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Cordy's continuity (AtS 4.4, 4.5, and "Eternity," season 1 spoilers) -- Rob, 21:46:46 11/03/02 Sun

Recently, Doug the Bloody posted this at the board, and Masq added it to her analysis of "Slouching Towards Bethlehem":

"Cordelia has always been a person who liked the truth; just witness how tactless she used to be, or how in "Earshot" her thoughts matched her words completely. So I don't find it all that hard to believe that she wouldn't like being lied to. Angel had good intentions for wanting to take it slow with the information, but I can't blame Cordy for flipping over everyone creeping around and being completely obvious about the fact that they aren't being truthful. Then she gets attacked in the hotel and is saved by Connor, so she wants to leave (this is after Angel and the others, who she already knew had been lying to her, had forbid her to leave the hotel.) And Connor tells her the truth, he tells her quite plainly that he sunk Angel and held a knife to her throat. He may not say much; but he doesn't lie to her, and he answers most of the questions that she asks. Given Cordelia's character, I don't think we need to resort to mystic glowy workings or hidden revelations to explain [her trust of Connor]..."

Well, as I was perusing through the first season of "Angel," I noticed yet another instance that backs up the idea that Cordy demands complete honesty from her friends. In the first season's "Eternity," Angel, temporarily turned into Angelus after being drugged by a happy pill, tells Cordy that she's a lousy actress. Afterwards, Angel tries to tell her that he had not meant what he said.

She replies:

"Yes you did. And I'd appreciate it if you didn't try to weasel out of it. Not a good look for you. Angelus may not be the most relaxing company, but at least he's honest. Shouldn't I expect the same from the not-evil version of my friends?"

Flash-forward three years to "Slouching Towards Bethlehem," and Cordy says her reason for staying with Connor is:

"I need someone who won't lie to me like you did. All of you, I know you were trying to help, but the truth is the only way to do that. And that's what Connor's given me."

I love the continuity goodness!


[> Actually, no 4.5 spoilers! I retract that part of the warning! ;o) -- Rob, 21:57:33 11/03/02 Sun

[> Re: Cordy's continuity (AtS 4.4, 4.5, and "Eternity," season 1 spoilers) -- JM, 05:08:24 11/04/02 Mon

Funny though, that "Eternity" was the ep where she tries to fake a vision. Not that anyone was convinced, but I remember being a little shocked as well as pretty amused.

[> [> Re: Cordy's continuity (AtS 4.4, 4.5, and "Eternity," season 1 spoilers) -- Rob, 07:01:56 11/04/02 Mon

She wants others to be honest to her. Never mentioned she had to reciprocate. ;o)

But, in her defense, she didn't sound very convincing, which she kind of realized halfway through her ruse.


Theoretical physicist's review on 'Supersymmetry' (spoilers of course) -- Sang, 22:21:39 11/03/02 Sun

Okay... as I promised several weeks ago, I am all ready for tonight's ep. Supersymmetry. We usually call it SUSY in our cirlce of high energy physicists. It was not the first time that SUSY was used in TV drama. There was a very brilliant and realistic ep of Law and order about 5-6 years ago. There was a 5th year postdoc who was hell-bent to revenge to his former adviser. As a 7th year postdoc now, I think he really had a thin skin to be a high energy physicist.

Anyway, what is SUSY? About 10 years ago, I had several meals with Dr. Julius Wess who is one of the founder of SUSY theory. He was very nice gentleman, but unfortunately quite boring lecture, even though he is a real genius. According to his theory, SUSY is the only possilbe theory which can connect internal symmetry(matter) and external symmetry(space-time).

Universe is consist of matter and space-time. Matters are divided into two, interactions (natural forces, like electro-magnetic-weak-strong force, they are all bosons) and substances or we sometimes call it matters (like quarks and leptons and they are all fermions). I don't want explain what is fermion and what is boson. Since it will take too much time.

SUSY is symmetry which can convert fermion to boson and vice versa. Thus unifiy matter and interactions. If we apply it to bigger symmetry (we usually call it Supergravity or SUGRA), all the physical matter and space-time can be unified, which is not full theory yet.

When people developed Superstring theory, they call it ToE (Theory of Everything), because it include everything, matter, force, space, time in one theory. Unfortunately there are many string theories and noone knows which one is the correct one. In 1994, two young brilliant physicists found 'duality' which can connect different string theories to one. So they unified 6 string theories to one 11-dimensional SUGRA theory. It was a huge hit in our community. They are Nathan Seiberg and Edward Witten. I met Seiberg at 1996, he was really impressive, but Witten is considered as the most brilliant living man on the earth. That's why Fred was freaked out when she found her name between, Ed Witten and Brian Greene. Well I also met Greene. He is young and charming charactor, not brilliant as Seiberg or Witten, but still pretty sharp.

Since most of people doesn't understand Fred's reaction, like Angel and Gunn, it would be a good idea to use famous sports star. Well, anyway, I was pleasantly suprised that Fred and Professors conversation didn suck. Well all of their chat can be found in the first few pages from Review books of this topic. And we don't usually call it P-subdimension, we prefer p-brane. But use of terms like D- brane, string compactification, heterotic string (half supersymmetric, half not, that's the reason of this strange name), t-duality, Higgs scalar.

And they used Gunn's misunderstanding of W.I.M.P. as a joke! Weakly Interacting Massive Particle was one of specialties of my former adviser (who can make Fred's adviser look like a saint).

So did they full it smoothly? Nope, there were so many plot holes in this episod, I was laughing a lot. But I should admit, it didn't bordered me like 'Ground State'. I enjoyed all the unintentional gags. There are several non-physics 'huh?' things, like 'when did Fred study and research those things?', 'How come Fred was invited to that important conference just a day before?', 'How could they found the fan-boy so fast?', 'Wes is reading physics journal?', 'Fred was invited to talk after the journal was published, so the journal couldn't have any information about the conference. Yet Lilah and Wes could find it from there.', 'Fred was sent to Pylea by Professor, but I couldn't get how he made Fred find the book and read it to open the portal.' and 'From when can Angel move faster without Gunn? I thought they were using car.'

Yet, I just enjoyed this ep. not great, not that smart, but very enjoyable. Especially if you are high enery theory physicist, you will have several bonus point to laugh, Like WIMP joke. 6 year as a physics T.A. Ouch! I was there. I was almost ready to kill myself (or snap his neck and throw him to hell-hole), before I finally get my Ph.D. My adviser didn't send me to hell-dimension. Instead he turned my life into one.

So, A Professor is sending his students to hell, what's new?
Angel Chat-room? Did we see this guy in this board?

I wasn't suprised Gunn's action. I was actually waiting to see him doing that from the beginning. Comparing Fred to Willow's action was too obvious yet proper. How about Giles' motivation in 'Gift' and Gunn's? I think this is the first time that I actually like to see Fred and Gunn together. They finally showed some chemistry. It would give some interesting development between charators.

Now, I think writers did their homework. And maybe they read books like B. Greene's 'Elegant Universe', Greene is not only a bright physicist, he is also trained actor and good writer. He studied drama and acting while he was in Havard grad school. He got many job offers from good universities, but he remained in NY. When I had dinner with him (btw he is quite handsome, too.) he told me that his wife, who is an actress, cannot find job other than NY, so he decided to stay there to help her carrier.

But they made some mistakes when they used a real physicists' names. If Witten and Greene were main speakers, there is zero chance that grad student who was out of research for 6 years can be invited with them. And the conference room for that kind of big names are usually three times bigger and is always packed. Last time I went Witten's talk, the place had almost 300 seats and even corridor was full. And Witten uses OHP and Greene always uses more than two projectors, You may have a portal to hell-dimension over the conference room, but you cannot have a science conference without any screen or projector..

Actually something that only physicist could laugh was Wes's comment that he enjoyed Fred's article. (There are less than 3 % of Physics Ph.Ds who can understand that kind of subject.) After he showed that he was an expert in string theory, he mispronounced Pauli's name! (Pauli is Austrian. One of the founder of Quantum Mechanics.)

One thought occured to me watching this ep, Fred is just not the type I can think as a string theorist. I met a few of them, there are just a few, actually. All of female string theorist are very confident and aggressive. That's because this area has very low survival rate and it is even harder for female physicists. I cannot recall correctly but I heard that it was one of the most gender unvalanced area in Academia.

[> Superstring...the stuff that can go ten rounds with my Cat. Spoilers for Supersymmetry -- Rufus, 00:12:10 11/04/02 Mon

The physics stuff went over my head about the same way the sports references did. One thing you mentioned struck me and that was about the fellow who was a genius but boring....I've met some of them....they were genius when it came to numbers and I was able to interact in the world in a way that escaped them. Shows that we all do have a place..though I think some of these genius types end up a bit isolated. From what I can see the academic world is just the same as any clique...there are posative and negative aspects to everything.

Now, back to chemistry show between Gunn and Fred.....was that skirt short or what? It's the first overt sexual chemistry I've seen between the two as I think they were playing cutesy with the relationship before making it seem very juvenille (for a reason perhaps). Gunn and Fred may love each other but they are missing the boat when it comes to understanding. One little bit that Fred said to Wesley caught my ear.....

Fred: Charles doesn't have this in him. It's part of what I love about him.

Wes: You can still back out of this if you think Gunn's right.

Fred: It's not about what's right.

Both Fred and Gunn have this image of each other that was crushed tonight when Fred saw that Gunn was and has been capable of great darkness, and Gunn saw that Fred could hate and want to cause pain to another. Fred showed that she was a bit more than meets the eye when she was willing to give Connor a few extra jolts because she felt betrayed by him. Gunn has proved to Fred he has the capacity to kill in a cold blooded way. How do these characters wash the blood off their hands. And that comes to my question.....Angel knew that Lilah was telling the truth, so, why wouldn't he know that Gunn and Fred haven't been totally honest with him?

[> [> Actually - strip away all the physics lingo and it's all the basis of Magick..... -- Briar Rose, 00:35:38 11/04/02 Mon

Why wouldn't Wesley understand physics in general? Anyone who practices magick can tell you that it is real, that it incorporates everything that Superstring theories and space/time continuem and energy reacting and interacting with inner/outer energy conduits and that you can create actions and reactions on matter with energy in real time and in unrelational (Universal) time?

[> [> Re: Superstring...the stuff that can go ten rounds with my Cat. Spoilers for Supersymmetry -- Rattletrap, 18:50:36 11/04/02 Mon

Rufus wrote:
"Both Fred and Gunn have this image of each other that was crushed tonight when Fred saw that Gunn was and has been capable of great darkness, and Gunn saw that Fred could hate and want to cause pain to another. Fred showed that she was a bit more than meets the eye when she was willing to give Connor a few extra jolts because she felt betrayed by him. Gunn has proved to Fred he has the capacity to kill in a cold blooded way. How do these characters wash the blood off their hands."

'trap responds:
An excellent point. Fred has seen very little of Gunn's past. In TOGOM she has a glimpse of his old gang, but he comes off as aloof from most of their most bloodthirsty actions. Add to that that Fred was just barely integrated into the gang and didn't know what to make of most of the things happening in that story.

In the episode with the casino owner who owned Gunn's soul (the name of the ep. escapes me) Gunn comes across as desperate and alienated, but not really dark and violent. Most of our glimpses into Gunn's dark past come in Season 2, something that he has tried to put behind him for a couple of years now.

Fred's history is different. She is usually superficially bubbly and cheery these days, but she suffered almost unbearably in Pylea and that time has clearly left its mark. It also, in my mind, goes a long way toward explaining Fred's sudden and vicious outbursts of rage, however justified that rage might be.

Just my $.02


[> A question from the flunkie in the back of the auditorium. -- Deb, 01:03:19 11/04/02 Mon

I'm not even sure I know enough to ask this question. Space and time are not *real* but they exist when attached to the material world of a dimension along a string, thus changing the energy of the material in that dimension to appear *real*? What I need, I think, is a model. This is my model for *reality*: Soap bubbles, with the material and space and time inside, popping at the moment of encounter to be quickly followed by another bubble.

Reading this brought back to mind a dream I had about a week ago. My dark hair was long as it was a few years ago but these thicker, white strings (see spaghetti only 50 times thicker) were also sprouting from my head. I was told not to pull them out because it would make the top of my head empty, and I would not exist. (no greying hair jokes please).

[> [> Re: A question from the flunkie in the back of the auditorium. -- Sang, 12:01:55 11/04/02 Mon

Oh dear..

I have no way to explain it in plain languate, I don't even sure that I could make understand myself in plain language.

Brian Greene is really great presenter of this subject. After attending his colloquim, several condesed matter physicists (who are really smart guys, they invented superconductivities, semi-conductor, nano-technologies, but don't understand string theory at all) told me that now they can understand what string theory is. But actually, what they understood was the Brian's miniature version of it. It is like looking a postcard and saying, 'now I saw whole grand canyon!'.

I am not even as good as Brian to explain this. Let's say in this way, for long time being, physicists belived that all the world was consisted of point particles. But point doesn't have a size. Whenever we calculate something in this world. those description gives us infinity problem.

In some point people start think that our world was made of something with size, thus a string. So this tiny string generate everything. It's excited modes can be translated as matters and forces, which makes galaxy, stars, and us. It is actually quite complicated theory... but it is like, there is a string, and we are its music.

[> [> [> There is a string, and we are its music. I like it. -- Deb, 13:34:32 11/04/02 Mon

I loved your description of the mirror/soul. Much better than academic explanation. You actually caught in words exactly what the mirror does.

And to think we might be like music (tone?) played by a stringed instrument is just plain awesome. It makes sense in a none common sense way.

Thanks. Your view of things is quite beautiful.

[> Re: Theoretical physicist's review on 'Supersymmetry' (spoilers of course) -- vh, 07:14:06 11/04/02 Mon

Thank you for sharing your reactions and experiences! Actually, you remind me why I chose not to go into academia (my field was biology) -- the whole hell- dimension thing had something to do with it, as I recall.

String theory seemed to be the sort of thing my father (a chemistry professor) read for recreation. He, of course, was an extremely unusual man.

[> Re: Theoretical physicist's review on 'Supersymmetry' (spoilers of course) -- skeeve, 08:24:08 11/04/02 Mon

"I don't want explain what is fermion and what is boson. Since it will take too much time."

Once upon a time, fermions were particles with half-integer spin and obeyed the Pauli exclusion principle: No two particles of the same kind could have precisely the same state. It was roughly the quantum mechanical version of no two things in the same place at the same time. Bosons were integral (possibly zero) spin particles that were allowed to be much more gregarious. Lasers routinely produce multiple photons with the same state. All the bosons in the universe could be put in Felix's satchel without violating the Pauli exclusion principle.
It's been a while since I read about this stuff, so things might have changed since.

"SUSY is symmetry which can convert fermion to boson and vice versa."

It occurs to me that Fred as a string theory physicist might have been intended a joke in itself.

What I most want to know from a real string theory physicist is whether what we heard of Fred's lecture made any sense.

[> [> Re: Theoretical physicist's review on 'Supersymmetry' (spoilers of course) -- Sang, 11:51:32 11/04/02 Mon

Yup... in nutshell. Her talk wasn't out of point. But as I wrote, it can be found in any review papers about string theory for non-expert. I am not string theorist, I am just high energy theorist who is also working on cosmology.

Fred's lecture was conveniently interupted by the monster from the portal, before she should talk more serious stuffs. But most of her conversation with Prof. and her babbling at AI all made sense.

string compactifications, heterotic string, T-duality, WIMP, Higgs Scalar, Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking, Kaluza-Klein theory.. all true.

p.s. One reason I don't want to explain about fermion and boson was; it would be really boring to explain spins and statistical mechanics in this board.

