November 2002 posts

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My buttons are being pushed (trawling the depths with Fred and Charles SUPERSYMMETRY SPOILERS) -- KdS, 06:43:09 11/05/02 Tue

Sorry if anyone thinks that I'm reviving an old argument, but I never felt I clearly expressed my problems with "dark side" exploration in the "Buttons" debate a few weeks back. In the process I think I upset a whole lot of people who I agreed with. This whole business with Fred, Gunn and the Prof has helped me clarify my thoughts.

I haven't seen Supersymmetry on screen yet, I've only read descriptions of it on various web sites which inevitably add another layer of interpretation. Hence I can't say if I think Fred and Gunn's killing of the Prof was justifiable, downright evil or grey. However, despite this I can still use people's responses to it as an object lesson.

Whatever you think of the morals of the act, one can speculate on its effect on Fred and Gunn. It might send them into a nihilistic moral tailspin, it might raise them to a whole new level. It might break up their relationship, it might bring the new strength that comes with weathering the loss of illusions about your partner. What is pressing my buttons, and always has done, is the (unconscious?) implication I'm sensing beneath the surface of some people's posts that if such positive personal growth occurred it would provide retrospective justification for the act, even if one considered it inherently immoral. Stated baldly the position appears ridiculous, but I've seen it lurking in some discussions of Spuffy, of Angel's post-Reunion indiscretions and even of Faith's and Willow's moral freefalls.

I may be being oversensitive here, but I've had some encounters with pop psychotherapy of various sorts and had grave problems with the implication that one should express and explore one's less acceptable feelings in the real world in the interests of personal growth, regardless of the effects on others. Once again let me stress that I am talking about actions, not inner-directed self-examination, which I generally approve of.

Of course good things can aome out of evil acts, but as far as I'm concerned inherently unpredictable good effects don't wipe out the nature of the acts at the time they were committed.

[> Re: My buttons are being pushed (trawling the depths with Fred and Charles SUPERSYMMETRY SPOILERS) -- Apophis, 07:56:56 11/05/02 Tue

You'll have to forgive me, but I haven't seen what you're describing (at least, what I think you're describing). I've seen people state that they thought the professor deserved his fate, but I haven't encountered anyone who thinks that his murder is good because it allows for character growth (except for Fred/Wes shippers). I think people were just happy to see that Fred was a more rounded character than she was previously presented as. She's been pretty bubblegum up to this point; now we've been shown just what her experiences have bred in her. I figure they'd be just as pleased if she'd arrived in this position without someone else's death as the catylist. It's not the murder they're focusing on, and I believe the general consensus is that it was a bad thing for all involved. Then again, I could just be dense.

[> Now MY buttons are being pushed. -- Caroline, 08:26:01 11/05/02 Tue

I do not condone any of the evil behaviour I have seen on Buffy or in real life. A person gaining recognition of their past evil deeds and being repentant is a good thing. That does not mean that there is retrospectively justification for their actions. Angelus killing Jenny will always be evil. Spike killing the magic shop owner will always be evil. Those who show true remorse and are consequently changed - as shown by their actions - are deserving of forgiveness.

I think that you have misunderstood the point that those of us with a psychological view of the show express. The point is that not recognising unconsious drives leads to compulsive behaviour and a larger possibility for evil action. In a fight between conscious and unconscious motivations for behaviour, the unconscious wins each time. By recognising the darker impulses and not being in denial about them, these unconscious drives then lose their compulsive power over one's behaviour. Bringing these issues to the light of consciousness thus allows recognition of these motivations and brings them under conscious control where they can be held and contained. What the individual then does with that self-knowledge is a matter of conscious choice.

Would it have been better if Willow had not channeled her rage and loss into an attempt at world destruction? Yes. Would better self-knowledge about her power/control issues and her unconscious superiority complex given her a different, less compulsive path to follow in dealing with her pain? Perhaps. But because she didn't have this self-knowledge, she followed her unconscious compulsions that ended up causing a human death and nearly destroyed the world.

As for Buffy and Spike, I don't see your point. I don't think his love for her wipes out his past deeds. I also think it was right of her to be troubled by her behaviour towards him during their sexual relationship (talk about unconscious compulsions winning out). Spike will always be guilty of his evil deeds, as will Willow. But with true change shouldn't there also come forgiveness? Which is a very different issue from retroactive justification.

The point here is that the capacity for conscious knowledge of self allows unconscious motivations to lose their power and come under the conscious control of the individual. What the individual then does is a choice, not a compulsion. Hopefully, the possibility for evil action is thereby rendered less likely.

[> [> Excellent post, Caroline! I agree 100%. - - Rob, 09:42:38 11/05/02 Tue

[> [> Re: Now MY buttons are being pushed. (some speculation, too) -- leslie, 10:13:18 11/05/02 Tue

I think this is also one of the ways in which BtVS is very emotionally "true" even though it is, genre-wise, fantasy. It comes down to what, in your opinion, should happen to people who have done something wrong. Once you have made one misstep, is this the path to perdition and nothing will get you off it? KdS has made a very good argument below that holding this point of view is what turned Warren from a maladjusted loner into a psycho/sociopathic killer. This is also the point of view of much American drama--film and television--these days: if someone who appears to be good turns out to have done something bad, there is the necessity for then revealing that they've been bad all along, the goodness was just a clever disguise, therefore it is all right for their badness to be punished, usually by death, whether vengeful or accidental. I think this is yet another one of the conventions that Joss & Co. have turned on its head--while there are evil beings who stay evil, there are also evil beings who can become good, and there are good beings who can become evil. No matter how many mistakes you have made, there is always a chance to change your ways, but at the same time, the evil done in the past must still be accounted for. This is most pointed up by Hell's Bells-- Anya thinks that she has put her demon past behind her, and although Xander leaves her at the altar because of his own qualms, it is the fact that this remnant of her demon past showed up that created the amount of time it took for Xander to decide to act on his qualms. Anya became complacent about her past; Angel's whole existence is a case study in the importance of never becoming complacent about one's past misdeeds.

While Anya and Angel have certainly done evil on a massive scale, however, and have had "demonization" as a convenient excuse, the fact of the matter is that in real life, you cannot live without making some kind of mistake at some time or another--and most of us make many-- and some of us may even do things that others, if not we ourselves, consider evil (I've just been reading an article on medical marijuana on as a case in point). To say that having done something wrong means that you no longer have any choice of doing something right, to say that one misstep makes you evil for all time--is that a world you want to live in? I don't.

In this particular instance, though, I don't think we need to worry about the death of the professor offering much opportunity for personal growth between Fred and Gunn; somehow, the fact that we have finally seen them in bed together seems to suggest, based on previous experience, that they won't be there together for long.

[> [> [> I'm going to shut up about this now :- ) -- KdS, 11:21:20 11/05/02 Tue every time I say anything about it I seem to upset people I largely agree with.

Caroline, I tried to make it clear that I was only talking about actions. I agree with almost everything you said in your post about recognition of your unconscious impulses. My quarrel was with people who seemed to me to have a view of "better out than in".

Leslie, I've looked again at my post, and I certainly didn't intend to imply that evil acts made you universally evil or unforgivable. I approve of forgiving, but I don't approve of just forgetting.

And finally Apophis, I see your point that I may be confusing approval of scenes from a dramatic standpoint versus moral standpoint.

I'm going out and may be some time...

[> [> [> [> That's far too ominous, KdS! Come back, all is forgiven! -- Tchaikovsky, 11:29:53 11/05/02 Tue

It's not cold enough in Britain yet, but who knows later this evening.

Happy Guy Fawkes Night, incidentally.


[> [> [> [> [> British posters -- Rahael, 15:10:13 11/05/02 Tue

We seem to have quite a few regular British posters at the moment. Why don't we have a meet? If any of you guys are coming down to London, give me a shout. Plus, Yaby is in London too, I think. Every meet I've been to so far has been lovely.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: British posters -- yabyumpan, 01:19:16 11/06/02 Wed

Sounds good to me :-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Cool! Any other London posters out there?? -- Rahael, 02:22:04 11/06/02 Wed

I'm not sure where Miss Edith and KdS are located.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'm in London too... -- KdS, 03:32:15 11/06/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> London board meet! Yeah! -- Rahael, 03:43:48 11/06/02 Wed

This is so cool! It's not just for American posters!

So, do you and Yaby want to meet up for lunch/coffee one weekend?

Anyone else who can make it?

My time is pretty free at the moment, apart from the weekend of 16 Nov, when I am going to be in Paris. (I get to meet Etrangere!).

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'm mostly free weekend daytimes... -- KdS, 03:50:59 11/06/02 Wed

Except this imminent weekend (family birthday).

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I'm mostly free weekend daytimes... -- yabyumpan , 04:57:24 11/06/02 Wed

The shift work's a pain as I only get one W/E off in four but it's a possibility depending on the time. email me and let's see what we can work out.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> How about weekend 23/24 November? -- Rahael, 05:14:18 11/06/02 Wed

Or if not, just let us know when you're free.

Plus, I've no objection to meeting on a workday evening, if that's okay for everyone else.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: How about weekend 23/24 November? -- yabyumpan, 14:53:42 11/06/02 Wed

23/24 Nov in the afternoon would be good for me. I'll be on early duty but i finish at 2pm. I'm also off the following W/E, so that's also a possibility.

OOOOH, this looks like it's going to happen, I'm getting all excited now. thank Rah :-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Maybe it's because I'm not a Londoner... -- Tchaikovsky, 05:10:45 11/06/02 Wed

Ummm. I live near Coventry during term times, and near Bath while on vacation, (Anthony Stewart Head kept coming into my old school- fun! Friend of one of the drama teachers). Anyway, this makes it a bit tricky for me to get to London, particularly due to my complete lack of money. But if a date is put out there, I'll see what I can do.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Also -- Rahael, 05:41:30 11/06/02 Wed

There's nothing to stop us having an impromptu meet if you do ever wander down to London for whatever reason!

[> [> [> [> Re: I'm going to shut up about this now :-) -- leslie, 12:04:00 11/05/02 Tue

No no no! I didn't say that you said that bad actions make you unforgiveable (you in the general, and Warrenish sense, not you personally), I said that you made a very good case for *Warren* having this point of view, that this is what led him to decide to go with the evil flow rather than attempting to pull himself back.

[> The Dark Side -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:30:25 11/05/02 Tue

I think this comment is made because, since neither Gunn, Fred, or the Professor or real, we don't feel a strong urge to condem them for their actions. That's the benefit of morally grey or even evil characters in a fictional world. The reason people seem more concerned with where it takes the characters is because that, in the end, is what most people are anxious about: what will happen to (insert character name here)? If this event happened in the real world? HUGELY different responses would be seen. But, for me at least, seeing justice carried out or moral standards upheld in a fictional world is secondary to seeing what will become of the characters.

Daredevil #181 -- shout-out or TOO geeky? (Minor spoiler for "Supersymmetry") -- Earl Allison, 09:17:05 11/05/02 Tue

I watched it, I got it BEFORE Gunn had to tell me who was playing Bullseye or Elektra, and I chuckled.

Then I looked at my friend and said "Would Gunn EVER read a comic book?"

I get that the entire scene with Lone Gunman-boy was cute, and played mostly for laughs, and was probably a bit of a shout-out to the fans, but was Gunn the right mouthpiece for that?

I ask because (and behold as Earl proves his own comic-geekness) Daredevil #181 was printed in 1982! Twenty years ago! Would Gunn remember a book that he probably read when he was five or six, or at most ten? And that's if he read and remembered the book at all!

I could get into the kryptonite speech from "Helpless" with Oz and Xander, because they DO seem like they might have been comic readers/geeks (and I mean that in a nice way, being one myself). I certainly figured the "Dark Phoenix" and "Lex Luthor" comments were appropriate for the Troika last year -- I mean, they were the peak of geek (and it rhymes)!

I just wonder if, in an effort to show the fans their "in-ness" with comicdom, they maybe went too far with a character that, to me, never seemed the type to read comics. I mean, some of the best "memorable" storylines in comics (again, IMHO) were from the eighties, like the aforementioned Death of Elecktra, the Dark Phoenix storyline from the X-Men (the first one, not the stripmining they did for the next decade-and-a-half), the Crisis on Infinite Earths -- all in the eighties, when a lot of thirtysomething writers were growing up and reading the comics.

But Gunn is younger than the writers -- isn't he? That, and the Daredevil line seemed a stretch (since the movie won't be out until next year, and I don't know if the Death of Elecktra will be in it), something aimed at hardcore old-school comic fans. Why not something more contemporary, like "I'm Spider-Man and you're Uncle Ben's murderer"? The movie was just released on DVD, and it STILL would be a shout-out to comics fans, but more general, and the movie would make it less jarring for Gunn to say.

The line just dragged me RIGHT out of the story because I had to question Gunn's statement.

I had the same reaction to his comment that Angel would "Flash Gordon" him to a hospital a few episodes back.

I know, it's a sad state of affairs to make a whole rant/essay about a throwaway line meant to entertain, but was I the only one wondering about this? Am I too petty here, overanalyzing something silly instead of something more important and meaty?

Did anyone else think it was slightly OOC, or at least an odd choice of comic storylines?

If I was the only one, I'll shut up now :)

Take it and run.

[> Re: Daredevil #181 -- shout-out or TOO geeky? (Minor spoiler for "Supersymmetry") -- Rob, 09:37:54 11/05/02 Tue

I don't know. I'm not a huge comic book fan, but my best friend is, and there are some that almost seem to have changed his life. Most of his favorites he read around the age of five or six, and he can still lovingly quote from them or remember what happened. And his copies are long-lost. Ya never know. Maybe Gunn did read that comic when he was young, even if he doesn't read them anymore now, and remembered it.


[> No such thing as "too geeky" (spoiler for Supersymmetry) -- Apophis, 09:53:10 11/05/02 Tue

Yes, Daredevil #181 is 20 years old. It's also a very popular and influencial story that is still discussed today. That takes care of the reference. As for whether Gunn would read a comic book in the first place... Why not? First, everyone assumes that Gunn was already a murderer before Supersymmetry, now he's not allowed to read comics? Lots of people in lots of different cultures read comic books. If I lived like Gunn did just a few years ago, I'd welcome some escapism.
PS- Spider-man didn't kill Uncle Ben's murderer, at least not intentionally. In the movie, the killer tripped and fell. In the comics, he had a heart attack when Peter revealed his identity to him.

[> [> Dial it back a notch, please :) -- Earl Allison, 10:10:22 11/05/02 Tue

I questioned it because Gunn had never shown that kind of interest, or made a comment like it, before.

Gunn can read comics, who can't? But it was a heretofore unrevealed item out of the blue, seemingly done for an "in crowd."

That's all I meant with it -- there was no insult intended anywhere, to anyone; actor, writer, or reader/viewer. I'm sorry if it looked that way, but it wasn't intentional.

I'd welcome the escapism, too, but I'd also have expected it to come up in some form before now, too, IMHO. Especially with all the Angel/Dark Knight analogies (and with the WB owning DC Comics, who'd sue?)

I KNOW Spider-Man didn't kill Uncle Ben's murderer, I was trying for a similar analogy that was more mainstream and accessible. And in more than one telling, the crook didn't have a heart attack, he merely fainted and was taken away.


With great power, comes great responsibility.

Now THERE'S a comic mantra for you.

Here's a few more:


"It's Clobberin' Time!"

"Great Scott!"

"... you missed a few decimal places ..."

Take it and run.

[> Re: Daredevil #181 -- perhaps supports the theme and consequences of revenge -- Desperado, 10:32:10 11/05/02 Tue

[> there is no age requirement for back issues. -- neaux, 10:42:32 11/05/02 Tue

Lemme just say that it doesnt matter how old you are to read an old comic book. and the chance of actually starting from #1 of a series you enjoy is rare.

So the logical scenario is that Gunn is a comic book fan who had to backtrack to read past issues.

[> [> Agreed. Maybe Gunn really likes Frank Miller's comics... -- cjl, 10:55:42 11/05/02 Tue

He probably read SIN CITY or DARK KNIGHT and went back to read Miller's earlier material.

[> [> [> Hopefully he didn't read DK2. $12 for THAT!?!? -- Apophis, 12:45:30 11/05/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> DK2...What a disappointment that was! -- Rob, 15:03:26 11/05/02 Tue

[> knowing the characters & plot is a shout-out. knowing the issue no. is geeky! -- anom, 18:54:20 11/05/02 Tue

Killing all the lawyers -- Spike Lover, 09:21:37 11/05/02 Tue

Spoilers---- thru Sunday's ep of Angel.

The beautiful grayness. Gunn kills the bad professor rather than wagging his finger at him and getting him therapy. -A moment that went right back to Angel shutting the door on Darla, Dru and the lawyers.

I have no problem w/ entertainment where humans W/ SOULS get their cumuppence (?). I enjoy it. One of my favorite shows that was canceled by ABC was "Vengence Unlimited".

Strange though. Why kill the professor if you are going to throw him into a Hell dimension anyway? Something else odd: Why is Wesley suddenly willing to talk to and help Fred? She is the one who told him to stay away after all. I continue to like Wesley's grayness. He warns Fred that A/G are correct. Nothing good can come of revenge, but he willingly helps her anyway. I wonder if Wesley is plotting his own revenge against 'the gang' as well.

-There will be reprecussions for Gunn and Fred, perhaps in their relationship. I just hope they don't pull a "Millenium" ep, where the wife of Frank turns on her husband because while trying to defend his wife from the psycho who was trying to kill her, he ended up killing the psycho. The wife actually was so upset at his use of lethal force, she moved out of the house and took his child... guess she would have preferred to have died...

One thing I am enjoying (I think) is the lack of moral high ground on Angel as compared to Btvs. Keeping the slave girl in the closet... etc.

I am not liking what they are doing w/ Cordy. (Roll eyes.) Memory loss? What happened to her super demon powers? However, kudos to the guy playing Conner. I actually thought for one moment in an exchange w/ Cordy, that he and Charisma had chemistry. (He came across as kind of sexy just for a moment.) Then the plot has her running back to Angel-- Whatever. But why set up a Jocasta moment, if you are not going to continue it? It is sort of like the social worker doing the visit on Buffy. It is interesting for one ep and then dropped...

Wait, what is this? A soft spot for Lilah? I am beginning to like the softer side of Lilah. I REALLY LIKE the strong, viril Wesley and the vulnerable Lilah. Give me more please.

Just some thoughts.

[> Wesley's reactions in the past two episodes just kill me... (spoilage) -- cjl, 09:54:59 11/05/02 Tue

He spends the end of S3 and first few eps of S4 with this smug, satisfied look on his face (which, considering what he's been doing and who he's doing it with, might be justified). Then, Lilah shafts him at the end of Slouching Toward Bethlehem, and the New Wesley smugness drops away and the Old Wesley ruminative expression reappears. Look at his face: he isn't kicking himself for trusting Lilah--he actually seems HURT that Lilah betrayed him! Wes, you've got to be kidding, man!

[I can just see Wesley running home to Mummy...

MUMMY: Now, now, Wesley dear, what's wrong?
WESLEY: The bad lady hurt my feelings, Mummy.
MUMMY: But Wesley dear, didn't you know she was a bad lady before you two had hot, monkey sex?
WESLEY (ashamed): Yes.
MUMMY: Then why are you surprised she hurt your feelings?]

In Supersymmetry, Wesley is obviously re-evaluating his relationship (the magic one dollar word) with Lilah, and he's thinking maybe the nice people in A.I. still have something to offer him after all. Ironically, he picks Fred as the prime example of the niceness of Angel's crew, and then she turns around and asks him to help her kill someone.

Wes' reaction? Of course, he tries to warn her about the consequences of taking human life, but he doesn't feel he has the right to stop her from taking revenge, when he would do the same thing. Which begs the question: Will he do the same to Angel when the time comes? As of now, I'd I think he's slowly coming back to the fold--and his expertise will be desperately needed when...

Ah, but that's a spoiler we've seen too much of already.

[> Strange though. ... -- SingedCat, 14:45:08 11/05/02 Tue

"Strange though. Why kill the professor if you are going to throw him into a Hell dimension anyway?"

Because that lets Gunn take the karmic bullet. This was all about protecting Fred from something that would haunt her the rest of her life. Now of course, it will still haunt her, but in a different way...Gunn will kill for her-- can they live with that?

What got me was-- did Angel REALLY believe them? "sucked into hell by his own portal--" He looked like he was about to put it together-- their withdrawn sadness together as they walked upstairs--he *knows* what guilt looks like...If Angel hadn't been distracted by Cordy's return he would have caught it, the way he was looking at them. They walked like they were on their way to their own execution.

"Something else odd: Why is Wesley suddenly willing to talk to and help Fred? She is the one who told him to stay away after all."

Because he still has a big crush on her. She's the biggest thing still connecting him to AI. And other reasons to help her-- "Vengeance. Sounds good." Maybe because she wants something from him at last. Maybe because he's intrigued by this side of her...

Maybe because moral ambiguity loves company.

Mind you I don't think he would consciously do something to break up Gunn & Fred. It would be very against his rules. But loneliness will out-- deny it, and it directs your actions anyway.

"I continue to like Wesley's grayness."

Oh, I am all over that! This is truly fabulous what's going on here. AD is incredible. all I have to say is: MORE PLEASE!

Can vampires breathe? (tiny spoiler) -- Lisa, 09:23:14 11/05/02 Tue

My husband is driving me crazy! I can believe in Buffyverse, but he's too logical.
In an early episode, the Master drowned Buffy, and Angel couldn't give her mouth-to-mouth (Xander did). But Spike can smoke. Any ideas? Sorry if this has been posted previously.

[> Re: Can vampires breathe? (tiny spoiler) -- Darby, 10:04:48 11/05/02 Tue

This is one of these rules that is applied very inconsistently across the Buffyverse. Vamps don't have to breathe, but they are capable of it - hence the smoking, and it'd be tough to talk without a bit of the old in-out-in-out (pumping air, dirty minds!). But ordinarily, they don't breathe, so you can sink Angel into the ocean or send him to turn off the gas when the room's full of it. Vamps shouldn't be chokable, either (you can't cut off their breath or their circulation), but sometimes the writers, and hence the characters, forget this.

But tell your husband that it's just one of those things you have to accept, because the extended logic is the kind...that isn't.

[> Re: Can vampires breathe? (tiny spoiler) -- parakeet, 10:23:07 11/05/02 Tue

The bit about Angel not having the breath to save Buffy has always bothered me from a logical standpoint. I'm sure that the metaphor of needing life to give life was what was intended. Still...Chalk it up to the same Inconsistent Demon of Convenience that decides what is and is not "direct sunlight".

[> Re: Can vampires breathe? (tiny spoiler) -- Pilgrim, 11:30:49 11/05/02 Tue

For an entertaining discussion of the various bodily functions of vampires, check out the archives of this board, January 2002, under "Spike's Crypt." These posts cracked me up!

[> Re: Can vampires breathe? (tiny spoiler) -- leslie, 12:19:06 11/05/02 Tue

Interesting that the vampire who arouses all of these questions about why the hell he's not acting like a vampire is Spike: smokes, walks around during daylight (okay, smoking there too, but...), chokes other vampires, makes alliances with Slayers rather than with other vampires, eats an awful lot of normal human food, I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting at the moment. Are we sure he really *is* a vampire? What if he's actually some kind of shape-shifty demon laboring under a terrible delusion?

[> Re: Can vampires breathe? (tiny spoiler) -- Isabel, 12:46:42 11/05/02 Tue

Vampires don't need oxygen, but actors do. It's really hard to make it look like Angel and Spike never breathe when they're chasing monsters and their actors are gasping for breath. Just assume it's a reflex that they didn't lose when they were possessed.

As for Angel not being able to give Buffy mouth to mouth, I always figured that it would have been simpler to say he didn't know how if there was a REASON they wanted Xander to do it. (Life can give life, Death can only give death metaphor.)

