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Another Question about Angel and the Visions, spoilers for season 4 so far (very mild) -- Wolfhowl3, 23:29:27 11/11/02 Mon

Angel is a champion for the Power's that Be, and he needs someone to take on the Visions so that Angel can get his Orders (as it were).

I'm wondering, ever since Angel got back from is enforced Bath, why has he not received one Message from the Powers? Did they give up on him, pick another Champion, and write off the whole of the Plane of Earth to focus their energies on some other Plane?

And if the Powers did give up on Earth, maybe that is why the let Cordy go, and might even explain why the Hellmouth is so uppity lately.

Please Share your thoughts


[> My theory -- Masq, 07:34:49 11/12/02 Tue

My theory is Cordelia was removed from Earth back in "Tommorrow" because Angel was on the verge of a true happiness moment, between Connor playing the doting son and Cordelia wanting to meet him on the bluffs to exchange vows of love.

They wisked Cordelia away, but she IS the vision-girl and they couldn't keep her away. They may have taken away her memory so that she and Angel didn't pick up where they left off, romantically speaking.

Now that Cordelia has her memory back and has had a vision of a big scary, I think she has her own reasons to keep her distance from Angel and do the job she was given the visions to do.

Therapy with the Undead (Spoilers for 7.7) -- Cecilia, 03:26:29 11/12/02 Tue

So Buffy had an impromptu therapy session with a vamp. Very revealing, for the audience that is, as she expressed her "true" thoughts and feelings in a way that she never has before. Why she has been so closed off with her friends, why she treated Spike the way she did, why she took up with Spike in the first place. Not that we the audience, the voyeurs into the lives of these character's, didn't at least see some of these things as they really were all along. Still it was an interesting view into Buffy's psyche. What stood out the most for me was the perspective that she has become they way she's become not because of the death/resurrection thing but because she has been living this life, the life of a slayer, for seven years. Death was merely the catalyst that sent her depression/angst/inferiority about her superiority complexes (etc) into overdrive. That says a lot about the character. It also speaks volumes about the theme for the season. Power and what having it does to you. Not just the old adage of "Absolute power corrupts absolutely". More about the weight of power on the soul and how we perceive the power within ourselves.

As for the ecounter of the others. What was real and what wasn't? It seems very obvious by the end of Willow's conversation with "Cassie" that we are to realize that the "power of evil" (for lack of a better term) was only interested in either messing with Willow's mind or getting her out of the way. It seems also very true that Spike is indeed "siring his way through Sunnydale". That reveal was startling and unexpected and I believe meant to throw us off in more ways than one. Now that he has a soul he is doing what he has been unable to do for the last 2years. Does this mean that his being souled allows him to accept the pain that the chip/lack of a soul couldn't allow him to do? Is he doing this for the same reasons that Buffy took up with him in the first place? To feel the pain because that is what he only thinks he has the right to feel. Or is it further proof of the power of evil on either a)controlling his actions or b)manipulating the circumstances surrounding these characters. Did they ever explain why Spike was in the basement in the first place? "I have no where else to go". Doesn't seem very plausible to me, more like "I don't deserve to go anyplace else, this place torments me and that is what I deserve."

This brings us to Dawn. Was her encounter "true"? Was the evil preventing her mother from communicating with her or was it all a game, a pretense so that she would believe the words her "mother" would later speak? Was she supposed to be fooled into thinking that going through that terror and adversity was supposed to reward her?

Where was Xander? Xander, the most down to earth, tell it like it is, voice of reason, "heart" of the group. Was his absence as telling as the presence of Buffy, Willow and Dawn? Is there a reason why the power of evil did not try, at least not yet, to manipulate him? Would he have seen through to the heart of the matter? Is Xander the one with no real weakness because he has no real strengths?

Lastly we come to the nerd trio from last year. Clearly the power of evil was manipulating Andrew, obstensibly to release it from where ever it truly resides. My question is, why Andrew? Is there any reason why this evil could not have manipulated someone, anyone else? Or is there a special connection to persons who were at least at some time in their lives evil? Is that, right now, the range of it's influence? Puts the direct contact of Willow and the (apparent) manipulation of Spike into a new light.

More questions than answers from this episode and that's what I like. Leaves you wanting more.

[> So, so spoilery! (Spoilers for tonight's ep) -- Rahael, 03:48:31 11/12/02 Tue

Okay, for the first time reading a wildfeed I laughed out loud once and sniffled a little too.

On one level it advanced the plot, the big bad at work in Sunnydale, etc, but on another level it explored the idea of death, emotion, sadness.....

"Let the dead bury the dead"

Digging up the corpse of the past, of loved ones, of past events causes pain.

What Dawn went through? I have had similar dreams. I have had dreams that my mother came back. But she when she did, it was just a corpse. Here ME was hammering it home - sometimes, your loved ones just don't come back. Sometimes they are just dead forever.

On the plot level, Willow's conversation proved that as Giles said she is indeed needed, for the evil to want her out of the way. It also shows that she needs to use the power she has, not turn her back on it.

More thoughts later.

[> Therapy with the Undead (Spoilers for 7.7) (first thoughts) -- grifter, 05:10:28 11/12/02 Tue

Buffy: I think her conversation with the "Psyche 101 - Vamp" served to clue in the part of the audience that didn´t get her actions last season. Most of what she said has been discussed on this board last season I think, but apparently a large part of the viewership didn´t understand her back then.
The question for me is if the vamp wasn´t a manifestation of Morphy ("The Evil" or whatever you like to call him) too? He could make good use the information he got out of Buffy in the upcoming battle against her.

Spike: I suspect that it was Morphy all along, running around siring vampires, posing as Spike. If he really is "the first evil" or "ultimate evil" or whatever he should be able to sire vampires himself.

Willow: When Cassie first told her to stop using Magic I kew it was really Morphy talking to her. Willow will play a crucial part in stopping him, that´s why Giles sent her home early, and that´s why Morphy tried to talk her into suicide.

Dawn: At first I thought it was clear that it was Morphy who was posing as Joyce. Planting the seeds of mistrust of her sister in Dawn (who´ll also play a crucial part in defeating him) would seem like the thing to do if I were an evil entity trying to defeat the Scoobies.

Andrew/Jonathan: I think Morphy needed a virgin sacrifice for the (release-?) ritual. Andrew was easy to manipulate for Morphy and with Jonathan he had the perfect clueless victim. Also, if all else had failed, he could have made Andrew sacrifice himself instead. "There is another" indeed.

[> Please take this to the spoiler board - it hasn't even aired in the US! -- Caroline, 06:30:12 11/12/02 Tue

I'd like to make a request. Could we please not discuss episodes on this board before they have aired in the US? I am assuming that the majority of board denizens live in America and those of us who wish to remain unspoiled have a rather tough time when there is already a thread on tonight's ep. I've been away from the board for a few day and came to read what people said about Angel - not discuss tonight's Buffy. If others see nothing wrong with this, I guess I'll have to suck it up but I still don't like it!

[> [> Fair enough, but... -- CaptainPugwash, 06:40:25 11/12/02 Tue

I live in the UK, but get my Buffy fix via USENet - I've just watched 7x07, and am dying to hear people's thoughts.

I suppose asking people to wait isn't unreasonable, but it isn't as if anyone ever forces people to read a spoiler thread.

[> [> [> Some corrections -- Caroline, 06:49:25 11/12/02 Tue

1. This is not a spoiler board. If you look above you can see that there are two links for spoiler boards - one at voy and one at yahoo.

2. Spoiler policy is not to put plots points in titles. 'Therarpy with the Undead' qualifies as a major plot point to me.

3. You can download episodes? It's a brave new world...(or OCD! please note I am taking the piss!)

[> [> [> [> Whatever -- CaptainPugwash, 06:56:08 11/12/02 Tue

1. I know about the spoiler boards, but no-one uses them.

2. Given the title of the episode, "Therapy with the Undead" is hardly a spoiler. Would you complain if someone told you that "Romeo & Juliet" was about two people that fell in love.

3. You don't have to read posts with spoilers in! (I don't think the title is a spoiler) It's a brave new world... (or OCD! please note I am taking the piss!)

[> [> [> [> [> "I know about the spoiler boards, but no-one uses them" -- Vickie, 19:28:36 11/12/02 Tue

This just isn't true. The spoiler trollops forum is buzzing and busy. They'll love discussing whatever juicy stuff you have to offer.

Not that I read it anymore. Honest. Never do. That stuff just sits in my in box. ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> It's not so much that -- Rahael, 02:50:03 11/13/02 Wed

I was just amazed after reading the wildfeed. I couldn't wait for the discussion to start on the board. However, I did go to the Spoiler group forum to make my first ever post there, I was so enthusiastic.

I came here to look at what was going on, and I noticed that Cecilia had started an early thread. I thought she made nice points, so I posted a post which not only said it was about "tonight's ep" but had spoilers all over it. I thought this was allowed, even though this is probably one of the rare occasions I have ever discussed 'future spoilers' - though I am a spoiler trollop, I don't actually spend that much analysing spoilers. I find them ultimately misleading. The metaphoric goodness lies in the writing and dialogue and the subtleties of the actual ep. That's what interests me. I am interested in spoilers because I am the kind of person who always checks the back of the book midway.

I spent quite a lot of time reading through the spoiler forum yesterday. It seems a great place ot pick up articles, spoilers and reviews, due in no small part by all the work that Rufus and Beast seem to put into it. However, in terms of discussion and analysis, I know that this place is invaluable. It just isn't a substitute . I am interested in the thoughts of the vast majority of the people here who don't read spoilers. I actually am not that interested in plot details, more the thematic and metaphoric significance, and this is the place.

Bah. Bah!! I was just all excited by reading the wildfeed. You know, by the time I actually get to see the episode months later, everything will have been discussed and no one's interested anymore. I just have to keep going "wow" to myself.

I notice that in the general forum (it's British) I lurk in they have a thread up to discuss Buffy Season 6. But I'm frightened of all of them! They aren't ashamed to be rude to new people or to tell them to eff off. Or point and laugh and ridicule if you have a different opinion. And since they are only now seeing Season 6, there too, it's useless.

Rahael pissed off because most of her favourite posters are on a completely different Buffy watching schedule to her. In fact, is there anyone who is on my schedule?

Though one bright spot - I'll get to see all Season 7 eps to date this weekend! Yay! And I'll be watching with a very insightful poster. This is cool.

[> [> [> Re: Fair enough, but... (buffy 7.7 spoiler) -- frisby, 18:18:27 11/12/02 Tue

i'm dying too. i really feel the need to hear others' reactions. i'm quite tied up not knowing what to think. i do sense another uber-buffy in the making though, one involving dawn this time, but the role of spike remains unknown.

[> [> My intention was -- Rahael, 07:03:20 11/12/02 Tue

That these posts could be read later today, when people had seen the ep. I may be mistaken but I thought that the policy here was that spoilers be clearly marked, not that we should have no spoilers at all. If posted on the spoiler board, the discussion would never begin because once the ep had aired, who would want to discuss it there, when nearly everyone on the board would be discussing it here?

If we are going to ban all spoilers for eps not yet seen, does that include spoiler spec that people do occasionally indulge in here, and hopefully mark clearly? What about different viewing times in the US?

[> [> [> Re: My intention was -- Caroline, 07:23:20 11/12/02 Tue

In line with current spoiler policy, I would have liked this to be labeled as a future episode. I don't always keep up with the numbers, so it would have been nice to have 'spoiler for tonight's episode 7.7' or 'spoiler for future episode 7.7' in the title. This would have been in keeping with the spoiler policy which I have just re-read and would have saved some of us (like me) from even clicking on the thread. I also hoped that in adding my original post, those of us who are waiting for the episode tonight would be warned away.

I have no problem with spoiler spec, I like reading people's theories but I just don't wish to know what is actually going to happen. As for the different airing times in the US, I am under the impression that given the time difference, everyone has seen it by 11pm EST. Hopefully those on the west coast are too busy watching to start reading the board.

Okay, I'm proofing this and realizing it sounds quite US- centric - am I right in thinking the majority of board participants are in the US? If not, I'll just let this thread die quietly...

[> [> [> [> Yeah, I agree, numbers are difficult - which is why my post had spoilers written all over it -- Rahael, 07:41:34 11/12/02 Tue

I find ep numbers difficult to follow too. I think the Cecilia's subject line/spoiler warning was on grey ground.

However, I only posted 10 minutes after, and I hoped that my spoilery subject line might have warned people to stay away from that thread.

Oh, I've just seen Masq's post. I think I've misunderstood until now what 'spoiler free' means. Are we to have no future spoilers at all? I come down hard on unlabeled spoilers as much as anyone but I had always been under the impression that as long as clear warning was given, even a plot point or spec that you wanted to add that was in some way...ahem....informed by spoilers were okay with warning.

I say this because I've seen a few quite naughty posters post clearly spoiled spec without in anyway indicating it.

However, if this is not the case, and even future spoilers are treading the no man's land, I won't post future spec/spoiler warning type posts.

[> [> [> [> [> grr! I dropped a tag! - - Rahael, 07:44:06 11/12/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> Um... that is what I said in my post... -- Masq, 10:51:31 11/12/02 Tue

Spoilers are OK with the appropriate warning. That is what I said, right?

"Spoiler-free" board means that all spoilers are marked as specifically as possible. "Future BtVS episode spoilers", "Future AtS Spoilers", "Spoilers for tonight's episode of Buffy" (meaning, already aired in the US), and not giving away major plot points in subject lines.

This is a summary of the FAQ: Any spoilers are fine, as long as they are hidden behind warning subject lines that allow people to make informed choices about clicking on them.

[> [> [> [> It's already aired in some places -- Blood Luvin Girl, 10:04:14 11/12/02 Tue

Okay, I'm proofing this and realizing it sounds quite US- centric - am I right in thinking the majority of board participants are in the US? If not, I'll just let this thread die quietly...

I live in Canada and though I haven't seen the episode yet I know that in some parts of Canada it aired on Monday, so there are people who have seen it already. I go to a couple boards and happen to know that because they taunt us fellow posters with the fact they get to see it a day early.

[> [> [> Officially... -- Masquerade, 07:29:17 11/12/02 Tue

The spoiler policy on the FAQ says that spoilers for future episodes are allowed as long as they are marked as "future" spoilers, in some way indicating that they are episodes not yet aired. This might have been a little confusing in the present case with the episode numbering convention that's popped up on the board (e.g., "is tonight's episode 7 or 8?")

There is also a request in the FAQ not to put plot points in subject lines. In this case, the transgression is a little vague, especially for us unspoiled types. We have no frame of reference for seeing the spoilery nature of it, necessarily. I've posted on this before. Sometimes I get more spoiled by posts saying "spoiler in the subject line above!" than I would have if the subject line had just sat there unmentioned.

Still, the no spoilery subject line rule applies.

A lot of this is a judgment call sometimes, and it makes it more difficult to run a spoiler-free board. I'm sorry if this policy seems a little Nazi to some people. The majority of the board wants spoiler-free, as does its board moderator (that'd be me), and we do the best we can to follow rules that are sometimes hard to apply.

: )

[> [> [> [> Is it possible... -- ZachsMind, 09:41:49 11/12/02 Tue

Can anyone or HAS anyone thought about creating a spoilerzone that is a separate board? I've tried using Yahoo Groups and whenever I do my spam at my email address increases exponentially, so I can't participate in the Trollop mailing list. A forum separate from this one or Cross & Stake which was specifically open to allow spoilers up front would seem to be the logical solution.

[> [> [> [> [> We have one- but it's a bit underused -- Tchaikovsky, 10:04:17 11/12/02 Tue


I think the problem, as Rahael highlighted, is that spoilers are not always spoilers. Cecilia's post, while possibly inappropriate now, would be fine in 24 hours. And if you post something big on the voy spoiler board, nobody except those willing to be CONSTANTLY spoiled to any degree, (mentioning no names, looking in no particular direction, Rufus, but to an extent me also), are going to be able to reply. It's one of those tricky questions.


[> [> [> [> [> [> Sitting here looking at the signup page... -- ZachsMind, 11:47:39 11/12/02 Tue

I'm finding myself feeling like Kevin Bacon in "Stir of Echoes." I start even thinking about filling out the fields on this page to create YET ANOTHER BUFFY FORUM and everything I look at goes red and alarms go off in my head. "Danger Will Robinson! Danger, danger! Red Alert! Proceed At Your Own Risk! Something Wicked this way comes! From Beneath You it DEVOURS! Whirrrr-whirrrr-whirrr! BEEP! BEEP!" etc. etc. Could be an omen.

Don't think I'd make a very good forum monitor. I'd either let people get away with murder or get a big head and become a corrupted dictator or something. Either way, absolute power corrupts and there's no way to please everyone. Converse Buffyverse looks like it could be the ideal place if people actually posted there but then they wouldn't be posting here, so that's a trade off - people splitting their online time between forums. A friend just told me about *yet another* online Buffyish forum, but the system used to organize the spoilers there, well let's just say I'm running out of aspirin.

I think what's appealing to some people about coming here to talk about spoilage is that there's actually an audience here already and if you post something you might get a response. If you go to another forum you can't talk to the people here, and it's fun to talk to the people here about nonspoiler stuff so some people wanna connect with those same minds. But then some of those same minds don't wanna get infected with spoilage. It's a very difficult conundrum. Even if one marks their post as potentially spoilerific, there's a good chance they'll get responses from people who didn't want to read the spoilage. Either they inevitably accidently stumble on it regardless of the warnings given, or there ARE people out there who don't believe ANYONE should indulge in spoilage and actively seek out such things to ruin the fun for those who do. Such people mean well. They're trying to save us from ourselves, I suppose.

It's a shame there's not one place on the 'Net where all the spoilers know to go and the nonspoilers know to avoid. Some place that's properly labelled and publicized as such. I mean as this season progresses, both for Angel & Buffy, the spoilage for this season's going to cause consternation and great gnashing of teeth if we can't get it right. You think the argument's bad now? The next few months will prove to be very interesting. From beneath you, it devours. Some upcoming tidbits of info will literally spoil it big for anyone. Moreso than usual. It'll be a mental minefield coming up. It may even be that those of us who normally relish spoilage will learn a tidbit about how the upcoming seasons end, and find ourselves feeling like the bad guys at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

"It's so beaauooteeful! ...AAAAAAIIIEEE!!" *heads melt & explode*

An example might be conclusive proof to the life and death of Buffy, or whether SMG really is leaving at the end of the season. When that bit of spoilage is confirmed, once it hits the Internet there's gonna be some people very excited to learn the truth, and there's gonna be some people who will want to reach through the computer screen and bang people's heads in. I guess the showdown's inevitable, but it'd be nice if we could find some more acceptable solution other than what's happening now, cuz I don't think it's working. Is segregation the answer? Or would that be an affront to Spoilers Rights?