[> [> [> You'd be surprised -- Sophist, 13:00:53 11/04/02 Mon

at how patient some of us are for explanations of arcane facts.

[> Some URLs for Angel and Gunn... -- Wisewoman, 09:42:54 11/04/02 Mon

...and a question for Sang.

First, theoretical physics for the absolute novice! I actually spent a lot of time on- line trying to figure this stuff out during my quest for wisdom, but that's another story. Two of the best sites I found were the following:

The Particle Adventure at This site is by the Particle Data Group of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and gives you basic information on quarks, neutrinos, fermions, bosons, all that good stuff, in a very accessible and interesting way. I love this site!

The Official String Theory Website at The Basics section here is really accessible to the lay person, and makes you want to read on.

And my question for Sang: Have you ever heard of Christopher Michael Langan and his Cognitive Theoretical Model of the Universe (CMTU; Langan was "discovered" to be the most intelligent individual in the United States on the basis of IQ testing. He was working as a bouncer in a small club in the Eastern US, and didn't have any formal scientific training, AFAIK. He then decided to write up his own GUT or ToE. I have not read his theory, but I'm dying to know what a physicist would think of it.

Thanks so much for your impression of Supersymmetry. Really enjoyed it.

;o) dub

[> [> Re: Some URLs for Angel and Gunn... -- Sang, 11:48:26 11/04/02 Mon

First two sites are really good sites if you are a physics buff. THe official string theory site was made by a wife of one of the most famous string theorist. I cannot remember who it was though. But it is funny to see that someone use "official" in their site.

About CMTU, I don't think anyone get anything useful from that kind of site. There are thousands of "genius" with high IQs who didn't establish anything. On the other hand, there are so many people with modestly high IQs and have contributed to our science developements.

And there are more than thousands web-sites all over the world in so many languages that claims that they found the theory of everything. It doesn't work that way. Science is not entirely individual work. It is more like collective thing. Even if Einstein did his relativity theory while he was working at patent office, he was also Ph.D student in Physics and mathematics and was working on University on the same time.

Sometimes, there are people who make contribution even without higher education. For example, this year's Nobel Chemistry pirze winner was Japanes man who works in small company for 22 years. He only has his b.s. degree and never worked in Academic institution. But his work was published and approved to be very important by other scientist.

So, CMTU is another junk. We are not snob. I knew a guy who was colleage drop- out (he spend only 8 months in Collage) but later he published Quantum gravity paper in European journal. People appreciate a good science regardless of their position or education, only if it is a good science work.

[> [> [> Thanks, Sang! -- Wisewoman, 13:09:06 11/04/02 Mon

That's kinda what I expected about CMTU. I don't know if Langan has any basis in physics at all!


[> references, what Fred talked about... -- Sang, 12:35:24 11/04/02 Mon

All the Fred's and some of Professors words would sounds completely nonsense to non-high energy physicists. But it actually made sense, not like 'Ground State'. Here are some references.

Supersymmetry : symmetry between boson and fermion. Also used as a symmetry between matter and forces. substances and space time.

string theory : theory that the elementary object of our world is one-dimensional string. Which has two basic properties. Tension and length. Matters (photon, electron, quark.. etc) can be interpreted as the excitation mode (vibration) of the string.

Superstring theory : string theory which has supersymmetry. This is considered as theory of everything. Though there are 6 different string theories.

Heterotic string : Half supersymmetric and half not. Most popular model of string, there are two of them. E8xE8 and SO(32)

Duality : tranformation which connect different strings. This property shows that two completely different theory can be dual to each other. So all 6 theory can be looked as one system.

T-Duality : duality which connects small scale and large scale (actually Fred mentioned it correctly). You can change E8xE8 into SO(32) heterotic string by T-duality transformation

string compactification : all 6 superstring theories have 10 dimensional space. Since our world has only 4 dimensions (3 space, 1 time), we assume that other 6 dimensions are compactified into small closed space.

Kaluza-Klein theory : Kaluza and Klein are physicist of the time of Einstein. They propsed that they can combine electro magnetic force and gravity by assuming that our universe has one small extra dimension. Einstein rejected that idea. But it became popular because superstring theory has small extra dimensions (see above). It became even more popular since 1999 when fresh ph.D Arkani-Hamed and others propsed small but detectable extra-dimension can exist. I also was involved in this theory.

p-dimensional subspace : since string theory has more dimension than ours, it can have wacky multi-dimensional objects in it. Some of them are stable and doing crucial role in forming physical universe. We call them p-brane.

D-brane : In p-brane, p means the number of dimension. Here D means Dirichlet boundary condition. string can be either close in circle or attached to D-branes. Close string can generate gravity and other forces, attaced string can generate matters.

WIMP : weakly interacting massive particle. Some kind of hypothetical objects, predicted in many theories. They exist but haven't detected since they are so weakly interating with other matter. Their invisible nature and the fact that they are massive make them a good candidates of Cosmological dark matter.

Higgs Scalar : hypothetical, but strongly belived to exist particle. Without them all the matter in the universe should massless. Since that is not the case, scientist are crazy to hunt this object.

Spontaneou Symmetry Breaking : dynamical way that Higgs scalar generate masses of objects in the world in some universal time. This mechanism can be found other natural processes. Most famous one is superconductivity.

Neutrino : Almost massless, and very weakly interacting particle. There are there kinds of them. People dig into old mines, dig 300 feet holes in attic ice. dive 1000 fee deep see, to detect this one. Only particle that the mass cannot come out of Higgs scalar, yet we found its mass recently. One of scientific mysteries.

Plazma : something you cannot expect to find in string theorist's book shelf. That's why Fred was suspicious.

Ok.. I think I covered all the terms presented in the last episod.. If you want more informations (I doubt it), you can visit first two sites in Wisewoman's post. Just avoid third one.

[> [> Thanks! -- Masq, 12:43:56 11/04/02 Mon

Some of this will be quoted in my ep analysis. Just enough to get certain plot points across!!

Oh, I love when someone else does the research. Especially when they know what they're talking about!

And is "plazma" really spelled with a "z"? I thought the spelling was "plasma", regardless of which scientific field is taking the term as part of their own vocabulary.

[> [> [> Re: sorry my bad, -- Sang, 13:08:16 11/04/02 Mon

Plasma is right. That was a typo (one of so many...)

[> [> [> [> Sang - you are great! -- Briar Rose, 14:54:42 11/04/02 Mon

[> Re: Recovering academic's thoughts on 'Supersymmetry' (spoilers of course) -- leslie, 12:39:41 11/04/02 Mon

I have absolutely no ability to judge the scientific validity of Fred's talk, but the whole idea of a huge sucking vortex opening over your head and swallowing you up as you speak was certainly in the fine ME tradition of making the horrors of life terribly, terribly real! (Though Fred should not have been standing right there on the stage while she was introduced--she should have either been in the first row and come up after the introduction, or there should have been a table next to the podium with the speakers lined up to stand and take the podium as they were introduced to talk.) And I haven't made it as far as the Oedipal thread below, but the situation between Fred and her professor was certainly the academic equivalent of the Oedipal tension developing between Angel and Connor over Cordy. I may not have spent 6 years in Pylea, but I did spend 3 years in Eugene, Oregon, pretty much the same thing!

[> When art usurps science (somewhat OT request for Sang) -- Masq, 13:35:36 11/04/02 Mon

Sang, you've commented a couple times on how AtS does in the science references, so I wanted to throw a question at you in relation to that. The jist of my question is, How much does it bug scientists when writers don't quite get the science right, or when they take artistic liberties with the science?

Here's the reason for my query, which is actually OT on Buffyverse stuff. I'm writing a novel in which my characters are neurophysiologists. I know enough about the science and scientific academia to be able to depict my characters in the lab setting and to show them having conversations about their work.

However, I realized as I was writing that the science they are doing can be a metaphorical mirror for problems in the character's lives. This metaphor works out fairly straightfowardly, and pretty elegantly, for almost all the science mentions in the novel except one. I have one character who is writing up a research proposal. I wanted her research proposal to be as realistic as possible, so I went to the neurophysiology literature in the area she is studying (motor inhibition, long story), but try as I might, I couldn't find any studies I could usurp that met the requirements of my metaphor without being overly complex for a lay audience.

I realized I was going to have to "make up" the scientific details of her proposal myself. Now I've been procrastinating this in part because it's difficult to do, and in part because I'd like any science I have in my novel to be as accurate as possible. But I know it probably won't be that.

As a writer, my metaphor has to come first, so I know I need to give up on my hang- ups and do some "bullsh*t science", but I wonder how much this will bother people in neurophysiology who, with luck, might someday read my novel.

Are there ways in which writers take literary liscence with science that particularly bother you? Are there any that don't? When are you willing to go with stuff that's basically scientific bullsh*t for the sake of "the story"? I imagine this happens more often than people suspect for physicists and fiction/films.

[> [> Butting in -- Darby, 15:27:35 11/04/02 Mon

In some ways, it is more jarring when the details are right and then are suddenly wrong - it breaks the spell. And you're right, if you are careful about the details you'll draw readers from the field - how many string theorists are going to be watching Angel reruns once word gets around? But it'll piss them off when you veer into metaphor at the expense of responsible depictions of "Truth."

Maybe the best thing to do is vague things up, keep it metaphorical and just sort of in the neighborhood of legitimacy. Don't get drawn into a bunch of details that you know are wrong - it may have a bad effect on you as a writer as well.

And refer to "serotonin" seems like every neurological process I've read about in the last 3 years has somehow been linked to serotonin levels, or serotonin processing, or serotonin something-or-other.

[> [> [> Serotonin -- Sophist, 16:37:57 11/04/02 Mon

LOL. That's the latest "in" defense for crimes -- low serotonin levels. String theory must explain the symmetries which broke to separate law and neurology.

From my angle, the way TV butchers courtroom practice (and the law generally) is infuriating. It's not that hard to get it right, and the profession itself doesn't lack for drama. Keeping it very general works fine; botching the details distracts attention the same way a major continuity break does.

[> [> Re: When art usurps science (somewhat OT request for Sang) -- Sang, 16:27:17 11/04/02 Mon

I am not sure I am entitled to answer to your question. But I will try my best. There are many novels that use science as a special effect in movie. If it works well, it gave readers some kind of awe and satisfaction. But as Joss said, using too much special effects limits writer's creativity.

There are good SF writers, like Arthur C Clark, who is also a good scientist. So they can use those materials fluently. Problem is, not many writer can do that. It is not just about science, when you use history, philosophy, foreign languages, ethnic cultures in your novel, there is always danger to invade others experties.

I think when you use science as a metaphor, either you can prepare and study extensively. Or you can minimize the use of science and make the readers guess whatever is missing. The first method would be prefered for many aurthors, but regardless of your amount of effort, there is always a chance to make a mistake. Like this Angel ep, they prepared all the details of string chat, but they forgot to put projector screen on the conference room.

I can think of two examples of this. One is S1 Buffy ep 'Out of mind, Out of sight' Giles explains the invisibility as a quantum effect, which surely is not scientific, but still scientist wouldn't offended. It was crucial but minimal explanation, without getting into more trouble.

Bad example of this case would be one ep of X-files I saw long times ago. It was about a missing scientist who studies dark matter. He was missing after accident at his accelerator lab. Now that was their first mistake, since they didn't know that dark matter study is not excuteded at accelerator. If they don't know this things, they shouldn't specify what he worked for.

After that it was a complete mess, they throw all kind of crap science explanations withtout understandion a word of it. 'The scientist's shadow turned into black hole, because he was exposed to neutrino beam..' that was really lame.

I was stunned by disbelief, I knew that X-files was not a show for me, but I didn't know it could be that bad. I was ready to enjoy it as a unintentional joke. But then they made a big vital mistake. They said, his shadow can suck anything into it, but it actually suck only human and his/her belongings. I could say it was abolutely the worst thing I ever saw in TV.

Ideas of two shows weren't so different, it was about two lonely person became a monster by accident. The ep of X-file could be much better, if they used the same approach in Buffy, leave difficult things unexplained and let people use their imagination.

[> really, I am not joking here. -- Sang, 13:50:59 11/04/02 Mon

Some may ask me how I think about physics professor praticing magick. I wouldn't suprised at all. Actually most bizzare thing at the Fred's scene was that there was to computer, no projector, no screen at all. That poor girl stand there without any material. She couldn't go on there 5 more second. Everyone who ever been in conference knew that a portal to hell will open above her had and will suck her into it.^__^

You will be suprised to know what kind of things some of those prominent and brilliant scientist are doing now.

Dr. John Hagelin, now famous (or notorious) of his pursuit of American presidency, was expert on Supersymmetry and GUT theory. He got his theoretical physics ph.D in Havard. and published 50 or more papers, some of them are quite important. Now, other than presidency, his focus is on projecting his brain wave to others, so he remotely control other peoples personality. He made some theory based on supersymmetry and quantum field theory. And collect his minions who can meditate string of thoughts synchronized way. Then he claims that he can project this strong mind wave to the place that he want to make less violent and peaceful.

He call it once, mind laser, know he call it "technologies of consciousness", he is changing his physics into metaphysics. Believe it or not, he once got government budget for his research.

Also former Nobel Prize winner Prof. B. Josephson has his own metaphysics project in Caimbridge University. "Mind-Matter Unification project" For long time, he is researching to find a way to alter matters with his mind of Physics, in vain. Well, he is still working on it.

At least, these two are open about their practice. Who knows how many of those physicists keep ancient spell books in their office?

If you are interested,

Prof. Hagelin's homepage.

Prof. Josephson's home

[> [> And my personal favourite... -- Wisewoman, 15:20:42 11/04/02 Mon

David Bohm, quantum physicist, and his theory of the implicate order...

"I would say that in my scientific and philosophical work, my main concern has been with understanding the nature of reality in general and of consciousness in particular as a coherent whole, which is never static or complete but which is an unending process of movement and unfoldment...."
(David Bohm: Wholeness and the Implicate Order)

Another metaphor Bohm uses to illustrate the implicate order is that of the hologram. To make a hologram a laser light is split into two beams, one of which is reflected off an object onto a photographic plate where it interferes with the second beam. The complex swirls of the interference pattern recorded on the photographic plate appear meaningless and disordered to the naked eye. But like the ink drop dispersed in the glycerin, the pattern possesses a hidden or enfolded order, for when illuminated with laser light it produces a three-dimensional image of the original object, which can be viewed from any angle. A remarkable feature of a hologram is that if a holographic film is cut into pieces, each piece produces an image of the whole object, though the smaller the piece the hazier the image. Clearly the form and structure of the entire object are encoded within each region of the photographic record.

Bohm suggests that the whole universe can be thought of as a kind of giant, flowing hologram, or holomovement, in which a total order is contained, in some implicit sense, in each region of space and time. The explicate order is a projection from higher dimensional levels of reality, and the apparent stability and solidity of the objects and entities composing it are generated and sustained by a ceaseless process of enfoldment and unfoldment, for subatomic particles are constantly dissolving into the implicate order and then recrystallizing.

The quantum potential postulated in the causal interpretation corresponds to the implicate order. But Bohm suggests that the quantum potential is itself organized and guided by a superquantum potential, representing a second implicate order, or superimplicate order. Indeed he proposes that there may be an infinite series, and perhaps hierarchies, of implicate (or "generative") orders, some of which form relatively closed loops and some of which do not. Higher implicate orders organize the lower ones, which in turn influence the higher.

