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thought-provoking synchronicity re: tricksters and ghosts -- leslie, 16:32:56 10/10/03 Fri

I am currently reading a book called The Trickster and the Paranormal by George P. Hansen. Only a little way into it, so I can't give an overall assessment, but I found this little bit interesting:

"Ghosts are liminal (intersitial) creatures. They exist in the netherworld between life and death, and they challenge the idea that there is a clear separation of the two. The dread evoked by such beings can be profoundly disturbing. Surprisingly, parapsychologists have largely neglected this, but folklorists have drawn attention to it. [Yay, folklorists!] William Clements' papers 'The Interstitial Ogre' (1987) and 'Interstitiality in Contemporary Legends' (1991) give a helpful introduction. Linda Degh and Andrew Vaszonyi noted that encounters with such entities raise primal questions such as 'Is there anything one can hang on to? Is there a solid basis on which one can base one's trust in this confusing universe?... It is not the individual who is separated from his security base ... The world itself has lost its protective familiarity.' It is precisely this that evokes such intense hostility to claims of the paranormal by some, and extreme anxiety in others, although it is rarely recognized consciously." (p. 66, emphasis mine)

So, first of all, if ghosts are eerie because they unnaturally blur the line between living and dead, what does the ghost of the undead do? Does it negate the blurring or intensify it? I would argue the latter--it certainly seems to be the option that the AI team assume. In that case, Spike's appearance as a ghost is extremely apt to this situation in which AI, and Angel in particular, now find themselves, in which all their certainties need to be questioned and they find their former assumptions about reality ("AI good, W&H bad; AI us, W&H them") challenged. And interesting that this discussion appears in a book on the Trickster, given that Spike is the archetypal Trickster of the Jossverse--again, I would say, intensifying his Tricksterness, rather than negating it.

[> sharin' the synchronicity (one spoiler for new Angel) -- cougar, 18:29:43 10/10/03 Fri

I am currently reading "Jung and Yoga: the Psyche Body Connection" by Juith Harris. After reading your idea of Spike and he life/ death split, and the meaning of what is solid and what is untangiable in human ife, I sat down to read my book and came upon this passage by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (p 112).

"The body is the discipline, the pattern, the law;
the spirit is inner devotion, sponaneity, freedom.
A body without a spirit is a corpse
and a spirit without a body is a ghost."

So I wonder if Spike's flip of existance is a journey to the other extream of seeking a soul. His challenge is to reconcile once being a body without soul, and now a soul without body, until he achieves a balance. This leads to being "human", where he can relate to others and "be close".

Instead of being a powerful king like Angel, or "love's bitch", he must find a way between these to poles, thereby becoming worthy of Buffy's love, and all that it represents in himself. His heroic deed with the "Holy Hand Grenade" gave him enough ego to qualify for true redeemability, but he needs to see things from a greater perspective then that to get beyond his heroic vrs degraded aspects.

I hope the writers explore these possibilities, in contrast with Angel's style of punitive withdrawl from life, and his sometimes morose upholding of a strict code. Angel's a swell fellow, but he could use a litle more trickster.

Buffy(sarcaticly): "That's funny"
Angel: "I'm a funny guy."
[> Spoiler for Angel 5.2 in Leslie's post -- Random, 20:07:07 10/10/03 Fri

[> [> Oh hell.Sorry about that. Long day. -- leslie, 20:20:12 10/10/03 Fri

[> Ghosts, Tricksters, Shadows, a ramble (spoilers 5.2 Ats) -- s'kat, 21:20:06 10/10/03 Fri

Interesting. I hadn't thought about the ghost aspect being another aspect of the trickster - but it works. Poltergeists after all are thought of as trickster spirits. And in the Harry Potter novels - J.K Rowling makes great use of a ghost that enjoys playing literal tricks on the students of the school.

In the ghost stories I collected both in Wales and the States, the ghosts did straddle two worlds - often forcing the inhabitants of this one to deal with their own insecurities, fears, and lack of control. In Wales, we had
female spirits which would turn into wheels of fire or hags disappearing into wells. In the States, the ghosts were usually male and associated with horrible crimes - the tale of the golden arm, or the vanishing hitchhiker legend are the more famous ones. (Its been a long time since I've thought of these things - so my memory may be off a bit - I collected the ghost stories in 1987-1988 and haven't really thought of them since.)

Meanwhile in literature - ghosts seem to fulfill the function of truthsayers or watchers - we have Hamlet's Father's ghost who informs Hamlet that he was murdered by Hamlet's uncle. While in Wuthering Heights the ghost of Cathy torments Heathcliff. Both ghosts act as a sort of conscience.

I have to admit when I first learned Spike was going to be a ghost - way back in July, I was not happy. I thought, how incredibly lame. I've since changed my mind. Why? Because it is the worst thing they could do to this character. It goes against Spike's central nature. Just as the worst thing they could do to Angel is give him control over W&H.
(At first I thought a soul - but no that's the worst thing you could do to Angelus, the worst thing to do to Angel is give him what he thinks he wants - control over his enemies business. Or the illusion of control.) Spike, remember, is a sensationalist. He loves touching things. He loves fists and fangs. Now he can't touch, he can't fight. Angel actually sort of helped him out in Just Rewards - providing him with a way of being of use of getting back at someone.
So Angel seems to understand this about Spike. So if Angel understands Spike's weaknesses, does Spike see Angel's? I think so, since Spike is the one who points out that running W&H is a bad thing for Angel.

Spike as trickster...interesting. I was watching Joan of Arcadia tonight - first time - and they were discussing the game of chess. Joan beats a chess wizard without ever having played the game or knowing how. She does it in seven moves. Throwing everyone for a loop. She asks God how this happened. God tells her - that she won because her opponent was playing with logic and she was just playing by instinct, she introduced chaos into the match and logic broke down - since logic can never quite deal with chaos. It doesn't always work out that way, God points out, but sometimes when you take someone by surprise it does. I think we can compare this to Spike's appearence on Angel.
Angel thinks he has everything under control. He gives this little speech about how they handle each case one at a time, then whammo - up pops Spike throwing everything out of whack.

Within a few hours - the AI gang discovers Angel has been withholding information from them. That Angel doesn't share everything. That maybe they don't have as much control as they think they do.

Spike also reminds Angel of the reasons he signed on with W&H - first Connor(his son of which Spike may be the vampire brother to) and second Buffy (the amulet and his guilt at not insisting on staying and being the champion who wore it). Both of these things Angel kept from his friends. One of which he erased from his friends' memories.
Spike's appearance reminds him of it.

Angel refers to Spike as his spiritual crisis and asks his friends to rid him of the spirit. They respond that they'd like to but it's not so easy and Angel suddenly is plagued by his conscience, after all he is partly responsible for Spike's plight...he can't quite get himself to smash that amulet and end Spike.

Spike affects both Angel's conscience as well as his relationships with his friends. He stirs the pot. Just as a ghost might stir the air - in paranormal terms - ghosts are considered electro-plasmic disturbances. Some term them hallucinations caused by guilt. They shake stuff up. Force us to look at the world through another lense.

Another interpretation might be that Spike has literally become Angel and AI gang's shadow self, just as he'd once been the Scooby Gang and Buffy's shadow - existing in the dark or the underground places -crypts/basements just above the hellmouth on Buffy - a hellmouth he eventually closes, now existing between two worlds out of phase above the chasm
of hell and linked to W&H, literally unable to leave the city limits or W&H, without being snapped back like a boomarang. This is an excellent metaphor for the hold that W&H has on the AI gang - the devil's bargain the five have signed with the evil law firm. Standing over the chasm of hell, unable to leave.

So Spike appears to be fulfilling multiple roles here. Not sure if that expands on the trickster theory or not.


PS: Nice to see your posts again leslie, I missed you.
[> [> Re: Ghosts, Tricksters, Shadows, a ramble (spoilers 5.2 Ats) -- leslie, 22:20:43 10/10/03 Fri

"Nice to see your posts again leslie, I missed you."

Thanks--it's been a hard summer of writing and I'm not out of the woods yet, but new Angelic grist for the mill--I've got to let off a little steam....

I agree entirely about incorporeality being The Worst Thing that could ever happen to Spike, Mr. Physicality himself. One thing I find interesting is that, after an explicit point is made about Spike not being big on sharing--from the points of view of both colleagues (AI) and lovers (Harmony), we immediately see him "sharing" with Fred. Why does he choose Fred? I'm not sure whether he is supposed to know this or not, but Fred is the only other person--aside from Angel--who has been sucked against their will into another dimension and trapped there. Then, too, earlier Spike made the point of Angel's position as his "grandsire," which implicitly draws attention to the linking figure between them, Drusilla. Angel(us) drew Drusilla from one state of being into another--human to vampire, sane to mad--and Dru did the same for William/Spike. Bad stuff. In contrast, Angel drew Fred from one state of being into another--Pylea to LA, mad to sane. Good stuff. So it makes a kind of structural sense that Spike would now turn to Fred as an anti-Dru to change his state of being again. You can also see Fred as an anti-Dru in their attitudes toward science--Dru doesn't believe in science, Fred is science. Spike explictly states that it is Fred, the scientist, rather than Wesley, the occultist, who can help him. All of this seems to be going in a very rationalizing direction. But at the same time, the levels of science that Fred works with, the very advanced and theoretical physics, is notoriously governed by very Tricksterish particles and their behaviors. You can only know what direction something is moving in or how fast it's going, but not both? How Tricksterish is that? Quarks? Fred's science deals exactly with Spike's current state of being. So we have to ask, just how smart is Spike, after all? He gives himself very low marks for extended logical thought ("blood's moving in the other direction"), but as often as not he hits on the right conclusion through pure intuition. Or? He's a Trickster. The Trickster's primary emotional bond, according to Barbara Babcock-Abrahams, is with an older woman, a mother or grandmother. William's biological mother, Anne; Spike's vampire mother, Drusilla; New Spike's anti-mother, Fred? Is it simply following his Trickster instinct that leads him here? (Incidentally, I'm not suggesting anything sexual between Spike and Fred, in fact, the reverse. William's relationship with Anne was predicated on his rejection of sex; Spike's with Dru on an excess of sex; I would say, again looking at this structurally, that his relationship with Fred would be marked by sex not being an issue at all.)
[> [> [> Re: Ghosts, Tricksters, Shadows, a ramble (spoilers 5.2 Ats) -- s'kat, 10:45:21 10/11/03 Sat

Thank you for putting that so well. I had a similar reaction to the Fred & Spike scene. And agree.

Spike is an interesting character to me, partly because of his trickster qualities - his inherent contradictions.
With Spike, what you see is not necessarily what he is or what you get, as Buffy eventually figured out and states in Never Leave Me. "You think now that you've got a soul drenched in blood, you know me? You don't even know you. " I think the chorus of the Aimee Mann Song in Sleeper is a very good character description of Spike:
"Trading clothes and ringing pavlov's bell". William has changed costumes and personas so many times now that I'm not sure William knows who he really is. He has out of necessity become a trickster - playing the role that is expected of him by whomever he meets. Whether this was always part of his personality or coping mechanism he adopted after being turned by Dru, we don't know. But it makes sense when you think about his artistic leanings and his education.

I'm no historian, but from what I've read of interviews and seen on the shows - I think William was well educated, may have even been over-educated. He was at a party of well-educated scholars when we first meet him in Fool For Love.
And lives in a wealthy townhouse with his mother, no father present and no mention of siblings. The fact he has time to write poetry and writes it at all, regardless of how bad or good it is, demonstrates that he studied it and has an education. But what really demonstrates the education is how he changes himself after his mother's death. Note when he is first turned he still goes by William, Dru desires a nickname, but he's not really into one at this point, also he still speaks like an upper-class educated Londoner. Later, not sure how much later, except it's the same year, in Yorkshire as opposed to London, we have Spike talking like a cool miner with a heavy Cockney/North London lower class accent. He curses now. He's rough and tumble. He has literally stripped away the trappings of his upper-class roots and adopted a lower class style which clearly annoys the hell out of Angelus yet intrigues Drusilla. Someone on the board once mentioned Drusilla was lower class, Cockney - so perhaps he changed his style to please her? Just as he wrote the poetry in an attempt to please his mother - to be the man he believed his mother wanted him to be - so when he sires his mother and she turns on him denouncing his efforts to please her - he tosses that persona aside as unsuitable and constructs a new one. Is the new one a means of coping with his mother's rejection? Or a means of dealing with his new vampire family? Or a way of pleasing DRu? Or an act of rebellion? Or perhaps all four combined?
Then when he falls for Buffy? He does it again, changes coats, but Buffy is a tough one - she's not sure who she is or what she wants - so no matter how brilliant a quick change artist Spike is - he can't quite locate what Buffy wants. He becomes sex god for her, he is courtly lover, he is knight errant, he is bad boyfriend, he is shadow, he seeks a soul, he throws away his jacket, he takes the jacket back, and so on...She forces him to literally unravel himself in his attempts to please her - which briefly drives him insane. And reveals who he is, we think.
Now on Angel, he's vulnerable again, unsure of his bearings, and unable to control his own physicality.
So we see the snark.

Fred is an interesting person for Spike to seek out. And Angle and Harm are right, Spike isn't the sharing type. Oh it looks like he shares - but all you see is the bravado, the layers. Just as Angel isn't exactly the sharing type.
Except for Wes and for a while Cordy - who Angel did occassionally share with. (Actually I found the sharing line very ironic - since we as an audience know how little Angel has told his friends about the whole W&H situation.)
But back to Spike. Why did the writers's choose Fred (outside of obvious storyline reasons)? I'd have chosen her as well actually.

Fred to me has some trickster characteristics. She plays with dimensions. It's Fred after all who reveals to everyone who Jasmine is. And it is Fred who ends up forcing Gunn's hand in Supersymmetry. And Fred who brings the AI gang to Pylea forcing Angel and Lorne to deal with their demonic side. Fred like William, came from a loving family.
Like William, Fred is a nervous person. In Fool For Love, the stuttering, somewhat shy William reminds me of Fred and Giles.

Also in the room - Wes suggests exorcism. Fred suggests finding another way. Fred is the one who doesn't think making someone gone is a good thing. An interesting contrast between Wesely and Fred. Wes believes in "putting someone out of their misery" is a mercy. Fred doesn't.
Note Fred wanted to send Seidel to hell not kill him outright. Fred relies more on the mystical properties of science, while Wes relies on magic.

Fitting with Spike, who like Connor, has no use for magic.
In BTVS - he is constantly snarking at the SG's use of magic. Telling Giles in Something Blue that he doesn't really like spells they have tendency to go wrong. Or Xander in Afterlife that the problem with magic is there's nasty consequences. Spike seems to prefer science. Dru didn't believe in the chip, but Spike clearly did. Spike also remember figured out how to get in and out of the Initiative.

When JM and people mention that Spike isn't very bright, I wonder what they consider bright or smart. Because this is a character who found a way to survive for over a hundred years. HE is described by Wesely as the second worste vampire in the world next to Angelus. He survived a hundred years with an insane and unpredictable vampire. He found a way to trick Angelus and help Buffy save the world. He figured out how to cure Drusilla when she was ill. He figured out how to survive with the chip which made it impossible for him to feed. He figured out how to get a soul. And he figured out to break up the SG. Granted he may not see all the consequences of his actions or perhaps without the soul/conscience - consequences aren't something one thinks of. But he certainly came up with some inventive and sucessful moves. Far more successful than The Master or a host of other villians.

According to Angel - the plan to do in Hainesly was a dual effort. So Spike clearly contributed to it and was very good at carrying it through. So he's bright enough to do under-cover work. But than isn't that Spike's modus operandi? To play someone else perpetually? Buffy - note - sucked at under-cover work. Spike is very good at it.
That also takes intelligence.

I think Spike told Fred the truth when he mentioned that he came to her because she's good with science. I also think he's clever enough to figure out that with Fred honesty and sharing get you much further than lies. I'm not sure if he realized the irony of asking Fred. Probably not, since I can't imagine Angel telling Spike about Pylea. But it does add an interesting layer to the proceedings.

I also agree - I'm not sure I see a Spike/Fred sexual ship so much as a friendship. But then I'm not sure romantic/sexual ships work amongst the regular characters.
The difficulty is if they stay happy - it gets boring, so you have to break them up. If they stay apart forever - it gets redundant. I much prefer the friendship dynamic. That said, I wouldn't put it past ME to go there.
[> [> [> [> Also, Fred is female. -- Arethusa, 13:15:26 10/11/03 Sat

Spike seems to be more comfortable with women than with men. He might understand them better and trust them more, due to his close relationship with his mother.

Could the Mayor have saved Sunnydale in Chosen? -- dmw, 10:01:40 10/11/03 Sat

The Mayor never states his reasons for the Ascension explicitly, so we can only speculate on why he wanted to Ascend. As the Mayor showed no desire to destroy the world like the typical Buffy villain, what did he want to do with all that power? Given his love for civic virtues, perhaps he was building his power to save the world and the city he built.

Sunnydale had to have some way to deal with apocalypses before Buffy's arrival, and the Mayor is the most likely person to have dealt with them. Who stopped the Master the first time? Was that earthquake just a coincidence? Who kept the US government out of Sunnydale or at least largely under control and out of sight until season 4? Who dealt with the Temple of Prospexa the first time? Finally, was it destiny or perhaps instead our favorite Sunnydale politician who opened up a job for Joyce and a school willing to accept a delinquent like Buffy at the beginning of season 1, knowing that someone had to deal with the Master with finality?

Knowing the potential of the First Evil, who interestingly initially manifested itself during season 3 when the Mayor was the Big Bad, could the Mayor have had plans to deal with it? The Mayorsnake looked like it could have eaten the ubervamps as a light snack, and it wouldn't have done them much good to walk out of the Hellmouth right into the Mayor's gullet. While the Slayer was useful to deal with minor villains like vampires and little demons, she was obviously inadequate to deal with the First Evil. After all, it was Wolfram and Hart's amulet that stopped the FE's plan in the end. I wonder who the Mayor's law firm might be...

It's true that he's not a classical hero, being quite willing to sacrifice individual lives to achieve his goals, but so were most of the great leaders of history. To take an example from American history, FDR did everything he could to get the US into WWII, knowing that it was the best hope to get the US out of the Great Depression by giving the US leverage to break up the British trade block and rollback the formation of the new European and Pacific hegemonies under German and Japanese control. The war cost around 400,000 American lives, but it propelled the US to unparalleled heights of economic and military power. It was a sacrifice America's leaders considered worth making, though obviously the war wasn't presented to the public in such clear realpolitik terms.

Was the graduating class of Sunnydale a similarly justifiable sacrifice for the Mayor to save his city from the FE?

[> Re: Could the Mayor have saved Sunnydale in Chosen? -- Dlgood, 10:51:34 10/11/03 Sat

That's certainly a radical reinterpretation of the Mayor.

It's instructive to note that the mayor offered infants as sarifice in tribute to a demon. If the mayor intended to oppose the FE, I highly doubt it was for benificent purposes.
[> [> Good vs Evil or Realpolitik as Usual? -- dmw, 08:32:42 10/12/03 Sun

It's instructive to note that the mayor offered infants as sarifice in tribute to a demon.

I know when people bring up infants like this, we're supposed to be horrified, but I don't think it's worse than sacrificing an adult. I have to give FDR the win on being more evil as he sacrificed adults and lots of them to achieve his goals. Actually, with the Allied bombing campaigns, especially the firebombings of Dresden and the major Japanese cities, he was responsible for killing far more infants as well. There's a reason that dropping the atomic bomb wasn't a moral quandary for America's leadership at the time. It was only expected to produce 20,000 casualties and they'd already done far worse to many other cities with convential weapons.

