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Riley, Chosen and it was there back in Season 4 -- heywhynot, 18:29:51 09/09/03 Tue

So I was rewatching Season 4 DVDs again & just finished Doomed. Forgot just how insightful Riley was. This is what he said to Buffy while they were arguing:

"Welcome to the story of the world! Things fall apart, Buffy. Evil - it comes and goes. But the way people manage is, they don't do it alone."

How does Buffy eventually manage to beat the First Evils plan? Agent Finn was so prophetic.

The full fight:
Buffy: "That I should just turn my frown upside down? Is that it? I wish I could. But this isn't the kind of gig where you can just hang it up at the end of the night and snuggle with your honey."
Riley: "But why? Why can't it be?"
Buffy: "Because I've tried it, okay? And every time it just fell apart. And then I get sucked right back in to the Uber-evil."
Riley: "Welcome to the story of the world. Things fall apart Buffy. And evil - it comes and goes. But the way people manage is, they don't do it alone. They pull each other through. If you weren't so self involved you'd see that."
Buffy after a beat: "You have no idea what you're talking about. You barely know me."
She walks past him and he stays beside her.
Riley: "I know that it's not just a job thing. I'm sure that there is some good looking guy that done you wrong in there, too. But mostly I think you want to stay down in that dark place (Buffy stops to look at him and he steps in front of her) because maybe it's safer down there."
Buffy: "You are so out of line."
Riley: "No. See I don't think so. (Puts his hands on her arms) Look, we have an opportunity here, you and me, and the fact that you're to scared to even give it a try.."
Buffy: "Is my business. So why don't you just leave me alone?"
Riley straightens up slowly and looks at her: "Fair enough."
After another moment he walks past her. Buffy closes her eyes for a moment then walks on herself.

[> Another Riley-based 'prediction', from *The Real Me* -- OnM, 08:14:17 09/10/03 Wed

This excerpt from the shooting script for 'Real Me', actually gives away quite a lot of things, with mid-summer 2001 benefit of hindsight, naturally:

R: Morning, Mrs. Summers. You look great.

J: Thank you, Riley. (Buffy goes and greets Riley as Joyce exits upstairs)

B: Suck up.

R: What, it's a nice outfit. Besides, 'I'm here to violate your firstborn' never goes over with the parents. Not sure why.

D: (in voiceover): Riley, my sister's boyfriend, is so into her. They're always kissing. And groping. (pause) I bet they've had sex.

R: (noticing Dawn watching ): Hey, kid.

D: I'm not a kid.

B: This is a surprise of the nice kind.

R: Now it's my turn to be surprised. Thought we had plans today.

B: Plans? We planned plans?

R: Well, you said 'come over and we'll hang'. Then I said ''kay'. Not the invasion of Normandy, but still a plan.

B: Oh, right, uh...

R: We're not hanging, are we?

B: Giles is on his way to pick me up.

R: (understanding): Slayer training.

B: Slayer shopping, actually. (defensive) But it's just as important.

R: I've no doubt. Okay, we'll hook up later.

B: You're not mad?

R: No, no, I'm plotting your death, but in a happy way.

B: (teeny bit worried): Oh, good...

R: (sincere): Buffy, I know what this means to you. I think it's great you've got this new mission. (he kisses her on the cheek and exits) See you tonight. (calls out) See you, kid!

D: I'm *not* a *kid*.

(REVERSE ANGLE ON BUFFY, in doorway, watching him go and feeling somehow guilty)


OK, you might want to go back and read that again. Yes, this is the second episode of the season, and this one little four-way conversation (Buffy/Joyce/Riley/Dawn) has just laid out about half of the main events of the rest of the season, and the comments that are most relevant are those that Riley makes, by the implications of what Dawn really turns out to be, that he complements Joyce who then 'exits upstairs', that he had plans with Buffy that get deferred, that he respects her 'new mission' and that he is 'plotting her death, but in a happy way'. Either this show's writers are having their keyboards possessed by the Buffyverse PTB, or they had the whole year planned in exacting detail before 'Real Me' was written. (Your call).


(I clipped this from my Riley Character study thang from 2001)

[> [> BTW, this is a good excuse for another poll! -- OnM, 08:24:32 09/10/03 Wed

What is your all-time favorite BtVS (or AtS) foreshadowing event?

You know, where a character says or does something, and it turns out to be a relevant moment several weeks, months, or even years in the future of the series?

My all-time fav is from Who Are You?. Faith, now in Buffy's body, is on the phone calling the airport to make reservations to get out of Sunnydale, using Joyce's 'borrowed' credit card. She reads off the last four numbers of the account number, then the expiration date. The expiration date of the card is the year and month that Buffy dies in The Gift

[> [> [> Re: BTW, this is a good excuse for another poll! -- Rook, 20:07:46 09/10/03 Wed

Mine is from Crush:

Xander and Buffy are investigating the slayings on the train that Dru rode in on. While asking Xander about Spike's possible Crush, Buffy sits down on one of the seats...positioning herself exactly inside of one of the tape outlines from one of Dru's victims.

It's amusing on a surface level, because she says "it's creepy" at the moment she sits down, oblivious to the fact that she's sitting in the exact same spot and position previously occupied by a corpse, but it's also nice purely visual foreshadowing of her own death at the end of the season.

[> [> [> Re: BTW, this is a good excuse for another poll! -- Gyrus, 11:14:54 09/11/03 Thu

In "Nightmares" in S1, the Master asks Buffy if she's afraid of being buried alive -- the very situation she finds herself in at the start of S6.

[> [> [> Willow: 'I'm so evil and skanky--and I think I'm kinda gay.' -- cjl, 11:23:23 09/11/03 Thu

Tara vs Doyle -- JBone, 20:13:24 09/09/03 Tue

How's life treating you? What's that? Minions from hell getting you down?

Post comments at the voting site, here, or email me. Monday's results are up, I'll try to get Tuesday's up tonight.

[> You're going to force me to choose, aren't you? -- Masq, 20:36:21 09/09/03 Tue

You're evil, I tell you! Evil!

[> Witchy-Poo vs. the Badly Dressed Superhero -- ApOpHiS, 21:39:31 09/09/03 Tue

By now, I've made my opinion of Tara abundantly clear >coughblandcoughoverratedcoughbuyapairofpantscough< (there's a cold going around). Doyle was one of my favorite characters and continued to be such long after his death. Now, when I voted, Doyle was in the lead. I'm not so naive as to think that will last long. So it's me and Doyle, raging against the dying of the light, fighting a losing battle against the oncoming horde of Tarazombies. I don't mind, though; I forgive all of you for voting against Doyle. You know not what you do. Oh, the fight... uhhh... Doyle throws Tara's bland, earthtone dress over her head and she passes out in claustrophobic terror. The spectators get to see Tara's underwear and Doyle gets drunk afterwords; everyone's a winner! Except Tara, she loses.

[> [> Doyle is a witchie-poo? Interesting. -- Random, 17:26:43 09/10/03 Wed

[> Re: Tara vs Doyle -- Celebaelin, 00:05:34 09/10/03 Wed

After much deliberation I'm voting for Doyle. The principal reason being that Tara was a cypher, a chronically under-voiced character for whom inference was greater than substance. If I have to cite Tara commenting on Miss Kitty Fantastico yawning to even make a start on an appraisal of her private nature then you've got to admit that it's pretty sparse pickings. If the main function of Tara was to be killed and set Willow on a dark path surely we needed more W-T dialogue to make it credible. Doyle scores by merit of being easily compressable into the hour format, that and his ability to flip out on a precognative, green, spiny, demonic rampage.

[> Re: Tara vs Doyle -- MaeveRigan, 06:21:24 09/10/03 Wed

Now we're getting to the part where it's less fun, but if there has to be a contest--and I'm unwilling to term it a "fight"--between these two good guys, Tara's my girl. Doyle's got visions (at unpredictable intervals) and demon strength when he goes all spiny, but Tara can call on much greater powers with a word or two and a flick of her delicate wrist. She wouldn't do any permanent damage, of course.

Um--since both of them are dead, would this whole thing be taking place in some alternate (and, let's assume, heavenly) realm? Simply as a form of entertainment? I like it. But Tara wraps Doyle up--no question.

[> One of those rare matches where home ground advantage matters. -- Caira, 06:31:55 09/10/03 Wed

Doyle was a great character who deserved to last longer than he did. Unfortunately, one day he wandered into the woods near Sunnydale drunk and got lost and was never seen again. The end. (Tara never had to lift a finger, although she did put some pretty serious magic into helping out the search party.)

[> Early fourth quarter, and we're 15-all..... -- cjl, 11:04:29 09/10/03 Wed

Looks like we could have our first tie. I'm holding off on voting until I can absolutely ASSURE a tie. I wanna see our tie-breaking crew in action!

[> Ooo, they're currently neck and neck! (T: 48%, D: 51%) -- Anneth, 12:22:09 09/10/03 Wed

Mumph, this contest was icky. I really like both characters - they're so dern winsome! But I voted for Doyle; I think he's got the edge. His messy apartment and semi-screwed-up life betray a desperation Tara can't quite match. Doyle victorious.

Verbose mode and archiving - a request -- Celebaelin, 00:41:20 09/10/03 Wed

Getting verbose mode currently but for reasons explained to me in a message when I tried I can't edit my post 'Something about the sea...' If it is possible to edit this post prior to archiving then Seal Driver should contain the line

I have two hundred diesel horses thundering loud



What a time for me to start worrying about correcting posts!

[> The [Edit] link is tempting, isn't it . . . -- d'Herblay, 01:43:17 09/10/03 Wed

. . . however, it only works if you're a paid-up VoyUser. And considering that the archiving that should have taken Masq three minutes took me an hour, and I still didn't get archive 7, I don't think we should start giving Voy any money. They haven't exactly earned it.

Ok, I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about Voy right now. In any case, not even a logged-in moderator can use that [Edit] link to edit a post. Sorry.

And I'm not about to make myself appear available to correct the spelling errors of others. Think of the demand! Think of the demand from shadowkat alone! ("Hi, d'H! Could you be a dear and, in my 283 page essay, 'The Trickster Archetype, Spike, the Neilsen Ratings and Snuffaluffagus,' fix page 87 in part four where it says, 'Holden, an amateur psycho the rapist, gives Buffy exactly what she needs if not what she wants.' I meant, of course, psychotherapist. Thanks! Also, could you go through the entire essay and make sure that fatale matches up with femme and fatal with homme, even where the noun is only implied and you'd have to derive my intention from context. Also, see if there isn't a way you can distinguish between fatal in its French and English usages. You're the best!")


I'll fix dropped tags, because they impact everyone's posts, but for spelling errors, you're just going to have to be careful!

[> [> Oh well -- Celebaelin, 03:40:49 09/10/03 Wed

I'll just have to be more careful then (like that's going to happen).

[> [> d'Herblay, you're the bestest! -- Masq, 09:24:28 09/10/03 Wed

Now, c'mon and reveal your archiving secrets. How did you foil the Voynak demon, getting 6 archives in an hour? I can't even get one archive to load in an hour!

A round of applause for d'Herb!

[> [> [> 3 cheers! hip, hip--d'herblay! -- anom, 20:59:18 09/10/03 Wed

[> [> Yay for d'Herblay! -- Scroll, 13:15:38 09/10/03 Wed

*smooches d'H*

Cuz Masq told me too ;)

[> [> [> Re: Yay for d'Herblay! -- Masq, 13:58:32 09/10/03 Wed

Do you do everything Masq tells you to do? I don't think so! I think you did that 'coz of the hotness that is d'Herblay!

[> [> [> [> Now if only he could direct his powers towards fixing the damn 'null' messages, *sigh*... -- Marie, 02:18:55 09/11/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> Whatsa 'null' message? -- The formerly powerful Masq, 06:42:37 09/11/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> This is...(always supposing the null monster allows this post) -- Marie, 08:03:17 09/11/03 Thu

(This is what I've been getting EVERY time I try to read a post for the past two or three weeks - and it's the same trying to post - you need patience, that's for sure!)


Invalid Path

We're sorry, the path you tried to access, '/null', does not exist.

Perhaps you misspelled something or the information was moved...

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> And ths is in the 'location' box: -- Marie, 08:21:26 09/11/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Do other people get this message? Chime in! -- Masquerade, 09:13:08 09/11/03 Thu

I don't get it on the various browsers and operating systems I have access to (UNIX, Mac, IE, Netscape). Anyone else?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Yeah. I can't be just me the null monster bites...can it? -- Marie, 02:22:32 09/12/03 Fri

Efective Watcher? -- Claudia, 13:45:54 09/10/03 Wed

Everyone has been complaining that Giles didn't seem his usual competent self in Season 7. Yet, after watching some of the old episodes from Seasons 1 through early Season 6, I cannot help but wonder if he had ever been an effective Watcher. There were so many negative aspects of his Season 7 personaliity that I saw in the previous seasons.

What about you?

[> I don't think people were talking about his Watcherness -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:23:02 09/10/03 Wed

Complaints seemed more directed towards his human-beingness. That, on an emotional level, he was too cold and distant from everybody, particularly Buffy, without adequate explanation. Surely you must admit, the Giles of earlier seasons (with the possible exceptions of 1 and just maybe two) was more affectionate and open with Buffy.

[> [> Re: I don't think people were talking about his Watcherness -- Claudia, 15:35:59 09/10/03 Wed

[Complaints seemed more directed towards his human-beingness. That, on an emotional level, he was too cold and distant from everybody, particularly Buffy, without adequate explanation. Surely you must admit, the Giles of earlier seasons (with the possible exceptions of 1 and just maybe two) was more affectionate and open with Buffy.]

I don't know. I still saw the same negative aspects of Giles' personality in both Season 7 and in the earlier seasons - in regard to both his job as Watcher, or in his relationship with Buffy and the others. I still believe that he had not really changed that much. Granted, his behavior may have been exaggerated due to his fear over the destruction of the Watchers' Council, the new war against the First Evil and his own lingering distrust toward Spike. But, I have seen Giles behave this way, before, in earlier seasons.

I'm beginning to wonder if he had ever really changed. Or had we simply viewed him through the eyes of an adult Buffy in Season 7, instead of a teenaged Buffy who was dependent upon her Watcher.

[> [> [> Re: I don't think people were talking about his Watcherness -- theslayer78, 17:52:32 09/10/03 Wed

I'm mighty confused by this statement as I feel that over season 2-4 that he changed quite a bit. He became more effective, instead of making it Buffy's fight he started to join in. Especially after Wesley game into play he was key. He made choices that might not always of been right, but Watchers like slayers are trained and the situation sometimes you have to do some quick thinking and that is what he did. He became a father to Buffy when she needed it, and gave her some strictness that helped protect her as well. He also did for a while follows the orders of the council until the turned their backs on him. And he also disagreed w/a lot of it as well. He reminded Buffy of the reality of life, sometimes she at times as a teenager forgot, or was sometimes selfish (i.e. Angel's return, and running away). Now over season 5-7 he had to find a purpose, something new and different, and that I think was hard for him. Up until the point of season 7 did he have purpose again, by training those new slayers. In all in all I think that everyone on the show changed, though it was allot of bumping around for a majority of them.

[> [> [> [> Authority Figures - Giles -- Claudia, 11:36:04 09/11/03 Thu

[He became a father to Buffy when she needed it, and gave her some strictness that helped
protect her as well.]

I'm beginning to see that many viewers may have view Seasons 1-5 Giles through rose-colored glasses. Someone once wrote an essay on authority figures. He or she managed to effectively point out that Giles had not really changed much over the years. I think it is someone on this list, but I have forgotten who.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Authority Figures - Giles -- theslayer78, 15:38:27 09/11/03 Thu

I believe that it's all a matter of perceptions, but I do not see Giles through rose-colored classes. The reality of everything is that people take away w/these shows what they do. I was more curious of your facts as to WHY you felt this way, as I gave examples of my understanding to why I felt that Giles did portray an authority figure. My understanding of Buffy could be the same, or DIFFERENT then others. The bottom line, it's an opinion, to which I can agree or disagree w/your statement as you can do the same w/mine. I choose to disagree w/your statement based upon the examples I have given.

[> [> [> [> [> YES WE BLOODY WELL ARE! w/footnotes -- Celebaelin, 17:06:00 09/11/03 Thu

It's a matter of perspective, 'You can't kill my "sister" because I say you can't and I'll kill you if you even try' is Buffy's approach in The Gift. One life or all life in all realities? Surely this is a loss of perspective? Not least of all because even if Dawn is a real person ultimately that does not make her any more real than someone Buffy might kill to protect her. Eventually, by her own admission, Dawn would voluntarily die to save the world (and later on, in Him, as a romantic gesture{1}) but as far as the Buffster is concerned this is not an option 'There's only one person around here..' actually you could probably leave it there but it does in truth go on '..who's making a selfless sacrifice, and that's me.'{2}

From S5 onwards Buffy is, frankly, opinionated, granted she may usually be right but compromise is no longer even considered: 'I've been right so far so I must always be right,' is her attitude. Giles on the other hand has, ah, nearly always acted unswervingly as a facilitator to his best judgement {3}, giving what he can where and when it is appropriate.

Take the S5 denouement for example, just because Giles doesn't share Buffy's opinion doesn't necessarily make him wrong. As far as is known once Dawn starts bleeding only her ceasing to bleed will close the rift/portal/gate/whatever. As is appropriate the eponymous hero find another course of action but it is, quite literally, an intuitive leap and not in any way assured of a successful outcome. Being the Slayer, even the greatest Slayer ever, does not make Buffy infalable. If Buffy's own ill-advised love life and lack of knowledge cw say Kendra, and even to some extent Faith, doesn't prove this then certainly the Shadowmen events of GID do. Buffy is a hero, but from time to time it takes Giles, or someone acting in an identical role, to guarantee the safety of our, and other, realities. Buffy knows this, she sees Giles' strength, perhaps you might consider it too?

The meek shall inherit the earth (if that's alright with the rest of you).

C (already dug in and stoic about the pragmatic options)

{1} As Spike does later.
{2} Not strictly true, as we see later for the same reason as {1} above.
{3} Except for Crucimentum, in which circumstances his lack of co-operation cost him his job as a watcher.

[> [> [> [> [> Authority figure essay -- s'kat, 22:18:51 09/11/03 Thu

Found here:

And in the archives, where Darby and others made very good cases in Giles favor.

The point of the essay was not to show Buffy as infallible and Giles as wrong, as to demonstrate that Giles' actions in LMPTM were not out of character and by the same token not the best in the world. It was also an attempt to explore a theme that I think ME was exploring in the series which is - how do we deal with parental/authority figures as we grow up? Our changing views of them? How far do we rely on them? When do they fall off the pedestal so to speak?

For what it's worth I think ME did a good job of showing the change in Buffy and Giles relationship over the seasons.
We move from her reliance on him as a parental figure/teacher to her view of him as a friend and guide.
Giles' himself doesn't change so much as Buffy's perception of him changes over time. Remember we are in Buffy's pov throughout the seasons, so what we see is what Buffy sees.
And like any first person pov, the first person perspective isn't always complimentary to the pov we are in.

For what it's worth - I more or less agree with Celebalin's take on Giles and Buffy. I don't think it's really one extreme or the other.



Angel vs Andrew -- JBone, 20:19:32 09/10/03 Wed

Ah... Sun. The Daylight. Quick someone hand me a blanket, I'm gonna catch on fire. Hand me a blanket. I'm gonna catch on fire. Why am I not on fire?

If this gets posted, I have Tuesday's results up, but don't expect today's until tomorrow. Post comments here, at the voting site, or email me.

[> Dead Boy vs. Tucker's little brother -- deeva, 20:50:59 09/10/03 Wed

Andrew frets over what to do in this match up. He consults his Dungeon Master guide book and rolls the dice. Alas, there is nothing in it regarding what action to take against the original vampyre with a soul.

After watching Andrew spaz out in his red cape, Angel broods and checks in with the soul a bit before going with Angelus' idea of smacking "magical-monkey-controlling-attacking-the-school-play" boy down.

[> [> Re: Dead Boy vs. Tucker's little brother -- ponygirl, 08:53:23 09/11/03 Thu

But before Angel can administer some pain Andrew cries out that he's lactose intolerant and needs a timeout. Angel, cursing his whole "living as the world ought to be" speech agrees to take Andrew to the drugstore for some antacids. On the way they stop for curly fries. Back at the arena Angel is ready to start the fight but Andrew says that his tennis elbow is acting up. They head to the bathroom to look for tensor bandages and Angel somehow gets talked into helping Andrew style his hair in that "really cool way" that Angel wears it. Pretty soon Andrew is showing Angel around the chatty rooms, and is acting out the epic B/A opera that he's been working on. It's not bad and Andrew is very receptive to Angel's notes. By that time it's getting really late, and Angel decides it would be only fair to let the kid get a good night's rest before the inevitable smackdown. In the night Andrew stakes Angel in his sleep.