Bohm believes that life and consciousness are enfolded deep in the generative order and are therefore present in varying degrees of unfoldment in all matter, including supposedly "inanimate" matter such as electrons or plasmas. He suggests that there is a "protointelligence" in matter, so that new evolutionary developments do not emerge in a random fashion but creatively as relatively integrated wholes from implicate levels of reality. The mystical connotations of Bohm's ideas are underlined by his remark that the implicate domain "could equally well be called Idealism, Spirit, Consciousness. The separation of the two -- matter and spirit -- is an abstraction. The ground is always one." (Quoted in Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe, HarperCollins, New York, 1991, p. 271.)

From: David Bohm and the Implicate Order, by David Pratt ( boh.htm)

Dedalus and I used to discuss this stuff a lot on the board last year, as I recall, along with the contributions of Alan Watts to the Western understanding of Buddhism.

We're more interested than you might think, Sophist notes above, LOL.

;o) dub

[> [> Question -- Rufus, 17:13:28 11/04/02 Mon

Since the writers have been talking all this supersymmetry, chaos, and other physics stuff, how do you think the theories mentioned translate into the story of the Buffyverse? There seems to be layers of understanding, we can see the storylines in an enjoyment, religious, philosophical, and scientific how would a physics type see the Buffyverse?

[> But what we really want to know is... in a parallel universe, would Spike still be kewwwwl? -- The Second Evil, 19:57:56 11/04/02 Mon

[> wow, sang! thanks! so if we knew SUSY like you know SUSY... -- anom, 20:34:57 11/04/02 Mon

...we could still enjoy the episode--good to know.

I thought they did use "p-brane" at one point, or some kind of -brane--I think I saw it on closed captioning. (Are there p-brane/pea-brain puns among string theorists?)

Agree w/your "non-physics 'huh?' things." I thought of several...well, some...of them when I watched the ep. Come to think of it, I had a physics "huh?" that you might be able to explain. Fred's clue to what the prof was doing was finding a book on plasma physics in the wrong place. But what would plasma have to do w/opening interdimensional portals? And the book's illustrations had nothing to do w/either plasma physics or superstring theory, so the cover was a fake in the 1st place...then why not fake a cover on supersymmetry? (Hmm, guess that 2nd part is another non-physics "huh?")

"So, A Professor is sending his students to hell, what's new?"

Sorry to hear it, but LOL!!

As far as Fred's personality, well, maybe she used to be more aggressive & confident before her time in Pylea. It looks like that experience changed her...maybe in more ways than one.

Oedipus and Angel, Season 7: Similiarities (A disguarded plot?) -- BlueLight, 00:11:17 11/04/02 Mon

Damn, they dumped the whole Oedipus Rex thing and I was really liking it. There were so many clues and similarities.
  • The song Cordy sang for Lorne she also sang in the talent show in BtVS's The Puppet Show which included a scene from Oedipus Rex.
  • Oedipus's parents attempt to kill him.
    Angel's actions almost result in Connor being killed.
  • There was a prophecy that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother. This prophecy resulted in Oedipus ending up in another country being raised by foster parents.
    There was a prophecy that Angel would kill his son that resulted in Connor being taken to another dimension and raised by a foster parent.
  • Baby Oedipus's parents send him to be killed but instead he ends up in a different country where he becomes the prince.
    Baby Connor is taken by Holtz but instead of killing him he takes him to a dimension where he excels and becomes "The Destroyer".
  • The first time Oedipus meets his real father he fights and tries to kill him (actually he does kill him).
    The first time Connor meets his real father he fights and tries to kill him.
  • Oedipus is raised by foster parents.
    Connor is raised by a foster parent.
  • Oedipus meets and weds his real mother.
    Connor...well Darla's dead but it looked like Connor would enter into a relationship with his surrogate mother and father's putative consort.
  • Teiresias, the blind seer, refuses to tell Oedipus what he knows but when repeatedly prodded predicts a disastrous future.
    Lorne, the seer, refuses to tell what Angel knows but when repeatedly prodded predicts a disastrous future.
  • Oedipus Rex ends with Oedipus poking his eyes out.
    Angel offers to poke Connor's eyes out in Deep Down.
I really like this storyline and was hoping they would continue with it. But alas, Cordie has gone back to Angel. Which I find much less interesting.

And Connor seems to be a breast man. The copping a feel last week and the staring at the boobs this week.

And he certainly has his father's bad hair.

[> Giving up too soon? -- Masq, 09:25:22 11/04/02 Mon

I didn't get the impression they were dropping it at all. Just because Connor and Cordelia didn't pursue any kind of sexual thing doesn't mean the Oedipus angle is over.

For one thing, it doesn't seem to me that Cordelia has gone back to Angel to "be" with him. She needed to get away from an awkward situation with Connor, but she has a relationship with Connor now. Not a romantic one, granted, but a connection with him that is certainly sexual on his side. Cordelia has seen pictures and knows she was once a mother of sorts to Connor, and that's the source of her discomfort, but the motherhood relationship is also a necessary part of the whole Oedipal complex.

She asked Angel if they were in love, but she has to remember that love, and you know that even if she does, the writers will do something to thwart them getting together any time soon.

But the main thing is, Connor's disdain for Angel no longer seems to turn on the "vampire" thing. He still doesn't like his father for being a vampire, but that rage he had at the end of the episode when Cordelia left? Connor's going to be all about hating his father for having the girl he wants, the girl who once was a "mother" to him. Cordelia will go back to Connor in a mothering capacity perhaps and come face-to-face with his sexual awakening again.

And if that's not Oedipal, I don't know what is.

Oh, and, Connor definitely doesn't have his father's hair. Lucky for him, he has his mother's. His real mother's. I just wish he would get it out of his face. It would be easier to take him seriously that way!

WTH was up with Angel's parlor trick? -- oboemaboe, 00:12:43 11/04/02 Mon

Angel can project his memories now for others to see? And implies that he's always been able to do so? Did I misunderstand this scene or are the writers on crack?

And BTW, Lorne says "Champion" for whoever's keeping track.

[> Re: WTH was up with Angel's parlor trick? -- Deb, 00:30:17 11/04/02 Mon

I *think* the comment had to do with his pointing and describing someone -- photographic memory, which if so, was still awkward. I have no idea.

[> [> Re: WTH was up with Angel's parlor trick? -- oboemaboe, 01:06:50 11/04/02 Mon

It seemed to me like Gunn-in-the-lobby was placed inside Angel's remembrance. When Angel made one of the audience members appear, Gunn turns and looks directly at the apparition and says, "how come I've never seen this parlor trick before?"

Maybe someone who taped it can watch this scene again for me.

[> [> [> Re: WTH was up with Angel's parlor trick? -- Finn Mac Cool, 04:32:54 11/04/02 Mon

Keep in mind, Angel pointed exactly where someone would go, so Gunn was probably looking where Angel was pointing. Also, there were a couple shots where we saw Angel just in the regular Hyperiod (aka Gunn's viewpoint).

[> [> [> [> Re: WTH was up with Angel's parlor trick? -- meritaten, 18:44:50 11/04/02 Mon

I'll have to watch it again, but I thought that Angel set up furniture to help him remember what had happened. I thoguht Gunn's statement came before the memory "trick". I'm still thinking that Angel was using the chairs to help him remember the conference. Gunn was simply there. I think the trick was just the use of chairs as an aid to memory.

[> [> Ditto -- Darby, 06:52:45 11/04/02 Mon

I also saw it as a reference to his ability to remember a roomful of people that Gunn had barely noticed - after all, Gunn hadn't even seen Wesley or Lilah, although to be fair he was probably feeling uncomfortable enough in the setting to not look around much and draw attention to himself.

But it's been a while since we got an "Angel is Batman" reference, not counting the Gunn ref to the TV show in Ground State. It was fun. You might count Lilah's realization that he wouldn't hurt her, too - is she his Joker?

[> [> [> Re: Ditto -- Malandanza, 23:17:13 11/04/02 Mon

"You might count Lilah's realization that he wouldn't hurt her, too - is she his Joker?"

I thought Lilah was whistling past the graveyard -- it was only a couple of episodes before that Angel completely rattled her when she was spying on Connor. She lost her composure and began ranting about moral high ground. Maybe she knew that since she really hadn't been responsible this time, Angel wouldn't hurt her, but she was around during his Noir period and was the potential victim for the white room demon girl (and Angel was perfectly willing to snap her neck). I am surprised Angel didn't call her bluff, though, and do something dramatic (like rip off her car door). Maybe he's losing his edge :)

[> Re: WTH was up with Angel's parlor trick? -- JM, 05:20:07 11/04/02 Mon

Well, Angel's an artist, so he probably has a very good visual memory, as well as heightened senses. I think, from what he mentioned, that when he noticed Wes, and then Lilah, come in, he started paying careful intention, in case something was up. He was just walking backwards to try and trigger everything he saw, but had not consciously focused on. The visuals were for the audience's benefit, like grainy flashbacks.

[> [> More CSI goodness -- neaux, 06:58:47 11/04/02 Mon

This is the second instance that Angel has incorporated some standard CSI effects into their show. First was the shock to Angel's Heart.. and now this recreation of a crimescene (so to speak)

What's the result? A Very Cool new look for Angel. Let's pray that this continues to be utilized by the show.

[> [> Re: WTH was up with Angel's parlor trick? -- darvangi, 06:59:19 11/04/02 Mon

Yes, that's the way I saw it - that the visual flashback-style recreation of events at the lecture was just for the benefit of the audience. It didn't occur to me at all that Gunn was actually seeing what Angel was seeing, just that he knew what Angel was doing and followed his train of thought. I thought it was a very clever scene.

[> [> Yeah... (Angel 4.5 spoilers) -- Rob, 07:08:18 11/04/02 Mon

...I saw it as a visual device, to illustrate what Angel was seeing in his mind, not implying that Gunn could actually see it also. I saw it twice, and I still get that impression. When Gunn turns to where Angel points, he is trying to play along as well, try to see what part of the room each person Angel's talking about, was standing. By parlor trick, he meant the ability to remember an entire room full of people and what each were doing.

I thought the scene was great--very cool and slick-looking transitions. Which, by the way, I noticed throughout the ep. Like when Fred and Wes jumped away from the dimensional portal, which transitioned directly to Cordy and Connor fighting the vamp. And the cuts back and forth between Angel's fight with the head-regrowing demon and Fred and Gunn and the Prof.



Is Connor evil? -- BlueLight, 03:57:16 11/04/02 Mon

Do we know that Connor is good? He was in Quor-toth a long time. His personality was formed there, in the most evil of dimensions. And he was the Destroyer, of whom it was said in "The Price":
FRED Have to flee. It brings pain...(staring off)Such pain...
LORNE "It?" What happened to "we?" What's with the pronoun switcheroo?
ANGEL (to Fred) What are you fleeing from?
FRED The bringer of torment... agony... death...(shudder) The Destroyer.
THE OTHERS share a wary look.
CORDELIA Oh, that's a name you just don't want to hear.
ANGEL (to Fred) Why is this "Destroyer" after you?
FRED It's not... PUSH IN on Fred as she looks up at Angel...
FRED (cont'd) It's coming after you...(whisper)Aaaangel.

That's quite a rep the boy had in Quor-toth, "The bringer of torment... agony... death... The Destroyer." Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil because I am the meanest mother in ...a hell dimension? Connor could be a lot more dangerous than we suspect, especially now that Cordie has rejected him. We think he's good because he fights demons, but that may just be the hunter, the destroyer in him, the part that likes hunting, that would have liked to have killed the bear just because it was magnificent. Connor, bringer of torment, you don't think he's finished after the little bath he made Angel take, do you?

I was hoping for ConCord and hoping that would soften Connor, help him adjust his attitude toward people and feelings and relationships. Cause there's a coldness, a meanness in him. He needs softening up. But alas, it seems it is not to be.

But he's still an interesting character.

[> Not necessarily -- Vickie, 13:18:46 11/04/02 Mon

As we've seen often enough on both shows, one can bring "torment... agony... death" and not be evil.

Willow did it. One might argue that she was evil at the time, but I prefer to say that she did some really evil things.

Angel did it. Hold on, I hear you shouting already "That was Angelus, it doesn't count!" Sorry, Angel, his souled self, has done things resulting in pain and death. Remember the Buddhist champion demon? Deader than dead. Remember 20 or so attorneys in a wine cellar? (Come on, at least one or two of them must have been redeemable.)

Even Buffy has done it. Remember S2, when she delays killing Angelus until Theresa, Jenny, and a quaint little shop girl (at least) have all died? Buffy didn't do evil here, but her all-too-human delays caused evil. Not really her responsibility, but I doubt she sees it that way.

Connor can have cause tons of pain and death in Quartoth simply trying to survive and to protect Holtz. He doesn't have to be evil to have accomplished that.

[> [> Agree -- Deb, 13:39:53 11/04/02 Mon

I took it all to mean that his adolescent son was on the way. :) My adolescent is certainly a "destroyer."

Pied Beauty: Season 6 v Season 5 -- Tchaikovsky, 07:03:57 11/04/02 Mon

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things;
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced- fold, fallow and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled, (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change-
Praise him.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a great television show. So great that, while walking the wind-swept, rain-soaked streets of a Midlands town on Friday, I was irresistably drawn to W H Smith. So great that I parted with far too much of my little student money. So great that, discovering only a little work to be done on homomorphic group normalisers for today, I settled comfortably down to watch the whole of Season 5 on DVD over the weekend.

So what, ultimately, were my conclusions? Seasons Five and Six are the only seasons I would admit to having seen every single minute of every single episode of. I've seen most of Season Two, the season which, in my opinion, everything following should be judged against. A benchmark which I personally believe Mutant Enemy have never quite struck again. But this is just a diversion. Essentially, my conclusion was that, in comparing Season Five to Season Six, Season Five came out much more favourably in most departments. Why? Well it boils down to the Hopkins poem. Eventually.

First, a few points I want to make entirely clear about my view of Season Six. I did not hate Season Six. I did not object to any of the subjects addressed. I did not believe that the injection of a hint of realism, and a slight move away from monsters, was in essence bad. I do not have any vested interests in particular characters' interactions. As people have said more eloquently than I can expect to, the show is best viewed without blinkers. Look at everyone's predicament, not just Spike's. Or Buffy's. Or the Parking Ticket Lady's.

And most importantly of all, I am not of the opinion that, put very simply, 'Season Six was too dark.' Season Six was a new and arguably daring venture for the show. It played with not merely the hero's sense of dislocation, but the hero's dark side. And it didn't do this in one episode. It did it consistently throughout the middle of the season, and on towards its end. It was an interesting ride.

But there is an element of Season Six which I believe was an Achilles' Heel, of a sort. I didn't have enough contrast. Marti Noxon says of Buffy generally on the DVD that it's great that one can have a crashing break-up one week, and emotional angst, and the next week have a giant troll. It's true, and it's something that Season Six left behind.

Look at this how you will, but, to take a slightly odd reference point, consider Jane Espenson's episodes in the two seasons. She's generally considered the 'comic' writer on Buffy, with David Fury, whose writing I personally find a little tedious most of the time. In Season Five, Jane Espenson wrote 'The Replacement, 'Triangle', 'Checkpoint' (a co- write), 'I Was Made To Love You', and 'Intervention'. I would consider all but the penultimate to be episodes where a fair amount of levity is injected. Troubles never appear to be unconquerable. Most of the characters are cheery most of the time. Compare Season Six. Jane Espenson writes 'Afterlife', 'Flooded' and 'Life Serial' (co-writes), and 'Doublemeat Palace'. The fact that she writes nothing after Episode 12 is a point in itself. But I found myself largely in depressed, emotional mode throughout both 'Afterlife' and 'Doublemeat Palace'. They're both about Buffy being depressed, with a side of other people being depressed. 'Life Serial', despite the joyful Troika, projects Buffy as failing everywhere again. 'Flooded' while being the brightest of the quartet, is about financial problems. Not so cheery.