So do we judge the Mayor by normal standards of good and evil, or do we judge him as we judge great leaders in history? I think FDR made the correct decision to get the US in WWII, but I don't view the conflict through the overly simplistic good vs evil, they hit us first, view of American high school history texts. There were huge costs in human suffering, but I think they were worth it, though some of them could've been avoided in retrospect.

The Mayor has the disadvantage of losing in his bid for power, but I'm sure he would've whitewashed everything as well as the US has done for WWII if he had. Yes, he clearly believed that his goal justified some terrible means, but so did almost every other great leader we admire from history. Look at Ghandi's refusal of the smallbox vaccine because it was British and how many Indian lives that cost. I think the Mayor was engaging in realpolitik as usual, and that we cannot conclude that his goals were evil simply because his means were.
[> [> [> 'Realpolitik as Usual?' -- Dlgood, 09:31:30 10/12/03 Sun

Well, as it turns out, I happen to have worked under Henry Kissenger at a Realist Think Tank.

And as a Realist, there have to be certain fundamental social interests the politician follows in their bids for power. And in general, one of those social values is the safeguarding of the lives of the population.

Adult soldiers are often seen as resources, because they act as part of the social contract that builds the state. Infants, on the other hand, do not choose to be a part of the community. And just as important, the primary resurce value of children is that they turn into adults.

The Realist state does make sacrifices, but only sacrifices critical interests when actually necessary. As we learn, the baby sacrifice isn't necessary since they could have just killed Lurconis. That Mayor Wilkins doesn't, and wanted to sacrifice those babies indicates one of two things:

A) Wilkins cannot competently assess realpolitical values and calculate what he actually needs to do. Conflating it with what he wants to do.

B) Wilkins places desire for power, over the fundamental community values he is supposed to be pursing - unless EVIL is one of those values.

Personally, I don't think it's Realpolitik, and if it was, he's just not competent at it.

I worked under Kissenger at the Nixon center. I'm quite familiar with the boundaries between needs of Realpolitik and Evil. And IMHO, EVIL is one of the Mayor's fundamental values.
[> [> [> [> Re: 'Realpolitik as Usual?' -- dmw, 10:46:21 10/12/03 Sun

Adult soldiers are often seen as resources, because they act as part of the social contract that builds the state. Infants, on the other hand, do not choose to be a part of the community. And just as important, the primary resurce value of children is that they turn into adults.

Well, from a resource perspective, the Mayor has as many adults as he needs (and the world in general has too many, especially Americans with their high resource consumption levels) and the infants aren't going to become adults before the Ascension or the FE arrives, so they have no value to him in this conflict outside the sacrifice, which may be necessary to save them as well as their parents from the future apocalypse.

As for the social contract perspective, it's interesting, but it's not how I derive the value of human life, so it doesn't impact my conclusion that sacrificing an infant is no worse than sacrificing an adult soldier. Since we can't agree on that part of the argument, you can go back to the huge numbers of infants that were killing in the Allied bombing attacks. How would you reply to that?

As we learn, the baby sacrifice isn't necessary since they could have just killed Lurconis.

The flaw in your argument is that you present a false dichotomy. There are other possibilities outside of the two to which you attempt to constrain us to. You appear to be deciding that he's evil and thus only presenting choices which derive from that idea, thus assuming what you're trying to prove.

Why do you think that the Mayor isn't gaining something necessary from the sacrifice? Don't you think he has or needs to obtain something for Lurconis in return for the sacrifice? Even if the Mayor already had what he needed from the demon, which is unclear, betraying Lurconis might have prevented the Ascension by causing his other demonic sources to back out on their deals with him because of the betrayal. Traditionally demons don't take betrayal well, and having them refuse to uphold their bargains is just the beginning of what they might have done to him.
[> [> [> [> [> Re: 'Realpolitik as Usual?' -- Finn Mac Cool, 13:37:10 10/12/03 Sun

The general assumption that the death of a soldier isn't as bad as that of an infant is that, except during times of a draft, soldiers choose to fight and risk their lives. As such, it seems less tragic since they knowingly took the risk, whereas non-soldiers have no choice in the matter.
[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: 'Realpolitik as Usual?' -- dmw, 16:20:04 10/12/03 Sun

While volunteering does change the ethics of the situation, the US did use conscription during WWII and few of the millions of civilian who were killed volunteered to be victims of the Allied bombing raids.
[> Yes! Finally someone else... -- Random, 11:07:51 10/11/03 Sat

...who sees the Mayor and his dream in the same terms as I do. You present the points well, and I'm about to go for a long drive, but I hope to be able to expand on them when I return.

(BTW, d'H has granted me permission to take over and update the Mayor character essay to account for the last two years. He doesn't know it, but I have real plans for this essay. I already have some ideas on the very subject you bring up that I will be sharing.)
[> [> I look forward to reading your revised essay. -- dmw, 16:21:19 10/12/03 Sun

[> Re: Could the Mayor have saved Sunnydale in Chosen? -- heywhynot, 11:54:44 10/11/03 Sat

I don't think the Mayor was planning for the First Evil. All evidence suggested that the First never really had a plan until after Buffy came to Sunnydale. Pure demon is what the Mayor became. Pure Demons do not like humans running around on their earth, hence they were banished from it.

I do not argue that the Mayor dealt with the Master and the other issues of Sunnydale prior to Buffy's arrival. He was waiting for his time and did not want anything to mess with that.

Besides the rule of the Mayor would of been like the rule of Jasmine. Anyone who defies is dealt with quickly. Don't floss after dinner, off with your head.
[> Re: Could the Mayor have saved Sunnydale in Chosen? -- Sgamer82, 15:41:15 10/11/03 Sat

I always figured the Mayor wanted the power of a demon simply for the sake of having the power. Kinda fits in with his being a politician really.
[> But the Mayor did hint at his plans -- Tyreseus, 16:31:32 10/11/03 Sat

In "This Year's Girl," Faith gets the tape from the Mayor:

Mayor: Hello Faith. If you're watching this tape, it can only mean one thing. I'm dead. And our noble campaign to bring order to the town of Sunnydale has failed. Utterly and completely. But on the other hand, heck, maybe we won. And right now, I'm on some jumbo moniter in the Richard Wilkins Museum surrounded by a bunch of kids sitting Indian style and looking up at my face filled with fear and wonder. (Laughs) "Hi kids!"

You could definately make a case for your hypothesis that the Mayor was keeping Sunnydale relatively safe. Obviously, he didn't really want other "big bads" screwing up his plans.

From "Lover's Walk"
Mayor Wilkins: I'm just funning. So, we have a Spike problem, do we? (takes another shot)

Allan: He's been spotted back in town.

The Mayor's shot is on target this time, but comes up short. He lets out a frustrated sigh and goes to retrieve his ball.

Allan: And there was an incident at a magic shop in broad daylight. Police had a hell of a time covering it up.

Mayor Wilkins: (drops the ball) (laughs) Well, yes, y'know, he was up to all sorts of shenanigans last year. We had a world of fun trying to guess what he'd do next.

Allan: I remember. (leans against the Mayor's desk)

The Mayor whistles at Allan, who immediately stands back up.

Mayor Wilkins: But I guess we're past that now. This year is too important to let a loose cannon rock the boat.

The converse side of your theory, even using that tape as evidence that the Mayor planned to bring "order" to Sunnydale, is that as a demon, he was just interested in eating the population. He could have lied all along to Faith (and everyone else) just to keep them on his side, when his ultimate plan was simply to devour as much as possible.

But the evidence seems to point towards a world in which Snake!Wilkins was worshipped (through fear - not Jasmine-like love) and fed on a regular basis.

Harmony -- shambleau, 11:43:26 10/11/03 Sat

I like Harmony. But, in the grrrl-power Jossverse, her portrayal is a little, I don't know, problematic. It isn't just that she's ditzy, unaware and stupid (And given that all the characters share that view of her, Wesley's picking her out of the steno pool makes NO sense). It's that these characteristics seem to be such cardinal sins for the writers that she's almost never given full personhood. It's shooting fish in a barrel to make fun of her all the time, and by now it bugs me. For Pete's sake, even Andrew was given some depth. At the end of Storyteller, he achieves genuine poignancy.

Not Harmony. When she's hurting, it's almost never shown as something to be taken seriously. The one exception I can think of is when she's walking around the campus in the same circular pattern as Buffy and Anya. Even there, she mostly picks up sympathy by association.

Her attempts to be good in Disharmony, such as resisting biting Cordelia, trying to become a member of the Fang Gang, are treated as pathetic, not as highly unusual for a vampire. Only Spike tried to do anything similar. And Spike tried to be good for Buffy, not because he saw anything wrong with what he'd done.

Yes, Harmony was easily swayed back to evil, which is the natural tendency of vampires anyway. But, she gets no credit from the viewers or the writers for trying. In Just Rewards, when she shows a moment of grief for Cordy being in a coma, it's immediately undercut for comedic effect. Harmony is too shallow and stupid and insensitive to have real feelings. There's something elitist going on here.

I do think Fury in particular has a certain fondness for Harmony. And I understand that her role on the show is comic relief. But Anya, Cordelia and Andrew functioned in that way and were still given moments of grief, compassion and empathy that made you see them in a different light. I'm hoping that they do something similar with Harmaony, but I'm not holding my breath.

[> Re: Harmony -- Alison, 12:36:46 10/11/03 Sat

While I agree with you that the writers have under developed Harmony to a certain extent, I think MM does a lot with her performance (just rewatch Pangs, HLOD, or The Real Me), especially since her role is given so little depth. MM's acting skills make sure Harmony comes off as more than just a joke, or a plot device, no matter what ME may have intended.
[> Re: Harmony -- eeeevol76vamp, 13:01:20 10/11/03 Sat

I fear that the writers might give her her moments of grief and empathy by dragging Spike through the mud aka regressing him into season 4 "bad boyfriend".
[> They've already done that storyline, though -- Finn Mac Cool, 13:06:42 10/11/03 Sat

Taking the shallow, self-centered valley girl and giving her depth and viewer sympathy was the original storyline for Buffy and Cordelia. Doing it again would be redundant. And what's so wrong with a totally one dimensional character? It's not like she's a main character or even one who effects the plotline in almost anyway. If she weren't shallow, underdeveloped, and existing solely as a joke, the writers would have no reason to put her on the show at all.
[> [> Isn't Harmony supposed to be One-Dimensional? -- Sgamer82, 15:38:11 10/11/03 Sat

I thought her being one-dimensional was sort of the point. At least it was in Disharmony when comparing her to Cordelia then. She's like the grad who never grew.
[> [> Re: They've already done that storyline, though -- shambleau, 10:19:08 10/13/03 Mon

You forgot to add Andrew, Anya and Jonathan. Maybe Warren, too. For that matter, first season Giles, Willow and Xander were types more than full-fledged people. Giving depth to one-dimensional characters is an ME specialty. Since she's going to be around, give her a chance,too. It didn't feel repetitive when they did it over and over with other characters, it felt engrossing. It can be with her, too.
[> [> [> Re: They've already done that storyline, though -- Finn Mac Cool, 11:33:39 10/13/03 Mon

I wasn't talking about developing one-dimensional characters in general; I was talking about the valley-girl cliche developing depth. The other examples you give start off as different sorts of one-d's a grew. Harmony, however, would have to follow in the direct footsteps of Buffy and Cordelia.

Also, I simply see no need for Harmony to develop. While it can be nice to see hidden depth in characters, there are some cases where we just have to except that they really are that shallow, and I think Harmony is one of those. I mean, if ME wants to develop Harmony, they can go ahead if they think they can do it well. But Harmony has gained appeal with the audience specifically because of her stupidity and complete superficiality; I don't see the problem in maintaining that.
[> [> [> [> It gets to the point -- Dlgood, 11:47:43 10/13/03 Mon

Where these storylines become rote and cliche.

What is the purpose of showcasing Harmony's "depth" - what does that add to the overall story that Cordelia and Spike's evolutions already did not?

And as FinnMac Cool noted, will making Harmony "deep" defeat the purpose of evolving her. ME's already cast Cordelia adrift, in part because her evolution rendered her a character the writing staff wasn't interested in anymore.
[> [> [> [> [> Re: It gets to the point -- shambleau, 12:30:36 10/13/03 Mon

Again, as I stated below, there is a difference between evolution, or growth, or whatever you want to call it, and depth. I think there is a real danger in the growth model, for drama, or psychologically for that matter. The only thing that keeps on growing forever is cancer. I'm with Giles on people pretty much being who they are, no matter how much they seem to have changed.

That's why Cordelia is the perfect example of the perils of evolution in drama. I feel Saint Cordelia was forced onto the real Cordelia for plot reasons. The more compassionate she became, the less interesting she was.

I'm not saying Harmony has to change and grow. I'm with Faith on that-I don't want group hugs. But you can do a number of things with Harmony that delve into her psychology and complicate things for the Fang Gang. She can become more and more bitter about how she's dismissed and condescended to by everybody. Eve could manipulate her resentment, or her feelings that she always screws things up. She told Cordy about that in Disharmony. Or show her getting goofily enthused about something or someone and getting hurt. I don't see why feeling a little sympathetic toward her is going over old ground.
[> [> [> [> [> [> If we're talking about sympathy -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:05:24 10/13/03 Mon

Then I know I felt sympathetic towards Harmony in "Harsh Light of Day", "Real Me", and "Crush", so it has been done (keep in mind I haven't seen "Disharmony" yet). Granted, there's not much of that so far in Season 5 of "Angel", but she hasn't really been on screen too much, has she?
[> Lingering human qualities -- Tyreseus, 16:16:16 10/11/03 Sat

I see your point, shambleau, especially the one about Harmony trying to be good in "Disharmony."

Harmony, VampHolden (from "Covnersations with Dead People"), and a scattering of other vampire characters remind me of the episode with The Judge where we learn that vamps can "stink of humanity."

Harmony is clearly one of those vamps for whom humanity still has a great foothold. So was VampHolden (why else would he stop the fight ot the death to help Buffy cope with her psychological dilemma?).

Maybe what we need to see in Harmony isn't the ditzy Valley chick geting depth, maybe we need to see her turn to true evil and purge her humanity once and for all. Spike could be the catalyst for this. It would be interesting to see the inverse of the Buffy/Cordelia plot... a girl who goes really bad.
[> [> Re: Lingering human qualities -- leslie, 17:03:50 10/11/03 Sat

I don't know, I think Harmony's descent into grief over Cordelia was a great additional dimension to her previous relationship with Cordy. In high school, it was clear that Harmony hung with Cordy for reflected glory, and as soon as Cordy jeapordized her coolness by falling for Xander, Harmony was the ringleader in humiliating Cordy at the first opportunity. And that was while she was still human, for chrissake.

I have always found Harmony exceptionally irritating, but I find myself warming up to her now. Even if she's evil and a vampire, she seems to have finally taken a few hard knocks that actually penetrated her thick skull. Her reaction to Cordy's coma, again--at least 3 levels: she's appalled that Cordy is in such a state, with what seems to be some genuine empathy; at the same time, she sees Cordy's situation only as it affects her, in the loss of her "best friend"; and the speed with which she snaps out of both levels 1 & 2 is almost like jerking back from an electric shock--don't go there, it hurts!

The scene between Spike and Harmony at her desk also had a very different tone from their former sniping. Spike always had this edge in his voice like he was about to completely lose it when he was correcting Harmony's inanities, like he absolutely hated her for not being Buffy or Dru, for reminding him that he was not with either Buffy or Dru, that her very existence caused him almost unbearable self-loathing as well as loathing of her, but he couldn't somehow disentangle himself from her, and what made Harmony so pitiful was that, while she knew that she wasn't getting what she wanted and felt she deserved from him, she was completely oblivious to why he was acting like he was. They were like two people screaming at each other in languages the other didn't understand, getting increasingly frustrated that the other wasn't getting what they each were saying so damn clearly. This time, while Harmony is still going on in her passive-aggressive rant, even though Spike uses all the old insults in responding, it's like he's playing the game: Oh yeah, I remember this, your role is to natter, mine is to snipe, but they're just roles, they're not real. The surface is the same, but the underlying dynamic seems to be shifting. It's turned almost into the anthropological concept of "ritual insult"; in some cultures, people in certain defined roles vis-a-vis each other (often mother-in-law and son-in-law, or men of different age groups and social statuses) are not supposed to speak to each other without insulting each other; it's a ritualized way of maintaining social distance and role boundaries, but there is no real anger underlying the insults.
[> [> [> Re: Lingering human qualities -- Dlgood, 11:56:47 10/12/03 Sun

In those terms, Harmony's relationship with Spike is almost exacly like Spike's relationship with Buffy in S6.

Ultimately, I don't see Harmony moving beyond what she is, primarily because she is a sheep. She's just not that motivated or driven. Some people don't grow and change. I don't see why Harmony has to.
[> She is still a vampire -- Diana, 16:46:34 10/11/03 Sat

And as such, she will be used to show the differences between Angel and Spike as souled vampires and herself as an unsouled one. It is a fine line they have to walk, but I think the writers are doing a great job. They both let her have her moment of grief and then undercut it because she is SOULLESS. That soullessness will only allow her to develop so far, so we won't be in danger of revisiting Queen C's arc. I like the undead girl trying to make it in the big city. Not every arc has to be about redemption.

It isn't she is shallow, stupid and insensitive. It is she is SOULLESS.
[> [> Re: She is still a vampire -- Sgamer82, 12:07:14 10/12/03 Sun

Yeah, she could improve herself is she wished. But being soul-less, she doesn't really give enough of a d-word to want to.
[> [> Harmony's soul(s) -- skeeve, 08:31:33 10/13/03 Mon

What was in the steno pool?

Al la Darla, Spike's character might have been changed by the human souls he hung around with.

If the steno pool consisted of vampires, Harmony might not have had that benefit.
Her new job might change that.
If it does, how long will it take for our heros to notice.
How long will it take them to figure out the cause?

"You know what we do with company spies, Farnsworth?
We throw them into the secretarial pool --- alive."
-- a cartoon I saw
[> [> Redemption and depth are not the same -- shambleau, 08:54:03 10/13/03 Mon

I wasn't saying that she needed to be redeemed. It's just that she doesn't matter, and it's because she's stupid. By depth, I mean in ME's treatment of her.

Judy Holliday played characters like Harmony and brought out their pathos. "Jerry Maguire" was about the crisis of a shallow man. Shallowness is not a crime, and shallow people can be hurt and bleed, too. There's no such thing as a one-dimensional person. Or vampire, for that matter, at least the ones who get featured roles. Harmony is treated like dirt by EVERYONE and there's some drama there.

Some more Angel and Spike (Just a few spoilers for 5.2) -- Deb, 15:07:27 10/11/03 Sat

And the 100 years of penance vers. three weeks in a basement (Which I know it was more than three weeks, but this is Angel's perception.)

In Biology II while in High School, I worked all semester long on a blood pressure study. I learned how to approach the reserch, how to write it up, how to make it as "academic" as possible. I was wanting an "A" of course, but I also had my eye on the Biology II award and scholoarhip (a pithy $100). Everyone told me I was a shoe-in to win. I thought so too. Leslie was in my class. She spent most of the semester skipping class and generally goofing off when present. She had shown nothing tangible for the class, and there were only two weeks left in the semester. At this point, she just wanted to pass the class. During the last week, she operated on a guiena pig (I forgot what she did exactly.) and it lived afterwards, at least for the week I am aware of. When the Awards Ceremony arrived guess who won the award and scholarship? Not me. At the time I was furious, but over the years I've come to understand that she was not better than me, just different. And these differences are valued differently by different people.

