October 2003 posts

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Jasmine & the First -- David, 13:18:19 10/01/03 Wed

Hi I just had a idea. Jasmine said that she was getting rid of evil so if she had gone to Sunnydale,would she of killed the First and prevented spike and some of those slayers deaths. Thanks.


[> Doubt it would work -- Finn Mac Cool, 13:52:32 10/01/03 Wed

First, Jasmine seemed to be very much a corporeal being after she was born. The First Evil is incorporeal, making Jasmine not too effective against it. If anyone could kill the First, I suspect they'd have to exist on the same level of reality as it does.

Second, the Turok-Han were growing in another dimension. Jasmine wouldn't be able to touch them until they emerged into the earthly realm, and I doubt she'd do much good mesmerising them (several vampires seemed immune to it in "Shiny Happy People"; it's possible that only a vampire with a soul could fall under her trance).

So, I kinda doubt Jasmine would have stopped the First from unleashing its army upon the world.

[> Re: Jasmine & the First -- heywhynot, 14:05:26 10/01/03 Wed

Well Jasmine wasn't capable of killing the First Evil, as it could not be destroyed just have its plans defeated. Jasmine's control seemed to negate free will, eliminating the possibility of people doing "evil" acts or even having evil thoughts (well as defined by Jasmine). Buffy's plan of giving up control, overthrowing the rules, etc. seemed to run counter to what Jasmine was trying to establish.

You thought Buffy and the WC did not get along. Buffy and Jasmine would not fit whatsoever. The uptopian dictator v. democratic revolutionary.

[> [> Re: Jasmine & the First -- Laura, 01:51:36 10/02/03 Thu

I doubt Jasmine would team up with Buffy, take over their minds, very likely, but work without mind-control, no way. Either way, I think Jasmine would fight the First; after all, in her own twisted way, she believes in fighting evil.

[> [> Re: Jasmine & the First -- skeeve, 07:49:39 10/02/03 Thu

How would she and Caleb get along?

[> [> [> Re: Caleb -- Laura, 12:48:31 10/02/03 Thu

Even worse than Jasmine and Buffy, provided the mind control thing doesn't work on Caleb. Caleb seems to have a serious problem with girls (not in the getting a date way) and I don't think Jasmine being god-like would increase his love for her. He has enough of a problem with the Slayers.

Masculinity and Femininity in Jossverse -- Claudia, 15:19:56 10/01/03 Wed

Why do so many essays and articles about Buffyverse seem to label masculine traits as negative, and feminine traits as positive? Does both BtVS and AtS have this habit of viewing both femininity and masculinity in such an extreme way?

Are there certain masculine traits shown on both shows that can be viewed as positive, and feminine traits, as negative?


[> I like perversions -- manwitch, 12:43:28 10/04/03 Sat

Largely because that is sort of the way of writing criticism these days. But talking about a gendered symbol is not really the same as criticizing masculine or feminine traits.

What makes a trait masculine or feminine? Is it merely the sex of the character that has the trait? Ms. Giles argues convincingly that it is not.

Is love a masculine or feminine trait? Does anyone demonstrate it more beautifully than Giles in Season 3. "You have a father's love for the child." Well, yes. The Mayor. "No father could be prouder."

Xander's loyalty is supposed to be a positive trait, although its the same sense of loyalty that makes him such a bastard in Becoming.

Spike's strength, insight and will power all seem to be very positive traits, although sometimes put to ill use.

There seem to be many traits that might be thought of as masculine, and which are exhibited by male characters on the show, that the show does a masterful job of using as both admirable traits and as perversions. Neither the trait, nor its masculinity, are sufficient in determining its value. Its value is derived from its social function and context.

Is Faith's willingnessin Season 3 to sacrifice herself for her cause heroic? Buffy's certainly is. Is it not the same sacrifice?

Is Buffy's deep feeling and passion that she exhibits in Season 2 the thing that elevates her over other slayers? Or is it the thing that facilitates the ascendancy of the monster Angelus?

I think the show is pretty consistent. The best of our traits can be our undoing. The worst of them can be our salvation. And everything in between. Its not the traits themselves, but how we express them as we attempt to live in the world with other people.

Part of Buffy's success, at least until Warren and Caleb, was that all characters, including the evil ones, were multidimensionl, and shared traits and feelings and even values with us. The Mayor is horrifying because he is so much like us. His love for Faith is moving.

But if we're going to talk about feminism, we should remember that we are talking about a critical stance, the point of which is to empower women. Feminism and feminine are not the same thing. So you ask is there anything negative about feminism? Well, what's your perspective.

You could say Feminism is about empowering all women to reach their potential in accordance with their own values and choices.

By definition, that's positive, unless of course, you are against it, in which case it would appear negative. The word "good" is always positive, unless you're evil, in which case you might be against it.

Obviously, in practice, the concept of feminism will be contested, both from within and without. Opponents will associate it with things they see as negative, possibly political correctness or reverse sexism. Even from within, it will be challenged, as it has been on racial grounds, and also by its alleged unwillingness to accommodate a woman's "choosing" to be wife and mother. The feminist literature is so rich and varied now, that whatever your perspective, you can find something positive in it and something negative. One's position on it is really just another form of self-expression.

That said, Buffy was a show that was created in a specific place and time, and in that culture, issues of gender were important. It seems to be self-evident that Buffy selfconsciously took many of those issues head on. So people are going to write about it from a gender stand point. Buffy seems to be making a point that women don't need men to protect them or make decisions for them or "keep" them. But they do need them to love, to care, to interact, to participate, just as we all need each other.

The overarching theme of Buffy is one of empowerment for everybody, an empowerment that takes place in relationship to other people, not in isolation. I can see why that could be characterized as feminist, which is not in and of itself negative towards men.

But to understand it in terms of a negative comment on the sex itself seems to me to miss the point. Giles, Xander, Oz, Angel, and Spike are all arguments, I think, that men, and the masculine traits they embody, are viewed positively. Not that they are without flaws, nor that they are in charge or that they will save the day. Xander and Oz try to save Buffy, Willow and Amy from being burned at the stake, and that's great. But they don't save her, and Buffy doesn't need them to. Is that a negative comment on masculinity?

I guess that depends on who you are.

[> Re: Masculinity and Femininity in Jossverse -- Maura, 16:11:28 10/01/03 Wed

I can only speak from my own discipline (English), for which I read a fair amount of literary and cultural criticism. Feminist criticism within these areas tends to proceed on an accepted premise that "patriarchy" is an oppressive, dominant order that needs to be overthrown by a subversive, non-hierarchical feminism. Therefore, masculinity tends to be figured as "bad" and femaleness as "good," in BtVS criticism as elsewhere.

There are, of course, good reasons for wanting to subvert patriarchy. But I do sometimes feel like there is a certain reverse sexism that creeps into this discourse. It deserves to be questioned, and I'm glad you brought it up.

[> [> Re: Masculinity and Femininity in Jossverse -- heywhynot, 16:38:27 10/01/03 Wed

What I viewed on Buffy, was overthrowing patriarchy and freeing people to be individuals from confining roles. To me it was not anti-male or placing women above men. Women on the show acted as patriarchs and were just as oppressive. It was the system that was the problem not the gender on top. Personality traits associated with each sex were each shown in a positive light (and sometimes negative light) on the show and at times in the gender you don't usually associate them with. Of course, my own personal view and love of the show might be affecting how I remember it all.

[> [> [> I agree -- Maura, 22:49:24 10/01/03 Wed

I agree. I think _Buffy_ very seldom puts down men or maleness. I was thinking of certain essays of feminist criticism of _Buffy_ that tend to slip (I'm sure unintentionally) into a slightly gender essentializing tone, or what seems one to me.

[> [> [> [> But . . . -- Claudia, 14:09:50 10/02/03 Thu

[Women on the show acted as patriarchs and were just as oppressive.]

Can a woman who acts as a matriarch be just as oppressive? Or a man who acts as a matriarch?

[> [> [> [> [> I don't think so because... -- Nino, 19:13:12 10/02/03 Thu

Matriarchy by its nature is about community and not gaining power over others....if a woman oppresses or seeks to use power over others (as Buffy did in season 7 until "chosen") then it is safe to assume she has become patriarchal

[> [> [> [> [> [> where did you get this definition? -- sdev, 23:39:30 10/02/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Women's Studies Class, and random feminist readings...is it wrong? -- Nino, 08:45:07 10/03/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Matriarchy and all that stuff :) -- Nino, 09:03:23 10/03/03 Fri

This comes from an essay on promatriarchy.net

"Matriarchal societies did not recognize such hierarchies and consequently knew neither dominance on the one hand nor oppression and exploitation on the other."

I remember in WMS class people didn't understand why a woman in power could be patriarchal, and not matriarchal by default. An example I used in class was that there were women in the Watcher's Council (that's right, I talked Buffy in WMS), but they were a part of patriarchy....just because a woman is the one oppressing, doesn't mean that she isn't being patriarchal. Patriarchy is a system of oppression, with a hierarchy.

Matriarchal societies (although, yes, they were woman-led), did not work the same way as patriarchal societies.

Here is the link to the specific essay...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I don't think this defintion should be used -- Finn Mac Cool, 09:55:31 10/03/03 Fri

I can't be the only one who sees naming any oppressive government after men and any open one after women? I personally think the terms patriarchy and matriarchy should be restricted to their purest sense:

Patriarchy - A hierarchy of men.

Matriarchy - A hierarchy of women.

To do otherwise leads to furthering gender stereotypes. Perhaps better words should be found for the types of government you mean. Tyranarchy might be good for the oppressive one, for example.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> You're not the only one -- sdev, 12:01:48 10/03/03 Fri

I also reject that definition as laden with stereotypes and ones that I don't necessarily feel are feminist.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I disagree, but I see how you could feel that way -- Nino, 12:21:56 10/03/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Well, then, why do you feel the matriarchy and patriarchy terms are appropriate? -- Finn Mac Cool, 12:43:28 10/03/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Because... -- Nino, 13:10:52 10/03/03 Fri

Patriarchy has proved to be nothing but oppressive. It's about a distribution of power...White, Christian, heterosexual, upper class men are at the top of the hierarchy of oppresion...and there are a vast array of people beneath. This is not to say that all White, Christian, heterosexual, upper class men are bad, but systematically, the social structure of patriarchy oppresses people...by its very nature.

Like Buffy said "It's about power." In patriarchy, it is about one man, or a group of men, using their power to oppress or get to the top of the food chain (it can also be a woman, a minority, etc. working their way to the top.) Whereas matriarchy isn't about oppression, because it elliminates, or lessens the influence of hierarchy.

It is important to remember that people in patriarchy aren't necessarily bad, but the system itself that oppresses. Why this term (which simply defined is a "male led" society) was apodted by feminist theorists to represent that system of oppression which adopts a hierarchy, I do not know. I would guess that it is because in almost all patriarchal societies, this has been the most common theme.

Matriarchy, likewise, can have male components, and should not be thought of as a "women-led" society, as its simple definition would indicate.

I understand that to many people, mostly men, it would seem offensive to associate a masculine word such as "patriarch" (which could also be used as "father-figure"), as negative, but in terms of social structures and hierarchies, it seems all too appropriate for me.

Does this help? Hope I'm not just adding fuel to the fire...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Ma and Pa -- sdev, 13:28:24 10/03/03 Fri

Matriarchy, likewise, can have male components, and should not be thought of as a "women-led" society, as its simple definition would indicate.

Why should it not be thought of as a women-led society? That is exactly what its "simple definition" means. You are putting a political agenda in there that is not inherent as is evidenced by your broadening of the description of patriarchy as well.

What do you call an African male led society? Surely not a white upper class patriarchy.

The fact that some "feminist theorists" may have adopted this definition does not make it universally true nor eliminate their biases.

[> let me nibble this bait a little -- MsGiles, 09:04:14 10/02/03 Thu

Why do so many essays and articles about Buffyverse seem to label masculine traits as negative, and feminine traits as positive? Does both BtVS and AtS have this habit of viewing both femininity and masculinity in such an extreme way?

Firstly, let me say I've read quite a few essays, and come across nothing labelling 'masculine traits as negative, and feminine traits as positive' in that simplistic a way, though I've read a lot of discussion of 'Buffy' and feminism. I certainly don't think this is a message of the show, and perhaps you don't either, from your next comment:

Are there certain masculine traits shown on both shows that can be viewed as positive, and feminine traits, as negative?

One of the interesting things about the show is that the blond female heroine takes on positive characteristics traditionally seen as masculine ones - physical strength, ability to fight, a role protecting the weak. Maybe she takes on some negative 'masculine' characteristics as well: a tendency to be emotionally detached, to make decisions on her own, without negotiation.
Riley: Yeah. Know you got a lot on your mind. You decide you wanna let me in on any of it, (opens door) let me know. I'll come running. (Riley, 'Family')

Where can we look for those 'masculine' and 'feminine' characteristics? How about a couple of quotes from 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus':

".. men and women have different needs for intimacy. A man gets close, but then inevitably needs to pull away."
"Men primarily need a kind of love that is trusting, accepting and appreciative. Women primarily need a kind of love that is caring, understanding and respectful."

It strikes me that in Buffy's relationships she has tended to have the characteristics described here as belonging to men. This does not make her any less female! It might though make her less feminine, in a very conventional sense.

It's a common misconception that having a feminist viewpoint involves being down on men and everything associated with them. People may hate men and not be feminists. Feminism, in my book, is about allowing women, and by extension all people, to realise their true potential, without forcing them into preconceived moulds, expectations. That 'potential' could include creative, financial, personal safety, lifestyle, family, sexuality aspects. Whether people have the characteristics described as masculine or feminine, they should be accepted for what they are.

Buffy's creator, Joss Whedon, does not apear to hate men as a group, and 'Buffy' is convincingly described as a feminist show. The world of Sunnydale is a world in which feminist ideals are being achieved. A young girl can be a strong leader, accepted by her male and female peers, if that is in her gift. A single mother can have a successful career, and not be looked down on. None of the women in 'Buffy' are flawless, and many of them are downright bad, but that is their choice - they are not bad *because* they are women, and none of the bad guys are bad *because* they are male. Bad characteristics, like violence, killing, exploitation of others, selfishness, can be the remit of both men and women.

