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"Sometimes you just wanna duct tape her mouth and dump her in the hold for a month."
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November 26 2008

(SPOILER) For the discussion of Buffy #19. It's the long awaited conclusion to Joss Whedon's 'Time of Your Life' arc. And a Q&A with Scott Allie about this particular issue can be found here.

Things to look out for (based on much fevered speculation).

1) Some sort of major reset.
2) A death.
!!!

Picking this up in about three hours along with ATF 14. Super excited.
I'm very excited for this! We need something new to talk about on the forums.
Grr... went to my comic shop and, as usual, forgot that they don't put out the week's new comics until after 5 PM...
Gotsss my preciousssss...... :-)




...now, if I can just find time to actually flippin' read it... :-(
Knuckleball, is that true? That's a damn shame.

All the comic book stores I visit start making room on Tuesday, and by the time the door is open on Wednesday, the stock is in.
And so ends the Fray crossover. This finale had some nice momentum in the early pages, but lost some steam when it cut away to the distracting battle of the Forest People (and some rather hilarious large bunnies and chicks). Since last we saw him, Xander seems to have acquired a medieval archer's helmet, no explanation provided.

We do get another "big reveal" in the form of a cameo from a character that we haven't seen in a while. This was the person Buffy dressed up to meet secretly in New York. And this person is evidently allied with Twilight. That came as a surprise.

Simon mentioned there would be a death, and there was. Not sure that the death answered questions so much as raised them.
We do get another "big reveal" in the form of a cameo from a character that we haven't seen in a while.


Riley?
Riley?

Why be coy? Yes.
Cheers :). Did Future Willow get killed off?
Did Future Willow get killed off?

You're two for two.
What about the monkey?
Who is it really?
The mystery of the monkey remains a mystery.
Bring on the As You Were retcons! ;) :P

And it was pretty predictable that Future Willow would be the character killed off. Hope it wasn't done in a pointless manner, like the time-travel events in Heroes as of late.

Will probably have the issue tomorrow myself.
So is Riley working with Twilight or just in the issue and confronting Twilight? Cause I actually liked Riley and LOVED his role in season 6's "As You Were" for helping Buffy in a way that NOBODY else was apparently able to so I'd hate for them to suddenly make him evil - though I don't think that would make a retcon out of his last Buffy appearance...

[ edited by love4ba on 2008-11-26 20:41 ]
"I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now"

-- Bob Dylan

Or, it could have been Buffy Summers. And Willow Rosenberg. And Melaka Fray. And Xander Harris. And Rowena.

Folks, we have a theme, and a central crisis for Buffy, identified at last.

"The funny thing about changing the world..."

"I miss churros."

"That girl's so stuck in the past..."

FUTURE:

Willow apparently lived long enough just to make Buffy kill her. I can't see another reason. Maybe she knew that she, herself, would need killing and needed Buffy to learn how. Or maybe when she learned what we learned in this issue, she knew Buffy needed to know how to kill someone she loves. I don't know if its a lesson I want Buffy to know, of course.

I loved Buffy and Mel both carrying narration through their fight. Their perspectives were very nice.

It's a very powerful moment that Buffy destroys Fray's scythe, not just Buffy's determination, and her *power*, but also symbolically. The scythe is the symbol of the Slayer line. The Slayer's posterity. And she was willing and able to destroy it to save the world. Is that intended as symbolism?

Glad that Gunther survived. I really thought he was toast.

PRESENT:

Xander and Dawn were cute again, but the forest creatures thing ended up being mostly inexplicable. It was very cool to see Xander's Slayers rally, though, and clear the field. Led by Rowena (Leah up and fighting!), after Xander's pep talk. Nice moment of pride there.

So, Riley's not Twilight. But, he's a bad guy. AND, he's who Buffy is meeting. She thinks he's a resource and she apparently has decided she wants to reignite things with him, too. Don't know if he's married or not still, and don't know if Buffy's meant to care. But it's part of the theme. Riley makes that pretty clear. They probably haven't slept together, though, since I *think* she'd notice the scar-like tattoo on his chest. But maybe this was the muppety odin sex she was missing? That would make the most sense.

Maybe Twilight really IS Graham. Sounded silly at some point, but now it almost makes sense. Did he ever call Buffy "girl"?

Enisy, FDW's death wasn't "pointless", but it wasn't immediately self-explanatory. It only makes sense in the context of what she says about it mattering who kills someone. She needed Buffy to be the one to kill her. Not clear why yet.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2008-11-26 20:36 ]
She thinks he's a resource and she apparently has decided she wants to reignite things with him, too. Don't know if he's married or not still, and don't know if Buffy's meant to care. But it's part of the theme. Riley makes that pretty clear.

*sigh*

And the theme continues. Ugh.
Which theme would that be? Buffy trying to relive her past whenever it's put in front of her?

I think that's what's going on. It was set up in the first line of the season. And, really, I think Buffy thought of Riley as a missed opportunity, ever since "Into the Woods". And she thinks he's someone she can trust who's in the military, so she thought she'd get both out of this.

I am REALLY hoping that this is our answer to both the "inside man" (can't be coincidence that the phrase is used twice, and anything he needed to tell Molter and Twilight he could have found out on the phone or texting with his girlfriend/mistress), and the betrayal set up in "Anywhere But Here".
Does any of this matter? Not being coy here. Have not had a copy to read yet, but as I read the comments, I am wondering, what changes as a result. In the story here and now, not in the future that won't be. Or will it?
I said earlier that the death of Future Willow raised more questions than it answered. I can understand why she might want to die after having lived two centuries too long. What's not clear is why she had to die the way she does. Why did Buffy have to be the person who killed her? Perhaps we'll learn more about this later. It's also not clear why she bothered to involve Harth and his gang in her death-fulfilling plot. They didn't seem to affect the outcome in any way.
Actually, Mel and Erin very noticeably fail to evaporate from time and space after Buffy returns, so, it isn't a "won't be", apparently. We didn't see more than them on the roof, so who knows what has changed, though. That might not be how Joss' time travel works, their alternate timeline stays theirs regardless, but Buffy's now has a different future.

The big change is Buffy weeping into Present Willow's arms when she comes back after having rather coldly and brutally run Future Willow through with the stake-end of the Scythe. Buffy knows she can kill one of her friends to save the world, and apparently now also knows she really, really would rather not have to.
I won't lie, I was somewhat disappointed with the issue, but thats just an initial reaction after my first read through. I think I was looking for some big answers as well as some big jaw dropping reveal, none of which I got. We didn't even get to see what Willow showed Fray to make her completely distrust Buffy. Most likely I'm just impatient, but I also just feel like perhaps its getting a little convoluted. Again, this is just after the first read through, so I'll probably read through it again, find ten different new things I didn't see the first time and then think that the issue was awesome.

Also, I second being bummed that Riley is a baddie, especially after "As You Were". I always felt a little bad for the guy. I'm finding that there is very little happy in this series. Plenty of funny, but definitely not a lot of happy.
Maybe Twilight really IS Graham. Sounded silly at some point, but now it almost makes sense. Did he ever call Buffy "girl"?

But if Twilight is Graham, doesn't he automatically lose a lot of the credibility that made him such an interesting villain? I don't watch Season 4 very often, but I don't remember if we were ever supposed to agree with Graham there, let alone sympathise with him.

And the theme continues. Ugh.

Gotta agree with you there, Luc. Also doesn't make much sense to me, given that Riley wasn't part of her romantic/sexual fantasies in The Long Way Home. (Or is that the point? That she'll just take whatever she can get?)

Also not loving the prospect of more tree-men pagetime.
The panel in 8.03 was one dream, psychologically guaranteed to be what was most embarrassing to Buffy at that moment to have shown (pink elephant rule). There was never any rational argument for it being a definitive statement of all her sexual wants and needs. Your answer is presupposing something that was never true, that Riley didn't matter that much to her romantically *or* sexually. 8.19 says, if nothing else, you really *can't* get there from here, where "there" is the "Buffy didn't really want Riley back in 'Into the Woods'", etc. view of her history.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2008-11-26 20:57 ]

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2008-11-26 20:58 ]
Riley's bad?

Uh. Say it ain't so.
The thing is... we already know Buffy can kill a loved one in order to save the world. She killed Angel. So why would we need to revisit that theme?
I enjoyed this issue a lot. Especially the "It's a long story," panel, which was just incredible for a tiny, probably 2x1.5 inch square. I loved that. And I assume we'll get more explanation for why she had Buffy kill her like that in the future--something like that isn't exactly droppable. I imagine this will have to have some impact on Buffy and Willow's relationship as well--for example, will Willow find out?

And RILEY. Wow. First, I just think it takes a lot of confidence in Georges not to have his name actually said, and second, go Georges for not having me confused for even a second. Anyway, I still think there are more twists with him to come. He said, "She thinks I'm her inside man" or something. So she presumably knows he's hangin' with the big T. I don't think it's entirely certain which side he's actually on.
Riley as bad guy....oh there's a novelty. *g*

Maybe it won't be what it first appears? I hope so.
Gotta agree with you there, Luc. Also doesn't make much sense to me, given that Riley wasn't part of her romantic/sexual fantasies in The Long Way Home. (Or is that the point? That she'll just take whatever she can get?)

Thanks, Enisy, glad to see I'm not alone in thinking along these lines...

I'm not even talking about the sexual fantasy threesome as much as the idea of Buffy just taking whatever comes along. So much for the cookie dough speech. I was REALLY hoping to see Buffy explore herself outside of sex and relationships and yet, we see her repeating old and bad patterns. I'm having a REALLY tough time connecting to this Buffy.

King, first, thanks for the review..

The panel in 8.03 was one dream, psychologically guaranteed to be what was most embarrassing to Buffy at that moment to have shown (pink elephant rule). There was never any rational argument for it being a definitive statement of all her sexual wants and needs.

And yet aren't you one of those who thinks B/X was absolutely desinted to happen because there HAD to be follow-through on the dream kiss/Xander head exploding? Hmmm. That was psychologically exploring Buffy's fears and there was never any rational argument for it being a definitive statement of her sexual wants or needs as it may relate to Xander either and yet...

Just saying.

[ edited by love4ba on 2008-11-26 21:24 ]
Unfortunately I highly doubt Riley is a triple agent. If they were going to have a twist regarding Riley's involvement, mostly likely it would have been to reveal him working with Twilight and then reveal that he's actually working with Buffy as her inside man. With that said, its never really what you expect, so who knows.
No, we argued it proved exactly what it did prove -- that seducing Xander was in her head. It was on the table. Rebutting what we usually face, which is this blanket denial that he is anything romantic or sexual to her *at all*.

That is not parallel at all to the implication that she had a skanky dream of Angel and Spike at the same time, and therefore that's it, that's all she wants, there's no room for Riley or anyone else.

Actually, I am suddenly thinking Twilight really might be Ethan. It's always been on the table, and no trouble to suggest his apparent death was an illusion, but how he talks to Riley and the "young love" thing, fits Sachs voice. Plus, Joss did write "Chaos Bleeds" didn't he? The basic story idea, wherein Ethan is truly villainous?

That would track -- Ethan slowly turned Riley?
I have my copy.On the Riley reveal.I didn't get the impression that she was trying to revive her relationship with him.I got the impression that she was trying to use her feminine charms and their past to get him on her side since she knew the military was connected to Twilight and Riley has connection to the military.She wants Riley to be her insider with the military.Which amused Riley because obviously there past doesnt matter and he is not on her side.

I also don't think this has to retcon,"As You Were."The last time we've heard about Riley was in the season 7 episode,"The Killer In Me" where Riley sent help to Buffy to deactivate Spike's chip.

I assuming something must of happened between then and the start of season 8 to change Riley's views on Buffy.Maybe something happened to Sam?I'm hoping whatever happened to change Riley is going to be revealed as season 8 continues.

I thought it was pretty powerful and sad that Buffy kills Dark Willow.Also it looks to me like the Fray future is going to continue based off the way the issue ended.

I really need to re-read the issue.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2008-11-26 21:36 ]
This was the first 'meh' issue for me. This arc added to the Buffy storyline, but did nothing for the Fray storyline. I like Fray and Buffy separately and am so glad that this crossover is over.

And, oh, ok, so it is Riley? I couldn't tell it was him, which kinda ruined the big reveal. I figured it might be though because of the cargo pants, but I honestly couldn't tell if I'd ever seen that character before. At one point I thought it could've been Andrew. I also thought that Buffy and Erin were separated at birth since I had trouble distinguishing them at times. I did love the giant bunnies and chicks though.

Also, I just had to walk for an hour to get to a comic book store in NY city of all places. Come on, that ain't right!
Eh, I had this whole paragraph about the Angel/Buffy/Spike thing, but I think I'll just save it for the 'shipping threads.

I'm not even talking about the sexual fantasy threesome as much as the idea of Buffy just taking whatever comes along. So much for the cookie dough speech. I was REALLY hoping to see Buffy explore herself outside of sex and relationships and yet, we see her repeating old and bad patterns. I'm having a REALLY tough time connecting to this Buffy.

Same here, which is really sad, given that she's my favourite character. But maybe/hopefully we're not supposed to?
On the Riley reveal.I didn't get the impression that she was trying to revive her relationship with him.I got the impression that she was trying to use her feminine charms and their past to get him on her side since she knew the military was connected to Twilight and Riley has connection to the military.She wants Riley to be her insider with the military.Which amused Riley because obviously there past doesnt matter and he is not on her side.

Ah, that's nice to know, thanks! I haven't been able to read it yet - obviously - so I'm happy to know it's not necessarily romantic angling.

King, we still just don't agree. The dream wasn't about Xander or Buffy thinking about seducing Xander at all. And I just personally believe that if it was meant to show the possibility as being on the table, we'd have seen some followup to it - even Buffy acting differently around Xander after the dream. But there has been nothing.

Same here, which is really sad, given that she's my favourite character. But maybe/hopefully we're not supposed to?

It is sad cause she's my favorite character too. And that's optimistic, let's try for that, shall we? ;)
I won't have this issue for a few days yet, TFAW being slow and all, so I am commenting only on what I read here. As to it being Riley, so far no real surprises. This almost certainly means Twilight is someone we have seen somewhere before. Ethan makes a lot of sense, but that also seems too obvious. I still really do not know what the death of FDW means, beyond the comment that Buffy knows she can kill a friend to save the world, except, she had already done so, so there is no resonance here at all; in fact, we really don't know how FDW got there to begin with, so her death just means little in terms of an emotional payoff. It sounds like there really is none, unless this is a butterfly death scenario.
Butterfly death scenario?
Got it. Dream about Xander = only the vampires are on the table. Dream about the vampires = only the vampires are on the table. Fantasy about Daniel Craig presumably = only the vampires are on the table. Cheese Man in "Restless" = only the vampires are on the table.

I don't think there's enough to just blanketly assume Buffy *isn't* trying to get involved with Riley. Read the whole season in this context. Read her missing Sunnydale, the world before it changed, the muppety odin sex (vampires, right, sorry). The parallel use of Twilight having an "inside man", and Buffy having an "inside man". Same guy? If so, wouldn't that imply that Buffy and Riley talk enough for him to get intelligence out of her?

Now, the idea of Riley as triple agent is pretty interesting -- definitely calls back to how he fought through Walsh and then through Adam to stand by her in Season 4. But maybe this is part of what Buffy's dream in "Restless" is now meant to have been about? "See you 'round, killer." I'm glad Riley's back in the mix.
Well, that went about as I expected.

I thought the death scene between Willow and Buffy played out too quickly. I would've liked to have seen a page or two of Buffy "Don't make me do this" and Willow "I have to; this is what must happen." Something along those lines. Instead, it was turn the page and BLAMO! That's a little too sudden given the complexities of the Buffy and Willow dynamic.