I was Angel and Leslie was Spike. Angel is a thinker and a planner, and he used to, at least, do things as penances. He needed to spend 100 years suffering for his transgressions. He needs to make everything right by doing good now, or as right as he believes he can ever make it (and I suspect he will never be able to live up to his expectations). He broods about his options, and re-evaluates his choices based upon outcomes. He is his own worst enemy.

Spike wasn't interested in "making up" for what he have done in the past. (He was down right out-of-his-mind looney while he was in the basement though, while Angel never lost mental or emotional touch with reality but chose to separate himself physically.) Spike's choice to remedy wrongs was to take a desparate leap and annihilate himself. What he expected and what he wanted was absolutely "nothing," because he didn't belive he could ever give enough penance. He is his own worst enemy.

In *Just Rewards*, they seem to come to some kind of lightbulb understanding that the other's experience and style is nothing like their own -- that there are other option that are just a viable, and perhaps would work for them also.

Wesley makes the observation to Angel that Spike needs to fill everyone in or what his plans are in the future (which is really funny coming from him. Obviously he has no memory at all of ever taking things into his own hands regarding Conner. Yes, I know it's is supposed to be that way, but it is great irony to hear him preach against it here. He as "preaching to the horse's mouth" here.) What Wesley says is a relection upon Angel's own style. He is very oriented toward the group process. (By the way, I really like Harmony. It took watching several shows over and over again, but she is definity an acquired taste.)

Anyway, Angel is warned that Spike needs to fill everyone in on plans.........Spike ends up going to Fred for help at the end of the show, which is a very new choice for Spike. He seeks shelter after he gets his chip in back in BuffyS4 but he begrudges it and sees his chipped existence as temporary. He is completely at a lost when he approaches Fred for help.

So we have Angel doing something out of character: not informing anyone before he and Spike settle with the wizard. Spike also does something out of character: opening up and asking someone he doesn't know at all for help. (Yes, he asked Buffy for help, but he believes they have *something* special. I think he'd be a little shocked in finding out what they have is *only* a very good friendship.)

When I hit my 20s, I was very much socialized into Angel's style, group, family, community) and making plans and then making contingency plans, and then accsssing every outcome. Now, a couple of decades later, I find myseld needing to act more like Spike more often. I have so many things I "must" do, and not enough time to do all of them with total committment and planning. Often, I just have to leap and hope it is far enough and high enough. Surprisingly, it often satisfies the needs.

Just an observation, but.....Angel's decision for coping with Spike was to do the "merciful" thing (at least one of his group informed him it was merciful) and send Spike to "never-never-come back" land, and Angel's choice is visited upon him by his *almost* being sent to "never-never-come back" land by Spike. Spike, on the other hand, fades out when he is angry over another's control of him, or labeling of him and his experiences. Angel's observation that Spike only repented for three weeks in a basement show that he is blind to Spike's real situation and so Spike disappears. (And remember, scientists now believe that they have shown that emotional pain is registered as physical pain in the brain.) But now Spike has to face the fact that all of Angel's do gooding has a purpose and is not just superhero cartoon ego fodder.

One more observation, my daugher commented after the show that Angel is in the same place where Buffy had been: accused of not telling everyone everything about the truth.

[> Is it really out of character? (Just a few spoilers for 5.2) -- s'kat, 16:16:22 10/11/03 Sat

Very good. Just a few quibbles.

So we have Angel doing something out of character: not informing anyone before he and Spike settle with the wizard. Spike also does something out of character: opening up and asking someone he doesn't know at all for help. (Yes, he asked Buffy for help, but he believes they have *something* special. I think he'd be a little shocked in finding out what they have is *only* a very good friendship.)

Actually, the irony behind the statement is that in a way Angel doesn't share information at all and makes decisions affecting everyone without letting them know, often with dire consequences. While Spike occassionally has a tendency to reveal way too much.

In Season 1-3 BTVS, Buffy is frustrated with Angel b/c she can never read him. In Earshot, she hopes she can figure out what he's thinking with the telepathy, but Angel explains that he casts no reflection.

When we first meet Angel, he's the man of mystery. Buffy has to push at him to find out who Drusilla is and why he is seen to be close with her. After much prodding he finally reveals it. Same thing in S1 BTVS - it's not until Buffy kisses Angel that she discovers he's a vampire.
Buffy and Angel's main problem is their inability to share their plans.

Pangs is an excellent episode to compare Spike and Angel's approaches. Angel lurks, not revealing his presence to Buffy, not telling her she's in danger, she senses him but feels she's nuts. Spike meanwhile comes right up to the door in broad daylight, knocks on it and asks for refuge. Begs for help with the chip. And even comes up with a reason for them to help him - trading information.

On Ats, IWARY - the episode following Pangs in the time line, Angel once again fails to share information. He decides to turn back time, erasing the time he and Buffy had. He does not discuss this with Buffy, Doyle, or Cordelia. He makes the decision which effects all of them.
Buffy is annoyed with him for doing it - again.

In Season 2 - when Darla returns - Angel excludes the others and makes several incredibly disastorous decisions.
When Darla becomes a vampire. Angel fires everyone.
For a brief period of time after his epiphany, Angel relies on the others for info. But note - he does not tell them he slept with Darla until she literally shows up pregnant.
And he fails to disclose the information about Holtz.

Then of course, we have Home. Angel did not discuss joining W&H with the AI team, he made an executive decision. He leads them into believing they should make the choice, but when he learns that by joining W&H he can save Connor and get an amulet to help Buffy - he makes the decision to erase their memories of Connor and that they all join W&H.

Where in all of that is Angel depicted as someone who shares with others? Angel's major flaw is his tendency to make decisions for others. One of the few good things he did last year was he let Buffy make the decision about the amulet, a rarity. Angel's other main flaw is his tendency not to share information, or anything. In that context, Wes and Angel are almost counter-points to each other.

Spike in contrast - does in a way share. Not everything.
But note he goes to Angel immediately upon learning about the gang's plan and Hainsely's. He doesn't keep it to himself. Angel in contrast kept what happened in Sunnydale from the Fang Gang. Spike reveals it immediately. Angel keeps Spike's plan from the Fang Gang (AI gang). In S7, Spike reveals to Wood what he did to his mother. He reveals to Buffy the things he did and asks for help in Sleeper.
In Chosen - he tells her he saw her with Angel. And when he realizes he loves her? HE reveals it to the world. Angel, lurks in the shadows and it takes him over two years to reveal his feelings, counting the period in La.

So it really isn't surprising that Spike would ask for help, or out of character. Nor is it all that out of character for Angel not to share the plan. Makes sense Spike wouldn't - he doesn't know these people. Once he does?
He would.

Outside of that, good analysis.
[> [> About IWARY -- Finn Mac Cool, 17:34:26 10/11/03 Sat

I didn't have a problem with Angel not talking with anyone because I believe that it would ultimately be his decision anyway. Yes, it affected Cordelia and Doyle's careers and changed how Buffy would live her life to a great degree, but no one stood to be more affected by Angel's decision than Angel himself: it affected him even more than Buffy; it changed his purpose in life, his whole future, even his species. I don't think Angel needed to consult with everyone else because, if they stopped him from doing what he thought was right, they'd be taking the choice away from the person who had the most at stake.
[> [> [> Re: About IWARY -- leslie, 19:17:27 10/11/03 Sat

Wow, I really disagree here, at least as far as Buffy is concerned. This is a theme that comes up in multiple relationships in BtVS--Xander and Anya, explicitly with Tara and Willow, because Tara right out and says it: if you're a couple, you make decisions about the couple as a couple. One half of the couple does not have the right to make unilateral decisions that will affect the other partner's participation in the relationship unless this is an ugly, messy break-up. Like Oz deciding to leave Willow without even discussing it with her. The ugliness of Xander leaving Anya at the altar, again, is that he just decides, doesn't discuss it with her, and even worse, can't understand why she's so upset and why she then regards the relationship as over. In fact, now I come to think about this, it's a general trend that the men decide unilaterally that the relationship is over--Angel (when he decides to leave Sunnydale as well as with the mind-wipe), Oz, Riley, Xander. The only one who doesn't is Spike, who gets dumped by Dru. The situation in which there are two women, Tara and Willow, Tara leaves Willow because Willow is the one making unilateral decisions, but she tells Willow why she is leaving, and she comes back. Although Buffy initially regards Spike leaving as a unilateral dump, he always intends to come back and reinitiate the relationship on different terms. But in any case, one of the things that has always really disturbed me about Angel and Buffy's relationship is that despite all the soulful puppy eyes, Angel refuses to let Buffy have any control of the terms of their relationship. That's the one place where Angel and Angelus are the same, even if they express it differently. The only way she can have any control is to kill him, and even then he comes back.
[> [> [> [> Agree completely. Very well said. -- s'kat, 20:21:03 10/11/03 Sat

Thank you. That is the first time someone has put in words my inherent problems with the Buffy/Angel relationship not to mention all the other relationships in BTVS and ATS.

I think Tara conveys to Willow very well how a mature relationship should be conducted. Stating - you don't control the other person, you don't make decisions for them, and you do not erase events. You discuss them. And you deal with the fear they may not agree with you. Relationships whether they be friendships or romantic are tough because the other person may not always agree with you.

It's interesting that Angel does this - since it is the very thing Liam accused his father of doing. Making his decisions for him - telling him who he had to be. Kate's father also does it in Prodigal. And it's what Angel is furious at Wesely and Cordelia for doing. Wes for making the unilateral decision to take Connor without discussing it with anyone, which from Wes' pov is defensible. And Cordelia who makes the unilateral decision more than once to keep the visions. She also makes the decision to interfer in Angel's life in THAW. And the decision to rise in Tomorrow. Every single decision leads to her ultimate destruction. Then there's Fred/Gunn - Gunn who makes the unilateral decision in Double or Nothing to dump Fred for her own good and give up his soul without discussing it with anyone. (You could say that Gunn's decision is no different than Angel's - since it ultimately is his soul - yet that action affects everyone.) Then there's Fred's unilateral decision to kill Seidel. To Fred's credit - she does discuss it with everyone. She just chooses to ignore their advice and Gunn makes the decision to take the decision out of her hands - which ultimately ends their relationship. Yet, Angel ironically does the same thing to everyone in his life from Connor on down. It's Angel's modus operandi, just as it was Angelus.

Buffy/Angel - the problem with that relationship from the get-go is Angel makes the decisions, which if you think about it is in keeping with the "father"/"daughter" relationship that their relationship is oddly modeled on.
When Angel first discovers Buffy - her parents are in the midst of a divorce. While he is lurking outside her bathroom window in Becoming I's flashbacks, Hank and Joyce are arguing about Buffy and Hank is threatening to leave.
When he appears in S1 - Buffy's father is gone. Joyce even comments on how much older than Buffy, Angel is. And Buffy mentions he's tutoring her in history - something a father might do. When they kiss - Angel turns into a monster (the taboo). Then of course we have Angel constantly coming to her rescue. Angel warning her away from the Master. Angel giving her the gift of the cross. The fact that her father used to take her to the ice capades - Angel takes her ice skating in What's My Line.

Later on her birthday in Helpless - Angel mentions getting together and she mentions she has a date with her father. Angel is jealous.

When her mother dies - Hank doesn't show up to comfort her at her mother's grave, Angel does. (And in case you don't see the parallel - they have Spike the psuedo older brother/dark father to Dawn - comforting Dawn.)

The next time we see Angel - Buffy is fighting Father Caleb.
Angel shows up to lend a hand. In Pangs - Angel is lurking outside -protecting her, like a father might.

In many ways - Angel is the Freudian representation of Buffy's daddy issues. A fantasy version, if you will - showing up when Buffy needs him - like in Forever, between Life Serial and Flooded, Pangs and in Forever. Yet always abandoning her when she gets too close. Disappearing when she tries to touch him or truly connect. It's not until she comes to terms with her own father issues (not to mention numerous others) in Chosen, that Father Caleb is defeated and she is able to send Angel away, letting him go to pursue her own dreams. Once she does that - she shares her power. It's important to note Angel leaves soon after Caleb is dispatched. Also note Chosen is the first time in the Buffy/Angel relationship that Angel doesn't make the decisions - Buffy does. And Buffy discusses them with Angel, neither party makes them unilaterally. Buffy tells Angel that she doesn't want him to wear it and why. She explains to him why she can't be with him. And she advises him to go back to La and why. And for the first time - Angel abides by her decision - as he reiterates to Spike in Just Rewards. (It's a major event in their relationship - the only other time this happened was in Yoko Factor.)

The Spike/Buffy relationship deals more with the mother issues. buffy's to Joyce, Spike's to Ann, and Spike's to Dru and buffy. So it's very different. (And in case we didn't get it - the writers call William's mother : Ann, Buffy's middle name.) Which is why Spike does not abandon Buffy - the relationship is the reverse - the devoted son to the mother. While the Angel/Buffy relationship - is the devoted daughter to the father she can never quite hold onto. Angel's relationship to his father (both vampire and human), Buffy's to Hank/Giles. Note both Angel and Buffy kill a father figure. Buffy kill's Angel's vampire father and Angel. Angel kills his father and attempts to kill Giles. They both fight and participate in the death of the dark father Caleb - just as they did the Master. And Chosen happens right after Angel metaphorically kills his son, Connor and sends him to live with a good father.
[> [> [> [> I think people have a right to unilateral breakups -- Finn Mac Cool, 22:52:59 10/11/03 Sat

To quote an episode of "Seinfeld": it's not like on a submarine; you both don't have to turn your keys. Granted, the characters on "Seinfeld" are rarely examples of the way people should actually act, but in this case I think it was correct. If one person wants out, they have the right to get out.

Also, I wasn't talking about it in terms of the B/A relationship. Yes, the relationship was tremendously affected, but, to me, that's secondary to how it affects Angel. If he wants to reclaim his old life, I don't think anybody has the right to tell him not to. It's his call.

Now, I do agree that, in a breakup situation, the dumped party should be told about it and why it happened. However, the point of the breakup talk is to ease the pain of the person being dumped; in the IWARY situation that doesn't apply. Buffy doesn't remember them ever getting back together, and Angel explaining about the Mohra demon, their day together, and the Oracles would no longer serve a purpose.
[> [> [> [> [> Re: I think people have a right to their memories -- sdev, 23:28:10 10/11/03 Sat

I know we've had this discussion before on IWRY. There is a difference between who has the right to make the ultimate decision and allowing another, who is intimately affected, to participate in the decision making process.

Also the point of telling Buffy after the fact serves other purposes not the least of which is respecting the near sacred (to me)integrity of a person's mind. This is perhaps more important than sparing her pain. Further this decision Angel made said things about their relationship and his desire to be with her. She was entitled to that information. It was paternalistic to spare her feelings and an urealistic assessment of her ability to handle this revelation.
[> [> [> [> [> [> IWRY & Memories -- Dlgood, 23:44:58 10/11/03 Sat

Re: returning to human...

They may have been a couple, but Angel's not Buffy's property. I concur with FinMacool on analysis of that.

But regarding memories - the Oracles swallowed the day for everyone as if it never happened. Only Angel retained his memories. The best he can do, is tell Buffy what he remembers. He can't give her back the memories. Nor could he restore memories to the other 5 Billion people on the planet who'd had their days erased.

One can fault him for not thinking of it, but saving and restoring memories is not an option he had.

It's a funny coda to Buffy's comments earlier on the day that never happened.

Angel: "Why didn't you ever tell me about chocolate and peanut butter?"
Buffy: "Well, I figured if your vamp taste buds couldn't really savor it, then it would only hurt you, you know?

Buffy feels that without the ability to taste of Chocolate & Peanut Butter, Angel cannot fully understand and savor the experience of consuming such a wonderful confection. By that same token, without being able to have experienced that day through the lens of her own memories, rather than as Angel explains it to her, she can't properly reflect upon the experience. Now perhaps, had they more than a minute to prepare for the reset, she might have been able to do something about that problem. All though I do note, that Buffy seems to tell Angel that she understands and accepts his decision.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: IWRY & Memories -- sdev, 01:18:21 10/12/03 Sun

The time to talk with Buffy was before he returned for the second time to the Oracle. There was plenty of time then, and he hoped, by going, to remedy the situation of his human weakness, to reverse his humanity.

It seems to me that if he had never presumed to go fight the Mohra demon without Buffy this whole situation might have been avoided or postponed, but he cuts Buffy out at that earlier point by irrationally insisting on going alone. Paternalism starts there.

You are correct here. After the fact, the best he could do was tell her what had happened and he should have. The fact that he could not tell all the world is beside the point since most of the world are never privy to their relationship or effected in any way. Second hand reporting is better than nothing.

Chocolate had no meaning to Angel unless Buffy created it by telling him about it. Buffy had already tasted of the relationship. Also, chocolate was never an interactive matter.

I am most concerned about Buffy being deprived of the information that Angel was human and opted to return to being a vampire. That information, not the experience of the day, was the crucial knowledge Buffy should have been given. That information is easily relatable, unlike the experience of the day. In fact the whole protecting Buffy from the pain of that knowledge was clearly about that aspect since the blissful experience of the day could not be recreated by description. Thus the pain would have come from Angel's decision not any reliving of the moment. And that pain IMO Buffy is entitled to feel.

What happened here is more akin to Buffy not even being told that they broke up let alone the reasons.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: IWRY & Memories -- Arethusa, 07:00:25 10/12/03 Sun

And because Buffy was not told of Angel's decision, she continued to grieve over the end of their relationship far longer than she might have if she had known.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: IWRY & Memories -- Dlgood, 08:06:12 10/12/03 Sun

I am most concerned about Buffy being deprived of the information that Angel was human and opted to return to being a vampire.
The hypothetical case being that, if offered humanity Angel ultimately wouldn't take it because he wouldn't be able to protect Buffy or anybody else.

Because, as far she knows, it is a hypothetical case study. For her, it never happened. He could have told her, but I also understand why he didn't. Note that Buffy never told Angel, prior to IWRY, that she fantasized about him being a human. Essentially, this is what Angel's telling Buffy about that day would be to her - Angel just talking about one of his fantasies.

Certainly, I wish that Buffy could have those memories, if for no other reason than it's the happiest I've ever seen her on either show and I'd want her to be able to remember what that felt like.

But, if it's not possible to regain the memory (as it never happened) then I'm at a loss as to what the recourse is. I don't think a second hand account would prove even remotely adequate.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: IWRY & Memories -- sdev, 08:51:27 10/12/03 Sun

"Note that Buffy never told Angel, prior to IWRY, that she fantasized about him being a human. Essentially, this is what Angel's telling Buffy about that day would be to her - Angel just talking about one of his fantasies."

How does a fantasy of Buffy's become the same as Angel's actual decision? That he was able to turn back time does not make the decision disappear from his psyche and the flora of their relationship. That decision is a part of who he is, a part of who he is in relation to Buffy, a part that has direct bearing on who 'they' are.

And just maybe this (Angel becoming human) was an unhealthy fantasy Buffy should have, and would have if she had the facts, been able to relinquish since the reality had already occurred and been rejected by Angel (see Arethusa's post above).

Trying a different context, was Willow and Tara's fight hypothetical because Willow eliminated the memory?
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: IWRY & Memories -- Dlgood, 09:14:24 10/12/03 Sun

How does a fantasy of Buffy's become the same as Angel's actual decision? That he was able to turn back time does not make the decision disappear from his psyche and the flora of their relationship. That decision is a part of who he is, a part of who he is in relation to Buffy, a part that has direct bearing on who 'they' are.
I fully understand the comparison.