Now where the cookie dough really hits the fan, is where we try to decide what characteristics really are essentially masculine and feminine, whether they are nature or nurture, and what we can do to make our society fairer. Which means agreeing about how it's unfair. 'Buffy' is doing the positive thing: rather than glooming about the present, it shows that attitudes can change and life could still be good. I think.

[> [> linoleum -- skeeve, 11:01:51 10/02/03 Thu

As Xander explained, getting turned on by linoleum is a masculine trait.

[> [> [> Do you reckon that's negative or positive? -- MsGiles, 06:18:52 10/03/03 Fri

[> [> [> only at age 16 or so -- anom, 08:47:08 10/03/03 Fri

[> [> Positive . . . -- Claudia, 14:25:28 10/02/03 Thu

[Feminism, in my book, is about allowing women, and by extension all people, to realise their true potential, without forcing them into preconceived moulds, expectations.]

But doesn't this still indicate that anything that seems to be feminine can be viewed ONLY as positive? Isn't there any aspects of feminism that can be viewed as negative?

[> [> [> Re: Positive . . . -- RJA, 14:37:35 10/02/03 Thu

But are feminism and being feminine one and the same?

The way MsGiles talks about it, it seems that feminism is about allowing women to be what they want to be, and not being shaped into preconceived notions of what is feminine or masculine (correct me if I am wrong here!). So in that sense feminism wouldnt be a negative because because its only about allowing positives to grow. Or something.

So feminism wouldnt necessarily be the same as feminine. In fact much the opposite. Because an emphasis on what it is to be feminine or having feminine traits would only serve to reinforce stereotypes, in that for better or worse, that is what to be a woman is (so both positive and negative traits). Whereas feminism would be allowing women to take traits that are both masculine and feminine, if they feel comfortable with it.

And I'm too much of a man to be able to comment on negative feminine traits :-)

[> [> [> [> Re: Positive . . . -- Claudia, 16:19:50 10/02/03 Thu

Okay. How about this? Aren't there any negative aspects about feminism? And I don't mean male bashing - that's too obvious an answer.

[> [> [> [> [> How about Periods, PMS, Menopause, Pregnancy -- Finn Mac Cool, 17:15:04 10/02/03 Thu

All those conditions that do the wicky-wacky to both the body and mentality. Granted, some people may not view pregnancy as a negative, despite the hormones and labor pains, but I'm not too fond of infants, so . . .

P.S. I am a guy, so I'm taking it on faith I won't be ripped apart for this.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Yeah, but those things aren't "feminist"...no, i don't think that empowering people can be negative -- Nino, 19:25:05 10/02/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> is linoleum hardwired? -- MsGiles, 07:10:12 10/03/03 Fri

I think RJA sums it up nicely, regarding the difference between feminism and femininity. That's how I see it too.

Thinking about what could be seen as negative ..

I guess people slot into set behaviours and appearances because it makes life easier, it makes society run more smoothly, everyone isn't constantly having to work out who and what they are from first principles. There are teenage subcultures; there are ways of dressing and behaving that match the work you do, the money you earn, what TV programmes you like, and whether you're a man or a woman (for example).

Not everyone adheres to these rigidly, it goes without saying. They're not that kind of rule. People make up their own subcultures and their own individual cultures all the time. Most people use a bit of some pre-existing stereotype and mix it with some of their own stuff, and get a workable solution.

If you're the sort of person that *doesn't* like making up your own persona, though, you might prefer a pre-designed one. If that was the case, you might well choose to be a conventionally male man, (lusting after linoleum?), or a conventionally feminine woman, according to the patterns of your particular peer group. Nowt wrong with that, either. But I suppose you might feel that feminists would criticise that. Tell you that you *shouldn't* conform. Make your life scary and uncomfortable.

So people might see that as a negative side of feminism. I suppose thinking about gender issues also starts throwing doubt on conventional assumptions of male and femaleness. For every argument that something is fundamentally female (like childrearing) there's an example that says this isn't necessarily the case (eg traditional societies of Papua New Guinea where men rear the children). Once conventional assumptions are queried, then we all start wondering whether the foundations of our own society are as firm as we thought. Will everything fall apart in chaos?

I'm not so keen on the attempt to spot 'essential' gender characteristics, in order to find some sort of solid ground to base our ideas of society on. I'm sure there are 'hardwired' instincts: animals have loads of instinctive behaviour pre-programmed in, and we're just a variety of animal. But I think the crucial thing about us is that we've short-circuited evolution by having culture. We (humans) don't have to evolve things the hard way any more, and that's why we're all over this planet like a rash.

So we don't have to look back all the time, trying to work out what's 'natural' and what isn't. We can look forward.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: is linoleum hardwired? -- skeeve, 09:30:57 10/03/03 Fri

From MsGiles: (lusting after linoleum?),

No. Men don't want to have sex with linoleum anymore than women want to have sex with guns.

[> [> [> [> [> Well...there's only one example I could think about -- Doug, 08:59:01 10/03/03 Fri

Ok, first off please don't bite my head off.

Up until a couple of years back I did Tae-Kwon-Do fairly regularly. It was a good way to work out the frustrations from High school and I was training for full-contact sparring. Now There was this young woman (I don't remember her name) who I only saw for a few classes (she usually was there at a different time and day than I was, but for a week or two she was going at the same time). Now she ordered everyone around talked down to us, and snapped at anyone other than the instructor or Shayda (a young woman with a black belt and a very good disposition) who gave her any suggestions. You see, because this nexcomer believed so strongly in woman's power she believed she was the most capable martial artist, because an empowered woman is superior to any male in any and all ways (at least by her beliefs). I kinda got the brunt of this and I must admit I was rather happy when the time came for sparring (no-contact unfortunately).

Now I'm not going to go into harsh detail here; but this young woman had been insulting me and treating me like I was inferior just because I was a guy for 2 days, and even going into the fight she was acting superior. Now I was bigger than she was, stronger, faster, had more reach, and had more endurance. Suffice it to say she never got a kick with a foot and a half of me, but she still tried to claim every kick as a point. Why? Because in her mind she was superior to me because of our diffrence in gender. Meanwhile I danced around her, launching a few kicks which I stopped a few inches from her body.

After all the pairs had stopped sparring she got all pissed off at me for not standing still and letting her hit me; and then she proceeded to challenge me to a contact match while claiming that she would prove she was better than me. The instructor vetoed this (I think he either saw my smile, the look in my eye, or both) and I never ran into the newcomer again.


False Pride.

This young woman believed in the ideal of women's power that she picked fights with people who had an obvious ability to kick her ass because she believed she could do anything. Shayda (who I mentioned above) actually could kick my ass; she had trained and her power was real, she really could do the things she believed she could. The young woman who verbally abused the men around her had some skill, but her doctrine did not allow her to see her limitations. She is likely still picking fights with guys 6 inches taller than her and much stronger and tougher than she is. She had potential, she had ability, but the false pride her belief in her own empowerment created stopped her from seeing that she wasn't the best, or at least was not yet.

I've run into others like this over the years and while I have a great deal of respect for the many strong women out their who are trying to make their own lives and set their own goals by their own ideals I am also aware that personal pride has to be deserved or it's worthless.

Can this be a coincidence? (WKCS) -- Finn Mac Cool, 16:38:14 10/01/03 Wed

Tonight, the season premiere of "Angel" will air with Spike as a regular character. And, this afternoon, TNT aired "In the Dark", Spike's first and only major appearance on "Angel" to date. Is this just coincidence, or did the WB and TNT arrange it? Any ideas?

On another topic, while watching "In the Dark", I noticed something: what's with all the women being hunted by monsters being blonde?


[> Re: Can this be a coincidence? (WKCS) -- Alison, 17:24:13 10/01/03 Wed

It's Angel's blonde fetish. The writers love it and it drags out the post Buffy angst

[> [> Why they're always blonde. -- Dlgood, 21:01:52 10/01/03 Wed

It's far simpler than that.

It's Joss' take on the Horror movie cliche. It's always the blonde girl in the alley. And that's why Buffy was a blonde in the first place.

Can I be the first to say... (nary a spoiler to be found) -- Ponygirl, 19:14:39 10/01/03 Wed


[clap clap clap]


[> My favorite bit from the show (well, duh there's a Spoiler) -- RichardX1, 19:49:23 10/01/03 Wed








"You have reached Ritual Sacrifice! For goats, press 1, or say, 'Goats.'"

I'm glad I was sitting on the floor, 'cause I would have busted my @$$ falling out of a chair laughing at that one.

[> [> more spoilers -- Alison, 20:07:14 10/01/03 Wed

The slashers out there have got to be wetting themselves with joy... "I have no problem with spanking men"..snerk. :)

[> [> [> Definitely! (more spoilers) -- Scroll, 21:14:49 10/01/03 Wed

And then when the crazy evil gun-toting jerk called him a "little fairy", and Angel's all, "Hey, I'm not little!" Love it!

Also loved the new offices, the new toys, and the new moral dilemmas. Am definitely warming up to Eve (though I do miss SR/Lilah) and seeing Harmony was great.

I am willing to be open-minded about Spike. He had a great entrance, I'll admit that. Loved Wesley's surprised "Spike?", Angel's ominious "Spike.", and Harmony's happy "Blondie-bear?" Too cute!

[> [> [> [> Re: Definitely! (more spoilers) -- Finn Mac Cool, 21:30:06 10/01/03 Wed

Anyone else thinking that envelope was sent by Buffy?

On another note, anyone else notice how the current situation is almost the reverse of how "Angel" began? It all began with Angel helping a new victim-of-the-week against whoever or whatever was threatening them. Now, instead, we might have the evil-client-of-the-week and compromising with them. The difference being that early "Angel" had an emphasis on the people being saved, whereas, now, the evil person seems to be the focus. Anyone else seeing this change in attitude becoming an issue later in the season?

Lastly, I think Harmony will be pretty loyal to Angel. Gunn said most of the people at W&H were opportunistic and would just go with the flow, and who goes with the flow better than Harmony (aka "the sheep")?

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Definitely! (more spoilers) -- CW, 21:51:41 10/01/03 Wed

How about 'employee of the week?' ;o)

[> [> [> [> [> [> Good one :) -- Finn Mac Cool, 04:42:55 10/02/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Definitely! (more spoilers) -- heywhynot, 06:34:29 10/02/03 Thu

I don't think it was Buffy who sent it. First Spike was in the Hellmouth when Sunnydale collapsed upon him leaving a massive crater. Buffy and gang did not seem they were ready to go dive into the crater and see what was there. Plus I think Angel would know Buffy's handwriting and open up an envelope from her with more care. Secondly, this has WH written all over it (or anything powerful group) who wants Spike to be tagging around Angel for reasons still unknown.

It is interesting the dynamic that is being set up. If Angel & gang does not take over WH, someone else would be brought in who would be evil & always be interfering in AI's work to help the helpless. If they run the company into the ground then evil clients just will jump ship and AI will be without resources & the ability to monitor the situation. With WH, they know what they are getting. A new law firm might be actually interested in winning with the devestating consequences that entails. (The devil you know is better than the devil you don't know train of thought). Or they can try to keep the clients happy while curtailing the evil from within. The latter is what they are choosing, with Eve's nudging. What sort of compromises wll they make? Eve was right if each case affects Angel like this week's then they will crash & burn. What will be their criteria for what is less evil and acceptable to allow? They can't do it all, they will have to make choices in this situation that allows evil acts to go on. There is of course another way, but it requires people thinking outside the box being revolutionaries. That is what makes ATS different from BtVS. The latter had Buffy who truly is a revolutionary, doesn't just think outside of the box, she realizes there is no box. Angel even with the new cast additions don't have that. Spike at best is a rebel. Wesley has touched his dark side, done the rogue demon hunter, but he still has the watcher in him. Gunn is more of a pragmatist. Lorne is more off the guy to sit back, comment and enjoy the world than he is about changing it. Angel is about helping the helpless (the speech he made to Kate back in season 2 basically). Fred is probably like most scientists, really good at thinking outside the box when it comes to research, but socially/politcally doesn't want to rock the boat.

I am waiting to see how they handle Fred and her research. Will they be able to show the complexity of what science is (a process of studying how the universe works) as compared to how we choose to apply what we learn through science? Or will it fall into the usual stereotypical view of science meddling in things it has no business being in?

[> [> [> [> [> Probably not (spoilers) -- Gyrus, 07:49:48 10/02/03 Thu

Anyone else thinking that envelope was sent by Buffy?

Frankly, no. If Buffy had found the medallion and thought it could bring Spike back, she would have used it herself. Otherwise, if she had assumed the medallion was powerless, she probably would have kept it in memory of Spike and his sacrifice.

Not that I have any good ideas about who DID send it, or why.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Well, thinking about this... ("Conviction" spoiler and unspoiled spec) -- Rob, 09:19:53 10/02/03 Thu

W&H are the ones who gave Angel the amulet in the first place. Perhaps they had the power to reprocure it. Who else but those with that much mystical power would have been able to unearth it? Perhaps an interdimensional travelling courier could have gone down into the Hellmouth dimension via a mystical route, then brought it back. Thinking even more about this, if W&H knew that the person who used the amulet would be trapped inside it, it is possible that they had intended to trap Angel like this, but seized the opportunity to torture him with Spike when Angel ended up not being the one to use it. What I wonder is whether they knew all along that Spike would be the one, or if they just made a change of plans when Angel was not the one to sacrifice himself.


[> Oooh, me likee!! Excellent season premiere and... (spoiler) -- Rob, 21:32:12 10/01/03 Wed

...what surprise was taken away about Spike's return both from the opening promo and the credits (for the two people who didn't yet know) was made up for by the sheer coolness of his resurrection, and, the best part, Harmony's reaction. It looks like, from Spike's perspective, this moment occurs immediately after "Chosen," which should be very interesting. I wonder who mailed Angel that package. I will say that I guessed something was up with that package, when Angel first picked it up and tossed it aside.