[> Andrew? Versus Angel? Please! -- HonorH, 20:52:16 09/10/03 Wed

Andrew, bless his omnisexual little heart, goes into palpitations at the very sight of The Dark Avenger. Angel finds himself with a small, blond shadow . . . and we all know what small blondes do to him, don't we? Yep! Dark!Angel is on his way, and Andrew gets creamed, poor dear, and loves Angel all the more for it. In the end, Angel has a willing slave who's more than a little annoying. Therefore, he passes Andrew off on David Nabbit, who finds him simply adorkable, and everyone lives happily ever after.

Er, that is to say, I'm voting for Angel.

[> Andrew has a new role model. -- cjl, 21:21:59 09/10/03 Wed

[Scene: Angel's penthouse suite in the Wolfram and Hart building. Angel and Andrew are sitting back in identical overstuffed chairs on either side of Angel's living room couch. They're dressed in identical dark grey slacks and black turtlenecks. Much contemplative silence.]

ANDREW: OK, how's that?
ANGEL: It's supposed to be brooding. You look like you're constipated.
ANDREW: Well--I don't like thinking about evil and stuff. It kind of upsets my stomach.
ANGEL: Look, do you want to do this or not?
ANDREW: I wanna do this. I'm seeking redemption for my life as a criminal mastermind, and I'm brooding because the weight of my sins tortures my soul.
ANGEL: Hate to break it to you, Andy--but I don't believe it. Not for a second.
ANDREW: Hey, that's not fair. Faith told me you were, like, Mr. Supportive Guy when it came to people trying to not be evil anymore and learning to, you know, come to terms with the past.
ANGEL: You talk about it like it's an [does air quotes] "attitude adjustment." I'm not feeling the big time remorse here.
ANDREW (quietly): What I did to Jonathan was horrible.
ANGEL: Really? Why was it horrible?
ANDREW: B-because I killed him, a-and he was my friend, and he trusted me.
ANGEL: Huh. How did you feel when you killed him?
ANDREW: What do you mean?
ANGEL: I mean, "How did you feel when you killed him." Was it a "sad-but-necessary" sort of thing?
ANDREW: Yeah, I-I guess you could call it that....
ANGEL: Good. It's good you felt remorse from the beginning. It's not like you were some psychotic geek with delusions of grandeur who ran a blade through his best friend so he can fulfill some moronic dream of ultimate power...
ANDREW: Hey...
ANGEL: And it's not like you got this almost orgasmic thrill of sticking the shiv through his spleen so you and your boyfriend, Robopimp, could be 2-together, 4-ever...
ANDREW: Shut up.
ANGEL: And it's not like you had this incredible rush of adrenalin and your mind was racing with how you were gonna teach everybody who was ever mean to you that--

[Andrew slumps back in his seat and broods. Angel leans over in his seat and checks Andrew's form.)

ANGEL: There we go. That's quality brooding.

[> [> I'd call that Angel 1, Andrew 0 -- HonorH, 22:26:40 09/10/03 Wed

And delightful! Thanks for the laugh to end my day with, cjl.

[> [> Love it! -- Masq, 11:51:30 09/11/03 Thu

Learning from the masters. That's the only way.

[> [> [> Re: Love it! -- jane, 13:58:53 09/11/03 Thu

Oh, yeah! The only thing Angel has to worry about is hurting himself with all the laughing. Andrew is so going to lose.

[> [> [> [> On The Meter of Both Combat and Characterization, Angel wins both fronts -- AngelVSAngelus, 18:53:13 09/11/03 Thu

I always WANTED to like Andrew, but always ended up feeling like his character was a self indulgent fan pandering device.
The Dark Avenger, on the other hand, happens to be my fav and most interesting, IMHO, character on either show, so...

[> [> That's just freaking fabulous! -- Gyrus, 14:47:52 09/11/03 Thu

[> [> LMAO! Great job. -- s'kat, 19:52:31 09/11/03 Thu

[> Re: Angel vs Andrew -- Apophis, 22:24:41 09/10/03 Wed

Even with my love of excessive violence against innocent and helpless creatures, I find this a little cruel. I mean, yeah, Angel's done some horrible things in the past, but man, forcing him into the same room with Andrew? That's messed up, dude. If Angel thought he'd been to hell before, just wait until Andrew, in full confused-sexual-identity crush mode, enters his fifth hour of revisionist-history Scooby adventures. I figure that Andrew finally crosses the line with his insistence that Timothy Dalton was the best Bond and Angel turns him into a red smear on the far wall. When the AI crew enter the room and ask what happened, Angel mumbles something about Angelus getting out but he's fine now honestly and gosh he feels guilty. Then they all go out for ice cream.

[> Re: Angel vs Andrew -- Celebaelin, 06:25:26 09/11/03 Thu

Flushed with success after his defeat of The Master, Andrew's evil superbrain goes into overdrive and he immediately starts treating Angel as an intellectually sub-standard minion. He opens with some not so subtle forays into 'the deeper signicicants' of Angel's relationship with Spike during the 'Love Bites' Eurasian tour (1881-1903) and how the relationship progressed from contempt for the newcomer through infatuation tempered with jealousy until the moment that swung it entirely the other way when during the rebellion in his boxers Spike killed his first Vampire Slayer finally driving 'Angeles' over the edge into obsessive fiery passion. Angel meanwhile is standing motionless, looking more than a little pained. Andrew continues, recounting the rise of 'hotvamp the blonde' and contrasting it with the brooding ones' slide into impotent gutter trash. It is strange is it not, comments the supervillain, that your emergence from rat-cuisine and your path to increased self-content is so closely linked with encountering Spike again. All the more so because he was now the peroxide prince under a curse, the government had taken the initiative and grafted silicone onto him unfairly making him vulnerable to the Slayer while she hurt him time after time, night after night. And now here you are perched atop this ebony tower, still waiting for your prince to rescue you. Angel is beginning to froth at the mouth at this point, he clutches his head in his hands and mutters with more than an edge of desperation in his voice 'please make it stop'. Somewhat controversially it was at this point that I cast my vote for the noisome nerd, the king of kitsch, the champ of camp the one and only 'Androgenous'. The fact that shortly afterwards Angelus surfaced and gave Andrew flying lessons without the benefit of any kind of aerodynamically favourable device is hardly my fault, nor indeed anything I can do something about.

[> Re: Angel vs Andrew -- MaeveRigan, 09:02:39 09/11/03 Thu

No matter how you set this match up, Angel flips Andrew like a terrapin and leaves him waving his hands and feet in the air, wondering what hit him. Andrew summons demons? Demons don't phase Angel either. Even reformed Andrew would be begging for a chance to be worked over by the renowned Angel OR Angelus.

[> Re: Angel vs Andrew -- Anneth, 13:22:38 09/11/03 Thu

While visiting LA with the Scoobies, Andrew and Angel get into a discussion about who's the best android ever, R2D2 or Data. Angel, who has a secret TNG habit (he empathises with Data's inability to 'get' people, though he was disappointed in Nemesis), finally becomes annoyed with Andrew's knee-jerk non-arguments and responds with one of his own: "R2D2's a squeaky trash-can!" Andrew goes into a beserker fury and launches himself at Angel, who handily smacks him down into a wee puddle of dork. Angel victorious.

[> Re: Angel vs Andrew -- yabyumpan, 18:16:10 09/11/03 Thu

Angel crosses his arms and fixes Andrew with an icy glare

Andrew: "Don't think you can scare me with your 'He-man' look"

Angel continues to stare, tapping his foot

Andrew: "Y-You don't frighten me, Cr-cr-creature of the night" (looking around for the exits)

Angel continues to stare, letting out a low growl

Andrew: "I...I...I'm not afraid of you" (backing away) "I'm a..a.. evil villan" (backing away some more)

Angel smiles slowly, nodding his head and raising his eyebrows

Andrew: "I...I...I'm gonna....arrgh"....thud (Andrew falls back over a chair, smashing his head open on the stone floor)

Angel slowly shakes his head and goes back to sitting in his brooding chair - thinking 'There's always some Spike wannabe wanting to throw down, almost makes me miss the real thing'

game over :o)

[> Updates and other jumbled stuff -- Jay, 20:41:58 09/11/03 Thu

Hey everyone! I just thought I'd give ya'll an update on the results that I haven't gotten to yet. Basically, in the last couple days, I've barely had time to get the new matches up, let alone the results from the day before. But I'm very confident that I'll have them up sometime tomorrow night. On top of all that, I'm having to play catchup with how the matches are actually going, as opposed to my usual lurking checkups. But I think things are going swimmingly. Don't you?

My brother just postponed a major project from this weekend to next because of the rain, so I'll be able to devote this weekend to AtS S2 DVD, Wolverine boot shopping (I desperately need a new pair), and football. Oops, I mean the Apocalypse. Who would choose football over the Apocalypse?

I mentioned in a post early in the second round about the upcoming Wesley v Mayor Wilkins being a rematch of last year's Road2Sunnydale. I failed to remember that the already completed Spike v Harmony match was also a rematch from then with similar results. I could go on, but it'd mostly be even more rambling from me. So, how are ya'll doin?

Desperate Plea re. 'Get It Done' -- Maura, 20:20:25 09/10/03 Wed

I've got a problem. I'm working away on a BtVS essay I'm supposed to have done (at least in draft form) in the next couple of weeks, but to argue it effectively, I need to review the final scene from "Get It Done," where Buffy has the vision of the Uber-vamp army. I don't have it on video, and every attempt I've made to lay hands on the episode has persistently come up dry.

So as a stop-gap for getting a draft of this essay completed, I'm now asking you folks if any of you would kindly send me a description of the scene. (Not the best way to do research, but it may be the best I can swing at the moment.)

What I recall of the scene (from when I saw it in February) is a fast pan back over an army of Uber-vamps disappearing into an undifferentiated mass into the distance. Essentially what I need to know is whether the army is countable/estimable on the basis of what we see. This basically means: do we see borders?

My recollection is that we may see a front border, that is, a first line. But I don't recall any sense of clear end-points at either side of the screen or in the distance. Does this seem in keeping with what you guys see? If not, what do you see?

Should you choose to accept this descriptive mission, please don't give me numbers of vamps unless you have literally counted (the number appearing in the first row, for instance).

I would truly be eternally grateful for help with this!

[> Re: Desperate Plea re. 'Get It Done' -- Rook, 21:53:26 09/10/03 Wed

Has screen caps of the entire episode, if it's of any help.

[> Re: Desperate Plea re. 'Get It Done' -- skpe, 07:44:18 09/11/03 Thu

I think there would have to be borders even if not well shown in Buffy's vision. Because the the F.E. plan was to kill enough humans so that daemons outnumbered them thereby tipping some cosmic balance. Which indicates a limit to the number of ubervamps.

[> Re: Desperate Plea re. 'Get It Done' -- Celebaelin, 09:24:35 09/11/03 Thu

The scene starts somewhere near the rear of the group, as we pull out from the face of a Tuok Han there are more visible behind him, several of whom are climbing the rear wall. The shot pans back, revealing more and more Turok Han in what appears to be a tunnel roughly 50 yards wide but how long it is is another question as the ep. ends before the 'camera' stops moving but we do see maybe 80-100 yards of it's length. I'd a smallish concert hall full, a know you don' want numbers but I'd say comfortably more than a thousand. In Chosen we see the end of this tunnel, or one very much like it, on the opposite side of the very much wider cavern (2-3 football fields at least, but not totally full) but I don't know if Chosen is relevant to you in this regard.

Hope this helps.

[> Many, many, many thanks to everyone for your help!!! -- Maura, 10:40:10 09/11/03 Thu

Buffy references live on in the real world -- Brian, 13:30:59 09/11/03 Thu

In a local paper's review of a new Italian restaurant that uses a lot of garlic in its dishes: "with Buffy gone forever,we need all the protection we can get."

[> That's nice. It makes me want to review restaraunts. -- Rochefort, 20:53:15 09/11/03 Thu

Faith in 'Orpheus' -- Claudia, 11:32:48 09/11/03 Thu

While watching "Orpheus" last night, I noticed something curious. Faith seemed taken aback, almost disappointed, when she and Angeleus observed the souled Angel taking a desperate bite out of a robbery victim in some mid-1970s diner. Aware of Angel's past, surely she must have realized that it would not be easy for him not to feed upon others - even while souled. Right? Or did she tend to hero-worship Angel?

[> She definitely has him on a pedastool -- Ray, 12:01:31 09/11/03 Thu

[> Angel kept his post-soul transgressions pretty secret -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:01:42 09/11/03 Thu

In "Angel", he told Buffy had hadn't fed on a human since he got his soul back. In "Consequences", he told Faith that he changed his ways as soon as he got his soul back. And, to the best of my knowledge, he's never told anyone about that diner clerk or the people he killed in China. So, I think Faith's surprise is warranted, as no one had any warning before this that Angel had fallen off the wagon in the past.

[> Re: Faith in 'Orpheus' -- yabyumpan, 17:45:32 09/11/03 Thu

I thought that Faith's reaction was a bit extreme. The guy was actually dead when Angel fed off him. For me it would have had more impact if he had have given in to his cravings and fed off a live human at least once in the 90+ years after being re-soul (and after China). I'm actually surprised he didn't feed off more 'road-kills' in that time. (I presuming he didn't because of his reaction). I would have thought war, for example, could have been a way for him to feed without actually having to do any of the killing. Maybe that sounds a bit sick but I would look at it, in relation to Angel, as like getting an organ transplant from a dead person.

The First's plan -- David, 12:18:29 09/11/03 Thu

Hi can someone help me with something 'cause its been bothering me since chosen aired. What was the First Evils plan since it told Caleb it would enter every human on earth and then told buffy it would be made flesh. Which one was it? and why did it want to enter every human. Thanks (Sorry about the long post).

[> Re: The First's plan -- Claudia, 12:39:39 09/11/03 Thu

I think that the First Evil may have been aware of a prophecy of a change in the Slayer line caused by a Slayer who had been resurrected from death and a souled vampire.

It probably thought that Angel would first be that vampire - hence its appearance in Season 3's "Amends". When Angel left, I believe the First Evil believed the threat to be a moot point.

But perhaps the threat returned when Buffy resurrected for a second time, and Spike obtained his soul. So the First Evil proceeded to ensure that the number of Slayers would not increase, by getting its hands on the scythe. Not only would it stop the growing number of Slayers, it would bring about a hell dimension. And the only way it could accomplish this was to stop Spike's redemption and to get its hands on the scythe was through Buffy. All of the incidents - the attacks and deaths of Potentials, the destruction of the Watchers' Council, the torture of Spike, Caleb's attacks and words to Buffy, was to pressure her into finally alienating herself from the others and seek the scythe. Once she did, the First Evil would enter Caleb, nearly kill Buffy, before taking control of her body. Through her, it would have control of the scythe, stop the prophecy and create a new hell dimension.

Of course, I could be wrong.

[> Re: The First's plan -- heywhynot, 14:21:50 09/11/03 Thu

The plan was both. By the forces of evil overrunning the earth, the First would be able to enter everyperson on the planet and would be able to made flesh. The overbalance and entering everyperson, would enable It to be made flesh. Whether the scythe plays a role in this we don't know since Buffy and gang prevented the First's armies from overrunning the earth.

On being a Slayer: a slightly historical context -- celticross, 18:32:53 09/11/03 Thu

Despite the scholarly sounding title, I make no pretenses that this post will be as all encompassing as, say, one of shadowkat's. But spurred on by several of the threads begun by Claudia, and the discussions therein, as well as some thinking I've been doing on my own, I decided to throw this together and see if it sticks. (And hoping the Voynak demon doesn't eat it...)

I: Buffy Summers

Part of the appeal of BtVS is its initial twist - that the blonde girl in the alley is not a soon-to-be victim, but a superhero. This gives a sense of fun, but also immediately lends an aura of pathos, because that blonde girl is so young. The youth of the heroine is a central factor to the story. Buffy, especially in the high school seasons, just wants to be a "normal girl". She wants to do stereotypical teenage things, but her ability to do is inhibited by her responsibilities as the Slayer. Yes, she can go dancing at the Bronze, but she must always keep an eye out for danger. She may be young, but she has to make life-or-death decisions. Buffy is never out of harm's way.

And we sympathize with her. Our eyes fill when she tearfully tells Giles and Angel in Prophecy Girl, "I'm only sixteen. I don't want to die." Part of the agony of Angel's death at the end of Becoming, Part II is that not only does Buffy have to kill her first love for the good of the world, but she's having to make this decision at seventeen. Virtually every night since she was fifteen, too young to drive, vote, or drink legally, her life has been in danger.

II: A Brief History of Youth

The concept of childhood as a special time in a person's life did not really come into being until the 19th Century. (in Western culture, at any rate) Before then, children were recognized as different from adults, but the notion of the period from birth to puberty as a time of innocence and play is a relatively recent one. The idea of being a teenager is even more recent than that, having really only come into existence in America in the post World War II era. With more and more young people finishing high school (i.e., staying in school and under their parents' roof under at least 18 years of age), a new youth culture was born, directed at these young people who were too old to be children, but not legally adults.

(All of the above may be and is debated by scholars in many fields; I'm just giving what is considered to be the general consensus)

If viewed in this context, the calling of Slayers at 15 or 16 years of age does not seem quite so unfair. The origins of the Slayer reach back to the very dawn of human civilization, and even as recently as a hundred years ago, asking a 15 year old female to function as an adult in society would not have been considered unusual. Granted, few occupations have such a high mortality rate as being a Slayer, but if one could reasonably expect to be an adult, the responsibilities of Slayerdom probably did not seem quite so heavy. True adulthood in modern society comes far later than it formerly did, but the rules of calling Slayers, until Chosen, did not change. Buffy's tragedy is all the greater, because society no longer dictates that a person her age can be considered an adult.

III. More Than One Girl in All the World

So what does the activation of all potential Slayers during the series finale mean? We've had several discussions on this board about the possible future of Slayerdom, as well as how the calling will now work. But viewed in the context of the above, one thing is clear. Buffy has created a situation that will allow, in time, for more adult Slayers. Older Slayers can train and guard the teenagers, allowing them to be free of the weight of the world that Buffy and other modern Slayers labored under. The activation of the Slayers has changed the rules in more ways than one.

Wow...I've never posted anything this long and I'm a little apprehension. Be firm, yet kind.

[> Museum of Childhood -- MsGiles, 08:35:17 09/12/03 Fri

Interesting thoughts on representing youth ..

The youth of the heroine is a central factor to the story.

In the first three, maybe four? series there is a poignancy attached to Buffy's age, in view of the responsibilities she is expected to take. She constantly complains of not being able to experience being a teenager, in the way that her peers are able to. The rites of passage she has to go through are much more serious: averting the world ending, rather than coping with being unpopular. Fighting and killing her ex-boyfriend, rather than just getting over him. She's still at school, after all.

The show plays with the actual experience of adolescence, though, contrasting this to the golden image of it, as perceived, romanticised, from an adult perspective. To the adolescent involved, being bullied and excluded, or failing a test (say) can seem as bad as the end of the world. Worse, maybe, in that the end of the world is less personal. Sometimes the end of the world would come as a welcome relief. Although the Slayer responsibilities seem an onerous burden for a girl who just wants to cheerlead and date, the vampires and demons she fights are embodiments of actual teenage fears and nightmares, and in some ways seem easier to tackle, by virtue of the fact that she can kick their 'fully embodied ass'

even as recently as a hundred years ago, asking a 15 year old female to function as an adult in society would not have been considered unusual

Another aspect of Buffy's age in the early series is the Lolita effect, discussed at some length on this board. She is not just a young teenager, she is a heavily sexualised one, in dress, makeup, and the way she is filmed (compared, for example, with Willow). Her relationship with Angel is a thinly metaphorised relationship between an inexperienced teen and a predatory (though conflicted) older man. The Lolita syndrome, the forbidden attraction of the barely adolescent girl, is partly a result of the prolonging of childhood, and the postponement of the accepted 'age of consent' in current (EuroAmerican) culture. This is perhaps a result of increased affluence allowing education to continue after sexual maturity has been reached: the need to counter high mortality rates via early marriage has disappeared. In earlier times puberty would have signalled availability for sex/marriage in both genders. So it's just the 'forbidden' part of the Lolita syndrome that is new, and it comes into being in the 19thc, together with the concept of childhood.