I don't know. I give. My head hurts. I'm gonna go languish in the high school basement for awhile and talk to myself. Chao!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Sitting here looking at the signup page... -- Blood Luvin Girl, 12:16:49 11/12/02 Tue

I'm a big spoiler whore or trollop, whatever term you prefer to use. I go to another board that has a clear spoiler section, and it's not so bad, but it is a B/S board and the spoilers are always being looked at from the point of veiw of a B/S shipper. And though they are very intellegent and considerate at that board, I do like to hear what the other shippers or those who follow no ships think of the spoilers.

I would love to discuss future spoilers here, but from what I could see of this board, it is not really done. I checked out this boards spoiler section and it seemed pretty barren. The was nothing new and what was already there wasn't very much.

So I often find my self in a bind for posting many of my theories involve knowledge of future spoilers and it become difficult to post for fear of letting something slip.

It's just an unfortunate situation. I have no wish to ruin things for anyone. My own brother is VERY against knowing any spoilers and my Dad likes them as much as I do and he learns of all of the spoilers through me. I have to find moments when I can tell my Dad without spoiling my brother. So it's a problem I have to deal with on a daily basis even in real life.

[> [> [> [> [> The link is above, Zach -- Masq, 10:22:46 11/12/02 Tue

| Voy Spoiler Board |

[> BIG APOLOGIES!!!Absolutely no spoilers in following post! -- Cecilia, 13:25:24 11/12/02 Tue

Please, let me apologize. I usually don't post until Wednesday mornings. Firstly I catch the episode broadcast over the Atlantic Satellite Network on Mondays at 7pm, not on wildfeed. Secondly, I had to rise ridiculously early (5am)this morning and when I was trying to wake up (ingesting caffiene at a rapid pace I might add) my mind started wandering to the episode. As I have only been catching the episodes on Monday nights for a short time I, in my semi-conscious state, actually forgot this was Tuesday morning and not Wednesday morning. It was a mistake, one that I will be very conscious of and careful about in the future, I assure you. I know that this doesn't take back the fact that some people were spoiled, however accidently and unintentionally that was, but please be assured I sincerely regret my error. I simply want you all to know that it was, indeed, an error and not callous and inconsiderate behaviour on my part.

As far as the subject line, I will refrain in the future from putting any title in my subject line at all. In my defense on that aspect of it though, I don't believe it was spoilery in and of itself. You wouldn't know how it spoils the episode unless you a)saw the episode (in which case the spoilery issue is a moot one) or b)read the post (please see apology above). I personally do not see things like episode titles as spoilers, nor do I see things like the teasers they air after the episodes as spoilers or anything about an upcoming episode which is no more informative than say what you read in the TV Guide. However, I am aware that some people do regard these as spoilers and I try to be very aware and conscious of these facts in the subject lines. That being said, I may be able to see where the subject line I chose may be considered by some to be spoilery but I don't think it is. The intention of the subject line, in my view, is to tempt you into reading the post. We wouldn't be posting here if we did not want our words to be read. But as the contention over what constitutes a spoiler in the subject line still seems to be questionable at best I will in the future only number the episode and place the airdate (the Tuesday night air date).

Again I offer my humblest and most sincere apologies and hope you will forgive my error.

[> [> No worries... -- Masq, 13:57:16 11/12/02 Tue

You inadvertantly stepped in a pile of our personal doo-doo with a slip of mind anyone could have made.

Spoilers are a difficult issue and the "to spoil or not to spoil" issue gets people a'talkin' round here, but in 4-7 hours your particular transgression will be moot.

: )

[> [> [> Thank you -- Cecilia, 14:14:44 11/12/02 Tue

I just wanted you all to know that it was unintentionally and that I do try to be careful about these things as I do view the episodes a day earlier than most.

OT to Darby: Deception -- Sophist, 09:11:03 11/12/02 Tue

I think we agree on 2 points: natural selection can generate behaviors that we, in an anthropomorphic way, describe as "cheating"; and creatures such as sunfish which "cheat" do not need or have an ethical system regarding their behavior.

The only part of your argument to which I'm objecting is the part that suggests that a particualr ethical belief can itself be subject to natural selection. Again, I'm talking about Mother Nature here, not the analogy to natural selection offered by meme theory.

It's clear from your sunfish example that selection works on the behavior in the absence of any ethical belief. Therefore, we don't need to postulate a belief system as subject to evolution in humans; the behavior alone suffices.

As I've said, a belief is not a tangible "thing" that could be selected. Physiologically, natural selection can only operate (loosely speaking) on "organs" and the genes which create them. Thus, in order for selection to operate on a belief about "cheating", we'd have to hypothesize an organ in the brain, generated by a set of genes, that causes the belief, which in turn causes the behavior. While I'm prepared to accept at least the possibility of an "organ" that generates ethical systems on which selection has operated (though the practical problems of proving this seem insurmountable to me), I don't see any reason at all to suppose that one particular belief (much less every particular belief associated with an ethical system) has such an "organ".

Just to make this clear, I should add that "cheating" behavior can be caused by an "organ", though I certainly am skeptical of many of the claims for such made by evolutionary psychologists. It's that extra step of postulating an organ for a belief that I'm objecting to.

[> Re: OT to Darby: Deception -- Darby, 11:17:09 11/12/02 Tue

I see the belief as irrelevant. A societal rule - you don't mess with a baboon more than three stations above you, for instance, which is a definite trait in baboon troops - requires no organ to generate it, because it's not inherited that way. As with many behaviors in complex societal vertebrates, it is largely learned, which means it's inherited but not in any physical way or seated in some physical "place.". Baboon societies work the way they do, with a definite set of "rights" and "wrongs," not because baboons are hard-wired to behave certain ways, but because they are capable of learning behaviors from their societies. Such behaviors are adaptive and subject to selection pressures. Do baboons "believe" that challenging those of higher strata is "bad"? Does that matter? It might to humans, but only because we learn based upon a foundation of "good" and "bad," but that's something that our brains could very well be hard-wired to do - if "belief" is relevant to human behavior, then it's a biological feature of being human, a talent for abstraction beyond what we can see in other species.

Let me try another tack. Neither humans nor baboons are born with an instinctive grasp of their societal rules - they inherit them after birth, during their development, passed from adults as teaching. There are remarkable similarities between basic baboon behavior and basic human behavior, moreso than between humans and much more closely-related apes. This is because the rules for behavior evolved as adaptations to living in open grasslands. Convergent evolution produces similar "answers" to similar problems, and both species' societal structures, neither of which can be connected to "organs," show this kind of convergence. The only organ is a wonderfully flexible, programmable brain and the ability to pass learned information on to offspring - that limitation, along with physical differences in hip and shoulder structure, may be the only reason why baboons didn't develop the engineering capabilities that we did, with all that leads to.

Humans would generally say that adherance to authority, control of violence within groups but not so much beyond, loyalty and sharing of responsibilities, even to the extent of risking one's life for a group to make an abstract statement, are associated with ethics and therefore some sort of belief system. But I've just described a host of baboon behaviors, evolved to deal with living in wide-open spaces as a tightly-knit group (where lying is tolerated in the young but not-so-much in mature members); from that perspective it looks less belief-oriented and harder to describe as ethics.

I know that complex behaviors don't follow the rules you've set down, but I also believe that you've limited what constitutes evolvable systems to physically-definable traits, but they just don't work that way. Not in humans, not in a whole host of primates, not in elephants, or whales, or probably a bunch of bird species, including but not limited to crows. Just the capability of passing traits on through learning changes those "rules."

[> [> Now I'm puzzled -- Sophist, 12:44:39 11/12/02 Tue

My interpretation of your post is that you agree mostly with me. You obviously think we're still disagreeing. Hmm.

I see the belief as irrelevant

Absolutely. I thought that was my original point. Beliefs, per se, aren't selected. Behavior is selected.

if "belief" is relevant to human behavior, then it's a biological feature of being human, a talent for abstraction beyond what we can see in other species.

Again, I agree. This is what I thought I meant by the tautological point that all human behavior is ultimately related to our biological status as humans rather than some other species.

Humans would generally say that adherance to authority, control of violence within groups but not so much beyond, loyalty and sharing of responsibilities, even to the extent of risking one's life for a group to make an abstract statement, are associated with ethics and therefore some sort of belief system. But I've just described a host of baboon behaviors, evolved to deal with living in wide-open spaces as a tightly-knit group (where lying is tolerated in the young but not-so-much in mature members); from that perspective it looks less belief-oriented and harder to describe as ethics.

I agree again. I thought your sunfish example already showed this.

There are 2 statements you make that I would disgree with:

the rules for behavior evolved as adaptations to living in open grasslands

I disagree slightly. The rules for behavior are mental constructs that we humans create in our brains. They are never physical or real. They are purely mental constructs. The behaviors themselves, putting aside whether they follow rules, can be tangible and evolved. How much of human behavior was actually selected and how much is a function of brain plasticity is a factual question that remains to be decided.

I should add to this that the similarity of behavior (assuming there is any) between baboons and humans is not, by itself, evidence of convergent evolution. The reason is that we aren't yet capable of resolving the factual issue noted above about brain plasticity. My big problem with evolutionary psychologists is precisely that they are too quick to make that logical leap without all the hard work necessary to prove that conclusion.

I also believe that you've limited what constitutes evolvable systems to physically-definable traits

In general, yes. However, evolution can operate (and has operated) to create marvelously plasitic brains that are capable of a wide range of behaviors. To the extent that evolution created those brains, that is the physical system that is subject to selection. However, if you want to identify one particular behavior as "evolved", you have to show that the brain was wired in some way to produce that behavior (even probabilistically) rather than to be plastic. It's that particular wiring that I would call an "organ" in the brain.

A good example of such an organ would be language. The capacity for language is an "organ" created by natural selection. Of course, any particular language is a result of plasiticity, not evolution. I think that's the same as my distinction between beliefs (on which selection does not operate) and behavior (on which it does).

[> [> [> Re: Now I'm puzzled - then my job is done! -- Darby, 13:27:37 11/12/02 Tue

There's a real blind spot in your reasoning.

It's way, way too reductionist, and too locked into the physical. There is nothing in evolution that requires some physical seat for a trait. The requirements are: a trait can be passed on in a trackable form; aspects of that trait can change over time, in a way that allows changes to be passed on; conditions of the environment select some variants over others, due to survival and/or reproductive advantages. There is no organ required, no DNA required. In the same way that a self-replicating machine could evolve both through alterations in its hardware and modifications of software, so too can any species with epigenetic capabilities. To say that the capacity for language is evolvable but actual languages are not is to put much too narrow a focus on it - an individual is a combinations of traits inherited from forebears (not to be confused with the Three Bears), and it matters not a whit how they came to inherit those traits, so long as the traits can produce advantages or disadvantages and can be passed on. Otherwise, you'll have to differentiate between instinctive, "hard-wired" behaviors and learned behaviors as if they somehow affect fitness differently, and of course they don't. And in this, it's the rules for behavior that are inherited, and the behavior itself that becomes the variants. But if the rules make sense adaptively, those variants that most closely adhere to them will survive; if the rules cease to make sense, those wider variants will be more successful and will eventually produce a change in the rules themselves. Darwinian species origination.

Can I learn from my family or tribe that members of other tribes should be killed whenever possible, and pass that trait on without it ever being part of my wiring? Are there circumstances where that reaction will increase my fitness, and some where it will work against me (and my clan), affecting the chances of that variant going on to the next generation? Over time, does that trait potentially change? They may be apples and oranges, but they're all fruit (to swipe a line from My Big Fat Greek Wedding). Do societal behaviors change magically? What forces cause their evolution, if not selection? Selection from without, selection from within, it's all selection and differential inheritance. Humans do not evolve as worms do (I actually have done research, including evolutionary reasearch, on several different worm phyla, but I've never let Sara eat my subjects), because we have more ways to inherit than they do - but the basic driving forces remain the same.

If selection can favor indivduals with an orange spot, it can favor individuals in a group that stress loyalty above all else.

[> [> [> [> LOL again -- Sophist, 14:20:14 11/12/02 Tue

There is irony, I suppose, in being accused of reductionism, since that's precisely the sin I'm trying to avoid.

I see what you're saying (I think). The difference between our views boils down to this: what characteristics are subject to natural selection, and what are cultural practices that I would describe as Lamarckian rather than Darwinian. I'm limiting natural selection to traits, not cultural practices. You're expanding Darwin to include them. That's where we left off in the meme debate. Since I think we've been over that ground, I'll let it drop at this point.

I am glad to hear about the worms though. For your sake, for Sara's sake and, perhaps, for their own.

[> [> [> [> [> One added point. -- Darby, 15:06:56 11/12/02 Tue

Remember, Lamarck gets a bad rap. He was just wrong in that physical traits don't inherit the way he thought they did. As the saying goes, his reasoning was excellent, it was only his basic premise that was wrong. But alas, some traits (including, weirdly enough, some genetic traits in bacteria) follow distinctly Lamarckian patterns of inheritance. Once you get past that, there's not much problem applying natural selection to them. Heck, if he'd been right, there would still have had to have been Darwin to sort it all out.

Have we noticed this? (Angel titles) -- Wisewoman, 15:29:09 11/12/02 Tue

Okay, maybe you guys have, but I just realised why I've been more than normally confused lately.

Slouching toward Bethlehem = StB
Spin the Bottle = StB

D'ya think they're doin' it deliberately, just to mess with our minds?

;o) dub

[> How could you accuse those poor misunderstood writers of messing with our minds???..;) -- Rufus, 16:19:14 11/12/02 Tue

Next thing you know you will be saying they deliberately mislead us about Spike going to Africa for a soul......:):):):)

[> Coming next week (unlikely to be spoilers) -- Tyreseus, 16:44:51 11/12/02 Tue

Singing to Brzg-Hrbz
Lorne opens a portal to an alternate universe so the AI team can regroup after big the apocalypse starts.

Spank the Baby
Cordelia tries to reconcile her motherly instincts with her desire to boff Angel's 18-year-old son.

Superstrings to Bio-super-chemo-symmetry
Fred discovers that the all planes of reality exist as living, organisms - some of which are predators.

Someone to Butter
Angelus returns, captures his former friends, and torments them with mind games as he decides which to eat first.

[> [> Damnit! I was wasting time trying to get all sixteen! -- d'Herblay, 16:49:18 11/12/02 Tue

Stealing Third Base
While instructing Cordelia in proper Wushu snake spear technique, Connor's hand "slips."

Spanking the Buttmonkey
Cordelia has an unpleasant reminder of her past when a desperate Xander comes to L.A.

Sue the Bastards!
Lilah and Wesley bring a workman's comp tort against Angel Investigations.

Sailing to Byzantium
Wesley is approached by a knightly order, but what do they intend towards Angel?

[> [> [> Re: Damnit! I was wasting time trying to get all sixteen! -- Alvin, 17:06:34 11/12/02 Tue

Soothing Touch Balm
Liah decides to become really evil and starts selling Avon.

Scorching the Beach
Angel forgets he's allergic to sunlight and takes the gang to Hawaii.

[> [> ROFLMAO! OMG, you guys are nuts -- dub ;o), 19:18:22 11/12/02 Tue

I haven't laughed this hard in months. Thanks, guys.


Buffy 7.7 Question (spoiler) -- frisby, 18:05:49 11/12/02 Tue

What happened to Spike's chip? How did he bite that young woman? Or maybe it wasn't Spike? My world is very fragile just now (after just finished 7.7). Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow!

[> Conclusions I have reached (spoilers for 7.7 and speculation for what's to come) -- Apophis, 18:19:57 11/12/02 Tue

1) Buffy is agnostic (thought it was worth mentioning, as I remember a "Buffy is a Christian" thread earlier)
2) Vampires are connected to something (like evil Tao or something).
3) The First (I think that limb's pretty sturdy at this point) is trying to break up the gang, much like Adam in season 4.
4) The First (see above, re: limbs) has somehow disabled Spike's chip and warped his mind, pressing him into His/Her/Its service.
5) Warren, Cassie, and Joyce were the First, meaning He/She/It can manifest in different places at the same time.
6) Now, for the big one: I believe, based on "Cassie's" speech at the end, that the First is planning on dying and taking everyone with Him/Her/It. "Cassie" said "she" was done with both the "mortal coil" and the balance between good and evil. "She" also mentioned a big finish, which I believe means the First will take the universe with It when It goes (not too outre a conclusion, I'll give you). I believe this means that the balance between good and evil is somehow intrinsic to the existence of creation. If the First is planning on somehow destroying Itself, it stands to reason that all of reality would go with it. And, if I were the ultimate incarnation of evil, that's how I'd want to go out.
Granted, this could all go out the window next week. Still, I think my deductions are within the realm of reasonable.

[> [> Re: Conclusions I have reached (spoilers for 7.7 and speculation for what's to come) -- frisby, 18:40:30 11/12/02 Tue

thank you for your deductions. thoughts off the top of my head. on 1) the powers (plural) that be seems to inveigh against any supreme power (singular). on 2) what is buffy connected to if willow is connected to earth? yes of 3). I'm lost on spike and need emergency help. my son says since the love of buffy and spike will save the universe the first is here trying to break that love. on 5) yes it was all the 1st, fooling dawn into not trusting buffy, and failing with willow. on 6) the big one, yes it's all about the final good/evil battle and what follows (either all good or all evil) or or or

and again i'm reduced to wow wow wow

[> [> [> Re: Conclusions I have reached (spoilers for 7.7 and speculation for what's to come) -- rose, 18:57:21 11/12/02 Tue

How could that be spike isn't he supposed to be living with Xander?
where WERE Xander and Anya for that matter.
And what supream idiot covered the hellmouth with nothin but dirt?
if it was really spike maybe hes just finally snapped due to nothin being good enough for the sg.
But why whould he sire a vamp who could possibly tell Buffy?! he is not that stupid impulsive but not ignorant.
less he WANTS to fight her of course betting he would win if she wasent in the title.

