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Lust and season 6 -- lunasea, 09:15:56 05/29/03 Thu

One of my favorite things to do (probably my favorite to do intellectually) is to take seemingly disparate things and find out the underlying truth that actually unites them. I have done this on the board with Catholicism and the atheist Buffyverse. Recent discussion has turned to a statement made by Joss that season 6 was about Buffy wanting to relinquish Power. Per Shadowcatís post Joss said ìWell, last season was very much about Buffy doubting herself and the concept of power, sort of hating herself and fantasizing about relinquishing power and getting into a really unhealthy relationship because of that.î

Marti has said that Season 6 was an exploration of lust. How can these seemingly disparate statements come from the executive producers of the same show? If these two key people were on different pages, no wonder the season was so disjointed. I donít dismiss anything the writers say. There may be layers under and over what they say and are trying to do, but their layer has to fit whatever interpretation I come up with. Even disparate things, like what they see and what I see, needs to be reconciled.

Then it hit me, the key to these two statements and the whole season *is* lust. It was the Geek test (along with tracing Xander) that helped me see this. When I was in high school, I was an Ultra-Liberal. I was attracted to the Alex P. Keaton type, though. When I got to college, I moved onto a more geek type. I actually was more attracted to someone when I found out he was a dungeon master. The more wrapped up in the Sci-fi/fantasy world of comic books, RPGs and conventions someone was, the more attractive they were to me. Looks didnít matter all that much. What I wanted was the sort of creativity, intelligence and depth it took to be interested in those things. I was a geek myself, but I was also a geek groupie.

To just say that Spike is a hottie and that is why Buffy wanted him season 6 misses the point completely. So does all the sensitive Spike crap. Buffy really loved him and was just in denial is in two words really lame. Fury has been rather vocal on this interpretation, so I wonít bother to repost his words (though I can for those that missed them. They are incredibly funny, but what would you expect from Fury. Thank the heavens that he will be co-exec over at Angel. There is a guy that wonít let Spike get out of hand.) Same thing with the whole, Spike really loves Buffy stuff and she should just have accepted it. I will let Furyís words on the subject stand on their own. As number 3 over there, I think he is a pretty reliable source.

Instead what Joss said is what generates what Marti said. Just like I was attracted to geeks in college, Buffy was attracted to Spike because with him she could relinquish power. Spike ìlovesî Buffy, but it is a selfish, possessive love. He wants to control her. He even had a robot built that looked just like her so he could control ìher.î All Buffy has to do is give in and he will take control. Heís been trying for how long now? When she finds out he can hit her and will fight back, this arouses her lust.

Sensitive, whipped puppy dog Spike does not arouse Buffy. It makes some of the audience like him, but it really does nothing for Buffy. (and if you compare ìAfterlifeî with ìHeartthrobî what Spike feels isnít really held up as admirable, more like pathetic. Only thing separating James and Spike is that Buffyís killer is already dead.) I think they showed this before they got down and dirty to show just what about Spike attracted her.

When Spike asserts himself, that is what makes her kiss and later jump him. When she finds out that the chip doesnít work on her and Spike really fights back, it arouses her. It causes her lust. Season 6 not only explores the effects of lust and shows people acting on it, but it shows what causes it. Jossí words make perfect sense.

The difference in the way Buffy treats Spike season 5 and the way she reacts to him season 6 is what Joss has said. Buffy wants someone who she can, as she says in the part of CwDP written by Joss, ìlet him completely take me over.î If Buffy didnít want this and Spike couldnít do that, there would have been no ìrelationship.î Her lust wasnít generated by Spikeís hotness or his darkness. It was generated by his ability and desire to control her.

It can be debated who was really in control. Buffy LET him take over. Ultimately the power rested with her and this kept her from being turned into a victim. Eventually she did reclaim this power and reassert herself. Prior to this, though, she did let Spike dominate her. She did surrender to him sexually and she needed him. She put up a mock fight, but when he reasserted his control, she relented. How many times did we see this? Spike was crude. Buffy said no. Spike did something, typically off frame. Buffy begrudgingly surrendered. She lusted for this surrender. She fantasized about relinquishing her power and got involved with Spike because of this.

[> Largely agree -- curious, 09:47:24 05/29/03 Thu

I would quibble over a few of your details but I agree overall. Buffy wanted a sparring partner - physically and emotionally equal but she had conflicted feelings about that. She wasn't really ready for that yet. She was on her way to wanting someone who challenges her and isn't just a lap dog. She didn't go after Spike sexually until she found out the chip didn't work on her. She really did want a little monstor in her man - sort of.

The thing that made Season 6 interesting to me was that Buffy wasn't sure how she felt - so the audience can't really tell. She sent lots of mixed messages. So did Spike. I love all the ambiguity and don't think the audience can truly know how the characters really feel about each other. I don't think any of them were mature enough to know themselves.

It will be interesting to see what kind of man Spike becomes next year.

When I was in high school, I was an Ultra-Liberal. I was attracted to the Alex P. Keaton type, though
Alex Keaton a Liberal? I don't think so. More of a yuppie ultra-Conservative. Actually, the ultimate yuppie ultra-Conservative.

[> [> Re: Largely agree -- TheBLT, 13:29:32 05/29/03 Thu

I think lunasea means that while in high school, she was attracted to the opposite of what she was; therefore, as an Ultra-Liberal, she was attracted to an Ultra-Conservative.

[> [> Re: Largely agree-plus long post on Buffy lust -- sdev, 00:35:43 05/31/03 Sat

I agree with the posts about Buffy lusting after Spike in Season 6. I also agree that the writers analogized Buffy's addiction to sex with Spike with Willow's magic addiction. I think the writers made a poor analogy that left many confused. While it is clear that Willow was abusing magic and was actively hurting others as a result (manipulating Tara's memory, putting Dawn in danger), it is not clear who Buffy was hurting. I don't consider using Spike for sex a parallel to Willow's use of magic.

This analogy was first drawn at the end of Wrecked when Willow goes to bed determined to cut all use of magic from her life after she endangered Dawn, and Buffy goes to bed with the cross and the garlic to ward off Spike. This is the dialogue--

W- It took me away from myself
B- I get that. But it is wrong. People get hurt.
` W- I was out of my mind. I did things...
B- I think it is right to give it up no matter how good it feels.
W- It's not worth it, not if it messes with the people I love.

Buffy's language is the language of a puritanical morality and conformism. She is not even talking about hurting Spike. She is talking about hurting her friends although it is in no way clear how she would be hurting them any more than Willow's choice to be gay would hurt them, or if it did, that they had any right to those objections.

The treatment of Buffy's sexuality was a great disappointment to me about this show and, I believe, an anti-feminist message that went counter to all the positive female power analogies. But that is the subject of another future post.

Buffy's relationship with Spike in Season 6 began out of an emotional bond she felt with him. First of all he had no role in bringing her back, and he was a good listener unlike the Scoobies who all assumed that her reaction to being back was bizarre and that she should be grateful and happy. There was probably also another piece. Spike referred in OMWF to her confiding in him as "this isn't real" giving her the freedom to reveal things to him.

From this beginning, the sexual relationship was born. The prior posts (Curious and S'kat) covered the lust aspect so well I have little to add. I do believe that it was never just lust as evidenced by the emotional bond at the beginning of this relationship. However, that is the problem Buffy had with this relationship. She could talk to Spike or she could sleep with him, but she could not do both. Unfortunately, to my great disappointment, that dichotomy was never resolved in the series. In the end the emotional bond and something more, trust, was there. But the sexual piece was never resolved or even addressed. I do not consider the cookie dough metaphor an acknowledgement of Buffy's sexual side. We never saw any resolution of Buffy's sexual repression.

The scene at the beginning of Dead Things where Buffy and Spike are conversing, and Buffy can't even acknowledge it when Spike points that out, is indicative of the depth of Buffy's denial. I am not saying she loved him. Who knows where it might have gotten but was never allowed to progress. But if you can't even admit to having a conversation with the man you are sleeping with the relationship is clearly dysfunctional.

As to who dominated, the above description is apt. Spike wasn't even permitted to converse with her. Buffy kept their relationship in the sex only zone. Spike went along both in hopes that it would progress and because he enjoyed the sex. As a demon, his standards were not that high, but it is a mistake to believe that he felt nothing missing in their relationship until Season 7 when he had his soul. Several times in Season 6 he complained about her running off immediately after sex, about their lack of relationship other than sex, and he asked her point blank in Dead Things post-sex, "What is this to you?" In Normal Again he grumbled to Xander about "being Buffy's sodden sex slave."

Buffy could not have a complete relationship with Spike in Season 6. She permitted herself to have only a lustful relationship because she was ashamed of her feelings and intimacies with a "soulless thing," a being that represented "everything I am supposed to be against." As You Were depicted how much she longed for the closeness and protection of being loved. She envied Riley his marriage. It wasn't that she wanted Riley. She wanted to feel loved.

But throughout, she was furious at herself for her feelings and took it out on Spike. She could justify it partially because he was a soulless vampire. Any mistreatment of him could be written off that way. This culminated in the beating she gave him in Dead Things, and carried over to her shame at being caught in bed with him in As You Were. Also in As You Were, she finally came to terms with her using him and the way her treatment of him made her despise herself. Although she excused her conduct by saying he was a soulless vampire, that position was a fallacy she could not maintain.

What was the fallacy, the internal contradiction? Tara points it out when she says, "he does love you" and "he's done a lot of good." Also if he is so terrible what is her attraction? Spike is a morally grey figure. Many people have trouble coming to terms with any notion of Spike being good and doing good, at times, pre-soul. Yes his goodness is intermittent and not fully realized pre-soul, but it is nonetheless there often. And Buffy knows it hence her deserved guilt at abusing and using him. She doesn't know what to make of her feelings for him- her desire and her disgust at herself and at him for those feelings. What began as an escape became a trap that she escaped by ending the relationship. Another option might have been to explore those feelings and come to terms with them, but she was unable to do that. Clearly she has issues one of which is that she does need/want monster in her man. Not really surprising, that, given who she is.

A digression on Spike's transcending the established canon of vampires being totally evil: Many who are unable to acknowledge any goodness or altruism in Spike point to his failures. I see it the way I see my twelve-year-old niece who looks 16. Even though she acts more mature than her twelve years, people are constantly expecting her to act 16. They forget she is only twelve. She gets no credit for her maturity only detraction for her failure to act as old as she looks. A not so fair piece of human nature.

Spike, by acting better than most vamps, by sometimes demonstrating good character without a soul, has increased our level of expectation. When he falls short of the souled benchmark we are disappointed. Are we really so shocked by the AR? He killed people pre-chip and the chip was ineffectual with Buffy. He could have killed or attempted to kill Buffy way before that. But when he told her, "I don't hurt you" we believed him and expected more.

