pointy end... then lean back against the comfy shiny red naugahyde part while you eat your meal. At least that's what the clerkguy told me.)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Sometimes Joss pulls somethng out of nowhere, other times he leaves us dangling' -- WickedBuffy, 17:42:51 05/19/03 Mon

He tosses in the Slayer Bag of Tricks, a Scythe, a Guardian... surprise! Better swallow these things whole or you'll lose the storyline.

Then he starts things, and doesn't quite finish them - (see thread about questions we still have about BtVS with just one show to go!).

It's nice to be a god. };>

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: We do know what the Scythe does. . . -- s'kat, 07:34:23 05/19/03 Mon

The fight between Buffy and the three Turok-Han showed that it allows the Slayer to butt-kick much more effectively.

Ah. But we are led to believe by the Guardian that it does much more than just that. Not to mention Giles and Willow who mention it's mystical properties. Remember the Guardian tells Buffy - "it's up to you how you use it and use it wisely." If it was merely a double edged ax - they would call it a double-edged ax. But it appears to be part scepter and part scythe. And of course the whole Fray linkage. And the people who've read Fray - are the ones who've let us know that it's not just an ax.

Granted, all of this is in the last five episodes, but I'm honestly not understanding why you feel the Scythe needs to be mentioned before it appears.

I think both Valheru and Cactus Watcher explain why very well. But in addition to what they said - it's the fact that it's so convienent. Caleb says I have something of yours - doesn't forshadow it - b/c heck some people thought it was a potential or her soul or any number of things.
It's a bit like the Slayer's Emergency Kit that appears magically out of nowhere. It's way too convienent. And it would be so easy for them to lead up to it. They lead up to all the potentials showing up on Buffy's doorstep rather well, why not hint at the scythe in her dreams as well - as Wizard suggests?

I just feel that they've done this bit so much better in the past and because of the fact they've done it so much better in the past...expect it to happen well here. As Cactus Watcher mentions - it's the lack of consistency that is partly bugging me.

[> [> [> [> [> [> What If... -- Wizard, 22:56:28 05/18/03 Sun

What If Buffy had been having prophetic dreams about the Axe (I'm sorry- I know it's supposed to be a scythe, but it looks much more like an axe) along with the dying SIT's? We would have had some build-up, and Caleb's "I've got something of yours" crack would have more cause for Buffy to go after him in the winery the first time.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Strongly disagree. -- yez, 10:54:23 05/19/03 Mon

OK, I could be totally off the mark here as I've only read to Fray #3 (and caught my first glimpse of the "scythe") But so far, I don't think that validation for Fray necessarily *has* to come from BtVS.

We won't know until tomorrow whether the events referred to in Fray (through #3) even involve Buffy. It's entirely possible that some other slayer *after* Buffy created the situation that leads to Fray -- all we know now is that Buffy is the slayer that brings the scythe back into play, but I don't see why both situations have to involve the same slayer.

Actually, just based on #1-3, I don't see how it *could* be Buffy. Seems that it would mean sending AtS off in a radical direction.

But even if Fray #4-8 makes it clear that events on BtVS are necessary to explain the story, what's wrong with that? This isn't the case of some random writer for the franchise hijacking the future of the Buffyverse and them trying to fix it. Fray *is* the future of the Buffyverse. It's the creator's vision. It's Joss saying, "This is what happens in the future because of something that happened in the (unspecified) past."

Now if Joss and company drop the ball in their storytelling and look clumsy trying to hit the marks Joss has set, that's another matter.

Whatever they're doing this season, sadly IMHO the shadowmen and scythe subplots have been pretty poorly executed, though I really like the idea of them.

I like that it adds even more richness and complexity to the text by saying that in BtVS, as in life, there's a past and a future that we may have made incorrect assumptions about or that we've only scratched the surface of. That even though BtVS may end, the story of the slayer extends well beyond Buffy in either direction.


[> Excellent critic -- lakrids, 17:08:01 05/18/03 Sun

[> Things I hated as well -- Spike Lover, 12:14:09 05/19/03 Mon

1) the Andrew & Anya hospital scene and the wheelchairs
2) Dawn is going to zap Xan? You have got to be kidding.
3) Buffy and Angel are going to kiss when they first meet? Last time they met on screen, they were fighting about Faith. The next time they met (off screen), we never knew what went down, but we knew that Buff was upset and did not want to talk about it.
4) Where was Woods?
5) The FE & Caleb have a thing together to make Caleb stronger, and Buffy defeats him easily by herself. YOu have got to be kidding.

I have totally hated this whole season and these last eps. And I AM GLAD IT IS ENDING. I could not bear to continue to watch such bad writing. The writing use to be so good. The actors get a lot of credit, but if the writing is no good, they have nothing to work with. (Which is evident right now.)

I too thought the whole tomb woman thing, waiting on Buffy was stupid, and it only made it worse that Angel, Caleb, and Spike all found this super secret place as well.

One major problem I think they have had this season is too many characters, so that the more seasoned characters get less screen time, and therefore less depth/story.

Going back to the Angel/Buff kiss. I would really like for them to have Buffy finally resolve her issues with men and Angel and Spike. And maybe they are trying to do that, but I don't see how they can get that done with only a 1 hour ep left.

By the way, isn't this season supposed to be "about Power"?

The best ending I can think of for this mess is for Buffy to die and finally, this time, to stay dead.

HOwever, with the strong sleep theme this season, I would not be terribly surprised if she just 'woke' up.

[> [> Re: Things I hated as well -- Rook, 00:31:40 05/20/03 Tue

Actually, the last time B/A met on screen, they also kissed, and held each other for most of a night. Their last meeting was in Forever, not Sanctuary.

[> [> All about Spike -- Malandanza, 09:07:37 05/20/03 Tue

"5) The FE & Caleb have a thing together to make Caleb stronger, and Buffy defeats him easily by herself. You have got to be kidding."

I agree that it doesn't make sense that Caleb was supercharged by the First, then kicked around both by Buffy and Angel (and Angel beating on Caleb makes even less sense since Spike was tossed about like a rag doll). With Buffy, the possibility exists that the weapon (in which both she and Faith can feel great power while Giles and Willow got nothing) boosted her power more than the FE boosted Caleb's, so even with him at the top of his game, Buffy is superior. Problems with this solution are: I haven't read any of the Fray spoilers that suggest Fray is significantly more powerful with the weapon than without, and Buffy spent a good portion of the battle disarmed yet seemed to suffer no ill effects.

So my feeling is that either the fight scene between Buffy and Caleb was totally unbelievable -- absurdly so -- or that the FE didn't make Caleb stronger. The latter possibility seems more interesting to me. Caleb didn't seem particularly interested in the merging -- the FE pushed him into accepting it. He didn't think he needed more power to defeat Buffy. So what if the FE wanted Caleb to lose that fight? And made Caleb weaker, rather than stronger? The FE hasn't wanted Buffy dead so far -- what would have changed its mind? The final scene had Caleb looking like a disposable minion for the first time since his introduction. Before Buffy sliced him open, the First was catering to Caleb's whims, looking more the servant with Caleb as the master. In fact, it looked like Caleb was just a distraction in that scene -- that Spike was the primary target.

We heard the FE tell Andrew earlier in the season that it had big plans for Spike -- just not right then. Maybe the First set up the whole fight, brought Angel, Spike, and Caleb together just to set the scene for the Last Temptation of Spike. The First has manipulated characters before in just such a blunt manner, and has generally succeeded. It's not like any manipulation we've seen before -- the characters know in advance that the First will try to manipulate them, the FE lacks any subtlety in its actual attempts, the characters realize that they're being manipulated -- yet slip into the trap anyway. Willow, Dawn, Faith and Wood (and some of the Potentials) have succumbed. The first isn't tricking them, Macbeth fashion, it's corrupting them with their eyes open. So maybe the FE (and this season) has been all about Spike. He's at the same point he was at back in Season Two, with Angel taking his girlfriend while he watches impotently from the sidelines. Last time around, he betrayed his allies and joined forces with the Slayer because, as Buffy said, his "girlfriend is a skanky ho" -- will he make the same decision this time and join the First? Or will he take a stand, develop some character and fight for what's right?

I can even see why the First might have wanted Spike on its side in its plan to destroy the slayer line -- he's killed two in the past and would make a useful tool. With his general knowledge of slayers and specific knowledge of Buffy, and Supercharged with the power of the First, he could be a formidable foe. On the other hand, since JM has a future in the Buffyverse, Spike'll probably resist temptation (a less interesting storyline for me, but one you'd probably like to see).

[> [> [> Interesting theory.. can't wait to see what really happens! -- bethany, 10:06:22 05/20/03 Tue

[> [> [> There were hints it happened before (spoiler for 7.22 promo) -- Finn Mac Cool, 13:44:57 05/20/03 Tue

The First said that Caleb had been getting weaker "since we merged". I got the feeling that the merging was something they did occasionally in order to bring Caleb's strength to it's peak, but that it slipped lower over time and needed a recharge. Or, possibly, since we see Caleb alive in the 7.22 promo, the merging made Caleb somehow unkillable, though not necessarily unbeatable.

Jasmine question -- head_wizard, 12:52:05 05/18/03 Sun

Why did Jasmine want to bring back Angelus? She was basically wanting to bring the world under her "good: control Angelus would not have helped her do this, plus Jasmine wanted to get rid of evil that would also mean Angelus? In fact she seemed happy to have Angel under her control when she came forth. Any thoughts?

[> Can I slip another Jasmine question in here, too? :> -- WickedBuffy (as long as people are thinking on her...), 22:07:46 05/18/03 Sun

What led up to Jasmine even coming to earth? From what I've read here, the PTB don't interfere much or maybe don't care much.

Could Jasmine (a PTB) herself have taken over the PTB job of giving Cordy visions from the start (or even thought of it herself and implemented it with the other PTBs blessings) and begun a little experimenting way back then to study humans?

Either way, perhaps it was her more frequent interactions with humans that led her to stray from the usual PTB lack of interference or interest in humans and begin her journey towards creating peace on earth. The mantis creatures were her lab rats - but earth was her goal. The statue of her in the mantis temple was a human form.

Is there anymore background on the PTB someplace?

(sorry if this was covered, but I missed it if it was)

[> [> Re: Can I slip another Jasmine question in here, too? :> -- yabyumpan, 11:09:04 05/19/03 Mon

A few theories...

Why did Jasmine come to Earth?
I think in her own twisted way, she probably was trying to help mankind. I guess it would be really frustrating for a Higher Being to look down on Earth and see the mess we're making of things. The problem was that she didn't take into account that people would value their free-will over love and peace, also I think her ego got in the way. I see her very much like a cult leader who truely believes they're doing the right thing.