[> [> [> [> How was Spike supposed to know. . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 19:12:28 11/12/02 Tue

That the guy he sired knew Buffy, or that Buffy would bring him up?

[> [> [> [> [> Re: How was Spike supposed to know. . . -- rose, 19:26:41 11/12/02 Tue

sunnydale exists deep under murphy's law.
but your right it probly never occured espessialy if the evil was messing with him.
but why sire them and risk it or is he just making minions?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: How was Spike supposed to know. . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 19:48:17 11/12/02 Tue

Considering Spike left the little vampy to be buried in a town he knows to have an active Slayer around, he obviously didn't really care if the guy survived or not. He was even fooling around with a someone else the night he rose from the ground.

~If Webb survived~

Webb: Spike! Don't you care anymore? After all that exchange of blood, you can't even make it for the night of my rising?

Spike: Well, I had a thing. Nice girl from the Bronze was asking for a. . .

Webb: You bastard! You cheated on me and bit someone else!!!

Spike: Hello, I'm a vampire, it's what we do. We kill. Speaking of which- (Jabs a stick through Webb's heart).

[> [> I think I understand...(7.7 spoilers) -- darrenK, 18:41:41 11/12/02 Tue

"I'm very protective of her," was Amber Benson's quote about why she wouldn't return this season as Tara.

And, assuming it was supposed to be her in the library talking to Willow, I think her instincts were spot-on.

There's something very cool about the idea that whatever evil Willow was talking to could use Tara's name and say it was in communication with her, but couldn't use her image, couldn't pretend to be her.

That maybe Tara was so good as to be beyond that evil's power.


[> [> [> Re: I think I understand...(7.7 spoilers) -- Frank Brubaker, 19:30:55 11/12/02 Tue

I don't know if I like that idea that Tara was too "good" to be replicated--somehow I don't see Joyce being so evil that she could be duplicated (assuming a certain amount of evil is necessary for a person to be duplicated by this season's Big Bad), yet Tara escaping being copied. It just doesn't set right with me.

Of course, I'm rather fond of the idea that the entity that Willow angered when she attempted to raise Tara after she got shot has Tara's soul somewhere, torturing it for all eternity, or at least until it gets a chance to grab Willow when she dies. Now THAT would be a guilt trip for Willow!

[> [> She might believe in God, just no definate proof -- Charlemagne20, 20:18:38 11/12/02 Tue

She might not.

It was just pointing out it might be a matter of faith.

Notice she gave the "pause"


"There's some evidence but nothing you could sink your fangs into"


[> [> [> She never has faced The Powers, has she? -- FriarTed, 02:32:08 11/13/02 Wed

Here Angel & Cordy have personal audiences with TPTB while Buffy & Scoobies, who really could use Divine Guidance, get nada! Sheesh!

That's what comes of putting Willow's Judaism to no use- she goes cavorting after Goyish Deities like Osiris & Hecate
when she should be dancing thru the Sephiroth in service to Adonai & Shekina.

[> [> [> [> Buffy and the PTB's -- Masq, 05:03:31 11/13/02 Wed

The only time Buffy has ever mentioned the Powers that Be was in "I WIll Remember You", when she visited Angel in LA and he was turned human. Buffy and Angel have a brief conversation about whether to trust the Oracles, who claim that Angel is a normal human man who won't lose his soul. In the dialogue, it sounds like she believes in the Powers, she only doubts the Oracles are their spokespeople:

Angel:  "I-I think, maybe we'd be asking for trouble rushing back into things.  (Buffy looks at him)  Not that I don't want to - rush.  Believe me, I do."
Buffy:  "Right.  You spoke to the Oracles and they said you were cured for good.  But how do we know that they really speak for the Powers?  I mean they could be - pranksters."
Angel:  "Or there could be another loophole."
Buffy:  "Exactly.  And then the two of us would be in even deeper and it’s 'grr' all over again."
Angel:  "It would be smart to wait a while.  See if this mortal thing takes."
Buffy:  "Exactly.  And even if it does, it's still complicated."

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Buffy and the PTB's -- aliera, 09:15:00 11/13/02 Wed

That last line is particularly interesting. And boy, in text form decidedly unloverlike. I can't remember Season 2 very well; where did Buffy think Whistler was from?

[> [> [> [> [> [> New Jersay I'd imagine -- Charlemagne20, 11:21:42 11/13/02 Wed

Why should he be from anybody, champions of good don't have to be inspired by more than a belief in the power of good

[> [> [> [> [> Is making a comment to a representative of the PTB's sort of like mentioning them.... -- Rufus, 06:00:57 11/15/02 Fri

Becoming 2

Whistler: Maybe I should ask, what are you prepared to give up?

Buffy: (exhales) You don't have anything useful to tell me, do you?
What are you, just some immortal demon sent down to even the score
between good and evil?

Whistler: (impressed) Wow. Good guess. (grins)

Buffy: (steps up to him) Well, why don't you try getting off your
immortal ass and fighting evil once in a while? 'Cause I'm sick and
tired of doing it myself.

Whistler: In the end, you're always by yourself. You're all you've got.
That's the point.

Buffy: (disgusted) Spare me. (starts to leave)

Whistler: The sword isn't enough. You gotta be ready. (raises his
voice) You gotta know how to use it!

I know they don't use the term PTB but it is implied by what she thinks Whistler is.

[> [> Fascinating -- Spike Lover, 10:27:11 11/15/02 Fri

Your facts make a pretty good argument that the BB might be the First Slayer itself. Did it ever really die if it just jumps from Slayer to Slayer? Is that why those girls in foreign countries are being killed? Would they have been next in line to be called? Will Faith suddenly show up and either kill more of the line or die? Will Buffy self destruct? This is actually quite fascinating...

[> I wonder about that and (SPOILERS 7.7 and 7.8 preview) -- Doriander, 18:53:03 11/12/02 Tue

Where’s the freaking hell is my Xander????? He’s not Spike’s undead housemate now is he? Breathe. Breathe. (Although....ahem) He’s not in next week’s previews. UPN previews are misleading. UPN previews are misleading.

I’m reeling for the fates of my two boys. Spike is up for stakage for sure. I'm invigorated that he's got his bite back, but bummed if he were under control. And Xander where are you? Gotta say, Spike chooses his siree well. I loved the vamp shrink.


Azura Skye is freaky.

Poor Dawnie. Poor Wil. Poor Buff.


“We’re outlaws with a heart of gold” Methinks Andrew is a Firefly fan.

Scott Hope came out. Hee. How meta.

This is too good.

Off to rewatch.

[> Re: Buffy 7.7 Question (spoiler) -- Random, 19:21:46 11/12/02 Tue

And a heartfelt second to your "Wow!" Loved the episode, and am probably going to re-watch it tomorrow. Maybe twice.
This episode is why I don't read spoilers. I was riveted and probably got eye-strain from sitting right up at the screen. Anyhoo, I need a lot of "think-time" but I would like to note that the distinction between reality and illusion is very deliberately delineated in this episode. We need not posit that Spike's actions are a figment of the unnamed Evil's foray into psychological torture for the gang. If we are to believe what we see -- and BtVS has never given us a reason to doubt the "objective eye" of the camera, though it gives us considerable reason to doubt our interpretations therefrom -- we are now faced with an Evil whose power extends beyond the mental. Recall that the First Evil (the consensual, if not confirmed, identity of this shape shifter) seemed ineffectual in the extreme. It went after an extremely vulnerable mind, post-traumatic Angel, and even then could only drive him to a passive suicide. Now consider what's happened in 7.7. The vulnerable minds are once again prey -- weak-willed Andrew, grieving and guilt-ridden Willow, perennial little-sis-to-the-Slayer-issues poster child Dawn, and, of course, Spike. It's all very formulaic for a psychological evil, except...the house and Dawn both seem to have suffered some very real damage, and Spike seems to have overcome his chippiness. Its ploy seems to be much the same as both the First Evil of "Amends" and Adam/Spike's of "The Yoko Factor." But is it Buffy the Evil fears? The move against Buffy was weak at best -- putting doubt about Spike's reliability was the only real thrust. The psychoanalysis really didn't amount to much. And it's an open question as to whether anything Buffy encountered was related to the Evil. It's obviously afraid of Willow (who illustrated perfectly why you should stop and take a moment to think once those imaginary voices started telling you to kill yourself) and who wouldn't be? But why Dawn? Why not -- and this is quite possibly the most glaring point in the show -- Xander?

Don't have much to say, just random ramblings, except...this episode, my friends, is also why I've watched every first- run Buffy since "The Pack" without fail. Even through the bumpy spots -- season 6 springs to mind -- I always had a justifiable faith in ME and Joss and their ability to hold onto the greatness.

Oh, and *sob* poor Jonathan! I'm really gonna miss the short, insane little dude. He was -- and the episode made a point of emphasizing this -- a nostalgiac link to the way- back-when.

[> [> Re: Buffy 7.7 Question (spoiler) -- frisby, 09:06:40 11/13/02 Wed

I agree with your judgment of greatness on this show. I too was rivited to the screen. On the first evil, the line I keep remembering (from season 3) is something like "I am that which even the darkness fears" -- and yes, poor jonathan, a sacrifice I take it, and was that simply the devil? This is going to be some season, buffy and angel (assuming they come together some how). And did you notice how pretty Willow's hair has become? And her power! Not just in name but in the confidence and insight Allyson projects for Willow. I am really taken with this show, in my opinion, the best thing I've ever experienced from tv.

[> First Impressions of 7.7 (tonights ep.& future speculation) Agree? Disagree? -- shadowkat, 19:26:30 11/12/02 Tue

I swore no knee-jerk posts. But this episode bugged me. And writing helps. After it was over I flipped off tv and sat there torn between crying and swearing off watching Buffy and Angel both. Also was afraid to go online b/c sooo do not want to see Spike bashing/gloating posts. Then tried a friend who was NOT home, then flew to the internet to see any other reactions - not much so far. Guess everyone is on the west coast?

Okay now that I've calmed down -b/c boy was I discombobulated after this episode. (I admit, I was way too invested in a certain character's story, trying hard not to be but can't help it...please don't hurt me for my weakness...we all have them. ;-)) I've come up with a few impressions that I'm really curious to know if anyone else came up with??

First: Gee how can these writers hurt us? Take some of our favorite characters and flip them - that's how. And that in of itself is not only ironic, but incredibly interesting.
Shame they didn't get Tara - would have been so much more powerful if it had been Tara in that scene and not Cassie.
But since we liked and trusted Cassie - it worked just as well.

So why flip favorite characters?
Why use Cassie, Spike and Joyce to hurt the characters? Why make us think they are redeeming Spike only to make him do incredibly horrible things?? What are they saying? What is the Big Bad up to?

Well in Amends - who did the Big Bad use as it's chief representative??? Jenny. Sounds like the first evil to me.
It knows what scares you. It knows what buttons to push.
(Button, button whose got the button?) It knows what lies in your heart. And it knows how to get you. PArticularly when it's had six years to watch you, study you and figure you out.

So...what did we before this epsiode??:

1. we know that every episode is about perceptions. And looking with your heart. Or getting to the heart of the matter.

2. we know that every thing is connected.

3.we know that in the end people are who they are.

And finally BBS reminds us an awful lot of the First EVil
who did what to Angel??? Except that time - Buffy figured the first evil out before it was too late.

Now, what happens in the episode that is weird or interesting:
1. Buffy says - "I don't feel connected" right when Dawn tries to contact her to ask for help.

2. Willow is told by the woman who dies from heart failure to kill herself, to stop doing magic absolutely, to do the big disconnect b/c otherwise she'll kill all her friends.
(Cassie basically tells Willow the opposite of what Giles advises)

3. The vampire Buffy stakes tells her Spike sired him. He's connected to Spike and he's the one who gives her her mock therapy session.

4. Jonathan tells Andrew how he misses his connection to the high school and all his friends and this is just before Andrew kills him and his blood flows over the symbol, like a sacrifice.

5. The area they dig up is the same area where Spike was staying for we have no idea how long. Spike was found in this area by Buffy.

6. Spike charms a girl, then instead of going into her apartment, bites her outside it.

Now What do we know from past episodes?

1. Spike is insane. In Beneath You - Spike states that there are several people in his head: Me, Him and It - the thing beneath you. In Lessons - Spike states there's just the three of us in here. Spike mentions he has a soul.
But he also has a demon. And of course there's it.

2. The Chip. I think it still works. But I have a question for everyone? What makes us think that "IT" can't use the chip to do work its will or control it?

Because it's technology? Think about what happened in the house? It turned on the TV set without power, it worked the microwave, it worked the tape player and the boom box. If it can work those objects why not the chip??

Warren knew about the chip and now Warren appears to be part of it. Why wouldn't it know? Adam knew. It knows everything.

So the mislead? Is that Spike is evil and they need to kill him. I think that's the mislead. I think IT can control Spike and the new soul isn't enough to fight it on it's own.
Particularly if IT is controlling the chip.

My spec? I think the SG may have to find a way of getting rid of Spike's chip. But for the opposite reason than before. I think IT is using the chip. Of course whether Buffy and company figure this out prior to killing Spike is anyone's guess.

3. What's interesting? Buffy. She has a superiority complex and an inferiority complex about a superiority complex - hence the white/black Buffy's. Also she clearly has some problems with men cheating on women, something all four men in her life have in common, well five.

Hank - cheated on Joyce apparently, broke up the marriage.
Angel - cheated on her with Dru, after he turned evil
Riley - cheated on her when he slept with Faith in her body
Spike - cheated on her after they broke up with Anya
Xander - cheated on Cordy with Willow
Giles - slept with her mother (although not sure this counts)

She admits she's self-involved, barely remembers the vamp. The vampire says that makes sense after all she has a lot going on, being chosen one and all.

It's an odd conversation. In all three conversations - one thing is clear - the BB knows where it hurts.

Dawn - Buffy won't be on your side in the end, not this round she'll be against you.
Willow - You will kill all your friends, you should kill yourself first. Will of the people speaking to dead folks is the only one who sees through the charade, she realizes its the big bad. (Maybe this has something to do with spirit?)I think Will is the BB's biggest threat. Why it wanted her to kill herself.
Jonathan - wants to reunite with everyone and is afraid no one cares, so wants to save the day and join the gang, his deepest dream is to join the SG.
Andrew - wants to be a god with Warren and fears loss of Warren.
Buffy - fears that another vampire lover has gone bad. That she has failed in her calling and it's Angelus all over again. Spike siring people all over town - is a retread of Angel.

From beneath you it devors. Fear. Uncertainity. Self- Doubt.
The feeling that you are disconnected and your life is meaningless and no one cares - these things threaten to devor us everyday. I know I've gone through periods the last few weeks in which i've been on the verge of being devored by my own fears, self-doubts, concerns and weaknesses. Coming online for a feeling of connectedness, to hold off the demons.

I think the three women in this episode who are threatened are in truth - the three most powerful women in the show.
One is the key.
One is the slayer of fear, of demons, of lies. She brought Anya into the fold and out of vengeance. She brought Spike out of the basement.
One is the witch - who holds at her grasp knowledge of spiritual energy and can see through to the spirit of a matter.

Each are attacked - mentally and emotionally.

So what the heck are they doing with Spike? First he's good. Then he's evil. Again - I think we have to remember what Spike said in Beneath You. What he said in STSP.
What he says in HELP. What he says in Selfless. And finally what he said in Lessons.
He tells us he's in trouble. He tells us it has a grip on him and he can't trust what he sees or knows. He tells her moving in with Xander won't work.

It's not black and white any more. No more than the vamp she stakes in the graveyard is simply black and white evil.
There's something else going on. I'm not sure what it is.
But my guess is that it's paralleling what's happening on Angel this year.

(Oh PS - let's try to not turn this into a huge Spike is Evil debate, okay??)

[> [> The Chip and the thing beneath -- Dariel, 19:59:23 11/12/02 Tue

I do like the idea that the First Evil is controlling Spike's chip, and that the only way to free him is to dechip him! This would be a hard decision for the Scoobies; well, for Buffy, since none of the rest of them could stop an unchipped Spike. Even having a discussion about such a thing could cause more problems amongst the Scoobies, something they don't need now. I could see Xander all for staking him, with Willow and Buffy wavering.

Of course, the FE may just be inside Spike's head, with no connection to the chip. That, I think, would be even worse; how do you get rid of it's influence then.

As for that bashy "Spike is evil" crowd--don't let them bother you. They are just as invested in Spike being bad as you (and I) are in his redemption. Let them have their fun-- it won't last (no, I'm not spoiled, though tempted now!).

I was kind of hoping that Spike could have a nice, peaceful, thoughtful little redemption story. Where he thinks about his past, reconnects to his human self, has fond memories of his family. And saves the day. Pretty silly, considering what show we're watching!

[> [> Why did you say that it bugged you, exactly? What did you hate so much? -- Finn Mac Cool, 20:04:14 11/12/02 Tue

[> [> [> Ahhh, do you really want to know? And Dariel covers it pretty well. -- shadowkat, 20:36:47 11/12/02 Tue

What bugged me? Nothing worth mentioning. It's not relevant criticism trust me. It's completely a personal emotional response that has no critical bearing on the show.

So I deleted it from my post.
I work very very hard not to include rants and personal views on the characters in posts. Because I think it clouds the analysis and takes away from more interesting points.

Suffice it to say? The story I wanted to see told on Spike and the story ME has chosen to tell aren't the same (Dariel and I had the same hopes, sigh.) I'm horribly disappointed right now. And feel betrayed -because i've had my hopes dashed, dang it!! But I will get over it, already beginning to. Since deep down inside I realize that they are doing something far more interesting than I've come up with. And isn't it better to see a story you haven't already created in your head and can predict? I would never in my wildest dreams have predicted what they've chosen to do. Also I realize (embarrassed as I am to admit it) that I've fallen into the same trap William the Poet and Rufus warned people not to fall into - which is ignoring the story that is being told because you've become enamored with a character or ship or thread in the story that may or may not be there and as a result are missing out on something really amazing and if you will only be a little patient, you might actually get a better story than the one you thought you wanted. After all the one I came up with was a little predictable and boring. This one is well, a rollercoaster ride. So which do I prefer? The nice little ferris wheel or the rollercoaster? Need you ask? If I wanted a ferris wheel or something predictable I could watch Gilmore Girls or 8 rules or any number of shows opposite this one. I'm a masochist - I want roller-coasters, I want something I can't predict or figure out quickly. I want complex characters and stories. And I want to be on the edge of my couch with my heart in my mouth.