[> Re: Can vampires breathe? (tiny spoiler) -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:19:38 11/05/02 Tue

Vampires can breathe, but it's solely a voluntary function. They can make their lungs expand to let more air in and force the air out. However, they don't need the air and their bodies don't process it. While there have been occassions when vampires have been choked, the only two I can recall involved the vampire trying to talk while being choked (and vampires do need to breathe in order to speak). There is the matter of Spike supposedly strangling Drusilla to unconsciousness in Becoming II, but I think, given the way he held her neck, that he may have been damaging her spinal cord, thus paralyzing her until her vampire healing took over.

Now, why couldn't Angel breathe life into Buffy? Traditionally, vampires haven't just been called Undead, but also Unclean in some stories (most notably "Dracula"). It's possible that if air passes through a vampire's lungs, it becomes polluted.

[> The most thorough analysis of Vamps and Breathing... -- Rob, 15:15:35 11/05/02 Tue

Click here.< BR>

[> [> In the case of "Fool For Love"-- -- HonorH, 15:40:39 11/05/02 Tue

I always saw the Angelusian choke-hold on Spike as more of an intimidation than a serious attempt at bodily harm. Press hard on your larynx. None too comfortable, is it? No imagine someone as strong as Angelus pinning you to a wall with his hand around your throat. Not pleasant at all, even for upstart baby vampires like William.

When 'Buffy' began to go wrong -- Liam, 09:51:54 11/05/02 Tue

I feel that the series began to deteriorate in season 4. While 'Hush' is one of my favourite episodes ever, as the idea of even being unable to scream really scared me, and I liked 'Wild at Heart', 'Something Blue', 'Superstar', the Buffy/Faith episodes, and 'Restless', they only succeeded, I feel, in bringing the season to above the average.

These good episodes are counterbalanced by the bad stuff:

1. There was a complete failure to properly use the college setting. While it started well in the first two episodes, it was soon easy to forget that the Scoobies were in college, as there was a lack of interesting secondary college characters, apart from the people in the (lame) Initiative.

2. The Buffy/Riley relationship was forced down our throats. There was no attempt at subtlety, as in the introduction of the Willow/Oz relationship, which was introduced slowly over season 2.

3. Giles and Xander were sidelined and made figures of fun.

4. Adam was a very lame villain, not being given enough screen time and prone to talking too much.

5. The Initiative was lame, because it was set up as being an evil and ruthless organisation; yet it ended up as if it was staffed by Vampire Harmony's relatives.

6. The refusal to stake Spike, despite the fact that he was evil and betrayed the Scoobies to Adam. (He started to go down in my estimation in this season. I mean, who would want to get involved with _Harmony_?)

7. Anya's acceptance by the Scoobies and relationship with Xander, despite her being an unrepentant serial killer.

8. The second worst season finale ever (after 'Grave'). I mean, Riley doing major surgery on himself with a piece of glass, and then being able to fight?

[> Disagree with almost all your points -- Tchaikovsky, 10:06:15 11/05/02 Tue

Premise: Disagree. I don't think Season Four was the best Season, but I don't think that it was the start of a general deterioration. Season Five was wonderful, in my opinion.

1. Disagree. I think the college setting was used well in Season Four. It was there, but, after the inital well-handled adjustment episodes, wasn't over- whelming. Like the High School setting before it.

2. Mostly disagree. We see Riley very early on, but they don't kiss until Hush, which is Episode 10. So there were a good few months there.

3. Agree with statement, disagree with criticism. I thought both character's journeys were stengthened and made more interesting by these momentary losses of direction. It also fed into Spike's breaking up of the Scooby Gang in 'The Yoko Factor'.

4. Kind of agree. Not one of my favourite Big Bads, although I thought the analogy to fascist dictatorship was occasionally interesting.

5. Disagree. I didn't think the Initiative was shown to be intrinsically weak at any point. It's philosophy for fighting evil was wrong, but it still had big guns.

6. Competely disagree. This is the Season where Spike starts to be developed into not being wholly evil. That's why they didn't stake him. Plus, he was powerless to physically hurt humans anyway.

7. Oh, come on. (So was ensoulled Angel, but it's just a silly statement).

8. 'Restless' was the final episode, not 'Primeval'. And 'Restless' is brilliant.


[> [> Well said, Tchaikovsky. -- HonorH, 10:50:42 11/05/02 Tue

Agree with you. Don't agree with him. Hey, it's all a matter of taste anyway.

[> Well, when some things in Buffy weren't as good as they could have been -- luna, 11:00:09 11/05/02 Tue

I don't think the whole series went downhill with Season Four (and the FX reruns are just about here, with I suppose Hush on today). I really like season 6 (maye the only person who will admit that) and 7 so far is dynamite. However, I found Riley without chemistry (agreed with Spike on Riley's unsuitability for Buffy, though I think Spike's motivation was less artistic and more self-seving, surprise), and really disliked the whole militaristic atmosphere of the Initiative. I would classify that part of 4 and 5 more as a dip on the rollercoaster than a total downturn (not a shark, just a little fish).

[> [> Agree! -- DickBD, 12:04:33 11/05/02 Tue

Just as there seem to be no perfect people, not even "Buffy" can be perfect all the time. (It just seems that way!)

[> [> S4 has grown on me... -- ponygirl, 12:25:09 11/05/02 Tue

... though maybe I should have that looked at.

Anyhoo, it's very strange, the first time around I really had problems with the season. I didn't like the drifting of the Scoobies, the diminishing of Giles, and Buffy/Riley. But then as the season progressed I didn't just see all of my concerns addressed I realized that they were actually the point. That in a year of dissolution the Big Bad could only be defeated by unity. That after all the science and technology the solution lay in a return to the primal. And what began as Buffy glimpsing a seemingly larger world ended with a much scarier voyage into her own mind.

With several years distance and a lot of repeat viewings I love s4, I've grown to really appreciate episodes that I never enjoyed like Pangs and Where the Wild Things Are(but let's not discuss Beer Bad yet). It can duke it out with s3 in my personal rankings and hold its own.

[> [> [> Re: S4 has grown on me... -- Amber, 13:01:27 11/05/02 Tue

Have to agree. I personally find that S4 is better in hindsight than it was on first viewing. Give me any random episode of S4 to watch in reruns and I enjoy it, but when the season first aired I was somewhat dissapointed.

In some ways S4 was set up like a suspense/mystery. It took a long time to figure out exactly what was going on with the strange commando guys. I liked the gradual build-up around them, but was disappointed with the end result. Prof. Walsh was cheesy, but her death was shocking and made for a good twist. I think one of the things that makes Adam seem kind of lame is that he never actually hurt any of the Scoobies. (We, the fans, are always more angered/interested in a villian who hurts one of our beloved Scoobies.) Adam is the only villian that never did any serious physical damage to a Scooby Gang member, he just left bodies in the woods for Buffy to find.

Personally I think the Buffy/Spike relationship of S6 was more forced than Buffy/Riley. Though I think there's an interesting comparison between Buffy/Riley and Willow/Oz. On the S2 DVD commentary to "Innocence" Joss tells a story about how the fans weren't really appreciating Oz because everyone wanted Willow to be with Xander at that time. Joss says he wrote the scene in the van between Oz and Willow because "that's the moment when Willow falls in love with Oz, and as a result, that's the moment when the audience falls in love with Oz." (Of course what Joss is referring to is the classic scene where Oz says he wants to kiss Willow but won't kiss her until it's the right time, aka not just for the sake of making Xander jealous).

My big problem with the Buffy/Riley relationship is that Joss never gives us that moment for Riley. We never get a great scene like that where we can believe in their relationship. Of course, the reason for this may be summed up in Riley's S5 line "but she doesn't love me." So what can you do about that? Buffy/Riley isn't a great relationship because she'll never love him as much as she loves Angel, yet Angel is out of the picture at this point, and Buffy has to move on.

[> [> [> Re: S4 has grown on me... -- Rattletrap, 14:31:56 11/05/02 Tue

I'd have to agree here. I was kind of indifferent to 4 on my first viewing, but it has aged _really_ well. I still wouldn't quite put it in the same league with 3 or 5, but it has steadily improved for me. S5 seems to be showing a similar tendency, thought it's been a while since I watched it all.

In contrast, S1 and S2 both seem (to me) to have slipped with age--the first is mostly a collection of stand alones, solid but rarely remarkable. I find my opinion of S2 shaped more and more by the ham-handed episodes like "Reptile Boy" and "When She Was Bad" that always seem to overshadow the bright spots like "Innocence" and "Passion" in my mind.

I still haven't fully formed my opinion on S6. I enjoyed most of it on first viewing, but I don't think it will age terribly well. It reminds me a bit of S2, but more consistent--fewer real missteps and fewer moments of pure genius. Ultimately I find the dramatic angst vaguely interesting but somewhat exhausting. S7 on the other hand is shaping up to be possibly the brightest star in my personal constellation. In short, there have been some missteps, of course, there are always missteps. But it would be terribly premature to identify the point where BtVS 'lost it,' and they still seem to be cranking out 4 or 5 good episodes for every mediocre one, no other TV show on today could ever dream of that ratio.

Just my $.02, all pure opinion of course :-)


[> [> [> [> Well, I had the exact opposite situation... -- Rob, 15:10:11 11/05/02 Tue

I began watching "Buffy" at the end of season two, enjoyed it through season three, but did not absolutely fall head over heels in love with it until the fourth season. And then the fifth season I adored even more. My favorite so far, although season 7 looks like it may end up giving all of the previous ones a run for their money. And I greatly admired and enjoyed a great deal of season 6, but my major problem with it is that I didn't feel the same sense of epic sweep that I got in the other seasons. And I know that that was kinda the point...but I like the epicy sweep. Still, though, thought it was full of brilliance.

Oh, and incidentally, I said my situation was the exact opposite as yours, because as you said the fourth grew on you, the third has grown on me. I love all the seasons now.


Little Girl Lost: Cordelia and Fred (Spoilers for 4.1- 4.5 Ats, very long) -- shadowkat, 10:08:06 11/05/02 Tue

Little Girl Lost: Cordelia and Fred (Spoilers for 4.1-4.5 Ats)

Apologize ahead of time for any typos or errors in names. For instance can’t quite figure out the proper spelling of Fred’s prof’s name. Pretty sure it’s Seibel. What lies below is thoughts that intrigued me yesterday after re-watching Supersymmetry and reading the posts on the Atpo board. Warning major spoilers from Season 2 Ats all the up to and including Episode 4.5 Supersymmetry. Haven’t seen and don’t want to be spoiled? Don’t read.

************************************************************ **

Been thinking a lot of about a trend in the fantasy genre, specifically young adult fantasy, and most recently with Neil Gaiman’s horror novel Caroline. But since I haven’t read Caroline, well except for the book jacket and several pages in a book store, I’ll focus on other heroines such as Dorothy in Wizard of OZ and Alice Liddell in her Adventures Through the Looking Glass and in Wonderland . In all three of these works, the male author has thrust his preadolescent heroine into an alternate reality where they must access some dark portion of themselves to find their way back to their home reality. Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carrol) sends little Alice (in real life Alice Liddell) into a make-believe reality in his novels. The novels are stories that he wrote for a young girl that he may have had more than just a friendly attachment to. (According to a recent biography of Dodgson, SHE STILL HAUNTS ME by Katie Roiphe, Alice’s parents cut off the relationship with Dodgson just before Alice reached puberty, at age 11, leaving Dodgson a bit of a nervous wreck. Dodgson’s relationship with Alice is similar to Buffy and Giles or Fred and Sieble’s.) Frank L. Baum similarly sends his girl heroine off to OZ via a tornado. And Neil Gaiman sends little Caroline into another world through a door in her house. Each heroine is forced to face their worst fears in order to return home. They have to endure hardships first, such as a wicked witch capturing and threatening their friends and accusing them of murder, or a red queen threatening their head, or a new family treating them like a slave.

Winnifred Burke, a promising student in quantum physics, who spends her free time working in the University Library, one day happens upon a mystical book about portals. Intrigued she opens it and reads a phrase that appears to be written backwards. (Through the Looking Glass, Ats 2). It’s a puzzle to Winnifred (nicknamed Fred) and she works it out. By working it out – she is sucked into another world – a hell dimension where everything she knows is twisted. Instead of animals being cattle, humans are. Fred, who ironically hails from Texas, (Fredless, Ats. Season 3) a huge cattle state, known for it’s cows, suddenly finds herself treated like the cattle that she may have seen growing up. And demon-like creatures are the masters. (See Through the Looking Glass, Ats Season 2). Later we learn that the puzzle Fred found was planted in the library by her professor and trusted mentor, a mentor she’d idolized, named Edward Sieble. (Supersymmetry, Ats 4) He’d apparently felt threatened by poor Fred and decided to send her off to another world. Most of Sieble’s young interns appear to be women, the latest an attractive blond. Whether Sieble had more than a passing interest in these women is not explored, but what is explored is how much he is threatened by certain students, threatened to the extent that he sends them to another world. Upon Fred’s return to academia – Seible comments on how she’s grown. In Lewis Carrol’s books, Alice similarly grows and changes each time she’s forced to answer a rhyme or mathematical dilemma in the hellish wonderlands she’s been sent to either through a looking glass or down a rabbit hole. First she’s tiny and the world overwhelms her, later she’s huge and the world seems oddly insignificant. Fred has similar experiences – overwhelmed by her new dimension and its rules, yet her mental acumen provides her with the means of surviving there.

In Supersymmetry, when Fred tells Gunn about the speech she’s about to give, she’s says how everything has in fact worked out for the best, if she hadn’t been sent to Pylea (the alternate dimension) she may never have discovered her string theory and wouldn’t be doing this speech. Likewise Alice finds a oddly written phrase and holds it up to her Looking Glass and in doing so is transported to another world – the Looking Glass World, where everything in her own world is twisted and altered. Chess pieces are rulers. Toys talk. She is somehow at their mercy as opposed to the other way around. And to get out? She must solve an increasing series of mathematical games and rhymes to escape just as Fred attempts to solve a series of mathematical puzzles to escape her new world. Dodgson like Siebel is a mathematician. The mathematical rhyne is the way in and the way out.

Both Fred and Alice enter these dimensions as children, adolescents, innocent in all these things and escape them with a renewed awareness of their own inner darkness, the innocence forever lost. Unlike Alice, Fred is not permitted to escape Pylea on her own. She has to be rescued from it by Angel Investigations. Just as she is not permitted by Gunn in Supersymmetry to decide whether or not to kill Professor Siebel. Gunn takes her choice upon himself, by killing the Professor instead of letting Fred send him to hell. Keeping Fred the innocent little girl that stays in Gunn’s head, protecting her from her own vengeful inclinations and from tainting his own views of her. “I don’t want to lose you,” he says.

Several posts on the boards seemed amazed by Fred’s misreading of Gunn. I found Gunn’s misread of Fred far more interesting. When Fred threatens to kill Seibel. Gunn suggests giving her hot coca. It reminds me of the episode Double Or Nothing – where Gunn’s idea of a romantic goodbye to Fred is cotton candy, carousels, pancakes, and wonderful treats. Then instead of confiding in Fred about what he did, he protects her. Fred – Gunn believes must be protected. He treats her the same way (sans sex) as he did his younger sister, Alonna, as someone to be protected. A child. Wes on the other hand seems to accept Fred’s assertion that she neither requires nor wants his assistance in taking down Seible. He has provided her with the necessary information. Now she must handle Seible on her own. Wes appears to respect her enough to let her do it. He does not endeavor to protect her.

By breaking Seibel’s neck and throwing him into the abyss, Gunn took on Fred’s decision. Whether she would have closed the portal in time or rescued the Professor herself? We’ll never know for certain. My guess is she would have pushed him in the dimension. But this isn’t important. What’s important and may in fact be the first of many cracks in their relationship – is Gunn felt the need to nullify Fred’s choice, to protect Fred from herself, keeping her the little girl at least inside his own head. While Wes showed Fred that he saw her as a woman and respected her as such.

Jumping over to Cordelia, who is the other little girl lost. Cordy is the one who discovers Fred’s predicament in Pylea, in Through the Looking Glass. Prior to this episode, Cordy had lost everything due to the stupidity and greed of her father. Cast outside the family home to fend for herself, she struggles for years in LA, fending off poverty, fighting demons, and struggling with painful visions of horrendous acts beyond her imagination. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ she is scooped up by the portal winds in Through the Looking Glass and thrust into another world where she becomes first a slave and then a princess and finally the inadvertent savior of a people. Dorothy, while not becoming a slave, does slowly become the savior by ridding OZ of its number one villain, the Wicked Witch. Cordy unlike Fred is empowered in Pylea. Her visions save her from Fred’s fate as a slave, imprisoning her instead in the palace where she must make a choice between “queen-dom” and being a “champion” beside her friends. (There’s no Place like Grbltz, Angel Season 2) Like Fred, Cordy wrestles with male champions fighting for her honor: Groo and Angel. But in the end it is Cordelia who makes the choice, kills the wretched demons keeping her prisoner and ensures the group’s safe return to LA, through the same series of words that Dorothy used in the Wizard of OZ. “There’s no place like…”

Cordy is given a similar choice much later in Season 3, Ats. Where Skip, a self-proclaimed agent of the Powers That Be, tells her that she has been chosen to ascend to a higher level. Just as she’s about to reveal her true feelings to Angel – she chooses instead to go up into the heavens, where she is encased in a mystical prison of pure light and joy, given the ability to see everything but do nothing regarding any of it. Her encasement in the light is viewed by Angel in Grounded as a wonderful thing. She is safe. Protected. In a better place. Forever the little girl or “perfect” woman. It would be wrong of him to pull her out of there. Cordelia meanwhile is wondering if Angel is deficient and when he’s going to figure out how to get her out of there. Frustrated and bored, she witnesses Angel lose a portion of himself in Las Vegas and attempts to do something to save him and their friends – her actions enable Angel to save his friends and somehow thrusts her back to earth without her memory.

When Angel finds Cordy sans memory, he proceeds to protect her, by lying to her. He attempts in a way to do the same thing Gunn does with Fred, to preserve the innocence. Telling her about vampires, demons, etc will only scare her, he reasons. So Angel does the same he’s done to every woman he’s fallen for, he protects her from the ugly dark world. In doing so, he drives her from his house when she discovers his lies and his attempts to protect her from them. She takes off with his son, Connor, who also escaped from another dimension and was lied to by Angel. Connor, like Wesely with Fred, does not attempt to protect Cordelia from the dark. He takes her demon hunting, informing her that she used to be a demon hunter and this is probably what she is missing. Angel bristles at this knowledge. “I staked a vampire yesterday,” Cordelia tells him. “What? He took you demon hunting?” Angel responds, horrified. To which Cordelia responds, “I’m the same woman I always was, I can take care of myself, I do not need to be protected.”

Fred and Cordy are paralleled in Supersymmetry and even to some extent in the whole Pylea arc, Through the Looking Glass and There’s No Place like Grbltz, both lost girls. Cordy lost her innocence long ago in Sunnydale. Fred lost hers in Pylea. Now Cordy has found herself back on earth without a memory or any sense of who she is. And Fred is beginning to see the depths of her own dark nature and that of those around her. Neither are little girls any more. Cordy struggles with the oedipal desires of Connor, the son of a man/vampire she can barely remember but senses she once had a relationship with. Fred struggles with her professor’s jealousy, her own desires for vengeance and her romantic ideals.

It was easier in a way for Fred to believe the portal just opened due to a phrase she uttered. The fact it was her idol and mentor who opened it, thrusts Fred into a whirlwind of emotions that are as disorienting as being thrust through the looking glass into Pylea.
Professor Siebel’s motivations for sending Fred through that portal may be as complex as Fred’s reaction to the knowledge he did it. It’s possible that the mentoring relationship between Siebel and Fred was far closer than we know. Fred tells us she had wanted to be a history major but fell in love with Physics during Sieble’s lecture. Seible appears to have taken a shine to Fred, mentioning how he gave her an A- on her last exam because he knew she could do better. That physics came naturally for her. She trusts him enough to jot down her home phone number and address. Seible’s relationship to Fred reminds me of two other famous or rather infamous mentor-student relationships: the relationship between Scolari and Mozart, Mozart the young protégée and Scolari the aging composer who no matter how hard or long he works (see the play Amadeus), he’ll never achieve Mozart’s brilliance and is thrilled when Mozart dies. Or the story of Good Will Hunting where Matt Damon’s mathematical genius is envied by the MIT Mathematics Professor who yearns for a similar brilliance yet knows he’ll never achieve it. Yet in all three relationships, we have a sense that the teacher is half in love with the student. It’s a warped love, filled with jealousy. Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) may have had a similar relationship with his dear Alice.

What’s intriguing to me is what many posters see as a plot: how Seibel got Fred into Pylea. He did not push her into it. Instead she discovered a book in the library and worked out a puzzle, which sent her there. Similarly, Alice is sent through the looking glass to wonderland – through a puzzle. Seibel seduces Fred to Pylea. He seduces her brain. What we don’t see is how. But it’s not hard to imagine: he may have told her to hunt down the book or possibly mentioned it off hand to her in either a lecture or in a student-teacher consultation. I remember my teachers sending me off after books as a student. So when Fred does disappear and goes literally through the looking glass, she has fallen into Sieble’s trap and the only way out is to figure out the mathematical puzzle he set up for, which she spends the next six years trying to work out on the walls of a cave. A formula that requires the ingredient that Cordelia and company discover within the books of the demon monks ruling the dimension. Together they escape and Fred discovers her breakthrough in string theory.

The breakthrough is interesting – what we learn of it anyway.

Cribbing from Cjl’s post on Supersymmetry: "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)

In Pylea – Fred becomes the fermion, standoffish, removed, while Cordelia becomes the sociable boson, in control part of the social order. When they jump back to their own dimension, Fred gradually pulls out of her cave- like room and becomes more and more like the sociable boson, engages in a romance with Gunn, becoming pseudo-parent to Connor, intriguing Wesely, and re-engaging with the academic community. Cordelia on the other hand, becomes more and more a fermion with her new powers and when she ascends then descends again? She has no memory, removes herself from the AI family, relying on another outcast Connor, and is largely set apart. They become distorted mirrors of each other. Cordelia’s ascension has set her apart from others, while Fred’s exile appears to have brought her back into the social net.

Fred’s discovery – changes her societal relationships. Gunn feels cut off from her yet supportive. Angel seems to feel removed. Wes finally after almost six months interacts with Fred again. And Seibel feels threatened. Both Gunn and Angel immediately go into Riley Finn mode – we must protect the damsel, after all women must be protected. While Wes engages Fred on a mental level and respects her decision or rather her right to make one, even if he may not agree with it or see it as being the correct one. He has learned that people must make their own mistakes and there is little you can do to stop it. (See Sleep Tight – Slouching Towards Bethlehem). Cordelia has a similar problem – Cordy’s breakthrough – breaking out of her mystical prison, has cut her off from Angel and the others. Only Connor tells her the truth and respects her right to make her own decisions – even if he may not agree with them or see them as being the correct ones. It is tempting for the viewer to see Wes and Connor as the bad guys here, yet I found both to be refreshingly honest and heroic in this episode while I wanted to knock some sense into Gunn and Angel who spent all their time in the last two episodes protecting Cordy and Fred from themselves, treating both women like lost little girls.

The irony here is in the very act of becoming lost – each girl discovers who she is. Dorothy through her journeys in OZ discovers her place is home in Kansas and what is truly important to her. Cordy through her adventures in Pylea and ascension realizes her place is with Angel Investigations. Alice in her adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass – discovers that her mind is her ally and that she can choose her own destiny and is not at the whim of others. Fred through her ordeal in Pylea realizes what she is capable of and is empowered by her mental acumen and choices.