In the case of Willow and Tara, Tara simply knowing what happened could easily piece the events together. She re-experiences the argument once she learns that it happened in the first place. But Angel telling Buffy what happened is no substitute for Buffy actually experiencing those events.

I absolutely, and completely believe, Buffy ought to have those memories. In addition to the happiness part, she'd learned some very significant things about her relationship with him, and it's horrible that she's lost that. But, in the absence of the complete set of memories of the day, I've no conception of what a sufficient recourse for her might be.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: IWRY & Memories -- Claudia, 12:45:00 10/14/03 Tue

[Certainly, I wish that Buffy could have those memories, if for no other reason than it's the happiest I've ever seen her on either show and I'd want her to be able to remember what that felt like.

But, if it's not possible to regain the memory (as it never happened) then I'm at a loss as to what the recourse is. I don't think a second hand account would prove even remotely adequate.]

Then why did Angel bother to tell Doyle and Cordelia on what happened, after their memories of that day were also erased?
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Corrections -- Dlgood, 13:19:41 10/14/03 Tue

Then why did Angel bother to tell Doyle and Cordelia on what happened, after their memories of that day were also erased?

Angel told Doyle, because (1) Angel was depressed and Doyle (having just seen Harry) was empathetic and (2) Angel wanted to find out more about the Oracles and the 'Soldiers of Darkness' that Morah referred to. Angel doesn't go into much detail about what happened that day, or what Doyle did. It's a conversation that's mostly focused on the Mission.

Angel never discussed it with Cordelia. Doyle told her.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> On memory, heroism and things that never were... -- Random, 18:16:09 10/12/03 Sun

Ultimately, Angel had no idea what going to Oracles would entail. He went to plead for Buffy's life, and to lose his own again. It was, ultimately, his choice. Buffy had no rights in that matter except that which he chose to give her. A unilateral breakup, as Finn notes, was his perogative. He was, in effect, taking control of his own destiny. To require that he "discuss" that with Buffy is to say that he must answer to her concerning his own fate.

So once he got there, the Oracles informed him that there was only one way to save him or Buffy. He's faced with the ultimate crisis of the hero: to take the pain all on himself or to share it. The Oracles noted that he was not a lower being, and I think that observation repays careful consideration. Angel did not choose to deprive Buffy of her memories, and keep his for himself. He chose to unmake the day in order to save Buffy, perhaps himself, and probably millions of innocents. This gift came with a price -- he would bear the weight of the memory of what he had lost. And if you don't think that's a price rather than a reward, consider how happy you'd be if you were asked to sacrifice the one thing in the world that made you truly happy...and had to bear the burden of that loss utterly alone. Indeed, it was only his willingness to do that that convinced the Oracles to take back the day. He didn't ask for this...he merely accepted it as the only tolerable choice available to him. Where Giles murdered Ben to save Buffy and the world, Angel turned back time and willingly cast away the only true chance at real happiness (not counting the sex with Buffy, since the curse ensured that he would never be able to enjoy it) he had encountered in 250 years. These are hard choices, brutal even, but these are the choices true heroes make, the choice to live as a hero rather than merely dying as one.

So the Oracles swallowed it as if it had never happened, which is not the same thing as erasing memoried. For all intents and purposes, there could be no memories on anyone's part but Angel's, because the events simply never happened. He didn't take anyone's memories -- he simply turned back the clock. We the viewers feel the loss as acutely as Angel because, well, this is a fictional TV show and we are watching ex cathedra. We make judgments predicated upon an issue that simply has no relevance within the context of the show. This isn't comparable to Willow/Tara in any way except in a general, omniscient observer way.

Buffy walks away, having delivered her message. For twenty-four hours, she was happy. She had been happy before, and would be happy again. But those 24 hours never happened except for Angel and for the viewers. Literally, never happened -- memories of wounds didn't match actual physical state, kisses left no impression, the store didn't sell that food (at least not to Angel and Buffy.) The price for the chance to save Buffy and the world was bitter. And it is Angel who suffers. Buffy...she "lost" 24 hours of happiness (though she was with Riley at the time, so I wonder how Riley would have suffered had she not lost them) and Angel could not restore them to her. To tell her about them would be meaningless, I think. All he could do would be to tell her she was happy, tell her what might have been, tell her that he had to make a decision. How would she have benefitted exactly? She had closure of sorts, she visited Angel and officially observed that there was a changing of the guard. Note that she walked out on her own almost immediately, apparently satisfied that her message had been delivered. And she went home to be with Riley for quite a while, until the meltdown. Would I begrudge her those memories? No. But nor do I condemn Angel for what he chose to do. He made the sort of decisions that heroes make. And Buffy, I think, might have understood that almost as well as Giles. And understood his silence as well.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: On memory, heroism and things that never were... -- sdev, 22:13:08 10/12/03 Sun

As I stated earlier, my main concern was that Buffy was deprived of the knowledge that Angel made a choice to revert from human back to vampire. I do not see the memories of their shared time together that day as the most significant piece. Buffy has experienced those feelings before in Seasons 1,2, and 3. They were not new or unique, and in any event, as we have all agreed, that part was incommunicable.

While Angel could not restore the reversed memories of the day, he could have quite adequately and accurately imparted the knowledge of the decision he had made and the reasons for his decision. I see a conflict between Angel's saying Buffy should move on because she cannot have a life with him and some of his conduct, especially his withholding of this momentous decision. I do not believe protecting others from painful information or decisions, especially Buffy who is quite strong, is truly in the protected one's best interests. It is IMO a very paternalistic approach.

I believe it would have been of great help to Buffy in really moving on and seeking a new, more fulfilling relationship if she knew of Angel's decision in IWRY. Yet he doesn't tell her. Again in Chosen Angel reappears and tries to re-ignite their relationship. In both situations he is demonstrating his ambivalence in letting Buffy go. He is undermining the finality of their break up.

I also believe, from what I saw on the screen, that the second time Angel went to the Oracle he knew he was going to ask to be turned back to a vampire which is why I said he should have discussed this decision with Buffy before that second trip.

I always agreed that it was Angel's right to make this decision. You said, " He was, in effect, taking control of his own destiny," and I agree.

You next said:

"To require that he "discuss" that with Buffy is to say that he must answer to her concerning his own fate."

This I do not understand. How is discussing something where you ultimately have the power of decision the same as "answer(ing) to her concerning his own fate?" Discussing his decision, before it was a 'fait acomplii' should have been a part of the respect and consideration you give someone who is intimately affected by your decision and who you love. You allow them to weigh in. You consider what they have to say. And you then make your own decision.

I agree Angel gave up a lot by his decision. I don't understand how that relates to my objection to his actions. My criticism centered solely on the means not the substance of his decision.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> But he did share....... -- Rufus, 23:00:13 10/12/03 Sun

He told Doyle and Cordy....who both at the moment aren't talking, but he did share...something unusual for him.
[> [> [> [> [> Re: I think people have a right to unilateral breakups -- leslie, 23:55:58 10/11/03 Sat

"Buffy doesn't remember them ever getting back together, and Angel explaining about the Mohra demon, their day together, and the Oracles would no longer serve a purpose."

Not after the memory erasure, no, she doesn't remember, but he tells her, unilaterally, that he has decided to erase the day five minutes before it all disappears, and I don't know how you read the scene, but Buffy looked pretty upset about it. I don't think those were tears of joy. And I'm not saying that both parties have to agree to a break-up, I'm talking about this "I have decided that it's best for you that I break up with you, because even though you think you think you're in love with me, I know better than you do what you need in the long run, and you don't have any choice in the matter." It's not only what Angel does to Buffy at the end of S3, it's what Oz does to Willow, and it's what Xander does to Anya. And furthermore, each of these men expects that after he leaves, the woman is going to continue loving him, that when he reappears, having worked out his own issues, she is going to have been waiting in limbo like a toy left in a closet, just getting a little dusty, but ready to be picked up and played with again like nothing happened. To give him credit, Oz at least admits that he was foolish to assume that Willow wouldn't be going through her own changes while he was working out his issues; Xander and Angel don't.
[> [> [> [> [> [> Misreading the Breakups -- Dlgood, 07:59:19 10/12/03 Sun

"I have decided that it's best for you that I break up with you, because even though you think you think you're in love with me, I know better than you do what you need in the long run, and you don't have any choice in the matter."
But people do that in a thousand little ways, every day.

Oz' breakup with Willow is entirely about Oz. About the fact that he cannot find peace with himself in Sunnydale. While part of it is about Willow's safety, it's ultimately about Oz' life, and to assume otherwise isn't fair to Oz. Just as, to assume the breakup with Buffy is entirely about what Angel believes Buffy needs, isn't fair to Angel.

They aren't property. And as much as she as she loves him and wants him to stay, he's got the right to go. He's not a pet. She doesn't own him.

It's the same when Tara left Willow to let her deal with her "Magic Addiction". Xander's bailing on a wedding is a far different situation. There's an actual contract there that Buffy/Angel and Willow/Oz didn't have.

Oz at least admits that he was foolish to assume that Willow wouldn't be going through her own changes while he was working out his issues; Xander and Angel don't.
When he breaks up with Buffy in "the Prom", the expectation that she will change is one of the biggest reasons he gives her. Just as Buffy's argument that she's moving toward something new, and a good life, is part of the reason he reverses the day. Angel fully expects Buffy to continue to try to move one. That doesn't mean he isn't petty, or completely happy that she does, particularly when its shoved in his face, but he most certainly expects Buffy to go through changes while he isn't there.
[> [> [> [> Well, if you'll forgive my mentioning it... -- manwitch, 09:05:54 10/12/03 Sun

I think you've also hit on one of the reasons that the Spike Buffy relationship was so attractive to viewers that really love the character of Buffy. (Not to suggest that others don't).

My wife and I were talking about this just the other day, that only her relationship with Spike allowed her, if not control, then free will. Only that relationship allowed her to unleash and explore her sexuality, her female-ness, her power as a sexual woman. In one way or another, Angel, Riley, and let's even throw Parker in there, limited, constrained and controlled her, or encouraged her to keep herself leashed.

That, to me, is why I loved seeing the Buffy Spike relationship develop. Not because Spike is the perfect swell guy. But because even with his staggering imperfections, Buffy's self-fulfillment was something he actually valued. He doesn't always know how to go about it, what to say. Yes he's in many ways an evil soul-less thing. But he doesn't seem ever to desire her diminishment.

As someone who loves Buffy and cringed at the unintended consequences of her relationships with the other men she was with, I was quite frankly pleased to see a relationship that allowed her that freedom. I don't think she necessarily had control in it. But the fact that control itself could be set aside I think was important. Spike didn't control her. She didn't have to control herself. That was the huge difference. The battle for control didn't really enter that relationship until she unilaterally dumped him. And even then he was slow to engage. I recognize the bad aspects of Spike and of the relationship. But this was one thing about him that I appreciated.

I believe Caroline has written extensively on this topic, the exploration of Buffy's power as a sexual woman, and I always love reading it.

heh heh. Who wouldn't?

As far as unilateral dumping goes, I guess one interesting thing is that there are almost no relationships in the Buffyverse that deserve to end, only ones that have to end. Some truly loveable and perfect people sometimes aren't the right ones. Thats so much more beautiful and heartbreaking than depicting a relationship where you wake up one day and realize you're dating a bastard.

Which I wish Anya had done before her wedding day.
[> [> [> [> [> Agree. Well said. -- s'kat, 09:16:57 10/12/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Well, if you'll forgive my mentioning it... -- Dlgood, 09:21:05 10/12/03 Sun

Only that relationship allowed her to unleash and explore her sexuality, her female-ness, her power as a sexual woman.
In fairness to Angel, he doesn't really have that option. Had the curse not arose, it's quite possible they would have done just that following her 17th birthday. Angel isn't the limiting factor - it's the gypsy curse that acts to constrain them both. Indeed, Angel doesn't encourage Buffy to keep herself leashed - so much as encouraging herself to be leashed around him, and because of that curse. He leaves her, in part, so that she doesn't have to live that way around the person she chooses to have a relationship with.
[> [> [> [> [> Euphemisms -- Dlgood, 10:08:29 10/12/03 Sun

Only that relationship allowed her to unleash and explore her sexuality, her female-ness, her power as a sexual woman.
But that virtue of her relationship with Spike is also very heavily mitigated by the fact that occurs almost entirely within the context of despair. This "exploration" doesn't seem to bring her any happiness or even peace, and she ends it because it's "killing her" - something Spike is either oblivious to or unconcerned with. Otherwise, she wouldn't need to "unilaterally" dump him.

The better scenario, is one where Buffy can "unleash and explore her sexuality, her female-ness, her power as a sexual woman" and do it within the context of a relationship where she's in love and finding happiness. Which to this point, had really only happened with Angel, and to a certain extent with Riley. At this point, the curse still makes this impossible for her to explore with Angel. (As if they wouldn't have had tons of hot-monkey sex if it weren't a factor.)

IMHO, taken in that context, Angel's willingness to encourage Buffy to try to find that with someone that is not him, (seeing as he can't provide it for her) is a clear indicator that her self-fulfillment matters a great deal to him. That she has failed to find it with either Riley or Spike, isn't really Angel's problem.

Maybe while she's baking she'll find it with some guy (or girl) she hasn't met yet.
[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Euphemisms -- manwitch, 12:01:28 10/12/03 Sun

The scripts are pretty clear and consistent that her relationship with Angel was not happiness. Love? sure. But a lot of grrrr arghh misery. Riley really didn't see Buffy any differently from how Parker did. She was a conquest, but to Riley it wasn't just sexual, it was about her identity. He had to show that she was less than him. So I would disagree with the notion that those were relationships of love and happiness. I don't mean bashing here. I like Riley and I love Angel, and I know Buffy loved them and they did some wonderful things for her etc. etc. But on the whole, I don't see their interest in the relationship as one of furthering Buffy's development. I think Spike did see it that way. Spike sometimes sounds like he's more selfish and negative than others, but I'm not convinced. Because the actual effect he has on her is frequently a positive one, one that expands her possibilities, and not just sexually. Angel and Riley had there own needs, they had their own developing to do, and they found a way to have Buffy play a (very willing) role in that process. Spike did his developing for Buffy, not so that he could then walk away and be ready to do his own thing, but so that he could stay and support her. This is not lost on Buffy at the end of Season 7. Again, I'm not saying Spike is the best boyfriend she could ever have. I'm saying that this is one aspect of his character that compares reasonably favorably to everyone else Buffy has been with.

I can't really comment on the idea of Buffy finding fulfillment with a girl she hasn't met yet, because the thought of it leaves me breathless and trembling.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Euphemisms -- Dlgood, 12:51:38 10/12/03 Sun

The scripts are pretty clear and consistent that her relationship with Angel was not happiness.
They are? Where? In a thread that's getting carried through off of IWRY. You think she wasn't happy with Angel? She seemed awfully happy with him before "Innocence", and quite frequently afterword. The "misery" you talk about becomes a problem because of that curse. There is misery, because they know the curse denies them happiness.

I understand you want to talk up Spike/Buffy, but to say she wasn't happy with Riley or Angel is ludicrous. She was happy with them, and quite often. Far happier than she ever was with Spike.

But on the whole, I don't see their interest in the relationship as one of furthering Buffy's development

Spike did his developing for Buffy, not so that he could then walk away and be ready to do his own thing,
Isn't that a bit hypocritical of you to say? You talk about how wonderful it is that Spike can allow Buffy all this sexual self-fulfillment and so on, yet because of the curse, if Angel stays with Buffy he denies that to her. So by terms of your logic, Angel has to leave her for her to be fulfillied and further her development. Which, BTW, he most certainly had been doing in S1-3.

So by your terms, because of the curse, and the resulting frustration, he has to leave her no matter how much she wants him to stay. Other wise Angel's being selfish and unmindful of her needs, just as Joyce and the Mayor had accused him. Yet, you use this leaving as a way to damn Angel for not looking out for her needs. What gives?

Now does he compare favorably? Perhaps, but as noted above, the terms of your argument are designed to favor Spike in the first place, and you damn Angel for doing exactly what you claim is so great about Spike in the first place - allowing Buffy to fulfull her needs.

You don't seem to give Angel any credit for his realization that it's not possible for Buffy to fulfill her needs with him. Although, in fairness, you don't damn Spike for failing to make the same realization in S6.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Actually, I think I'm talking about something else. -- manwitch, 15:31:49 10/12/03 Sun

I said the scripts were pretty clear and consistent that Buffy's relationship with Angel was not happiness. You responded

They are? Where?

I am not going to research the names of all the episodes, but I will paraphrase the quotes.

In Season 4, Willow and Buffy are walking through the graveyard talking about Buffy's relationship with Riley.

Buffy: He's great, but...
Willow: He's not making you miserable?
Buffy: I can't help thinking, isn't that where the fire comes from?

In Season 5, Dawn is sitting with Riley at a Merry-Go-Round.

Dawn: She's much happier with you. With Angel everything was always grrrr.

In Season 2, before we know about the curse...

Angel: When you kiss me you don't wake up and live happily ever after.
Buffy: When you kiss me I wanna die.

In Season whatever...

Willow: What about Angel?
Buffy: Oh yeah. There's a romance. "Honey, you're in danger." Then he's gone for three weeks.
Willow: Angel's not around much, huh?
Buffy: No, but when he is, its like the lights dim everywhere else.

In Doomed, Buffy explains her resistance to having a relationship with Riley, a fellow demon-fighter.

Buffy: Because I've tried.
Riley: What happened?
Buffy: Death. Pain. Apocalypse. None of it fun.

What we see from these few examples is that Buffy believes her relationship with Angel is a desparate hot and cold rollercoaster. That she associates a certain degree of this unhealthy turbulance with love itself, and that at least some of the people around her also perceive Buffy to have been this way in her relatioship with Angel. We see that she's not talking about the curse, because Riley doesn't have the curse, but she still is frightened. She's talking about that kind of romance in her kind of life.

Lets add the curse, which, in fairness, is part of Angel. That's who he is. That's what he brings to the relationship.

I think what we find is that Buffy and Angel are very passionate and very much in love. That does not in their case, nor ever, necessarily translate into a healthy relationship. Does Buffy have moments of happiness and peace with Angel? Sure. I have not in a single post ever said or suggested otherwise. But I see the nature of their romantic relationship as a sort of co-dependent, desparate teenage love. "Happiness" is not a word that I would use to characterize it. Their relationship tends to revolve around what they can't have, Buffy's danger, Angel's desire to protect her (the exception being the melodramatic Zeppo) and Angel's needs, whether he needs to be killed, whether he needed to be nourished back to health, or whether he needs a good dose of Slayer blood so that he can then go off and find out why he was brought back, a question that still concerns him in LA when Buffy is far away.

You want me to say that Angel was great for leaving Buffy, because that is a testament to his desire for her self-fulfillment. I will meet you half way. Yes, good for Angel. And Joyce, Buffy and Willow all do agree that Angel is right about it.

But in acknowledging that, I will emphasize again that he did not do this within the relationship, but was only able to offer this through ending it, which is one of the unilateral decisions being discussed above. And again, it goes to the point of Angel's vision of himself as Buffy's protector, even if she needs to be protected from a life with Angel himself. She remains incapable in that relationship of making such decisions for herself. So my point, that the relationship with Spike had the admirable characteristic that it valued her self-fulfillment is still true in a way that it is not for her relationship with Angel. I am not, as you say, damning Angel for what I claim is so great about Spike. I am, in fact, pointing out a difference between them that is not intended to damn either. I am aware that Spike did some monstrous things to her. I'm not excusing that or saying it doesn't matter. I am saying that I don't see even the horrendous things he did to her as stemming from a preconception of his superiority to her or priveleged role over her or from a desire to reduce or constrain her.