Of course if they kill off Spike or Wesely? Or Fred or Willow? All bets are off.

[> [> [> [> Re: Ahhh, do you really want to know? And Dariel covers it pretty well. -- vh, 17:09:49 11/14/02 Thu

That's interesting. I'd think what Dariel described was a little too tame (JMHO). I loved the episode! Plus, the thought that Spike is being driven to bite -- and sire -- these people while still quite possibly feeling the full impact of the chip's pain is a mind-blowing thought.

[> [> Re: First Impressions of 7.7 (tonights ep.& future speculation) Agree? Disagree? -- ponygirl, 20:04:38 11/12/02 Tue

Call me crazy but I was actually happy to see how Spike was being used in this episode. We've had almost every episode this season be about false perceptions, culminating with this eps. demonstration that the big bad can take on any form it wants, including possibly maybe angelic visions of Joyce, that it can see into the minds of others playing Andrew and Willow. And we see Spike, apparently coherent and charming and dressed in denim. Most interesting of all we never hear him speak, the most verbal of all the characters on BtVS, whose snarky insights are usually his greatest power, and they've taken away his voice. He's being controlled all right. I'm sure it's going to get worse for Spike before it gets better but I think by revealing his so- called evil turn so early we're being set up for another reversal. (Of course if it turns out he was faking with the chip reactions in earlier episodes I think you owe me some cyber-kittens).

Interesting that you mention flipping in your post, shadowkat. William the Poet's latest post (which are the only spoilers I'm reading! 'cause he doesn't count, right?) mentions the game of Othello as a possible ponderable after all that earlier stuff about the game of Go. Othello, which I have only murky memories of, involves capturing opponent's pieces and flipping them from black to white, or vice versa.

[> [> [> vague possible spoilery board game reference above (how's that for a vague disclaimer?) -- ponygirl, 20:12:38 11/12/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> "A vague disclaimer is nobody's friend." -- Sophist, 09:48:46 11/13/02 Wed

Sorry, couldn't resist.

[> [> [> About games and spike...(spoilery on episode and games) -- shadowkat, 20:55:28 11/12/02 Tue

You're absolutely right. After thinking about it a while I agree with your post.

He is so silent. The most talkative of characters has stopped talking. He barely speaks, just gestures. I think he is being controlled. And in both Beneath You and Lessons we see him trying to fight the control - he presses his hands to his head in Beneath You and screams for it to stop, "begging now". So I'm thinking whatever is controlling him is causing him pain.

I read WTP's post and fell right into the trap he warned me not to fall into. I admit it. Don't hurt me guys. We all have our weaknesses - now everyone has seen mine. (hiding face in object embarrassment.)

Now onto Go/Othello

Othello is wacky chinese checkers. Instead of removing pieces from the board - you flip them turning them into your territory, making them yours. White becomes black and Black becomes White. The person with the most colored pieces wins. The game is about territories and surrounding your enemy. Thanks for mentioning it because now the GO reference makes sense.

GO is similar in concept.

It's not unlike chess - but with a major league difference.
Instead of killing of the opponents pawns and knights and warriors, you flip them to your side. They become your knights and pawns and warriors. Their power becomes yours.

So here's the thing: In Season 4 - Adam wanted to take pieces of the soliders and demons and make them his. Reconstruct them. In Season 1 - the Master wanted to take Buffy's power and make it his. He even tries to make her his in Nightmares. Part of his power base. In Season 3 - The Mayor makes Faith his and wants to devor the student body. In Season 2 - Angelus wanted to make Buffy his, realized he couldn't so decided to open hell.

Now we come to this season. The Big Bad talking to Willow says she doesn't care about the mortal coil, cares about power. Tells Spike in Lessons - a soul is slippery than a greased wheel, you're not your own man, you're mine.
It wants it's players. When Anyanka gives up vengeance - D'Hoffryn sends someone after her. And was a little upset Willow hadn't turned. The war right now? Is over territory methinks - and like Othellow and Go - the territory isn't land or mileage - it's pawns, players. It's going after the outskirts at the moment - Spike (an easy target - he's already connected to thing beneath because he's a demon, the fact he now has a soul - makes him an even better target b/c before Buffy would've just staked him...), Andrew and jonathan - last years little bads, Anya who it lost - Anya flipped to Buffy's side.

Yep - we're watching ME play Othello with their characters.
And it's just going to get worse.

[> [> [> [> Re: About games and spike...(spoilery on episode and games and future spec) -- alcibiades, 22:19:51 11/12/02 Tue

Just thinking outloud about the possibilites for Spike just now. With the Othello reference, making black white and white black, and the Greek tragedy and the hubris references.

Morphy is one.

Here is another thought of the moment.

In BY, we learned that Spike had dreams of Buffy's ending which made him weep buckets of salt.

What if Spike realizes he is fated to stop Buffy in some way this year -- causing or helping to cause her ending.

He is now been taken out of the basement -- for good or ill, and tonight we learned that it is for ill, because Jonathan's blood sacrifice could only occur after Buffy helped Spike out of the basement for what she thought was Spike's own good. Actually it turned out to be the opposite. Spike knew his place and what his duty was.

But, with Spike out of the basement -- his self appointed role as guardian is over -- and he may know on some level -- through prophetic dreams -- that once he is out, the evil will begin.

And once the evil begins, he may also know by prophetic dreams that he will help cause Buffy's ending.

That may be a good and worthy thing at the end because if Buffy defeats this shape shifting evil and either gets infected by it as she wins, or her superiority complex gets out of control, Buffy may need to be stopped.

But all Spike knows is that he will be responsible for hurting her or causing her ending -- maybe not what all that implies. Or he might know what that implies but, like Buffy who refused to sacrifice Dawn even if it meant it was the end of the world, he may feel he'd rather the end of the world came than help sacrifice Buffy.

In this case, biting people may be his way of inviting that confrontation with Buffy -- that he hopes results in his death.

It is the polar opposite of the Willow scenario.

Willow is told to suicide because it will get her out of the way of the Big Bad. And she won't be able to help Buffy. She refuses and figures out the plot.

Spike may want to invite a kind of suicide by Buffy's hand as a way to help Buffy after his own fashion.

After all, Buffy's decision to sacrifice the world rather than Dawn was more or less considered the gold standard by everyone who knew Buffy from season 5 on. She sacrificed herself rather than let the person she loved most die.

And here is a situation in which Buffy's words to Dawn last week may be shown to be wrong from another perspective -- that no object of love is worth suicide.

[> [> [> [> [> Hmmm... Forget that brilliant theory (snort) -- alcibiades, 05:23:04 11/13/02 Wed

I finished rewatching the episode, and although emotionally it might fit Spike at the beginning of the episode --it doesn't at all fit him at the end -- when he is walking home with the girl and then vampirizing her.

Very interesting point though that he turns down the sex and only vampirizes her once she turns back down the steps to him.

So there is some component of it being come on related or sex related in that episode.

[> [> [> [> Greased WEASEL! Not wheel! *G* (nt) -- FriarTed, 02:46:34 11/13/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> Re: About games and spike...(spoilery on episode and games) -- ponygirl, 06:56:16 11/13/02 Wed

Thanks for a much better explanation of Othello than I could remember. Interesting in games like Othello we become aware how easily it is to go from one side to the other. Black, white all it takes is a change in perspective.

But s'kat, there's no shame in getting emotionally invested in the characters, that's why we're here isn't it? And I've had more than a couple (dozen) moments where I've wanted to throw something at the screen because of how certain characters were acting or being treated. Him infuriated me the first time I watched it, the second time, I loved it. I think I posted right after Helpless aired, asking for some help in liking it, and I got some answers that made me ok with the episode. I was really pleased with CWDP from the get-go because it finally gave me something I'd been lacking for most of this season, a connection with Buffy. She's got a problem, ME knows she has a problem, and now Buffy might even be aware she has a problem. It's just so hard to try and trust the story sometimes, but I'm working on it.

[> [> [> [> [> trusting the story, helps when you look back over it ;-) -- shadowkat, 09:22:22 11/13/02 Wed

Thanks, made me feel a little better. And yeah me too. Working on trusting the story. I rewatched all the episodes this year, well all except Help and Selfless which are still in cjl's custody. And came up with a new perspective.

In each episode, one or more of the characters emphasize some version of the following lines:

Beneath You: "I wanted to Fit. To be a part..." (clearly fit = connected, right?) "Why can't he just leave me alone?"
"I'm worried about being accepted again."
"Deep down inside me." -"From Beneath You it Devors".
"Now we're all connected - three of us going to the school..."
"I used to be connected, friends, bridesmaids, who shooting match" - "now I have no one".

STSP: "Your alone. all alone. You're friends have left you here all alone. Abandoned you." Visual disconnect - can't see Willow, Willow can't see them. "I picked up my heart, thought it would fit, wall up all the bad stuff, but now I'm worse off than before."

Selfless: "I don't want you to be alone." "Maybe I should be alone." "I can't trust what I see."

Help: "Die alone." "We connected. We became friends."

HIM: "We connected." "I'm alone."

Lessons: It's all connected, good and the bad. You are alone. You're not alone. I want to be Willow - you are, in the end we all are who we are no matter how much we appear to have changed. It's about power. Control.

Conversations: also has lines relating to alone, connected. With the ever present cell phone and electricity which are metaphors.

Oh power and control are also either mentioned or visually or metaphorically referred to in every episode. Maybe i'll write a lengthy post someday pointing out how.

On top of that we have Spike saying things throughout
the episodes. From deep down, deep inside me. To screaming in pain when he's not hitting anyone. I even heard a buzz when he grabs his head and shies away from Buff and Xander in sTSP saying he should hide his face. And when the pain fires? His personality appears to change a bit.
He also talks as if IT is coming from inside him. And some of his words echo Cassie's in Conversations.

But the big thing that's staying with me? Is the idea of power and control. Who has the control. In Lessons - Giles emphasizes to Willow the need to control her power - and she echoes this concern in STSP, Selfless, Him, and Conversations.

So I ask you? Who has the power in the gang and who is connected to what?

Willow's power is connected to darkness and light.
Anya's power was connected to darkness - she cut it off when she chose to stop being a vengeance demon, but it has worked it's will on her for centuries.
Spike - he's a vampire and is stated over and over again, vampires are connected to the evil that will devour you. The vampire is the evil's minion - it's infected virus engineered to devor humans and create more of it's kind.
"I'm connected to the evil that will devour..." Holden Webster states. And who sired Holden? Spike.

Yet herein lies the irony. Holden helps Buffy work out some personal issues here and warns her about Spike. Wondering if the evil Holden is connected to wanted that??

Spike is split in two. He got a soul to be his own man, yet he appears to still be evil's minion, the big evil is still controlling him. I'm beginning to wonder if there may have been an attachment that came with the soul? A hitchhiker?
That only operates at certain times and spike knows zip about it?? At any rate, Spike is not in control of his power.

Which brings me back to HIM. Why did the women lose control of their powers? Buffy lost control - and went to demolish the principal and half the school - if Spike hadn't stopped her in time?? Willow tried to change a man into a girl.
Anya robbed stores. Dawn attempted suicide. None were in control.

In STSP - Anya and Willow discuss the fear of the dark power taking control of them. It's why Anya no longer enjoys vengeance. It's why Willow wished she could get rid of the dark power.

It makes sense that Spike would lose control over the demon and the "it" that occupy him. Sort of a double whammy.

Guess we'll have to wait and see the next two episodes to find out for sure. But Buffy's face at the end of last night's episode was evidence to me that the girl has feelings for Spike and her worst nightmare was just uttered.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: trusting the story, helps when you look back over it ;-) -- alcibiades, 10:03:36 11/13/02 Wed

Yet herein lies the irony. Holden helps Buffy work out some personal issues here and warns her about Spike. Wondering if the evil Holden is connected to wanted that??

OTOH, the evil Holden is connected to just learned all of Buffy's weaknesses. Especially the inferiority/superiority complex, and I bet he is going to exploit that knowledge. Not to mention the lack of connectedness. The fear of abandonment, the fear of being cheated on, etc.

Besides, Buffy acknowledged some, but not all of her problems -- that is a big step, but that doesn't mean she worked them out -- just that she is aware of them and maybe has some more insight about them. Intellectual/emotional knowledge though of the root causes of some of her attitudes is not the same as changing her behavior.

I also think the BBE wanted her to be aware of Spike -- because if she stakes Spike, he won't be there to help her. And if she only doesn't trust him, he still won't be able to help her.

It's the same thing as targeting Willow to get rid of the aid she can give to Buffy.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Making connections (spoilers 7.7) -- ponygirl, 11:55:17 11/13/02 Wed

I found Willow's line, "I am the power" very telling, paralleling Buffy's superiority complex. Evil Cassie points out that the power is larger than Willow, and I have to agree with the Evil. The same goes for Buffy. They've both recognized the power within them, but I don't think they really grasp what the source of their power is. Willow at least says she knows it's all connected, but I don't think she truly believes it, and Buffy isn't feeling connected to anything right now, including her own feelings. My latest Big Vague Theory is that eventually Buffy's going to have to learn that while it is all about power, the power is connected to everything, good and evil, the world above and the world below, humans and demons, slayers and vampires. Like I said, vague.

"Guess we'll have to wait and see the next two episodes to find out for sure. But Buffy's face at the end of last night's episode was evidence to me that the girl has feelings for Spike and her worst nightmare was just uttered."

Ooh yes, Buffy's rant about killing Angel in Selfless wasn't just so Xander's secret could finally come out. The girl has Issues. How can she connect with anyone when deep down she has to face the possibility that she might one day be called upon to kill them? Be it friend, family or lover, that thought is always got to be holding Buffy back. She killed herself rather than be faced with that situation with Dawn. And now she's about to she's about to go through that again. I'm looking forward to all that angsty goodness!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Humans and vamps (spoilers 7.7 and future spec) -- shadowkat, 13:16:38 11/13/02 Wed

Something just occurred to me. Remember all our debates about human evil vs. demon evil? And what happened in Selfless?

Xander says that when Willow went all evil they didn't kill her and Buffy says Willow's human, so she's different. Buffy only has to worry about demons. Humans she can't kill.

Now in last night's episode two people commit murder. One Spike. One Andrew. Both may be under the influence of big bad. One is a vampire with a soul and a chip and maybe a third party. So has a demon connecting him to evil. A soul connecting him to what he chooses. The other is human and going along with big bad.

How should Buffy treat these two? Should Andrew be treated better than Spike? The same? Less well?

What about vengeance demons? Anya arguably has killed quite a few people. We only know about the frat boys. Does she get a higher standard?

I think Buffy is about to be faced with this question again and the answer may not be as easy as it was in Becoming where the world was at stake and her only choice was to close Acathla's mouth. What do you do when the world isn't at stake? When a human has committed as many horrible acts as a vampire? Or when your vampire lover is doing it? Possibly under the influence of the first evil? Something tells me that what happened in Selfless is going to come up again, soon.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Humans and vamps (spoilers 7.7 and future spec) -- Haecceity, 10:30:11 11/14/02 Thu

Love this line:
"What do you do when the world isn't at stake?"

What do you do when it's not the external world, but the internal, personal world you're sacrificing everything to protect?
In so many traditions regarding (the equivalency of) individuation, the "ego" must die so the "Self" can be reborn.

Is this the battle Buffy is facing? To finally lay her old hang-ups to rest, to become a new Slayer, just in time to save the world from the projections of everyone's battles to deny/empower their shadow selves?


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Making connections (spoilers 7.7) -- imp, 16:29:39 11/13/02 Wed

WARNING: This post contains specific spoilers about ep 7.7! Also, some may find this to be a long post.

Hi! Briefly delurking. Don't know why except this post, particularly the paragraph below from Ponygirl, compelled me to respond. What follows is entirely my opinion--except where I fumblingly attempt to paraphrase others, or to cite/paraphrase dialogue. Try not to be too distracted by any typos. I do not "read" BtVS well from the standpoints of technical matters, metaphysics, symbolism, or metaphor. Please also do not misinterpret this post as a rant, a ramble, or a bash--this is NOT my intent.

***Ooh yes, Buffy's rant about killing Angel in Selfless wasn't just so Xander's secret could finally come out. The girl has Issues. How can she connect with anyone when deep down she has to face the possibility that she might one day be called upon to kill them? Be it friend, family or lover, that thought is always got to be holding Buffy back. She killed herself rather than be faced with that situation with Dawn. And now she's about to she's about to go through that again. I'm looking forward to all that angsty goodness!***

So am I! I have been lurking on this board for many months now. I have also been watching BtVS for its entire run-- although I was not deeply engaged/involved with it until the last half of S2. Personally, I get more from the entire narrative rather than focusing on a particular relationship, arc, or character.

However, I do admit to having pet likes and faves. The character I most identify with is Buffy; not the Slayer but the person (the good/bad/ugly--metaphorical warts and all). Over the years of getting to know this character I have often been irritated and angry with her. I have also felt for her. I do not identify with her because of any parallels with my actual ife and experiences. I do identify with her because of how she has been/is being shown to me--one lone viewer.

Ponygirl's paragraph above cuts to the heart of it for me (pardon the phrase). There are many aspects of my life that could be better but I do not have to make life-and-death decisions daily. Honestly, I do not know that I could do any better if I were constantly being given crappy choices and had to make excruciatingly painful decisions.

This is why, even when I find it hard to like/sympathize with Buffy, I cut her some slack. I choose to do this because she is, generally, too hard on herself. From behind the Fourth Wall, I as a viewer am privy to seeing and hearing things that she and the other characters sometimes do not get to see or hear. Thus, I try not to get on her case too much (this goes for other characters as well). This is not to say that I am never displeased or disappointed or shocked by them.

It's funny... when Buffy mentions how alone she is as the Slayer, I think back to something S1 Cordelia said in 'Out of Sight, Out of Mind' about her choosing to be alone in a crowd (I think that was the gist of what she said). Buffy may have family, friends, lovers, mentors but she is still alone--in my opinion. Really, to me, the only character who can truly identify with Buffy is another Slayer (i.e., Faith). They walk in two worlds but feel as if they do not belong in either one.