Now that Buffy's back in the present, what does she do? What should she do?

We've all read stories where the heroine knows something and should really tell the people she cares about, but like a fool, she doesn't. If I were to advise Buffy, I'd tell her to take Willow aside, share everything she saw and heard, no matter how painful, no matter how small. Trust her friend and try to figure a way for it not to happen. Perhaps she'd have to overcome Willow's objections to revealing the future.

So be it. This is important. They need to make the future right. They need to rebalance what has become unbalanced.

"Dark Gray" Willow had a reason for bringing Buffy forward. Present Willow and Buffy need to figure out what that was. If Buffy just keeps this all to herself, she will be making a very, very, very foolish mistake.

Buffy and Willow need to reconnect if they are going to stop Twilight. Otherwise, Twilight is gonna win, or Buffy is gonna do something stupid.
Not gonna go round and round with you - again - King, except to say that I find it funny that once again you are missing the point. You claim a dream about B/A/S isn't at all significant and a dream about B/X is *totally significant* which is why I find it ironic. Not to mention the dream about B/A/S was only showcasing the sexuality, the B/X dream was about Buffy's fear of hurting people and darkness. Kind of a big difference, imo.

Now, moving on, having spoken to my friend who has a copy already, the only part we have discussing the Buffy/Riley interaction doesn't lead me to believe AT ALL that there is romantic angling or angst on Buffy's part. The only thing even said about it is that she dressed up for the meeting. Sorry guys, women don't always get dressed up for men. Sometimes we do it cause we just like to look pretty - for ourselves. So I see no evidence to support a longing on Buffy's part for Riley at this point and that does relieve me - and may relieve Enisy as well! ;)

Serves me right for relying on other's interpretations instead of waiting till I could see it myself. :)

[ edited by love4ba on 2008-11-26 22:08 ]
She needed Buffy to be the one to kill her. Not clear why yet.


My take on this is that Willow had to live long enough to bring Buffy to the future, to show her the fall-out and then let her go back. That was her mission - to create the temporal fold and ensure that Fray's future *would* exist. That's why she lived on for over 200 years. To play her part in showing Buffy that the "'Fate of the world' made sense when there was only one". Which solves the troubling question of the time paradox. This temporal fold doesn't upset the future and the past, it is a part of how the future comes to be.

Time drudged on and Willow became weary, as immortals often do. The desire for rest grew and she wanted to die, but the only thing keeping her alive was Buffy's trip to the future. She held on, waiting. And eventually came the realization that after Buffy was sent back to the past, she (Willow) could finally be at peace. Lie down and die. The years also enlightened her to the fact that everyone dies, but the difference lies in *how* you die and *who* kills you. Willow lived for centuries to do this service for Buffy - it's only fair that in return, her best friend put her out of her misery.

J'adoube - I touch, I adjust. So Willow orchestrates her plan, manipulating Fray and Harth into a confrontation. Moving the players into place so that "Dark" Willow becomes a threat to Buffy. The intention was always to send Buffy back to the past after showing her the future. Willow just needed Buffy so pissed off that she'd kill "Dark" Willow before going back into the portal. And it worked. Mission accomplished, Willow. She sacrificed her life, sacrificed her time to be at peace, so that she could save the world and save the Slayer line - "She truly was the best of us".
You can leave it alone, I won't -- you say the B/A/S dream means *everything* and the B/X means *nothing*, that's what's actually happening here, and so very very silly. Whereas I consider the fact that she got all sexy for Riley as having something to say about whether or not she's attracted to him, your analysis seems to stop completely at the "but he wasn't in the threesome dream, so she must not be interested in Riley" thing, as if that bars any explanation that has to do with her being attracted to him.

There's not another available interpretation about her clothing. Twice in 8.16 there was a textual point made about her dressing sexy and acting very secretive. It's not real life, it's a story. That means that very little if anything is happening just to happen. When Riley points out that she got all dressed up, that's plot significant. Three for three references to her clothing being deliberately sexy pretty much eliminates being able to retreat to "well, women don't always get dressed up for men". To do so basically says Joss was just wasting the dialogue space to talk about her clothing for no reason.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2008-11-26 22:12 ]
Emmmie: that is a possible interpretation. But it is only an interpretation; facts are lacking. I simply do not understand what any of this means, and I am not holding out much hope that I will within the next year or so.
Dana, of course it's my reading and so it's my interpretation. I'd be happy to discuss and debate the finer points with you. I feel there are facts that substantiate it, but again it's based on a reader's perspective. There's always room for slight deviations, although I feel the greater story has been made clear for the arc.
I read the issue, and I think it's a big leap from "she even got dressed up" to "she wants to reignite the relationship". It seemed to me more like she did it out of nostalgia ("She's so stuck in the past, man...")

And I get the impression that FDW had Buffy kill her in order to make her realize how important Willow is to her -- possibly because their friendship (or potential lack thereof) is what shapes the future.

The issue didn't resonate with me as much as the previous Time of Your Life issues, and the Xander-Dawn scenes were insipid filler, but we got some good out of it, too. (Not least that Fray's future is not delegated to an AU.)

[ edited by Enisy on 2008-11-26 22:30 ]
I read the issue, and I think it's a big leap from "she even got dressed up" to "she wants to reignite the relationship". It seemed to me more like she did it out of nostalgia ("She's so stuck in the past, man...")

Yup, yup, yup.

Getting dressed up does NOT equate to = she must want to get together with him.

And no, King, I never said that. YOU did. You constantly downplay the B/A/S dream as meaning NOTHING and play UP the B/X dream as being everything. So now you're just projecting - again. ;) TTFN.

[ edited by love4ba on 2008-11-26 22:37 ]
I'm not the one writing the thing. I said "apparently" because that is the most reasonable inference based on her very secretive behavior (getting information from Riley is an embarrassing secret, why, exactly? Will anyone try to explain why she'd be shy or awkward about it being only that?), her well-established sense of nostalgia, Twilight's own mocking about her mopiness, her speech about her romantic history, the repeated references to how she dressed and how she behaved, the slow year. Blame the guy who made it the reasonable thing to presume, not me for presuming it.

I actually thought the Xander-Dawn stuff was charming, their dialogue. And it was worth doing to see Rowena grow up -- nice little arc for her from 8.15 until now.

You constantly downplay the B/A/S dream as meaning NOTHING and play UP the B/X dream as being everything


Except for how that didn't happen in any coherent interpretation of the English language. Go back and check who brought up that dream again. Check out who is using that dream as a way to conclude what we can make of Buffy and Riley this season and who isn't.

And thanks for the complete non-answer to why Joss is, as you apparently believe, spending time in several issues having characters talk about how sexy Buffy is dressing *for no reason whatsoever*. Because that's great writing, having four or five or six characters talk about Buffy's sexy clothes and her secretiveness over a few issues for it be completely irrelevant to the story line.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2008-11-26 22:43 ]

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2008-11-26 22:46 ]
Hey, ratchet the tension down, okay? It's holiday time! A happy time. Mmmmmm, pork, a magical food! Or was that turkey?

Emmie: I would love to hear your thoughts. I have not been able to read this issue yet, so I am only responding to what I read here, but I am truly open to figuring out how to interpret the ending and what it means.
Blame the guy who made it the reasonable thing to presume, not me for presuming it.


You're really taking this personally, but I never blamed you for presuming whatever you want to. I said I should have waited till I could read it for myself and developed my own perceptions, rather than relying on someone else's and getting prematurely bothered by it. I hardly think coming to that realization is a bad thing.

[ edited by love4ba on 2008-11-26 23:03 ]
Buffy as the other woman? Hope not, altho if Smidge had been in H'wood in the studio days that's prob'ly how she'd've been typecast. Plus I liked Sam.

Riley as a true bad guy? Again, hope not, being as cornball as I am about national defense church-going and neat stuff like that, plus liking him personally.

Killing futurewillow? I agree, let's wait to see why ahd to happen.

Ethana s Twilight fakign own death? We'll see, and I don't like Ethan, I'd like him to croak,b ut again Joss is leaving us no room for anyone to be "pretty much evil" instead of a flat-out villain.
Well I loved this issue, but then I wasn't expecting big answers to anything (we still have a long way to go before the end of the season!). Buffy getting dressed up for Riley made perfect sense to me, not that she wanted to to get back together or even that she wanted to use feminine wiles... but just that she needed to forever erase the humiliation of having him see her in the Double Meat Palace uniform! No woman wants to have her ex see her at her worst!

As far as Riley going evil: I don't think that necessarily follows at all. Riley could genuinely think/believe that it is Buffy who is misguided and that magic has taken over, AND that Buffy breaking the law (committing robberies) is clear proof that she needs to be stopped. He could be convinced that he is the hero and she is the one who has gone evil! Good and bad are often just perspective (although Warren and Amy are clearly evil! LOL).

I'm relieved that Warren and Amy hadn't done more damage, because clearly Xander had been assuming the worst.

I am very interested/intrigued by the whole 'nothing changed' in Fray's world. I've read theories that the future is set and hard to change, but I would be very surprised that that is a theory Joss buys into. So clearly all of Willow's interference didn't make much of a difference, yet. Will Buffy tell Willow about her bad self in 200 years (does Willow already know all about it?)? I should reread because I'm not sure I remember every word leading up to this issue.
I am trying to watch Heroes in peace. I am not best pleased at people sniping at each other. So if y'all want to get back to talking about the issue it would be greatly appreciated.
I agree. This is a happy time. The season is all about peace, love… ramming an ancient battle-axe through your best friend's chest. You know, family values. :)
Buffy as the other woman? Hope not, altho if Smidge had been in H'wood in the studio days that's prob'ly how she'd've been typecast. Plus I liked Sam.

Riley as a true bad guy? Again, hope not, being as cornball as I am about national defense church-going and neat stuff like that, plus liking him personally.


Your hopes echo mine! I am ... intrigued by the idea of Ethan as the bad guy, but wonder what motive he could have for wanting an end to all magic - he was pretty deep into it. But I've always loved his character, would love to see more of him in the comic.
Okay, so my copy hasn't arrived yet, so I probably should wait to say anything. But while it does seem to me that dressing up for Riley could mean a number of different things, it is exactly what I would expect her to do, regardless.

Because last she saw him, she felt such a fool, not only because she had a chicken on her head and the DMP uniform, but because her life was such a mess. Naturally she wants to look attractive, together, and on top of things-to make a better impression all around, self-respect-wise, if for no other reason. And certainly being gorgeous has always been a factor in Ms.Summer's self-esteem package.

[ edited by toast on 2008-11-26 23:47 ]
Dana, I'll try my best to describe my thoughts and how I came to this conclusion.

The temporal anomaly doesn't create a time paradox, but rather fulfills it's purpose in keeping the timeline on track. Future Willow is responsible for the temporal anomaly, which brings Buffy to the future and Present Willow brings her back. Future Willow already has memories of this temporal anomaly, it *already* happened in her past. She already knows that Buffy will return to the present because it has already happened just as both Future and Present Willow know that Willow is the one responsible for bringing her forward.

Willow doesn't want Buffy dead. She shows Melaka a vision that makes it seem like Buffy needs to die, then in this issue Willow reveals that she's "lying to someone. Would [Fray] bet her whole world" and let Buffy go back into the past, perhaps ending Fray's existence. This is the threat Willow uses to cause Fray to attack Buffy. Yet we learn that Buffy goes back to the past and Fray's world continues to exist. This shows Willow was lying to Melaka - Buffy's return to the present doesn't end Fray's existence and future.

Willow creates a situation that puts Buffy in slay mode. Willow lies to both Fray and Harth, manipulating them into an over-wraught situation - both Fray and Harth are attempting to attack, even kill, Buffy.

Willow stands in Buffy's path through the portal, forcing Buffy to attack her. Yet Willow makes no attempt to defend herself, merely lowers her head sadly and says "It's a long story." She stands there meekly and accepts Buffy's attack. The close-up panel of her eyes after Buffy stabs her with the scythe shows no surprise. She was *expecting* this to happen, anticipating it.

Saga Vasuki demanded that Present Willow promise to not look when she goes to bring Buffy back through the portal. The end result is that Present Willow doesn't see her future self dying. Vasuki was contacted by a "someone [she] trust[s]" and this is how she knows the portal will reopen by itself. I believe this "someone" was Future Willow and Vasuki asks Present Willow not to look because she knows that Future Willow is planning to have Buffy kill her.


It really all boils down to two main points for me. Willow planned this for centuries, carefully and methodically. The end result is two-fold:

1) Buffy returns to the present without destroying Fray's existence.

2) Future Willow is killed by Buffy.

If all Future Willow wanted was to show Buffy the future, enlighten her and then send her on her merry way, there would be no need to involve Fray and Harth. No need for the elaborate lies and manipulation. The result of this manipulation is that it puts Buffy on her guard, makes her believe that she has to fight her way back "to save [her own world]." Willow's plan brings Buffy to the future and allows her to get back home, but it also manipulates everyone so that Buffy will kill Willow.

[ edited by Emmie on 2008-11-27 00:05 ]
Well...now I'm officially confused. The whole arc makes no sense to me. What was the purpose of it all?

[ edited by menomegirl on 2008-11-27 00:13 ]
Okay, so my copy hasn't arrived yet, so I probably should wait to say anything. But while it does seem to me that dressing up for Riley could mean a number of different things, it is exactly what I would expect her to do, regardless.

Because last she saw him, she felt such a fool, not only because she had a chicken on her head and the DMP uniform, but because her life was such a mess. Naturally she wants to look attractive, together, and on top of things-to make a better impression all around, self-respect-wise, if for no other reason. And certainly being gorgeous has always been a factor in Ms.Summer's self-esteem package.


Nice reasoning and I absolutely agree. Makes sense to me.
I liked the issue.

I don't understand it. At least yet.

And that's all for now.
I think the purpose was to validate Fray's existence and show that while that future is dark, the "fate of the world - made sense when there was only one" - I think this is a play on words meaning that it made sense when there was only one world to save, but that it also made sense when there was only one *slayer* to fight the forces of darkness. Buffy hasn't had her epiphany yet that so many slayers without proper guidance are a bad thing (i.e. Simone, Gigi), but future solicitations show that it's only going to get worse for the slayers (issues 21 thru 25). While Buffy isn't completely enlightened by her trip to the future, I think we the reader are supposed to begin to understand that it's leading towards taking the line back to one girl. That the events of Chosen and the consequences of the Slayer Spell have to be dealt with.

This arc actually accomplished what everyone was puzzling over - was Fray's future going to be erased? It shows us how Joss will presumably reconcile the events of Chosen with Fray's future world. I'm predicting the Slayer Spell will be reversed somehow (or at least the slayers will be reduced back to one girl, maybe two...) and this will reconcile the present with the future.
Buffy wanting to make a show of herself because of "Doublemeat Palace" (which is pretty tenuous, since she undressed in the same truck as him minutes later) doesn't address the other extremely relevant part of the meeting. She kept it secret. How she dressed and that she kept it secret were the two important facts that we had pointed out more than once about the meeting. Romantic interest in or possible involvement with Riley, married or not married, is an explanation. Getting all dressed up because she's embarrassed about having been seen at work three years earlier and meeting Riley just to get information about the military... kept secret? Why? Explain.

If it's just for information, there's no reason to keep it secret. Willow *likes* Riley. Xander *likes* Riley.
I simply do not understand what any of this means, and I am not holding out much hope that I will within the next year or so.


You haven't even read the issue!

Friendly note to people who insist on taking part in discussions of books they haven't read: Don't do that! For your sake and everyone else's.