Why did she choose Cordy?
I think it's possible she chose Cordy because of her link to the PTB. It might have been easier for Jasmine to posses her because of the link and also she could block incomming messages from the PTB, warning AI what was happening.

Why did Jasmine/Cordy want Angelus?
Partly to distract AI from Cordy's pregnancy, she may also have hoped that Angelus would take AI out. Also, it was another way of making sure Connor felt the need to protect her and it distanced him even more form his Father.

(I've obviously thought way to much about all this!)

[> Re: Jasmine question -- seven, 07:15:30 05/19/03 Mon

a red herring?

Cordy was pregnent and needed the gang to be involved in something else while she either gained stength or situated herself. We saw that even jasmine herself was unsure about a lot of things, so the whole angelus thing may have simply been a distraction so Cordy could re-group.

Or maybe she thought that Angelus (ironicaly) is more conrolable. That may seem crazy but remember that she took control over him by threatening to return his soul. She has no such power over angel. Perhaps since she was unsure about a lot of things, maybe she didn't know how her mind control would work on a souled vampire. I suppose it (angelus) could have just been a precautionary.

[> Probably to do with the prophecy -- lunasea, 10:44:26 05/19/03 Mon

No soul, no vampire with a soul to mess things up. If Angel is under Jasmine's control, she doesn't have to worry either.

We won't find out for sure until Cordy wakes up, probably. That will happen whenever the writers can figure out a way out of the corner they wrote themselves into and a reason for Jasmine to want Angelus.

Hopefully they are scanning the boards to come up with something remotely plausible if they are having trouble.

EW (the mag) gives Chosen an A+ - general spoilers, but more than I wanted to know -- Dochawk, 15:53:53 05/18/03 Sun

from EW: Final episode; no room for niceties, so I speak in Buffy code: Slayerettes stop whining, become feminist army to vanquish The First, even as original core Scooby Gang reassumes its ultimate centrality. Spike is tragic hero, Angel provides a cool Raymond Chandlerish cameo. Buffy (SMG, left, but I am not scanning the photo) uses unbaked-cookie-dough metaphor to describe her gradual maturity; many characters die. Regneration through violence, set to music. here endeth a magnificent series, magnificently. A+, Ken Tucker

[> Re: EW (the mag) gives Chosen an A+(the unspoiled version) -- Dochawk, 15:55:04 05/18/03 Sun

From EW:

Here endeth a magnificent series, magnificently. A+, Ken Tucker

[> I saw that! And I can't wait now more than ever, since EW have been faithful Buffy fans for years. -- Rob, 16:20:52 05/18/03 Sun

[> Do any of the plotline get tie up? -- luvthistle1, 23:25:40 05/18/03 Sun

....Do they answer in of the question put forth this year? is there a twist at the end, like it has always been? or is it straight story.

Can You Fly That Thing? - Thoughts on *Touched* Pt. I ... ( ***Spoilers for B7.20*** ) -- OnM, 20:33:20 05/18/03 Sun


Not yet...

............ Trinity ( from The Matrix )


Life's become a great big list / Of things to do and buy and fix
At night we pass out before ten / Are we ever gonna have sex again?

I looked for your id today / Seemed that id had gone away
Ain't been used since who knows when / Are we ever gonna have sex again?

We used to be triple x rated / Look at us now, so domesticated
Don't you hate it?

What happened to babe and stud? / Too much KFC and Bud
I shout it out into the wind / Are we ever gonna have sex again?

Come here baby, scratch my itch / Or I'll show you one mean-ass bitch
I'm so tired of acting Zen / Are we ever gonna have sex again?

Screw making love / It's way too ambitious
Let's get down on the rug / After you finish the dishes

Not now hon, the eggs are frying / But you get extra points for trying
Maybe I can squeeze you in / Between the PTA and CNN
Are we ever gonna have sex again?

............ Amy Rigby & Sherry Rich


FE/Buffy: I envy them. Isn't that the strangest thing?

Caleb: Well, it does throw me a tad... they're just, well they're barely more than animals, feeding off each
others flesh. It's nauseating. But you, you're everywhere. You're in the hearts of little children, in the souls of the
rich, you're the fire that makes people kill and hate, the cleansing fire that will cure the world of weakness.
They're just sinners. You are Sin.

FE/Buffy: I do like your sermons.

Caleb: And you're in me. Gave me strength no man can have.

FE/Buffy: You're the only man strong enough to be my vessel. And I know you feel me, but I... I know
why they grab at each other. To feel. I want to feel. I want to put my hands around an innocent neck and
feel it crack.


Blame it on Cain / Please don't blame it on me
It's nobody's fault / But it just seems to be his turn

............ Elvis Costello


If the hardest thing in the world is to live in it, the second hardest thing in the world is trying to get over yourself.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those types who goes around griping about people who feel sorry for
themselves, because frankly I hate it when someone does that to me. There have been more than plenty of times
that I've felt sorry for myself, and usually for some perfectly reasonable reason. But then, eventually, I get over
myself and move on-- I mean, what's the alternative?

OK, we all know what the alternative is, and that's just the point. Taking occasional time outs for rolling in some
dark, smelly self-sympathy can be good, and contrary to what many believe, I think that doing so is necessary for
proper mental health as long as you eventually get cleaned up again. Some of us are able to terminate the ride all
by our lonesomes, and some others need a little assistance from friends or lovers. Either of these is a valid option,
and again it's one of those things that sorely bug me when some supposed authority or other decides that only
can save yourself, or that only forces outside yourself can.

Shades of gray, people. Blood rushing to places other than the head. Cats and dogs, living together, and we're all
stumbling towards ecstasy, or at least power, which passes for ecstasy to some folks. After all, if we happen to
be feeling sorry for ourselves, it's usually because we have lost out on holding on to or gaining some form of
power, either through our own actions or because someone else has taken it away from us.

And it's all about power, as we've been told since the beginning of the current BtVS season. That being restated,
I feel pretty certain that most of us here at ATPo know that this general theme has far less to do with power in
and of itself than about how that power is achieved and utilized. At first glance, it appears that Buffy's power has
been greatly reduced at the end of the previous episode, Empty Places, but is this true? When you think
about it, what has actually changed with Buffy? Is she physically weaker? Less clever? Lost any of her basic
Slayer attributes?

No, all that has occurred is that perceptions regarding her power have changed. Her normally loyal
followers have come to suspect that their formerly capable leader has become less so, and in a manner that
presents them with dangers they would rather not undertake without what they feel is just cause. When asked to
justify the method behind the apparent madness of a second massed attack on Caleb's vineyard hangout, Buffy is
left with a dilemma-- she has no empirical data to back her plan, just a 'feeling'. While that may have worked the
crowd the last time, this time it isn't enough.

Buffy is certain that she's right, and to be fair, Buffy's intuitions are correct the majority of the time, even when
they seem counterintuitive to others at first. But since she can't cite a logical rationale, she resorts to pulling
rank-- and gets shut down. Later on in the episode, Spike argues convincingly that Buffy didn't give up her
power, she had it taken from her. From my own point of view, this is an oversimplification, for reasons that I'll
get into when that part of the episode comes up as I wander through it. For now though, this week's ep begins
right where the last one left off, and I'm going to do the same.

The opening scene is a picture of barely controlled chaos as we see the remaining Scoobies and the protos
gathered in the Summers' living room as Faith tries (without much success) to build something orderly out of all
the divergent opinions. The camera moves about frantically as the soundtrack jumps in and out of the
overlapping dialog, and it is quickly revealed that the Faith haven't even gotten to the starting point of forming
an alternate plan to what Buffy had proposed, because the various factions are busy arguing about the best way
to argue. After several minutes of this, I was quietly amused to hear Faith propose an idea that in less stressful
circumstances would certainly have come from Buffy-- namely that everyone is simply too tired and cranky, and
that it would be better for everyone to get a good night's sleep and start over again in the morning. This plan
gets a rapid vote of approval from everyone (except Kennedy) and is just about to be implemented when
suddenly all the lights in the house go out. A prelude to re-freaking begins its opening notes, and after a quick
check out the window confirms that the power is off everywhere in Sunnydale, said prelude segues directly into
full scale re-freakage.

Meanwhile, our recently deposed Generalissima is breaking into a supposedly abandoned house looking for a
place to crash for the night. She is surprised to encounter an obviously frightened man with a gun who rather
unconvincingly attempts to defend what is his, only to be told (quite accurately) that what is his no longer is, and
that he needs to join the rest of the Sunnydale expatriates. As he (sensibly) heads toward the open front door we
get the first glimmer of a sign that things are about to start the climb back towards the light-- Buffy wanders into
the kitchen, opens the door to the fridge and casually asks if he has any Tab.

So, we're in mid-apolcalypse and Buffy is worried about too much sugar in her diet? (Hummmm.... one does
have to worry about the impression one leaves in the workplace, I guess. Heard that somewhere.)

( Speaking of apocalypses, time seems to be getting kinda wonky again as this one nears. We cut to a scene with
Spike and Andrew at the mission in Gilroy, waiting impatiently for nightfall to come again so that they can leave
and return to Sunnydale with the newly gained information. For this scene to make any sense chronologically, we
would have had to move back from the evening to a time set earlier in that same day, so I am assuming that this
is the case, and that we've jumped back several hours. It didn't seem odd on first viewing, but it did puzzle me a
bit later on. So, during the time that Buffy is out looking for a new place to stay and the gang is arguing about
arguing, Spike and Andrew must be hogging it back to town from Gilroy. )

In any event, it appears that the plan to sleep is abandoned, and Faith comes up with a idea to capture a Bringer
and get it to spill the beans about whatever the First's plans might be, even in part. After an initial
misunderstanding of what they would do with the bringer once they capture it, everyone immediately seems on
board with Faith's plan except (once again!) Kennedy, who insists that they should check out the Seal at the high
school. Seeing that Kennedy is trying for a power grab of some sort as opposed to just offering a considered
alternate opionion, Faith finally firmly asserts her newly 'elected' authority and stymies Kennedy's attempt to
position herself as some kind of co-leader. Kennedy appears to have a driving passion for assuming a leadership
position, except that she's extremely lacking in experience. Much to her dismay, Faith promptly allows her to
gather some-- just not in the way that she wanted to.

Throughout the show, we get to see a running parallel between Faith and Buffy in their current roles as the newly
elected and newly deposed leaders of the only remaining humans in town. In last week's review, I mentioned that
Buffy showed exceptional grace in passing the mantle of her authority over to Faith even as she was personally
reeling in pain at the betrayal by her followers. This turns out to be yet another of Buffy's instinctive moves to do
the right thing, since it is quickly made evident that in spite of all of the discussion of wanting to have greater
input as to their fate, the remaining fighters are pretty much lost without a singular and strong-minded individual
to guide them. Faith may not have wanted the job (and despite Spike's later assertions to the contrary, I really
don't think that she did) but she decides that Buffy was right-- she can't be afraid to be the leader.