Cordy and Fred now are capable of taking care of themselves and no longer in need of protection. They are no longer lost little girls. By getting lost, they may have begun to find themselves.

Just my thoughts. Agree? Disagree? Before this poor post disappears in the archives due to the next Btvs episode?


[> Really Excellent -- Rahael, 10:43:48 11/05/02 Tue

[> Great post! -- Masq, 10:55:34 11/05/02 Tue

I'm going to include some of this stuff, particularly on Gunn's "protective" way of dealing with Fred vs. Wesley's more respectful (if morally ambiguous) way, on my site.

Lots of philosophically crunchy stuff to chew on!

off to chew

[> Re: Little Girl Lost: Cordelia and Fred (Spoilers for 4.1-4.5 Ats, very long) -- Pilgrim, 11:08:16 11/05/02 Tue

Thanks--there's lots of food for thought here.
A couple of things:
Oz and Wonderland were both created more than a century ago, yet the stories about Dorothy and Alice still seem fresh in the ways they address the journeys girls take to womanhood. Some things don't change, do they? Especially the way girls/young women relate to powerful father figures (and mother figures, too) as they struggle for maturity.

Cordy and Fred both seem older to me than Alice and Dorothy, at least as of AtS season 3, or maybe even season 2. Both already are sexually aware, and both already have had experiences testing their individuation from family or other powerful authority figures. If I'm remembering the stories right, Dorothy and Alice are both children at the beginning of the stories, testing self-identity, separation from family, sexual awareness for the first time. I wonder if that matters in your analysis? I wonder if there are fantasy stories that more particularly address the trials of young adulthood, rather than the border crossing from childhood to adulthood? Kind of the way Henry James addresses, in realistic novels, the struggles of young adult women--James in several works portrays a young woman's relationship with a male mentor, which nearly always ends in the destruction or at least the torture of the young woman.

Along those lines, the theme of losing self to find self (another Christian theme, isn't it?) is interesting. I want to complicate that theme, to suggest that although Alice and Dorothy recover from being lost, find the self and return home (appropriate for the child's first venture away from home), for the young adults living in the Jossverse the road isn't so clear. Fred and Cordy both seem involved in a much more drawn-out journey, in which their relationships with others and their understanding of self continually evolve. As you say, both Cordy and Fred seem always to be struggling to be who they are, whatever that is, against characters who would define, protect, or hurt them in some way. I'm not sure I can say what is "home" for either of these characters. A hotel in LA seems the very type of transience.

[> Patronizing attitude or stopping a loved one from screwing up? -- cjl, 11:18:31 11/05/02 Tue

Great post, 'kat. Sort of agree and disagree with your assessment of the guys' attitudes towards Cordelia and Fred in Slouching/SUSY (Sang's abbreviation). Regarding Cordelia, I think you're spot on. It's Riley Finn/Groo Syndrome, "save the princess," because she's not going to be able to handle the truth. Actually, I think the script makes it clear that the person Angel was protecting was himself. He was SO CLOSE to getting Cordy back, and he was scared that the truth about his undead status would frighten her away. Dead Boy wasn't thinking too clearly.

Fred's situation is a bit murkier. Yes, there has been a tendency to treat our Winifred like a cute little Texas plush toy, but we can't ignore the fact that she was heading out to kill a human being. This is something we don't do on BUFFY or ANGEL, and if Angel and Gunn wanted to stop her "no matter what," I wouldn't have come down too hard on them for supposedly treating her like a child. Remember, Giles breezed in from England a few months ago to stop Willow from killing her some nerds, and nobody was objecting to Giles acting like Big Daddy. (Well, maybe Willow, but she was high on Magic Crack, so she doesn't count.)

If I were Wesley, I wouldn't have helped her. I wouldn't (couldn't) have stopped her, but I would have made it clear that I wanted nothing to do with her plan. Granted, Seidel almost killed them both, but the Wes I know could have come up with a better option than murder. Wes is still a little in love with Fred, so I don't believe he was thinking too clearly either.

Ah, moral greyness. You gotta love these shows.

[> [> Re: Patronizing attitude or stopping a loved one from screwing up? -- shadowkat, 11:34:08 11/05/02 Tue

"Yes, there has been a tendency to treat our Winifred like a cute little Texas plush toy, but we can't ignore the fact that she was heading out to kill a human being. This is something we don't do on BUFFY or ANGEL, and if Angel and Gunn wanted to stop her "no matter what," I wouldn't have come down too hard on them for supposedly treating her like a child. Remember, Giles breezed in from England a few months ago to stop Willow from killing her some nerds, and nobody was objecting to Giles acting like Big Daddy. (Well, maybe Willow, but she was high on Magic Crack, so she doesn't count.)"

Major difference between Giles' Big Daddy and Gunn's actions. Gunn killed Seidel. Giles did not kill the nerds.
Giles tried to talk Will out of it and gave her magic to find her humanity again. Gunn tried to talk Fred out of it then snapped Seidel's neck. Fred wasn't planning on killing Seidel. She wanted to send him to a hell dimension as he'd sent her. Seidel also was a serial killer and showed no hope of stopping. But that's another debate. What fascinates me is the fact that Gunn killed Seidel for her, instead of merely rescuing Seidel and forcing Fred to close the portal.

Wes did not accompany Fred. And gave her the means but she could have found it on her own without his acceptance. Wes also made it clear to her what she was risking. I'm not surprised by Wes' morally ambiguous actions and to be honest? Giles would have done the same - as we saw with Ben.
Seidel was pulling demons out of portals and sending people into hell dimensions without a second glance, he was a danger to Fred (he tried killing her three times in the series and twice in this episode, once almost killed Wes), so her actions could be regarded as self-defense. Gunn's weren't self-defense - Gunn was never endangered by Seidel.
Only Wes, Fred and Angel were. So the character who acted the least responsibly in this episode? May have been Gunn.

[> [> [> I guess the question you have to ask... -- Masq, 11:51:59 11/05/02 Tue

The question you have to ask, re: was it patronizing or not, is whether Gunn would have done the same thing if it were somebody else, say, a male or non-girlfriend somebody else. Would he have tried to talk Angel or Wesley or Connor out of vengeance? Certainly. Would he have chased after them trying to stop them? Certainly. Would he have killed their intended victim instead of letting them fall into a hell dimension to prevent them from doing the deed? Open question.

I think it's arguable based on Gunn's personality that he would let Angel, Connor, or Wesley do what they intended to do if he couldn't talk them out of it or forcibly stop them. He would have done it and let them live with the consequences of it. He would have even felt a certain level of satisfaction in that--you made the choice, my friend, now live with it.

With the best tender-hearted intentions, perhaps, he wanted to spare Fred having to live with the consequences of her own actions. That's not how you treat another adult.

[> [> [> [> I agree. thanks for putting is so well. -- shadowkat, 13:24:52 11/05/02 Tue

"I think it's arguable based on Gunn's personality that he would let Angel, Connor, or Wesley do what they intended to do if he couldn't talk them out of it or forcibly stop them. He would have done it and let them live with the consequences of it. He would have even felt a certain level of satisfaction in that--you made the choice, my friend, now live with it.

With the best tender-hearted intentions, perhaps, he wanted to spare Fred having to live with the consequences of her own actions. That's not how you treat another adult."

Very well put. That's exactly why Gunn's actions bothered
me and I believe may have bothered Fred as well.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: I agree. thanks for putting is so well. -- Masq, 14:08:36 11/05/02 Tue

Despite what bothered us, I think that what bothered Fred as she and Gunn returned home after the whole event was the fact that Gunn killed the professor against Fred's expectations.

She didn't think he had it in him, and he did. It must bother her as well that he took her choice away, but when there is future dialogue about this, she will probably emphasize the "you killed that man," part of "you killed that man for me".

[> [> [> [> [> [> Could be. -- yez, 14:22:31 11/05/02 Tue

You're right that the ep. contained lines or actions from both characters that spoke to misunderstandings about what each other was capable of -- and how those (false) beliefs were part of what they loved about each other. So Gunn kills the prof so he won't "lose" the Fred he thinks he knows and loves, and Fred lies to Gunn and goes to Wes because she thinks Gunn isn't capable of helping her do what she wants to do, that being one of the things she loves about him.

The honeymoon's over, any way you cut it. And thank god for that -- their cutesiness made me groan and hold my stomach even more than Willow and Tara's...


[> [> [> [> [> Quite like Wes with Angel -- alcibiades, 14:42:14 11/05/02 Tue

I think it's arguable based on Gunn's personality that he would let Angel, Connor, or Wesley do what they intended to do if he couldn't talk them out of it or forcibly stop them. He would have done it and let them live with the consequences of it. He would have even felt a certain level of satisfaction in that--you made the choice, my friend, now live with it.

With the best tender-hearted intentions, perhaps, he wanted to spare Fred having to live with the consequences of her own actions. That's not how you treat another adult."

I actually see it as quite similar to the behavior of Wes last year, in taking Connor to protect Angel from himself or his behaviour as Angelus -- which Wes believed, I think rightfully (if Angel/us had killed Connor) Angel would not be able to live with.

I think it is interesting that Gunn has been despising Wesley for this action and now he has done something similar and also difficult to mend which will probably cause distance between himself and the people he loves/Fred and perhaps the others.

But we may finally learn why Gunn is so sensitive and unbending about the merest hint of betrayal from his colleagues. Something in his past hopefully we will learn.

[> [> [> [> Re: I guess the question you have to ask... -- Sara, 08:34:28 11/06/02 Wed

I don't think it's patronizing to try to protect someone you love from what you see as a profound danger. It might be misguided, and wrong if you are removing their reasonable right to make decisions, but it's still not patronizing. The need to protect is a primal force, that doesn't indicate a lack of respect, but instead a driving need to keep those you love safe. Gunn saw Fred's vengence as an act that would truly destroy her, and he may very well have been right. And does someone have a reasonable right to make the decision to murder, or torture someone? Of course, what Gunn didn't realize at the moment, was that allowing his need to protect Fred inspire his own act of murder, could also destroy her. Is being responsible for someone else's act of murder easier to live with then your own act? Probably not, so it's a bad choice for sure, but not motivated by a patronizing attitude, just deep and intense love.

[> [> Both. -- yez, 11:36:09 11/05/02 Tue

Shadowkat helped me realize what had been bothering me about that final portal scene and Gunn's action. As she says, Gunn took away Fred's ability to decide. I think Gunn would say he was doing it to protect the person he loved -- and Angel says something to that general effect in his opposition to Fred's stated desire to off the prof. But I think Shadowkat is right in her analysis, that Gunn isn't just protecting Fred from herself -- he's protecting her *for himself*: "I don't want to lose you." He not only removes her ability to self- determine (which we would have expected any one of the AI gang to do for the other, I think), but he takes the action himself and assumes the hero role for himself.

Any one of the AI gang except for Wesley, apparently, though you could probably make a case that Wes realized rightly that Fred was going after the prof no matter what, and he was just trying to keep her from getting hurt further.


[> [> [> Re: Both. -- ponygirl, 11:59:11 11/05/02 Tue

Major agreeage, yez... and great essay shadowkat! It gets pretty murky as cjl notes when we're arguing about whether it's patronizing to take away someone's choice to kill. However I think the real problem with Gunn and Angel's actions was their tone. They were both freaked out by Vengeful!Fred, they pretty much told her to go to her room and let them handle it. Both of them are familiar enough with vengenance to know that Fred wouldn't be satisfied with any solution that she wasn't a part of, regardless of the outcome. Fred kept emphasizing that she had survived Pylea, perhaps Gunn sees her more as someone who was rescued. There's a big difference in that. In their conversations he is promising to protect her, not giving her the means to defend herself. I think the Giles comparison is very interesting. Giles gave Willow more power to try and dissuade her, Gunn and Angel's first action was to take Fred's halberd away.

[> Very nice. -- yez, 11:19:55 11/05/02 Tue

I think these are very interesting points, and I agree.

I'm just wondering if there aren't little-boy-lost stories and what the gender difference may or may not mean. Can't think of any examples immediately, though...


[> [> Re: Very nice. -- yabyumpan, 11:31:06 11/05/02 Tue

Re: lost little boys, There's Peter Pan, which on AtS we can equate with Connor. (he's even caled that by Gunn in A New World). Other people with better brains than me can probably make something of that. The only thing I can really think of is that he actually seems more lost now he's 'home'. In fact, in 'Benediction' when Fred tries to connect with him, saying she was lost once too, he replies that he didn't feel lost (in Quortoth).

[> [> [> Peter Pan -- Tchaikovksy (discussing Ats! What?!), 12:01:47 11/05/02 Tue

Just a couple of thoughts regarding Connor and Peter Pan. There's a bit of a reversal going on. Maybe for Connor, Quortoth was Neverland. The land where there was no moral parental guidance, where he could play with the demons, (cf Hook, The Crocodile), the place where he doesn't have to grow up to be human, (or human-vampire? Who knows?). So when he returns to Angel, his Father figure, he feels he needs to kill him. Angel is the symbol of him having a parent in the real world, and of him growing up to be a strong man. In Neverland, Peter is mythically powerful, the head of his own gang, and fights and beats the baddies. In Quortoth, Connor is 'The Destroyer'.

But, also, reading Shadowkat's supreme essay made me think. Read this paragraph about Cordelia:

Cordy is given a similar choice much later in Season 3, Ats. Where Skip, a self-proclaimed agent of the Powers That Be, tells her that she has been chosen to ascend to a higher level. Just as she’s about to reveal her true feelings to Angel – she chooses instead to go up into the heavens, where she is encased in a mystical prison of pure light and joy, given the ability to see everything but do nothing regarding any of it. Her encasement in the light is viewed by Angel in Grounded as a wonderful thing. She is safe. Protected. In a better place. Forever the little girl or “perfect” woman. It would be wrong of him to pull her out of there. Cordelia meanwhile is wondering if Angel is deficient and when he’s going to figure out how to get her out of there. Frustrated and bored, she witnesses Angel lose a portion of himself in Las Vegas and attempts to do something to save him and their friends – her actions enable Angel to save his friends and somehow thrusts her back to earth without her memory.

SK writes, 'In a better place. Forever the little girl'. Maybe the celestial realm is, for Cordelia, a Neverland as well. But because, as Shadowkat points out, Cordelia was made to grow up before, when she leaves Sunnydale penniless, she's just bored and frustrated. For her, the attraction of somewhere she can 'see everything but do nothing regarding any of it' is disempowering. Childlike, but Cordy is an adult. She has already grown up.

And so to the big question: Cordy's been in a Neverland she hated. Connor's been in a Neverland he adored. The two are together, back from Neverland temporarily. How does this elucidate the nascent C/C relationship.

TCH, feeling quite queasy about Angel posting, and hoping everyone will be nice

[> [> [> [> Re: Peter Pan and Lost Boys - - pr10n, 15:55:37 11/05/02 Tue

Just to bolster Tchaikovksy's queasiness, there's another Peter Pan clue when Angel rips off the roof of Lilah's car, in a little _Lost Boys_ homage.

And the plot of _Lost Boys_ is the dark plot of Peter Pan --what with the looking for a mother and the ageless boys and the murder sprees... and maybe there's a Sunnydale connection too!

[You're on to something, boy -- keep at it!]

Because Santa Carla is a California town with a coast and caves and a mall!

[Sheesh, ya choked there at the end.]

[> [> [> [> [> Whoops spoiley for one scene in Angel 4.5 above ^ -- pr10n, 16:00:20 11/05/02 Tue

[> [> [> Angel, Connor, Peter Pan (Spoilers up to Super Symmetry) -- Rahael, 15:56:54 11/05/02 Tue

Just something I was thinking about.

Connor is Darla's son, just as Angelus was.

And just as Dawn is both Buffy's 'daughter' and part of her 'self', is Connor representative of a part of Angel? (Connor's conception and birth is as mysterious and mystical as Dawn's is - and Dawn springs out a fully formed adolescent, and it doesn't take long for Connor to be one either) The one working through his father issues? Frozen in time.

They are both attracted to Cordy.

Isn't Angel representative of 'Peter Pan' too?

One difference is that Darla abandoned Angelus but sacrificed her life for Connor.

[> As someone else mentioned. SEE "SPIRITED AWAY" -- neaux, 11:36:13 11/05/02 Tue

You should really see Sen to Chihiro or Spirited Away as it is called here in America. It has finally increased in theater screenings and is one of the best movies of the year. It is a modern day Alice in Wonderland/Oz/Neverending Story tale.

I'd rather not give any thing away because the movie is brilliant.. but I'd love to hear your paralell of Fred to Chihiro. I could take a stab at it.. but I would have to think about it for about a week.

[> Thanks, this is great. -- Arethusa, 11:48:46 11/05/02 Tue

I agree, epecially with the points about the three men, and the way they view Cordy and Fred. Wesley used to be very protective of Fred; when Gavin Park (or Lilah?) entered the hotel last year and saw her for the first time, Wesley moved in front of her, blocking anyone's view of her. He did the same thing in "That Old Gang of Mine," stepping in between Gunn's old friends and Fred, and moving her to safety. Wes's attitude towards Fred has changed, but I wonder if it is because his expectations and view of himself has changed. He wasn't around Fred all summer, so he hasn't seen her fight much. Yet he accepts her decisions and offers to help. Has he learned that each person must be allowed to decide her fate for herself?

Fred showed her courage several times, as you mentioned. She pulled a knife on Darla to threaten the vampire cult (I think), built the handy little slice-and-dice killing machine in "Fredless," and has been killing demons by Gunn's side for months. Yet Gunn still thought she needed protection, and that he needed to make her decision for her. Perhaps his history of protecting his sister and neighborhood made him instinctvely take on the role.

I wondered if Sieble's portal-opening book would only work if deciphered and then read. Anyone less brilliant than Fred would not be able to open the potal, and the professor would only get rid of people who were serious rivals.

A note: Dorothy later was made a princess of Oz, and returned permanently with her aunt and uncle. Also, IIRC, Dorothy never aged in Oz; she remained a young girl always, like Ozma.

[> [> Re: Thanks, this is great. -- shadowkat, 13:46:41 11/05/02 Tue

Thanks. And for the added points..

1. Regarding Wes, I think Wes has discovered a few things since he last protected Fred and Cordy...which is when it comes down to it, people have to find out stuff for themselves. He had attempted to protect Connor from Angel, but all he did was make the situation worse. He learned, the hard way, that sometimes protecting someone only hurts them more.

Another thing regarding Wes - I found his discussion with Fred intriguing. He clearly tells her that he has found vengeance not to be very rewarding and to be something that you can't come back from easily. It taints you. She listens to him but says that the man is a serial killer and is hurting others. Wes nods, smiles weakly and says "Alright then." Wes - goes into "ruthless Watcher mode" or ends justify the means. He doesn't really decide to help her until she presents him with the serial killer line. So I think his decision may have been two-fold. The fact that he abides by her decision not to have him tag along, which must have been difficult for him, surprised me. It also made me respect him a bit more. He backed off. And when he did so...he really had no way of knowing what would happen.
If she'd get killed. If she'd change her mind. He just trusted her to do what she felt was right.

2. Gunn - it's interesting how many people post on how Fred misread Gunn, when I find Gunn's misread of Fred far more interesting. She has fought beside him. He even witnessed her shock Connor when she learned of Connor's betrayle. He seems to see her through rose-colored glasses, a girl - while writing my post I kept wanting to compare it to how he treated his sister, Alonna, whom he also protects. When Alonna tries his stunts. He makes sure he can always catch her. He must always take care of her. It's always intriqued me that when Alonna suggests taking care of him (now in vamp mode) - he has to kill her. The moment Alonna becomes stronger - Gunn loses her. One wonders if Gunn has transfered this fear to Fred?

3."I wondered if Sieble's portal-opening book would only work if deciphered and then read. Anyone less brilliant than Fred would not be able to open the potal, and the professor would only get rid of people who were serious rivals. "

That's my theory. I think he planted it and it only works for those students who could decipher it. Students he no doubt inadvertently led to it by dropping hints in lectures or consultations. Possibly subliminal hints that Fred would not realize until she discovered the other book and thought back on it. The way it was constructed reminds me a great deal of the Alice books.

Didn't know that about OZ - only saw the movie, never read the series, I'm afraid. Interesting that Dorothy never grows up in OZ, sort of similar to Peter Pan who never grows up in Neverland.

[> Speaking of the World's Coolest Librarian, another controversial question... -- cjl, 13:56:29 11/05/02 Tue

I started an argument. I love when I do that.

Let's start another one--and compare Gunn's murder of Seidel with Giles' killing of Ben (both key words used VERY deliberately). In both cases, a more worldly-wise male character assumes the awful responsibility of killing the villain, taking it off the shoulders of an empowered female. The main difference? In "The Gift," Buffy refuses to kill Ben, because killing human beings is something she simply will not do as the Slayer if she can avoid it. (It's reasonable to assume that Buffy would rather take another flying jump off a tower than betray that principle.) Giles then picks up the slack, figuring that the safety of the universe depends on Ben and Glory dying right then and there.

In "Supersymmetry," on the other hand, rather than wait to see if Fred can go through with the dimensional suck-age, Gunn takes the decision out of her hands and kills Seidel himself.

But are the two cases that dissimilar?

Yes, Buffy made the decision not to kill Ben and walked away. But Giles almost immediately undercuts Buffy's moral triumph by killing Ben himself. Buffy's argument is that Ben is a human being, and no matter how much of a nightmare his life as Glory's prison turned out to be, it's a life worth preserving. Maybe Glory can be suppressed, or excised, then banished to a barren dimension. Giles will have none of that. He's the Watcher, and he decides the risk is too great. Ben dies. At this point in the series, nobody else knows what Giles did that night. I'd be interested in seeing Buffy's reaction.

Was Giles right? Was Gunn right? Both? Neither?


[> [> The difference is in the "why" or motivation -- shadowkat, 14:41:20 11/05/02 Tue

I think there's a very clear difference between Gile's act and Gunn's that you may be overlooking.

Giles decides to kill Ben because he feels he has to, that the world is a better place without Ben, that Ben is housing Glory and as long as he does so, Glory remains a threat to everyone. So Giles does the old Machiavellian Watcher Trick - the needs of the many outweight the needs of the one. He even tells Ben why he must do it. That Glory will come back to wreck vengeance on the SG, Sunnydale and the world. So Giles' murder of Ben has very little to do with Buffy, vengeance or heroism. It's what must be done.
He does it because he knows Buffy won't. It's against her code of honor as a "hero". Giles knows that strategically it is the best move, just as he strategically believed the best move was to kill Dawn.

Gunn kills Seidel not because Seidel poses a threat to others, that's Wes' rational not Gunn's. Nor does he kill Seidel because his life's in danger. He doesn't kill Seidel because he believes that Seidel could kill more people.
He kills Seidel because he believes if he didn't, Fred would. He does it to spare Fred the choice, the taint on her soul. Fred, unlike Buffy, hasn't made the decision not to kill Seidel or Not to punish Seidel. In Fred's defense? Buffy was not injured by Glory in quite the same way Fred has been injured. What did Ben really do to Buffy? Outside of unknowingly allow Glory brainsuck Tara, kidnap and try to kill Dawn and torture Spike, which granted was quite a bit but Buffy wasn't thrust into a hell dimension for six years by Glory. also Buffy knows Ben was more or less just an unwilling pawn for Glory. Fred OTOH was thrust in a hell dimension by seidel. And Fred had trusted Seidel. Like Buffy trusted Ben. Except Seidel unlike Ben - knowingly did these things to fred. Ben only knowingly hurt or tried to hurt Dawn.