Buffy's youthful hotness is counteracted by her obvious ability to take care of herself, and by her vigorously non-sexual relationship with her mentor Giles, but a slight whiff of early Britney Spears hangs around her appeal in S1. Although the writers are ironically aware of it (accessorising her with a lollipop as Angel sees her for the first time) it can't be denied that SMG's then appearance, that of a highly attractive schoolgirl made up to pass as older and more sophisticated, must have pulled in many a male viewer who might otherwise have passed up on the 'girl power'.

These themes change as Buffy (and SMG) ages. When Dawn appears, she's both younger, and a much more protected teenager. The weight of the world does not rest on Dawnie's shoulders, but firmly on her older sister's. Dawn's issues are not with too much responsibility, but with too little: Buffy attempts to shield her from the pressures that spoilt her own adolescence, but finds overprotectiveness brings its own problems. Whiny shoplifting Dawn is a teenager who isn't allowed near the monsters, so she has no sense of her own capabilities and worth.

How was Buffy's love for Spike different from Angel? Other than Sex -- sid, 19:42:34 09/11/03 Thu

[> Re: How was Buffy's love for Spike different from Angel? Other than Sex -- luvthistle1, 01:16:43 09/12/03 Fri

Maturity. When Buffy was with Angel, she idealize him. she never saw his faults. She never looked at what the future would actually be like with him, all she saw was "HIM". she could not see a future without him. although her love for Angel was Real, her views of them together was never "realistic. she never saw Angel's faults,therefore she never truly accepted them. With Spike, she was more mature. she did examine a future together with him ( in Chosen, she told Angel that she do not see fat grand kids in her &Spike future) and knew that it was a chance she would never have a family with him. she looked at Spike and her relationship with a more "realistic view". She knew the good sides of Spike, as well as the bad sides. she knew all of his faults, and accepted them anyway. Spike and Angel were both told by someone other than Buffy to leave. Angel viewed Buffy as a child (she was, at that time) so he made the decision for her. he left. Spike view Buffy as a mature women capable of making her own decision ( she was) he asked her, what was best for them. she told him to stay. he did. the differents Between B/A and S/p is "maturity.

[> [> Re: How was Buffy's love for Spike different from Angel? Other than Sex -- Claudia, 08:26:24 09/12/03 Fri

I think you have perfectly described the differences in Buffy's relationship with the two vampires. It's a shame for many B/A fans that Angel had left when he did. If had stayed, I believe that his relationship with Buffy could have had the opportunity to develop to a more mature level.

R.I.P - John Ritter -- pellenaka, 03:02:18 09/12/03 Fri,2933,97139,00.html

John Ritter (Ted) has passed away in an age of 54.

This is very sad. I've seen him in so many things and he was a good actor.

[> Wow. This is a shocker. Ritter seemed at the peak of health, happiness and career. -- cjl, 07:03:56 09/12/03 Fri

"Eight Simple Rules..." may not have been the best or most original of sitcoms, but it was a clear success, and it looked like Ritter was enjoying a career renaissance as a 21st century sitcom dad.

Ritter was probably one of the most gifted physical comedians on American TV. He could do a pratfall or a spit take better than anyone alive--and I sincerely mean that as a compliment. Old-fashioned CLEAN physical comedy is something of a lost art. (These days--when screenwriters bother with it at all--physical shtick usually involves bodily secretions or some form of pastry.)

I always associated Ritter with boundless energy and enthusiasm for whatever he was doing--even if it wasn't worth his time. I thought he'd be around forever.

Geez, this is sad.

[> [> I'll always remember Ritter for his performance... -- Rob, 08:37:24 09/12/03 Fri L. Frank Baum in "The Dreamer of Oz," a made-for-TV docudrama that originally aired in 1990 on NBC, about how L. Frank Baum came to write the Oz books. It alternates between biography and fantasy sequences of Oz being dreamed up in his head. Before seeing this film, I had never seen him as anything else but Jack Tripper, so it was somewhat a revelation to me. He completely transformed into the role, and proved himself just as adept at drama as physical comedy. I don't know if this film is available on video or DVD. I still only have my original copy, which is really worn out now, with flashing color. But if you're a fan of the Oz books, the movie of "The Wizard of Oz," or just curious in seeing John Ritter in a different sort of production and you get a chance to see this film, don't pass it up.


[> [> Re: Wow. This is a shocker. Ritter seemed at the peak of health, happiness and career. -- Cheryl, 08:40:22 09/12/03 Fri

He was like Robert Urich - I grew up with him, he was always there on tv, almost like part of the family so it seems like a personal loss. Talented, nice guy. And, ironically, the last time I saw him "live" was when he presented SMG an award (don't remember which awards show it was, there are so many of them), but it wasn't that long ago. Very sad day.

[> [> Our local radio people are crushed -- Darby, 11:07:06 09/12/03 Fri

Ritter has done charity work locally over the years, and it seems like all who came in contact with him developed a genuine affection and now are really feeling the loss.

I sometimes wonder if the TV "stars" who go on to have a long and varied career are not reaping the benefits of being fun on a set and easy to work with. It sounds like that described Ritter. I suspect our own Alyson Hannigan might be in that category as well.

[> R.I.P - Ted -- tomfool, 07:21:07 09/12/03 Fri

Thank you for posting this. I was shocked to hear this since I agree with cjl that he had an undeniably infectious energy. He was a modern master of physical comedy.

I know Ted was a polarizing episode. Seems that you either loved it or hated it. I think that many people were instantly turned off when they saw that guy from the lame comedy with the blond and Don Knots. It was one of the very few casting decisions in the history of the show that could be classified as stunt casting and I think that some couldn't get past that to appreciate a truly effective performance. Ted was really a very dark turning point for Buffy in exploring what happens when a slayer accidentally kills a human. Very forshadowy for the whole Faith arc.

Even though I really liked this episode, I think it's good that they did keep the casting decisions pretty low-key throughout. It allowed the story and the main characters to take front and center without the distraction of the celebrity factor.

RIP Ted. Thanks for one very creepy robot guy.

[> [> Re: R.I.P - Ted -- Gyrus, 08:34:24 09/12/03 Fri

RIP Ted. Thanks for one very creepy robot guy.

I agree. One of the things that made me like this ep was that I had had no idea John Ritter could be so menacing.

[> How sad. -- deeva, 07:49:30 09/12/03 Fri

I remember watching the reruns to Three's Company when I was a kid and thinking how funny he was. I always thought that he was a very capable actor and was always pleasantly surprised to see him very employed in the many projects he had. I wish I could've seen him in The Dinner Party. This is very sad indeed. Like others, I thought that he would be one of the ones who would be around forever.

[> [> He confounded my expectations -- Liam, 08:46:41 09/12/03 Fri

When I saw that John Ritter was going to be a character on 'Ted', I thought that the character would be lame, having seen 'Three's Company' and thinking that he was only good for those kind of shows. Well, he proved me wrong, with his good portrayal of an interesting character that was nice to others, but creepy and menacing to Buffy. I agreed with a fellow fan when she said that she'd never watch 'Three's Company' the same way again.


[> Re: R.I.P - Reverend Fordwyck -- CW, 08:30:59 09/12/03 Fri

People my age tend to remember John Ritter more as the very young minister on The Waltons rather than the guy in the middle on the awful Three's Company. He was definitely a better actor than he got credit for. I disliked Ted, but enjoyed Ritter portrayal of him.

Also, RIP The Boy Named Sue and Big Bad John as well. I wasn't a big fan of country music, but there was a time Johnny Cash was a bigger star than Elvis. Some of his songs were down right embarrassing, but Johnny Cash could sing with the best of them.

[> Johhny Cash died today as well....sad day for all :( -- Nino, 08:53:11 09/12/03 Fri

[> [> Essential Johnny Cash -- cjl, 12:17:52 09/12/03 Fri

Well you wonder why I always dress in black
Why you never see bright colors on my back
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone
Well there's a reason for the things that I have on

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down
Livin' in the hopeless hungry side of town
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime
But is there because he's a victim of the times

I wear the black for those who've never read
Or listened to the words that Jesus said
About the road to happiness through love and charity
Why you'd think he's talking straight to you and me

Well we're doin' mighty fine I do suppose
In our streak of lightning cars and fancy clothes
But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back
Up front there oughta be a man in black

I wear it for the sick and lonely old
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold
I wear the black in morning for the lives that could have been
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men

And I wear it for the thousands who have died
Believin' that the Lord was on their side
I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died
Believin' that we all were on their side

Well there's things that never will be right I know
And things need changin' everywhere you go
But till we start to make a move to make a few things right
You'll never see me wear a suit of white

Oh I'd love to wear a rainbow every day
And tell the world that everything's okay
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back
Till things're brighter I'm the man in black

-- Johnny Cash, "The Man in Black"

Johnny Cash never lost it. Ever. Never lost his talent to pick out the great songs, never lost his ability to convey the emotions of that song to the public, never lost that magnificent, rumbling baritone. (Although, after 50 years or so in the business, his voice was fraying around the edges.)

If you want to know what Johnny Cash was all about, pick up the 3-CD "Essential Johnny Cash (1955-1983)," covering his tenure on Columbia records. You get everything from his early hits like "Cry, Cry, Cry" and "I Walk the Line" to his late '60/early '70s heyday ("Sunday Morning Coming Down"), his smoking duets with wife June Carter ("Jackson") and the political songs the Nashville establishment seems to want to ignore ("The Rebel," "The Man in Black"). You also get a feel of his love for gospel ("Daddy Sang Bass") and his great sense of humor ("Tennessee Flat Top Box" and "A Boy Named Sue").

Right after that, pick up American Records IV: The Man comes Around, his latest and final record. Listen to the title track and his cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt." They equal anything in the pantheon.

Johnny Cash was a man of great faith, of great passions, and the greatness of his music was that the rewards of faith never came easy. For the Man in Black, the world was often a hard, brutal place to live, but God gave it to us, and we'd damn well better try to make it a place worth living.

In fifty years of making music for us, Johnny Cash never stopped trying.

[> [> [> Thanks cjl -- ponygirl, 13:26:16 09/12/03 Fri

[> [> [> fitting homage cjl- RIP Johnny -- sdev, 17:32:13 09/12/03 Fri

[> [> [> Johnny Cash and Warren Zevon -- Apophis, 18:51:16 09/12/03 Fri

Sadly enough, I'd just gotten into these two this weekend and now they're dead. I just wish I'd been there earlier.

[> [> [> Re: Essential Johnny Cash -- jane, 23:25:17 09/12/03 Fri

After reading the lyrics to Man in Black, I have to wonder if Angel is a Johnny Cash fan, because the song could surely be his theme. Maybe Joss is a Cash fan? I am saddened by Mr. Cash's passing, but his music lives on.

[> [> [> Great post, and thoughts go out to Cash and his wife -- RJA, 16:42:55 09/13/03 Sat

Cash's wife died the other month. Her name was June Carter. She was as important to Cash and his career as anything could be, as well as being a fine artist in her own right. She died a few months ago, and one can only hope that Johnny has found her again.

[> [> [> yes...he was essential -- anom, 20:31:31 09/14/03 Sun

Both in what has become the usual sense of "necessary" & in the essence he conveyed in his music. Thanks for posting those lyrics, cjl. I'm sorry he didn't live to see things get to a point where he could've added a little color to his wardrobe.

Johnny Cash was exceptional. He overcame addiction & other temptations ("I Walk the Line," "Ring of Fire") but never looked down on those who gave in to them--even as he didn't let them forget the consequences. He could identify with people most of us wouldn't want to (I think he took a "there but for the grace of God" attitude), singing about the feelings that ran deep under the tough persona he sometimes embodied...yet he was able to make fun of it ("A Boy Named Sue"). And how many 70-year-olds would cover a Nine Inch Nails song?

NPR's Morning Edition gave his obit a decent amount of time--probably as much as they could, given their time constraints. They played excerpts from interviews & songs, ending with "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," a song I never would've associated with Johnny Cash & didn't know he'd recorded. He sang it like no one else (of course), with that plain honesty of his. It brought tears to my eyes, which most of the time isn't easy to do.

"Johnny Cash was a man of great faith, of great passions, and the greatness of his music was that the rewards of faith never came easy. For the Man in Black, the world was often a hard, brutal place to live, but God gave it to us, and we'd damn well better try to make it a place worth living."

Beautifully said, cjl. Last week saw the loss of 2 great honest voices in music. I'm glad to have had the chance to read your tributes to them, but I'm sorry you had occasion to write them.

Interesting essay on Buffy and politics -- ponygirl, 07:26:13 09/12/03 Fri

The mighty Plin found this essay:

It looks at political themes in BtVS with a little AtS thrown in. It's up to date for both finales but sadly doesn't get into the leadership issues raised in s7.

[> Re: Interesting essay on Buffy and politics -- Claudia, 08:51:01 09/12/03 Fri

I only have a few problems with this essay.

One, like ponygirl stated, it skipped the leadership issues that Buffy faced in Season 7. Two, it viewed the Season 6 episode "Wrecked" as the focus of Willow's problems with magic - dismissing the latter as a chest thumping lecture. It failed to note that Willow's problems could be traced to earlier seasons and that the Scoobies had erroneously diagnosed Willow's problems as a simple case of magic addiction. And three, it practically gushed over Spike's fall from "vampiric masculinity", showing a true lack of understanding of the vampire's character. After all, this is the vampire who admitted back in Season 3 that he was "love's bitch".

[> Re: Thanks -- aliera, 18:05:19 09/12/03 Fri

As the intelligentsia's favorite show and a pop-culture reference in heavy rotation, Buffy has been analyzed many times, with amusingly bi-partisan results.

Not just in politics. BYOS Bring your own subtext.

funny Joss comment in EW -- purplegrrl, 12:09:42 09/12/03 Fri

The lastest issue of Entertainment Weekly has a lengthy article on the new and returning TV shows for the fall. In the brief writeup on "Angel", Joss claims he's working on "Buffy: Deep Space Nine" which will be dark and badly received.


See the whole story plus a picture of "Angel" cast (including Conner -- does this mean anything for the new season???) at,6115,481529~3||454985~0~getscooponangel,00.html

[> Re: funny Joss comment in EW -- Vickie, 14:36:26 09/12/03 Fri

Thanks for the link. As for the photo, I doubt it means anything. It looks like a last season cast shot, as it still contains Charisma as well as Vincent, and does not contain Andy Hallet or JM.

Are Humans Any Better Than Vampires? -- Claudia, 14:14:18 09/12/03 Fri

One has to ask oneself - are humans really better than vampires?

I mean, we kill other living beings - other animals and plants, not only for food, but for less than admirable reasons, as well. Wouldn't other animals and plants consider humans, vampiric? Is Buffy's real reason for killing vampires is self-preservation of species, and nothing else?

[> Yes. ;)) -- Arethusa, 15:10:21 09/12/03 Fri

I mean, we kill other living beings - other animals and plants, not only for food, but for less than admirable reasons, as well.

Yes, but a field of wheat can't hold a stake, so we're safe. And until animals learn to ban together to eliminate humanity, we'll continue to kill with impunity. If they don't like it they can do something about it.

Wouldn't other animals and plants consider humans, vampiric?

Again, until they develop consciousness and learn to band together to save themselves, they're fair game. Maybe that's what all those cows who hang out together under trees in Texas fields are doing....

Is Buffy's real reason for killing vampires is self-preservation of species, and nothing else?

Sure. And as a fellow member of her species, I say kill, pussycat, kill!

[> [> Re: Yes. ;)) with movie and lyrics -- Ann, 15:20:08 09/12/03 Fri

Arethusa and Claudia: Redemption aside - if animals learned to band together this would happen! Check out these sites!!!! The movie is one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

[> [> Consciousness -- Claudia, 15:25:20 09/12/03 Fri

[Again, until they develop consciousness . . .]

How do we know that other animals and plants do not have any consciousness? Do we know this as a fact, or are we speaking from human arrogance?

Why do humans tend to excuse their actions, when they kill other living creatures, but get into an uproar, when humans are killed? Self preservation?

[> [> [> Re: Consciousness -- Rook, 15:43:43 09/12/03 Fri

As soon as cows start building hospitals and chickens start creating great works of art, I'll wonder about their consciousness.

Until then, they're all just happy meals with legs.

[> [> [> [> Assume -- Claudia, 16:26:13 09/12/03 Fri

[As soon as cows start building hospitals and chickens start creating great works of art, I'll wonder about their consciousness.]

Judging from your remark, you seem to assume that if other animals and plants also had consciousness, they would act the same as humans.

Why would you assume this?

[> [> [> [> [> You're right....lets tell Buffy to let vampires kill people from now on...what was Joss thinking? -- Nino, 18:28:49 09/12/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Assume -- Rook, 21:17:29 09/12/03 Fri

Because there isn't evidence to indicate that consciousness manifests itself in any other way.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Assume -- Claudia, 12:22:53 09/15/03 Mon

[Because there isn't evidence to indicate that consciousness manifests itself in any other way.]

And how exactly are we supposed to gather that information? Maybe other animals and plants have a consciousness that we are not capable of discovering?

You see what I'm saying here? Humans have a long history of justifying the enslaving, killing or destruction of others (whether other human beings or other living creatures)that are different or will threaten or serve the group's survival.

[> [> [> Re: Consciousness -- LittleBit, 19:51:44 09/12/03 Fri

Some humans excuse their actions (not all humans do, let's not be too broad here) because there are those who, and I quote, "believe that my own personal well-being is more important than what happens in the world at large. Focusing too much upon what happens to the world at large, is not that healthy, in my opinion. I think it prevents a person from finding inner peace.

You might have seen that quote in a post on the board.

[> [> [> [> Bit..... I think I love you! -- Sheri, 09:01:30 09/13/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Awwwww... -- LittleBit [blushing], 17:38:30 09/13/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> [> I think I do too! -- Rob, planting a big kiss on Bit's cheek, 18:36:01 09/13/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Rob! What would Iyari think?!?! -- Random, who is comforting poor Iyari right now, 18:49:13 09/13/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> She won't think anything about it...if you don't SAY anything!! -- Rob, 13:49:43 09/14/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> How About Honesty? -- Claudia, 12:29:02 09/15/03 Mon

[Some humans excuse their actions (not all humans do, let's not be too broad here) because there are those who, and I quote, "believe that my own personal well-being is more important than what happens in the world at large. Focusing too much upon what happens to the world at large, is not that healthy, in my opinion. I think it prevents a person from finding inner peace.]

I do believe that it is more important to focus upon one's personal well-being and not to focus too much upon the world at large.

But if you're going to explain killing another being, be it vampire, other animal or plant - a human should be HONEST about it and not make excuses for one's actions that leaves a person looking or sounding hypocritical.

And in being honest, I believe that deep down, humans are really no better than vampires.

[> Yes. ;)) -- Arethusa, 15:12:07 09/12/03 Fri

I mean, we kill other living beings - other animals and plants, not only for food, but for less than admirable reasons, as well.

Yes, but a field of wheat can't hold a stake, so we're safe. And until animals learn to ban together to eliminate humanity, we'll continue to kill with impunity. If they don't like it they can do something about it.

Wouldn't other animals and plants consider humans, vampiric?

Again, until they develop consciousness and learn to band together to save themselves, they're fair game. Maybe that's what all those cows who hang out together under trees in Texas fields are doing....

Is Buffy's real reason for killing vampires is self-preservation of species, and nothing else?

Sure. And as a fellow member of her species, I say kill, pussycat, kill!

[> Yeah -- Rufus, 16:33:08 09/12/03 Fri

We've talked about this many many times. Some things are just wrong, and what vampires do to innocent victims is just wrong. People can excuse behavior by using the natural selection agument where vampires are no more than animals acting upon an instinct they can't control, but what vampires do is different. We can throw out the idea that vampires kill just for food cause there are so many animal sources for blood. Vampires kill because they enjoy it and they also enjoy torturing victims as well. What they do is wrong and a threat to humanity. What Buffy does in slaying vampires is a reaction to their threat against all of humanity....she/humanity is better than them.

[> No...because we can't make our faces do that cool demony thing. -- Rob, 16:54:55 09/12/03 Fri

[> [> Except Connor. He did a really good forehead scrunch. -- LittleBite [who thinks it was cute], 19:39:03 09/12/03 Fri

[> [> [> I think that's genetic -- Masq, 21:43:15 09/12/03 Fri

You know, metaphysical genetics

[> [> [> [> LOL..that boy's just so sweet with his squinchy brow! -- jane, 21:47:59 09/12/03 Fri

[> [> Hmmm. Which species is superior, biologically? -- Arethusa, 07:50:14 09/13/03 Sat

Vampires' biggest problem is that they must kill humans to reproduce. It's theoretically possible that they would eventually eliminate all humans through siring and careless feeding. But vampires also do not die of "natural" causes and can feed on animals, so it's also possible that even if more vampires cannot be made, vampires will continue to exist indefinitely.