I don't hate bleak episodes. 'The Body', as Joss Whedon states, is an episode which is deeply discomfiting because there is no catharsis. It's all about a vacuum, a lack of resolution, unmendable hurt. And the conclusion of Season Five is somewhat bleaker than the denouement of Season Six. The Slayer, the heroine, the protector, the sister, the daughter, the friend dies. At the end of Season Six, there is no death, only epiphanies and new beginnings.

But consider, as a whole, how many Season Six episodes had a happy resolution.
Bargaining 1: Buffy inside her grave
Bargaining 2: Buffy doesn't die- just.
Afterlife: Buffy explains the 'heaven' issue to Spike
Flooded: Goes to see Angel
Life Serial: Gets drunk to ignore pain
All the Way: Willow plays with Tara's mind.

Virtually every episode ends with pain. The only ones I can think of which don't are 'Gone', where Buffy says she doesn't want to die any more, 'Older and Far Away' with the slight smile on Dawn's face as she sees Buffy come to her, and 'Entropy' with Willow and Tara coming back together after an episode of relationship strain. And then the finale of the whole season. 4 out of 22. Not enough.

It's not that I didn't like any specific episodes. It's the balance. In Season Five, for every 'The Body' there's a 'Triangle', for every 'Into the Woods' a 'Checkpoint'. It's dappled. Praise Him. In Season Six, we lose the tragi-comic blend just a touch. It seems to being re-established in Season Seven. Let's hope.


[> Very nice post! -- Rahael, 09:09:28 11/04/02 Mon

This response is slightly OT.

And I love that Hopkins poem. When I was young, I didn't like poetry very much and that poem was one that always came to mind. I thought it was sappy and trite.

And later on, when I was a teenager, I returned to poetry with new eyes, and to Hopkins with new eyes, I realised how wonderful it was - as far from sappy and trite as you could get. I read the second verse properly for the first time:

"All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled, (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change-
Praise him."

For me, it resonated with my feeling of abnormality and otherness. It is as much the work of God, part of the beauty of nature, our difference and otherness. All things within us.

It's funny that you should say that the Body doesn't have any catharsis in it. You are very correct. I didn't even notice this, until I typed up Joss' commentary for the board. I cried while I typed, and when I finished, I felt hurt and upset and angry. No release. When I commented on this to dH, I said "perhaps it was because I didn't get to watch the ep properly". But I think it is in fact that there is no resolution. Part of me gave a cheer when Joss said that death resolves nothing, brings no one together. Because part of my feeling of otherness, my 'counter, original, spare, strange' feeling came from the fact that I could find no resolution to the huge wounds that death left for me. No heaven to picture, no peace of the grave, no silence. I could not identify with any of the platitudes that people presented to me. Which is what deepened my sense of "counter, spare, original, STRANGE"

Which has been Buffy's situation in Season 6. Her sense of wrongness - she can't see that she is part of the beautiful world she wants to show Dawn, not until the very end. I think Season 6 was all about the spirit of this poem.

(I usually do a little post after I type up the commentaries, making my own observations on what I'd just seen, but after that, it was too difficult. I've kind of returned to comment here)

As for the problems of Season 6, I thought Season 6 was fine around the edges - it was the middle that was soggy and undercooked.

[> [> Interesting thoughts -- Tchaikovsky, 09:30:58 11/04/02 Mon

Yes, I think that's true. Every artist who's worth their salt has a go at portraying death. They try to understand it. I think few have suceeded as well as Joss Whedon in 'The Body'. It's interesting though, that in 'Forever', Marti Noxon allows time for the words

Earth to earth
Dust to dust
Ashes to ashes

These are from the traditional Christian burial rituals, and yet I always find them strangely powerful. Even though this is only one side of the Christian belief, (they believe that the body is returned to dust, but the soul goes to a spiritual realm elsewhere), it doesn't suggest this metanarrative, and therefore becomes rather universal. Whatever other beliefs, it is true that your body will return to the ground, from which it was originally formed. There's a cycle going on. Maybe there's a sense of the Gaia philosophy Masquerade highlighted after 'Lessons'. It speaks of an earth with all elements connected, and perhaps with the earth itself a living organism.

I did consider typing up commentaries for 'Real Me', and particularly IWMTLY after watching them- I thought Jane Espenson's commentary was quite revealing. But I'm not sure I have the patience. As we Brits can't see the new Season's episodes, I could relapse into simple envy and not allow them our DVD goodies on a point of principle. But I'll see how busy I am later this week.

[> [> [> Nitpicking -- Sophist, 10:14:24 11/04/02 Mon

It's "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust", not the other way around.

I see you're sticking with the "v". Good choice -- the "w" was too Germanic.

What's odd about S6 is that many people believe it failed, but often for very different reasons. JMHO, but I thought it started very well, generated problems in the middle, and crashed at the end when it failed to deal with the problems in a satisfying way.

[> [> [> [> Yes, sorry -- Tchaikovsky, 12:50:56 11/04/02 Mon

Realised after I'd posted it, then thought I wouldn't bother correcting it. I suspect on any other board it would have past unquestioned, but people here are just so knowledgable. I can't get away with spouting intellectual-sounding gibberish. Oh well.

And as for my name- am I right in thinking that there's no 'correct' spelling using our characters, as the Russians write in Cyrillic? This could be a misapprehension of something someone told me. But I'm sure I've seen various spellings: some even beginning with a 'D'. In order for my initials to comprise the first three letters, it has to start Tch however, and I was just playing with the w because I'm fickle.


[> [> [> [> [> Actually, -- Sophist, 13:08:05 11/04/02 Mon

I'm being pedantic; hardly any need for you to apologize.

And I think you're correct about Cyrillic, but I'll let others weigh in on that. To me, that alphabet is kind of like synchronized swimming.

[> [> [> Let me know if you do -- Rahael, 10:36:04 11/04/02 Mon

Just so I don't! I am contemplating doing those two quite soon - I haven't even had the time to watch them yet. Life is topsy turvy.

I will let you know if I am (usually do it in one evening, so I'll post an advance notice or something).

It does take quite a bit of patience, be warned! Depends on how good one's typing speed is. Also, I end up including nearly everything which is said, and I'm nitpicky even about the exact word said, so I'll keep fastforwarding back and forth. People who are less neurotic than me might not take 2 and a bit hours to do one commentary!

[> Pretty big disagreements -- KdS, 04:43:30 11/05/02 Tue

I get your point about episode endings, but I'd disagree with your point of change. I remember looking back at the end of Season 5 and thinking that Family and Intervention were the last episodes I could remember that had what I considered an upbeat ending. And both of those were more meditative than happy-happy-joy-joy.

I see the change of mood as stemming very much from mid-S5 rather than S6. And I find it very hard to see Checkpoint as a light-hearted episode. Buffy does get her empowerment back on, but she is being persecuted by everyone in sight for most of the ep.

And I thought that both Entropy and Seeing Red derived much of their effect from the truly wild shifts of tone between humour and some of the darkest moments the series had ever seen.

My personal opinion about the criticism of S6 is that it was based on problems of balance, but not between light and dark. My opinion, which I think a lot of people concur with, is that much of Buffy's power comes from the juxtaposition of big-scale fantasy plotting and personal, character-driven arcs. Where it works, which it did the greatest extent IMO in S2 and S5, nothing can beat it.

By contrast, the two seasons which attracted most hostility, S4 and S6, lacked this balance. In S4 the key character arc, the growing apart of the SG, was unspectacular and closed with a predictable blow-up and reconciliation that was more humourous than affecting. The Initiative arc did not mesh with this very coherently and lacked much for the audience to care about. It's hard for the audience to worry about a bunch of shadow-government spooks getting out of their depth and facing consequences that many viewers probably felt they deserved. It sums up what was wrong with S4 that the episodes which I found most emotionally affecting, the Faith two-parter, were essentially a wrap-up of a plot that was left over from S3 and finally reached closure on a different series. (Note that some "sources close to ME" have been suggesting since that the arc of S4 as broadcast was a hastily assembled compromise, after more complex and better-balanced developments were torpedoed by the unexpected departures of Seth Green and Lindsay Crouse. Whether this is true or not, we can only really judge by what was actually produced, and keeping significant cast members happy is surely an important part of TV production.)

On the other hand S6 was almost entirely character-driven and didn't have much to appeal to the part of the audience that wants the big mystic power struggles.

All just IMO.

"Supersymmetry" - is it a woman's job? Spoilers. -- Darby, 07:57:51 11/04/02 Mon

Have we seen either of the two women who wrote this episode before? They are definitely keepers, and the Angel PsTB seem to have integrated them into the flow pretty smoothly.

I thought the misdirection was done beautifully - I wasn't the only one who suspected the jealous grad student, was I? And it turned out that she wasn't just a red herring, but an actual clue, someone who wasn't enough of a threat to the prof to be banished - very skillful.

The "Hey, we can b.s. in advanced physics!" was fun and, not being but vaguely acquainted with the subject, not distracting. It's weird to think that we actually have someone on the board who could critically review the stuff (see Sang's thread) - you could probably count the number of viewers in that category and not run out of digits.

Smooth advancing of the storylines - Connor, Cordy, Lilah and Wes, even Angel and Cordy - with some pretty nifty dialogue. Yet another layer, a certain lightness and devil-may-care attitude given to Lilah, and very welcome. And some nice new darkness to the cutesome twosome, with issues other than breakfast to resolve!

Having said that, I'm going to be politically incorrect and make a generalization that I shouldn't make...I strongly suspect that none of the male writers on the show could have written the first Gunn- Fred scene, with Fred being clearly the aggressor and references to her making noise. As a blanket-and-therefore-flawed generalization, I see the writers as having some problems with the sexuality of the cutesy girls - the Willows, the Freds, the Kaylees (who's got that side but kind of schizoidally). Even when in the past they've acknowledged these characters' sexy sides, they've retained their cute demure attitudes. Is it mostly women who can comfortably explore that what is shown to the world can be wildly (pun intended) different to what plays out behind closed doors with someone in a safe atmosphere?

- Darby, feeling vaguely trollish but legitimately interested in what people think.

[> Fred, Willow and cutesy with an edge -- Masq, 09:14:37 11/04/02 Mon

I for one am glad they are making Fred more of an adult this season. I'm glad they are acknowledging and even showing her sexual life with Gunn. Last season there was that sort of "you know they must be doing it, but you half suspect maybe they're not" thing.

I'm also glad they are making her more aggressive in the demon-fighting capacity. She showed great strength during the Pylea arc, and then that seemed to all disappear in Season 3 with the damsel-in-distress thing. It's like the writer's thing with Willow back in Season 1 of Buffy: when all else fails, put Fred in danger.

There are a lot of parallels that can be drawn between early Willow and Fred, and, I think, later Willow and Fred. Besides the cutesy-ness and the brainyness, Fred is starting to show a dark side. I'm not sure how to feel about it. You could chalk up her near torture of Connor with the stun-gun to hurt, but it almost felt overboard to me. And this week? It almost broke my willing suspension of disbelief to see Fred so hell-bent on revenge. Poetic justice--seeing the professor sucked into his own hell--is a big enough stretch, but murder?

I understand that her 5 years in Pylea were traumatic on an intellectual level, but I guess I didn't see it the way she probably does. She's like a woman who has been brutally raped or in some other way violated who wants to hunt down her tormentor and hurt him in the worst way possible.

I realize my dubiousness at Fred's vengeance thing probably has to do with my own picture of Fred: the cutesy woman-child who can kill a demon but would never hurt a fly, much less a person. The writers are showing us that there is more to Fred than this. She has strength, adult sexuality, and yes, a dark edge to her.

[> [> What Angel and Holland have to do with it (mild spoilers up to Buffy 7.1 and Angel 4.1). -- tricky, 10:24:07 11/04/02 Mon

Ever since Angel's little elevator ride with the now defunct, long defunct, but not entirely dead, administrator of W&H's L.A. branch, one of the main theme's of Ats has been the darkness that saturates this world. It's in every human heart (a doctrine JW might have nabbed from Catholicism), and it will never go away. Of course, that means it is in Fred, Gunn, Wes, Connor, Lorne, Angel, and even St. Cordy. But it implies it's own negation. Somewhere deep in Lilah, for instance, there is a buried "spark" -- buried just as deep as Spike's was-- just as far under that proverbial ocean as Angel was, but it can be reached. After all, Wes reached Angel in time didn't He?

[> [> Agreed. -- yez, 13:35:13 11/04/02 Mon

To me, cutesy Fred never amounted to more than a cartoon. These last eps. have really helped flesh out the character more, and it's interesting how our own assumptions about who Fred is are likely paralleled by Gunn's assumptions.

I didn't have the same challenge you did accepting Fred stunning a restrained Connor (though it did surprise me!) or her ruthlessless in dealing with the professor. I thought the scene where Fred reverts to compulsively and feveredly writing on the walls was a great way of showing exactly how traumatized Fred was by her experience in Pylea and how that isn't in the past for her -- that psychological wound hasn't healed yet, and may never completely heal.

It was also fascinating seeing Fred swing from extreme passion after the initial trauma during her speech to such cold calculation. And the whole "It's not about right or wrong" thing is a nice parallel to what we're getting a taste of on BtVS -- "It's not about good and evil -- it's about power."

I'm not sure how closely Fred parallels Willow's development... it may be too early to tell. But I don't see Fred's actions as stemming from insecurity and a desire for identity and validation (via power acquisition) the way I saw Willow's motivation. IMHO, Fred, while being more of an overtly psychological mess initially because of her Pylea experiences, has actually seemed much more grounded than Willow, with a stronger sense of self and confidence in her strengths and the *importance* of her strengths to the team. On the other hand, we didn't see Fred's development from such a young age, as we saw with Willow, so I could be way off.


[> [> [> Very interesting. That seems pretty right on with the Will/Fred thing -- Dedalus, 13:54:46 11/04/02 Mon

[> [> Frailty and Vengeance -- Rufus, 15:00:59 11/04/02 Mon

I think they have played up the cute factor with Fred and Gunn for a reason. Their relationship has seemed more teenybopper puppyloving with pancakes than a reallife entanglement. But the steel in the Texas Rose has been hidden by the pretty petals and apparent fragility. Until one remembers a few things....Fred survived 5 years in another dimension when the other victims most likely died, when Wesley went all Shinning on her she ran.....right to a dark place to construct a little surprise....and she showed herself capable of revenge with Connor, his betrayal bringing out a bit of her inner nut.

I can see why Fred wanted to kill the prof....that bastard thought he had murdered her five years ago, all out of academic envy, then last night tried three more times. He played for keeps knowing that where he was sending his victims would do what he didn't have the stomach for, kill off those he resented and envied. When Fred was in the bedroom writing on the walls it was clear that the prof, as beast has said, pushed her looney button. She had suffered and almost died, others has certainly suffered and died....and she was makin sure no one was going to be victimized by that bastard again. Was she right to try to kill him....well it's illegal and all, but I understand where she is coming from. He would never have been prosecuted, there is simply no proof that anyone outide of Angel Investigations who would believe the fantastic story of interdimensional travel. What was crushed last night was Gunn and Freds idealized view of each other. They had thoughts of perfection that surrounded each other....Fred and Gunn couldn't think the other of being flawed in such a way as to succumb to vengeance...but both did and lied about it....what will happen now?