Jeeeeeesus.
Btw, how BEAUTIFUL is that one close-up panel of Fray's face as she says "'Fate of the world. Made sense...when there was only one."

I loved how the Buffy/Fray fight played out. How Fray was stronger because it was her turf and her belief in what she was fighting for, but Buffy has the slayer line and the connection making Fray ulitmately "outnumbered". Loved how Buffy uses her ingenuity in fighting to slice open the water tower and take down Fray. That's classic fighting for the Buffster, making the most of her surroundings.
Emmie, I'm really digging your interpretation. I think that's very possible.

I also think that it's possible that Gray Willow goaded Buffy into killing her as a punishment. It's possible that Willow killed Buffy and/or brought about the end of the Slayers that we saw in the original Fray run. This either trapped Willow in Fray land or just gave her immortality as a punishment that only Buffy could break. The simple fact that a Fray-verse Buffy is not around to give Gray Willow her comeuppance indicates that no form of Buffy is hanging around that universe. Then to me it makes sense that Gray Willow would force Buffy to kill/punish her for the sins that she perpetrated against Buffy. And she would have to bring a Buffy from another time to do this.

So much to think about! :)

A note - Georges Jeanty didn't draw this issue - Karl Moline did. :)
This was my favourite book in S8 yet. That ending is exactly the sort of Big Love and Pain that makes BtVS stand out from other story universes that won't take such risks. And, as it usually does, it really paid off. I am now champing at the bit to find out what FDW's 'long story' is, among other things.

I've been kind of ambivalent about S8 at times. I mean, I like it, but it's not always had me fully engaged. It does now. #19 was pure awesome.
peepstone, cool idea. I like the thought that Willow had Buffy kill her as a way of balancing the scales. Perhaps it's a bit of both - Willow's tired of living and she wants to right a past wrong by having Buffy kill her.
A note - Georges Jeanty didn't draw this issue - Karl Moline did. :)

Of course he did, and now I just feel ridiculous for forgetting. Fray=Karl Moline, I know that.

So let me amend my earlier comment. Kudos to Karl Moline for that panel that I liked.
The thing that gets me is the panels of Future Willow's death go out of their way to accentuate the fact that it's the scythe that kills her. We already see that in the long shot, but they specifically include a close-up panel of it, which is preceded by the big booming magic lightning strike.

I think the method of the death -- the scythe which Willow used to activate all the potentials being used to kill Future Willow in a world without magic -- is going to be important, if not necessarily for Buffy: Season 8, then for future Fray stories.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2008-11-27 02:53 ]
Wow. Riley Finn is double-crossing somebody in a very "I'm gonna get myself fatally stabbed" way. I am very impressed. I never would have thought he had that kind of subterfuge in him. Good or evil, he just got a lot more interesting.

I love the expression on Xander's face when he realizes the squad he's been worrying about is all trained up and saving the day now. That was a great moment and I wish it'd gotten a bigger panel with more detail. Liked the dorktastic acorn helmet-- Xander's power is still a somewhat dorky power. The fantastical forest army was too much though.

ETA: Buffy broke the future scythe with her arm. That was badass.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-11-27 03:00 ]
I think the method of the death -- the scythe which Willow used to activate all the potentials being used to kill Future Willow in a world without magic -- is going to be important, if not necessarily for Buffy: Season 8, then for future Fray stories.

Hmm. Now see, that makes this issue a little easier to understand. It makes the arc seem less pointless, I think.

[ edited by menomegirl on 2008-11-27 03:08 ]
I'm going to second Emmie's analysis; it was great stuff, thanks Emmie.

Also, Bix said what I was going to say just now. The scythe was critical to the death of Willow, but I'd also connect the dots and say that Buffy herself is also the needed element, because if all Willow had to do was die by the scythe, she could've provoked Fray into doing it easily enough. Willow needed Buffy to see the future (that she failed) and to kill her. Perhaps Buffy's breaking of the Slayer line by dying and being revived in season one caused everything else to spiral out of control, leading up to the ultimate break by Willow with the Slayer spell in the end of season seven. Maybe an upcoming spell by Willow binds her with Buffy.

We now know that Buffy will fail to bring about the better world that she dreamed of and Fray's future will happen. It's just a matter of what happens along the way now.
I'm still trying to figure out what all this means but I liked it. Dk Willow's plan to force Buffy to kill her worked. Not sure why though. This series is turning into "Lost". More questions asked with every question answered. I LOVE Lost!

Still can't stand Kennedy, I'd like to see Tara or Oz show up and send Kennedy packing. (wishful thinking)

What we learned from this arc;

More than one World. Many realities.
History isn't written as Buffy remembers it, so for some reason it has been changed. Kinda mirrors all the talk in ATS of Spike not being in the History books. (Unless both gangs really are IN alternate dimensions.)
Riley or Riley bot is on the scene.
Willow had a story that we will never get to hear.
Buffy doesn't care about the future (I don't care about this World)

Wouldn't it be bizarre if everyone surrounding Buffy, minus Dawn, is a bot? Everyone is acting pretty odd. Warren was the bot master. Maybe they are trying to drive Buffy insane. LOL
No way Riley is working against Buffy. Unless we're in an alternate reality where the real Riley is residing somewhere else. Doesn't make a lot of sense otherwise. Looking forward to finding all the answers.
We now know that Buffy will fail to bring about the better world that she dreamed of and Fray's future will happen. It's just a matter of what happens along the way now.

Buffy's goal has always been to preserve the world against the bad that threatens to destroy it (apocalypses) and the bad that currently feeds on it (vampires etc). Perhaps she succeeds at both in her own time, and the outcome is a series of events that lead to Fray's time. Or maybe time's not linear in the Buffyverse.
Ugh. As much as I love Fray, I don't like that it continues to exist after Buffy goes back. Having Buffy fail to make the world the better place it should be is just to pessimistic. For all the bad stuff that happened in the series, it was always an optimistic show. I cannot believe that Joss would completely reverse on the message of "Chosen," and hope that we are misunderstanding.

I still don't understand why Willow bothered with Harth at all. He didn't DO anything! I simply don't understand.
Giles_314, I think the reason why the future is a dismal place has nothing to do with slayers and demons. From my understanding, Fray's world is a dark place because of radiation, pollution and humanity crapping on the planet. It's actually a sad commentary - Buffy saved the world, even died for it, but the gift hasn't been appreciated by the majority of humanity.

About reversing the message, yeah it is sad but I think it's the natural progression of the story - exploring if the Slayer Spell was a good decision. The way the action in Chosen is being viewed is quite interesting to me because while Buffy did give those potentials a choice to be strong, to be slayers, she forced it on nearly 1800 other girls. That wasn't choice. I think the message has actually become more complex. Sharing power is good, go female power! But power can be abused and misused. It's a classic thematic exploration, the misuse of power. I think it's fair to explore it - just because it's female empowerment shouldn't make it immune from all the potential corruption that comes with great power.

As for Harth, you raise a good point. The biggest function Harth seemed to serve was to make Willow appear bad by association. Perhaps he was also useful in Willow's plan to arrange all the players on the board.
I don't know. It's hard to wrap my mind around. I don't want such a powerful thing as the ending of "Chosen" to be warped and proven wrong, but I also understand that Buffy forced responsibility on all those girls, and that power can and does corrupt. Maybe those two ideas can somehow coexist? I don't know. It does seem that those people who don't get corrupted by power are those who never want it. Ugh. My mind is a jumble. I'm trying to comprehend the theme of this season, or even this arc, but my brain can't piece it together. I think it has something to do with the big picture vs. small details, but I just can't get a handle on it.

In the end though, I trust that Joss knows exactly what he wants to say with this season, and that I probably won't know what it is until it is all said and done.
I rather like the idea that Buffy learns she can share power with people who aren't only slayers. Because the 'slayers are my only concern' mentality she has now is slightly worrisome as it inspires her morally dangerous 'big picture' mentality. That it's not about sharing power only with potentials (who we have no idea how they're chosen anyways...) but rather fully trusting her allies and reinforcing her connection to humanity. Her connection to the slayer line shouldn't be her paramount concern IMO and right now, it clearly is.

When Buffy said she had to save her world, I got the feeling she meant she had to save her Slayer army. That has become her world right now and it's a very limited outlook.

[ edited by Emmie on 2008-11-27 05:37 ]
Oooh, the "long story" got me. My theory is that this may have something to do with Willow's work with Vasuki or some curse-like thing--I wonder if Buffy is literally, the only--the chosen one who can kill her(and that this whole shebang happened so FDW can actually die).

This added extra poignancy to the nose part--I got the whole memory being fuzzy after a couple hundred years.
As for the inside man--oooh. To be honest, I have never cared for Riley, but that was still a gut punch (and made her dressing up extra sad--and I don't think that means she wants anything, just that she wants to look nice and this appears to be the first time she has gotten to go out in, well, a looong time.) I had been entertaining thoughts that Riley was Twilight, but I guess that's not it.
(Although this explains a lot about Twilight's emotional ideas about Buffy--and I've always seen Riley's story as about being unable to fit into a world of fluid boundaries and in my interpretation, finding that it is too hard and coping by going back to a dualistic interpretation because it is more comfortable and a way of coping--a sort of the road to hell being paved with good intentions. I think this is going to be Twilight's big tragedy, hinted at with Riley.)
Also, I appreciated that Willow was practical and wore a blindfold. Likewise with the "almost there"panel--Willow seems to have gotten her eros onto her thanatos or vice versa. Wow.

So, lots to chew on and think about. I am curious and I want to see more.

[ edited by JessicaMelusine on 2008-11-27 05:39 ]
I think she probably feels responsible for all the slayers because she is responsible for them. She created them. But I agree, maybe she is not connecting to humanity enough, and soon will consider herself superior to those she protects. Maybe she already is. Jonathon Woodward's (don't remember the character name at the moment) analysis in Conversations with Dead People comes to mind.
Will it all make sense when Joss finally lets us in on where he's going? Willow went to elaborate means to arrange all this. Why include Harth? Why include Fray? If she just wanted Buffy to kill her, she could've done that all by herself. Bring Buffy forward, goad Buffy into doing what a slayer must, the end.

Methinks (mehopes) we are seeing only a small part of a grand overall arc.
Oh absolutely. I hope something I wrote didn't imply she shouldn't feel responsible for them, but rather it seems to be all she can focus on right now. Yes, Holden Webster's "superiority complex" except maybe she's losing the inferiority complex about it. Which would be...not good.
I suppose that relates back to what Twilight and Specifically General Voll was saying way back in issue 4. Hmmm. Methinks I is starting to see some connections.
Yes, yes. The Long Way Home lays out a lot of the themes. It's the unsung arc that really shows where the road is headed.
Hmm, bit disappointed really.
Your reaction kinda fits your user-name. ;)
Xander in the jumbo-sized acorn helmet made me laugh so hard. I was like "WTF is on his head... *dies*" Oh, man. I love this book.
"Your reaction kinda fits your user-name. ;) "

Maybe if I change my user name to 'This is so much better than I expected' I'll love the issue. Actually, I just reread it and liked it more
Glad you liked it more the second time around.

Friendly note to people who insist on taking part in discussions of books they haven't read: Don't do that!


Don't tell fellow posters that they shouldn't take part in a discussion, it is a bit rude.
It's really not exactly like taking part in a discussion of a book you haven't read, anyway. Folks have read many, many chapters, are invested, and are waiting impatiently to get their hands on the most recent chapter. A little different. Still, obviously, limiting, but a bit different.

[ edited by toast on 2008-11-27 13:45 ]
Thank, Emmie- that makes a lot of sense. You offer a cogent analysis.

Waxbanks- I admitted I have not read this yet. By the time I get the issue, this thread will long past be history, so I have to jump in now while I can and attempt my best to understand what it all means.

It's turkey!

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2008-11-27 14:15 ]

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2008-11-27 14:16 ]
My brain is all confused. Darn you, Evil Riley.
Mmph. As usual, I suck at recognising characters in comics and so had to wait until I came back here to work out it was Riley. I can honestly say I coudn't care two hoots what he's doing...

As to the rest - it may get better when we get more explanation of what FDW wanted, but for now by reaction is definitely a bit meh. The only thing I can think is that FDW wants Buffy and Willow separate or at least a little odd in their relationship, but why is very far from clear. I think I would like it if FDW turned out to be good and is actually trying to help Buffy this way somehow? Or if in FDW's past, the 'extraction attempt' actually failed? Oh ugh... this is why I hate time travel. Everything always ends up all loopy and illogical. Buffy can't change the future now because her past is influenced by it so... oh whatever. I have little doubt that this kind of thing will be happily glossed over as it always is in any story.
Buffy killing someone she loves in front of a portal for the greater good? Very thematically significant in her life (hello Season 2!). I loved this issue so much!!

I was never a big Riley fan, especially before he went semi-dark with vampire prostitutes, but the reveal this issue totally makes sense to me. He was always goody-two-shoes when it came to the government; even when he found out about the Initiative, he was still pro "mainstream" government. But then again, maybe he's just playing Twilight in order to help the Scoobies.
Well, Scott Allie just said this in interview:

"14. amuk: Terrific issue ending a great arc. I can hardly wait to find out what Future Dark(ish) Willow's "long story" is - not to mention whatever she showed Fray to enlist her help in trapping Buffy. So my question is, will we eventually get all that backstory?

Scott Allie: I doubt you'll see all your questions answered regarding their futures. Some more will be revealed, but do not expect a big fill-in-the-blanks issue."

Well.
I'm not going to lie. This time travel arc has seriously confused me, so now I'm trying to wade through all these posts and see if there's some sort of mage who can make sense of it all!
What confused you, Riker? Maybe people with questions could ask them here and see what people think.
Throughout his time on the show Riley was always resentful of Buffy's power. He had trouble accepting that she was stronger than him. I think in Riley's mind Buffy emasculated him. It makes sense to me that he would turn on her. Especially with a few years perspective on their relationship.

On a lighter note, does this mean that we get 200 years worth of Willow comics?
I reckon we'll find out what Willow's long story is because I think it's tied up with the question of what happened to all of the slayers and how the future ended up like that. It seems that all Scott Allie was saying was that they're not going to fill in all the backstory. As for what FDW showed Fray - I don't think it really matters. The important thing is that Fray thought Buffy would destroy the world.

Actually, I think it's at least possible that Fray will crossover again at the end of the season.

Riley working for Twilight strikes me as implausible but I'm reserving judgement until we know more.
OK so the heart of this story seems to lie with the complicated relationship between Buffy and Willow. Future Willow has outlived love, bent time and spun every side both ways and back to one end, her death at Buffy’s hands. But it sounds as if the point of their final conversation was the last question Buffy asks. As she says, cute blonde and popular but not stupid. She listens when Willow tells her exactly where to get to and when to get out but also to what she said earlier about who dies and who kills them. Melaka assumes she’s talking about Slayer-Slayercide but with “Why does it have to be me?” Buffy shows she understands that Willow needed her to kill Willow and then she gave her what she needed.

I really don’t know what the whole long story is going to be. Willow blindfolded herself so the one part of the exchange Future Willow couldn’t have known (and needn’t have happened for the extraction to go exactly as she remembered) is the death of her future self. So how might that change things, if things have changed. The only person it affects directly is Buffy. She killed Angel to save the world but first she asked him to close his eyes. This time both of them knew what was happening so is it this that changes Buffy or what Buffy knows about what Willow is prepared to do?
*yawn* this arc and its conclusion for me felt both forced and repetitive, zero answers as to why buffy needed to kill willow or maybe i'm missing them, still reading the posts i don't think anyone got the rationale after that. i hope the next arc is better, this had a lot of potential and was wasted. that's a shame :( this is turning into the dragging seasons of lost where there were no answers but a lot of questions, not liking that.
Throughout his time on the show Riley was always resentful of Buffy's power. He had trouble accepting that she was stronger than him.