Gunn clearly kills Seidel to spare Fred. He doesn't discuss it with Fred at the Hyperion - he tells her to go upstairs and rest and maybe have some coco. He doesn't save Seidel and make Fred close the portal so they can discuss it. He snaps Seidel's neck in front of her. He makes it clear to her: 1) I can kill Seidel, but you can't. 2) I didn't trust you to revoke your decision in time, so removed the problem

Fred and Giles' actions were out of fear, anger, pain, and vengeance and also a very real sense of what this person may do and has done to others. Gunn's actions had to do with vengeance and saving Fred from herself, for himself. His actions had to do with maintaining Fred's spiritual purity, which is something he cannot control or maintain nor has the right to attempt to. I would not blame Fred for resenting him for this. Of the two women? I don't think Buffy has anything to forgive, Giles made his own decision - a decision that in no way changed or effected hers. The same cannot be said for Gunn.

[> [> [> OK, so what about Buffy and Willow? (BtVS spoilers) -- yez, 15:35:35 11/05/02 Tue

I agree with you about the difference between Gunn and Giles' behavior. But how does the Gunn/Fred situation compare to the Buffy/Willow situation? Not Willow's attempt to destroy the world, but Buffy's attempt to prevent Willow from killing Warren, Jonathan and Andrew?

Are we characterizing Gunn's behavior as patronizing purely because of the gender difference? Because of power balance issues in a sexual relationship? While we'll never know if Buffy would've killed Warren given the chance (and it seems unlikely given her opposition to Willow's manhunt), Buffy clearly felt she could override Willow's decision, and one of the reasons she gives is because she doesn't want to lose the Willow she thinks she knows and loves. As well as "because it's wrong."

Of course, Willow being "possessed" or influenced by dark forces (resulting from the magicks) could be a mitigating factor...


[> [> [> [> Re: OK, so what about Buffy and Willow? (BtVS spoilers) -- Sophist, 16:41:43 11/05/02 Tue

But Buffy didn't stop Willow by killing Jonathan and Andrew, she stopped her by saving them. I think that's a critical difference.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: OK, so what about Buffy and Willow? (BtVS spoilers) -- yez, 18:10:01 11/05/02 Tue

I agree. But I still think the intentions are comparable. Buffy and Willow are in a relationship, albeit platonic, where there has traditionally been something of a power imbalance. At the end of the day, Buffy is the Slayer and thinks she's right and can do what she thinks is right despite what anyone else may say about it -- even when it comes to self-determination. I don't think Buffy was trying to prevent Willow from killing Warren just because it's wrong - - I think one of her main reasons, if not the main reason, was that she thought it would compromise Willow's integrity, her soul.


[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: OK, so what about Buffy and Willow? (BtVS spoilers) -- shadowkat, 18:48:38 11/05/02 Tue

"I don't think Buffy was trying to prevent Willow from killing Warren just because it's wrong -- I think one of her main reasons, if not the main reason, was that she thought it would compromise Willow's integrity, her soul."

Buffy wanted to stop Willow for several reasons, which are very different from Gunn.

1. Buffy knew that Willow was delving into dark magic to do that and would probably not come back from it. It would change her. But Buffy also realizes that Willow may be able to come back from Warren.

Xander: "Warren killed Tara, he deserved it."
Buffy: "But Jonathan and Andrew didn't and don't deserve it.
They are the line she can't cross."

Seidel killed more people than Warren did. Also we don't know if the hell dimension would have killed Seidel or if Fred would have gone through with it. Gunn killed him.
This corollary would only work if Buffy killed Warren before Willow got there. Or killed Jonathan and Andrew before Willow arrived at the jail - something Buffy could have easily done and something that would have probably been faster and more effective than her attempts to save them. Gunn kills Seidel, takes the easy path. The harder path would have been the one Buffy, Anya and Xander chose regarding Jonathan and Andrew.

2. Buffy's role is town sheriff. She is the chosen one.
Gunn isn't chosen. He's not the slayer. He does not have a sacred duty to protect human life from supernatural forces.
Buffy does. She protected Warren, Jonathan and Andrew NOT just because it's wrong but was her duty.
A good example is the westerns where the town marshall puts the criminal in jail and fights off the lynch mob. Gunn
isn't a town sheriff and has no prescribed duty. He's a street fighter and warrior. He knows it's "wrong" but he isn't constrained by his duty as Buffy is. If Buffy was a guy (Guffy) and Gunn (Bunn) was a girl - the result would be the same.

3. Buffy was afraid of the taint to Willow's soul.

[> [> [> When My Girl's not Happy....I'm Not Happy......... -- Rufus, 23:11:25 11/05/02 Tue

Gunn kills Seidel not because Seidel poses a threat to others, that's Wes' rational not Gunn's. Nor does he kill Seidel because his life's in danger. He doesn't kill Seidel because he believes that Seidel could kill more people.
He kills Seidel because he believes if he didn't, Fred would. He does it to spare Fred the choice, the taint on her soul. Fred, unlike Buffy, hasn't made the decision not to kill Seidel or Not to punish Seidel. In Fred's defense?

First off I have to say, who you love says much about you. Gunn and Fred, an unlikely couple, but they clicked and they work(for now). Both have an image of each other that is perfect, perfect enough to motivate Gunn and Fred to protect the other from diminishing that image each has invested so much in. Gunn see's Fred as his girl, on that was taken from this reality and had to survive on her own, now is tortured by her memories and fear that she could end up where she was in Pylea. That makes Fred unhappy, and what makes Fred unhappy....well, you know..Gunn was very unhappy at the comic book store. The kid at that store was only being questioned about his possible connection to what was after Fred, and look how Gunn went off a him. Remember the scene where Gunn puts Fred back into bed after finding her defacing the wall. Fred doesn't think Gunn can understand her feelings, cause he wasn't there, he didn't have to survive like she did......but wait a minute, Gunn had a hell dimension of his own, it was just a part of LA instead of a portal trip away. He knows what it's like to be alone, alone enough that he got himself a gang together to protect others from being victimized. Then he fell in love with Fred....seemingly harmless Fred. He wants to protect her from harm, from ugliness....and he will do what it takes to ensure her happiness. Then we find out that Fred is in danger of being sent back to a hell dimension...and she doesn't want to go, and she wants some payback on the person who sent her there. Gunn in his need to preserve the Fred he knows is willing to kill rather than ruin that image.....and Fred, she was willing to go to Wesley because she doesn't feel that Gunn is capable of the type of dark business she wants to do. Of course Wes knows exactly what Fred is capable he brought that out of her in "Billy". Fred may seem like a fragile twig, but push her and she goes to a dark place, and in that place she formulates a systematic solution to her problems. Wesley knows this first hand, and he is willing to allow her to make that choice to reach for darkness or another route to her solutions. Does that mean he respects her more? Loves her more? I don't know. But Gunn isn't willing to allow his Fred access to darkness, he'd rather go there himself, preserve, protect his Fred from ugliness. I see a tragedy here, both wanted to protect the other from harm, from doing evil. Instead of protecting each other, Fred and Gunn are now in a situation ripe for consequences. I don't think in the end it really matters if Gunn was being like Riley, because Fred was doing a little of that herself. What matters is that these characters have invested themselves in what they think their partner is instead of being open to the fact that they may be a little less perfect, of course reflecting back on each other. This was a no win situation, both now know that each is capable of more than pancakes and ballet...and can they now live with it?

[> [> [> Re: The difference is in the "why" or motivation -- Sara, 08:51:26 11/06/02 Wed

Giles killed Ben to protect Buffy, not the world. He tells Ben that if he lives, he will somehow hurt Buffy again. I expect the good of the world had some part of his motivations, but I thought that was one of the moments when we saw just how deep his love for Buffy went. I think it's a great parallel, in motivation. The real difference is quality of execution, Giles would never have done it in front of Buffy, because part of his desire to protect her, would include protecting her from the knowledge of his action. This shows how much better Giles knows and truly understands Buffy, from how Gunn knows and understands Fred.

[> [> Re: Speaking of the World's Coolest Librarian, another controversial question... -- kisstara, 20:06:52 11/05/02 Tue

I think the motivations behind the two killings are different.
Gunn killed Seidel to protect Fred from herself and to protect his own relationship with her. Fred was killing out of both revenge and to protect herself and others from further kidnappings.
I believe that Giles would have alowed Buffy to do the killing of Ben if she thought to do so. Ben did choose to preserve his own life, and Glory's, over Dawn's life.
But what was Weseley thinking??!?

[> Re: Little Girl Lost: Cordelia and Fred (Spoilers for 4.1-4.5 Ats) -- skeeve, 08:59:08 11/06/02 Wed

As I see it, there are two possible motives for Gunn killing the professor:
1) its affect on Fred
2) its affect on the rest of the world.

If the latter, which I deem unlikely, Gunn probably did the right thing. Just sending him to a hell dimension might not be enough protection. He might be able to get back.

If the former, he done wrong. Not just because he would have taken Fred's decision away from her, but also because it didn't work. At the time Gunn killed the professor, Fred had already done everything necessary (except bonk Gunn) to accomplish her purpose.
To accomplish his apparent purpose, he would have had to give Fred another chance to choose. That would have required hanging on to a live professor until Fred chose to close the portal.

While there might have been a degree of condesension in Angel and Gunn's efforts to dissuade her, they both derived at least partly from one premise: killing a person just for vengeance is not something people should do.
That said, even this one, who is not noted for his social skills, could tell they lacked tact ("Tact is not saying true stuff, I'll pass." -- Cordelia). Sometimes just saying no is not the way to go.

Well, don't kill him today.
Why not today?
The longer you think about it first, the more likely you are to get away with it.

A Very Buffy Birthday :) (Kinda OT) -- Isabel, 11:14:48 11/05/02 Tue

Sorry for taking up board space for this, but I had to tell somebody.

I just got my birthday package from one of my oldest friends who lives in So. Cal. Belated, my bithday's actually in August, but it's the thought that counts. And she was thinking Buffy. I got 4 disks with WAV files from Lessons and Beneath You so I can have a talking soundtrack as I frantically try to catch up with the board and be able to contribute to discussions instead of lurking in the archives...

But anyway, the Best part of the present was an Autographed photo of James C. Leary!!! (Clem) :-) I knew she went to ComicCon in San Diego this summer and I only mentioned that he'd be there, like 4 times. After the con she said she was really busy and never even got to see him, much less wait in line 3 hours to get people's autographs. Boy, is she a liar. He even wished me "Happy Birthday."

That made my week.

[> We want Clem! More Clem! Clem Power! (Where is Clem, anyway?) -- cjl, 11:23:29 11/05/02 Tue

[> Re: A Very Buffy Birthday :) (Kinda OT) -- tim, 11:48:45 11/05/02 Tue

Happy belated birthday! When I read the subject line, I thought "a very Buffy birthday" meant yours had been a day of, well, "gut-wrenching misery and horror." Glad to see that wasn't the case.


[> [> Thank you -- Isabel, 12:01:40 11/05/02 Tue

Caution: Don't read UPN's Buffy Newsletter if you don't want to be spoiled! -- Rob, 14:59:01 11/05/02 Tue

So, as most of you know, I am spoiler-free this year. Haven't been spoiled one bit. Avoided everything but the promos for the next week.

But guess what? In UPN's newsletter, they give away huge spoilers for the next three episodes. It would've been nice to know that even an official newsletter from the show isn't free of spoilers! My eyes!

Thanks for ruining my spoiler-free year, UPN.


[> And in case anyone wants to post these at the Trollop board, here are the SPOILERS... -- Rob, 15:01:52 11/05/02 Tue

"Him"--Dawn develops a major crush on a hunky jock, which turns into a comic free-for-all when Buffy, then Anya and even Willow fall for the same guy. With the women wholly distracted, it's up to uneasy allies Xander and Spike to discover the source of the girls' bizarre behavior. Thad Luckinbill ("The Young And The Restless") and musical artists The Breeders guest star.

November 12th
"Conversations With Dead People"--Joyce visits Dawn from the beyond, Buffy has a revealing chat with a Vampire and Willow receives a ghostly visitor whom she believes may well be Tara, all of which portend an imminent, unpleasant future. Meanwhile, Jonathan and Andrew return to Sunnydale for some inevitably unpleasant mischief. Kristine Sutherland returns as Joyce, Buffy and Dawn's deceased mother.

November 19th
"Sleeper"--Fearful that Spike may be killing again, the gang's investigation into his mysterious behavior climaxes in a formidable confrontation between him and Buffy. Meanwhile, Giles makes what may be a cataclysmic discovery that could affect everyone's future. Musical artist Aimee Mann guest stars as herself and performs the song "Pavlov's Bell."

And yes these spoilers are definitely real...They come from UPN! Grr aargh!


[> [> Oh no, poor Rob! -- Wisewoman, 15:11:03 11/05/02 Tue

Sorry, hon, you don't deserve to be spoiled if you don't want to be--what a shame!

As to posting them, heh-heh-heh, old news for Trollops...

dub ;o)

[> [> [> I figured as much... -- Rob, 15:17:56 11/05/02 Tue

Just to make sure, though, I didn't wanna hold out any info the Trollops might want. Couldn't go to the Board to check myself whether it was common knowledge or not, or...I'd be even more spoiled! lol.

You got a time machine handy so I could go back in time and NOT read the newsletter? ;o)


[> [> [> [> No time machine... -- Wisewoman, 16:09:18 11/05/02 Tue

But maybe I could hypnotize you to forget what you know (rather than the usual hypnotism to remember). Hmmmm, hypnotism by chat room? I don't think so...


[> [> [> [> [> Re: No time machine... -- Rob, 18:39:14 11/05/02 Tue

Hey, if Jenny Calendar and her on-line technopagan group could form a virtual circle to kick Moloch off the web, couldn't you try to use your skills to hypnotize me via chatroom? ;o)


[> That's why I canceled my subscription to the Buffy newsletter -- Masq, 16:43:14 11/05/02 Tue

When they spoiled Angel season 2 for me by letting me know of Dru's return in "Dear Boy"!

Hey, that's why I don't read any news articles about the show anymore. It's actually helpful in more ways than one. Less spoilage, and I'm not constantly riding on changing rumors of whether the show(s) is/are being canceled or not, how the ratings are, writers putting their feet in their mouths, etc.

Interpretation of Buffy 7.6 ("Him") (Spoilage) -- frisby, 18:30:05 11/05/02 Tue

Buffy 7.5 ("Him") just ended here and my wife was upset that Spike appeared so little--she said she was really only interested in scenes that feature Spike, and then it dawned on me that perhaps this entire episode was a subtle commentary on the madness of many of the buffyverse fans with regard to Spike and (as Dawn pointed out) his really cool jacket. Buffy rode both of them (Spike and RJ). Willow almost made both of them impotent with regard to male potency (Spike was chipped and couldn't perform even after they waited another hour, RJ was almost transgendered). Anya committed infidelity with one and robbery for the other. And Dawn had a terrible crush on each. Was the "S" on RJ's jacket perhaps meant to refer to both Sunnydale "and" Spike? The jacket went to RJ from his brother who got it from his father, etc. Spike got vamped by Drusilla, who by Angel, by Darla, the Master, etc. Well there it is. I wonder if this literary comparison might be carried further? This television dramatic/comic series never ceases to amaze me. How can these writers know so much?

[> LMAO! Ahhh silly writers -- shadowkat, 19:02:20 11/05/02 Tue

then it dawned on me that perhaps this entire episode was a subtle commentary on the madness of many of the buffyverse fans with regard to Spike and (as Dawn pointed out) his really cool jacket.

If the writers knew so much - they would realize that there is no cure for Spike Holism and would make the most of it. ;-)

Actually this is phenomen not limited to Spike. It happened ages ago with Fonzie on Happy Days. Another cool dude with a leather jacket and somewhat questionable morals. The bad boy. Henry Winkler stold the show and was considered a charismatic phenomen on screen. Same thing occurred with James Dean in Rebel without A Cause and East of Eden. And oh the mighty Elvis. Not to mention Marlon Brando in Streetcar Named Desire.

An actor either has charisma on screen or he doesn't. The character either grabs the audience or doesn't. And it usually has more to do with the actor than the jacket - although with Fonzie? That jacket apparently made the role.
With Spike? the audience could care less what he wore.
For a hilarous Spike Holism thread check out B C & S archives...or if your spoiler free as I am, I can try and email you the post that a friend emailed me. ;-)

[> Re: Interpretation of Buffy 7.6 ("Him") (Spoilage) -- Caroline, 19:08:28 11/05/02 Tue

Yeah, I think there were some references to Spike. Notice how Lance said RJ was into poetry and was geek until he got the jacket and then he became really cool. Very much like Spike's pattern - awful poet turned to badass vamp. Without the jacket, RJ won't be able to perform as the school hero, just like Spike is unable to perform as vamp with the chip.

I also loved all the references to the previous episodes - injured cheerleaders, teachers seducing students, locator spells, irresistible boy, wild sex, robbing banks, rocket launcher (remember the mayor?) etc. There were also lots of good lines but ultimately not that satisfying. Only a middling ep.

[> [> not the mayor, the judge. *smap -- Caroline, 19:11:35 11/05/02 Tue

Woo-hoo! The circle has indeed turned.... (Spoilers for 7.6) -- Steve, 18:32:17 11/05/02 Tue

This was one of the funniest episodes I've seen in a long time. And in many ways one of the cleverest too - a lot of Buffy metanarrative here too. For example:

Whiny!Dawn: Aggghh! Her crying hissy fit was a flashback irritating Dawn of season's past, before ME let her grow up some, and made me very glad she did.

The Full Circle references - Dawn wearing Buffy's cheerleader outfit. Buffy's hairstyle. The missile launcher. The explicit acknowledgement that this script was a reply of a classic from the high school years, but played from the point of view of the other side. But this wasn't just a retread, as the characters were going through this as the characters we've seen develop over the last 6+ years with all those extra layers of meaning, and so can be seen as a sort of signal of what ME means by "back to Season One"

And did I mention ME brought the funny? I fell out of my chair when I saw the long shot of Buffy abd Spike, culminating in Spike legging it with the launcher...

And I *loved* the team of Xander and Spike... An unexpected amount of chemistry (for want of better word) between them...

Two fangs up!

[> Metanarration...agreeing -- shadowkat, 20:27:14 11/05/02 Tue

Yes - if you want to see meta-narration on comments on past history? This one had it in spades.

1. Cheerleader tryout - a realistic tryout as opposed to Buffy's stylistic positive one in Witch, Season 1. Dawn performed the cheerleading tryout - I would have. It was wonderful commentary on Buffy's perfect and somewhat violent ones. Ordinary horror of embarrassement instead of the supernatural horror of competition. Also the idea of the child emanating the mother. Dawn is trying to step into Buffy's shoes as Amy tried to step into Catherine's and like Amy stumbles on her first tryout in her mother's costume(prior to Catherine takeing over her body?), Dawn similarly makes a fool out herself in Buffy's and shreds it.
Buffy annoyed askes why she did it.

2. The Jacket/Love Spell - this metanarrates on two episodes, the first is BBB with Xander who remembers fondly what it was like to have women run madly after him. Then Something Blue - when Buffy previously denied being under spell. Buffy has been under a love spell three times now.
And in this episode she was a black shirt that's almost off when Xander comes in on her in the classroom - this harkens back to Buffy in nothing but the jacket in BBB.

3. Spike and Xander living together - metanarration on Hush, the last time they were forced to live together and Xander puts Spike in a closet. And complains about the towels. He asks what's the difference this round. The soul.
The other difference? Spike says very little except a desire not to do it which he handles with far more maturity than he did in HUSH. Both deal with it more maturely then before.

4. Spike and Buffy fighting over the rocket launcher - the same rocket launcher that Buffy used to destroy Spike and Dru's creation - The Judge in season 2. This time he saves the Principal and keeps Buffy from committing a horrible act.

I'm sure there are more references if you can find them.
What was the purpose of the meta-narration? I think for us to see how the characters have both changed and stayed the same. A continuation of the theme that no matter how much we change we are the same at heart. Repeating similar situations from new angles until we finally get it right, a la Groundhog Day (the classic movie where a man must repeat the events of a horrible day until he gets it right.)

Final point: I agree, Xander and Spike have wonderful chemistry.

[> Re: Woo-hoo! The circle has indeed turned.... (Spoilers for 7.6) -- Purple Tulip, 20:57:17 11/05/02 Tue

I really have to agree with you on this one. This was one of the funniest episodes that I have seen in awhile. My roommate and I were laughing hysterically throughout the entire thing. I think people have some problems with it being so light and lacking in depth---Rob's post above talks more about that---but I really thought that it was appropriate following the episode with Anya. That one was so heavy and next week's looks to be just as, if not more heavy, so for this episode to come now, it just felt right---a little laughter before the drama resumes.

Oh! And I loved Spike in this one, even if he didn't say much. He was acting incredibly mature and he seemed even sexier with the not talking and not being crazy. Thumbs up for that one!

10 Things I Hate About "Him" (spoilers BtVS 7.6) -- Rob, 18:32:45 11/05/02 Tue

1. The absolutely throwaway nature of the entire episode. Not only was it light as feather, but it had no substance. And furthered NONE of the plotlines, except for Spike getting out of the basement and living with Xander...and not enough time was spent on that.

2. Dawn being whiny again. Sure, she was under a spell, but I just do not think it was a good idea to have her behaving this way so soon after becoming not whiny.

3. Again, a Spike shortage.

4. The fact that there didn't seem to be any reason that they were recycling the love spell plot. In "Help," I understood why they were referencing early episodes, and it actually added greater depth to the plot. But with this one, I saw no excuse. They even flashed back to BB&B, a far superior episode in every way.

5. Dawn's cheerleading routine. I usually love MT's acting, but this one, she seemed off, especially in this scene. She sounded too off-the-wall whacko. Again, I know she was under a spell, but I just didn't think it was funny. I thought it came off as poorly done.

6. The overuse of background music. It seems like every moment they were cranking out another song...I assume Breeders music, since they've been making a big deal in the commercials that they'd be on the show. Bronze bands are done best subtly, when one song comments on a scene, like the end of "Tabula Rasa." But when every moment of the episode we're being bombarded by another catchy pop tune...blech!

7. The fact that the spell had no significance. Okay, jacket bad. Xander rips off jacket, and burns it. The end. What did we learn? What's the metaphor? Umm...jocks have tons of girls eating out of the palms of their hand, so therefore it's the jacket that's..uh...oh, forget it.

8. Principal Wood hasn't been on for a while--he's back this week, and is totally wasted.

And for 9 and 10...can't think of anything else. I just thought the title of the post was kinda cute.

What I liked: The funny. This episode was big with the funny, although, unfortunately, it was uneven, and thus never matched the heights of the great "Buffy" comedies, like "Tabula Rasa," "Band Candy," "Halloween," or this episode's precursor, BB&B. All of those episodes had emotional substance and truth, along with the silliness. This episode was severely lacking in every arena- -plot, character, depth--but there were quite a few good things:

**Willow telling Xander that she, too, had thought Dawn was hot.

**The fact that, despite the love spell, they made it clear that Will is still gay. The "I'll overlook the penis" thing was a riot, as was her plan to turn R.J. into a girl.

**Anya calling him "AJ".

**The "24" parody...although I ask, was this really appropriate for a "Buffy" episode?

**The Anna Nicole joke.

**The early scene with Buffy helping Anya out. I enjoyed that whole scene, as I did...

**the scene where Dawn and Buffy discuss Spike's soulage, and what it means. I'm glad they're showing the characters discussing this. Although I do wonder, did Buffy tell them about Spike's soul right after she heard it? Why did she decide to now? It seems weird that they didn't show this happening.

**Spike turning the angel sculpture around.

**the very last moment of the episode, with Anya flicking off the radio.

See, guys...I don't love EVERY episode. Actually, I'm very disappointed, because so far I've enjoyed Drew Z. Greenburg's work. The ironic thing is I thought in his two previous eps, he had the characters nailed perfectly, but wasn't quite good enough with the funny. Most of the jokes in OaFA, in particular, fell flat. And yet this episode was chock full of good jokes. But not much else. Strange...