So much has been written already about Buffy and Riley. Do I think Buffy loved Riley? I'm one of the few people that actually thinks she did, and that Riley and Xander were full of it in their interpretation of her. I am quite sure that she had moments of happiness with him. But the relationship ended because Buffy was unwilling to play a subservient role to Riley. I would not consider a relationship that has that kind of really brutal and ultimately cruel power dynamic a happy one, even though it might have had happy moments. I think it ended with exactly the degree of happiness that should characterize the relationship as a whole.

I'm not saying at all for even a moment that they don't love each other.

Nor am I making an argument about sex. You seem to think that because I am talking about sexuality and sexual power, that I must be talking about the sex act itself. I'm not saying that spike can get Buffy off and Angel can't, or Riley can't, and therefore its a better relationship. I'm saying that Spike's only preconception about her is that she is exceptional, and the better she is, the more he is excited by what she represents, whether its his opponent, his partner, or his friend. He has no gender-based constraints on her, other than the handcuffs.

I don't think its hypocritical to point out that Angel sees her, at least in part, as a frightened little girl who will benefit from his help. And that his help is a stepping stone towards his being somebody. Watch Becoming again if you don't think thats part of it. I'm not saying he's a mean slimy bastard. Angel's great. And Angel's relationship with Buffy was great.

I don't think it is hypocritical either to say that Riley was threatened by Buffy's power, and sought to contain it.

Spike's preconception about Buffy was that she was the bomb. And whether he sought to kill her or love her, he sought no diminishment of her stature.

I think they are all great relationships. And they all contribute beautifully to the development of the characters. The relationship with Angel progresses to a level of maturity beyond romance that I really loved and thought was underutilized in both series.

I am not making a "Spike is better than Angel, No Angel is better than Spike" argument. I'm simply suggesting that there is at least this one characteristic of the relationships where Spike appears favorably. I don't think for one minute that we are to believe the character of Buffy lost her one true love, and that in subsequent years she backslid into terrible relationships. She developed. Her ability to love developed. What she understood love to be developed. Spike was part of that development, as were Angel and Riley. At the end of Chosen, as Buffy achieved, metaphorically, her ultimate self-fulfillment, she didn't say, "I love Angel," or "Man, I was so happy with Riley." She says she loves Spike. It wasn't an accident.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Actually, I think I'm talking about something else. -- leslie, 16:06:12 10/12/03 Sun

I also think that, while Angel may have the perfect right to make decisions about the relationship that he thinks are right, whether Buffy likes them or not, to impose them on her without even informing him that he is thinking about them is to make her as much "his property" as insisting that relationship decisions can only be made with both partners' approval makes Angel "Buffy's property." And it also isn't about whether the lost memory would make any difference to the future. It's the hubristic assumption that one's own good is everyone's good. The fact that Angel suffers for knowing that he had that one perfect day with Buffy and had to give it up doesn't make the way he made the decision and the way he informed Buffy of it any less arrogant; in fact, the fact that he thinks he's being noble by giving up his humanity makes it even worse. The fact that Buffy ultimately agrees that he made the "right" decision is also irrelevant.

I have to say that I have never bought the "but you'll never have a normal life with me" argument, on BtVS or anywhere else, as an acceptable reason to end a relationship. First of all, there's no such thing as a "normal life" and if there were, unless you yourself are 100% normal, why would a normal life be the right life for you anyway? Isn't a "normal" life one in which you conform entirely to social expectations and never step out of line? Is that what we want? I don't. I want to figure out what works for my life, and along the way, I'm going to make some massive mistakes. Saving me from making those mistakes may be a well-intentioned gesture, but it isn't going to help me find out whether something works for me or not. Free will includes the right to make your own mistakes, and to have to live with the consequences.

I find it very interesting that after destroying Jasmine because, however beautiful her vision of the world, it didn't include free will, Angel immediately overrides everyone else's free will by erasing their memories. Now we really have to question just how different Jasmine and Angel really are; both have only the best intentions, but is that enough? I really think this is going to prove key to Angel's overall moral dilemma this season, if not longer.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Question: -- Arethusa, 17:32:49 10/12/03 Sun

Do you think that the Senior Partners would continue to increase Angel's power until he is faced with the same kinds of decisions Jasmine faced? In effect, will they try to corrupt him by really making him like them?
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Interesting post. -- s'kat, 16:27:44 10/12/03 Sun

Not sure I completely agree with everything, but I certainly agree with most of it. And you bring up things I hadn't thought of - particularly regarding Buffy and Riley.

My disagreement has to do with Riley, I'm not convinced Riley had problems with Buffy, b/c he wanted her sub-servient, so much that he wanted a sense of equality - which we are supposed to see with Sam. The difficulty he had with Buffy - was she shut him out of her life and he felt like he was "just" the boy-friend. She doesn't really include him in any of her decisions or her problems. In a way Buffy takes a psuedo paternalistic attitude with Riley, withholding information on a need to know basis. She starts in s4 by not telling him about Angel, really confiding about Faith, or Spike. Spike is wandering around for at least a month before Riley finds out the SG are protecting him. And later in S5, she withholds info on Dracula, on Dawn, on her mother, so that Riley begins to feel like a hanger on and goes elsewhere for attention. To her credit, she has reasons for this - she can't tell anyone about Dawn, Riley is a member of the military which is not exactly allied with her nor does she trust them, and Riley himself hasn't always been very straight-forward. I think the difficulty in the Riley/Buffy relationship was that they could never truly trust each other. It's the same problem she had with Angel - she couldn't trust him. And it is what she tells Spike in Seeing Red - that she's learned without trust there can't be a relationship. The wild passion burns itself out until there's nothing left. You need trust.

It's the one similarity between all three relationships - the lack of trust. Buffy didn't trust Riley with the information on her sister or regarding her mother's illness or even her fears regarding the slayer and Riley did not trust Buffy's feelings for him, to confide in her about what he was going through. Buffy had good reason not to trust Angel - Angel doesn't quite trust himself. And Angel leaves Buffy ultimately in Graduation Day II, because he can't trust Buffy or himself. I think by Chosen - Buffy had begun to trust and respect Spike. Spike had earned Buffy's trust by that point. That's the reason she gave him the amulet and chose him to fight by her side. She trusted him.

Oh the episode names:

1. Something Blue - beginning of the episode with Buffy/Willow

2. Shadow - the merry-go-round scene with Dawn/Riley

3. Pretty sure that was either Reptile Boy or Inca Mummy Girl, could be wrong.

4. Season 1 before the episode Angel. I'm pretty sure it's
Never Kiss A Boy on First Date?

Some additional episodes to prove how angsty B/A was:

Halloween - Buffy dresses up as a princess because she thinks that's what Angel wants
Lie to Me - Buffy sees Angel with Drusilla and finds out he's lying to her
When She Was Bad - Buffy makes Angel jealous coming on to Xander
What's My Line - Angel gets grabbed by Spike and Dru
Surprise - Becoming II - Angel becomes Angelus, kills Jenny, goes on a killing Spree, almost destroys the world, tries to kill Buffy numerous times, tortures Giles etc.
Beauty and The Beasts - she thinks Angel is killing people
Revelations - she's sneaking around with Angel and her friends get furious with her for hiding it
Enemies - Angel pretends to be Angelus

and many more. Hmmm...were there ANY episodes that they were happy and not in torment? Can't think of any. Makes boring television. In an interview with Whedon - he states that he Greenwalt realized that Buffy in pain - high ratings, entertainment, Buffy happy? low ratings, no entertainment. So now that Buffy is off TV? She's probably happy, b/c the tv gods named Whedon and ME are no longer interested in torturing her to entertain their public. No, they've turned their attention to Spike, Angel and the AI crew.;-)

Great post manwitch.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> From the A&E Biography from May/03 quotes from Joss regarding Buffy -- Rufus, 17:37:52 10/12/03 Sun

A&E Biography aired a show about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, here are a few of the quotes.

Joss: Our first rule became "Buffy in pain...show better. Buffy not in pain...show not so good"

Joss: One thing I realised, you know, early on...was that life doesn't stop being painful when you leave high school. The pain changes and hopefully the show changed.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> LOL. That's 'Never *Kill* a boy...' -- Sophist, 19:06:20 10/12/03 Sun

I suppose Buffy didn't have to kiss him either, though she did.

Or maybe you were just freudianslipping your own personal rule? :)
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> LMAO! Good catch...I knew something about it sounded off. -- s'kat, 21:33:23 10/12/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Riley and the relationship of equality -- manwitch, 07:57:47 10/13/03 Mon

Thanks Shadowkat. You are gracious and funny and just remarkably well versed in this show.

I am not disputing the points you make about Riley but I would ask this question, while at the same time offering a little too much of my own opinion on it.

I think several of the people that responded to my initial post have felt that Riley was after a relationship of equality with Buffy. So I guess my question would be, what sort of relationship of equality can Riley have with Buffy that does not involve her diminishment? I expect there is an answer to that, but I think Riley chose not to go there.

Oz has that great line in The Wish when Willow asks what she can do to make it up to him and when she protests his answer, he says, "Look, I told you what I need. So I can't help thinking that all this is so that you can feel better about yourself. That's not my problem." Harsh, perhaps, but not entirely out of line.

Moving back into the context of Buffy and Riley, I think she told him what she needed. When her mother was sick, she told Riley she needed someone to watch Dawn, someone to support her, that she needed to not crack. Riley needed her to crack. I think he needed that because the kind of support she needed him to offer did not fit in with the role he wanted to play. Her mother was dying, and she needed him to help her, to relieve her of some of the responsibilities and stresses, to help her be strong, not to break her down. But he felt if she wasn't crying in his arms, it wasn't a relationship of equality. (I have never entirely understood the argument that Buffy was shutting him out and responsible for the break up. The way I saw it, her mother was having an operation on her brain, and some evil God was threatening them all. Even if Buffy is not telling him everything, this is not the time to make your big manly stand. This is the time to say, "Buffy, just tell me what you need," and then do what she asks. I know a lot of men who get upset about being "taken for granted" in relationships, and there is a time and a place for that resentment. But when you're partner's mother, that she loves dearly, is having brain surgery, you do everything you can to be someone she can take for granted.)

When he went whoring, he very explicitly blamed it on her inadequacies, not on his own. Per his justification for it, he went whoring not to elevate himself to her level or to his perception of Angel's level, but to concretize Buffy's inadequacy in their relationship.

And when he left in the helicopter, as has been pointed out before, the pov and the audio make it clear that he hears her down below screaming his name. I know I am in the minority feeling this way, but I have always viewed that scene as a moment of triumph for Riley. He has been competitive with her from the first, needing to be stronger than her, needing to be the leader, needing her to need him rather than the other way around. And at last he gets that moment. She comes running to him, to acknowledge her inadequacies, to make amends to him for making him go whoring, to let him know she needs him. And he, fittingly, leaves. I suppose it can be interpreted that it was too late, cuz the helicopter had already left and isn't it sad that he got to hear only too late that maybe they could've worked it out. But I always felt that since that's what he had always wanted out of the relationship, at that moment it was complete, and he felt free to move on. He got what he wanted. He won the competition.

Anyways, that's an overview of why I think he was trying to constrain her. I would be curious as to what sort of relationship of equality people imagine they could have had. How might they be equals in Riley's view, without her diminishment?
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> wow -- Rahael, 08:55:13 10/13/03 Mon

That's a truly excellent post. I've been feeling deeply ambivalent about what I feel about any of Buffy's relationships, but the post above is a really well argued and immensely persuasive case, and this comes from someone not badly disposed to Riley at all.

As for Buffy's relationships with Angel and Spike, I enjoyed both at some points, felt they were bad were her at other times. Both are/were fascinating at the time. But the B/A thing died for me when Darla appeared and I thought to myself: the AtS writers have completely retconned B/A so Angel's thing for blondes was always about Darla! Just my viewpoint. Darla just became such a fascinating character in AtS S3, and she made me believe so much that her relationship with Angel was so epic and so strong and resonant, f*cked-up and magnificent, that it made B/A seem a weaker shadow. Because D/A made both characters more interesting and more epic. B/A was an arc involving the main character and a fascinating and intriguing shadowy figure. Angel came nowhere to realising his relationship potential on BtVS, so B/A to B/S is an unfair comparison, in terms of narrative strength. (Though I found the Buffy/Faith stand off over Angel in S3 really affecting - of course, I found it even more fascinating and enthralling when it was just Angel and Faith over on AtS)

B/S - I found it fascinating all the way until after the Attempted rape, and while Spike went on being a fascinating character until a little after 'Beneath You', and then I found it really difficult to find resonances for myself beyond that point.

So to conclude: Angel really comes into his in his relationships with Darla and Faith, and Connor. That's my shipper heaven.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Correction: 'comes into his *own*' -- Rahael, 08:56:29 10/13/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Agree completely on Angel, Darla, Connor. Well said. -- s'kat, 09:31:58 10/13/03 Mon

But the B/A thing died for me when Darla appeared and I thought to myself: the AtS writers have completely retconned B/A so Angel's thing for blondes was always about Darla! Just my viewpoint. Darla just became such a fascinating character in AtS S3, and she made me believe so much that her relationship with Angel was so epic and so strong and resonant, f*cked-up and magnificent, that it made B/A seem a weaker shadow.

Exact same thing happened to me. It was in Guise Will Be Guise that it really started to hit home, way back in S1 ATS, where the fake swami states that Angel's still trying to get over Darla and what he should just do is find a blond
who looks like Darla and treat her the same way. Then S2-S3 happened and I have to admit my two favorite arcs in the series are: Angel/Darla/Connor and Wesely/Connor/Lilah.
With Holtz/Justine the murky bad guys. I shifted from a B/A fan to a Darla/Angel fan. To me, no relationship Angel has been in equals the scope of the relationship he had with Darla. These two characters really seemed to know one another and care for one another in their own twisted way. The result of that union is Connor who is a mixed up version of who Darla and Angel were.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> 'kat, would you like to debate the topic: 'Is B/A (finally) dead'? -- cjl, 12:56:42 10/14/03 Tue

You know I still think there's signs of (un)life.

I know you think they should put a stake in it. Permanently. (Or, at least, ME would have to do so much work to credibly revive the relationship that it's simply not worth the effort.)

I write the "B/A lives" essay. You write the "B/A RIP" essay. We read each other's essay, we each write a rebuttal, then post the whole mess.

What say?
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Would be an interesting thread -- Masq, 15:45:50 10/14/03 Tue

Until the battle starts sucking up all the Kb on the board!
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Uhm...let me think... -- s'kat, 19:42:16 10/14/03 Tue

No. Absolutely not.

I may be masochistic, but I'm not that masochistic.
Besides I'm tv savvy enough to know it's not dead until the actors die, become too famous to do the roles, or ME declares it dead and buried.

Besides the whole topic depresses me.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Diminshment? -- Dlgood, 09:05:38 10/13/03 Mon

I think several of the people that responded to my initial post have felt that Riley was after a relationship of equality with Buffy. So I guess my question would be, what sort of relationship of equality can Riley have with Buffy that does not involve her diminishment?
But every successful and healthy relationship depends upon compromise. In absolute terms. one could always view that as "diminshment".

IMHO, the real issue is that Buffy's not in love with him. And that he wants her to be in love with him. He wants to feel as those he's as important to her as she is to him. But that isn't going to happen.

I don't begrude Buffy withdrawing emotionally from Riley under the stress of Joyce's illness or Dawn's state. But Riley's feeling the distance and she's not really turning to him. Buffy doesn't even notice that he's unhappy or unfulfilled.

But I'm not going to slam either of them for the breakup, though Riley looks like an asshat for messing around. If people are in love and want to be together, often they'll have to be willing to make fundamental compromises to keep it going. Buffy wasn't going to, and Riley didn't believe she loved him enough, for him to justify to himself, the compromises he was making.

When I was in grad school, my then-GF and I wound up breaking up because we decided to take jobs in different cities after graduation. If we'd both been in love with one another, we might have chosen to "diminsh" ourselves, or compromise by taking jobs in the same city even if it wasn't our first choice for ourselves. We didn't.

Riley may have looked like a tool at the end, but I'm not going to slam him.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Riley and the relationship of equality -- Arethusa, 09:12:02 10/13/03 Mon

When Riley had the choice between following Buffy and making her mission his own and going back to a leadership position, he chose his own mission. And when he did marry, he chose a woman who gave up her life for his mission, who was his inferior in training and strength.

RILEY: It wasn't real. I know, it was just physical. But the fact that I craved it ... that, that I kept going back ... even if it was fleeting, they made me feel like they had such... hunger for me. (Into the Woods)Buffyworld.com

RILEY: It's about me taking care of you! It's about letting me in.
(Into the Woods)Buffyworld.com

Basically, I think Riley felt it really was all about him-his mission, his needs. He needed his woman to be his woman, to put him first. He needed her to crave him, to lose herself in him, as he thought she lost herself in Angel and Dracula. And that's not Buffy. Riley might have been a good guy, but like some good guys he couldn't comprehend a girlfriend who was emotionally independent from him. Their lives could be parallel, but she couldn't make her life subordinate to his, and he did not want to make his life subordinate to hers.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Riley and the relationship of equality -- Claudia, 14:43:00 10/14/03 Tue

[Basically, I think Riley felt it really was all about him-his mission, his needs.]

Can't one say the same about Buffy? Isn't that why so many have accused her of being self-absorbed?
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Ah, but what is equality? -- Arethusa, 19:52:10 10/14/03 Tue

I call it saving-the-world-absorbed. Sounds much better.

The classic delimma: who gives up the career to follow the spouse. Riley could fight demons for Buffy or fight demons for the military. Buffy couldn't change her occupation-it was too specialized. Not to mention that if she left, the entire world would be in peril.

I wouldn't worry about what "many" people say. If anyone expresses an opinion with evidence to back it up, that's something worth responding to.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Very well said. I agree. -- Sophist, 09:13:49 10/13/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Agree -- sdev, 10:00:27 10/13/03 Mon

Wow is right. I've really enjoyed your posts in this thread and you have nailed down the something lurking in B/S that made that relationship intrinsically different than all of Buffy's priors.

As to Riley, I knew that relationship was doomed when his buddy called him "mission's boyfriend." He was so self-involved that he began his betrayal while Joyce was still in the hospital in Shadow. That he did not have enough sympathy and self-denial to wait till Buffy was outside this immediate crisis before he judged the relationship a failure and acted on that judgment demonstrated to me that he was wholly inappropriate for Buffy. Joyce's illness was a normal human crisis, and he could not be there for her. What would happen in Slayer size crises?

There is a reason that Buffy keeps turning to Spike over and over, even after the AR, to confide in, for help and for comfort. And I think you hit on that reason.

"How might they be equals in Riley's view, without her diminishment?"

Good question. Are you suggesting here that Buffy, as the Slayer, could not really have a relationship of equality with a normal man?
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Agree -- Claudia, 14:48:52 10/14/03 Tue

[As to Riley, I knew that relationship was doomed when his buddy called him "mission's boyfriend." He was so self-involved that he began his betrayal while Joyce was still in the hospital in Shadow. That he did not have enough sympathy and self-denial to wait till Buffy was outside this immediate crisis before he judged the relationship a failure and acted on that judgment demonstrated to me that he was wholly inappropriate for Buffy. Joyce's illness was a normal human crisis, and he could not be there for her. What would happen in Slayer size crises?]