This is basically the exact opposite of his arc on the show.

He was always more than comfortable with her power and fighting ability. This was even textualized pretty bluntly in "The Replacement" --

BUFFY: Riley, do you wish-
RILEY: No.
BUFFY: No? You don't even know what I was gonna say.
RILEY: Yes, I do. You wanted to know if I wished you got hit by the ferula-gemina, got split in two.
BUFFY: Well, you have been kind of rankly about the whole slayer gig. Instead of having slayer Buffy, you could have Buffy Buffy.
RILEY: Hey. I *have* Buffy Buffy. Being the slayer's part of who you are. You keep thinking I don't get that, but...
BUFFY: It's just ... I know how ... un-fun it can be. The bad hours, frequent bruising, cranky monsters...
RILEY: Buffy... if you led a perfectly normal life, you wouldn't be half as crazy as you are. I gotta have that. I gotta have it all. I'm talkin' toes, elbows, the whole bad-ice-skating-movie obsession, everything. There's no part of you I'm not in love with


I really defy you to point to a single moment in his run on the televised seasons that reveals anything more than mild chagrin at how strong Buffy is. Most of the time, he's just sort of amazed by it. When he came apart, it was because he felt purposeless and emotionally cut off from her (not the first nor the last to feel that way, incidentally). It had *absolutely nothing* to do with how much stronger she was than him.

And I don't buy how it would "make sense" that he would turn on her based just on their interactions. In Season 6, he embraced the awkward of taking his wife to see the ex because he thought Buffy could help. In Season 7, he trusted her judgment so implicitly he left the decision to *remove Spike's chip* to her.

I really only see a few possibilities here to explain what's happening with him.

1. He thinks Buffy's dangerous now, just like Twilight (apparently) does. The most popular explanation for this, from when we thought he might be Twilight, was that something happened to Sam -- she got killed by a Rogue Slayer, she became a Slayer and got killed, etc. She's dead and it's Buffy's fault because of the spell, basically.

2. He's been manipulated, controlled, or brainwashed -- this goes nicely with the theory that Ethan is alive and is Twilight (although probably not).

3. He's trying to do the triple agent thing and it will probably get him killed.

As to the possible rekindled romance, it's worth noting (and reassuring to the 'shippers) that it wouldn't mean that they had slept together, since Buffy would have noticed his Twilight symbol on his chest.
What confused you, Riker? Maybe people with questions could ask them here and see what people think.

Well, for starters, why did Dark Willow want Buffy to kill her? Also, why did she want to stop Buffy from going back? I'm really confused as to what she wanted.
I don't think she did want to stop Buffy from going back -- like Buffy said, everything was set in motion to bring them to that point, where Buffy had to go through her to get back in time. Willow might have been teaching her something. Some have suggested that Willow was giving Buffy revenge for something Willow hadn't done yet but would do.
Yeah, I don't think she ever wanted to stop Buffy from going back. As Buffy points out, Future Willow very clearly spelled out exactly what Buffy needed to do to get back. As far as we know Future Willow brought Buffy to the future, made sure she met Fray, set things up so that Buffy and Fray would fight, and then made sure Buffy would kill Future Willow in order to leave. We don't know why she wanted Buffy to kill her or what the larger purpose was to the time-traveling. She seemed sad and resigned to it, and very unlike Season 6 Dark Willow. There didn't seem to be any vengeance involved, just some kind of necessity we don't understand yet.
Hmm. Thanks for the insight, KoC and Sunfire. I have a feeling that this will all come back into play in the future (OUR future!) in an expected and Jossian way.
She killed Angel to save the world but first she asked him to close his eyes.

I see the difference more as being that Angel, later, knew what she had done and why, and Buffy could kind of exorcise her guilt just by being accepted by him. That's not going to work with Willow - I see the situation here as being a bit more akin to Angel knowing everything about Connor and Wes' betrayal when they themselves didn't. I got the feeling that that ate away at him from the inside quite a lot, and although Buffy is strong and didn't seem to hesitate about killing Future Willow here, I can't help but think it's going to affect their relationship. Probably, not for the better.
I was just watching Joss' interview from the Write Environment and Joss said that BtVS Season 8 would be a 40 issue arc! Is that still the case? If so then it is clear that we still have a long way to go before we get any answers to anything! I think there is a value in keeping an open mind to where the story is going, since it is still just building and not close to resolving yet.
Oh, KingofCretins, I thought that of Ethan at the end as well. I would love to see Ethan’s silly quick death washed away, but! Big but. He helped Buffy. So, no go on him being Twilight. Why would he give her the heads up when he is in fact is Twilight? Nope. The pondering on who the flying man is will continue.

Riley on the other hand, I was 97% sure was the person Buffy was dressed up to meet. It just fit that she would meet someone who had an ins with the Initiative to get info– and the dressing up, well, Buffy has to!

I love that the monkey was seemingly the only ‘person’ on Buffy’s side, hee.
Can we summarize what this arc brought to the greater narrative of Season 8?

We have connected the Buffy part of the 'Verse to the Fray part, and therefore know that all Slayers will go bye-bye. The new big question is, why? We know that Buffy knows this will happen. We know that whatever it is, Willow will survive it, and Buffy knows this, too. Dawn has transformed again and Scotland is suddenly full of fairy-tale creatures. Willow has a secret demon lover and might be cheating on Kennedy with her. Riley has entered the game, probably as a bad guy.

Given this took four issues (and weeks and weeks of real time), I don't feel that we have advanced the main plot that much. Worse, we've added all kinds of new stuff that needs to be pushed on the stack and remembered while adding even more characters. I'm starting to fear that Season 8 is turning into the Whedon variant of Lost with Treebeard as a special guest star.

To be fair, the only time travel story I have ever liked was Heinlein's "By His Bootstraps" and this is not my favorite artist, so this was always going to be a hard sell. Still, IMHO, this was the weakest arc of the season so far.
I'd be perfectly happy if Season 8 were the Whedon variant of Lost. (Not necessarily any more happy than I'd be if it weren't. I'm just saying all these Lost comparisons just end up in the plus column for me.)

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2008-11-27 22:44 ]
scotws - I think the most important occurrence of the arc was Buffy witnessing this future and that this will shake her confidence. That her internal shift will be the most significant plot development and she'll further begin to question if she is right to have "changed the world" by activating all the potentials. I'm assuming this introspection will go even further as Buffy goes through another journey in After These Messages... First she physically goes to the future, then she Which connects to Twilight saying the way to defeat Buffy is to shake her moral certainty. I think it's safe to now consider Buffy shaken, not stirred.

Ironically, I think it was the point that Buffy going to the future did *not* change the future or the past, but rather reaffirmed that all these events fit together like complex puzzle pieces. The events of the past and future resonating within Buffy to create the present of Season 8 and what will occur after ToYL. That her changing perspective on Chosen and all the slayers will be central to the forward momentum of Season 8.

ETA Invisible Text.

[ edited by Emmie on 2008-11-27 23:03 ]
Add me to those that are disappointed with this issue. I don't mind some questions being left unanswered, but this arc created a pile of questions and barely answered any. I was assuming we'd find out some of the why and how of FDW and maybe even how magic found it's way back into Fray's time, but no. Obviously, it will tie in to the overall arc and parts of it will be important, but being kept so much in the dark is frustrating.

Buffy just killed Willow, which is huge, but it didn't move me at all. Partly this is due to the mess that time-travel creates, but it's also because we really have no idea what's going on with FDW. The circumstances didn't help either - Buffy could have knocked FDW out of the way and jumped through the portal. Why unnecessarily kill your best friend? Buffy doesn't know what FDW is up to either and can hardly have decided that she was irredeemable in such a short time.

The position we were in before this arc was that at some point soon-ish we'd have the death of magic and then a couple of hundred years later, Fray's world. And after this arc, which was driven by FDW's actions, we're . . . in exactly the same position. Except that we know Willow's future is to live a long time and then get killed by Buffy.

Personally, I hope none of that is right. I was expecting Fray's world to fade out in the last page - not to necessarily indicate the end of that world (I'd love to see another separate Fray comic), but that there was some change and therefore the future is not set. At present it looks like FDW might have been telling the truth to Harth in that Buffy's time in the future makes that future certain and Willow's fate will be as shown, but I just can't believe it.

My theory as I was reading was that FDW wanted Buffy to be appalled by this future, which had been caused by the death of magic, so that Buffy would continue to fight against Twilight and protect magic. Twilight's methods might be pretty nasty, but his goal is actually a pretty good idea for mankind in general - no vampires, demons, apocalypses, etc. I can see Buffy being persuaded by this big picture, but less so magical Willow, particularly if she's goes a bit Dark. It makes more sense to me that FDW would try to destroy that future in favour of one with magic (but she appears to have failed). If she really is still one of the good guys, why is she enjoying the fight between Buffy and Fray so very much? In fact, why set Fray on Buffy at all - Fray might have killed Buffy (or at least stopped her getting to the portal on time).

Well done if you got through all that ;). Bit of a ramble I know, sorry if I repeated other posters' points - sort of working it through for myself. Even though I found this issue disappointing, I'm still fascinated by the season's arc.

Also, though it played into Dawn being a centaur, I agree that Amy's magical monsters and the forest creatures were lame. And Riley doesn't excite me even if he is double-crossing Buffy to work for Twilight, but at least he's not Twilight. I've been thinking about Ethan Rayne during my recent read-through of S8. The way he was introduced, helped Buffy and was then apparently killed off was very odd and I think it's possible he's Twilight, but I can't reconcile his worshipping of chaos and Twilight's objective.

[ edited by NotaViking on 2008-11-28 00:00 ]
I really hope that Joss isn't going to do the very lame thing and have Buffy's trip to the future only serve to set itself up to repeat over and over. That the "extraction attempt" Future Willow remembered wasn't her, blindfolded, pulling Buffy out after she had just killed Future Willow. Way too fatalistic.

I'm no going to guess that the events of 8.20 will be

Buffy's moral certainty is totally out the window, I'd say -- she even concedes it's Fray's advantage, that she knows what she's fighting for. Buffy doesn't. To echo her mother in a different context, she is just reacting to things. Or, as Giles said much more optimistically, she's feeling her way.
Can someone clear this up for me ... I thought Jeff Loeb's story would be a one-shot but the bit at the end of this issue says 'After these adverts ... Part 1'. Is it a whole arc? Or is it part of the 5 small stories and collectively they're called 'After these adverts'?
Allie said it was a misprint -- 8.20 is "After These Messages, We'll Be Right Back..."

8.21 is "Harmonic Divergence".

8.23, I think, is called "Predators and Prey". Not sure about 8.22, 8.24, and 8.25.
"Riley or Riley bot is on the scene".


That made me laugh...and then I thought, actually... not so silly; Warren had just made a joke about making a new robot girlfriend just before 'double-crossing' Riley was revealled. hmmmm
It's possible but I think it would be pretty lame storytelling to have it be a Rileybot. What would be the emotional punch of that?
I see the difference more as being that Angel, later, knew what she had done and why, and Buffy could kind of exorcise her guilt just by being accepted by him.

There was a period before he came back when she couldn't do that and had all those dreams about him blaming her for sending him to hell even though she knew why she had to do it. Here is that she knows Willow accepted what she had to do but she herself doesn't know why. There are similarities with Angel's S5 relationship to Wesley but again differences as Buffy doesn't know the long story of Willow. So it's complicated but in a novel way and I have no idea how Buffy is going to react, which is exactly what makes it compelling.
There are certain things that simply have not been explained yet, so naturally they might confuse a person or leave them with questions. How is this a bad thing?

I wasn't really participating in online discussion when the show was on the air, but were people doing the same thing about mysterious stuff then? "I don't know what's going on with Ben, so I don't like this season." "What's all this 'From Beneath You, It Devours' stuff? I don't like this season." All will be answered in good time.

RE: Twilight and Ethan... I've been saying that from the beginning. From a writer's POV, if Joss was going to have Ethan be the mystery big bad, he would HAVE to apparently kill him off quickly, otherwise he would be the obvious guess the whole time since he was the biggest loose end.
King, I had the same thought about Issue 20. That it'll be

ETA: #22 is called Swell. No titles have been released yet for #24 written by Jim Krueger (a well-known and critically acclaimed comic writer) and #25 written by Doug Petrie (who .

[ edited by Emmie on 2008-11-28 00:10 ]
Oh! Notice how Willow says "So close" while biting her lip, just like in the last issue with present Willow visiting her snaky pal?
A few comments:

Willow's involvement with Harth. I think she needed him to set up the original time portal spell. Given that she's apparently had a lot of her own power drained, she probably needs assistance - and we know from the 'Fray' comic that Harth is good at opening portals.

Also, it might be that she deliberately encouraged him to create a vampire army in order to show Buffy, once she arrived, that the future really sucked with only one Slayer. Assuming Willow also engineered the confrontation with Gunther, she also arranged for Harth's vampires to be destroyed again once they'd served their purpose.

Riley - if he's not been brainwashed and isn't playing a triple agent role but is actually working for Twilight voluntarily, then my guess is that Twilight promised him that ending all magic and banishing the demons will not kill Buffy, but turn her into a normal girl again.

Fray's world - I disagree with the general consensus here. I think when it faded out to white and then faded back in again on the last page, it became an AU. It's no longer the actual future of the Buffyverse, but a Wishverse-style alternative future. Of course, to AU-Melaka and AU-Erin, their world is the real world and it's Buffy who lives in an AU.

Willow's plan - I followed much the same steps as Emmie but reached the exact opposite conclusion. I think Future!Willow's plan was to change her past to wipe her own timeline out of existence. In her universe, Buffy ended up agreeing with Twilight's plan to end all magic and banish the demons and turn the Slayers back into normal girls, and she and Willow fought on opposite sides in the war (and Willow lost).

But now, Buffy has seen what a future with only one Slayer would be like, and she's had to kill Willow with her own hands. So now, she'll be far less willing to become estranged from Willow, and far less likely to agree with Twilight's plan. She'll fight tooth and nail alongside Willow to defeat Twilight and preserve the multiple Slayers and magic and yes, even demons.

By her death, Future!Willow ensured that she would never have existed at all, and gave her present-day incarnation the hope of a better future.
stormwreath, then why did Fray's world remain unchanged? So you think it actually *was* changed but it's not visible?

Also, I enjoyed reading your review of the issue. :)

[ edited by Emmie on 2008-11-28 02:02 ]
That is a brilliant catch, stormwreath, on the fade in and out. In my post above, my theory on Willow's plan is similar to yours, but I was doubting it because of the lack of a fade out at the end - doh! - it was a few panels earlier. I thought it was Willow's death being portrayed in the fade out, but now I see that it's Fray. That really changes my opinion on the ending - we're back to an unwritten future and Fray's world is merely one possibility rather than a certainty. Willow is no longer fated to die by Buffy's hand. Wow, that's quite a relief and so much more interesting for the story. Of course, the fade in and out may not mean that, but I'm happy to assume that for now. Thanks for that post stormwreath!
Jeez, I didn't even see the white-out/fade back in. Maybe that's what the giant magic BOOM lightning of Future!Willow's death did: Keep the Fray future in place. Perhaps she wanted to both change the past for Buffy, but having lived hundreds of years also didn't think it right to make all those lives disappear completely.
Emmie, not changed, just... discontinuous. It's disconnected from Buffy's own timeline, but it's own subjective history and future are unchanged. I actually agree with his interpretation.

I can't see how the lightning would connect -- first, there's no reason at all Willow would actually care, but second, it was before Buffy went back, and therefore before the timeline would have been affected.