Spike said it best: "Death is your art. You make it with your hands everyday" ('Fool For Love'). I, for one, think Buffy believes there is no way for her friends and family to understand what being a Slayer means to her. I believe she would be hard-pressed to articulate it because she is unsure of the meaning herself. Is she just a killer after all?

Apparently, the First Slayer thinks so and says as much to Buffy in 'Restless'. She says Buffy is supposed to be alone, to have no friends. All buffy is supposed to have is the kill. So this is what Buffy was Called for, huh? To have a short, violent life filled with heartache, longing, regret, pain, and death. To have to constantly face the prospect of one day having to kill those she knows or are close to her. I know, I know. There is much more to her than that. Her intestinal fortitude, strength of character, and will to win still amaze me. But I wonder how often Buffy can "love, give, and forgive". How often can she "risk the pain"?

Pivot: My take on having the epsidoe title, date, and time appear at the beginning was that ME was telling me, as a viewer, to take note of this ep. It caps offs the first third of the season and, in my opinion, will "power" the remaining two-thirds. Oh, requiem in pacis, Jonathan.

To close, I have enjoyed the ride--this magical mystery tour that is BtVS--thus far. I personally will set aside my needs for instant gratification in terms of character development, relationships, plot arcs, etc. while they take me on the scenic route. If this is the last year for BtVS, then I wish to savor every moment of it (also really enjoying AtS as well).

To parrot the Rock (of WWE/WWF wresting fame; no stone throwing please): JUST BRING IT!

Phew! Enough for now. Back to lurking.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Welcome to the land of non-lurking! Great post!! -- ponygirl, 16:54:41 11/13/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> This Is What I Get For Not Proofing My Post... -- imp, 17:31:57 11/13/02 Wed

I had trouble getting it approved the first time. I forgot to retype something else about CWDP...

I check out other posting boards from time to time. Today, I read a few posts where the writer/viewer felt that Buffy's superiority/inferiority complex was obvious. Since I have already said I do not "read" BtVS well, this complex of hers was not obvious to me. I will admit that I genuinely thought Buffy had feelings of inferiority early in her "career" as a Slayer. After continued "success" she probably did start to have feelings of superiority as well.

However, to have both going on at the same time makes for a much more complex and interesting personal dynamic, in my opinion. There is a thread at the top of the board now discussing how, in real life, some highly successful people feel unworthy or underserving of what they have gained/accomplished. I believe this is a real phenomenon. I vaguely remember watching something about this topic several years ago (Oprah? Donahue?).

It is deeply ironic to me what this says about Buffy--given what she is so good at. She should "feel good" about still being alive, about winning those one-to-one, do-or-die situations. She should "feel good" about being one of the longest-lived Slayers. But, look at what she sometimes must do to remain successful. Look at who she has to hurt, or may come to hurt. No wonder she has an inferiority complex to boot!

I believe this self-view informed her during her "relationship" with Spike. And now, now that she "feels" for Spike, she may have to end his existence? Could this be a reason why she did not want to "connect" with him on interpersonal levels other than sex? How much did it cost her personally to confront Anya in 'Selfless'? How much more costly will it be for her to one day believe she must confront Spike--given all they have been through?

Well, I thought I would only post once. But then again, my chosen posting name does imply mischievousness.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> very good post -- Rahael, 17:47:18 11/13/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Excellent points. Welcome. -- Sophist, 20:30:18 11/13/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: This Is What I Get For Not Proofing My Post... -- frisby, 06:30:46 11/14/02 Thu

Nice post. I too often dwell on the dynamics between Buffy Summers, the mortal young woman, and The Slayer, the one chosen to fulfill her sacred duty of protecting humanity. Part of her wants to deny the other part and return to "normalcy" while the other part wants to let go of her original nature to embrace her "true nature (5.1)" -- and the middle ground is where she finds her soul. But how long can she straddle both worlds? Should she not accept her destiny and throw her all against the forces of darkness? Is that not the greater good? Or should she continue to hope against all hope for a return to a simple human life including love and marriage and children perhaps? "Buffy" in my eyes actually represents "humanity" itself today. What is "our" natural history and does it conflict with "our" destiny? The "earth" is the real question: do we own it? do we belong to it? Who speaks for earth?

Thanks for delurking and joining the fight!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: This Is What I Get For Not Proofing My Post... -- imp, 15:22:52 11/14/02 Thu

I've posted again in a thread above since my first experience yesterday went well. What you say here is something I've thought about off-and-on over the run of the series. Please forgive me if this reply turns into a ramble.

I personally believe that, deep down, Buffy has accepted her calling. However, any (perceived/implied) "whining" on her part has been replaced by a more grim outlook. She is the (active) Slayer--but with family, friends, lovers(?). She also seems to me to be someone who goes for the hard choice.

What did she say to Giles late S5? Something about slaying making her hard on the inside? That in order to do what she does, she has to stop loving, has to stop being compassionate and forgiving? I wonder if she thinks that integrating all aspects of her being would make her hard on the inside. Particularly since she thinks she will continue to be a Slayer until she dies--again.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: This Is What I Get For Not Proofing My Post... -- frisby, 11:10:48 11/15/02 Fri

Hi imp. Yes, she feared she could not love and had to become hard to be strong and would thus lose her humanity> Much earlier, talking first to Kendra and then Willow she reveals that her "fire" involved both romance/love and also emotions/passion, and that her "fire" was to key to her victories, and also what she lived for. But after her resurrection she seemed to have lost her "fire" and wants it back, and her thing with Spike is/was part of that attempt, and without it (season 6 and 7 so far) she comes across as being harder and colder and more inhumane each episode (with some exceptions, such as the tear that Spike on the cross provoked). As you say, she needs integration of all of her aspects (old-fashioned integrity we might think of it as) -- some form of earth air and water -- to create the living fire against which no spirit can stand. Or so I think of it, after reading your reply (not a ramble). Those writers (Joss and Co) seem to really know something about the old disciplines touching on the mystical, the magical, the mysterious, and the mythical. For example, the alchemy of fire and spirit.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Excellent post. Welcome. -- Sophist, 08:49:16 11/14/02 Thu

[> [> [> [> Not really -- Etrangere, 09:37:42 11/13/02 Wed

Not that i'm a specialist, my dad never managed to convert me to his favorite game that is Go, but in Go it is indeed the territory, as in the field, the cases where there is no other pieces, that matters. Yes you can capture the other player's pieces by circling them but that doesn't make a lot of points, it's hardly the focus of the game which is all about... the way the pieces influences the board.

Anyway, great post shadowkat. I'm myself so realing over Jonnathan's death I've barely register the Spike's debacle. We hardly can have conclusions yet about that, anyway, this episode plays so much with perceptions. I'm anxiously waiting for the next episodes.

[> [> [> Othello ties in with "Angel" as well? (vague Angel spoilers) -- Scroll, 14:03:03 11/15/02 Fri

In the archives, there are a few posts talking about Gunn as Othello, Wesley as Iago/Cassio, and how the two have switched roles with Wes the streetfighter and Gunn the "in" guy with the fancy detective agency. So role-reversal and flipping sides seems to be something pervading both shows.

[> [> Re: First Impressions of 7.7 (tonights ep.& future speculation) Agree? Disagree? -- Malandanza, 20:35:15 11/12/02 Tue

Also was afraid to go online b/c sooo do not want to see Spike bashing/gloating posts...

"So what the heck are they doing with Spike? First he's good. Then he's evil. Again - I think we have to remember what Spike said in Beneath You. What he said in STSP. What he says in HELP. What he says in Selfless. And finally what he said in Lessons. He tells us he's in trouble. He tells us it has a grip on him and he can't trust what he sees or knows. He tells her moving in with Xander won't work."

I don't think anyone's going to be rushing to blame Spike for something that's not his fault -- I think it's pretty clear he is being controlled. Last season, Spike did a great deal of evil of his own free will for his own selfish purposes, injuring the very person he claimed to love -- this season he has no free will. It would be like blaming Katrina for coming on to Warren when she was under the slave spell. So saying Spike is to blame for Spike's actions last season makes sense -- saying it this season does not.

I don't think ME was telling us Spike was good or evil -- they were telling us that he is weak. Like Andrew. Is anyone surprised that Andrew fell under the thrall of the First (or whatever it is)? Andrew had difficulty distinguishing between reality and fantasy on a good day. William was Andrew back when he was alive and, as Spike, has spent the last century pretending to be something he's not. More fantasy/reality issues (especially underlined last season with his refusal to accept Buffy's pronouncements). Now even more conflicted than ever before, he shrinks away and the First takes over. The most you could blame him for is not fighting harder (and we've seen no evidence that he did not put up a struggle). We don't know how long he was in the basement before Buffy dragged him out, but several episodes passed from the time of his discovery to the time of his removal. Plenty of time for some evil influence -- hey, if the First had had a couple of weeks with Willow instead of an hour, there's no telling what Willow would have done.

That the chip could be defeated was pointed out by Dru the last time she came to Sunnydale. She told Spike that electricity lies and he could fight it. We've seen Spike rise above the pain of his own volition and attack in spite of it -- imagine that the First is controlling him, so is less concerned about the physical pain being inflicted on Spike's body and the First doesn't need a degree in electrical engineering -- it can simply ignore the chip.

[> [> [> Re: First Impressions of 7.7 (tonights ep.& future speculation) Agree? Disagree? -- Rose, 20:54:40 11/12/02 Tue

i belive the first has been working on Spike since he got his soul.
I'm also begining to belive that demon in africa is the first's bridge partner and they both cheat.
can you think of a better time to sneek somthing passt Spike's defences.
it woul;d have to be in a form where physical violence couldn't help or he could have beaten it.
also Spikes not the only one that needs to answer for last seasons actions.
Buffy may have very good reasons for her actions that doesn't excuse them
it actually excuses them less than saying spike did not realise that this time no actually ment it . he stopped as soon as he realised he'd crossed the line Buffy didn't

Willow finally clued in after she almost ended the world as she herself said greif normaly doesn't cause that.

warren never even felt remorse foor his crimes.

Spike did not have a soul, he is a century rusty and out of date with human rules and no one gave him an inch or even a rule book. at least he was trying he still screwed up though.

[> [> Re: First Impressions of 7.7 (tonights ep.& future speculation) Agree? Disagree? -- frisby, 08:59:15 11/13/02 Wed

Thanks shadowkat. The episode is bothering me too and it helps not only to write about it but also to read what others say, and you've said a lot that keeps my concerns yet open. The development of this show simply amazes me. I'm taking a course on the history of television next semester and I plan to write on buffy. The insights shared at this website are invaluable. Very good points!

[> [> Re: First Impressions of 7.7 (tonights ep.& future speculation) Agree? Disagree? -- Sarand, 10:48:15 11/13/02 Wed

As usual, Shadowkat, you say things that I was thinking during the episode. Agree on all points about deciding to stop watching Buffy and being extremely frustrated by the Spike storyline. I've been doing that every week starting with STSP, except for "Selfless". I keep coming back though. I haven't decided to stop watching Angel, however, because I have been loving most of the episodes, particularly the last, but that's probably a whole other essay.

In addition to having the same problems about the Spike storyline, though, I've had the additional frustration of not liking the Willow storyline, either, and feeling that the show and the audience was far too ready to cut her a break which I just couldn't see and simply can't do. Last night's episode took a giant step for me with regard to Willow. IMO, Willow came across in previous episodes as not really expressing remorse for her actions so much as regret for the things she lost or thought she lost as a result of her actions - her old life, the love of her friends. And then, of course, she seemed to get everything back. Back into the fold with the Scoobies, back to school where everybody is so nice and welcoming. To me, her expressions weren't true remorse and her easy return seemed undeserved. (Please don't bash me for hating Willow. It's just my opinion or POV that I know few share but bashing won't help me.) But last night's episode made me feel more sympathetic toward her, that she was expressing less selfish feelings of remorse. I can't quote exactly because I have a terrible memory for the lines but it was mostly the tenor of the exchange in addition to the words. And, of course, her statement that others who are grieving don't do what she did echos my feelings on the subject. So, all in all, a better episode for me than many of the previous ones.

Of course, I can't end without going back to Spike. I saw on another board speculation that the chip didn't work because the girl was not human. Don't know if anybody said that here because I've had trouble reading a lot of the posts today. I'm sort of leaning away from that, just because it would be way too simple and easy for ME. I think they have more bad things in store for Spike - not that Buffy is going to stake him but that he will be ostracized again from the gang. And besides, ME lives to torture me (yes, it's all about me!) ;)

[> [> Re: First Impressions of 7.7 (tonights ep.& future speculation) Agree? Disagree? -- leslie, 15:57:38 11/13/02 Wed

"Okay now that I've calmed down -b/c boy was I discombobulated after this episode. (I admit, I was way too invested in a certain character's story, trying hard not to be but can't help it...please don't hurt me for my weakness...we all have them. ;-))"

Yes, we do like to think that we can be oh so terribly objective and then... I am embarrassed to confess that I was more upset at seeing Spike apparently walking in deep spiritual communion with a woman who picked him up in a bar than I was when he bit her. It was like, "oh, vampire--we can deal with that, old news, old issues--BUT HE'S FORGETTING ALL ABOUT BUFFY?????!!!!" Jeeze.

[> [> Re: Selfdoubt -- Silky, 07:52:06 11/14/02 Thu

>>From beneath you it devors. Fear. Uncertainity. Self- Doubt. The feeling that you are disconnected and your life is meaningless and no one cares - these things threaten to devor us everyday. I know I've gone through periods the last few weeks in which i've been on the verge of being devored by my own fears, self-doubts, concerns and weaknesses. Coming online for a feeling of connectedness, to hold off the demons.

I agree and was thinking the same thing while watching the episode. Self doubt devours...

And S'kat - when I saw what they seem to be doing to Spike I was screaming noooooooooooooooooo! I'm upset and confused - but hopefully not dissappointed in the end.

[> Re: Buffy 7.7 Question (spoiler) -- celticross, 19:35:27 11/12/02 Tue

Willow...Awwwwwwwwwwwww and Woo-hoo for Will.
Buffy....looks like ME's been listening to the fans who said she needs therapy.
And Spike? WHA????

Oh man...can't process...must view again...

[> Re: Buffy 7.7 Question (spoiler) -- deeva, 21:47:04 11/12/02 Tue

IMO what happened in this episode was that the characters who could be influenced were and the seeds of doubt have been planted. I'm not sure if this Big Bad is the First Evil but for lack of other evidence I'll just call it the First Evil which will now be reffered to as FE.

The FE was everywhere. I guess you can be when you're all "connected". I think that it got hold of Spike somehow (We might see how in the next ep. And hey, while we're on the topic, Spike dialogue that we can actually hear! Woo & Hoo!). I most certainly think that it was manipulating Vamp Jeff(?). And we all could see in the end that FE took the form of Cassie and of Joyce. FE was tormenting, taunting and possibly even testing Buffy, Dawn, Willow and maybe even Spike.

[> [> Re: Buffy 7.7 Question (spoiler) -- frisby, 09:15:12 11/13/02 Wed

Yes, the first evil was everywhere in the episode, but whose picture was on that seal that Jonthan was sacrificed to? Was that the demon he referred to (I forget the name, begins with "D")? And did the first evil "really" bring Angel back (to kill Buffy) or did it just say that? And if not, how "did" Angel return after centuries in hell? And if even the darkness fears the first evil, then will we need an uber- uber-buffy this time (buffy, giles, xander, willow willow willow, and dawn the key and maybe more, including even darkness also, or spike) to defeat it? Willow says it's all connnected but Buffy does not feel connected. Just thinking out loud after reading your very interesting post. God I love this show! (including those we see and the many behind the scenes too, of course)

[> [> [> Re: Buffy 7.7 Question (spoiler) -- Deeva, 15:52:07 11/13/02 Wed

Yes, the first evil was everywhere in the episode, but whose picture was on that seal that Jonthan was sacrificed to? Was that the demon he referred to (I forget the name, begins with "D")?

The picture on the pentacle looked like a really grumpy goat to me and I'm not sure if it was meant to look like the demon that Jonathan mentioned. No demonologist am I.

And did the first evil "really" bring Angel back (to kill Buffy) or did it just say that? And if not, how "did" Angel return after centuries in hell?

The issue of Angel being brought back , now there's something that hasn't been answered completely or at all, to my knowledge.

And if even the darkness fears the first evil, then will we need an uber-uber-buffy this time (buffy, giles, xander, willow willow willow, and dawn the key and maybe more, including even darkness also, or spike) to defeat it?

Sometimes in the face of something so huge and greatly evil the simplest solution is the answer. I don't believe that it will take a mystical combination of the gang, with Spike, Dawn and Anya included, to overcome this threat. It might just be something far more simpler and sadder. *sigh*

Willow says it's all connnected but Buffy does not feel connected.

I think that that statement is very telling of where we are headed and what may happen. Willow is taught by Giles that it is all connected. Holden says that he feels strongly connected now that he has been turned. It is apparent that in Spike's insanity, he is connected to something, maybe it's the FE or maybe it's that something else that Willow is talking about. Anya, when she was a demon, could "hear" the call of another's pain. It's strange to me that Buffy would say that she feels unconnected when she has at least 2 connections. Her connection to Dawn and to her Slayerness (which she once wanted to explore but it seems to have fallen to the wayside)

Just thinking out loud after reading your very interesting post. God I love this show! (including those we see and the many behind the scenes too, of course)

I'm glad that you think it's interesting because most of the time I think I just seem to post a word salad of sorts.

Big Bad? (Spoilers?) -- Lucifer_Sponge, 18:11:36 11/12/02 Tue

Willow: From beneath you, it devours.
Cassie: Not "it." ME.

Is the main villian this year the First Evil as most people have speculated... or the Hellmouth itself?