One of Faith's first acts of her 'new order' is to give Kennedy a little taste of the trenches by sending her out as
the bait to catch a Bringer, which seems only fair as Kennedy kept trying to make the points about her 'senior
position' among the protos. More experience means you take the bigger risks and greater responsibilities, right?
(Ahem, well... OK. Gripe, grumble... don't think that's what I meant...)

Credit where due, this seems like a pretty good plan on the face of it, and indeed a Bringer is duly caught and
returned to the Casa Summers basement for interrogation. When it turns out that the Bringer has no tongue and
cannot speak, Dawn quickly comes up with a very clever plan to use an old Turkish spell that allows dying
people who cannot speak their last thoughts or wishes to do so. As everyone is admiring this new idea, and we
start to get the feeling that Faith has pulled off a successful beginning to her tenure, Spike and Andrew return
from their 'mission-mission'. Andrew spends maybe half a minute talking about the 'adventure' he and Spike
had, as opposed to immediately revealing the genuinely useful info that they found in the hidden room, then
quickly exits after announcing he needs a bathroom break.

After making a witty comment about Andrew being a 'breath of fresh air', Spike informs the group that he has
valuable information, and wants to know where Buffy is. An awkward silence follows, then Willow gives an
obviously prepared speech that explains how Buffy 'decided' to take a little breather. Spike doesn't buy it, and
begins to collectively lambast the gang for being 'traitors'. The recent Faith-based successes aren't enough to
bury the substantial Buffy-guilt lurking just below the surface of everyone's mind, so no one feels particularly
able to defend themselves from Spike's accusations. Just as I was expecting someone to acknowledge their
unease about deposing Buffy, Faith jumps in between the group and Spike and aggressively tells him to back off.

When I first viewed this scene, I caught myself wondering if the pressure wasn't finally getting to Faith, because
her standing up to Spike in such an in-your-face manner seemed at odds with her behavior to date, and especially
considering how she had so pointedly looked out for Buffy's interests over the last few days. Besides, she
seemed to be getting very friendly with Spike just a short time ago as they compared life stories and their various
struggles for redemption. So what gives with the sudden shift into bitch mode?

Then on a second viewing, I began to understand-- Faith understood that even though Spike's point of view
might be perfectly valid-- and she might even agree with it so some extent-- as the elected leader of the troops
she could not afford to have their confidence undermined to this extent at such a critical juncture. Thus, she
stepped in to limit the damage, which meant getting in Spike's face enough to establish that 'you attack my
people, you attack me!

Of course, Spike tests the challenge, and finds that Faith gives as good as she gets. What was interesting to me
was to see that as soon as Spike susses out two main things for certain, he abruptly stops fighting and leaves the
house to go find Buffy:

Item one, does Faith know where Buffy is? (No.) and item two, is Faith really capable of looking after these
people until I find Buffy and get her back here? (Yes.)

After Spike leaves, Willow gathers some ingredients and casts the spell, and sure enough the Bringer begins to
speak, using Andrew as a conduit. Giles then abruptly kills the Bringer with its own knife, viciously cutting its
throat, and Andrew snaps out of his trance clutching his throat and complaining-- with some justification I might
note-- that he could have been magically injured or killed as a result of Giles' actions. Giles ignores him
completely, which once again strikes me as being very non-Giles like, but what else is new?

Based on what the Bringer reveals, Faith and the others devise a plan to look for a large hidden arsenal buried in
the sewer tunnels at the edge of town. Faith seems to be doing a really good job with the planning aspects of the
new attack and also with the handling of her charges, and she even gets a very sincere compliment from Giles
about it. (I really liked the bit where she first says 'about 7:00' for the time of the attack the next morning, then
corrects herself with '7:00 sharp'-- like Buffy, Faith is much smarter than she appears at first.) Giles leaves, and
Faith turns around to get ready for bed, but her momentary feeling of hesitant elation from Giles' endorsement is
instantly wiped away when the First Evil appears in front of her, in the guise of the late Mayor Wilkins.

Meanwhile, Spike has found Buffy and is dismayed at her apparent willingness to give in so easily to the gang's
wishes to have Faith take over. Buffy says that she can't really blame them, that it wasn't just Faith, everyone
seemed to think she was out of line. Interestingly, she doesn't specifically mention that the final 'betrayal' came
from her sister, and that up to that point she was intent on defying the collective will of the group and staying on
as leader. This tends to support the belief I proffered in the last ep's review that what Dawn did was ultimately
the right thing, even if it hurt Buffy at the time. I really don't think that Buffy would have backed down unless
there was some degree of doubt present that her 'other self' brought into focus.

Nevertheless, Spike takes serious issue with her 'quitting', saying that she 'isn't like that', and that the loss of
leadership was something that was done to her, not a thing she chose. He also asserts that based on the
information he discovered at the Gilroy Mission, Buffy was right about Caleb hiding something at the vineyard to
prevent her from getting it. He wants Buffy to go back to the gang and follow through on her original plan.

Buffy isn't buying it completely, however. Her time alone has made her introspective, and she says that she has
'cut herself off' from the others around her on so many occasions, and that it was her choice to do so. She
complains about being alone, but then rejects the attempts by her friends to truly connect with her. (I liked the
way that Sarah played this part of the scene, with a perfect mixture of dismay and pensiveness-- very nice work).
She then cites her relationship with Spike as being a perfect example of this 'not connecting' syndrome:

Buffy: I've been thinking a lot.

Spike: Okay, first mistake --

Buffy: And I can't fault them for kicking me out. I've been... I've just cut myself off from them, all of
them. 'Cause I knew I was gonna lose some of them, and I didn't want to...

( She stands, upset. )

Buffy: You know what? I'm still making excuses. I've always cut myself off, I've always... Being the
slayer made me different, but it's my fault I stayed that way. People try to connect to me but I just... I slip away.
(long pause) You should know.

Spike: I seem to recall a certain amount of connecting.

As the exchange continues, Spike gets a bit testy after Buffy accuses him of wanting her only because she was
'unattainable'. Buffy sits back down on the edge of the bed again, and lets Spike have his say. During the early
part of this exchange, I especially liked when Spike says that he 'will know what I mean after I've said
-- that certainly is Spike, verbally shooting from the hip and sometimes being the truthteller and other times
being completely full of it. The often rancorous fan debate about Spike the intuitive truthteller vs. Spike the
intuitive opportunist has been going on for many years now, and this one sentence seemed to me to be the
show's writers trying to finally make it plainly clear that Spike has always done both, that it was never either/or.
Spike continues along this line of thought:

Spike: (quietly) You listen to me. I've been alive a bit longer than you, and dead a lot longer than that.
I've seen things you couldn't imagine, and done things I'd prefer you didn't. I don't exactly have a reputation for
being a thinker. I follow my blood, which does not always rush in the direction of my head. So I've made a lot of
mistakes. A lot of wrong bloody calls. A hundred plus years, only one thing I've ever been sure of. You.

( He moves to touch her face. Misinterpreting, she turns away, but he puts his hand to her cheek, urges her to... )

Spike: Look at me. I'm not asking you for anything. When I tell you that I love you, it's not because I
want you, or 'cause I can't have you-- it has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you
try. I've seen your strength, and your kindness, I've seen the best and the worst of you and I understand with
perfect clarity exactly what you are. You are a hell of a woman.

( She is silently crying. He can only smile at her kindly, containing his own emotions. )

Spike: You're the one, Buffy.

Buffy: (quietly) I don't... I don't want to be the one.

Spike: I don't want to be this good-looking and athletic. We all have crosses to bear.

( She smiles a little. )

Spike: Now you get some rest.

~ ~ ~ ( Continued in Part II ) ~ ~ ~

[> Can You Fly That Thing? - Thoughts on *Touched* Pt. II ... ( ***Spoilers for B7.20*** ) -- OnM, 20:39:21 05/18/03 Sun

( Continued from Part I )

Spike stands, and head toward the door to the bedroom, saying that he will check in on her before the morning
arrives, but Buffy calls him back, and asks him to stay. He readily agrees, and we get another classic Monty
Python in-joke when he mentions the diabolical 'comfy chair'. But Buffy wants him to lie down on the bed with
her, and in response to his startled look, asks him to "Just hold me".

What follows is some truly gorgeous writing and editing work, as the intense but sexually chaste love scene
between Buffy and Spike, who are all alone in an abandoned house in an abandoned town, is contrasted with a
series of more 'conventional' sexual scenes between several of the other characters, who are in a house crowded
with people who are feeling lost and alone despite the physically crowded conditions.

The setup to the next erotic scene takes place as we return to the interaction between Faith and the Mayor/FE.
Faith instantly understands the nature of what is happening, but that doesn't stop her from being shaken as the
FE/Wilkins tries to convince her that she has always secretly wanted Buffy to accept or even love her, and that
this will never ever happen-- Buffy will always consider Faith to be a murderer, an inferior person:

Mayor/FE: Of course, of course... You're doing a great job with them, by the way. Much better than
Buffy ever did. You were smart to kick her out.

Faith: That's not what we... Buffy got 'em this far.

Mayor/FE: Why are you protecting her? You think she cares about you?

( Faith doesn't say anything. )

Mayor/FE: She nearly killed you, Faith.

Faith: (softly) It's different now.

Mayor/FE: No matter what you do, Buffy will always see you as a killer, not as a person. And now you
have what she so desperately wants -- the respect of these girls. (pause) All she needs is an excuse, and she'll
finish what she started when she stuck that knife in your belly. (pause) Stay on guard, Faith. Buffy's dangerous. If
you're not careful, she'll destroy you. (pause) I'm just sayin'.

(At this point in time in the show as aired, we actually cut back to the scene with Buffy and Spike that I
described earlier, where Buffy asks Spike to stay the night. I apologize for getting kind of out of order here,
because the entire love/sex/aloneness sequence is edited the way it is for very good reasons, but I was arranging
the Faith/Mayor verbal interaction sequentially just to collect it all in one place. I'll get into the reasons for the
sequence editing choices a bit farther on, but now back to Faith and the FE):

Mayor/FE: It all comes down to love. Deep down, you've always wanted Buffy to accept you -- to love
you, even. Why do you think that is?

Faith: You a shrink now?

Mayor/FE: You keep looking for love and acceptance from these people, these 'friends' of yours. But
you're never going to find it. The truth is, nobody will ever love you. (pause) Not the way I love you.

Faith: Get out.