But why didn't Buffy turned to Riley for support? Why did she keep him at a distance? She even confided her feelings to Spike - a vampire that she supposedly detests.

Riley is self-absorbed? Maybe. But so is Buffy. I think the problem between the two is that they never really learned how to communicate with one another. Buffy depended too much upon Riley being a symbol that she was capable of a "normal relationship" and Riley failed to let Buffy know that she was shutting him out.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Riley and the relationship of equality -- Malandanza, 10:04:19 10/13/03 Mon

"I think several of the people that responded to my initial post have felt that Riley was after a relationship of equality with Buffy. So I guess my question would be, what sort of relationship of equality can Riley have with Buffy that does not involve her diminishment? I expect there is an answer to that, but I think Riley chose not to go there."

With Spike, we saw the desire to diminish Buffy, to bring her down to his level. He's not beneath her if she's wallowing in the filth with him, after all. With Riley, the guy who clung to her scarf while lying sick in the army hospital, with all the fervor of a Courtly Knight clinging to the token of his lady love, we really don't see him trying to tear Buffy down. If anything, his shows of machismo were an effort to build himself up, to become worthy of her. Thus, he foolishly takes on a nest of vampires solo, and risks death to stay a super soldier. It is his own diminishment he fears, because he fears he will become unworthy of Buffy.

Yes, Buffy told him she needed someone to support her, but she also made it clear that it wasn't him -- she had Giles for that. And Iago Spike was there, lurking in the shadows, insinuating that Riley wasn't just not first in Buffy's affections, but he also wasn't second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth -- that her sweater-sniffing enemy was more often in her thoughts than the convenient boyfriend. It wasn't that he needed to be first, it was that he need to not be last.

And it is also Spike who fuels his imagination with Buffy's fascination for vampires -- that she needs a little monster in her man. Was Riley foolish for allowing himself to be led on by Spike? Certainly. He has his Othello epiphany just before heading to Spike's crypt with a fake stake. But does he rant and rave and blame Spike for his problems? He sees he has failed Buffy -- again (the first time was by sleeping with Faith -- he had his second chance and blew it). I don't think Riley ever believed he had a chance with Buffy from the moment he was caught with the vamps -- he wanted to escape -- to get as far from the scene of mortification as possible (what would the scoobies think if they knew Riley had been running around with vamp prostitutes! How could Mr. Morality face them?) and as far from Buffy, and the painful reminders of the romance he had destroyed due to his own inadequacies, as possible. The ultimatum (and I'm glad Buffy didn't accept it until too late, under Xander's influence) was Riley's last, desperate hope that Buffy would let him back into her good graces. I don't think he believed he would be happy again -- hence the scar and his hasty marriage.

I disagree about the helicopter. The audio was for the home viewer, not Riley. He "won a competition"? Where was the self-satisfied smirk? Or at least some acknowledgment that he heard Buffy?

I don't blame Buffy for the breakup -- she was busy with a god, an imaginary sister, and her dying mother (also a dying boyfriend at one point). The breakup happened in Riley's head (with a little help from Spike) but it wasn't some Machiavellian ploy to put Buffy in her place -- it was a case of Riley thinking too much and talking too little.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The Catch-22.. -- Random, 12:18:04 10/13/03 Mon

...is that if Riley had talked more before the crisis, people would be even more on his case about it. Keeping his mouth shut was really the only feasible plan.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The Catch-22.. -- Malandanza, 10:46:09 10/14/03 Tue

"is that if Riley had talked more before the crisis, people would be even more on his case about it. Keeping his mouth shut was really the only feasible plan."

I don't know that that's true -- I think that if Riley had talked to someone (not necessarily Buffy) he would have sorted through his emotions a little better. In In to the Woods, he does just that while he talks to Buffy -- he isn't so much talking to her as he is talking out loud, examining his motives in a fairly dispassionate manner (he did have a psychology degree), wondering what made him do the things he did. Perhaps he could have talked to Xander in a little more depth, not just dropping "but she doesn't love me" bombs and walking away, but really talking. If nothing else, Xander would have had the opportunity to say "Spike? You've been listening to Spike?" -- sort of like Iago's wife when she hears Othello calling Iago good and noble.

As for updating the Jonathan essay -- I found the Troika interesting mainly because of the parallels between them and the Scoobies (particularly Willow/Warren and Andrew/Spike) but Jonathan was the least interesting of the three. His character in Season Six-Seven seemed like Superstar, part II. Now, I think an essay on the Troika as a whole would be interesting to write, as would an essay on Warren -- but if you see some potential to expand on Jonathan's story, by all means, feel free to do so.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Agree... -- Random, 11:26:52 10/14/03 Tue

You do have a point about the sorting-through-feelings. All we ever saw him do was that short scene with Xander. The rest of the time, he suffered in silence. Perhaps the relationship between him and Xander should have been expanded and explored. It certainly would have led to more exposition with regards to Riley's development.

And, re Jonathan: I understand. In fact, I think an essay on the Troika as a whole, or Warren, would be great. Please do one of those. We'd love to see that from you. Go ahead and dib one of them in the above thread. I hadn't thought of the Troika, but now that you mention it, it would be an excellent topic for a Character Essay.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> BTW... -- Random, 12:22:45 10/13/03 Mon

...are you gonna grace us with an updated Jonathan Character Essay? Please? I think we'd all love that.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Dawn set Riley off -- sdev, 19:26:11 10/13/03 Mon

You said:

"And it is also Spike who fuels his imagination with Buffy's fascination for vampires -- that she needs a little monster in her man. Was Riley foolish for allowing himself to be led on by Spike?"

I don't think it is Spike that caused Riley to seek the prostitutes. In Shadow, Riley has a conversation with Dawn that appears to actually have set him off to seek the vampire prostitute:

Dawn: I'm really glad you're here.
Riley: Thanks.
Dawn: Buffy's glad too.
Riley: (smiles skeptically)Yeah?
Dawn: She sure cries a lot less with you than she did with Angel.
Riley: (suprised)Angel ... made her cry a lot, huh?
Dawn: Everything with him was all ... (grimaces, makes claw motions with hands) eee, you know?
Riley: All...?
Dawn: You know ... "my boyfriend's a vampire" crazy crazy. (Riley nods)Every day was like the end of the world. She doesn't get all worked up like that over you. I think you've been really good for her.

It appears to be that conversation with Dawn that causes his confidence break down. His trip to the prostitute temporally follows the Dawn conversation. But five episodes prior, in The Replacement, Riley is already complaining to Xander that Buffy doesn't love him. And Riley himself tells Buffy that the bite from Dracula (S5.1)made him question Buffy's feelings for him.

Clearly Riley's feelings are cumulative and not attributable to any one person or event. Truth be told, Riley has to be responsible for those feelings.

I really blame Riley for not being able to postpone action till Buffy was in a more stable life situation to deal with him. But if he couldn't wait, he should have at least have spoken before acting. Riley made no attempt to talk to Buffy prior to betraying their relationship.

That he was undiscovered until Spike showed Buffy what he was doing, does not change how contemptibly Riley acted. Getting caught was not the betrayal; Riley's conduct was.

I actually thought Spike showed decent judgment in the timing of this revelation. It was clear Spike knew earlier about Riley's actions but he waited till Joyce was 'out of the woods' to tell her.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Another interesting and well-written post -- s'kat, 10:30:48 10/13/03 Mon

Thank you for that. I do agree with most of what you have written, but that said, I'd like to defend Riley a little bit.

I think DlGood makes some good points about the fact that Buffy just didn't really love Riley. She wanted to love him.
He was the perfect boyfriend. Normal. Knew about her abilities. Could fight demons. Loved by her friends. Nothing monsterous about him. She mentions this in more than one episode in S4 and S5.

In I Was Made To Love You S5 Btvs - the writer, Jane Espenson, attempts to explore what it's like to want to love someone but not to be able to. Warren creates the perfect girlfriend in April. She cooks. She cleans. She loves him. Buffy accuses Warren of creating a sex-bot or toy, but he states, "you don't understand, it wasn't about sex, although that's nice and all - I wanted someone to love me". I wanted to be appreciated and loved. Adored. And April did adore him. Sort of like Riley adored Buffy. Except for one problem, Warren states, he couldn't love her back. He was bored. Instead the girl who argued with him and occassionally annoyed him - caught his interest. Buffy is struggling with the same thing - she misses Riley, but he was never really a part of her heart, not someone she was "in love" with. That does not mean she didn't care about him or love him. It means she didn't want to committ to him. Nothing wrong with that, she's only 20. Riley remember was much older than Buffy and wanted committment. He wanted the career. The mission.

Also in Sunnydale - Riley's military buddies are right - he really has no purpose outside of Buffy. He has in effect given up his mission for her's. He's become the "mission's boyfriend". In contrast - Sam doesn't give up her mission for Riley's nor does Riley give up his for Sam. (Keep in mind that I hated Sam and Riley in AYW). As AYW is written, we learn Sam chose to join Riley's unit way before they got involved. She chose to do it after her team was killed in South America. When we are introduced to Sam - it's made clear that they are equals - if anything he reports to her as much as she reports to him. Buffy states something to the effect :"So he's your boss?" Sam:" He'd like to be." Riley:"No, she's the boss."

Sam is seen as tough and knowledgable as Riley. In some ways she's a female Riley. They fit. Or they are supposed to. (I personally think Sam and Riley were written poorly in AYW. So a lot of this is how I think they were meant to be portrayed).

The difficulty with Buffy/Riley is they really have nothing in common outside of the demon fighting and even in that they are unequally matched. They also come at if from completely different angles and disciplines. Buffy looks at demon fighting from a mystical angle, through magic and instince. Riley comes at demon fighting from a logical/military angle, through technology, science and logic. One way isn't necessarily better than another, they are different. But neither character truly appreciates or understands or even trusts the other's methods. (This is alluded to in numerous episodes in S4, S5 and Buffy makes a few cracks regarding it in AYW and Killer in Me).A big deal is made out of how Buffy attempts to exclude Riley from her demon fighting after his operation in Out of My Mind. It's Riley's greatest fear. One he expresses repeatedly in Out of My Mind. Buffy, unfortunately, does exactly what Riley fears and treats him like a weakling after the operation. She excludes him from the one thing that they had in common, the one thing that made his life meaningful outside of Buffy. Remember he was a demon hunter prior to meeting Buffy. Note that in the episodes after OOMM - Buffy is constantly telling Riley not to exert himself, not to help her patrol. In OOMM even - she's upset he's out there helping her and this is before the operation. In Fool For Love after Riley saves Buffy from a vampire, he wants to go out and kill the vamp who attacked her. She insists he take the gang along, who only hamper him. It would be one thing if Buffy was right and Riley was incapable of taking care of himself, but Riley proves in Fool For Love and Listening to Fear that he is more than capable. His methods are just different than Buffy's. He uses a grenade to take out the vamps instead of stakes in Fool For Love and in Listening to Fear - he uses military technology to track the demon while the gang uses books. He actually seems to respect Buffy's methods more than she seems to understand or respect his, which again makes sense since Buffy has had bad experiences with technology and science.

Then in Shadow - when he comes to visit Buffy after taking out the vampires - she's gone and he discoveres Spike and it is Spike who tells him Joyce is in the hospital and sick.
Buffy hasn't confided any of it to him. He doesn't want her to cry on his shoulder so much as to share something of her life with him. It's the fact she's not told him about her mother that bugs him, not the fact that he didn't see her cry. He finds out about the mother second-hand through others.

In Into The Woods - Buffy has a scene with her mother, Joyce tells Buffy to go home and spend some time with Riley, Buffy states Riley will always be there, and will understand if she blows him off. It's not the first time this is addressed, we see Buffy leaving Riley at night in Dracula to go fight demons, not telling him where she's going. In Fool For Love - she spends the night talking with Spike and doesn't confide any of her worries to Riley.
In The Replacement - Riley attempts to discuss the movie or anything with Buffy - and she is clearly not paying attention. By the time Into the Woods comes around - its clear Buffy is sort of taking Riley for granted. She doesn't mean to, it's not deliberate, she wants to love him, but...she just can't. They have no common denominator.

In S4 they were fighting a mutual enemy, they were both hunting their own way. Riley was in danger, possibly dangerous himself, and super-strong due to the drugs the Initiative was feeding him. In S5 - Riley is no longer in the Initiative, nor appears to be in School, he's also no longer in danger and no longer superstrong or mysterious. He's just Buffy's "normal" boyfriend. That seems to be his only role in life. Buffy meanwhile has decided to move home and is acting oddly protective of her kid sister, who she used to ignore, and is spending less and less time with Riley and more and more time patrolling by herself.

Here's where the relationship breaks down. Riley makes the mistake of making Buffy the mission. Bad idea. You should never make your whole life about someone else. Make them the center of everything in it. Don't get me wrong - Sharing your life with someone is great. Having them part of your life is great. But depending on them to provide you with a purpose? Making them your purpose? That's a lot of responsibility to put on someone, what if they don't live up to your expectations? What if they are busy with something? Etc. Not a great idea. Remember Riley had literally everything he knew stripped away from him in S4, so by S5 all he had was Buffy. Buffy became his universe, his world, his raison d'etre. He was barely on speaking terms with Graham and the other people in the military. But he was happiest when he went on the mission with them in Listening to Fear. His home was with them - they understood him. Buffy's friends were much younger than he was and he had no true common denominator with them. Even if Buffy loved Riley and made him the center of her universe - I'm not certain it would have worked. Riley needed something besides Buffy to make his life meaningful - with Sam he has that. Just as Buffy had things outside of Riley to give her life meaning. Part of the reason she may not have loved Riley - is that he didn't really fit with her life and they didn't really have a common denominator and he could not really understand her, because Riley, himself, had no life outside of Buffy, no mission, no calling. He had to leave Buffy to rediscover it.

I don't believe either party is solely to blame for the relationship not working. I think it was doomed from the beginning - partly because the two people involved were on different paths of development.

Hope that is clear, struggling with a sinus headache this morning. ;-)

Thanks again for the post, manwitch.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Utterly disagree... -- Random, 11:59:56 10/13/03 Mon

I've already explicated my issues with your take on the B/S relationship (as did Mal, but better than me), but I believe the B/R relationship was not nearly so bleak as you suggest.

Reading the subtext, one need not necessarily conclude that Riley wanted her to crack. It's a popular opinion, true, but since when does acknowledging the comfort and aid offered by your significant other constitute "cracking?" Yes, he made that observation about her crying in his arms, but I see this as merely a example of what comfort and friendship and intimacy mean. For the length of Joyce's illness, Riley was there for her. He kept his insecurities under wraps (except that one moment with Xander.) He was at the hospital. He babysat Dawn. He came to the party. He took up the patrolling slack. He was, in short, the ultimate supportive boyfriend. He didn't bring his issues up. So when he finally melts down -- a melt-down forced by Spike's leading of Buffy to the vampire whorehouse -- we suddenly are supposed to believe that Riley was somehow a bad boyfriend prior to that? That everything is wiped away because of a forced crisis?!? Not convinced. The problem is, we assume that somehow Riley was planning to diminish her -- an entirely unsupportable assumption. Everything we witness on-screen is an example of Riley trying to make himself better. Measure up. He went out to fight the vampires even after he lost his power. He went to trulls to understand what it was that Buffy wanted and liked in the darkness of her men. He fought like crazy to keep from having the surgery to remove his power. He was subservient to her in almost everything...except the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, where he, quite reasonably, expected a certain equality. (Two different issues being discussed here, btw: the issue of the power relationships in the professional vampire slayer/demon hunter sense, and the issue of the power within the relationship. In either case, I don't see Riley as wanting to diminish Buffy. In the former, he wants to measure up; in the latter, he quite reasonably wants equality, sharing, everything one expects from a partner.)

If his wanting Buffy to act like, you know, a normal person and significant other by trusting him enough to open herself up to him is demeaning, then what hope does Buffy have in any relationship? Granted, her behaviour was quite understandable, given the issues surrounding her at the time. But so was Riley's. Neither one was really in the right. Riley could have stayed strong and stuffed those insecurities right down until the illness crisis had passed, that I concede. What I don't concede is that somehow Riley acted in a manner that made him a bad boyfriend. If everytime someone has emotional insecurities and problems the relationship turned into something bad, then the world is screwed. We bitch about the timing, and quite rightly. But the issues are still real, and had they not come up then, they would have come up later.

Granted, it wasn't the best time. Or, perhaps, it was. The moments of crisis are often the moments when the depths of love and friendship and need are best revealed. But even given that, Riley didn't make it an issue, not to her face, until the ultimatum. We the viewers saw his pensive moments, and understood them, but we have a privileged view. Riley didn't inflict himself on Buffy. He tried to be strong. (Can you imagine Xander or Spike passing up any opportunity to get in an emotional dig in the same situation?) It was only when it appeared that the relationship was at a do or die moment that Riley actually confronted Buffy. He offered his ultimatum -- another forced moment...one thing about TV and movies is that there are often several incongruously forced moments converging at once, under the principle that troubles come in battalions -- and she knocked it away. Understandably, given her emotional state. And then Xander offers his speech...and, construed motives aside, it was a speech that he meant and that Buffy agreed with. It was, in final analysis, a necessary speech. It was Xander getting past the emotion and tension in Buffy and getting her to see that there were real issues at stake here. Her mother's illness was a very real issue. But that didn't make these other issues less real. Though the illness obscured them, they still existed.

Riley had legitimate issue...as most people would if the person they love refused to confide in them when they most needed to confide. Perhaps he should have spanked his inner moppet for a while...but I think he should be at least granted the same leeway for messing up as any other character. To screw up is human. We as viewers tend to judge and judge harshly when dealing with characters. But we also need to grant all of them some charity, not just the ones we prefer. Xander has been a total ass at times. Buffy has been bitchy and stupid. And don't get me started on S4 Willow. But I love all these characters, and will give them room to make mistakes, be human, have emotions. Does Riley deserve any less?

(BTW, heh, I completely disagree with your thesis concerning whether Riley heard Buffy. Understandable, given that I do not attribute such base motives to Riley. I saw no evidence that Riley wanted to "beat" Buffy -- indeed, I consider that a really radical reading of the text -- and certainly saw no evidence that Riley was petty or cruel or hateful or whatever. He asked her to stop him. He obviously loved her. I do not believe he would have done such a thing merely as a gesture of petty revenge or "victory")
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Utterly disagree... -- Sophist, 13:26:33 10/13/03 Mon

It occurs to me that your subject line would make a perfect all-purpose subject line for this Board. We spend all our time disagreeing anyway; if Masq would just program it in, we'd all save the time of having to think up new ones.

a melt-down forced by Spike's leading of Buffy to the vampire whorehouse

I dunno. I see the meltdown as the act of visiting the trulls itself. Spike didn't force the meltdown, he just revealed it.

He went to trulls to understand what it was that Buffy wanted and liked in the darkness of her men.

That's not how I understand the dialogue:

Riley: I think, when this thing started, it was just some stupid, immature game. I wanted to even the score after you let Dracula bite you.
Buffy: I did not *let* Dracula-
Riley: I know. On some level I know that. But I was still spun. (pause) I don't know, I - I wanted to know what you felt. I wanted to know why Dracula and Angel have so much power over you.
Buffy: (shakes her head) You so don't get it.
Riley: I wanted to get it, Buffy. I wanted to get you.


Riley: They made me feel something, Buffy. Something I didn't even know I was missing until-
Buffy: I can't. I can't hear this.