[> [> [> I'm confused. -- webdeb, 19:29:25 11/04/02 Mon

I thought Fred was sucked into Pylea because she read the incantations out of a book at the library. So how did the professor try to kill her?


[> [> [> [> Re: I'm confused. -- Rufus, 20:15:33 11/04/02 Mon

Remember the book that Fred found in his bookshelf? He has a few books of his own he used to get rid of academic rivals, and when approached by Angel, a demon to protect himself. When Fred went to Wesley's he helped her find a solution of her own. The books are out there for people like the professor to collect...the prof just realized they could be useful as more than a visual treat.

[> [> Being goofy... -- Mystery, 16:01:53 11/04/02 Mon

Hmmm...I wonder if Fred is gonna be getting an offer from D'Hoffryn soon. He does have two openings...

[> Don't think so. -- yez, 13:38:39 11/04/02 Mon

That's an interesting thought. It could be related to why -- at least per the stereotype -- some macho men want to see their wives, the mothers of their children, as saintly "good girls," and they leave all their "dirty" sexual desires for their lovers. I think society as a whole has a problem with that -- we still separate girls into "good girls" and "bad girls," and "never the twain shall meet." Plus, I think a lot of Americans still have sexual hangups, seeing lust and sex as "dirty" to some extent.

As far as Willow and Fred specifically, my guess would be that the expression of their sexuality and sensuality is not so much a writer's gender difference as it is a problem with having used the shy, mousy geek template to start the characters. I think inherent to that is the challenge of needing to grow the character to a point where it seems plausible that she's going to get a date and have the opportunity to explore her own desire -- maybe for the first time. So the audience is going to have to see the awkward budding before seeing the more confident expressions.

As far as Fred goes, too, I think Gunn has also seemed somewhat tentative. And isn't this the first time (at least since I've been watching) that Wesley has really expressed his sexuality?


[> [> Re: Don't think so. -- yabyumpan, 14:07:28 11/04/02 Mon

"And isn't this the first time (at least since I've been watching) that Wesley has really expressed his sexuality?"

No, Wesley's probably been the most sexually active of all of them. In the teaser for the first episode in S2 we saw him flirting and atracting a young woman while playing darts in a pub, I was certainly left with the impression that if he hadn't been paged he would have been pulled. We then have Angel's comment in 'Dear Boy' that he can smell that Wesley had had sex with a bleached blond the night before and he also had an on going relationship with Virgina Bryce in season 2. This is the first time we've seen the 'dark n' dirty' sexual Wes but he's definately not inexperienced.

[> [> [> Thanks -- I've only been watching AtS for 1-1.5 seasons. -- yez, 14:24:05 11/04/02 Mon

[> What I thought was strange -- Alvin, 15:19:16 11/04/02 Mon

Was that no one showed concern for the other portal victims. After all, if Fred could survive 5 years in Pylea, isn't there a chance that the Prof's other victims could have come back too. I really expected Fred to go into a "OMYGOD, there were others!!! We have to save them!" But they just seemed to get glossed over. I was wanting to see Fred torture the Prof to find out where the others were sent. Everytime torture's been used (Angelus,Faith) it's been by a former good person to show how low they've gotten. What if Fred had done this evil thing for a good reason? Considering how Angel gave Conner the "champion" speech, doesn't he have a responsibility to find the others? Or at least determine if it's possible?

[> [> Re: What I thought was strange -- leslie, 16:08:05 11/04/02 Mon

"Was that no one showed concern for the other portal victims. After all, if Fred could survive 5 years in Pylea, isn't there a chance that the Prof's other victims could have come back too."

This was one thing that was not clear to me--was he sending them all to Pylea? In which case, they probably would have met up with each other if they had survived ("Hey, weren't you in my physics class?") and if Fred hadn't come across any of them, it could be assumed they were dead. On the other hand, if he was just sending them randomly off to whatever dimension happened to pop up, how could they be tracked down? The number of alternate dimensions seems infinite.

[> [> [> Re: What I thought was strange -- Alvin, 17:20:31 11/04/02 Mon

That's why I thought why they should find out from the prof where they were sent; by wanting to immediately kill the prof, Fred was making it impossible to rescue the others.

[> [> [> [> Closure, there's nothing like it! -- Sara, 17:46:31 11/04/02 Mon

I don't think this is what the writers had in mind, but...what if on some level Fred realized that if she acknowledged the possibility the other 3 were still alive, then she would need to go portal hopping to find them? Certainly not her favorite activity. Maybe it was easier for her to totally deny that and deal with the Prof ruthlessly, thereby guaranteeing that she would not have to go on a search and rescue mission that involved a vacation in varied hell dimensions. She could go to sleep at night feeling quite at peace with the righteous punishment she dealt out.

[> [> Well, they do have his book. -- yez, 06:54:40 11/05/02 Tue

I think the show will likely just gloss over the other missing students, but when we got a flash of the prof's book, it looked like there were extensive notes in there -- or maybe that was just my crappy VCR. Isn't that where Fred saw the illustration of the hydra-thingy that popped out of the portal and tried to snack on her? If that's true, then theoretically, they could use the book to try to find the other students.

Another thing, though, is that if all the other notes show the prof summoning those kinds of monsters, then it would be easy to figure that the other students have all been munched on by now.

"Supersymmetry" Superhero question for Comicbookfans (spoils for episode) -- neaux, 12:17:19 11/04/02 Mon

I've been waiting for someone to enlighten me about the Daredevil reference in last nite's Angel.

looking up Daredevil 181 on the internet.. this is all I know:

Daredevil #181
Apr 1982, 38 pgs., $1.00
"Last Hand"
Miller, Miller/Janson, Janson, Rosen (cover: Miller, Janson)
In bid to regain his position as Kingpin's top assassin, Bullseye kills Elektra then goes after DD; in battling DD, he falls and is paralyzed

so my question is: is there a greater significance to the Angel storyline? And could someone elaborate more about these comicbook characters.

[> Elektra and Bullseye -- Apophis, 13:47:26 11/04/02 Mon

Elektra Natchios was the daughter of a Greek ambassador and dated Matt Murdock (Daredevil) in college. Her father's assassination brought out her inner darkness, causing her to seek out martial arts training. She was trained by the Hand, a cult of assassins, before going freelance and ending up in the employ of Wilson Fisk (the Kingpin), who controlled all organized crime in New York. This brought her into conflict with Daredevil.
Bullseye (who has no other identity) has almost superhuman aim, allowing him to turn anything into a weapon. He was the Kingpin's top assassin, but his obsession with Daredevil led to many unnecessary killings and brought attention to the Kingpin's opperations. Bullseye was cut loose and ended up in Riker's Island. He heard that he'd been replaced by Elektra and escaped in order to reclaim his position. He fought Elektra and killed her in the most violent fashion of the day (the early 1980's), though he didn't get his job back.
In retaliation, Daredevil fought Bullseye and ended up holding him from a telephone wire, trying to save Bullseye from falling. Bullseye's obsession drove him to attack Daredevil even in this position, so DD let him drop, breaking his spine. Bullseye later got adamantium (an indestructible metal) bonded to his bones and is still active, recently killing another of DD's girlfriends, Karen Page.
Elektra was later resurrected and has since attempted to be good, though she still kills people for money.
As for what this has to do with anything... I guess you could draw parallels between several characters and Elektra, who was basically a good girl until she saw her father murdered and allowed vengeance and rage to consume her. Bullseye is a classic example of obsession and a sociopath/psychopath (whichever one kills people and doesn't feel bad about it). Other than that, I don't know.

[> [> Thanks for the summary! -- neaux, 17:02:57 11/04/02 Mon

well maybe the scene was just to show us that Gunn grew up on comic books. Regardless thank you for the insight.

[> [> Another comicbook question -- alcibiades, 05:25:39 11/05/02 Tue

Could anyone make out what comicbook Angel was holding?

Was it a marvel?

Could someone explain the "profound" difference between DC and Marvel?

alcibiades, extreme comic book illiterate

[> [> [> Re: Comic Book -- Desperado, 06:38:32 11/05/02 Tue

I think it's Bone by Jeff Smith, an independent comic now with Image. It's a funny animal book with a Stranger in a Strangeland quality about it.

[> [> [> The Difference Between DC and Marvel -- cjl, 06:38:58 11/05/02 Tue

Way back in the halcyon days of the late 50s and early 60s, there was only one comic book company of note: DC Comics, the home of Superman, Batman, the Flash, and all the other colorful crimefighters of the Justice League of America (also known to boomers as-- euccch--the Superfriends). These superheroes were stalwart and true, engaged in fantastical missions of mercy to alien planets (yes, even Batman) and dimensions, with nary a smudge on the uniform or consequence lasting beyond the end of the story.

[Occasionally, there would be a dramatic event like "Superman's Return to Krypton"--but that played more like a Douglas Sirk melodrama than a life-altering crisis, and again, there would be no mention of the events in the next issue.]

Then, in December 1961, Stan Lee, editor-in-chief of Marvel comics, introduced a new kind of superhero into the market. These characters were more like everyday people than the hyper-idealized icons of the DC Universe: they had crappy jobs, they had money problems, they sniped and argued with each other (and usually for very good reasons). They could be bitter (The Thing), guilt-ridden (Spider-Man), and alienated from human society, almost by definition (the X-Men). Unlike the DC Universe, where events seemed to evaporate after the issue ended, Marvel's continuity seemed to be cumulative, with events from previous issues assuming enormous significance in the current plotline. (Remind you of a certain TV show?)

Lee, also to his credit, is a born showman, and he knew how to pull people in his universe, greatly enhancing the significance of letter columns, making the fans feel they were involved in the creation of the product. (OTOH, Lee, to his discredit, was also a glory hog. For a long time, he played down the contributions of artists like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko in the formation of his hugely popular characters. He's more gracious these days, but...)

DC has incorporated some of Marvel's techniques into their icons, and Marvel's counterculture superheroes are now icons in their own right. But Marvel has always maintained an "edge" that DC simply will not duplicate, almost as a matter of principle. There are exceptions--Frank Miller's Dark Knight series and Alan Moore's Watchmen--but the truly dark and disturbing stuff in DC has been shelved out to selected imprints, while Marvel seems to do it as a matter of course. (Ah, that should provoke some debates!)

Anyway, back to BUFFY. (Remember her?) Buffy and the Scoobs are definitely X-Men territory--social misfits and freaks binding together to save a world that just doesn't understand them. There have been limitless numbers of X-references in the show, with Andrew's "Dark Phoenix" reference in 22Go being the latest. So when it comes to BtVS, Joss would probably say--Make Mine Marvel! (OK, he wouldn't do something that cheesy, but you know what I mean...)

[> [> [> The comic book was Ghost, published by Dark Horse -- Apophis, 09:55:13 11/05/02 Tue

[> didya catch the dark horse mention? -- JBone, 19:06:45 11/04/02 Mon

if you haven't yet, checkout the Buffy and Angel ecomics at

[> [> "don't hurt the dark horsies"? @>) -- anom, 21:01:06 11/04/02 Mon

the evil of Fred -- skeeve, 15:11:59 11/04/02 Mon

Grant, for the sake of discussion, that Fred was entitled to kill the professor slowly and painfully. She still done wrong. Fred survived. Others might have also. Rescuing them might be a bit more difficult without the professor.
Fred violated even the narrowest version of the utilitarian principle. One might call it the anti-anti- utilitarian principle: one should never act in a way that is all downside in comparison to another available course of action.
Fred's fellow exiles, even if currently alive, might never get to watch the professor die.

If Fred is not entitled to kill the professor, that leaves the problem of what to do with him. Having the local criminal justice system handle him presents its own problems. It would pretty much have to involve handing the professor and his book over to LAPD and showing LAPD how the book was used.

Does anyone remember whether the book went through Fred's portal?

[> Fred's not evil. She's just ...drawn that way *smirk* -- ZachsMind, 20:40:01 11/04/02 Mon

Sorry. Couldn't resist. =) Obscure reference to Who Framed Roger Rabbit in case you didn't get it.

A Quick Review of Supersymmetry (spoilers for ATS 4.5 and Scientific American July 2002) -- cjl (yes, I'm finally back!), 15:21:15 11/04/02 Mon

"Supersymmetry is a remarkable symmetry. In elementary particle physics, it interchanges particles of completely dissimilar types-- the types called fermions (such as electrons, protons and neutrons), which make up the material world, and those called bosons (such as photons), which generate the forces of nature. Fermions are inherently the individualists and loners of the quantum particle world: no two fermions ever occupy the same quantum state. Their aversion to close company is strong enough to hold up a neutron star against collapse even when the crushing weight of gravity has overcome every other force of nature. Bosons, in contrast, are convivial copycats and readily gather in identical states. Every boson in a particular state encourages more of its species to emulate it..."

Yet, somehow in the mirror of supersymmetry, standoffish fermions look magically like sociable bosons, and vice versa...All the ordinary symmetries of physics lack sorcery. Those symmetries may act like the distorting mirrors of a funhouse, making familiar electrons look like ghostly neutrinos, for instance, but they can never change a fermion into a boson. Only supersymmetry does that."

-- Jan Jolie, "Uncovering Supersymmetry" (Scientific American, July 2002 (p. 71)

I have a fair to middling grasp of the physics underlying supersymmetry and superstring theory, but rather than show off my modest scientific know-how, I wanted to connect Jolie's excellent introduction to the topic of supersymmetry with the dramatic structure of last night's ANGEL episode.

When it comes down to the basics, supersymmetry theory (and superstring theory for that matter), is a way to reconcile opposites, placing what appears to be two very different types of matter into one big picture. It's also a way to illuminate the connections and interactions between these two different types of matter when interaction--by their very nature--seems to be impossible. In ANGEL, we seem to have two very different types of people: we have the loners, the "fermions," who seem to exist in their own private quantum state: Angel, Connor, Wesley, and Gunn. On the other hand, we have the "bosons," the sociable creatures: Cordelia (still the earth mother of the Fang Gang, even with amnesia), Fred (in this episode, the darling of the physics community), and Lilah (quite the social butterfly in her own bizarre, wicked way).

But in the unifying, all-encompassing theory of supersymmetry, each of these "particles" reflects some of the characterstics of its opposite: Angel and Connor both yearn for the warmth, security and love provided by Cordelia; Loner, badass Wesley, stung by Lilah's betrayal and perhaps his own naivete, has started drifting back toward the family of A.I. and Fred--by coincidence, just as Fred discards everything she's learned from Angel to go for the blood of her former professor.

It's ironic that the only person who (IMO) remained true to his nature in this episode was Gunn--killing Professor Seidel in order to stop Fred from doing it herself was a typically decisive, Charles Gunn "lay it all on me" masterstroke (or, in this case, neck snap). But Gunn's action will probably have repercussions far down the line, definitely straining his relationship with Fred, perhaps with the rest of A.I. as well. In supersymmetry, no particle is an island.

As you can tell, I loved this ep. But I do have a few nitpicks.

1. Seidel was behind Fred's disappearance five years ago. Huh? How did he pull that off? As I recall from the Pylea arc, and from last night's "previously on Angel," Young Fred takes book. Young Fred reads from book. Portal opens. Hello, Pylea. Seidel didn't seem to be around. Did he hypnotize Fred into reading the book? Once Fred got sucked in, did he make sure the portal dumped her into the worst possible dimension? I don't get it.