Mayor/FE: They'll forever see you as a killer.

Faith: I said get out.

Mayor/FE: I'll always be with you, firecracker. In everything you do.

( And with that, he disappears. Faith stands for a bit, trying to process, slightly in shock. Then a hand on her arm
makes her start. )

Robin Wood has entered the room, but of course he doesn't see or hear the FE, all he sees is a badly rattled
looking Faith. She becomes defensive at first, but then relents and tells him what happened. The scene that
follows is a very powerful one that once again illustrates just how much Faith has changed, and also brings up the
memory of a similar scene that took place many years ago between her and Buffy, where Buffy was trying to lend
a sympathetic ear and was turned away by Faith's insecurities and fear of 'connecting' with other people. First,
the scene with Robin:

Wood: You sure you're alright?

Faith: (hotly) What? You want to rap about my problems? You hopin' to be the guy who puts the pal in
principal for me?

Wood: Okay... I came up to talk weapons; I see you, you... look kinda upset, and I ask if you're okay.
Where exactly did I go wrong?

( Faith takes this in. Relents. )

Faith: Sorry; I don't know what I'm doing, I'm just --

Wood: (kind) I'll leave you alone. Didn't mean to intrude.

( He starts to head out. )

Faith: It was The First.

( He turns back. Looks at her. Then enters the room and closes the door. Faith looks at him, vulnerable. )

Wood: You're really in the game now. First doesn't show unless it thinks you matter.

Faith: Lucky me. I'm a player. (long pause) Man, look at that. My hand is shaking. That really got me, I
mean, demons, vampires, women in the penitentiary system, none of those make me freak.

Wood: But that's what The First does. Find your achilles heel.

Faith: Naw. It just talked to me. It does a heel thing too?

Wood: It's a phrase. Your weak spot.

Faith: Ah. The school thing. I was kinda absent that decade.

Wood: So, who was it -- The First?

Faith: He was... like, an old boss of mine.

Wood: Just a boss? And seein' him make's you shake like that? (beat) Wouldn't give you a raise, huh?

Faith: Yeah, right. Nah-- I know it sounds retarded, but he was like a dad to me.

Wood: Oh. (then) It was my mother. When it came to me. And, I mean, it was her. Right down
to the perfume.

( Faith hears the hurt in his voice, looks into his eyes. )

Faith: Sorry.

Wood: Yeah.

Faith: I'm just pissed at myself. I knew it was a trick...

Wood: So did I. And I still wanted my mama to hold me like a little baby. (off her look) In a manly way.
Of course.

Faith: Of course.

Wood: Nobody wants to be alone, Faith. We all want someone who cares. To be touched that way. The
First may deal in figments - but the wanting is real.

Faith: When it came to you, did The First tell you the truth?

Wood: Yes.

Faith: It said that we've got to watch out for Buffy. That Buffy's dangerous.

Wood: What do you think?

Faith: Could be. We've given B a mighty reason to be pissed off. (then) The messed-up thing? The First
is telling me to worry about her - and I just wish she was here. In a couple of hours, I'm leading these girls into
some serious crap. And she's the only one...

Wood: She's not the only one. You're a slayer too. And I think you're a leader.

Faith: I'm an ex-con that didn't finish high school.

Wood: I'm the principal of a school that nobody finished. And I'm totally out my league in this.

Faith: I hear otherwise.

Wood: So, tomorrow --

Faith: Forget about tomorrow. This is tonight. ( She puts a hand on his arm. Lets the touch linger there
for a moment. ) Been awhile. Am I out of line?

Wood: Hey. You're the leader.

( She stops his mouth with a kiss. Holding his face between her hands. Kissing him hard. He responds and she
presses him back down onto the mattress. Her lips on his. Her legs straddling him. Coming up for breath: )

Faith: Touch me.

Wow... And now here is the earlier scene with Faith and Buffy, from the S3.07 episode Revelations. Is is
daytime, and we are inside Faith's motel room, located in what is implied as being a somewhat shabbier or
'wrong side of the tracks' part of Sunnydale. Faith is watching daytime TV by herself, sitting on a ratty sofa, feet
propped up on some stolen plastic milk cartons. She's flicking channels. We hear her call out:

Faith: Come in.

( Buffy tentatively comes in. Faith's eyes never leave the TV. )

Buffy: Place looks nice.

Faith: Yeah, real Spartan.

Buffy: How are you doing?

Faith: Five by five.

Buffy: I'm interpreting that as good...

( Faith offers nothing. Buffy approaches the sofa hesitantly. )

Buffy: Mrs. Post, or whoever she was, she fooled us all. Even Giles.

Faith: Yeah, well, you can't trust people. I shoulda learned that by now.

Buffy: This may sound funny coming from someone who just spent a lot of time kicking your face, but
you can trust me.

Faith: Is that right?

Buffy: I know I've kept secrets, but I didn't have a choice. I'm on your side.

Faith: I'm on my side. And that's enough.

Buffy: Not always.

Faith: So, is that it?

Buffy: I guess...

Faith: I'll see you, then.

Buffy: Yeah.

( She starts slowly for the door, unsatisfied. Faith looks equally unhappy, stops her with: )

Faith: Buffy?

Buffy: ( stops, looks suddenly hopeful ) Yes?

( But Faith can't do it. There is a short pause. )

Faith: Nothing.

( Another moment, then Buffy leaves. Buffy closes the door behind her, thinking. A moment more and she exits
frame. Inside the motel room, Faith is still sitting on her bed. Alone. )

( End of show )

~ ~ ~

"Everything is connected." We've had that general theme pop up several times since the beginning of the current
season, and it reappears in this episode big-time. As detailed just above, Revelations ended with an
incredibly somber scene where two lonely people who have so much in common could have connected, and each
one is just a psychological hairs-breadth from doing so, and they fail. While it is easy to put all the blame for this
on Faith, the writers leave you with that last shot of Buffy where you are trying to guess what she's thinking, and
you come away with something like "She's really hurting, but she wants to be alone. I can understand that,
but she really needs to connect, to know that I really do understand her pain. Should I go back in there and press
the issue, confront her? Or let her work it out herself? What do I do?

And Buffy leaves. If she had been a little more assertive, risked pushing Faith, would things have turned out very
different? We'll never know, and that's the realism of the writing at work here. No one person in this scene is
truly at fault in the sense that they are both operating within the constraints of what they think is the proper way
to behave. Faith illustrates her own mindset very clearly when she uses the word 'Spartan' to describe her
immediate environment-- a reference that not only implies a lack of physical clutter in the room, but an aesthetic
of emotional spareness as well. To Faith, admitting that she needs help dealing with the emotional impact of the
betrayal at the hands of her new Watcher would be to admit openly her weakness in being fooled. To her
loner-oriented psychology, a warrior doesn't bleed in this way and remain a true warrior. So, she resists reaching
out to the fellow warrior, the only one who could truly understand, even though part of her desperately wants to
do so.

Buffy senses this dichotomy in Faith's makeup correctly, but she doesn't want to invade Faith's personal space.
This makes sense when you consider that Buffy has always been the reluctant warrior, doing her job out of
necessity but lacking the primal urge to revel in her power the way Faith does-- or did. Buffy would resent it if
someone pushed her into doing what she didn't feel ready for, so she assumes the same tactic would apply to her
friend. This is a mistake, but a perfectly understandable one.

Returning back to the general flow of the show, we move on to the scene with Willow and Kennedy. Prior to this
episode airing, I read a short article on the net about how if it was shown as written, this scene would be the first
time on network television where a lesbian coupling was shown with the same degree of explicitness that is
routinely allowed for heterosexual ones. I suppose that this does bear some note in the historical sense, although
as one of many people out here in audienceland with years of experience watching pay cable sources such as
HBO or the uncut films and programming available on video media, the whole sequence came off as pretty tame
to me. Nevertheless, it is all relative, and as jenoff points out in the opening paragraph to his review, on any other
network show such a scene would have been the main highlight/ be-all/ end-all of the program, not just another
moment in a whole series of powerful moments.

I won't get into the shippy elements of this part, or take a side as to whether or not Kennedy is a suitable person
for Willow to be involved with, because to me personally that is not the point the writers are trying to make.
While the 'kite string' part got pretty close to the limit of preciousness that I can stand without medication, it
does fit where I see Willow as being right now. People seem to keep expecting that a character will have an
epiphany or revelation about themselves or others around them, and then their life will instantly change for the
better and everything will just be all fluffy puppies and no pooper-scooping. In the realverse, it just so ain't so.

Willow made one significant step forward when Kennedy brought her out of the magical curse that turned her
into Warren, but it was only just that-- a step. She still fears that she is only keeping the forces of magical
darkness at bay by a short distance, and that they could overtake her at any time if she gives up any control
whatsoever. While she could be right, I personally feel that Willow is stronger than she thinks, and it is obvious
that Kennedy does also. Is this naiveté or chutzpah on Kennedy's part? It doesn't matter-- Willow needs this to
grow stronger, and her other friends all have their own problems to deal with. (Besides, I think it has been made
very plain on multiple past occasions that Buffy, Xander and Giles all appreciate Willow's strength, and so I see
no need for them to keep saying it over and over-- after all this time, Willow needs to internalize the message.)

Many people have compared Kennedy to Buffy's 'rebound' lover Riley, and there may be some truth to that in
the sense of the overall series narrative, but I always liked Riley and felt that many fans never tried to look past
the surface of what he meant to Buffy, and she to him. Since the series is ending in two more eps, we may never
know what happens with Kennedy/Willow over the long term as we did with Riley/Buffy, but I refuse to make
any snap judgements about Kennedy without the benefit of that long-term observation. The coming end-conflict
is going to be a crucible for Kennedy (unless she dies, but I'm betting she doesn't), and we will get to see
whether the aristocratic, self-involved nature she presents is inherent or malleable.

From Willow/Kennedy we go to a funny but touching scene where Anya and Xander are down in the kitchen,
eating from a container of ice cream, using the same spoon. Anya is of the opinion that if she isn't getting any
sex, then the others should just kindly knock it off please. Xander is amused and correctly posits a jealousy
factor, which Anya doesn't deny. You know what is going to happen here, but we cycle back to Buffy and Spike,
who are vigorously-- cuddling. Then we cycle again to Faith and Robin, and I noted that while Faith is originally
on top as the lovemaking starts out, in a later shot we see her on the bottom. Will wonders never cease... the last
time we saw this was when Riley made love (and I mean made love, not just had impersonal sex) with
Faith when she was in Buffy's body. That was a transformative moment for the Spartan Slayer, and I couldn't
help but wonder if despite the morning after comments to Robin as Faith and the SIT's leave for the battle, there
could be something between these two that could bear fruit in the future. Dunno-- again, so little time left for
things to happen.