The episode was terrific, definitely the best Joss-penned and directed "Angel" ep. So far, I'm loving how they're handling all the changes, and I think I'm really going to dig the whole corruption theme. And having Harmony back...How great was her heartfelt speech about Cordy, which dovetailed mid-sentence back to whether she could keep her job?!? Even the opening scene was terrific, because for the first 3/4 of it, it seemed no different than thousands of scenes before it. I was thinking as it was happening, "Yuh-huh. What's the big deal?" And then the W&H people showed up, the publicity photos were shot and I sat back and revelled in the genius, which I did for the full hour.

I can't tell you how happy I am that, although Buffy's gone, the Buffyverse is not! And that Eve girl, I like her...am I the only one who thinks she's eerily similar to Jennifer Garner, but more, um, evil?

Rob :o)

[> [> It was fabulous! Spoilers, of course! -- deeva, 22:17:47 10/01/03 Wed

"Creatures of the night, unite?" Harmony trying to placate Angel.

"You turned evil a lot faster than I thought you would." Angel to Wesley.

And someone already mentioned the spanking line, darn it!

God did I miss me some Joss over the break.

[> [> Re: Eve -- leslie, 14:26:37 10/02/03 Thu

I have to say, while I loved virtually everything about the episode, I did not like Eve. She is so like Lilah that even her gestures ("Go team!") were the same. If we're not going to have Lilah, I don't want an erzatz Lilah; if we're going to have an Eve, I want her to be her own character. Or are we to believe that all female Wolfram and Hart lawyers come equipped with the same personality?

[> Re: Can I be the first to say... (nary a spoiler to be found) -- Corwin of Amber, 22:43:05 10/01/03 Wed

I was thinking how much I could've used that chair back when I was in law school.

Eve is creepy, but I found myself missing Lilah. And surprisingly, I missed Cordy too. And I think Gunn is the Big Bad for the season.

I hope we're going to get a lot of jokes at the expense of lawyer shows like The Practice.

[> [> Joss is back in the building,hurrah, hurrah..(spoilers) -- jane, 23:46:54 10/01/03 Wed

Can I just say,Joss rules!? Great beginning for the new season. I was happy to see everyone getting their moment to shine (or not). I'm glad that Cordy and Connor were at least mentioned; I'm sure we've not heard the last of them.Harmony as secretary to the boss! I can just hear Buffy:"Harmony? vacuous tramp!". Loved Spike's entrance, and just about lost it with,"Blondie Bear?". All in all, I give this a gold star. And I think Gunn is getting a bit creepy..

[> [> [> About Gunn. -- Finn Mac Cool, 04:50:31 10/02/03 Thu

I actually found Gunn surprisingly un-creepy, given what "Home" showed us. The core of his personality didn't seem to be changed much, he was still helping Angel and Co., and no ominous music played while he was doing something. The creepiness he had in "Home" seems to have dissipated.

[> [> [> [> Can't agree there. -- Rob, 09:46:26 10/02/03 Thu

Gunn's baldfaced lie to Wesley, which was, btw, immediately followed by an ominous scene transition, his overly protective secrecy about what exactly the "guy in the White Room" said to him, and his overconfidence both in his newfound skills and in the idea that W&H did nothing more to him than implant knowledge of law, I find genuinely creepy.


[> [> [> [> [> It was more than just law (spoilers, duh) -- RichardX1, 10:24:13 10/02/03 Thu

They also implanted the entire Gilbert and Sullivan library into his brain. If that doesn't prove W&H is evil, than I don't know what does! X-D

[> [> [> [> [> [> Hey! -- DickBD, 12:22:41 10/02/03 Thu

I really love Gilbert and Sullivan. One of my sons asked me if I was sure I wasn't gay. Apparently, G & S is big among gay men. If so, they just have good taste. I have loved the music and lyrics ever since I saw a high school production when I was in high school over a half century ago. Besides, Isaac Asimov did a book on G & S and their productions, so I am not in such bad company.

[> [> Gunn evil? (spoilers) -- Dor, 11:49:16 10/02/03 Thu

And I think Gunn is the Big Bad for the season.
I seriously hope not; that would lead into real-world territory that I'm pretty sure Joss doesn't want to explore. "The only black regular on the show gets an education and suddenly becomes a Big Bad" might not hurt the ratings, but it could cost the show advertising revenue. With Angel's budget already chopped for S5, ME can't afford that -- especially if they want a sixth season.

I think the idea of having one of the regulars corrupted into the Big Bad is great -- but doing it with Gunn, despite the fact that it makes sense in the context of the show, will cause more problems than it's worth.

[re-engages lurk mode]

[> [> [> It's not so simple, though... -- Rob, 11:57:47 10/03/03 Fri

"The only black regular on the show gets an education and suddenly becomes a Big Bad"

The reason that the issue is not as simple as that is that this was not about a black character slowly getting an education and in the process, becoming evil, but about a character who makes a conscious decision to have new information and skills implanted into his head by people whose evil he has been fully aware of the past three years. If Gunn is becoming evil, the fault lies not in this "new education," but in his decision to accept W&H's offer, point-blank, in the first place. His tendencies to flirt with the dark side are already well-established on the show, particularly in Double or Nothing, where we learned that Gunn had sold his soul. Race can be a tricky issue, but I doubt Joss truly worries about people misinterpreting his intentions in this department. The show has, on the whole, a good track record. For example, although the Big Bad last season was black, she was (a) supposed to be the most beautiful woman in the world, (b) the product of two white "parents," truly color-blind casting, and (c) was the most ambiguous "villain" in ME history, so ambiguous in fact that it can be argued that she wasn't a villain at all.


[> Could have been worse...(spoilers Conviction) -- pellenaka, 02:41:47 10/02/03 Thu

At first I thought that this was a little boring for a season premier but then I remembered hating Deep Down and this was so much better. Things actually happened!

Hey, 'Conviction' was mentioned twice (Fries and team leader)!

* The first scene.
* Fred's exposition about the situation. I felt it was the best way of telling it all.
* "What does 'Feng Shui' mean?" "That people will believe in anything."
* Knoxi! I love that guy and he just becomes cuter and cuter. Good old Jonathan Woodward. He cut his hair. But he is grey: "[He] just mixes the potions".
* Gunn pulling a matrix with lawyer-ing.
* Symbolism of the apple.
* "You have reached Ritual Sacrifices. For goats, press 1..." "To sacrifice a pet or a loved one..."
* Never pass up a chance to do a Olsen Twins joke.
* Spanking! Looks good for the hoyay!
* The serious talk before Spike came. I needed that.
The bad:
* Eve is annoying. Too chipper. And showing up everywhere.
* I'm not sure what to think about Harmony.
* I knew from the moment when Fred stood with the folded poster that it would be part of a joke. But I don't know The Dixie Chicks are and did not recognize the poster.
*SWAT team and Angel killing.

Fred & Wesley seems to still have some chemistry. And I know I sensed some jealous when Knox came.
Fred has changed a lot since Pylea. Very serious but still quirky; "With blood running out of our noses, I'll be satisfied that I die with the people who actually deserve it."

This should have been a two-parter along with Just Rewards, especially when you see how much Spike the trailer had.
But then again, we got "Angel"'s first 'To be continued...'.

[> [> The best lack all conviction--Spoilers for the episode. -- Arethusa, 05:08:00 10/02/03 Thu

"The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."

So the employees at W&H run the gamut from people who will go along with evil if they feel they must to those who believe in evil with passionate intensity. We know the intense ones are dangerous-will lacking conviction, a strong belief in anything, drag anyone into evil by default?

The memory of last season's tragedies was like a weight on the action. For the first time it occurs to me that not only are Harmony and Spike characters I was happy to see, but they also might be needed on the show to lighten up the gloom ("Creatures of the night, unite!") and deflate the doom. I wonder if Gunn will stop at a little legal knowledge. And Fred's tirade at her staff was a little scary. But it's not all dire: Angel's delight in the classic cars, Eve pointing out that Angel knows a thing or two about dramatic gestures, We's disdain for fung shui. I'm undecided about Eve-who reminds me of the the actress who played Mesektet. Could she be the same creature? (I know, dead, but when has that ever stopped anyone in the Buffyverse?)

If that poster is of the Dixie Chicks (I don't know what they look like), that's two digs at the current presidential situation.

[> [> [> Re: The best lack all conviction--Spoilers for the episode. -- heywhynot, 07:03:24 10/02/03 Thu

It is a poster of the Dixie Chicks. Given Fred's roots/personality and the fact the Dixie Chicks have a huge following makes sense. Plus Joss, whose last show ended with overcoming fear, sharing power, challenging norms, and revolution, taking subtle digs at President Bush? Never ;)

[> [> [> [> Re: The best lack all conviction--Spoilers for the episode. -- Elizabeth, 07:45:52 10/02/03 Thu

The Dixie Chicks hail from Texas, as does Fred. The poster is the same shot that is on the cover of their latest CD, Home, which I recommend. They made waves this year, saying that they were ashamed the President comes from Texas.

[> [> [> [> [> thank god -- isis, 08:28:03 10/02/03 Thu

...I thought it was a poster of Charlie's Angels -gag- I like the Dixie Chick jab much more!!

[> [> [> [> [> Their CD is called Home? Makes sense now... -- Scroll, 08:39:25 10/02/03 Thu

Nice tie-in to the S4 finale, and a nice statement to make, using the Dixie Chicks. Plus, now we know what kind of music Fred listens to!

Does this mean that Fred's new office will become her home? Last season we saw the gang cooped up in the Hyperion, their home. Now they've relocated to their arch enemy's home base. Home is where the heart is? Or is the heart where your home is?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Home? -- pellenaka, 09:22:56 10/02/03 Thu

Are they getting new apartments? I mean, they can't live at their offices. Okay, they can but they have to sleep somewhere.
All of the ate and slept at the Hyperion and we all known that they can't go back there anymore (not on-screen, anyway).
Will f**king everything happen in W&H and in court all season? (rhetorical question from a spoilerfree)

[> [> [> [> Re: The best lack all conviction--Spoilers for the episode. -- RichardX1, 09:46:21 10/02/03 Thu

>>Plus Joss, whose last show ended with overcoming fear, sharing power, challenging norms, and revolution, taking subtle digs at President Bush? Never ;)<<

I was a little disappointed about that. After that line about George Sr. reading the fine print on his contract, I thought that we were going to finally have somebody from the liberal camp suggest that the 9/11 "terrorists" were acting under orders from someone who has family in the White House (he's a former CIA director, people!).

[> [> Wha?? "Deep Down" is the best season premiere of either show! -- Scroll, 08:26:11 10/02/03 Thu

Or at least in my humble opinion :) Angel has always had better premieres than Buffy, and I thought "Deep Down" was the strongest one of all. Angel's dream sequences alone made it one of the best Angel eps of the season, especially paired with "Home".

"Conviction" was pretty good, but very exposition-y. Which, given it's the premiere and kinda the start of a "new" Angel, I can forgive. I like Harmony and the humour she brings; she reminds me of old Cordy without being obvious. Unlike Eve, who's very obviously New!Lilah without half the sex appeal. She's all dressed up in big sister's clothes. Still, I'm willing to give Eve a chance to develop a personality of her own. STAT.

Gunn, my dear boy. It's only a matter of time before you crash and burn. Oh, but you'll look so fine doing it. Nice suit!

[> [> [> Re: Wha?? "Deep Down" is the best season premiere of either show! -- Gyrus, 08:54:20 10/02/03 Thu

Or at least in my humble opinion :) Angel has always had better premieres than Buffy.

Frankly, both shows have had at least a couple of pretty lame season premieres. Are "Judgement" and "Heartthrob", for example, any less pathetic than "When She Was Bad" or "Buffy Vs. Dracula"?

On the other hand, "The Freshman" was a pretty strong ep, and so was "Conviction", IMO.

[> [> [> [> I'll see your "Wha??" and raise you a spit-take -- Ponygirl, 09:12:35 10/02/03 Thu

You didn't like When She Was Bad? Leaving aside the great music and sexy dancing it also marked the start of the show's exploration of the themes of consequences, emotional repression, and moral ambiguity. It built upon PG and took the issues raised there even further - I thought it was a great season opener and marked a confident new direction for the show.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: I'll see your "Wha??" and raise you a spit-take -- Gyrus, 11:05:00 10/02/03 Thu

Maybe "lame" was too strong a word. I did like the notion of Buffy having "issues" after her battle with the Master, and that ep does contain one of my favorite bad-ass Buffy lines ("I'm gonna kill 'em all. That ought to distract 'em.").

However, I didn't like the reset-button elements of the ep; for example, the way the vampires just start showing up the moment Buffy comes back (presumably to show that it was not irresponsible for Buffy to have been away all summer), and that Willow and Xander finally reached the licking-ice-cream-off-your-nose stage of their relationship only to have Buffy's arrival preempt it.

Also, at the time, I was afraid we were going to be stuck with the Annoying One as our Big Bad for the season. (He's a vampire child; was there no way to make that scary? Give the kid a little sociopathy to go with the cute little face, instead of making him dull?)

A pretty minor set of flaws, in retrospect, but they bugged me when I saw the ep for the first time.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Going with Ponygirl, "When She Was Bad" is among my favorite opening ps on either show -- Just George, 12:04:25 10/02/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I can't decide between "When She Was Bad", "Anne", or "Lessons" -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:27:03 10/02/03 Thu

"When She Was Bad" was a terrific followup to "Prophecy Girl" and contained some great lines and awesome dramatic moments. Some may dislike how everything seemed to be swept under the rug at the end, but Buffy's main sin in WSWB was how she treated her friends. For them to be less than friendly to her after she admits her faults wouldn't make them look too good, either.

"Anne" is a brilliant concoction of action and drama. The story of Buffy going to Hell and fighting her way out again is inspiring, powerful, and one hell of a good smackfest. And who can't love the Scoobies' attempts to fight vampires. Last of all, you can't help but admire (in retrospect) how "Anne" seems almost like a test pilot for "Angel the Series" (and does a better job, in my opinion, than "City of" did).