She turns away again and Riley grabs her arm again.
Riley: You *need* to hear this.

Buffy pulls her arm away, walks a few steps away.

Buffy: Fine. Fine! Tell me about your whores! Tell me what on earth they were giving you that I can't.
Riley: They needed me.
Buffy: They needed your money. It wasn't about you.
Riley: (walks closer to her) No. On some basic level it *was* about me. My blood, my body. (sighs) When they bit me ... it was beyond passion. They wanted to devour me, all of me.
Buffy: (teary) Why are you telling me this?
Riley: It wasn't real. I know, it was just physical. But the fact that I craved it ... that, that I kept going back ... even if it was fleeting, they made me feel like they had such... hunger for me.

According to Riley, he had two motives, neither of them praiseworthy: revenge; and to supply what he felt he was not getting from Buffy. Neither is the one you suggest.

Everything we witness on-screen is an example of Riley trying to make himself better. Measure up.

I think this cuts both ways. It sure seems like evidence that Riley could not accept his physically subordinate role, which is what manwitch is saying. For all my criticisms of Xander, he got over the need to prove himself physically.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Utterly disagree... -- Dlgood, 13:45:20 10/13/03 Mon

Riley: (walks closer to her) No. On some basic level it *was* about me. My blood, my body.

There's something instructive in that line. For Riley, Buffy needs *a* normal boyfriend. She doesn't actually need *him*. What is it that Riley is bringing to Buffy, to the relationship, that Buffy sees as essential. That she can't easily supply herself, or quickly replace with the other folks in her life. Why does she value Riley as a person, rather than simply what he can do for her while he's around.

That's the fundametal issue. Riley has trouble accepting his subordinacy? They can work on that. Riley has trouble accepting his utter irrelevance. That's harder to resolve.

IMHO, Xander was somewhat right. Riley was "State Farm" to Buffy. And he can't accept being "State Farm". Xander can, because he's not Buffy's boyfriend. Xander can have a girlfiend to whom, he's more than just "State Farm". He can have somebody that *he* matters to.

Riley can't be Buffy's boyfriend and have that, because Buffy doesn't see *him* as more than that. Even before Joyce's illness and the revelations about Dawn, there are already cracks in a relationship. Even if she wishes to believe she could.

I won't say Riley's an asshat or anything. But I won't condemn him for wanting out of that relationship. By that point, I'd been wondering why he was still there. Sometimes, two people don't belong together 4-Evah, and we shouldn't rush to damn one or the other for ending it.

I don't blame or damn either of them for that break-up.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Don't see... -- Random, 14:45:05 10/13/03 Mon

...the revenge aspect at all. Where are you getting that. As for the other point, that, well, was my point. Don't get me wrong -- I don't think Riley was the right person for Buffy. But neither do I share the opinion that he was somehow manipulative and irrevocably flawed. He was unable to keep up with her...but that doesn't make him a bad boyfriend. Nor was she able or willing to give herself to him completely. She held back. Xander was right (I know you hate to admit it, but Xander is quite frequently right) in that Buffy held back where she never held back with Angel. It was not a relationship of equals on a physical level, and there's not much they could do about that. But the emotional level.... As I noted, Riley was insecure and had issues. But being unreasonable wasn't one of them. He picked a bad time. But he certainly didn't ask for more than anyone in a relationship should expect. And, in the end, he knew to leave. If Buffy couldn't give him what he needed out of a relationship, it was time to move on. How many people have the basic insight to do that?

As far as the physical subordinate thing goes, you make a good point. But I guarantee you, there's a vast difference between trying to make yourself better and trying to bring someone down to your level. Spike is a perfect example of that. When he tries to better himself as a person -- parts of S5, S7 -- he's a much better "person" than in virtually all of S6 after OMWF, when he was trying to drag Buffy down.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Oh, and utter disagreement... -- Random, 15:01:11 10/13/03 Mon

Is what makes the threads interesting, heh. Hence the fact that you replied to me rather than the utter agree-ers.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Utterly disagree -- Sophist, 16:50:04 10/13/03 Mon

I just couldn't use your last subject line. I got worried I'd end up like Giles in SB.

the revenge aspect at all. Where are you getting that.

From this statement by Riley (it's the beginning of my long quote above): "I think, when this thing started, it was just some stupid, immature game. I wanted to even the score after you let Dracula bite you."

Perhaps "revenge" is too strong. Can we settle on "get even"?

Nor was she able or willing to give herself to him completely

manwitch's post below does a wonderful job of refuting this.

I know you hate to admit it, but Xander is quite frequently right

If by "frequently", you mean I can count those times on the fingers of one hand, sure. Ok, that was sarcastic and I'm not even sure I mean it, though I might. Have to think about it and count them up....

Anyway, I don't think Xander was right this particular time for the reasons manwitch gives below.

If Buffy couldn't give him what he needed out of a relationship, it was time to move on. How many people have the basic insight to do that?

Conservative estimate? All 6 billion of us. I'm sarcastic again, but I'm also serious. I think most people leave relationships when they decide they're not getting what they need out of them. What's really hard to do is look deep inside yourself and say: Is it really true that I'm not getting this? Do I really need this? Is it right for me to need this?

I don't think Riley ever asked himself those questions.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Heh, the problem is.. -- Random, 17:43:05 10/13/03 Mon

It was manwitch I was refuting in the first place. So obviously I don't buy his arguments as a refutation of mine. It would get circular and confusing.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I vehemently, something something -- fresne, 16:11:06 10/13/03 Mon

You know now that you mention programming a board auto response, I have this desire to start a thread where we all post something completely typical of our points of view, posting style, etc.

For example, I should start by agreeing with all of the points of view in some way. I don't know, Buffy loved Riley, but not in the way that he desired to be loved. She was his primary love. He was one of her secondary loves. His superior officers (in AYW) were Machiavellian. They were the Doctor. No relation to the Doctor, Timelord. Hey I watched the X-files. Riley was a veritable Horatio Alger and I was surprised to discover that Judy Garland was in Gay Purreee. I loved that cartoon.

And then go off on a tangent (if that's possible at this point) about this last week's Justice League, both tasty and delicious, that made me decide that Angel isn't really Batman. He's just not dark enough. Of course Bats hasn't slept in three days. That's valuable dourly brooding time. And for all his corn-fedness, Riley isn't really Supes. Totally different issues for one thing. Although, Spike might be the Flash. Does the man never change his clothes! I mean I know chicks dig the mask, but really.

There might also be some sort of riff about butterflies as symbolic of the soul, although what that might have to do with Riley no one would ever be quite sure...hmmm. It's a conundrum.

A brief, but meaningful, tangent that Scott Hope told everyone that Buffy was gay. A factoid admittedly from a suspect source. Perhaps a riff on Faith, Hope and Love. Returning once again to the butterfly, Psyche, mental love and baked cookies. Ultimately, it would resolve on some uplifting comment that somehow circles back to the Justice League and/or a 16th - 17th century poet.

Oh and thus far, Isaac and Abraham has come up explicitly on Smallville (I almost called it Lex, but that's a different show) and on Stargate. I'm feeling a theme.

Actually, I'm rebelling against writing the definition for the term that the team can't quite decide what they want to call it. Thus making it difficult to define. But that's a different issue.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> LOL! Now, I'm beginning to want to read the Justice League -- s'kat, 17:20:53 10/13/03 Mon

And then go off on a tangent (if that's possible at this point) about this last week's Justice League, both tasty and delicious, that made me decide that Angel isn't really Batman. He's just not dark enough. Of course Bats hasn't slept in three days. That's valuable dourly brooding time. And for all his corn-fedness, Riley isn't really Supes. Totally different issues for one thing. Although, Spike might be the Flash. Does the man never change his clothes! I mean I know chicks dig the mask, but really.

Between you and cjl, I'm feeling the temptation to spend money on comics again - something I so cannot afford to do, you nasty comic-pushers you!

Cjl has been stating for quite some time that Wesely fits Bats from the Justice League in S3-S5 Angel. In fact, he suspects Wes like Bats is keeping detailed profiles of the teams weaknesses and strengths just in case he has to terminate them if they get out of control or someone comes along and takes them over. (If I put words into your mouth or misunderstood, cjl - please correct me!) All of which is beginning to make me wonder what I've been missing in Justice League. The JLA I remember was pretty bland, everyone getting along, what-not. Hmmm. It's sounding more and more like the X-Men now, maybe X-Men sales forced DC to re-invent the JLA?

So perhaps the JLA roles by AI are: Angel is Superman (he certainly thinks of himself in that role), Wes is Batman,
Gunn is the Green Latern, Fred is Wonderwoman?? Lorne is
the alien guy I can't remember the name of, and Spike is
The Flash?? Or maybe Aguaman (he never got along with half the JLA?) Is there a ghost in DC comics?? Actually I always though ME was more into Marvel than DC, the characters seem to fit Marvel characters better: Angel as Cyclops, Fred as
some science geek player, Spike as either Gambit or Wolverine, Wesely as The Beast (Science Guy) or Professor Xavier, Gunn as Iceman, Harmony as Dazzler (or maybe that should be Cordelia).

The B/R debate is an interesting disagreement isn't it? And truth be told I'm not really sure the posters disagree as much as they think they do. Everyone appears to agree that Buffy cared for Riley and the relationship simply did not work. Where everyone disagrees is the degree of fault on either side or why it didn't work, it reminds me of watching people argue over a well-publicized divorce. One group taking the wife's side, one the husband's, and one neither. Truth is it was both parties fault on some level. Not sure the degree is necessarily important, unless of course we're arguing about property, then fault does come into play.

I love your posts fresne, particularly when they appear in the midst of debates.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> To some extent... -- Random, 20:15:27 10/13/03 Mon

...we all are (mostly) agreeing, that's true. Primarily because we're all (mostly) hedging a lot on the issue of fault. But the issue of Riley's character, however, is not, to me, an idle one. Riley has never been one of my favorites, but -- like you with Spike -- I tend to feel that he gets unfairly slammed a lot. He often gets the worst possible motives ascribed to him, and people tend to be lax in allowing him the same room to maneuver as they do with more beloved characters (Xander and Buffy are my own favorites, and it stings for me to have to acknowledge that many of the issues people slam Riley about are actually partly the result of Buffy's own behaviour. But my beloved Buffy makes mistakes too. My beloved Xander makes them about every other episode in seasons where he gets more than 2 minutes of screen time per ep.) I dislike defending Riley at the cost of blaming Buffy, especially since Riley is on my "Eh, he's okay" list. In any event, I think my main issue -- can't speak for others -- is making sure Riley is given a fair shake...cause he deserves at least that much. Now if only someone would find somebody else to blame for the actual breakdown...I'm thinking perhaps it was a plot by the Knights of Byzantium. No, wait, hear me out....

Okay, I'm stretching. But still, I like my idea.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: To some extent... -- s'kat, 12:48:33 10/14/03 Tue

I think you nailed the reason why Riley gets slamned, Buffy fans.

Truth is, as much as I like Buffy, she was and is a truly complex character and man oh man, high maintenance. Holden Webster was right, Buffy ain't there yet regarding relationships. She lost her Mom, Dad took off, she's been saddled with the being the Chosen one and now has to take care of kid sis - which the monks gave her, also part of the whole Chosen one thing. Who has time to worry about falling in love and making it work with some equally stressed guy? Plus she's only 22! I don't know many 22 year olds who've had successful relationships. Well, maybe one out of ten.

The difficulty is so many fans can't seem to let Buffy take on a share of the blame for anything. Why the heck not? It's what makes her interesting and not a bloody Mary Sue. If she was perfect and not to blame, would we wast time on her? I wouldn't. Now I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with her - but I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with any of the characters on Television. Too frigging high maintenance. (Maybe a quick imaginary fling...but not a relationship. ) But then fictional characters' foibles tend to be more exaggerated then our's are. Why? Because the writers are putting their characters' (and in some cases their own and their actors) foibles under a microscope week after week to expose and extricate every last drop of drama out of them. It's far more interesting to watch Buffy screw up her life, and her relationships than it is to watch her being happy and well-adjusted. Would we watch if Xander had the perfect job? Actually Xander did have the perfect job, great apt and was completely together in Season 7 and most of Season 6 and whoops! No storyline. The writers became completely bored.
Spike on the other hand is a mess, no job, formerly evil (depending on your pov), crazy, opportunistic, tons and tons of nasty little foibles to examine - a writer's dream come true. He's evil? Let's see if we can redeem him, it'll be fun! Riley had the same problem as S6/S7 Xander - upstanding, young, TA with military background - hmmm becoming Marty Stu here, we have to do something to darken him up, make him interesting, otherwise we're bored and the viewers are bored. Enter the vamp trulls. So in real life? You might want to be friends with Riley and Xander, but on tv? (shrug, you're bored or rather 75% of your Neilsen viewers are.). I think we need to keep in mind when we analyze these shows that they are first and foremost television shows with television characters in a supernatural setting designed to entertain as many people as necessary on a weekly basis - so there are certain things such as "morals" and "foibles" that are going to be warped or exaggerated in order to make things interesting.
Hence Buffy comes across as a royal pain in the you know where occassionally, Riley a complete dork, and Spike a nasty fiend. As long as they don't stay that way - and we see development, it's no problem. If they do stay that way, then the show becomes as stagnant and dull as it would be if everyone was nice and well-adjusted. The trick is to go for the happy medium and to ME's credit I think they've found it for most of their characters.

YMMV of course. ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Well, in this case, do you have cable? -- fresne, 21:56:37 10/13/03 Mon

The animated Justice League on the Cartoon Network just started their fall schedule. So, if you've got cable, you have this Justice League. And this season is already raring to make up for some of my character issues with the last run.

This last week, featuring John Dee or Dr. Destiny, was one of those head trip episodes and I spent the entire time going, give me Morpheus, give me Sandman. Come on, you know you wanna.

You're probably right about the Marvel thing, but what can I say, I dig my Superman, which is why I find it odd that I merely liked Riley, but he was no Supes.

Now that I've pimped the merely cabelish, I will push 1602. Neil Gaiman. Marvel character's transported for some reason to 1602. Hijinks ensue. Lots and lots of hijinks.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> You've got it exactly right, 'kat. And fresne, as for '1602'........ -- cjl, 11:36:05 10/14/03 Tue

OK, interesting. But I'm not having fun, and this should be a lot more fun. Gaiman has devoted considerable energy reconceptualizing then reconstituting the Marvel Universe four centuries earlier, but seems to taking his sweet ass time getting into the plot. OK, mutants are "witches." We get it, Neil. Now can something please HAPPEN already?
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Utterly Agree (program that!) -- sdev, 19:33:04 10/13/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> With everything? Sounds like you might get conflicted at some point. -- Random, 19:59:49 10/13/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Just with me of course. -- Sophist, 20:27:48 10/13/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Never. I'm just an agree-a-thon. You know that. LOL -- sdev, 20:34:09 10/13/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Love and Compromise -- manwitch, 15:18:07 10/13/03 Mon

Random, Malandaza, and Dlgood have some great points, some of which even get me thinking outside my little box. And I truthfully agree with Dlgood's point that sometimes people aren't meant to be together and there's not much useful about damning them for realizing that. And I would wholeheartedly agree with that as a characterization of Buffy and Riley.

But I'm just having too much fun being useless. So, rather than damining him, consider this constructive criticism for Riley, to help him with future relationships after his divorce from Sam.

Somewhere above, Dlgood wrote:

I don't begrude Buffy withdrawing emotionally from Riley under the stress of Joyce's illness or Dawn's state. But Riley's feeling the distance and she's not really turning to him. Buffy doesn't even notice that he's unhappy or unfulfilled.

I guess this here is where I would agree I might be being unfair to Riley. Part of me says you are completely right. But another part of me says, without meaning to suggest at all that you are wrong, how dare he demand that Buffy notice it right then? I guess I still feel that its a time when he might make a concerted effort to find his happiness and fulfillment in doing what she needs him to do.

Dlgood also raised a point that is absolutely true, but that hasn't, in my view, been specifically addressed to this relationship in my or other posts, and that is about compromise. Certainly compromise is part of any relationship. I am not sure I'm clear, however, on the specific compromises she might have made. Told him about Dawn? No way. She didn't tell anyone but Giles. For their safety, for Dawn's, for the worlds. Should she have told him about her mom? (By which we mean, should she have told him first?) I don't know that we'll ever have an answer to that. The obvious suggestion is that she could've gone to the phone and called him immediately and left a message for him. But since the rest of that night/evening wasn't shown, we really don't know. Spike knew because he was there at the right time is all. She didn't seek spike out to confide in him. She went to the hospital with her mother. When Riley did show up, she didn't role her eyes and say, "oh, this clown again." She embraced him. It seemed to me to be sincere.

I guess, to the degree that I'm going to grant that Buffy should have recognized Riley was unhappy, Riley should also have recognized who Buffy was and what she was going through. Sometimes Buffy will have to have slayer secrets. She has earned all of their trust in that regard. He should have some recognition, not only of the fact that she seems to be keeping something from him, but also of the fact that she may have a good reason that has nothing to do with her feelings for him and that she has come through for him many many times before.

When Riley was grieving, she was there for him. When Riley was in withdrawal, she was there for him. When Riley was captive and going to be courtmartialed, as soon as she learned about it, she got him out. When he left the initiative, she was there for him, and told him everything (well, except the sex part) about her deepest secret. When Riley was upset about Angel and she had to tell him about Forrest, her caring and tenderness were palpable. When she needed to fight Adam, she first tried to save Riley, and when he was finally up and running and she needed his help, she asked for his help. When Riley was having crazy heart problems, Buffy was there for him, even in the face of his abuse. Throughout all of this, the message has been, I am here for you, Riley, I've tried not to give you reasons to not trust me, and even if you think I don't love you, I'm still going to do all I can for you. On top of that, she sleeps with him a lot.

I'm really sorry that Riley doesn't feel loved. But I feel he bears some responsibility for feeling that way.

So he's upset about Dracula. Dracula is a hypnotist of some kind. Yeah, he bit Buffy, but he had Xander being his butt monkey, and Giles wantin to hang with the wierd sisters. Riley knows this. I would like to give Riley the freedom to make mistakes, but his conclusion that Buffy is a willing participant seems to me to be premature at best, even from his perspective.

That she would express concern over him going out on patrol when she knows he's no longer taking the super-one-a-days and when she herself nearly messed up and got killed doesn't seem to me to be unreasonable or unloving. His response to that concern shows clearly that he perceives it as a threat to his manhood.

And then we get into the whole brain cancer thing. I just don't think that is the time for Buffy to be responsible for being aware of Riley's feelings and making sure he's emotionally nourished. She's been doing that for the last year. Now its time for him to be there for her.

Which leads to the obvious question, hasn't Riley been there for her in the last year? Yes. When Buffy was ready to jump in the hellmouth, Riley was there to pull her out. When Jonathon made the world funky, Riley was the one that trusted Buffy's perception. When Buffy was about to be killed by zombies, Riley got up off the bench. And yes, Riley spent a great deal of time doing exactly what he should have done for Buffy during her mother's illness.

But when Buffy needed to find and kill Adam, Riley gave her a hard time. When Buffy needed Riley to appreciate the danger that Faith represented, he laughed it off. When she needed him to know her at a deeper level than her physical body, he slipped Faith a good length of it. When she confided to him about Willow and Oz, Riley responded with judgment and bigotry (which he did later make amends for). When she confided in him about her past, arguably her deepest and darkest secret, he went out in the next episode and found a fight with Angel, at least in part because he assumed she slept with him. When Buffy told him she needed to talk to Angel, Riley stood his ground. And this is all Season 4 Riley, when he was at his best.