Despite the cookie dough metaphor I don't really see Buffy as having come to terms with the crux of her relationship problems. I don't think she accepted her lustful side as evidenced by the cuddling only ending. I don't think she ever acknowledged her need for some monster in her man. This acknowledgement is crucial to her ability to accept herself and her needs. She always placed Angel in the all-good column despite the fact that his Angelus side was devoid of humanity. Also, despite the fact that the Angelus side has emerged several times and therefore may yet emerge again, Buffy never deals with Angel being a monster but for a curse imposed by others. I sorely missed the resolution of these conflicts within Buffy before the series ended.

[> [> [> Very well said (Spoiler for Chosen) -- Sophist, 07:30:23 05/31/03 Sat

Did anyone else see the brief scene in Chosen -- Buffy comes down the stairs, Spike gets up out of bed and faces her across the room -- as a suggestion the two had sex the last night? I did.

[> [> [> [> Per the shooting script -- lunasea, 09:14:53 05/31/03 Sat

I get the impression that Joss doesn't want anyone to think they had sex. "It is later, and Buffy is wrapped in Spike's arms, facing away from him. They both wear enough to indicate they did not get sweaty."

Anything can happen between what is shown, but I don't think that Joss was trying to convey that they had done anything. Makes the sacrifice even more pure that way.

[> [> [> She hurts Dawn with her addiction -- lunasea, 08:44:03 05/31/03 Sat

Not to mention herself. Marti sets this up with "Wrecked."

Not going to comment on most, since I want my cookie and I will not enter the Spike debates.

One thing about the cookie analogy, which I will get into in more depth when I do my post about Riley (a much less emotionally charged topic), is that she doesn't get it all now AND she doesn't have to. She couldn't make it work with any of her boyfriends. She didn't trust Angel and got too serious too quickly, she mistook casual sex for something else with Parker, she couldn't tell Riley certain things, she didn't even get involved with Ben, and whatever with Spike. There is nothing wrong with her for any of this. She is just young and learning. She is allowed to make mistakes. Part of her problem is she compounds these mistakes by thinking they mean she is wrong. It is why she got deeper and deeper into things with Spike and why Riley and she fell apart.

Actually, I will briefly enter, but not using Spike. I will use Dracula, instead. Marti said about Buffy's relationship with Spike "And also what we've seen is Buffy attracted to her own darkness. To her own aggression, to sex without love, to sex where love is really subdued, all of the things that she can't permit, because she is a hero. " We also saw this in "Buffy v. Dracula." Dracula gave her a taste of her own darkness. This broke the thrall she was under and she said, "That was gross." That is the *hero* that ME is writing. She gets to explore her own darkness, but the reason is so that she can see it isn't her. As she tells Spike, it is killing her.

I am not going to belittle anyone's choice of lifestyle. However, I am not going to say that ME is advocating Buffy adopt or incorporate something darker. That isn't her nature, as she tells Dracula. The season wasn't about Buffy exploring her sexuality. It was using sex with evil undead thing to explore Buffy's dark side. She had to reject that in order to become the hero she is. That isn't denial. That is finding out who you are. Much of finding out who we are is finding out who we aren't. We don't put tuna fish in cookies. It may be who someone else is, but that isn't the Buffy Anne Summers ME is writing.

[> [> [> [> Re: She hurts Dawn with her addiction-Don't agree -- sdev, 11:02:56 05/31/03 Sat

She hurts Dawn not because of her relationship with Spike, which actually we have every reason to believe Dawn would have accepted, but because she hid her relationship with Spike.

The Parker thing was Parker's shortcoming not hers, but it set up some of her mistrust for sex. Dracula and Spike are nothing alike. Dracula truly did control her mind thru some supernatural means. Dracula also controlled Xander and that was not about sex. The darkness she explored as a result of her exposure to Dracula related to the "hunt." It was more about the Season 7 issue of the origin of the slayer power.

What was "killing her" in her relationship with Spike was her inability to love him because she saw him as a "soulless thing" and her using him both for sex and as a recipient of her rage at herself. She abused her slayer strength and that was unheroic. She took advantage of Spike's feelings for her and that too was unheroic.

I don't think this is about ME advocating Buffy "adopt" darkness. I absolutely think ME has written Buffy Anne Summers as already containing that darkness. Is it a coincidence that her two most meaningful and longest sexual relationships were both with vampires of ambivalent evil? This is Buffy's choice of a lifestyle. And I think it makes perfect sense for a hero to choose another heroic figure. My sense is her choice of Riley, or had she ever chosen Xander, would have been tuna in cookies.

Some of this isn't just about choosing darkness; it is about choosing normalcy. In Season 4 she sees Riley as the regular Joe before she learns about the Initiative. She breaks up with him after she learns he is not just a regular guy. But normalcy really is not available to her much as she sometimes longs for it.

I do believe that Buffy, as written, needed monster in her man--not only for the darkness, not only for the physical match (not to be underestimated in my opinion,) but for the heroic struggle that entailed. The heroic struggle was within Spike and Angel and between Buffy and them as to how she would manage the relationship and the darkness it produced.

[> love, Spike, and Summers women -- skeeve, 11:35:28 05/29/03 Thu

Spike's love for Buffy wasn't all lust and selfishness.
Some of it was wanting for Buffy what would make Buffy happy.
It even spilled over to other Summers women, i.e., Joyce and Little Bit.

How did the Spike that faced Doc on the scaffolding differ from the Spike that fought with Buffy at the new hight school?
Pretend that you don't know that one of them has a soul.

[> [> Don't care what Spike wants. Care what Buffy wants -- lunasea, 13:28:25 05/29/03 Thu

I'm not going to go against canon either and say that unsouled Spike was capable of things he just wasn't. What is more interesting is to see why unsouled Spike did certain actions and for this explanation to still fit with canon. "But Spike really loves Buffy" takes the heart and teeth out of his whole story.

Why does Spike want Buffy to be happy? Spike is incapable of altruism. Something else has to be motivating him. One thing I am learning about unsouled vampires is they are no more free than any of us. They act how they think they should, just like the rest of us. Angelus becomes Uber-evil because that is what he thinks he should be. Spikes is the fool for love because he thinks he should be. They both act accordingly.

Spike was an interesting exploration of how what others think of us and what we think of ourselves affects our actions.

That concludes this part of the Spike debate, which I don't want to enter.

[> [> [> Spike is written to be open to interpretation. Lots of evidence on both sides. -- curious, 15:34:27 05/29/03 Thu

[> [> [> Lunasea, I sent you an e-mail -- Rcat, 20:02:48 05/29/03 Thu

I wanted to respond privately to this so I sent you an e-mail message. I put "Your ATPonBtVS post about Spike's motivations" in the subject line.

[> Re: Lust and season 6 -- Just George, 12:58:15 05/29/03 Thu

Lunasea: "It can be debated who was really in control. Buffy LET him take over. Ultimately the power rested with her and this kept her from being turned into a victim. Eventually she did reclaim this power and reassert herself. Prior to this, though, she did let Spike dominate her. She did surrender to him sexually and she needed him. She put up a mock fight, but when he reasserted his control, she relented. How many times did we see this? Spike was crude. Buffy said no. Spike did something, typically off frame. Buffy begrudgingly surrendered. She lusted for this surrender. She fantasized about relinquishing her power and got involved with Spike because of this."

An interesting explanation. It makes the S6 'relinquishing power' theory a bit clearer to me. I hadn't thought of the relationship as Buffy looking for a chance to surrender control, even for a while. Being in control, being the one everybody expects to have the answers, 24/7/365 must be wearing. Getting away from that, even for a while, must have been inviting.

Given that tact, I think that if the Scoobies had let Buffy rest after coming back, she might not have needed this release through Spike. In an old post, I suggested that the Scoobies should have let Buffy spend her first few months back on the couch eating cookie dough mint chip ice cream. They had been running the house, patrolling for vampires, taking care of Dawn, and paying the bills all summer. Doing it for another couple of months wouldn't have hurt them and would have helped Buffy a lot.


[> [> Absolutely! -- curious, 13:23:39 05/29/03 Thu

Given that tact, I think that if the Scoobies had let Buffy rest after coming back, she might not have needed this release through Spike.

I always thought that was a big problem in Season 6. The Scoobies wanted Buffy to be there for them. She was intitially drawn to Spike (pre-Smashed) because he was the only one not demanding anything from her - the only one she didn't have to pretend things were "back to normal" with. I still find the porch scene at the end of "Flooded" very moving.

I would say the Scoobies (especially Willow?) were at least as selfish as Spike in their love for Buffy. I still want to know if Willow paid rent and how she was able to buy a new PowerBook every season.

[> [> BDSM Perspective on Surrender -- Veronica, 17:18:04 05/29/03 Thu

Warning. Frank discussion of BDSM follows. You may be offended by this material. Click away now if you don't want to risk it. Or if you're a youngster.

Still with me, then?

It's an observation long accepted as obvious fact in the BDSM community that "bottoms" (those who submit) are often people who are in solid control of other aspects of their lives.

From PEER Group:

The submissive experiences a journey filled with anticipation and sensation while casting off the burden of control.
The practioners may enjoy a sexual role that opposes their role in society. Again, from the Kinsey Institute New Report on Sex. "It might also interest you to know that in many such heterosexual relationships, the so-called traditional sex roles are reversed -- with men playing the submissive or masochistic role." A person who spends their day directing others and continually making decisions may experience a cathartic effect by giving up control to another. Likewise, the person who spends his/her days doing the bidding of others may enjoy having greater control in this aspect of their personal life.

(emphasis mine)

Although middle-America may disagree, BDSM play is often very healthy and liberating, and can be quite fun. From the same site as above:

Is it Healthy? Given the wide range of possible activities, partners must clearly communicate their desires. They also must make an honest examination of their fantasies, to determine whether to pursue fulfulling them.

The unhealthy aspects of Buffy's relationship with Spike are derived from her inability to honestly examine her own motivations and desires. Healthy BDSM play begins with honest communication about what is going to happen and what each player wants to get out of it. The play may include the kind of pull-me/push-me vacillation that Buffy engaged in, but that's after the rules of engagement have been agreed.

To pull the lust together with the power as lunasea explored, we can look to traditional terms associated with the BDSM community... Power Exchange is a common term applied to BDSM play, and is the name of a club here in San Francisco that S6 Spike and Buffy would really have enjoyed visiting!

Most players are interested in self-exploration to some degree or another, and many try to make sense of a practice that most people don't understand. As a result, there is lots of literature available in the BDSM community that explores the power-play aspect of domination and submission. If you can stand the "naughty" ads that pop up, you might find it an enlightening addition to an exploration of what was going on with Buffy in S6.