Many fans called attention to the Oedipal associations of Faith and Robin, and I got that too. Whether it's
squick-worthy or not depends on how much one is willing to read into it, methinks. I mean, there is loving your
mother and then loving your mother-- take William and Anne, f'rinstance. I don't think that William thought of
his mother in a sexual way either before or after his siring, and I think the same about Robin. Is there a resonance
for him in that Faith is a Slayer, and he can touch her and possibly love her in a way that he was never allowed to
achieve with Nikki, who was killed while he was still a child? The sexual expression with Faith substitutes for the
non-sexual expression with Wood's mother, but the core emotion is still the same, and Wood was cheated of
those future opportunites by the circumstances of his mother's 'profession'. This is a chance to make up for that,
in the only way possible. Besides, it's not a one-way trip-- Faith needs Robin as much as he needs her at this
crucial moment.

We return to Xander and Anya, and surprise! (not) ... there they are doing it on the kitchen floor. Looks like the
breakup sex was not so final after all. Now I'm getting to be fairly sure that Anya isn't gonna make it past the big
showdown. (Sigh). Cut back once again to Spike and Buffy, looking connected and contented. Cut to the FE and

Oh, yeah. Way to go, ending the sequence of carnal-coupling edits with our two main ultra-bads. Better yet, we
get to hear the FE/Buffy comment that "I envy them", which surprises us as much as it does Caleb, who seems
totally eww-begotten. The sitch is soon explained though-- the FE can't feel in its normal incorporeal state, and it
longs to do so in order to experience fun things like snapping neck bones and all. Caleb is extremely relieved to
hear this.

Buffy wakes up, Spike is asleep beside her. She apparently departs the premises, but leaves a note for him. It is
morning, and Andrew is filling Faith, the SG and the protos in on the message he and Spike found at the Gilroy
Mission. Faith gathers the troops together and heads off for the sewers, after instructing the SG to check up on
Buffy and for Robin to 'stay by the phone'. Ahh, poor Robin-- did he just one-night-stand it? Faith isn't really
cold or cruel, just very matter of fact about distancing Robin. On the face of things, it would seem to be the old
live-for-the-moment Spartan-minded Faith surfacing again, but I'm not sure, just as I wasn't sure about the fight
with Spike and Faith's actual thinking behind it. Is Faith distancing herself from Robin because she fears he might
die in this next battle? And is that why she doesn't want him to come along? It's a perfectly ambiguous reading if
one does not fall into the trap of choosing a position in advance-- which is fascinating.

It's also morning at the vineyard, and we see the bringers working on getting the mysterious whatever out of the
stone. Caleb tells the FE that prophecy is one thing and brute strength is another, and that the Bringers will
succeed. Just as he concludes this, a dead Bringer comes tumbling down the stairs and we look up and see Buffy
at the top. She wants whatever Caleb has been hiding, and Caleb engages in a fight with Buffy to prevent her
from doing so. Buffy, however, has wisely changed her tactics and rather than duke it out ducks and covers and
dances as Caleb expends his strength trying to make physical contact. (If I recall correctly, there is a real-world
martial arts form that utilizes just this exact technique of wearing down your opponent while conserving your
own strength, although I cannot recall the name of it). Eventually she discovers a trap door in the floor and
makes a dive for it, disappearing into a hidden area somewhere.

Back with Faith and the SIT's, Bringers attack them in an area of the sewers stocked with a decent-sized but not
enormous cache of weapons. They fend off the Bringers successfully, without any loss of life or serious injuries
for the home team. Venturing further into the sewers, they find an antechamber where an old wooden chest is
stashed, looking just about the right size to contain something valuable. Is this the grail? The thing that Caleb and
the FE fear that the Buffyites will gain possession of?

Cut back to Buffy, now standing below the floor of the vineyard cellar, staring at something which makes her
face light up in a delight that we haven't seen for a long while. It is a weapon, a beautifully crafted axe-like
creation that we know as soon as we lay eyes on it is indeed something both powerful and dangerous, and so just
has to be made for Buffy. Its shining metal blade is deeply embedded in the rock itself, and looks like it wants to
stay there, judging by the efforts the Bringers have expended and failed with to date.

Cut back one final time to Faith, as she kicks open the lock of the wooden chest, and bends down to lift the lid.
But there is no treasure, mystical or otherwise-- it's a chest full of explosives, and a digital timer, which is at 7 or
8 seconds and counting down. Faith turns to run, screams out to the others to get down, the timer counts 3...2...
and we cut to black-- end of show.

Whew!, once more. What an absolutely bitchin' (in the positive connotation) 42 minutes! I repeat
my earlier statement that this is becoming one of the very best seasonal end-game playouts of the past seven
years, which when taken into account re: the overall excellence of this year, is placing S7 as a personal favorite
to this fan. At the moment, S3 still holds first place in my estimation, but this is going to be a squeaker. Unless
ME totally drops the ball in End of Days and Chosen-- which I sincerely doubt-- wow.

But enough fan-boy gushing here, this is supposed to a be a serious forebrainy 'thoughts on' meditation, not
some adrenal-gland prospectus.

Ahh, f**k it. I loved the damn thing, all of it.

~ ~ ~ ( Continued in Part III ) ~ ~ ~

[> [> Can You Fly That Thing? - Thoughts on *Touched* Pt. III ... ( ***Spoilers for B7.20*** ) -- OnM, 20:49:45 05/18/03 Sun

~ ~ ~ ( Continued from Part II ) ~ ~ ~


Regular readers of my rousing rambles (or so I hope) will have noticed that I have been increasingly including
commentary from other folks on the board along with quotes and insights by the 'professional' reviewers like
jenoff and the staff of ME. There are several reasons for this, and this seems like a good time to mention what
they are, what with only two more eps in the pie-plate-marzipan-line to go.

First, after deciding that I was far more comfortable working on these essays only after a serious (like a whole
week, man!) period of reflection and evaluation, it became pointless trying to state what my own 'unique' vision
was when that vision has been hopelessly influenced by what I read of the thoughts of others both at ATPo and
elsewhere. And if these readings are influential, then it is only right that I credit at least some of them each time

The second reason is that the huge (and deserving) growth of the ATPo discussion board over the last year or
two has rendered it impossible for me to read all of it, and some weeks the only thing I get to do is go for the
highlights, which is mostly a matter of choosing some regular favorite posters and supplementing that with some
mostly-instinctual clickage of others. Randomness much? I don't deny it, but it's what I can do.

The difficulty of not being able to read the whole board extends even more so into the time available for replying
to interesting or thoughtful posts-- they are way too many of them also. Moving those posts, or excepts of them,
into the weekly (or bi- or tri-weekly -- sigh...) review is a way to give me a chance to respond with my
own take. So there ya have it, and in fact I want to do some of that respondage right now.

cjl and KdS brought up some Q&A re: how does the FE know so much about everything that is happening in the
lives of the Buffyites. Is there a (non-matching) mole in the midst of La Casa Summers? Is it a mystical thang?
Here's cjl, first up, posing the primary puzzle:

The other side to this equation is The First's relationship to Buffy. It's interesting that when Buffy left the
house, she apparently dropped off the First's radar. The apparition of Mayor Wilkins made a point of prodding
Faith to send out a couple of spies to keep an eye on Buffy. (...) When Buffy popped up at the vineyard, Caleb
and the First were actually surprised. That must mean either: (1) Buffy was out of range of the mole
inside of the Scoobs; or (2) the FE doesn't have the ability to psychically keep tabs on Buffy.

............ cjl

Malandanza has one possible answer:

And the First hasn't been playing mind games with Buffy -- no scary apparitions (unless you count her
dreams, but that may not have been the First), no departed loved ones telling lies mixed with dubious truths. Of
all the people to pick, Buffy seems to be the best choice for mind games -- she's proven herself suggestible in the
past and has more issues than the all the Scoobies combined. And yet, she appears to be immune. I think back to
the first time Buffy met the First and she just ignored it -- it had no power whatsoever over her from that point
on. The First derives its power from the people who listen to it -- if they simply ignore it, it is impotent. Wood,
Faith, Willow and Dawn have all listened to the First and believed it to some degree. They have given the First
the foothold in their souls. Buffy may be off the radar simply because she stood up to the First.

............ Malandanza

Pretty darn close there, Mal. I agree, and add that my take on this is almost exactly what KdS suggests in hir

I have a suspicion that the FE can see through the eyes of anyone who is close to or actually giving in to
negative feelings.

............ KdS

This makes perfect sense to me. Remember what Joyce (or FE/Joyce) said to Buffy in her dream-- "Evil is part of
all of us". Whether this was meant to help or hinder Buffy in her ultimate grail quest doesn't change the basic
truth of the statement. As such, I tend to think that the FE can latch on to almost anyone and effectively
hear/see/feel through them. However, the less of an inherently evil nature someone has, the harder it would be
for the FE to do this mind-meld schtick. Also, it may not be just a matter of being 'evil', but as KdS says, one of
'negative feelings'. These would reasonably include such baser emotions as fear, greed, non-affection-based lust,
jealousy, envy, political motivations, etc. Hummm... pretty much would cover most people in the world,
wouldn't it?

Buffy could be off the radar most of the time, or maybe not. Perhaps the FE knows what she is thinking and
feeling, but has great trouble influencing her actions directly (as the FE did with Andrew or Spike or Wood)
because underneath her personal issues, Buffy is 'full of love, brighter than the fire'. The same could be true of
Xander and Dawn, taking into account their different circumstances, or perhaps because the FE doesn't consider
them to be important in the final battle(s). Robin Wood did say to Faith that "The First doesn't appear unless you

Now, I know that it may have been the FE that appeared as Joyce before Dawn back last fall, but even at this late
date that scene is still very ambiguous. If Dawn used that 'vision' as the reason behind getting Buffy to leave the
house and putting Faith in charge, the end result was surely not to the benefit of Caleb and the FE-- Buffy and
Spike are closer now, Buffy found the mystical weapon Caleb was trying to hide from her, and Faith has gained
the beginnings of understanding what Buffy has had to live with all these past years in terms of ultimate

Speaking of Faith, and of the parallels between her and Buffy, I was pleased to note that my prediction of
Dawn's 'betrayal' being for the good has borne fruit. I felt all along that one major purpose of this year's
endgame is to bring Buffy and Faith closer to one another, and eventually have them reconcile with one another
even if they keep a certain emotional distance. While one 'obvious' interpretation of the Faith 'takeover' is to
show Faith failing, in fact that is not what happened. Grant puts it very nicely:

One thing that I think is important to point out is that Faith's strategy and tactics worked perfectly. The
potentials won the battle with no casualties that I saw. Her only fault was in failing to predict that the FE was so
omnipotent that it could predict the movements of the SG to such an extent as to have a bomb set to go off
within 8 seconds of when the battle ended and Faith reached it.