I am curious about that lightning, though.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2008-11-28 02:26 ]
It's magic. Who says everything had to happen the moment the lightning struck. Maybe the "spell" amounted to "as soon as Buffy goes back, thereby changing history, hold onto this world".

And why wouldn't she care? The point would be that even after living hundreds of years, even after going darkish, she hadn't, in fact, lost herself, and even though she wanted history to change, she didn't want to do it at the expense of all the generations she'd seen alive, including Fray's current one.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2008-11-28 02:30 ]
But wasn't "this future sucks" part of the point of the exercise? What interest would she have in preserving it? Remember, we're not arguing over whether or not Fray's universe exists, just whether or not there's a reason to think that the lightning had anything to do with it.
I'd guess that the lightning has something to do with either the scythe (because of that close up shot) or the ending of the FDW's existence as a possibly magically sustained, not-quite-human being or both combined. In the close up panel of FDW post impalement, she appears to have mostly returned to normal Willow - compare with the panel on the previous page - the dark veins on her forehead are gone and her eyes are back to normal.
The future could suck and yet Future!Willow still believe she didn't have the right to destroy it.
Isn't the fact that Fray's Watcher Diaries have no mention of the army of Chosen slayers that Buffy created an indication that Fray's future is already an alternate future? A sort of future without shrimp? That said, Willow's death released a lot of magical energy and I think that this may have changed Fray's reality in some way that we don't know about yet... a sort of alternate future WITH shrimp!

Did anyone notice, in the last two pages, that everyone is standing on the same roof, but two hundred years apart. And what happened to the Scythe?

[ edited by Capt. Logic on 2008-11-28 03:13 ]
Isn't the fact that Fray's Watcher Diaries have no mention of the army of Chosen slayers that Buffy created an indication that Fray's future is already an alternate future?

Books can be wrong. Or changed. Or volumes missing. Etc.
On the scythe - Scott Allie answered a question on that over at SlayAlive (question 25 - link's in Simon's opening post).

She returned with her scythe. Crap, I don't have a copy of it here, but she damn well better have returned with that damn thing ... Now you have me scared.

So the fact it's not seen is just a mistake. You can just about imagine that Buffy dropped it before falling to her knees (so it's off panel to our right) and then it's hidden behind the small wall on the roof.
I assumed that the white light then fade out was simply the magic of the portal closing on Fray's face. I like the idea the last pages being cut off from Buffy's timeline a lot better, and it gives me hope for the season.

What I would like to know, though, is why would Buffy choose to ally herself with Twilight in the original timeline that lead to Fray's world? Time travel is always iffy, and I hope they are actually considering the effects of it and trying to make it work as logically as possible, which rarely happens and often makes time travel stories suck.

I hope Buffy just comes out with everything to Willow instead of doing that thing she always does where she neglects to tell anyone something for a really long time.
I still maintain that "this future sucks" not because of demons, but because of what humanity has done. It's a very popular pessimistic view of the future in science fiction - (Terminator, Blade Runner).

Regarding stormwreath's theory that Fray's future has become an alternate universe, discontinuous from Buffy's present timeline:

This theory seems to work well if you want Buffy to maintain the message from Chosen about sharing power and the resulting positive message. But I've been getting the impression that Season 8 is moving towards undoing what Chosen brought us - 1800 slayers worldwide. That Buffy is being shown lessons about misuse of power and how power can easily corrupt those who aren't equipped to use it responsibly (again, Simone and Gigi).

If you accept that Season 8 might be taking us to a future where there will be only one slayer and that there might be an epic battle down the road that does banish magic, Buffy's timeline still pieces together nicely with Fray's future. The major discordant act between Buffy and Fray's world is the existence of all potentials being slayers and the presence/absence of magic. Two differences that are central to the future plot and themes of Season 8.

I dunno, it just seems to me like making Fray's world an Alternate Universe is a bit of a cop-out. Are we now supposed to view the Frayverse in a way similar to the Wishverse? For me, that lowers the validity of that reality a bit. Where once Fray was directly connected to Buffy, now she's cut off.

I'm just not convinced that there's a reason to make the two realities discontinuous. That it's necessary. I prefer the idea that Joss wrote a story that brings these two timelines together rather than permanently disconnecting them.
But maybe the point was Joss had an overall plot for Season 8 that he realized contradicted Fray, and needed a story to address that contradiction, and so wrote this arc.
I was under the impression that one of the main reasons we have season 8 was that Joss wanted to write a story that reconciled Chosen and Fray - that the entire season was inspired by this desire to reconcile the two seemingly discordant worlds.

It seems we'll never be certain until the end of the season (maybe not even then), but I'm still a bit puzzled about where the themes of the season are going if entertain the idea that Fray's future has become an alternate universe. I still think they're connected, that's my perspective.

But the other theory holds legitimacy too.

ETA: Stormwreath's interpretation also gives an added grace to Willow's sacrifice (she saved both the past *and* the future by giving her life) and allows for a greater freedom with where Season 8 is headed. It doesn't necessarily have to end the age of magic nor reverse the Slayer spell in Chosen.

[ edited by Emmie on 2008-11-28 04:39 ]
Emmie's right again, one of the reasons as listed by Joss for the existence of season eight was because he wanted to address Fray's future. Writing it off as an alternate universe does not address this issue, nor is there any indication anywhere in the story that this could be the case besides the offhand comment by Fray that there were "two worlds," which is just in reference to the world of the past and the world of the future. All we know is Buffy went to the future, met Fray in her (Buffy's) future, then went back in time to the present, and Fray's future still exists. The story loses all meaning if Future Willow is not the real Willow.
Of course it would address the issue. It just wouldn't address it in a way that satisfies you, but that's not the same thing. Heh.
I could be satisfied with it either way, but I like the idea better from a literary standpoint that the season will still deal with the future all the way through, rather than Buffy and Fray's worlds going on divergent paths at this point. The Alternate Universe theory is a potential interpretation and I'm fascinated by this other viewpoint. We'll have to wait and see for what the story tells us since we're all just guessing right now.

Giles? Giles? We need some exposition here. *waves* Hello?
The story loses all meaning if Future Willow is not the real Willow.

Whether or not the Willow from S8 becomes this Future Willow does not matter. Both are "real" in that they are both Willow. Just because current Willow might not become Future Willow through the actions of Future Willow and Buffy, does not mean that Future Willow and Current Willow are not the same, and that under certain circumstances, Current Willow would not become Future Willow. Future Willow did not just appear out of thin air, she is the same Willow, affected by a past that is the still uncertain future of Current Willow. I for one, would prefer Willow not lose all faith and hope in the world and become Future Willow, but hey, that's just me.

As for the Frayverse:

When Joss wrote Fray, he hadn't planned for Buffy to activate all those Slayers. Thus, he had two very different worlds on his hands. S8 was his answer to this. It is still unclear whether S8 was intended to "fix" the Frayverse by eliminating it and banishing it to an AU, or to "fix" the Buffyverse, to make it logically lead into the Frayverse.

[ edited by Giles_314 on 2008-11-28 05:17 ]
It is still unclear whether S8 was intended to "fix" the Frayverse by eliminating it and banishing it to an AU, or to "fix" the Buffyverse, to make it logically lead into the Frayverse.


Exactly. That's still left to be determined. I'm actually very happy that we have two opposing options for the ending of the season. Keeps the mystery alive.
I dislike "fated" story lines, so I'm hopeful it's not inevitable present Willow becomes "no-hope" future Willow. It's so incredibly sad for such a wonderful character to end that way. Joss favors sad, melancholy endings, so I realize I'm hoping against history.

That said, Buffy needs to be smart. She needs to tell present Willow everything, and together they need to chart this all out, and figure out a better resolution.

I hope Buffy is smart. Willow is the brains of the outfit. They need to come together and trust one another.
I was under the impression that when Fray was launched it was presented as not the definitive version of the future of the Buffyverse, but as a possible future (can anyone who was following things back then confirm or deny that?). That was the way I took it anyway, but when S8 linked to Fray it became the one future and for me that was a real problem story-wise. Now we seem to back to where I thought we were before S8, in that we might end up in Fray's version of the future or we may not. Even if Buffy doesn't end magic, another slayer in a few decades could. I take Joss' comments with a pinch of salt as he could easily be trying to mislead us (with the best intentions). Plus, a no-magic S9 would be quite tricky.

Giles_314 - "What I would like to know, though, is why would Buffy choose to ally herself with Twilight in the original timeline that lead to Fray's world?" Well, we may never get to see that story, but I don't find it that hard to imagine. As I said before, Twilight's aims would actually look pretty good to ordinary people - no vampires, demons, apocalypses, etc. Buffy could well see this big picture and join him. Ok, so the slayers lose their powers, but all the things they're fighting against would be banished from the world - seems like a great deal.

Emmie - "I still maintain that "this future sucks" not because of demons, but because of what humanity has done." How bad is Fray's world really? We've only seen a small part of it and there are problems, but society is functioning and the technological advancements are pretty impressive. The serious threats to that world seem to be coming from the reintroduction of magic (all the thousands of people Harth and the lurks killed in Fray and the big snake demon thing). How much worse might things be if magic hadn't been destroyed? The world or humans may not have survived that long - who knows. Of course, things might be better, but it's quite a risk to take. Buffy's trip to the future may have nudged her into making the wrong choice for the human race. And I don't see it as within Buffy's remit to attempt to fix the problems that humanity has created for itself (though that could be an interesting point).

[ edited by NotaViking on 2008-11-28 14:03 ]
I can see the argument that if the Frayverse is *just* an alternate universe it would be dissatisfying from a narrative point of view. But not if it's an AU that was deliberately split off from the main timeline by Willow's own self-sacrifice, at the climactic moment of the story.

Well, maybe. If Joss or Scott are reading this thread perhaps it will be clarified, or maybe it'll all come out later in the season, or maybe they'll just leave us all to wonder. :-)

Emmie - I'm unhappy with the idea that the ultimate message of Season 8 will be "the Slayer empowerment at the end of 'Chosen' was a big mistake". That would be like saying that liberating and empowering women was a mistake... The impression I'm getting is rather that "It was the right thing to do, but like any big change to the world it will have lots of consequences, both good and bad: some unexpected and some unavoidable." Buffy's Slayer Army can make the world a better place, but it can also become an oppressive force itself.

And maybe it didn't go far enough. We've moved from one single Slayer (monarchy) to a large but closed caste of Slayers (aristocracy) - is the next step to empower everybody in the world? (democracy)
I can't remember if they ever explained why Fray was called after a long time of no slayers. If she was just a glitch, could the white boom have reactivated the slayer line? I guess we won't get to see their future, but just a thought.

What's the significance of Fray's scythe breaking? Assuming it wasn't just because Buffy's strong. Was it because Fray isn't a pure slayer like Buffy? Or her scythe doesn't have the same powers as the old one? Or is it really just that Buffy is strong? Heh.

When I first read it, I thought the fade to white panel was Fray. Then I came here and figured it must have been Willow. Now people are saying it's Fray again, so...I have no idea.

I think Buffy realizing Fray was strong because she had something to fight for was important too.
My final thoughts on this arc:

I do think we were gypped where it comes to seeing Drusilla again (I would have much preferred her to Dark Willow). In future issues, I hope this disappointment is remedied with some honest-to-goodness Drusilla action (although it would probably make more sense for her to appear in Angel once they get out of hell to cause trouble for Angel and Spike).
I'm looking at the woman's face in the "fade to white" panel and I'm actually now leaning to the idea that it's Willow, fading into the energy as she dies.

I do like the idea that the white magical energy discharge as Buffy stabbed Willow was actually Calling thousands of Slayers into Fray's world. It would explain why Future!Willow was so careful to make sure that Buffy would bring the Scythe with her in the first place. (Assuming that she was the one who gave Saga Vasuki the message to pass on). After all, Willow used the Scythe and glowing white energy to call all the Slayers once before; why shouldn't she do the same thing again 200 years later?

(My other theory - which I actually prefer - is that the energy discharge as Willow dies is what creates the temporal portal and its ripples back through time in the first place.)
I figured it was Willow; that's what went in the transcript.

I really think the lightning from Willow was there mostly to look awesome and sort of emphasize the hugeness of Buffy killing her.
So. Finally got this, two days late. Loved it.

I am 100% with dingoes8 here; seems a bit senseless for so many people to get upset about not having all the answers when the season's not even half over. I for one love being taken on a ride and trying to puzzle things out, which is something Joss has always done. I understand that to fans who aren't used to reading comics, the month-long--or in the case of this issue, two-month-long--wait can be frustrating, but to me it's all part and parcel of the experience.

Nothing in this issue wraps up tidily. We don't know exactly why Future!Willow wanted Buffy to kill her, and I think it would be ridiculous to assume we won't know by the end of the season. Scott Allie's even said we'll find out more on down the road. We don't know the future of the future, but I'm just glad it wasn't erased, as I was fully expecting. We don't know how Riley's playing Buffy, or if he himself is being played, etc. I look forward to finding out more, and admit that I was totally surprised to see him. He wasn't even on my radar.

I very strongly believe that the theme of this season is that power corrupts. It's been the writing on the wall for some time now (and has actually been an underlying theme of Buffy stories before this season).

About reversing the message, yeah it is sad but I think it's the natural progression of the story - exploring if the Slayer Spell was a good decision. The way the action in Chosen is being viewed is quite interesting to me because while Buffy did give those potentials a choice to be strong, to be slayers, she forced it on nearly 1800 other girls. That wasn't choice. I think the message has actually become more complex. Sharing power is good, go female power! But power can be abused and misused. It's a classic thematic exploration, the misuse of power. I think it's fair to explore it - just because it's female empowerment shouldn't make it immune from all the potential corruption that comes with great power.


I agree with everything that Emmie said above. She's smart. ;-)

In any case, you would not believe how much I am looking forward to the next issue. I've been psyched for that one ever since we first learned of it. "So close..."
I very strongly believe that the theme of this season is that power corrupts. It's been the writing on the wall for some time now (and has actually been an underlying theme of Buffy stories before this season).


Sharing power is good, go female power! But power can be abused and misused.


But is the solution to take that power away again? Because reverting to a “there can only be one” scenario doesn’t leave you with a world without power (and therefore corruption) but one in which it’s been taken taken away from women while others get to keep theirs. What I’m seeing is a story about how power is complicated and often dangerous but the answer is to learn to set up the necessary checks and balances to those dangers not to revert to a system that enslaved one girl to a lonely duty and reduced all the others to lives of unfulfillable dreams.
Well, finally got my copy. So...Willow stayed alive all that time in order to bring Buffy to that very specific time and place and then return her to the present. Was this solely so that Buffy could kill Willow just there, with the Scythe, and if so what is the significance of that for the now, and/or for the Fray future? If not, what were the other reasons?

I think it is safe to assume that these questions will be answered, explicitly or implicitly as the season develops. And I, for one,am looking forward to finding out.

The thing about power and choice is that it always seems to me that actually wanting and choosing to have great power over others is a symptom of something amiss in a person, boding badly for the use of that power.

I wish that we could somehow choose our actual leaders among generous, smart, qualified individuals who would really rather not, but step up when called. I'd be more inclined to trust their decisions. If it were so, then it would certainly be better if there were plenty of them to share the burden. Not just for them, but for everyone counting on them.

Re Riley- It could go either way, or neither- impossible to tell who he's playing here. But if he's changed so much, I'm sure we'll learn the why. We are very nearly right in the middle of the season if it is 40 issues...more questions than answers at this point seem par for the course, no?