If you've stuck with it this long, I hope this is a useful introduction to some of the well-explored aspects of power and lust related to lunasea's exploration. No titillation intended.


In case you wondered: BDSM = Bondage & Domination, plus Domination & Submission, plus SadoMasochism. It's sort of meant to capture the whole spectrum of power play.

[> [> [> Re: BDSM Perspective on Surrender -- DEN, 21:50:10 05/29/03 Thu

A fanfic writer who uses the name "bear" has done a lot with BDSM themes in the contexts you mention--including what amounts to an alternate season 5 structured around a BDSM triad of Buffy, Willow, and Tara. Not for the squeamish, but not exploitative or sensationalist, and extremely enlightening for newbies to the subculture.

[> [> [> [> The bottom holds the actual power anyway.... -- Briar Rose, 00:33:19 05/30/03 Fri

Glad someone brought up this subject in equation to Smashed and Surrender and it's obvious outcome in the AR....

In the BDSM community, the "Exchange of Power" is all about each partner playing an equal yet opposite role in the fantasy. The "Dominant" is always playing by the rules set down by the "Submissive" in a healthy BDSM partnering. In a way, the total control lies with the Sub. All the sub needs to do is say the safe word and play STOPS! In most cases, this is a word or action that doesn't fit the regular rules of play the couple has set and is decided upon ahead of time.

It is also true that the Dom/Domme is only as good as the Submissive. No reaction back and the Dom has no purpose in going further in the play. It is suited to the Sub (bottom's) tolerance, fantasy and likes/dislikes. If the bottom ain't happy, the top ain't happy either because the play is not fun.

As Veronica posted - the submissive is very commonly someone who has complete control and power in their real life. Someone who needs to feel that they can give UP that control in a safe and controlled environment and with someone willing to accomodate the sub's needs and protect their welfare. Thus it was natural (and I could even say foretold) that Buffy would have some type of draw to relinquishing that role to someone who would "Take over" the actual power in a relationship. She had equality with Angel (until he went all evil) and Riley was definitely a bottom all told. While SPIKE!! Now Spike is a natural Dom. He showed all those qualities within his relationship with Drusilla. The one who cares and provides tenderly for another, yet punishes and controls severely when it's needed. And Buffy knew this!

As for the notorious "attempted rape..." The AR was purely and simply crossed wires, in my opinion. It was the bottom asserting the safe word and the top mistaking it for regular "rules of play" as they had been set out long before in the Spuffy relationship.

Spuffy didn't have the agreements and discussions (on camera anyway) that a normal BDSM relationship requires of both partners. Unlike what was printed in the infamous Screw the Roses. Give Me the Thorns, most BDSM based relationships don't come with written contracts outlining safe words, acts denied and accepted and such... It is simply learning your partner's wants and likes and working from there. And that is more than can be said for many "vanilla" relationships....

[> [> [> [> [> I've got the power. -- Arethusa, 07:48:37 05/30/03 Fri

(Can't get the song out of my head thanks to that commercial.)

I disagree that Buffy and Angel were in an equal relationship. It would be very very difficult for a 16-year old to have an equal relationship with a much older man, and Buffy and Angel were not exceptions to this "rule." They were more in a parallel relationship. Angel usually made decisions regarding Buffy's safety without consulting her, and Buffy made decisions about their relationship without consulting Angel. Buffy is the one who decided that their relationship would become physical and Angel went along against his better judgment. He decided they would break up without consulting her.

You are saying that Spike is a natural dominator? He expresses dominance by caring for and controlling Drusilla? (Trying to make sure I understand.) I don't think a desire for domination is what motivates Spike. We know that Spike had a strong need to have the love and adoration of a mother figure. LMPTM showed that he spent his souless undead life trying to recapture the absolute love and devotion of his mother. He would do anything for this love, which made him love's bitca-a submissive position. He did whatever was necessary to get this love. With Dru, it was bondage games, nursing her back to health after the mob attack at Prague, and trying to get rid of Angelus. Harmony didn't make any demands for her attentions, so he didn't woo her. She was very submissive and he was dominant, but this relationship was the one he was least invested in. And we all saw the lengths he went to to get Buffy's love. In his fantasies of fighting with Buffy she was his equal or superior, not inferior. Even with her facsimilie, the Buffybot, he didn't act dominate.

The AR would be out of control sex games only if that was Spike's motivation for his acts. He saw Buffy slipping away from him, so he tried to rekindle the affair by having sex with her. I think he was trying desperately to get her love, which would put him in the submissive position in the relationship, if not the act.

Agree? Disagree?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Spoilers through LMPTM above. -- Arethusa, 08:13:23 05/30/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> But William the Poet - submissive? -- autoschediastic, 09:37:17 05/30/03 Fri

.... switched ....
Spike- top
Dru- bottom

Faith - top
Wood - bottom


Xander & Anya? who held the true power in the relationship?

[> [> [> [> [> [> tara/willow? -- MsGiles, 14:56:40 05/30/03 Fri

I think they switched from Willow top to Tara top, when Tara started asserting herself over the magic and left. before, she was quite in awe of Wilows powers. When she came back, she was dominant, and a lot more confident. This could have worked out well, I think Willow was in need of a mentor

[> [> [> [> How would I find "bear's" alternate season 5 writings? Very intriguing POV. -- autoschediastic, 09:40:27 05/30/03 Fri

[> Shake out hands, fast quick type before I must to meetings run -- fresne, 14:04:36 05/29/03 Thu

Okay, I really wish I had time to respond to this because this is very much in line with a month+ conversation that I have been having with my roommate. Somewhat tangential to Buffy. Really in relation to every freaking book or movie weíve seen in the last month or so.

Well, you know how it is. A theme occurs to you and all of a sudden every work is through that lens.

The power to be gained from giving up control articulated in the movie the Secretary. The seductiveness of choice. And, the wonderful quote from the DVD commentary, the seductiveness of boredom and repetition.

Likewise in the book Kushielís Dart. The similar, but not discussion of becoming yourself. Gaining power through submission. Gaining love through the expression of it. That moment at the end of the book when you just have to laugh, because the villain thinks he has the upper hand, but because he never knew our heroine, never understood her, he is just so going to loose.

This article about a girl, who undergoing the pain of chemo, chooses to go goth, go punk, get pierced, choose her own pain, not just endure the pain that is imposed upon her.

The nature of choice in the Matrix Reloaded. What is love? What is destiny? If everything is Maya, should I really get in my car and drive after seeing the movie?

The nature of choice and free will in AtS this season. In BtVS. The entire run of either show. Helpless. Selfless. Choosing.

The nature of choice and power in Bruce Almighty. All the power in the world, and yet the sheer powerlessness of that might.

In the book A Civil Campaign, the five viewpoint characters coming to understand their own choices. Their own power and how to use it. Becoming themselves. That odd realization that if two of the characters had met ten years earlier, they would not have known each other. Could not have known each other, because they didnít yet know themselves.

And well, okay, every other thing in my life right now. Because itís the attachable screen on my glasses right now. And itís all I can see.

Alas, my thoughts are all vaguely incoherent and swirly and I donít really have time to write and write and write until like Spike, I say what I mean to say so that I know that Iíve said it.

So, errÖthoughtful hmmm to your post.

Hereís hoping my train of thought doesnít derail before Iím done. Unless, itís the light at the end of the tunnel, in which case, derailment would be okay.

[> [> Re: but OT... -- aliera, 16:11:32 05/29/03 Thu

fresne: I think it's really amazing how many times things I'm thinking about show up in your posts. Like I meant to ask you about an Iceland ref you made a while back? re: Kushiel's, I'm a little uncomfortable with the Carey series on a couple of levels but one is that I kept thinking about Guy Gavriel Kay's books and to the point where now it's a little distracting a bit into Kushiel's Chosen. Uncomfortable doesn't mean not whizzing right through it of course! Did you read the rest of the trilogy yet? And thanks for the thoughts, I hadn't really intuited it in quite that way 'that which yields is not always weak.'

[> [> [> There is strength in weakness -- lunasea, 16:27:08 05/29/03 Thu

[> [> [> OT-ilicious avoidance of meeting minutes -- fresne, 18:03:57 05/29/03 Thu

Took me a moment to remember what I said about Iceland and then I remembered my dream that tried to be a nightmare. The first bit was somewhat muddled. It was dark and murky. There were vampires, although I never saw them and I was running down wet alleys between tight Hellraiser houses in poor film quality grain.

Then I just decided, oh this is stupid.

Caught a plane to Iceland, where it was June and vampires could not follow. Weeks of liquid flowing sunlit nights to wash away the grains from my dark. It was quite a relief after running to flee to instead go hiking along a jagged black coast washed by a super saturated blue sea. White frothing foam. Cliffs broken by snow drifts and steam vents and waving super saturated golden grain grass. There was even a touch of salt in the brisk ocean breeze.

Iíd been looking at pictures of Iceland in travel magazines. Itís on my list, although I really canít say why. Also, when I was on vacation, one of the people brought an Icelandic saga, which we amused ourselves by reading in bad accents.

I think the bit where it was discovered that so and so, son of Codbiter, couldnít remove his pants because he had an arrow stuck in his leg as read by the Swedish chef was the highlight. Although, the amorous adventures of Sneri the priest as read in a bad French accent werenít bad either.

What in particular is track jumping from Kushiel to Guy Gavriel Kay for you? Explicate. Differentiate. Slice. Dice.

Iíve thus far read books 1 and 2 of Kushielís Chosen. My housemate warned me that they were crack, but foolishly I didnít listen. Opened the first one and was devoured. Iím waiting for the third one to paperback so I can go back, reread, write some marginalia and do some genuine chewing.

Iíd have to say that the series thus far for me has been all about how the quoted yielding doesnít mean weak. Phedre yields. She yields. She yields. And she is chosen, not the chooser. The gods have chosen. Pricked sinister eye with bloody dart. Sheís just their game piece. And yet, it is in yielding that she makes her own choice.

The repetition of the word choice. Kushielís Chosen. Camielís (sp) choice. The choice to give up heaven for love. What it means to be someoneís true companion.

Although, they arenít books for everyone. The theology is, in a word, interesting. And since her nature as a masochist is fairly utterly central to the plot, wellÖ Culturally, Leather corseted crop slapping evil Willow sadists are seen as powerful. And, well, evil. Wrapping your brain around a character for whom pain isnít just pleasure, it is a religious ecstasy is an interesting trip. How she must learn over and over to accept and negotiate her own nature. For Joscelin to negotiate his nature. To stand at the cross roads and choose. Over and over. Choice.