............ Grant

By the way, I don't think that the timing was that perfect, or that this demonstrates the 'omnipotence' of the FE.
A simple switch on the lid of the chest could have started the timer when the lid was opened. I am assuming that
Caleb built the bomb (we know he blew up the Watcher's Council), and the 10-second timer sounds exactly like
the kind of little torture he'd enjoy. Rather than have the bomb detonate as soon as the lid was opened-- which
tactically would make the most sense in terms of maximum kill-- he delayed the explosion just exactly long
enough to let the victims know they were doomed, but not allowing enough time to escape. Caleb would relish
this kind of a knife twist, but his attempts at greater cruelty can backfire, as such attempts often do. I don't for a
minute think that Faith is dead, and probably there will be other survivors of the explosion-- and they're gonna be
pissed, as will Buffy. And a reinvigorated Buffy will have the new weapon to wield-- more problems for the

Grant brings up another puzzling question that hasn't been definitively answered to date:

On a somewhat related note, is anyone else really confused by the FE's plan? It has an incredibly powerful
warrior with no constraints that I can see. If Caleb is vulnerable to standard attacks, he certainly hasn't shown it.
So why doesn't the First just send Caleb to the Summers house to maim and kill everyone there? (...) After
Empty Places, I thought that maybe they needed Buffy or at least Faith alive to access the magical
scythe thing. But that still does not explain why Caleb doesn't go and kill pretty much everyone else. Also, in
Touched it seemed pretty clear that Caleb and the First thought they could gain access to the scythe on
their own, which is why they had all the bringers drilling and stuff. So, the question becomes why lead Buffy to
the vineyard in the first place? It is the site of the weapon that apparently is the key to their success or defeat, and
yet she did not even know it existed before Caleb told her (via Shannon). So why did he tell her? I know he
wanted to have an ambush, but there were many other sites for an ambush that still would have kept the location
of the scythe a secret.

............ Grant

This is a mystery-- the points brought up are very good ones. My guess would be one of two possibilities. First,
it may be a matter of prophecy. Prophecy seems to be a major factor in the Buffyverse celestial clockworks, and
perhaps it is some elemental force like gravity that can be played around with but not openly defied. I remember
this exact same question came up in my own mind during much of S5-- why didn't Glory just take Buffy out and
be done with it? Only Dawn was important, right? But perhaps there are rules of order in the universe that even
Glory (and the FE) must adhere to.

Second, perhaps the mystical power basis of the scythe can only be obtained or channeled through the auspices
of the Slayer. Caleb mentioned how he was looking forward to forcing Buffy into submission to him (remember,
right before he threw her through the window at the high school?) It is possible that all the death threats are
partly a ruse, and that Caleb and the FE need either Buffy or Faith alive, in order to gain access to the power of
the scythe. Buffy (and Faith) will fight to protect the protos in particular. If all of them are killed off before Faith
and Buffy, then there is no one left to protect, and the Slayers would surely kill themselves rather than allow the
FE access to the scythe. So, first the protos are threatened, with enough of them killed off to make the threat
real, then Buffy is allowed to find out about the scythe but is captured and forced to pass its power over to the
FE, and then the remainder of the protos are killed off.

Finally, Buffy and Faith are killed, and the FE wins-- no current Slayer, no new Slayer can be called, and it
controls the power of the scythe. Rufus mentions in her wonderful analysis of the mythology behind the scythe
that it is representative of both death and creation. Perhaps possessing the scythe's power would allow the FE to
cease all biological creation, which would explain why it is so fond of the misogynistic Caleb, and why it made
the statement to Willow in Conversations w/ Dead People that "I'm done with the mortal coil."

Lastly (I know I said two, but, hey...), Buffy and Faith are decoys, and it's all about Dawn. Back in the
fall, when the FE sent Ubee after the protos, Ubee was exhorted to "kill them all, except for her." Her
who? We assume it was Buffy. Faith wasn't in the picture then. There is only one other 'her' it could be. Many
questions, still no real answers. Ain't this a hoot?

Malandanza here with a really good observation about Kennedy and Willow:

Poor Kennedy had just experienced a bitter disappointment -- she was a leader in the revolution and expected
to have a place in the leadership of the new regime only to discover that she had less of a say with Faith in power
than with Buffy. And she made it clear she wasn't expecting to be a participant in a democracy when she said that
the older girls should be more equal than recent arrivals. She expected to be, if not the leader, at least part of the
oligarchy. She needed a little validation. Willow was coaxed into having sex, but we've seen Willow use sex as an
escape before (with Tara in Season Four, after Oz left town for good) so it's in character for her to want to hide
from self-incriminations via sex.

............ Malandanza

Can't argue with that. Well, maybe a little regarding Willow, but not much, so I'll let it go. On the ship front,
HonorH presents a very nice analysis of the dynamics involved for the various couples, but then I always say that
when someone agrees with me:

It strikes me that we had several layers of meaning and intimacy in the couples last night. To wit:

1. Faith/Wood: On the surface, just two people who find themselves attracted and in need of comfort getting it
on. However, I find the timing somewhat suspicious. This takes place right after Faith has been told by the
First/Mayor that she always wanted Buffy's love, and Wood confesses that he just wanted his mother to hold him
one more time. So Wood and Faith--a Slayer--have sex in *Buffy's* bed. A touch of vicarious fulfillment for
Faith, perhaps, and a touch of spiritual incest for Wood.

2. Willow/Kennedy: (...) Quite simply, they like each other, they want each other, and Kennedy manages
somehow to finagle them enough time to consummate their relationship. (...) Kennedy's more like Willow's Riley,
someone to have a good relationship with for a time, long enough to heal some wounds. There's not the depth of
feeling Willow had with Tara, and I'm fairly certain Kennedy knows it and is furthermore okay with that.
Kennedy is the ultimate carpe diem girl, and she'll take what she can get with this very intriguing person she's
discovered. Willow will take the emotional and physical release, and also the affection. (...)

3. Xander/Anya: This is the couple that truly loves each other. That's about all I'm certain of. They had what they
thought was 'one last time', but now they're one-last-timing again. So are they getting back together? Or was
Xander's injury, combined with the sounds of other people having sex, enough to throw them into a hormonal
embrace once more?

4. Buffy/Spike: He truly loves her. What she feels for him, I couldn't say, but one thing's obvious: he's won back
the trust he lost last year. The tenderness in this scene blew me away. Buffy was shattered emotionally. She
needed someone to break through her self-pity, believe in her unconditionally, and offer her comfort. Spike did
all three. I think Buffy saw him with new eyes. She saw someone she could trust with her body and soul. Thus,
she asked him to hold her, nothing more and nothing less, and they fell asleep in each other's embrace. I found
the intimacy in this scene to be far, far greater than any of the other couples.

5. The First/Caleb: (...) It's incorporeal, and he's an evil-worshiping, ascetic misogynist. Which makes them about
perfect for each other. From the start, they struck me as having a perverse romantic vibe. The juxtaposition of
the couples and the two of them just hammers it home. It cannot touch. He can, but won't except to kill. It
desires to feel. He desires to extinguish. They live in a world with its poles reversed: whatever is good and lovely
is anathema to them. He'd have condemned the lovemaking even if it had been between a bunch of long-married
couples. The First envies them their feeling, but it doesn't want sex--it wants to kill. It wants to feel Caleb
because he can kill.

As I said, works for me, especially the part on Caleb and the First. Then we had some discussion on the proper
nomenclature for the mystical axe that Buffy finds stuck in the rock. Wonder if she'll give it a name? (Buffy to
Kendra: "You named your stake??")

Technically the term 'labrys' seems to be the forerunner, but I admit that 'scythe' sounds cooler, although I can't
logically explain why. For some fascinating scythe metaphors, please search the archives for Rufus' posts on the
scythe and mythology, grails, scepters, etc. -- great stuff! In the meanmtime, Wicked Buffy provides the
following background:

The labrys is the sacred double-headed axe which was the scepter of the ancient Amazonian Goddesses who
were worshiped under the various names of Gaea, Rhea, Demeter and Artemis. Used metaphorically, it is an
instrument of change, of metamorphosis.

[Another reference states that] the labrys is a double-sided hatchet or axe commonly used in ancient European,
African, and Asian matriarchical societies as both a weapon and a harvesting tool. Greek artwork depicts the
amazon armies of Europe wielding labrys weapons. Amazons ruled with a dual-queen system in which one queen
was in charge of the army and battle, and the other queen stayed behind to administer the conquered cities.

That's interesting - we do have two slayers. What about a Dual-Slayer system similar to the Amazons? But at
least now we have primitive vs. advanced symbolized at each end of the thing!

............ Wicked Buffy

I was trying to remember when I first heard the term 'labrys' used, and then I got it-- in the movie
Bound, the character Corky wears a tattoo of a labrys. She asked Violet (her co-conspirator and future
girlfriend) if she knew what it meant, and Violet said that she did. I didn't, but then I don't know everything, I
just write about it.

I've always been an admirer of jenoff's Buffyverse analyses, even when I disagree with him. Here's two excepts
from his review of Touched, the first of which I mostly agree with, and the second one where I really
think he's off the mark:

It is interesting that Faith has established relations with almost all of the men Buffy has dated. (...) Now she
has sex with Wood (the only date Buffy has had in two years). Buffy thinks Faith is trying to take away
everything she has. I think we are just seeing the evidence that Faith is very like Buffy. That slayers get called
because they are in some fundamental way alike. Of course, there are differences. For all her talk of distancing
herself from everyone, Buffy establishes an emotional involvement with all the men in her life, even if she might
have trouble communicating that. Faith, on the other hand, maintains a clearly defined distance. She kicks Xander
out, gets angry with Riley when he talks about love, and tells Wood to stick by the phone and she'll call him
when she needs him this week.

............ jenoff

I'll go along with that, although it's possible that Buffy is getting a bit more like Faith, and Faith is getting to be a
bit more like Buffy-- which is a good thing, IMO.

Angel left because he couldn't take the pain of being with Buffy and yet not being with her. Riley left because
he couldn't take Buffy being better than him. Spike stayed. He stayed through the rejection and the abuse and the
torture. He remained true and he finally gets his reward. Buffy asks him to hold her. When she needs human
warmth, she turns to him.

............ jenoff

Uhhh.... no, I so don't think so. Maybe a little bit on the first part, but I always saw Angel leaving Buffy because
he took Joyce's words to heart that he couldn't offer Buffy all that she deserved-- it was a very selfless act, even
though it hurt Buffy at the time. jenoff makes it sound like a selfish act, and I never saw that.