[> Better at what? -- mamcu, 18:57:30 09/12/03 Fri

[> On Virtue and Staying the Hell Alive...longish -- Random, 19:34:31 09/12/03 Fri

Despite the fact that this issue has been hashed and re-hashed innumerable times, let's see if we can find some point of resolution that abrogates the need to assume that all judgment is relative. Offering up the proposition that there is some moral equivalency (is Buffy better) requires a lot more thought than merely noting that vampires are hungry bastards.

To start with, let's take the argument from anthropology (a precursor to the anthropic principle of modern astrophysics) and examine the sentience involved. It's not an inconsiderable point, after all. The existence of vampires is contingent - and predicated - upon the existence of humans. We are not talking about the gulf between a human and a black orchid, or between a human and a dog, or even between a human and a pitcher of margaritas (though the gulf between a human and the last item is rarely more than a millimeter and rarely lasts longer than the 19.3 seconds it takes to fill everyone's glasses and let them chug them.)

The fallacy - and it's a huge, gaping fallacy indeed, not unlike the gulf between a human and an orchid - in the rejoinder to Arethusa that the fact we haven't detected it implies we cannot make substantiative judgments. The name, or one of the names, for this fallacy is argumentum ad ignorantiam -- the argument from ignorance. We can't provecocker spaniels aren't secretly plotting to take over the earth because we have never witnessed an irrefutable datum of information that decisively establishes that they are not superintelligent being from the Betelgeuse system. Nor have we information that establishes that we are not cocker spaniels ourselves and are, collectively, prone to the delusion that humans look and act like cocker spaniels. If it is rank human arrogance, it is rather more justified than rank...until the revolution comes. This is not dicto simpliciter -- we have ample evidence to establish that the Douglas Fir doesn't spend the vast portion of its sedentary life calculating the best drink mixes one can create with a fully-stocked bar. Or feel pain. There are no organs or components that have an reasonable connection to either of these functions. Just because you can conceive of them having consciousness no way implies that they do (this is another fallacy, the one of ontology, and has been torn apart for centuries at least.)

So now we are confronted with the reality (at least in contextual terms) of vampires. As a postulation, the concept of self-defense is not an easily-dismissed one. Most countries (excepting, maybe, France ;-}) will fight to defend themselves from invading armies because they seek to preserve their lives and lands. Sentient beings defending themselves from sentient beings. To ask whether "Buffy's real reason for killing vampires is self-preservation of species, and nothing else?" does not do justice to the issue, as intelligent reflection will discover. This issue certainly does not preclude the analysis of other issues - indeed, it invites it. If we take a half-second to examine it, we note that the self-defense need not merely exist as a predator/prey paradigm, though it can and is that as well. Unless one is willing to submit that vampires are lacking in sentience, one must acknowledge that they are likely to possess more complicated natures than your average Venus Flytrap.

So let us take that half-second (plus typing time and spellcheck) and consider it. First of all, vampirism, both as a generic noun and as descriptive of a specific mythology, does not merely mean killing. We have perfectly good words for that. Like, say, "killing." A working, if ancillary, definition would be the act of preying on others in a parasitic manner. We can certainly examine vampires as parasites, requiring blood to survive. Hence the issue of self-defense. They try to kill us for their own survival, we (or at least Buffy and the Scoobies) kill them pre-emptively. Or, given the kill count of many vampires we've seen on the shows, post-emptively. Other issues, such as whether human blood is required, are complicating factors, but suffice to say, we have ample evidence that vampires can survive off of other animals, so humans are hardly a default prey for vampiric survival (and keep in mind the arguments above, re sentience...they cannot take pre-emptive measures. And, indeed, if a human slays a vampire that drinks only platypus blood, is she/he not saving the platypi?) So we cannot dispose of self-preservation with a simple "just" - it is no less an issue than the serial killer breaking into a home and being shot down as he attempts to stab the helpless petite blonde to death. If we have a chance to stop a serial killer -- as police too rarely do -- before he perpetrates another killing, are we to ignore it?

Having dealt with that, there are real and valid issues to consider. First, let's consider the vampiric side of the issue. Inasmuch as rationalization is fun, we still have a wealth of facts from the show to consider. We know that vampires are the results - except in the seminal case - of a twisted form of parthenogenesis which requires the death of a human to create a new vampire. If that is not immediate cause for at least a measure of suspicious scrutiny, then we are no longer discussing the issue on a moral scale of any recognizable quality that I can relate to. Vampires reproduce through killing - an act that has few, if any, natural parallels. Even such creatures famous for killing when they reproduce - certain forms of wasps who lay their eggs in living caterpillars, for instance, or praying mantises - do not reproduce directly via the act of killing itself. So we already have much direct evidence (aside from, you know, the fact that vampires are demons who suck blood and stuff) that vampires are not creatures to be examined merely in the paradigm of the natural scheme of things. And discounting the observations of the countless humans who have considered them unnatural and evil is rank arrogance itself - the new idea that obliterates all the old is a surprisingly rare thing. In restructuring the argument, one does not find a solution merely by virtue of negating the old constructs and assumptions. Nor do moral and philosophical relativism, despite all appearances, provide an easy answer. The mistake people make is failing to realize that relativism is no less rigorous an examination tool than any other. Furthermore, relativism is a very human concept, and subject to very human foibles...including whatever foibles would be attributed to us if we accepted the conclusions of the relativistic argument. Thus, the precept must be used with great care, and can lead to reductio ad absurdum with very little effort indeed

So what do we mean when we call vampires evil? Are we using human morality standards? Of course we the absence of any other known or available standards, we must pretty much rely on our own, or eschew all standards whatsoever. If that's what's being argued, then no argument is possible with one who favors standards except on a meta level that loses sight of the original issue. We say vampires are evil because they act in a manner that we would consider "evil" when applied to our own species...something we don't do with other forms of life. The issue of sentience rears its ugly head again and cries out, "Stop ignoring me!" And I can't blame it. Sentience is the issue. Motivations are important. And the nature of the beast is not simply hunt, kill, skip along down Happy Trail. The vampires are not utterly alien to us....they are us in ways that no chimpanzee or daffodil can aspire to without Marxist revisionism. The issue of the Other has made waves since the show began, but it's sloppy thinking to assume that the Other is always unjustly marginalized. The analogy to victimized peoples falls apart the second a vampire rises from the grave and sinks his/her teeth into an innocent passerby. To say otherwise implies certain attitudes toward the presumed analogous real-life groups that is somewhat, well, distasteful to say the least. So vampires are portrayed - and keep in mind, the portrayal given to us by the artist provides at least the source of the basic facts, no matter how much we interpret them later - as killers with sentience and human awareness. Especially in fiction, where the artist is free to make his/her creations as he/she sees fit. And then we move onto the truly defining arguments. The nasty tendency of vampires to do stuff that is just, well, not acceptable in most quilting bees. Torture. Maiming. Trying to destroy the world. You know, demony stuff. Do we merely say that this is a result of their nature? Do we casually forgo judgment of the fictional madman who attempts to unleash nuclear missiles against major cities, or the all-too-real psychopaths who actually do commit torture and the like and do so with pleasure?

And do we lump Buffy and her cohorts into the same moral universe as the vampires? To stand aside and do nothing as evil is committed when you can intervene and prevent it - does that not (it does legally) fall well into the realm of accessory to evil? To murder? To any act of destruction? Does that not make them borderline...or not-so-borderline...sociopaths? We're not talking about the classic victim of '80's horror films...all nubile and petite and blonde. We are talking about someone who was specifically, both artistically and within the show's context, created to defy evil and stereotypes. So to equate her battle with vampires to, say, a tree being chopped down and falling on the lumberjack fails rigorous examination. Having disposed of the sentience argument - it having no foundation except speculative thinking - we must necessarily observe that the situations are in no way analogous except in the most circular and tenuous of terms. Vampires are not simply another breed of man-eating lion. They engage in all the vices of humans, including sadism and destructiveness. The key conditional here is that humans do not, as a general rule, act in such a manner by default, while vampires, with a couple notable exceptions, seem to do so invariably. Even the most sympathetic of vampires - Holden Webster - can only engage in non-destructive discourse for a limited period of time before eagerly attempting to kill another sentient creature. His arguments even seem reasonable - until his actions demonstrate his basic nature. After that, clinging to the arguments seems rather self-destructive, to say the least. You become the hapless members of Ford's secret vampire society faced at last with the evil of those they once worshipped.

So now we confront the extremely important word, "better." Is Buffy better than those she fights? Ignoring virtually all evidence from the show completely, we could say that is a debatable issue, of course. Any value judgment is debatable. But such debate needs to center on some rational foundation. Leaving aside the issue of audiatur et altera pars for a moment, let's return to the morality argument and contrast it to the one of self-preservation. We agree she is engaging in self-preservation. She is also engaging in the preservation of others as well. Even by the standards of Ayn Rand (whose philosophy has been so generalized and condensed that it's barely recognizable sometimes), Buffy is engaged in an act of virtue simply because she is preserving both her individuality and the society that she exists within. If one wishes to attribute base motives to her, one need not look further than "vampires kill humans and work toward the destruction of the human race...I am a human and a member of the human race...ergo, it is in my best interest to prevent vampires from accomplishing their goal." Not an entirely invalid syllogism. And it makes no difference whether humans are hostile to vampires - humans don't take death and destruction as their raison d' least not the vast majority who do not fall into the category of aberrant. The circular argument of which precedes the other - almost certainly ending in the favor of humans as victims - is meaningless in such terms. Is she morally better? We don't need to assume that sentience in the victim is's enough that the perpetrator possess sentience when knowingly committing acts that cause unnecessary pain and destruction. We need not even take the word of the show for the fact that they are evil by the only standards we have to judge by: human ones. The very fact that vampires do these things and seem to have no value standard except extreme self-interest (not really a very well-thought-out standard) is evidence and justification enough. I can quote Kant here, but that seems to annoy some people.

So if, like famous definition of a committee, we lure the idea that it's all relative down a quiet alley and strangle them, we do it no disservice.

[> [> In defense of Moral Relativism -- Diana, 09:40:46 09/13/03 Sat

Before we can discuss moral relativism, we have to discuss the purpose of morality and passing judgment on others. The primary instinct motivating an organism is aversion to pain/attraction to pleasure. Even if plants aren't sentient, they are still responsive. What constitutes pain/pleasure is different than how we see those concepts. For example they grow towards the sun and their roots seek out water, which could be seen as "pleasurable" to them. In higher life forms, self-preservation is a natural outgrowth of this instinct. In sentient life forms, this self-preservation is expanded to mean more than the physical integrity of the organism. Sentience redefines the self to include family, tribe, species and ego. It is this redefinition that gives rise to morality.

The aversion to pain/attraction to pleasure is what drives morality. It may seem that many moral codes violate this, but they are attempts to subjugate one pleasure either in order to attain what is considered to be a greater pleasure or to avoid some type of pain. It is when this foundation is forgotten and the rules are taken as sacred and therefore cannot be reevaluated as society evolves that problems develop. As society evolves, the definition of self changes and therefore the moral code that dictates how people ought to act needs to evolve to reflect this.

I submit that any evaluation of moral relativism needs to reflect this aversion to pain/attraction to pleasure that is the foundation for morality. You have made a good case for why it causes pain and should be strangled in a quiet alley. I contend that this extreme view actually causes more pain than a more moderate approach. It should be barely breathing, but it still needs to temper how we treat our fellow Man.

To use the show as an example, the vampire's bite is a metaphor for rape. A vampire loses his innocence, shown in "Becoming Part I" when Darla bites Liam and his eyes pop open. When sired, the human is turned into a monster, into a rapist. Without a soul, there is no means for redemption/rehabilitation. Rounding them up and incarcerating them is not a viable option, so Buffy administering capital punishment is the option that will minimize pain.

As a metaphor, though, people who are raped do sometimes become rapists. Do we deem them irredeemable and turn our backs on them? Without some form of moral relativism, the answer is yes. They have committed evil. They are evil and must be dealt with accordingly. That seems a bit too simplistic for me and I believe for you. It is an extreme position to say that moral relativism says that we have "to stand aside and do nothing as evil is committed." Rather than get into a discussion about cultural relativism, let's keep this to individual relativism.

There is nothing in individual relativism that says that a person must not act based on their own morality. It merely denies the objective status of moral values. I would contend that you are confusing two separate issues--how to morally deal with the threat of vampires and the morality of vampires themselves. Buffy can be morally correct in her actions while at the same time not being inherently "better" than the vampires she kills. Even Buffy realizes this. In "Intervention" Buffy tells the Guide, "If I have to kill demons because it makes the world a better place, then I kill demons, but it's not a gift to anybody."

So the question then becomes does tying these two issues together maximize avoidance of pain/attraction to pleasure. Buffy has to deal with the threat of vampires and I would say by practically any human standard of morality, her actions are indeed moral (and those that wouldn't support this action are beyond extreme, have no real practical applications and are nothing but intellectual masturbation). However, is pain/pleasure best served by her being "better" than the vampires she kills?

It is no secret that I am against Capital Punishment (or if it was, it isn't any more). We cannot just ignore the threat that criminals possess, but by just demonizing them and executing the most violent ones, we are perpetuating the system that creates them. We are doing nothing to minimize pain, other than our own comfort level that something is being done. By demonizing criminals, we justify our treatment of them which often amounts to little more than revenge. Is that in society's or the individual's best interest?

To carry this back to Buffy, what would maximize avoidance of pain/attraction to pleasure? Does Buffy lose some of her humanity if she demonizes the vampires that she has to kill to protect the world? That to me would be a determining factor in deciding whether Buffy was "better" than the vampires she kills. I would contend that by seeing them not as "evil" or worse or inferior, but rather just as a threat to deal with, she minimizes pain and maximizes pleasure. She maintains her humanity, while still being able to save the world a lot (and she can make out with the cute ones then because they aren't a threat).

So how about a compromise? Buffy can kill the soulless vampires, but she doesn't have to be "better" than them to do this.

[> [> [> Genealogy of Morality -- frisby, 14:20:29 09/13/03 Sat

Nietzsche brings to an end the moral epoch, an epoch of the last 10,000 or so years, in which acts are judged according to their intentions. Before that, they were judged according to their consequences, and in the new epoch which Nietzsche opens, according to unconscious motives. Between the epochs there is a transitional period in which morality becomes immorality and then amorality, before the new morality takes root.

[> [> [> Re: In defense of Moral Relativism -- RJA, 14:27:42 09/13/03 Sat

Some interesting points, although I think I would still primarily go with Random's argument.

I would say, though, that the analogy of rape doesnt fit the vamp equation (if anything does!). Because while some rape victims become rapists, and some of the abused become abusers, its by no means a given, and statistically not the most likely option. Whereas with vampires, as far as we know, its almost always the case that having been sired, they feed in turn, and want to very soon after. Very different situation to rapists and their victims (and I would also say that vampires are more likely to kill more often than rapists are to rape).

So while I would agree that to deem a rapist or some such as irreedeemably evil is simplistic and harmful, again, vampires dont quite match the equation. A human who is raped, or abused, starts off as a human and remains so. Something horrific has happened to them, but they remain fundamentally a human, they retain basic elements and stay to an extent the same person. I would argue that vampires dont, which is why the issue of redemption is slightly different. Humans who are abused and then become abusers in turn at least have something to which they could try to return to. Vampires dont, any attempt at redemption would be to create a fundamentally different entity, not a return to who they used to be.

I do agree with what you say against capital punishment and against the demonizing of criminals - issues which I feel strongly about, yet at the same time, again, I dont feel its an analogous situation to vampires. But this may be a YMMV situation in regard to the first point. I think that demonizing (human) criminals is dangerous in that it allows us to forget that we are essentially the same as them except for circumstance, and that to ignore that fact is to bury your head in the sand where crime prevention is concerned. With vampires, I think its different, since they are not the same as the human race, or Buffy, and their very existence is fundamentally in opposition to it. Is to look down on something or despise it because their very nature is dependant on your death demonising something? I suppose it gets back to the idea of self-preservation to an extent. If its a matter of one over the other, you have to believe that you're more important or better than the other, otherwise how can you justify your existence.

And lets not forget that the vampires also think they are better than humans.

Wow,long post. Back to lurking...

[> [> [> [> The metaphor of the abuser -- Diana, 07:43:39 09/14/03 Sun

Welcome out of lurkdom

I would say, though, that the analogy of rape doesnt fit the vamp equation (if anything does!). Because while some rape victims become rapists, and some of the abused become abusers, its by no means a given, and statistically not the most likely option

And no where did I say that this is the case with being bit. I said "the vampire's bite is a metaphor for rape" and "As a metaphor, though, people who are raped do sometimes become rapists." The undead vampire is a metaphor for these particular people. I did not say that everyone biten becomes a rapist. In WttH, Buffy herself says the same thing, "To make you a vampire they have to suck your blood. And then you have to suck their blood. It's like a whole big sucking thing. Mostly they're just gonna kill you." We have even had a few instances where someone survives a bite. Not only Buffy and Faith, but also Kate. People have been saved mid-bite on both shows as well.

Vampires are the metaphor for the abused that becomes the abuser. Just because not all abused become abusers does not mean that the metaphor isn't applicable. It is just a metaphor for a specific thing. We can talk statistical probabilities, but when it comes to an individual, either s/he is or s/he isn't. If someone is an abuser, the vampire metaphor fits rather well.

Vampires dont, any attempt at redemption would be to create a fundamentally different entity, not a return to who they used to be

I would say that the way Spike was written this season contradicts that. Can anyone "return to who they used to be"? My experiences shape me and as Lorne tells Angel in "Epiphany," "Well, that's just the thing. You don't. You go on to the new place. Whatever that is." The vampires aren't so divorced from who they/we are as we'd like to think. They are us still. Joss has said this much himself. When resouled, how different from us are they?

In "Dopplegangland," Buffy herself put it best, "There but for the grace of getting bit."

Is to look down on something or despise it because their very nature is dependant on your death demonising something? I suppose it gets back to the idea of self-preservation to an extent. If its a matter of one over the other, you have to believe that you're more important or better than the other, otherwise how can you justify your existence.

I don't see myself as "better" than anything, nor do I see myself as worse than anything. I don't need to "justify" my existence. I just live. Why does a value judgment need to be made here?

My original contention stands, " seeing them not as "evil" or worse or inferior, but rather just as a threat to deal with, she minimizes pain and maximizes pleasure. She maintains her humanity, while still being able to save the world a lot (and she can make out with the cute ones then because they aren't a threat)."

[> [> [> Personal opinion on this issue -- KdS, 04:12:09 09/14/03 Sun

I think Diana's references to treatment of real-world criminals is the key here. This idea that the Buffyverse sanctity of life for humans and not for demons is a sign of prejudice against minorities looks at it from the wrong angle, ignoring the fact that that vampires and demons don't actually exist. What I ask myself, is why, given that the series is about killing metaphorical demons who represent various emotional, spiritual and social ills, there is this extreme reverence for human right to life, even in the most repellent cases.

What I suspect is that the difference in rules for humans and demons isn't about keeping demons down, either literally or as a metaphor for keeping blacks/women/poor people down. It's about elevating humans, and trying to make as sure as possible that BtVS viewers don't take away the lesson that the summary execution approach used in the series for metaphorical monsters should be applied to human offenders against society.

[> [> [> [> Re: Personal opinion on this issue -- Diana, 08:04:12 09/14/03 Sun

I didn't bring up prejudice against blacks/women/poor people at all. If anything, I tend to stay out of such threads. That sort of prejudice is easy to deem "wrong." The type I am talking about is the need for vengeance and elevation above those that wrong us. It is easy to say that the vampires are inferior to us because they harm us. My contention is that we can still deal with them as a threat, but shouldn't demonize them because it harms us. I don't believe in demonizing anything, including demons.

We can look at the show literally and talk about it on that level. Even on a literal level, I see the act of deeming vampires inferior to be dehumanizing to the humans. We can see the effect this had on Faith season 3, and Buffy season 5. In "Revelations," Faith tells Buffy, "You're confused, Twinkie. Let me clear you up. Vampire. Slayer. Dead vampire." We also see Buffy's horror in "Faith, Hope and Trick," when Faith pummels a vampire needlessly. Season 5, we see Buffy really enjoying her job. This leads to her even doubting her ability to love. That season as well as season 6, we see her treatment of Spike because he is "beneath her." I do not see how this is seen to be minimizing pain and maximizing pleasure? I don't see how the show supports the contention that thinking that we are "better" than the vampires is good. If anything, it supports the opposite.