Oh, well, not every episode can be a "Selfless" or a "Hush." This is the first ep this year, however, that I don't have much desire to rewatch. Oh, don't get me wrong, I know I will (I always do), but I just can't see finding any much more in it. To be honest, I enjoyed DMP more than this one...and that's saying A LOT. In fact, I'll add that DMP, Bad Eggs, and Some Assembly Required, all considered throwaway episodes by most fans....they all had greater depth than this ep.

Sigh. At least next week's promo looks pretty awesome.


P.S. I've been operating this entire review under the assumption that there was no emotional depth nor true dramatic reason for the spell. If anyone can think of a deeper meaning behind the episode, I'd be really happy to hear it. Because it just seems odd to me just how lightweight and meaningless this episode was. Did I miss something?!?

[> Flatness.... -- AurraSing, 19:01:06 11/05/02 Tue

I watched this and thought"Hmmnn,they could have telephoned some of those lines in and been funnier..".

Overall,the only parts that left me chuckling were the exchanges between Xander and Willow over the hot chick on the dance floor (Dawn) and the whole bazooka scene.Some parts elicited a smile but I thought this was one of the weakest attempts yet by ME at humour.

Nice subject line btw-if RJ had half the personality that Heath Ledger does this episode might have been more enjoyable!

[> [> Re: Flatness.... -- Arethusa, 19:05:23 11/05/02 Tue

Ah, but it wouldn't take a magic jacket for Ledger to be irresistible to girls.

[> [> [> Re: Flatness.... -- Silky, 07:18:17 11/06/02 Wed

I sorta thought the whole point was that RJ was nothing special - without his jacket.

[> Re: 10 Things I Hate About "Him" (spoilers BtVS 7.6 and *Spoilers for Preview for next week*) -- Arethusa, 19:02:17 11/05/02 Tue

"P.S. I've been operating this entire review under the assumption that there was no emotional depth nor true dramatic reason for the spell. If anyone can think of a deeper meaning behind the episode, I'd be really happy to hear it. Because it just seems odd to me just how lightweight and meaningless this episode was. Did I miss something?!?"

Love makes you do the wacky. (That's pretty much all I got from it. I'll have to wait for others to find more meaning.) Dawn, who can't begin to understand all the complicated relationships around her, learns a little more about love and all the craziness that comes with it. Maybe now she can sympathize a little more with Buffy and Xander's actions.

Did we see Lance (A.J.'s brother) in high school? I don't remember him. Seeing him makes me miss Larry.

Spike progressed a little, and we got to see him work with the Scoobies again, which is fun. Is one function of this episode to ease him back into the action? It was funny to see him wrest the rocket launcher from Buffy. And she kept the rocket launcher after she took out the Judge?? Most girls keep corsages and trophies as souvenirs of their high school days!

How quickly Buffy forgets the anguish she put herself through over Angel. Watching Buffy argue with Dawn was like watching Joyce and Buffy tangle over Angel.

The big issue: OMG, was that Parker in the preview?

[> [> Re: 10 Things I Hate About "Him" (spoilers BtVS 7.6 and *Spoilers for Preview for next week*) -- Sophie, 19:17:05 11/05/02 Tue

Love makes you do the wacky. (That's pretty much all I got from it.

That's pretty much what I got from it, too.

I was happy that they put in the "you don't need a boyfriend to be a person" line. That needs to be said LOUDLY to every teen-age girl in America. And repeated ad nauseum. Too many TV shows always show the leading teen-age girl with ever present boyfriend.


[> [> The episode was about Dawn (Spoilers for Him, 7.6) -- shadowkat, 19:45:29 11/05/02 Tue

Okay, I admit wasn't overly impressed by the episode. Actually found it sort of something between well a little slow and very funny. The scenes with Spike and Xander were a riot. And I was laughing my head off while Spike and Buffy fought over the rocket launcher outside Wood's office.
Best sight gag I've seen in a while.

The episode was shown mainly through Dawn's pov. Remember guys, try to figure out whose pov you're mostly in and it tells you what's going on.

When Buffy brings Spike to Xander's - Dawn is there and it's through Dawn's eyes that we watch Buffy requesting that an incredibly reluctant Xander take Spike in.

Dawn doesn't get it. She doesn't get love. It makes no sense why they do these contradictory things.

1. Dawn: "Why did you help Spike? Are you back together with him?"
Buffy: "Gallons of no."
Dawn: "You say he disgusts you. Then you're making it like Bunnies with him. He says he'll die for you. Then he attempts to rape you."
Buffy:"He felt bad for that. It's why he left. It's why he got a soul."
Dawn: "But why does a soul matter? Xander has a soul and he still stood Anya up at the altar. And now he wants her back?"
Buffy sighs and expresses that she doesn't know what soul means or how she feels exactly, just that she does feel for him and no it's not exactly love and it's not pity.

Buffy leaves and Dawn sits confused until she sees RJ with the jacket. She goes from the Spike as stalker stage, to the Xander with violent love spell stage, to the Willow teary stage, to the Buffy wearing the revealing clothing stage, to the I will die for you stage. It's the I'll die for you stage that oddly enough wakes up Buffy, jolting her even from her own attraction to the boy.

Dawn literally takes a walk in the other characters moccassins in this episode. She experiences the pain of obsessive love and by the end of the episode may understand why they've done the things they've done.

This season is about the heart. And the ills of the heart. What happens when the heart is out of wack. It is worth noting that the person who figures it out and puts things to right are the two symbols of heart: Xander and Spike.
Spike figures out it's the jacket and together the two of them save the women from their own hearts. Xander is the speaker and Spike is the hands in this relationship.
I saw them almost as one being, Spike a silent shadow.
And did anyone else find Spike's lack of one liners or commentary interesting? More evidence that this vamp has changed.

Another interesting point? RJ was a poet, he wrote reams of poetry and was a geek. The Brother even sort of compares him to Xander. The Brother the jock whose now a loser. He says RJ finally understood the family legacy when he got the jacket and graduated from geeky poetry to a true calling, football. Spike - was a poet in his past life and when he became a vampire, he became cool guy by donning the leather jacket. Did evil things. Girls were all over him.
Dru. Harm. Buffy. Even Dawn had a crush on him. And he slept with Anya. He thought he needed the jacket the persona to be cool but like RJ the attention he gets is not love - it is not healthy. And he unlike RJ sheds the jacket and changes, becomes something better, maybe.

Then we have the Dawn/Buffy relationship - Buffy who was Ms. Popularity, who was never clutsy and easily made runner up in the cheerleading finals, was even a cheerleader at one point. Dawn - is clutsy. What does Anya say? Dawn isn't good for much of anything. When I watched Dawn's cheerleading audition in Buffy's uniform - I was transported back to Witch and felt for the poor girl. Imagine having Buffy as an older sister? Ms. Perfect. Ms. Beautiful. The Slayer. Hell. And when Dawn finally falls for a guy, her sister steals him from her without breaking a sweat. Every crush Dawn has had - went for her big sister, Xander, Spike and now RJ. Buffy's discussion with Dawn is as awkward and disjointed as Joyce's. Buffy has no clue how to handle her sister's anguish. Buffy hid hers. Contained it. Dawn wants to scream it out.

I didn't find Dawn whiny in this episode so much as struggling for her own identity. She has no clue who she is.
She places herself on the tracks and tries to commit suicide because she feels unimportant, unnecessary, a complete failure. If she dies for RJ maybe that will be something. After all Buffy died for her - and look how everyone reacted.

Then of course you have Buffy insisting everyone else is under a spell but her. I'd just watched Something Blue - and boy is Buffy consistent. She denies everything.
It's hard to figure out what this girl's true feelings are since she isn't even honest with herself. When she's under love spell - she declares they are real and it's love. When she's not - she denies the existence of them. Denial is Buffy's middle name. She has yet to face her own romantic failures and issues - until she does? I'm not so sure she can be much help to Dawn as Dawn made clear in this episode.

Willow also goes back to her usual practice. If I can't have it the way I want? I'll change it. She decides to do a spell to turn RJ into a girl. Typical Will. I Will It So!
She has yet to learn that she cannot alter the world to fit her wants, needs and desires. Just because she wants something to be a certain way does not mean she has the right to do it. Examples: Making a Paraguay flower grow in England. Hiding when she returns to Sunnydale. Changing RJ into a girl. Willow hasn't changed much from the girl in Something Blue who got everyone in trouble with a Will it So spell or in Lover's Walk when she attempted a delusting spell. She's still resorting to magic to change the world to fit her image of it.

Anya - goes after money. She still believes cash or image is the way to a man's heart. If I rob a bank - I'll get my man. And interestingly enough - her crime is the only one they don't stop.

Buffy thinks I'm the slayer. I'll fight my way out of this. I'll get him by killing the obstacle. She sees herself as first and foremost the powerful slayer. Using a trusty gun to do the job.

And finally we get a glimmer of scarey Dawn - who knocked the boy down the steps and lied about it. Was this the spell?

In this episode, we learned a little bit more about our characters, who they are, what they have to overcome and what they will do when things get tough.

Finally, Buffy says two things in the beginning of the episode that intriqued me: to Xander - "he's going insane in the basement, we need to get him out of there.."
And to Anya - "I need to be sure my friends are safe - somethings coming and we may need each other" (not exact my memory isn't that good but close. She took steps in this episode, against the wishes of both Anya and Spike, to help them. She saves a reluctant Anya from D'Hoffryn's mininion and finds a reluctant Spike a safe place to stay.

All in all? Not that bad an episode. I liked it better than HELP.

I hope this rambling post made sense...sending before my computer or voy cuts me out. SK

[> [> [> Re: The episode was about Dawn (Spoilers for Him, 7.6) -- M, 23:30:07 11/05/02 Tue

Finally, I was searching for something positive. I also preferred this to help. That came on a bit strong and kind of Boston Publicesque. I don't know if they were parodying it but it didn't work if they were.

[> [> [> Re: The episode was about Dawn (Spoilers for Him, 7.6) -- HonorH, 00:04:59 11/06/02 Wed

Excellent review, SK. Made me think about things a bit more. I do take issue with one thing, though:

She has yet to learn that she cannot alter the world to fit her wants, needs and desires. Just because she wants something to be a certain way does not mean she has the right to do it. Examples: Making a Paraguay flower grow in England. Hiding when she returns to Sunnydale. Changing RJ into a girl. Willow hasn't changed much from the girl in Something Blue who got everyone in trouble with a Will it So spell or in Lover's Walk when she attempted a delusting spell. She's still resorting to magic to change the world to fit her image of it.

I don't think this is entirely true. The Paraguay flower disappered back into the earth as soon as Willow released it, so it's not like it was a permanent change. Her hiding was unintentional. It wasn't what she meant to do. As for the spell, I think it was pretty clear that the love spell was affecting everyone to the nth degree. Does Buffy usually take rocket launchers to try and kill the principal? Does Dawn generally push boys down stairs, or try to kill herself? Is Anya into robbing banks? No. They were all atypical actions, ludicrous exaggerations of each girl's "special talents". Except Dawn, who felt she had nothing to offer.

Willow has learned, or her months in England meant nothing. She no longer uses magic promiscuously--only when she has to. This was meant to be out-of-the-ordinary.

Other than that, though, cool review.

[> [> [> [> Willow has learned nothing -- Sarand, 07:53:09 11/06/02 Wed

HonorH, I do think that Willow's time in England appears to be for naught. I haven't seen any evidence that she has learned not to alter things to her liking and this episode just emphasized how far she will go, albeit under a spell. In "Selfless," we learned that her professor was concerned because her mid-semester grades were down but then the professor noticed that Willow had aced her finals. When did Willow take her finals? While she was busy trying to destroy the world and then went immediately to England? As Willow's comment to her professor makes clear to us, although the professor ignored it, she did not take her finals. Sometime over the summer, before returning to school, she altered the school's records, either by magic or by using her computer skills, and demonstrated yet again her inability to accept things the way they are and to take the consequences for her actions. One of those consequences was not doing well in school when she didn't take her finals. It happens to a lot of people in college, a period of time when many are growing up and dealing with emotional issues and their school work suffers. Everyone else has to accept the consequences and move on. Not Willow. She changes things to her liking. She's not just using her magic or her skills for "out-of-the-ordinary" situations.

[> [> [> [> [> I think you've got the timeline wrong -- Scroll, 08:40:26 11/06/02 Wed

I agree with HonorH that we're supposed to be seeing the girls taking extreme measures, acting insane because of the spell. I don't think under normal circumstances Willow would ever use a "will it so" spell. As for her finals, the prof said she was doing badly at midterms, which is when she was going through her "magic withdrawal" around Gone and DMP, but that she was back in scholastic form right around Entropy and Seeing Red. I think Willow had finished her exams before Tara died (May 16?) which is around exam week, not that she used magic to alter school records.

[> [> [> [> [> Okay, hold up a sec! -- Rob, 08:42:58 11/06/02 Wed

Firstly, I can't emphasize enough the fact that Willow was under a spell in this ep, which mentioned but glossed over too quickly. The point was that each of the girls ended up becoming the worst possible version of herself--Anya a money-hungry crook, Buffy a killer, Willow someone who uses magic inappropriately. Does not mean that it stayed that way.

Further, gotta disagree with:

"When did Willow take her finals? While she was busy trying to destroy the world and then went immediately to England? As Willow's comment to her professor makes clear to us, although the professor ignored it, she did not take her finals. Sometime over the summer, before returning to school, she altered the school's records, either by magic or by using her computer skills, and demonstrated yet again her inability to accept things the way they are and to take the consequences for her actions."

Actually, Willow left school after "Wrecked." Hasn't been back since then. The finals the professor was talking about, therefore, were the finals for the fall semester. Willow had doctored up the final grades when she was still goin' crazy with the magic, the first time, before she first gave it up.

As far as what we know now, Willow has stopped using magic frivolously. The only things she done since returning, besides this spell-addled lunacy, was regrow her skin, and fight off the spider demon. Willow has definitely grown over the summer.


[> [> [> [> [> [> Actually... -- Rob, 08:46:58 11/06/02 Wed

I think Scroll might be right. I had thought Willow had stopped going to school. If she hadn't though, this is the dialogue:

The professor said: Your grades recovered like magic.

Willow: Yes, very much like magic, but...

That didn't necessarily mean that she had used magic to doctor the tests. Just the word "magic" may have gotten her nervous. That sentence doesn't mean that she had used magic. If her finals were before the events of "Seeing Red," it would make sense, b/c her life was getting back on track.

So, either way, if the finals were fall finals, or if they were spring finals...this was still not meant to show that Willow is still using magic to fix things. I think it's very clear that she has stopped doing that.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Actually... -- DEN, 09:08:13 11/06/02 Wed

Rob, I very much agree with your reconstruction of events. There may nevertheless be some anomalies. Did Willow ever formally withdraw in second semester? Probably not--but what would that mean. We know she spent time at the U "stalking" Tara, but that means nothing. On the other hand, a sympathetic prof talking informally with a good student might well choose to glide over such unpleasantness as a semester's worth of "incompletes," or simple disappearance, which is more frequent than a lot of people realize,and concentrate instead on getting the student back on track. Lest we forget, moreover, Willow is VERY bright, and a VERY GOOD test-taker. It's not beyond her "powers" to ace a set of finals with little or no study, whether she's high on magic in the fall or going through the wakey-shakes in the spring.

It seems clear, though,that the scene was staged to highlight Willow's underlying nervousness, and AH played it so well I can forgive a loose academic end or two.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Actually... -- leslie, 09:43:14 11/06/02 Wed

Actually, this professor seems to be Willow's faculty advisor, not necessarily one she was taking a specific class with (note she refers to Willow's exams in the plural--she's talking about her entire performance over the past year). And incidentally, most UCs are on the quarter system (I think Berkeley is the only one not), so there would have been exams in, approximately, December, March, and June. If we need to be nitpicky about it, I think there was still time for Willow to withdraw from the spring quarter before Giles whisked her away, and they would be talking about her exams in the winter quarter.

But even more, Willow uses magic to correct her emotional life--I simply cannot believe that she would ever, ever use magic to cheat scholastically. Because that would be admitting that the one thing she has going for her, the part of her that has defined her her whole life, is a sham.

[> [> [> [> [> I don't see any reason -- Sophist, 09:05:50 11/06/02 Wed

to assume that Willow magicked her way through finals during the summer. She hardly would have had time or inclination for that. It is much more likely that such spells occurred before the events of Villains.

I haven't seen any evidence that she has learned not to alter things to her liking and this episode just emphasized how far she will go, albeit under a spell.

I'm a little dubious generally about inferring too much about the character of the SG members when they are acting under a spell. It's always difficult to know where the spell ends and where the fundamental personality takes over. In this case, for example, what was the fundamental aspect of Willow's personality being emphasized, her witchery or her gayness?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I don't see any reason -- DEN, 09:12:54 11/06/02 Wed

The point might be strengthened because an enchantment, rather than a spell, is causing the behavior. The magic is in the jacket, and that's something different from the usual Buffyverse pattern of spells that are cast or willed.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I don't see any reason -- Sarand, 09:49:12 11/06/02 Wed

I'll have to go back to look at the episode to see exactly what Willow said. Nevertheless, your point makes me wonder why they have the scene at all with the professor if it's just to show that Willow was doing other bad things before Villains, like monkeying around with her grades. Also makes me wonder, now that she's supposed to be all reformed, why she doesn't change them back. Where's the honesty in that? It's okay, no matter how she did it, because we all know how brainy Willow is and gee, it was a tough year? Or if it's just to show, as someone else was saying, that Willow is just so brainy that she aced her finals before Tara's death. I don't see any evidence that Willow dropped out of school after the fall semester either.
The fundamental aspect of Willow's character that was being emphasized was her need to change things to her liking, no matter the consequences on others. I agree that you can't take how the characters behave under a spell too far. But I think the episode was used to show fundamental aspects of the characters taken to extremes. Buffy and her slayerness, Anya and money, Willow and her witch powers.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I don't see any reason -- Rob, 10:06:16 11/06/02 Wed

"Also makes me wonder, now that she's supposed to be all reformed, why she doesn't change them back. Where's the honesty in that?"

2 things--1) We don't know for certain that it was magic that got her the grades, and I would tend to think not (see the whole subthread to your above post), and 2) even if she did, in order to turn the grades back, Willow would not only have to change them, but erase her teacher's memory..and I don't see her going back to do that again after TR!


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I don't see any reason -- Sophist, 10:10:44 11/06/02 Wed

I thought it was pretty clear that Willow had dropped out mid-year. That's why she made a special trip to campus to find Tara; otherwise they'd be seeing each other all the time.

I see your point about the reactions of Buffy and Anya, but Willow creates a different issue. There were two potential aspects of her personality involved, her sexual orientation and her witchcraft. I don't see any way to decide which one was controlling (though I suppose one could go back to the allegedly non-existent metaphor of S4 and say that magic is related to lesbianism. I recommend that you don't go there. Just a tip based on personal experience.).

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> One more point -- Sophist, 12:16:53 11/06/02 Wed

Your original comment was that Willow had "learned nothing" about magic use. I can't see the spell as evidence of that, because she was under an enchantment. In order to make your point, you'd have to say that Willow would be capable of casting a spell to change RJ into a girl even if she were not enchanted. This would be akin to saying that Buffy would be capable of launching a rocket into the principal's office even if she were not enchanted. I doubt it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Did you read my post? -- Sarand, 13:37:44 11/06/02 Wed

I did not say Willow had learned nothing from magic use. I said that Willow had not learned not to alter things to her liking, whether it be with magic or with her computer skills. Last year, she mind wiped Tara, not once but twice, because she did not want to deal with the messiness of an argument with her girlfriend that would take time and effort to resolve. She's demonstrated that time and again (Something Blue comes to mind). I was not using the spell in "Him," as evidence of that, I was using the scene from "Selfless," where she indicates that she did something, be it magic or computer hacking, to show that she aced her finals. I think it demonstrates her inability to face the scholastic messiness of less-than-straight-As or incompletes because she was unable to take her finals or complete her courses.
I did not intend to say, nor do I think I did, that Willow would be capable of changing RJ into a girl if she weren't enchanted or that Buffy would use a bazooka against the principal if she were not enchanted. I was just commenting on each of the women using their own particular powers or strengths to an extreme to demonstrate their love for RJ.

Frankly, Sophist, from your posts, I don't get the feeling that you are even reading mine. You're interpreting them a particular way and then arguing against what you've interpreted. Are you a law professor?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> One last try -- Sophist, 14:14:39 11/06/02 Wed

This sub-thread began with Honor H making the same point I made in my post above about Willow's magic use in Him not being a reflection of her growth (or lack thereof) over the summer. You then responded with a post for which the subject line was "Willow has learned nothing". Your first two sentences read as follows:

HonorH, I do think that Willow's time in England appears to be for naught. I haven't seen any evidence that she has learned not to alter things to her liking and this episode just emphasized how far she will go, albeit under a spell.

I interpreted that, I think fairly, as arguing that you were using the spell in Him as evidence. This interpretation was reinforced, IMHO, because the dialogue you referenced in Selfless seemed (to me) to refer to events from S6, not to something Willow had done recently. Since HH was making the point that "Willow has learned, or her months in England meant nothing. She no longer uses magic promiscuously--only when she has to.", events which happened last year could not be evidence in refutation of her point.

If you were not making that point, fine. I'm done with the dialogue.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: One last try -- Sarand, 15:26:50 11/06/02 Wed

Well, that was a better explanation than I was getting from your previous posts. I did feel that you were saying that I was arguing things that I had not and was not even thinking; it made me feel as if I had to defend something that I hadn't said. I apologize for taking offense and getting snippy with you.
Our basic disagreement, I guess, stems from your belief that anything that Willow did with regard to her finals was done last year when she was DarkWillow. Shadowkat says something to the same effect below. I will have to look at the episode because I have not been able to find the transcript but I don't think that my position that it happened much more recently is indefensible. I suppose it depends on your point of view. I don't think that she did it while she was DarkWillow. That was a pretty short, intense period where her focus was first on killing the trio, then on kicking Buffy's ass and then on destroying the world. Can't imagine that she was thinking about her finals. I also don't understand why they even had the scene if there were benign explanations. Just to show that Willow felt guilty about changing her grades seems rather lame. Why even reference it then? She should be feeling bad about the things we saw her do. But even if it was last year, isn't it a continuing offense? She may feel bad about having done it but she's not going to do anything to correct the error or misimpression that she aced her finals.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: One last try -- Miss Edith, 23:37:31 11/06/02 Wed

Wasn't Willow suicidal when she was dark Willow? She states "I'm not coming back" so I agree with you that I would have thought the last thing she would be concerned about is improving her grades.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> OT - hey Miss Edith -- Rahael, 04:35:18 11/07/02 Thu

I don't know if you saw that we were discussing the possibility of a London meet on either 23 or 24 November (Sat or Sun).

Wondered whether you would be able to make it or not......

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: One last try -- Malandanza, 08:05:19 11/07/02 Thu

"Our basic disagreement, I guess, stems from your belief that anything that Willow did with regard to her finals was done last year when she was DarkWillow"

I think it is farfetched to suggest that Dark Willow was worried about her finals. As I see it, there are several possibilities for Willow having used magic to cheat at school:

First, we might be talking about summer finals. If Willow changed her summer finals, it would either have to be before or after her Dark Willow period. If before, it rewrites episodes like DMP and Gone where Willow either is appalled by her inadvertent use of magic, or emphatically refuses to use magic in spite of the pressing need. If after, it would indicate that she really didn't learn anything in England. She has shown a willingness to use magic since her return, but, so far, we have not seen a return to selfish uses of magic. I do think that summoning a vengeance demon without supervison was wrong on many levels, but she did so (at least ostensibly) to try to help -- casting spells on professors to get A's would be difficult to rationalize (wouldn't B's or C's keep her in college as well?) as anything other than a selfish use of magic, altering the world (and the people in it) for personal gain. Like Jonathan and his sock puppets from Superstar. Willow needs a pretext to misuse magic -- it can be a flimsy pretext (summoning decorations for X/A's impromptu engagement party, shifting people into another dimension to find Dawn, wiping out Buffy's memory to save her the pain), but she needs the pretext.