[> Re: Big Bad? (Spoilers?) (answer: it involves both) -- frisby, 18:42:04 11/12/02 Tue

both the first evil and the hellmouth are involved intimately with this season's big bad

When a body meet a body (spoilers for 7.7, you know the one that just aired) -- ponygirl, 19:11:40 11/12/02 Tue

Still coming down after that episode! Wowza. However one thing struck me, Jonathon's speech about missing everyone, friends and enemies both, seemed so familiar. I rewound and watched it immediately after the episode finished. I just thought of it now, the last bit of Catcher in the Rye Holden talks about missing everybody he'd been telling us about, even the people who'd been nasty to him. A bit of stretch? However Buffy's therapist/mortal enemy's name was Holden, and of course Holden Caulfield's great obsession was in exposing the phoniness of others. Here we have an episode filled with people who are not what they seem. Who are the phonies here? Cassie obviously, Joyce possibly, Warren of course, and Andrew. Then there's Spike. Of course in the book Holden's not the most reliable narrator since he's in the midst of a nervous breakdown.

What all this means I'm not sure, but Catcher in the Rye does have one of my favourite quotes, which I will promptly misquote here, that the immature man wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mature man wants to live for one. It's something that Buffy seems to understand, but thinking of Dawn's actions last week I'm wondering if it's a lesson she will have to learn.

Was Jonathon the catcher in the rye, trying to save everyone and finally prove himself? Or is it Buffy, trying to protect everyone from the realities she thinks only she can comprehend.

Random now, coherence later! Looking forward to reading everyone's take on this episode!

[> Wow...more thoughts (spoilers for 7.7 Conversations) -- shadowkat, 20:11:51 11/12/02 Tue

Holden Caulfield. I didn't read the book that long ago, but yep the vampire reminded me of that character. And the comment about being insane and working at the aslym.

Actually this episode almost drove me insane. Methinks part of the reason I'm preferring Angel this year is I'm not as invested in the characters. BTvs? Way too invested for my own good. But I work really really hard to keep this out of my posts. So forgive me if it inadvertently pops out tonight.

Jonathan and his hopeless cause. The poor boy still wants to be part of the SG. This episode echoed several great Jonathan episodes:

1. Earshot. The vampire tells Buffy that the truth is everyone feels alone and disconnected. He the vamp doesn't really - because he's connected to the great evil. But everyone else does. And everyone is self-involved and has issues. Get over yourself. The vamps speech sounded very similar to Buffy's speech to Jonathan in Earshot.

2. Superstar - Jonathan wants to be important to save the day. He wants to be part of the gang. If we dig up the truth, do you think they'll believe us?? Do you think they will invite us to join them once we redeem ourselves?
Jonathan wants to be connected. In Superstar - he wasn't though, everyone was beneath him, yet he in turn was beneath them. Just as Buffy states - she feels above and beneath at the same time.

What hit me was the comment what happened to Xander.
Well Jonathan is in many ways the anti-Xander. What Xander might have been if it weren't for the SG. Jonathan also has always been the damsel in distress.

In Inca Mummy Girl - Impata tries to kill Jonathan instead of Xander, before Xander stops her. Jonathan's the stand- in.

In The Wish - Harmony suggests Cordy go with Jonathan now that Xander has dumped her.

In Prom - Jonathan gives Buffy the Class Protector Award.

And there are many other episodes I can't think of offhand.
But Jonathan has always been saved at the last minute.
Even last year - they saved him. And Jonathan in return saved Xander and attempted to save Buffy.

It is fitting that Jonathan in his nostalgia for the good old days of high school, literally fall into the BBS/First Evil's trap. Jonathan sees high school through rose colored glasses which Andrew shatters. He believes that these people miss him. That times were better back then. It's odd b/c in a way Jonathan hasn't advanced any further than Lance did with his letter jacket. Both men are stuck in high school. Xander has moved on - he constructed the high school - but does he miss it? No. Andrew similarily hasn't moved past high school. But his is a bitterness and rage and desire to rise up above it.

Jonathan wants to die and make a difference. Ironically he does die and make a difference, but not the one he wanted.
The twist on the sacrifice.

The immature man sacrifices his life for a cause. The mature one lives for a cause. Buffy has sacrificed herself so many times. Yet she acknowledges the hardest thing is to live not to die.

I wonder...what will they do with the other men in our drama? We have Andrew who has killed for a cause - the BB's cause, the ability to join Warren as a god. We have Spike who also appears to be killing people - possibly for the BB's cause, possibly against his will, or whatever insane reason they've come up with to symbolize growing up?
And of course the non-existent Xander. The darkest, creepiest, most disturbing episode so far - and guess what? No Xander. That in of itself is interesting and I believe deliberate.

Then we have the women. Buffy who I'm wondering isn't being a tad suicidal in that graveyard. Dawn who appears willing to do just about anything to reach her mother. Will who refuses to buy what she sees or let it convince her to die for a cause. She won't go quietly into this good night.
Yay Willow!! Willow was my hero in this episode.

Finally? methinks I understand why Amber wasn't overly cooperative about coming back. They, as I predicted, wanted her to play the big bad's interpretation of Tara as Jenny did in past years. Shame. That would have been very interesting.

[> [> Re: Wow...more thoughts (spoilers for 7.7 Conversations) -- celticross, 20:25:13 11/12/02 Tue

Hmmmm...guess I'm in the minority here on the no Tara issue, cause I thought it was a good thing. I think Willow's apologies and tears played so much more powerfully when played through Morphy!Cassie. And if Tara had been there, we wouldn't have had "She still sings to you" and Willow's gorgeous reaction. *sniffle*

[> [> [> Re: Wow...more thoughts (spoilers for 7.7 Conversations) -- rose, 20:34:46 11/12/02 Tue

your not alone.
There was a minor chance that morphy could convince willow that death wasen't so bad and get her to suicide.
There is no way at all she would belive Tara wanted her to die. Tara's death was violent. not peacful not happy. notice that it was cassie not tara tru cassie that suggested suicide. After last year the first evil shuold have realised that none of the scoobies would think their death would help.
and the string of bloody images did not help morpy.
i wonder if willow who overcame the first evil can help out her freinds out or is it going to take another snowstorm in sother califiornia type mirical to save them? and how long thill Johnothan's body is found?

[> [> [> [> Re: Johnathan (spoilers, of course) -- Traveler, 20:48:02 11/12/02 Tue

It looked like his body was melting on the alter. I doubt anybody will ever find it. Also, let me say: "poor Johnathan!" Waaaaa! I liked him.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Johnathan (spoilers, of course) -- rose, 20:57:38 11/12/02 Tue

I thought that was just his blood flowing around the alter

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Johnathan (spoilers, of course) -- still thinking, 21:59:49 11/12/02 Tue

He was the Christ figure. I had no idea. They are trying to completely blow our minds. IMO, it worked.

[> [> [> I agree -- darrenK, 21:30:07 11/12/02 Tue

I also think it was more effective to have "Tara" talking through Cassie.

Not having her there meant that there was still this chasm between them that made Willow's emotions more powerful. If she had been there, they'd also have to deal with the physical issue, can the wraith be seen? Touched? Hugged? Kissed? Willow's reaction to "seeing" a fully articulated Tara would certainly have been more physical than her reaction to Cassie.

It'd be the first time in BtVS history that we might have to debate whether or not the Big Bad is a good kisser.

There also a parallel with Same Time, Same Place. Suddenly it seemed to be Tara who was there, but couldn't be seen or heard.
Perhaps Same Time, Same Place was conceived to lay the groundwork for the audience to make the assumption about what Cassie was doing? Just a thought.

I also like the idea that Willow's memories of Tara are unsullied by having the Big Bad/Hellmouth/First Evil/ Morph thing steal her image and identity. And I like the idea of Tara's presence as "negative space" both for Willow or the audience.

On a whole other level, Alyson Hannigan's performance was perfect.


[> [> [> [> Great thoughts, dK! I agree with you completely! -- Rob, 23:07:29 11/12/02 Tue

And perhaps the not-wanting-Tara's memory sullied is what led Amber Benson to turn down returning to the show in the first place? She said something in an interview about not returning if she didn't like what was being done with the character. Now, granted, she wouldn't have really been playing Tara there, but maybe, even with that, she didn't want to do that, especially after all the negative fan reaction to Tara's death. The idea of her returning to Willow, perhaps with kissage, etc, and then turning out to be evil might not have sat right with her.

And in the interest of not psychologically damaging our characters too much (I think Dawn got the greatest wallop in that department, in this ep...They should stick with this rule, btw...only crush one character per ep!), I think it's better that it was Cassie who did it.


[> [> Re: Wow...more thoughts (spoilers for 7.7 Conversations) -- ponygirl, 20:26:43 11/12/02 Tue

I'm still a bit scattered with all my thoughts, but I'd agree with your Xander/Jonathon connection. Jonathon is what might have happened to Xander if he'd really had no friends in high school, just as Lance last week was Xander if he had never gotten out of the basement. Much to think about with Xander and his absence, but I did really like the structure of this episode so if turns out that Xander and Anya were left out just 'cause I'll be fine.

I'd actually like to take a minute and mourn Jonathon, because I think in his last speech he actually got to a place he'd been striving for his whole life. He'd been caught up in the fantasy before, he and Andrew with their costumes and gadgets, wondering once more if by doing this he could get in with the crowd he's always wanted to join. But then down in the basement, like his locker combination something clicks, he says he misses everyone, even the enemies. He's moved past the pain and anger. Andrew tells him that no one cares, and Jonathon accepts this. It doesn't matter to him anymore, he at long last seems ready to let everything fall away and just connect to others. Real people who might not like him back. But that's ok. He finally grew up. Superstar.

[> [> [> Re: Wow...more thoughts (spoilers for 7.7 Conversations) -- Caroline, 07:07:42 11/13/02 Wed

Ponygirl, great posts. My brain also went to Holden Caulfield and I had similar thoughts to you on the matter.

I was also struck by the paralelling of Willow and Buffy. I wrote a character analysis on Willow in May where I basically said that she had an internal superiority complex that she overcompensated with an external inferiority complex. For years she was all mousy and deferring to Buffy until the end of S6 when all the superiority came out. Buffy is the opposite - she has a sense of external superiority but inside she has always wondered if she was good enough. I also liked how they drove home the point that we can sometimes learn more about ourselves from our greatest enemies than from anyone else, precisely because they challenge us in a way friends and family cannot.

As for Jonathan, we mourned him last night in chat, and even canonized him posthumously. He will be missed.

I Wanna Be the First to Say It! -- Finn Mac Cool, 19:20:12 11/12/02 Tue

From Lessons: "It's all connected."

And yet, in this episode, the characters were most clearly not connected. None of them interacted with each other. Buffy even mention she feels unconnected, unlike the vampire who feels connected to "this great evil force". Don't have time to write something long on this, but I wanna have the honor of pointing it out first!

[> But what they saw--was THAT all connected? -- luna, 19:34:12 11/12/02 Tue

[> [> Re: But what they saw--was THAT all connected? -- Jade, 20:34:55 11/12/02 Tue

From very little digestion and only 1 viewing, it appears to be a sophisticated play on each characer's fears: Dawn, that Buffy will again be unavailable; Buffy, that she will be incapable and undeserving of love and thus always be alone; Willow, that she cannot control her power and will destroy those closest to her...Obviously Andrew was manipulated...but Spike????

And therefore were these all false, manipulative visions? Did the vamp lie to Buffy about his sire? Was that not really Joyce, just as that was not a message from Tara?

AND why no chip action?!

[> [> [> Re: But what they saw--was THAT all connected? -- rose, 20:40:50 11/12/02 Tue

About spikes chip if the first evil or wat ever was messing with thier minds tonight was affecying Spike it was probly shoted out It seems to be able to affect elctrics w/out a problem.

If not maybe he was to drunk to feel but he was acting sober but why did he not go inside and where is xander ?
i thought Spike was playing roomie?
that might be bad

[> OMG! I'm soooooo sorry! Spoilers up to tonight's 7.7 in above post. Sorry! -- Finn Mac Cool, 19:41:07 11/12/02 Tue

Whisper in a dead man's ear (spoilers, Conversations...) -- Darby, 19:27:48 11/12/02 Tue

Okay, that was amazing! First impressions...

This, I think, will go down as an episode equivalent to Restless. Many clues of things to come, things that are. More questions than answers, but fun, fun questions -

Why Dawn, Willow, and Andrew? Did there have to be a strong connection, a love connection, with a dear departed human? And if the entity could get some sort of valuable service from Andrew and Willow, what was it trying to get from Dawn, or was it all to set something up for later, to place the asp in the bed? I gotta say, though, that the M.O. is way too suggestive of the First Evil to actually be the First Evil, right -?

The couch session with the vamp connects very strangely with the admission in one of those recent interviews that Joss samples the Buffyboards out t/here. Well, tv ideas have to come from somewhere... This was the best throwaway character the show's had for a really long time. I complained last season that the combined Giles / Spike storylines had deprived the Buffster of a real confidant, but Conversations With the Dead balanced much of that with one long scene. This is going to satisfy a lot of people who have been angry that Buffy hasn't addressed the problems we've all been seeing but thought she was...denying, maybe? Nahhhh....

Random thoughts...

For a moment, it seemed that they were suggesting that Andrew was a robot.

When did the show become Dawn the Teenage Witch? With the power of extra shrilliness? And are the Summers girls going to have to move in with Xander now too? At least he can cut them a break on the repairs.


It should have been Amber. And (this one from Sara) she should have been in the opening credits. Azura, bless her heart, was just a smidge too creepy from the start (where'd the poetry come from? Go away!).

Just showing the dust settling was....bleaaghh! They'd built up to it too much, he deserved a death scene. Sara disagrees, she thinks he was too cool, seeing it play out would damage the tone.

And, yeah, what the f*****'s up with Spike?

- Darby, still reeling a bit.

Title based on an observation by Sara.

[> Re: Whisper in a dead man's ear (spoilers, Conversations...) -- Sophie, 19:38:31 11/12/02 Tue

Spike sings,

"Whisper in a dead man's ear
doesn't make it real"



[> ME is stealing! -- Finn Mac Cool, 19:54:13 11/12/02 Tue

Jane Espenson and Drew Goddard TOTALLY ripped-off cjl's Sunnydale Vampire Reformation sketch with the psych major vampire. OK, it wasn't exactly the same, but it was strangely close.

[> [> Re: ME is stealing! -- Darby, 20:16:35 11/12/02 Tue

Finn, wasn't it you who suggested that the Big Bad might be the Hellmouth itself? That could connect (pardon the expression) to the departure speech "Cassie" gave.

[> [> [> Yeap, that was me! -- Finn Mac Cool, 20:21:57 11/12/02 Tue

Though, I'm not clear how Cassie's speech connects to that.

On a sidenote, over the summer, I predicted that getting a soul would drive Spike insane. I'm two for two.

[> [> Joss and ME can't "steal" something they already own. -- cjl, 21:40:26 11/12/02 Tue

Such are the perils of fanfic. That's why I don't write extended one-acters instead of the brief playlets I post on the board. It's a matter of playing with somebody else's toys rather than inventing your own; I tried that with Star Trek and all I got was misery. I invested too much of myself into somebody else's characters. Never again.

Besides, Buffy's encounted with Holden is completely different from my scenario with Sheldon. Holden is smooth, savvy, confident, a master manipulator, easily able to outmaneuver Buffy on the psychological level. But at the same time, Buffy knows she can kick his ass from here to Timbuktu if she really wants to, so she spares him the deathblow until she's talked as much as SHE wants to talk.

Holden, a freshly minted vampire, doesn't know about his physical limitations. He feels he can wear Buffy down mentally until he can gain the advantage and kill her. Smug jerk has no idea how outclassed he is. Buffy knows she's-- ah, there's that word--superior, and doesn't consider Holden a serious threat. Therefore, the encounter is essentially an interior dialogue with Holden acting (literally) as her devil's advocate.

Buffy finds out a lot about herself this episode, not to mention a crucial piece of information about Spike. Holden tells her you can only say these things to a stranger, and Buffy tells him he's not a stranger. But Holden IS a stranger. His intimacy was an illusion: he was simply a mirror, a way for Buffy to delve into her own psyche. This was the first meaningful conversation Buffy has had with herself in a long, long, time.

[> [> [> cjl, you are so right. -- Caroline, 06:46:47 11/13/02 Wed

about Buffy.

[> [> [> Re: Joss and ME can't "steal" something they already own. -- Darby, 07:05:56 11/13/02 Wed

Even if there's absolutely nothing to it, it's fun to speculate that we might be inspiring the writers. I started the "What if a vamp woke up coherent and confused?" thread, and I've been mightily pleased to see such a scenario play out twice this season. Writers are going to pick ideas up from others, or live in a basement somewhere - it's a big exchange out there, as our experience here shows. I wouldn't have had 80% of my "Aha!" Buffy moments (probably more, but I've gotta give the ego a crumb) without something here tweaking my grasp of one concept or another.

I kinda like the idea that we might be stoking some show- associated people's creativity.

It's all connected, y'know. I just made that up.

[> Re: Whisper in a dead man's ear (spoilers, Conversations...) -- celticross, 19:56:50 11/12/02 Tue

"When did the show become Dawn the Teenage Witch? With the power of extra shrilliness? And are the Summers girls going to have to move in with Xander now too? At least he can cut them a break on the repairs."

I just got done saying that in chat. :) But egads, Dawn, I've been your defender, even in the matter of "Get out, Get Out, GET OUT!", but ouch! My ears hurt.

-cc, slinking off to be shallow about great television elsewhere

[> [> I think shrieking at evil things is acceptable. If not, we Dawn Defenders are in hot water. -- Finn Mac Cool, 20:09:12 11/12/02 Tue

[> [> [> Re: I think shrieking at evil things is acceptable. If not, we Dawn Defenders are in hot water. -- leslie, 14:02:22 11/13/02 Wed

Especially if the shrieking is accompanied by doing something about it, rather than waiting to be rescued or devoured. Hmmm, "from beneath you, it devours": wasn't that whatever-it-was snacking on Joyce's body lying on the sofa? Hard to tell in the brief flashes we saw, but....

[> [> [> [> The eating thing -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:41:12 11/13/02 Wed

I thought it looked like Gnarl, personally.

[> Darby, we agree! Woo hoo! (Conversations spoilers) -- Rob, 20:57:06 11/12/02 Tue

I am sooooo glad to be back on the Buffy Cheerleading Squad!

Maybe when I posted a negative review of "Buffy" last week, thus messing up the universe, re: your theory, it has made it unhinged for ever, meaning that we will agree from now on. Ya never know!