Lastly, we get to "Lessons". At first, it just seems like another monster-of-the-week episode, but the execution raises it up. Obviously, I, like many, was pleased with how "Lessons" provided a reprive from Season Six angst. But there was also a joy to be had in exploring the smaller group dynamic of Buffy, Xander, and Dawn, with the other characters put in small, bit roles. Then there's the foreboding. "Lessons" also gets points for its sense of foreboding. A mysterious murder at the beginning of the episode, the rebuilt Sunnydale High, Principal Wood's suspicious job offer, Halfrek telling of a dark power rising, Willow seeing the Hellmouth with teeth, the unknown maker of the talisman, and, of course, the shapeshifting being that torments Spike. For an episode that isn't an actual cliffhanger, it fills you with a fervent desire to know, "What happens next!?" What better way to begin a new season?

As for the other season premieres, I think they're good, but none of them are great. "Buffy vs. Dracula is definitely the lowest. Above it are "Bargaining" and "The Freshman". Somewhere between these and the ones I mentioned above, "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "The Harvest".

As far as "Angel" premieres go, I'd rank "City of" and "Heartthrob" pretty low. "City of" was a bit too plot centered for my tastes, plus it seemed too enamored of its own "LA is a corrupt city" message. As for "Heartthrob", it just another episode, really. Nothing to really make it stand out. It's pretty much a popcorn episode. Above those I'd put "Deep Down" (very moody and atmospheric with some moments of sheer "wow!" thrown in). It's also tied with "Conviction", which I must admire for its comic vibe and ability to smoothly establish a whole new order for the show.

*Note: I haven't seen "Judgement" yet, so I can't comment.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I can't decide between "When She Was Bad", "Anne", or "Lessons" -- Just George, 17:06:52 10/02/03 Thu

After reading your post, I realized that I grade openings on a curve. The earlier they are, the more slack I give them. Because of that, I think the first three season opening episodes, "Welcome to the Hellmouth" & "The Harvest", "When She Was Bad", and "Anne" all rate as my top openings.

My favorite openings are also the ones that have the greatest emotional impact on Buffy. From that perspective, "The Freshman" had impact, but Buffy was more acted upon than the decision maker. I also didn't find the looser college vampires to be a credible threat. "Buffy vs. Dracula" seemed like a follow up to the emotional aspect of "Restless", but it turned out to be more a joke than an emotional confrontation. And Buffy wasn't the center of attention in "Bargaining I & II" (Willow) or "Lessons" (Dawn).

I also have a soft spot for "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "The Harvest". Remember what these episodes were trying to do. Not only do they have to set up all of the characters, but they have to throw off the baggage of the movie. And they had to do it with no budget and a first time TV director at the helm. I think these episodes brilliantly achieved the goals of introducing characters we can care about, telling an engaging story, and setting up future stories.

-Just George

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> WSWB -- Dlgood, 20:06:11 10/02/03 Thu

For me, what takes away from "When She Was Bad" are the lame vampire enemies.

In retrospect, I really do love WSWB when I look at the way themes of that episode are carried and managed all throughout the season. In particular, all the wonderful parallels that show up in "Becoming", which make it look better in context of not only how well it follows "Prophecy Girl", but how well the season is built upon it.

In particular, Cordy looking at Xander and thinking he's hot, Buffy asking Angel who'd win in a fight, and Buffy worrying whether it's worth it to be her friend.

[> [> [> [> Wha? You thought "Judgment" and "Heartthrob" were lame?!? -- Rob, 09:13:08 10/02/03 Thu

I've always considered them examples of near-perfect premieres, standalone episodes that contain themes that reflect both what on has come before and what is to come on the show. I would classify "Conviction" as even-closer-to-perfect-than-near-perfect. I do agree with you on "The Freshman," which was also a perfect reintroduction to the show, IMO.


[> [> [> [> [> Difference in criteria -- Gyrus, 10:49:09 10/02/03 Thu

I agree that both eps dealt with important issues. However, I found the stories clumsy because they both relied on plot devices that seemed too heavy-duty for use in a single episode, i.e., the unborn baby with an incredibly important future, and major figures from Angel's past showing up without ever being mentioned previously. Also, I didn't find the original characters at all compelling.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Difference in criteria -- Rob, 12:45:51 10/02/03 Thu

Oh, see, I thought the characters and stories in both episodes were fantastic. I really empathized with the mother in "Judgment," and thought the James character in "Heartthrob" was terrific. I don't always love "Angel"s standalone eps, particularly those in the middle of the second season and early portion of the third but I thought those 2 were real gems.


[> [> [> The fashion - for HonorH -- Ponygirl, 09:03:19 10/02/03 Thu

Unlike Eve, who's very obviously New!Lilah without half the sex appeal. She's all dressed up in big sister's clothes.

Or in the case of that skirt in the last scene big sister's fringed shawl. Eve was blah blah blah and she should hold a seance to ask Lilah for some fashion advice. If she was trying for sexy siren with her outfits all she got was gal shopping in the business casual section of JC Penney. And Fred's mini-skirt and ankle boots were possibly the most unflattering things I've ever seen on her.

The boys fared much better. All of Angel's shirts and jackets looked fab, and while I think pinstripes were a bit too retro for Gunn he makes one sharp-dressed man. Wes' clothes reflected his current uncertainty but he does look good in brown suede. I'm going mainly by the promos but it seems that Spike's new coat fits a lot better than the old one.

[> [> [> [> Re: The fashion - for HonorH -- celticross, 10:34:39 10/02/03 Thu

Channeling my own evil alter ego for fashion analysis (because I'm shallow and that's the first thing I notice).

"And Fred's mini-skirt and ankle boots were possibly the most unflattering things I've ever seen on her."

Gah! Yes! Ankle boots with a short skirt are a crime!

I think Eve's main problem is that she's a little too young and not quite as curvy as Stephanie Romanov, thus making the sexy siren look harder to pull off.

And Gunn in a suit? Yum.

[> [> [> [> [> Angel's hair (fashion spoiler only for Conviction) -- Vickie, 12:13:12 10/02/03 Thu

What on earth happened to Angel's hair? It doesn't go straight up anymore. NOBODY should wear a pompadour!

I was laughing so hard that my (nonwatching) hubby came into the room. His analysis? "He stole William Shatner's rug!"

[> [> [> [> [> [> I totally agree -- Mackenzie, 12:29:47 10/02/03 Thu

it just accentuates the fact that he put on some pounds.
My husband (who hates the show) came in and said, "how do vampires get fat??"

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I don't think it's fat... -- Scroll, 16:17:22 10/02/03 Thu

Apparently DB has been seriously working out all summer. He's built like a football player and it's all muscle, folks. I guess his face has filled out more too, along with his body, but what can you do? Personally, I think he looks fantastic. Very yummy, especially with his shirts only half buttoned ;) So much for a dress code!

Btw, I'm not usually so drooly over DB, but damn the boy fills out nicely. He's got really nice... shoulders...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Okay, that's fair -- Mackenzie, 08:42:54 10/03/03 Fri

I can see it would be him bulking up. Hubby is a body builder too and his face looks chubby. He just doesn't like to give credit to hot guys around me.
Hey, I drool over DB any chance I get!

[> [> [> [> Re: The fashion - for HonorH -- SugarTherapy, 14:47:07 10/02/03 Thu

Oh, no. No no no. The pinstripes were perfect. There should be more pinstripes ::drool::

[> Three vampires with a soul? (Conviction spoilers) -- pellenaka, 09:27:08 10/02/03 Thu

Did Harmony get a soul too?

She did act pretty evil the last time we saw her, but now she's even off the pig blood even though she works for an evil firm.
She wants to help Angel & Co.? Why? It would be totally against her vampire-nature unless she had gotten a soul.
Even Spike did evil things before he got his chip.

[> [> Re: Three vampires(Conviction spoilers) -- Arethusa, 09:30:30 10/02/03 Thu

Harmony's one of those go-along-to-get-along employees, I'll bet. She probably can't be trusted very much, but she'll also try to fit in with her bosses.

[> [> [> Also... (Conviction spoilers) -- Rob, 09:49:52 10/02/03 Thu

...the breakneck speed with which she recovers from her sadness about Cordy's current condition is a clue that she remains sans soul.


[> [> [> [> Ummm... -- Random, 16:25:17 10/02/03 Thu

...the human Harmony would have done the same thing. Let's face it, she's always been shallow

[> [> [> Blood....(Conviction spoilers) -- pellenaka, 10:07:06 10/02/03 Thu

She claims that she's off the human blood but it sounds weird with the fact that she works for an evil firm. I would imagine W&H have 'human blood venting machines'.
Okay, I'll stop now.

[> [> [> [> Probably changed when she heard about the new regime -- Finn Mac Cool, 11:27:28 10/02/03 Thu

[> [> [> Re: Three vampires(Conviction spoilers) -- celticross, 10:38:39 10/02/03 Thu

Also, Harmony never really changed from her human self to being a vamp. She was such a sheep in life, who always acted on her own desires anyway, that being a vampire didn't make much difference. So I can completely see her going off human blood if she found out Angel was going to be her new boss.

[> [> [> [> Nicer as a Vamp -- Laura, 12:56:07 10/02/03 Thu

In all things considered. Harmony is NICER as a vampire than she was alive. I can't imagine pre-vamp Harmony mourning Cordy's situation for one second.

[> [> [> [> [> I wouldn't go that far -- Finn Mac Cool, 13:47:35 10/02/03 Thu

We never really got to see much of pre-vamp Harmony. Also, in the end, she did fight in the battle of Graduation Day. That's gotta count for something.

[> [> Re: Three vampires with a soul? (Conviction spoilers) -- skeeve, 10:56:43 10/02/03 Thu

Wes explained it: she's a sycophant.

Gunn's in the classroom (Sp Ep 1 season 5) -- neaux, 04:37:29 10/02/03 Thu

Ha Ha! I made a play on words! Well we did have guns in the classroom and Gunn in the courtroom? Kinda weird to see this transition from muscle to brain but due to the new circumstances at Wolfram at Hart it makes mega-sense. If Angel is having a hard time being head muscle due to his infuriating SWAT backup and just that fact that Angel has a SWAT backup.. kinda put Gunn's role into jeopardy.

So how can Gunn become a vital part of the team again?? Well it doesn't take brain surgery to figure that out. Well actually it does.

Gunn now puts the ease in legalese!! I'm sure there will be major repercussions down the road for this bit but you could look at it as taking one for the team. He has the best interests of the team involved but I have a feeling he will surpass the team. Cant wait to see.

Also, does anyone want to compare Gunn to Spike?!! Spike's chip and Gunn's surgery. I wonder if Gunn's surgery will have side effects. hhmmm..


[> What they did to Gunn (spoilers continue) -- RichardX1, 14:25:51 10/02/03 Thu

I think that all they did to Gunn was give him knowledge of the law; i.e. the raw facts of "The California penal code says you can do X, you must do Y, and you cannot do Z," and so forth. What I don't think they gave him was the ability to use that information--I suspect Gunn came up with that mistrial idea all on his own.

Of course, you realize with a name like Gunn the other lawyers are gonna have no trouble coming up with metaphors for his courtroom style.

A whole new Angel? (Spoilers Angel S5 ep2) -- BuffyJunkie, 04:56:19 10/02/03 Thu

Well I have to say, the first two eps of Angel have got me convinced that it won't just be Spike that I'll be rooting for this season - though don't get me wrong, he is in fine form thus far. But Angel is almost starting to taste of that carefree banter and light-toned one liners that made Buffy so great. Here's hoping!

The Spike/Angel back-and-forth could well prove to be the highlight of the season, if what I've seen thus far is of any indication. If the theme for this season is exploring how power corrupts, I can definitely see Spike as Angel's anchor, keeping him down to earth and so forth. "So this is what you do now? Delegate the dirty work to spineless, low-level flunkies?"

All you need is a little Conviction.....spoilers for Angel 5.1 -- Rufus, 04:57:05 10/02/03 Thu

I've spent the evening scratching out the dialogue I liked from the premiere episode of Angel.

The premiere is exposition heavy, attempting to tie up a few loose ends regarding Cordy and Connor. The rest of it is the stuff that a season is made of. The episode starts out in a dark alley with a screaming girl and her rescuer. Angel dusts the vamp, saves the girl, then the bloody Alfred collective swoops in and gets her to initial something regarding her immortal soul. Angel helping the helpless, now he is helpless against the pencil pushers.

In Home, the gang decided to join up with Wolfram and Hart and they did it knowing that it may not turn out well at all. Wes and Fred speak about their doubts, well Fred does in one long sentence.....

Wesley: Well, I"m still stuck back at why are we here?

Fred: What? Because we're crusaders against evil and now the law frim that represents most of the evil in the world has given us its LA branch to run however we want probably in an attempt to corrupt, divide, or destroy us and we all said yes in, like 3 minutes?

That does sum it up. The gang is now in the belly of the beast and they are feeling a bit apprehensive about the whole thing. Each member of the gang had something that Wolfram and Hart wanted, even Gunn.

We are introduced to Eve, a new character who may be just a bit more than meets the eye.

Eve: I'm gonna be your liason to the firm. I'll help you find your way. My name is Eve. And just so we get the whole irony thing out of the way.....[she tosses an apple to Angel]

Angel: And who do you answer to?

Eve: The Senior Partners, and if you're thinking which, by the way, you are. That you can use me to get to them, let go of the dream. I answer to them. I don't lunch with them.

Wesley: Still.....a pretty powerful position for a young woman.

Eve: How, exactly, can you be sure on either of those things?

Angel: I thought I was in charge?

Eve: Of the Los Angeles offices of a multi-dimensional corporation. Now, I'm stressing that last word because that's what we are, we're a business and we have a bottom line. Now you could take your new client list and start hacking away from the top down. A lot of our clients are demons, and almost all of them are evil.

Angel: Almost?