[ edited by toast on 2008-11-29 03:39 ]
I get the feeling that Buffy showed up in the future in which she failed to defeat Twilight. So in that future, Willow had to go dark to survive that long to ensure Buffy got back home and had the knowledge she needed to defeat Twilight. And Fray and Erin were still alive because Buffy still hasn't defeated Twilight at that moment, so Fray is still there. But who's to say she'll still be in the future after the end of Season Eight.
"Pitting us against eachother is her idea of game night. We are the Scattergories of evil." Cool lines like that, along with all the points/counterpoints that these issues bring out in us fans is what make me soooo happy that Whedon and co. are giving us these stories. I love the fact that the answers aren't so clear, cuz I'm enjoying the ride as it is. This issue left a lot open for interpretation, which I think is what the very best of stories should always do. We are truly part of something special. Rock on, Mr. Whedon. And thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread, which honestly made reading the issue all the more fun.
Okay, one of the reasons I feel we're heading back towards a world with only one slayer is hugely influenced by the negative aspects we've been shown so far - Buffy's disconnect from humanity in favor of isolating herself with only her slayers, dangerous rogues like Gigi and Simone, Buffy's compromised morality (bank robbery, her big picture outlook that would have let innocents die in ToYL 3). And also the negative actions to come in Issues 21-25 .

Sharing power and being so generous with it is a wonderful message, but the nature of that power (which stems from a demonic spirit and is routed in darkness) requires a greater responsibility and guidance than I believe Buffy and her friends are capable of providing. And it's something the world at large will view with fear and suspicion. Recall that only 500 slayers are working with Buffy and the other 1300 are at large and quite possibly abusing their power without a mission to center there new powers.

There's also the point that keeps resonating from the LWH through ToYL about how things are not always as they seem and foreshadowing that strength and hubris leads to your downfall. This best relates to Willow's statement that slayers don't draw strength from their numbers the way vampires do, a criticism that both Giles and Buffy express in The Long Way Home about the girls not "working together". What if the nature of the slayer power is actually weakened by it being spread too thin amongst so many girls rather than concentrated in one champion?

It all seems to be pointing to the negative consequences of the Slayer Spell in Chosen (which has been alluded to as fascism in The Chain - fascism...yay?). There's no simple right or wrong as Xander tells us in A Beautiful Sunset that the girls in Buffy's squad are positively vibrating with purpose and connection. That it's a positive energy. And it *is* - but that's only 50 girls out of 1800. Let's say that the other 450 slayers working with Buffy are also a force for good - we're still left to wonder how many others are out in the world and possibly faltering or unable to deal with their new nature because they lack the proper guidance.

So it seems like the Slayer Spell at best currently exists in a gray area and I'm expecting this situation to continue devolving into the negative as the season progresses. It seems like we're going back to a world where there's only one slayer. But here's a final twist. A huge theme introduced in LWH is that things are not as they seem - maybe we're building momentum towards the world needing to go back to just one slayer to restore the balance. But maybe there's a Hail Mary pass left for the final moments of the season and the positive message of sharing power won't be sacrificed. However, we can't ignore the fact that maybe, just maybe the gift Buffy shared with 1800 girls should have included a receipt. Cash it in for world save-age please.
Emmie, I think I'm in love with you. ;-)
So. Finally got this, two days late. Loved it.


I didn't mind it but I felt that the art was really not good in some places. The Fray mini-series artwork has the edge in terms of quality.
First, a preface. I haven't been posting 'round here much because I've been swamped by study. Summer holidays in Australia start in one week. I now have no more exams to concern myself with, but I still don't have enough time to read every post preceding me.

In short: sorry if this isn't new and interesting.

Newly revealed things! (in order of appearance)

1 Willow's a nose fetishist, we always suspected.

2 Willow has lied to both Fray and Harth, remember when she told Cordelia that the "deliver" key on the keyboard meant save? This is at least twice as devious.

3 Gunther is alive and has solar lasers.

4 The BHC slayers are mostly alive, and also well prepared. Xander gets to live and not have his self confidence shattered again :)

5 Uh Oh...trouble in purgatory! Warren and Amy can't work with each other. This is pretty given that he always blames the other person and she believes her power entitles her to unequal respect.

6 Riley is working for Twilight, is a double agent, is brainwashed, or is just ritually scarring himself to be "cool" like the new guy.

6a Oh so that's who Buffy was meeting in New York, where is Twilight's secret underground lair exactly? Did Riley drive or take the subway? So many questions :p

7 Willow's plan: perform a spell which allows both worlds to coexist, using a confluence of Buffy, Scythe, and Time portal.

Joss has always said that he would never kill Willow. She's now been killed in, not just one, but two alternate timelines: Fray's future, and Sunnydale a la Cordy's Wish. In both cases Willow had to make a choice between the two worlds.

In Dopplegangland she definitely makes the wrong decision, with hilarious consequences.

In Time of Your Life she decides that she doesn't have the right to make the decision, in contrast with Buffy who makes her decision very quickly and ruthlessly.

To be fair both of these situations are very different, but the fundamental question of "where do I belong?" is more difficult for Willow than for Buffy (or Vamp Willow since we're talking about her.)

8 The ending is pretty much what I expected from this arc, since Joss said from the start that the point of Time of Your Life is to resolve the problem of wanting both Fray and the end of season 7 to be cannon.

I don't think season 8 will end with everyone depowered, it would prevent more Buffy stories, so I think that this really is a complete divergence of the two universes, dimensions, timelines, whatev.

I think it's plausible that the demons orchestrating the original Fray series were aware of other dimensions that they chose to not involve themselves in, possibly because one (or more) of those dimensions were crawling with slayers.


Super Extra Bonus:

Karl Moline put his own name in the back of one of the panels during the big Buffy/Fray brawl:D Can anyone spot any more hidden stuff like that? The poster in #17 is a good example.

Also...is future willow now a god to Fray's dimension? She impaled herself on Buffy's scythe(he he he, dirty minds)...then she dissolved into ink...then Fray's world comes back into being starting with a white panel...then ink lines...then Fray and Erin kneel before Willow's body and give thanks. 0_o My brain just burnt out.
Emmie sez:

"This arc actually accomplished what everyone was puzzling over - was Fray's future going to be erased? It shows us how Joss will presumably reconcile the events of Chosen with Fray's future world. I'm predicting the Slayer Spell will be reversed somehow (or at least the slayers will be reduced back to one girl, maybe two...) and this will reconcile the present with the future."

I hope you're wrong. I have been chary about regarding these comics as canon, in spite of what Joss said, because I suspected that at some point it would have to lead to a plot development much like the one you're describing. And I think that actually injures the thematic resonance of "Chosen."

At the beginning of the series, Buffy Summers was "one girl in all the world." This point was brought home season after season; she felt alone because she was, because she was the only person (well, okay, one of two) who could understand what it felt like to be her. She knocked out Giles to face the Master because she understood that only she could do it...she ran away after killing Angel to bear her burdens alone...she abandoned Xander and Willow at Giles's apartment before going to find Adam because they weren't making things easier for her...she tried to bear all the adult responsibilities by herself during Season Six...she was ready to kill Anya because she knew it was her job. Oh, yes, and there was some portal diving in there too, which I believe she later sang about, but it could have been a hallucination.

Never mind that time and time again, despite not knowing what her burdens were like, her friends came through for her. Never mind that the only way she managed to beat the Master, the Mayor, and Adam, and Glory was through uniting with her friends...and that they gave her serious assists in stopping Angel and Dark Willow. She still felt like she carried the burden alone. One girl in all the world, who wanted nothing more than a normal life, and could never, ever have it.

"Chosen" destroyed that. At one stroke, Buffy went from being "one girl in all the world" to one among many who shared her power. The burdens were no longer solely on her shoulders. She could step aside from her Slayer duties every so often, and enjoy a normal life. That, in my mind, is what that final smile of hers always meant. "I'll still fight...but I can rest some now, too." It was a brilliant way to end the series.

I have commented some before on Joss's habit of ending major arcs or two-parters with solutions from out of left field, in essence cutting to the solution by explicitly overturning one of the assumptions we had all been making. For example, "Surprise" and "Innocence" presented us with an unstoppable villain. No weapon forged could kill him. So what does Buffy do? She uses a rocket launcher. "But I thought no weapon forged could kill him!" the audience yells. Ah, but as Buffy so correctly noted, "That was then." Times have changed, weapons have improved, and although the Judge may still not be dead, it no longer takes an army to stop him -- just an army of one.

Now I know that another big thing for Joss is "There are always consequences." And I know that messing around with the Slayer power before led to some serious consequences, involving cheese and Death of a Salesman. But the thematic perfection of having the final note of the series end up destroying the central premise we were given by Giles in the very first episode--that there was only one Slayer at a time, and that as a consequence, Slayers could not live a normal life--is just brilliant. There shouldn't, for pure storytelling reasons, be any consequences stemming from it that would end up returning the situation to "one girl in all the world." And I refuse to recognize any future developments in the storyline that might tarnish what I see as the perfect note to end the series on.

So if Joss is going where you think he's going, Emmie, I will regard Season 8 as a non-canon experiment, after the story, that shows us one possible world--but not the one that actually happened. He may assert it to be canon, but I don't have to agree. I learned that from George Lucas.
If Joss ends up reversing "Chosen," I trust that I will agree with him when it happens, because that's how Joss's writing is. I trust him to write a compelling story, and I have utter faith in his writing ability.

That said, at this juncture I do feel that reversing the spell would be a mistake, both dramatically and thematically. But only time will tell.
I think there's a third option, neither one Slayer nor many, but none. Or all. Or um... maybe I should have started that sentence in a different place. The point is... we had one girl with power, now we have many (but not all. Plenty of powerless women out there still). What's one way to help humanity fight demons? Empower everybody? But then you get all the bad human characteristics magnified by Slayer power - I don't think that's a better future. Democratic maybe, but to my mind not much different to a world without a Slayer at all... and here's where my thought goes. Before Fray, there was no Slayer, right? And in fact no demons, no magic? Is that right? I really must buy myself a copy of Fray - I read it a year and a half ago... but I don't see much difference between a world with demons in which everybody has Slayer powers and a world without demons in which nobody has power.

And so to me it feels like we are tending towards that point, from one side or the other... either the magic Willow used to empower all the Slayers will implode/backfire and they will be left powerless, or an attempt will be made to share that power out amongst everyone in the world and the same will happen. Or demonkind and magic are split off from 'our' world by some other external force... Twilight might be a candidate here.

I don't know, I just get this feeling about the shape of the story. Narratively it would be good (imbalance of power will lead to corruption, as we're seeing with the Slayers) and timeline-wise it feels like it could work.

The only thing I don't like is that if that future happens it means none of the vampires or other magically-reinforced beings currently wandering around in Hell-A could survive...
I have to agree, since I'm already onr ecord as being in fierce enough disagreement with Joss to reduce myself from obsessed fan to casual viewer, if he just plainr everses the mepwoerment spell, without changing half a dozen other things with it, and maybe not even then, it'll be just one more thing in that category.

I do think that Joss is saying he's separated the Frayverse and Buffy-Future, so now they no longer restrict or impact e ach other. Problem is he didn't show what has to be avoided specifically to keep Willow from going "Gray."

Liked Amy's and Warren's old married couple bickering; as I fialed to say in an earlier thread, I don't want Warren redeemed, justs ent abck to whatever hell Amy conjured him back from. (sorry, Joss and Scott, I don't buy "I forgot The First could only imitate dead people.")

I do see the point in AMy 's going beyond waht my original characetr Jared called "well, pretty much evil now" since it ties in with joss's view of darker magick. It corrupts, so it drew Amy deeper and deeper, it had to by tis nature as long as she worked with it. I think the B'verse ahd plenmty of villains, a character who was more misunderstood than abd (as Liz allen once said in ani itnerview) would be nice for variety's sake. But by Joss's sestablished categories. amy couldn't stay in that place, she ahd to go deeper.
It's been said she's also basically insane now, so that might leave some hope.

I'll use that in my Xmas 2006 story, I guess.
Problem is he didn't show what has to be avoided specifically to keep Willow from going "Gray."

He also still has half the season left. Don't think he needed to explain every last detail at once.
Yeah, and I don't think any of us can say it's definite yet that Buffy and Fray are separate. That page really can be interpreted pretty much any way we like (which might be the point) and I doubt I'll mind if it's left that way.
As far as Fray is concerned, her situation can remain ambiguous, to be dealt with in future Fray comics, or not at all. As far as what Willow is and was aiming at there, well... that's clearly central to the main story, and I'm sure more will be revealed.

I'm kind of wondering what Buffy's mission is now. In the past, the big bad was always a threat to all, attempting to end the world. There was always a more immediate threat to Buffy and/or the other slayers, because they were the main defenders of the world as a whole. But, to destroy everyone and the world as we know it was generally the big bad idea.

What does magic as an idea or value mean in the buffyverse? Seems like in and of itself, it is neither specifically good nor specifically evil as we've seen it so far- it can be used for either- it's some kind of (dangerous) tool.

So, does Twilight have goals, a hidden more clearly evil purpose beyond the death of magic and end of the slayer line that would be obviously disastrous for everyone? Does the death of magic threaten everyone?

Or is Buffy's mission now smaller- the defense of the slayers (who indirectly are everyone, in the sense that they attempt to defend everyone, but it's a lot more tenuous) and the defense of magic (which includes demons, etc. and may even involve alliance with demons- such as whatever Giles is up to)?

[ edited by toast on 2008-11-29 23:56 ]
skittledog: Your point is well-founded. In Fray's future, Slayers haven't been around for donkey's years. It's possible that this season really could be about the "death of magic," which would sidestep my concerns and allow a connect-up between the two timelines. I've thought long and hard about how to respond to the possibility that this could happen.

And I'm afraid my answer will still be to throw Season 8 out of the canon. (I think I could then still keep Fray, positing that the past events mentioned in her comics are simply attached to another Slayer.) See, again, I think the real through-line of Buffy is this: You get this awesome power, and this even more awesome responsibility, dumped on you. You didn't ask for it. You have to learn how to wield it. And even if you do that effectively, you're going to die young. Yet all you want to do is live a normal life. So what happens next? And therein lies a TV show.

For so much of the show, we were promised that the answer wouldn't be good. The only way out of Slayer-hood, we were told, was death. So when Buffy managed to find a way to beat the no-win scenario, it was a thrilling moment and a legitimate conclusion. Buffy pushed, and pushed, and pushed, and finally the universe gave her what she wanted most. Her central dilemma was resolved, in an unexpected and happy way. And that should have been the end.

I have, in the past, made no secret of my unease about the comics, for precisely that reason. I know Joss would take the stance that life never ends, so why should the story? But they're not the same thing. Stories are life-concentrate, where we can experience a complete tale. And this tale was a great one, just the way it was. Why take what was a perfectly good ending, and then turn the page and write "Chapter the Next" on it? What's gained? What's the point?

Joss has been quoted so many times as saying that he gives his fans what they need, not what they want. Well, Joss, I don't think we needed more Buffy. I think we just wanted it. And if this is where the series is going to end up, with an extraneous season linking two things that didn't need to be linked, and in the process overshadowing one of the finest conclusions to any long-running television series ever...well, that's something I don't need or want.
skittledog: Your point is well-founded.

Ooh, I do like it when people say things like that. ;)

On a personal note, such a resolution wouldn't make me want to ignore s8, but that's probably because I don't love the ending of s7 in the way you seem to. To me it always begged the question of 'well, why only just the Slayers?' I guess I feel like Buffy's desire to live a normal life was only partially answered by that resolution and sort of got subsumed in the female empowerment issue - like of course it was a good thing. Where for her personally... I'm not sure.