This is just one of those episodes where you know watching it that you're not gonna fully understand even a fraction of it until the end of the season at least, and probably longer. "Restless" was around 3 years ago, and we're still trying to piece that one together.

I have just got to say BRAVO to Drew Goddard and Jane, 2nd TKO in as many episodes he's written. So many questions, absolutely no answers. I loved the composition of the entire episode, both in writing and directing. There was something very simple and elegant about the title card at the start of the episode, along with the date and time, and then the musical montage. Beautifully done! And since the episode did take place in real time, an hour in the Scoobies' lives (some of them, at least), taking place the very night and time this ep aired, this links in with the "24" reference from last week. It is all connected!

I can barely assemble my thoughts, but a lot of them add up to: "Whaa---?!?" My mouth dropped to the floor on quite a few occassions: Jonathan's death, Spike draining the woman, Joyce's appearance, Willow figuring out that it was not Tara who was contacting her. By the way, I knew that it wasn't her from the moment "Tara" said it was okay that Willow had killed people, that she was "just mourning," when she then told her not to use magic any more despite what Giles said, I was positive.

Anyway, can't wait to hear more discussion on this episode. It was just a beautiful hour, with the perfect blend of dark, deep, funny and creepy. I loved it!


[> [> You know what's really amazing? (Conversations spoilers) -- Doriander, 21:19:18 11/12/02 Tue

I completely forgot until my 2nd viewing that I was spoiled about Spike biting somebody. Most of us were. It was in last week's trailer. Which I rewatched barely an hour before tonights ep.

The moment Holden recognized Spike's name, I knew he'd say Spike sired him. Still, Spike draining the girl SHOCKED me.

VERY compelling storytelling.

Jane and Drew are amazing. This is Drew's second ep right? I hope he doesn't leave. I'm still missing Dan Vebber.

[> [> Yeah what was with the... -- ponygirl, 07:38:03 11/13/02 Wed

The time and date supers at the beginning? They looked very classy, and I liked them but it was unusual for BtVS and I don't understand what their purpose was. I don't think the episode was supposed to take place in real time, unless Sunnydale has a new five minute pizza delivery service, so I'm a bit puzzled. It did look great though, especially intercut with the band (and what was the band?) setting up.

Rob, I'm glad you're back with the pom-poms! It was scary last week without you.

[> [> [> I guess you're right about the "real time." (7.7 spoilers) -- Rob, 09:02:50 11/13/02 Wed

...Unless maybe the Summers house is located right next door to a pizza place! Or it did indeed get delivered in 5 minutes. I guess, then, the idea was not a strict adherence to real time, but a general feeling that this takes place in one night, and, in fact, the very night and time that we're watching it. Gave it a real sense of immediacy and urgency, I thought. Also, the scenes we saw perhaps were not spread out the way they "really" happened, meaning there may not have been a longer time between Dawn ordering the pizza and her (very scary to me, with my fish-phobia!) ode to anchovies...and perhaps a shorter time between her being scared by the "poltergeist" and her finally casting it out. This wasn't "24," where, for example, when we leave one character, about to enter a car, and see a scene with another, when we return to the first character 5 minutes later, he will have driven somewhere. But I do think that it was still meant to be an hour, or perhaps a little longer.

The title card, also, did set this episode apart a little. Showed from the very start that ME was planning on doing something a little different this week, kind of artsy, and unusual, with the five elegantly paced "scenes" (Buffy/Holden, Dawn/"Joyce", Willow/Cassie/ "Tara", Jonathan/Andrew/"Warren, Spike/Bitee), each one basically a full conversation from the start of the episode until the end.

This is kind of a separate issue, but the more I think about it, the more I wonder whether Holden was the First Evil/Morphing Demon/Hellmouth/whatever thing, as well. I wonder whether his seemingly nice exterior, which, a few times, lulled Buffy into a false sense of security and was able to attack her, was not just a further greying of the Buffyverse, but a clue that this was also the Big Bad, trying to make Buffy weak and vulnerable just as Cassie had done to Willow, to try to slowly have her warm up to her, believe her, and then kill herself. Out of all the conversations, and all the "dead"--Warren, Cassie, Joyce, Holden--the only one I'm not sure was the Big Bad Itself or not was Holden. Any one have any thoughts on this?


[> [> [> [> Re: I guess you're right about the "real time." (7.7 spoilers) -- ponygirl, 10:43:09 11/13/02 Wed

First of all, Rob you're scared of fish? ;)

I don't know, I kind of like Holden just being exactly what he said he was, an evil vampire with a psych degree. He seemed to be the only one who was being honest, and he made a point of constantly reminding Buffy that he was evil. She kept being surprised by his evil actions too, and he was giving her fair warning.

Still he could turn out to be Morphy as well. I did find it interesting that Holden said he felt connected to this all- consuming evil force with an agenda. Never heard any vamp say something like that before, they say they're evil sure, but Holden's statement seemed very much linked to the Bad. I wonder if it is a result of being vamped by an Under The Influence Spike?

BTW does anyone have any info on the band at the Bronze? I quite liked the song.

[> So you don't think Holden (spoilers for tonight- 7.7) -- Vickie, 21:31:50 11/12/02 Tue

You don't think Holden was actually mr/ms beneath you? I did.

I sure hope Buffy and Willow don't play the Scooby keeping secrets game this time. Dawn will never figure out that wasn't her mother.

[> [> Re: So you don't think Holden (spoilers for tonight-7.7) -- Rob, 21:36:20 11/12/02 Tue

"Dawn will never figure out that wasn't her mother."

Yes! That was, I thought, the cruelest trick the BeneathYou!Demon played in the episode. It was pretty ingenious how it first made Dawn think that she had to exorcise the demon who was holding her mother hostage, so that, when "Joyce" was "freed," Dawn would believe it was really her. And with what "Joyce" said to Dawn, we know that this is something Dawn will believe, and not tell anyone. What can she do? Tell Buffy, "Um, I saw Mom tonight. She told me not to trust you."

I'm betting that Dawn tells Buffy about the poltergeist (to explain the wrecked house) and leaves out the Joyce part.


[> Re: Whisper in a dead man's ear (spoilers, Conversations...) -- Mal, 21:41:46 11/12/02 Tue

So much.

The good:

1) Ah, another episode 7 that kicks ass. Like clockwork.

2) The acting chops on the psych-vamp. Was that kid pouring his heart out for his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity or what? He had a certain cute, nerdiness that I really go for. I liked him and sniffled when he got dusted.

3) The Mexi'ed car and Jonathon (another reverent sniffle) with his Latin "From beneath you, it devours" which Andrew had translated as "It eats you, starting with your bottom." Ah, Andrew. Ever the closet gay.

4) Cassie. I just like Azura, creepiness factor and all. She was brilliant as the Devourer -- very believable inflection and Evil Eyebrows (tm).

The bad:

1) I almost couldn't handle the Dawn/Joyce scenes. Joyce's clothes... her position on the couch... her creepy eyes... I just saw "The Body" again on FX, and it just hit too close to home.

2) No Tara, though I understand why.

3) Lack of Xander is one thing, but Dawn not calling the number shared by both Xander and Spike when she couldn't get through to Buffy? C'mon now...

4) Killing Jonathon and, worse, turning his very noble death into a very real sacrifice for the opening of the hellmouth or whatever that was? Oh well. Thankfully, as with every major BtVS death, he got to really redeem himself before he went -- final speech and all (a la Darla). Still, I sniffle. 7 years is a long time to relate to a character that much.

The questions:

1) Where the hell is Xander? Where is Anya? Furthermore, where is Spike? No, I'm serious. Where is Spike? Are we safe in assuming that the Big Bad is somehow controlling him or de-activating his chip? Why can't we believe that Spike is being replicated by good ol' Morphy just like other dead people were? Whatever was chasing Dawn was able to physically hurt her, too. I went back, for grins, and watched Spike scenes from the past 3 episodes and I'm not convinced that the cool cucumber in the bar, the sire, nor the chop-licking vamp were the Spikester. He's been so tortured and even when he had on his blue-shirt "costume," was unable to hurt a human.

I mean, c'mon. At the end of last season as Spike rode out of town on his motorcycle what were his words? "Things are going to change..."? And then he threw the cigarette and sped off? I mean, CLEARLY Spike had every intention of quitting smoking. The interest in our girl's pack of cigarettes must be our first sign that we weren't seeing the real boy.

Sure, I'm grasping at straws... and I'm not even a shipper!

2) Where the hell is Xander? I ask again. It'd be cool if Xander and Anya were all off having their own adventures with dead people. Anya could be yukking it up with Halfrek and Xander with... whom? Jesse? Red-neglige Joyce from Restless? The burning dancer who died in the musical episode? I dunno but their lack was just too fishy. I doubt that we'll find out that they were also affected by the dead people, but I wish for it.

3) Who did Dawn kill with her spell? Seems to me that either Morphy was working overtime and doubling his efforts by playing two characters at once, or Dawn got rid of a "good guy" who was trying to protect her. After all, if Joyce was not Joyce, and the prank-calling, heavy-breathing demon was telling dawn to get out of there, maybe Dawn made a big oopsie.


4) Did you catch the lighting on Not!Joyce? On her close-up, the backdrop was perfectly split, with one half being glowy white and the other pitch black. It's an old Hitchcock trick, but it's effective. They've been pulling a lot of those kinds of punches recently. Watch for it. And, furthermore...

5) Will Dawn confess what/who she saw? I can see both Buffy and Willow coming clean, but Dawn may not. Dangerous. I'd say that if Morphy was putting out feelers, he's got a nibble at the bait. Especially effective after the post- train Buffy/Dawn talk last week -- all of that "If it means keeping you alive, I'll give up what I want..." stuff.

6) Do any girls sing to their pizzas when they're home alone? I mean, seriously.

7) Was PsychVamp a puppet for the Big Bad? I vote no, personally. I think he was an innocent bystander who chose a bad internship (I mean, seriously. Coming back to Sunnydale from Dartmouth???) and got duped by the Not!Spike or Pawn!Spike or whatever it is that's out siring people. I thought he was genuine, even if that genuinity was a ploy to get Buffy off her game, and that he was just a Dead People. If anything, he was there to help those who don't frequent these boards to get to the bottom of what is really going on with Buffy. She even articulated the whole "Sex, death, killing... it's all the same with you vampires!" notion. It was as though the writing staff put their arms around the casual viewer and, in as non-threatening a way as they could, coo'ed, "There's a bigger, badder world out there, niblet. Let us spell it out for you."

Besides, I disagree with the notion (as speculated elsewhere) that the Big Bad was out tonight trying to collect information to use against the Scoobs. In fact, the Bad has intimate knowledge of the past and wouldn't need to do that sort of recon. It knows Drusilla, the Mayor, Adam, Glory, Warren, and the Master well enough to mimic them perfectly, INCLUDING pet names for Spike and others, etc. It knows both the kick-ass side of Buffy and her soft, caring side. It knows about Jonathon and the musical episode and Willow and Tara's bridge singing and Willow's misdeeds. This was no intelligence-gathering episode. This was manipulation of extant information.


9) What was the movie that the Big Bad put on Dawn's TV? (It wouldn't turn off, and Kit seemed to be watching something else, though they should have established that they were at least on the same channel when they decided to do long- distance TV Date.)

10) Does Drew Goddard rock or what?

[> [> Mal is stretching to defend Spike???? -- d'Herblay, 22:20:03 11/12/02 Tue

Mal is stretching to defend Spike????

Is there a shape-shifting something impersonating Malandanza?

[> [> [> Re: Mal is stretching to defend Spike???? -- Mal, 22:23:56 11/12/02 Tue

Oh dear. I'm a different Mal... actually short for my real name. Sorry. Didn't mean to confuse!

[> [> [> [> S'ok . . . I was afraid I might be jumping to conclusions -- d'Herblay, 22:32:12 11/12/02 Tue

Though it should be noted that Malandanza (whom some convivially addressed as "Mal," at least before the premiere of Firefly) is in fact stretching to defend Spike in response to shadowkat below. I suppose I should move my little jape. Anyway, a hearty welcome to our new Mal (nice summation, many good points) and my apologies for the confusion.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: S'ok . . . I was afraid I might be jumping to conclusions -- Mal-athustra?, 22:37:40 11/12/02 Tue

No prob. I'll try to think of a new name to avoid confusion...?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Hey, we've got Rob & Robert. Be comfortable, we'll deal. -- Darby, 05:28:59 11/13/02 Wed

If your analysis is any indication, you'll fit in very well here, so use whatever name you want (and check JBone / Jay's thread on names in the numbered archives!) - it's not as permanent as a tattoo, but you want something you'll like.

[> [> [> [> [> It's about power -- Malandanza, 07:18:31 11/14/02 Thu

"Though it should be noted that Malandanza (whom some convivially addressed as 'Mal', at least before the premiere of Firefly) is in fact stretching to defend Spike in response to shadowkat below."

I'm not sure that Spike Lover, Miss Edith, Ete, Shadowkat, Traveler and the rest of the Spike girls would think that comparing Spike to Andrew constitutes a "defense."

I do think that the major theme of the season was set up in the first episode -- it's not about good and evil, it's about power. So it doesn't matter if William was a bad poet but a good man, or that Spike was a noble vampire on a mission of redemption or the Big Bad -- what matters is that in a season about power, he is weak, powerless.

I don't have the reservation that seem to be surfacing about Buffy and power. There are three people on BtVS with whom I would be comfortable having great amounts of power (and two of them are dead -- Tara and Jonathan -- Buffy is the third). Each of the other characters have flaws that ought to prevent them from having access to that kind of power. Even when Buffy is at her darkest, her actions have not been evil (although her motivations are sometimes questionable).

[> [> [> [> [> [> Interresting : Power & Power -- Etrangere, 10:05:03 11/14/02 Thu

Well, i did think it was nice of you or any "Snarkist" not to go for the kill and starts the "told you so" posts about Spike :)
And no, comparason to Andrew isn't exactly flattering lol.
But Spike is currently weak. He's weak because he is powerful. He's powerful because he is weak.
Exaclty in the same way that a superiority complex can springs an inferiority complex. Or in the same way that, as shadowkat explained us, a sexually submissive partner can have more power in a relationship.
There's many kind of power and when you say : There are three people on BtVS with whom I would be comfortable having great amounts of power (and two of them are dead -- Tara and Jonathan -- Buffy is the third).
you mention two. There's power in the first sense of the word. The abilities you have, the control you can have on the worlds, on other people. And then there is the power that allows you to control your own power. To control your desire to have power. Like Black Willow who was so powerful but who was so weak the power controlled herself. It's the Hanged Man vs the Devil.

It's all about power, but what kind of power ?

Spike used to be powerful, like any vampire. He was confident in his own abilities, he was, like psy-vampire described today, connected to a powerful source of evil. Then he started not having so much power anymore. Chipped, in love with the Slayer and her lapdog. And not even with the power to control himself not to hurt the one he loves. Spike realised you didn't have much power when you were a vampire. Souls are power, they allow you to choose, to control yourself.
But for that he had to remove everyother kind of power he had. To be stripped of everything, of his identity. I don't know what Spike is right now, and I have no clue about what's happening currently. I'm sure the Big Bad Shapeshanger is trying to control him because he has power (like he is killing those Slayers in Training because they have power - the Slayer power), he has a soul.
But the soul makes him weak, makes him suffer from guilt, doubts, despair. Like Willow suffers from it, like Buffy does.
Spiderman would say that with great power comes great responsabilities. I'd say that Power IS responsabilities.

[> [> Great post. Additional comments and theories (spoilers for 7.7) -- shadowkat, 10:23:55 11/13/02 Wed

The Dawn/Mom portion scared me. It was the creepiest scene since Forever. Also after just seeing the movie The Ring last week - it also gave me the heebies. Will say one thing?
Axing the appliances that were about to attack her? Way to go Dawnie!

I agree with this statement absolutely and particularly after watching the episodes again:

"the Bad has intimate knowledge of the past and wouldn't need to do that sort of recon. It knows Drusilla, the Mayor, Adam, Glory, Warren, and the Master well enough to mimic them perfectly, INCLUDING pet names for Spike and others, etc. It knows both the kick-ass side of Buffy and her soft, caring side. It knows about Jonathon and the musical episode and Willow and Tara's bridge singing and Willow's misdeeds. This was no intelligence-gathering episode. This was manipulation of extant information."

Yep. Otherwise known as Welcome to Your Worst Nightmare.

(Quick aside: The movie playing on the TV was either Nosfertu or Dracula - one of the old ones. Black and white and reminiscent of the vampire movie playing on Spike's tv set in All The Way.)

What are these gals worst nightmares? Or hopes? Again ME throws the watch what you wish for clause - you might just get it.
1. Dawn wanted to talk to her mother. Okay - here she is, but we have a nice nasty along with her and what she tells you is your worst nightmare. (In just about every other episode since Buffy returned from the Grave, Dawn has feared her sister turning her back on her, killing her, or letting her die...basically deciding that what happened in The Gift wasn't worth it.) And what does Joyce say?
"Buffy won't choose you. She will turn against you."

2. Willow is dying to speak to Tara. Okay - here's a nice little messenger name of Cassie that you identified with to act as a guide. (I might have preferred Tara but oh well).
And what does she tell Willow? She tells her worste nightmare - if you don't die or stop magic absolutely - you'll kill all your friends. Except the BB underestimated our Willow, as it readily admits, Willow knew Tara far better than that, and trusted Tara's love for her. She also had Giles help her see the opposite all summer. So Willow gets to the root of the matter.

3. Buffy is dying for someone to talk to, to let out her anxieties. To deal with the fact that killing vamps just doesn't feel right anymore. Why? because her archnemeses
fell in love with and went and got a soul for her and is now helping her. In fact just last week, he stopped her from blowing up the principal which would have been a huge problem. Her dearest wish - is for someone to tell her that vamps are still evil, and she's doing the right thing and nothing is wrong with her. Guess what? Got your wish. Proof positive they are still evil. But hey the kicker? Guess who's siring new vamps? That's right - remember the guy who loved you? Who go a soul for you? Who saved your butt last week? That's the dude. Guess you need to kill him now.
Buffy got her wish and well Welcome to Buffy's Worst Nightmare - it airs next week btw same batplace, same batchannel. (Okay I watched Batman as a kid, sue me. ;-) )

Onto the questions and my theories.