Eve: Things are always more complicated than they seem, Champ. You could shut this place down but, then well, you wouldn't have it anymore. If the place closes down, the connections dry up - evil goes next door. This is the catch. I'm explaining the catch so you don't have to stand around wondering what it is. See, in order to keep this business running you have to keep this business....running. And that means keeping your clients, most of them anyway....happy.

Gunn: Means letting them get away with stuff.

Eve: Sweetie, they were getting away with it while you were all sitting around your hotel waiting for the phone to jangle. Well, you're on the ins now, you can stop the worst of it, maybe find some new solutions to some old problems. Come on! Isn't anybody excited? This is a crazy time of fun. The most powerful evil around has given a pivotal position over to its sworn enemies.....you're not scared are you?

Angel proceeds to take a big bite out of the apple.

So, we have the basics, the gang has to give a little to get a little. They are also being guided by someone called Eve. I found it funny that she tossed the apple (thinking knowledge here) to Angel, who has to think a bit before taking a big bite. They are in.....and not entirely comfortable with it....except maybe for Lorne.

One thing I noticed was that Eve seems to be able to read thoughts or just makes some good quesses, in time we will see. I also get the idea that she may not be a young woman, things being all complicated at Wolfram and Hart. She has one person to visit before the gang is ready to take LA on.

Eve: Lot simpler fighting vamps on the street wasn't it? Tricked out pickup, loyal gang, just you and the pointy wood against the living dead.

Gunn: This gonna be a thing with you? Jumping out at people? Or do you just not have an office of your own. (hmmm just what I was thinking)

Eve: I'm just wondering if you're ready for the next step.

Gunn: Or if maybe I'd like to go back to living on the street, eating garbage and watching my buddies get picked off one by one? Yeah....that was the life.

Eve: So, you're not backing out?

Gunn: You don't know me or you wouldn't ask that question. [this coming from a guy who sold his soul for said pickup]

Eve: I can see why the Senior Partners chose you...have fun, you'll feel like a new man.

Wesley: What did she mean?

Gunn: Tailor........guess I'm not dressed for success.

Gunn told a fib there, but what's a lie or two between friends. Fred's sentence should have been embroidered into a cushion.....just so they all could be reminded of where they are if they ever get too comfortable.

Harmony, she's back (I just hope it doesn't turn into the Whedon version of Sex in the City). I'm not all that fond of the character but can take her in small doses. Seems she's off the human blood and makes me wonder if only the vampires who hide out in alleys get dusted now. Harm did say one cute thing......"Creatures of the night.........unite?"

The case the gang gets wrapped up in is with this pond scum who looks like a man. He wants to avoid a conviction so he has built a human bomb. If he loses the whole of LA gets to deal with a super-bug....or in his words...

Fries: Put it this way....if they bring in a conviction....bye bye California. I say the magic word.....the only people left standing are gonna be the ones that are already dead.

Harmony: Oh......that's a relief......I mean......Hey!!!

Nice guy......but I have to wonder what's up with the otters and ferrets.....and I thought only the goats had it bad.

Angel finds the fellow who helped put Fries in the power position he was in this episode. This after speaking with one of his own employee's who really, really, really likes black and the smell of gun oil. Hauser is a traditional guy, likes things to remain the same. Why change when you think the institution isn't broken. Hauser is the "wet work" guy who is feeling just a bit left out and wants to prove his worth, or maybe he just likes hurting people....I wonder if he had anything to do with the supply of the special ingredient in Angel's blood?

After promising to talk to Hauser about tradition, Angel goes off to meet Spanky, the mystic. Walking into the guys apartment has Angel ask the obvious about how he got that name......."Our Gang" he says......sure I say.

Spanky: I built him (Fries) a container, a mystical vessel. You can put anything you want in it.

Angel: Like a bomb.

Spanky: A bomb, a curse, a golden retriever.....anything. I don't know what he wanted it for - the vessel just holds it until the magic word dissolved the vessel.

Angel: Okay, where did you place the vessel?

Angel just had to ask that one.....and he got an answer that finally slid into a mention of his son.

Eve: Rough day at work?

Angel: His son.....he took a lethal virus....and he stuck it inside his son.

Eve: Hits you where you live doesn't it? Of course I know....you lost your son.....well, gave him up.

Angel: To save him.

Eve: Which you did. He's happy and well adjusted, not that he has no memory of you. And the rest of the worlk, including your best friends, never heard of Connor.....

Angel: That's not a name I want passing through your lips.

Eve: And what would you like passing through my lips?

Angel: News Flash.....you're not cute when I'm angry.

Eve: I'm just curious how you're going to play it.

Angel: Well, I'll isolate the boy if it comes to that....stop it from spreading.

Eve: Here's the news from the sector...if every case hits you this hard, you're not gonna last a week.

Angel: Now, I don't want you coming into my office again, unless I ask you. I don't want to hear another word right now, unless you decide to start helping out.

Eve: How do you know I'm not?

Oooooooooo a few hints regarding this Eve "person". Makes good guesses on what people are thinking......has hinted that she may not be what she appears to be.....and now suggests that she does more than hang out in other peoples offices.

Angel is starting on a new journey and he isn't quite sure he likes the direction he is going in. He's right to fear what the folks at Wolfram and Hart have in mind for him and his friends. They have sent him someone to guide him. And she did say that he could find some new ways to deal with old problems. She is helpful, but not overly informative. It's the inclusion of the son in the case that gets Angel moving for real. That reminder of his son is enough to make him all broody, but then go see what he can do to avoid the bloodshed his own employee's are out to accomplish, at a primary school.

It's at the school that Angel decides to finally take charge, and the first thing he does is cut some costs.....

Angel: So, it turns out with this new deal and all, I own a helicopter.

Hauser: Where's the boy?

Angel: You just missed everybody. Oh.....I probobly don't wanna be breathing that.

Hauser: Kids still a threat, which means ou have him isolated...probobly nearby.

Angel: I can see why they made you the leader. Do I even have to start with how fired you all are?

Hauser: That's not how it works.

Angel: Oh right.......Tradition.....why don't you show me how that's done.

Hauser: Thank you sir.........Take him out!

We get a break while the heart to heart regarding tradition starts. Big fight scene....and we get down to just Angel, Hauser, and some poor schmuck on the floor.

Angel: You know that (gun) won't kill me.

Hauser: It'll hurt, that parts fun.

Angel: Agent Hauser, I'm honestly beginning to suspect that you're not part of the solution.

Hauser: You really think you can solve the problem? Come into Wolfram and Hart and make everything right? Turn the night into the glorious day?.....you pathetic little fairy.

Angel: I'm not little.

Hauser: That's exactly what you are.....you're minuscule. A dust mote on the shelf of that great institiution. Now, you think I'm just a trigger happy jerk who follows orders. But I am something you will never be....I'm pure....I believe in evil. You and your friends....you're conflicted....you're confused. We're not. That is why you're gonna lose. Because we possess the most powerful thing in the world.....Conviction

Angel: There is one thing more powerful than conviction....just one....Mercy. (Angel twists the rifle around and blows Hausers brain all over the hallway)

Former, but alive employee: What happened to mercy?

Angel: You just saw the last of it.

While Angel is doing some wet work of his own, it's Gunn who saves the day....after being helped along by some legal enhancement...and Gilbert and Sullivan.....

Eve: It's very simple really. Charles agreed to let us enhance his mind with a comprehensive knowledge of the law.

Wesley: Without asking us?

Gunn: Mother.....may I?

Fred: Without telling us.

Gunn: Cause I knew you guys would feak. Look it's me here...they didn't evil me up. All I got stuck in my head was the law....and for some strange reason a mess load of Gilbert and Sullivan.

Eve: Standard.....great for elocution.

Angel: How can you possibly know they didn't do anything else?

Gunn: Cause I saw the man in the White Room. He does a lot of scary things....but lying ain't one of them.

Eve: We needed a lawyer to get by her. Charles had the most unused potential....his degree's are forged....but he's the real deal.

So, Gunn has been enhanced, Angel has used up his mercy points. Fred is settling in to being a boss of her own in the science department. Lorne is in his element with the entertainment section. Wesley, well Wesley seems to be a bit lost but still able to function. The gang worked on their first case and they were able to save Fries son.

Fred: Is this going to be our lives now, fighting our own employee's, our own clients? Are we really gonna do any good?

Angel: Yes we are. We're gonna change things. We came to Wolfram and Hart becaues it's a powerful weapon, and we'll figure out how to wield it.

Wesley: Or kill ourselves with it.

Fred: yay team

Angel: No, sooner or later they'll tip their hand, and we'll find out why they really brought us here. Meanwhile, we do the work, our way, one thing at a time.......we deal with whatever comes next......(Angel opens the envelope and a trinket falls to the ground....Ooooo it glows).

We see a reverse dusting.......to a screaming ........Spike.

Wesley: Spike?

Angel: SPIKE!!!!!!!!!!

Harmony: Blondie Bear??!!!

And the season is off.....we have a new stage for the gang to play on with new characters to get to know. I didn't go into much detail about each character tonight. I felt that the word conviction worked as it was the thing that Angel needed after the loss of Cordy and Connor. Just as he felt strong again his past came to meet him. What I'm thinking of right now is something Lindsey said before he left town in season 2......

Lindsey: "The key to Wolfram and Hart: don't let them make you play their game. - You gotta make them play yours."

And another from Joseph Campbell.......Power of Myth

Campbell: Love thine enemies because they are instruments of your destiny.


[> Re: All you need is a little Conviction.....spoilers for Angel 5.1 -- Caroline, 18:07:33 10/03/03 Fri

Rufus, I completely agree. I watched S2 of Angel on DVD and Lindsey's words struck me as being incredibly prescient to the situation the gang find themselves in at this time. When they are playing things Wolfram and Hart's way, they will never win. They've got to be prepared to lose their position in the LA branch or lose the LA branch entirely to beat them. While they are attached to their positions, Eve will have them by the short and curlies. But I guess that's where Eve always had Adam.

[> [> Re: All you need is a little Conviction.....spoilers for Angel 5.1 -- Rufus, 20:03:45 10/03/03 Fri


Yes, Eve...makes me think of the little girl in the "White Room".

Another thing that I noticed was that Eve said they needed a lawyer in this situation....what the hell did she mean by that? Wolfram and Hart is full to the rafters with lawyer types, so it's not like there was a shortage. That makes me not trust what they have done with Gunn. Gunn has changed and it was evident when he went from not trusting Eve to being almost cozy with her at the end.

Lindsey is right, there is a big game being played, and Angel would do good to remember that he has to be the one making the rules not playing by theirs.

[> Re: All you need is a little Conviction.....spoilers for Angel 5.1 -- sdev, 02:37:25 10/04/03 Sat

Right after Angel kills Hauser, in one of those between scene flash shots, Eve is looking at the blood splattered wall behind Hauser. Then in Angel's office she comments that Gunn, in his new lawyer role, saved the day with no violence. She walks right up to Angel and with a slight taunt asks him how he did. He says nothing.

Interesting contrast of roles.

[> [> Re: All you need is a little Conviction.....spoilers for Angel 5.1 -- Rufus, 15:02:49 10/04/03 Sat

I wonder how she got there? Maybe she was looking for that office of hers.

[> Great analysis, Ruf! ("Conviction" spoilers) -- Rob, 09:43:00 10/02/03 Thu

Really don't have much more to add, except to say I also loved the title, which worked on quite a few levels, "conviction," as in what Gunn was trying to prevent from happening to Fries in the courtroom, "conviction," as in what the "pure" evil of W&H have in spades, and "conviction," as in what Angel himself needs to succeed in his new digs.

The theme of the son being sacrificed was also particularly strong: it echoed back to Angel and what he did to Connor, and on a slightly deeper, perhaps subconscious level it may have left Angel questioning if any sacrifice of a child is truly the right thing. True, Angel's intentions were good, and Fries' were coldhearted and evil, but taking away all extenuating circumstances, there may be a small amount of hypocrisy in condemning a man for killing his son, when he did the same thing.

Also have to say I love Harmony and I love the new, bright sets. I loved the transition from the noir-drenched teaser to the sunlit, white W&H offices. The plot of this episode should put any fears to rest that "Angel" will be lighter this season. What is on the surface eased is the sense of doom and gloom we had the past few seasons, however this easing is an illusion. The gang is actually probably more at danger now than they ever have been before. Angel shooting the guy's brains out, and what is happening to Gunn in particular belie the notion that all is shiny and good with the gang. Angel committed one of the darkest acts we've seen him do yet, and Gunn is just gettin' plain scary...And all in the harsh light of day.


[> [> Re: Great analysis, Ruf! ("Conviction" spoilers) -- skpe, 13:07:38 10/02/03 Thu

I agree the whole setup for this season is very Faustian

[> [> Gunn......spoilers -- Rufus, 17:45:33 10/02/03 Thu

Gunn is still very much the guy who sold his soul for a pickup, but he reminded me of my granddad who spoke about the "hungry 30's"....both may talk about adversity but neither wanted to go and relive it. This is why Wolfram and Hart were able to touch Gunn....he had the most unused potential. Gunn made mention of the fact that he "only hits people" that shows his insecurity when up against his friends Fred and Wesley. He isn't a member of the brainy book of the month club and it makes him feel like he isn't respected.

Note the subtle body language change in Gunn after his enhancement. Before Gunn was suspicious and uncomfortable around Eve, after in the end scene he is fine being around everyone, including Eve. Gone is the Gunn who gets to the point about his suspicions of others and what we have now is a wild card that could be big bad material.

Dr.: So, I understand you were in the White Room...spoke with the conduit himself.

Gunn: That's between me and the big cat...we gonna do this thing?

When Wesley wanted to know what Eve meant about Gunn feeling like a new man, he was right to worry. Gunn is a new man, a man who just may not be part of the gang anymore, he may have just moved up to join the big cats. I'd be asking why the conduit would speak to Gunn and noone else?

Angel: How can you possibly know they didn't do anything else?

Gunn: Cause I saw the man in the White Room. He does a lot of scary things.....but lying ain't one of them.

What are the scary things?

[> Re: All you need is a little Conviction.....spoilers for Angel 5.1 -- RichardX1, 15:02:43 10/02/03 Thu

I agree, I've been thinking about Lindsey's parting advice ever since "Home".
Speaking of Lindsey...