As a metaphor, the demons represent various desires and instincts. Vampires are the most sexual of the demons, not only in the Buffyverse, but in literture/mythology in general. We cannot demonize this because to do so really demonizes parts of ourselves. We have to deal with these parts of ourselves. We can't really go around acting on every desire we have. However, acting on it and passing moral judgment on something are two separate things and should not be discussed as if they aren't.

That is just how I see things, both the world and the show.

[> [> [> [> [> Vampires demonize themselves -- Finn Mac Cool, 10:11:44 09/14/03 Sun

Several vampires have come right out and said, "I'm evil!" Angelus, Spike, Harmony, Drusilla, and Holden Webster have all been very upfront in acknowledging their own evilness. The only difference is that they see evil as something to aspire to, while humans don't. So, working under the theory that evil is undesirable and and a sign of poor moral quality, than vampires are morally inferior to humans. This only changes under a vampiric belief system where evil is desirable, or under a stance of moral neutrality.

[> [> [> [> [> Oh no, didn't say you were, but the thread started that way. -- KdS, 12:11:41 09/14/03 Sun

[> [> Re: On Virtue and Staying the Hell Alive...longish -- Rufus, 14:37:42 09/13/03 Sat

Who says you Kant quote certain parties?????

Now to Buffy. For me it's easy....she protects humanity, vampires prey upon humanity....cause as a human I value us more than them (as long as they are a threat)I say Buffy is better than vampires. Yay Buffy and yay US!!!

'Oh Mandy!' -- Claudia, 14:55:33 09/12/03 Fri

"Oh Mandy! Well you came and you gave without takin'. But I sent you away, oh Mandy! Well, you kissed me and stopped me from shakin'. And I need you today, oh Mandy!"

When I saw "Orpheus" again, and that scene of 1970s Angel (bad hair style, by the way) getting caught up in Barry Manilow's song, "Mandy", I was on the floor, laughing. Oh God!

By the way, do any members of the Fang Gang know that he likes Barry Manilow songs? Or is Faith the only one who knows this little secret?

And I cannot help but how Spike would react if he ever found out.

[> Re: 'Oh Mandy!' -- Rook, 15:27:49 09/12/03 Fri

Well, he sang it in order to get Lorne to read him, and the rest of the gang saw that. Lorne also got him to confess that he sang it because he "thinks it pretty".

[> [> Re: 'Oh Mandy!' -- Claudia, 15:35:31 09/12/03 Fri

Hmmmm . . . does Spike know?

[> [> [> Re: 'Oh Mandy!' -- Rook, 21:21:06 09/12/03 Fri

Not as far as I know, nothing to indicate Spike knew that was ever shown on screen.

[> [> [> [> Did Buffy know? -- Liam, 05:11:39 09/15/03 Mon

I'd be more interested in wondering if _Buffy_ knew about Angel's liking for Barry M. :) Perhaps some fanfic writer has written a scene where the two ended up discussing the merits of Barry v New Kids on the Block! (There was a reference in one episode to Buffy having been a fan of that band.)

Question: Did Cordy retain her soul after becoming a demon in 'Birthday?' -- Nino, 20:01:24 09/12/03 Fri

[> I would assume so -- Ray, 21:48:32 09/12/03 Fri

I don't think it's ever been said that all demons are soul less.

[> [> Didn't Joss say that once in an interview...he mentioned Clem as a nice guy, with no soul -- Nino, 22:41:08 09/12/03 Fri

[> Re: Question: Did Cordy retain her soul after becoming a demon in 'Birthday?' -- Masq, 08:09:43 09/13/03 Sat

Cordelia and Doyle were both only part demon, so I assume they had souls.

I think Anya retained her soul as Anyanka too, but that's more debatable.

Lorne and Clem, while nice guys, soul-having open question.

Lorne, at least, has Aretha Franklin/Smoky Robinson-type "soul"

[> [> Re: Question: Did Cordy retain her soul after becoming a demon in 'Birthday?' -- skeeve, 07:15:24 09/15/03 Mon

Since a vampire can have a human soul, there is no reason to assume that Cordelia lost her human soul when being partially demonized. That doesn't imply that she didn't lose her soul. Skip was involved. Soul-lossage might have been a necessary step for being taken over by Jasmine. It might be why she is in a coma now: no soul, not even Jasmine's soul.

The essential character eps -- Alison, 22:22:33 09/12/03 Fri

I've been board deprived for the last two weeks, so I was pleasantly surprised not only to be able to access the board tonight, but to find s'kat discussing a topic I'd been writing about while avoiding doing homework. S'kat's post is about the essential episodes for Buffy as a Series, I took notes on the most important episodes for each character..and now I'm narrowing it down to 22 each. As always,join in the fun! Everyone loves a good list.

1. Prophesy Girl
2. When She Was Bad
3. Lie to Me
4. Innocence
5. Becoming 2
6. Bad Girls
7. Helpless
8. Bad Girls
9. The Prom
10. The Harsh Light of Day
11. Beer Bad
12. Restless
13. Fool For Love
14. Checkpoint
15. Forever
16. Intervention
17. The Gift
18. Afterlife
19. Dead Things
20. Conversations With Dead People
21. Touched
22. Chosen


1. The Pack
2. What's My Line 2
3. Innocence
4. BB and B
5. Becoming 2
6. Lover's Walk
7. The Zeppo
8. Fear Itself
9. The Yoko Factor
10. Restless
11. The Replacement
12. Into the Woods
13. The Gift
14. Bargaining 1
15. OMWF
16. Hells Bells
17. Villians
18. Grave
19. Potential
20. Storyteller
21. Dirty Girls
22. Chosen

I'll have to continue my lists tomorrow. In the mean time post...or don't.

[> Re: The essential character eps - Xander -- Dochawk, 22:43:06 09/12/03 Fri

Two first year episodes have to make it: The Harvest, because this is where Xander learns about vampires and he risks his life for his friend and then for others. And Prophecy Girl because Xander faces his fear and asks Buffy out and learns the long term status of their relationship.

[> [> Re: The essential character eps - Xander -- MaeveRigan, 08:53:35 09/13/03 Sat

Three more essential Xander eps:

The Zeppo--of course!--Xander discovers that his own inner coolness doesn't depend on anyone else's reflected glory, and that he can handle the pressure when it comes right down to the wire (so to speak).

The Replacement--Suave!Xander and Goof!Xander are both Xander, and can't be separated without irreparable damage.

Hell's Bells--Xander gives in to his worst fears and weaknesses

[> [> [> Re: The essential character eps - Xander -- Claudia, 11:58:34 09/15/03 Mon

I realize that "Selfless" was an Anya episode, but I believe that it had an impact on Xander's character, as well. Along with "Never Leave Me".

[> Re: The essential character eps - Willow -- Rook, 00:29:51 09/13/03 Sat

1. I Robot, You Jane
2. Phases
3. Gingerbread
4. Doppelgangland
5. Choices
6. Wild at Heart
7. Something Blue
8. New Moon Rising
9. Restless
10. Triangle
11. Tough Love
12. Bargaining I
13. Bargaining II
14. Afterlife
15. Tabula Rasa
16. Seeing Red
17. Villains
18. Two to Go
19. Grave
20. Same Time, Same Place
21. The Killer in Me
22. Chosen

[> [> Good choices! -- s'kat, 14:52:04 09/13/03 Sat

Interesting that you left off Wrecked, DoubleMeat Palace, All the Way.

I do think Becoming might need to be in there somewhere.
Since it's the first time Willow did serious magic.
And it also changes her arc.

But I'm not sure which choice you can nix to put it in there? Possibly Afterlife?

Or we could do 24 with no featurettes and include:
Becoming Part II and Selfless. Or Becoming PArt II and
Help (where Willow says goodbye to Tara) or CWDP where we see she's struggling? (No, those two are covered well under Killer in Me, so may be unnecessary.

Becoming Part II and Selfless - if we get 24

[> [> [> Re: Good choices! -- Rook, 16:11:49 09/13/03 Sat

If I could add two, it would be Halloween and Becoming II...if I had to swap out two in return, I'd probably take out Triangle and Afterlife.

[> Re: The essential character eps - Faith -- Rook, 00:48:02 09/13/03 Sat

1. Faith, Hope and Trick
2. Revelations
3. The Zeppo
4. Amends
5. Bad Girls
6. Consequences
7. Enemies
8. Choices
9. Graduation Day I
10. Graduation Day II
11. This Year's Girl
12. Who Are You
13. 5 x 5
14. Sanctuary
15. Salvage
16. Release
17. Orpheus
18. Dirty Girls
19. Empty Places
20. Touched
21. End of Days
22. Chosen

[> Re: The essential character eps - Giles -- KdS, 02:53:51 09/13/03 Sat

I Robot You Jane
Prophecy Girl
When She Was Bad
School Hard
Reptile Boy
The Dark Age
Band Candy
The Wish
Graduation Day I/II
The Freshman
Fear, Itself
A New Man
The Yoko Factor
Buffy Vs. Dracula
The Gift
Once More With Feeling
Tabula Rasa
Never Leave Me
First Date
Get It Done
Lies My Parents Told Me

"Never Leave Me" and "GiD" get in despite the fact that he doesn't appear, due to their important Watcher developments. "Two To Go" is left out because his appearance is reprised in "Grave".

[> Re: The essential character eps - Buffy -- Cactus Watcher, 06:44:06 09/13/03 Sat

Interesting choices. But it's hard to leave out important character eps for Buffy like:

Welcome to the Hellmouth
I Only have Eyes for You
Dead Man's Party
Living Conditions
Into the Woods
The Body
The Weight of the World
Once More with Feeling
Gone (For a taste of Buffy's perverse side)
Normal Again

Just too many to choose from!

[> Re: The essential character eps- Anya -- Alison, 14:16:54 09/13/03 Sat

1. The Wish
2. The Prom
4. Fear Itself
5. Pangs
7. The Replacement
9. Triangle
10. Bargaining 2
11. OMWF
12. TR
13. OAFA
14. Hells Bells
15. Entropy
16. TTG
17. Grave
18. BY
19. Selfless
20. Storyteller
21. EoD
22. Chosen

[> [> Good but... -- Nino, 14:40:44 09/13/03 Sat

...i'd drop a season 4 or 5er for "The Body" and "Empty Places" both of which have huge moments for Anya

[> [> [> Goint point.. -- Alison, 17:00:34 09/13/03 Sat

The Body is far more intergral towards Anya's development than say, Pangs.

[> [> [> [> yeah, i just watched 'Pangs'...its got some good Anya, but nothing special -- Nino, 18:36:41 09/13/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> Argh..'Goint Point'? Must crawl away and die now... -- Alison, 18:50:36 09/13/03 Sat

[> [> Hmmm...good but, have a few disagreements -- s'kat, 15:06:11 09/13/03 Sat

Season 3
1. The Wish
2. Dopplegangland(nix the Prom in favor of Dopplegangland which actually establishes who and what Anya and D'Hoffryn are
and why. The Prom's just her date with Xander - which is covered better in HLOD, same with Graduation Day Part I where she attempts to get Xander to leave with her - both are alluded to in HLOD, so we can let them go.)

Season 4
3. HLOD (covers the territory visited w/Xander/Anya in s3 rather well)
(nix Fear Itself - while funny, not essential)
4. Pangs

Season 5
6. The Replacement
8. Triangle
9. The Gift (Anya sacrifices herself for Xander, and is proposed to. This is important since it is the opposite of what she did in S3 and she refers to it. Also Anya comes up with the plan to defeat Glory in The Gift, complete reversal of prior seasons. )

Season 6
10. OMWF (don't need Bargaining Part II or the others, OMWF encapsulates those themes nicely)
11. Tabula Rasa (also does a good job of encapsulating Anya's desire for ownership of the Magic Box and her relationships, how she identifies herself)
12. OAFA (Her claustrophobia and relationship with Halfrek)
13. Hells Bells
14. Entropy
15. TTG
16. Grave

Season 7
17. BY
18. Same Time Same Place - how she helps Willow while still a vengeance demon
19. Selfless
20. Storyteller
21. EoD
22. Chosen

[> Essential Xander - taking Dochawk, Maeve's and Alisons lists into account -- s'kat, 14:45:00 09/13/03 Sat


Season 1
1. Harvest (Xander finds out about vampires)
2. Teacher's Pet (Xander's fantasy and desire for Buffy)
3. The Pack (DarkXander)
4. Prophecy Girl (Xander rises above his baser instincts explored in The Pack and Teacher's Pet and actually is heroic.)

Season 2
5. Replace What's My Line with the more essential Halloween,
(why? because we get inside Xander's desire to be military man)
6. Bewitched Bothered Bewildered (Xander/Cordy - covers it all)
7. Go Fish (the quintessential Xander episode of S2, there's one in every year. This one is the best for S2, since it really deals with his insecurities much more effective than Innocence.)
8. Becoming 2 (Necessary for the lie)

Season 3
9. Lover's Walk (Xander and Cordy and Willow triangle)
10. The Zeppo (the quintessential Xander episode of S3)

(ugh - had to nix Anne...even if the best part of the episode was Xander as Nighthawk, same with Dead Man's PArty)

Season 4
11. Harsh Light of Day (Anya/Xander relationship explored - this is when Anya seduces Xander)
12. Where the Wild Things Are (Anya/Xander - wants to bring their relationship to the next level, they are literally the heros of this story and it's central focus)
13. Yoko Factor (Xander's insecurities)
14. Restless (Xander's dream)

Season 5
15. The Replacement (SuaveXander vs. NerdyXander - you don't need Buffy vs. Dracula with this episode)
16. Into The Woods (Xander's realization of how important Anya truly is to him)

Season 6
17. Once More With Feeling (this encapsulates the Xander/Anya marital thing for the first half of S6 beautifully)
18. Hells Bells (Xander/Anya's wedding which encapsulates all of Xander and Anyas problems that have been building)
19. Entropy (Xander finds Anya and Spike together)
20. Grave (Xander saves the world)

(ugh - Two to Go really should be in here somewhere - it has Xander discussing his issues with Dawn and Anya.)

Season 7
21. Selfless (Xander and Anya's relationship - we revisit the lie in Becoming and see Xander finally find himself in Buffy's shoes)
22. Potential (Xander's realization of what he means to the SG, a better episode than First Date or Storyteller, in that it deals with his overall role. Also I think Selfless in some ways deals with Xander and Anya's relationship far better than Storyteller did.)

If we could do 24 which I think is necessary:

I'd add: 23. Two to Go (Where he discusses his issues with Anya and Dawn, which might be better than The Gift) and 24. DirtyGirls (Where Xander loses the eye - although how much it really adds to his arc is debateable, Storyteller might be better or Seeing Red)

Hmmm...harder to do Xander, than I thought.

[> Re: The essential character eps - Spike -- Rook, 16:27:02 09/13/03 Sat

1. School Hard
2. Becoming I
3. Becoming II
4. Lover's Walk
6. The Initiative
7. Doomed
8. Fool for Love
9. Crush
10. Forever
11. Intervention
12. The Gift
13. OMWF
14. Smashed
15. Dead Things
16. Seeing Red
17. Grave
18. Beneath You
19. Sleeper
21. End of Days
22. Chosen

[> [> Good Choices -- Alison, 17:04:12 09/13/03 Sat

but I'd swap out Becoming 1 for WAY. Becoming 1 just reiterates what the veiwer already knows about Spike, whereas WAY introduces his feelings for Buffy..or at least his awareness of them.

[> [> [> Re: Good Choices -- Rook, 17:40:11 09/13/03 Sat

I mainly chose Becoming I because in skipping from SH to the end of the season, it's important to establish the A/S/D relationship before moving into his betrayal of A/D in BII. SH establishes the S/D relationship somewhat, but in being limited to 22, you have to skip a lot of the spisode that focus on the incestuous Mother/Father/Son dynamic that these 3 have.

I think FFL and Crush are so Spuffy heavy that it establishes it well enough to lead into the later S5 episodes.

[> [> [> [> Hmmm agree...but I think What's My Line Part II is better -- s'kat, 21:59:57 09/13/03 Sat

I think What's My Line Part II might be better and much stronger choice than Becoming Part I. Why?

What's My Line Part II - establishes how much and how far Spike is willing to go for Drusilla, his relationship with Angel/Angelus, the jealousy there. We get it in two very
good scenes. Becoming I is more about Angel's relationship with Dru, not Spike's. And as far as Spike/Angelus/Dru is concerned? BBB, IOHEFY, & Innocence work just as well.
What's My Line unlike those episodes really pushes and explains the twisted nature of these three vamps relationship and how Angelus differed from Spike - as referred to in the scene where Dru is torturing Angel and Spike mentions, he was never much for the pre-show.

The other importance of What's My Line is that this is the episode where Spike is taken down by Buffy, and Dru rises to power. He is crippled and put in a wheel-chair, if it weren't for this - Spike probably would not have ended up staying in Sunnydale or for that matter been in the situation he's in in Becoming. That first crippling is vital to his story.

The other episode I think we need to add is either Surprise Innocence, or IOHEFY. Surprise b/c this episode establishes that Spike and Dru still have humanity - they are burnable by the Judge. It also shows the new relationship dynamic.
Innocence shows how Angelus disrupts that dynamic and also demonstrates how much worse he is than Spike ever could aspire to, since Angelus lacks humanity and can't be burned by the Judge. IOHEFY - is useful for two reasons - shows how fed up Spike is and it's when he rises from and defeats the wheelchair.

I think you absolutely need What's My Line - b/c of the crippling and b/c of Spike/Angel/Dru scene. And you need one of the other three - IOHEFY might work the best - since it encapsulates some of what is covered in Innocence and Surprise. We have the scene where Dru tries to feed Spike a puppy dog and he's disgusted (I think that's IOHEFY) and
the scene where he rises from the wheelchair.

Otherwise good choices.

[> [> [> [> [> Are Spike and Dru burnable by the Judge? -- Rook, 04:28:43 09/14/03 Sun

In Surprise, Spike touches the judge (He taps him a few times on the chest), and doesn't seem to show any reaction to this. A litle bit later, Buffy kicks him in the same place and there's definitely a reaction, which she mentions later when she's talking to the scoobs.

I always thought the point of Spike's chest-tapping of the Judge coming right on the heels of his comment that they had feelings was to show that while they were capable of certain feelings, they were still too evil to be burned by him.

[> [> [> [> [> [> They touched armor -- Finn Mac Cool, 08:02:58 09/14/03 Sun

The Judge was wearing some armor over his chest. Neither Buffy nor Spike made contact with the Judge's flesh.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: They touched armor -- Rook, 08:39:30 09/14/03 Sun

Right, but Buffy had a negative reaction to it, while Spike didn't. So what was the difference between the two?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Buffy didn't have a negative reaction -- Finn Mac Cool, 10:14:05 09/14/03 Sun

She expressed fear considering how close she came to being burned alive, but I saw no sign that she felt anything physically repellent from kicking the Judge's armor.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Also... -- s'kat, 11:00:16 09/14/03 Sun

He didn't really touch him, very lightly and when the Judge wasn't at full power. To burn someone at that stage the Judge had to touch them with it's flesh. When Buffy and Angel approached it - it was stronger than it had been at that point. As the Judge explains to Dru and Spike.

The writers make it very clear in Surprise, Innocence, and
IOHEFY - that Spike/Dru have humanity in them while Angelus has none. Here's where:

1. Surprise - "you stink of humanity, jealousy and affection"

Spike lightly touching the Judge's armor with the "tip" of his index finger - "hey remember who brought you here!" the point being, we're in this together - don't take us out.

Buffy kicks the Judge back, pushing both feet against him pretty strongly and tells Giles later that while it didn't hurt her, she felt the burn.

2. Innocence. By this time the Judge is at full capacity - the Judge does not lightly touch Angelus. He presses his palm against him fully intent on burning as he did the man with the glasses. Angelus laughs. Judge says - "This one is clean no trace of humanity anywhere on him". (A phrase I think ME regrets and has tried to retcon.) Very very different than the Judge's response to Spike and Dru.
Also very important to all three character's arcs.

IOHEFY - again we see how love and human emotion is abhorrent to Angelus, yet something Spike and Dru cling to, not understanding Angelus. Dru's offering of the puppy and Spike's embarrassment. Angelus trying to wash himself clean, Spike/Dru's comments. It's also shown to some small effect in BBB - where Spike gives Dru a necklace and Angelus a shop-keepers heart.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The Judge never need flesh to flesh contact -- Rook, 13:34:51 09/14/03 Sun

His hands are clearly armored and gloved. And when he burns Dalton, he touches him one the chest, through Dalton's vest and shirt. Angel's also fully clothed when the Judge touches him.