Itís always interesting to see what will or wonít push buttons. Iím just glad that I never promised to be logical. Capricious yes. Logical no. After all, I thought a guy not being able to eat his cheese because his tongue was pierced by an arrow (as read by in an indeterminate southern bell accent) was really funny. And I don't even have my ear's pierced.

[> [> [> [> Re: OT-ilicious avoidance of meeting minutes -- aliera, 20:09:16 05/29/03 Thu

If we're both still about and you do go let me know. My ex is an Islander and my relations with the inlaws are good although necessarily infrequent. I lived in Reykjavik for a year and still miss it and the people and the light and... oh well, I get boring about it so I'll stop there. No, the funny thing was I had posted a piece of Icelandic poetry somewhere else the day you brought it up here. Serendipity.

I was awfully indulgent and bought Avatar also and in lieu of badly needed spring clothes. Since last year it was disposable income to old rose bushes and books and another dog; I have to become more practical pretty soon. Sigh. And Dart, I didn't expect to like it actually (a bisexual masochistic heroine?) but was at Borders and at loss (vaguely remembered a review)and well at some point have to take a chance on new writers. Gosh darn can't the people I like just write faster?...but whoosh, got caught up. I'm not good about figuring things out especially about my own proclivities, less dwelt usually best; but it's in not in my general line of things, is there a general line of these things? The mind truley boggles... still, have to agree with your roommate.

And I'm not good at that explicate stuff either trending too much to the intuiting as opposed to the analytical. So maybe it's just me but it's the characterization (not the prose, plot or pacing really altho maybe similarities to be found there too just not quite as bittersweet death by chocolatey dense but who is?) The feel is of Tigana, Song for Arbonne and I had a flash to Lions of Al Rassan in the fight between Selig and d'Aiglemort. Ysandre. Hyacinth. Joscelin. Anafiel. Not quite alt historical. Politics. War. Impossible deeds. Impossible love. Magic infused but not overt. Gods that are not that far away and fallen Angels whose children get bound to land. Sagas. Intrigue. Complex plotlines. Well just the feel of it really but now of course you've got me questioning the color of my spectacles!

[> Re: Lust and season 6 -- heywhynot, 13:06:43 05/30/03 Fri

I fully agree with your analysis of Buffy/Spike in season 6. I was pretty depressed last year, so watching Buffy in season 6 was in a way watching myself. I wanted to people to stop looking up to me, to stop expecting the world from me because I thought I could not deliver. I wanted to be around people that that expected nothing of me. I did not fall into an unhealthy relationship and luckily made a friend who understood and helped. It was easy for me to see Buffy being lustful for Spike for the very reason you said.

Her depression I thought was well done. She had realizations that she was depressed and aborted attempts to overcome her depression. I say that is fairly realistic and it wasn't until the end when she got a kick in the rear did she come out of the fog.

[> hum -- MsGiles, 15:20:19 05/30/03 Fri

My feeling about it is, lust's there, but it's not the only thing that's going on. It's what messes it all up, though. It's strange, because I kind of feel more identified with Spike than Buffy during all of this. I'm not in it at the moment, but I had a couple of years back been in a relationship with a tutor at my college (ie in a power relationship to me) for whom I conceived a great lust, about which I would have done nothing. Except he was insecure, in debt, having a romance with a jehovah's witness who'd just decided to break it off and marry someone recommended by her church - and yeah, he decided to do the giving-up-power thing. Except, like Buffy, he didn't want to articulate what was happening, and it took quite a long time for me to twig and extricate myself, because' like Buffy, he didn't really want it, he was just taking out his pissed-offness and borrowing emotion (and money). So I feel a bit cheesed off with Buffy, by association. She might be playing with giving up power, but actually, she does still have it. Spike might not be Mother Teresa, but he can feel pain and be screwed around with. She's only giving him power in a very limited forum, and not being straight about what's happening is part of hanging on to power.

Dreamer Easy in the Chair That Really Fits You - Thoughts on *End of Days* & *Chosen* - Part I -- OnM, 20:55:17 05/29/03 Thu


Love comes to you and then after
Dream on, on to the Heart of the Sunrise
... Sharp - Distance
How can the sun with its arms all around me
... Sharp - Distance
How can the wind with so many around me
I feel lost in the city

............ Yes, from Fragile


It's a rushing wind, a hammer blow, it's hard, soft, confusing, a first orgasm, a perfect equation, a fevered
dream... it's power.

And it's happening everywhere.

........ Joss Whedon, from Chosen


Itís the end, and where do I start?

No, actually it isnít the end, certainly not in any remotely absolute sense. In fact, I was incredibly impressed
with how the master scrivener neatly penned a conclusion that opened up so many interesting possibilities
for future adventures within this now familiar fictional universe. Yeah, I am aware that from standing
human eye level it looks like a gigantic hole in the ground from which a lonely desert road spans the
distance to the horizon, but if viewed from a sufficient height it might very well look like a crop circle.
Nobodyís trickier than the Joss-man, so thereís still future adventure in the offing-- we havenít just arrived
at a Buffyverse crossroads, itís a bloominí freeway interchange of potential. So, I am sad but I am grateful,
all at once, and isnít that just typical.

Itís been a strange day so far, trying to get things together and write this, my last ever ëreviewí of a new
Buffy episode. As usual, I start by collecting some ideas from here and there, looking for the shooting
script to get posted, and thinking about the usual musical or movie references to punctuate the beginning
and end of my scribblings with. The title was one that I had thought up over a month ago, and I liked it so
much that I was hoping the actual events of the finale wouldnít betray the meaning. I neednít have overly
concerned myself-- while the specifics of Chosen played out differently to some degree than what I
had expected, Joss did just what I expected him to do, and so here I am, trying to round up all of my
sharp/distant wandering thoughts into something coherent enough to share.

The composing process continues. Having set up a few preliminary thematic links, I then try to set the
proper cognitive background fabric in place by choosing some tunes to play while I cogitate-- or
procrastinate, as the situation demands. It is probably revealing that for the last several hours Iíve been
digging semi-randomly into my vinyl collection, although whether what is revealed is a desire to wallow in
nostalgia or just a sense of anchoring myself to the past in preperation for the move ahead into the future,
Iíll leave you to determine. Earlier today, I opened up a four-disc set of Mozart string quartets that I
purchased many years ago, but never played. (One of my odd, bad habits is to accumulate more books,
records, CDís, laserdiscs, DVDís and whathaveya than I possibly have time to read, listen to, watch,
whathaveya. Like Buffy, I blame this personal failure on the annoying demands of my endless workdays,
but I really should just buy less stuff. On the other hand, everytime I go into a local mini-market or
newsstand, I see a long line of people tossing down perfectly good bread for a faint-to-nothing chance on a
state lottery ticket, and then I reason that at least my own momentary lapses of reason bear fruit with a far
greater shelf life.)

At the moment, Iím listening to Who Knows Where the Time Goes, another multi-disc set of some
collected works of another gone-but-not-forgotten genius poet/musician, Alexandra ëSandyí Denny, who I
loved back in my youth and for whom my passion has never waned. Looking at her picture on the cover of
the album box, I now think of Tara. The resemblance is partly physical, partly a bizarre link between the
real and the fictional universes. Denny died, quickly and unexpectedly, when she accidentally fell down a
flight of stairs and struck her head, never regaining consciousness-- and the world lost one of the most
sweetly earthy and soulful and graceful of its voices to the chaos of random fate. Stray bullet, flight of
stairs, same reason Iíd rather blame insensate entropy than willful deity.

I donít mourn deeply any longer, though-- that was long ago, and the world keeps turning, as it should.
Denny wasnít a household name then, and she isnít now, but she has earned the respect of history as long
as the devoted will tell of it. Her work lives on beyond her time, as will the Buffyverse and the characters
within it that we have come to know so well.

So here goes-- as usual, I have no real idea what Iím doing, Iím just making this up as I go, and I thank all
of those others whose prior thoughts have helped so much in the formation of my own. While it was my
original plan to do seperate reviews for the last two eps, Chosen aired before I had a chance to
even start on End of Days. As such, it became close to impossible to comment retroactively on
End without having to mentally filter out the events of Chosen. I mean, how much more
spoiled can one get than actually seeing the next ep out? So, the only rational thing is to just do them both
at once, or in sequence, and not pretend to not know the future. If only real life afforded such advantages...


End of Days


When the devil comes blowing through your door
You'll know there's trouble, and he's coming back for more
You better keep what is precious hidden under the floor
Or you better treat it so good it will never want for more

But looking back in retrospect
Did you ever really get what you'd expect?
Trying to rectify / Got lost a little further
You've been trying to justify
Find out how and where it came

Devil was your angel, but it's not no more
The devil was your angel, when you weren't sure

Do I tempt trouble to break through all these doors
Just to put a face to the voice which always home?
To fight for what is precious, to know what's under the floor
If I could treat it so good, I swear I'd never want for more

But when I found my peace / There was still mistakes
However painfully aware every step I take
Trying to rectify / Got lost a little further
Well, I've been trying to justify
Find out how and where it came

The devil was my angel, now I'm just not sure.
To travel as my angel there's always my whore

Gonna take you back down / I won't feel no shame
Till my dreams / Are my own again
Gonna take you right down, and I'll take the blame
Till my dreams are my own again

Here I am again

Devil was my angel, now I'm just not sure
To travel as my angel there's always my whore
Maybe you're an angel, tried to remember you're an angel
Remember you're an angel, if you're not sure

............ Beth Orton


This seems like as good a time as any to mention that Iím a title junkie-- a good title really does it for me,
and ME has always been a titlerís delight. So who makes these things up, anyway? Joss? The writer of the
ep that bears the title? Some combination of the above? I dunno, but this year has been a banner year for
cool, multi-meaning titles, doubly amazing considering how short many of them were. This episode is no
exception, a mere three words, one of them a common conjunction: End of Days.

Itís May, and each and every year for the last seven the ëend of daysí for the Buffyverse has been at hand.
But this is the first year where they actually used the phrase as a header-- an ominous sign, if we didnít
know better. Perhaps itís a metanarrative? I think that there would have been very few of us who would
predict that Buffy might lose this year. We may not have been sure how, but we knew in our hearts and
minds that the Buffster would somehow profoundly scrunch the First Evil and its collective minionage. So
the phrase ëend of daysí may have greater significance to Tuesday nights at 8:00 PM Eastern Standard
Time, which admittedly will never be the same. As to the penultimate ep itself, the End begins here:

~ ~ ~

The parallel ending sequences of the previous episode, Touched, continue in the opening act of
End of Days. We are in the sewer annex/Ubee-armory, as Faith opens the ëtreasure chestí only to
find a bomb. She screams for the others to get down and then runs, knowing full well it may be a
completely futile act. The bomb explodes, SITís and surroundings go flying in a percussive blaze of light
and heat. Cut to the cave below the winery where Buffy is still staring rapturously at the Scythe-- knowing
without knowing (as heroes often do) that this device is a Slayer Grail of some kind. The appearance of
Caleb behind her quickly confirms this as he taunts Buffy about not having time to pry the weaponís blade
out of the solid rock before he can kill her-- only to see Buffy easily ëKing Arthurí the Scythe out of the
stone with barely a hint of effort. The look on his face at this key moment is just priceless, and was one
that Iíd been eagerly waiting to viddy for several weeks now.