Lindsey: young man who goes from being dirt-poor to becoming one of W&H's most successful hotshot young lawyers.

Gunn: young man who goes from being dirt-poor to possibly become one of W&H's most successful hotshot young lawyers.

Coincidence? Or is this, as the song goes, "all just a little bit of history repeating"?


Final note: when you're packing full-auto weapons against a vampire in the daytime, shoot the @#$%ing windows! Those guys should be fired just for their incompetence alone.

[> [> Re: All you need is a little Conviction.....spoilers for Angel 5.1 -- Rufus, 15:39:10 10/02/03 Thu

LOL....no kidding about shooting the glass, but with all that "conviction" Hauser felt maybe there was no room left in his brain for common sense....;)

[> [> [> Re: All you need is a little Conviction.....spoilers for Angel 5.1 -- leslie, 16:50:35 10/02/03 Thu

Did anyone else find the Black Ops to be a little too much like the Initiative Gone Really Bad for comfort?

[> [> [> [> The Initiative and Black ops -- Rufus, 17:33:53 10/02/03 Thu

Both The Initiative and the Black ops share a great conviction that what they are/were doing is right. It's the intent of their actions that define how I feel about them. The Initiative was a project but the army guys attached to the project for the most part didn't realize how out of control Maggie Walsh had become. Their desire for a perfect soldier clouded their vision enough that Maggie went too far and created something that could have destroyed all that the Initiative originally was created to protect.

The Black ops are "guns for hire", they may have some background from the military but they have signed on with the forces of evil because they believe in it just like the Initiative guys thought they were acting for good.

Angel spoke about mercy and these guys deserved the same amount of mercy they would have shown the school children they were there to murder.

[> [> [> [> [> I think there were also a couple W&H Black Op teams in Season 3. -- Finn Mac Cool, 19:32:38 10/02/03 Thu

"Conviction" issues (spoilers galore ep.1) -- Miyu tVP, 10:35:09 10/02/03 Thu

I just LOVED this episode! I want to second everything everyone else said on the thread below. :) for goats, press one...

My question is re: the final exchange between Hauser & Angel. Hauser's statement made my hair stand on end, as he summed up the crux of evil... that there is purity in it. That is is easy and straightforward to be evil, and complicated and hard to find good. I lost track though with Angel's response that "there is one thing greater than conviction, and that's mercy." First, since when is there only one thing greater than conviction? Bin Laden is a man of conviction, as was Hitler... I think there are many, many things greater than conviction. I had always understood the point of much of the goings on in the Jossverse to be that believing blindly and wholeheartedly in anything, no mattter how good it may seem, is dangerous. That you must always re-evaluate circumstances. That not all demons are evil, not all humans are good, that good people don't always do the right thing and vice versa. As Hauser made his point, I realzed, yes - it's so much easier to be evil, because you don't have to worry about these things... Well, anyway, if we grant that conviction is the sort of thing that only mercy is greater than, how exactly is mercy greater than conviction? I didn't quite get the connection between the two.

Secondly, I was quite alarmed that Angel summarily executed Hauser. In the Jossverse, isn't killing a human (even an evil one like Warren, etc.) verboten? I thought this was a rather abrupt, uncerimonious negation of alot of moral lines that had been drawn previously. Not that I care about Hauser at all (and granted they were in combat & H had a gun pointed at A), but usually isn't this stuff taken more seriously? It scared me a bit that Angel killed him, and then said that was the last of mercy... it seems like he's falling right into W&H's hands...

[or maybe was Hauser a demon-type? if so I missed that]

did this bother anyone else?


[> Re: "Conviction" issues (spoilers galore ep.1) -- Ryuei, 15:57:59 10/07/03 Tue

I just want to add that it didn't bother me. It always seemed arbitrary to me that demons (some of whom have exhibited some kind of free will or at least ability to choose good) can be killed without a qualm, but humans no matter how powerful and/or heinous must always be left up to the authorities to deal with.

I think that Angel is involved in an ongoing apacolyptic war for the fate of humanity itself - and some human have turned traitor on the species itself. In the USA, a traitor in wartime will receive the death penalty. The only problem is that this is a secret war and the military and police (even the Initiative) have shown themselves incapable of dealing with threats which champions like Buffy and Angel have had to face. So I think that allowing a traitor to run free just because they don't have a bumpy forehead is ridiculous. The other side of this is Buffy not staking Spike in season 7 even after he killed all those people due to the Firsts manipulations. Any court in the land would give the death sentence to a mass murderer like Spike - soul or no soul. And yet Buffy let him live, even though he was still potentially a great danger to all of them! But the key is that not only did he have a soul and was not in his right mind, but on a pragmatic level he was still of immense value to the cause of humanity against the First. So killing a human or allowing a mass murdering vampire to live must be determined by the actual needs of this battle for survival and not some arbitrary system of laws. Laws are for protecting life and property during peace time, but in a war like this survival itself must be the priority.

And the survival of one's humanity also includes doing humane things like killing a conscienceless murderer like Hauser before he does any more harm and on the other hand letting a mass murderer like Spike live because his humanity is still intact if under external control and manipulation.

Namu Myoho Renge Kyo,

[> [> Re: "Conviction" issues (spoilers galore ep.1) -- Rufus, 16:55:27 10/07/03 Tue

And the survival of one's humanity also includes doing humane things like killing a conscienceless murderer like Hauser before he does any more harm and on the other hand letting a mass murderer like Spike live because his humanity is still intact if under external control and manipulation.

I think part of peoples difficulties with characters is that they drop the metaphor for some based upon personal preference. When we get to the reason the character of Angel and now Spike exist it's because of what you have mentioned about the continued existance of the human race. If it were a real life situation with no metaphors both Angel and Spike would be in a maximum security prison or executed already, but it's not the real world and the circumstances of how they have come to be what and who they are would not be accepted in the real world.

In season four Spike got the chip and was under an external control but in season six he went in search of his soul, something Angelus would never have done. So I find that at this point both vampires are equal in my estimation. The gut reaction to these mass murderers (for some) would be to exterminate them, but as they may be the key to the continued existance of humantiy added with the fact that both have souls, they have a value over and above their acts without souls.

[> Re: "Conviction" issues (spoilers galore ep.1) -- Mackenzie, 12:08:40 10/02/03 Thu

In the dictionary the two definitions of the words are:
1. Compassionate treatment, especially of those under one's power; clemency.
2. A disposition to be kind and forgiving: a heart full of mercy.
3. Something for which to be thankful; a blessing: It was a mercy that no one was hurt.
4. Alleviation of distress; relief: Taking in the refugees was an act of mercy.

1. Law a. The judgment of a jury or judge that a person is guilty of a crime as charged. b. The state of being found or proved guilty: evidence that led to the suspect's conviction.
2a. The act or process of convincing. b. The state of being convinced. See synonyms at certainty.
3. A fixed or strong belief. See synonyms at opinion.

I think for conviction we are looking at #3 for the def. that Hauser is talking about.
If you look strictly at the definitions I see mercy as being greater than conviction. Having conviction is just easier than being merciful. You find something you believe in and stick with it. Mercy is a constantly changing and challenging emotion.
As for Angel just doing away with Hauser I think that was two sided. He had had enough of those combat dudes trying to edge in on his territory. It was okay when they were just asking to go and get that Spanky guy, but they were not only going to kill the little boy but everyone in the area. That is a huge liability for someone who is trying to help the helpless. Granted, it was a shock to see our compassionate hero blow that guys head off (it was a very cool move BTW, and Hauser was definitely human), but at the same time, Hauser had every intention to kill Angel. Maybe Angel's point was he had mercy on the child and had convictions about not letting the combat guys take care of the situation in their way. His mercy would not extend to them. He set his boundaries with them with the execution and I will bet the ones that witnessed it don't cross the line again. They see his convictions and do want to loose his mercy.
Maybe we need to be prepared to see MANY of our predisposed Jossverse ideals blow out of the water. The line between good and evil, right and wrong stomped on.

[> [> Re: "Conviction" issues (spoilers galore ep.1) -- Dandy, 18:58:20 10/03/03 Fri

There is also the expression 'to throw yourself on the mercy of the court,' This brings both 'mercy' and 'conviction' to the arena of the courtroom.

Also 'the banlity of evil' comes to mind. Evil is so simple, it's boring.

[> [> Excellent points about mercy -- Scroll, 16:20:55 10/02/03 Thu

[> [> [> mercy -- Miyu tVP, 13:00:29 10/03/03 Fri

mercy - 1. Compassionate treatment, especially of those under one's power; clemency.

I consider this to be the most common, general definition of mercy, which is maybe part of why it seemed so out of place to me in their discussion. Mercy is is shown by a person in power to a person who is powerless. Had Angel said "compassion" or something more along those lines, it might have worked better.

A judge can show mercy, a king, a tyrant, a bully, a parent... Joe Shmoe doesn't go a around on a day to day basis being merciful. However anyone and everyone can have conviction (or not.)

Perhpas this follows with the Punisher discussion, that Angel is appointing himself to some position, from which it is his right to be merciful as he sees fit.

scary stuff!!!!

[> [> [> [> Well, technically, he is Hauser's boss. -- Finn Mac Cool, 16:08:47 10/03/03 Fri

Couple that with being able to take him in that fight, and you certainly can't deny Angel was in a position of power over Hauser. As such, I think mercy fits the context.

[> [> Re: "Conviction" issues (spoilers galore ep.1) -- rowena, 15:03:50 10/03/03 Fri

On a simpler level, Angel really needed to send a message (yeah, killing is extreme) about who is in charge ... i.e. who's the boss ... at Wolfram & Hart. At least, who is "perceived" to be in charge. Perception has a way of becoming reality in the workplace.

[> 'Punisher' tie-in, perhaps (5.1 spoilers) -- Anneth, 12:08:55 10/02/03 Thu

First of all, the "there's one thing greater than conviciton, and that's mercy" line brings two quotations to mind: "The quality of mercy is not Buffy" (from S2 or S3) and Matthew 10:34, where Jesus warns those who would deny God, "Do not think I came to bring peace on this earth; I do not bring peace but a sword." The Buffy line may be a conincidence, but the biblical line may not - Angel sees himself as a champion of good, and Hauer has just denied the primacy of that value. Rather than try to persuade Hauer, presumably a chock-full-o-free-will, souled human being, that the world can be good, (as he spent S4 trying to do with Connor), Angel takes decisive action and removes Hauer from the world, an action redolent of his final decision to 'remove' Connor in 'Home.'

One of the first scenes in 'Conviction' may speak to your issues. Two boys discuss 'Punisher' comic books - the one tells the other he's not allowed to read them because they're too violent.

I've never read Punisher, but I did a little quick research, and learned that the character (Punisher, real name Frank Castle) was a Marine captain and Vietnam vet. His wife and children were murdered by the mafia. Castle reinvented himself as a vigilante, a self-proclaimed 'merciless scourge of the underworld.' He uses violent, often lethal methods of crime-prevention.

There seem to be parallels between Angel and Castle - loss of wife/love-figure Cordy and child Connor, vigilante scourge of the underworld (literally), and now, the use of lethal methods of helping the helpless.

I suspect that the fact that the script specifically mentions Punisher comic books is particularly significant - with 'Home' and now 'Conviction,' Angel has turned over a new leaf. He's compromised with evil and may feel that he has lost himself in order to save his son. He's hardened. He seems to have lost his conviction that people, or the world, can change. In 'Deep Down,' before kicking Connor out, he tries to explain why he has faith in their roles as champions: Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. - It's harsh, and cruel. - But that's why there's us. Champions. It doesn't matter where we come from, what we've done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. It doesn't matter where we come from, what we've done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world was what it should be, to show it what it can be. (from the 'Deep Down' transcript, at buffyworld.com)

(Oh, also, the only time the C word came up in 'Conviction' was when Eve called Angel "champ" slightly mockingly.)

With 'Home' and 'Conviction,' Angel seems to have lost interest in showing the world what it can be. He seems to have thrown in with the 'harsh and cruel' crowd - a harsh and cruel world begs for harsh and cruel actions that allow for no possibility of change or redemption.

As mentioned a couple of different times below, the title 'Conviction' seems particularly significant. Aruthesa's quotation from T.S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men" rings especially true when trying to understand Angel's actions and motivations in the final moments of the show-down with Hauer. He, Angel, is presented with someone who has full and passionate faith in his beliefs, while Angel seems to be floundering.

[> [> Whoops! I meant Yeats, not Eliot. -- Anneth, 13:29:39 10/02/03 Thu

[> [> [> Re: Whoops! I meant Yeats, not Eliot. -- Anneth, 13:56:51 10/02/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> compromise -- sdev, 00:43:02 10/03/03 Fri

Conviction and mercy are both possible motivational forces for action on Angel's part. He turns the standard thought on its head. He abandons his convictions not to kill people, abandons limitations on means employed, in order to fulfill his errand of mercy, saving the schoolchildren and the next possible undeserved victims of Hauser and his crew. If Angel lived up to his old convictions and spared Hauser, which victim would have been deprived of mercy because next time Angel might have gotten there too late to stop Hauser. He kills Hauser showing that acts of mercy, his mission to help the helpless, is greater than his prior convictions not to sink to the level and tactics of W & H.

Now he is on the inside and convictions must be abandoned if he is to continue to do good from within the consortium of evil. But how do you stay good when you are always compromising your convictions?

Hauser tells Angel the same thing when he gives Angel his uncompromised conviction of evil speech. You need uncompromised conviction if you want to be powerful against a single minded opponent. Conviction is power; mercy is unstable. And Angel chooses mercy to the helpless above all others including what means he uses to achieve that goal.

[> [> [> [> [> Angel's mercy -- Diana, 17:00:48 10/03/03 Fri

I saw the mercy that Angel showed to be not killing the other Operatives guy. That is the last mercy that guy will see. If he does something else, he has made his choice and Angel will deal with him accordingly. That sort of mercy will help to convert the opportunists at Wolfram and Hart.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Is this a new Angel? -- sdev, 19:55:47 10/03/03 Fri

Yes that appears to be one layer of meaning. But it does not address the new direction the character of Angel is taking in killing humans.