Also, Spike's contact with the Judge is just as long as Buffy's, who felt something negative from it, and Spike taps him multiple times. I'm sure if we were intended to think that the Judge's contact could hurt Spike, it would have been demonstrated here, or at least it should have.

If the Judge could burn Spike and Dru, then this scene is some of the sloppiest writing on the series.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The burnee didn't need their flesh exposed -- Finn Mac Cool, 16:23:37 09/14/03 Sun

The Judge could burn through people's clothes. However, it couldn't burn through its own armor. Yes, it was wearing gloves, but think of it like this: if you dumped people's clothes or the Judge's gloves in water, they'd be soaked through; the skin underneath would be wet. By the same token, the Judge's power is able to burn through such clothes, but not through armor, which is too thick.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The burnee didn't need their flesh exposed -- Rook, 16:51:18 09/14/03 Sun

I disagree, and I think that the evidence on the screen pretty clearly shows that Spike can't be burned.

But the only place that can lead is another long drawn out discussion of Spike's pre-soul humanity, so I've got a feeling we're better off just agreeing to disagree.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Odd... -- s'kat, 22:08:33 09/14/03 Sun

I disagree, and I think that the evidence on the screen pretty clearly shows that Spike can't be burned.

Okay this is as weird as the argument I had last year about Xander over-hearing Anya tell Buffy where Willow was.
I saw it on my screen, on my tapes, but others declared they didn't. Are we watching the same thing??? Did the affliate cut something? Are we in separate universes?

I've watched Surprise episode 15 times, have read the shooting script, writers interviews on it, commentary on Innocence, I'm sorry and he DiD NOT touch him that strongly nor does his tap in ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM appear to suggest this. He barely taps him and it's the very tip of his finger, be like me putting the tip of my finger against a candle flame, doesn't burn me. AND at the time the Judge was just reconstructed - he was threatening to burn them, and Spike got him to back off, not by saying we can't be burned, but by saying that we brought you here! Also the Judge had to work to burn the guy with the glasses. He even explains why - "not up to his full strength". Add to this the writers in their commentary state Spike and Dru could be burned, Angelus was the only one who couldn't. And it wasn't just Spike, it was the other minions who could be burned. So no - it doesn't bring up a long discussion about having pre-soul - any more than it would about Dru or the vamp with the classes who got burned.

It can be explained another way - you know - Angelus is over 200 years old. Spike and Dru are only a little over 100. As the vampire grows older the humanity lessens, this is to some extent explained in aTS DArla and also in BTVS S1. So they've already given you an explanation without the whole soul arguement getting in the way.

Spike and Dru's ability to be burned by the judge doesn't prove they are good or have souls. All It proves is they have affection, human emotion, they can love, they retain some humanity - a theme that is covered again and again in BTVS (Crush, LMPTM, Fool For Love, Becoming - it's not inconsistent - but stating they don't retain that humanity and were like Angelus is inconsistent with those episodes). Retaining humanity does not make them good, they are still evil. Humans can be evil. Angelus ability to be burned means he can't love, he is free of human emotion at least in those episodes. (ATS has retconned this a I'm not entirely sure we can go by it - since I've seen proof on ATS that Angelus does have human emotion and can love, but remember BTVS is through Buffy's eyes.) Judge can burn anyone with humanity in them - that does NOT mean soul - no where in the script or in the episodes is that part about soul implied.

Now Whedon has explained this discrepancy between Spike and Angel in an interview - if you like you can go with that:
(Comicon - found on and on city of

"Audience: When Spike got his soul back, why didn't he seem to have the same moral quandaries as Angel?

Joss: "Well, he's a different guy than Angel. Hopefully he's a different guy because otherwise Angel's going to be really boring. I think Spike was actually a lot closer to human. Angel was at full-tilt evil, that just got clothes lined by those Gypsies and spent 100 years going, 'Ah yah aha hah,' trying to figure it out -- what it was he had to do. Spike actually went in search for a soul while he had none, so I think he was much more evolved then Angel, personally. I think that's why it was easier for him to make the transition."

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Odd... -- Spike, 01:39:30 09/15/03 Mon

Then the problem is in the writing or the direction.

Either Spike should have had some kind of reaction to the Judge, or Buffy shouldn't have had any reaction.

They both touch the Judge in the same place. Spike does it lightly, but multiple times with his bare hand. Buffy does it harder, but only once and through the soles of her boots.

Most likely it's just another continuity error where they forget to fully explain what something is or how it works(Troll Hammer, Dawn being made from Buffy, Beljoxa's eye, etc.)

What's on the screen is unclear at best, and even misleading. If the writer's have to give commentaries to explain something that should be fairly straightforward, then they haven't done their jobs.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The 'fever' comment seems a little out of place -- Finn Mac Cool, 04:45:22 09/15/03 Mon

I have to wonder if it was meant to mean something else, because there's no other indication whatsoever that Buffy had a negative reaction to kicking the Judge's armor.

Also, think about this: Dalton could be burned because he enjoyed reading. I take this to mean that Spike's love of music, television, and blooming onions makes him burnable.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The 'fever' comment seems a little out of place -- Casi, 10:54:13 09/16/03 Tue

Here is what I think on that. Spike could be burned. The judge says that, point blank. The only reason he doesn't is because Spike reminds him that the only reason he is in one peice is because of them. I think what this implies is that the judge has to use the power to burn someone. Spike did not get burned because the judge did not wish to burn him. Buffy, on the other hand, was an enemy, so if she did feel something then it would be justifiable. I'm not arguing as to whether or not she actually felt anything, I'm just saying that it would be understandable for her to feel something, but for Spike not to.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Odd... -- Claudia, 12:13:45 09/15/03 Mon

Why would there be any problems with the writing or direction, when S'kat perfectly explained the scene? At least to me, he did.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> She definitely did -- Rook, 13:36:03 09/14/03 Sun

From the beginning of innocence, when she is describing her reaction to Giles:

Buffy: Not much. I, um... I kicked him. It was just like a sudden fever. If he'd got his hands on me...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I took that to be describing Buffy's kick -- Finn Mac Cool, 16:26:31 09/14/03 Sun

"Sudden fever" is an expression used for when people suddenly do something with little to no concious thought. So, Buffy was saying her kick was like a sudden fever, and the comment "if he got his hands on me" is her impressing that the kick was a very lucky break.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I took that to be describing Buffy's kick -- Rook, 16:43:17 09/14/03 Sun

I think she's describing his touch, because it's in response to Giles inquiry about the Judge.

Also, why would she need to explain that she felt the need to kick him? She's not some helpless wallflower that's never harmed a fly, and is suddenly overcome with a "sudden fever" causing her to strike out in violence. She kicks stuff in the face about 30 times per episode, so it would be pretty out of the ordinary for her to even consider any kind of reason or motivation behind kicking someone. Kicking someone who's trying to kill her is too normal of an event for Buffy to even think about the urge to do it, much less desceibe it as if it were in any way out of the ordinary.

[> [> Include -- Claudia, 12:04:53 09/15/03 Mon

I would also include:

"What's My Line I & II"
"Out of My Mind"
"Something Blue"
"I Was Made to Love You"
"As You Were"
"Never Leave Me"
"Bring On the Night"

[> Re: The essential character eps- Dawn -- Alison, 17:13:37 09/13/03 Sat

Doing this list just reminded me how much I love Dawnie..but anyway, on to the list..

1. GD2
2. Restless
3. The Real Me
4. No Place Like Home
5. Blood Ties
6. The Body
7. Forever
8. Tough Love
9. The Gift
10. Bargaining 1
11. Bargaining 2
12. ATW
13. Wrecked
14. OAFA
15. Villians
16. Grave
17. Lessons
18. Help
19. CWDP
20. Potential
21. EoD
22. Chosen

Dawn's list was actually pretty difficult, even though she's been in fewer seasons. A lot of her best moments are widely dispersed. I wanted to include TWOTW bc of her interaction with Ben, and BY bc of that one priceless scene with Spike but alas, they didn't make the cut. Obsessive fanishness can hurt the brain sometimes. ;)

[> [> Re: The essential character eps- Dawn -- Casi, 12:03:20 09/15/03 Mon

I think Him was a fantastic Dawn episode. Being one of those people who has found it EXTREMELY hard to like Dawn, I really started to get over that in this episode. I felt bad for her and that kinda broke down the walls of seething hatred. Though, I must confess, I was kinda rooting for her to get run over by the train at the end.

[> [> interesting--dawn's the only one... -- anom, 00:01:46 09/16/03 Tue

...who needs episodes from before she was ever introduced. Seems obvious now that I've seen your list, Alison, but it wasn't something I'd've thought about before this thread.

[> Re: The essential character eps - Wesley -- Rook, 18:17:44 09/13/03 Sat

1. Bad Girls
2. Consequences
3. GD I
4. Parting Gifts
5. I've Got You Under My Skin
6. 5x5
7. Sanctuary
8. Guise Will Be Guise
9. The Thin Dead Line
10. There's no place like Plrtz Grb
11. Waiting in the Wings
12. Loyalty
13. Sleep Tight
14. Forgiving
15. The Price
16. Tomorrow
17. Deep Down
18. Spin the Bottle
19. Apocalypse Nowish
20. Salvage
21. Release
22. Orpheus

[> [> I would say any ep with Wesley in it is an essential Wesley character ep -- VampRiley, 14:56:58 09/14/03 Sun

[> Re: The essential character eps - The Scoobies -- Ponygirl, 12:10:43 09/15/03 Mon

The story of the Gang:

1. WttH
2. When She Was Bad
3. What's My Line 1
4. & 5. Becoming 1 & 2
6. Anne
7. Dead Man's Party
8. Homecoming
9. Revelations
10. Lover's Walk
11. Choices
12. & 13. Graduation Day 1 & 2
14. Fear Itself
15. Yoko Factor
16. Primeval
17. Triangle
18. The Gift
19. Bargaining 1
20. Entropy
21. Seeing Red
22. Grave
23. Same Time Same Place
24. Selfless
25. Empty Places
26. Chosen

I was concentrating on the Buffy/Willow/Xander friendship but still went way over and had to cut out some key episodes. Editing is hard!

[> [> good thought, ponygirl--they do deserve their own list! -- anom, 10:30:25 09/16/03 Tue

Ben/Glory and Dawn/Key -- sdev, 09:15:47 09/13/03 Sat

I have been thinking about Ben/Glory and Buffy and Giles' reactions to killing it. I have seen some posit that it was wrong of Giles to kill Ben or at the least was a do bad for the greater good decision. I don't understand this position.

If Glory were killed would Ben have died? To me that is the critical question. In other words were they separate entities? I don't think so and thus killing either the Ben or Glory personification was perfectly acceptable because Glory/Ben was an evil hell god.

I understood Buffy's inability to kill Ben as a psychological barrier Buffy had because of Glory/Ben's human persona and her almost instinctive recoil at the thought of killing a human. Gile's interpreted that as heroic. I saw it as somewhat flawed. She was unable to do what she needed and was supposed to do in this instance to save the world. She was fortunate Giles compensated for her inadequacy here. I speculate that Season 7 Buffy would have killed Ben in an instant.

People compare Ben/Glory to Dawn//Key. I do not see them as at all the same. Dawn was only one person with no evil side. She was a fully human, admittedly created unnaturally, neutral being. Dawn as the Key could have been used to do evil but there was no evil inherent in her nature. She was a neutral human being, innocent of any wrongdoing or evil intent. Killing her would have been committing a wrongful act for the greater good. IMO Buffy was 100% right here in not killing Dawn.

Other opinions and thoughts on this?

[> Re: Ben/Glory and Dawn/Key -- CW, 10:45:33 09/13/03 Sat

I agree. I think if Buffy had understood how Ben betrayed Dawn in the end and even carelessly threatened to shorten Joyce's life, she'd understand why Giles had to kill Ben. You may be right that the more pragmatic Buffy of season 7 might well have killed Ben herself.

People try to equate Dawn/Key with Ben and Glory, but it doesn't hold water. Giles thought killing Dawn might be a necessary sacrifice to save the world, but he had nothing agains the key per se. Given the option of doing away with Ben/Glory, Giles would never have suggested harming Dawn.

When push came to shove Dawn was willing to sacrifice herself to save the world. Given the same choice Ben was willing to let the world go to hell to save himself.

[> Re: Ben/Glory and Dawn/Key -- Rook, 12:30:38 09/13/03 Sat

Part of the fundamental internal morality of the show is that "Killing human beings = wrong". Scroll down to Claudia's "are humans better than vamps" to see what I mean.

Buffy's entire moral stance in The Gift is "The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many". Her stance was "I'll kill anyone in order to protect Dawn from them." never "I'll kill anyone I have to in order to save Dawn." And the difference between those two positions is the difference between offense and defense.

It was very carefully written to give Buffy the role of the defender, while still giving her a position at odds with the rest of the scoobies. To change her position and make her the attacker would put her even below season 7 Buffy, morally speaking, as I see no evidence that season 7 Buffy would have willingly gone out, hunted down and killed a human being.

[> [> Re: Ben/Glory and Dawn/Key -- CW, 14:01:31 09/13/03 Sat

I think you've introduced a dilemma for your own argument. If Buffy says, "I'll kill anyone to protect Dawn from them," doesn't that mean that mean that if she understood Ben's role in bringing Dawn to the sacrifice, she'd have to consider killing him, as long as he could possibly threaten Dawn? In the Gift Buffy's attitude was more one of saving the last of her family and her sanity rather than of saving the world or of staying with the morality that had carried her up to the events of Spiral. She got everything she wanted in the end, but it was all predicated on protecting Dawn no matter the cost.

By the seventh season, Buffy's attitude about death had changed. As you say, she might not hunt a human down. But I think it's clear in season seven, that if it were question of the death an innocent or letting the world become a new hell, Buffy was firmly in the camp of saving the world again.

[> [> [> Re: Ben/Glory and Dawn/Key -- Rook, 15:22:19 09/13/03 Sat

Yes, I do want to make a distinction between killing Ben before him throwing in with Glory and after, but from Buffy's point of view (And in reality, right up to the end) Ben is an innocent trying to help people. Afterwards, one could classify him in with people like the Bringers and the KoB, who Buffy killed when they were actively attacking her.

But even then, yes, if Ben's standing there with a gun to Dawn's head she might chose to kill him and be justified. But there's a difference between that and actively hunting him down just because he poses a potential risk to Dawn.

Buffy's line of thinking was that the opportunity for the portal to open had passed. Therefore Ben/Glory are no longer an active threat to Dawn. So, between choosing to kill an (as far as she knew at that point) innocent who was trying to help, or letting Glory live who might or might not threaten them again, she chose mercy.

Giles on the other hand, decides that the potential risk of Glory outweighs any responsibility to save Ben (again, an innocent as far as he knew)

[> [> [> [> Re: Ben/Glory and Dawn/Key -- sdev, 16:27:59 09/13/03 Sat

Ben is an innocent trying to help people.

I really don't see Ben as an innocent or human. I see him as inseparable from Glory, a Janus-like creature. Hence no moral dilemma. If Ben is killed Glory dies. Wouldn't the reverse be true, and are you saying Buffy, if she could have, should not have killed Glory even though it would have destroyed Ben?

I agree Buffy's position in Season 5 was protective of Dawn, defensive. She was unwilling to sacrifice the one, Dawn, to save the many.

I said she would have killed Ben in season 7 because he was not human. So even in season 5 I did not feel there was a moral dilemma in killing him. Nevertheless she could not bring herself to kill him. But by Season 7 I felt she would have had less compunction for several reasons. One reason, exposure to the First might have inured Buffy to killing evil non-human beings appearing in human form. Another reason, she was tougher and more self-assured.

CW brings up the interesting question of whether by season 7 her attitudes toward letting an innocent die to save the world had changed (ie: letting Dawn die to save the world). Also as CW points out letting is different than causing.

One more point, would killing Dawn really have accomplished anything or would the energy needed to open the portal simply have left Dawn's human form and reconstituted as a ball of energy if Dawn were destroyed? As a ball of energy devoid of human form it might have been even easier to use.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Ben/Glory and Dawn/Key -- Rook, 16:34:01 09/13/03 Sat

"Ben is an innocent trying to help people.

I really don't see Ben as an innocent"

Buffy's POV is the one that matters. She doesn't know what we know.

"I see him as inseparable from Glory, a Janus-like creature. Hence no moral dilemma. If Ben is killed Glory dies."

I have a question: If there's no moral dilemma, then would the scoobs be morally justified in killing Oz?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Ben/Glory and Dawn/Key -- sdev, 17:05:40 09/13/03 Sat

If there's no moral dilemma, then would the scoobs be morally justified in killing Oz?

Good question. Here's the difference to me. If Oz were not controllable in his werewolf persona killing him would be justified. So yes killing a werewolf who is killing humans can be justified. Would you have had a problem with the SG killing Veruca who refused to control her werewolf self and killed with relish three days a month? Also there is an additional major difference. Aside from three predictable days a month, werewolves are really not werewolves, although there are hints of some more ubiquitous presence. Glory/Ben are interchangeable at any given moment and are thus less arguably separate beings.

Buffy's POV is the one that matters. She doesn't know what we know.

Maybe I'm mistaken but I believe at this point Buffy knows what we know.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> In "The Gift", Buffy didn't know Ben had agreed to help Glory -- Finn Mac Cool, 17:23:14 09/13/03 Sat

As far as she knew, Ben had no part in trying to kill Dawn or destroy the world; he was just an innocent guy who happened to be possessed by a hell god.

Also, I don't think Glory and Ben were entirely interchangable. Near the end, they did begin to blur into each other, but, prior to that, they had seperate memories, personalities, and worked towards different goals.

I do think killing Ben was justified though, while killing Oz wouldn't be, because Oz could be stopped from killing people. He turned into a wolf at regular intervals and was able to lock himself up before he could change. Glory, on the other hand, took over Ben at unpredictable times and, when she did, was unstoppable; no prison on earth could hold Glory. Killing Ben was the only way to stop Glory from destroying more people. Oz could be allowed to live because there were ways to stop him from hurting anyone.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Ben/Glory and Dawn/Key -- Rook, 17:34:10 09/13/03 Sat

There are 2 Bens...I think that's where we're disagreeing.

Ben 1: Before the Glory/Dawn/Ben scene in the alley where Ben makes the decision to hand Dawn over to Glory's minions. This Ben is a regular guy who sometimes turns into an Evil Hellgod. He risked himself to come to their aid in Spiral, and as far as the scoobs know, Ben may not even be aware of Glory's presence.

Ben 2: The post Alley scene Ben, who's decided to sacrifice both Dawn and the rest of the world to save himself.

As far as Buffy knows, there's only Ben #1: The earliest she could possibly have learned about Ben #2 is before or during "Afterlife". There's no opportunity for her to learn about Ben's behavior in cooperating with Glory before that. The same is true of Giles, although he likely learned of Ben's behavior over the summer between The Gift and Bargaining, he certainly couldn't have known about it prior to killing Ben.

So, my argument is that it isn't morally justified, based on their knowledge of the situation, to kill Ben OR Glory without trying other alternatives first. As far as they know, if Glory's opportunity to use the portal has passed, she wouldn't have any further interest in Dawn as the Key. Buffy decides that this is more likely, and lets them live. Giles decides that it's more likely that Glory will seek revenge, and chooses death for them both.

Gile's decision may be correct, but so may Buffy's. And as long as the possibility of reform exists, I would argue that it's more morally justified to attempt to find solutions before engaging in "preventative murder", which is exactly what Giles did.

As far as killing Ben #2 goes, it's may be morally justified to kill him if he's decided to throw in with the Evil Team and is presenting an active danger. But ultimately, that's not the point I'm arguing. I'm mainly interested in the decision that Giles/Buffy made based on the knowledge that they had at the time.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Ben/Glory and Dawn/Key -- sdev, 18:20:22 09/13/03 Sat

Ben may not even be aware of Glory's presence.

I believe it is shown throughout that Ben is aware of Glory and vice-a-versa. Ben releases the Demon which kills the crazy brain sucked Glory victims. He says he is cleaning up her mess.

As far as killing Ben #2 goes, it's may be morally justified to kill him if he's decided to throw in with the Evil Team and is presenting an active danger.

If Ben is human this is problematic too. The Slayer is not supposed to act on immoral humans.

If Buffy could kill Glory, and Ben would thus die too, does Buffy have the moral right and is she obligated by her Slayer duties, to do so?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Ben/Glory and Dawn/Key -- Rook, 18:38:55 09/13/03 Sat

"I believe it is shown throughout that Ben is aware of Glory and vice-a-versa. Ben releases the Demon which kills the crazy brain sucked Glory victims. He says he is cleaning up her mess."