Buffyís effortless possession of this obviously mystical weapon presents the worst possible confirmation of
Calebís fears-- the prophecy he and the FE were discussing earlier is coming true, and Buffy is the fulfiller
of said prophecy. We now have one brassed-off Slayer wielding a feminist version of Excalibur, smooth
sweeping curves vs. more phallic linearity, but a blade every bit as sharp and deadly. Buffy correctly notes
that while the taunts and jibes continue spouting from his lips, one very nervous Caleb is backing away as
fast as she approaches him.

We shift our view back to the sewers, in the aftermath of the explosion. Amazingly, several, perhaps even
most of the protos are still alive, although some are in pretty bad shape. Faith seems to be missing, and a
search begins for her, or for her body at least. Kennedy gets a big thumbs up from me when one of the
protos (understandably) suggests getting the hell out while they still can, and Kennedy wonít leave without
finding Faith, even if sheís dead. Credit where due, Kennedy does get the concept of loyalty, even if it
wasnít previously directed at Buffy. Iím sure at this moment Kennedy realizes that she was the one to first
stick her neck out to choose Faith instead of Buffy for a leader, and if itís in for a dime, in for a dollar. If
sheís this loyal to Faith, then future things bode well for her and Willow.

Somewhere in the midst of this scene we cut back to Casa Summers, where Willow, Xander, Dawn and
Anya have returned from their attempt to locate and follow Buffy, as Faith directed them to in
Touched. They report to Giles that they couldnít find Buffy, that a locator (spell, I assume) led
them to the abandoned house, but that Buffy had already ëmoved oní. Unstated by anyone but clearly felt
here is the unsettling feeling that Buffy might have moved on for good, that Faith really is it now-- and
despite her obvious sincerity and worthy efforts so far, that Faith just isnít as experienced as Buffy.

Giles does nothing to help the mood when he states that Faith and the others are missing-- something must
have gone wrong. The wonderfully spare dialog here perfectly matches the unspeakable emotions that
Willow and Xander must be experiencing:

Willow: We have to go to her.

Xander: Guess so.

When I first heard that spoken, I instinctively thought that ëherí meant Buffy, because in the past it always
had, but then seconds later came the realization that theyíve just stated that Buffy canít be found. So ëherí
means Faith-- and the realization that they truly are Faithís followers now, for better or worse.
Unlike Kennedy, whose lack of long term association enabled her to sever loyalty ties with Buffy easily,
Xander, Giles and Willow can only feel that they are paying the ultimate price for their failure to back up
Buffy, no matter how well intended their motivations were at the time. Kennedy, of course, is about to
have a relevation that will change her perspective.

The protos do find Faith, and at first it appears that she has been drowned in the pool of water below the
iron walkway to the antechamber. Did she dive in and thus avoid the brunt of the explosion? The brief shot
of the detonation suggests that she didnít get there in time, but it is hard to tell which bodies are actually
caught in the expanding force of flames. In any event, Faith is miraculously still alive, but unconscious. The
protos start to make their way back out of the debris-littered tunnels, but get another rude surprise when
first one, then several Uber-vamps appear and attack them. One poor SIT gets surrounded and quickly
slashed to death by the Ubers while Kennedy and the remaining girls huddle together in terror, trying
bravely but vainly to figure out a way to escape what appears to be certain, ugly death. One of the Ubers
engages Kennedy (who again gets serious points for placing herself between him and the other SITs) but
itís hopeless-- he has her by the throat within seconds.

There is a loud, sudden crash as part of the concrete ceiling smashes to the ground behind the Ubers, and
in a blaze of light from the outside sun we see Buffy, Scythe in hand, drop down into the sewer tunnel and
immediately start dusting as if the Ubers were nothing more annoying than your garden-variety vamps. We
get to see Priceless Looks- The Sequel as Kennedy and the protos are suitably stunned, both with their
sudden reprieve, and at Buffyís astounding Slayage skills. Buffy quickly directs the band to exit before
more Ubers might appear.

~ ~ ~

Iíll pause here for a moment to make a couple observations about this scene and the one before it. One of
the things that is always a potential problem in any science-fiction or fantasy work such as this is the risk of
losing oneís suspension of disbelief, and being jarred out of the story because of it. While itís virtually a
cliche that action movie characters regularly survive explosions, even at very close range, this is always one
of those conventions that I have the most trouble with. An explosion of a magnitude suffcient to crumble
stone and bend steel would instantly make sloppy mush of mere flesh. Now, I can buy it that Faith
survived, even if she didnít manage to dive underwater before the explosion because Faith is a Slayer, and
Slayers are supernaturally strong-- maybe not invulnerable like Superman , but pretty damn tough

I do realize that not all the protos survived, and that the others may have taken cover behind a wall
or something when Faith screamed to ìget down!î, but this is still pushing it, considering the tightly
confined space they were in. This leads me to have to resort to some trusty fanwanking to explain the
survival rate, and as a loyal BtVS fantasy fan, Iíll not shirk my sworn duty!

Later on in this review, when I get around to the climactic scene in Chosen, Iím going to bring up
the same conjecture that I have used many times in the past to explain how Buffy occasionally manages to
do things that should simply be impossible-- say fall out of a second or third-story window, carrying a 180
pound-ish monk with her, and land on her back on hard concrete ground without shattering every bone in
her spine, at minimum. Then, there was her defeat of Glorificus, who, after all, was a god and should not
be physically defeatable, period. Rest assured that there are other examples, numerous ones.

While the specific explanations can be argued about-- Buffy is a goddess in training, and can draw on
powers that she doesnít understand but still employs, Buffy has hidden psychokinetic abilities that only
become available when she is under extreme duress, Buffy possesses Rufusí Magic Clause-- whatever the
case, it doesnít matter. I hold one truth to be self-evident, which is that Buffy can bend reality.
Does this mean the Buffyverse is reprogrammable like the Matrix and Buffy is Neo? Works for me, and it
really works for me in Chosen, but how does this apply to Faith and the protos surviving the
bomb blast?


There was some evidence presented during the three eps that featured Faith in A:tS this year, and
continuing with her return to Sunnydale for the last five Buffy eps that indicate that as Faith is putting her
renegade past behind her, she is becoming progressively more like Buffy. If Buffyís reality-bending abilities
are linked to her strong connection to the Slayer heritage, her moral core, and/or her genuine love/caring
for the welfare of others, then it might be reasonable that as Faith ërejoins the foldí those abilities could
become hers also. Like Buffy, she may draw on these powers without consciously realizing it. If so, then
this offers an explanation for the survival of herself and the luckier SITs-- Faith genuinely cares enough
about the fate of her charges to bend reality slightly at the moment of the explosion, and it is enough
buffering to keep at least some of them alive.


The next items up for bid are the allusions to two previous episodes. The very first thing that popped into
my head when the protos pulled Faithís ëlifelessí body from the water was Xander and Angel pulling Buffy
from the water in Prophecy Girl. While I donít recall seeing them administer CPR to Faith, in each
case the Slayer survived because someone cared enough to insist on making the effort to save her. In
Prophecy Girl it was Xander, in End of Days it was Kennedy. Faith still carries the guilt
about her evil past in some corner of her mind, guilt that keeps telling her that she isnít worthy of loyalty
from others. That she is wrong about this is becoming clearly evident, and the realization of this change in
the way others see her will be important in the final battle to come.

Another reference was to the episode where Buffy first fights a Turok-Han-- she falls (by accident) down
through the ground into a cavern below, and nearly gets killed by a single Uber. Here, she deliberately
breaks through the (much harder) ëgroundí and swiftly dispatches not one but four Ubers.

~ ~ ~

OK, now back to the more or less narrative part. We are back at Casa Summers, and injured SITís are
being attended to as best as possible. Xander and Giles appear at the open front door, carrying the still
unconscious Faith. Kennedy and Amanda both express concern about Faith, asking Buffy if sheíll be all
right. Buffy honestly answers that she doesnít know. Amanda, looking guilty and sorrowful, posits that
they, meaning all the ones who rejected Buffyís leadership in favor of Faithís are being punished. Buffy
finds this shocking, and immediately rises to Faithís defense, saying that the FEís armory in the sewers was
a trap, and that she could have fallen for it just as easily as Faith. Buffyís lack of reproach for her previous
disempowerment seems to make the SITís feel even more guilty, and as Buffy heads upstairs to check on
Faith and give the SG an update on Caleb and the Scythe, Amanda once again states that she ëstill feels like
weíre being punishedí.

Buffy stops at the door to her bedroom, where Faith has been taken. Seeing the battered body of her once
friend, then enemy, now-- what? lying there, Buffy suppresses her swirl of emotions and takes full charge
once more. Calling Giles and Willow to another room, she outlines what little she knows about the Scythe.

It becomes obvious that we are now at a story arc pivot point from which things get better, if still dire, and
we know that because the jokes start popping up again. Giles is examining the Scythe, commenting on how
well crafted it is, and its obviously mystical attributes. Willow gets off one of the best puns of the season, if
not the entire series with her ëScythe mattersí quip, which makes Giles grimace, but only briefly. Buffy
urges Willow and Giles to research things as quickly as possible, since this is the first real break they may
have had for a long while-- the one thing she knows for sure is that Caleb and the FE fear whatever this
weapon represents.