Next, and I do think this is more likely, we could be talking about winter finals. Willow may have dropped out of school for the last semester (she did seem to be spending an awful lot of me time and very little time studying). I think this scenario is better, considering the time frame -- Tabula Rasa came before finals and Willow's slump in grades ought to correspond to the period immediately following her breakup with Tara, which places her in the Fall semester. I have no difficulty imagining the post- TR Willow (who was willing to cast magic indiscriminately on the partyers at The Bronze) enchanting her professors to change her grades, but by Gone, Willow was on the wagon. As far as pretexts go, she might have convinced herself that she needed more free time than her studies were allowing her either to help the Scoobies or to deal with her emotional life.

Finally, I think it's possible that the perfect grades spell was ongoing. She cast a spell early in the season to insure that she would get good grades, and it continued to work even if she missed her finals for the Spring Semester -- cast between TR and Gone.

I think the best explanation is that she changed her Fall grades and dropped out for the Spring semester -- it requires the least rewriting of past episodes.

[> [> [> [> [> Reading into the text - - Sarand, 11:57:40 11/06/02 Wed

I think you are all reading into the text things that are not there. If everything was on the up and up with Willow's finals last year, why have the scene at all. Nobody has offered an explanation for that. If Willow dropped out of school, why wouldn't that be mentioned instead. If she took her finals legitimately, why would she say what she did to her prof instead of accepting the complement. I don't see why the scene would be done the way it was done if there is a perfectly honest, reasonable explanation.

[> [> [> [> Re: The episode was about Dawn (Spoilers for Him, 7.6) -- DEN, 08:44:19 11/06/02 Wed

HonorH, I think you're right--what each Scoob does is in one sense a farcical vignette, and played for laughs (except, interestingly, Dawn's suicide). The significant point to me is the VULNERABILITY of all four to the magic--a magic that, as I say above, to be effective has to be unobtrusive, and fot that reason as well is probably limited in "reach" to high schoolers. maybe ME is just going with the flow of a joke--but that doesn't seem to be their approach this year. So I'm bemused.

[> [> [> [> Whoa...okay agree with HH, Sarand and to some degree the others -- shadowkat, 14:29:05 11/06/02 Wed

Been away from the board a while and come back and see a big debate on Willow.

After re-watching Him - which btw is even funnier on a second viewing. I realized HH is right on Willow. It doesn't occur to Willow to change RJ into a girl until Anya suggests it nor does it occur to Buffy to kill Wood until Anya suggests it. So it wasn't the first thing on either's brain. Which means Willow didn't immediately go there and I jumped to conclusions, knee-jerk conclusions and all that.

I think the rationalist approach is the right one: the spell brought out the worst impulses in all four women.
And the impulses are excellent foreshadowing for what they are all capable of. Buffy - killing for love, she gets out of control - whoops. Anya - well, robbery. Willow - changing world to her liking. Dawn - suicide - which serves to break Buffy out of her self-absorbed spell induced state.
Xander stops Will. Spike stops Buffy. Buffy stops Dawn.
No one appears to stop Anya - unless you count Spike and
Xander grabbing the jacket.

Onto the whole testing point? I think it's made pretty clear within the dialogue in Selfless that Darkwillow may have magicked her finals at the end of last year. It happened in May. Finals often tend to be in May/June.
She clearly regrets doing it in Selfless and feels nervous about it.

[> [> [> [> [> Magicking finals -- HonorH, 17:43:23 11/06/02 Wed

I'd love to be able to dispute this one--and just from the dialogue, I could--but the logistics certainly point to Willow magicking her way through finals. In "Entropy", she was still going to college. It looked like she was studying when Tara came to her at the end. So either she took her finals sometime during her sex-fest with Tara, or DarkWillow blew them off with spells, or she took them in absentia in England, which might be a possibility.

No matter what the case is, however, it would be a bit pointless for Willow to try taking them again. How's she going to explain it to her profs? "Well, you see, I cheated magically, so you should make me re-take them." Like many, many other things she did, that one's going to be irreversible, and she's just going to have to live with that knowledge.

What we have seen is a clear change in Willow since last year. She's not nearly so arrogant, and not nearly so eager to immediately jump to magic as a means of solving problems. I maintain we'll see even more of a change as the season goes on--or the events of last season lose all their meaning. I don't know what show you watch, but the one I watch wouldn't allow that to happen.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Pardon? -- shadowkat, 20:09:20 11/06/02 Wed

"I don't know what show you watch, but the one I watch wouldn't allow that to happen."

What??? I thought I said I agreed with you and conceeded. (mispelled but means "agree" -you win??) So why the snarky statement?? We are clearly watching the same show, but don't appear to reading the same posting board? Maybe evil nazi's have reworked my posts on your computer screen?? I thought I said I conceded and agreed with you??

Unless of course you think my comment about DarkWillow magicking her finals in May prior to her attempts to destroy the world makes her irredeemable? (LMAO!! First Mal with the view that leaving towels on the floor makes Spike evil and now guys are pulling my leg right?? I mean you can't be serious?)

I pretty much said in the above post that I agreed with you except for the fact that Willow probably did magick her finals prior to coming to her senses. Why is "magicking her finals" such an issue for everyone? The girl did far worse after that. I mean if ME can redeem her for flaying Warren, attempting to kill the SG and trying to destroy the world...can't we overlook a little cheating?? (I'm sorry if anything in my posts lead anyone to believe I thought this, lord the evils of writing responses too quickly without proofreading first.)

Personally? I think they plan on redeeming Willow - she's a main character and the writers adore her like i do.
If anyone is expecting evil Willow to show up at the end they'll be disappointed.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> See Inside -- Finn Mac Cool, 20:16:36 11/06/02 Wed

Cause the finals would probably have happened Post-Dark Willow, which means she didn't stop manipulative magic after the Yellow Crayon Speech.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> That isn't necessarily so... -- Rob, 22:25:43 11/06/02 Wed

Buffyverse events don't necessarily have to happen exactly in time with the months that they air. It's possible that if Willow did do a "finish the finals" spell that she did it before going dark at the end. After the trauma of the season- ending events, I just don't see her pulling herself together enough to whammy up the grades. I got the impression that she didn't use magic again until getting to the coven...and even then, with trepidation.

It's possible that, if she did magic the grades, that she did it sometime around the events of "Entropy" and "Seeing Red." Who says that the finals didn't occur then? In the Buffyverse, it may have been May or June then. It would make sense, because throughout the whole year and magic recovery, Willow had been ignoring her studies. I don't think it's impossible to consider that despite the fact that she claimed not to be doing magic, that she may have done one little "give myself good grades b/c I couldn't study during the year" spell. She definitely hadn't completely shunned magic, or she wouldn't have so easily fallen back into it after Tara died. While she was on her DarkWillow rampage, I don't think she would be thinking about her tests. She wasn't herself, and was not concerned w/ petty mortal concerns. And immediately after the crayon speech, I think (and hope) that she pretty much learned her lesson.

For the other possibility, let's first look at the dialogue:

What am I gonna say? No, I don't want my best student back in my class? Well, of course I noticed that drop-off in your grades at mid-term last year, and I was concerned—

Yeah, that was—

But then—viola. You turned it around and aced all your finals like—boom. Magic.

(nervous laugh) Yeah, similar to, but, um...

Does this nevousness have to mean that Willow magicked the grades? As I said before, I think it's possible that just the implication that this teacher makes (albeit jokingly) that Will had done any magic makes her nervous.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: That isn't necessarily so... -- DEN, 23:09:17 11/06/02 Wed

Sometimes a little ambiguity is good for a story line. IMO, this scene is in good part about Willow's rehabilitation and reintegration. It stands for all the times she used magic to change the world to meet her wishes, and now has to facr consequences, especially the consequences of her "flog and punish" conscience. It is brief and underplayed, like the scene at Tara's grave, and correspondingly far mor effective than ten minutes of anvils. As proof, witness the intense discussion on the board!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Pardon! -- HonorH, 20:28:01 11/06/02 Wed

I wasn't trying to be snarky, honest I wasn't! Please don't think I was--it was a general to-the-board challenge- me-if-you-want (and rather ill-thought-out) type statement, not directed at you personally. Sorry! *wince* And I totally agree with you that Willow is redeemable.

However, if Spike is indeed leaving wet towels on Xander's bathroom floor, he might not be. One has to have one's priorities, as Honorificus likes to say.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> LMAO! I knew my little brother was evil! Now I have proof -- shadowkat, 20:43:14 11/06/02 Wed

"However, if Spike is indeed leaving wet towels on Xander's bathroom floor, he might not be."

LOL! Now that proves my assertion that my brother is completely and utterly evil. He always left the towels on the floor of the bathroom or his room.

[> [> [> It's all clear to me now! (Spoilers for him) -- Sara, 07:15:44 11/06/02 Wed

Boy, I would never have seen all that in a million years, but somehow when you set it all out for me, nice and neatly, it all makes perfect sense! I was just enjoying the lightness and humour in the episode, but kind of had the same feeling Rob had, that there wasn't much else there, and probably wouldn't want to re-watch it. Unfortunately, now that I want to watch it again, I have to deal with the dissappointment of Darb's mis-programming the VCRs last night. (No Gilmore Girls either, Waaahhhh!!!!!!!) I was fine last night, as he was gnashing his teeth and howling, but now I want to see it too! Curse you Shadowkat!!!!

I love how you put everything into context with the characters, so that it does tie into their continuing development. I totally agree with you about Willow, she still has not completely faced her inner control freak.

I think Dawn pushing the Quarterback down the stairs, spell or not, is telling us something about her that we haven't seen before. The spell's influence was like getting drunk, terrible judgement, loosened inhibitions, but the characters really didn't do anything that they were incapable of. Buffy slays her enemies, all of a sudden the principal looked like one. Willow uses magic to fix things. If she is capable of manipulating the mind of someone she loves, as she did twice with Tara, it's just a matter of degree in manipulating the physical attributes of her object of love. Anya has always been pragamatic, money conscious, and not very concerned with ethics or morals. Again, not a huge leap to see her actually engaging in a life of crime. So the fact that Dawn assaulted one person, and was willing to commit suicide is quite an insight into her value system. Has growing up with the slayer made life cheap to her?

- Sara

[> [> [> Re: The episode was about Dawn (Spoilers for Him, 7.6) -- Arethusa, 08:32:55 11/06/02 Wed

Because the episode is shown largely from Dawn's point of view and the plot is a bit of a retread, I think we're meant to compare and contrast the behavior of the Scoobies as teens and now, to show how they've developed over the years, and as you say, what they are capable of. Before the spell all show signs of maturity- Buffy talks out her feelings with Dawn, Anya states she needs to spend time finding out who she is, and Willow leads the research. After they are enspelled, Anya says she knows what RJ would like (evidently crime and money), Willow tries to change her lover to suit herself, Buffy goes into Slay mode, and Dawn whines "Why are you doing this to me?" to the other women. They all regress, but it is temporary. They're appalled by their behavior afterwards-even Dawn. (Oh, and I think this means we'll see Dawn dating soon.)

Another major part of the plot was to further incorporate Anya and Spike into the group. Buffy is finally talking about her feeling a little-at least she is admitting she doesn't know exactly how she feels about Spike, although she does have some feelings for him. She conclusively states she doesn't love him, but she's concerned enough about him to watch over him. And I really like the interaction between Xander and Spike, as well as quiet Spike. Vamp Spike was noisy and always calling attention to himself. He's not William, though-notice him roll his eyes when Lance describes RJ's poetry writing. (As do Buffy's when Anya talks about writing a poem to RJ.) We can also compare Lance with Xander, who used to be Basement guy and deliver pizza, but now has a job Lance calls cool. Without the letter jacket, every high school boy's ticket to cool, Lance is worse off than grown Xander.

Buffy tells Anya that she's her friend, and wants to help her-that she's part of the group, which Anya obviously didn't feel before. She gives Anya the chance to feel needed and important, even as a human. We also saw that D'Hoffryn is still a player, and that the Scoobies might be facing threats from many different sources in the future.

[> [> [> [> Re: The episode was about Dawn (Spoilers for Him, 7.6) -- Arethusa, 09:46:18 11/06/02 Wed

And now I see you pointed this out before, sk, in the metanarration thread below. Sigh. So many posts. So little time.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: The episode was about Dawn (Spoilers for Him, 7.6) -- shadowkat, 14:37:26 11/06/02 Wed

Yes but you did it so much more eloquently and I utterly agree!

[> [> [> Re: The episode was about Dawn (Spoilers for Him, 7.6) -- leslie, 09:30:31 11/06/02 Wed

"And did anyone else find Spike's lack of one liners or commentary interesting? More evidence that this vamp has changed."

Spike seemed to me, throughout this whole episode, to be acting exactly like someone who has just come down from a very bad acid trip. Which was entirely appropriate for what he's been through. That feeling does not last forever, however, so he may well recover his snarkiness after a few nights in the closet. (Incidentally, lovely as the whole closet metaphor is, it's also important, I think, that like Xander, Spike is now living above ground--Xander's apartment is, in fact, on the second story, not even *on* the ground--up in the air. Notice how adamant Xander was that they were NOT going to hang out in the basement with Lance? Boys in basements, as usual=not good in the Buffyverse.)

[> [> [> [> Yes...I noticed that too -- shadowkat, 14:46:27 11/06/02 Wed

"Notice how adamant Xander was that they were NOT going to hang out in the basement with Lance? Boys in basements, as usual=not good in the Buffyverse.)"

Yes upon re-watching the episode today - that struck me as well. When Lance offers them a chance to stay and play in the basement, Spike and Xander exchange a look and make a hasty retreat. Their interaction in this episode is quite a contrast to their interactions in Season 4 where they did share Xander's basement apartment together. They say little to each other, mostly exchange glances.

Also Lance's description of RJ's early years is oddly a description of both Xander and Spike's

1. Collecting comics, sci-fi, videos and gadgets, geeky stuff - Lance states. (Then Lance apologizes to Xander)
2. Under his bed was a collection of poetry - which RJ wrote. (Spike rolls his eyes)

Xander and Spike worked as a team here. And when Lance answered the door, they looked at Lance then at each other, with a sort of raised eyebrows expression. It was a clever scene and very subtlely played. But told volumes about the two characters.

It did feel like Spike was coming down from a very bad acid trip. But I wonder if part of it is just containing the pain. Dealing with it. It's almost as if it hurts him to talk.

[> [> [> [> [> bad acid trips *are* painful and reverberate for years, even when you're back to quipping -- leslie, 14:53:10 11/06/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> wait! are you saying Spike was really coming down from bad acid trip? -- shadowkat, 20:32:55 11/06/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Flashbacks from that girl at Woodstock -- Desperado, 05:09:24 11/07/02 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> not literally, but certainly metaphorically--maybe mushrooms would be a better analogy -- leslie, 09:28:10 11/07/02 Thu

[> [> [> Laying the foundation -- Sophist, 09:56:28 11/06/02 Wed

Before we write off early episodes, I think it's important to remember that the writers have to set up events later in the season. Last year, for example, I thought Life Serial was pointless; not until later did I realize (with help from mundus) that it was a metaphor for the season as a whole.

For this episode, I'll wager a prediction (unspoiled): Dawn will have a major romantic role later on. ME needed us to see the more sexual side of Dawn, and the easiest way to do that is in a comedic setting. Now we've adjusted to the idea, so when she does start dating later we won't react as if she's still a kid.

[> [> [> [> Definitely a possibility. -- HonorH, 23:08:59 11/06/02 Wed

Using this ep to sexy her up was the perfect way to shake viewers out of seeing her as "just a kid." I'd wager it shook Buffy, Xander, and Willow up quite a bit as well, from their reactions. Her more, er, salient points were not exactly something you could ignore. Hopefully, the love interest they find for Dawn will be interesting to us as well.

[> [> The rocket launcher -- Vickie, 23:40:37 11/05/02 Tue

I thought the same thing. "She kept the rocket launcher from Innocence." Made me expect Principal Wood to turn towards the window and ask "What's that?" (Imagine deep wooden voice, or it's not so funny.)

Trouble is, I have it on reasonable authority (OK, household authority) that those things are one-shot disposables. But they do come twelve to the packing case.

Could Xander have moved a case of them, back when?

[> [> [> Re: The rocket launcher -- Philistine, 08:49:50 11/06/02 Wed

>> I thought the same thing. "She kept the rocket launcher from Innocence." Made me expect Principal Wood to turn towards the window and ask "What's that?" (Imagine deep wooden voice, or it's not so funny.)

Buffy's weapon last night had a very different look from the S2 rocket launcher.

>> Trouble is, I have it on reasonable authority (OK, household authority) that those things are one-shot disposables. But they do come twelve to the packing case.

>> Could Xander have moved a case of them, back when?

Some are one-shot, some aren't, and I'm not sure which the one from 'Innocence' was supposed to look like.

Twelve to a packing crate, sure - but we only ever saw them carrying one smallish case from the armory to Oz's van. It sure didn't *look* big enough to hold twelve of what they pulled out of it. And since the thing had to be hauled out of the armory and boosted over the fence by two non-super-people, there's also a limit on how heavy it could have been.

[> [> [> [> Re: The rocket launcher -- DEN, 09:28:25 11/06/02 Wed

As I remember--and I could easily be wrong--the RL from s2 looked like a ground-fired antiarmor missile, a TOW/Dragon type. (I also processesd as part of the joke, BTW, that those are designed to be fired from a mount; only a slayer could swing one up to her shoulder, let alone fire it. The s7 weapon is different--clearly a shoulder-fired one, descendant of the WWI/Korea bazooka. I wasn't able to take it any further than that--there are so many different ones available even to a prop department. It might have been the tube for an RPG-7. But anyone interested enough--or geeky enough--to get one of the many bokson antitank rockets and watch the scenes in question can probably give us an answer for both eps. Do NOT, however, askme where Buffy got the second launcher. That belongsin the same category as where Cain got his wife--a thing laid up in scriptwriters' heaven!

[> [> [> [> [> Re: The rocket launcher: quick emendation -- DEN, 10:08:36 11/06/02 Wed

The s2 launcher might be a prop built around the tube of a Stinger anti-air missile as well- -those are readily come by and SMG is so small that even a medium-sized launcher looks HUGE in her hands.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Color me geeky -- Philistine, 18:45:43 11/06/02 Wed

It's hard to pin down. Neither weapon shown looks *quite* like anything in current or recent US service. The Stinger anti-aircraft missile is roughly the right size for the S2 launcher, but the large sight (the lens appeared to as big as the weapon itself, or even bigger) still doesn't fit. Stinger had a predecessor, though, called Redeye... hmmm.

The S7 launcher (which seemed to be longer and thicker than the S2 launcher) could be any of a number of man-portable anti- armor weapons. Reception was poor last night, and the camera didn't lovingly caress this one the way it did the S2 weapon, so I didn't get to check it out in the same sort of detail. Just enough to be *certain* it wasn't the same weapon used against the Judge.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Color me geeky -- DEN, 23:13:12 11/06/02 Wed

Thanks, Phil! And re the Spike/Buffy/Rocket interaction, for general information, the people who use these things for a living are VERY aware of their phallic symbolism

[> Re: What you maybe missed? (spoilers BtVS 7.6) -- frisby, 19:04:05 11/05/02 Tue

Maybe you missed my earlier point? That the episode was a commentary on the buffyverse itself with regard to "Spike's jacket" and his many fans etc.? I can't help but think the episode was "really" all about Spike (isn't the whole series now about him, or he and Bufy)? Or, more likely, I missed something too -- something's missing somewhere with regard to understanding the meaning of this episode beside its obvious fun aspect.

[> Re: knee jerk reaction for "Him" (spoilers BtVS 7.6) -- JBone, 19:06:55 11/05/02 Tue

I loved the first ten minutes with Spike moving in with Xander and Buffy helping out Anya. The next fifteen minutes was extremely uncomfortable to watch Dawn make an ass out of herself at school. It was a lot easier to watch and much more enjoyable the second time. My god, could that cheerleading tryout be any worse? Yeesh! Then after a back and forth ten minutes, it got knee slapping funny for the duration. I was right there with Xander and Willow observing Dawn at the bronze. On both counts. I liked Anya calling him AJ and her concession that Buffy's planned killing of Principal Wood was hard to top. To bad Willow wasn't able to finish with her spell. And Buffy's assassination attempt on Principal Wood, priceless. Lots of funny stuff there. RJ's brother not realizing his life started sucking after he gave the jacket to his little brother was a nice touch. It didn't occur to him that the jacket that he gave to his little brother had the power, and he couldn't wear it. If you wear a lettermen jacket and you are not in the old alpha meta, well, it's not cool. And Xander and Spike's final assault to liberate the jacket from RJ was a nice touch. I hope they reveal what exactly Anya did to win RJ's love. But then again, maybe my imagination is legal enough on this point. One last thing, I loved the Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered flashback, it was a nice nod to the season 2 classic.

Was that the same rocket launcher last seen in Innocence? And were the trains meant to symbolize something? And the daisy, tower, and lake that Anya mentioned her epic poem was about, does that mean anything?

[> [> Re: knee jerk reaction for "Him" (spoilers BtVS 7.6) -- Philistine, 20:14:31 11/05/02 Tue

It was not the same rocket launcher she used in 'Innocence.' This one was longer and thicker, lacked the bulky sighting device mounted above it, and had a large open bore where the other had a cover over the business end (the one from Innocence may in fact have been a one-shot, disposable weapon - I know there are such, but not whether that was one of them). Tonight's weapon looked more like a caricature of a rocket launcher.

All of which invites the question, where did Buffy find *another* rocket launcher?

[> [> [> Re: knee jerk reaction for "Him" (spoilers BtVS 7.6) -- CW, 05:02:01 11/06/02 Wed

Come on folks it's farce. That's a genuine bazooka!

[> Wow, I don't remember Rob not liking an ep. I'm stunned ; ) -- darrenK, 19:26:06 11/05/02 Tue

[> [> Obviously a sign of the impending apocalypse, wouldn't you say? ;) -- LadyStarlight, 19:39:16 11/05/02 Tue

[> [> [> From beneath you, it devours. ;o) - - Rob, 20:31:09 11/05/02 Tue

[> Re: 10 Things I Hate About "Him" (spoilers BtVS 7.6) -- celticross, 19:26:24 11/05/02 Tue

It might have been a little better if it hadn't been *screamingly* obvious at 20 minutes into the episode that it was the jacket. But the second he put on the jacket and Buffy got all melty, I yelled "It's the jacket!" at the TV and continued to do so for the rest of the episode.

(and Le Fey paging Honorificus...)

[> [> I didn't notice that. Huh. Maybe it's just me. -- Finn Mac Cool, 19:33:22 11/05/02 Tue

[> [> Anya's clothes -- Arethusa, 19:36:11 11/05/02 Tue

Anya's clothes have always been very 1950s-ususally modest dresses, Peter Pan collars, that sort of thing. It fit in well with Anya's perception of how a human woman should dress. Now she's in comfortable, less feminine clothes-pants, shirt and vest. I see it as a positive sign that she's dressing to suit herself, not others.

[> [> [> Forget Anya'a clothes, what about Buffy's? -- Deeva, 21:11:47 11/05/02 Tue

Who the heck decided to put her in that weird, foofy cap-sleeve with a sheer neckline granmama blouse? Geez, I know that she's supposed to be older than the students there and is sort of Dawn's mom but is that the way someone's proxy mom is supposed dress. Ick! Talk about when bad clothes happen to good people.