In a way I would also agree with you that, given the story so far, we are being shown something we wanted and not something we needed (ATF is managing this better, to my mind). But maybe that is why I am clinging to the idea of an arc about power and consequences and possibly a choice between a world with magic and one without - because those, I think, would be worthwhile questions for Buffy's story and thus a reason in themselves for the season to exist.
Why does FDW say that she thinks "the 20th century" could get along without Buffy? I think most of the other open questions have been clearly set up as "to be continued." Could that one have been a mistake, or did it mean something?
Just noticed something as I reach this issue in my full series (to date) re-read.

Harth: "You told me Buffy's coming would cause our world to be. You told my sister the opposite."

If, as some have speculated, Buffy's visit to the future (1) means that she goes back and avoids it and (2) led to Future!Willow's death/spell to keep Fray's future in existence, it means that she wasn't lying either to Mel or to Harth -- both versions are true.

What Future!Willow told each sibling, arguably, is a pointer to the theory here being true.
That page really can be interpreted pretty much any way we like (which might be the point) and I doubt I'll mind if it's left that way.

A very good point, skittledog! (To go along with many good points by Emmie and many others in this thread.) Now that you mention it, it reminds me of that last night between Buffy and Spike in “Chosen” – they’re facing each other in the basement and then a kind of a flash ends the scene – which Joss said he left deliberately ambiguous so that fans could put into it (or leave out of it, I suppose) what they wanted, basically.

Overall, while this hasn’t been my favorite arc of season eight, I did enjoy this issue well. I was a little disappointed to see Riley as the traitor. (I did briefly wonder who the guy in that panel was, considering Andrew – which didn’t make sense, of course – and even Angel; but there is something about that picture which does capture Marc Blucas pretty well.) I do hope that he is just playing Twilight – they do say the best lie is close to the truth (iirc), and telling Twilight “I tell her I’m her inside man” could just be a lie of omission - “because it’s true” being left out of the sentence. Though, that could leave the “closest, most unexpected betrayal” to one of the core Scoobies, which could be even worse. (It does occur to me that concern about that betrayal could be why Buffy kept her contact with Riley on the QT; and I also agree that the circumstances of her last face-to-face with Riley could be enough reason to dress up a bit.) (Though I had been wondering if her mytery meeting was with someone from seasons 1 or 2, since that was the last time she favored the [unfortunate, IMO] short dress/long boots look.)

While checking back in issue 16 for the details on just what Buffy said about her mystery meeting, I noticed something else: Vi mentioning the magical outbreaks in NYC. And this jibes with an idea that ocurred to me when trying to reconcile the amount of magical stuff showing up in the woods in Scotland (even before this issue): the empowering spell may have caused an imbalance in magic, causing it to expand beyond just the Chosen many? This imbalance could help lead to the end of magic referred to in Fray’s time, and fits in with my theory on Twilight’s identity, too. Though – Ethan is an interesting idea. I’ve been trying to think of characters who might have a reason to have an itchy neck, as Twilight had – like, someone decapitated (such as Lilah Morgan - at least a couple reasons to think it’s not her, though ;) ); I suppose we were shown Ethan undergoing some head trauma, at least, in issue #4; if he had the mojo to survive that, could he still have needed a skin graft?

Also found the first signs of bickering between Amy and Warren interesting.

Oh – and it warmed the heart to see the ad for Serenity on blu-ray in the issue!
OK, to completely restate my comment. Willow indicates that perhaps Buffy should have not been in the 2oth century, the one they were all born in, but not the one they left into the future from. Copy?
Dreamlogic, you are right. It doesn't make any sense. It's probably a typo, unless they were trying to slip something past us. I sure as hell didn't notice it. Apparently I got no clue what the crap century I'm in.

Good catch.
Willow indicates that perhaps Buffy should have not been in the 2oth century, the one they were all born in, but not the one they left into the future from.

spoilers based on # 20 blurbs

[ edited by Simon on 2008-12-02 10:00 ]
What Future!Willow told each sibling, arguably, is a pointer to the theory here being true.

Excellent point - and possibly a nice nod at the confusion inevitably caused by time travel, too. I'm wondering though if - if this is the case - the order has to be that way round? That is, Buffy could go back and cause Fray's world to be - but simultaneously her staying there any longer would have caused it not to be, since she couldn't go back and cause it? Harth had to help set things up to bring her through, Fray had to get her in the right place to go back... would that be fair to say? So they're both still true but the other way round. Hmm.
If Twilight is Ethan that might explain how he knows about the scythe used on Caleb and Twilight. Ethan might have seen it in her dreamspace
This thread's got very secretive. ;)
Twlight is Xander? i mean he has bad luck with love, even cordy died. And isnt he suppose to be in Africa, according to Andrew from TV's Angel. Which reminds me, when is Buffy going to meet Conner Holz, or does angel never get out of hell, probally freezes over since we see flying monkeys in the future, or is it flying pigs that swung in the coldfront for hell! And is Dawn going to finish school, maybe college? How else is she going to experiment? You know Bob Marley, i mean we know fred experimented, oh yea cant she now time travel, if so you think she would bring spike, or is she going back to wes. If she does i hope she kicks dracula ass for spike, i dont like him to much! who is the ruling power in buffy? the president, the slayer species, the vamp revloution, Wolf RAM and Heart.
Where is Buffy's Dad?
and does anybody know the timeline for angel and buffy, like whats angel doing while twlight going on , is his comic ahead of buffy or before?
Wow. That was a lot of stuff, crammed into a tiny, tiny space. I believe the two series are concurrent, but everyone seems to tell me something different.
I'm not sure that everything above this post was a spoiler, just that someone forgot to close their tags, so I just did.

BaFfler said:
"Why take what was a perfectly good ending, and then turn the page and write "Chapter the Next" on it? What's gained? What's the point?"

Because the creator/writer felt they had more story to tell. What other reason is necessary ? Aside from looking at it purely from a business perspective (and sure, Dark Horse wouldn't have done it if they didn't see the potential for profit in it, or in Buffy's case, the near-guarantee of huge sales), it's art for art's sake (and with Joss, surely there'll be a message or twelve too, it's not just action spectacle with pretty covers).

I liked "Chosen" well enough, specific moments of it I loved. I was completely cool with it being the end of the series. But aside from a few other standout episodes, Season 7 was pretty bad or at least a big disappointement at times, not nearly fulfilling the potential I expected after the ending of "Lessons", "Selfless", and up through "Conversations with Dead People". So I'm glad Joss has gone back to the well. Sure it's a lot different without the actors, spoken dialogue, and music, but regardless of the change in format, for me Season 8 has been far more entertaining, intriguing, and arguably more coherent (yeah, aside from the major wank to get Warren back).

"Joss has been quoted so many times as saying that he gives his fans what they need, not what they want. Well, Joss, I don't think we needed more Buffy. I think we just wanted it."

I didn't need more Buffy, I was living fine after "Chosen" (Angel on the other hand...grrr, I still want a filmed version of Season 6). I was open to whatever direct-to-DVD movies, mini-series, big screen films, or comics they wanted to do so long as they were canon (I bought all of Dark Horse's non-canon Buffy & Angel comics back in the day--actually some of the pre-Season 8 stuff is canon, but very little of it--but nowadays I can't justify paying for glorified, usually poorly-written/managed fan fiction). I didn't really want more Buffy either, I mean I wasn't chomping at the bit for it, especially not right after the series ended and for a few years after that. Despite being a comparatively steep investment ($3-something per issue, roughly) for more of the story, compared to getting it on TV for free, I've felt Season 8 worthwhile so far. Unless the ball is completely dropped in the second half of Season 8, I don't see that changing.

And if this is where the series is going to end up, with an extraneous season linking two things that didn't need to be linked

I read Fray when it was originally published (during Seasons 5 to 6, I think ?), felt it was a great addition to the canon while being a cool story in its own right (and it was always confirmed canon, so I was still watching new Buffy with Fray in mind as the inevitable future...well, "inevitable" before goddamn time travel was introduced into the Buffyverse), thrilled at seeing the scythe "for real" in Season 7, but was understandably scratching my head at how we would get from "Chosen" to no-slayers-for-200-or-so-years. I wasn't sure that question would ever be answered because I didn't think in 2003 that Joss would go back to the franchise (at least not the Buffy side of it--he and Scott Allie had said they definitely wanted to do more Fray some day), it seemed like he was pretty well done with it for the time (although wasn't it implied that he could've gone on telling more stories if SMG wanted to sign on for a bit more ? I can't remember the circumstances or what was reported vs. what's true).

On this arc: I think it'll read way better as a trade collection, or when I re-read it in a marathon some day. Besides the two month break (no big deal, in comic-land), I just think it would've flowed better read all at once, it feels like. I liked it fine, it had some good moments, but not my favorite arc so far.

The art...I dunno if Karl Moline was just rushed (any other books he was doing while working on this 4-issue Buffy stint?) or if his style has changed dramatically over the years, but Fray #1-8 looked way better than "Time of Your Life". That's not to say it lacked of any panels/pages I liked, it just wasn't as polished and eye-popping as Fray.

Woo-hoo, two issues this month !
Joss has been quoted so many times as saying that he gives his fans what they need, not what they want. Well, Joss, I don't think we needed more Buffy. I think we just wanted it.

I think this likely conflates two different moments in the storytelling process of the writer. What he decides to make any any given point he makes because HE needs to. Within whatever he's decided to make, he frequently gives us what we need, not what we want.

In other words, he's writing more Buffy because HE needed to.
Okay, folks. Don't know if anyone's going to be visiting this thread anytime soon. But I've been puzzling over ToYL for a while and after re-reading it the other night I came up with a theory. This is a long one, but if anyone is really interested in delving deeper into the arc, read on. Comments and further explanations may be found at my Live Journal.


I don't want to save you from this future, Buffy.  I want to show it to you.

The Temporal Event

Willow: "It's sort of the opposite of an echo."

"Echo is something you experience all the time. If you shout into a well or a canyon, the echo comes back a moment later. The echo occurs because some of the sound waves in your shout reflect off of a surface (either the water at the bottom of the well or the canyon wall on the far side) and travel back to your ears. The length of time between the moment you shout and the moment that you hear the echo is determined by the distance between you and the surface that creates the echo." -  Here's a helpful graphic of how a sound echo travels.

Sequence of events:

- Sound waves are emitted from the person (point of origin)
- The sound waves bounce off a reflective surface (reflective frequency)
- The reflected sound waves return to the person (point of origin)

What is "sort of the opposite of an echo" for this temporal event?

- Temporal waves are emitted from this event. (point of origin)
- The temporal waves travel fluidly through time and are reflected at specific points along the chronological timestream into the past and future. (reflective frequency)
- The temporal waves then reverberate backwards to the source of the wave. (point of origin)

Because this is a temporal wave, these "ripples" create portals at the points along the timestream where the waves are reflected and reverse their trajectory. The portals create a pathway between the point of origin (the temporal event) and the point where the echoing wave is reflected.

Imagine the motion of these waves flowing outward from the central event, vibrating into the past and future until the waves hit the correct frequency at designated points along the timestream. As this frequency is reached and the portals are created, the timestream folds together like an accordian and bridges the time difference between these points (the origin and the reflective point) that share the exact same location.

This event is "completely fluid temporally, but deadlocked spatially." Meaning that this event reverberates throughout time, but it occurs in only one place - on the rooftop of 53rd and Lex. The time is fluid, the location is fixed.


Two Methods of Time Travel

There are two methods of time travel used in Time of Your Life.

Method #1 - Body exchange. This is similar to how Buffy traveled to meet the Shadowmen in Get it Done. She was exchanged for a demon stooge Future Willow sent back into the past and forcily switched with Buffy.

Method #2 - Portals opened by the Temporal Event. This seemingly opens of it's own accord in in Buffy's timeline during #19 and in Fray's timeline during #19.

How are these methods shown to be different?


1) Method #1 - the body exchange, is incredibly painful. Buffy explains the 'Pain. New pain. Most pain." Even the demon exchanged to bring Buffy forward hisses out, "Hhuurrrrsssss..." => Hurts.

2) Method #1 - instantaneous and no visible portal opens, the panel goes completely white and emits a 'Fwwit' noise.

3) Method #1 - is involuntary. Buffy had no choice in her journey. It more closely resembled her teleportation to Gigi's than her willingly walking through a portal or even being sucked into a portal like Willow in Long Way Home Part 3.

4) Method #2 - no incredible pain is evident with Buffy and Willow both crossing through the temporal portal.

5) Method #2 -
a visible portal opens and it emits a yellow-ish light with no accompanying noise that Willow does not completely transfer her from the past, she merely reaches through the portal to pull Buffy back. Willow's lower half of her body is still in the 21st century while the upper half is in the 23rd and pulling Buffy back through.

6) Method #2 - was a voluntary journey. Buffy and Willow chose to enter the portal to cross the 200 years of time.




Willow's Plan

Willow: "Tonight. The princess leaves her kingdom for the forest of the now."

During this scene, Future Willow is holding a goblet with a strange mist within it. Willow is doing something magical with this goblet.

Buffy's time travel journey (not the time she travels) but the time spent in the future and the time she's missing from the past all occur within one 24 hour period. Between midnight and midnight, the magic hour.

Buffy's Present Midnight - Buffy, Willow and Kennedy are on the rooftop of the 53rd and Lex high-rise moments before midnight.

Fray's Future Midnight - Fray is lured to 53rd and Lex by the Watcher's Diaries.

Fray: "The books talk about this place. The last girl came here and was transformed, they says. They say the madwoman's power reached through the ages and changed her."

We know from Present Willow's interrogation of the demon "someone enlists our big ugly demon friend to take down the slayer. I'm guessing this was meant to draw her out." Who did this? Future Willow enlisted this demon to draw Fray to the rooftop and then exchange the demon to bring Buffy to the future. Take this further back though, because Future Willow ensured that Fray would *be* on this rooftop by planting that information in the Watcher's Diaries and then even further back, having the vampires reveal her identity to Fray in the flying car ambush. In order to manipulate Fray into hunting down the "madwoman", Future Willow allies herself with Harth who is Fray's obsession ("Where is Harth?!" with her eyes popping with rage). By allying herself with Harth, she's made Fray determined to hunt her down.

Fray discovers this Watcher library in Tales of the Slayers when she's led by the demon monkey Gates, who steals her scythe and leads her a merry chase here where she sits down and reads all the Watcher's accounts she can for the first time.

Willow is already aware of Fray's Watcher library and is no doubt responsible for the upkeep of these accounts and also for their alterations. She is connected to the books that lead Fray to the madwoman and 53rd and Lex. This library is connected to the demon monkey, Gates, who deliberately brings Fray to it in Tales of the Slayers. Gates *belongs* to Willow.

Willow arranges for Fray to be on the rooftop of 53rd and Lex, then uses Saga Vasuki to bring her past self and Buffy to the rooftop of 53rd and Lex 200 years in the past. The Buffy-Demon body exchange that Future Willow mystically causes occurs exactly 24 hours before the temporal portal will open between Buffy and Fray's time.

Buffy and Fray fight and eventually realize they need to find out what's really going on. They go to Gunther for answers and then Buffy finally begins to realize "her failure". This is the beginning of what Willow wanted.

Future Willow: "It's starting. She's starting to feel the weight of it. Of the world's loss. Of her failure."


This demonstrates two things: 1) Willow is still strongly connected to Buffy the way she was in Long Way Home when she channeled her power into her "best friend" and 2) Willow wants Buffy to see this future and to understand how the Slayer line has faltered.

Willow's brought Buffy to the future to make her realize this. When Buffy is asking Fray about how many slayers there are in this future world and how they're organized, in the background are fliers on the brick wall that say three times in big, bold red: "THIS WARN YOU". This future is a warning to Buffy that will guide her actions when she returns to the past.