Where is Xander and Anya?
well this was a dark disaterous episode and Xander has been super Xander lately. He's the heart of the group. The sturdy every man. Mr. Fix-it. This is an episode about the heart falling out, the center not holding, wishes/dreams becoming nightmares. Xander doesn't belong anywhere near it.

Also we have Jonathan, whom I've decided is the anti-Xander. And Warren's creepy comment that there is another - I'm praying does not mean Xander and is just a Star Wars joke. (I swear these writers are geekier then we are.)
Jonathan was the heart of the trio, the one still with a conscience, still connected to humanity. Xander is the heart of the SG, the one connected to humanity. Xander saves Willow with love. Attempts to save Anya with love.
And takes Spike in, albeit reluctantly, and has him help.
In this episode - the Trio sacrifice their heart as they'd planned last year before Warren died and Andrew and Jonathan got captured. It was forshadowed. (And well is another sign of be careful what you wish for - this round the audience. You want Jonathan and the trio back? hee hee.)

BTW - I think Andrew is the anti-Willow/anti-Spike,
Warren is the anti-Buffy now.

Anyways that's the reason we didn't see Xander. I missed him horribly. Will never complain again about too much Xander, I promise. (not that I ever did...but whatever).

Where is Spike? I think that's Spike's body, but I think the big bad has control of our favorite demon's brain.
Not sure how yet. Have three theories:

1. It's a sleeper or hitchhiker planted along with the soul in Grave last year. And the BB moved Spike or the hitcher brought him to the Sunnydale HSC basement - for express purpose of strengthening that agent. So it has more and more control over Spike.

2. the BB has control over Spike's chip and is making it work in the opposite way it did before. (Not sure this theory works - since Spike looked seductive in this episode and not in pain) But we see him fighting something internally in Lessons, Beneath You and STSP and Help, even selfless. He keeps grabbing his head. And he's in tons of pain in Beneath You. If the BB keeps firing the chip whenever Spike doesn't do what it wants that could explain the winces we've seen. In HIM he was almost too contained, as if speaking was an effort.

3. Spike is on a suicide mission and wants the SG to kill him, so is siring vampires convinced that will do the job.
Of course this does not explain why the chip worked in Beneath You and Help. Although as someone pointed out - it's possible that with the soul - the chip's pain doesn't bother him as much or he's been training himself to get past it.

4. Spike has split into two personalities. One is goodguy Spike. One is demonSpike. DemonSpike vamps people and is back to his old tricks =the Big Bad. Goodguy Spike helps Buffy and tries to be a good man. Dr. William and Mr. Spike.

5. Spike has been pretending all this time and is in truth evil and has been having fun behind Buffy's back and ME has pulled a big trick on all of us. Devils.

6. Spike and Andrew are pawns of the BB and being tempted by the BB to do it's biding in exchange for big rewards.

I think that closes it. Personally I'm praying for option one or two. My preference is for two because has best angst potential for all concerned and well is the most ironic - the chip which enabled him to live this long amongst the SG, and rendered him harmless and gave him in Xander's words no choice but to help them - is now doing the exact opposite and the SG has to remove it from him or kill him.
But somehow i doubt this is what ME has planned. I swear the whole chip storyline has the most misleads. I keep waiting for them to do something interesting with it and do they? nope. And this story has such well Focaultian and
Prisoner metaphors. Spike must rise above his chip or artifical soul to follow dictates of his real one?
But knowing ME they'll probably disappoint me and go for options:1 or 6. Making Spike just a pathetic shell for BB's evil. Don't really see any far-reaching themes of growing up in that scenerio but maybe there's something on female empowerment that I'm missing? ugh. trust story trust joss trust story...

Everything else? Ditto. And yes, Drew Goddard is a god. I could even tell which sections he did. Hint they weren't the Buffy ones. I know for a fact Jane wrote the Buffy sections - b/c she said as much in an article posted on spoiler trollop board and on

okay must stop posting SK

[> [> Re: Whisper in a dead man's ear (spoilers, Conversations...) -- leslie, 14:13:39 11/13/02 Wed

"[Spike's] been so tortured and even when he had on his blue- shirt "costume," was unable to hurt a human."

Oh yeah? I think this episode answered once and for all the question of whether that brief look of astonishment on Spike's face after he impaled the suddenly human Ronnie meant that he didn't feel the expected neural agony.

[> [> [> Re: Whisper in a dead man's ear (spoilers, Conversations...) -- shadowkat, 16:45:12 11/13/02 Wed

"Oh yeah? I think this episode answered once and for all the question of whether that brief look of astonishment on Spike's face after he impaled the suddenly human Ronnie meant that he didn't feel the expected neural agony."

Uhm not when you compare it to Help where he flinched and held his head every time he hit the boy and he didn't hit the boy that hard. Spike is superstrong - that kid didn't have a black eye nor was he unconscious. Barely hurt him.
The kid didn't get hurt until demon he raised bit him. All Spike did was scare him off.

Question? Why go to the effort of showing us that the chip was still working in both these episodes if it's not?
And the vamp in the grave was a recent one.

Hopefully they'll answer our questions soon.
But i saw the chip working in Beneath You and Help.

[> [> [> [> Re: Whisper in a dead man's ear (spoilers, Conversations...) -- Malathustra, 22:24:45 11/13/02 Wed

Yeah, I'm not sold on the "he was surprised that the chip didn't work!" bit. I've watched and rewatched and I never am able to see it.

[> Restless Misdirection -- Buffyboy, 21:44:12 11/12/02 Tue

This entire episode seems to me to be one "Restless" misdirection. Nothing is as it appears. Willow doesn’t really talk to Cassie and Cassie’s not talking to Tara (just imagine the power of these scenes if AB had been playing the role). It’s not really Joyce held at bay by a monster that Dawn needs to defeat in order to allow Joyce to speak the truth; it’s all a ruse. The vampire Buffy meets in the graveyard isn’t her old school mate, he wasn’t sired by Spike and in fact he’s probably not even a vampire. And no, Spike isn’t really feeding on people. Finally, Andrew doesn’t really see Warren, though he may have actually killed Jonathan. Who’s doing all of this deceiving? Of course it’s the Big Bad, First Evil or whatever it is. Well, at least these are my guesses. Great episode!

[> [> I agree -- Vickie, 22:49:05 11/12/02 Tue

on all points.

Won't it be fun to find out where we are wrong?

[> [> Re: Restless Misdirection (Spoilers for Conversations with Dead People) -- Rahael, 07:30:34 11/13/02 Wed

Intriguing - I think I also agree with you.

Only demurral is the Vamp that Buffy meets in the graveyard. I think he's a part of her. He 'exists' but really Buffy is talking to herself. The battle she fights with him is really a fight she has with herself.

It's that darkness she fears within herself - should she talk to it or fight it? Should she make peace with it, or shut it out? And the fact that Holden says he is 'sired' by Spike - well, I think when Buffy talks about how she acted last year, how she was cruel to Spike, and let him control her, a lot of her new thoughts and feelings - they too were 'sired' by Spike.

[> [> [> Agree and disagree (spoilers for Conversations) -- shadowkat, 10:41:37 11/13/02 Wed

1. Joyce and what happened in the house? A mislead.
2. Cassie wasn't really Cassie.
3. Vamp talking to Buffy? Not sure, but my guess? He was real.
4. Spike? yep real. Because we aren't in any characters' pov here. So whether that's really Spike or the BB pretending to be Spike, don't know. BB pretending to be Spike makes 0 sense, since he does bite and drain the girl and as far as I can tell BB can't do that yet.

It reminds me of other episodes this year - half real, half false.

Lessons - the mirage? the three vengeance demons. The reality Spike. Buffy believed the opposite.

STSP - Willow not being seen. the mirage? It was an outside force's fault. Nope Willow's.

Selfless - the two Buffy's. White shirt Buffy = BB, Black shirt Buffy = real.

Him = jacketed jock - not real love. S/X helping girls = real.

Help = death by cult = not real. death by natural means? real.

Oh and remember our lessons?

Lesson one? It's always real. Uhm Buff? What if it's not?
Lesson two? It's about power. Uhm not completely. Apparently it's also about who controls the power not who has it.
Lesson three? Everything is connected. Yet why does everyone feel alone and disconnected?
Lesson four? We are who we are in the end no matter how much we appear to have changed. Uhm what does that mean exactly, Giles? Who we are at heart, apparently.
Lesson five? Don't believe what you see. Remember Gilbert and Sullivan line: nothing is what it seems, skim milk masquerades as cream. Or it's all about your pov.
Lesson six? Dying for a cause? Not always the best answer.
Lesson seven? What happens if you can't help? Making a difference is sometimes enough.

This all leads me to believe that Spike is real. Jonathan's death is real. The BB attacked Dawn. Attempted to manipulate
Willow. And used a vamp to get to Buffy.

Take it and run (as earl would say)


[> [> [> [> Re: Agree and disagree (spoilers for Conversations) -- ChrisR, 13:36:56 11/13/02 Wed

Delurking a moment to say that everyone's comments have been very helpful in taking a disturbing episode and getting some perspective.

Regarding Spike, I agree with SK that this is the real Spike we are seeing but I also agree with numerous posters who suspect that there is something very 'off' here. The more I cogitate on this, the best I can come up with is that, like Willow (no magic use at all or best yet, suicide), the BB doesn't want Spike around for the coming Apocalypse. If he is manipulating Spike to feed off/kill humans (somehow the BB overrides the chip), and lets it be known to Buffy that Spike is doing this (through Holden), then we have the Anyanka scenario all over again. Spike must be killed, Buffy will do it and that is one potential Scooby helper out of the BB's way. Buffy's team is a person weaker.

The question is, if the above assumption is correct, how will Buffy find out? How will she be able to see beyond Spike's actions to what is really going on and how does the group help Spike to free himself from the BB's influence?


[> [> Re: Restless Misdirection -- yez, 10:25:20 11/13/02 Wed

I haven't watched Restless yet or the eps. that led to it, but I understand that the Scoobies had to combine their powers to defeat Adam, and then The First attacks each individual to destroy the whole. Something like that.

So I was thinking whether the misdirection goes further. It seems very obvious that It, the shapeshifter, is trying to create division and/or neutralize the various Scoobies -- get Willow to give up magic, get Dawn to mistrust Buffy, get Buffy to kill/mistrust Spike. So presumably, to It, "white" magic is a threat, and maybe Buffy will eventually need to call on Dawn to do something that Dawn must refuse for It to accomplish whatever it's trying to accomplish -- so maybe we're back to the Key becoming important to lock (or unlock) dimensions. And why would Spike need to be out of the picture? I don't know... I'm wondering what you get when you cross a vampire with a slayer. If Spike were to "sire" Buffy, would this be the crossing back of demon and human species necessary for... something? Maybe a vampire with a soul (and Angel's unavailable) is necessary to sire a slayer -- a regular vampire would just drain a slayer, as Spike did before -- if it were for some greater good?

On the other hand, maybe these attempts to split them up are too obvious. Maybe it's an attempt to actually drive them together again as they did before, and maybe them acting together is exactly what It wants.

Or maybe I'm just really, really overreading this...


[> About the scene in the library... (7.7 spoilers) -- Rob, 23:02:06 11/12/02 Tue

"It should have been Amber. And (this one from Sara) she should have been in the opening credits. Azura, bless her heart, was just a smidge too creepy from the start (where'd the poetry come from? Go away!)."

I agree with you that I really wish it could have been Amber, but I think Cassie worked well as a replacement, not only because it makes the link between her and Tara even more pronounced. And the excuse for why it wasn't Tara was pretty clever. The stuff about Tara not being able to appear because Willow had killed people was very believable, and fit in with the logic of the Buffyverse--balancing life and death, etc. What didn't fit is how this character, who had told Willow that Tara could not come because Willow had killed people, all of a sudden changes her story and tells Willow when she says about all the people she killed, something to the effect of "Don't worry. You were mourning, etc." That's when I KNEW it wasn't really Tara or Cassie.

By the way, am I the only one who thought the scene would play out like this:

Willow: Why couldn't Tara come herself?

Cassie: She couldn't strike a deal with FOX.

Willow: Huh?

Cassie: Um...because you killed people. (shrugs and laughs nervously)


[> [> Re: About the scene in the library... (7.7 spoilers) -- CW, 06:28:54 11/13/02 Wed

I wonder if Joss didn't let Amber know what was in store if she came back. Amber may have balked at the idea of ending the character Tara as a villain or a tool of one. Just a thought.

[> [> [> Don't trust them, they're EEEEVIIIIIILLLL!!!! (7.7 spoilers) -- Darby, 07:21:42 11/13/02 Wed

Seems like playing something evil impersonating your very- familiar character in a way that supports the impersonation but would lay clues in retrospect would be quite a challenge. To generalize, actors love that kind of stuff.

And is anyone else suspicious that the timing of the "we couldn't get Amber" announcements (from people like Joss, no less) came closer to the release of this ep than would be logical, since the ep would have been filmed what, a month ago, with contracts worked out before that?

Don't be surprised if Amber does show up after all. Joss doesn't lie, but he's not beyond twisting the truth until you read something other than what he's saying.

- Darby-the-Conspiracy-Theorist

[> [> [> [> On the other hand... (7.7 spoilers) -- KdS, 07:41:57 11/13/02 Wed

It's just possible that the appearance of a demonic simulacrum of Tara would have provoked a revival of DeadEvilLesbian protest (as we would technically have had a lesbian both dead and evil)

Possibly it was felt that it wasn't worth the risk.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: On the other hand... (7.7 spoilers) -- Darby, 09:10:57 11/13/02 Wed

Actually, ME's history has shown that they like to address such things playfully, even something like this.

Willow, having figured things out - "What, you're dead and evil now? And probably straight and wearin' panty hose, too!"

But they'd have done it, y'know, better.

Except that the evil & dead thing, um, never happened...

[> Re: my conclusions (spoilers, Conversations...) -- Jay, 11:36:21 11/13/02 Wed

I'm trying to sort through what we saw, what I think we saw, and what we didn't see. There's terrible confusion, at least on my part.

Buffy and Holden - I believe that Holden was a vampire who was sired by Spike (more below). I don't believe he was under the control of our yet to be named Big Bad anymore than any other random vampire. But he was an excellent distraction for our heroine.

Willow and Cassie - ME was a little more straight forward with this mislead. Cassie was never Cassie, and Tara was never trying to reach Willow. It was all mouth here. Willow sniffed it out, and the mouth of evil gave us a big smile. Mouth of evil trying to take one of the gang out, or at least get her off her game, before its real plans begin to unfold seemed authentic enough to me.

Andrew and Warren - Since I don't believe the Cassie that visited with Willow was ever really Cassie, I'm gonna say that Warren isn't really Warren either. Now this mouth of evil really knows its stuff, what with all the intimate knowledge it uses to trick us into believing that it really is those characters. And Andrew is just too easy of a pawn to manipulate.

Dawn and Joyce - I think Joyce was real. With the other misleads leading us to believe they were real, and for us to figure out that they're not real, but evil; I think this one is put in with them so we don't realize that it was real until later. Confused? What I'm saying is Joyce actually appeared to Dawn at the end and gave her a clue for something later. In the context it was presented in Conversations, it seemed to us that mouth of evil is trying to fool Dawn. But that is the red herring. I believe that later on, I don't know when or how, what Joyce tells Dawn will serve her someway in a totally different context that will make sense then. I was hoping as I wrote this I would be able to sort it out better, but this will have to do for now.

Spike's siring binge - Man, I don't know. It could be exactly what we saw. It could be a hundred other things. I don't have a grip on this one. I think Holden has every reason to believe that Spike is his sire. And whether he is or not will hopefully be explained when this whole development is explained.

Xander and Anya - I was initially happy they weren't in this episode, so we wouldn't have another twenty questions to sort through, but then I realized that their absence may mean something. For every question this show doesn't answer, it poses ten more.

I concede that I may be wrong on all of these. And I really don't have a lot of confidence in what I have concluded, so this is a perfect opportunity to talk me out of all of it.

[> Still too much to ponder, but I would like to mention... -- OnM, 12:38:46 11/13/02 Wed

*** Just showing the dust settling was....bleaaghh! They'd built up to it too much, he deserved a death scene. Sara disagrees, she thinks he was too cool, seeing it play out would damage the tone. ***

Sorry, Darby-- Sara's 100% right about this. I loved that edit and the shot that followed it-- very cinematic, and the 'tone' was exactly right. One of the wonderful ironies employed there was that Buffy really liked talking with him, despite her complaints, and she hated having to stake him, but of course had to. It's a perfect complement to her superior/inferior complex conundrum.

*** Title based on an observation by Sara. ***

Dammit! I thought I had a pretty decent (semi-obscure) title for my own review this week, but I don't think I can ever beat this one.

Oh, well, back to the ol' keyboard- uhh, -board.

[> Spike/William, spoilers for 7.07 and previous s7 -- abt, 12:59:35 11/13/02 Wed

That vampire said he was sired by 'Spike'.
Since he's been ensouled, I don't think I've heard Spike refer to 'Spike'. I have heard him talk about 'William', refer to himself as 'William'. Although he does still answer to 'Spike', he's been talking about 'William'. But apparently he told this vampire that he sired that his name was 'Spike'.

[> [> Re: Spike/William, spoilers for 7.07 and previous s7 -- Darby, 20:18:45 11/13/02 Wed

Keep in mind that Spike has been hanging around Sunnydale for a few years - Holden might very well have known him casually or through references during semester breaks spent in town. If someone like Spike hung out in your town's only "cool" joint, wouldn't you know who he was?

But since when does Spike feed on guys?

And are we going to have to call this one Silent!Spike??

[> [> [> Re: Spike/William, spoilers for 7.07 and previous s7 -- rose, 08:37:41 11/14/02 Thu

I'm not shure he would know of him from around town at least not by name.
Most of the buffyverse's older vampires seem to have a don't notice me sign on them unless they are hunting. Even Buffy did not see him in the bronze that first night and she was looking for vammpires. She notices Jessie but not Darla. I don't think a stranger would notice a vampire causally and I dont think his name got mentioned very often outside the scoodies and rarly in his presence.

he must have hunted men occasionaly alot of his minions where male after all. remember Dalton

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