2. Fred is attacked mid-lecture. And Seidel is supposed to be a genius? After subtly arranging the disappearance of five of his grad students, he blows his cover by staging an attack right in the middle of an international physics conference. Why not wait until the next day or next week, when he has Fred alone? He obviously wanted to stop Fred before her reputation in the field eclipsed his own, but she'd already published the article, so he might as well have let her speak. Stuuuuupid!

3. "Charles doesn't have it in him." Sez you, cowgirl. Wow, and they've been invovled for what--a year? Fred, your man STAKED HIS OWN SISTER. Yes, she was a vampire at the time, but if that doesn't show Charles Gunn will do what needs to be done, nothing will. I'm stunned that Fred misread Gunn that badly. Maybe they're not as close as we thought. (Paging Wesley Wyndham-Price. Come to the black 'ship-breaking telephone, please...)

4. Angel's new power. Holographic recall is cool, but I hope Gunn didn't actually see what Angel was remembering. Because that would be too weird--even for this show.

Upcoming eps look like fun. Can't wait for the next developments in the Wes/Lilah relationship.

Missed you guys!

[> Welcome back! O/T question -- d'Herblay, 15:56:15 11/04/02 Mon

Not that long ago someone was inquiring after your vampire rehabilitation skit, which I could not find in the archives. Any chance that you retained a copy thereof?

[> [> I have it in archive limbo -- Masq, 16:01:48 11/04/02 Mon

Welcome back yourself, d'H!!

[> [> [> OMG! I read that as Masq calling d'H "bimbo!" -- Wise(but shortsighted)woman, 16:42:26 11/04/02 Mon

[> [> Sunnydale Vampire Reformation Program -- cjl, 05:54:52 11/05/02 Tue

Thanks, d'Herb.

E-mail me. I'll send you my little skit.

[> [> [> Could you e-mail me the skit, too? -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:01:30 11/05/02 Tue

I was the one trying (hopelessly, I now realize) to find your great sketch in the archives so I could show it to a friend who would get a kick out of it. I implore you, infinitely brilliant one (lame groveling, I know, but I'm new at this), to send me an e-mail of your Sunnydale Vampire Reformation skit. Oh, one more thing, could you title it "For Finn Mac Cool" so that someone else doesn't think it's junkmail and deletes it? Thanks a bunch!

-Finn Mac Cool

[> Question for reviewer -- Sentinel, 16:14:27 11/04/02 Mon

I am a newbie who started watching Buffy and Angel last spring. I was watching Supersymmetry last night with friends who were also new to the show. I noted that when Angel tore off the top of the car of the Wolfram & Hart lawyer and, then at the end of the conversation with the woman, dangled his arm through the roof and wiggled his fingers, he was mimicking the appearance of the hydra monsters in the ceiling of the auditorium. This sparked an unpleasant debate, where my friends told me I was crazy and/or over- interpreting (they tell me this a lot).

So my question: do the Angel writers really do stuff like that? Were there other examples in Supersymmetry of that kind of super-intelligent writing?

[> [> Stick around! -- Masquerade, 16:26:32 11/04/02 Mon

My answer to your question: they do it all the time. I can't say that this is what they intended in the case you mention, I'll have to go back and look at the episode again.

But other examples of subtleties in ME's (Mutant Enemy, BtVS/AtS writing troupe) writing are noted on this discussion board on a daily basis! Join the fun in finding them with us!

Another example of such visual subtlety can be found in alcibiades' thread "Slouching towards a family framework in ATS/Cordy and Connor ", which is now in archive #1 of this board.

[> [> Re: Question for reviewer -- skpe, 08:58:26 11/05/02 Tue

'So my question: do the Angel writers really do stuff like that?'
They definitely do stuff like that. The writers at ME love to play the viewers. They will also plant plot hints to future eps in seemly idle lines (Faiths famous 'down from 730' and 'little miss muffet'speach). They had the players on BTVs wear numbers that started a frenzy of speculation that I donít know was ever resolved. They will also play with the colors people wear to hint at moods and relationships

[> [> [> The number shirts -- Darby, 09:45:02 11/05/02 Tue

Pretty much resolved here - 090

[> Re: A Quick Review of Supersymmetry (spoilers for ATS 4.5 and Scientific American July 2002) -- Finn Mac Cool, 04:46:47 11/05/02 Tue

For question number 2:

I think Seidel must have known that Fred had some connections to the supernatural world if she came back from Pylea like that. And, if he recognized Angel (of the many forums fame), moreso than ever. By opening the portal in the auditorium, there were too many potential suspects for Seidel to seem likely in what happened to Fred. If it had been done in private, someone might go "You were the one last seen with her. What did you do to Fred?"

[> [> True, Finn, but later on in the episode... (spoilers for ATS 4.5) -- cjl, 05:52:48 11/05/02 Tue

...Seidel uses Fred's cell phone to open a portal by remote control. If Wesley hadn't been there to grab her and fling them both over the couch and out of harm's way, Fred would have been sucked in again, cell phone and all, and nobody would have ever suspected Seidel. (If he's as smart as we think he is, he wouldn't have used the phone in his office...)

[> Great review! Glad you're back -- ponygirl, 06:33:58 11/05/02 Tue

[> Re: A Quick Review of Supersymmetry (spoilers for ATS 4.5 and Scientific American July 2002) -- newlurker, 06:36:27 11/05/02 Tue

The book in the library could have been planted by Seidel specifically to attract the 'best and brightest' to read themselves into oblivion. Lots of professors have personal copies of textbooks that also are in the library stacks.

[> [> But if that's the case... (spoilers for ATS 4.5) -- cjl, 07:02:05 11/05/02 Tue

IT would have been nice to hear a few lines where Fred screams at Seidel for "recommending" the textbook and the specific passage...

[> [> [> Wait. No, that's not the case... (spoilers for ATS 4.5) -- cjl, 07:26:33 11/05/02 Tue

Because if Seidel recommended the book to Fred, she would have known he was the culprit all along.

I still don't think Seidel would have deliberately left a book like that on the stacks, where anyone could have grabbed it and opened a portal. It seems to be a very haphazard method of getting rid of people, and I think there would have been more than five disappearances. Only the physics students disappeared, and I think more than one geeky English major would have picked up the book, out of sheer D&D curiousity.

Still doesn't add up.

[> [> [> [> Re: Wait. No, that's not the case... (spoilers for ATS 4.5) -- new lurker, 08:00:32 11/05/02 Tue

Seidel may not have recommended it, but figured that anyone who came across it and actually read a formula (out loud, if I remember correctly) needs to go away. There could have been more disappearances that no one knew about.

[> [> [> [> On the other hand... (spoilers for ATS 4.5) -- newlurker, 08:03:13 11/05/02 Tue

Maybe Seidel really didn't know there was another copy in the stacks and wasn't responsible for the earlier disappearances. But he still may have been the one to go after Fred during her presentation and again on her cell phone.

[> [> [> Re: But if that's the case... (spoilers for ATS 4.5) -- Darby, 09:01:37 11/05/02 Tue

A specific set of instructions to a grad student doing research might have gotten her to a particular book in the library, and it might have even been done indirectly, so that she wouldn't make the connection. And if you want an isolated place with no witnesses and distance for your potential alibi, and a very low chance that anyone will pick out an obscure (they're all obscure) book, the science stacks in many university libraries are good locations.

Also, remember that Fred worked in the library, which presents even more opportunities to someone who knew her routine...

[> [> Nasty thought re Supersymmetry... -- KdS, 08:34:18 11/05/02 Tue

If Fred's transportation to Pylea wasn't an accident, and Seidel was regularly transporting inconvenient students to demon dimensions, then what if Cordelia's vision in Belonging was meant to direct AI to stop Seidel? If that's true, then Angel and company's failure to investigate the source of the book (admittedly due to preoccupation with a string of urgent immediate problems - the Drakken, Landokmar's poisoning, Cordy's transportation) probably led to the deaths and disappearances of a few other people...

[> [> [> I had another nasty thought about Supersymmetry... -- cjl, 09:12:56 11/05/02 Tue

For a few moments, before Seidel was revealed as the mastermind, I thought Fred was behind the other disappearances.

After all, while she was trapped in Pylea, she kept repeating the vowel-free phrases from the textbook, hoping she'd reopen the portal back to L.A. It was revealed during the Pylea arc (TtLG?) that she actually DID open portals, just not where she wanted them to be. I honestly thought at the end of Supersymmetry, it would turn out that Fred's babblings in Pylea accidentally sucked innocents into other dimensions. I wonder how she would feel about that?

[> [> [> Other plot holes. -- Darby, 09:50:24 11/05/02 Tue

It took AI what, about 40 seconds to connect the Prof to this string of disappearances - wouldn't the LAPD have done the same? Seems like they'd have assumed he was a serial killer (or in league with one) with a foolproof body-disposal mechanism and would have at least harassed him out of continuing to poof people.

[> [> Re: textbooks -- Isabel, 13:56:17 11/05/02 Tue

Lots of professors have personal copies of textbooks that originated in the stacks as well. (I'm tenured, nobody else needs this book, they can't make me give it back.) Sorry, my inner librarian needed to grumble.

[> [> [> my brother-in-law the librarian would commiserate with you! NT -- newlurker, 14:18:48 11/05/02 Tue

[> Great review. Welcome back (and more on oppositions) -- Caroline, 10:38:58 11/05/02 Tue

I liked how you explained this (supersymmetry) as an interaction of opposites. It's symbolic of the personalities and behaviour of all the characters on the show. We've discussed a great deal in the past about ME exploring the consequences of oppositional thinking. The writers were making their point in a number of ways. There is the general level of what is right behaviour versus behaviour based on power. Both Fred, in her desire to avenge herself, and the professor, in his desire to rid himself of promising rivals, were acting on power, not on right. Gunn and Angel tried to behave morally. There is the individual (and opposed) viewpoints of the characters on how to deal with the professor. There is the opposition between one's basic character and how one is perceived by others. Fred saying Gunn would never go after the professor but past experience with Gunn suggests that he 'does have it in him' to do so and that Fred is blind about Gunn and doesn't really see him. She has set up an image of Gunn in her head that does not fit the shape that Gunn is. There is also poor Gunn who knew what was right but then went against it to deflect what he felt to be a greater harm - Fred having the professor's death on her conscience. For those characters operating from one polarity of the opposition, the consequences of the actions tend to be universally bad. It's only in their reconciliation that desirable consequences flow. At least that's my interpretation of what was going on.

Question about Fred and the Professor (spoilers) -- webdeb, 19:36:27 11/04/02 Mon

Hey all!

Quick question - I thought Fred was sucked into Pylea when she read the incantation out of the book at the library? It was the same book Angel and Cordelia used to get to Pylea. So...why would Fred have thought the professor tried to kill her? Unless I'm missing something, he never did, which would make Gunn and Fred I guess guilty of murder.


[> Gee I dunno... -- ZachsMind, 20:35:03 11/04/02 Mon

The story seemed as much about Gunn as about Fred, and he was being reactionary throughout. He apparently loves her but he can't make heads or tails out of the girl. It's something that tends to attract us dumb mule males. The girl keeps doing crazy weird stuff and we're left with our heads spinning in circles trying to figure her out.

She wanted to kill the guy. Now, Gunn's killed human beings before. Fred hasn't. Gunn figured he already has nightmares where he's haunted by the faces of those he killed back when he was a juvenile delinquent. He figured one more dead human at his hands wouldn't make a difference, but for Fred, it made all the difference.

The story didn't seem so much about whether Fred was right in wanting to kill the Professor, but whether or not Gunn could allow the woman he loves to become a haunted soul, like he is. Like Angel is. Heck, like Wesley is. I mean, Fred may not like being the closest thing to wholesome purity that the guys have in their lives. It's not her call. The guys *need* Fred to stay wholesome and pure. There's times when it feels like for all the effort the whole gang makes in trying to stave off evil from the world, they're not doing all that great of a job.

Fred's living, consistent, in-your-face proof that they can save someone. They go entire episodes not being successful in saving anybody but themselves. They're not gonna let her go the way of evil, or walk the path that they have trod. Not without a fight anyway.

Should they have killed the professor? Probably not. However, all the guy did was open a book, read a random passage and summon a demon to eat Angel, and that was when he was put on the spot. Who knows what he coulda done had he been more prepared for their arrival. Had they given the guy a chance to explain himself, he might have been able to prove that rather than be the culprit, he'd spent all these years since Fred's disappearance trying to figure out WHY it happened so he could bring the others back. ...OR he might have mumbled some Sumerian and sent them all to hell.

It's a tough call, but given those odds, I might have helped Gunn push that freak baldy guy down the hole too, y'know whut ah'm sayin'?

[> [> Oh yeah, Spoilers in my response, m'kay? -- ZachsMind, 20:36:36 11/04/02 Mon

[> [> Re: Gee I dunno... -- webdeb, 21:41:16 11/04/02 Mon

Fred is an interesting character. But her rage blinded her to the truth, I think. I don't think the professor sent her to Pylea. I don't think Fred and Gunn are going to last either as a couple. Just a suspicion. I think Fred has misconceptions about Gunn too. She says in the car that the one thing she loves about Gunn is that he doesn't kill people. He "knows" better. And Gunn snaps the professor's neck and pushes him into the portal!

I wonder if Wesley is still in love with Fred?


[> [> [> Re: Gee I dunno... -- leslie, 12:48:54 11/05/02 Tue

"Fred is an interesting character. But her rage blinded her to the truth, I think."

You know what she reminded me of, when she announced she was going to kill the professor? Buffy, when she decided her freshman roommate Kathy was evil and needed to be killed. Now, a) Angel and Gunn's reaction to Fred was the same as the Scoobies' was to Buffy, and b) both Buffy and Fred were right.

I really think that Fred's ultimate solution to the situation was the right one--she didn't plan to kill the guy, she was merely going to give him a taste of his own medicine. If he was as tough as she was, he would survive. If he was as brilliant as he thought he was, he might even have found his way back by himself. Gunn was the one who ultimately opted for execution. Furthermore, the plan that Wesley was aiding Fred with was the plan to open a portal and send the professor through it, not a plan to outright kill him. If the baseline question here is that of the killing of a human being, then Fred and Wesley came up with a solution that satisfied the need for punishment and, yes, some vengence without going as far as murder, while Angel and Gunn, obsessed as they were with keeping Fred "pure," couldn't see any further than that murder and could only try to change the identity of the murderer. I think it's significant that Gunn seemed to be looking Fred right in the eyes as he snapped the professor's neck--"Look at me, look at what I am doing for you, look at me taking your place."

The thing is, the whole tone of the scenes between Fred, Gunn, and Angel were not only somewhat patronizing on the guys' parts, but Fred was (perhaps in response? Perhaps the only way to try to make her voice heard?) just as adamently girlish. She was pouting at the top of her lungs, talking in black-and-white terms, behaving like a woman who feels that she has to act like a stereotypical man to make her point. Her conversations with Wesley were much more low-key, much more calm and reasoned, and much more an interchange between equals.