We cut to Andrew and Anya, who are in another room patching up an injured proto, who is apparently
weaving in and out of full consciousness. Anya keep making cheerfully insensitive remarks about ëdeathí
and ëmortal woundsí and such, to which the poor SIT keeps remarking What?? Andrew announces
that heís going to make a raid on the Sunnydale hospital to get new bandages and other needed medical
supplies, and he wants Anya to go with him. Anya is delighted at this, and after announcing that sheíll get
Kennedy to look after the injured girls, the two of them leave to stage the raid. This scene isnít just funny,
it acts to set up both the near future scene in the hospital where Anya reluctantly confides to Andrew why
sheís still hanging around instead of leaving Sunnydale, and later on for one of the final scenes in

Meanwhile, Buffy is discussing a plan with Xander that he seems none too pleased about. The gist of it has
him being sent away from Sunnydale, and he argues that Buffy is ëputting him out to pastureí. Buffy is
insistent, and he eventually relents, although obviously still not happy. What is remarkable about this scene
is the same thing that is remarkable about the previous one where Buffy, Willow and Giles are talking
about the significance of the Scythe-- Buffyís incredible graciousness in ignoring what her friends did in
rejecting her previously. Iíve read a few complaints here and there that this was unrealistic, but I disagree--
this same breaking apart/coming back together arc happens every year to some degree, but the time
required to heal the wounds inflicted gets shorter all the time, because both Buffy and her friends have
grown in terms of maturity. Itís no longer the end of the world when a rift like this one occurs. The internal
demons that have plagued Buffy and the Scoobies have been vanquished one by one, and only the external
ones remain to be dealt with-- the real ëend of the worldí problems they all face together.

I would point out also that if Buffy has forgiven Faith her trespasses, then forgiving Xander, Willow and
Giles is a trivial act by comparison. Has Buffy forgiven Faith? Itís never said out loud, but the actions
speak volumes. In a short while there will be a verbal exchange between the two women that settles a lot
of hanging issues, but I would argue that if you willingly allow your ëenemyí to look after the welfare of
those people you care about, then that is surely forgiveness in some manner or form.

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

[> Re: Dreamer Easy in the Chair That Really Fits You - Thoughts on *End of Days* & *Chosen* - Part II -- OnM, 21:02:09 05/29/03 Thu

~ ~ ~ ( Continued from Part I ) ~ ~ ~

We are back to Giles and Willow, where Giles is encouraging Willow to try to tap into the power of the
Scythe magically, assuring her that she can do it safely. Willow demurs, stating that itís too risky. An
interesting item here is a line that was in the original shooting script that was cut out of the actual
broadcast (presented here in italics):

( Willow puts the scythe down, a little scared of it. )

Giles: Willow... you know there's a way to do it without endangering yourself. Drawing
positive power from the earth, the power that connects everything.

Willow: I know. And when I was in England I got it. But here... I can't do it. If I tried something
big... I just know I'd change and then it's all black hair and veins and lightning bolts. I mean, I can barely do
the locator spells without getting dark roots.

Giles: But if it's necessary...?

Willow: Giles, honestly... I don't know.

( Giles hesitates, deciding how much to push. Finally... )

Giles: Do what you can, Willow. That's all any of us can do.

Willow: I guess so.

Did ME think they would be giving too much away if they kept the ëpositive power of the Earthí line in
there? I donít think this would have given away the plan Buffy comes up with in Chosen, but
perhaps it was more about eventually giving Willow a revelatory moment with greater impact. The other
neat thing about this scene is that it appears that Giles has learned a lesson from his recent run-ins with
Buffy-- you can tell he wants to be more assertive and demanding with Willow, but he quietly backs down,
realizing that it really isnít his decision to make. He may strongly disagree with Willow on her refusal to
use more powerful magicks, but allows her her own choice nevertheless.

Oh, one other comment Iíve heard made by several folks, namely where did Willow come up with such a
long-lasting laptop battery? Címon, people! Someone as smart as Willow could easily figure out a way
around this, such as by helping herself to a car battery from an abandoned vehicle. The average car battery
could keep a laptop going for days, and if it did run out, you just go grab another one. No reality-bending
needed here at all.

We move on to Xander and Dawn out at Xanderís car, searching for the supposedly misplaced crossbow.
In the midst of missing eye jokes, we get to hear an offhand remark by Dawn as regards the fate of Miss
Kitty Fantastico, and all over the country cat lovers probably scream in anguish. (Well, this is a horror
based show, ya know?) Poor Miss Kitty-- but wait, play back the tape again, and listen carefully. Does
Dawn ever say she accidently shot Miss KF? No, there is just mention of ëthe incidentí. ME so evil-- or at
least Jane Espenson, this sounds like her twisted work. As one thoughtful poster pointed out after this ep
first aired, the incident could easily have been one of Dawn carelessly leaving the crossbow out and Miss
KF tripping it, causing Dawn to get way too close to the wrong end of the bolt.

On the other hand, there was the tragic incident with the wall in Conversations with Dead People.
Ah well...

Xander makes an ëI Claudiusí joke. This isnít just a funny play on words-- Claudius was considered to be a
weak man and a fool by most of those around him, but, like Xander, he ësaw thingsí that others didnít.
(BTW, the PBS/Masterpiece Theatre series on him was very cool, and might even be available on DVD.)
One thing Xander doesnít see, however, is that real cloroform is very dangerous. This is another
suspension of disbelief thing I have, even though, again, itís a standard cliche. He could have slipped her a
sleeping pill of some sort or otherwise found some safer way to make her pass out long enough to get her
out of town. And donít tell me he didnít have any pills handy-- like, cloroform is part of everyoneís normal
household supplies?

Next comes one of my favorite scenes of the show, where all the previously implied fence-mending actions
between Buffy and Faith get a more direct treatment. Since this season-ending ramble is going to be long
enough, what with two eps and some finale thoughts and all, Iíve been trying to watch the script quotage
quantity, but this scene is just too tasty to let it go by. The cookie dough gets some serious baking time
done here:

( Faith sits up in bed, still looking beat up, but much better. She is holding the Scythe and her eyes are
closed, in the same reverie Buffy enjoyed when she first found it. Buffy stands by the bed, watching. )

Buffy: You feel it too, don't you.

( Faith opens her eyes. )

Faith: Damn. And damn. That's something.

Buffy: I know.

Faith: It's old. Strong. And it feels like... like it's mine.

( She tosses it to Buffy, a slight mixture of shame and resentment under her reasonable tone. )

Faith: So I guess that means it's yours.

Buffy: It belongs to the Slayer.

Faith: Slayer In Charge, which I'm guessing is you.

Buffy: ( sits on the bed ) I honestly don't know. Does it matter?

Faith: Never mattered to me. But somebody has to lead. Let's vote for Chao-Ahn. Harder to lead
people into a death-trap if you don't speak English.

Buffy: It's not your fault.

Faith: Really not looking for forgiveness.

Buffy: You're not?

Faith: What do you want me to say? I blew it.

Buffy: You didn't blow it.

Faith: Tell that to the--

Buffy: People die. You lead them into battle, they die. No matter how smart you are, or how
ready, war is about death. Needless, stupid death.

( Faith looks at Buffy a moment. )

Faith: So here's the laugh-riot. My whole life, I've been a loner. ( pause )

Buffy: Was that the funny part? Did I miss--

Faith: I'm trying to--

Buffy: No, no. Sorry. Go.

Faith: No ties, no buddies, no relationships that lasted longer than... well I guess Robin lasted
pretty long; boy's got stamina.

Buffy: (wide-eyed) Principal Wood? And you? And on my...

( She gingerly rises from the bed, takes a step from it. )

Faith: Don't tell me you two got wriggly--

Buffy: (flustered) No! No! We're just good friends. Or mortal enemies, depending on which day of
the... is this the funny part?

Faith: Okay. The point? Me, by myself all the time, and looking at you, everything you have, and I
don't know... Jealous. And then there I am, everybody looking to me, trusting me to lead 'em... and I never
felt more alone in my life.

Buffy: Yeah.

Faith: And that's you every day, isn't it?

Buffy: I love my friends, and I'm grateful for them, but yeah, that's the price. Being the Slayer.

Faith: There's only supposed to be one. Maybe that's why you and I can never get along. We're
not supposed to exist together.

Buffy: Also, you went evil and were killing people.

Faith: (nodding, thoughtful) Good point. Also a factor.

Buffy: But you're right. I mean, I guess everyone's alone, but... Being a Slayer. There's a burden
we can't share.

Faith: And no one else can feel it. ( long pause ) Thank god we're hot chicks with superpowers.

Buffy: (agreeing) Takes the edge off.

Faith: Just comforting.

Buffy: Uh huh.

The delicate balancing act between these two was just exquisitely rendered here by both Sarah and Eliza--
their onscreen chemistry is as delightful as it ever was. I particularly loved the ever so brief but telling smile
that appears on Buffyís face when she finally gets that Faith finally gets the aloneness gig-- this was always
one of the greatest differences between them in the old days. Faith loved being a Slayer, reveled in it, and
could never grok why Buffy was always treating Slayerhood like it was such a righteous burden. Buffy
could never understand why Faith didnít see the burden side of it, the side that was so painfully clear to
Buffy. These are two people who have gained a much better understanding of the other, and they didnít
even have to swap bodies this time around-- bonus!

Agian, desperate times or no, things are looking up. First thereís pain, then thereís gain. I think a lot of
other Buffyfreaks have already nominated the line Thank god weíre hot chicks with superpowers as
a serious series keepsake.

After the conversation with Faith, Buffy heads out to find the place Giles and Willow have located that
may help Buffy understand what the true significance of the Scythe is. Meeting up with Spike, the two talk
somewhat uneasily regarding the previous night in the abandoned house, and what it meant to each of
them. The uneasiness shifts quickly into a more intimate series of revelations, as Buffy tells Spike that it
was his strength that enabled her to get herself back together and led her to get the Scythe, which could be
so important that it could turn the tide for them against the FE. Spike tells Buffy that all he did was hold
her and watch her sleep, and it was the best night of his life. He confesses that he is ëterrifiedí because of
this. Buffy tells him not to be, that ëshe was thereí also. The emotions donít stay this naked for long
though, and the two of them back away-- the moment isnít right, there is still a battle to deal with. Spike
says not to worry, and that they should ëgo be heroesí.

We pick up on Andrew and Anya, who are raiding supply rooms at the hospital. Andrew points out an
oxygen tank and wonders if it would be useful. Anya replies that it would only be useful if you had a giant
shark like in jaws and needed to blow it up, to which Andrew responds rapturously that Anya is ëthe
perfect womaní. As they stuff bandages and other supplies into a large sack, Andrew wonders aloud why
Anya hasnít left town, since she doesnít seem to have any real reason to stay. Anya then talks about how
despite how stupid she thinks humans are, the one thing she has come to admire about them is that when
things get really, really bad, they always stand up and fight-- no matter how hopeless things appear to be.
Andrew realizes that Anya has far more affection for the people around her than she pretends to have, and
jokingly teases her about it. She acts angry and tells him to stop, but it is pretty obvious that Andrewís not
far off the mark. Andrew confesses that he expects to die in the upcoming battle, but that itís alright with
him, he accepts that fact. They continue filching supplies, and then Andrew suggest a wheelchair fight. We
then jump cut to a scene where the two are laughing and careening at each other in wheelchairs, a
hilariously improbable scene that only ME could pull off and not look ridiculous doing so.