[> There was some emotional depth - but redoing past eps can be tricky -- Caroline, 19:26:59 11/05/02 Tue

Rob, just when I thought you could never say anthing critical about the show, here is this post! I agree about the inconsistent pacing, the pointlessness of the spell etc. But there was some stuff going on on an emotional level. Like Buffy telling Dawn that no boy is worth dying for. Definite reference to Buffy's line to Angel about 'When you kiss me, I want to die'. Thank goodness we debunked that one - that was the line that turned me off the Angel/Buffy relationship. Also, RJ's evolution was a commentary on Spike - RJ, poet and geek turned jock - same as William the poet turning into a vamp. The jacket made RJ cool and popular as did the vamp thing for Spike. When Spike got chipped - equivalent of taking away his coolness and analagous to taking away RJ's jacket.

My first reaction is that it is the lightweight, filler ep. The funny lines and situations (esp the scenes where the girls try to win RJ's love) and the constant refs to past eps were great but they didn't create anything greater than the sum of the parts. The symbolism was weak, the plotting inconsistent and I wish that they actors would actually enunciate better so I can hear them - the teaser and first act were particularly annoying in that way. Rating - not as bad as Bad Eggs - maybe the same as DMP. Good idea but didn't get it across well. If you're going to redo past eps, it's gotta be great, not just okay.

[> [> Re: There was some emotional depth - but redoing past eps can be tricky -- kisstara, 19:52:41 11/05/02 Tue

I used to have a thing for Spike--- or was it his great leather coat? You may be on to something.

[> [> A few more points... -- shadowkat, 20:12:36 11/05/02 Tue

Also, RJ's evolution was a commentary on Spike - RJ, poet and geek turned jock - same as William the poet turning into a vamp. The jacket made RJ cool and popular as did the vamp thing for Spike. When Spike got chipped - equivalent of taking away his coolness and analagous to taking away RJ's jacket.

The jacket. Isn't it interesting that it is Spike who notices the jacket in the pictures as Xander talks to the brother? It's the only line Spike says in the house.
"Is his jacket the same as yours?"

Spike of all people would understand the importance of the jacket. And what do Spike and Xander decide to do to the jacket? They burn it. (anyone who wonders what Xander did to Spike's jacket?? There you go. And guess where Spike is hanging at Xander's? The closet...probably where his jacket may have once hung.)

Xander also realizes the importance of jackets. He comments early on how it's probably the jacket that turned on Dawn. Letterjackets always do.

And Dawn - to turn on the boy she puts on a sexy shirt, sexy clothes. Or trys the cheerleading uniform. Neither of which are her. They are costumes she's putting on, roles - first cheerleader (like her sister), then sexy babe. In the latter role - no one recognizes her.

The episode is continuing the over-arching theme of identity - who are you. Anya tells Buffy she needs to figure out who she is and can't do that with Buffy there.
Spike is also struggling to figure out who he is sans jacket.

Another interesting image that keeps popping up. Poetry.
Anya and Lance both mention writing bad poetry in this episode. In Help - we have Cassie writing poetry.

They don't know where the boy got the jacket much you want to bet it came from sunnydale high and whatever is waiting there?

[> [> [> She's being Faith! -- Scroll, 09:10:26 11/06/02 Wed

I still haven't finished reading through this entire thread so maybe someone brings it up later on, but Dawn is Faith! I'm so surprised nobody has noticed it yet! She can't compete with her perfect big sister, the one everybody loves, who always gets the attention. She commits the accidental violence, doesn't feel the least bit guilty over it. She dresses in tight clothes, dances skanky, gets into a fight. Ends up almost committing suicide. Dawn tried to be like her sister, being a cheerleader. She finds out that doesn't work. So she takes the extreme opposite. She plays the bad girl -- Faith.

[> [> [> [> That's what I thought! -- HonorH, 11:13:06 11/06/02 Wed

Dawn really was channeling Faith in this episode. Heck, for a second or two in the Bronze, I could see a physical resemblance. Time, I think, for Dawn to find her own identity. She's a teenager; she's got time.

[> [> [> [> [> If so, what'll happen when... (spoiler S7) -- cjl, 11:59:02 11/06/02 Wed

The REAL Faith comes back?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Future Spoiler in Above Post -- J, 12:22:13 11/06/02 Wed

[> [> [> Re: Jacket's origin -- Isabel, 18:49:55 11/06/02 Wed

Lance mentions that the Jacket was given to him by their father and when he graduated High School he gave it to RJ. His dad managed to land a 'Miss Arkansas' with that Jacket.

I thought it was interesting that Lance never noticed that it was the jacket that made him super cool in high school. I think that RJ had kinda figured it out since he's the one who kept dropping the hints that he wanted the other quarterback and the principal out of the way. Buffy was giving him a hard time until he put on the jacket and then she mellowed right up.

[> [> The jacket (sp 7.6) -- Tchaikovsky, 03:41:43 11/06/02 Wed

And the last time we saw Dawn in romantic-mode? 'All the Way', where the teen vampire chats up Dawn, and offers him his jacket so that she isn't cold. Dawn keeps the jacket on throughout the parking scene.

What is it about that girl and jackets?


[> [> [> Re: The jacket (sp 7.6) -- Silky, 07:20:37 11/06/02 Wed

And in Season 1, Angel gave his jacket to Buffy.

And Riley's comment about Angel being all 'billowy coat' guy.

[> [> [> [> More jacket -- Etrangere, 08:12:38 11/06/02 Wed

Dawn stole a leather jacket for Buffy's birthday in OAFA

[> About The Music -- Finn Mac Cool, 19:29:44 11/05/02 Tue

The music was key to the story!

There was that love song that played whenever one of the female leads got close enough to R.J. to come under his spell. Then there was the music that played over the montages of the gals on their attempts at getting attention (and Xander and Spike stopping them) which I frankly can't imagine those scenes without. Other than that, I don't remember noticing much in the way of music (even the performers at the Bronze really didn't draw any attention).

In My Honest Opinion, the music was a great asset to this episode. Sorry you didn't appreciate it.

[> [> Re: About The Music -- celticross, 19:32:50 11/05/02 Tue

But did it have to be the theme from "A Summer Place"? I HATE that piece! :) (of course, that was probably why they chose it...the pure, unadulterated cheese factor)

[> [> [> So where was the feather boa? -- Arethusa, 19:37:38 11/05/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> Maybe Oz fell under the charms of RJ's older brother years ago -- ponygirl, 20:25:34 11/05/02 Tue

[> [> [> Re: About The Music - Perhaps a pun on "A Summer's Place" -- Desperado, 21:32:31 11/05/02 Tue

[> [> [> Re: About The Music -- skpe, 07:01:33 11/06/02 Wed

wasn’t 'A summer Place' that bit of saccurin drivel with Troy Donahough(sp?) and Sandra Dee?

[> [> [> [> Facing the music -- ponygirl, 07:19:04 11/06/02 Wed

Oz, in his very first appearance (I can't remember the episode title), mentioned that his ideal fantasy involved a feather boa and theme from A Summer Place. Sadly we never got to see him exploring this further...

[> Yawn. Another Xander episode. -- cjl, 19:37:52 11/05/02 Tue

"Ah. Good times."

"Daddy like!"

"Doesn't having a soul mean you pick up wet towels?"

"Get off the boy, Buffy. We're going home."

"Enough with the Hecate!"

"OK, do you understand the plan?"

Slightly--ever so slightly--above average episode, and ecologically sound too, as it was almost completely recycled from previous eps. At first glance, not much "there" there, but once it goes into reruns, I think we're going to be quoting this puppy into our old age. Fortunately, Mutant Enemy has Nic Brendon to deliver the funny, and he does it from one end of the ep to the other.

Not enough Spike? Tough noogies, Spikeaholics. JM can't carry the show every week.

[> [> Re: Yawn. Another Xander episode. -- kisstara, 19:49:21 11/05/02 Tue

I like Xander episodes, every once in a while the mortal without the super powers needs to save the day.

[> [> [> The X/S sight gag at the end was priceless. ("Him" spoilage) -- cjl, 20:01:13 11/05/02 Tue

How many times on BUFFY have we listened to ASH/Giles spout off a half-page of exposition about what needs to be done to stop the menace of the week; how many times have we seen B/X/S set up a distraction while W/G attempt an elaborate counterspell; how many times have we heard that eliminating the villain is "complicated"?

Sometimes, it's good to look at it from Xander's POV, and cut through all the malarkey. Bad guy wears jacket. Find bad guy. Run up, steal jacket, burn jacket. See? Simple!

"Do you understand the plan?"

Well, yeah, Xander--a chimp could understand the plan. And maybe that's part of the point. Maybe ME is kind of gently ribbing their fans on a number of levels, with the jacketmania reflecting the obsession with Spike, and the whole 'shipper madness that seems to afflict every corner of the Buffyverse. Maybe we're taking things just a wee bit too seriously.

Hmm. Maybe this ep wasn't just a piece of fluff, after all.

[> [> Gotta agree on quotability and classic buffy sight gags.... despite some strange directing. -- Rochefort, 21:42:23 11/05/02 Tue

Somehow the directing was realllly uneven. It was painful watching the actors standing there waiting to say their lines. Then standing there AFTER they said their lines waiting to say their next lines. (With the exception of Xander and Anya). But the Bazooka sight gag and the steal the coat sight gag were priceless Buffy moments. Come on guys, you gotta admit that. Plus, you're absolutely right about the quotability and Xander-ness of the episode. Next time I hate something I'm going to say "Is there anything worse than hate I can have for this? Can I revile it?" And the towels. Man. Classic.

[> Insignificant episode? Hardly. (S7 spoilers and speculation) -- ZachsMind, 19:39:22 11/05/02 Tue

Yes this can be viewed as another fluff episode. It's what I've noticed some Buffy fans refer to as "filler." It didn't really directly forward the overall plot arc in a dramatic way. Not every episode has to be an integral part of the overall arc. However, I submit that "HIM" indirectly not only forwards the plot but potentially hints at what is to come. It even amplifies the very theme of "Buffy." Notice the title: HIM. Referring to a male in an almost inconsequential way. That guy. Him. The one over there. This series has always been about female empowerment. That's something even more evident and on the front burner today than it ever has been.

Let's compare tonight's episode for a moment to a couple other past episodes. Season six's "Tabula Rasa" was the ramifications of Willow's spell on Tara. How one little lie or omission of truth leads to more, until the snowball becomes an avalanche. However, the actual nitty gritty of the episode itself is about the gang having amnesia, and being like strangers in their own lives. The bulk of Tabula Rasa is filler, and remarkable, brilliant filler it is.

The episode called "Beauty and the Beasts" looked like a fluff episode at first, until the very end when Angel was pulled out of his hellbent feral state and fell to his knees before Buffy. However, except for that last scene, the rest of the episode was basically "monster of the week" with a weirdo Jeckyl & Hyde rip off. It was fun, but most of it didn't forward the overall plot arc at all.

In this episode, in a properly subtle and understated way, they forwarded the plot in the beginning by taking the steps necessary to bring both Anya and Spike back into the Scoobie fold. Something that's going to become VERY important in the episodes to come. We needed the Spike- centric episode "Beneath You," the Willow-centric episode "Same Time Same Place" and the Anya-centric episode "Selfless." Each of those three characters were out of the fold and needed a chance to shine before their metaphorical tarot cards fell back into play with the rest of the deck.

Tonight's episode was the first shuffling of the Buffy Tarot. It was the first tableau with the whole gang in attendance. They retread an old season two plot to try and stay with that "back to basics" idea they've talked about. They're trying to rekindle the magic of the first two episodes, while simultaneously incorporating all these new elements that are post season five. It's not an easy task that ME has before them, and one can argue that tonight's presentation was not unlike a newly birthed fawn struggling to stand on its spindly legs for the first time. However, like a newborn, this still young season is looking forward with promise and hope, while learning from its ancestral history of past seasons.

It's exciting watching this new season developing. The use of the stereotypical jock and his magic jacket harkens back to the theme of the series as a whole, as I mentioned before: female empowerment. The four main women roles of this season are strong women, each in their own right. Okay. Dawn may be arguable, but she's finding her footing. She's experimenting and exploring her empowerment. She's stumbling and being held back by her own, but eventually she'll get it. The other three women are each more noticeably powerful, but recently have had to face the fear of losing control of their individual power. Their strengths have not been fully realized, and the magic spell symbolically showed that by giving into temptation and bowing before a male that didn't deserve their love, they lose their independence and individuality, and therefore they lose control of their power.

Notice how each of the four responded to the challenge of proving their love for the token male. Willow turned to magic in order to make the token male more in her own image and make her world more perfect by her own standards. Anya turned to crime, and embraced her love for money believing wealth would win over the prize. Buffy turned to violence and attacking authority. I found her reaction particularly interesting (and the funniest moment was the one many might dismiss, where the principal's in the foreground but the really funny stuff is happening behind the blinds. Brilliant!)

Then there's Dawn. I'd hoped she'd gotten past her suicidal tendencies but it's obvious that she still has them. She's willing to sacrifice her own life, believing doing so would make the world a better place without her in it.

Remember this. Remember how each of these four women responded to the same challenge. It will be interesting to compare this episode to the season seven finale. My guess is that either the four womens' actions will be similar in some way to what we saw this week, OR some will be similar and some will be dramatically different, showing that some characters have learned over the course of this season and some have not.

I even hazzard to hypothesize based on this episode what we'll see in season seven's final few episodes. Anya will return to "crime" or at least be greatly tempted to embrace evil once more, and she's showing no ability presently to deny that temptation. Perhaps she's the one to learn the most. Dawn will sacrifice herself in some way. Willow will turn to magic but hopefully will learn that her selfish desires must be overridden by the needs of Gaia and Fate. Buffy? Well. Buffy will resort to violence and challenge authority. That's pretty much a given.

Another thing we'll see? Xander & Spike working together. Ack! Perish the thought! I know. However, they seemed to work really well in the scene where they had to grab the jacket. I see echoes of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice And Men" in the chemistry between those two characters. Although, which one is George and which one is Lenny is anybody's guess. Okay. Xander could be George and Spike in his present condition could be Lenny, but the reverse could also be true. Xander will learn in the episodes to come to like Spike and Spike may find that Xander has ways to curb Spike's unpredictability and more irrational behavior, much as George was able to help Lenny.. to a point.

Was this episode insignificant? Hardly. Give it time. You'll see that this episode is sorta foreshadowing for the overall season arc as a whole. Hopefully we'll see more of the good stuff and less of the bad, but ME is just getting their bearings with the new complexities of their characters. By the season finale, you're gonna see this little fawn running full force after its own predators. Mark my words.

[> [> Re: Insignificant episode? Hardly. (S7 spoilers and speculation) -- can't think of a cool name but driven to concur, 19:58:03 11/05/02 Tue

That was a great episode. It may not have met everyone's preconcieved notions about what they want to see right now, but it was brilliant. Intriguing and very fun.

[> [> [> Welcome! can't think of a cool name but driven to concur -- JBone, 20:52:09 11/05/02 Tue

That's a hard name to get a handle on, but hey, I'm half drunk at this point.

[> [> Thanks. It's nice to see some positive things about this ep, but... -- Rob, 20:24:14 11/05/02 Tue

...the difference between this and say Tabula Rasa is in symbolism. Tabula Rasa is saved from being a filler episode not only because of the brilliant focused zany comedy, but the symbolism and exploration of each character. And there was also an underlying current of sadness that came out at the end. "Him," however, despite some good moments, just did not have the same level of depth. I am glad that some depth was able to be found in this episode, but the whole thing just came off as kind of a waste to me. I will say, though, that the cast seemed to be having a great time, and their comic timing was perfect. TR, yes, held the plot on hold, it was not fluff, and was thus, in my book, not filler. It was not done just to kill time. It ended up being the final straw that broke up Willow and Tara, the moment that cinched the fact that Giles had to leave...everything from Buffy's calling herself Joan to Spike thinking of himself as a vamp with a soul, to the links to "Restless" was just brilliant. "Him" was scattershot. The plot, I thought, was weak, with an unsatisfying payoff...and some surprisingly campy moments. I laughed at the "24" thing, but it just felt really out of place in a "Buffy" episode. And I'm not saying that I didn't find any of it enjoyable...It's just not what I expect in a "Buffy" episode. And as you can tell, I am so not picky. This is the first negative review I've given to a "Buffy" episode since "Go Fish"!


[> [> [> Re: Thanks. It's nice to see some positive things about this ep, but... -- JBone, 21:05:28 11/05/02 Tue

I LOVED Go Fish. I laughed my ass off at it. Maybe you don't have a sense of humor. Because I can't possibly be wrong. Could you be overcompensating for your perceived cheerleading tendencies? You've turned on Buffy, haven't you? Stop watching those Angel tapes right now!

[> [> [> [> Re: Thanks. It's nice to see some positive things about this ep, but... -- Rob, 22:53:26 11/05/02 Tue

"I LOVED Go Fish. I laughed my ass off at it. Maybe you don't have a sense of humor. Because I can't possibly be wrong."

LOL! Me neither! But nope, my sense of humor's definitely intact. A few parts of this ep had me rolling on the floor in laughter...and most of my fave eps are comedies. I even loved "Doublemeat Palace"! I mean, come on! ;o)

"Could you be overcompensating for your perceived cheerleading tendencies?"

Well, I must admit that I kind of wanted to shock everybody with the "HATE it!" post, since it is coming from me...and that never happens! But I do have to say that put in perspective, this is the first episode that's truly disappointed me since the second season! So the effect is a bit jarring...

"You've turned on Buffy, haven't you? Stop watching those Angel tapes right now!"

LOL! Never! Yes, I'm getting into "Angel" now, but "Buffy" will always be my #1 show. I swear! And to pledge my undying loyalty, I will rewatch "Him" continuously for 48 hours straight! I'm not kidding! Anything to prove that my love for the Buffster has not diminished at all. Just wait till next week. I'm completely confident that my review'll be all nice and glowy. ;o)


[> [> [> Re: Thanks. It's nice to see some positive things about this ep, but... -- DEN, 22:29:08 11/05/02 Tue

I can't do more yet with this idea than articulate it. But it seems to me that, along with all the positive aspects of this ep, and s7 as a whole, articulated in this thread, ME in general and Joss in particular are giving their critics everything those critics said they wanted--plus an upraised middle finger. Amd they're actually pulling it off!

[> [> [> [> yeah, and it's getting annoying -- Etrangere, 08:27:44 11/06/02 Wed

See the characters commenting exactly what fans have been saying on boards is scary(Dawn's "what does a soul does ? Xander had a soul when he left Anya at the altar..")
Besides I loved s6, it's my favorite season so far (okay, s5 was that before, and s4 before, and s3 before... so what ?:) and I don't need ME to show me how more light fun can be BORING.
< whine mode on > I want some darkness ! I want some grim humour ! I want ambiguity ! < / whine mode off >

[> [> [> [> [> Now, cherie-- -- HonorH, 22:48:54 11/06/02 Wed

(changing the language of my endearment in deference to our multinational board)

Don't worry about the darkness. Remember, we've still got girls getting killed off all over the world. Willow's still balanced pretty precariously. We've got One Serious Bad waiting to devour (from beneath you). Plus, Anya's having assassin demons sent for her, and Spike's status is very much up in the air, and the previews for next week look downright oogy, if you get my meaning.

This was just a little light fluff before we delve back into the dark. Remember how "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" aired right before Joss (or rather, Ty King) tore our guts out with "Passion"? Remember "I Was Made to Love You" coming right before "The Body" ripped our collective hearts out?

Don't worry; I'm sure next week, we'll be back to the old emotional slice'n'dice. Won't you be happy then?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Lol -- Ete, 04:28:15 11/07/02 Thu

*drying her tear* you really think so ? He's gonna break our heart, mess with our favorite characters, put some serious angst in our plate ? Yeah !!

[> Okay, who are you? -- Wisewoman, 19:50:13 11/05/02 Tue

And what have you done with Rob?

[> [> LOL! Meanwhile, Wisewoman is right; we have a crisis here... -- Sophie, 20:04:23 11/05/02 Tue

[> [> You're right...Rob's isane in the basement right now. ;o) mwahahahahah! -- RobAndMurder, 20:12:13 11/05/02 Tue

[> [> [> That would have come off a whole lot funnier if I had spelled "insane" right. -- Rob, saying "grr aargh" and returning to the basement..., 20:14:30 11/05/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> Oh, but it did come off very crazy, wacko like. -- deeva, 21:14:41 11/05/02 Tue

[> [> Yes, time to put out an APB for the REAL ROB -- Rufus, 21:51:44 11/05/02 Tue

I loved this ep.....there was more going on that met the eyes on first viewing.

[> Things that made me go him, or hmm (spoilers for 7.6) -- ponygirl, 20:06:18 11/05/02 Tue

Okay confession time, I actually saw this episode for the first time on Monday. I was flipping and discovered through the glory of my new satellite a station in Nova Scotia that shows BtVS on Mondays. I missed the first 15 mins but I was so excited that I, of course, kept watching. Then I got angry. Filler! Fluff! Why?!

So I sat down tonight to watch Him again, this time with completely diminished expectations, and you know what? I thought it was really fun. What's more I found a number of things to ponder.

Eyeballs of love: Yet another episode about perception! All the fem Scoobs were seeing RJ as they wanted to see him. We're being told with almost every episode this season that perceptions can be very easily manipulated. Again with the maybe morphin Big Bad I have to think this is A Very Big Nudge to the audience.

Costumes: Without the coat RJ was pretty much nothing, he wasn't even a starting QB. Put the coat on and all the girls see him as a leader of men, a noble person. Spike tried a costume in Beneath You and it didn't work, Dawn tried on Buffy's uniform, but failed miserably. Xander couldn't fit into RJ's jacket (he's grown too big? and I don't mean puffy!Xander). All these costumes and roles seem to tie in with the perception theme above. Maybe the Scoobies need to get past the costume thing, it's not working for them.

Hearts and Soul: Both Dawn and Anya say that they can see RJ's soul. It's an interesting line, especially with all the talk of Spike's soul in the beginning and how little it seems to mean to everyone except Buffy. Of course Anya and Dawn's perception was completely wrong.
It was revealing how all the Scoobies described their love, or RJ's love for them. Anya said he was her best friend, which is how she once described Xander. Willow, talked about his total devotion, and of course that's what she got from Tara, and Oz. Dawn talked about sacrifice, about dying for the one she loved. That's what she had received from Buffy in The Gift, no wonder it's her ideal. And Buffy? Well, here's the really interesting thing. Buffy NEVER said she loved. Not once. She said RJ was in love with her, but that was it.

Hellmouth: I'm going to leave aside for the moment my cynical assumption that it was a convenient bit of plotting but it seems odd that the Scoobies were so strongly affected by RJ's power. He'd been wearing the jacket around school and aside from Dawn's catfight partner none of the other girls seemed more than a bit giddy about him. The Scoobies went completely psychotic in under 24 hrs. It makes me wonder if the Hellmouth's energies can be focussed, and if that focus is on the Scooby gang.

To thine own self: The lovesick Scoobies turned to what they knew best, be it killing, magic, or larceny. But Dawn? Is she so without form that she can only internalize every hurt? Or is sacrifice in her nature?

Look homeward, angel: I liked Spike's turning of the cherub too. It was a nice subtle touch in a very broad episode. Made me wonder what he doesn't want the angel to see.

Chalk another one up for the Xan man: He's cool, he's collected, he's reasonable. He guesses about the jacket right off, and figures out the love spell instantly. Is Xander coming into his own or is this a sign of the apocalypse? Or both?

Whew! So I guess my long winded point is I think there's more to this episode than first appears. At the very least I'd say the second viewing goes down a lot easier than the first.