Is killing Hauser and sparing Op 2 to send a message something Angel did in the past? Is it acceptable? Is it corrupting him? What is the relationship between conviction and mercy? Is Hauser right in saying his pure conviction is more powerful than Angel's murkier version?

All questions with answers ahead.

[> [> Re: 'Punisher' tie-in, perhaps (5.1 spoilers) -- RJA, 13:41:18 10/02/03 Thu

Very much agree with what you say. Totally agree that Angel has lost that will or desire to show the world as it could be. And good choice of quote, especially in the fact that Lilah refers to it explicitly when offering them Wolfram and Hart (subtext being that its harsh and cruel, so we have to change our methods).

And yes, the Punisher! I firmly believe that this is a very important reference (have done since I read the sides about Angel blowing Hauser away). Another important thing about the Punisher is his stated intention to fight a war. He wasnt about revenge, but about killing the criminals that got away with it. The juxtaposition with Gunn letting the criminal off, and Angel violently dispatching one I think is another reference to the Punisher. That the Punisher would traditionally deal with those that were let off by someone like Gunn. A different kind of justice, and no mercy. Interestingly, they're making a film of it, although the tone of the film is that the Punisher is doing a very good thing. I think AtS will provide the antidote to this. Although from what I know, the personal price on the Punisher is immense, and there is an idea of how far he really is from those he kills. Very relevant to Angel(us) I think.

[> [> Re: 'Punisher' tie-in, perhaps (5.1 spoilers) -- heywhynot, 13:50:41 10/02/03 Thu

What also might be coming into play is Angel's reaction to learning that a PTB has been manipulating events in his life. Angel's miracle, his joy in life, was a pawn in order to bring Jasmine to earth. The fact his son has a complete meltdown following Jasmine's defeat only furthers the ring of truth to that idea. The last time we saw Angel being truly brutal was back in season 2, when he turned his back on the calling from the Powers.

What is interesting is that Hauer was evil, and fully gave himself to being evil. His choice in life, the choice Angel & gang restored to the world at the end of Season 4. Hauer is the living embodiment of what Angel fought for when he broke hold Jasmine had on people. Hauer was though not killed because he choose evil, he died for his actions based on that choice, to go after innocent children (very much an ends justify the means). He then acted to go after his boss

Actions do have consequences. Was it possible for Angel to bring Hauer to justice? Is it Angel's position to exact punishment? And what is exactly punishment at WH? Previously it has been shown that yes killing employees is part of the standard operating procedure. Angel is tapping into that, ruling by fear. Is there another way of dealing with the employees? Angel is the patriarch of the WH LA office filled with people who want a patriarch to follow or want to become the patriarch. The finale of BtVS was about the idealism of throwing off the chains of a patriarchal society but what about an environment in which the chains are not ready to be cast off? What happens then? How do you run things? How long can you say the ends justify the means?

[> [> Re: 'Punisher' tie-in, perhaps (5.1 spoilers) -- Miyu tVP, 14:05:22 10/02/03 Thu

amazing! the Punisher reference went right over my head. Thanks for pointing it out. It perfectly addresses the issues I had at the end of the ep. You can't even blink while watching this stuff or you'll miss the whole point! :)

After reading everyone's comments, I'm very worried about Angel. Seems like a big fat line has been crossed, and it doesn't look it will be easy to go back.

But, should make for great viewing!

[> [> [> Exactly -- RJA, 14:21:42 10/02/03 Thu

Who cares about the characters when it makes great TV ;-)

[> [> [> [> Re: Exactly -- Miyu tVP, 14:33:11 10/02/03 Thu

isn't that Joss's mantra? Story above all else?


BTW - wouldn't it be ironic if Spike ended up being their moral compass? Given Spike at the end of Chosen & Angel at the end of Conviction, Spike seems far more grounded.

[> [> [> Re: 'Punisher' tie-in, perhaps (5.1 spoilers) -- heywhynot, 14:29:10 10/02/03 Thu

Does an absolute of not killing humans make sense? Hauer was trying to do some serious harm to Angel. Hauer was going to lead a team of highly trained soldiers to wipe out a classroom of kids to prove a point on how things are done at WH. What other options does Angel have?

[> [> [> [> Re: 'Punisher' tie-in, perhaps (5.1 spoilers) -- RJA, 14:41:27 10/02/03 Thu

To not kill him? That would be a big option.

Plus, Angel is his boss - and has a wealth of back up on his side. If he can only kill his subordinates, what kind o boss is he? Or rather, how does he differ from a Wolfram and Hart boss?

There are almost always options. Angel just chose this one.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: 'Punisher' tie-in, perhaps (5.1 spoilers) -- heywhynot, 15:07:27 10/02/03 Thu

The point maybe that it is not who is running the system, rather the system itself. WH is run by fear and reward. That is what the employees are trained to respond to, nothing else. That is the system. Rewatching season 1 and 2 you really get a good sense of that. Angel and gang are playing in the lesser of two evils territory. If they don't run WH, someone who is evil will run it and committ more heinous acts. What is worrisome is that they are solely focussing on the people but not the system.

[> [> [> [> options... -- Miyu tVP, 14:49:29 10/02/03 Thu

... fire him, arrest him... the usual things that happen to people when they do something wrong.

The guy was a prick obviously, but my point is that repeatedly on Buffy we are told that it's not their position to administer punishment to human offenders. The Scoobies work relentlessly to protect Warren, Andrew and Johnathan... not because the 3 are innocent, but bc if Willow kills them in cold blood, it's wrong and she will have crossed a line that will make it difficult/impossible to ever go back to a normal life.

And, yes as in my first post, I conceded that this was kind of in the heat of battle, so it is fuzzy. But I got the impression that Angel knew full well he could have disarmed the guy without blowing his head off (also concede - cool move). He very camly states there will be no more mercy and marches off.

Not that I hold it against Angel, but in the world of Joss this is a MAJOR shifting of gears.

[> [> [> [> [> or, he could have given him a good spanking ;) -- Miyu tVP, 15:06:36 10/02/03 Thu

sorry. couldn't resist.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: options... -- heywhynot, 15:08:28 10/02/03 Thu

Angel did fire him. Could a person like Hauer really be arrested and tried under a court of law? Hauer is under Angel's authority. His actions do represent Angel whether he likes it or not. Are there many options left when you join up with WH and have to keep it running? Has Angel limited himself? My question was just that a question to think about where Angel and gang have placed themselves.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: options... -- CW, 17:25:45 10/02/03 Thu

Angel has always had a different set of absolutes than Buffy. Angel has killed his human enemies before including the infamous wine cellar/bomb shelter massacre at Holland's house. But, remember even Buffy is no saint. For example, the moment the Demon "Ken" from the ep. Anne is obviously helpless and incapable of pursuing the escapees further is the same moment Buffy says the immortal "Wanta see my impression of Ghandi?"

[> [> The quality of conviction (spoilers, all natural) -- fresne, 17:01:03 10/02/03 Thu

"With great power comes great responsibility"

"Spiderman does not get paid. Justice is his reward." (Although, I would argue that a career taking pictures of yourself is an oblique way of getting paid for justice, but whatever.)

"he has forsaken the law to take justice into his own hands."

So, to recap, Buffy is Spidey and Angel is the Punisher. Check. The Punisher it too violent for small children to read, but they can get around that. Check. A man with an automatic weapon, who wants to deliver a message to Angel about how Wolfram and Hart does things doesn't shoot out a window to let in the light. Rather he delivers his message about the quality of his convictions and then dies at Angel's mercy.

"The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there."
Merchant of Venice, IV, I.

"You have reached ritual sacrifices...loved ones...goat"

"5 And he (Aaron) shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin-offering, and one ram for a burnt-offering. 6 And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin-offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house. 7 And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scape-goat. 9 And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD'S lot fell, and offer him for a sin-offering. 10 But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scape-goat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scape-goat into the wilderness... (11-14 offering the bullock) 15 Then shall he kill the goat of the sin-offering that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy-seat, and before the mercy-seat:"
Leviticus, Ch 16

Now just for the record, I liked Eve. I don't see Eve (Adam's second wife according to some versions of the tale) as a replacement for Lilah, her name so like Lilith (Adam's first wife). Although, I suppose more precisely Delilah, who shorn Sampson's hair, stole his strength, brought him into the mercy of his enemies. And thus from the blind belly of the beast killed his enemies and himself. Destiny, fate, hairstyles. They play strange tricks.

I don't know if it was a trick of the light, but Eve's skin was so smooth. Unreal in an adult who has passed puberty. Out, out, damn spots. She's like an intern from hell, pun intended. She seemed young and old and perky and random and for heaven's sake I don't want to ever understand her. The apple merely grants the knowledge of good and evil. The choice to choose between the two. Even as the implacable Angel with the flaming sword chases the newly comprehending from Eden.

Red, crisp, apple. Red as blood. Goats. Otters. Pigs. Humans. All spilt on the alter of mercy. Sacrificed like the son. Isaac. Connor. That little boy. Bleating goats wandering in the desert. Just who will father Abraham sacrifice?

I can't help but think of Abraham's other son, who it seems is now reconstituted to argue once more with dad. Don't trust anyone over two hundred and thirty.

"Call me Ishmael." White whales. Jonah in the deep. Did you know that faux abalone is made from giant squid. That's not really germane to anything. I just think it's cool.

Also, was that a Hellraiser puzzle box that I saw Fred put on her desk? The puzzle, the door between dimensions, the bell that summons the Cenobites, "Demons to some, angels to others." Practitioners in pain, servants of the god Leviathan.

"It is not hands which call us, it is desire."

A puzzle, like an infinite apple peel of knowledge. A maze. A labyrinth. A double headed axe. A scythe. An amulet in a really tacky style.

And also, just for the record, Gunn, pinstripes, yes. Choosing to quick fill his mind with the only thing he lacked, knowledge. Not intelligence, for he was always smart. But the tools that come of education and confidence and using the muscle that lies within ones skull. Poor little buttercup, whatever is he becoming. A modern major general? A pirate king? Powerful? Responsible? Rewarded?

"Evil hand!" Do we assume that good and evil is like the switch on a Crusty the Clown doll? This Gunn is set to evil? Or, as the serpent would say, is it more complex than that?

[> [> [> Wow, excellent connections, fresne -- Scroll, 19:44:50 10/02/03 Thu

So Gunn is Lindsey, poor boy made new. Spike is Ishmael, the bastard son, whom God had mercy on and made into a great nation. Angel is Abraham and he is also God. The bronze triangle on the conference room wall reminds us of the Trinity. We have the Father, and we have a Son. Who is the Holy Spirit? The comatose Cordy? Goats aren't evil, per se, just used as vessels in which we dump our evil.

Knox and Harmony go with the flow, so if the flow goes good, will they? Spike might be able to show them the way: becoming good through socialisation rather than conversion, through habit rather than conviction. Connor is Isaac, the sacrifical lamb, and so is Matthew. (Fries isn't much of an Abraham, though.) Sacrifice of the son, in faith and love. But spared at the last moment when an angel of the Lord stayed Abraham's hand. And God provided a ram instead.

We're studying Genesis in my Sunday school class, and this past week we discussed the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which I find fortuitous in light of "Conviction". Amazing how worlds collide! How can gaining knowledge be bad? Why would God want to keep us from learning wisdom? From understanding both good and evil, and thus having the ability to choose for ourselves?

And so Angel and his ministers of grace (mercy?) saw the fruit was pleasing to the eye and good for food, and they have plucked the fruit and eaten of it. And their eyes were opened... Right? Well, our heroes haven't always the most clear-sighted, but let's give them a while to adjust to their new surroundings and I'm sure they'll really give W&H some heck.

Boy, Joss loves his Christian mythos.

And I love how Joss kept the camera away from AD's left side. I couldn't figure out what the heck was wrong all episode, until I read another review mentioning how we couldn't see Wesley's scar. Playing it close to the vest, Joss is. Can't wait for the bomb (figuratively, of course) to drop. Cuz Angel ain't God, and Angel can't play God, and Angel is not gonna get off scot-free for messing with his friends' memories. All speculation, of course, I'm unspoiled. But I anticipate corruption, division, and destruction come November sweeps, cuz the faux light of W&H's shiny new offices is really just the street light outside, and it's still nine hours until dawn.

[> [> [> [> Re: Wow, excellent connections, fresne -- Ponygirl, 07:00:51 10/03/03 Fri

And I love how Joss kept the camera away from AD's left side.

Oooh, very good! I was wondering about a couple of the shots of Wes, lots of profile and that one over the shoulder shot where we just saw his cheekbone. I couldn't figure it out - it seemed held too long for an awkward solution to not breaking the eyeline. Hmm.

And echoing the fresne praise... though some say Eve was actually Adam's third wife.

[> [> [> days of penitence--did you do this on purpose, fresne? -- anom, 12:56:24 10/03/03 Fri

'Cause it seems to good to be coincidence: The story of Isaac's birth & Ishmael's banishment is read in Jewish services on the 1st day of Rosh Hashanah, that of the binding & near-sacrifice of Isaac on the 2nd day...& the passage about the scapegoat on Yom Kippur. No Adam & Eve, though. And none of the haftarahs (readings from the Prophets) is Samson. But Jonah is read on Yom Kippur afternoon.

The 10 days from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur are called (among other things) the Ten Days of Penitence. We get 10 days to do penitence, review our lives, confess our sins, reconcile with those we've hurt & with God, make changes if we can, & then the book is sealed for the year: Who shall live & who shall die, when & how & in what circumstances. Will we be convicted? Will we find mercy? And on the show: Who will do penitence for what? Will there be reconciliation? Who shall live? Who shall die? When, how, & at whose hands?

Interesting parallel of Connor w/Isaac. Both set up to be sacrificed, but both survive, their lives altered by the experience. (There's lots of midrash--stories taking off from the ones in the Bible to speculate, fill in gaps, or try to reconcile apparent contradictions...come to think of it, it's kinda like Biblical fanfic!--about this incident: that Isaac was never the same afterward, that he was sacrificed, that Abraham actually failed the test by obeying God.)