When Andrew points out that Anya will likely survive and he wonít, it immediately confirmed in my own
mind that the reverse was almost surely going to be true. Whedon made it plain in advance press
announcements that there were going to be deaths of some regular characters during the season endgame,
naturally not revealing who it would be. Even if I didnít take into account the knowledge that Emma
Caulfield stated that she would not be returning to the show whether it was renewed for an eight season or
not (this was months back), Whedon does act predictably in certain ways. Anya changed over the course of
time, from man-hating vengeance demon to human respecting human, but she still was responsible for the
horrific deaths of thousands during her 1100+ years of life, and the cosmic wheel needs to turn. Andrew,
on the other hand, still has a lot of re-education ahead of him-- death is too easy a solution for him at this
point in time.

Iíll talk a little more about Anya and Andrew again during the Chosen part of this riff, but Iíll
mention one last point before I leave this scene behind. The wheelchair fight symbolism was wonderful-- as
Anya said, no matter how bad things get, humans still fight. At the same time, the humor inherent in the
shot reminded me another classic Monty Python movie skit-- the ëblack knightí that King Arthur battles in
Holy Grail. There is a fine line between bravery and foolishness, and knowing exactly where that
line delineates is the key to ultimate success. Was Buffy almost the ëblack knightí for a moment there in
Empty Places? Perhaps close, but not quite-- maybe if the black knight wasnít such a lone wolf, he
might still have his arms and legs. Not to mention that Arthur has his own problems. (Hello, anyone seen
my Grail? Hello?)

Buffy arrives at a graveyard in which there is a sort of Egyptian-looking tomb or monument of some kind.
Kicking in the door, she enters only to find torches burning, illuminating the interior. A voice is heard and a
very elderly woman (ëI look good for my ageí) appears. The woman acts as if she knew that Buffy was
coming, and refers to herself as a ëGuardianí. She proceeds to tell Buffy that she was one of those who
placed the Scythe in the stone thousands of years ago, after it was used once to kill the last pure demon
that walked the Earth. She and some other powerful women apparently ëwatched the Watchersí, who
descended from the three Shamans (or Shadowmen) who created the first Slayer. She and her kind lived to
look out for the Slayer, apparently without the knowledge of the Watchers. Now the Guardian speaking
with Buffy is the last of her kind still alive.

Alas, not for long, as Caleb suddenly appears from a shadowy area of the tomb, and snaps the Guardianís

Meanwhile, Xander is driving Dawn away from the city. Dawn wakes up, still groggy from the chloroform,
but obviously upset and angry at being ëkidnappedí. Xander hands her a note from Buffy (Dawn doesnít
look surprised). Dawn reads part of the note, then casually zaps Xander with a stun-gun of some kind.
Poor Xander passes out, and Dawn takes over the driverís seat, turning the car around and quickly heading
back to Sunnydale.

Back at the tomb, Caleb and Buffy fight. The Scythe gives Buffy a serious advantage, but Caleb fights as
viciously as ever and eventually gets her into a vulnerable position. Just as he goes for the kill, a fist swings
in out of nowhere and decks him. The camera pulls back to reveal Angel. Buffy gets up off the floor,
looking at Angel in shock and disbelief. They embrace, and Buffy kisses Angel.

Over in a corner of the tomb, hidden behind a pillar, Spike is watching. The First Evil, in its guise as Buffy,
is standing behind Spike and sneeringly comments, ìWhat a bitch...î. Spikeís expression is hard to read,
but he certainly doesnít looked any too pleased. Cut to black, commercials, and end credits.

~ ~ ~

As is often the case, there are some differences between the aired version of the show and the text of the
shooting script. Most of the ones that occurred during the scene between Buffy and the Guardian were
fairly inconsequential, and probably were excised for time considerations. There are three minor differences
that I did note that I personally would have left in. I have no explanation why these details would have
been changed, unless it was to make the Guardian seem more aloof-- and if so, why? Here is the relevant
parts, with the deleted parts in italics (the script refers to the Guardian as ëSheí):

She: I see you found our weapon.

Buffy: Who are you?

She: One of many. Well, time was. Now I'm alone in the world. I'd gamble you know what
that's like.

[The Guardian] holds out her hand. [Buffy pauses, then] hands her the scythe.

She: You pulled it out of the rock. I was one of those who put it in there, and don't think that
was easy

Buffy: What is it?

She: A weapon. A scythe. We forged it in secrecy for one like you, who...

( She stops, smiles at Buffy, still holding the scythe. )

She: I'm sorry, what's your name?

Buffy: Buffy.

She: No, really.

( Buffy shrugs. )

She: Buffy. We forged it in secrecy, kept it hidden from the Shadow Men, who --

Buffy: Yeah. Met them. Didn't care for 'em.

( She looks at Buffy with new respect, hands the scythe back to Buffy. )

She: Yes. Then you know. And they became the Watchers. And the Watchers watched the
Slayers. But we were watching them.

Buffy: Oh! So you're like... What are you?

She: Guardians. Women who want to help and protect you. This... was forged, centuries ago, by
us. Halfway around the world.

Buffy: Hence, the Luxor Casino theme.

The oddest change to my way of thinking is the one where the Guardian looks at Buffy ëwith new respectí
after Buffy reveals that she met (and turned down?) the Shadowmen. (Did the Guardian instinctively
understand this somehow?) When I first read over this script, I tried to remember the expression described,
and couldnít do so. I cued up my tape, played the scene over, and sure enough-- the Guardianís reaction
shot-- if filmed at all-- was cut. Also, while it might seem persnickety on my part to argue over the
exclusion of a single word, having the Guardian address Buffy by her name changes the tone of the
response from detachment to affirmation. If this was supposed to be a meta-comment on the people who
ignore the show or donít treat it seriously because of the name (which is what I suspect) Iíll let it pass, but
I think the ëno, reallyí part was both funny and sufficient to achieve that end-- the deletion of Buffyís name
in response was overkill.

Additional good stuff in this part-- when the Guardian hands the Scythe back to Buffy, it reminded me of
the scene in Grave where Buffy hands her sword to Dawn, passing the torch as it were. If one
considers the three of them as a continuum of sorts, you effectively have a virgin/mother/crone
generational reference illustrated. Then, there is the Egyptian theme, or ëLuxor Casinoí as Buffy
humorously notes. This was something that didnít make any particular sense to me until just the last day or
two, when I remembered the connection between ancient Egypt and the sun god, Ra.

Oh yeah-- the Ra-tet, remember? The beast blocking out the sun? Jeez, there are a number of sun refs you
can play with here, especially when we get to the end portion of Chosen. Hereís a couple of quickly
Googled sun-god factoids for ya:

Ra: Ra was the ancient Egyptian god of the Sun. He was represented with a hawk's head, over
which is a solar disc. Ra was the son of Neith and married Mut, representing the interaction of earth and
sunlight in producing vegetation.

Neith: In Egyptian mythology, Neith was the goddess of the heavens and a war goddess and the
mother of Sebek and Ra. She was often depicted with, or holding, crossed arrows. She was thought of as
the great weaver who wove the world.

OK, now that second deity, which I linked to from the first one, has some interesting Buffy subtext to a
Buffy proto-goddess philosopher. Remember the crossed hands (ëManusí) on the tarot card spirit-guide
Tara shows Buffy in Restless? And here is a ëgoddess of the heavens/war goddessí who is often
depicted holding ëcrossed arrowsí. ìIíll never use thoseî, quoth Buffy. Well, maybe...

So if Buffy is sorta Neith-y, then Spike must be... well, later, after things get really sunny.
Hummm.. hawks head over which is a solar disc...

Lastly (not really, but canít type forever ya know), The phrasing the Guardian used when Buffy questions
her about the Scythe-- A weapon. A scythe. Not something like Itís a weapon we named The
or Itís a weapon, but more than simply that. The pause between the two descriptive
terms lends a discrete emphasis to each, and implies a mystical meaning to the second term. (which weíve
already discussed, so I wonít repeat that stuff here).

~ ~ ~

Two more short scenes, and then itís on to Chosen. Not too much to say about these, since they
are mostly a setup for the beginning of the next (gasp! --last!!) epsiode. Caleb appears from out of the
shadows and kills the Guardian, then attacks Buffy. Angel appears, stops Caleb momentarily, then Buffy
finishes him off, or appears to. Spike is watching from behind a pillar, and understandably isnít too joyful at
B/A kissage. The FE promptly metanarrates what many supposed BtVS fans seem to think-- ìIsnít she a
bitch!î. Ohh nooooo, Spikey will turn Eeeeevil now!

Nahhh. I never thought so for a moment, it was all just a big honkiní tease. However, I do
wonder how the heck both Caleb and Spike managed to get into the pyramid without either Buffy or the
Guardian noticing. I wank thee, I wank thee not: There was a back door, which Caleb used to sneak in,
and Spike followed him. (He did say to Buffy right before she left Casa Summers that he was going to
keep an eye on Caleb for her). I donít know which door Angel came in, but by then Buffy was in the midst
of a fight to the death, so she might not have noticed him even if he came in the front.

jenoff had something both funny and appropriate to say about the initial Caleb sliceínínot dice, and I
couldnít possibly put it any better, so I wonít:

A plea with characters in fantasy tv-- please, when you've just defeated the big bad, don't drop your
weapon, don't turn your back to it, chop the baddy up into a million tiny pieces, set them on fire, and grind
them into dust. Then bury them down the deepest, darkest hole you can find, fill it with concrete, and top it
off with the largest boulder you can move. And even then, it'll likely come back.

Yup. Shoínuff what it is, yo.

I had every expectation that Dawn would never sit still to be taken out of play, and so having her zap
Xander seems only logical, but, just as chloroform is really dangerous in real life, so might I think is
discharging an electrical device within inches of the brain or brain stem. Nerves, spinal cord, heartbeat,
breathing, all that good stuff that needs to keep functioning? Oh well. Itís a Summersí thing-- all very

Thatís the end of the End of Days. In the next section of this maniacal marathon manifesto, I get to
try to describe how an episode that rated a mere 6.5 to 7.0 on first viewing ended up a solid 8.5 after the
second viewing and currently holds it own with all the previous finales, the weakest ones of which still
effectively ventilate my gray matter.

Itís all about having expectations, and then letting go of them. Stay tuned for Buffy Nirvana, live ahead.

So címon now, entertain us...