In terms of the long-term fallout: Fred had thought that her professor was training her to become his equal, his peer. That's (ideally) what's supposed to happen when you are a grad student--you will end up as the colleague of those who taught you, which is a difficult transition to make, much like the change in relationship between parents and a child when the child becomes an adult--the parents have to learn to accept that their child is, at some level, their peer, no longer a little thing to be protected and sheltered. The professor was not willing to let Fred be an adult, his peer, and so he tried to get rid of her (the ultimate Oedipal fear). When Fred realizes that he's the one who sent her to Pylea, it isn't just that he sent her to a place she regarded as hell, but that, retrospectively, she realizes that what she thought was happening in her graduate education was a lie, too: she wasn't going to be allowed to grow up, to be an adult, to be a peer. Now, on top of this realization, she sees that her lover is not willing to allow her to be an adult, to be his peer, either. I cannot think that this is going to be a good thing in this relationship. In contrast, Wesley was treating her like she would have expected to be treated by colleagues, had she actually stayed in this reality and completed her doctorate.

[> [> Re: Gee I dunno... (spoiler) -- Apophis, 21:59:13 11/04/02 Mon

I figure the prof said "Fred, you should read 'Steve's Guide to Nutrinos'" or something, put one of his "special books" under the jacket, she looked it up, read it, and next thing you know, she's a cowslave.
And how come everyone's decieded Gunn was a killer before now? When did he mention killing anything other than demons?

[> [> [> Re: Gee I dunno... (spoiler) -- webdeb, 22:08:40 11/04/02 Mon

Fred - Well, the book was STILL in the library when Angel and gang found it, five years or so later! I just assumed it was a library book. If it was so important to the professor, wouldn't he have found a way to get it back?

Gunn - That's very good question. I guess it was similar to the professor saying to Fred, "I know you" and her saying, "You don't know me" or something to that effect. It would explain Gunn....people just "assumed" that he had never killed anyone before.


[> [> [> [> The plot against Fred "Spoilage" -- Hauptman, 05:56:39 11/05/02 Tue

I think you are making some good points about the plot. I was firmly in the camp that said that Fred had just opened the wrong book at the wrong time and got a harsh ride for her curiosity. I mean, that is the way they played it. Now we are presented with a revised, or shall I say deeper, story. When this idea first presented itself last episode I thought, "Oh, how convenient." But then I remembered that the book didn't work without a hotspot. Now the professor seemed pretty fierce with those portals. He was totally portals-guy. The cell phone thing was pretty cool, and if he could reach out and suck someone into hell (I have to pause here and ask wouldn't it be cool if he did it to that annoying Verizon Wireless Guy--"Can you hear me now? Oh, God! Noooooo!"), I don't think arranging a book at Fred's job and a juicy hot spot would be that tough for him.

Sure it's contrived and a bit heavy-handed, but I think it fits and I liked the episode very much. Oh, and I wanted to mention that Fred has been showing us her dark side from early on. Girlfriend has always had a violent streak. I remember she was going to fire an arrow into a guy's neck once and she didn't seem to broken up about it. She was nervous, but not so much that she couldn't describe to him exactly how he was going to die. Naw, Fred's got edge. She can't be all "Tara" and hang with this group. I have to admit that I was was shocked when she was stunning Conner, though. Then again, she is from Texas, the electrocution State. And her mom and dad wern't exactly pacifists.

Oh, and the book didn't travel through the portal. I am back to the Library. When Angel, et al. took the ride to Pylea (sp?) the book stayed behind. Apparent;y it exists in this dimension only. So it was still on the shelf becasue the prof. probably dewy decimaled it for that spot next to the portal. Someone probably found it on the floor and put it back in place. One has to wonder how many times it's been found on the floor. A lot of curious folks might have read from it.

Hmmm, but didn't something come out of the portal when the gang read from it that time? Wasn't it Lorne's cousin? Why would the prof. make a two-way portal? Why does it take so long for DVD to come out?

[> [> [> [> [> Welcome back, Hauptman! -- Wisewoman, 08:52:16 11/05/02 Tue

Where ya been, buddy? We missed you. I'm with ya on the Verizon guy--get that man a portal!!

dub ;o)

[> [> [> [> Re: Gee I dunno... (spoiler) -- newlurker, 06:26:11 11/05/02 Tue

I figure the professor had two copies: one on his shelf and one in the general stacks where he knew only the 'best and brightest' would seek it out and read themselves into a different dimension.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Gee I dunno... (spoiler) -- Hauptman, 06:56:14 11/05/02 Tue

Great point. Maybe he left it there as general bait. Makes you wonder if AI will mount a rescue op. The best and the brightest would surely survive. Well, some of them anyway. Fred did. Then again, Fred never mentioned running across any fellow students...though there did seem to be an awful lot of cows running about.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Gee I dunno... (spoiler) -- new lurker, 07:53:03 11/05/02 Tue

Maybe the actual dimension the reader was sent to was different for each page/formula in the book. A rescue operation would have to go through each page.

[> [> [> As Gunn himself said: -- Finn Mac Cool, 19:01:24 11/05/02 Tue

"A few years ago, I would have gone after this guy myself."

[> [> sorry, not buying it... (supersymmetry spoilers) -- tim, 10:26:14 11/05/02 Tue

I see where the writers were going with this episode, but it provided just the kind of glaring plot problems that I expect them to deal with more effectively. By now, anyone who reads my posts knows I get annoyed even at the smaller inconsistencies. As a general rule, though, I can live with those, because I understand that the story and the metaphor are more important than getting every little fact right from the last 6+ years. Supersymmetry, however, provided the kind of holes I'm not able to spackle over. Maybe it's because I just watched the Pylea arc, so it's still fresh in my mind.

While they never say specifically that Fred did it all on her own, it's implied in everything about the episodes. In just the most relevant example, the book was returned the day before she disappeared, and she worked at the library and was cataloging books when she disappeared. Conclusion: she thought the book looked interesting, began looking through, found that the words were unpronounceable, and when she tried to pronounce them, she got whisked away to Oz.

I know people are going to say that it could have been that the professor turned in the book that day so that she'd find it, but he didn't really seem like that indirect a guy to me. I mean, if you're going to kill someone, would you leave a glass of poison lying around in hopes the right person would come along later and be curious enough about how it tasted to drink it? Of course not--you'd be leaving to many things up to chance. Same here. And he proved he wasn't that subtle a guy many times in the course of the episode. Laying a trap like that and sending an inter-dimensional octopus in the middle of a crowded lecture hall just isn't the same MO.

Even conceding all of that for a moment, though, it's hard for me to accept Fred completely as the victim. Not to sound harsh or anything, but if the guy laid that subtle a trap, you have to give her some of the blame for falling into it.

As to Gunn, I agree with those who say he's never killed a human before. The fact is, we've never heard word one that he's done something so heinous. If he had, shouldn't he be working for his redemption in jail, like Faith? While I concede that absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence, this seems like an awfully big character point to have never been mentioned before. If anything, I'd say he's haunted by those who died because he couldn't save them, like the members of his old gang who died in battle because he wasn't superhuman enough to wage war and not get anyone killed.

One final legal point: Gunn and Fred, after Supersymmetry, are guilty of murder, period. The discussion over whether the professor was responsible for Fred's imprisonment in Pylea (and it appears to me that he was; my beef is that they've revised history on us pretty significantly here) may produce a mitigating factor, but legally, murder based in revenge is still murder.

JMHO, of course.


[> [> [> Re: sorry, not buying it... (supersymmetry spoilers) -- Hauptman, 10:56:02 11/05/02 Tue

I have to agree. They are both guilty of murder. It should be painful to watch it tear them apart.

[> [> [> [> Re: but some people just need killing -- Pegleg Pete, 14:43:10 11/05/02 Tue

and with his ability to open portals, no jail could have held him. And he didn't look like the type to not do his evilness again. Faith is in jail, becasue she wants to be in jail

Jane Espenson commentary on IWMTLY- Part 1 of 2 -- Tchaikovsky, 05:05:30 11/05/02 Tue

Second half in 3/4 hours time.


My name is Jane Espenson. I'm Supervising Producer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is an episode I wrote from Season 5 called 'I was made to Love You'. I think my Title when this was written was probably 'Producer'.

And we start out in the teaser right away setting up our theme about how Buffy views relationships with men, future relationships and past relationships. We were really lucky this episode came along at the perfect time. We knew any episode about a robot made to love someone would be about relationships, and this came about right after Buffy finds out that Soike is interested in her which leads her to reflect on her relationships with men in general, and we start out with her beating up Xander, which I just thought would be really, really funny, and it's worked out pretty well. I loved the puffy suit on Xander. And she's talking with him about how she doesn't seem to attract the good men, that she's attracting someone like Spike, and what does that say about her? and that she wasn't able to make it work with the good guy Riley. And we're going to find out more later as we get into the story about what Buffy's going to be observing, which sort of makes her think about how she was with Riley.

Joss gave a very good line for this teaser. When we break the story, Joss goes through every beat of the story with us, and he'll frequently suggest a joke which then gets into the script- cos they're always the best. And when someone comes up to you on the street and compliments you on an episode and mentions a particular line, it's almost always something that Joss wrote. So his big line in this teaser is when Buffy hugs Xander, and Xander says 'This is the day you choose to hug me.', which is a really nice line. And she's talking here about maybe she just doesn't do the right things to attract a man. Maybe she should be laughing at their jokesmore and being less self- involved, wich is an interesting character trait we've given Buffy. That even though she is a hero, and she saves the world, we've consistently made her a little self-involved, a little stand-offish, alittle distant from her friends, and this was a nice moment for having an awareness of that. Xander talking about 'maybe the difficulty of building a relationship on a hellmouth is that it's a hellmouth.' And this is something we consistently see on Buffy, good relationships don't last.

So we go right from him talking about 'Sunnydale's a bad place to look for love' to what looks like a victim [April[, whose here in town looking for true love which just can't go well for her. And this is our first look at April. I'm very fond of the actress. I thought she did a great job with this role.

And here we have our fabulous opening credits from Season 5. It's great to see everyone together in these opening credits. As I'm doing this commentary we're just finishing Season Six, so we don't have Giles. It's nice to see the credits where you see Giles. These credits, I really like with Xander doing the Snoopy Dance which was from an episode I wrote. I love it when I get to call back something from an episode way previous like a first or second Season episode. It was a very early episode where Xander talked about going over to Willow's house or Willow going to Xander's to watch Snoopy Christmas Specials, and doing the Snoopy Dance, and I was very happy to be able to call that back.

Here we see Krstine, Joyce, Buffy's Mom getting ready for a date. And this was where it was originally a much longer scene when I wrote it. It ended up getting cut down, but there were a lot of jokes about Buffy wanting her Mom to go onm a date from the movies in the 50's. That kind of joke about what she imagines her Mom doing on a date, and it got cut down, which is fine cos this is plently long.

There's a joke later about Joyce's bra, and I wish they had put her in a dress that you'd put a bra under, but what are you gonna do? Buffy has a line about time: 'You have vast acres if time in which you could plant crops.' I'm pleased with that line. It's one of those Buffy jokes which is not a hard joke. A hard joke is the kind of joke you get on a sitcom where it's got a definite pumch-line- something I like on Buffy is that you get a lot of lines that are just sort of whimsical phrasing; the funny word; the funny turn of phrasetheodd metaphor way of looking at the world and I love writing those lines.

People who know what's going to happen in episodes that follow this one know that this date we're at the end of Joyce's life here. This makes this all kinda sad. This episode is good all the way through for watching in retrospect, because of where Buffy and Spike go after this, because of how Warren becomes pivotal in Season 6 of Buffy. This episode has interesting Buffy and Spike stuff which informs what comes later, and our absolute first view of Warren. Joyce asks Buffy for dating advice here, so we get another chance to hit on our theme which is Buffy and her relationship with men. She feels like she has done poorly in that department. She makes a joke about how she had 2 boyfriends, and they've both left town. We're trying to stress that Buffy is motivated to look for a new man. This is her point of view at the episode's start.

Here's a little Tara/Anya scene which is fun because we haven't really seen the two of them alone before, we haven't really seen them together since. It's an unusual moment. And they're talking about online investing, of all things. And our characters interact for the first time with April, which is going to give Anya an opportunity later to talk about April's unusual way of speaking, which I was kinda worried about. I thought, how do we have a character talk like a robot in the same episode as we have Anya, who kinda talks like a robot anyway. The way we write Anya where she speaks very precisely, inhumanly. I thought we're going to have trouble making jokes out of April's way of speaking, but it ended up really well, because in this party scene, Anya's going to comment on April's way of speaking, and we get the irony of her thinking April talks funny.

This scene starts with a line Joss wrote. Buffy is dancing with Xander, and she says 'This is way better than hanging out with a good-looking guy', which gave us funny. Yeh Joss. The spring break party. I wrote in the script that everybody should be festive with the flowers and the Spring Break type things. I guess it comes across. We see for the first time who this new man is going to be. Now this episode is gfilled with misleads. We've already established April, who looks like a victim, and now we see Ben, who viewers know at this point is the same as Glory. They know he is in some way sharing a body with our main villain, and is presumably himself also villainous. And here we see that he looks like he's gonna be the guy Buffy hooks up with. So it was important that we made him extremely charming in this scene, because viewers know he's evil, and are gonna be harsh with Buffy if it seems like she's falling for the evil guy too easily. I had to try to make him as charming sd I possibly could. Joss helped with a lot of this.

Now Ben, says 'Let's dance. I'm just gonna go dump this'. He's holding a cup or a plate and he disappears for the longest trip to the trash basket anyone's ever taken. Xander and Anya have a scene here. A lot of stuff in this episode is sorta hard to hear. I think maybe the music at the party's a little too loud. What she [Anya], actually says is 'look at these little grain patties', but it's very hard to hear; it sounds like 'green patties' or something. She's talking about the checks mix. I like it when Anya is impressed by the world. And we got our first look at Warren there, who is later to become Super- Villain!Warren. there's something very, very interesting about seeing these characters. We're going to see Katrina again. Katrina dies in Season Six Buffy, and this is our first time seeing her. Her death is the moment in Season 6 which really makes Warren go from funny geek to really scary presence.

Now there are a couple of moments in this story where Anya would normally be very jealous. When Buffy and Xander are dancing, and here where Xnader thinks that April is so beautiful. And I made great efforts to keep her from being jealous. I have her being very consciously being generous in expectation of an immediate karmic reward. I think sometimes with Anya, the tendency is to make her a touch too stereotypically girly; give her all the attributes of which women have been accused over the years, sort of grasping, needy and I think it's worth working very hard to make Anya make some interesting and different choices. We did see a nice little moment of jealousy between Tara and Willow. It's not normally part of their relationship, but it awfully cute.

Now Spike and Buffy. Buffy is angry at Spike here because they just had ['Crush'], and they had an extremely bad interaction, and Buffy found out how Spike feel and is not very happy about it. Now remember this whole time Ben is still going to the the Trash Bin. Where the heck is he? If I were Buffy I'd be feeling pretty dumped.... James is extremely charismatic on film. I'm very glad we got those two kids together. Buffy and Spike... OK. Ben's finally back from the Trahg. I know I had a line in some draft I don't think it's in this final version where he explains why he got delayed, but it's not here, and he continues to be charming. This is some more Joss stuff. Joss came up with the notion that he gives her his phone number and explains that it's important that he gives it to her before she sees him dance.

Now this is interesting. This whole episode Buffy's been saying 'Gotta meet a man, gotta meet a man. I can do better this time'. When she actually confronted by the offer of a date, her reaction is kinda interesting; she has a moment of sheer panic, which I think is very identifiable, where she blurts out to Ben her bad history, that if he goes out with her he could very well end up having to leave town. And Ben is persistent, which either looks to Buffy that he's genuinely interested, and very, very charming, or to the viewer like she's almost escpaed but he's being a little predatory. And we see Spike watching.