I really don't know how to be more clear: What I'm talking about is what Buffy knows, not what the viewer knows. They are not the same thing.

"If Ben is human this is problematic too. The Slayer is not supposed to act on immoral humans."

But if she has to, in order to save her own or someone else's life from a direct attacks, as with the Bringers on multiple occasions, or with the KoB on top of the RV in Spiral, then, yes, she's justified.

"If Buffy could kill Glory, and Ben would thus die too, does Buffy have the moral right and is she obligated by her Slayer duties, to do so?"

If that is the only solution. It's not at all clear that it was. Ben talked about using drugs to repress Glory, and with all the magic floating around out there, there's the possibility that they could have split Ben and Glory apart. The fact that they didn't even try is what makes Giles act morally questionable.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Again . . . huh? -- Claudia, 11:47:11 09/15/03 Mon

[Ben releases the Demon . . .]

Are you saying that Ben had released Glory intentionally? Or what?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The Queller Demon -- sdev, 17:06:51 09/15/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Ben/Glory and Dawn/Key -- Finn Mac Cool, 21:47:22 09/13/03 Sat

It is debatable whether Glory would have sought vengeance, yes. However, she did suck out people's sanity on a regular basis, making them into lunatics with no hope of recovery. Some people (such as Tara) would regard this as worse than death. Allowing Glory to go free would almost certainly result in more brain drain victims, as well as a high probability of other casualties (Glory's temperment has shown it to be a violent and vindicative one). I feel pretty confident saying that allowing Ben/Glory to leave was not an option.

Now, we know they can't let Ben go, so what do they do with him? Imprisonment won't work: as soon as Glory appears again, she'll bust her way out in under a minute; she's too powerful for this scenario to work. Trying to reform Glory doesn't seem viable, either: assuming it's even possible to reform a hell god, she'd never listen to anyone long enough for them to even make an attempt at reforming her. Beating Glory back into submission each times she emerges also doesn't work: keeping watch over Ben 24/7 just isn't something they have the resources to do, not to mention the fact that, if Glory tried running away instead of fighting, the Scoobies wouldn't be able to catch her. Finding a spell to remove or subdue Glory seems like the most workable of the non-violent solutions, but even it has flaws: there may not be such a spell; it took two hell gods to put Glory into a human body, and even then she managed to break free on occasion, so what chance would Willow have; and, let's not forget, if Glory emerged before they managed to find or perform the spell (very likely considering it would be a major spell relating to a being they know little to nothing about), then she could very easily kill all of them to stop it from happening.

These are all of the non-violent methods I could think of for dealing with Glory (if anyone else can think of some, please share). None of them are workable. Killing Ben to kill Glory was the only real option they had.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Ben/Glory and Dawn/Key -- Claudia, 11:49:24 09/15/03 Mon

[Killing Ben to kill Glory was the only real option they had.]

I hate to say this but I find the idea of "justifiable homicide" unpleasant, especially when you are not killing that particular being in self-defense.

[> [> [> [> [> Huh?? -- Claudia, 11:44:01 09/15/03 Mon

[I really don't see Ben as an innocent or human. I see him as inseparable from Glory, a Janus-like creature. Hence no moral dilemma.]

How is it that Ben is not an innocent (at least before his betrayal of Dawn; which Giles had no knowledge of) and Dawn is? Why is it that there is no moral dilemma of Giles or Buffy killing Ben and yet, there is one for killing Dawn?

By the way, Ben/Glory were not a Janus-like creature. Ben was a human male created by the other hell gods to IMPRISON Glory. Ben's human body was Glory's prison on this plane of existence. Ben/Glory did not come into existence as a single entity.

[> [> [> Are You Sure? -- Claudia, 11:29:28 09/15/03 Mon

[But I think it's clear in season seven, that if it were question of the death an innocent or letting the world become a new hell, Buffy was firmly in the camp of saving the world again.]

Are you sure about that? Look at Spike in Season 7. Despite the lack of his chip and the First's trigger, she seemed determined to support him in his efforts to seek redemption. She did the same for Anya in "Selfless".

In the latter, many believe that Buffy had deliberately set out to kill Anya, after the latter had killed those frat boys. But no one seemed to understand the significance of the weapon she had chosen to use against Anya. Buffy had chosen a sword to "kill" Anya. Yet, we all know that swords do not work against vengeance demons. Remember Halfrek surviving that demon's attack in Season 6's "Older and Far Away"? Buffy really had no intention of killing Anya. She simply wanted to give Anya a message that a) she was giving the latter a second chance to change her life; and that b)if Anya didn't take that chance, Buffy would actually find a way to kill her.

Many also believe that her statement to Giles in "LMPTM" that she would - this time - be willing to sacrifice Dawn. But has anyone realized that Dawn seemed willing to be a soldier in the fight against the First Evil? In Season 7, she was not an unwilling innocent. This point was reinforced in "End of Days"/"Chosen" when Buffy asked Xander to get Dawn out of Sunnydale and to safety before the final battle. Dawn made it perfectly clear that she willing to take part in the fight. And Buffy gave in to her sister's choice in the end.

[> Freedom's just another word for...oh, y'all know how it ends (longish) -- Random, 16:19:33 09/13/03 Sat

I agree with much of what you said, especially with regards to Giles/Ben, though I've not actually read that many people claiming that Ben/Glory was exactly comparable to Dawn/Key. The situations are non-parallel and require discrete analysis over and above the comparative one. But, though I agree that Dawn shouldn't have had to die, it is in no way an unequivocal 100 % certainty that Buffy was right. First, there needs to be an understanding of "right" and "wrong." If we are going to discuss moral issues, an establishment of a working syncretism would facilitate the resolution. Are we talking about universals? And, if so, are they nominalistic or conceptualistic?

Let's take the proposition that the good of the individual cannot be sacrificed -- morally speaking -- for those of the many. As a generic rule, it has many proponents, including myself. But by this standard alone, there can be no distinction made between Ben and Dawn. So broad a rule must compass both of them.

So assuming that we dislike this conclusion, we can further clarify to create distinctions, we can argue that a modified "individual innocent" cannot be sacrificed to the good of the many "innocent." Therefore, Dawn lives while Ben dies, assuming we do not consider him innocent.

But let us pause from the utilitarianism for a moment to consider a variation of an argument made below. Certainly we can all cheer the poetic justice of Ben dying (unwillingly, of course) to save the world so soon after he was willing to help kill to save himself. But the gut reaction isn't always clearly reasoned. What distinction qualifies one as innocent? We say Dawn is "innocent" because she didn't try to destroy the world, and Ben is not an innocent because he did. By those standards, Buffy too was an innocent. The fact that she chooses to risk her life day in and day out to help save the world does not in any sense reflect on her "innocence." Ben, on the other hand, was willing to destroy the world to save was an act exclusive of his innocence. In moral terms, he was faced with an untenable situation: he was, by these standards, an innocent prior to the decision. In actually making the decision to destroy the world to save himself, he makes the transition to the "guilty" state. Contrast this with Buffy: she was willing to allow the world to be destroyed to save an innocent. She is quite clear on this point -- no attempt to kill Dawn and save the world thereby would be tolerated. She had not yet made the intuitive leap about blood, nor had she any real certainty about achieving victory in any other manner. Hell, she had just emerged from a catatonia centered on the realization that she couldn't beat Glory. The decision she made was far less removed from that of Ben's than we would like to believe. She makes it for another rather than for herself, but the basic structure is eerily similar. Thus we step over from conceptualism to an abstracted form of abstract nominalism (as such things go)...the distinction made is based in the character of the victim and the hero. And when Buffy hurls herself off the tower, she is merely swapping one innocent for another. We make the distinction, quite validly, because Buffy chose self-sacrifice -- a choice Dawn attempted to make and Ben didn't. But Dawn's attempt is telling. She knows (excepting, of course, the loophole Buffy discovered) that Buffy was wrong in a way that she never considered, but Giles did: the good of the innocent one does not outweigh the good of the innocent many in this case. That's where both Buffy and Ben were wrong.

Having said that, we need to examine the concepts of "right" and "wrong" more seriously. Was it wrong to sacrifice Dawn? By moral standards, I would say yes. In this, Buffy is actually entirely correct. Dawn shouldn't have to die for something she bears no responsibility for. But conditionals are tricky creatures. We say something shouldn't be, but that is not necessarily a statement of anything other than personal or societal morality. A burglar shouldn't break into a house, a stroller through Central Park at midnight shouldn't be gunned down by a mugger. The inevitable fact of the matter is, though, that moral judgment doesn't always coincide with practical reality. Let's look at Dawn and suggest for a moment that, in practical rather than moralistic terms, she actually should die. After all, insofar as anyone knew at the time the decision was made, there was no real viable way to save the earth if she didn't. Buffy, in effect, made the decision to probably condemn millions if not billions to horrible torment and death by announcing that the only certain way to prevent this apocalypse was out-of-the-question. Certainly, I wouldn't say they should have slit Dawn's throat the second they saw her to prevent the ritual...but they should have left it as an option, practically speaking. Buffy was entirely right in saying Dawn didn't deserve to die, shouldn't have to die. But it's not so clear that she was right in absolutely denying it as an option. This is where we tread dangerously close to the abstraction of philosophy to the extent that it never actually achieves functionality. To die, or even kill, for an ideal can be admirable. To place that ideal over the wellbeing of billions requires a teensy bit of extra thought.

The classic question will always be brought up: Would you sacrifice a single innocent to save the lives of 10,000 people? And a fair percentage of the population will offer a resounding no. Myself included. But what if we are the victims? What if we are denied the choice that a single individual -- not even the one on the chopping block -- makes on the behalf of the innocent? Let's rephrase the it acceptable for a single individual to make a personal value judgment that results in the deaths of ten thousand individuals in favor of the survival of one? From my perspective, the right of choice is sacrosanct...until that right interferes with the rights of others to make their own choices. Then we must examine the situation to make a more textured analysis and judgment. We may very well come down on the side of preserving Dawn's life even at the cost of millions, even at the cost of her own life. The flaw in Buffy's logic, as so well pointed out by Giles, reveals a Buffy less concerned with theory than with her own emotions. What sense does it make to say that her death will somehow be better just so long as she dies seeing Buffy defend her? At this point, we are witnessing the breakdown in the logical rationales of Buffy's decision. Our applause for the fact that she's a hero who could no more kill Ben than allow Dawn to die falters for a moment and we start to wonder exactly what this implies. If her decision in Ben's case is flawed, we must consider that it might be in Dawn's case as well. No, Dawn didn't deserve to die. Yet her life was far more dangerous than the continued survival of Glory. With the moment passed and Ben lying amidst the wreckage, Glory becomes just another super-powered opponent. Dawn, on the other hand, was still a danger to all reality at the time Buffy made her decision with regards to little sis. Is Buffy already the law, the judge, jury and executioner for billions? Does the fact that she has saved them before now give her the right to make the decision that could doom them because she isn't willing to let Dawn die unless the world goes down with her? Yes, she's a hero. And she made a hero's decision by establishing a single moral standard that few, if any, of us could have adhered to. While it's questionable whether she was thinking in these terms rather than in terms of her own selfish feelings, nevertheless we do get a chance to witness the philosophy in action when she spares Ben. But this doesn't necessarily make her right. Let's examine Giles and Ben then....

Giles' decision to kill Ben to save both the world and Buffy's own ideals was, by any standards, a problematic issue. But the point before in the original post covers many of the complexities, and reflects on Buffy's decision more closely, if not exactly in a parallel manner, than it appears. I submit that Giles made a decision as heroic, if not more so, than Buffy precisely because Buffy's stance was a flawed one in both the Ben/Glory situation and the Dawn/Key one. We like to think of heroes as being somehow above it all. They make their decisions, their sacrifices, and we applaud that they never stoop to such petty issues as practical morality. But what of the ones who make the less-popular decision consider that should isn't simply a matter for armchair philosophers and noble martyrs? Giles was true to an ethic that Buffy didn't even bother to aspire to: he consistently made the point that sometimes it is harder to do what is best for the world than what is the most heroic in personal terms. His killing of Ben was not so simple as the killing of a guilty party to save the world. In practical terms, he saved Buffy from herself, from the consequences of her "heroism" (well, had she not, you know, died an all.)

[> [> Re: Freedom's just another word for...oh, y'all know how it ends (longish) -- Ponygirl, 17:07:27 09/13/03 Sat

Very well put! And I do agree that, "Giles was true to an ethic that Buffy didn't even bother to aspire to: he consistently made the point that sometimes it is harder to do what is best for the world than what is the most heroic in personal terms." though the use of "bother" seems a tad harsh. After all in the end it wasn't simply Dawn Buffy was dying for but the world.

I do think though that ME, having lured us into understanding and accepting Giles' decision - after all we saw Ben choose self-preservation over self-sacrifice, making it easier to see his death as justifiable - then exposes our moral ground as swampy at best with Giles' attempt to have Spike killed in LMPTM. I do believe that we are supposed to see a direct line between Giles' actions in these two episodes, and that acting in the best interests of the world at the expense of personal morality is ripe for corruption, and as flawed at its heart as Buffy's willingness to allow the world's end rather than betray Dawn - whether this concept was as well presented as it could have been in LMPTM is something I will be grr arghing about for a long time.

On a completely different note I was thinking that the true parallel isn't Ben/Glory, Dawn/Key, but Ben/Glory, Dawn/Buffy, and Dawn/Key, Buffy/Slayer. The relative innocents and their worldly counterparts; the darker, more ordinary sibling versus the blonde, glamourous, super-powered sister. The human parts and the unknowable mystical components.

[> [> [> Ben/Glory, Dawn/Key, Ben/Glory, Dawn/Buffy, and Dawn/Key, Buffy/Slayer -- sdev, 18:10:13 09/13/03 Sat

LOL. Are you trying to make my head spin?

It is a shame that Dawn's mystical origins and residual powers if any were never developed or explored as a counterpoint to Buffy's. Although in some way, to serve the story, she needed to be ultraordinary, a possible sacrificial lamb.

[> [> Re: Freedom's just another word for...oh, y'all know how it ends (longish) -- sdev, 17:52:04 09/13/03 Sat

But by this standard alone, there can be no distinction made between Ben and Dawn.

I'm afraid I squeezed myself out of this by arguing that Ben is non-human; thus if one accepts that premise no comparison other than the one in the thread below which asks what is Buffy's right to kill demons is necessary.

But for the sake of this discussion and your very interesting post, and because no one but me seems willing to concede that Ben was non-human, I will abandon that argument.

The decision she made was far less removed from that of Ben's than we would like to believe. She makes it for another rather than for herself, but the basic structure is eerily similar.

This is an excellent point. Basically she is willing to sacrifice others to protect Dawn. Ben is willing to sacrifice others to protect himself. Does her "other" morally trump his "self?" Or as many have often asked (in the context of Spike in particular), does love of another really reflect self-interest?

This is where we tread dangerously close to the abstraction of philosophy to the extent that it never actually achieves functionality.

A true acknowledgement.

Interfering with the rights of others is a good point. However as a practical matter as these situations are usually time-limited crises, what mechanism could we have to evaluate the choices of others? And even if Giles and the SG had participated in the decision, the rest of the world still would have been deprived of their decision.

The flaw in Buffy's logic, as so well pointed out by Giles, reveals a Buffy less concerned with theory than with her own emotions. What sense does it make to say that her death will somehow be better just so long as she dies seeing Buffy defend her?

This is the best argument in my opinion. Ultimately Buffy would have saved nothing and no one. One could argue in hindsight that she lost nothing by waiting since sacrificing Dawn was still an option, but she admittedly increased the risks of Glory's success. Although, as I mentioned in a different post, the question remains whether killing Dawn would have merely caused the key to revert to a ball of pure energy still usable by Glory. If that were true, then killing Dawn prior to opening the dimension would have been a worthless sacrifice.

I submit that Giles made a decision as heroic, if not more so, than Buffy precisely because Buffy's stance was a flawed one in both the Ben/Glory situation and the Dawn/Key one. We like to think of heroes as being somehow above it all. They make their decisions, their sacrifices, and we applaud that they never stoop to such petty issues as practical morality. But what of the ones who make the less-popular decision consider that should isn't simply a matter for armchair philosophers and noble martyrs? Giles was true to an ethic that Buffy didn't even bother to aspire to: he consistently made the point that sometimes.

Yes I quite agree here. Giles made the difficult decision and took the heroic step here, despite the fact that at that very moment he was crediting Buffy. I felt it in my gut and you put it in logical terms. And I think that is why I felt season 7 Buffy who had grown to a greater stature along the lines you outlined " it is harder to do what is best for the world than what is the most heroic in personal terms," would have acted otherwise.

[> [> [> Ben was Human -- Rook, 19:37:13 09/13/03 Sat

Gregor identifies the vessel for Glory as "Human" (Spiral), Glory identifies Ben as "Human" in TWOTW, as does Ben in the same episode.

All available evidence clearly states that Ben was human, while there was never any indication stated or implied that he was not.

[> [> [> [> Re: Ben was Human- was being the operative word -- sdev, 21:12:08 09/13/03 Sat

There is no denying Ben's human origin. But what is he once Glory has taken him over?

I'm sorry for my lack of understanding of your earlier point "as far as the scoobs know." But from my perspective, neither Ben 1 or 2 being human, it is not that significant. I view Ben as a human who has become a vampire-- tragic but no longer human and therefore within slayable limits.

From your perspective, I can understand that whether Ben acted morally and Buffy's knowledge of his actions, make a significant difference.

[> Ben is Glory, Glory is Ben -- Rufus, 21:23:44 09/13/03 Sat

From what I could see you couldn't seperate the two, at least there was no reason to believe that you could short of Glory getting back to full power and shrugging off her mortal meat sack. Killing Ben....well it is something that one wouldn't like to have to think of doing, and for Giles he took on the burden that he felt was necessary as he knew that Buffy couldn't accept the responsibility at that time. Was he right....we may never ever know but he did consider the risk of Glory surfacing again not worth the damage a pissed off God could pull off. Ben was an innocent right up to the time he took the deal from Glory and handed over Dawn to be sacrificed. At that point he was no longer a drafted member of the Glory team, he chose to be a willing participant in the deaths of not only Dawn but possibly every human being in the world. I wouldn't like the idea of having to kill someone, but Ben changed teams becoming a threat just as dangerous as Glory. Fact is that Giles was being a "big picture guy" something Buffy wasn't capable of being as she was racing to save her sister.

As for Dawn. As the key she was a potential. When that potential became a human being she was more than just a thing. Then add in the fact that she was imprinted in everyones mind as Buffy's sister, she got special treatment. Where the story becomes so touching is when that monk explains to Buffy that the key is innocent, Buffy makes the choice to accept Dawn. She makes that point clear to Dawn in Blood Ties where she makes the point that they share Summers blood. It's one thing killing someone you don't know, harder to kill an innocent, but add in the fact that you now accept and love this new person with all your heart the idea of killing her becomes impossible. Buffy may have been considered suicidal in season five, but I see her choice as one that solidified her as a hero in my eyes. Season five remains my favorite because of the Dawn storyline.

[> [> Agreed, Ruf. Season 5's my favorite, also. -- Rob, 22:23:51 09/13/03 Sat

[> [> [> Rob! Don't let season 6 hear you say that! -- Ponygirl, shaking my head, first Iyari and now s6, 10:28:16 09/15/03 Mon

[> Now do we suspect that there is some connection between...? -- Valheru, 01:20:08 09/14/03 Sun

The question of whether Giles should have killed Ben aims right at the heart of the morality of killing. Not just "Is it right in any circumstance to kill?", but "What is the basis for the question 'Is it right under any circumstance to kill?'" IOW, why would anyone ever think that killing for the greater good is wrong?

The U.S. has something akin to that question going on in relation to the death penalty issue. Now I definitely don't presume to speak for every death penalty opponent, but I see the opposition as forming around one central idea (beyond the "death is wrong" morality): When presented with an equally suitable alternative (i.e., life in prison), the death penalty is wrong.

But the problem I see Giles as having faced is this: Is there an equally suitable alternative to killing Ben? Finn brought this up in another post, which is a very good point. As far as the Scoobies knew, there was no way to stop Glory. Sure, there might have been a way, something that they might possibly stumble across in the future, but in the opinion of the foremost experts on the demon world--remember, this includes the Watcher's Council, Giles, the current (and very accomplished) Slayer, 1000-years-of-demon-world-experience Anya, 150-years-of-demon-world-experience Spike, uber-witch Willow, and the ancient Knights of Byzantium--in the opinion of all these knowledgable people, there was no way to stop Glory. No killing, no incarcerating, no banishing, no Super-Buffy, no turning her into a toad and hitting her with a hammer. The only way...ONLY stop Glory was to kill her human host. Well, that or let Glory have what she wants, which would have ended the world.