Now, the Riley comment I totally and emphatically disagree with-- Riley left because he thought Buffy was better
than him and he couldn't handle it? You can argue about the wisdom of the ultimatum at the end, but there was
never the faintest question in my mind that Riley loved Buffy deeply and passionately, and I think that Buffy
loved Riley back, although not with the same passion. One of the reasons that I disliked As You Were
was because I thought it shortchanged and oversimplified the B/R relationship so tragically. I can fully accept
Riley moving on, but this episode presented a Riley that had regressed in several ways, and I thought he had
learned more than that from his time with Buffy.

As for Spike-- well, the Buffyverse fan community has already written an encyclopedia's worth of text about
him, so I'm not going to add anything else beyond my usual observation that Spike is a hard guy to figure out.

As usual, thanks to all for the contributions, pro and con. Time to bring this week to a close, so we'll segue into
the pre-closing observations:


Ye Aulde Parting Shots & Miscellanea, as per usual:

I loved what the English translation of the Turkish dying-speech spell was (courtesy the shooting script, and yet
another indication that they know we read these things):

Willow: (Turkish) Kendinizi çok uykulu hissetmeye bashliyorsunuz. (English) You are getting very

(Turkish) Çok uykulu, çok uykulu.Gözlerinizin önünde sallamak için cep saatim yok ama, sizin de gözleriniz yok.
Konusun bizimle. (English) Very, very sleepy. I do not have a pocket watch but then again, you do not have
eyes. Speak to us

~ ~ ~

What did I just say a half page ago? Oh yeah-- Spike is a hard guy to figure out, sometimes the truthteller,
sometimes full of it. Here's Spike getting it wrong:

Spike: You know, I think I do. Rupert. You used to be the big man, didn't you? The teacher all full of
wisdom. And now she's surpassed you, and you can't handle it.

Must be the blood talking. We have all been wondering what the hell is wrong with Rupert, but whatever it is,
this isn't it. Giles left Buffy and returned to England in S6 because he felt she was too dependent on him, and
needed to find her own way, to grow. He's bugged now because she's surpassed him? No way.

~ ~ ~

Here's a subtle but interesting difference between the aired version of the show and the original script (deleted
portion in italics):

Faith: Look, you guys, I'm not Buffy. I'm not the one who's been on your asses all this time. But I'm not
one of you anymore, either. I'm your leader. I didn't ask to do this. And honestly? I didn't want to. But now
I'm in charge
. Which means I go first and I make the rules and the rest of you follow after me, is that clear?
So back the hell off, Kennedy and let me do my job.

Kennedy looks at her, stunned.

Faith: Alright?

Kennedy: (sullen) Aye aye, captain.

The deleted part tends to make Faith seem harder and more autocratic. I assume Joss or the writers made this
change to increase the ambiguity of Faith's intent. Perhaps they wanted to make it clear that Kennedy needed to
be put back in her place, and thought the tougher approach made Kennedy's submissive reaction more likely to
be accepted. To her credit, Kennedy does mostly shut the hell up after this.

~ ~ ~

In the subtitles, Buffy calls Caleb a 'woman-hating prick', but what is spoken aloud is the word 'jerk'. I think the
more vulgar term works much better within the context of the scene, but S&P probably vetoed it. Does this mean
it's OK to offend the hearing impaired members of the audience?

~ ~ ~

One of the best funnies of the show:

Kennedy: I've never been the bait before. That was... actually kind of scary.

Giles: You did well. Your performance as a disgruntled minion was spot on.

Kennedy: I'm method. (smiles) Let's get this back to the Captain.

~ ~ ~

Another really good funny bit that didn't make the cut. From the shooting script:

Giles: Dumb as in mute. Dumb is a politically incorrect and outdated term that belies my youth in the
Mesozoic Era.

~ ~ ~

And that's all he wrote for this time around-- see you next episode!

Truth in Analysis Disclaimer: If for any reason you think that this humble writer is not doing an
adequate job of Buffyverse analysis, please feel free to send me packing as long as it means I can get Amber
Benson to stop by and hold me all night.



Do you believe it now, Trinity?

............ Morpheus


[> [> [> No, no. no... it's not the Time Warp again. I'm just a week late. Sorry, sorry, sorry. -- OnM, 20:54:43 05/18/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> That's okay OnM, it was wonderful. Better late than never. ;-) -- s'kat, 21:23:35 05/18/03 Sun

I enjoyed reading this. Thanks for posting it.
And interesting comparison with Revelations - I would have chosen The Prom...but this may work better on some levels.
Certainly didn't occur to me.

Agree with you regarding the contrast betwee B/S and the other couples. Also regarding the ambiguity of Faith and Wood. I still think he has hard-ons for slayers b/c of
Nikki and Crowley...but I'm the first to admit, I'm not exactly objective when it comes to Wood. Because I think you're position makes as much sense - ie. that they both just needed someone. Yet with all the groping and sexual contact - they weren't really close.

Thanks again for the review.


[> [> [> Spike Getting It Wrong . . . Or Right? -- Rina, 08:43:57 05/19/03 Mon

["What did I just say a half page ago? Oh yeah-- Spike is a hard guy to figure out, sometimes the truthteller,
sometimes full of it. Here's Spike getting it wrong:

'Spike: You know, I think I do. Rupert. You used to be the big man, didn't you? The teacher all full of
wisdom. And now she's surpassed you, and you can't handle it.'"]

In a way, Spike got it wrong, and in a way, he didn't. I suspect that in some way, Giles, like many parents, was unable to handle Buffy's growing maturity. Yes, he had encouraged her to stand on her own and learn to accept responsibility. But like many parents, he was taken aback when Buffy actually started showing such signs and distancing herself from him. And the fact that his old world . . . one that belonged to the defunct Watcher's Council, only acelerated his feelings of no longer being useful.

I'm not exactly grasping at straws, here, because I've been witnessing similar actions by my own parents over the past several years.

[> some early responses (spoilers for "touched" & "end of days") -- anom, 00:19:58 05/19/03 Mon

"At first glance, it appears that Buffy's power has been greatly reduced at the end of the previous episode, Empty Places, but is this true? When you think about it, what has actually changed with Buffy? Is she physically weaker? Less clever? Lost any of her basic Slayer attributes?"

It wasn't till I read this that I thought of Buffy's situation in this episode as having parallels to her fight w/Angelus in Becoming, Part 2, where everything was stripped away & all she was left with was "Me." It happens very differently in each case, & what helps her realize what resources she's left with in each is almost diametrically opposite (in Becoming, an attack on her life in which she gives the answer "Me"; in Touched, an affirmation of her life in which Spike gives the answer "You").

"Meanwhile, our recently deposed Generalissima is breaking into a supposedly abandoned house looking for a place to crash for the night. She is surprised to encounter an obviously frightened man with a gun who rather nconvincingly attempts to defend what is his,..."

This incident made me wonder how accurate the perception is that the Scoobies & co. are the last humans left in Sunnydale. If Buffy picks a house at random & finds the owner there, it seems pretty likely that some of the other houses in town are also still inhabited.

"...only to be told (quite accurately) that what is his no longer is, and that he needs to join the rest of the Sunnydale expatriates."

This has almost certainly been said before (haven't been able to keep up w/all the posts!), but when Buffy says, "Not your house. Not your town," she's talking about herself at least as much as about the homeowner.

"...Kennedy, who insists that they should check out the Seal at the high school. Seeing that Kennedy is trying for a power grab of some sort as opposed to just offering a considered alternate opionion, Faith finally firmly asserts her newly 'elected' authority...."

I didn't read it that way. Kennedy had a point, & it really was worth considering, along with Faith's plan. They could've done both, not necessarily at the same time; a few of the Potentials who didn't go to the arsenal could've done some inconspicuous recon at the Seal. And as we see in the next episode, it would've been a good idea--they might've been able to keep any more übervamps from getting out, or at least known they were coming.

"When it turns out that the Bringer has no tongue and cannot speak, Dawn quickly comes up with a very clever plan to use an old Turkish spell that allows dying people who cannot speak their last thoughts or wishes to do so."

Hm, why Turkish? Anyone else wondering about a connection to the murder of the Potential in Istanbul at the start of the season? Back to the beginning, right? (Not seriously, but still...) Of course, the usual use of the spell is apparently to help people communicate voluntarily, but in this case the Bringer is being forced to "speak" against its will...maybe. Considering the last scene, maybe it wasn't so involuntary.

"Of course, Spike tests the challenge, and finds that Faith gives as good as she gets. What was interesting to me was to see that as soon as Spike susses out two main things for certain, he abruptly stops fighting and leaves the house to go find Buffy:..."

Frankly, I thought the fight should've ended about when Giles said, "That's enough!" It was a waste of time for it to go on as long as it did, both for the characters & for what else the show could've shown us in that time (like maybe leave in Faith's line from the shooting script that you quote near the end of part 3). Plus, Spike's leaving without bringing the others up to speed on what he & Andrew found, despite their having thrown Buffy out, was not smart. Yes, Andrew could've done it (& did), but Spike's version would've been more to the point & possible more useful. (I kinda have a feeling that having someone else to fill them in was the real reason ME had Giles send Andrew w/Spike.) He also didn't get a chance to find out what their plans were, which (1) would've been useful to Buffy & (2) could've provided an explanation for how she found Faith & the Potentials at the arsenal.

"Giles ignores him completely, which once again strikes me as being very non-Giles like, but what else is new?...(I really liked the bit where she first says 'about 7:00' for the time of the attack the next morning, then corrects herself with '7:00 sharp'-- like Buffy, Faith is much smarter than she appears at first.)"

I had a suspicion for a while that Giles was the mole--he gets the timing of the attack from Faith, & then the bomb is set to go off at just the right time? But as others have pointed out, a 10-sec delay set off by breaking the lock (& I counted "one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two" between that & the shot of the bomb's LED display showing 8 sec's) is much more plausible. A more likely connection that occurred to me is w/the FE-as-Mayor's telling Faith "You're doing a bang-up job"!

"...I especially liked when Spike says that he 'will know what I mean after I've said it'-- that certainly is Spike.... The often rancorous fan debate about Spike the intuitive truthteller vs. Spike the intuitive opportunist has been going on for many years now, and this one sentence seemed to me to be the show's writers trying to finally make it plainly clear that Spike has always done both, that it was never either/or."

Yes! Really liked this, OnM.

"( He moves to touch her face. Misinterpreting, she turns away....)"

I'm not sure it's because she misinterprets. It could be either that she's still having trouble letting him connect, or that she doesn't feel she deserves the comforting he wants to offer. Whether it's Spike's words that make the difference, or just having a few more minutes to work through it, or seeing him about to leave the room, or all 3, she soon gets to the point where she can accept it.