Buffy found a way to overlook the fact that he was a commando guy, whose group had on more than one occasion been a threat to Willow's life. She overlooked the fact that his boss tried to murder her. She overlooked the verbal abuse and gunwielding he dished out while in withdrawal. She ultimately overlooked his sleeping with her arch enemy, Faith. She relented on her stance about his bigotry. She tried valiantly to ignore his testosterone match with Angel. But she had trouble overlooking, in the span of just a few hours, the fact that in the aftermath of her mother's illness and surgery, while she slept, thinking she was with him, he was out having vampire whores suck him off for kicks.

I am in complete agreement that this relationship just wasn't meant to be. I'm not convinced that we are supposed to take Riley's and Xander's characterization of Buffy's role in its demise at face value.

If Riley can't find love in what Buffy is offering, well, I don't know what to say. Lord knows I'd be satisfied with it.

What do we want love to be?
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Love and Compromise -- Dlgood, 16:35:50 10/13/03 Mon

I think your points are valid. I just try to look at all of these relationships from both sides. I've seen enough post-breakup friendships. All I wanted was to see them fairly amicable, and in that regard, the way "As You Were" ended was fairly satisfactory to me. I don't think Riley's a bad guy - I just didn't think he was the right guy for her.

Being Buffy's boyfriend isn't easy - her life requires a lot of hard work, and Riley wasn't cut out to do that work. He found someone who was a better match. That's great. And then Riley and Sam cleared their uninteresting selves off my TV screen. That was great too.

If Riley can't find love in what Buffy is offering, well, I don't know what to say. Lord knows I'd be satisfied with it.
But, that's the rub when he and Spike talk about her. They both want everything from her. They want to feel the passionate love from her, in the way they know she felt it with Angel - and not just in the 'angst and melodrama' sense that's so frequently derided...

And for a while, each of them take it out on her, that she doesn't love them the way they want her to. Ultimately, that's not her fault - you either feel a thing or you don't, and for whatever reasons Buffy isn't offering them what they want from her. But, in "As You Were" and in "Chosen" both are gracious in acknowleding as much to her.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Love and Compromise -- Claudia, 15:21:03 10/14/03 Tue

[And then we get into the whole brain cancer thing. I just don't think that is the time for Buffy to be responsible for being aware of Riley's feelings and making sure he's emotionally nourished. She's been doing that for the last year. Now its time for him to be there for her.

Which leads to the obvious question, hasn't Riley been there for her in the last year? ]

But Riley didn't even know about Joyce's health until Spike informed him in the episode following "Fool For Love". Why didn't Buffy tell him?
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Actually, I think I'm talking about something else. -- Malandanza, 22:50:01 10/12/03 Sun

"Buffy: He's great, but...
Willow: He's not making you miserable?
Buffy: I can't help thinking, isn't that where the fire comes from?"

Two things about this: first, she's not miserable with Riley (and wouldn't go as far as you to say she was in love w/ Riley, but I think she was quite comfortable in the relationship). Next, at the end of Something Blue she says she finally gets it -- that bad boys aren't really sexy -- long before Season Six Spuffy.

"In Season 2, before we know about the curse...

Angel: When you kiss me you don't wake up and live happily ever after.
Buffy: When you kiss me I wanna die.

Seems like the sort of passion the Spikephiles tout as the real deal -- not the insipid, lukewarm comfort Buffy felt for Riley (although Riley felt the fire -- as reported to his confessor, Father Xander), but the kind of fire that consumes and destroys. A little less Wuthering Heights was Buffy in When She Was Bad, trying to tell Angel too late that she missed him, too, after his nocturnal visit.

"You want me to say that Angel was great for leaving Buffy, because that is a testament to his desire for her self-fulfillment. I will meet you half way. Yes, good for Angel. And Joyce, Buffy and Willow all do agree that Angel is right about it."

You went on to express some reservations
about Angel leaving -- I have another to add. Angel didn't just walk out of Buffy's life, he stopped, turned back to her and asked if she was still "his girl" -- to which she replied "always". If it was best for Angel to leave, it would have been best to make a clean break -- it struck me as a narcissistic gesture to Buffy's detriment. It set the stage for Parker (whose romance with Buffy was, as JE tells us, all about Angel) and the real breakup in LA when Buffy chased Faith to ground. Certainly by IWARY Buffy was still "Angel's girl".

Okay -- back to Riley:

"I don't think it is hypocritical either to say that Riley was threatened by Buffy's power, and sought to contain it."

I agree with half your statement -- Riley did feel threatened by Buffy's power, but I do not believe he tried to contain it, rather he watched helplessly as he felt she was slipping away from him. I don't think Riley was striving to force Buffy into a "subservient" role, but struggling (in his own mind, at least) against being relegated to such a role himself. Early in Season Five we see him assuming that he is Buffy's equal partner when he meets her on patrol, only to discover that his presence is almost as unwelcome as Spike's. He sees Buffy shutting him out of her life and sees himself becoming the "mission's boyfriend".

"Spike's preconception about Buffy was that she was the bomb. And whether he sought to kill her or love her, he sought no diminishment of her stature."

Unless you consider Season Six, when he tells her he may be filth, but she's the kind of girl who like to roll around in it. Or leeringly tells her he knows what kind of girl she really is. Or asks her what kind of demon she is. She came back wrong, after all. That's why he can hit her -- because she's no longer any better than him. Then rewatch the balcony scene and ask yourself if Spike was all about Buffy's self-fulfillment. Spike was always about Spike -- what does he want this instant. All id.

And Buffy's reaction to this treatment progresses from the plaintive why won't you leave me alone in Older and Far Away to the you have to leave me alone in Normal Again to the "reclaimed power" (shooting script) in Seeing Red. Buffy was not happy at any moment in Season Six, from her resurrection until Spike left town. Her time with Angel and Riley may not have been unalloyed bliss, but neither was it unrelenting misery.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Actually, I think I'm talking about something else. -- Rose, 15:24:10 10/14/03 Tue

[ I have another to add. Angel didn't just walk out of Buffy's life, he stopped, turned back to her and asked if she was still "his girl" -- to which she replied "always".]

How do you know she was being truthful? And how do you know that she doesn't feel the same about Spike . . . or some other guy she might meet in the future?
[> [> [> [> [> Well, I see several problems... -- Random, 18:41:51 10/12/03 Sun

...with your theses. Spike/Buffy made me cringe in S6 precisely because of the way Spike treated Buffy. From Smashed (which I still can't rewatch because it represents the absolute nadir of Buffy) where Spike insults her, calls her "wrong" and taunts her...and she ends up having sex with him...to, well, most of the rest of the season where Spike reinforces their relationship through subtle little emotional jabs: this was the soulless vamp who was into domination and power working his way through the relationship with the Slayer. He took advantage of her emotional low. He didn't even have to undercut her very often, cause she was already at rockbottom. Then there are such scenes as in DT (the infamous alley-scene) where Buffy is attacked for beating up Spike -- despite the fact that Spike tried to physically prevent her from making her own decision (very paternalistic in an abusive sort of way, no?) and when she lashes back after being hurled to the ground by Spike without so much as a by-your-leave. Or in Buffy's tearful confession that being with Spike degraded her, that she was willing to do things (and the tone in her voice leaves little doubt that there are some major self-esteem issues coming out of this.) Her relationship with Spike had certain good points, and the sex was one of them -- but those good points hardly outweigh what the relationship did to Buffy's psyche.

Unfortunately for me, I think the last decent boyfriend Buffy had was Scott Hope. Angel was too melodramatic for my tastes. Riley -- well, I liked Riley, and certainly disagree strongly that he tried to leash her or constrain her...if anything, he tried to measure up to her. And failed. And Spike was a classic abuser in S6, telling Buffy how much he loved her in one breath and then abusing her in the next. It was when he got a soul that he began to understand what it meant to be in a relationship between two happy equals. Sexual freedom and open expression do not a good relationship make by themselves. Basically, by the end of the series, I was breathing a sigh of relief that Buffy didn't end up with any of the men in her life. Despite that rather...ummm...interesting metaphor, Buffy is essentially correct: she needs time to grow, to learn, because let's face it: she hasn't yet been involved in an example of a particularly healthy relationship. (Incidentally, just to annoy Angel fans, since I know people are gonna be all p.o.'ed that I'm offering a perception of Spike they don't agree with, I will also observe that Angel -- unwittingly, but carelessly -- took advantage of Buffy's youth and inexperience. She was still a child, and he should have known better. Luckily, he at least had the good sense and decency to finally acknowledge the issues by the end of BtVS S3.)
[> [> [> [> [> [> Good points, Random -- Dlgood, 19:22:49 10/12/03 Sun

Well, as I'd noted earlier - there are a lot of things I think Buffy would need to be happy in a relationship. IMHO, it's theoretically possible that she could have them with Angel if only because she did love and was often happy with him. But a lot of work would be necessary for them to make B/A v2.0 work, the "curse" being one issue.

But, it's at the point currently, where none of these relationships work for her. Buffy single, or Buffy with someone she's not yet met, is probably her best bet for happiness right now.
[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Well, I see several problems... -- Rufus, 23:05:25 10/12/03 Sun

Actually I think Riley tried to measure up to Angel and the whole vampire thing and couldn't.
[> [> [> [> [> [> Let's split the difference -- KdS, 03:22:18 10/13/03 Mon

I think that in S6 Spike saw *himself* as empowering Buffy and encouraging her to self-fulfillment. Unfortunately he felt, thanks to unsouled darkness and a certain degree of wishful self-projection, that that self-fulfillment involved recognising herself as a semi-demonic, barely moral, predator into hardcore BDSM. The evil that opposes other evil, to quote Mickey. Unfortunately, from Buffy's point of view that was self-degradation rather than fulfillment.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hmm...I dunno... -- Random, 12:29:51 10/13/03 Mon

...perhaps he did, to an extent. But he already knew he was a monster, and to a certain extent, hoped to bring Buffy into the darkness, make her a monster too. I understand your point, but I don't think Spike was so naive as to not see what he was doing to Buffy was trying to diminish her so they could be equals, so she would no longer be "too good for him." The "beneath me" comment hit him hard...and he was effectively trying to bring down the uppity Slayer who thought she was better than him. Only then would he have a shot at her.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Hmm...I dunno... -- Dlgood, 13:32:37 10/13/03 Mon

Thing is - Spike's tremendously self-absorbed, and extremely capable of willing self-delusion. He really wants to believe he's right about these things, because he wants them so badly to be true.

So, while on a subconscious level, I think you're exactly right about what Spike's doing (bringing down that uppity slayer) on a concsious level, I do think Spike's very firmly convinced that what he's doing is right and good for Buffy. Never mind how this behavior in S6 contradicts the obervations re: Death Wish in FFL. Never mind how this only deepens her despair. He wants it to be right; therefore he deludes himself into believing it is right.

Which feeds into his various personal crises that recur throughout his history - times when he comes to realize that the things he desperately wants to be true are actually the falsehoods he's contrstucted in his own mind.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Still dunno... -- Random, 14:59:25 10/13/03 Mon

Again, I agree he was delusional about lots of stuff. But he certainly saw clearly that Buffy was vulnerable in a way she hadn't been before. He saw an opening and went for it. In S5, he tried to be a hero, tried to act as Buffy would want in order to win her affections. That ploy having apparently failed by the middle of S6, he changed tactics. From my perspective, this shift represents the shift from trying to make himself better in her eyes to trying to make her feel as though she couldn't do better than him...an interesting and squicky change.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Still dunno... -- Arethusa, 15:15:43 10/13/03 Mon

Why did he switch tactics? Possibly because when he found out there was "something wrong with her," he thought they were on more equal footing. And his tactics changed. He began to tell her she wanted to be in the dark with him, liked what he did with her, belonged with her. In Normal Again, he says he finally realizes she's not drawn to the dark, like he thought; she's just addicted to misery-the closest he can get to understanding her depression. When he realized later that he would never be able to treat her right because of his souless state, he went out to get a soul to be closer to her equal.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Delusions -- Dlgood, 15:35:10 10/13/03 Mon

When he realized later that he would never be able to treat her right because of his souless state, he went out to get a soul to be closer to her equal.
But, that again speaks to his romantic delusions. He wants to possess her, and convinces himselves of realities wherein that would be possible. First by saying he can strive to be good. But, that fails to earn her love. Even though she offers him a physical relationship,in the form of kisses, Buffy rejects him wholeheartedly as a romantic partner - telling him directly that she does not love him, and even apologizes that it means less to her than to him.

Coupled with the convenient revelation that he can now hurt her, he discards the premise in favor of one where Buffy belongs in the dark, where he can drag her to his level. He's wrong again of course - this doesn't make Buffy love him. Not only that, but it's coming close to destroying her - when she admits that she's using him and it's killing her, and when he sexually assaults her.

But ultimately, it's all delusion. There aren't levels. It isn't about him being good enough to be with her, or her being bad enough to be with him. It's about her not loving him the way he wants her to. And none of his attempts to redefine the world in terms of who's good enough for whom will fix that.

Getting the soul doesn't fix that. It doesn't make her love him, though that's the ultimate intent. And that's the final realization I thought Spike had made in Chosen - that all of his attempts to redifine things, to either remake himself or remake her, such that she would love him, were all fantasies within his own mind. The reality being that she's not in love with him, but does care for him.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Delusions -- Arethusa, 20:27:39 10/13/03 Mon

It's an interesting jouney that Spike went on. At first it was all about Buffy and what he wanted for and from her. Eventually, however, that selfish, deluded love sent him in search for a soul. And after that he was as much concerned with that soul and its affect on him as he was with Buffy, especially at first. As proof we have his rejection of Buffy's declaration. It was no longer the only important thing in his life, and he was now capable of understanding her feelings for him.

As for Season 5 Spike, one episode of Spike is a little to early for me to assess.
[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Well, I see several problems... -- Claudia, 15:27:29 10/14/03 Tue

[...with your theses. Spike/Buffy made me cringe in S6 precisely because of the way Spike treated Buffy. From Smashed (which I still can't rewatch because it represents the absolute nadir of Buffy) where Spike insults her, calls her "wrong" and taunts her...and she ends up having sex with him...]

I'm sorry but I disagree with you. BOTH Spike and Buffy have to take full responsibility for their disasterous relationship in S6. During the season's early episodes, Buffy kept turning to Spike and that culminated in two kisses ("OMWF" and "Tabula Rasa"), in which she turned her back upon him, as soon as she got what she wanted. And instead of staying clear of her like any sensible person would have done, Spike taunted her into a confrontation regarding the direction of their relationship.
[> [> [> Yet, it's still an example of Angel's paternlistic attitude -- s'kat, 09:31:10 10/12/03 Sun

Isn't it still an example of Angel withholding information and not sharing?

Whether it was good thing for Angel to do or not, isn't the issue of my original post - so much that it is yet another example of Angel's habit of making unilateral decisions that affect others lives without consulting them. A habit that more often than not has a tendency of kicking him in the butt. It's a paternalistic trait that he despised his own father and the Master for, as well as The Beastmaster and Jasmine - yet ironically he has this trait himself.
The writers comment on this through Harmony's incomprehensible line: "preaching to the horses' mouth" or rather - "preaching to the choir, direct from the horse's mouth".
[> [> [> [> Inherited Trait -- Claudia, 15:15:01 10/14/03 Tue

Is Angel's habit of making unilateral decisions that affect others lives without consulting them, a trait that he may have inherited from his father? And one that Jasmine may have inherited from him. After all, she is techincally his "granddaughter".
[> [> Re: Is it really out of character? (Just a few spoilers for 5.2) -- sdev, 23:14:25 10/11/03 Sat

I have one to add to this list. After four years, I still can't tell how Angel felt about Cordelia . To me this is an expression of the character's reticence.
[> [> Family Dynamics -- Arethusa, 06:51:58 10/12/03 Sun

I think what Angel is doing is hiding unflattering things about himself, trying to control what others-and he-think about him. This was very clear when Cordelia came back from the Higher Plane. He refused to let anyone tell her about their demon world and especially his embarrassing (to him) vampire nature until she got to know him. Angel wanted Cordelia to like him before she knew he was a vampire. The result was Cordy became mistrustful of AI and fled to Connor, who did not lie to her, even if it meant confessing to try to kill her. His pattern is consistant: keep up the image, at almost any cost.

Spike is also very concerned with self-image. But he is less concerned what other think of him than what he thinks of himself. Angel craves respect and admiration from others. Spike craves acceptance. And this is a fascinating dynamic in their relationship; the source, perhaps, of their mutual antipathy. Angelus got himself a merry little band of family/followers/minions, but the minion refused to play by the rules. Instead of respect and admiration from Spike, Angelus got rebellion and disrespect. And the harder Angelus tried to kick Spike into line, the more Spike rebelled.

When Spike was sired he determined he would never be what his peers and VampAnn said he would be-weak, spineless, clinging. So he changed everything about himself. But Spike still had a need for acceptance, for being part of a family. And so Spike and Angel were bound to clash yet be unable to stay away from each other forever. How can you have power over others if there's noone around to have power over? So Angelus needed Spike. And how can you be part of a group if you reject the group totally? So Spike needed Angelus. When Spike stood by Angel's bedroom window and talked about Angel looking down on everyone, I felt his sadness that Angelus and Angel, his grandsire and Yoda, never gave him the acceptance he wanted. And as much as he was tempted to, Angel couldn't kill Spike any more than he could kill Drusilla. The two are inextricably bound, emotionally and now physically.
[> [> Steps on a path (vaguely spoiled to 5.2) -- fresne, 10:39:45 10/13/03 Mon

From my perspective, because IWRY worked for Angel, the ultimate resolution of Home happened.

Right or wrong, Angel once changed memories, asked to turn back the clock. that turned out okay for Angel. No huge consequences. Sure, he had the additional burden of that day, a burden that only he bears. Strike pose. Brood. (hmmm...strange flash of hen's brooding during the gestation process. Connor. Birth. Does Darla brood? Or was that Angel's role?) Anyway, Angel could tell his friends and life churns on.

And then there's Connor and here's this deal and well, altering the flow of things worked last time. Except here the consequences are farther reaching. More pervasive. And he can't tell anyone. Can't talk about it with anyone, because these are all the people involved. It's not just Buffy and a day, it's a year and more of choices, failures, successes, relationships, life.

We build our selves from the things that have gone before. Personally, I'm waiting for other shoes to drop in an Astaire, "Shoes With Wings On" and/or Tribbles, depending on your pop culture preference, sort of way.
[> Suicidal Spike? -- Claudia, 12:31:00 10/14/03 Tue

[Spike wasn't interested in "making up" for what he have done in the past. (He was down right out-of-his-mind looney while he was in the basement though, while Angel never lost mental or emotional touch with reality but chose to separate himself physically.) Spike's choice to remedy wrongs was to take a desparate leap and annihilate himself. What he expected and what he wanted was absolutely "nothing," because he didn't belive he could ever give enough penance. He is his own worst enemy.]

"Spike's choice to remedy wrongs was to take a desperate leap and annihilate himself?" I'm sorry, but I truly disagree with this statement. I though that Spike's choice was simply to realize that he could not change the past and to go on living. Yes, he knew that the amulet was dangerous, but I certainly don't think that his action to use the amulet was suicidal. If it was, one could say the same about the others' decisions to take part in that final battle in the Hellmouth. Now that I think about it, the only one who believed that dying was the only way to make up for one's crimes was Andrew . . . who lived.

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