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

[> [> Parts III etc. will probably be up within the next week. *** Spoilers for named eps, obviously *** -- OnM, 21:06:16 05/29/03 Thu

[> [> [> Re: Batteries and Bombs -- DEN, 21:40:34 05/29/03 Thu

Magnificent as usual, OnM. Your common-sense comment about scrounging a car battery to run the laptop emboldens me to offer a similar observation relative to the bomb in the cave. Your "meta" solution to why the SiTs were not pulped by the blast certainly works. But Pccam's Razor migh eork as well. Explosions do funny things. Even below ground, and with the walls and pillars you mention, the blast from a simple boxful of high explosive could be sufficiently diffused to do what it did: toss people around, but not kill them directly, by blast or concussion, unless they were right on top of the detonation. I refer you to Stauffenberg's bomb on July 20, 1944--though the conditions were not entirely similar.

[> [> [> [> More on Bombs and Road Work -- Fred the obvious pseudonym, 11:26:47 05/30/03 Fri

Admittedly, while the most common outcome for such an explosion (especially in a confined space) is to make the immediate bystanders Spred-Satin on the walls, there are other examples of DENs point.

Normandy, 1944 -- a US paratrooper was within arm's length of a German grenade when it detonated. He should have been killed, clearly (although not blown to bits -- said grenade didn't have THAT much high explosive.) If not killed by the blast, he should have been killed then by the fragments.

In fact, he was stunned for about a day, but had no major injuries -- only bruises. Apparently his CO saw that this GI's luck was all used up so he transferred him back to the States to training duty. He (the explode-ee) wrote the narrative himself -- not a "I saw this" or "A sergeant told me . . . " I tend to believe it.

There's also the "fear is a great incentive to running speed" factor. Read an account from a "Danger UXB" man -- a real one -- who was disarming parachute mines in southern Britain in 1940. Once the fuse started to hiss you had 17 seconds to get clear of almost a ton of high explosive. He said under those circumstances your speed was remarkable. On one occasion he heard the hiss -- then he simply blanked out. When the mine detonated he was some 180 measured YARDS away -- he ran a 17 second 180 in full gear and combat boots. Also hurdled (not climbed over) a six-foot tall fence. Adrenalin is wonderful stuff.

So maybe the SITs and Faith were just a little farther away than the images indicated.

(wank with evidence)

[> [> [> [> More on Bombs and Road Work -- Fred the obvious pseudonym, 11:29:17 05/30/03 Fri

Admittedly, while the most common outcome for such an explosion (especially in a confined space) is to make the immediate bystanders Spred-Satin on the walls, there are other examples of DENs point.

Normandy, 1944 -- a US paratrooper was within arm's length of a German grenade when it detonated. He should have been killed, clearly (although not blown to bits -- said grenade didn't have THAT much high explosive.) If not killed by the blast, he should have been killed by the fragments.

In fact, he was stunned for about a day, but had no major injuries -- only bruises. Apparently his CO saw that this GI's luck was all used up so he transferred him back to the States to training duty. He (the explode-ee) wrote the narrative himself -- not a "I saw this" or "A sergeant told me . . . " I tend to believe it.

There's also the "fear is a great incentive to running speed" factor. Read an account from a "Danger UXB" man -- a real one -- who was disarming parachute mines in southern Britain in 1940. Once the fuse started to hiss you had 17 seconds to get clear of almost a ton of high explosive. He said under those circumstances your speed was remarkable. On one occasion he heard the hiss -- then he simply blanked out. When the mine detonated he was some 180 measured YARDS away -- he ran a 17 second 180 in full gear and combat boots. Also hurdled (not climbed over) a six-foot tall fence. Adrenalin is wonderful stuff.

"Road work is mighty beneficial -- especially if you're on the lam." -- Walt Kelly

So maybe the SITs and Faith were just a little farther away than the images indicated.

(wank with evidence)

[> [> [> That was better than the first cup of coffee in the morning! -- WickedBuffy (spoilers thru CHOSEN), 12:46:07 05/30/03 Fri

Thank you, OnM - I'm looking forward to the next piece now. I feel like I just rewatched the episode through different eyes. :>

A couple small points you brought up yourself and I had speculated differently.

The explosion - It seemed the blast itself was more contained but the force of it was what sent them flying. There were more bodies in the air than rocks or debris. Faith landed in the water, instantly putting out any flames on her and also protecting her from the remaining heat.

Why SITs and Faith didn't become slayer confetti - at the same time the treasure box blew, Buffy was putting her hands on the Scythe. There could have been an initial power surge that went thru Buffy, Faith and to a lesser degree, the SITs, briefly strengthening them during the blast. Which would also explain their quick hearing recovery.

Willows laptop battery -

1) solar-powered rechargeables

2) when Andrew and others went scrounging, they nicked more (Andrew being the guy he is, would have instantly realized the need)

3) Willow, computer nerd, had a box of spare charged batteries in her bedroom.

(4) Long ago, realizing that the floating pencil trick had no real use, Willow perfected her "laptop recharging battery" spell. It never gave her black roots, so she had gotten to the point of unconsciously keeping it going. (Tied into it was the "Automatic Save" spell.)

Extra note about Faith: The explosion and subsequent retrieval from the water kept reminding me of the phrase "baptism by fire and water". There were several noticeable shifts in Faith. Not created by the fire and water specifically - but bridging a space between the shifts.

[> Regarding Buffy and her friends-- -- HonorH, 21:08:16 05/29/03 Thu

I think that several things are at work here:

1.) Buffy realizes they were at least partly in the right. She'd been doing things wrong, even for the right ends, and she'd lost their trust. Now, she's determined to get it back again.

2.) They, at the same time, realize that though they did what they felt was right, it was a betrayal. Therefore, they let Buffy take the first steps in the reconciliation process. They allow her to set the pace, and they follow.

3.) Arguments may not be the end of the world, but the end of the world is on its way. There may be time to hash things out later, but they're not guaranteed that time. If the past six-and-a-half years have taught them anything, it's not to waste time on recriminations. Later, if they all survive, they can talk. As it is, they know they need to come back together and do it in as little time as possible.

Good going, OnM, and I'm looking forward to the rest!

[> Re: Faith in Water -- Rob, 23:39:36 05/29/03 Thu

The moment I saw Faith in the water, I instantly dreamed up a scenario where Buffy would be the one to administer CPR to her, and bring her back to life, which would have worked so perfectly on so many levels: the sharing of the Slayer strength, Buffy acting as Xander to Faith's Buffy (symbolically reviving herself as Xander once did for her), the slashy subtexty goodness. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way, and I will admit to being a little disappointed that ME missed out on this golden opportunity. Besides that I adored the last 2 episodes, so I really have been keeping the picking-apart to a minimum. I was more satisfied by the "Buffy" conclusion than any series ender I've ever seen, even more so because of how impressed I was that Joss was able to accomplish so much in only 42 minutes. Anyway, I'm just getting rambly now.


[> [> Re: Faith in Water -- OnM, 05:25:12 05/30/03 Fri

That certainly would have been an interesting variant, but the one Joss actually used was more in keeping with the original events in Prophecy Girl, IMO. Later on in the ep, Faith openly declares herself to be a loner, something we pretty much already knew. For her to even attempt to become a leader of others is a remarkable achievement, but to remain a leader requires that your followers believe in you and stand behind you, even in tough times.

Buffy was saved in PG because her friends/followers-- specifically Xander-- were there for her. Up until now, Faith never had any real friends or followers. So, when Kennedy declares that the SIT's aren't leaving without Faith, she establishes that Faith has value to her, and by extension to the others. This is just the kind of positive feedback that Faith needs to have directed at her.

Buffy would have saved Faith even if she still considered her an 'enemy'-- she's a hero, a champion, it's what she does. So taking that into consideration, I could argue that the impact would be less than having a relative stranger (Kennedy) save her.

[> [> [> You sold me! Agree completely. -- Rob, 08:44:44 05/30/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> Re: You sold me! Agree completely. -- Alison, 12:17:42 05/30/03 Fri

I completely agree on the analysis on the reference to Prophecy Girl..but am I alone in thinking that the scene also related to Bad Girls?

[> As satisfying as a meal I haven't had to cook... -- Marie, 06:41:18 05/30/03 Fri

...(anyone who has to decide what to prepare for dinner day after day will surely know exactly how delicious that is!). I just can't believe I won't be getting any more (after you finish this one, I mean).

Of course, you might decide to start reviewing AtS...? I mean, I know I could lose a few pounds, but you wouldn't want me to fade away, would you?

Marie (wondering whether I should duck for cover, now!)

[> [> Not going anywhere, just debating which of many options to pursue. -- OnM, 08:14:10 05/30/03 Fri

Fanfic? CMotW? Commentary on selected previous BtVS eps? Too much thinking, too little time.

As I said at the end of Part II, stay tuned.


[> [> [> Staying tuned (and waiting for dessert)! -- Marie, 08:37:31 05/30/03 Fri

[> Re:Titles -- CW, 06:49:02 05/30/03 Fri

I wondered why ME chose to use "End of Days," since it was also the title of a recent Arnold Schwartzenegger Y2K horror flick. I guess there were explosions in the movie (not from eplosives) and the one and only original big bad, as well. I guess you could say it was the original concept of the Buffy story coming back as well. In the movie the heroine is the typical helpless female, apparently fated to be raped by the devil in mockery of the "immaculate conception," where as on Buffy the girls are going on the offensive, by the ep. "End of Days." In the movie Arnold, who has been possessed, manages to barely control himself enough to keep from aiding the devil in getting what he wants. In Chosen, Buffy more or less tells the FE to stop using her form to get what it wants.

[> Like an Old Fashioned Waltz -- cjl, 13:52:00 05/30/03 Fri

Roses are red, and violets are blue,
Primroses pale on a velvet green hue,
Warm summer days by cool waterfalls,
Like the music we hear,
Those things we'll always hold dear,
Like an old fashioned waltz.

When the moonlight shines down
on the Hollywood world,
And the heroine waits for her beau to return,
And violins play from behind garden walls,
How I'd love to remain with the silver refrain
of an old fashioned waltz.

As they dance round the floor,
and there's no-one else there,
and the world is no more and there's never a care,
by the perfect lagoon where the nightingale calls,
with only the moon and the nostalgic tune
of an old fashioned waltz.

Roses are red and violets are blue,
Primroses pale on a velvet green hue,
Warm summer days by cool waterfalls,
Like the music we hear,
Those things we'll always hold dear,
Like an old fashioned waltz,
Like an old fashioned waltz,
An old fashioned waltz.

-- Sandy Denny, "Like an Old Fashioned Waltz"

I'm going to miss your weekly summaries, OnM--they're something familiar that we all hold dear, like the old fashioned waltzes Sandy sang about so beautifully. Are you going to be at the Vancouver get-together? I'd love to trade Fairport/Sandy tales, and British folk music news in general. Just saw the Strawbs' acoustic tour in NYC the other night, and both Cousins and Lambert were in remarkable form.

Awaiting part III and (sniff) conclusion...

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