Now Spike's interaction with April. I wanted to makeit very clear what that looked like to Buffy, that it's all for Buffy's benefit. And this is something he does later- when he brings a date to Anya's wedding, something he does to try to get Buffy's attention. If you actually paused your machine at the moment she [April] picked up Spike, you'd see it's a dummy. And she throws Spike through a window. I had many concerns when I wrote this about how was I going to be able to tie the exterior of Spike standing there with everybody in the party. It turned out to be very easy. He's standing there on the part of the sound stage between the set and the backdrop. And it looks fine. I like the way Buffy does that thing where she says, 'You just thre Spike through a window!' and then she catches herself and realises, 'Well actually, that's kinda good.' I like it when Buffy allows herself a little bit of naughty pleasure. i don't think she does that often enough. Now April makes a reference here. She says, 'I hope your boyfriend takes good care of you', and just driving home our theme again, Buffy doesn't have a boyfriend, Buffy doesn't have a boyfriend.

Buffy has a line that a like at the top of this scene, where she says, 'I've kinda had it with really strong little women who aren't me.' Now they're talkign about...OK, this is the moment where Buffy says, 'I feel like she's...', and everyone says 'She's a robot. She's a robot'. That was actually the kernel that sparked the episode to begin with. Joss came in with the idea: Let's cast a beautiful woman who everybody immediately knows is a robot. So that moment, even when we had no idea what else the episode was about, we had that moment.

They're talking about the fact that it doesn't seem like that urgent a problem; so far the only person she's hurt is Spike, she's damaged the window, but other than that she's looking for Warren, but she doesn't seem to be mad at him, he's clearly the person who built her. We aren't on Code Red here.

Buffy and Giles talk about the fact Giles has been babysitting Dawn. Now in this Season, even though Dawn is 14, we were protecting her because she was The Key, and somebody always had to be with Dawn. I think wqe've done well at letting Dawn gorw up since then. I was kinda worried the first season we had her that she was playing younger than her age, but now it's clear that that was because she was The Key. We've let the character grow up. Now we see Giles and Joyce together. Giles and Joyce had sex in 'Band Candy', my first ever episode I wrote. So every time they're together, which somehow always ends up being in my episodes, I always enjoy knowing that that tension is there. Of course, the real reason Giles just ran out is because he was complaining that he has to deal with talking about boys with Dawn, and then Joyce comes home- 'Let's talk about boys'. Now here Joyce has a rare really playful moment where she teases Buffy and says she left her bra in her date's car, or maybe at the restaurant. It's really fun seeing Joyce have fun because we give her so much of the concerned Mom, I wish we'd given her more of that.


[> Part 2 -- Tchaikovsky, 09:11:04 11/05/02 Tue

Continued from 1

Poor little April, walking all night, knocking randomly on doors now looking for Warren. It's got very poignant music playing under it, which helps it have that feeling, but I don't think Joss ever felt it really had what he wanted . He reall wanted this poor little match-girl. Because we really need to feel sympathy for April in this episode. She has invested her whole being in Warren. Hence the title of the episode, and Warren has left her.

Tara just said an uncharacteristic line where she said 'she practically had genuine mo[u?]lded plastic stamped on her ass'. That was a line that was almost cut. Joss felt it didn't sound like Tara, but we talked about it more and decided that as the intention clearly was that Tara was trying to not sound like Tara that we woulod let her say it, and see how it worked. I'm very pleased it made the cut. Becuase I like findiung those moments where characters... you get good after a couple of years at finding the standard voice of the characters. What's fun then is finding the moments when it's still in character to have them break the voice a bit.

And they're tracking down people named Warren. Willow had a joke earlier about 'There aren't many guys named Warren, it's pretty much Warren Beatty and President Harding', and that actually was a longer run in an earler draft, where she talks about President Harding. Because he was a Don Juan of a President is my understanding. He was a good-looking guy. But, as you might understand, that's the kind of thing that gets cut- something has to . Now Xander has a moment here where he refers to Oz, who hadn't been on the show for some time at this point. That's one of those moments that I like, as I was saying earlier, where you refernece a much earlier episode. there's another one comes up later in this episode too, when Dawn is gonna reference the episdoe 'Ted', which I like because I always liked that episode, and I thought there could have been more than one John Ritter robot which would be our chance to bring him back. And it's a story that took place before Dawn was there, but as Dawn was provided with memories as if she'd been there, it makes sens that the character could refer to that episode. And I like playing with that a little bit because I think it's an extremely cool thing that we did.

Now we see the Ben/Glory transformation here, just as Buffy's picking up the phone to call Ben and to accept his invitation. Now in the previous scene, they were talking about how sad it is that Warren couldn't find a real woman to love, which is what prompts Buffy to make this call. She wants to find someone she can love and be happy with. The interesting thing about that scene about how sad it is for Warren is that it's Tara saying it. Tara, who Warren is going to shoot and kill, is the one who the first time she knows about Warren, expresses the sympathy for him. When everyone else is condemning him for making a sexbot, Tara is the one saying 'Maybe he's just a sad soul who can't find anyone, and the irony of her ending up being his victim just kills me.

So Buffy having accepted a date is well on the way to doing what she set out to do in the teaser, to find herself a man and fix the mistakes she made. We go right from that to a another relationship, with Warren and Katrina. Now Katrina's gonna get pissed off here and storm away, which is the very reason that Warren has such unresolved feelings about her in Season 7 [sic, but almost definitely a mistake, I would say], that he jeopardises everything to go and try to get her back, which results in her death. So you can decide for yourself whether Buffy showing up at that moment makes Buffy culpable for Katrina's eventual death. Probably not.

We found a very convenient way to keep this scene from taking for ever. We established that Warren used to go to Sunnydale High. So Buffy is able to say, 'I'm a Vampire Slayer, do you know ewho I am? Do you know what I do?' and have him say 'Yes' without her having to explain who the Slayer is. Now that act break is another thing Joss wanted from the very beginning that we were talking about this episode, which is everybody knows she's a robot, but Warren doesn't know everybody knows, and we do it as an act break as if it's new information. We zoom in on Warren telling us that it's a robot, and have Buffy go 'Uh-huh' in what I think is one of her best line readings ever. I just love how she does that for an unusual act break for our show, where there really is no new information.

This is a scene I have vague memories of talking Joss into this scene. How could we possibly get Spike into the Magic Box? He knows everyone's mad at him because of the previous events with him, Buffy and Drusilla, and everybody knowing he's got the hots for Buffy, why would he just walk in. And I suggested he comes in on fire, and then tries to be very casual, and take the temperature fo the group, and try to explain himself, and I like how it turned out. And Giles here has a lovely Ripper moment. I love how he does this. These moments where you sort of see hgis tough guy past. The interesting thing about this tough guy moment though is that Buffy kinda makes a liar out of him. What he is saying to Spike here as he gets so tough is 'You're not going to get anywhere with Buffy ever. There's no way to Buffy. Give it up. Move on.' And then when Buffy starts sleeping with Spike, you wonder if Giles ever thinks about this moment and goes, 'I really thought that what I was saying was true.'

[Giles and Spike's little altercation]
Great moment. Those two actors are wonderful together. I love that he {spike] has to head back out into the sunlight.

This scene is set in the set called the Espresso Pump, which is an interior/exterior that we have. It's out on our back lot and it's got big windows which open to the outside. And this is poor April. I think this might have been one that we added when we were short. Because this is a scene that kinda looks out, and this just establishes how sad things are for April.

[Warren and Buffy]
This scene we get into starts really interestingly. We start giving Buffy a realisation that's different from what she's been shown up to this point. This episode has been driving Buffy towards Ben up to this point. And in this one, we start talking about love that goes wrong, what we're really thinking about here is Riley, because, what Warren is talking about is 'I wasn't happy with her, and I didn't tell her, and I didn't give her a chance for us to work on it.' That's exactly the mistake that Buffy's been agonising over with respect to Riley. Even though it's never commented on. But she's also being told: 'Here's the girl who was perfect for me. Shelaughed at my jokes', the thing Buffy's been trying to do is 'Maybe if I'm perfect for the right guy, he'll love me.' And this guy's letting her know that this doesn't work, that he's more interested in Katrina, who makes electric tains, and has some strangeness and edges to her, rather than this girl who was perfect for him. So this presents her with informationm she can think about later. I suppose about how you can't make a relationship be perfect just through effort.

And here we get the first bit of incredulous Buffy. In this episode, I wrote her flat out incredulous from here to the end of the epiosde. I think she does it really well. He'll tell her something and she'll repeat it really increduously and it comes out really funny. And this is another line, in this scene, which was one of the first lines that Joss proposed talking about this episdoe, which is she says, 'Is he dangerous?' He sayd 'She's only programmed to be in love', and Buffy says, 'Then she's dangerous,' which I think is a great exchange. It's completely joss.

[Katrina and April]
And now we get our first instance of April being truly dangerous. Here when she attacks Katrina. Katrina's had a kinda rough time on our show. She's almost killed in this episode, and then next time you see her, she is killed. Now I knew, when Joss explained what he wanted this scene to be, he said 'She wraps her arms around Katrina, and squeezes so hard that she breaks her ribs.' And we hear that sorta cracking noise. What he didn't say was which way they should be facing, and I felt like he felt it was obvious. I wasn't quite sure whether Katrinawould be facing away from or towards April and so in the script, I didn't specify either, because someone on the set would work it out. And they did, and it looks good.

We just saw Spike saying 'You want me to move on. I'll move on', and this is another mislead in this episode. He looks like he's going to burn them or throuw away all his Buffy stuff, and maybe become a danger to her because he is finally moving on. And we'll see at the end of the episode what he actually does.

I love this shot of her [April] dangling Katrina. I'm assuming what they did was have her hanging from wires which they painted out. And we're going to get our first view in a moment of robot vision, which we used to great effect in a later episode, after the Buffybot is built, we get some comedy out of the Buffybot's robot vision, and in the script, I specified some, not all of what you see on the screen when you go into robot vision. Joss was very clear about some things he wanted to see. So you actuallysee that there's 'Positions' 1 thru 6 listed down the side there. Things like that were specified in the script. Poor April- she's trying so hard. And now we get a hint of Warrren's true nature. Up to this point, he's been very co- operative with Buffy. He explains he really loves Katrina, that he's made a mistake. He does the right thing. He tells her he doesn't love her, and there's incredulous Buffy again, and at this moment Warren wimps out, and he says 'I don't love you, I love her', and points at Buffy to deflect April's anger onto Buffy. Oh, that doesn't look good- the breaking of the see-saw. I wish that they had done that better. I was sorta racking my brains thinking of things you could fight with on a playground. Because I think fights are more interesting when you get props involved, All of our actors are in nice, warm bundly things, except for April, who was probably freezing all episode.

Warren runs off after Katrina. And we know he doesn't get her back [Buffy uses swing as weapon]. Again with the props- always exciting. And now the batteries start wearing down. Now this actress has to be convincingly a robot and start just tearing her heart out and this is a very sad scene, in which Buffy lies to April. And I hope that's clear? I was never sure if it was clear, but April is worrying about what Warren thinks of her. |When's he gonna come back? How's he gonna find her in the dark? (cos she thinks it's getting dark), and maybe this is a test, and if I'm really patient he'll come back and it 's really sad.

And Buffy connects with someone here- even though it's a robot which is kinda sweet, and it makes you wonder, what does that say, when Buffy connects with someone, and sits with them as they die and the person that she's doing it with is a robot. And she does this noble thing where she lies and says Warren was proud of April, that Warren talked with her about April, sorta saying what she needs to say to get April through this. So Buffy actually sees here the consequences of 'If you live for one person, and try to make yourself perfect for a man, this is what you get'. Because they don't really get to know you and then you have all the pain of being alone again, and that she doesn't have to do that. Because she's not a robot! And she has a full and exciting life as a Slayer, and so she makes the decision in this episode that she doesn't have to go get the next man, which is a lesson that Buffy kinda continues to need to learn, I think.

I love the job this actress does here, where she's running down where if it wasn't for the fact her hair was blowing you'd think the film was slowing down. She does a great job. So sad. Look at this with the crane. I think we should have got some sort of award for Best Robot Death of the Season, [sorry to break into the transcript here, but that line really did make me laugh.]

Now this scene where Xander's repairing a window, I had to go to the Santa MonicaPublic Library to get books on window repair. So I hope I got it right. This is kinda taken word for word from a book on how to do this. I had to read about different kinds of windows, and what shims were, and they're talking here about what Buffy' learned. This is one of the scenes which makes fans go, 'Buffy and Xander, they're the ones that really belong together!' That was how it was from the very first episode, when he sees her go by. And it certainly was set up that the two of them should end up together. Scenes like this always give you that little flicker of hope. So it looks like Buffy'a getting her act all straightened out. What our viewers who saw this for the first time didn't know is that she was about to plunge into that very bad Spike relationship. i specified in the scrip that Ben's phone number should be written on a distinctively colo[u]red piece of paper, so that every time we saw it, we'd recognise it. In one draft I had him tear off the corner of a flyer on a wall at the party, but that went away bacause they were standing nowhere near the wall.

She cancels the coffee date. I always thought we were a little inconsistent here about whether Glory wanted Ben to go on a date with Ben and ingratiate himself with the group, or whether she was upset. Two adjacent episodes, we have her have a different attitude about it [I think JE means IWMTLY, and Forever here, which aren't quite adjacent, but hey]. |That's our bad. We had a couple of different minions for Glory.

And poor Warren can't get back with Katrina. Now when the script was originally released, this was the big surprise ending at the end of the script, of 'Who's there?' but it's Spike. And he's got his box of stuff, and of course in the later episode 'Intervention', it's all about the Buffybot, and then much to our surprise, she became useful again, at the top of the next season, where Buffy is dead.

So that looks like the end of the episode. Except. This scene, which Joss wrote, which was not released as part of the original script. And we think 'Oh this is all commenting on relationships' [cf Brian's message], and there you see her [Joyce] there in the background.

It's very sad.

And that's our show

Transcribed TCH

[> [> Thank you, O Great Dead Composer (minor season 7 spoiler) -- cjl, 09:26:27 11/05/02 Tue

IWMTLY is not regarded as a classic ep (especially with The Body coming right on its heels), but it's a pivotal episode all the same, and spotlights JE at her best. I have great affection for virtually everything she's written (including Doublemeat Palace), and Conversations with Dead People looks like it's going to be hot stuff...

[> [> That was great! Thanks so much for typing this up! -- ponygirl, 12:47:19 11/05/02 Tue

[> [> Thanks! -- yez, 12:49:11 11/05/02 Tue

[> Thank you!!! -- Rahael (feeling relieved), 10:09:45 11/05/02 Tue

Just hurrying by the board today - this is the only thread I've read, but thanks for doing all this work!!!

Good commentary.

[> Why no 'Real Me'? (answer to a rhetorical question) -- Tchaikovsky, 12:57:29 11/05/02 Tue

Rah masochistically transcribed 'The Body', and 'Fool For Love' at the weekend, so the only outstanding commentary not transcribed is 'Real Me'. This is, I believe, a lot less interesting than all the other 3. It's David Fury, and the director, who off the top of my head I believe is David Grossman. Another problem is I have difficulty distinguishing their voices. I might do it towards the end of this week, if Rahael doesn't beat me to it, but it does take more than two hours, and I, like her, felt I ought to write more or less word for word, so there is a lot of rewinding involved.


[> T, I'd love to post this over for the Trollops..... -- Rufus, 18:01:35 11/05/02 Tue

[> [> By all means -- Tchaikovsky, 03:04:25 11/06/02 Wed

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