Willow then has Harth send his vampires on raiding parties in the Uppers, which is unusual as "lurks don't usually track that high". This draws Fray and Buffy to the attack where Fray dives in while Buffy follows the lurks back to their headquarters. Willow is lying in wait for Fray, she was *expecting* Buffy to follow the lurks while Fray saved the innocents. This allows Willow to show Fray and disturbing vision of Buffy returning to the past and destroying the world as Fray knows it. Willow and Fray become uneasy allies in this moment.

Fray jumps Buffy while she's distracted talking to Erin and they tie her up in the Watcher Library. When Buffy wakes up, she sees Future Willow for the first time. Future Willow explains what will happen if Buffy gets back in time to go through the portal to return home, so now Buffy *knows* how to get back to her time. Seemingly out of nowhere, Gates unties Buffy. But remember that Gates is tied to the library and the library is tied to Willow. Willow *tells* Gates to untie Buffy so she can escape.

Meahwhile, as Harth arrives with his gang ready to kill everyone he taunts Willow for being too weak and unable to stop his army by herself. She smiles and taunts him, "Don't plan to." Gunther arrives for revenge because Willow made sure Harth would be neutralized by sending him to attack Gunther in #18 - "Harth, you should be careful when you choose your enemies." Now Harth is out of the way. Buffy is running to return to 53rd and Lex, Fray is there waiting for her to begin the battle royale and Willow is waiting and watching.

Buffy wins the fight and turns to the opening portal only to be blocked by future Willow. Willow can't let Buffy through "not just yet...you're not done here." Buffy tries to talk Willow down but then reminds Willow that she's "not stupid" because she finally understands what Willow meant about the important thing about death being "who kills you." Buffy asks Willow "why does it have to be me [who kills you]?" And Willow merely answers that "it's a long story." Buffy stabs Willow with the Scythe and a huge explosion of lighting and magic BOOM! into the air. Present Willow comes halfway through the portal blindfolded to pull Buffy back into their Present time.

So why does it have to be Buffy who kills Willow? Willow has to die in this manner because her death is the temporal event that creates this portal that exists immediately before and after the release of huge amounts of energy. Remember that the temporal event has to happen on the rooftop of 53rd and Lex. The event is "deadlocked spatially" and this huge release of energy flows through time, creating the portal that bridges the timeline between Buffy's Present and Fray's future. Willow has to die to create the temporal event that brings Buffy to the future. Buffy going to the future causes Fray's future to come into being.

Future Willow: "What happens in your time will cause your time to come, do you see?"

Buffy coming to the future is what causes the future to come into being. Buffy seeing the future causes the future to occur. Future Willow couldn't just send Buffy back with the body exchange form of time travel because the ripples of the temporal event already existed in Future Willow's past. The Temporal Event had already happened just as it was being made to happen.


Fray and her sister embrace as they realize their world hasn't ended.  But the question of whether her world is really still the same has been expressed by Buffy herself:  "So what: Future?  Alternate, much cooler universe?"  But then she answers her own question:  "No, yeah, Willow gave that lecture -- this is a future thing." 

So which is it?  Is Fray's future still on the same timestream as Buffy's present?  I think yes.  But it's open for debate.  We don't have that answer yet, but I believe we *will* as Season 8 continues.


In that version, then, what's the explanation for Fray's future completely blanking out only to assemble itself back into view (which is what immediately precedes "Fray and her sister embrace as they realize their world hasn't ended")?
I think there are a few ways to interpret that. The initial blanking out occurs as Fray collides with the closing portal. From that perspective, we're first looking at Fray through the swirls of the portal as if the viewer is within the portal looking outward. Then the white flashes and Fray's eyes close. It could just be a dramatic way to leave us in suspense about whether Fray's world is about to disappear, but in reality Buffy and Fray's worlds are still connected on the same timeline.

There's another opposing interpretation possible from this. "What happens in your time will cause your time to come, do you see?" could mean that Buffy's going into the future and then returning allows Fray's world to split off into a "cooler, alternate universe". Perhaps Buffy was never meant to go into the future in the first place. Willow's death causing the temporal fold and Willow forcibly pulling Buffy into the future are the catalysts for Buffy's world colliding with Fray's.

Perhaps Fray's world is the original result of Buffy *never* having gone to the future. Buffy continues to work with her Slayer army, not realizing the potential damage to humanity. In 21-25, the Slayers are outed and humanity begins to fear the Slayer army. They view this "race of slayers" as a threat and in the resulting conflict, a nuclear holocaust occurs. The massive radiation from this is what leads to the "radies" in Fray's future and the Vasuki vision of NYC burning.

By Future Willow forcing Buffy to see Fray's future, the result of the path she's on right now, it shows her how her actions could be leading to disaster - "This Warn You". By sending her back through creating the temporal fold, Buffy's return with this knowledge *does* change the future. But instead of Fray's future altering around her or even disappearing, it merely becomes a "cooler, alternate" future split off from Buffy's timestream.

Before ToYL, Buffy's present and Fray's future were on the same timestream. After, they *might* no longer be connected. Which means that the negative aspects of Fray's future don't *have* to occur.

On the other hand, Buffy's present and Fray's future might still be the same timestream. In that case, Buffy's actions to come in Season 8 will lead to Fray's future world and the white-out was just for suspense.

[ edited by Emmie on 2008-12-04 01:18 ]
I only read the first few comments, but the trouble I went to to get this issue! I was traveling around the East coast of Australia at the time and was not aware of how genuinely obsessed I was, and how long it has been since the last issue. When the comic came out I was on my way to Brisbane, and then Gold Coast. When I arrived in Brisbane, rather than go straight to Gold Coast (same train station) I walked for 20 minutes or so with all my bags to find a comic shop. Not in stock. Walked back. My next opportunity was a fews days later in Sydney. Seriously, I couldn't just have waited until I got home? Apparently not.

Anyway. I don't understand why everyone thinks Riley is now a villain. He is working with an antagonist, but as far as I can see that is all Twilight is. Not exactly a villain. Twilights goal seems to be to being an end to magic, why exactly is that an evil thing to be doing?

Before this episode Twilight seemed the villain because he enlisted the help of Amy and Warren, both of whom clearly are villains in a very petty way. But not Riley is in tow, it seems less clear cut to me. Riley has always been a good guy, always tried to do what he thought is right. I would imagine Riled would see bringing an end to magic to be a great idea. Nothing in this issue gave me the impression that Riley is suddenly evil, or wants to harm Buffy.

I think that is what I find interesting about season 8, that the line between hero and villain is becoming more blurred. Buffy and co are apparently international jewel thieves, and organizing widescale vigilante groups, outside of legal (or even human) control. Willow seems to be more into the magic than ever and potentially using sex with her girlfriend to liaise with some kind of magic force. She is seemingly more and more unstoppable. Buffy just killed her best friend, and let vampires kill innocents in order to follow them back to their nest. These are surely not the actions of heroes. I can easily see why Riley would mistake Buffy and co for the villains again (he has done it before, or nearly done it).

*shrug* I don't think we should leap to conclusions. If Twilight is evil, I really can't see Riley being evil. I can see him being mislead and used at most.
I'm not sure what to make of Riley yet. However, he has gone to the extreme of allowing the Twilight emblem to be carved onto his chest. Whatever he's doing, he takes it VERY seriously, whether it's undercover work (i.e., he knows Twilight is evil and is working as a double-agent) or something else (i.e., he thinks Twilight is good and is so committed to the cause that he brands himself).
Vortigun: I think Twilight could present a strong case. Buffy has cratered Sunnydale, she is stealing, cooperating with Dracula of all people, and the Slayers she has created are running around with guns. Willow almost destroyed the world once, and here she is again, deep in the magics. The Slayers were always above the law, but there used to be only one and a Watchers' Council to make sure their power was controlled and directed. Now that power is unchecked, and who knows what will happen next. Magic, he could argue, is just too dangerous, worse than nuclear weapons. Best to just get rid of it.

Heck, Twilight could probably convince me.

I'm wondering if there is a personal angle to this we don't know about. Riley was married, and his wife might not like him meeting his old love (or getting his chest carved up). Maybe she is dead, killed when Sunnydale was destroyed? Maybe she was called, and he is tired of his women being superstrong? There has to be something we are missing.
Agree Riley didn't seem evil, but he didn't seem very nice - definitly seemed to be mocking her for dressing up.
Twilight is Wesley.... i think.... if you go back to angel after the fall issue # 4 and 5, two important events happen. 1.) Spike is standing in future holding, the scythe. 2.) Angel is shaving, itchy neck....Twilight?... well who knows, but the time travel blank page thing happens in angel # 14, so did that have to do with Buffy.... oh yea and fred is shown in the future with her army of misfits, and spike, and again when spike and angel as children... and why isn't there an angel # 14 discussion... did i miss it?
Okay I couldn't read all of these and I'm extremely late to the thread, but I always interpreted the "banishing of all magic" did not mean all demons were banished and slayers turned back into ordinary girls. I think they get banished as well, since it was established in S7 that they have the spirit of the demon in them. That is how Fray's world comes about, and if Buffy "joins" Twilight, it would be in sacrificing herself and her army in order to banish all demonic influence from Earth. I always thought Willow would be integral to doing this, and that it was their idea, but then Twilight showed up with the plan and the power and being all villainy. Now, not so sure, but it would still explain Willow continuing to be around.

I think she may have been holding the spell all that time, and her power ran out right before Fray began, so that demons came back to Earth and the slayer line re-began (or was restarted by Willow using the scythe, which would make Fray a different kind of slayer). With her energies depleted, Willow has no reason to stay in this world, so she manipulates it so that Buffy kills her, because Willow is the one who in essence sent Buffy to hell, and ripped her from heaven, and so on. It's only right that Buffy get to kill her. I think the point of Fray not going away is to make us afraid, because we know Buffy isn't going to do anything to change that future.

Phew. No one's reading this anymore, but I had to get that out.
Oh, and the sentiment of Chosen is undone by Season 8's existence. If Chosen isn't the end, if Buffy isn't off gallivanting with the Immortal in Italy, but is now a real general of a bonafide Slayer army, then she isn't in any way free of her Slayer duties just because there's a thousand slayers, which was preposterous to think anyway. It's simply gone from "I'm better than everyone else, but I feel inferior" to "We're better than everyone else, but we are here to serve".

It was a nice wrap up sentiment in Chosen, but continuing the story means Chosen ceases to be a finale and becomes a badass game-changer episode, like the first Lost flash-forward, or Galactica landing on a planet and the Cylons stop chasing them. The premise of the show just got aced. Where do we go from here? Anywhere is the answer, and that's what's awesome about game-changers; they make the next season a new first season, where there's a whole new premise.

And Riley is totally evil, and knows it. He's so Twilight material. He's known Buffy was on the wrong path when he came to Sunnydale to fight "The Doctor" only to find out Buffy was screwing him. His allowing Buff to make the decision about Assface was not a vote of confidence. He didn't even show up himself. He thinks she's on the wrong path, in fact, he knows it, and he's a company man. Demons go -- world happy. Me Riley, fire bad.

I don't think he would think that any of the slayers would be getting killed however.
Look at Xanders shirt in The Conclusion of Wolves at the Gate, it looks pretty twlightly.
PuppetDoug, you absolutely nailed it. Season 8 changes the message of Chosen simply by existing.
You know who would make a good Twlight.... Andrew, hes already evil, hes part of the TRIO "XXX", He killed his best friend, and hes got the smarts and the fashion sences to wear 3 belts... Who wears 3 belts, i mean whats with the costume Twlight?
i've been thinking, Twilight is GILES!

1. In the 3rd issue, he's seen talking to the demons that Buffy killed in issue 1, forging some kind of agreement with them. Couldn't he be the same person that manipulated the entire opening scene?

2. Twilight says the best way to defeat Buffy is to go after her moral certainty. Giles is the one that does the dirtywork. He killed Ben to destroy Glory. He hired Faith to take out Genevieve. He's certainly got no moral certainty.

3. Compare the chins.

4. At 6.22, Giles is using borrowed magics to take on Willow, couldn't he have borrowed magics to fly and take on Buffy. He took on the most powerful witch in the world and survived.

5. Buffy is always turning her back on Giles and condemining him for his actions. Giles shouldn't stand for that.

6. She chose Xander over him. Xander pretty much replaced Giles in Buffy's world.

7. Robin said the betrayal would be the closest. Who is closer to Buffy than Giles. He's like her father.

hmmmm... Hank Summers? He didn't come around when Joyce died. He basically abandoned Buffy and Dawn. Hmm...

Giles or Hank Summers. Those are my guesses.

Just some suggestions.
This place has turned into conspiracy theory!
...Joss Whedon, spies on the chats, i mean if i were him, i would totally check out a website, where fans talk about how much they love my work...
Buffy doesn't really trust Giles anymore. If a betrayal by " the most trusted, least expected" was a real prediction and applies to Twilight's identity, Giles doesn't fit. That really only fits Xander nowadays. And I guess Dawn but I think Buffy still sees her more as a responsibility than an ally.

ETA: Not that Dawn could be Twilight, but Buffy's inner circle's rather small nowadays. She still seems to trust and depend on Willow rather a lot, despite the recent chilliness between them and Willow being Buffy's first suggestion of her betrayer. Which is all very interesting, given how the last arc ended.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-12-10 05:53 ]
I sort of dismissed the "sort of the opposite of an echo" as a random "science makes me cry" Jossism. But it's clearly more than that. Thanks, Emmie. However, the opposite of an echo wouldn't have a known point of origin, would it? It would start with what you're calling the reflection and the reflection would create it.
Boss Whedon Rules!!

[ edited by dr kongker on 2008-12-13 00:25 ]
dreamlogic, I'm extremely late to your response but I see it now as I was checking this old thread on a lark.

Well, it depends on if you believe that 1) Buffy's knowledge of the future will lead to her changing Fray's world (thereby splitting off the Frayverse into a different timestream) or whether 2) Buffy's knowledge of the future makes Fray's future come into being. The point of origin is really more Willow's definition of the temporal event which reverberates outwardly. Her description of the Temporal Event determines it as the starting point that creates the anomalous time ripples. So point of origin that creates the ripples is still that central event rather than the reflections. If you're looking at it in terms of causality of the narrative story with option #2, then determining causality kinda gets thrown out of the window because it's a timeloop where Buffy going to the future already came to pass which led Future Willow to bring Buffy to the future because it already happened.

But really it's all kinds of mind-bendy when the rule is made that something in the future determines causality for events in the past as the Temporal Event is originally explained in Issue 16. The most important parts of the story are the characters really, but I enjoyed playing faux-science with this arc (and I'm sure there are parts of my faux-science that don't completely jive, but it's a place to start at least).

At this point, all I can say is that "science makes me cry" too. ;)

ETA to add more mind-bendy theorizing.

Let's say Future Willow's death in #19 was the Temporal Event (it's what I believe). The event creates ripples that reverberate outwardly along the timeline into the past and future. So ripples reverberate outwardly in motion. The "opposite of an echo" works because instead of the ripples opening in the past and the future and sending a reflection back to the point of origin, the point of origin sends outwardly to the ripple. It doesn't echo back to the point of origin the way an echo should, but echos out to the ripple. Buffy stepping through the portal created around Willow's death sends her out to the past as she's pulled in by Present Willow how is grounded in that time.

But I also think the "sort of" is to make it less concrete of a metaphor. Understanding the metaphor of the ripples created from a stone dropped in a lake helps to better visualize the motion of the ripples and the echo going outwardly helps to visualize the connection of the central portal to the outlying ripples.

[ edited by Emmie on 2008-12-30 08:21 ]

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