[> [> Right on, girl. And Woo-hoo! -- no name think good now, 20:27:42 11/05/02 Tue

[> [> good post. agree.! -- shadowkat, 20:33:04 11/05/02 Tue

[> [> Nice Post. Plus it had a funny cartoon pink panther bazooka chase. -- Rochefort, 21:46:30 11/05/02 Tue

[> [> Re: Things that made me go him, or hmm (spoilers for 7.6) -- Rufus, 22:11:32 11/05/02 Tue

Eyeballs of love: Yet another episode about perception! All the fem Scoobs were seeing RJ as they wanted to see him. We're being told with almost every episode this season that perceptions can be very easily manipulated.

Yes, you have picked up on something that is most important this year and that will be the difference between what is seen and what is real....also the difference between what a person wants to be true of the ones they love. The manipulating is just getting started.

In regards to costumes, people to value a pleasing costume, but sometimes that's all there is, a costume.

And Buffy? Well, here's the really interesting thing. Buffy NEVER said she loved. Not once. She said RJ was in love with her, but that was it.

Buffy did say the Slayer was alone....

I'm going to leave aside for the moment my cynical assumption that it was a convenient bit of plotting but it seems odd that the Scoobies were so strongly affected by RJ's power. He'd been wearing the jacket around school and aside from Dawn's catfight partner none of the other girls seemed more than a bit giddy about him.

I guess it depended on where you were standing...the girls in the hallway with the football types were vying for his attention albeit in a less aggressive or suicidal did that girl wreck her leg again?

Look homeward, angel: I liked Spike's turning of the cherub too. It was a nice subtle touch in a very broad episode. Made me wonder what he doesn't want the angel to see.

Hmmmm the cherub turning...a symbolic gesture to a certain LA Angel, or, something more?

[> [> So maybe this epsisode is best taken as a character study? -- Traveler, 22:18:04 11/05/02 Tue

[> [> Re: Things that made me go him, or hmm (spoilers for 7.6) -- Doriander, 22:22:37 11/05/02 Tue

Look homeward, angel: I liked Spike's turning of the cherub too. It was a nice subtle touch in a very broad episode. Made me wonder what he doesn't want the angel to see.

Cherub speaks out of turn, he’s a bad example...

Hee. Couldn’t resist.

Dawn tried on Buffy's uniform, but failed miserably.

I’d say she tried on Faith’s as well. Eerie Faith vibes from Dawn in the Bronze; the hair, the clothes, the moves, that SG described her as slutty (Cordelia re Faith in FH&T: “Check out Slut-O- Rama and her Disco Dave. “), down to her delivery of “I don’t care.”

The first two acts ranged from dull to cringe worthy for me. Last two on the other hand were hysterical. Loving our pair of odd couples: Anya/Willow and Xander/Spike.

I want Principal Wood's CD player.

Odd observation in that railway scene: Xander's car: (forgive my utter ignorance in anything vehicle related)
one-sided two-door?

[> [> [> Re: And speaking of cars -- Silky, 07:40:43 11/06/02 Wed

Joyce's car makes a reappearance after almost two years -- with Buffy driving! And still driving badly.

Does anyone else wonder what happened to Joyce's art gallery?

[> [> [> [> Oh yeah. They've never said what happened to the gallery. -- Isabel, 19:23:56 11/06/02 Wed

[> Oops! My bad! Drew Greenberg had 3 previous eps, not 2... -- Rob, 20:52:04 11/05/02 Tue

I forgot he wrote "Entropy," which I LOVED, as I did "Smashed" and OaFA (with a few reservations).


[> [> Now Rob (if you are the REAL Rob)........ -- Rufus, 22:15:02 11/05/02 Tue

If Drew Greenberg ends up crying himself to sleep tonight I know who to personally blame.....;)

[> [> [> LOL...Yes, I'm the real Rob, and I feel really bad since I am one of Drew's biggest fans! -- Rob, 22:20:45 11/05/02 Tue

[> [> I found all his episodes lacking -- Etrangere, 08:37:47 11/06/02 Wed

I find it hard to say what i find lacking in those, but it's definitly there. There's a lot of good moments in all of them (I laughed a lot in Him, in Entropy, in Smashed and OAFA) and there were also stuff to found by analyse, like people do know.
But there's no center, no true narrative unity. It's all pieces of stuff unbound.
His episodes have no heart :)

[> But it did move the plot arc because BUFFY SAID.... -- Rochefort, 21:48:40 11/05/02 Tue

She had feelings for SPIKE! Isn't that the first time she ever said that? She hasn't let anything show for him at all since season six and even then she never said anything as simple as "I have feelings."

[> [> Re: But it did move the plot arc because BUFFY SAID.... -- Rufus, 22:13:39 11/05/02 Tue

That she did, but what are they, and is she going to continue to run from them/him....well when he isn't chasing her down to get the large penis like weapon away from her.

[> [> [> She said she had feelings for him in Seeing Red -- Finn Mac Cool, 04:32:21 11/06/02 Wed

[> Once and for all, I promise... -- Rob, 22:43:55 11/05/02 Tue

...yes, it's me. It's really, really me. I swear! And, believe me, I'm just as shocked as any of you that I had a negative reaction to this episode. In fact, my best friend says he doesn't feel like he even knows me anymore after he heard that I didn't like a "Buffy" ep lol.

But I just want to clarify something that may not have been totally clear. I didn't HATE the episode. I don't think I could hate a "Buffy" episode. There are just many, many things about the episode I really didn't like. On the other hand, though, I did really enjoy a lot of the humor. In fact, some of the lines and moments I think are going to be considered "Buffy" classics, such as Willow deciding to turn AJ into a woman, and Anya's bank heist, and Buffy's attack on Principal Wood, which he didn't hear due to his calming music. Willow and Anya arguing about who was more evil recently was another great moment. In fact, there are a great deal of GREAT moments in this episode. I think the main problem was that usually when "Buffy" recycles a plot element, it is meant to draw parallels, deepen a situation, add resonance, etc., and yet I do not think this episode gave a good enough reason for needing to repeat the love spell plot. It seemed to me, and I could be wrong, that they came up with an excuse to have the cast act silly for a week, perhaps to offer a light reprieve from the last, pretty dark episode, and the dark episodes that are coming. But this was just too fluffy for "Buffy." I like my sillies tempered with depth, and I just don't think this episode had it...or enough of it. I'm not saying that all episodes have to be masterpieces, as I believe "Selfless" was, but I want there to be a reason for each story.

Despite its unpopularity, here's an example of a recycled plot that I thought was done well..."Gone." I loved that episode, although I know a lot of people didn't. The invisibility of Buffy spoke a great deal about her state of mind at the time, and how free she felt, being able to be out of the world, thoughts of suicide, etc...and that could be compared and contrasted with Marcie's situation for even greater depth. But I don't see much depth in comparing and contrasting this ep with BB&B. Although I will say that if this episode, by the end of the season, ends up revealing great reams of foreshadowing, symbolism, etc. in regards to the yearlong arc and the characters, I will gladly retract my negative review. You don't know how much it pains me to not give a glowing review to a "Buffy" ep!

I will say, though, that I greatly enjoyed all of the scenes up to the opening credits. And I'm glad to see Xander and Spike working together. Perhaps living together this time will actually bring them closer, as recently Willow and Anya found common ground. I loved Buffy and Anya's scene too, and Buffy's insistence that Anya needs to be with friends. Her help of Anya could be compared with how she is helping Spike, saying he shouldn't be alone and disconnected from humanity in the basement.

And, again, there was a lot I did like in the ep, but unfortunately, I don't think all of the parts added up to a satisfying whole.


[> [> Fair enough -- CaptainPugwash, 03:45:59 11/06/02 Wed

There are good/great episodes of Buffy and there are soso episodes of Buffy (the ones that I delete off my comp after three or four viewings).

7x06:Him was very funny in places, but there are just better examples of love spell craziness in the Buffy canon (such as the episode [which I can't recall] where Buffy & Spike got engaged...)

We can't all agree anyway - you think "Same Time Same Place" is good, whereas I think it is soso (not as good as other invisibility episodes). I think "Help" is great (mainly because of Cassie), whereas you think it is soso.

What bugs me most about S7 is the so-called Babylon 5 effect where episodes that don't pay much attention to the major story arc (filler/fluff episodes) become frustrating for fans.

For better or worse, BtVS *has* become centred on Buffy, Spike, and whatever the First Evil is going to do. I can enjoy eps like "Him", but I really don't have much interest in Willow, Anya, Dawn, or Anya anymore. It's fun having them around, but I can't see them playing anything other than a supporting role in the 'end of BtVS' (assuming this is the last season).

Anyway, there is now an uneasy tension between first Season style hijinks that involve everyone and the Big Big Baddest Bad that is going to decide the fate of Buffy and Spike (for better or worse). The amazing thing about Selfless was is that it managed to combine *everything* so well; it was a brilliant mix of high comedy (villagers throwing 'various meats' at Olaf) and high seriousness (everything else). In the context of this Season (with 'the end' being apparently nigh), eps like "Him" just seem out of place.

[> [> [> Re: Fair enough -- Rob, 07:22:39 11/06/02 Wed

Can't say that I agree with your opinion of season 7, on the whole. Up until "Him," I thought every episode has been varying levels of great. I don't get totally frustrated by standalone, but for a standalone to be successful, I want something significant to be said about the characters, at least...comment on where they are now, as people. "Help" was, although the weakest of the first five episodes, a very good episode, and did a similar thing to "Him"--use elements from earlier episodes to comment on the differences between Buffy when she was in high school and Buffy now, and how her role of protector has changed. The problem with this ep is that I didn't see it doing much but trying to be silly.

I know you didn't care for STSP, but I thought it was brilliant, dark, and very involving. "Lessons" began the season with a bit of a lighter touch, but also had some real undercurrents of spooky and dark. "Beneath You" and "Selfless" would probably be considered the two best of the season so far. Both had a perfect blend of comedy and darkness.

The thing is I still care about all of the characters very much. I don't see this season as being centered on Buffy and Spike, at least so far. Since "Beneath You," that storyline has been most put into the background. I am finding myself loving Willow again, and especially loving Anya. I am fascinated as to what roles they will play in the upcoming battles.

"Anyway, there is now an uneasy tension between first Season style hijinks that involve everyone and the Big Big Baddest Bad that is going to decide the fate of Buffy and Spike (for better or worse)."

You could definitely say there's an uneasy tension btw season 1 and 7 for this episode, except (a) even the earliest season one episodes were not as completely lightweight as this episode, (b) we don't know that this Big Bad will decide the fate of only Buffy and Spike. How are we to know that yet? I'm under the impression that something so huge, especially with this possibly being the last season, will not only involve every character, but bring each of their arcs full circle. From the first 5 episodes of the season, there has been major parallelling of characters, searching for redemption: Spike, Willow, Anya. Meanwhile, we also have the tension between Buffy and Xander, regarding Slayerness vs. humanity. We also have the possibility of Dawn contributing to the storyline, along with her Key-ness. So far, we've had each character, except Xander, being the spotlight focus of an episode: Lessons--Dawn; Beneath You--Spike; STSP--Willow; Help-- Buffy; Selfless--Anya; Him--Dawn. And with the Xander/Spike roommating, I assume it won't be long before with get a Xander-focused ep as well. This is not the game plan of a show that is going to ignore its supporting players for the end- of-the-year climax.

In the end, I agree that the story will focus on Buffy. It is, after all, about her journey. But that does not preclude the fact that Spike will be the only other focus of the season.

From what I've seen so far, I project that this will be a season where all the characters get to shine. So far, out of the first 6 episodes, there's only been one that hasn't been up-to-standards. Even "Help," which I didn't love as much, was a better-than-average episode. I think light and dark was balanced perfectly in all eps up to this. Even the dark STSP had some hilarious moments, as did "Beneath You." And of course "Selfless" blent the two perhaps the most perfectly.

What I'm trying to say is that I'm not going to allow my low opinion of "Him" to cloud my opinion of the rest of the season. So far, this has been the only "filler" ep, IMO. Even though you didn't like STSP, even you have to admit that the fact that it focused on the return of Willow made it not filler. Maybe not good in your opinion, but not filler. Each episode so far has advanced some portion of the story arcs except for "Him," with the exception of Xander/Spike, Buffy finally talking about Spike's soul, and the establishment of Anya still being in the SG. So after five hours of brilliance (or I guess, you'd say four ;o) ), to write Season 7 off for one sub-par episode would be a real shame.

And don't forget, we can never really tell where the story is going until the end of the year. Who knows? Maybe in the grand scheme of things, "Him" will end up having more value as well.


[> Have to agree, Rob. -- HonorH, 22:56:37 11/05/02 Tue

Pretty much a throw-away. I liked Spike getting out of the basement, and his whole trying-out-the-mental-health thing (and did you see the look on his face when the older brother mentioned the younger's attempts at poetry), and there were a few good Buffy/Dawn moments. Overall, though, it wasn't a keeper.

Just one thing, though: I did like Dawn channeling Faith in the Bronze. MT can *do* hot!

[> [> Re: Have to agree, Rob. -- yabyumpan, 03:15:32 11/06/02 Wed

Just a thought which I haven't seen anyone mention yet, this is the second time that Spike's moved in with Xander. He lived in the basement with him after getting chipped in S4. I don't know of it has any significance but I just thought I'd mention it.

[> [> Well, MT is hot -- CaptainPugwash, 03:19:25 11/06/02 Wed

in a rather annoying makes-one-feel-guilty-kind-of-way :(

(she got the legs, she got the frontage, she got the curves etc. etc. etc.)

[> [> Channeling Faith or Channeling Buffy? -- Sara, 07:54:17 11/06/02 Wed

Seems like it could have been the High School Buffy, Dawn was channeling, which makes Buffy's puritanical shock and horror a little more interesting.

[> [> [> Re: Channeling Faith or Channeling Buffy? -- celticross, 08:00:49 11/06/02 Wed

Nah... It makes perfect sense, in that annoying elder sibling "Do as I say, not as I did" kinda way. Buffy's gotten in touch with her inner painted-on shirt more than once, but that doesn't mean she wouldn't react with horror to baby sis doing the same. We don't want to think our younger sliblings and loved ones are less innocent that we think they are. I think Buffy's reaction was perfectly normal.

[> [> [> Could have been channelling "When She Was Bad" Buffy and her sexy dance w/ Xander. -- Rob, 08:53:14 11/06/02 Wed

[> Ponygirls's stuff -- two thumbs up plus me own thoughts. -- Deb, 03:25:16 11/06/02 Wed

But I saw a story here.

First of all, (not having seen any eps before season 4) I ran into the house, turned on the tube, and was getting ready to pounce on the couch. I saw that Spike was moving in with Xander. I was so shocked that I missed the couch, but anyway..

This is what I picked up:

First Spike moved in with Xander, then Dawn and Buffy are talking on the bleachers. Dawn asks Buffy is she loves Spike. She says something that really is quite ambiguous, but she then says she "feels for Spike." -- She is actually feeling emotions for Spike that he cannot feel right now. (His wearing all black tonight made him her shadow, [his closet is as good of a unconscious for Buffy as the basement was.] and he also shadowed Xander in a different way by allowing him to lead.) -- (Ah Angel was the brooder. I miss Spike's witty lingo and acute sardonic insight.) Then she says she doesn't know how she feels about Spike, but she does have feelings. She speaks for Spike here too.

Dawn is then enchanted by the letter jacket and thinks she is feeling this guy's soul, because it feels so real.

Dawn brought up the "attempted rape" and Buffy tells her that he realizes that it was wrong, that's why he left and got a soul. Her attitude while saying this felt like she was saying to herself 'Cool! He went and got a soul just for me.' -- To Dawn and others re. RJ: "He loves me!" -- You know, the brushing off of the matter. (Okay, she's at least apparantly forgiven Spike.) Dawn asks what difference did the fact that Spike has a soul and hurt Buffy, because Xander had a soul and he hurt Anya. (It is quite evident that Buffy has a need to be loved by Spike, and well, he hasn't really expressed his love this season, though he has been considerate of her feelings. 'Does he still love me? Oh God, I don't know how he feels. I don't know how I feel. I only know I feel something.' As my daughter told me, it is that feeling that makes you want to throw up. I concure from my experience. If you feel like throwing up, then something is going on inside that you are not heeding.

In summation: (yeah!) Buffy is telling us that Spike has feelings for her (and vice versa), but he doesn't know what they are so she doesn't either.) William never got beyond that first crush on C. before he was turned, and his relaationship with Dru was romanticized, not true love. (It was that "wild" love that comes after "first" love. Wild love is crazy making.) He's never felt "true" love so he probably doesn't know what he feels.

This is one of the thesis questions of the show. How does the possession of a soul differ from not having one when it comes to love, and what is soul love?

Just the moral of the story please:

Outward appearances such as wearing letter jackets and cool leather dusters, etc. are just masks, and they are enchanting, but it is the soul that makes decisions regarding true love. "No soul" or a "confused" soul can both hurt the people around them, but in the end it is the soul that loves and is loved.

General observations:

Freud said that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Well that rocket launcher thingy was not a rocket launcher thingy, which makes the following comedy that much funnier. The look on Spike's face while he's holding that thing and staring at Buffy was a mixture of relief and little bit of fear I think like 'Oh my God. That was a close one!' My daughter was laughing so hard she fell off of the couch during this one.

I also find the fact that she was pointing the think at the principal in the principal's office, which is directly over the Hellmouth, as foreshadowing. (but not in the same manner as with Spike.)

I loved the teamwork of Spike and Xander in mugging the kid for his letter jacket and then running like hell. I don't know why, but I had vision of Batman and Robin running off into the night. I thought the show was funny. Xander could work out a nice "good cop, bad cop" thing with Spike.

The angel thingy with Spike was interesting. Possibly saying that Angel if out of sight is out of mind? Or, like someone said, what does he not want the angel to see? His unworthiness?

The poetry thing feels like foreshadowing of some sort.

Questions: What did Xander say that Spike said when asked if he wanted to get a pizza? Visions of "The Odd Couple" dance in my head.

Okay, what's the hair thing? Is the "waved hair" the new "straight hair"?

[> [> Heh -- CaptainPugwash, 03:49:09 11/06/02 Wed

Dunno about the hair thing, but MT does look rather ridiculous with wavy hair...

[> [> Souls and Towels (or, The Towel as a Metaphor for Evil) -- Malandanza, 09:05:44 11/06/02 Wed

"Dawn asks what difference did the fact that Spike has a soul and hurt Buffy, because Xander had a soul and he hurt Anya. "

There was a scene at the club where Xander and Willow expounded further on the soul -- Xander wonders why souled Spike leaves wet towels lying around the apartment (
i.e., why does Spike show disrespect for Xander when Xander is doing him a favor by letting him stay at the apartment) and Willow explains that having a soul doesn't keep you from leaving towels on the floor (i.e., doing evil) it just makes you feel guilty about it afterwards.

[> [> [> Re: Souls and Towels (or, The Towel as a Metaphor for Evil) -- Deb, 09:17:06 11/06/02 Wed

Yes, how could I have forgotten that? If leaving wet towels on the floor is evil, then I know a lot of evil people.

[> [> [> Re: Souls and Towels (or, The Towel as a Metaphor for Evil) -- Tamara, 23:50:33 11/06/02 Wed

Isn't Spike banished to Xander's closet? Wow some favour.

[> 24 parody ? (spoilers BtVS 7.6 I guess) -- fresne, 11:30:13 11/06/02 Wed

**The "24" parody...although I ask, was this really appropriate for a "Buffy" episode?

I’ll assume that you’re talking about the split screen deal-io. I don’t watch 24, so it's a bit hard to say.

I took it as an homage to similar split screen moments in campy movies from the 60s. Typically, caper movies.

I’d bring up examples, but the only thing that springs to mind is the final scene in Charade, which has just been remade into the Truth about Charlie. As Audrey Hepburn’s character declares her love for the long string of names which Carey Grant’s character used over the course of the movie, the screen splits to show an image of Carey Grant when he used each name. This isn’t quite the same thing, because it is the same person over and over, but I’m blanking on a better example. It’s an interesting movie in terms of thoughts about appearances, perception and of course, well dressed people.

[> [> Re: 24 parody ? (spoilers BtVS 7.6 I guess) and my 2 cents -- matching mole, 12:16:29 11/06/02 Wed

I didn't think of the '24' parallel either until it was mentioned on the board. It vaguely reminded me of 1970s TV crime dramas, especially the opening credits, although I couldn't cite a specfic example.

I'm not sure why referencing 24 in a Buffy episode (the brief use of a technique hardly constitutes a parody) is not appropriate while the referencing of Alias and/or Run Lola Run is greeted with enthusiasm.

I loved 'Him'. I think it worked really well on several levels. It was a farce as CW says above and an extremely funny one (my wife almost fell off the couch during the rocket launcher scene). It also provided some excellent prespective on the rather over-wraught romantic lives of the Scoobies. Dawn's commentary at the beginning reminded me a lot of the scene at the Bronze with Nancy in the giant worm episode and of Buffy's description of the events of S6 to Giles at the end of last season. But then Dawn gets caught up in what she disdains. I agree that her scenes were often agonizingly difficult to watch but they seemed to me to the 'truest' vision of high school as hell since maybe S2. But what do I know, it's been over 20 years since I was in high school myself.

And rather than being a rehash of BBB I think that Him is an inversion of the idea. Unlike the typical tale of a love spell gone wrong, in Him the spell works all too well. There is no indication that RJ is even conscious of the jacxket's power but he clearly does know that he has the power to manipulate women, which he does very cleverly. Most interestingly, his manipulations seem less directed at getting sexual favours than at a variety of other goals. BBB is the love spell playing out a male fantasy and having it go wrong. Him is the love spell playing out a female nightmare.

[> [> [> Re: 24 parody ? (spoilers BtVS 7.6 I guess) and my 2 cents -- Rob, 16:58:21 11/06/02 Wed

"I'm not sure why referencing 24 in a Buffy episode (the brief use of a technique hardly constitutes a parody) is not appropriate while the referencing of Alias and/or Run Lola Run is greeted with enthusiasm."

My reasoning is that the Alias/Run Lola Run thing was not a straight parody, but was just a cool little reference in an otherwise dramatic scene. It wasn't done campily. But the 24/Charlie's Angel screen-split-into-quarters thing, with the 70ish music just stuck out as a rather odd choice, I thought, and very campy. The humor on "Buffy," and the pop culture references, aren't usually so over-the-top. Although I will say, I did enjoy the 24 parody. It was on my list of stuff I liked. At the same time, though, I thought it felt kind of out of place. The weird sort of thing that might have happened on a "Xena" episode, but I just don't see it fitting with "Buffy." Not that I hate campy humor...I'm just not used to "Buffy" using it.


[> Do you want me to change your role in the ATPOBTVS musical, Rob? -- Dedalus, 11:36:58 11/06/02 Wed

Is that what's going on here?


[> [> Re: Do you want me to change your role in the ATPOBTVS musical, Rob? -- Rob, 16:50:12 11/06/02 Wed

Guess you could say I shredded my cheerleader outfit like Dawn

But, no need to change the musical. I'm sure I'll be back in my regular form next week. Unless maybe you wanna change my line to: "Woo hoo! Buffy's the best show ever, except for the sixth episode of the seventh season! Woo hoo!" :oD

Or, actually, I just thought of another idea...A new song...since ya skipped "I'll Never Tell" in your musical, maybe a song could be added where I sing about how "I'll never tell" that I didn't like an ep of "Buffy." Heh heh.


[> [> [> Aw, but your cheerleader outfit is so *cute*, Rob! -- HonorH, 19:14:51 11/06/02 Wed

Not every guy could get away with it, but you have the legs.

[> [> [> [> Why, thanks! ;o) -- Rob, 19:57:03 11/06/02 Wed

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