"Cut back once again to Spike and Buffy, looking connected and contented."

Going a little out of order myself here: I didn't see Buffy as looking so contented. In one shot we see her looking at Spike as he holds her, & to me her expression still looks quite wary, or at least not as though she's feeling closeness w/him. In the next, she's asleep (he's still awake). While that has to require a certain degree of trust & comfort, I can't say I saw contentment.

"Wood: Oh. (then) It was my mother. When it came to me. And, I mean, it was her. Right down to the perfume."

There was some discussion on the board about the FE's incorporeality & whether you could tell if it was appearing as a person based on whether it could lean against things w/out sinking through them or whether its footsteps made noise. Of course, it could position its appearance as though it were leaning or sitting, & it could reproduce the sound of walking as easily as that of talking. Certainly if it can create the impression of smells, as we learn here, it can do all the rest, even if it can't pick real things up.

"Anya is of the opinion that if she isn't getting any sex, then the others should just kindly knock it off please."

I loved that they cut directly from this line to Buffy & Spike doing exactly that! With regard to sex itself, that is.

"...I couldn't help but wonder if despite the morning after comments to Robin as Faith and the SIT's leave for the battle, there could be something between these two that could bear fruit in the future."

Is it possible they made the connection Xander only thought he had w/Faith through sex, & she's keeping Wood by the phone to try to make sure he'll have a future?

"I mean, there is loving your mother and then loving your mother...."

Heehee! Gotta ask Rob if having this in OnM's review is too far removed from the show itself to allow an annotation citing Tom Lehrer's song "Oedipus Rex": "There once was a man named Oedipus Rex/You may have heard about his odd complex/His name appears in Freud's index, 'cause he/Loved his mother!"

"Buffy, however, has wisely changed her tactics and rather than duke it out ducks and covers and dances as Caleb expends his strength trying to make physical contact. (If I recall correctly, there is a real-world martial arts form that utilizes just this exact technique of wearing down your opponent while conserving your own strength, although I cannot recall the name of it)."

Some of her moves reminded me of aikido; although that usually does involve more contact, it relies a lot on "leading the opponent's energy" & turning it around against s/him. There are a few throws in which you don't even touch your opponent, which is truly cool. Although this can result in wearing down the opponent while conserving your own energy, it's more of an effect than a technique in itself & not the usual approach, so you may well be thinking of a different art.

"Technically the term 'labrys' seems to be the forerunner, but I admit that 'scythe' sounds cooler, although I can't logically explain why."

So they can have that line about "scythe really does matter," of course! (Well, I like it, but then I am the Master of Pun Fu!) "Labrys" doesn't really work because it specifically means a 2-headed ax, & the "scythe" has just 1 head.

"Willow: (Turkish) Kendinizi çok uykulu hissetmeye bashliyorsunuz. (English) You are getting very sleepy.

(Turkish) Çok uykulu, çok uykulu.Gözlerinizin önünde sallamak için cep saatim yok ama, sizin de gözleriniz yok. Konusun bizimle. (English) Very, very sleepy. I do not have a pocket watch but then again, you do not have eyes. Speak to us."

They actually did that? Haaaaaaahahahahaha!

Oh, & I agree about "prick" in the closed captions being "jerk" in the spoken line, both about its being more fitting & about whether it's more acceptable to offend people who can't hear the dialogue.

Great job, as usual, OnM! Me go sleep now....

[> [> And some very fine early responses they are! Thanks! -- OnM, 06:49:08 05/19/03 Mon

Agree completely about the scythe-- the pun is reason enough! It was an even better joke because it took me a few seconds to get it, the dialog passed by so fast in that scene.

Gotta head workward, or I'd add a few more things, but meanwhile, thanks for all that-- nice feedback!

[> [> [> The thing I loved best about...("End of Days" spoiler) -- Rob, 08:01:31 05/19/03 Mon

...Willow's "scythe" joke was not the joke itself, although it was adorable, but Buffy's reaction to it. She gave her a little smile, and Willow smiled back. I've said this before, but I truly think a lesser show would not realize the importance of this small gesture. But it really does speak volumes, about the reparation of the Scoobies' relationship, of Buffy beginning to truly embrace her friends again and repair the divide in their relationship, and in herself. That Buffy forgives Willow. That Willow forgives Buffy. It was my favorite moment in the episode. (Sorry for jumping ahead an ep. OnM!)


[> [> [> thanks y'self! i'm hoping to add some "late" ones later (time permitting...does it ever?) -- anom, 17:02:43 05/19/03 Mon

[> [> [> Help, I am pun challenged! -- aka Ms K, 17:52:59 05/19/03 Mon

Everyone seems to get this but me so I guess I am just really slow. Could someone please explain this pun/joke? I am hoping it is a pop culture ref that I have never heard of ...

[> [> [> [> master of pun fu to the rescue! -- anom, 18:43:37 05/19/03 Mon

"Scythe matters" = "Size matters"...with a lisp. But they didn't make it quite so blatant.

[> [> [> [> [> Thank you! I can't believe I didn't get that! -- aka Ms K, 18:58:58 05/19/03 Mon

[> I agree with everything you wrote - now how often do I get to say that? -- dream, knocked over by your brilliance, 07:20:10 05/19/03 Mon

[> [> Agree with almost everything...except my favorite season besides 7 is 5, but... -- Rob, 08:06:09 05/19/03 Mon

...on everything else, I totally agree, especially about this (so far) being the best endgame in "Buffy" history.


[> [> [> OT to Rob: Six Feet Under -- dream, 09:05:42 05/19/03 Mon

Just rented the first season; watched the first 1.5 episodes last night. It's really very engaging - I can see why you're hooked! (Although I don't like the ads - I remember having to create ads in the seventh grade. I found the humor in the Six Feet Under ads to be disconcertingly similar to what we all came up with in seventh grade. But as we all know, humor is very subjective.) Don't you have a website? I would like to check it out. Also, is the actor who plays Claire's romantic interest the same guy who played Jesse in the Harvest? If so, how did he manage to age only two years while Xander is showing all of his seven? The wonders of tv...

[> [> [> [> LOL! Yes, that's Jesse from BtVS... -- Rob, 09:34:28 05/19/03 Mon

...and quite freshly perserved! ;)

My website is at have a lot of updating to do, but most of the first and second season material is all complete. But beware of spoilers in the episode guides for eps that you haven't seen!

Oh, and by the ads, do you mean the parody funeral bits in the pilot? I thought those were great, but no need to worry for you. They don't appear after the first episode, although strange fantasy sequences are commonplace on the show.

Btw, if you do get hooked enough to want to be all caught up, I can send you tapes of the second and third seasons (the third is ending in 2 weeks), if you want.


[> [> [> [> [> Thanks! -- dream, 11:01:32 05/19/03 Mon

That's a very nice offer. I'll let you know how it goes - I'm hoping to use the first season DVD to wean myself off Buffy as painlessly as possible.

Glad to hear the parody ads were a one-time thing. I have no issue with fantasy segments in general; I just didn't find them funny. I started to treat them like real ads - I played with the cats, refilled my drink, and so on.

[> [> [> Same Wavelength -- Rina, 14:18:05 05/19/03 Mon

Rob, are we on the same wave length? Seasons 5 and 7 are also my two favorite seasons.

[> Touched Timeline. ( ***Spoilers for B7.20*** ) -- Darby, 08:31:55 05/19/03 Mon

Fascinating review - complete and incisive, as usual, but for once I have something I maybe can respond to -

I thought that the timeline was clear (maybe I'm wrong):


- Spike & Andrew in Gilroy.
- Buffy gets the boot.
- Buffy finds a crash pad.
- Faith & Co bounce off the walls and go to bed.


- Lacking SPF 10,000, S&A hang out with the hangings.
- Faith & Co in the basement, with Kennedy purposely excluded (otherwise why the "disgruntled minion" comment?).
- Buffy lies awake. Or cleans out the fridge. Or wonders what her last name would be if she had married Angel.


- Bringer Sting. Andrewphonic sound, til the cord gets cut.
- Sewer plans made.
- Spike & Andrew get back. Andrew pees, Spike flees.
- Groiny goodness.


- Up at 7 sharp so's to get blowed up.
- Off to the winery for tag. Prize: the ultimate cheesecutter.
- Spike off to find a fax machine - application to Wolfram & Hart on the way.
- A really short 10 seconds, especially for chicks that are wicked fast.

What'd I miss?

[> [> Heeheehee... Dunno if that was timely, but it was kewl! Thanks! ;-) -- OnM, 19:15:13 05/19/03 Mon

[> [> LOL "Spike off to find fax machine" -- Dochawk, 21:59:28 05/19/03 Mon

[> [> [> Follow-Up S5 Angel Speculation (Just Well-Known Casting Spoiler) -- Darby, 07:38:33 05/20/03 Tue

So, I have no idea what's to come tonight, but assume Spike becomes a free agent immediately thereafter. It's off to crash at Clem's in LA, where he finds that Wolfram and Hart are hiring.

"Vampire with a Soul" kinda jumps off the resume in Human & Demon Resources, and R&D, sure enough, wants him as a test subj...err, lab technician. Because experimenting on the Big Boss is...wrong, or at least would get you fired.

So there Spike works, seeing Fred all day but of course not knowing her (or vice versa), letting himself be poked and prodded (but wanting something more, or maybe less), hanging out in the break room with Clem (who's working in the Exotic Food Procurement Division), finding his own R&D Division manager just a little familiar (and creepily attractive). Every once in a while, he catches a stray phrase, or a glimpse at a distance, but how often does a peon run into a CEO?

It isn't until, after an incident with coworkers who had been discussing the derivation of his name ("I hear it's more of a carpet tack..."), that he is signed up for the company's Vampire 12-Step Program...

All leading to the tradmarked, "Oh, you have got to be kidding!"

[> It's very dull to comment on your commentaries. -- HonorH, 22:36:23 05/19/03 Mon

I end up saying either, "I agree totally," or, "Wow, you said a mouthful, brother," with the occasional, "Can I marry you?" You're just no *fun*, OnM!

[> [> Well, fun leads to exuberance, and exuberance leads to... leads to... -- OnM, 06:03:51 05/20/03 Tue

... damn. Being old sucks. I used to know that one!

Anyway, thank you very kindly. As soon as the Thiotimoline shipment gets off back-order status, I'll talk to you about the marriage proposal!

Hummm.. or does Thiotimoline get front-ordered? Crap, now I'll spend all day thinking about that...


[> [> [> Wait! taking notes here....what comes after fun again?????....;) -- Rufus, 06:57:36 05/20/03 Tue

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