Ishmael ==> whale ==> Jonah--love it! Spike as Ishmael...hmm. Well, Ishmael was sent away for mocking Isaac, & I can certainly imagine Spike snarking at Connor if they ever met.... I'm not sure how good an Abraham Angel makes, either, esp. after what looks like his break w/the PTB. "Just who will father Abraham sacrifice?" Which number do you press for a ram? Wasn't the sacrifice already made in Home? Who was Angel obeying when he made it?

I didn't like Eve. Maybe it was the perkiness, but I don't think that was the only problem. A linguistic note, though, on another meaning of her name: Night (lilah in Hebrew) is followed by Eve--time going backwards? I doubt anything like that is in the works, but the idea is cool. Or maybe Eve is Lilah lite--that sure fits. Twilight? Of the PTBs, maybe?

[> [> [> [> Ishmael -- Valheru, 23:32:31 10/03/03 Fri

Angel as Abraham seems appropriate. He is the grand patriarch, the touched-by-God. If Buffy is the Chosen One, Angel is the Prophecy Guy, destined to stop Acathla, Shanshu, and all sorts of neat Nostradamusness.

Darla would be his Sarah. The mother of his rightful child. But then, Sarah despaired at first, didn't she? She couldn't have babies, that one. But hey, why should she let that get her man down? It's not like someone else couldn't sire a son for him...

Enter Drusilla, the mad Hagar. Given to Abraham as a gift, from which to bear his fruit. Not that it was Darla's plan for Dru to give Angelus an heir, but this was a family touched more by Hell than Heaven.

And so Drusilla begets Spike, the bastard Ishmael. Angelus fills with pride (or whatever). "Now we're getting somewhere! I've got my wife, my daughter/mistress, and a bloodthirsty prodigal to carry on for me long after I dust. All's right in the world!"

Oops! Turns out things weren't as dandy as he thought. He gets second thoughts, sends his illegitimate family away, and after some soul-searching (literally), he comes back to good ol' Sarah. And whaddya know? The infertile wife comes through in the clinch! Miracle of miracles!

Pop! Out comes little Connor, the cute lil' Isaac. Isaac, the child no one thought was possible, who is as much a child of destiny as his father. From him, the Nation of Israel will be born--or in this case, the Nation of Jasmine. Fill in Cordy as Rebecca and Jasmine as Esau/Jacob and the family tree is complete.

As for the story of Abraham and Isaac...well, as Angel's story has been often upside-down from Father Abe's, this is no surprise. To prove his faith, Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son. Same with Angel, except he wanted Connor (in that incarnation) to die.

But back to Ishmael and Hagar. Who wander around in obscurity for a few years until God decides to go easy on them and let them be power-players too. So from Ishmael will come the Muslims, the Gen-X to the Hebrews' Baby Boom. Just as Spike and Dru are the new-and-improved (or so they believe) version of Angelus and Darla. They're younger, they're radical, they're the new power in town. Well, at least until that pesky Slayer showed up with her crosses and holy water...

And Joss calls himself an atheist. Pfft.

But what of that other Ishmael? The one on the boat? First, take a look at Ahab, whose name looks like a shorter version of the Bible's Father of Nations. Is Angel Ahab? Chasing after the white whale with reckless abandon? Are Wes, Fred, Lorne, and Gunn his "we do what he says cuz he's the cap'n" crew? And then is Spike Ishmael, the new kid on the deck who can't figure out why no one else can see that Ahab's nuts?

Gnaw your grits on that, mateys! Argh!

[> [> [> [> [> Savvy! Hilarious and perfect! -- Scroll, 11:26:50 10/04/03 Sat

Perfect match-up of Biblical characters and Angel characters. Drusilla is Haggar!

Not so sure about the Captain Ahab and crew thing, though. You could very well be right, of course, I just don't think I could stomach another season of Spike is right, of course he is, and everybody else is deluded and off-track.

Er, sorry, that was slightly bitter.

It could be interesting, it might be a good plot. Might not be what Joss is aiming for, since Gunn is just as gung-ho as Angel about W&H. Lorne is having the time of his life. Wes and Fred are the only ones still with doubts. It'll be interesting to see where Spike falls on this spectrum of Yay, W&H! vs. Uh, you guys sure this is a good idea?

Love the pirate-speak, either way :)

[> [> [> [> amazingly, there's yet still even 1 more -- anom, 10:57:47 10/05/03 Sun

Yesterday, the Torah reading began w/words very similar to those fresne quoted from The Merchant of Venice.

"Give ear, ye heavens, and I will speak;
And let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
My doctrine shall drop as the rain,
My speech shall distil as the dew;
As the small rain upon the tender grass,
And as the showers upon the herb.
For I will proclaim the name of the Lord;
Ascribe ye greatness unto our God."
Deuteronomy 32

"The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings...."
Merchant of Venice, IV, I.

Only the song Moses teaches the Israelites doesn't even mention mercy. It does start by telling them of God's love...& of the people's rejection of it, which leads to little if any more mercy than Angel showed. It goes on to say God will not turn entirely from S/His people & will enact vengeance against their enemies. We'll have to see over the season whether the show's father figure--whether God or Abraham, not exactly an Angel of mercy--will turn from his family.

Strange, huh? All this correspondence w/elements of the Jewish High Holy Days coming up after David Greenwalt, a religious Jew, left the show. I wonder if any of it was intended, or subconscious, or anything.

[> [> [> [> Easy fast Anom -- sdev, 13:55:18 10/03/03 Fri

Did ME do the goats on purpose? The goat set loose with the collective sins on its back is sent to Azazel, an expression commonly used to denote Hell. The goat carries away the sins of the populace thereby symbolizing atonement and a new start. The Ritual Sacrifice.

And none of the haftarahs (readings from the Prophets) is Samson.

You are correct but there is an indirect link to Samson. The Haftorah about Hannah (read on RH first day) who was childless and promised her child to the service of god, if god would grant her prayers and let her conceive, is the parallel story to Samson. Hannah gave birth to Samuel, the prophet, who devoted his life to god and also could not cut his hair (a Nazarite). This beginning was repeated with Samson. Samson was promised to god in the same way as Samuel and for the same reason, his birth answered the prayer of his barren mother.

[> [> [> [> [> what did you call me? @>) have an easy one yourself, if you do -- anom, 15:35:10 10/03/03 Fri

Great point about the Samson (wish we knew his mother's name!)/Hannah haftarah connection. If the thread's still up after Shabbes, I hope to go into that a little more.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Samson's mother -- sdev, 18:28:32 10/03/03 Fri

Sorry. You're all caps to me. I do fast.

Two references to Samson's mother. Manoah was Samson's father. She is called Manoah's wife in Judges 13 and further identified by the name Hazlalponi in Chronicles 1 (in Hebrew Divrei Yamim). Hazlalponi means 'acknowledged the angel' because an angel appeared to her to tell her she was going to conceive Samson and gave her instructions how to act since she was raising the savior of the Israelites from the hands of the Philistines. A champion.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> no, i meant... -- anom, 10:27:43 10/05/03 Sun

...I'm neither easy nor fast! But that's OK, I forgive you. @>)

I didn't know about the other reference to the Samson story--I'll have to have a look at it! But I can't figure how the name Hatzlalponi = "acknowledged the angel." Granted, my Hebrew is somewhat limited, but I don't see any roots in the name that correspond to either of the words in the translation. I may have more to say on this after Yom Kippur--too much to do before it!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> going deep OT -- sdev, 11:40:49 10/05/03 Sun

"I'm neither easy nor fast!"
And I'm dumb. (hitting self on head)

Zel=Shadow=Noncorporeal=An Angel
Poni=turned one's face towards=faced

Not my interpretation but that of commentators. In the text itself an Angel did appear to her.

[> [> [> [> Penitent mercy, flagellate platelets (spoiled with Conviction) -- fresne, 15:35:17 10/03/03 Fri

Entirely unintentional, unless it's a group mind sort of thing. Although, no wait, that is remarkably clever.

Ahem, yes, yes, of course I intended it. I

"I'm not sure how good an Abraham Angel makes, either, esp. after what looks like his break w/the PTB. "Just who will father Abraham sacrifice?" Which number do you press for a ram? Wasn't the sacrifice already made in Home? Who was Angel obeying when he made it?"

Angel seems to be Abraham in so much as he is "Father" Abraham, with many sons, and many sons who have Father Abraham. The insistence on that role each time he remakes his family. He could have played the recalcitrant son to the Master's lecturing father, but instead strikes off.

Forming his family of Dark Mother Darla, favored mad daughter Drucilla, and that idiot boy Spike.

And life twists, his family dissolves, reforms and then fate deals him a strange trick and he has this favored son. A blessing. Who'd have thought Darla's womb could quicken at such an age, in such a condition. She'd have laughed at anyone who predicted it. And that Darla is Angel's mother, his grandchild, only plays games with Abraham's sister wife.

The sacrifice has already been made, but it's been but a few days, their number not even forty. As Scroll points out, Angel assumes the roll of both God and Abraham in Home. Requiring and carrying out the sacrifice. And depending on which version of the Isaac story you go with (where the knife fell, there was no ram, goat, scape), arranging for his son's recovery after the sacrifice.

Course, I equally see Angel as blind Isaac, who wanted to lay blessings on his favored son, and instead is tricked into blessing champion birthright to the joker in the deck. To quote Homer, "D'oh!"

One more time to play out the father role. Except, no spoilers, I expect it will be far more difficult to cast off this son when words and snark battles by night. Snarks. They're like sharks only on land, with no gills. And possibly like pigs with wings, these Snarks fly.

Angel is in the belly of the beast. Although, since S3 was more the season of Ahab, I'll say that Angel is now spit up in the decadent city of Nineveh. He's Samson going, well now what? What good is it to run around and kill things, when a few days after complete zombification, the Wolf and the Hart are still there.

The devouring wolf. Grandmother is dead and Red Riding Hood has left the building. The woodman is left behind and he has no heart. Or is it that it does not beat. Or is it that it is a pig's heart. Lips as red as rubies. Mercy sleeping. The Hart, the son of Autumn. Plump and racked. The rack, the comfy chair, no one expects ninja lawyers. Larch. Apple. Fig. Fruit.

Angel, who has eaten the fruit of eternal life (with some small conditions), has his facsimile of the sun, wants to know, to help the helpless.

I consider the choice to not only reorder Connor's memories, but everyone else's as well. A choice that wipes away Wesley's "sin". That washes Cordelia's role in the affair of the twining night flower. Blood washes away sin.

See wasn't that easy. Never mind the mark on the wall. A little bleach washes away blood.

Except on that microscopic level where it remains.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Penitent mercy, flagellate platelets (spoiled with Conviction) -- sdev, 18:36:47 10/03/03 Fri

Great post. I contend that Connor is more parallel to Ismael (than Isaac) for two reasons-- the "mocking" is Connor going terribly awry at the end of S4, so wrong that he can not be left where and how he is. Also he was not almost sacrificed by his father but redeemed by being sent away as Ismael was. Ismael became a great nation because Abraham did not let him continue in his corrupt ways. He sent him away and Ismael reformed. To me that is Connor's story.

[> [> "The Quality of Mercy is not Buffy" s2 "I Only have Eyes for You" -- Rufus, 17:16:11 10/02/03 Thu

I only have eyes for you.....

XANDER: He killed a person and killed himself. Those are pretty much two of the dumbest things you could do.

WILLOW: I know, but... Well, don't you feel kind of bad for them?

BUFFY: Sure I feel lousy. For her. He's a murderer and he should pay for it.

WILLOW: With his life?

BUFFY: No, he should be doing sixty years in a prison, breaking rocks and making special friends with Roscoe the Weightlifter.

XANDER: Yikes. The quality of mercy is not Buffy.

[> [> [> Thanks, Ruf -- Anneth, 11:36:06 10/06/03 Mon

Perhaps, this season, the quality of mercy will not be Angel... see anom's post, below.

[> [> [> [> Re: Thanks, Ruf -- Rufus, 16:58:56 10/07/03 Tue

Or the ultimate test of Angel's mercy will occur this season.

[> [> "punisher" & possible foreshadowing (5.1 spoilers) -- anom, 10:49:05 10/03/03 Fri

I never read The Punisher much--just when he 1st appeared in other books, & I disliked him, so I didn't follow him into his own book. What I remember is that he started as a vigilante, going specifically after violent criminals who escaped legal justice. He eventually went (even more) over the edge & was going after people who committed minor crimes or even misdemeanors--shooting people who stole a piece of fruit from outside a grocery store or jaywalked. So I wondered if the reference to the character at the beginning of the episode might foreshadow a similar development, or devolution. We saw Angel cross one line when he killed Hauser. Maybe he or another character will reach the point the Punisher did. Although now that I've typed that out, I kinda doubt it--it may have just been about that line he already crossed, & where that will lead.

[> [> [> I think you may be on to something -- Anneth, 11:43:17 10/06/03 Mon

So I wondered if the reference to the character at the beginning of the episode might foreshadow a similar development, or devolution. We saw Angel cross one line when he killed Hauser. Maybe he or another character will reach the point the Punisher did. Although now that I've typed that out, I kinda doubt it--it may have just been about that line he already crossed, & where that will lead.

JW's a consumate story-teller; I just can't bring myself to think the Punisher scenes at the beginning and end are a throw-away; I suspect the theme will come up again. Even if Angel never does anything so Punisher-esque again (or goes on a 'violently punishing petty crimes' spree), will he ever sit back and consider the implication of his horrific act? When and how will the repercussions of his act be dealt with?

Mmm, such a juicy, ominous way to begin the season!

[> Re: "Conviction" issues (just a little side-note irony) -- Stephen, 21:07:24 10/02/03 Thu

Did anybody note the irony in Hauser, an employee of an evil law firm, talking about conviction the way he did. Sure, he meant it in a different sense than a law firm would think of convictions, but even so...

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