In light of this, Giles' pragmatism was shouting, "Kill Ben!" It was, after all, the most simplistically extreme hypothetical for the death penalty: "If you had to kill one person to save the world, would you do it?" And Giles did.

But that doesn't answer the original question, does it? Well, I don't think it does in the abstract, Ben/Glory division. "Glory was the criminal, why should Ben have to pay her penalty?" But that's the problem, I think. We tend to think of Ben and Glory as separate. But they aren't. They are the two-in-one, the ultimate split-personality. And here's the thing people seem to forget--they were merging. Ben's humanity was seeping into Glory, just as her inhumanity was seeping into him, by TWotW. These two split-personalities were never supposed to be independent of each other.

It was a mystical convergence. Glory was forced into a human prison. Was Ben ever real? Did the co-rulers of Gloryworld create him or just hijack him? Not that it really matters in terms of "innocence" (as per Dawn's humanity), but it does matter in understanding what would have happened after The Gift had Giles not killed him. We know that after years of apparent imprisonment, Glory eventually was able to bring herself forth from Ben's psyche/being. And as time went on, she was able to do it more and more, for longer and longer, to the point where she could even do it on demand (when Dawn calls her forth in The Gift). It wasn't until Buffy more or less beat Glory unconscious that Ben was able to resurface. So that brings up the possibility that Glory would have eventually overcome Ben completely, essentially destroying him (or submerging him even deeper into herself than the Romany stuffed Angelus into Angel).

So Ben--hijacked/created human prison for unstoppable Hellgod, shortly to be consumed by said Hellgod. Doesn't look good for ol' Ben, does it? Why not just kill the guy, he's not gonna be around much longer anyway, and it's not like he was ever completely real in the first place. Well, again, the show presents a counterpoint in the form of Dawn. Dawn--created human hiding place for unmeasurable Key, shortly to be activated (and thus extinguished) by Hellgod. Why does Buffy try to save her? The portal's already open, Dawn's gonna die anyway, it's not like she was ever completely real in the first place. In comparison to Ben, however, Dawn was saved by fate. Dawn was lucky enough that Buffy was able to take her place. Ben, unfortunately, had no such surrogate (well, he had Glory, but she wasn't going to kill herself).

So I wonder what would have happened with Dawn, had Summers' blood not been enough? Chances are, Buffy dies trying to protect her and if that same creature doesn't then kill Dawn, then someone like Giles might do it.

Okay, so what is my answer? My answer is...I DUNNO! (yeah, that's definite. Go decisiveness!) Seriously, I think it all depends on personal views. What do you think determines life? What limits do you place on death? Where do you draw all the lines of morality?

But for Giles, I'd assume that he thinks he did the right thing. To him, it was an easy decision. "Sworn to protect this sorry world..." and that's what he did. The work he had to do. Still, I think that despite having done the right thing, Giles was prepared for the consequences--consequences that he would not fully fault for haunting him. He was willing to take whatever repurcussions would result. The guilt. The nightmares. The heartache. Whatever. He was willing to take it, to save the world.

And this has been another edition of "Valheru Spouts Long, Unending Digressions About Random, Wandering Thoughts At 1 AM". Please tune in next time, when our topics will be: "Excessive: Use: of: Colons: in: Everyday: Writing:" and "How To Lose Your Point in 3 Paragraphs or Less".

[> [> LOL! I think you hit upon what ME intended. Ben vs. Buffy -- s'kat, 10:50:05 09/14/03 Sun

I think Giles killing of Ben was supposed to be morally ambiguous. Giles even tells Ben, that Buffy wouldn't kill him because Buffy is a hero, she's not like us - not killers. A fact foreshadowed by Tara, who possessed by a portion of Glory's insanity, targets Giles as a killer, something the real, sane Tara would never see - since Tara views Giles as perfectly harmless and safe. But we the audience know Giles is complex, underneath lurks Ripper - who has killed before. The moral question? Still left largely unanswered yet continuously referred back to in the series. I'd be shocked if we don't see the same question raised in S5 Ats in yet another way.

Was Giles' decision to kill Ben right? Or wrong? BTVS refuses to tell us. (Which is one of the many reasons I love this show - b/c it's rare thing for a show not to attempt to preach it's own views from the primetime soap box.) The issue does arise again and again throughout the series though, this is by no means the first or last time they brought it up. We see it raised in Revelations, Becoming, Innocence, Passion with Angel/Angelus, again in Salvage with Angel/Angelus - who technically speaking is no better than Ben/Glory (technically speaking - I know he's a different case). We also have the issue arise on ATS with Connor, Cordelia and JAsmine. And on BTVS with Sleeper, Never Leave Me, LMPTM, and to some degree in Pangs. Should you kill the "murderer"? It is also raised in Villians - where Buffy tells Dawn and Xander that killing Warren is wrong. Why would killing Warren be wrong if killing Ben/Glory isn't? Because Warren isn't as dangerous? Warren killed Tara and almost killed Buffy. Showed 0 remorse. And would have tried again. He actually tried to kill Buffy a total of four times: 1) IWMTLY by telling April, Buffy was his girlfriend, 2) Gone with the invisible ray, 3) with the orbs in Seeing Red, 4) with a gun in Seeing Red. And he was happy about it. So was Willow wrong in wanting him dead?
In killing him? What the show carefully demonstrates was wrong is not the fact that Warren deserved to pay for his crimes, but how Willow chose to have him pay for them. If there's other choose them, otherwise you risk becoming as monsterous as the one you wish to punish. When Giles takes out Ben - he is fully cognizant of the risks, and he is not happy about his choice, it does not thrill him. It weighs on him. Same thing happens with Willow. The difference is Warren could have been imprisoned. Warren was not a super-god. And to kill Warren, Willow literally had to become like Warren - as is shown in The Killer in Me. To Kill Ben, does Giles become like him? In a way yes, he does to Ben what Ben does by summoning the queller demon - he quells him, suffocates him to death, just as Ben summoned a demon to suffocate Glory's victims to death.

In a sense Ben and Buffy are compared. Both have sisters who can destroy the world. Both sisters are made from them.
Buffy chooses to die to save the world, letting her sister live and threatens to kill anyone who threatens to kill her.
But when push comes to shove? Buffy sacrifices herself. Makes the ultimate sacrifice. Ben is provided with the opportunity to similarily save the world. To save Dawn from Glory. To even kill himself to save the world from Glory.
But when push comes to shove, Ben chooses immortal life over death - himself, his life. High irony, indeed. Since
Ben's chosen career was to save lives as a doctor, regardless of whose they were and Buffy's career is to slay
demons and kill. In the end - Ben is revealed as the killer and Buffy as the savior. So was Giles wrong in killing
Ben? I'm not sure there's an answer. The comparison is made again between savior and killer, but this time in reverse,
Ben saved Giles' life in Spiral, while here Giles takes Ben's.

[> [> [> Issues destined for repetition -- sdev, 12:06:06 09/14/03 Sun

Beautifully laid out. I like the role reversal Doctor/savior becomes killer, Slayer/killer becomes savior. I hadn't noticed that before. You're right, "high irony indeed."

I did not see unhappiness in Giles though. He knew what had to be done. I saw a calculated, methodical killing. He asks Ben "Can you move?" To make sure he can kill him. Then he puts his glasses on and suffocates him.

And in Willow I saw much worse.

[> [> [> [> The glasses business -- KdS, 12:09:42 09/14/03 Sun

I don't know how you saw that, but I saw it as a sort of acceptance of guilt - to force himself to see exactly what he was doing.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: The glasses business -- sdev, 12:35:46 09/14/03 Sun

I saw it as down to business. I saw no moment of indecision, hesitation or regret. He came over the moment Buffy left and knew what he was going to do. His comment that Buffy and the world will pay for her act of mercy suggest he does not wholly admire her inaction.

Also, Willow once commented (early ep, sorry don't remember which) that he removes his glasses and cleans them in lieu of expressing emotion. This seems the reverse, and there was no cleaning.

In addition my interpretation is colored by my belief that he is wholly right in killing Ben.

But ultimately this is a difference of opinion as to the meaning of what took place on screen. Yours is as valid as mine.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Hmmm...except what about S6 and S7? -- s'kat, 21:46:56 09/14/03 Sun

In Season 7, we have Giles re-acting towards things in an odd manner. Same with S6. Enough that I would say there was guilt present in both his personality and in Willow's.

Giles in S6, in Bargaining, feels useless, defeated. Is that feeling completely about Buffy? We're never told.
It's suggested. When he returns the first round in S6 in Flooded, he has mixed feelings, almost as if maybe he isn't helping. Giles' complex feelings regarding his acts are always implied more than over-stated, mostly b/c we are spending most of our time in Buffy's pov. Not Giles. The brief moments we get inside Giles - we see glimmers of that complexity. To say he does not feel guilt? Is a bit like stating Angel and Spike don't for their acts - based on a statement or a brief glimspe. We as an audience seem to require unrealistic protestations of guilt and remorse - which just isn't realistic. People do not always express remorse with melodramatic displays of tears or speechs, usually remorse is contained in a look or a rub of the glasses. Particularly if it's an act that you cannot change and probably wouldn't if you went back and had the choice to do so. Does that change the fact that a part of you hates yourself for doing it? No. Does it justify what you did? Not really. Did you do the right thing at the time - the ends justify the means arguement? Depends on the pov. But I think all of these questions lend themselves to a complexity of emotions that are difficult to convey on film. To his credit, ASH does a marvelous job of conveying a great deal by taking off his glasses or flinching slightly in the graveyard in LMPTM when he is telling Buffy sometimes you have to do
the difficult thing. So, looking back over S6 and S7 and even at what went before? I think he felt remorse. Maybe not at the moment he did it. But after. I also think it is a topic the writers would like to pursue further and may still if and when we get Ripper. Whedon had mentioned a desire to pursue the Ben murder there. Another reason I believe the writers wanted to pursue this and did see Giles feeling remorse is the fact that both the Empty Places and LMPTM shooting scripts refer to Ben. Time constraints prevented it. But the placement of Ben in the LMPTM script is interesting - it's right before Buffy realizes that Giles is stalling her.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Hmmm...except what about S6 and S7? -- sdev, 17:30:36 09/15/03 Mon

I absolutely agree, especially in the case of Giles (the English thing per BtVS), that the viewer must be sensitive to emotions subtlety suggested and portrayed.

I was totally unaware of the Ben references cut from the shooting scripts of Empty Places and LMPTM. My predisposition is to go with what they did put in so I'm not really familiar with outside sources.

I don't see Giles in Season 6 as feeling guilty. I actually interpret his behavior much differently. The one thing that does strike me is-- did he ever tell Buffy that he killed Ben? So much is "off screen" it is hard to know.

Your take on his behavior in LMPTM is dead on IMO and a great example of nuanced scripting and acting.

[> [> [> [> [> [> i don't think it was such an easy decision -- anom, 14:52:48 09/15/03 Mon

"I saw it as down to business. I saw no moment of indecision, hesitation or regret. He came over the moment Buffy left and knew what he was going to do. His comment that Buffy and the world will pay for her act of mercy suggest he does not wholly admire her inaction."

Yet he calls her a hero. That certainly sounds like admiration. I don't think Giles considers his own action admirable, & I don't think it was an easy decision, as you said it was in an earlier post. It might have been a simple one, in pragmatic terms, but not easy. And I wouldn't say he shows no regret. He speaks to Ben in sympathetic tones. His asking "Can you move?" may have had a practical motivation, but when Ben says, "She could have killed me," Giles could've just said, "She should have," & suffocated him right then. Instead he takes time to explain why Buffy couldn't have killed him. He treats Ben as a human being...right up to the moment when he kills him. It's got to be harder to kill someone if you don't let yourself dehumanize s/him. Still, Giles does seem to be distancing himself in that moment, to judge by his expression. He can't go through w/it without some detachment & suppression of his feelings (in my opinion, of course).

Some of the regret that I think he feels may be for the fact that sometimes there is a price for mercy, but I believe it's also for the necessity of killing Ben to keep Buffy, & the world, from paying that price.

[> [> [> But the Problem . . . -- Claudia, 11:54:40 09/15/03 Mon

[But when push comes to shove, Ben chooses immortal life over death - himself, his life.]

But the problem in considering over whether Giles was right to kill Ben, is that neither Giles or Buffy had any idea that Ben had turned over Dawn to save his own hide.

[> [> More questions -- sdev, 11:42:01 09/14/03 Sun

These two split-personalities were never supposed to be independent of each other

I agree. I was looking at Weight of the World and Ben says to Glory, in this weird conversation they are having where they just seem to meld back and forth, "if you succeed then I just disappear." This suggests that your question "Was Ben ever real?" is answered in the negative. How old was Ben? How long had he been around? I assume Ben had been around as long as Glory-- quite a long time- an indication that Ben was not human.

You say his origin even from mystical sources was irrelevant to his innocence and I agree. Hence my feeling that Dawn is fully human. But unlike Dawn, Ben is not fully human post-creation of the hybrid.

Also, was Ben innocent when he unleashed the Demon that ate the mind suck victims. Did he have that right? Where did his ability to do that come from?

[> [> Ben's "choice" -- shambleau, 11:41:30 09/15/03 Mon

Most people who see Ben as less innocent than Dawn focus on his choice to side with Glory. But, as you state, they were merging, as the dimensional walls broke down. Ben was absorbing some of Glory's outlook, becoming more selfish and less empathetic. So, in that case, what moral blame should we assign to him, if it wasn't Ben making the choice?

Unlike Valheru, I see Ben as previously completely human, with an alien psyche lodged inside him, up until the barriers between Ben and Glory's minds begin to break down. At that point, as he becomes more Glory-like and loses his own personality, I agree with Valheru that he's become less than human and he becomes fair game, although none of the Scoobs are aware of any of this.

On the other hand, although this is just fun speculation, the merger of the two psyches wouldn't have necessarily led to Ben's complete dominance by Glory. She was starting to feel compassion, or at least a little empathy. She wasn't necessarily wrong in saying that she didn't go for the kill with Buffy early on because of infection with Ben's humanity. What if she'd ended up becoming even more like Ben as the merger continued? You'd end up with a "kinda nice" god, more like an Olympian than a hellgod. She'd be selfish and have favorites, but she wouldn't necessarily kill everybody. A combination of Athena and Aphrodite maybe.Maybe not a win/win as far as humanity was concerned, but not a win/lose. More like a win/worship warily.

[> [> [> What about the Queller demon? -- sdev, 17:05:33 09/15/03 Mon

I think summoning the Queller Demon was not an act of innocence. What is Ben's comment-- he was cleaning up Glory's mess. Killing the insane is not acceptable, and Joyce was almost killed as well. The fact is brain sucked Tara was brought back. Ben showed his colors back then.

[> [> [> [> Probably viewed it as euthenasia -- Finn Mac Cool, 17:10:37 09/15/03 Mon

He didn't know of any way that Glory's victims could be restored to sanity and probably justified his actions by saying it was mercy killing.

[> [> [> [> [> Yep, that's my take. -- shambleau, 21:03:13 09/15/03 Mon

I'm not saying that that in itself isn't an ethically tricky area, mind. Ben's definitely no saint. But it's not the same as sacrificing someone to save your skin.

In Spiral, while talking to Glory's female minion, she says that he should be honored to serve Glory and he remarks that he especially likes the part where Glory finds the Key and he ceases to exist. The minion answers that that's his fate. He snaps back that it's not, not if he finds the Key first. Then, she asks him if he could do it, take a human life.

And we get the answer soon enough. He has a chance to destroy the Key in the shack, which he doesn't take. In fact, since he's known about Dawn for months, he could have killed her long before and he'd have been safe. (Or at least he and the minion believed that. I don't know what would have happened if Dawn had died without being sacrificed. The energy should still have been there in some form.)

In any case, since Ben believed that killing Dawn was a way out for him, and didn't take it, we have to ask why he changed his mind. It's possible that Glory's offer to let him live swung the deal, I admit. But would the Ben of before the breakdown of dimensional barriers have accepted? The guy who wanted to give his life to working with the suffering?

The whole scene in the alley with Glory and Ben morphing into each other constantly says to me that a psychological blending was going on, and for me, that puts Ben's decision in a much murkier light. I just can't blow him off as having made his bed, so let him lie in it.

It's also a nice ME irony that Ben came to the same conclusion as Giles, but Giles came to it rationally and under no foreign psychological influence.

[> My Quandary: just what was wrong with bandages? -- Vickie, 20:00:23 09/14/03 Sun

Apologies if this has been covered--I've been reading the board since before The Gift aired and I missed it. Why did they have to kill Dawn to stop the blood?

As I understand the ritual, Glory's minions took Dawn to a certain place at at certain time. Her blood flowing through her veins at that time and place did not open the dimensions. When Doc slashed her and she bled, the walls between the dimensions came down and they started to merge.

So why couldn't they just stop Dawn from bleeding? Nothing in the action, nor in Gile's research, specifically said she had to die, just that the blood had to stop. Since it started when the girl started bleeding, wouldn't it stop (for the purpose) when her wounds were staunched?

It seems Buffy could at least try this before jumping to her death. What am I missing?

[> [> Those old prophecy things use a certain language -- Finn Mac Cool, 21:12:52 09/14/03 Sun

"When the flow of blood stops" is ancient text shorthand for dying. Buffy dying shows that's the case: she wasn't bleeding, but her blood stopped flowing, so it closed the portal.

Possible Mythologial Inspiration for Jasmine (spoilers past Shiny Happy People) -- annonymous, 16:38:02 09/13/03 Sat

in addition to the Lovecraft Mythos I think the latter part of this myth may played a part in the conception of Jasmine

Some Assembly Required is a much maligned episode, -- Jay, 21:37:15 09/13/03 Sat

so instead of fruitlessly trying to convert everyone, I just want to point out a few things that I really like.

I really liked the teaser in the cemetery, but have no idea if it has any significance or not. I love Buffy and Xander walking in on Giles talking to the chair. Buffy's advice and Xander's fearful remarks are also spot on. It all spells ?duh'. There are some close ups of Xander that we don't see later one in the show.

The horny henchman is not a stretch. The interaction between the gang and Cordelia, despite their attempted exclusion of her, is sparkling. They really know their game very early on in the second season.

Who knew that Buffy was an old fashioned girl when it came to digging up corpses? Love the opening of the coffin six feet down shot with the gang framed. Moving onto Cordelia in the parking lot and her scene with Angel, it still fits right.

Angel. Xander. Angel. >cough_karma_cough<

The Angel/Cordelia team versus the Xander/Buffy team in the library is priceless. I just wish they could have stretched that out just a little bit more.

The speech Xander gives about what being in front of people and not being what they want is so fascinating with Willow wanting Xander, who wants Buffy, who wants Angel. Xander means one thing, while Willow could say the exact same thing about him. Good stuff.

Do I deconstruct your segues? Huh?

Ooh, Jenny! Better yet. Jenny liking football! A romance is born.

Chris looks a lot like Trip on Enterprise. Maybe all he needs is a Vulcan back rub.

Formaldehyde. Oh yes of course.

This is all pissing me off again how they're replacing Cordy on AtS with Spike, especially after she was written around last year with her pregnancy. I'd love them to bring her back to some form of Cordelia that makes sense. But no, they have to write her off instead of Wes, Gunn or Lorne. I'm sorry, that sucks. It makes me hate Spike just a tiny bit more.

She just did say date.

They football scenes are mostly in between plays or on the sidelines, so I won't nitpick them.

Scream all you want. Okay, that's enough. [about Cordelia]

The obvious Frankenstein stuff isn't very good. But it's such a small portion of the episode, I can't understand who people can judge this episode by it. I love the Xander/Cordelia foreshadowing by the way. We knew what we were seeing with Giles and Jenny, but the hints at Xander and Cordelia are hilarious. Especially looking back.

Did you just say, "second date?"

When did you first distrust Skip? -- skeeve, 11:24:13 09/14/03 Sun

This one had just a smidgeon, maybe not enough to count, when he first showed up: He was torturing someone. The conversation about it didn't help much either. Scoobies et al have tortured, but not just to punish. The fight, which did seem much too easy, should have made me more suspicious, but I just chalked it up to a low spot in the writing.

Birthday should have made me even more suspicious and it did, but just a little. I think I chalked it up partly to demons working in mysterious ways and partly to a desire to do a what-if story full steam ahead and damn the plotholes.

Cordelia's "ascension" or whatever it was called finally did it. Forcing someone to decide right now is the classic trick salesmen use to keep the marks from thinking. The bit about transcending love put the nails in a bit deeper.

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